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Ultimate Set-Up: Bouldering


Our reviewer Peter Beal testing gear on Free Range, a V13 boulder problem in Boulder Canyon.

By Peter Beal | Photograph by Johnny Greenham

Approach Shoes: Long treks to remote boulders require lightweight, sturdy, and precise shoes built to handle talus hopping under the awkward load of a crash pad. The Scarpa Crux’s easily adjustable laces let you tighten the shoe for technical approaches or loosen them for comfortable strolls. Sticky Vibram soles prevent slips in the rain and hail. $99

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Climbing Shoes: For the hardest projects, turn to the premium 5.10 Dragon. The Dragons offer superb control on small edges, making them the best choice for steep, difficult boulder problems. Generous amounts of Stealth HF rubber on the heel and toe guarantees solid hooking. The downturned toe transfers extra power to the rock. $165; fiveten.com


Pants: For a lightweight, durable, quick-drying layer, pick up the Prana Stretch Zion Pant. They fit perfectly for the range of motion needed for bouldering and segue easily from the mountains to the street. $75

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Shell: A reliable hooded jacket is critical for staying warm when you’re sitting out a thunderstorm. The soft shell style Mammut Ultimate Hoody—backed with Gore Windstopper—offers a windproof, breathable barrier that weathers mountain abuse. $280

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Crash Pad: Boulder fields serve up landing zones rife with jagged stones. Pack a durable pad to avoid rolled ankles, scrapes, and high-consequence falls. Three handles and a hip belt means the Organic Full Pad is easy to tote up miles of trail. An inch of hard foam stabilizes impact, while three inches of soft foam dissipates force. Pair it with the lightweight, stiff foam Slider Pad to cover pesky gaps between boulders. $185 (full); $80 (slider); organicclimbing.com

Chalk Bag: Spacious and sturdy, the Organic Lunch Bag Bucket holds a quiver of brushes and a block of chalk in a no-nonsense design. Stow nail clippers—crucial—and tape in an external zippered pouch. $33; organicclimbing.com


Brush: The Lapis Bouldering Brush’s stiff boar hair bristles scour away built up chalk residue from holds so you can focus on the rock. $8; libertymountain.com

From the Early Summer 2014 issue.

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