By James Atkinson
KiwiKlimber carbon fibre gaffs/spikes with Spikesender
Climbing spikes, if ever there was a item of climbing equipment to divide opinion, it would be climbing spikes. Manufactures all giving various options to suit or confuse our needs, alloy or steel? (Not forgetting carbon fibre or titanium) soft or rigid lads? It can be a mine field.
I have climbed for the last 10 years with Buckingham titanium climbing spikes, replacing the standard pads with Velcro’s a number of years ago, never had a issue with them and never thought of replacing them. So when I got the opportunity to field test the Kiwiklimbers carbon fibre stirrups with there Kiwiklimber ascender attached, I was optimistic.
First thing you notice out of the box is the weight, now I know you carbon gecko climbers out there will already know it, but seriously, my titanium spikes felt like lead weights in comparison, and there already light! The build quality is stunning, and what does set these stirrups apart from the carbon geckos is the adjustability. If you have a team of climbers of all different sizes these are the carbon spikes to go for. Also on a side note if you ever want to sell them on (you won’t) it will be a lot easier. When you put them on the first thing you notice is the high quality straps at the bottom, made of thick leather, I was also surprised how tight you could get the Velcro straps at the top, the flex in the carbon fibre rigid pad allowing a great tight fit. In the tree there in another world compared to my Buckinghams, helped by the rigid top pads and the feeling there not even there, they never roll around your calf or slip, helping you forget about them.
Now to the Kiwiklimber Spikesender, available for right or left footed. This was for me the most exiting part of the whole package, since switching to SRT climbing, I have been waiting for someone to produce a fixed ascender for our spikes, and they do deliver, so simple you forget about it, easy to get your rope in, easy to kick out, and on a bonus note, they don’t kick out all of the time on ascent like a petzl pantin might. You may have to watch you don’t get your foot stuck tight in a crotch or slam a log onto it, it does stick out just a little, and it would be a shame to crack it, although tbh you would have to be pretty rough! For the opposite side of the ascender foot a spacer is available to help both spikes sit the same, and soon there will be a HAAS or knee ascender attachment spacer. These can be bought separately to fit any gecko spikes.
All parts are replaceable if you happen to break something. So overall I’m very impressed, there light, comfortable, practical and well made, time will tell if they are as durable as my Buckinghams, but I can’t see why not, the Spiksender is worth it’s money in gold, keeping your foot a lot tidier, and most importantly they look good. Spikes for life!