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The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
It’s the softest and nicest feeling base layer I’ve donned to date, has a subtle urban flair to it, and the more I found out about the company the more excited I became by what they described as their “business activism”.
There seems to be quite a bit more brand-loyalty in the realm of ice climbing gear than in other arenas of equipment purchase. But is this partisanship and almost red state-blue state vehemence really necessary, or can brands play together nicely?
I also fall fate to being one of the most cold-challenged alpine guides in the Canadian Rockies, so when given the opportunity to test the MontBell Permafrost Down Parka I couldn't really refuse!
La Sportiva has created another fine technical boot with the new Batura. I've used the Nuptse in the Himalaya, the Nepal Top all over the North Cascades and Ouray, the Trango Ice Evo and Women's Trango Evo GTX in Patagonia and at home in the San Juans. I've been happy with all of these La Sportiva models, which tend to fit narrow feet, like mine, especially well. I'm psyched on the new Batura because it fills the gap between the warmth of the Nuptse, as a quasi-double boot, and the technical performance of the Nepal Top or Evo. Its weight-to-warmth ratio sets it apart from the pack of other boots I've used over the years.
The Primus EtaPower MF stove's most striking attribute was how quickly it boiled water. In 0 degree C weather it had 1.5 liters of water boiling in about three minutes.