Mountain Standards

Posted May 14, 2020

Rab Muztag GTX Jacket: A worthy high-end shell that is light and durable

Alaskan climber Clint Helander generally prefers softshell jackets instead of hardshells when climbing and skiing, but the Rab Muztag GTX Jacket proved to be an exception. He writes, "I have always appreciated the ability of softshells to breathe and stretch while I methodically plod up steep snow slopes. In my mind, Gore-Tex jackets were still too heavy and restrictive in regard to movement.... I was happy to be proven wrong." Five stars.



Posted March 17, 2020

Lowa Alpine Expert GTX boots: Light, comfortable and sensitive

Whitney Clark used the women-specific Lowa Alpine Expert Gore-Tex boots in her snowy stomping grounds of the Sierra Nevada Range. She appreciated their lightness and comfort. The boots weren't as warm as she would've liked, however, and on one occasion the supposedly waterproof boots soaked through while she was postholing and her feet got wet while her partner's feet stayed dry. Four stars.



Posted February 27, 2020

Grivel G20 Plus: A light monopoint crampon that shines above the rest

Scott Coldiron has been using the lightweight Grivel G20 Plus crampons for ice and mixed climbing in Montana’s Cabinet Range. These lightweight monopoint crampons have become his favorite choice out of the five other crampon models he owns. Five stars.



Posted January 20, 2020

The new Petzl Meteor helmet: Dually qualified for climbing and skiing

Aisha Weinhold is an accomplished ski-mountaineer and a climber who grew up in the mountains surrounding Aspen, Colorado. She has appreciated the Petzl Meteor helmet because it is well suited (and dual-rated) for both climbing and ski-mountaineering. Four stars.



Posted December 13, 2019

Valandre Troll jacket: As warm as a down coat can be

Scott Coldiron has a lot of experience when it comes to staying warm on frozen alpine routes. He's been using the Valandre Troll jacket in Montana's Cabinet Range and reports, "Simply put, this jacket lofts better under all conditions than other down jackets I've used, and the resulting warmth it creates is impressive." It's also more expensive, however, and it lacks a couple features he would've liked to have. Four stars.



Posted December 6, 2019

Edelrid Bulletproof quickdraw: The burliness of steel with the lightness of aluminum

Alpinist Digital Editor tested the Edelrid Bulletproof quickdraw at Rifle Mountain Park, a world-famous sport crag where the volume of traffic frequently destroys carabiners. The Bulletproof showed hardly any signs of wear after hanging on one of the canyon's most popular routes for four months, earning five stars. "Wait! This review is for Alpinist, what the hell is this sport climbing equipment doing here?" Franz writes. Read the article at Alpinist.com for his answer.



Posted November 14, 2019

Sea to Summit Flame IV: A warm ultralight sleeping bag tailored specifically for women

Kate Erwin used Sea to Summit's Flame IV women-specific sleeping bag in British Columbia's Purcell Range last October and found that the mapped-baffle design was effective in keeping her warmer than other bags she's used of comparable weight. 4 stars.



Posted October 22, 2019

Salewa Wildfire Edge: Technical approach shoes to keep up with the mountain goats

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz has been wearing the Salewa Wildfire Edge approach shoes everywhere for the last several months. He reports that the shoes provide excellent support, feature very sticky rubber and are best described as "technical." Five stars.



Posted October 15, 2019

Peak Refuel Meals: setting a high bar for freeze-dried food

Clint Helander recently discovered a new personal standard when it comes to freeze-dried food. In this review he explains why Peak Refuel meals are in a different category from other backcountry food products that he has tried over the last 20 years. Five stars.



Posted October 3, 2019

Unparallel Up Lace: A new company presents a new take on a familiar shoe

Chris Kalman checks out a little-known shoe company named Unparallel that makes climbing shoes eerily similar to the well-known designs made by Five Ten. He found that even Unparallel's proprietary rubber is similar to the famous Stealth C4 rubber that Kalman has loved for many years. The fit and sizing of the Up Lace felt slightly different to him compared to the Anasazi, however. Four stars.



Posted September 25, 2019

Lowa Rocket: climbing shoes made for heel/toe hooking

After extensive testing, Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz reports that the Lowa Rockets are best suited for toe- and heel-hooking, with a secure fit that ensures they won't slide off the heel. Franz had trouble finding a size to fit his foot comfortably, however, and there is some bagginess over the top of the big toe. Three stars.



Posted September 13, 2019

Mystery Ranch Scepter 50: a comfortable pack for hauling loads in the mountains

Whitney Clark tested the Mystery Ranch Scepter 50 backpack in Patagonia and in the Sierra Nevada Range. She reports that the pack provides a comfortable suspension system and is great for hauling loads. "I think that the Scepter 50 does really well if you have just the perfect amount of gear, but it does not adjust well to smaller or bigger loads," she writes. Four stars.



Posted September 3, 2019

Scarpa Maestro Mid: A worthy all-around shoe that rivals the TC Pro

Chris Kalman put the Scarpa Maestro Mid through the paces on different styles of climbs to see how they compared to his La Sportiva TC Pros, which have set the standard for this type of shoe for several years. Kalman notes some differences between the shoes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and concludes that the Scarpa Maestros are a solid alternative, especially for people who have not found an ideal fit in the TC Pros. Four stars.



Posted August 20, 2019

Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Cookset 2.1: Light, compact, self-contained and user friendly

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz tested the Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Cookset and awarded it five stars for its "lightweight, compact, self-contained and user friendly" design.



Posted July 18, 2019

Osprey Mutant 52: A worthy pack for just about any pursuit in any season

Drew Thayer tested the Osprey Mutant 52 backpack on ski tours, cragging days and even a three-week packraft trip in the Amazon rainforest. While the pack isn't the most ideal option for serious alpine climbing, he found that it works well for a variety of missions. Four stars.



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