Mountain Standards

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.



Posted July 31, 2018

La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX boots: 'Like walking on air'

The La Sportiva TX4 Mid boots are described by the company as an "access boot designed to excel in tricky, technical terrain." Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz finds that the feather-light boots live up to that classification but are not ideal for weak or injured feet that need more support. Four stars.



Posted July 17, 2018

Filling the Gap: NEMO's three-person Chogori Mountaineering tent

Mike Lewis finds that the three-person Nemo Chogori Mountaineering tent provides a good in-between option between lightweight tents and expedition tents. The former don't fare as well against the harsh conditions typically found high on a mountain, and the latter are too bulky and heavy to be ideal for fast-and-light missions. The Nemo Chogori filled the niche for Lewis, who awards it four stars.



Posted June 22, 2018

Spacious and multi-use: the Patagonia Cragsmith 45

The Cragsmith 45 is Patagonia's largest backpack, which the company refers to as the "gear dumpster." Chris Van Leuven has been lugging it around for several months and enjoys the pack's durability, convenient loading options and how well it encapsulates just about anything he wants, from clothes and a sleeping bag to ice tools, in addition to the standard rock climbing kit. Four stars.



Posted June 14, 2018

Black Diamond Vision Harness: light, comfortable and versatile

Black Diamond describes the new Vision Harness as an ultralight alpine harness that is "the lightest fully functional harness we've ever made." Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz put the claim to the test and was fairly satisfied with the results, awarding it four stars.



Posted May 17, 2018

The Ortovox Col Becchei Jacket: Well-made with top-notch materials

Mike Lewis finds that the Ortovox Col Becchei softshell jacket is well designed for alpine and rock climbing as well as backcountry skiing, but he has concerns about the $320 price tag.



Posted April 10, 2018

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody: better than down

Alpinist digital editor Derek Franz tested the Patagonia Micro Puff jacket and found that the lightweight, synthetic garment outperforms those of similar weights with down feathers. "It lives up to the hype," Franz writes. Five stars.



Posted March 30, 2018

Grivel Stealth HS helmet: the durability of a hard shell and the protection of foam

The Grivel Stealth Hard Shell helmet offers the protection of a hard shell and a foam helmet in one, making it durable against repeated knocks as well as from side impacts. Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz found it to be a worthy brain bucket for big-wall, ice and alpine climbing, but the strap system and one-size fit left a bit to be desired. Four stars.



Posted March 21, 2018

The Blue Ice Warthog 40L Pack: a worthy, alpine-specific workhorse

After lugging the Blue Ice Warthog 40L backpack around the mountains for several months, IFMGA/AMGA guide Mike Lewis came to some conclusions: the pack is ideal for ice, rock and alpine climbing (5 stars for that category), but the lack of a padded hip belt makes it less comfortable to carry long distances when you're not wearing a harness and you want to load more of the pack weight onto the hips instead of the shoulders. "For someone who is specifically looking for a pack with an unpadded, removable hip belt for technical climbing, this pack is a slam-dunk," Lewis writes.



Posted March 5, 2018

Lowa Approach Pro GTX Lo: A go-everywhere shoe

If Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz had to pick just one type of shoe to wear for the rest of his life, there's no doubt it would be a pair of approach shoes. The Lowa Approach Pro Los have become his first choice to wear everywhere, all the time. Five stars.



Posted February 14, 2018

MSR Advance Pro 2 Ultralight: a single-wall, four-season tent that is simple and convenient

Mallorie Estenson, an alpine guide and climber based in the Pacific Northwest, has been using the MSR Advance Pro 2 Ultralight—a single-wall, four-season tent—on some ski-mountaineering trips in Washington this winter. The tent is intended to be simple and compact so that it can fit onto narrow ledges found on the side of a mountain. Estenson reports that it was light, easy to set up, and comfortable enough for her to give it four stars.



Posted February 3, 2018

The Blue Ice Yeti 50L Pack: Small innovations that make an impact

Blue Ice is a small, relatively new company that started in a garage in Europe and now has a presence in North America. IFMGA/AMGA guide Mike Lewis has been using the Blue Ice Yeti 50L backpack, and aside from a few details that didn't comply with his exact personal preferences, he liked it well enough to award it five stars.



Posted January 16, 2018

Mountain Equipment Citadel Mitt: A bastion of warmth in a light package

Alaskan alpinist Clint Helander finds the Mountain Equipment Citadel Mitt to be a lightweight and versatile option for climbs that require cutting down on bulk and extra grams. Five stars.



Posted January 3, 2018

Sterling WorkPro: A static rope that is supple with a high strength-to-weight ratio

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz recently used the Sterling WorkPro static line to haul a 100-pound bag on his first solo big wall. The WorkPro was supple, strong and durable—everything you'd want from a static rope. Five stars.



Posted December 24, 2017

Black Diamond ATC Pilot: A solid one trick pony

Chris Van Leuven used the Black Diamond ATC Pilot to catch gear-ripping falls and liked its simple design and smooth rope handling so well that it became his go-to belay device for single-pitch cragging. Five stars.



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