Mountain Standards

Posted August 4, 2020

DMM Dragonfly: A pretty good cam, especially for small sizes

The DMM Dragonfly Micro Cams are among the smallest and strongest cams ever made. Chris Kalman tested them on the thin cracks near his home in northern Arizona. He reports that there are some aspects of the design that he absolutely loves, but ultimately he was disappointed with the narrow size range of the cams compared to other brands. The narrow range required much more careful selection for placements. Three stars



Posted July 16, 2020

La Sportiva Testarossa: Still one of the best climbing shoes money can buy

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz has been using the slightly redesigned La Sportiva Testarossa climbing shoes for the past several months and discovered what he's been missing in his collection. He writes, "I only recently came to realize why so many of my climbing partners have been rocking the La Sportiva Testarossa for the last 17 years. I get it now!" Five stars.



Posted July 10, 2020

Mystery Ranch Tower 47: A dream pack for climbers who like organization

Alaskan alpinist Clint Helander tested the Mystery Ranch Tower 47 backpack for all sorts of activities. The pack is designed as a crag pack for rock climbing—for which it shines—but Helander also used it for ice climbing and skiing. The pack is big and bulky, he reports, but its durability and functionality make it worth the extra grams. Four stars.



Posted June 30, 2020

Zenbivy Light: A quilt that pairs with a sheet to become a cozy bed

Alpinist digital editor Derek Franz has been using the Zenbivy Light bed system for the past year. As a guy who prefers to avoid the constriction of mummy sleeping bags, he sleeps comfortably with the Zenbivy in a variety of environments. His only critique is that the setup can be a little tedious. Four stars.



Posted June 17, 2020

Petzl Quark ice tools: An alpinist's dream tool that handles it all

Alpinist Tad McCrea has been using the latest model of the Petzl Quark ice tools for the past year. As a longtime user of the earlier models, he reports that the tools continue to live up to his expectations. He writes, "If you already have a set of the last Quarks, maybe you don't need to jump to an upgrade just yet, but if you want a set of axes that handle it all, and are in the market for an alpinist's dream tool, look no further." 4.5 stars.



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.



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