There have been numerous advances in modern mountain climbing gear, climbing equipment, climbing apparel, and ice climbing gear in recent years. These technical advances improve performance, reduce weight, and can increase the durability of the products.
The basic mountain climbing gear consists of Mountaineering Packs, Ice Climbing Axes, Crampons, Climbing Harness, Ropes and Screamers, Ice Climbing Gloves, Helmets, Ice Screws and other protection, and specialized apparel like Belay Jackets and Belay Pants. All of this apparel and equipment has been improved.
Mountaineering Packs: Feather weight packs have been designed that can carry a massive load to base camp, and can then be stripped down to bare minimum for the ascent. New Soft Shell Jacket designs have arrived that keep you dry from inside and out. Hard Shell Jackets have been developed that actually breathe. Jackets made with Event fabric technology are one of the more remarkable new technologies in the last few years. A hard shell the breathes like a true soft shell. It lets more than 2 times the moisture through the membrane compared to Gore-Tex. Event is also air permeable. Which means the sweat can leave the jacket in a gases state rather than having to re-condensate and be wicked through the membrane like Gore-tex. Jackets from Rab, Westcomb, and Integral Designs have been at the forefront of the charge for Event.
Ice Tools: Ice tools have gone through perhaps the most dramatic advancements. New advances in material, technique, and climbing style have substantially impacted their design, with specialized ice tools becoming preferred to general mountaineering gear. One of the biggest advantages in the last few years has been the introduction of the hand rest, which stops the hand slipping off the bottom of the axe. For leashed climbing this helps control and, in the case of full sized hand rests, stops knuckle damage and, most of all, gives vastly improved grip over the shaft. For leashless climbing all these advantages still apply, with the only difference being the obvious increased importance of improving grip on the tool.
Ropes: The Millet ropes are far and away one of the the most dramatic improvements for high performance dynamic ropes. The increase in durability is really impressive. They use three cabled cores beneath the sheathe – hence the name tri-axial rope. The 9.8 Silver is rated for 6 falls and has a weight of 62 grams per meter. The Hydrophobic process Millet uses ensures your rope is the same weight at the start and finish of your day.
Mountaineering crampons: Mountaineering crampons have also evolved with new materials impacting their design. Converting from a heavy steel to much lighter aluminum alloy. An alloy crampon is generally 50% lighter than its steel counterpart. Sandvik Nanoflex® steel alloy is a proprietary metal that uses nanotechnology to modify the molecular structure of traditional stainless steel alloy making it stronger and harder. Companies like C.A.M.P. C.A.M.P. uses Sandvik Nanoflex® steel alloy to strategically reinforce wear points on hyperlight aluminum alloy axes and crampons. This dramatically reduces weight on these products without sacrificing durability.
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