Jake's top 5
Black Diamond Chaos Harness
Comfortable, durable and bombproof, the Black Diamond Chaos Harness* lets you focus on climbing instead of worrying about security. I can hang in the Chaos for long periods of time, yet it's still compact and light enough to pack down to "backpacking small" dimensions, making it a great harness for everything from single-pitch desert cragging to long-approach alpine adventures. Four sturdy gear loops hold an impressive amount of protection and stand up to years of abuse, while the abrasion-resistant materials are seemingly immune to my awkward chimney and offwidth thrashing. The Chaos is my dependable, workhorse climbing harness: incredibly versatile and insanely comfortable.
* For the women's version, see the Black Diamond Ethos Harness.
DMM Zenith Pack
Climbing often means being away from your crag pack for long periods of time. Separation anxiety no more: the DMM Zenith accompanies me on multi-pitch adventures because it's small and streamlined. Bringing a pack on a climb can be frustrating; the added weight and bulk interfere with your body positioning and movement. However, I constantly forget I'm even wearing the Zenith because it is so compact and lightweight. Large enough to hold my approach shoes, a layer, snacks and water without noticeably affecting my climbing, I often forget that I'm wearing a backpack at all and spend entire belays without taking it off.
Petzl Elios Helmet
The Petzl Elios climbing helmet offers extremely versatile head protection for a variety of disciplines--rock, ice, mountaineering, canyoneering, via ferrata, caving--at an affordable price. I purchased this helmet when I first started climbing and it has saved me countless times. On my first trip to the Incredible Hulk in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I took a large fall while off balance and hit the rock in an awkward contortion. I'm thoroughly convinced the Elios prevented a concussion and premature end to an amazing climbing trip. Lightweight, adjustable, and plenty of ventilation options make the Elios a no-brainer.
Black Diamond Storm
Descending a climb at night without a headlamp is the worst. A buddy and I descended a route in the Whitney Portal once without headlamps and paid the price in fear and frustration. The relatively simple rappels turned into a poorly illuminated nightmare with plenty of shenanigans, including a stuck rope. Four hours later we stumbled into camp at 1am, exhausted and mentally spent. The Black Diamond Storm headlamp can prevent epic fails like this. Thanks to its low profile design and minimal weight, the Storm carries easily in a pocket and its 160 lumens illuminate even the hardest to spot belay stations, ensuring you get back on the ground safely. The Storm headlamp is like an insurance policy for late starts and bungled descents, letting you spend more time sleeping instead of needlessly bushwhacking.
La Sportiva Miura
The La Sportiva Miura* climbing shoe is simply the best. Combining all-day comfort with ultimate performance, I love this shoe for cracks, hard faces, and everything in between. The low-profile design fits like a glove and makes you feel like a granite ninja without the pain tradeoff. These shoes give me complete confidence. Whether I'm taxing up a thin crack, precariously balancing on runout slab moves, or working an overhung sport project, I trust in the power of the Miura.
* Also available in a women's version and velcro-closure Miura VS (men's and women's).
I'm a 28 year old trad climber and ski mountaineer, still in school because I'm having too much fun exploring. Surf, yoga, skydive, and run when I'm not working, studying, climbing, or skiing. I don't sleep a lot.
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