Mountain Standards

Posted May 14, 2019

Ocun Crack Gloves: Save your skin as well as time and tape

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz used to make fun of people who used rubber gloves to protect their hands while crack climbing, but now he's become a convert with the Ocun Crack Gloves. He likes that he can easily take them on or off, as opposed to wearing a pair of tape gloves all day, and no time or materials are wasted by making tape gloves that often expire after a day. Four Stars.



Posted March 22, 2019

Hilleberg Allak 3: A light and livable 3-person, 4-season tent

Drew Thayer did some winter camping in the Hilleberg Allak 3 and awarded it five stars. He writes, "My overall impression of the Allak 3 is that it's the best combination of storm-proofness, comfort, and weight among three-person, four-season expedition tents. Its ease of setup, durability, and livability in harsh conditions are all superb. The question is, is it worth the weight for your needs?"



Posted March 14, 2019

La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX boots: Ideal for ice/mixed climbing and single-day mountaineering

Clint Helander tested the La Sportiva Trango Tower Extreme GTX boots on some Alaskan ice climbs and cannot think of a single con. He reports that the Trango Towers are the "new iteration" of the discontinued "silver bullet" EVO Extremes and that these boots are "ideal for ice/mixed climbing and single-day mountaineering." Five stars.



Posted February 25, 2019

Patagonia Micro Puff Storm Jacket: Everyday layering for cold, wet conditions

Chris Van Leuven has been weathering the winter in Yosemite and Colorado with the Patagonia Micro Puff Storm Jacket. He found it to be a bit too warm to wear while climbing, but he enjoyed it for cold belays and camp life. Four stars.



Posted February 7, 2019

Mountain Equipment Tupilak 30+: Simple, light and 'hardcore'

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz writes of the Mountain Equipment 30+ backpack, "This is the most hardcore rucksack I've ever used.... No frills. All utilitarian grit." Franz reports that the pack is designed for the hardest mountain routes and leaves some convenience to be desired for more casual outings, but the Tupilak is well made for its intended purpose. Five stars.



Posted January 10, 2019

Black Diamond Ultralight Express screws: A versatile screw for a more refined audience

Hyalite Canyon local Todd Preston tested out the new Black Diamond Ultralight Express screws on some of Montana's classic ice climbs. He concluded, "For...pursuits where weight savings can be critical, the Ultralights are clearly the new gold standard and I would rate them 5 stars. However, several days of climbing frozen waterfalls using both Ultralights and traditional Express screws revealed some design limitations...." Four stars.



Posted December 30, 2018

Black Diamond Reactor Ice Tools: A solid choice for cragging and steep ice

Todd Preston is a geologist for the US Geological Survey who has been ice climbing for 20 years. He tested the Black Diamond Reactor ice tools and concluded that the Reactors are ideal for steep ice and cragging, awarding them a solid four stars.



Posted December 13, 2018

The new Petzl Nomic: Same swing with new picks, a mini hammer, functional spike and improved handle

Chris Van Leuven tested the latest version of the Petzl Nomic ice tools. He reports that the upgraded Nomics have that same familiar look and feel—same swing—as with previous generations, but are now more functional and come with additional features. His main criticism is that the tools come standard with the Pur'Ice pick, which is too narrow for hard mixed/dry tooling, and other picks must be ordered separately. Four stars.



Posted December 3, 2018

North Face Women's Summit L4 Softshell Pants: A good choice for alpine climbers

Whitney Clark tested The North Face Women's Summit L4 Softshell Pants in a variety of alpine climbing conditions and found them to be well designed to handle the wear and tear of ascending rock and snow and they were also well-made for female climbers. Her main complaint is that the fabric pilled after washing. Four Stars.



Posted November 15, 2018

SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger: A worthy tool for explorers and risk-takers

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz took the SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger into the mountains and desert to test its capabilities. He appreciated the device's unlimited two-way messaging and navigational tools, not to mention the potential to send an SOS signal if he needed a rescue, but he reports that there is room for improvement. Three stars.



Posted November 7, 2018

Osprey Mutant 22: A go-to for the no-frills, fast-and-light climber

Alpine guide Mallorie Estenson has been using the Osprey Mutant 22-liter backpack for multipitch climbs around the Pacific Northwest, and she found it to be well designed for those fast-and-light day trips when you want to bring a bit more than the rope, rack and shirt on your back. Four stars.



Posted October 26, 2018

Suunto 9: A computer for athletes in the form of a wristwatch

Longtime climber and endurance athlete Quinn Brett tested the Suunto 9 wristwatch and found it to be mostly user-friendly, offering a wealth of data to assist mountain go-getters. Her main criticisms about the watch are its bulky size and some difficulty synchronizing the watch with her phone. Four stars.



Posted October 8, 2018

Climbing Addicts Chalk Blends In

A review of Climbing Addicts "Yosemite Gray" and "Wall Street Gold" Chalk prompts a treatise on climbing chalk by Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz. He found the camouflaged chalk to be as effective as anything else he's used, and the grey and brown varieties blend in well with a range of rock types, including limestone, granite and sandstone. Five stars.



Posted September 24, 2018

Foehn Brise Pant: Warm, comfortable and highly functional

Foehn is a new, small clothing company based in Quebec, Canada, that came on the market this year and has a touching backstory. Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz tried the company's flagship item, the Brise Pant, and found them to be well made for climbing and moving around in the mountains. Four stars.



Posted August 20, 2018

Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Mat: For a good night's sleep in the summer backcountry

The Sea to Summit Ultralight Air Mat is a summer backcountry mattress that can pack down to the size of a large burrito and that inflates to provide 2 inches of air cushion. Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz found it to be so comfortable he awarded it a perfect rating. Five stars.



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