What Climbing Shoe is Best?

This question is easiest answered by "It depends." With climbing shoes becoming more technical and the designs narrowing their focus for certain nuances of climbing, the beginner climber progressing through the ranks quickly learns that different shoes suit different situations and climbing styles. Here are a few recommendations from some LGO fans and fellow climbing addicts:

La Sportiva Muira
Great for: technical face climbing
Route: Bloody Fingers, Bread Loaves- City of Rocks (ID)
Feedback: Phil uses these as his go-to technical all around shoe

Evolv Pontas

Great for: all around technical climbs
Route: Caveat Emptor, Death Canyon- Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Feedback: Our Friend Nate used his Pontas a ton on a recent trip to Patagonia with NOLS

Five Ten Anasazi
Great for: technical face climbing
Route: Cornflake Crack, The North End of Looking Glass (NC)
Feedback: The Anasazi Velcro remains the signature shoe for 5.10. These shoes are comfortable enough to shove in a crack here and there, yet keep performing when a route becomes slabby or the holds become minute. Our friend Peter wore these last weekend, sending hard routes at Hawksbill.

La Sportiva Muira VS

Great for: steep sport climbing & bouldering, sandstone pockets, precise edging
Route: Solstice, South Clear Creek- The Obed (TN)
Feedback: Jessica (above photo bouldering at Rumbling Bald) calls these shoes her "Secret Weapon." What else should we say?

Evolv Quest AF
Great For: multi pitch and crack climbing
Route: Central Pillar of Frenzy, Middle Cathedral- Yosemite (CA)
Feedback: These Evolv lace ups have been flying out the door with trad climbers & crack lovers!

Feel free to send us your thoughts on what climbing shoes are best or come on in the shop to pick out the climbing shoe that best suits your needs.

Climb Globally, Shop Locally


Sunny Skies for Climbing & Buying

We started the weekend with the First Annual Gear Heads at the Asheville Agricultural Center. Thanks to all who participated! Gorgeous weather beckoned, and Sunday I headed to the middle wall of Hawksbill with a crew of Brevard area climbers.

Hawksbill is a summertime favorite for area climbers since the wall stays shaded most of the day, and the views of Linville Gorge are phenomenal. The climbs go from moderate trad favorites like Star Trekkin to steep, crimpy sport and mixed climbs like In The Line of Fire (nice send Peter!) and Appalachian Spring. While I found Tips Ahoy to be a terribly painful battle with holds akin to the edge of butter knives, Carpe Freeum is not to be missed! Below pics are Brian Williams on In the Line of Fire.


Are You a Gear Head?

Yeah, You know you are...how could you not be? I know you, you bike, climb, hike, paddle, run, swim, fish, camp, car camp, geocache, base jump, skydive, bungee jump, and lay on the couch!

I ask because I want you to join Phil and Jessica at the Asheville Agricultural Center this Saturday April 24 for GearHeads, Asheville's first ever multi-outdoor sport gear swap. Think of it as a swap meet on Redbull! Sell your stuff, buy stuff new and old and check out free clinics and demos. Be ready for ridiculous deals on close out items from Looking Glass Outfitters featuring brands you love like Mountain Hardwear, Scarpa, Montrail, Vasque, 5.10, and more. Looking Glass Outfitters and Pura Vida Adventures of Brevard, NC are teaming up bring you the "Light Weight Solutions for Heavy Weight Adventures" clinic to help you pick the right product for your sport and how it's used. $5 gets you into all the events and all the clinics. Click here for all the dirt!
See you there!



Lisa Rands Slideshow May 2nd!

Looking Glass Outfitters & The Brevard Rock Gym Present a Slideshow with Lisa Rands

High, Hard Boulder Problems, Patagonia Ascents and Run Out Traditional Free Climbs are on the bill for this not to be missed show. Mark your calendars and come hear tales from one of the world's most talented climbers. This is her only stop in North Carolina!!
Doors open
at 6:30pm.
Show starts at 7:00.
Tickets are $5 at the door
Burgers & Beverages at LGO Beforehand
with proceeds benefiting the Carolina Climbers Coalition.
Starting at 1:00pm
-- a bouldering competition at the Brevard Rock Gym with a possible guest appearance!


Spring Cleaning My Crag Pack

I broke down this spring and replaced my crag pack, which has served me well for the last few years even though it really was not intended to be used as a crag pack. It was focused on lightweight applications and had a mesh panel that kept my back cool, but made it difficult to jam a rope bag into the pack. So, this time around I focused more on a mountaineering pack, geared towards features that work well for climbing and durability. Hopefully I won't wear through the bottom of this pack as quickly when I toss it on rocks, out of breath after hefty approaches to the crag.

As I transferred my crag essentials to my new pack, I realized what a creature of habit I am. Just the slightest change of pocket locations, and my habits are a bit out of sorts. Still, the Mountain Hardwear Dihedral has every feature imaginable, from an external daisy chain to ice axe toggles and a heavy duty tarp front panel, so I quickly found a place to stash my chalk bag, rain gear, sunscreen, headlamp and assorted goodies. I was delighted to find that this pack has a wider opening, meaning it is much easier to load and unload a full rack of trad gear or a 70 meter rope. The lack of a mesh panel system keeps a heavier load closer to my pack, which means I might just be willing to hoof it to Laurel Knob again this spring with less complaining about the weight of my pack. I was not delighted to find crusty plastic silverware and half eaten Luna Bars in my old pack, but nevertheless, I am headed out with my new pack and will keep you posted on how it performs throughout the summer.

Dispatches from Borneo

Read up on the all star crew of Mark Synnott, Conrad Anker, Kevin Thaw, Jimmy Chin, Alex Honnold and Renan Ozturk as they climb big walls in Borneo here

Where is Borneo??

Buds & Blooms

Easter weekend in NC was truly a treat, despite heavy rains on Friday. Phil and I headed to the North Face of Looking Glass in search of dry rock, climbing North End classics like Invisible Airwaves and Waverly Waster. Two crews were working their way up the Glass Menagerie, reporting that the top sections remained quite wet. Still, it was a great day and the trees are really starting to bud, even though from the Waste Ledge, it doesn't yet look like spring. Anyone heading out right now should know that the black flies are pretty fierce at the moment, so pop in the shop for bug spray, beta, a hat or a hooded layer.


This place is a Ghost Town!

A buddy of mine was in town for his annual "guys weekend" and had not been on a rope in a few years because he has been concentrating on bouldering. He was looking to get some climbing in near Rumbling Bald and with Marcus manning the shop on Thursday we headed out to Hickory Nut Gorge. We had aspirations of climbing on the seldom visited Rumbling Bald North Face.
(Steve B. Hangin' with the guys)

We picked up Brian Williams, the CCC South Mountains Rep and local hardman, at the Coffee Crumb in Chimney Rock and he was pretty certain that with the late season snow fall and North facing aspect that it would be wet.
We decided to hit up a more or less "secret" area that has been getting some traffic lately and is known for steep crack and face climbing. The cliff is a mix of tall, exposed walls and satellite crags tucked into the bushes. We saddled up and headed west to see what we could get into.

Brian got into this chimney...

and got a little more into this chimney...
which eventually lead to a 5.10 First Ascent "Killer Cacti". As the sun rose higher in the sky, the black flies came out and nibbled away at us. No worries though because we climbed on ticking a few more pitches in what turned out to be a great training day. As we packed up our mountain hardwear and headed out we realized that on a Thursday this place truly was a Ghost Town... we never saw another party the entire day.
Have a great Easter Weekend!
the crew at Looking Glass Outfitters.

(LGO will be closed this Sunday the 12th in observance of Easter)

B Williams Squeezes out an Offwidth near Lake Lure

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Backcountry Cooking

So, the remoteness of our "campsite" may astound you, but still, our "backcountry" cooking methods can be helpful for the more timid or just bored campers out there. Phil & I have come to appreciate having two, lightweight stoves going at mealtimes when camping. With today's light stove options, this does not equate to a heavy pack, whether you are headed deep into the woods or meandering to a scenic overlook. It is particularly nice in the morning to have coffee ready at the same time as your eggs, because we find ourselves particularly challenged when it comes to The Alpine Start to a day of climbing.

If you are a little tired of regular ol' spaghetti and get impatient waiting for the noodles to cook, try couscous. It cooks faster than pasta, using less fuel and filling your belly quicker! It also works well pre-cooked as a hiking or crag lunch when you add toppings like nuts, raisins, cheese, corn and/ or tomatoes. As you can see, we used a Snow Peak Giga Power Stove to brown the meat and heat up the pasta sauce, and an all in one stove to boil water for the couscous. It made for a super quick and easy meal perched on the decking above Clear Creek!


Layering up amidst Flurries

I just finished paying some bills and in the same breath of happiness that the utilities are going down as the temperatures go up, my heat is kicking on and there are bits of snow flurries outside my window. Grrr. I guess today's run in Pisgah will entail more layers than I had hoped. Still, I can't complain when I look back on last year's photos from "Spring Break" living in Teton Valley, Idaho, when we headed to City of Rocks with delusions of spring climbing weather.

I am headed up the trail to the top of Looking Glass for an after work jaunt.I am keeping close tabs on the progress of my END Stumptowns since they are quite different than any other trail runner I have had. Last week, I traveled in Kentucky and Ohio, and was delighted to find that their stripped down construction makes them great for packing. They squish down better than your average running shoe, yet they did well when I was forced to run on pavement in them. I think I am around mile marker 20 with them so far, with many more to log!


Jamie, Ben, Phil, & Jessica on Solstice

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Weekend in TN

We hit the road again this weekend with a packed bus, two dogs, and two eager climbers and headed to Tennessee in search of steep sandstone. Saturday we climbed at Lilly, where you are rewarded by a minuscule approach and oodles of climbs in a short area. We were the only ones there, although there were several unclimbable routes due to seepage from the top. We had a blast on climbs like the Egyptian and Blade Loafer.

Sunday I had a date with an unsettled score. Solstice has been high on my project list since I have one-hung it several heart-breaking times, so we headed to Clear Creek. We met a crew of guys from Virginia, who also worked out the climb throughout the day. It is difficult to photograph thanks to the contrast between the dark cave and the bright sunlight just outside the cave, but this climb is a real treat- from tricky face climbing to steep bat-climb-like roof climbing on enormous jugs. I finally sent it thanks to a pair of Muira VS's and a desire to finish this baby!