Blake Herrington adds his own saga to the story of Picket Range climbing.
When we meet people for the first time, we ask their name, and we ask them their job. And although I know climbers who’ve adopted unorthodox monikers such as Trout Man, Chongo, Coach or Alf, they have no trouble answering their names. The job category, that one’s often tougher. If you’re like me, you put on a sheepish grin and give a halfway-there explanation, and struggle until failure to explain what you’re doing with yourself and why.
Geography is a big determinant of destiny. So it’s only logical that Italy, a mountainous and boot-shaped country, would be home to many of the companies producing high-end footwear for our alpine endeavors. The nation with a centuries-old heritage of crafting fashionable and functional shoes is home to brands including La Sportiva, Scarpa, Kayland and the makers of my recently worn ice boots, Asolo.
As a beginning climber, I would read Internet forums and climbing blogs for hours. I justified these pupil-glazing sessions as “research” into a world I knew nothing about….In the interest of helping others avoid such hours fraught with peril, I’m going to attempt to answer nearly every Internet climbing conundrum in the span of a single Q and A session.
Just Seam Grip It! – The art, and adhesive, of gear improvement.
The Hummingbird’s size and weight are that of a light, minimalist bag (I’ve eaten burritos that were bigger). However, the conservative twenty-degree temperature rating, overstuffed fill and moisture-repelling exterior compels me use it on more occasions than just alpine sufferfests.
The Valhalla does an admirable job of balancing the contradictory demands of climbers–light but durable, waterproof yet breathable, stiff but comfortable–but this also means that in no one circumstance do they truly shine. However, that didn’t stop them from being my preferred shoes on trips with a little bit of every kind of terrain.
Even though stainless steel isn’t the ultralight miracle metal that one might believe, Black Diamond’s design and construction alone make the newest Cyborg one of the best tools available for hard winter climbing.
Does size matter? This question, historically the domain of trashy women’s magazines, is now relevant to the ever-evolving climbing gear industry–in particular, rapidly shrinking carabiners. The Metolius FS Mini wiregate now stands as the smallest full-strength carabiner on the market, but how small is too small?
For its price tag, the Togir Light has a great set of features. But a few drawbacks are hard to ignore.