Trango seem to specialise in cool names and extraordinary gear. The company that brought us the Big Bro tube chocks, stock multitude of handy niknaks to make your climb easier.
The Trango Squid is no exception to this rule, Trango have thought on how to make easier the set up of quickdraws from the ground, through this development the squid was born. This is a small polycarbonate device that has been designed to fit most standard mop or brush poles, because these poles are readily available and you can buy telescopic versions of these poles fairly cheaply and easily. If you are struggling to find a pole that is suitable to your needs worry not! Trango also have the Squid Pole. The Squid Pole is the best pole we’ve found for using with the Squid. It features a heavy-duty fluted fiberglass outer tube and an external locking chuck and collet that won’t ever slip or jam and it extends from 4 to 8 feet long.
So what does it do?
The Squid has a few functions, firstly it can attach a quickdraw to a bolt. It does this by employing the Squid’s lever arm to hold open the carabiner, you then reach out with the Squid and slip the quickdraw through the bolt hole. Easypeasy, a little shimmy of the Squid then closes the gate and releases the carabiner. You can then use the Squid to put your rope through the quickdraw carabiner. The Squid has small hooks/loops at its base. These hold the rope in a loop and allow you
to lasso the rope through the carabiner gate, sorted. The removal of quickdraws from the bolt hole is just a simple reversal of the quickdraw application process.
I know this sounds pretty far fetched for such a simple looking device but it works and I think this would be really useful for setting up 3D climbs over cavern ceilings and the likes. I can feel the scepticism radiating from you, so I suggest you get over to the Trango site and see the video of it working for yourself.
Kong climbing equipment doesn’t tend to stick to the norm and the Kong Frog is a good example of this rule, it has been designed as a replacement for a quickdraw but looks nothing like a quickdraw.
The Frog stops thinking of securing the anchor with a hook device similar to a quickdraw and replaces it with a clamping device. Pressing the Frog on the anchor point makes the clamp spring open and secure on the eyelet. It’s as simple as that, no fumbling the catch, no fighting to push the hook through the loop, just press and go. The release mechanism is just as simple, squeeze the triggers and it comes away.
For all those traditionalists and naysayers already mounting up arguments against this device, I’ll just say that I doubt this is meant to replace your entire rack. My initial understanding is that due to the Frogs ease of use you’re only really going to need them for really tricky spots or crux moves. For example, the Frog could be handy if you have to reach out far for your next clip, it’ll save you fumbling and straining your fingers. You can save your energy for the rest of the climb.
I had a go of one of these and I can definitely say the locking mechanism is solid, putting your finger through the catch and it literally snaps such with minimal pressure and its going nowhere after that.
Compare the lock mechanism of the Frog to the superb Petzl Ange, a trusted name an established bit of gear the Ange has a tiny pin to close the unit. The Kong Frog as 2 considerable robust metal plates that slide past each other and lock into opposing sides of the clamp chassis, it is secure.
The Kong Frog is a little over the weight of a standard quickdraw at 130g, but I really doubt 2 or three of these would make a big difference to your climb, unless you’re used to only using full racks of Ange Finesse.
If anything it looks cool and having one of these as an ace up your sleeve is bound to keep the competition at bay. Why not check it out yourself.