Men have always struggled with finding the perfect pair of climbing pants–at least I have. These Ledge Pants are really durable, and stretchy. They move with you like a pair of yoga tights (I imagine), but retain a simple, masculine aesthetic. They’re also quite “skinny,” my only complaint—underwear is mandatory! Despite being skinny pants, you are never restricted in your movements. They don’t hold onto chalk, so even after a session, you can just wipe your pants clean and be ready for town. I’d say these are best climbing pants I’ve worn. Apparently, you can even dump hot coffee on your crotch, though I certainly wouldn’t do that.
I’ve tried a number of a different belay glasses—prismatic spectacles that allow you to see up at your climbing partner without straining your neck/head backward. And I like the Belay Specs the best. They have a larger viewing area. They decently comfortable. They’re made in America. And they’re also the most affordable. Give your partner the gift of no neck pain.
Trango Cord Trapper Rope Tarp
This rope tarp folds up like a rope bag, only without any of the extra “baggage.” It’s simple, light, durable and easy to use. Perfect.
The Rock Climber’s Training Manual
This is the most comprehensive, up-to-date and badass guide to training for climbing that has ever been written. If you know someone stuck in a plateau, this might just be the book that will help them break through to new levels in 2015.
Kelly Cordes has penned one of the most fascinating and well-written chronicles of Cerro Torre, one of the most beautiful, infamous and important mountains in the world. This is a must-have for any armchair mountaineer and history buff. Gripping read from start to finish.
Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center
I love this two-piece hangboard because you can customize its width to fit you body. As we all know, hangboarding is the quickest way to improving. This well-designed hangboard makes it easy to take incremental steps in progressing difficulty.
Black Diamond Camalot X4 Offset
I’d wager your average totally devout trad climbing friend already has a set of the BD X4 Camalots, but that he or she doesn’t yet have a set of the X4 Offsets. Dude, these things are sick. They fit into the most awkward, flaring placements—especially handy in Yosemite pin scars. And they are the perfect way to round out any trad rack.
Petzl Tikka RXP Headlamp
Petzl’s reactive lighting system—which automatically adjusts the output depending on what’s in front of you—takes a little getting used to but is actually pretty useful. The Tikka RXP also pumps out plenty of light for climbing, skiing, and just chasing your dog through the night as it runs after a bear. I also love how easy the headband is to adjust. But what’s best about this headlamp is its rechargeable lithium ion battery: just plug your headlamp into a USB.
Patagonia Ascentionist Pack 25L
This slim and trim 25L pack is great for any fast-and-light mission in the mountains, or on longer multi-pitch routes. I wouldn’t haul with this pack as the 210-denier nylon just isn’t durable enough. But the unique design for opening and closing the pack is quick, easy and useful. I prefer the 25L model to the larger sizes.
CAMP USA X-Light Adze
Piolets have come a long way, even just during my time as a climber. My first mountaineering axe weighs almost 4 pounds! The new CAMP X-Light Ice Axe, meanwhile, is technical enough to climb WI 4+ and only weighs a little more than a pound. This is the tool for light-and-fast alpinism, striking that perfect balance between the general and the super technical, which is exactly what you’ll encounter on most mountaineering routes. I used this in Chamonix this spring, and it was all I needed up to M6 WI 4.
Bonfire Coffee Garage Blend
Roasted in the Roaring Fork Valley by climbing lifer Jeff Hollenbaugh, these beans are fresh, delicious and make for great gifts. At checkout, use the discount code “enormo” to get 10% off your order, as well as help support my favorite podcaster, Chris Kalous and The Enormocast.
Goal Zero Sherpa 50 Recharging Kit
The Goal Zero Sherpa 50 Solar Recharging Kit with the 110V Inverter gives you plentiful output options to power up your DSLR, laptop, or any other toys. Completely redesigned to be half its original weight and size, the Sherpa 50 has a USB, mini-solar, and solar ports, while the 110V Inverter provides the standard (North America and compatible) plug-in, so you can leave the adapters and unwieldy connectors behind. Plug in the included Nomad 13 solar panel to charge up this power pack anywhere the sun shines. I bring the inverter with me on every plane ride, so I can continue to work without losing power. This is the perfect gift for any road-tripping and traveling climber who needs to stay plugged in.
Arc’Teryx Aperture Chalk Bag
This unique chalk bag opens and closes with a twist, which keeps chalk perfectly sealed inside the bag. Really high-quality chalk bag that comes in a handful of colors.
Rock and Ice
Get a subscription to the only climbing magazine written and edited by people who actually know what they’re talking about. A lot of love and effort goes into this family-owned and operated publication. Plus they sometimes run articles I write. Right now you can renew your subscription, and give one to a friend for free.
Lapis Boar’s Hair Brush
These soft natural hairs protect the rock and lift chalk off as if by magic. Every climber should have at least one of these. I go through about two per year.
Sierra Designs Pull On Down Bootie Slipper for Women
Down booties are the perfect way to keep your feet warm during cold-weather climbing sessions. When I’m bouldering in the cold, I slip my feet (still in my climbing shoes) into a pair of down booties in between burns. These boots for women look especially toasty.