Mountain Standards

Posted May 15, 2015

Specialized and Complicated—Omega Pacific's Link Cam

I love watching my own mind make back flips, and it has put on quite an acrobatic show since the release of the Omega Pacific Link Cam in 2006: Early on, I remember looking at these crazy one-size-fits-all cams and thinking, "Yeah great...or how about just learning how to correctly place gear?" Later, I came to understand that recognizing the Link Cam's crazy genius is only a matter of the appropriate application.

Posted May 1, 2015

Voormi High-E Hoodie: Technical Wool, Perfected

After a day of cruising through the rolling hills and trees surrounding Brainard Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, under constant wet snow, the High-E Hoodie was damp around the sleeves and shoulders—a fact I didn't notice until I'd been in the car for fifteen minutes.

Posted April 23, 2015

Lorpen TEPAP Socks: Want to save $700? Try a $70 pair of socks

I never gave too much thought to my socks. In general, any pair of mid-weight wool socks would have been interchangeable for most days out in the mountains of New England.

Posted April 13, 2015

Mountain Standard Hooded Down: A Down/Synthetic Blend That's Easy on the Budget

I've been wearing the Mountain Standard Hooded Down jacket practically nonstop for the last three months. It came with me up El Cap this winter, and kept me warm and comfortable at hanging belays and when climbing through the night.

Posted March 27, 2015

Big Agnes Dunkley Belay Jacket: A Slim-and-Trim Synthetic Belay Parka

Bluebird days are so rare in Vermont that an overnight low of -18 degrees didn't dampen my enthusiasm for a day of ice climbing at Smugglers' Notch on Mt. Mansfield. I wore a Big Agnes Dunkley Belay Jacket, a slim-and-trim synthetic belay parka, to keep warm if our pace slowed or we lost the sun.

Posted March 27, 2015

Black Diamond Xenos: A Strange Fit

The Black Diamond Xenos mixed/ice climbing harness is aptly named since it enables you to visit some of the most unique and uninhabitable places known to humankind, places where we truly are the aliens.

Posted March 19, 2015

Grivel Candela: A V-threading Life Partner

Mentor to many aspiring mountain guides, Marc Chauvin once told me, "When you're out of options, you're dead." Now that statement might seem obvious, but he meant it with some wordplay: perspective often has an influence on the options you see.

Posted March 13, 2015

Grip-Positive Winter Runners: Icebug DTS BUGrip

DTS BUGrip provides a comfortable, somewhat cushy, and nimble ride, with positive traction for nearly all conditions.

Posted March 6, 2015

Arc'teryx Nozone 35 Pack: An Alpine Climbing Workhorse

While the basic anatomy of a pack hasn't evolved much since the hand-sewn rucksacks of Norman Clyde, a thoughtfully designed pack can be a major help to a day in the mountains. There's a fine line, however, between a smooth design and gimmicks.

Posted February 16, 2015

Kahtoola MICROspikes: Instant Traction Control

Mary Williams considers climbing approaches and descents at Rocky Mountain National Park a necessary evil. For improved traction, she wears micro spikes to cross icy terrain. "I have used [them] with light hiking boots, my ice-climbing boots, running shoes, and even a few times over my ski boots," she writes.

Posted February 6, 2015

The Petzl Sum'Tec: Hard Working Mutha'

Alpinists know that a tool capable of performing well in a variety of mediums and serving a variety of tasks is, indeed, quite pleasing. All the time. The Petzl Sum'Tec tools go a long way toward accomplishing that.

Posted January 22, 2015

Salewa Wildfires: Blister-Free Hikers That Climb Surprisingly Well

I'm one of those guys who have a different pair of shoes for every situation and will debate my options to an embarrassing extent. Over a year ago, while searching for a good all-around pair of approach shoes, I tried a pair of Salewa Wildfires.

Posted September 12, 2014

Trango BallNutz: Clean Climbing Technology, Surpassed

High on El Cap a few years ago, I found myself 30 feet runout with ledge-fall potential breathing up my neck. A small fissure too small for any micro cam yet too parallel for any stopper split open the granite in front of my face. Placements like this made me wish I'd brought a set of slider nuts, though the need I had for that specialized protection is a rare moment in my life as a climber.

Posted October 8, 2013

Wild Country Recalls Their Rocks

"For the safety of all of our customers Wild Country are issuing an immediate recall of certain batches of Wild Country Classic Rocks and Anodised Rocks."

Posted September 26, 2013

Wild Country Helium: A Finicky But Quality Friend

I have spent the last year and a half plugging the Heliums into cracks throughout the Western US, including the North Cascades, Smith Rocks, Red Rock, Lover's Leap, Yosemite and a few other areas. While they have a design common among high-quality cams, they were trickier to place and to clean because of their stem length and, in the case of the larger sizes, trigger placement.

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