Mad Rock Hardware Review

Mad Rock Hardware Review

Gemini Dragonfire 5.13R First Ascent. Screenshot from Progression Part Three, credit Blake McCord

Hard trad climbing is what first drew me to Mad Rock hardware.  I was developing and projecting some gear-protected climbs at the Oak Creek Waterfall, near Sedona, Arizona. I wanted a perfect quickdraw for extending cams and clipping nuts or other small gear, something light, low profile, and reliable.

The Ultra Light Wire Draw was the perfect draw for the task. They have the right balance of attributes for a trad and multipitch quickdraw. They are light and low profile for racking up on a long pitch but still large enough for good handling. The action on the wire gate carabiners is excellent and stays that way over time, unlike other lightweight quickdraws I’ve used.

gemini dragonfire 5.13R screenshot

Gemini Dragonfire 5.13R First Ascent. Screenshot from Progression Part Three, credit Blake McCord

As I continued doing first ascents and developing new areas, I started using some Mad Rock Sentinel Hangers and XL Steel Screw Gate carabiners. I’ve used hundreds of the stainless steel Sentinel hangers for new sport climbs, multipitch routes, and anchors on trad first ascents. I also started equipping anchors with the XL Steel Screw Gate carabiners. It feels great when I reach an anchor and clip a huge steel locker for the belay or lower off.

As I began to spend more time clipping bolts, I picked up a set of the Bottlenose Quickdraws, and these have become my all-time favorite draw for sport climbing. Even Carrie, my main climbing partner and wife, who is admittedly quite particular about her gear, abandoned her long-loved Petzl Spirit draws in favor of the Bottlenose. They are a robust, great handling, thick-boned quickdraw with subtle features like the spine ridges, which make stick-clipping much easier than with other draws.

super vector 5.13c picture

The Bottlenose Quickdraw in action on Super Vector 5.13c, Flagstaff, AZ. Photo Rob Miller

The most recent additions to my kit have been the Lifeguard belay device and Safeguard device. The Lifeguard is an assisted-braking belay device with great rope feeding action, a low profile, light weight, and all metal construction for durability. It has become my go-to belay device and using it is an easy transition for climbers who have experience with other assisted-braking devices like the GriGri. Mad Rock’s Gemini Carabiner is a great belay carabiner to pair with the Lifeguard. It is the most intuitive and easiest to use dual-action type carabiner I have used.

The Safeguard device is a springless Lifeguard’; this feature makes it quickly and reliably grab the rope to stop feeding or descent. This makes it perfect for a single rope rappel device for route development and rope work. I quickly got used to the secure rope grab and handling of this device and it is my favorite for developing work. It really is a pretty unique device and makes work on a single line considerably easier than any other assisted-braking device I’ve used.

To round out their line of climbing gear, Mad Rock has started offering dynamic lead ropes. I had a chance to try the Lite 9.4 Climbing Rope in a 70 meter length.  Out of the box it has a smooth, tight weave, and a great feel. The Lite rope is right in the middle between supple and stiff, and to me has the perfect feel for a lead line. I have not put enough pitches on the rope to speak to its durability, but the tightness of the weave and the hand-feel suggest to me that it will be a very long-lasting rope.

mad rock rope

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.