Chris Kalman checks out a little-known shoe company named Unparallel that makes climbing shoes eerily similar to the well-known designs made by Five Ten. He found that even Unparallel’s proprietary rubber is similar to the famous Stealth C4 rubber that Kalman has loved for many years. The fit and sizing of the Up Lace felt slightly different to him compared to the Anasazi, however. Four stars.
Chris Kalman put the Scarpa Maestro Mid through the paces on different styles of climbs to see how they compared to his La Sportiva TC Pros, which have set the standard for this type of shoe for several years. Kalman notes some differences between the shoes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and concludes that the Scarpa Maestros are a solid alternative, especially for people who have not found an ideal fit in the TC Pros. Four stars.
On August 3-7, the Scottish alpinist Simon Richardson and Canadian alpinist Ian Welsted made what is likely the first complete ascent of the West Ridge of Mt. Waddington in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and possibly the first traverse of the mountain (from Fury Gap to Rainy Knob) as well. “The crenellated upper west ridge… is such a major structural feature,” Richardson said, “it is difficult for the 21st Century alpinist to believe it was unclimbed, especially on a mountain with the stature of Mt. Waddington. But in today’s world, where technical difficulty is often paramount, there are still major lines that have been overlooked. Quite simply, the complete West Ridge of Waddington should have been climbed decades ago!”
Chris Kalman details his experience with the D4 Octapod, a unique portaledge designed by the legendary big-wall gear inventor John Middendorf. Kalman tells the story of his early frustrations with the D4 ledge and how he ultimately came to love it, awarding it five stars.
Chris Kalman recently took the 7mm Maxim Personal Escape Rope to the big wall jungle of Cochamo, Chile, where he used the tag line to haul gear and rappel while exploring new routes. The Maxim PER is designed to be strong, light, water-resistant and its stiffness makes it less prone to getting snagged. Kalman reports that the rope is a great tool for alpinists, though they should be careful hauling with it to avoid core shots. Four stars.
Climbing phenom Alex Megos considers himself a “sport climber,” but that self-designation didn’t stop him from racking up to flash The Path, a 5.14 R trad route in Canada. Chris Kalman asks Megos what he thinks about the emphasis climbers put on various definitions of ascent, such as bouldering, sport climbing and trad climbing.
The story of Cochamo can start anywhere. But since the trail is where all climbers now begin their adventures, that is where this story will begin. The path was likely cut by the Mapuche, “People of the Land,” or by their ancestors, some of the first known human inhabitants of Northern Patagonia.
They call the Canadian Rockies’ Mt. Temple the Eiger of North America. Both peaks offer sheer north faces with steep imposing headwalls that soar 1500 meters above the valleys below, both feature compact limestone, both are regularly subject to tempestuous weather that can appear out of seemingly calm skies. Perhaps most importantly, both are steeped in mystery, lore and ominous histories.