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'Bleau Blocs: 100 of The Finest Boulder Problems In The Fontainbleau Forest' is a visual celebration of this unique and vast bouldering venue. 'Font,' as it's affectionately known, is perhaps the bouldering venue; a magical, mythical forest near Paris (France) with seemingly endless potential. As Pete Edwards points out in his review, there are many guidebooks to this area, but Bleau Blocs decides to take a slightly different approach: it selects the 100 finest problems, and beautifully displays them in this coffee-table-style book. Read on for more...

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Structured Chaos is the latest book from alpinist Victor Saunders. The book's strap line is 'The unusual life of a climber,' and in Victor's words: 'Mountains have given structure to my adult life. I suppose they have also given me purpose, though I still can’t guess what that purpose might be. And although I have glimpsed the view from the mountaintop and I still have some memory of what direction life is meant to be going in, I usually lose sight of the wood for the trees. In other words, I, like most of us, have lived a life of structured chaos.’

Alex Hallam has kindly reviewed this book. You can also read Alex's review of the updated version of Hard Rock or his interview.

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Luke Davies has tested the Edelrid Sirana harness for the past six months, putting it through its paces. With a neat, clean construction and simple but effective features, the Sirana seems to be a jack-of-all-trades for every activity. Edelrid say it's an 'all-round alpine harness with 20mm Slide Block buckles and laminated harness construction for multi-pitch routes and alpine tours. The Sirana is manufactured in an environmentally-friendly and resource-saving way, which complies with the strict bluesign system requirements.'

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World-famous boulderer Bernd Zangerl has produced a rich, colourful book dedicated to bouldering around the globe. Pete Edwards takes a look - and likes what he reads. Like a statement or portrait of bouldering, it marks the position of the increasingly-popular activity, and features chapters covering destinations, sustainability, current and past activists, bouldering with children... and so on. Stunning photography throughout ensures you'll be flicking through the book and planning your next trip.

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Tom Ripley reviews the Edelrid Canary Pro Dry rope - an 8.6mm triple-rated rope. This means it's certified by the UIAA as being safe to use as a single, half or twin-rated rope. It's essentially one of the most modern ropes you can buy as it's strong enough to be used on it's own (as a single), and light enough to be used in a pair ('half' or 'twin'). Edelrid say 'this is our ultra-light, high-end rope with triple certification. With its 8.6 mm diameter and weighing in at just 51 grams per metre, the Canary is one of the thinnest and lightest single ropes in its class. The thicker sheath proportion makes it the most robust lightweight rope on the market.'

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The Boulder Britain guidebook claims to be 'the essential guide to British bouldering,' so we sent it to Ollie Burrows to give it a thorough test and hear his opinion. The 2020 updated version features 3400 of the best problems in the U.K. across 200 venues, giving a lifetime of climbing. With a range of problems from beginners to experts, quick after-work hits to road trips, and a huge variety of locations (including many we'd never heard of!), the book is a comprehensive look at UK bouldering masked as a selected guide. The winter can be a great time for bouldering, so dust off the pads and get out there.

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The Climbing Bible is a new comprehensive guide to help you train effectively to become a better climber authored by Martin Mobråten and Stian Christophersen. Emma Twyford gives us her review...

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Simon Verspeak reviews the men's Lhotse jacket from Mountain Equipment. This GORE-TEX Pro model is advertised as 'for those requiring the best all-round performance and absolute protection for mountaineering in all weathers.' This jacket is essentially designed to keep you dry and help you to move in the mountains all day long. Mixing function (large pockets and a helmet-compatible hood, for example), weight (light enough to carry everywhere) and durability (giving you year-round protection), this jacket uses the latest in GORE-TEX technology and breathability. We sent the jacket to Simon, an outdoor instructor based in north Wales, for some 'summer' and autumn testing...

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Emma Warren reviews the women's Manaslu jacket from Mountain Equipment. This GORE-TEX Pro model gives waterproof, breathable, all-weather protection and is one of the flagship jackets in their range. It's aimed at those wanting an all-round product which can cope with rocky scrambles in torrential rain and wild routes in driving snow. Key features include a large, helmet-compatible hood, long articulated sleeves and ample pockets... and a nice colour! Emma's tested this during the 'interesting' Welsh summer and autumn, so read on for her thoughts.

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Hard Rock was originally compiled by Ken Wilson in the early 70s, the intensity of his vision sears through generations and is replicated in this wonderful new edition from Vertebrate Publishing and edited by Ian Parnell. The first of the three part series of Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Extreme Rock to see a new edition; all are steeped in mystery and climbing folklore. Perhaps the epitome of the puerile ticker’s ticklist, they are the antidote to the high fiving and fist bumping generation seen at many indoor walls today. Ken Wilson was well known as an advocate for adventure and not just as a perpetual sandbagger and Ian Parnell as editor of the new editions is of an equally adventurous leaning. No one can deny that these routes will provide memorable experiences that will last a lifetime.

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Pete Edwards gives us his detailed thoughts on the Petzl bouldering pad range. He's been using these pads non-stop since they were released a few years ago. Based in North Wales and a dedicated boulderer, Pete's also explored blocs around Europe with the distinctive orange pads in tow. Gone are the days when pads were a piece of carpet and you risked breaking your ankles every time you slipped off. Now, bring your pads to the party!

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The Ace is a premier climbing harness from German manufacturer Edelrid. They describe it as a 'super-light harness with 3D-Vent Lite technology for demanding routes on rock and ice.' With easy-to-use features like a single waist buckle, fixed leg loops and four wide gear loops, it caters for a wide range of activities: from sport onsights and redpoints where every gram counts, to long days in the mountains and hanging belays. The Ace fits the bill, and it fits Tom Ripley. Hear his thoughts about this bright green harness below.

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Pete Edwards of Prowess Coaching compares the current Petzl GRIGRI model with the previous generation, and is surprised to see a few useful and subtle improvements. From Petzl themselves:

'The GRIGRI is a belay device with assisted braking (meaning it will help the belayer control the rope should the climber fall). Compact and lightweight, it can be used with single ropes from 8.5 to 11 mm. The assisted braking function makes belaying more convenient when holding a climber or catching a fall. The design of the handled camming mechanism enables exceptional descent control.'

Read Pete's thoughts on one of the most widely-used belay devices:

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GB Ice Climbing Team member Emma Powell takes a look at Mantis Tools, which are birchwood and aluminium training 'axes' made for indoor climbing, and designed to replicate - as closely as possible - ice climbing and dry tooling. Mimicking the ergonomics, balance and kinaesthetics of ice axes, but with rubber pads which grip onto indoor climbing holds, you can now train and have fun tooling all year round, on all sorts of walls...

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Holly Rees gives us her thoughts on the Wild Country Revo belay device.
Nowadays, most people use an 'assisted locking' or 'braking' belay device when sport climbing. These types of devices help catch a falling climber in a reassuring way, and keep the belayer happier as they provide greater locking security. They arguably provide a safer system when belaying for long hours, or when working projects. There are many models available, but they all have slightly different ways of operation - I couldn't get on with one of the most common devices. I was excited to test the new Revo. Here are my thoughts.

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Tom Ripley reviews the Salathe helmet, a smart-looking lid from the German brand Edelrid. Distinctive in it's green and black colours, the hybrid helmet gives reliable protection and excellent ventilation - all for 200 grams. Read on to find out more.

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Ella Russell gives her thoughts on the new Holdbreaker X, a sports bra made specifically for climbers. From cool bouldering sessions to hot training days, and over six months, Ella's been able to thoroughly test the bra. Holdbreaker, a climbing company solely run by women, have spent several years designing the product; it seems worth the wait.

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James Taylor is a strong rock climber based in North Wales. He's one of those Dark Horse characters who's quietly cranking big numbers (E9, French 8b+, Font 8A+). He's also been on two big-walling trips to Brazil, and you can see a film about one of those trips here. James's strength comes from hours and hours of training, so he knows how to make sure his skin stands up to the test. Read James's thoughts on ClimbSkin's Hand Cream and Silicium Gel. 

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Pongoose is a unusually-named brand making clipsticks - extendable poles which enable you to clip a quickdraw into a bolt when sport climbing. Traditionally, this was virtually all they could do, but thanks to clever engineering, Pongoose have created a product which can also remove the quickdraw from the bolt, and have made it easier to clip the rope through a quickdraw. When sport climbing (a mostly 'safe' activity), there's no point risking a broken ankle in order to clip a high first bolt; you can also save lots of energy when 'working' a route (practicing it before a redpoint), by having the rope clipped above you, avoiding numerous falls as you try hard sections. Pongoose's '3-in-1' clipsticks are reviewed by After the Send.

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Robbie Phillips takes a look at two of Scarpa's newest climbing shoes: the Drago and Chimera. They're soft, aimed at high-performance climbing, and have flashy colours! Read on to find out more...

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Petzl’s dedicated ski mountaineering crampons series have been around a couple of years now which is more than long enough to test new technology and longevity. Petzl took a new approach to connecting the front and rear sections of the crampon and replaced the steel tension bar with dyneema rope or CORD-TEC in Petzl jargon. This not only reduces weight but also allows you to fold the crampons in half and reduce the overall pack size. Ross Hewitt takes a look...

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