The Prodigy Lives up to its Name

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Trust me! I’m an expert!

IMG_20151213_201237I picked up my DMM Prodigy when I landed in Spain and I was instantly impressed. At 61g/m it is lighter than most of its competition. It is the same weight as the Beal Diablo 9.8, 1g/m lighter than the Edelrid Heron and 3g/m lighter than the Mammut Eternity range of ropes. The thing that impressed me the most was that the rope does not feel heavy when you’re tied in! The finish makes it glide through quick draws like its not even there!

Dmm Prodigy

Brand new! How pretty is that?!?

The majority of the lines I was climbing in Spain were 40m+ and I never battled with the rope. I onsighted several 7cs that were really long and steep. Each of them left me feeling really pumped but when the time came to clip the weight of the rope was never an issue!

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The author onsighting Kameleon (7c) in Montsant. A 50m climb on tenuous pockets.

The sheath of the rope is durable! Next level durable! For a month, 4 guys climbed on my rope almost every day on every type of climbing. We thrashed the Prodigy and it put us in our places. I have a lot of respect for the engineering of this beauty!

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The crew! We put it to the test…

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Trust me, I climbed a lot

Between the 4 of us, we logged over 220 attempts on the rope, varying from really short, harsh falls to 15m+ whippers! We dogged routes. We projected. We fought through endless battles with the Prodigy and at the end of the month, all we had to show for it was a little fluff on the one end. That’s it. A little fluff.

In conclusion, I would like the thank DMM for making it possible for me to climb all the beautiful long routes in Siurana! Without the Prodigy, it just would not have been possible!

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Getting ready to try Photo Shot (8b) in Margalef

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Photo Shot (8b)

 

 

The Futura of Climbing!

Two months ago when I opened the box containing my news shoes I was quite intrigued and very excited by these blue shoes. The first thing I noticed was that the closure system is exactly the same as that of the Solutions. This means one very important thing: the shoes are going to fit like a glove.  Futura2

The closure system is pretty high tech as a single piece of Velcro is able to secure the shoe yet tensions the shoe at three points simultaneously allowing for one of the best fits possible from a shoe without laces. One of the implications of this is that you can heel hook till your heart’s content and you’ll never have to worry that your heel will slip out of the shoe.

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The next piece of tech that the shoe is renowned for is the No-Edge technology. This might tech might not be great for everyone but I’ve come to a few important realizations:

1. The shoes feel like they are worn in right out of the box and have a consistent feel throughout their lifespan. I’ve had the Futuras for two months now and I’ve worn them on every type of terrain around me: steep routes, face climbs and plastic. Guess what, they are showing very minimal signs of wear after climbing in them every weekend and most nights of the week in the gym. Let me put this into perspective for you: I’m tough on my shoes. The normal lifespan of a pair of shoes on my feet is somewhere around 6 weeks of constant wear. The only way that I maximize the lifespan of my shoes is rotating between warmup shoes, training shoes and project shoes with specific shoes for specific projects. I might be a little obsessive about getting the most out of my shoes…

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2. These shoes will teach you how to use your feet better: Beginner climbers might struggle with these shoes initially because you have to be pretty precise with your footwork but once you understand how the shoe work you’ll actually have a hard time turning back. I’m NOT going recommend using these guys on a slab because the shoes are really soft but when it comes to overhanging terrain or competition climbing indoors there is not much that will beat them. I have been able to stand on some of the worst holds on the largest variety of routes with my Futuras.

There is a specific hold on Rodan in Boven that makes my cringe every time I stand on it, regardless of what shoes I’m wearing. When I tried the Futuras on it I found that they are so soft and then that I could feel the texture of the hold under my toe and smear the edge instead of seeing my rubber roll around it. The image below helps to explain this whole thing. To be honest, when I first read about this I though it was just a gimmick but it’s not. It works.

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3. I can’t shut up about them. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t rave about these shoes. I can’t emphasize enough what that actually means. I love them so much that I climb in them daily. I don’t ever do that! I have 4 pairs of shoes that I rotate and yet I find myself at the crag choosing only to use these guys.

I do have one major gripe about the Futuras that I’d really like to see fixed. These are intended for high end indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering; they have the same fastening system as the Solutions but what’s with the lack of rubber on the toes? The Pythons have it, the Solutions have it, why don’t the Futuras? I actually prefer the heel cup of the Futuras as it molds to your heel instead of being a large molded rubber cup (which is awesome for a lot of heel hooking needs). But the lack of rubber on the toe box is quite an issue to me. There is enough there for most toe hooks but when the crux of the route is a toe hook that requires every bit of friction possible (like on Shadowfax), then this is where I feel like I need to don my Pythons instead.

Climbing at the Chosspile

I’ve been having a fantastic time climbing at Chosspile in Hartbeespoort as of late. It’s been a fantastic breath of fresh air away from my self-imposed pressure on Rodan. It’s felt wonderful to push hard on steep climbs, using a whole bunch of trickery to get through the hard climbing. I was fortunate enough to have been able to put in some time on Shadowfax and figure out the intricacies of the crux again. Felt awesome.

Andrew and Ebert encouraged me to try out a new line that Andrew bolted. Between the three of us we worked out the beta and sorted out the sequences, eventually. I decided I needed a new pair of shoes for the line and fortunately I was in luck. Outward Ventures managed to dispatch a brand new pair of La Sportiva Pythons for me! Fantastic for the slippery steepness that is Chosspile. They are wicked for toe hooking and heel hooking, plus they feel amazing out of the box. I wouldn’t recommend these for vertical lines, but for gym climbing and steep rock they are fantastic!

The next weekend we returned to find that a couple of Andrew’s draws had been stolen and his rope cut. We were both upset but it didn’t ruin our day; it did however provide us with the perfect name for the line: Kleptomaniac. I fine tuned my beta and Andrew suggested that I should try to open the line the next day.

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I came back the next morning and got a good high point on my first try and then sent it next try. The sequence I found at the top is really technical with a couple kneebars. It is probably 8a for me but won’t be easier than 8a+ for most other people (I do love my kneebars). I wrote it up at 8a but I’ll wait and see what the next person says before I change the grade in the guide.

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Andrew getting started on Kleptomaniac (8a+)

 

After I opened Kleptomaniac, Candice and myself headed up to the higher cave and had some fun up there. I managed to film Ivan almost doing Fossil Fuel (8a). He was looking so strong, but then all of the sudden he was off… AT THE CHAINS!!!! I haven’t ever seen someone fall that high up on Fossil Fuel. Shame bud, you’ll crush it next time for sure! It’ll be his first 8a and a good one at that. Check out the video below.

 

Ivan van de Tang – (almost) Fossil Fuel