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GREAT GEAR by s tephen regenold Rock Stars


Heed the call to climb with this gravity-defying gear.


FOREARMS GRIPPED, eyes on a cliff face above, you reach for a thin crack in the stone. Clean,


ROPE: STERLING MARATHON


ULTRA (DRY) $203, STERLINGROPE.COM Don’t compromise on your connection to the cliff. Dynamic ropes with a bit of stretch are mandatory gear for climbers, and a rope like the Marathon Ultra offers durability for the rigors of the rock. It has an extra-tough sheath and a chemical treatment that keeps the rope’s fibers from absorbing water if the clouds above your crag open wide.


SHOES: EVOLV DEFY $89, EVOLVSPORTS.COM Squeeze your feet into these tight-fitting climbing shoes and lace ’em up before putting hands on stone. A sticky-rubber sole gives traction on vertical rock and lets climbers stand on micro-protuberances flecking a blank wall. The shoes have a perforated synthetic upper for breathability and a leather foot bed for comfort and rock-feel as you’re edging up high.


free air yawns beneath your feet, trees like tooth- picks far below. With the advent of indoor climbing gyms as


well as a proliferation of bouldering walls found everywhere from school gymnasiums to municipal playgrounds, climbing has struck a critical mass. Add improvements to gear, which make the sport safer and more user-friendly, and you have a


gravity-defying activity that almost anyone can try. The spread of products below, a kit of equip-


ment for intermediate or first-time climbers, will let you gear up to learn the ropes, literally, for a high-exposure experience. ¿


STEPHEN REGENOLD is founder and editor of GearJunkie.com.


HELMET: BLACK DIAMOND


VECTOR $100, BLACKDIAMONDEQUIPMENT.COM The company touts “barely there” comfort with this helmet, weighing in at a scant 8.5 ounces. But molded EPS foam and a thin polycarbonate shell offer the mandatory protection from bumps and small falling rocks. Ventilation ports let the head breathe when you’re pushing limits high on a hot vertical face.


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