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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.
An ice climbing boot that handles skis as well? Jess Roskelley tested the Arc'teryx Procline Carbon Lite boots and enjoyed their versatility for approaching and climbing routes in the snowy backcountry. He used the boots on mixed pitches and WI 6, and cruised out in full control of his skis on the way down—no more sliding into tree wells with soft boots mounted into Silveretta bindings! He awarded the Proclines four stars.
The Five Ten Quantum rock shoes were designed to be an all-around, high performance shoe. Chris Van Leuven tested them on slabs, cracks and steeps, and on a variety of rock types: he scampered up them all, and was so pleased he awarded the redesigned Quantums five stars.
Julbo sunglasses continue to stand the test of time and perform as well as ever with modern technology. The Explorer 2.0, which is complete with photochromic lenses that rarely fog up. Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz would have awarded them a perfect five stars if it weren't for one shortcoming. Four stars.
Alpinist Fashion Editor Paula Rumpelshorts reviews the latest in alpine outerwear: the Emperor Jacket (so lightweight and breathable, you'll hardly know it's there).