Rab alpine jackets with Pertex® Equilibrium® fabric; DMM’s adjustable, any season harness; Black Diamond’s auto-locking magnet karabiner; and La Sportiva’s Lorica® toe box climbing shoe.
At Cotswold Outdoor we’ve always been committed to providing expert service, cutting-edge technology and having the widest choice of kit. That’s been the case since 1974 and it’s still the case today.
In 1981 Rab Carrington used his extensive experience from ground breaking expeditions to produce technical kit that met the needs of a light weight alpinist. He was the first to use Pertex®, to enhance the performance of their sleeping bags and jackets. Today the Vapour Rise Lite windproof Jacket made from Pertex ® Equilibrium ® balances wicking and warmth, whilst its adjustable hood and streamlined fit allows you to climb in comfort knowing you’re protected from the elements.
Since 1981 DMM have been committed to producing leading specialist recreational climbing and mountaineering equipment. Having amassed a wealth of knowledge over the years, they understand choosing a harness is one of the most important decisions a climber can make. Their latest Renegade harness is designed to be the ultimate highly technical racking system, for any season from cragging to alpine routes, with a large lumbar support providing maximum comfort.
For 85 years La Sportiva have possessed a passion for technical footwear. Founded by Narciso Delladio in Italy hand crafting wooden clogs and leather boots. Focussing their shoe making expertise on mountaineering, climbing and skiing footwear. The latest Katana climbing shoe is engineered for technical precision. Lined with a stretchy fabric for toe comfort, the highly durable toe box and rubber rand provide power whilst edging, keeping your toes in place on the surface of the rock.
Black Diamond date back to the 1950’s in California, hand making pitons and selling them from the trunk of a car. Now creating high performance outdoor gear, tested on the best peaks, crags and trails in the world. The latest Magnetron Gridlock Karabiner has revolutionised auto-locks, using the power of magnets to maximise security. The gridlock shape eliminates cross-loading, making belay changeovers faster, easier and safer than before.
Technical climbing clothing didn’t exist in the early 70’s. The climbing fashion trend ranged from cotton corduroy or wool ‘knickers’ with knee length socks, to roll necks with bandanas for helmets.
The gear that was available was much heavier than today’s and often homemade, some climbers even hand sewed their own haul bags to get the right tool for the job. Early climbing magazines teamed up with manufacturers to pave the way in climbing product innovation. Selling custom made shoes in magazines if you traced the outline of your foot onto the page and sent off your order.
1978 saw the transition from pitons, which left damaging holes in the rock, to the first spring loaded camming devices. Invented by Ray Jardine, ‘Friends’ were the first devices that could be easily removed without causing any damage or scarring the rock. In the beginning Ray Jardine kept his new invention a secret from other climbers, keeping it in a blue bag, only his closest climbing partners knew of its existence. One day whilst out climbing his partner, Kris Walker, wanted to know if he had the elusive blue bag with him, knowing the other climbers were in ear shot, he asked if Ray had his ‘Friends’ with him. From that day the name stuck.
In 1982 super sticky climbing boots the Boreal Firés were realeased. Encouraging the transition from plimsolls to climbing specific boots. They had better friction on the rock than the previous hard plastic-soled shoes, making it possible to feel cracks and pockets in the rock. The idea for a technical climbing boot originated from the Spanish manufacturer Boreal and close friends the Gallego brothers. This set Boreal at the forefront of climbing shoe innovation in the 1980’s. Tested in Spain, on the route “Mallo Fire” followed by El Capitan in Yosemite, California, the Boreal Firé then became the perennially popular footwear of choice amongst the climbing community.
Since 1985 we have seen not only game changing innovation in climbing gear and techincal clothing but record breaking ascents, the introduction of the world’s first indoor climbing wall, and a quadruple amputee attemtping the Matterhorn.
Meindl are known for their quality boot making, their Bhutan MFS is the latest in a long line of trusted, best-selling boots. The Bhutan includes a
GORE-TEX® lining, Memory Foam ankle collar, a Vibram sole and a streamlined Digafix lacing system, for the ultimate in support and comfort, no matter how rough the terrain or how long the walk.
Modern double-axle designs are unbelievably light with greater flexibility. They won’t weigh you down, so you can carry more and climb even higher. Combining a much larger expansion range, gaining better grip in different crack sizes, with excellent passive strength, you can truly trust the gear you’ve placed.
The latest cams are much easier to use when you’re pumped, with a smoother action, whilst thumb rests and texturing improve your grip.
Since the original aluminium oval karabiner with rounded edges, the technology utilised in karabiners has improved, creating safer, more powerful devices.
Following the evolution of bent gate and snap gate karabiners, the latest innovation reinvents auto locking technology through the power of magnets. With an easier to use symmetrical design, magnetic karabiners can be opened in either hand, feeling more secure than previous screw and spring locks.
Climbing helmets have come a long way since the original Compton Climber, a glass reinforced polyester shell. Constructed from strong ABS plastic or foam with a polycarbonate shell, they are incredibly lightweight, yet maximise protection out on the crag.
Modern helmets feature headlamp clips for those pre-dawn climbs or when you get caught out by fading daylight, ventilation shutters to keep a cool head, and adjustable buckles to customise the fit. You can even find helmets specifically designed for women, to accommodate a ponytail. Offering climbers the ultimate, versatile head protection.
Since the first sticky climbing boot, the design of high performance climbing shoes has been revolutionised. With easier Velcro or lace closure systems, a down turned shape providing superior edging control, and a precision toe box to grip those awkward pockets and smears, climbing shoes now provide a snug fit, keeping you closer to the wall than ever before.
Using a blend of materials to create the perfect durable rubber rand, preventing stretch for excellent edging power. Now more breathable, most climbing shoes have perforations to aid ventilation and linings to manage moisture and reduce odour, so no more sweaty feet when climbing all day.
Today’s climbing scene has exploded, with more people taking part, innovation in kit is more advanced than ever, making climbing safer and more achievable than before. Children as young as 10 are climbing routes even some adults couldn’t have achieved 40 years ago. Take a look at today’s kit and the youngest climbers of this generation.