Mountain Standards

Posted September 25, 2019

Lowa Rocket: climbing shoes made for heel/toe hooking

After extensive testing, Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz reports that the Lowa Rockets are best suited for toe- and heel-hooking, with a secure fit that ensures they won't slide off the heel. Franz had trouble finding a size to fit his foot comfortably, however, and there is some bagginess over the top of the big toe. Three stars.

Posted September 13, 2019

Mystery Ranch Scepter 50: a comfortable pack for hauling loads in the mountains

Whitney Clark tested the Mystery Ranch Scepter 50 backpack in Patagonia and in the Sierra Nevada Range. She reports that the pack provides a comfortable suspension system and is great for hauling loads. "I think that the Scepter 50 does really well if you have just the perfect amount of gear, but it does not adjust well to smaller or bigger loads," she writes. Four stars.

Posted September 3, 2019

Scarpa Maestro Mid: A worthy all-around shoe that rivals the TC Pro

Chris Kalman put the Scarpa Maestro Mid through the paces on different styles of climbs to see how they compared to his La Sportiva TC Pros, which have set the standard for this type of shoe for several years. Kalman notes some differences between the shoes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and concludes that the Scarpa Maestros are a solid alternative, especially for people who have not found an ideal fit in the TC Pros. Four stars.

Posted August 20, 2019

Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Cookset 2.1: Light, compact, self-contained and user friendly

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz tested the Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Cookset and awarded it five stars for its "lightweight, compact, self-contained and user friendly" design.

Posted July 18, 2019

Osprey Mutant 52: A worthy pack for just about any pursuit in any season

Drew Thayer tested the Osprey Mutant 52 backpack on ski tours, cragging days and even a three-week packraft trip in the Amazon rainforest. While the pack isn't the most ideal option for serious alpine climbing, he found that it works well for a variety of missions. Four stars.

Posted June 28, 2019

Beal Escaper: A scary but handy tool for when you need to rappel with one rope

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz tested the Beal Escaper, which the company describes as a "detachable abseil system" that enables climbers to rappel on a single strand of rope and then still be able to retrieve the rope from below. Franz reports that if used properly the Escaper can be a handy tool to facilitate a fast retreat, but he also found that the device has some limitations. Three stars.

Posted June 11, 2019

D4 Octapod: A unique portaledge that is lightweight, low-profile and easy to set up

Chris Kalman details his experience with the D4 Octapod, a unique portaledge designed by the legendary big-wall gear inventor John Middendorf. Kalman tells the story of his early frustrations with the D4 ledge and how he ultimately came to love it, awarding it five stars.

Posted June 4, 2019

Cnoc Vecto and Versa Flow Gravity Water Filtering System is light, efficient, compact

Tad McCrea used the Cnoc Vecto and Versa Flow Gravity Water Filtering System on an expedition to Aconcagua where the rivers ran thick and brown with sediment. The simple, lightweight Vecto-Versa system worked well and kept Tad healthy. He awards it four stars.

Posted May 30, 2019

Maxim Personal Escape Rope: A tag line made for alpinists

Chris Kalman recently took the 7mm Maxim Personal Escape Rope to the big wall jungle of Cochamo, Chile, where he used the tag line to haul gear and rappel while exploring new routes. The Maxim PER is designed to be strong, light, water-resistant and its stiffness makes it less prone to getting snagged. Kalman reports that the rope is a great tool for alpinists, though they should be careful hauling with it to avoid core shots. Four stars.

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.

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