Update, January 2009, new Gecko climbing skins first look and review.
Update, Jan 9:
Out today on a long tour (trip report coming). Fritz was on the Geckos. He walked over some rocks that would have been nothing for any other skin material, and tore the Geckos. We’re highly unimpressed with the durability of these guys. Shucks, I had high hopes…
|Torn Gecko climbing skin. If they just mixed some Kevlar in with the backing material they’d probably be fine. They’re thin and light, but that apparently = weak.|
|Today I tried out a different skin on each foot. Gecko glided super well, for what it’s worth. If you only tour with perfect snowcover, perhaps give them a go. I’ll pass for now, though knowing that a stronger backing material is probably all they need, I’ll be watching, as these things have potential.|
Climbing skins are as boring as snow tires. Years go by, and any changes or improvements are microscopic. Until now.
Went to the Sportler mountain shop in Kufstein just a few minutes ago, where Fritz is having a pair of Gecko “glueless” skins fitted to a pair of Dynafit 7 Summits skis.
I hope these things work. If they do, you will want some.
Impressions: They’re not exactly “glueless” as they do work with an odd adhesive. But instead of sticking to everything, they only stick to fairly smooth surfaces and do not stick to themselves. You can wad the skin up in a ball and it’s like wadding up a piece of fabric, not a piece of tape. More, these skins will not get mucked up with lint and pine needles. You can press them against your fleece jacket and they’ll come away clean. They’re light weight, and said to glide well.
Some reports have indicated durability problems, but we spoke to a core randonnee racer type guy at Sportler who said they’ve been working great for him, and he has something like 50,000 vertical meters on his already. (He said he didn’t use the Gecko for actual racing, as his special mohair race skins are quite customized.)
I hope this is a wow after we get out on them. Either way, you’ll know in a few days.