Mountain Standards

Posted November 19, 2010

La Sportiva TC Pro: Trad Machines

The TC Pros are comfortable, offer great protection while jamming and edge powerfully. However, because these shoes lack the sensitivity and aggressive shape of a sport-climbing shoe, face-climbing bolt clippers might not be impressed.

Posted November 10, 2010

Golite Shangri-La 2 Shelter: Keep It Simple Stupid

In all, the Shangri-La 2 Shelter is an efficient use of expertly constructed material, whose simple design makes for a well-balanced space-to-weight ratio.

Posted October 6, 2010

Ortovox Merino Competition Base Layer: Sheep Meet Science

After a couple months of testing, this shirt has become a reliable and durable addition to my base layer arsenal.

Posted September 20, 2010

Arc'teryx Cierzo 35 Daypack: The Eliminator

Unlike many other lightweight packs, the Cierzo had enough room for my gear, enough suspension for comfort and enough durability to outlast a few seasons.

Posted August 28, 2010

Black Diamond Oz Carabiner: So Hot Right Now

in the alpine, or other situations where weight is a critical component, the Oz is a pretty hot piece of work. While there are other great lightweight 'biners on the market, the weight and quality of the Oz make it an outstanding piece of gear worthy of the Alpinist Mountain Standards medal.

Posted August 10, 2010

Brooks-Range Alpini Mountain Anorak Hoody: Primo Down

After a spring and summer of using the Brooks-Range Alpini Mountain Anorak Hoody in Alaska and Wyoming, it has become my insulating layer of choice—better, in almost all circumstances, than any syntheic puffy I've used.

Posted July 21, 2010

C.A.M.P. Corsa Nanotech Ice Axe: Way Light, Way Functional

With an ultralight piece of equipment, I usually expect ultralight performance. But the little axe whacked solid placements on water ice just like a technical tool. It even overdrove at times, forcing me to bang on the adze to get it out.

Posted July 1, 2010

Osprey Variant 37 Pack: Paragon of Versatility

While many packs boast functional versatility, it's clear that the Osprey Variant 37 was designed with the influences of professional alpinists.

Posted June 21, 2010

Salewa Firetail GTX: A Hiker that Climbs

The Firetail GTX could be the ultimate all-in-one Teton or Rocky Mountain National Park shoe, with enough hiking chops for long approaches and plenty of climbing prowess for moderate routes.

Posted June 12, 2010

Mammut Togir Light Harness: A Compact Compromise

For its price tag, the Togir Light has a great set of features. But a few drawbacks are hard to ignore.

Posted June 1, 2010

Cassin Vector Nanotech Crampons: For Peaks, Not Crags

Nearly as light as aluminum crampons yet much more technical, the Nanotechs will sit lightly on the pack for the approach and still perform decently on a section of steep ice or mixed.

Posted May 18, 2010

Arc'teryx Alpha SL Pullover: Four Seasons, Four Stars

In winter it's charged through powder in the Absarokas and high Rockies; in spring it's tackled mud season on hiking and biking trails across Wyoming; in summer it's scraped up long alpine routes in the Tetons; and in fall it's explored from the canyons of Red Rocks to the top of Castleton Tower.

Posted May 11, 2010

Black Diamond Express Ice Screws: Drill Baby Drill

The Express is to ice climbing what the Camalot is to rock climbing: a well-designed workhorse that sets the industry standard.

Posted April 28, 2010

Petzl Dragonfly 8.2 Double Ropes: Light and Bright

I look for equipment that will do everything. For me this means finding the driest and most durable half rope I can. So this autumn I picked up a pair of Petzl Dragonflys, curious to see how much winter climbing they could handle.

Posted April 1, 2010

C.A.M.P. Radion Ice Screws: Filling the Frozen Niche

I tested the Radion for four months this winter on steep ice, meandering gullies and snow mountaineering slogs. In some regards, the Radion design is without equal. But in other respects—or the wrong conditions—the Radion is exasperating.

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