If you wanna be cool, you gotta go fast and light. That's what I've thought since the whole 'fast and light' movement swept the alpine climbing world and badass Mark Twight popularized the phrase with his book "Extreme Alpinism." I'd picture myself cruising ropeless up 1000-foot splitters with nothing but a chalkbag and a pocket full of power gel but that's just fantasy. The reality is that I'm just a goober sport climber and I want light gear because my pack is too heavy during the 20-minute hike to my local crag. Regardless, the same rule applies for both extreme alpinists and lazy sport climbers unwilling to haul a heavy pack: every ounce counts.
Three lightweight products came across my desk in the past few days that are going to help lighten my load. They came just in the nick of time too. Sending season is upon us and God forbid my legs bulk up from carrying around too much heavy gear. These three products are half the weight of what you probably have right now. Imagine hiking to the crag, or climbing a mountain, with half the weight; it's the little stuff that makes a difference.
Metolius Ultralight Chalkbag
I have to admit, I may have gotten a little too excited about this chalkbag, but it's so light! I can't believe it took so long for someone to think of this. Gear makers shave grams obsessively from everything else like ropes, carabiners, and harnesses, but through it all we've been hauling around a big-ass chalkbag with 15 empty chalk-balls in the bottom of it.
The Metolius Ultralight Chalkbag weighs just 30 grams. For perspective, that's the same weight as a block of chalk and about 70% lighter than your current chalkbag. It's made from a very lightweight parachute-thickness nylon on the outside with a thin fleece liner on the inside. It's got a tiny drawcord and a thin waist belt with a tiny plastic buckle. The best part is that none of this affects the 'performance' of the chalkbag. The wide top opening stays open like it should and they maintained the same size so you can get your whole hand in there.
Trango Cord Trapper Rope Tarp
The Trango Cord Trapper Rope Tarp is about as innovative as a 4' by 5' piece of nylon can get. It's basically a rope bag without the bag part. But it still works like a rope bag when it comes time to pack up. The tarp isn't attached to a rope bag; the tarp IS the rope bag...or did I just blow your mind?
Like a standard rope bag, you lay out the tarp, stack your rope on it and tie the end to the attached loop. Then, just like rolling a burrito, you fold the ends in and roll it up. Two straps with unbreakable metal buckles cinch it all down and it's ready to get stuffed in your pack.
The Cord Trapper weighs 270 grams which is half the weight of a standard rope bag. It also retails for 16 bucks which is less than half the cost of a standard rope bag.
Metolius Alpine PAS
A few years ago, gear designers started looking for a safer way to address the inherent danger of pocket failure on daisy chains. On a standard daisy, it's possible to shock load the system and rip through the bar tacks that create the small pockets. Metolius introduced the PAS, which stands for 'Personal Anchoring System," as a way to easily clip into the master point of an anchor. The PAS is a series of full-strength sewn loops, so it's basically impossible to clip into the wrong loop and experience any kind of failure. It's foolproof.
The Metolius PAS 22
Metolius' full strength version, the PAS 22, is rated to 22 KN, is 38 inches long, and weighs 3.3 oz's. It's designed for use as a personal tether but can also be used to equalize anchors. The new Alpine PAS is slightly shorter at 36.5 inches and weighs about half the weight of the PAS 22 at 1.7 oz's. The only downside is that it also cuts the strength nearly in half. The Alpine PAS is rated to 12kn so it shouldn't be used to equalize anchors but for a personal tether, it does everything the original model does but at half the weight and in a more compact size.
The Alpine PAS