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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.
Reviewer Drew Thayer notes, "The Ultamid 4 is currently the lightest option for a spacious, four-person shelter that can adapt to just about any conditions.... It's a great shelter for backcountry pursuits where versatility and light weight are necessary. And it's made right here in the USA."
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Climber and guidebook author Stewart M. Green reviews the Mammut Belay Chain: "Unlike the personal anchor systems made by Metolius, Sterling and Black Diamond that use six links of the same size, the Mammut chain links are of two different sizes. The first three links are 11 inches long, and the last three links are 3.5 inches long. These differing lengths allow you to attach to different anchors at a belay station easily and quickly."
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