Mud and scraggly snow covered the base of the at Flagstaff Mountain. Usually, this means a pad’s straps will get wet and, subsequently, so will my back when I carry the pad out. The Newton 4.0 solves this problem with their Omni-flap system, which protects the straps from snow and mud, creates a flush surface so the pad doesn’t get snagged while shuffling, and makes carrying additional pads easy. The 48” x 36” landing zone felt durable with its 4” of foam, and provided a good landing when I punted on the last move, 12 feet up the boulder. The pad also has the option for the Alpine Shoulder Straps and Waistbelt combination—a wider strap and more comfortable waistbelt setup that ameliorates carrying heavier loads for longer approaches.
See more of our top climbing gear picks in the Gear Guide 2019: Editors' Choice Awards, and for an interview with Black Diamond's climbing category director Kolin Powick.