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A couple of weeks ago I made my first climbing attempt of Mt Hood in northern Oregon. The weather conspired against us with snowstorms and 45 mph winds. It was planned to be a ski mountaineering trip. The plan was to skin as high as possible then don crampons and ice axes for the summit push. The descent would be skis from the top of the Hogsback to the base. While the weather wasn't our friend we still skinned our way up through the resort and had a good ski descent. Another attempt later this month will be likely. Here's my gear list for the trip. I err on the side of caution and may have carried a little more than others would.
- Columbia Compounder Jacket
- Outdoor Research Havoc Jacket
- Patagonia Powderkeg Pants
- Patagonia Midweight Capilene Top
- Patagonia Midweight Capilene Bottoms
- Stoic Inbounds Glove
- Black Diamond Powerstretch Fleece Gloves
- Patagonia R1 Balaclava
- Julbo Orbiter Goggles
Ski and Climbing Gear
- Black Diamond Kilowatt Skis
- Fritschi Freeride Plus Bindings
- Black Diamond Method Boots
- Black Diamond Ascension Skins
- Black Diamond Whippet Pole
- Black Diamond Traverse Pole
- Black Diamond Raven Pro Ice Axe
- Black Diamond Sabretooth Pro Crampons
- Backcountry Access Tracker DTS Beacon
- Voile T6 Tech Avalanche Shovel
- Black Diamond QuickDraw Guide Probe 300
- Petzl Ecrin Roc Helmet
- Petzl Reverso Belay Device
- Couple of shoulder length slings and locking carabiners
- Osprey Variant 37 Backpack
- Mountain Hardwear Phantom 32 Sleeping Bag
- Princeton Tec Remix Headlamp
- GSI Glacier Stainless Dualist Cookset
- MSR Pocket Rocket Stove
- Vapur Element Bottle
The highly versatile Outdoor Research Havoc Jacket is a jacket that could fit just about everyone's needs.
Outdoor Research Havoc Jacket Features
- Highly weather-resistant/breathable WINDSTOPPER® Insulated Shells fabric; taffeta lining
- PrimaLoft® ECO 60g insulation
- Fully adjustable hood
- Double-sliding front zipper with internal stormflap
- Zippered napoleon pocket; zippered internal chest pocket with media port
- Two zippered handwarmer pockets; one doubles as stuff sack
- Stretch binding on cuffs
- Dual drawcord hem adjustments
- Price: $224.95
Outdoor Research Havoc Jacket ReviewIn short, the Outdoor Research Havoc Jacket is one of the best jackets I own. It's lightweight, versatile, and extremely comfortable. Outdoor Research got so many things right with the Havoc. The lightweight Primaloft insulation is just enough to help take the chill off on chilly fall days and when paired with a nice mid-layer it's great for cold winter days. The Havoc packs down to be about the size of small loaf of bread so it won't take up much room in your pack. I was skeptical of the value on Windstopper on an insulated jacket. I'm sold though. I think the lightweight nature of the jacket would let the wind though. The combo of the insulation and the Windstopper gives the Havoc an edge on the cold. I couldn't believe how comfortable the Havoc is. I've worn it all day (literally all day) and I didn't get of of the typical annoyances you get with other jackets when you wear them all day. It's also at home just anywhere from keeping you warm on the chair, as a belay jacket, hiking, and camping (even works for biking around town in the winter time). A couple of notes on the hood: it's insulated, adjustable, can fit over a climbing helmet (but not a ski helmet), and it's non-removable. It also doesn't "stow away" at all. Hand warmer pockets are fleece-lined and roomy. Internal pocket does has a headphone port if you're into that sort of thing. The jacket stows in one of the hand pockets. The fit is nice as well. It does run "true to size". I'm 6 feet, 180 lbs, and the large fits me nicely. It does have room so if you wear a mid-layer (I've worn it with a fleece before) you won't be feeling squeezed. The Good
- No way to stow the hood
Bottom Line:Hands down the Outdoor Research Havoc Jacket is one of the best jackets I've owned. It's made it's way into my permanent collection. Buy Now: Pick up the Outdoor Research Havoc Jacket [gallery]... Read more...
I'm a versatile guy. I like to do a lot of different activities and I have a lot of different needs. I like packs that are versatile as well. Sure I have some dedicated use packs but for the most part I like a pack that can handle whatever I can throw at it. Enter the Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Backpack. It's an extremely versatile, medium-sized pack that will handle just about anything you can throw in it.
Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Backpack Features
- Independently adjustable dual density shoulder straps
- X-Frame Load Dispersion Suspension System
- Compression molded back panel with contoured lumbar support
- Shoulder strap attachment loop for Mountainsmith Camera cases
- Internal hydration bladder sleeve with exit port (bladder not included)
- Pivoting dual density waistbelt for optimal load transfer
- Side Compression straps reconfigure for vertical snowboard/snowshoe carry across Front Panel
- A-Frame and diagonal ski carry
- Trekking pole mounts
- Ice axe & tool loops
- Bottom panel compression straps
- Side panel accessory pockets
- Top mount compression strap for rope or accessory carry
- Front panel expandable sleeve/shovel pocket
- Expansion collar with draw cord closure for increased carry capacity
- Volume: 2,135 cu in (38 L)
- Extended Volume: 2,440 cu in (45 L)
- Fit Range: 17-22"
- Weight: 3 lbs 4 oz
- Price: $138.95
Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Backpack ReviewThe Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Backpack is a truly versatile pack. It is packed with enough features that you could do just about anything in it. It can handle day trips to the crag, weekend backpack trips, and it'd also do well on day long ski tours. It is laden (yes I just said laden) with enough features to do a bunch of things well. It is big enough that I was able to tuck away a small but full trad rack, a full sport rack, a couple harnesses, a couple pairs of shoes, helmet, guidebook, water, snacks, and the rope all in or on the pack. The top compression strap held the rope securely in place. It is a good sized pack for a weekend backpack trip. There is more than enough room for 3 season trips. It might do all right for an overnight four season trip, but I wasn't able to test that out yet. The main compartment is large and roomy so it's easy to get all your gear packed away. The Mayhem does feature an expandable collar so you can get an extra 300 cu. in. of room. Just about all packs can carry a bunch of stuff. For me it's the small details that set the Mayhem apart from others. Things that I love about the pack: the front expandable sleeve/shovel pocket. Great option for stashing wet gear or for holding layers without having to get into the pack. The top compression strap is ideal for carrying a rope or for securing oversized loads. The side compression straps reconfigure to carry skis or a board for winter time excursions. Mounts for carrying ice tools and trekking poles. Bottom compression straps for cinching down the load or fitting on extra gear. And there's plenty of daisy chain and other loops for lashing items on the outside. The Mayhem is highly adjustable. Mountainsmith included an adjustment guide stitched to the bottom of the lid to help you get things just right (also good for mid trail adjustments). The shoulder straps were comfortable for a few hours on the trail. I do wish the hip belt pads would have been just a little thicker and maybe and inch or two longer. The seam at the end of the pad sat just on the curve of my hip bones and became uncomfortable at the end of my second day on the trail. Also the way the harness system attaches behind the backpanel was a little bulky. This could have completely been user error, but on my last trip I had a bulge right on my shoulder blades (chances are it was user/adjustment error). With that said though, the Mayhem did a pretty good job of carrying heavier loads. The Mayhem is a good all around pack. It's not too heavy at it's base weight, it's a great size for a wide variety of activities, and it has enough features to make it versatile enough for just about anything you choose to throw at it. The Good
- Highly versatile
- Tons of features to help carry whatever you need
- Great Price
- Adjustment can take awhile
- Hip belt was a little thin and short for heavier/longer trips
- If you are concerned about your pack weight, it might be a little too heavy
Bottom Line:Looking for a versatile pack? Mountainsmith knocked it out of the park with this one. Buy Now: Pick up the Mountainsmith Mayhem 35 Backpack [gallery]... Read more...
There are a lot of considerations when picking out a pair of climbing shoes, but in the end it's what fits your foot and the style of climbing you want to do. If this is your first pair of shoes, check out my article "Climbing Shoes - Your First Pair" for some tips, but beyond that, here we go. I recently picked up a pair of Evolv Defy VTRs and honestly could not be happier with them. Having a wide toe box, I was really concerned when going to purchase a new pair of shoes that I was going to have the long and strenuous search like with hiking boots, but was pleasantly surprised when trying these on. Just like all climbing shoes, the fit is definitely snug, but there was no ankle dig issues, and the fit around the toes was not too bad. I definitely threw them off after every wall for a while, but after a couple weeks, grew pretty accustomed to them. Now they aren't a very aggressive shoe, but being somewhat new to climbing, I have yet to do a move yet where the shoes, not my technique, were the obstacle. They have also been quite durable. I've used them about 4-5 times a week over the last 4 months and outside of a very small rubber chunk out of the bottom of one shoe, they've held up quite well and there have been zero issues with any glued pieces. They are also 100% synthetic, so the overall shape of the shoe has not changed at all from the first day to my most recent climb. Now there is one big con to these shoes, and that is the stink factor. I prefer to climb without socks, (which may be the root cause), but they pretty much smell like they could kill small animals. I've done all the tricks, air them outside overnight, spray them down with Lysol and/or Odor Eaters, and even put them in the freezer overnight, and it kind of helps, but only temporarily. In the end, I would still totally recommend these shoes to any climber, new or experienced. Happy Climbing!...Read more...
Being new to climbing there are a lot of things that don't come naturally, and one of the biggest is the shoes. Climbing shoes aren't like slipping into the latest pair of Nikes or Adidas. They're going to feel tight, constricting and borderline painful at times, but in the end, they're totally worth it. If this is your first pair of shoes, find a local climbing store and physically try them on before jumping to a particular brand or model just because. The advice from a knowledgeable sales rep with climbing experience is totally worth the extra money you may spend over the latest Steep and Cheap deal or Amazon listing. Some key points to remember if these are your first pair of shoes is:
- The Fit: You want them to be snug, but not painful. A loose shoe may be more comfortable, but in the end, it is going to restrict your climbing. Remember, you're going up the wall, not down the trail, so don't get hung up on how they feel walking around in them.
- Leather or Synthetic: Leather shoes will stretch more than most synthetics so take that into account. Leather shoes will also do better in the stink department over most synthetics.
- Velcro, Slip-on or Shoestring: Velcro will be sturdier than a Slip-on and easier to get off and on than Shoestrings, but it's really all personal preference here.
- The Shape: The bigger the arch, the more painful they could feel to a new climber, so go with whatever feels the best for your foot and arch. However, as you progress, a higher arch will be a more aggressive shoe allowing for more technical moves with your feet, but start off with whatever feels the best.
- The Cost: Don't let the price be you're only influence. Get the shoe that's just right for your foot, not just your pocketbook.
- Shop Around: Don't be afraid to try on lots of shoes. Just like any other shoe...one may good, but that other pair may be even better.
- The Look: This sometimes drives decision making more than any other, so although you should like the look of what you're buying, performance is key, you should always try to choose function of fashion.
A couple years back an interesting story made its way around climbing Internet forums. In it, an experienced (relative to his partners) climber led a team of two others up the Shawangunks classic, High Exposure. High E is only a 5.6, but it’s a Gunks 5.6, which means it involves a roof of substantial size. Awkward in the extreme, the move past the roof has sent more than one unprepared follower into the ether. And let me tell you, that particular ether is immense. It’s not uncommon for the hapless second to end up dangling in mid air, unable to even touch the rock to resume climbing. Unfortunately, this particular leader rigged his second and third climbers in a cow-tail configuration. That means two followers on one rope, tied into the end 3-5 meters apart. The cow tail’s fatal flaw is that, if the last climber falls, he takes the second climber with him. It is as close to unavoidable as it’s possible to get, and this party was, of course, unable to avoid it. Even more unfortunately, the leader was belaying with a plaquette-style device, perhaps even an immensely popular Petzl Reverso 3 or Black Diamond ATC-Guide. He was unable to release it and lower his team to the ledge from which they started. Long story short... with the last climber out of reach of the wall, both of them hung in the air helpless as a two-inch trout, until some other brainiac attached the third climber to an intermediate anchor and instructed her to cut the rope. (Yes, cut the rope. Don’t even go there. That’s not the point of all this.) The point is, how many Reverso 3 and ATC-Guide users have actually tried to release a dangling follower -- under a full load with the climber hanging free in the air? I have a sawbuck that says very few.
|Petzl’s recommended release and lower method is difficult to accomplish under full load.|
|Redirect the sling and the brake, attach the sling to you, and then weight it fully to open the device wide. Keep your hand on the brake!|
Ever since having our first child my wife and I have been looking forward to taking her climbing. This summer was finally the summer that she was able to rope up for the first time. To get her going we bought a Petzl Kids' Ouistiti Harness The Ouistiti is the smallest in Petzl line of kids' climbing harnesses. Kids need a full body harness because their hip bone structure isn't defined enough for a regular harness (some will say it also isn't strong enough) and it helps keep them upright.
Petzl Kid's Ouistiti Harness Features
- Full-body design accommodates a child's body so they can climb safely
- Works for children from ages 4 to 9 years old who weigh less than 30 kg (around 66 lb), so one size fits all
- Safety: the adjustment buckles are located on the back of the harness and are out of reach of the wearer
- Bicolored webbing, black on the inside, color on the outside
- DoubleBack adjustment buckles
- Double chest tie-in point
- Price: $49.95
Petzl Kid's Ouisititi ReviewPetzl got many things right with this harness. They had to give it a lot of thought to help kids want to wear it and want to climb. For starters, it's made by Petzl so you know the quality is high. They moved all the buckles and adjustments to the rear of the harness to reduce kids playing with them. They made the leg loops padded to increase comfort. The colorful designs on the outside of the webbing keep it looking interesting for the kids. They even gave the storage bag a little shoulder strap so a kid could carry it. If your child is anything like mine, she was so stoked to be able to carry her own harness. My only complaint with the Ouistiti is adjustability. The only adjustments are up on the shoulders. My little girl is on the smaller end of the spectrum (about 35 lbs) and the harness is almost too big. As a result the leg loops were big on her and the straps that link the leg loops to the shoulder straps had a lot of slack in them. Legs loop adjustment and back strap adjustments would have made a better fit for her. However though, because everything is linked together, the harness still kept her safe. I gave her the "pick her up by the tie-in point and bounce her test" a few times and there was zero chance she could have slipped out. The big concern is getting the extra slack catching on the rock and getting stuck. Three-and-a-half year olds have a bit of a hard time facing the wall when being lowered or falling. The Good
- Harness made to get the wee ones on the rock
- Little details to keep the kids excited
- Low adjustability
Bottom Line:We are stoked to get our kids out on the rock and we want them to be safe. Petzl made a high-quality harness with the Ouistiti Kid's Harness to will keep them safe from the little years to the bigger years. You can't go wrong with the Ouistiti. Buy Now: Pick up the Petzl Kid's Ouistiti Harness and get your little climbing.... Read more...
When I was in the market for a new rope I wanted something lighter in weight than the 10.2mm x 60m rope I was using, it had to work for both sport and trad routes, and it had to last a long time. After researching I chose the Edelweiss Laser Arc Climbing Rope - 9.6mm. Edelweiss is a known and trusted name in the climbing community and has a good reputation. The Laser Arc fit everything I was looking for and threw in a couple things I didn't know I wanted.
Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope Features
- Thickness: 9.6mm
- Type: Single Rope
- Length: 60m and 70m
- Dry: Yes
- Sheath Construction: Double-pick
- Impact Force: ~8kN (with 80kg)
- Elongation: 7.5%
- Center Mark: Yes
- Falls: 6
- Recommended Use: Sport, Alpine
- Weight: 61g/m
- Price: $250
Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope ReviewMy experience with the Laser Arc 9.6 has been extremely good. I've been using the rope for a few years and it is still running strong. I've used it from sport redpoints, to top-roping with the family, to long, multi-pitch trad routes. It honestly has excelled in every situation. My absolute favorite feature is the bi-pattern on the rope. This wasn't a requirement when I bought the rope, but it will be for every rope I buy in the future. It takes all the guesswork out of finding the middle. No more scanning the rope for the mark you colored with a marker. I had full confidence on every rappel and it was super handy on long multi-pitch routes for gauging distance. I thought that 9.6 might be a little skinny and it wouldn't hold up. After a few years of use it's starting to show some where and tear. It has taken some big falls, it's rubbed against thousands of feet of granite, limestone, dolostone, and many others, and it is still in good shape. I wish I would have purchased the 70m to get the extra distance for longer sport routes. 60m has been long enough though for just about everything I've done. There's been a couple of instances where we had to really stretch the rope to get it long enough and one time about 5 feet of downclimbing was required. If you plan on doing a lot of top-roping, get a thicker rope. The Good
- Long-life (well, I've experienced long life with it)
- Good all-around rope
- Too thin if you want to do a lot of top-roping
Bottom Line:You really can't go wrong with the Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope. It you want a good all-around climbing rope, go with the Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6 Climbing Rope. Buy Now: Pick up the Edelweiss Laser Arc 9.6mm Climbing Rope ... Read more...
Outdoor Research boasts that their products are "designed by adventure," and after a summer of using the Helium Jacket, I'd completely agree. Though I didn't climb nearly as much as I normally would this summer, I certainly had several great opportunities to test out the waterproof qualities of jackets- between living on the Oregon coast and my recent move to Alaska, I've had more than my fair share of rain. For my hiking adventures in both Oregon and Alaska, I always had my Outdoor Research Helium Jacket stowed away in the bottom of my pack. Super lightweight and stripped down, the Helium is the perfect addition to the mandatory "oh S*!t" kit for backpacking, hiking and climbing. So light that you don't notice its there until you see the clouds rolling up, the Helium keeps you dry and warm as you finish out that last pitch, get your tent set up, or hike those last few miles back to your car.
Outdoor Research Helium Jacket Features
- Ultralight Pertex Shell Material
- Fully Seam Taped
- Single drawcord hood and hem adjustments
- Small exterior chest pocket
- Stow pocket at side hem, with an added webbing loop for clipping to harnesses, packs, or wherever you need to store it
- Price = $140
Outdoor Research Helium Jacket ReviewThroughout the summer, I had multitudes of opportunities to grab my Helium out of my pack, and throw it on quickly to escape the rain and suddenly plummeting temps. From hiking to backpacking to kayaking, my Outdoor Research Helium Jacket saw a lot of use. The first chance I really got to use my Helium was actually while I was on a kayaking trip- started out beautiful, and then began pouring a few hours into the excursion. Now, I realize that you're supposed to get wet during water-bound adventures, but I didn't relish in the idea of a soggy top half in addition to my already soggy bottom half, so I grabbed my OR Helium out of my dry bag and tossed it on. I loved how lightweight the shell was while still providing great protection from the elements. Since moving to Alaska, I've been out on some great hikes in the Girdwood and Portage areas, and each time I pack up to head out the door, I make sure my Helium is still stuffed down at the bottom of my daypack. When compressed, it is about the size of my fist, and takes up essentially no space. As I get back into rock climbing up here in AK, I am excited to clip this little guy onto my harness. At 6.8oz, it's certainly not going to add any noticeable amount of weight, but will definitely be the difference between a "happy Claire" and a "miserable Claire" when I'm belaying for that last pitch and the clouds that have been threatening to open up all day finally do. The Good
- I love the stow pocket. No more extra stuff sacks to keep track of (or in my case, to lose).
- Webbing loop for clipping to harness. Really, OR thought of everything!
- Helium is a bit longer than your average shell, which is great when you want to toss this on hiking or climbing- it fits under your harness or your pack belt, so it won't ride up. That extra length allows it to stay put no matter what kind of movement you've got going on.
- While I'm normally a fan of velcro closures on sleeves, the Helium has only elastic. I was concerned at first, but after wearing it for a bit, the elastic-only design grew on me, allowing me the freedom to reach up high without getting stuck in the sleeve of my jacket.
- I am a sucker for pockets. I like something to do with my hands, or some place to put them when they're cold. The Helium has one chest pocket, but no place for my hands during those cold belay transitions or snack stops on the trail.
Buy NowOutdoor Research Helium Jacket... Read more...
When Metolius introduced its Safe-Tech harnesses they were the first and only such harnesses of their kind. They were born of a simple idea -- make sure that every point possible to clip or tie into is bomb proof! Safe Tech did something no other harness did: it protected the wearer from the full range of stupid harness mistakes. Forget to double back your buckle? We got your back. Clip into a leg-loop keeper strap? You’re dumber than a bag of hair, but still, we got your back. In fact, anyplace you can clip on a Safe-Tech harness is STRONG. You may be a bit uncomfortable, but you’ll live to enjoy it. You might think that, years later, the game would be different and every harness out there would be so forgiving. And yet, Safe Tech is still unique in the harness world. Such unparalleled safety consciousness, however, is not the reason I wear a Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe today.
Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe FeaturesThat it sits firmly atop the heap when it comes to protecting me from a hypothermic fit of dehydrated brain farting is not the Safe-Tech Deluxe’s only redeeming quality. There’s so much more:
- Engineered to provide every possible extra margin of safety
- Wherever possible, each component is engineered to withstand a load of 10 kN. * 2250 lbf (10 kN) Spectra gear loops * 3600 lbf (16 kN) Spectra rope locator * 3600 lbf (16 kN) rear haul loop * 1500 lbf (6.6 kN) leg loop elastic
- Two belay/rappel loops make setting up for rapples and multi-pitch belays easier*
- Reinforced, Long-wearing tie-in point*
- 3-D adjustable-rise system assures the perfect fit
- Shaped 3/8" foam provides maximum support to the lower back
|The author hanging around in a Safe Tech. Photo: W. Young|
Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe ReviewI’m almost as worried about accidentally tying into a gear loop as I am accidentally onsighting 5.15. Still, that’s sort of the reason I bought my first Safe-Tech harness over six years ago. I was setting a lot of routes in the local gym, and my preferred method of carrying holds from point A to point B was via 5-gallon bucket clipped to a gear loop. I was plagued by the notion that one might break and, perhaps, send a 20-lbs. bucket of plastic -- Wile E. Coyote style -- right onto some hapless child’s head. There are three main reasons I keep on buying them. The Good
- I don’t have a typical climber’s body, which puts me somewhat at the mercy of harness designers. 3-D allows me to customize all the usual suspects plus the harness’ rise -- the vertical distance between the swami and leg loops.
- Shy of a big-wall harness, the Safe-Tech Deluxe is the king of low-back support.
- I have -- once or twice -- failed to double back my buckle before my partner caught it. Should I actually manage to leave the ground without the double pass, this buckle will still hold 10kN, which is more than most ropes’ impact-force ratings.
- I don't set in a gym anymore, but I do spend quite a bit of time equipping new routes and re-equipping old ones. With a Bosch, tools and a sack of steel hanging from the 10kN gear loop on my hip, I can swing around all day and never have to worry about it breaking.
- I don’t need two belay loops, but it’s easy enough to clip them as one.
Bottom Line:The Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe is not just comfortable and safe. It’s more comfortable and more safe than any other harness in its class. So, if safety and comfort are your things, slip into a Metolius Safe-Tech Deluxe! If you can’t get it to fit you perfectly, well, it’s probably your fault, not the harness’. ... Read more...
I've wanted a super lightweight insulated jacket for a number of years now, but I never pulled the trigger until recently. I needed a jacket and threw down for the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover. The Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover is light in weight, small when packed, but packs a big warmth punch. As soon as I put it on I knew I made the right decision.
Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover Features
- Ultralight ripstop recycled polyester face fabric with Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Lightweight 60-g PrimaLoft® One polyester insulation provides excellent warmth and compressibility
- Deep center-front zipper allows for easy ventilation
- Stuffs into a self-storage left chest pocket with reinforced carabiner clip-in loop
- Elasticized cuff and hem seal out wind and trap in warmth
- Shell: 1-oz 15-denier 100% recycled polyester. Insulation: 60-g PrimaLoft® One polyester. Lining: 1.4-oz 22-denier 100% recycled polyester. Shell and lining have a Deluge® DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Recyclable through the Common Threads Recycling Program
- Weight: 289 g (10.2 oz)
- Price: $150
Patagonia Men's Nano Puff Pullover ReviewI like Patagonia, their products are hard to beat in terms of durability, quality, and function. The Nano Puff Pullover is no exception. I got the jacket for cool summer nights, camping, and ski tours. So far I've only been able to test on cool summer nights, camping, and other mountain evenings that run passed sundown. I love this jacket. It provides just enough insulation to keep you comfortable when it gets cool. I just may be stating the obvious but the jacket isn't meant as a stand alone insulation piece when it gets bitter cold. It'll be a great mid-layer insulation piece paired with a shell when temps plummet. I love the fit of the jacket. I'm 6'0" tall and about 180 lbs. I do have a positive ape index (arm span longer than your height). My ape index measures almost 6'4". Usually I have to buy XL jackets to get sleeves that don't pull up over my wrists when I put my arms by my side, reach out, or reach over my head. I bought the Nano Puff Pullover in a size large and the fit is perfect! It gives me enough room around the chest and torso to move without restriction and the length comes down to just past my waist. The arms are perfect! When extending or reaching over my head the sleeves don't pull up over my wrists. The Nano Puff Pullover is surprisingly lightweight and packs down about the size of a small melon (see the photo to the right). Just small enough to throw into your pack for any outing. Or it can be clipped to the outside of your pack with the sewn carabiner loop. The Nano Puff does feature a Deluge DWR coating to provide some moisture protection in light rain/snowfall. The Pullover doesn't have handpockets. It was made to be a lightweight piece. Handpockets didn't make the cut. Given how I'll use this jacket I'm fine with it, but a lot of people will want handpockets. The chest pocket is roomy and can accomodate keys, wallet, and phone if necessary. I have the Nano Puff in the pullover, there are options for the Nano Puff Jacket and the Nano Puff Hoody. I want the hoody and will probably pick it up this fall. The Good
- Strong warmth-to-weight ratio
- Perfect for 3 season stand alone use
- Patagonia craftsmanship
- If you don't like pullovers this model isn't for you
- The nylon inside sticks to your bare skin if things get a little sweaty
- No handpockets
Bottom Line:The Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover is a great choice for a lightweight, 3 season insulation layer. It's well constructed and will last through serious use and abuse. Buy Now: Pick up the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover ... Read more...
|A single factor-2 fall was harsh enough to produce core shots. The damage seen above was in the clove hitch near the belayer's end of the rope, which he had used to attach himself to the anchor. Photo courtesy of Rockclimbing.com user, "Sittingduck."|
- Leave your thin cord on the ground!
- Test your belay device on your rope of choice. Says Rich Goldstone: “If you can't do a single-strand free-hanging rappel comfortably, you'll never control a high-factor fall.”
- Buy a belay device with a grooved brake side, but be aware that according to knowledgeable and concerned sources, with a thin rope such a device still might not be enough of an edge. You may also be able to add friction to the system simply by adding a second belay ‘biner. Consider also buying a locking-assist device, such as a Mammut Smart. (But be aware that such devices are not automatically the best answer. They take a lot of practice to use well, and they tend to add impact force in a fall.)
- Wear gloves. In Goldstone’s opinion, “Gloves are in the same category as helmets.” Not everybody wears them, but everybody should.
- A guide hand is wasted in a hard fall. When belaying a leader who’s in a position to pitch bigtime, keep both hands on the brake whenever possible.
- When leading out on multi-pitch climbs always always always clip your first piece of protection before leaving the relative safety of the anchor. If possible, continue to protect often low on the pitch.
- If you believe a hard fall is likely, consider positioning the belayer several feet below the anchor, and then clipping the anchor as the first piece of protection. This shortens the potential fall relative to the amount of rope in the system and lowers the fall factor. (See photo at right.)
|Fall-factor 2 potential? CHECK. John Wesely races for the Hudson River Railroad on Grand Central, the Nears, Shawangunks, NY. Photo: © Greg Burns.|
Have you read Rope Thickness and Belay Devices, Part One? When ropes first began to really thin out, I purchased one that clocked in at a previously unheard of 9.4 millimeters. On its maiden voyage, I led out on the second pitch of something or other and placed a bomber mid-sized cam right off the belay. A few feet later I got something similarly solid, and shortly after that -- just below the crux -- I clipped a bolt. I was around 30 feet out from the belay with excellent protection, but that’s still not a lot of rope. Juggy holds were in short supply, slopers seemed more the norm, and soon, I was airborne. The fall was short by climbing standards, maybe six feet, but my wife, who was belaying with a (since discontinued) first-generation Petzl Reverso held the fall only with a maximum amount of effort. To this day, she reports being barely able to hold that small fall. She had both hands on the brake, and that alone probably saved my life. Do the math: six feet of fall divided by 30 feet of rope equals a fall factor of only 0.2. Had I fallen but a few feet higher, I might not be here to tell the tale. Had that fall been of a much higher factor, say with only the first piece off the belay -- or none -- I certainly would be talus food right now. It’s important to note that, with the knowledge of the time, we did everything right.
|Fall factor is the length of the fall before rope stretch (20 feet in the above diagram) divided by the amount of rope in the system (10 feet). This is the hardest fall possible on the least amount of energy-absorbing rope... and you and your belay device (not to mention the climber) might be left holding the bag.|
A few years back I reviewed a 9.2-mm rope for another website. It left me grinning from ear to ear as I put the poor thing through the proverbial ringer, especially when I beat it senseless on my project du jour, a steep, single-pitch trad climb with a high crux that offered gear at my feet. I pitched over and over again as I tried in vain to work out the sequence, and through it all, that skinny little rope was my faithful companion. My belayer arrested each and every fall effortlessly. That day, however, might have had a horrible ending if the circumstances had been different. Make that climb a multi-pitch route with a crux right off a high belay; make it poorly protected to achieve a high fall factor, too, and an easy catch on the part of the belayer is no longer a foregone conclusion. Slap an old-school belay device -- one not grooved specifically for additional friction -- into the equation, and the result may be more grim than many of us would care to think. When and why did ropes get so thin?
|A 9.4-mm cord next to a 10.4. Though there isn't much of a difference visually, in terms of friction, the divide may be vast.|
|Older tech on the left and newer on the right. Note the notches in the right-side devices. The intent there is to add friction to your catch. Though whether those notches are enough to catch a hard fall with a thin cord is at issue, it's fair to say that the older devices are not, all by their lonesome, up to the task.|
At the start of pretty near every climbing season, I face a dilemma: which climbing shoes to buy. When I first began climbing in the late eighties, the choice was easy. There were only a few pairs of climbing shoes on the market and they were all fairly similar. They were all high tops. They were all lace ups. They were all stiff as boards and none of them were all that sticky by today’s rubber standards. Now, there are literally hundreds of shoes from which to pick, and the choice is, shall we say, complicated. Standing in front of the shoe display at my local climbing shop, it seems so daunting. Lace up, Velcro or slipper? Soft or stiff? Cambered or not? Slingshot rand? What type of climbing do I mostly do? Fit (which is the single most important factor in a shoe choice) aside, which is the right shoe for me? Given the uncertainty surrounding new climbing shoes and how they’ll work for me, is it any wonder that, year in and year out, I pick the same make and model? Over and over again, I pick the Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym.
Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym FeaturesAs climbing shoes go, the Moccasym is refreshingly simple, and none of its features are high tech. Five.Ten hit on a winning formula with this one. There’s just no good reason to change them!
- Unlined leather upper
- Soft and supple Stealth C4 sole
- Slingshot rand
Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym ReviewThe Good
- Stealth C4 rubber is, in my opinion, stickier than a murder charge on Charles Manson. Even later versions of Five.Ten rubber do not perform as well.
- The sole under the Anasazi Moccasym is softer than a new-born puppy. This means sensitivity and gripability (the ability to grasp foot holds with your toes, much like a monkey) are high. This softness also enables the Anasazi Moccasym to deform to rock irregularities and smear like a champ.
- Easy on, easy off: granted, this goes for any slipper, but I’ll mention it anyway, because it’s such a huge factor in my decision to keep buying them. I remove them at every opportunity -- no fuss, no muss -- even when hanging at multi-pitch anchors. I suppose a “comfortable” shoe would suffice, but what’s more comfy than bare feet?
- The Moccasym’s low toe profile also makes it a surprise winner for crack climbing, especially thin cracks.
- Unlined leather stretches, which makes the Moccasym difficult to size. What’s more, the larger the shoe, the more unlined leather it has and the more it stretches. I figured my sizing out early on, so I’m set, but given that this shoe could stretch the equivalent of a full size... or less... or more... a correct size first try isn’t a foregone conclusion. You won’t know if you got it really right, until after a break-in period.
- Unfortunately, the soft sole under the Anasazi Moccasym also makes it difficult to dial in miniscule edges on slabs, which require you to place most of your weight on tiny features. Along these same lines, it takes a strong-footed, precise climber to really make use of something so soft. This is not a good beginner shoe.
Bottom Line:Five.Ten’s Anasazi Moccasym has been around longer than almost any other model of shoe I can name, and there’s a reason why it’s the best-selling slipper of all time. I dread the day they discontinue this model -- a day I might also consider quitting climbing. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll just buy enough pairs to last the rest of my life! Buy Now: Pick up the Five.Ten Anasazi Moccasym and find out why so many people before you did the same. ... Read more...
Approach shoes are as important to a climber as pumps are to Imelda Marcos. We spend quite enough time torturing our poor feet on the rock. We don’t need to do it on the trail, too. Besides, I do more in my approach shoes than simply walk to and from cliffs. My approach shoes typically become my around-town, gym, running and biking shoes, as well. I’ve felt the agony of approach shoes that help me climb like Lynn Hill, but walk on trails like Steven Hawking, and vice versa. Thankfully, I’ve also experienced the joy of approach shoes that do both well. Double thankfully, I’m wearing a pair right now, the Escapist from Evolv.
Evolv Escapist FeaturesThe Escaspist brings a host of shoe tech to the table, not the least of which is Evolv’s TRAX®-HTK rubber, one of the stickiest around. (Bullet List of Features)
- Board-based, K-TR1 trail running last
- Tapered and molded PU with EVA inlay at heel
- TRAX®-HTK rubber / Approach outsole with edging zone
- Synthetic mesh upper with nylon webbing
- Nylon mesh lining
Evolv Escapist ReviewJudging by the number of models out there that got it wrong, apparently it’s difficult to achieve just the right mix of stiffness and flexibility in an approach shoe. I don’t need to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail in mine, but I do need enough support not to bruise my tender tootsies before I even arrive at the crag. Likewise, I don’t need to onsight 5.12 in my approach shoes, but I’d like to be able to guide a full day of moderate rock climbing in them without fearing for my life. I guess that means what’s under my foot is more important to me than what’s around and on top of it, and what’s under the Escapist is dreamy. The Good
- Just the right mix of midsole and outsole help the Escapist perform well as a hybrid shoe, whether walking over baseball-sized scree, ankle-eating talus and unroped fourth-class nightmares or climbing moderate technical terrain.
- The Escapist smears as well as as it edges. It’s dismaying how many approach shoes I’ve worn only do one or the other well.
- They’re sort of metallic and shiny. I know, superficial, right? Well, spend a sunny summer day in a pair of dark shoes and see what you prefer.
- The entire shoe is synthetic, which makes vegetarians happy!
- There was a definite breaking in period for my EEE feet, during which my toes went numb a couple times. If I wear a thick sock, they’re still a wee bit too tight around the toes. While these will be great all summer and fall long, I’ll have to shelve them in colder temps.
- The speed lacing (“for quick on and off”), has a distinct lack of friction, so I’ve defaulted to double knots while wearing these.
Bottom Line:The Evolv Escapist< came along at just the right time, when my old approach shoes reached the end of their long, happy, filthy, stinky lives. I’m predicting more of the same with my newest kicks, though I’ll certainly need something else come winter. Buy Now: Slip into a pair of Evolv Escapists and get your feet on your side for those grueling -- and not-so-grueling -- approaches.... Read more...
The evolution of the carabiner is remarkable in its scope. Hold a clunky steel round-stock oval of yesteryear in one hand and a modern ultra-light ‘biner of today in the other, and the difference will make your brain boil. Changes, not only in carabiner design, but also in manufacturing techniques, have left us with something far different than its grandfather. The Wild Country Helium, for example, sits at the very apex of the evolutionary arc.
Wild Country Helium FeaturesThe Helium brings to bear a host of advances in one carabiner, but leaves a few others behind. One trend they dropped -- thankfully -- is that of shaving weight by making carabiners smaller. Wild Country certainly picked and chose its features carefully, and the result is something outstanding.
- Clean-wire nose
- Hot forging
- I-beam back
- High strength, full size and yet still superlight
- Flatwire gate
- Individually Tested to 10kN
Wild Country Helium ReviewI use Wild Country Heliums primarily on Quickdraws and runners (for bolts and traditional protection) for a host of reasons. First up, at only 33 grams, these suckers are light. Sure, they’re big boned compared to, say, Metolius’ FS Mini or C.A.M.P.’s Nano, but 33 grams isn’t exactly an albatross either. Plus, Helium has a few assets those others don’t, which more than make up for the extra ten paper clips. The Good
- The Helium is full sized, which makes it easier to work with, especially gloved, than the handful of lightest ‘biners on the market, which all shaved size to save weight. Instead, the Helium relies on its I-beam construction and Flatwire gate to lessen the amount of metal and create one of the strongest non-lockers available.
- The Helium has a whopping 10kN gate-open strength, which, along with only a few other models available, is the highest you’ll currently find. It’s not uncommon to see carabiners with as low as 7kN in that department, which is actually an achievable force in a hard fall. In addition, every single Helium was individually tested to 10kN. Talk about piece of mind.
- The Helium’s Clean-wire nose makes it easier to clip and unclip virtually everything from the Helium, including and especially bolt hangers when cleaning all those forearm-exploding steep rigs.
- The Helium’s sling-side basket is a bit on the small side, so anything other than a skinny Dyneema dogbone seems to rest less than optimally away from the spine. It may be best to stick with skinny bones on these, such as those that come with the Helium quickdraw set.
Bottom Line:Years ago I crashed at a friend’s house while traveling the western U.S. on a snowboarding trip. Said friend lamented that she had no time to climb anymore (I know -- nuts, right!?), but that she had just recently received 12 Helium quickdraws for X-mas. Maybe, she mused, she could Ebay them. “I’ll give you $100 for all of them right now!” I blurted and the deal was done. One Helium quickdraw retails for $25.50, but even had I paid full price, I would still consider it one of the best climbing purchases I’ve ever made. Buy Now: I can make a dozen phone calls right now and find a dozen people who love Heliums. I can’t find one who doesn’t. Rack up with a mess o’ Wild Country Heliums and you won’t regret it. ... Read more...
As key wilderness areas are coming under attack from both development and over-use, it's great to see companies, like Metolius, committed to protecting these beautiful playgrounds for generations to come. As a part of this effort, Metolius announced their continued commitment to The Access Fund for maintaining and protecting climbing routes for all disciplines of climbing. It is a dual-pronged awareness and funds matching approach through the sale of Metolius Master Cams. See below for details.
BEND, ORE. – Metolius, a brand synonymous with quality and innovation in rock climbing gear and hardware, will team up with the Access Fund in 2010 to help protect threatened climbing areas from development and maintain access to multi-recreational areas. The Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign (AFLCC) is the first-ever multimillion-dollar revolving loan program that provides local climbing organizations and other agencies with the funds and expertise needed to act quickly to save threatened climbing areas. Metolius has earned a well-deserved reputation as a leading manufacturer and designer of quality and innovative climbing equipment that is Safer by Design™. Metolius will leverage this rock solid reputation in support of the Access Fund in 2010 through an innovative retail program to help create awareness for the Access Fund and its new Land Acquisition Program. By partnering with the Access Fund, Metolius expands its commitment to environmental preservation of recreation areas for current and future generations. “Metolius has been an Access Fund Corporate Partner since our inception in 1991. Their support has been invaluable in our growth and has helped create programs like Adopt a Crag and TeamWorks that bring climbers together to take care of climbing areas across the country. Without companies like Metolius being part of our Corporate Partner Program, the Access Fund would not be in the position we are today. The many outdoor industry companies that support us help make our work possible,” said Jason Smith, Development Director with the Access Fund. The campaign kicked off in January 2010 and involves a two-pronged approach to concurrently raise awareness and funds through the sale of Metolius’ Master Cams. Program one includes a co-branded Access Fund / Metolius hangtag to be secured to each and every Master Cam for sale at retail. The hangtag will introduce the Access Fund and briefly explain the new loan program. The second component is an exclusive offer available only through Metolius’ website (www.metoliusclimbing.com). Customers purchasing Master Cams are given the option to donate a dollar or more to the cause. Metolius will then match any donation with a $1 contribution in support of the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign. As a group of climbers who are passionate about protecting the environment and its recreational areas in which we all work and play, Metolius identifies this program as an opportunity to leverage their brand to promote the importance of access to the American climbing community. Due to private land pressures, access is the single greatest challenge facing the climbing world and its vertical environments. “Metolius is very excited to see this incredible new loan program implemented in the coming months, it will make a real difference to climbers around the country!” said Brooke Sandahl, Vice President, Metolius Climbing. Access Fund revenues have always been allocated to the acquisition and protection of threatened climbing areas, but the new AFLCC program will expand on this function by empowering local climbing organizations with the resources to dispute anti-climbing landowners and developers. About Metolius Founded in 1983 near the headwaters of the Metolius River, Metolius equipment was born out of respect for rock climbing. Metolius has since built a solid reputation as a leading designer and manufacturer of performance rock climbing equipment that is Safer by Design. Metolius has always focused on new and innovative rock climbing gear while ensuring the highest quality available. They’ve built a strong reputation as an innovator in the design of cutting-edge rock climbing gear. Metolius is proud to be able to claim innovations in just about every category of rock climbing gear from traditional, sport, bouldering and big wall/technical alpine. Metolius also works to educate others to preserve the environment and the climbing lifestyle. For more information, visit www.metoliusclimbing.com. About the Access Fund Since 1991, the Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. The Access Fund supports and represents over 1.6 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and bouldering. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, and education. For more information visit www.accessfund.org.... Read more...
If you're into mountaineering, you've participated in a "plastics vs. leathers" boot discussion at some point in your life. We all know the advantages of plastics- warmer, stiffer. Yet, they're about as uncomfortable as boots come. Leathers, on the other hand, are certainly more comfortable, yet in the past, don't provide quite the warmth that a pair of plastics can offer you. My Lowa Women's Mountain Expert GTX Boots throw that argument right to the wind. They're incredibly warm, and yet still fairly comfortable! I've taken my Lowa's with me to a variety of places, and have never been disappointed. From ice climbing in Ouray, CO to yurt construction in the Tobacco Roots, MT with the boys from Montana Backcountry Adventures, to a winter ascent of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, CO, my Mountain Experts GTX boots have been with me, keeping my feet warm and providing a technically sound boot.
Women's Mountain Expert GTX Boot- The Good
- Primaloft Insulation- These boots are warm! Warmest leather boot I've worn.
- Rubber randing at toe and heel allows for automatic crampons to clip right on. No need for strap crampons. Sounds odd, but other than the La Sportiva Nepals (which don't really fit my feet), I've had a tough time finding a leather boot that is automatic crampon compatible. Definitely my favorite feature on the boots, since all my crampons are autos.
- Gore Tex keeps your feet dry- After wearing my boots for 12+ hours traipsing through waist deep powder out in the Tobacco Roots in December, when we all returned to the car, I was the only one with dry tootsies. It was amazing!
- Lacing system- The boots lace like normal boots, except at the top, where there is a square shaped knob that sticks out from the tongue (see the pictures for a better visualization). This knob allows you to wrap the laces around, and really get some good torque on the top of the boots, and keeps them from coming undone. I like this because it allows me to keep the bottom of the boots laced a bit looser, and still keep the top part nice and tight. Keeps my circulation going!
- Tongue- Lowa's attention to detail in the tongue construction really pays off. The different fabrics and thickness are in just the right places to allow for ultimate flex with minimal effort or discomfort.
- Price = $350. For an insulated, Gore Tex leather mountaineering boot, they're priced fairly competitively.
Women's Mountain Expert GTX Boot- The Bad
- The "break in" time for these boots is a bit long. It took me several miles of trails and several feet of climbing before I felt like they were really molded to my feet. However, I think this is probably due to the stiffer construction of the boot, which is incredible for control when you need precise movements in bigger boots. So, I'm still psyched. Just be aware when you get them- you're going to want to purchase them well before a big expedition you've got planned, so you can really give the boots the time to get in sync with your feet!
OverallA great leather boot with automatic crampon capability. Fits well, stays dry and keeps you warm. Just be sure to give yourself time to break them in!
Buy Now!Lowa Women's Mountain Expert GTX Boots... Read more...
At this summer's Outdoor Retailer Show in July, I had the opportunity to meet with a lot of companies to discuss some of their sweet new products, including Five Ten's Women's Guide Tennie, Keen's Commuter Shoes, several Jetboil products, and a whole host of new dog gear from RuffWear. One of the companies I was also fortunate enough to spend some time with was Mountain Khaki, based out of Jackson Hole Wyoming. I have been a fan of MK products for year, but have never been able to fit into their amazing "Utility Pants." Until 2 years ago, the women's version of the pant was a shrunken version of the men's, with wider hips. I loved how durable these pants seemed, and how easily my guy friends could wear them for an all day crack climbing-palooza, and then head straight out for food and drinks afterwords without needing to think twice about it. However, try as I might, I could not make a pair of the pants fit me. The smallest size was miles too big, and it looked like I had a box around my hips. I eventually gave up on my quest for a perfect pair of Mountain Khakis. Then! 2 years ago, MK designers completely re-engineered their Women's line, and someone was doing their homework this time! The pants now fit perfectly! Length, rise, everything. The Women's Alpine Pant (the female version of the Utility Pant) was now officially the most rad pair of pants I'd ever seen, and they fit me. "Built for the Mountain Life," as Mountain Khaki describes their product, these pants are definitely my "go-to" pair, for climbing, hiking and everyday wear as well.
Reasons Why I Love My Mountain Khakis
- Mountain Khaki is a member of "1% for the planet," which in turn distributed MKs donations to the Snake River Fund, The Access Fund, and The Grand Teton National Park Foundation, among other places.
- They come pre-shrunk! Or, as the industry calls it, "garment washed" for "minimal shrinkage." Nice, so you know that you're not going to need new pants after the first time you toss them in the dryer.
- Comes in both regular (31 inch) and long (34 inch) inseams.
- >Reinforced hem- in the back portion of the pants, where your heel is, MK has doubled the thickness of the fabric, so you don't shred the heel if it happens to get stuck under your shoe occasionally.
- >Comfortable, durable pants that have some decent shape to them. Really, need I say more?
This past weekend, I headed down to Moab for my last multi-sport weekend before it gets way too hot down there. I grabbed my climbing gear and my road bike and headed south with the intention of some cragging on Potash Road and a ride through Canyonlands National Park. After a sweet day of biking, my partner in adventure suggested something a bit more exciting than the Potash crag- Ancient Arts, a well-known tower in the Fisher Towers area outside Moab. Looking at my gear, I was never so happy to see my “Oh S#!t” kit packed inside my duffel. This little orange stuff sack and its contents come with me EVERYWHERE, including on multipitch climbs. Knowing that I had my little kit with me, I transitioned my day from a day at the crag to my first day of desert tower climbing. I thought I’d offer you some insight into what I bring with me any time I go outside, and why I chose the products I do. Much like the Boy Scouts “10 essentials,” this kit is what I consider my essentials any time I go outside. Do I use every part every time? Nope. Have I been SUPER psyched to have it with me on a few specific occasions? Absolutely. For all the products that our vendors carry, I’ve included a link to a more detailed review. Be sure to give it a click and check out specifics for each product. 1. Granite Gear Air Bag: Keeps all the below items with me! Lightest stuff sack I've been able to find that is still durable. 2. Purell Hand Sanitizer Wipes: Like carrying hand sanitizer with you, but with the added bonus of it being in wipe form, and no danger of it exploding all over your stuff if you change altitudes. Sanitize your hands and wipe off grime at the same time. 3. Coppertone Kids SPF 30 Stick Sunscreen: Wear sunscreen (anyone else remember that sweet song!?). To avoid getting it all over your hands before a climb, I'd use a stick form, and my fav is Coppertone Kids. It's waterproof and lasts for 6 hours. 4. Adventure Medical HeatSheet Emergency Bivvy: Super compact, and keeps you warm in a pinch. 5. Leatherman Juice Xe6 Multitool: 18 tools in one, including 1 straight knife, 1 serrated knife, screwdrivers and pliers. Great for unlocking frozen 'biners, severing cord, chopping up dinner or opening the post-climb celebratory beverage. 6. Mini Bic Lighter: Never know when you’re going to need to set something on fire! 7. Honey Stinger Energy Gel or Clif ShotBloks: Delicious! Quick energy when you really need it. Be sure to avoid that bonk! 8. 1 Luna Bar: Something with a bit more substance to snack on. 9. Charmin To Go Toilet Paper: No internal cardboard roll, just TP rolled on itself in a great tiny plastic container to keep the sand out. Great for emergency poos, nose blowings or wiping off your bloodied hands from the gnarley desert chimney you just sent. 10. Potable Aqua Iodine Tablets: If you ever end up somewhere and you’re out of water, yet have access to some source of liquid (snow, river, ice), iodine will keep you hydrated and bacteria free! (ok, there are 11 things. No one ever accused me of being good at math!) 11. Black Diamond Spot Headlamp: I never, ever, ever, ever leave without a headlamp. Even when you’re leaving at 6am. You never know what’s going to go down that is out of your control, and adding darkness to an already deteriorating situation makes it that much worse. Depending on the environment and weather forecast, I sometimes also take my Marmot Ion Windshirt, which compresses small enough to fit into my original granite gear stuff sack along with all of my other crucial materials. So, at full retail, the emergency kit I've put together costs about $80 dollars if you don't include the Leatherman (the most expensive item on my list, by far). If you're good with watching for deals, you can easily put the whole thing together for under $50, and then add the Leatherman the next time it goes on sale! The whole thing weighs about 2lbs (Leatherman also weighing the most). This way, I've got the essentials I feel I need, instead of some formulaic kit! Not too shabby for a homemade essentials kit, huh?...Read more...
The weather is a tricky thing, especially on these spring days here in Salt Lake City. One minute, it's beautiful and you're 3 pitches up Pentapitch, loving live and stoked to drop down and climb Sasquatch before you head out. Next minute, you're being pummeled by wind, freezing, and if you've got a Marmot Ion Windshirt, you're psyched! The Marmot Ion Windshirt is the lightest functional piece of clothing I own! At 4 oz (Ws size Small), you're not going to get wind and water protection any lighter. With minimalist features, this windshirt is a great piece to toss in a stuff sack and hang off your harness for multi-pitch routes, or to leave in the bottom of a pack for days at the crag. It's so light, you'll forget it's there until the storm clouds begin rolling in, or when the wind picks up just enough to make that belay uncomfortably chilly. Reach into your pack, grab your Ion, and let the fun continue. Also great for trail running!
Key Features of the Marmot Ion Windshirt
- Wind resistant and water resistant. The Ion comes with a DWR coating, so while it's not waterproof, it's certainly water resistant.
- That same DWR coating does limit breathability a bit. I actually liked my jacket a bit more after some of the DWR coating had worn off- it offered a bit more breathability, and was still wind resistant.
- Integrated hood
- 1 chest zip pocket, in case you need to stash a Gu Shot or a Cliff Bar. Other than that, no pockets, no frills. Just stripped down, minimalist wind and water protection.
- Packs down to the size of a tennis ball!
I've been doing lots of climbing in the Wasatch Range as of late, and my boyfriend has been off in Yosemite for most of May, and both of us have been using our Beal Flyer II Ropes for everything we've been climbing. The Flyer II is a 10.2mm diameter rope, a nice mid-size between new-age skinny ropes and the massive 10.5mm ropes out there that can be difficult to feed into devices and extraordinarily heavy. The Flyer comes in 2 length options- a 60m rope or a 70m rope. I chose the 70m, for more versatility in what I could climb. I only have 1 one rope, so I opted for a bit more weight in exchange for the versatility I gained with a 70m.
Beal Flyer II 10.2mm Rope
- Rope 101: A rope consists of a sheath and a core. The sheath is intended to protect the core, where as the core is where the strength of the rope lies. When a rope is dry-treated, it's referring to what parts of the rope have a special treatment on them to resist water. The Beal Flyer II comes with 2 dry-treatment options: 1- Dry-Cover, where just the sheath is treated, or 2- Golden Dry, where both the core and the sheath are treated. I do a fair amount of ice climbing, so it made sense for me to purchase the Golden Dry rope.
- Mid-mark: The rope isn't bi-colored (a big bummer), but it does have the middle marked with a 3 inch long black marking spot. Still hard to see if you're pulling rope fast, especially after you've gotten some dirt on the thing.
- Wears well! After 20+ pitches on El Cap, the Flyer was showing essentially no wear. I've used one for well over a year, and it's holding up great.
- Handling- one of the slight drawbacks of the rope. It's really stiff when new, and takes a while to break in and get to that "supple" handling phase. It's especially kinky when brand new, which is a pain on belays. Be sure to flake it each time as opposed to belaying from a coil or a rope bag- you're going to get kinks and knots with this one.
- Sweeeet hot pink colors. You're styling with this rope, for sure.
Climbing season! It's here! Much like a kid at Christmas, I've been anxiously awaiting the days where it's light enough that I can climb for 4 hours after my 5pm class, and it's finally here! For my longer routes and all my crack climbing, I've been using my La Sportiva Mythos Climbing Shoes. The Mythos are the classic climbing shoe. Uber- comfortable yet high performance, these guys will get you up anything and you'll still have your toes afterward. For both beginners and experts, this is a shoe you're going to want to have!
Fit InfoThe Mythos are notorious for stretching, as the are made of unlined leather, and I'd say mine definitely stretched. Be sure to size your Mythos down from your street shoe size (opposite of several other climbing companies, like 5.10, who say to size the same as your street shoe size). I'm normally a 37.5 in street shoes (and also my 5.10 Anasazis. Go 5.10 for being accurate with sizing!) and bought a pair of size 35 Mythos. the first 30 minutes or so were uncomfortable, but they've stretched out a ton and now fit just right. The Mythos are also significantly more narrow than any other climbing shoe I've tried on, especially through the ball of your foot. Again though, these shoes will stretch, so if you're a bit on the wider side, worry not. Narrow footers, rejoice! The shoes expand to the needs of your feet, but won't stretch past the tension you put on them, so they'll stay narrow for you. La Sportiva also incorporates their sweet Mythos lacing system into the shoes, keeping your heel locked down. It may take a bit of finagling before you get the fit just right for you, but it's worth it. This keeps your heel down without having to create a shoe with a large and squeezing heel cup. This makes the shoe comfortable enough to wear all day on multi-pitch routes, yet snug and performance-oriented enough to use for those techie finger crack/slab climbing combos we find so often here in the Wasatch. One side note about fit- I seem to have a small air bubble under the arch of my foot, and as I walk around after a bouldering problem or before I start a climb, that air squeaks out, making a lovely farting noise as I walk. It seems that I'm not the first person to get a case of the "Mythos Farts," either. Doesn't affect fit or performance at all, but it does seem to occur to several people who own the shoes...
- Low profile toe fits easily into thin splitter cracks. Beware though- as you continue to jam those toes in, you're wearing at your laces. Don't be surprised if you've got to replace the laces once within the life of your Mythos.
- Vibram XS Grip outsoles- grippy grippy and perfect for smearing up Wasatch Slabs....
- Mythos lacing system- keep that heel locked down.
As a grad student, my summer break lasts all of a week and a half. However, over that week and a half, I've been cramming in lots of adventures, and all of them have involved my Deuter Guide 30+ pack. I've had limited exposure to Deuter packs. The only other pack by Deuter that I've used is their massive NOLS pack, intended for huge loads and long periods of time. The Guide is a smaller, sleeker 30 liter pack (plus an extension), full of features. From the side zip to the ice tool holders, the guys and gals a Deuter have clearly put a lot of thought into the design of this pack.
Fit InfoThe SL means that the pack is a women's specific fit- shorter torso and slightly narrower overall. However- I'm usually a Small frame in BD packs, Arc'teryx packs and Marmot packs, and this SL torso was almost too short on me. If you're normally on the border between a Small and Regular torso length, I'd say size up with this one. Shoulder straps are set closer together, and are more narrow than on their regular packs. After wearing mine for a multi-day backpacking trip and for several days at the crag, I'm impressed at how well this pack carries. Super comfortable with moderate loads! I've yet to toss more than 40 lbs in it, but if you're carrying that much weight, you're probably looking at a larger volume pack anyways... The hip belt is conical and contoured up for women's hips. It also comes with a Vari-Flex his belt system, which allows the hip belt to pivot with you as you move over varied terrain. This distributes your load evenly, and adds to the carrying comfort of the pack. The hip belt is also removable, in case you want to go super-light one day.
Key Features of the Guide 30 SL Pack
- Compression straps- Make the pack smaller when you've got smaller loads. 2 on each side, bottom ones are a hybrid ski strap/compression strap.
- Hydration compatible
- Ice Axe loops- Different than the previous years of the Guide and most packs. No longer do you have to muck with threading your Axe upside down, and then pulling it up to secure it. The ice axe loops on the pack are more like keeper loops- picks of the axes feed into small loops and are secured both at the bottom and the top of the pack.
- Crampon storage- Top of the pack. You'll need to toss some straps on the top yourself, but it's reinforced and the right size for storing them.
- Side access zipper
- Rope carrier- Easy rope storage on the top of your pack.
My Overall ImpressionI like it! Carries well, narrow profile, and enough cool features to make it interesting without being overwhelming. I'll definitely be using mine for many adventures. There's a few areas I think could use a bit of work, though.
- Top of the pack- Small! I'm used to stashing my day's food, headlamp, cell phone, keys and my emergency kit in the top of my packs. That won't all fit in this one. Also, the top of the pack is permanently attached to the pack by a piece of fabric. When you've got the pack completely full, the top of the pack doesn't sit properly on top of it, because the fabric section limits how far you can pull the top over.
- Ski Holders- They're sweet, and double as compression straps. However, when the pack is full, a pair of Karhu Berthas (100 underfoot) won't fit in the straps. Too wide.
- Compression straps- How many people use a Ridgerest when they backpack? I'd be willing to say a large majority of people out there do. Why is it, then, that ALL pack manufacturers make their straps on the side just small enough that it's a 30 minute wrestling match to get your Ridgerest onto the side of your pack? Certainly not just an issue with my Deuter Pack. Black Diamond, Arcteryx, Marmot, Gregory, they're all guilty too. Would it hurt to make that strap 2 inches longer to eliminate all that frustration?
Just as promised, though a bit later than the original March 1 release date, Alpinist Magazine is up and running again, with issue 26 now available on the shelves. After naming Michael Kennedy new Editor-In-Chief on March 16, Height of Land Publications (owners of Backcountry Magazine and Telemark Skier Magazine) announced an April 15th release date for Alpinist 26. After picking up 26, it seems that Height of Land Publications has been true to it's claim of maintaining the high quality photos, minimal adds and large format that Alpinist has come to be known for. Issue 26 has some great articles about the Jenny Lake Climbing Rangers, old school Everest Climbing, and the high caliber climbing stories its readers have become accustomed to seeing in Alpinist. Check out the Alpinist Website for more info....Read more...
As an outdoor enthusiast, I spend most of my time and free cash getting cool new toys like cams and harnesses. For this reason, I'm not super familiar with nice cars. I spend most of my time trashing my Toyota Tacoma, filling with with climbing gear, dogs and muddy people. So, I don't really have a great breadth of knowledge regarding upscale vehicles. However, I recently came to a conclusion. It seems that a few brands within the outdoor industry seem to parallel nice car brands. Arc'Teryx was the first one that came to mind. Expensive, they're much like the ferarris or a porsches of the climbing realm. They make very high quality equipment. Yet is it necessary to spend all that money to get a functioning product? No. But, ooo, man, does it feel nice to sit in luxury for a bit. This was the case with my Arc'Teryx R280 Women's Climbing Harness. Certainly the most expensive harness I've had my hands on, I was curious to see if the price difference ($135 new as opposed to a measly $45.95 for a basic Black Diamond Harness) was worth the comfort difference.
- All around harness
- Self locking buckles
- Fixed leg loops
- Weight: 10.1 oz
- Sizes XS thru XL
Pros of the Arc'Teryx R280
- Packable- The R280 gets practically as small as my Alpine Bod Harness, and weights near nothing. The plastic molded gear loops can be snapped on and off, so you can truly use this harness as a lightweight alpine harness. Mine squished down to the size of my two fists combined.
- Comfortable- Warp Strength Technology distributes the pressure of a fall or simply sitting in the harness throughout the entire waistbelt as opposed to simply throughout a single piece of one inch webbing with lots of padding (how harnesses are typically constructed). Despite being thinner than most harnesses, the change in the way this harness distributes weight makes it just as comfortable, if not more so.
Cons of the Arc'Teryx R280
- Pricey! Definitely the most expensive all-around harness I've seen.
- The drop seat attachment to the back of the harness isn't as secure as some I've seen. A little time hiking with a pack on over the harness, and I'd managed to accidentally undo my leg loop keeper straps, accidentally dropping my seat.
As school has been winding down for the semester, I've finally had some more free time! So far, I've spent most if it climbing or doing yoga in my Verve Sapho Capris. Verve, a climbing specific clothing company developed in 1988 by climber Christian Griffith, makes some killer tanks, shorts and capris all oriented specifically for climbing. Check out the Verve Lorelli Top that Sarah's psyched on here. Just as Sarah mentions, Verve's products are all sewn by "Verve Grannies," out of Boulder, CO and each piece of clothing has an initial letting you know just who made your clothes. Pretty cool, huh?
Verve Sapho Capri
- Comes in 2 materials- cotton or rayon. I own the rayon ones, and love the way they stretch and move with my body.
- No polyester in materials= no pilling as you continue to wear them. Awesome.
- Scooped waist is just the right amount of "scoop." Comes down about 2.5 inches below my belly button, so its enough to keep the material out of the way, but still comes up high enough to keep everything covered!
- Draped legs- the Sapho capris widen a fair amount between the hips and your knees, so you've got lots of room to move.
- Sizing- Verve makes the Sapho capri in sizes XXS through L. At around a size 2, I am an XS, and the waist fits perfectly, and the legs come down to just below my knees.
The Verve Lorelli Top is one of the best fitting sports bras I own. Unlike most sports bras, which are designed to hunker down and strap the boulder to the shoulder, the Verve Lorelli was designed with motion and all-sport application in mind. Verve stresses quality of materials and craftsmanship. The Lorelli offers a Cool Max fabric next to skin, which is soft and moisture wicking. The cross back straps are independent from each other to allow full range of motion in your yoga practice or day at the crag. The Lorelli top is finished with a layer of an organic cotton/ Lycra blend. If you fall in the A or B range, the Lorelli will be one of your favorite pieces. The Verve Lorelli is amazingly flattering for modest to moderate busts. It gives a soft perk without the risk of falling out of your top. If you fall into the C or D range I would veer away from the Lorelli and consider the standard Verve Bra. The Verve Bra still avoids the uni-boob effect, but has a bit more coverage, as the perk the Lorelli offers might put a larger bust over the edge. Verve clothing is quality and simple. Verve is the kind of apparel that makes you notice the climber or yogini and not be distracted by some flashy top. Verve Clothing, based in Boulder, Colorado, has four rockin’ seamstresses who work from their homes and sign each Lorelli or Verve piece they build. This elite crew is known as the Verve Grannies. You can look up the Granny who sewed your Lorelli, check out her pic and learn a bit about the woman. Brenda sewed my top, and she did a fine job. The Lorelli Wrap Up:
- Cross back straps for ultimate range of motion
- Cool Max next to skin
- Organic cotton/ Lycra blend top layer
- Made in the USA by a Colorado Verve Granny
Rarely do I buy things just because I like the color. However, the Black Diamond Aura Sport Climbing Harness was an exception. It's bright yellow- my favorite color! After getting over the sweet bright color, I was stoked on the harness and all of it's features. Both the new Aura and Ozone (the men's version of the harness) are made with Black Diamond's Kinetic Core Construction, to save on weight but still offer you enough comfort when you whip on it. Unlike most harnesses, which are constructed by placing padding around a 1 inch strip of webbing that goes the length of the waist loop, KCC harnesses are one continuous piece of material throughout the entire waist loop. This distributes the force of a fall (or just weighting the harness) throughout the entire waist belt as opposed to just through that 1 inch piece of webbing. The idea is that you'll get the same amount of comfort with less weight.
Key Features of the Black Diamond Aura Harness
- KCC- Kinetic Core Construction. Less weight, same amount of comfort.
- Minimalist Racking loops- 1 on each side allows you enough space for up to 10 Livewire QuickDraws (11 if you really cram them) per side. Not enough space for your trad rack, that's for sure, but ample space for draws for a sport route and anchor draws.
- Speed Adjust Buckle- Just give it a cinch and you're set to go. Already double backed.
- Weight- 11 Oz! For a size medium, less than 12 oz. Insane.
- Fixed leg loops
- Sizes- XS through L, fitting waist sizes Be careful though, the leg loops seem to have shrunk compared to other BD harnesses. Definitely one to try on since they are fixed.
The clanking of gear hanging off a climbers harness is one of my favorite sounds in the world. One piece that should not be missed is the Omega Pacific Jake carabiner. Among the load of hardware climbers hoard, there are necessities, and a few good locking carabiners are a must. Are all locking carabiners created equal? No. Things to consider:
- Safety ratings
- Size, weight, & shape
- Locking mechanism (screw gate vs. spring loaded/ automatic, etc)
- Ease in use
Almost every picture I have of me has 2 standard features: I'm wearing sunglasses and a helmet. Though the sunglasses have changed a bit over the years, my helmet has stayed the same. Since I began climbing, my helmet of choice has been the Petzl Elios Helmet. From mountaineering to rock climbing, this helmet is the one! Light enough to forget you're wearing it, yet burly enough to take a few serious impacts, the Petzl Elios Helmet does it all.
Petzl Elios Helmet
- ABS shell with expanded polystyrene liner: Unless you speak engineer, you have no idea what that means... Means you're getting a lightweight plastic shell with shock absorbing foam on the inside.
- Sizing: Elios comes in 1 basic sizes. Size one = 48-56cm. Size 2 = 53-61cm. Both sizes come with the molded adjustment wheel in the back. Imagine your adjustment on your bike helmet, convert it to a one-handed adjustment, and that is what Petzl has on it's Elios helmet. Super easy to make your helmet custom fit, no matter if its just your head under there or a hat as well.
- Chin buckle sits off to one side, so it's not constantly poking at your throat. Cool!
- Compatible with VIZION face shield- so if you want added protection for ice climbing, it's easy to convert.
- Headlamp attachments: 4 "optimally placed" clips keep your headlamp nice and snug.
I spent a good chunk of my spring break in a harness. No complaints here, since that means I was out doing some pretty fun stuff. Not only did I spend a lot of time in a harness, but I spent a lot of time in a comfortable, lightweight harness; the Black Diamond Primrose Harness. The women's specific version of the Momentum harness, the Primrose is a great all around harness. Ice climbing, rock climbing (even canyoneering for a day!), this harness has done it all for me. The Primrose comes with a variety of buckle and leg loop choices. Let's break them down.
- Primrose: The straight Primrose name indicates a traditional buckle system for the waist and fixed leg loops.
- Primrose AL: Traditional buckle system for both leg loops and waist. This makes the leg loops completely adjustable, which is idea for ice climbing. Space for added layers, the ability to take your harness off without doing the "hop on one leg" dance in crampons...
- Primrose SA: SA Stands for Speed Adjust- both the leg loops and waist are adjustable, and the buckles are pre-threaded, so all you need to do is give it a pull and it's safe.
Key Features of the Black Diamond Primrose Harness
- Four molded gear loops- allow you to rack up for a long trad route or grab a few draws and head up that sport climb.
- Clipped leg loops- drop your leg loops quick if you need to make a bathroom run but don't want to dismantle you're whole upper half.
- Padded bullhorn waist with increased rise means that the harness really will fit better than a men's harness. That increased rise means that the waist of the harness will truly sit above your hips, where it needs to be for safe usage. The bullhorn shaped waist also means accommodation for hips, something that men's harnesses don't tend to have.
- Comes in sizes extra small - large: Accommodates waist sizes from 24 inches through 36 inches.
A dependable 9.2 mm single rope is AWESOME in itself, but Mammut took its Revelation a step further. Somehow, someway, the Mammut Revelation dry coating isn’t as slick as the rest. It is typical for any rope with a dry treatment to have a slick and slippery period and break in over time. In my experience, this can be up to two weeks if you climb on them everyday, longer if you are a weekend climber. The break in period seemed to curb on my first Revelation rope on about day three. I was concerned with the quick break in period, may be an indication of a short life, definitely not the case. This rope has a quick break in period, AND maintains long life, that is a hard combo to find. The Coating Finish covers each fiber in the sheath and the Superdry in core as well. Limiting the application to water resistance is short changing yourself. This is the rope I bring with me to Indian Creek and for long desert towers. The slim diameter really cuts back on weight without having a performance trade off. The Superdry coating in the core really makes it resilient to sand, and a dirty rope is almost as bad as a wet or frozen one… They even took it one step further: Mammut puts the ropes through a heat process called Duraflex. This process assures your rope will maintain is diameter, preventing excessive stretch or malshaping. I would fall on the Mammut Revelation any day, and do. The Mammut Revelation in a nutshell:
- 9.2 mm is one of the smallest, lightest single ropes manufacture
- Swiss made
- Mammut, a brand who has been making mountain gearfor 140+ years
- Superdry waterproofing to the core
- Coating finish to each fiber of the sheath
- Duraflex heating process to assure repeated performance
The Mountain Hardwear Compressor PL Jacket is one of the most versatile pieces I own. It was designed for the needs and demands alpine climbers and mountaineers, but the benefits of this design can be enjoyed by anyone combating the cold.
The Mountain Hardwear Compressor PL is insulated with Primaloft One, a heat seeking and heat retaining synthetic that is nothing short of remarkable. With the compressibility, and warmth-to-weight ratio comparable only to goose down, it has one huge advantage: warm when wet. Wet fabric and wet insulation is far from comfortable, the Compressor PL is not a portable five star hotel, but it will keep you warm.
The Stria Rip nylon is treated with DWR and seems to hold up well. I recommend giving the nylon an additional treatment after your first year in the jacket, to ensure long life. I am finishing my first year in this jacket, and though it has not leaked yet, it is loosing some shine. I have ice and mixed climbed in this jacket and will vouch for its ripstop nature. There were a several instances I had duct tape ready, but when I went to search for the tear, there was none.
The cut of the Mountain Hardwear Compressor PL is rather loose. I tend to be on the cusp of a small and medium and the small is a bit loose on my frame. This design is intentional for layering purposes. Warm as it is, you will need to layer with a shell and additional layers for extreme conditions. It is also important to note, the DWR ensures water resistance, and is not a substitute for a shell. The Compressor also comes in a hooded version if you prefer.
One aspect of the jacket which I feel sets it apart from many other jackets it the clean professional look of the piece. The color is multidimensional, so I don't get bored with it, or have trouble matching it with city clothes. I am confident wearing this jacket out on a winter gallery stroll, or climbing. It has super clean lines, a with simple contours accentuating your figure, and all of the threads, zippers, and velcro are the same color for that polished look.
If you buy one jacket this year, let it be the Mountain Hardwear Compressor PL.Read more...
I got to the check out the Black Diamond Livewire Quickdraw today at the OR show here in Salt Lake. Some very interesting changes that I must have over looked from last year. When I found the LiveWire when I first started climbing I used the rest of my biners for Christmas tree ornaments, I'm a fan of the LiveWire. The Livewire alone is an amazing design that really sinks the rope in the biner. Obviously the wire is the way to go on the bottom of your draw for an easy clip and for safety. I also like how big the LiveWire is which makes it easier to grab. And if your sketched out on a move the big gate feels good to put the mind at ease. The Dynotron has ridges on the gate also for your thumb to grip when opening the gate; genius. Both biners on the draw now have ridges on the spine of the biner. It's basically an i-beam construction for weight distribution. It also looks like a ninja sword design which helps for gripping the biner while clipping. I didn't think the LiveWire could get any better but I'm glad it did. This is definitely the ultimate draw for your sport climbing addiction. BUY NOW: The Black Diamond LiveWire Quickdraw at Backcountry.com....Read more...
I have a new obsession with thumb hooks on things! And, it appears I have a thing for jackets... So, The North Face Momentum Jacket was just my style! For trail running, light hiking and around town errands, this jacket is perfect. The North Face Momentum Jacket is made of TKA superstretch material, so its fleecy and warm, yet still form fitting, making it ideal for climbing as well.
The North Face Momentum Jacket
- Zip in compatibility! If you have a North Face shell and want to make it a bit warmer, you can zip your Momentum right into it.
- Monkey thumb hooks keep your jacket sleeves in the same place even when you move your arms above your head (making it ideal for a layer climbing).
- Left "napoleon" pocket on upper jacket is a great place for you to stash a license, chapstick, credit card.
Probably one of my favorite genres of gear; the helmet. Instead of hitting the hospital after hitting the crag bring a helmet, and don't just hang it on the back of your pack put the lid on. Black Diamond has been perfecting the Half dome for a while now. Ever since my start on rock and ice my head has been cuddled underneath the domes foam and plastic.
Don't MessWhen your buying cams or safety gear you just don't skimp. It's not exactly the kind of gear you go to a flea market searching for a 'good deal'. Your head deserves the premium gear which is exactly what Black Diamond provides with the half dome. The headlamp clips are perfect for throwing on the lamp in a rush. They keep your light secure and if you ever flip upside down for whatever reason, don't worry about losing your light (been there done that). The weight is perfect for all around use. Coming in at 12.2oz the half dome feels solid up on top. On Rainer or on Potash this helmet is great for heat regulation and fits perfect with a beanie when needed.
BD DesignThe other thing I like about the helmet design is it doesn't shoot forward where you have to re-adjust all the time. The rear strap adjuster is an awesome bonus with the half dome to make adjusting a breeze. The chin strap is comfy and the strap are attached in such a way that when you tilt your head forward it stays solid. Save your dome and save the flea market for angel figurines and yucca rain sticks. BUY NOW: The Black Diamond Half Dome at Backcountry.com. ... Read more...
After enjoying a successful inaugural year with more than 700 participants at five events, UClimb, a series of rock climbing events designed to introduce the sport of rock climbing to beginners, will kick-off its 2009 schedule with a weekend session in Joshua Tree, Calif. on Feb. 7 and 8, 2009. Sponsored by Mountain Gear, the all-aged event is dedicated to bring people closer to the outdoors by teaching rock climbing in comfortable small-group settings.
“UClimb is dedicated to not only getting new rock climbers involved in the sport, but also getting people enthusiastic about outdoor activity,” said Phil Bridgers, UClimb event coordinator. “UClimb events are beginning to be known as the places to go to learn the sport in a fun and comfortable environment. Because of this, more people are venturing to the outdoors and enjoying their natural surroundings.”All UClimb events include professional climbing instruction and hands-on experience, camping for Friday and Saturday, dinner on Saturday and a Sunday breakfast. Attendees will learn climbing techniques, how to use climbing gear, voice commands, knot tying, belaying and etiquette. Registration for the weekend event begins at $159 for youth ages 10-17 and $199 for adults. Registration includes professional climbing instruction, camping at Joshua Tree Lake Campground, a barbecue on Saturday and a pancake breakfast on Sunday. Registration is available at www.uclimb.org UClimb will also offer packages with basic climbing gear needed for the weekend including shoes, harness, belay device, helmet, locking carabiner and a chalk bag. Gear packages are $289 for youth ages 10-17 and $329 for adults. Individuals can also register for event festivities without the climbing instruction for $49. Children under 10 are not eligible for the professional climbing instruction but can attend for festivities at no cost. More Info: Call 800.829.2009 or visit www.uclimb.org.... Read more...
The sixth annual “Mountain Gear Presents: Red Rock Rendezvous” rock climbing festival has again improved its annual event to cater to climbers and outdoor enthusiast. The festival will return to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas on March 20-22, 2009, to benefit The Access Fund, a climbing and environmentally focus organization, and other local and national non-profit organizations. Due to the growing popularity of the festival, this year’s event is limited to the first 1,000 registrants. Registration is now open at www.RedRockRendezvous.com and interested climbers are urged to sign-up quickly. The 2009 Red Rock Rendezvous event will also increase its number of clinics with a new format consisting of two full days of clinics on Saturday and Sunday. Attendees will be able to select one day to participate in full days clinics the other for a half day of clinics. The types of clinics have also expanded and evolved with feedback from 2008 attendees. The festival will feature more traditional, sport and aid climbing sites and routes, as well as the addition of short ground school clinics such as avalanche awareness and gear cleaning. Also, back by popularity will be mountain biking and yoga opportunities for attendees.
Meet the expertsRed Rock Rendezvous has also announced its initial list of expert climbing guides to lead the event’s scheduled clinics. Clinic guides include internationally renown athletes such as: Tommy Caldwell, Peter Croft, Brittney Griffith, Sean Isaac, Brett Jensen, Joe Kinder, Chris Linder, Dead Lords, Casey Newman, Ethan Pringle, Alli Raney, Beth Rodden, Chris Schulte, Margo Talbot, Don Welsh, Kevin Wilkinson and Justin Woods.
Climbing clinics galoreThe festival will offer clinics for advanced, intermediate and beginning climbers on Saturday and Sunday. Registration is $89 per person for the Saturday and Sunday events, and $179 per person for the Friday “Intro” day (detailed below) and Saturday and Sunday clinic combo (without the gear package). Registration includes the Friday night opening celebration, a dinner buffet on Saturday night, demos, comps and mini-seminars by event sponsors, slide show and movie on Friday night, a blow-out party on Saturday night, pancake breakfast Sunday morning and service projects to assist in the environmental conservation of the Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain. All of the festival activities, outside of the climbing clinics, will take place at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park located approximately 10 minutes from the entrance to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The climbing festival will also feature climber and comedian, Timmy O’Neil as the event’s emcee with Solar Scottie serving as the events DJ. The festival will again offer Friday’s UClimb “Intro to Climbing at the Red Rocks” clinic day for less experienced climbers and those who have never attempted the difficulty levels of the Red Rock Canyon. UClimb is an organization designed to teach all ages how to rock climb in a comfortable small-group setting with other amateur climbers. The full-day introduction clinics will teach climbing fundamentals to succeed at the Red Rocks and other outdoor settings. The clinics will take place in an intimate clinic setting by professional guides who are also some of the world’s most accomplished climbers. “Intro” participants will then be able to enjoy one full day and one half day throughout the weekend. There will also be an optional gear package that will include harness, helmet, shoes, belay device, carabineer, chalk bag and a membership to the Access Fund. The gear package with the “Intro” day and the weekend climbing clinics is $349. Also new to 2009’s Red Rock Rendezvous is that participant camping will be at Bonnie Springs, one mile south of Spring Mountain Ranch. The festival will be running a shuttle bus between the campground and the festival locations throughout the event.
Proceeds go to good causesEvent proceeds will benefit The Access Fund, a national non-profit organization dedicated to keeping climbing areas open and conserving the climbing environment. Other benefiting organizations include the American Safe Climbing Association, the American Alpine Club, Friends of Red Rocks and the Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council.
How do I register?To register for the event or for additional information, call 800.829.2009 or visit www.RedRockRendezvous.com.... Read more...
I am a wuss. It's true. When it comes to rappelling especially, I hate it when my hands get rubbed raw from holding the rope in the break hand as I head downward. To limit the wuss-factor, I use a pair of Metolius Climbing Gloves. Being that I am a bit on the lighter side, I am usually having to pick up the rope and actually feed it into the device, so these gloves see a lot of regular wear when I'm climbing.
Get the Facts on The Metolius Climbing Glove
- 3/4 length fingers allow you to maintain dexterity while still providing a good amount of coverage
- Webbing hooks allow for clipping gloves with a carabiner to wherever you want them
- Velcro wrist closure keeps gloves snug
- Great for rappelling AND belaying- palms are reinforced
- Again, a word about sizing- I have kinda tiny hands, and the XS is almost too big on me. The sizing chart from the Metolius website indicated that I would need a size Small glove, and those were definitely too big. Be sure to try them on if you're got hands on the extreme end of the spectrum, be it large or small. Also, keep in mind that they're going to stretch a bit.
I get carried away sometimes of how cool I think am with my gear selection. Last year on Rainier I wanted all my gear to be lighter, smaller, and perform like a jaguar ninja. I brought along the Petzl e+LITE headlamp and I have to say I am impressed but probably wouldn't take it again. PRO'S Don't get me wrong. Petzl did a great job cranking out the power with this teeny little guy. Check out these treats.
- 45 Hours of light
- Free pivot position which is great for hanging in a tent.
- Chill elastic band that doesn't give you a headache.
- 27 grams of weight, let me know if that is too heavy for you.
- Lithium battery that can be easily replaced.
- Flashing switch for throwing a dance party at your campsite.
- Sweet clip for going on the climbing harness.
- The light strength is great, but not good to rely on for serious night hiking.
- It can feel a little loosey goosey when your trying to change the light option.
This past summer I figured it was time to retire my old Trango climbing harness. Since Black Diamond is a brand that I trust for a lot of my gear I figured a climbing harness from them would be a good choice. To figure out what harness I'd buy, given that there are a number of Black Diamond harness models to choose from, I listed what I wanted in a harness
- Adjustable leg loops - I prefer adjustable leg loops cause I climb throughout the year
- 4 season capability - Minimize the amount of fleece or other fabric on the harness that might make it a one season
- Gear loops made for rock climbing but will work for alpine and
- Comfortable - it has to be comfortable for long alpine or even big wall
- Light - I wanted to be sure it wasn't too heavy
...combines a Speed Adjust waistbelt and leg-loop buckles with all of the Focus’s features including: SoftEdge construction, pressure-molded gear loops, 15 kN-rated haul loop and ultra-comfortable 3D molded foam.As for myself? I call it perfect for my style of climbing. Comfy all day on a route on the Grand Teton and easy on easy off at my favorite crag. It's light enough that I barely feel it. For the all around climber, the Focus SA from Black Diamond is as sweet as red-pointing! Buy Now: Pick up the Black Diamond AL Climbing Harness and let your mind be at ease.... Read more...
I love these pants. I LOVE these pants. For climbing in desert sandstone to chilling in the Tetons, the Patagonia Canvas Shop pants are rugged, yet still maintain some shape to them, so I don't look like I'm wearing man-pants. Personally, Carharts don't fit my body shape. Being short, smaller and having no hips, they just always seemed to be falling off me. I was bumming, and also lacking a pair of pants to do burly sandstone climbs in. Then I found a pair of Patagonia Canvas Shop Pants, and my problems were solved!
Patagonia Shop Pants
- Inseam comes in Short, Regular and Long! Finally, pants that I'm not rolling up a bunch just to avoid stepping on them.
- Constructed of tough organic cotton- environmentally friendly AND indestructible.
- Lower waistband adds comfort. No more pants riding up at your belly-button. They sit right below my waist loop with a harness on, which works out great.
- Bombproof. I can't seem to wear them out or put a hole in them, despite multiple Moab trips and everyday wear.
- Again with Patagonia and the sizing- if you're on the fence between sizes, go smaller.
Let's talk about speed. Specifically, the Speed and how fast you can move when carrying it. The Black Diamond Speed pack is a stripped down, alpine-style pack burly enough for all your speed ascents without adding extra weight. A top loading pack that comes in 30 or 40 Liters, the Speed can be used for a multitude of adventures. Personally, I own both the 30L and the 40L size (yes, I know, I am a gear freak... Some women buy heels. I buy gear), and I use them for most all of my car to car climbs, a pack for a multipitch rock routes or a larger day hike pack.
Black Diamond Speed Pack- Loaded with cool features!
- Dual ice axe loops
- Crampon patch is reinforced so you can keep the 'pons on the outside of the pack and not worry about skewering it!
- Built with 210d Nylon... Which looks so light, it'd rip if you breathe on it wrong. However, after car to car ascents on Rainier, Hood and Shasta, and traveling around Europe for a month this past summer, I have HAMMERED this pack, and the material is still in top notch condition!
- Top of the pack is completely removable, so you can strip down more weight if you're not using it.
- Comes in a Small/Medium frame size or a Medium/Large frame size!
For my light and fast alpine adventures that require a little more warmth than my transition tights, I love to use the Patagonia Alpine Guide Pants. The perfect weight for a lightweight softshell, they are awesome on their own in warmer temperatures, and make for great cold weather wear when paired with a baselayer. The Alpine Guide Pants are super stretchy and also wind resistant, so they work great for those colder days at the crag at the end of the season, when you're trying hard to stretch rock season as long as it can go (much like all of us are doing here in the Wasatch Range right now...)! If you are wanting to invest in one softshell pant that will serve a variety of uses, I would get this one!
Women's Alpine Guide Pant
- Belt Loops! My favorite feature on any climbing pant, and surprisingly enough, not a lot of pants have them.
- Pant legs have a zippered cuff, and also an elastic drawcord, so you can cinch them down tight when necessary or open the zipper for more space.
- DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Finish makes these pants great in snow and light rain.
- Low profile zippers on pockets keep them out of the way when not in use, still leaving you access to a total of 4 pockets, but not in an obtrusive way.
Alright, now that we've covered what I regularly wear on the bottom half underneath my Mountain Khakis, lets just get the other half out of the way as well. The Patagonia Active Mesh Bra provides great support for a running/hiking/climbing bra, and also works great for everyday wear as well. Most of my days are spent transitioning from khaki pants and a nice shirt in the Speech Therapy Clinic to the trails behind the university for my treasured evening run. Fortunately, Patagonia has created a bra that can cover all the bases for me! A word about sizing for Patagonia's bras- I generally fall into what would be considered a mid-size in bras (B cup average), with about a 34 inch rib cage measurement, and I fit comfortably into a size small. This is not a bra I would recommend for fuller chested women- it offers great support for a mid-size, but would be insufficient for anything larger.
Favorite Features of the Patagonia Active Mesh Bra
- Seamless construction of bra keeps rub spots non-existent
- Thinner, V shaped straps allow you maximum movement without the straps getting in the way.
- Again, Patagonia has created some really cute patterns! No more boring sports bra black.
- The bra provides enough coverage that you can comfortably wear it on its own on hot days climbing or running without exposing too much to the world!
Looking at the Rock Exotica BiWire Carabiner, you'd think that something has gone wrong in manufacturing. There are not one, but TWO wire gates on this carabiner. Something looks amiss. However, upon further inspection, one can see that the BiWire is in fact not a manufacturing defect, but rather an ingenious new design released by Rock Exotica. The BiWire features two wire gates, an outer and inner, opening in opposite directions. Effectively, Rock Exotica has created a locking carabiner out of a non-locker. Though Rock Exotica specifically states that the BiWire is not intended to replace locking biners, it offers a great solution for situations where a locker isn't necessary, but you might be slightly concerned about gates opening (i.e. on contact points for anchors). The gate opening system takes a few minutes to get used to, but after you master the thumb and index finger opposition, it's a breeze to clip and unclip from just about anywhere.
Rock Exotica BiWire Carabiner
- At 31kN breaking strength, this monster has more strength than most biners on the market
- Dual gates make it so that even with contact with rocks, other equipment or rope will not open both gates.
- Larger, D shaped size makes for a lot of flexibility in range of use.
Arrrg mateys! Shiver me timbers, I have a new favorite locking belay biner! Ok, but seriously. Pirate talk aside, the new Rock Exotica HMS Pirate Carabiner is a locker "for the z axis," per rockexotica.com (for those non-math majors among us- the z axis is the one that goes up!) With its offset keylock gate, it opens much wider than your average carabiner, making it perfect for belays and munters. With the gate closed, the Pirate boasts 26kN of strength, slightly more than your average locker. With the gate open, it opens wide enough to easily fit a 10.2mm rope for a munter belay, with room for the knot to flip, no problem. Another added bonus of the Rock Exotica Pirate gate- there is a skull and crossbones visible when the biner isn't locked! Great reminder to lock your biner!
Get the beta on the Rock Exotica HMS Pirate Carabiner:
- 26kN of strength with gate closed
- Offset gate makes for a wider opening than your average locker.
- Added bonus- All of Rock Exotica's gear is manufactured in Clearfield, UT, USA.
If you've got a penchant for climbing rock you've got to do what you can to check out the Reel Rock Film Tour when it comes to a city near you. I caught it last year and it was well worth the $10. Think Banff Film Festival but just rock climbing. Yea, it's good. Presented by The North Face and Windstopper from Gore, this year's film explores areas like the Grand Canyon and South Africa bouldering as well as other amazing rock climbing that pushes the edge of where climbing is headed. Big Up Productions is putting together the years best of climbing wrapped up into one night. Sender Films will also present "Sharp End" which I'm stoked to check out. Here's the trailer for the tour. I hope you make it but if you're in Salt Lake we'll see you at the Tower Theater on Sept 17 at 7pm. I'd suggest getting your tickets before hand at Momentum Climbing Gym as they sold out last year. --Reel Rock Film Tour, send it!...Read more...