Friday, June 22, 2012

Gear Review: La Sportiva Ganda

      There have been many great accomplishments in design and function over the centuries. Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, Bugatti created the luxurious 1001hp Veyron and then La Sportiva created the Ganda. This shoe will simply leave you speechless and smiling. La Sportiva made a bold claim when they said this shoe would allow you to carry a 30 pound pack on the approach then also have the ability to climb 5.12! I was skeptical until I put them on. WOW!!! I didn't climb 5.12 in them (  Honnold certainly could) but I did easily lead gently overhanging 10c trad in them! Throughout the hike in and the climb there wasn't a moment where I felt the shoe had any notion of a short coming in either discipline. On the hike it was supportive and gripped the mud well and on the climb it edged and smeared better than a lot of climbing shoes on market. It really is the best of both worlds. Simply put... the Ganda is a climbing shoe that you can hike in.
     These shoes are not magical nor divine, they are just engineered to perfection with every detail accounted for. Slip lasted in the forefoot and board lasted in the back, the Ganda is built around a 3D sculpted anatomical PU Lite mid-sole that molds to your foot over the life of the shoe. The upper is a combination of leather, Vibram rubber, and synthetic leather giving you comfort where you need it yet durability and friction in the areas of the shoe that take abuse. $250 dollars may sound steep for an approach shoe but you are really getting an approach shoe and climbing shoe in the same package (the Ganda's are designed to be repeatedly resoled). That's $125 a pair if you do the math, not a bad deal if you ask me!
     These shoes can make every climbers experience more efficient and enjoyable but the demographic that truly benefits from this amazing design is the professional guiding community. I work at a gear shop and moonlight as a guide and I honestly think that behind the Gri-Gri, the Ganda is the second most important tool in a guide's arsenal. The Ganda eliminates the need for a second shoe and they are sleek and professional in appearance. La Sportiva never fails to amaze me with their attention to detail and ground breaking designs. The Ganda is just one more piece of evidence in the testament to this company's passion for innovation.

     " I choose the Ganda because of its comfort and versatility. From guiding clients on North Carolinian slab to running them up the Grand Teton, the Gandas edge and smear perfectly. They are so comfortable, when I get back to the car after a long day in the mountains, that I routinely forget to change into my sandals!" - Karsten Delap- AMGA Rock Guide- La Sportiva Athlete

Thursday, June 21, 2012

GEAR REVIEW: BlueWaterRopes Dominator 9.4

BLUE WATER 9.4mm Dominator
    Surgeons don't use dull scalpels, cyclists don't ride heavy bikes, and soldiers don't use BB guns. If you're going to do a job you need the proper tools in order to get the absolute best results. Climbing is no exception to this rule. You need the right shoes, the right harness but more importantly... you need the right rope; a rope that doesn't just catch your fall but moves effortlessly with you. A good rope is like a guardian angel; you don't even notice it's presence until you REALLY need it to be there. A good rope should  move over the rock with the elegance of a viper over the forest floor, it should feel like an extension of your hand when clipping, and it shouldn't be the heaviest part of your rack.
My Dominator and I sending Waverly Waster 5.12  @ Looking Glass,NC
     Enter the BlueWater 9.4 Dominator.  This rope is amazingly strong and at 55 grams per meter, one of the most lightweight ropes on the market. The core and sheath diameter are only separated by (.1 mm) giving the rope a tight and organic feel in your hands. It is available in 60m and 70m with the options for bi-pattern and dry treatment for a few extra dollars. This is my go to rope when I'm attempting on-sights and red-points of both trad and sport lines near my limit. The best part is when I'm hiking out and I'm completely wrecked; I barely notice this low profile and feather-light rope in my pack. And this is no wimpy skinny. The Dominator is rated for 7 UIAA falls. Even climbing almost every day I'm amazed at the durability of this rope. One Dominator can last me through 2 or 3 active seasons. Not bad for a skinny 9.4mm, right? Pair the Dominator with the BlueWater 8.4mm Excellence and you'll have the best multi-pitch set-up on the block
TC and his 9.4
    Cedar Wright flat out calls it "The best rope in the world." ( He would know). Don't believe Cedar? Well pay attention to the rope Tommy Caldwell uses on almost every route for the past 5 years. If its good enough for  Tommy on The Captain, its just fine with me! Pro or not, everyone likes a durable, lightweight  rope with all the bells and whistles that catches you like pool of feathers. Needless to say, I give the BlueWater Dominator 10 out of 10 stars and I confidently trust my life to it daily. Thanks BlueWaterRopes for going above and beyond to help us perform at our best and... stay off the ground!

+++ Click the link to Blue Water Ropes on the right hands side of the page to see more amazing products made by the great American rope company.