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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.
I've found generally that what bouldering lacks in height, it makes up for in difficulty. Big-Nosed Millie (V9) at Hueco Tanks—a short, powerful, pocketed roof problem—is a classic example: a dirt-burgling lowball that will cramp your abdominals and snap your tendons. Although the aesthetics of this climb are far from world class, it was a perfect venue to test the aggressively downturned Scarpa Spectro climbing shoes.
the Pali looked innovative, and I was excited to see what possibly could be new in rope bag design.
At 235 grams the Petzl Meteor III is extremely lightweight, and throughout the day I had to tap my head to make sure the helmet was still on.
Though marketed for "competitive ski mountaineering," and complying with the minimum requirements of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation, I have a feeling that its featherweight design will attract more than lycra-clad rando racers. Who wouldn't want to shave a few more ounces from their packs?