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.
The rest of the MS Team
La Sportiva Exum Ridge, the best approach shoe we know
Posted on: July 13, 2006
Editor's note: This is one of those products that we here at Alpinist hear so much about, so we want to give it the Alpinist Mountain Standard's award again. The shoe is worthy, and plenty of the Teton climbers will tell you so. The La Sportiva Exum Ridge runner is definitely one of those items that should be in any climber's quiver. Alpinist staffer Alex Hamlin will tell you what it's all about. He took them for some climbs - lots of them.
After enduring nearly a year of abuse throughout the Tetons, La Sportiva's Exum Ridge has established itself as my go-to shoe for approaches and scrambles up to easy fifth class. From long trail-running days in Death Canyon to the Owen Spaulding route on the Grand Teton, this shoe is the choice for all-terrain mountain footwear.
For long days rock-hopping talus approaches, its trail running construction provides enough cushioning without sacrificing a snug fit. Combined with a sticky rubber sole, the shoe performs well in vertical terrain, smearing admirably on Teton granite and providing just enough edging power to scramble short steps of steep rock. To be sure, this is no technical shoe. But with its medium-stiffness last and breathabiltiy, it's a champ for long summer days in the mountains. Well constructed, my pair lasted a full six months before being relegated to streetwear. This is the approach shoe that any adventurer should own.