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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.
Mountain Standards Gear Review: Digital Editor Derek Franz has been using the Gnarly Nutrition Pre and BCAA (branched chain amino acid) dietary supplements for the past year. Though unable to definitively say how much of a difference, if any, the supplements have made for his fitness, he writes: "What I do know, is that my fitness has been on an upward roll lately, and Gnarly has been one of many ingredients along the way, so I can't discount it." As with most any dietary supplement, Franz notes, there can be serious side effects if they aren't used properly. Four stars.