Product Review: Pongoose Climber 700

I was immediately drawn to PC700 after seeing tutorial videos, eagerly waiting for the product to be released so that I could order one. I did have a slight worry on the back of my mind that maybe it’s not as easy to use as it is shown, or that maybe its functionality is a little bit exaggerated. Thankfully, Ian and I were taking a trip to Dorset the following weekend so luckily for us, we had the Pongoose crew with us for our first experience, ready to show us the ropes (ha!) and answer any questions we may have had.

I get quite easily excited when I come across anything innovative, anything that makes your life easier – however, because of how easily excited I am, I get disappointed a lot. Things are often presented as more useful than they end up being, more aesthetically pleasing (food commercials anyone?), more simple. How many times you’d seen a lifehack that can only be one in the skilled hands of an expert? Not this time, though. As much as it took a little time to adjust to using Pongoose efficiently, it did everything it was promised to do. It also fits nicely at the side of a rucksack, or clipped to your harness when you are on the rock.

What is Pongoose?

A 3-in-1 clipping device that does more than you’d expect from a clipping device. Not only can you clip a quickdraw into a bolt, you can also clip the rope into a quickdraw, and – the most exciting part – remove a quickdraw on your way down. No more leaving your gear behind! Pongoose is sport climbing made safer, without being more complicated.

No no, what is it? What does Pongoose actually mean?

Katie’s sister came up with this name when she was little – she did not know what slugs were so she invented her own name for them. Hence the adorable twisted slug logo.

Who are these guys? Who do they work for?

Pongoose is a company run by a married couple, Katie and Rob Rendall, who are both climbers. They are based in Dorset, and often spend their time sport climbing on the Isle of Portland, including crags such as The Cuttings and Battleship. Right now it’s just the two of them – Rob responsible for assembling all the parts together, and Katie largely responsible for promotion, running their website and Facebook page, and organising demos at climbing venues across the country.

Hang on, I’m a boulderer, why should I care?

I’ll tell you why. You can replace the clipping attachment with a brush to reach those holds you can’t quite get past – up to three meters above! And, if you’re anything like me, and you love documenting your ascends, you can attach a GoPro, or pretty much any camera to the telescopic pole.

Why should I take your recommendation?

For one, I like climbing. And I appreciate devices aimed at making climbing more accessible. However, don’t think you ought to just rely on my opinion – many climbers across the country have aquired the PC700, including Steve McClure, Robbie Phillips and John Churcher.

What happens if I break something or lose a part?

Thankfully, you don’t need to buy the whole device again – just contact the Pongoose team to order the part you’re missing.

In conclusion…

If you like sport climbing, you should go ahead and order a Pongoose Climber, it’s a fantastic investment. You can push your grade by working the moves without being terrified of dangerous landings. You save money by never losing your gear to the rock. And you’d be investing into an independent company which actually cares about the climbing culture and those it affects.

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