Scarpa North America Blog

The Best Climbing Gear for Trad and Alpine Routes

Jun. 24th 2015

Last August, SCARPA athlete Shingo Ohkawa spent month in search of first descents on the classic vertical walls of Wyoming’s spectacular Wind River Range. While he and his partners horsepacked in to base camp, it was all human-powered effort from there. Long days on approach and even longer days in a harness and climbing shoes allowed Shingo to really abuse the best SCARPA has to offer for this style of climbing. While an unseasonably wet and cold August shut them out of many of his objectives, he still came back with some glowing reviews. These are the SCARPA shoes that got him too the wall and up it, including an FA on the West Face of Helen’s Tower 1.

Wind River Range Vista

Shingo Ohkawa and Oli take in the view after summiting Helen’s Tower 1.




Super-lightweight and quick-to-dry, these sticky trainers were perfect to have for all-day climbs in the Wind Rivers, many of which sport long—and, often exposed—walk-off descents. My size 42s fit—with plenty of extra space for water, food, a wind-shell and headlamp—in my tiny, 20L  pack. If we planned on going really light, sans packs, I hardly noticed them while climbing, clipped to a gear loop on the back of my harness.





With deeper lugs than my other, all-time go-to approach shoe, its cousin, the Zen, these rigs proved ideal for our month of alpine rock climbing in the Winds and their vast network of superbly-maintained dirt trails. When the time came to step off the beaten path and onto the talus and snow below the base of the walls, my Zen Pros remained true to the Zen heritage, performing like “low-top mountain boots”—sticky and nimble in shifting talus and scree, yet stable and secure kicking steps on steep, hard snow, the ZEN Pro inspires confidence above consequences.

Best Climbing Gear Zen Pro

Shingo Ohkawa takes on a steep approach in the Wind River Range.




On the FA of our new route on the West Face of Helen’s Tower 1, I wore my TECHNO Xs on the wall for 12 hours, without a break, never once having to adjust the laces or to take them off. My share of pitches featured techy face climbing on thin edges connecting sustained sections of perfectly parallel splitters. The Techno Xs were, truly, the best of both worlds, edging like my much tighter, sportier shoes yet jamming like a flatter, comfier pair. I could not have chosen a better single pair rock shoes to complement the variety of footwork techniques needed to slay that wall!

Best Climbing Gear Techno X

Shingo Ohkawa follows up Strange Bravado, his new route on Helen’s Tower 1.

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