Video of Jimmy Chin’s Yosemite feature in NatGeo

On Assignment from renan ozturk on Vimeo.

Back in May, National Geographic sent climber and photographer Jimmy Chin back to where it all started, Yosemite’s Camp 4, to capture a feature on the state of climbing in perhaps the sport’s premiere destination. If you’re at all like me, that issue didn’t find the coffee table before Chin’s cover piece was devoured. It’s the stuff that makes you hate life in a cul-de-sac and aspire for nothing less than a dirtbag’s lifestyle. Less being the operative word.

So if you had that reaction, this video won’t help you much.

Will Black Diamond’s revolutionary Magentron locker attract a following?

Magnetron Technology: The reinvention of the auto-locking carabiner, coming July 2012 from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Revolutionary may be a strong word. Then again, maybe not.

Under the auspices that typical screw lockers are cumbersome, the climbing gear Edison’s at BD have created the Magnetron, an alternative that uses two magnetized arms to seal the gate shut. Pull them away from the gate, which serves as the attraction intermediary, and they repel each other to unlock. It’s freaking brilliant.

It’s supposed to arrive about a year from now. Considering climbing gear is designed solely to prevent us from feeling the effects of nature’s mightiest, most constant force, it only makes sense that we leverage another such principle of physics to stay afloat. Oh, and if it matters (and we know it does to some), the visual design of the Magnetron is nothing short of awesome.


Gear Up: Vedavoo’s interchangeable packs seem right for every occasion.

The Boston area isn’t exactly recognized as a climbing mecca. But Vedauwoo in Southeastern Wyoming is exactly that. It’s also the home crag of Scott Hunter, who founded Vedavoo, a gear joint targeting primarily climbers. So while Hunter built his new company up in Mass, testing its meddle at Solomon Pond, it’s roots are solidly embedded in the Rockies.The flagship of Vedavoo is its modular climbing pack line, which offers an interchangeable system of rope bags, crag packs and rack haulers that can be clipped, strapped and connected to one another based on your trip’s needs.

Outdoor gear, especially that which is designed by industry non-cognoscente, is ripe for multi-use gimmicks that often result in it being capable of nothing at all. Not at all so with Vedavoo. Well, from what I can tell anyway. First, the packs are very simple in scope with minimal accouterments outside of their ability to interact with one another. This tells me that Hunter and crew focused on the true needs of its user: to haul stuff. That will attract me every time. I like packs that are essentially barrels with straps. Give me some durable material and I’ll decide how to organize things.

The crag pack is an easy roll-top design with three strap systems that can hold tight an array of tools and equipment via 35 different points. Now, I’m not a big fan of externally hauling anything but in climbing and mountaineering, it’s simply part of the game.

More over, credit has to be given to the background of the company’s principals and the number of iterations the company has experienced as it refined its products. A lot of good can come out of growing pains.

Check ’em out. I see good things on the horizon.