Monday, December 03, 2007

Maxi-Pads

Pads have revolutionized bouldering, allowing the average climber to attempt high and hard problems once reserved for the lunatic fringe. So, what's next? The maxi-pad.

• 8a.nu, the Swedish megasite for sport climbing and bouldering news, has introduced an inflatable pad that measures nearly 7 feet by 4 feet and provides 8 inches of air-conditioned crash protection. When you're not whipping onto it, you can use the Air Pad as a double bed. Or a life raft. Cost: 395 euros.

• Squamish climber Matt Maddaloni rigged a 30-foot-diameter trapeze net, fashioned from fishing net and industrial-strength bungy cord, to protect his attempts to free-solo a 5.13a route. Says Maddaloni: "I never did finish the route—the crux takes you out near the edge of the net—but it was sure fun taking huge whippers into space on your back." Cost: A full day of rigging that might have been spent doing, well, almost anything else.

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