Nowadays, it isn’t surprising to see new climbing gear coming into the market every year or so that really changes the way we look at things. Innovation is at the heart of human history, and it’s what has brought us this far in the world, whether that be with Elon Musk and SpaceX or the amazing prosthetics that Hugh Herr has been able to develop. Humans love to create and innovate things to make people’s lives easier. Now to bring this all back to tree climbing and awesome gear. Have you guys seen the Akimbo yet?!?!
The Akimbo is a new, badass SRT climbing device developed by Jaime Merritt and produced by Rock Exotica. You’ve all seen some of the great machining work that Rock Exotica does with products like Omni Blocks or the Unicender. Now they are putting their expertise into making this great new climbing device! According to Jaime’s Treebuzz post, he wanted:
“an SRT climbing device that does it all. Midline attachable, adjustable grip, compact, lighter weight, durable, secure with no loose parts, and no tools required for adjustments.”
I’m pretty sure that’s what the rest of us have been waiting for as well!
The Akimbo climbing device is really cool because it allows the climber to load it onto the rope without it ever needing to be detached from the bridge of your harness. This is great because there is no chance of dropping parts from aloft, or onto the snowy ground for us northern climbers. The design work on this device is quite mind-blowing, to be honest! The way that the device opens looks like one of those old metal mind-bending puzzles that dare you to get the two nails apart!
Some other awesome features include being adjustable for different rope diameters without the use of any tools. This is a huge downfall to other strictly SRT mechanicals on the market. With a quick lift and turn of a pin, the friction point changes allowing for larger or smaller diameter ropes. The Akimbo is adjustable at both friction points on the rope, allowing you to fine-tune the device to the rope you’re climbing on. Another ingenious thing is the way the adjustments are labeled. The top adjustment is labeled A-F and the lower is labeled 1-7. This will help you and others find exactly which friction set-up is best for which rope. Maybe Xstatic will be an A4 and Velocity will be C4. The Akimbo climbing device gives a very straight forward way of determining and remembering what your settings are for which rope!
One thing that is different from the original prototype version is the slack tender attached to the backside of the device. This thing is SO smart! The slack tender is a machined hook that has a spring-loaded gate on the bottom. This means that as you ascend with a chest harness that the device will be pulled up by that machined hook, but as soon as you want to unclip, all you need to do is sit back and the chest harness should pull out of the tender! This is sure to be a huge advantage to anyone that has ever had an issue with getting their chest harness unclipped from an accessory ‘biner that has been flipped around backwards or sideways.
We would highly recommend checking out this awesome, new climbing device! The Akimbo is sure to take the industry by storm as all new devices do, but it surely will lead the pack in innovative design and user customization. Thanks to everyone that keeps pushing the industry further and further ahead with all this great gear that is sure to make our climbing easier and keep us having fun in the trees!
Check out Jamie Merritt’s original Akimbo design. This is the prototype that has since been improved.