Gear Review - Evolv Hera

Thanks to our rep Kurt's van breaking down, we were fortunate enough to field test several pairs of Evolv climbing shoes recently, while he patiently waited for a new transmission to arrive. Not only are Evolv shoes made in the USA, but the whole line is very reasonably priced- like the Defy at $84.99- which really holds its own on technical climbs and amongst pricier shoes, and the Escapist, an approach shoe which is quickly gaining a loyal following.

Having never actually climbed in a women-specific climbing shoe, I was eager to try out the Evolv Hera. I instantly noticed how the velcro shoe fit snugly on my foot, yet comfortably. I felt like I was in between sizes, and since the Hera is synthetic and will not stretch significantly, I opted for the larger size. I thought for sure they were too big since I was fairly comfortable standing around in them, but was pleased to find that, on the wall, they fit great. Unlike with many other (snug) climbing shoes I own, these were comfy enough to LEAVE on in between pitches, yet still precise and technical on the wall. What a new idea!

The Hera performed well on everything from thin and technical climbs, to steep boulder problems, and was plenty sticky to send problems with micro feet jibs. I am definitely sold on Evolv rubber and the lower volume that women-specific shoes offer, so you will see more pics coming of future climbs in the Evolv Hera!

Photo: Katherine O'Hare Bernero at Rumbling Bald
by Adam Bernero


Stone Fort Access Information

Beginning Sunday March 1, 2009, climber protocol for visiting LRC/Stone Fort will be updated—New signage is now in place at the Montlake climber parking lot that supports these changes.

Montlake will institute a fee of $5 for parking and all climbers will be required to 'sign-in' at the clubhouse before entering the boulderfield.
***Vehicles with 6 or more climbers must make different payment arrangements with the clubhouse.

Climbers will still follow the protocol for registration on-line. The climber registration limit will be kept to 35 climbers/day, but the parking limit has been increased to 25 cars/day.

*Climbers that carpool can, of course, share the expense, but everyone (parkers and riders) are required to sign-in.
**If the climber is unable to print their parking pass (no printer or ink), a computer and printer will be located in the clubhouse for the climber/parker to use to print their pass for the day.

Please continue to visit the Southeastern Climbers' Coalition website for access updates to all crags and boulderfields throughout the southeast. www.seclimbers.org


Bouldering at Rumbling Bald, NC

Rumbling Bald Access Information here

New! Rumbling Bald Bouldering Guide here

Western North Carolina Bouldering

Thanks to Old Man Winter, this past weekend was rather chilly. Phil and I did something rare, we bouldered all weekend. Saturday, we headed to the Rumbling Bald boulder field, and were amazed to see a completely different perspective as we drove up the mud road. The Forest Service has widened the road significantly, making for view of the cliffs the whole way up to the parking area. As news of the closures has spread, we saw much fewer cars than usual, but had a fun time playing on several of Rumbling Bald's classic boulder problems with friends from Charlotte, Boone, & Fayetteville, WV, plus a slew of dogs.

Some of the same crew came out again on an even chillier Sunday to investigate some reported boulders in Pisgah. We found some fun bouldering problems a stone's throw from Looking Glass in an area that felt a bit like an enchanted forest! As the days get longer and the temps get warmer, you can count on us spending more afternoons bouldering around Looking Glass. A big thanks to Kurt Smith, who let us all try out several pairs of Evolv Climbing Shoes.


Spring Gear Arriving Daily

We Love Gear! New Gear!
Pre-season shipments from Black Diamond, Sterling, and Evolv have arrived and continue to roll in. What has arrived you ask?
Black Diamond:
Cams, Cams, and more Cams: All your favorite fruit flavors up to the big dog #5
Oz Carbiners: The lightest wiregate carbiner in the world! Only 9 bucks!
The Tracer Helmet: Protect your brain with this ultralight dome piece.
ATC Guide and ATC XP Belay Devices: Not gonna catch that whipper without a beefy belay device!

Backpackers and Thru-hikers we got you covered! A full line of Black Diamond Trekking Poles in stock NOW!
See our entire line of Aluminum and Carbon Fiber Poles at www.lookingglassoutfitters.com.

Sterling Ropes:
Sterling's best selling all around cord is ALWAYS in stock. The 9.8 Velocity Evolution is available in 60 and 70m lengths in BiCOLOR and standard colors.
Also available NOW is the ultra-sleek Sterling Nano 9.2 60m. This high end cord is the cord for red-pointing your project or cutting weight during your alpine adventures. Don't take my word for it, ask Chris Sharma.


Chattanooga Climbing

We are just in this morning from a weekend climbing in Chattanooga. Although the climbs of western North Carolina have a special place in our hearts, sometimes we yearn for the steep sport climbs and strenuous crack climbs of Tennessee. The forecast seemed a bit off, so we veered off to Foster Falls instead of T Wall on Saturday. It was our first time to Foster Falls, and we were not disappointed. Despite a crowded parking lot and a late start, we had a great time on steep, classic sport climbs like Wristlets and So What, sorely feeling that we had not climbed anything very steep since before Christmas.

Foster Falls is a beautiful area and the falls were running steadily - definitely worth a visit even if you don't climb. The next day, we woke to cooler than anticipated temps, and stayed cozy in our Thermawraps. We were in for a treat with a Chattanooga local who took us to a newly discovered area. We were pretty much blindfolded, gagged, and stripped of our camera. So, no pics, no details. Suffice it to say, if you want low cost urban living and miles of sandstone sport climbing and trad climbing, and maybe even first ascents if you are motivated and strong, Chattanooga is truly abundant and will not disappoint. Now I am off to down a lot of water and recover from the steepness!


A Few of My Favorite Things

Spring is in the air, and I can't help but get excited as new products arrive at the store, the days get longer, and I can begin delayering. Here are a few of my current favorites:

The END Stumptown 12.0z

I have been intrigued by the mission of Environmentally Neutral Design since its inception. Now that the shoes have arrived, I just might be obsessed with them. I am retiring my old trailrunners for these sleek, unbelievably light and great looking eco conscious diddies. I am going to keep track of my mileage in them, because I am curious to see if their stripped down construction can go the distance. So, stay tuned for updates as I test my Stumptowns.

These BPA free aluminum bottles have been around for a while, but their innovative designs and irresistible patterns just keep coming. From the sleek Metro Mug to the adorable Safari Fun Bottle for kids, these bottles honestly put a smile on your face. While all this sleek engineering does come at a bit of a price, it is worth it when you think of all of the styrofoam coffee cups and silly water bottles you will not be paying for and not adding to the landfill. Come in the shop to see all the new designs.

Prana Pants
As the temperatures rise, I am excited to give my base layer bottoms and softshell pants a rest, and trade them in for lighter, wicking fabrics. The Stretch Zion Pant and the Tenaya Pant, both boast the right amount of stretch and durability for every type of climbing your heart desires over the next three seasons.

CAMP Tricams
So maybe a tricam is not as sexy as a shiny, new C4, but they are just as essential for climbing at Looking Glass. As we get our feet wet with the classic climbs of North Carolina like Nick Danger and Lakeview after being out West for a year, tricams have moved back up in importance on our trad rack. If you don't have the new sizes of CAMP Tricams, your rack is not complete. If you've never used them before, check out Phil's post "Piece of Perfection Protection" about how handy a "birdhead" can be.


Loving the Temps in NC!

While many an ice climber is still reveling in the fact that North Carolina had some great days for ice climbing this winter, I am reveling in the warm weather. I think heard something in the 70's for this week's forecast! Today is looking sunny and gorgeous- a perfect day to chuck your To Do list, pull out your Chacos, and head for the classic climbs on Looking Glass or hit the trails in Pisgah. Pack some sunscreen, drink lots of water and enjoy!

Need Summer Work?
With dozens of summer camps in western North Carolina, Brevard is a great place to spend the summer, play outside, and make some cash. Falling Creek Camp is having a Meet & Greet at Looking Glass Outfitters February 11th from 3:00-5:00 PM with free pizza! Details at the FCC booth at the Brevard College Job Fair 2/11/09.

Above Right: Whitesides Mountain
Left Photo: Phil with Falling Creek Camp Director Yates Pharr on a recent visit to LGO.


Fastpacking The Art Loeb Trail

The 34 miles and approximately 10,000 ft of elevation gain on the Art Loeb trail makes it a popular backpacking trail located in Pisgah National Forest. Typically, hikers take 2-3 days to backpack the length of the trail, while taking in its stunning views from Tennet Mountain, Black Balsam Knob, and Pilot Rock. The trail begins at Daniel Boone Campground and ends at the Davidson River Campground-- both located in Pisgah National Forest. Traditionally, backpackers camp at sites such as Ivestor Gap, Deep Gap Shelter, and Butter Gap Shelter, as these are some of the only water sources directly on the trail. Over the years, more and more people are beginning to tackle the Art Loeb and its 34 miles and approx. 10,000 ft of elevation in a day. It is a formidable challenge but can be done by any individual with a high level of fitness, experience and careful planning. Depending on your fitness level, the trek takes between 8-14 hours, so an early morning start is recommended. If you are ready to challenge yourself with this adventure here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you let someone know of your plans
  • Provide yourself with a bailout option if you begin to have trouble
  • Research the trail and what you can expect in regards to water sources and navigation choices.

10 Essentials for Hiking the Art Loeb Trail

Day pack

Ample Water & Food


First aid kit / Emergency Blanket

Moisture Wicking Socks

Hiking shoes or boots

Rain Gear

Base Layer

Winter hat

Pisgah Ranger District Map & Compass

Article written by Joe Moerschbaecher of Pura Vida Adventures, Pura Vida Adventures offers Art Loeb Trail Shuttles, Guided day hikes of the Art Loeb trail, and multi day backpacking and slackpacking trips of the Art Loeb Trail. Please contact us at 772-579-0005 or contact@pvadventures.com


Bouldering in Bishop

Thanks Cuz for the sweet bouldering video from Bishop. Nice cranking!

Black Diamond VaporLock Carabiner Review

Oh Boy, another locking belay carabiner on the market! I hope you have flood insurance because the tide is rising on these things. Seriously, how much more can we take and how many more can they make? Take an HMS, pear shaped locker, or what have you and twist it, turn it, shave it, color it, anodize it, and what to you have? Another locking belay carabiner. Well, enter the Black Diamond VaporLock Belay Carabiner.

Ok, here is where I tell you why this one is different. Its light, really light. BD calls this the lightest belay carabiner in the world. They may not be kidding. At a feather weight 1.8oz it is light and takes a beating better than Jess and I on Looking Glass Sun Wall tradfests last weekend. I like light cause I carry a ton of gear cause I get scared a ton. I have a four point criteria when it comes to locking belay carabiners. The VaporLock fits the bill.

1. Its a screw gate CHECK

2. It is pear shaped CHECK

3. Did I mention, Its light CHECK

4. Its a Key Lock CHECK

5. Scalpel CHECK

The Key Lock feature is my favorite quality. I have this hang up about everything getting hung up in the notch of a traditional biner. With the Key Lock function, problem solved. For all you skinny rope aficionados, Black Diamond claims that this carabiner increases friction up to 30% when used with an ATC Guide. This is true. The wide rope bearing radius and the "texture" on the surface which the rope runs across creates the breaking power of a 11.mm hemp rope passed thru a stitch plate! Old schoolers, you know what I talkin' about, if you're still alive! But really, I tested this rapping from Looking Glass on a 9.2 and 8.6 for 160 feet. Total control. As far as the strength rating goes, nothing Herculean here, but 21kn on the spine and 8kn cross or open, gate loaded. It is enough piece of mind for the most discerning risk manager. For the size of the helium workhorse, it has a surprisingly wide gate opening, BD claims munter hitch compatible up to 9.4mm but I think that's modest, and it opens wide enough to swallow all the tattered sling rappel stations I care to clip.

So read the best part: given the twists, turns, colors, ridges and claims of lightness...its even light on your wallet. How light? Under 15 bucks.

In trying times, Indulge myself? Yes I will. CHECK


Gear Review: The Five Ten Anasazi Velcro

My beloved pair of Five Ten Anasazis were my third pair of shoes in my still-young climbing career. After realizing that my first pair- some Five Ten Sapphires-(similar to today's Five Ten Spire) were actually not great once the climbing got technical and the holds got tiny, and recognizing that my Five Ten Moccasyms had been sized so tight as to best be suited for short gym climbing only, I made the leap into the more technical climbing shoe realm and bought a pair of Anasazis. So, as you can see, I am a big fan of 5.10 climbing shoes and their famously sticky Stealth Rubber, but honestly, from day one, these shoes have been incredible.

From tenuous face climbs at Rumbling Bald like Test Pilots, to Looking Glass' incredible Cornflake Crack, these shoes have suited me well in nearly every situation. Although my Sapphires are still great for long routes and crack climbs, and the easy slipper style of the Moccasym is perfect for the gym, the Anasazi performs outstandingly when you need a truly technical shoe. The velcro makes them easy to deal with when multipitching. Until I beat this pair to a pulp, the classic Anasazi continues to fit me great and I will keep resoling them. By the way, my last resole was done by Rock and Resole in Boulder, Colorado, and I have been very happy with their work.

Attached pictures are of Redtail at City of Rocks, Idaho. Don't miss this stellar sport climb if you head to the City! But, watch your rope ends! This long route is best climbed with a 70 meter rope.

February Sale!

Winter Jacket Sale!

Now through Wednesday ALL Winter Jackets up to 40% off! Stock up while the price is right and the temps are still low!

Marmot Zeus Jacket $90
Men's & Women's Montbell Thermawrap Jacket $89.99
Marmot Venus Jacket $90
Men's and Women's Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero Down Jacket $102.99
Montbell Thermawrap Parka $102.99
Marmot Kitzbuhel Down Vest $59.99

*While Supplies Last! Valid in store and online.