Scarpa North America Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Heinz Mariacher and Active Randing in SCARPA rock shoes

Jul. 22nd 2011

“The concept is as easy as nailing a piece of rubber to a barn door,” says Heinz Mariacher, SCARPA’s storied shoe designing prophet, or – more formally – climbing line manager.

But don’t let his casual theorizing about what he calls ‘Active Randing’ fool you. There’s more going on than Mariacher would lead you to believe. After all, the guy’s had a one-track focus on climbing shoes for well over three decades.

So what is Active Randing? And what difference does it make in SCARPA’s rock shoes?

Said (somewhat) simply, Mariacher’s concept of Active Randing employs rubber rands that wrap around the shoe in different configurations (for different types of climbing), designed to support climbers’ feet in the movements critical to climbing at top levels. These active rands are tensioned in ways that engage and disengage to support the foot, storing and re-releasing energy. They dynamically adapt to the foot while it loads and unloads body weight, effectively storing and releasing power—similar to the way a barn door slams shut with a rubber tether.

Visually, you can see it SCARPA’s rock shoes. If you look at, say, a Vapor V or an Instinct, the shoes have structure that makes them look like there’s a foot in them when there isn’t. Active rands give the shoe that structure. They also do a lot more that you can’t see, but you can feel …

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The Triple Crown: Horses, access and bouldering

Jul. 18th 2011

What does horse racing have to do with bouldering in the Southeastern U.S.? For that answer – and an extensive, entertaining and colorful history of the Southeast’s Triple Crown Bouldering series – it’s worth a visit to see what series founders Jim Horton and Chad Wykle have to say over on the event’s web site.

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Cory Richards reflects on Gasherbrum II winter alpine ascent

Jul. 14th 2011
On February 2, the team of American climber and photographer Cory Richards, Italian climber Simone Moro, and Kazahk alpinist Denis Urubko completed the first winter ascent of an 8000-meter peak in the Karakorum, on Gasherbrum II, the world’s 13th-highest mountain. While recovering in Thailand, Cory had some time to talk to SCARPA and reflect on the achievement.

Q – When did you get the idea for climbing 8000 meter peaks? And when did you see them as something feasible to attempt in winter?


CR – Feeling that unique isolation that the mountains offer is something that my folks were instrumental in fostering in my brother and I growing up.  Over the evolution of my own climbing career, I’ve tried very hard to stay true to that ideal…to look for honest ‘adventure’ in things.  Some people find that by climbing super fast, others by soloing…I just like being completely out there…alone with your partners.  In the Himamlaya, that isolation seems to be able to be most thoroughly achieved through doing new lines, or climbing in the winter…or both.  As for 8000 meters…it just happens to be that number that encapsulates our highest points…and because of that, those peaks in particular draw a lot of attention.  In a lot of cases, it seems that the higher the altitude, the higher the stakes…or perhpas more eloquently…the less margin for error we are allowed.  But in all honesty, it’s not so much about climbing 8000 meter peaks as it is about having fun and hanging it out there in the big mountains…that can happen on a 6000 m peak just as easily…and often times even more so.  CLimbing in winter just seemed like a natural progression, though a bit abrupt .

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Rock rubber, a SCARPA shoe (p)review…

Jul. 5th 2011
10 Years ago, the sticky-ness of rubber was the first and foremost defining characteristic of ‘the best’ climbing shoes. Today, with so many manufacturers lauding their own style of rubber the real crux for climbers and shoe selection is now part of the bigger conversation around performance and comfort.

SCARPA takes a leading role in that conversation, working with long-time rubber partner Vibram and veteran rock shoe innovator Heinz Mariacher to develop the best rubber and  maximizing each technology for each specific shoe.

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