Italian Climbing Gear Company’s Carabiner Wins the Nobel Prize of Design – Magnetic Bike Light and Ski Boots also Garner Honors.

Grivel Twin Gate Carabiner - climbing gear


Grivel, located at the base of Mont Blanc in Courmayeur Italy, received the Compasso d'Oro for it's Twin Gate carabiner. Considered the  Nobel Prize of design awards, the Compasso d'Oro goes beyond awarding appearance only. Awarded annually, the Prize seeks out innovations in function and pleasing aesthetics.  Grivel's Twin Gate carabiner earned the prize in the category of Design for the individual -for a specialized object that significantly improves protection and safety while respecting simplicity of form.

Now a recognized name in climbing gear, Grivel's innovation history goes back to the early 1800s. The company started out as a manufacturer of agricultural  tools. With their factory located in the heart of the Alps, alpinists would stop by asking the metal smiths to modify traditional worker's tools so that were better suited for mountaineering.  These relationships resulted in transforming their worker's axes to ice axes. The company is also credited for being the first ones to develop the modern crampon.

Grivel's innovation continues today. They designed the innovative Twin Gate carabiner to increase the climber's safety.  The carabiner design features two overlapping, easy to use, quick clipping  gates in order to reduce the risk of unintended unclipping (you know what they say about the weakest link).

See video here on how it functions.

Magnetic Bike Lights

Palomar-Lucetta09_hand03-890x685 - compasso d'oro

Lucetta01 - compasso d'oro

Not to leave the all the design glory to the climbers, Palomar's Lucetta magnetic bike light also won. The clever little light  received the 2016 Compasso D'Oro for Design for the individual –  a great little product. An article that gives an intelligent answer to an objective need.

Ski Boot Minimalism

Dahu ski boot compasso d'oroSkiers have not been left out in the cold either, Daho Sports' Dahu ski boot, earned an honorable mention. Another winner in the category of Design for the individualthe design revises the traditional construction of the plastic shell and replaces it with a minimal lattice structure, designed to withstand the stresses and movements during skiing. And who wouldn't like a little less bulk in their boots?

compasso d'oro logoimage credits:






Product Review: Gipron 757 Powerblast Trekking Poles

These moderately priced telescoping trekking poles work are lightweight, easy to adjust but have a few areas that could be improved. Still they are durable and a good value. If still debating whether you are a pole person or not, check out: Converting to the Cult of Trekking Poles


  •                   Cost: About 48 euro
  •                   Weight: 216 grams/7.6 oz.
  •                   Material: aluminum
  •                   Length: 62 (closed)- 135 cm/24.4″(closed) 53.1″
  •                   Conditions evaluated in: winter snowshoe, summer treks and trail runs

Each pole comes with two adjustment levers. The patented grip system is easy to use and rarely does not keep the poles at the designated height. There were markings printed on the poles at 10 cm intervals, however after just a few months of use they have faded and so one must line up one pole to the other to adjust the two length sections if you want them the same.

The poles have an soft cushioned handle, better grip for sweaty or wet hands than plastic. The grip area is also extended for those who may want to grab their poles further down. I haven’t had need for this but I can imagine some would like the extra  long grip area.

This pole comes with plastic tip covers for use when there is no snow. The plastic tips reduce the sound made of the metal points on dry rock and are less likely for the pole to slip away when used on rock, however for grass the plastic tips have the opposite effect and their ability to stay in place makes them hard to remove on the fly so for the someone fickle with pole tip preferences they are not as easy to adjust for varying situations. The same is true for the  baskets, which will stay in place even if tugged on by rocks and ice. The baskets also have a  relatively small diameter so when in deep, softer snow they don’t do much to keep the pole from sinking deep.

One of the pole straps came undone and it is not possible to remove the cap of the pole to rethread the pole strap. Probably one day I will have to sit down with a safety pin and try to thread the strap back through the hidden plastic bar.  Gipron should make it easier to rethread the straps, especially if at some point they need to be replaced.