Friday, December 09, 2005

Gecko Man

Having trouble with the 5.13 cracks of El Cap's Salathé Headwall? Skip those pesky cracks and clamber straight up the smooth granite next to them! Taking their cue from the amazingly sticky feet of gecko lizards, researchers at the Stuttgart National Academy of Visual Arts came up with this self-contained climbing apparatus. It adheres to glass, metal and concrete, holds up to a ton, and gives two hours of climbing time. When you need to free up your hands, you just clip in to a couple of big gecko paws with daisy chains. A0, baby! OK, so the thing weighs 25 kg (55 pounds) and would never fit into the Harding Slot. It was designed with firefighting and rescue, building maintenance, and military operations in mind, not for rock climbing. But I'm revising my Christmas list right now.

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