Category Archives: gear

Tenaya Mundaka: First Look, First Ascent

My latest climbing project—a 5.14 wall of thin edges that gently steepens into a cresting wave of granite at Devil’s Head, CO—presented me with a significant dilemma.  The climbing is 80% Smith Rock, precise edging on micro-chips with your hips plastered to the face and most of your weight on your feet, followed by 20% Rifle, gymnastic moves on steep rock with feet toeing in and hooking on glassy features.

I began the campaign in my trusty Tenaya Intis.  These are the ideal edging implement, with a stiff and precise forefoot that excels on credit card chips.  I was crushing the lower sections, routinely climbing up to the lip of the steep wall, but struggling to make progress on the wildly dynamic exit.  I decided to switch to Tenaya Oasi’s, my go-to shoe for gym-style climbing, where sensitivity and flexibility facilitate monkey-style pulling with your feet.

My progress in the steeps improved instantly, but it came at a price.  Though I could still climb through the technical start in Oasi’s, I had to pull a bit hard with my hands, compounding the wear on my already heavily-worn finger skin. I needed a shoe that could excel on both types of terrain—technical thin walls and gymnastic overhangs.

At that pivotal moment I had the opportunity to test-drive Tenaya’s ground-breaking Mundaka.  It was just the shoe I was looking for.  The Mundaka is perhaps best described as a sock with rubber on it, although that’s not doing it justice.  The toe box is tight and stiff—ideal for thin edging.  Yet the rubber sole ends at the forefoot, creating a nearly-bare arch that is completely flexible (you can easily bend the shoe in half at the arch).  This enables tremendous toeing power on steep incuts, allowing the climber to wrap the fore foot around features and pull with your feet.  It’s almost like getting an extra pair of arms delivered in a 12” cardboard box!  Throw in a perfectly sculpted heel cup and it’s got everything a serious climber could ask for.

When I slipped the Mundakas on for the first time at the base of my project, I joked about how tightly the shoes formed to my feet, promising my toes would only tolerate a brief burn.  Yet amazingly I climbed happily for well over an hour.  The Mundakas are so well-shaped, pain was never an issue, and if anything, the shoes became more comfortable and sensitive the longer I climbed.  Also worth noting is the vastly improved Velcro tabs at the end of the adjustable closure system (similar to that of the roundly lauded Tenaya Iati closure system).  The new tabs offer so much sticking power I had trouble removing them as I lowered off the route.  There is zero chance of these coming un-stuck mid climb!

My new footwear gave me the confidence and peace of mind to focus on my climbing.  In a few more tries I finally stuck the burly dyno to the lip, mantled onto the lime green lichen-covered slab and waltzed up to the summit, finally completing the first ascent of Walk Tall Or Not At All, the hardest route at Devil’s Head at 5.14c.

It’s hard compare Mundakas to anything else I’ve climbed in.  Most shoes excel in one aspect and fall flat in another.  Not the Mundaka.  These shoes easily matched the performance of my best edging shoes and far exceeded the toeing/hooking power of my best gym shoe.  They will definitely be my new go to shoe!

Video: How to Uncoil a New Climbing Rope

Let’s be honest – getting a new rope is glorious. After hours of internet research and nerding out on technical questions like “how many grams per meter?” and “what’s the static elongation?”, you came to decisions on diameter, dry treatment, length, and color. Now all you have to do is unpack this beauty and whip off of your pending project.  Before flaking out your new rope and knotting it into 70 meters of Rubik’s Cube frustration, take a deep breath. Uncoiling your new rope correctly can save you hours of untangling and heartache. Let us explain…

When the rope is ready for packaging, it is coiled torsion free and neutral to give you a head start on maintaining a twist-free rope. Uncoiling your new rope properly will maintain this neutral positioning and minimize the amount of twisting introduced. To do this, you will need to reverse the factory coiling process. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Remove any packaging being careful not to damage the rope
  • Unwrap the outer rope end from the coil and place your arms through the center of the coil
  • Rotate your arms over each other repeatedly as the outer end that you already unwrapped begins to flake into a pile
  • Take your time to prevent the inner end of the rope from coming out of the coil or wrapping around your arm
  • Once the rope is completely uncoiled, flake it from end to end to remove any twists that may have found their way in

Now your rope is ready for action. Once you have begun to use the rope, we recommend using a rope bag or foldable rope tarp instead of coiling your rope after each use.

Techmaster Tip:  When uncoiling your rope, toss the rope ends and middle (clearly marked on Trango ropes) to the side. This makes it easy to flake the rope from the middle to each end so none of the twists have to travel more than half the rope length.

Trango Vergo: Common Questions Answered

The Vergo belay device has officially launched! As we’ve shown it to dealers and users for many months, we’ve learned what many of the most common questions are, and we’ll answer some of them below.


Here are some quick specs to get the basics covered:

  • Rope range: 8.9mm – 10.7mm
  • Weight: 195 grams
  • MSRP: $89.95

One of the questions I hear from dealers and customers fairly commonly is “is this a Cinch 2?” The Vergo uses the mechanical principles that were used in the Cinch, and certainly shares some of its DNA. The original plan was actually to tweak the Cinch to fit modern ropes, make it lighter, etc. However, once we moved from product line planning into actual design, we decided to make more sweeping changes. We changed enough about it that we felt a little disingenuous calling it a Cinch 2, despite the appeal that name would have to the Cinch lovers out there. Some of the differences include:

  • Completely redesigned lowering kinematics. The handle is actually mounted to the back plate of the Vergo, whereas the Cinch handle was mounted to the front plate. With the new system lowering speed is extremely predictable and easy to modulate. We also introduced some new materials and methods into this system.
  • Modified braking geometry.
    • The dimensions are tightened up to accommodate smaller ropes.
    • The braking force has been increased by changing the relative positions of the various points of action.
    • It is designed to perform above the levels of the CE requirement even after some wear and tear has been put on the device, which increases its usable life.
    • The Friction Pin that bears the brunt of the braking force saw an increase in hardness for improved durability.
  • Weight is actually a bit higher than the Cinch.
  • Addition of geometry that reduces the likelihood of an accidental override of the braking mechanism.
  • The design ethos was completely different, as has been written about elsewhere (some info at In short, the aim was to create a device that is part of a system, half of which is the actual user. This sits in stark contrast to a device designed to do all the work and then adding the user in at the last step.

I’ve also had a question or two about the longevity of the Vergo compared to the Cinch. The modified geometry and the harder Friction Pin give the Vergo a notably longer usable life.

When teaching others to use the Vergo, they sometimes ask me why we instruct them to orient it the way we do, and if it really matters. Clipping it in the way we instruct does a couple things, both of which are subtle, but still worthwhile. First, it complements the belaying method for a better feel. Again – it’s subtle, but with how much we belay, everything helps. Second it adds some safety margin for the unfortunate situations of belayers not paying attention or making other mistakes. So if you clip it in the opposite way from how we recommend, chances are it will never matter. I for one, however, like to have every bit of the odds stacked in favor of my own and my partner’s safety, and I’m betting you do, too.

An arrow graphic denotes the correct orientation of the device.

An arrow graphic on the bottom of the Vergo denotes the correct orientation of the device.

Can you belay from the anchor to bring up a second? Absolutely. One nice thing about the Vergo is that there is no spring holding it open, so you actually capture every inch of rope you pull up. With some other devices, the weight of the rope isn’t enough to actually make the device engage, and it can slide back through.

The Vergo being used to belay a second on a multi-pitch climb

The Vergo being used to belay a second on a multi-pitch climb

Can you use it left handed? Because we infused so much “human fit” into it, we had to choose a hand, and for obvious reasons we chose the right hand as the brake side. Our sincere apologies to the lefties. However, we have you in mind for the future, and the clear tactile indications will keep users of either hand preference in control.

What do you mean when you talk about disengaging it without overriding it? “Override” is the common term used to describe holding an assisted braking belay device in a way that actually prevents it from engaging the rope and stopping a fall. You are overriding its ability to catch the fall. If you ever need to override a device, it is a particularly risky event because a fall in that moment would not be caught. It would be like driving a car that required you to take off your seatbelt to go around a fast corner. Obviously that makes no sense because the turn is a period of higher risk. Plus, you’ll probably get tired of taking the seatbelt on and off, which leads you to just never wear it (i.e. override the safety mechanism all the time). This is where the Vergo really shines – in the event of a shortrope during fast slack feeding, the Vergo actually allows you to free the rope without preventing a fall from being caught. If the climber falls while you are doing the “palm bump,” as we call it, they will still be caught. You are disengaging the device’s grip without overriding its ability to grip again if the climber falls.

The "palm bump" rotates the device to disengage its grip on the rope without overriding its ability to grip again if the climber falls

The “palm bump” rotates the device to disengage its grip on the rope without overriding its ability to grip again if the climber falls

Thanks for your interest in the Vergo! As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions, and keep an eye out for the Vergo at your favorite dealer.

-Adam Sanders, Trango Vice President


Climbing Tackle

Look close at these beer cans and you’ll see the corners are polished and some of the labeling has rubbed off from rolling around on pitons and carabiners since, likely, the summer of 2009. What I’m trying to say is that I can be very bad about cleaning out my car. Here’s to a little bit of pre-spring cleaning.

The vision for the Trango athlete team is to find climbers who embody our brand’s values and support them in their climbing endeavors. We focus on the character of the climber, their passion for the sport, and their desire to contribute to the community.

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