Mountain Standards

Posted September 21, 2016

Mammut Wall Rider Helmet Review

"Smaller rocks inevitably rained down. Just as the barrage ceased, a small rock whacked me in the head.... On the hard shell of the helmet, where the rock had hit, was a small ding. No cracks, no mess, just one clean dimple." Drew Thayer reviews the Mammut Wall Rider Helmet.



Posted September 10, 2016

Light, Low Profile and Hard to Break In: Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boots

Chris Van Leuven reviews the Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boots, crafted to be the "lowest volume weatherproof double boot ever made," the company says.



Posted September 2, 2016

Adidas Terrex Solo Approach Shoe 2016

YOSAR team member Josh Huckaby reviews the Adidas Terrex Solo approach shoes: "The Terrex Solos felt light on my feet, and have just enough support for extended carry outs down the dusty trails around Yosemite National Park."



Posted August 12, 2016

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 4 shelter: a lightweight, versatile and rugged pyramid tent

Reviewer Drew Thayer notes, "The Ultamid 4 is currently the lightest option for a spacious, four-person shelter that can adapt to just about any conditions.... It's a great shelter for backcountry pursuits where versatility and light weight are necessary. And it's made right here in the USA."



Posted August 10, 2016

Mammut Belay Chain: Strong Personal Tether for Anchoring

Climber and guidebook author Stewart M. Green reviews the Mammut Belay Chain: "Unlike the personal anchor systems made by Metolius, Sterling and Black Diamond that use six links of the same size, the Mammut chain links are of two different sizes. The first three links are 11 inches long, and the last three links are 3.5 inches long. These differing lengths allow you to attach to different anchors at a belay station easily and quickly."



Posted July 12, 2016

Trango Piranha Knife: Sharp, Low Profile and Opens Bottles

As a guide, I'm often asked what I carry on my harness. In addition to standard climbing hardware, plus prussic cords, a Tibloc, and a Micro-Traxion for glacier travel, I carry a knife. Once my clients see the knife, they often reference Joe Simpson's classic mountaineering epic, Touching the Void. Unlike the moment of decision in the book when Simon cuts the rope to free himself while letting Simpson fall into a crevasse, I carry a knife for other reasons: these include to cut tat, add cordage to existing anchors, and cut the free ends from a stuck rope.



Posted June 17, 2016

Brooks-Range Drift 15 Down Sleeping Bag: Lightweight, Water-Resistant

The insulation in the Brooks Range Drift 15 sleeping bag is treated with DownTek, a down coating that prevents the feathers from absorbing water. Since water rolls off the down, the feathers stay light and fluffy—keeping you warm. Unlike synthetic sleeping bags, which are typically bulkier and heavier than down, treated down sleeping bags offer the lightweight, low bulk warmth found in down bags without sacrificing packability.



Posted June 3, 2016

The Merino Air Hoody: A Most-in-One Base Layer

Recently I added Patagonia's Merino Air Hoody base layer to my collection. Unlike my other merino wool items, The Air Hoody, with its fluffy appearance, resembles a thin, non-itchy sweater more than a typical next-to-skin layer.



Posted May 25, 2016

Mammut 8.7mm Serenity Dry: Light, Stiff and Specialized

Although rope technology has greatly improved in the twenty-some years since I started climbing, I was still skeptical when a lime-green Mammut 8.7mm Serenity rope showed up on my doorstep. The manufacturer states this rope is designed for single, double and twin configurations. Mammut also says the rope is designed to stretch 31 percent when arresting a fall. When used as a single, the Serenity is the thinnest-diameter cord in Mammut's line.



Posted April 18, 2016

Ternua's Loughor Puff Jacket: Recycled Warmth

Instead of collecting new feathers, Neokdun recycles down that has been sterilized from old duvets in its special processing plant. The Spanish company Ternua works with Neokdun to process the down in their 800-fill power Loughor jacket.



Posted April 1, 2016

DMM Couloir ropes: great durability and water repellency

The rope is the single most important piece in your pack. During alpine climbs, the rope is subject to needle-sharp crampons, errant ice tools, rock and ice fall, and abrasive terrain while climbing and descending. For me, the most important qualities to look for in a rope are: durability, minimal weight, ease in handling and a permanent, obvious center mark.



Posted March 25, 2016

CAMP Speed 2.0 Helmet: One of the Best All-Arounders Available

Maybe Jerry Seinfeld said it best in one of his stand-up bits when he said that the helmet is designed "to preserve a brain whose judgment is so poor, it does not even try to avoid the cracking of the head it's in." As climbers and skiers, we embrace some risks while seeking to minimize others, and wearing a helmet seems like the obvious way to continue doing both.



Posted March 10, 2016

Iceline Jacket: a durable, weatherproof shell for winter climbing

Ice climbing is about high-energy output in cold, wet conditions. Adapting to changing weather can be as much of a struggle as the climbing itself in the winter season. I try to find layers that are versatile across a range of conditions.



Posted February 19, 2016

Petzl Laser Speed and Laser Speed Light: More Than Just the New Screw

A climber's relationship with his ice screw rack is a personal thing. Find the right match and life will be good. Play the field, using whatever happens to clip to your harness and you may regret it later.



Posted February 10, 2016

Lightweight Warmth in REI's Revelcloud Hoodie

I've used an REI Revelcloud Hoodie for a year now and have worn it in all seasons and while participating in numerous activities, including ice climbing, running, hiking and climbing. Every time I put it on I find it useful, no matter the time of year.



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