Summer road trips are a rite of passage for climbers of all types, generations and locations. Doesn’t matter if you live in the center of the country, a land devoid of major rock formations, or a place flush with climbing opportunities, road trips are a must. Here’s a look at some gear you should have with you for your summer road trip.
My wife is always complaining about how I can’t take just one rope on a road trip. I always have a rope I want for cragging, a rope for multi-pitch and I can get even more specific with the rope I want for certain objectives. But, if you want to throw just one rope in your trunk, check out the DMM Zone ($288.38 for a 80 meter), a 9.8mm rope that offers a good balance between durability and weight. The Zone’s favorable handling characteristics will treat you well while sport cragging in Ten Sleep or climbing multi-pitch granite domes in Tuolumne. The Zone features DMM’s ThermoControl treatment that is designed to help this rope last for pitch after pitch of your busy summer. Available in lengths from 50 to 80 meters, I’ve fallen in love with the 80-meter version, which should do the job on the vast majority routes you’ll find.
Tie in with an all around harness that is light and packed with features with the Beal Rebel ($74.95). Tipping the scales at just 12.1 ounces (size 1), the Rebel uses Beal’s Web-Core technology to create flat and smooth waist and leg belts that lack the seams found on traditional harnesses while distributing weight for a comfortable fit. The leg loops are fine-tuned with the Dynamic-Fit system, two small, light plastic cinches on each leg loop that move along the elastic strap. With four ample and effective gear loops, you can load this harness up with draws or A cams for your summer objective. Plus, the great packability of the Rebel means you have nothing to dread when putting it in your pack for that multi-day trip into the Wind Rivers.
The new Mammut Wall Rider helmet ($99.95) is a good all-around helmet that will suit you well for cragging or long routes in the high country. The Wall Rider is incredibly light thanks to the expanded polypropylene construction and minimalist adjustment straps. Rather than being a lightweight product that won’t hold up to the wear and tear of the real climbing world, the Wall Rider has actually performed well in testing, and features a hard plastic shell on the top for added protection.
I have a bit of a pack fetish. I love all the bells and whistles offered on packs and enjoy having packs that fit the mission. But, if I’m taking one pack on a summer road trip, it’s going to be the Trango Crag Pack ($99). Available in four colors and a short torso version, the Crag Pack is durable, with room for an abundance of gear. The simple design of the Crag Pack is accented with useful little features like an easy-to-use zippered lid, small ground tarp, and a mesh side pocket for guidebook, smelly climbing shoes or sunscreen. You can comfortably carry heavy loads thanks to the effective suspension system and then let it stand up at the crag to access your gear or open the side zip to probe its inner depths.
Every summer my goal is to have a healthy flip flop tan but most climbing days won’t allow such casual footwear for the hike in. The Evolv Cruzer Slip-On ($69) approach shoes offer a healthy balance of stable walking, comfort, and ease of use. Available in four colors and a women’s version, the Cruzer Slip-On is built on Evolv’s trail running line, which uses their Trax sticky rubber. For many of the short approaches I seek out during the summer, these shoes do the trick. And when I reach the crag I treat them like flip flops, sliding my feet in and out of them after folding the backs down.
“We must continue with style.” Style is the subject of the famous line from the Clint Eastwood climbing movie The Eiger Sanction. I’m not sure that style makes me climb better but I do feel great when climbing in these stylish Royal Robbins shirts such as the Playa Plaid ($65) and Diablo Plaid ($72). There’s something about the breathability and feel of a button-up shirt that I love in the summer. Synthetic t-shirts start to feel restrictive but these button-up shirts offer increased ventilation and comfort with just a release of a button. Plus, after a long day of climbing I can feel well dressed when going straight from the crag to a restaurant.
One of the best alpine playgrounds in the lower 48 is meticulously covered in Richard Rossiter’s new guidebook from Fixed Pin Publishing, Rocky Mountain National Park ($39.95). Rossiter says he started working on this book in 1984 and his efforts show as hundreds of routes, both well known and obscure, are detailed through color photographs, descriptions, and in-depth route topos. The list of climbs on my RMNP to-do list was significantly increased after working through this book. Whether you are aiming for a challenging technical rock climb on the Diamond or are seeking out 3rd and 4th class scrambles in the Mummy Range, this book offers it all. And, when the summer season is over, you can tackle the numerous snow, ice, and mixed climbs included or let it sit prominently on your coffee table, as this is a book worthy of artistic attention in all seasons.