Climbers Christmas

Climbers Christmas Guide 2015

Not sure what to get the ice climber or alpinist in the family? We’re here to help with some ideas for stocking stuffers and gifts.  In no particular order here are five great ideas that won’t break the bank:

Lorpen Socks: Besides just being a great gift idea in general, socks are a layer that can often be taken for granted or overlooked when thinking of technical outdoor gear. However, the right socks can make a climb or a trip enjoyable and the wrong ones can allow one’s feet to get punished, blistered, frozen, etc. Lorpen makes the best socks I’ve ever found, each pair is well thought out and designed.  One of my favorite ice climbing socks is the T3+ Polartec Power Dry Ultralight (more of a description than a name). They have extra material around the toes (keeping them warm) and very thin material over the top of the foot (good blood flow to the toes) while the material wicks away sweat. It’s just a great sock. Be warned, however, these things are not cheap but the value is there.

Lorpen Socks
An old version of the T3+ Polartec Power Dry socks, I don’t have any new models as they last so long

Klean Kanteen Insulated Water Bottle: There is nothing worse than packing around a bunch of frozen water in a water bottle: you can’t drink it, can’t throw it away, and it adds useless weight to a pack. In the past I have either wrapped my water bottle in a spare jacket in my pack or put it in an insulating sleeve to try to prevent freezing, which usually works. However, an insulated water bottle is a much more elegant and effective solution. Kleen Kanteen has a variety of insulated stainless steel water bottles in sizes from 350ml to 2L. I personally like the 1 litre bottle as I find it keeps the contents quite warm for a day on the ice and is a good match for the amount of water (or tea) that I want with me.

Klean Kanteen
Klean Kanteen 600ml Insulated bottle.

Sterling Hollow Block: Made from Sterling’s RIT 900 cord, the Hollow Block is a purpose designed pre-sewn prussic cord. Now what makes this special? Well, the RIT 900 cord is made with aramid fibre which is light, supple, abrasion resistant and has a very high melting point, a great feature given the heat that can be produced through friction when using a prussic. It also works well on a variety of rope sizes, down to 7mm, which means that this one cord will work regardless of whether you are climbing on singles, doubles or twins. I have found it quick and easy to use which means that I use it more often and a back-up only works if you use it. A great gift for any climber and great value at under $15.

 Hollow Block
The Hollow Block clipped to my harness on a recent ice climb, like my V-thread it’s always there.

Petzl Connect Adjust (or the Dual): I’ve never been a big fan of single-use devices when multi-pitch climbing. The more versatile a piece of equipment, the less things I need to carry. However, it’s really nice to have a proper personal anchor when doing multiple rappels as just using a dyneema sling can be dangerous if you’re not very careful. While many companies make some sort of personal anchoring system, I am a huge fan of the Connect Adjust or the Dual Connect Adjust. It is infinitely adjustable, very simple to use and dynamic in case you do manage to fall on it. If your special someone is using a daisy chain this is a huge step up in ease of use and safety.

Connect Adjust
The Connect Adjust being used to tether to an anchor, just clip in & pull on the end to set the length.

Flask: If the person you’re trying to buy a gift for already has all of the above items then you’re dealing with a true gear head. As you know gear heads can be incredibly hard to buy gifts for, but don’t worry we’ve got your back. The answer is a flask! Pick out something nice, but not too heavy, and fill it with a good single malt. The key here really is the good single malt — a cheap scotch will just kill the gift.

One of my favorite flasks, simple and functional, with some single malt in the background

One of my favorite flasks, simple and functional, with some single malt in the background.

I hope this helps relieve some of your last-minute shopping stress while helping that climber in your life get a great gift.  If you have any other great gift ideas let us know!

Merry Christmas!