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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 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.
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.