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Blake Herrington

Dirtbaggery, Vol. 3: Surviving Thanksgiving Small Talk

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.

Asolo Cholatse TH: A Well-Made Boot From Boot Country

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.

Oboz Valhalla Shoes: Climber Inspired, But Not Approved

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.

Metolius FS Mini Carabiner: Size Matters

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?