Cara MacDonald, KSL.com, File

What’s new in climbing for 2020?

By Cara MacDonald, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Jan. 6, 2020 at 12:16 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — With the new year comes not only new styles and innovations for climbing, but also a push for transformation in preparation for the first year of Olympic climbing in the 2020 Olympics. Here’s what you can expect for climbing this year.

New gear

Dozens of new gear items will come available for 2020, but here are some top picks:

  • Men's Scarpa Vapor V Climbing Shoes: The new Vapor V maintains its old comfort and precision while adding a stricter heel to make them better for competition bouldering. A moderate shoe, the Vapor V pulls power from the toes without crushing them, and it even has a rubber toe patch for improved toe hooking.
  • Trango Gym Cut Climbing Rope (9.9 mm): This long-lasting rope is designed for in-gym lead climbing, as it is highly mobile and designed for abrasion-resistance.
  • Women’s Black Diamond Momentum Harness: This harness is designed to make tying in easy through the use of a prethreaded, speed-adjustable waist belt. Designed for the comfort of women, it sits higher on the torso than a men’s harness and has a bullhorn-shaped westbelt with dual core construction.
  • So iLL 25L Dirt Bag in Dirty Pink:This waterproof climbing tote bag makes a fashion statement, like many of So iLL’s products. Dusty pink with triangular patterns reminiscent of tattoos, this bag can carry most climbing gear and has loops on the outside to clip additional gear items on securely.
  • Women’s Outdoor Research Quarry Pants: These new Outdoor Research pants are designed with special fabric for climbers to minimize tearing from ordinary falls and scrapes on rocks.

USA Climbing’s multi-year agreement with ESPN

Gear is not the only new thing in climbing in 2020. In 2019, USA Climbing signed a multi-year agreement with ESPN to broadcast major climbing events like climbing national championships. The airtime will serve to further advertise and grow the climbing industry leading into the 2020 Summer Olympics, and provide a way for enthusiastic fans to watch their favorite climbers compete.

2020 Summer Olympics

Climbing will be featured in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to Evo. The climbing events will involve 20 male and 20 female competitors (two from each nation), three events and six medals. Each climber will have to compete in three different events: speed climbing (the fastest climber wins), bouldering (the climber who can climb the highest on the most boulders with the fewest attempts will win) and lead climbing (each athlete climbs one route, and the one who climbs the highest wins).

Many climbers have already qualified for the 2020 Olympics, including Utah’s own Nathaniel Coleman.

Volumes, volumes and more volumes

Indoor climbers and competitors can expect more volumes and balance-heavy, flexible climbing in 2020, according to National Geographic. "Volumes" refer to large, featureless holds designed to force climbers into awkward body positions and into going for large, explosive movements as they ascend the route.

"Bouldering used to be about grabbing on really hard to hold, bad holds," Tommy Caldwell told National Geographic. "The new indoor style demands way more coordination, flexibility, and timing."

Experts believe that sport climbing will begin to transition into this flashy new style of climbing that bouldering has already adopted with open arms.

Keep up to date on more new developments for climbing at Climbing.com.

Photos

Cara MacDonald

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