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Mountain Standards Award

The smooth trigger action and the sticky-rubber like traction of the soft alloy lobes are just two components that make the Alien Revolution a great choice for mountain missions. Dave Allfrey and Luke Holloway plug and play a few ridges south of Mt. Whitney (Tumanguya), California. [Photo] Tad McCrea

Fixe Ultralight Alien Revolution cams: Otherworldly friends to have on your rack

Tad McCrea used the Fixe Ultralight Alien Revolution cams on 20 big routes in the Sierra Nevada Range this past summer and he was very happy with their light weight and performance, especially for the Double Sling design that allowed him to carry less gear for extending placements. He did not find any significant drawbacks to the latest version of this long beloved cam . Five stars

Derek Franz stays relaxed wearing the Black Diamond Vision MIPS helmet while onsighting Rock Candy (5.12a), a thin slippery route on Independence Pass, Colorado. [Photo] Elizabeth Riley

Black Diamond Vision MIPS Helmet: Head protection that’s as light and effective as ever

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz has been wearing the Black Diamond Vision MIPS helmet on many climbs, from long multipitch routes in the Black Canyon to short bolted sport climbs. “Thanks to advancements in materials and design, helmets are now so light and low-profile that it’s harder to justify not wearing one, even at the sport crag,” he writes. “Weighing slightly more than half-a-pound…factor in the durability of the Black Diamond Vision MIPS, and you have light, comfortable head protection that will holdup throughout frequent use.” Five stars.

The author takes a snack break off trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado, while wearing the Dragon Alliance Flash LL Ions. [Photo] Catherine Houston

Dragon Alliance Flash LL Ion sunglasses: High quality with a big, bold style

As an IFMGA/AMGA guide, Mike Lewis spends a lot of time in the mountains in all conditions, rain, snow or shine, and he appreciates the value of quality eyewear, especially after LASIK surgery that left his eyes more sensitive to the elements. He’s been using the Dragon Alliance Flash LL Ion Sunglasses that feature Dragon’s Lumalens technology and eco-friendly manufacturing. Lewis points out that the big, flashy style of the shades might not be for everyone, but the quality is all there. Five stars.

Whitney Clark traversing out from one of the supercaves while climbing The Tiger on Washington Pass with the Beal Opera rope. [Photo] Will Stanhope

The Beal Opera: An 8.5mm rope that is as strong and waterproof as it is light

Whitney Clark was skeptical about the Beal Opera’s skinny 8.5mm diameter when she first laid her hands on it–how well could such a thin cord really hold up against the sharp rock of alpine routes? The Opera is certified to be used as a single, twin or half rope, which adds great versatility for alpinists, and sure enough, the rope held up. After using the Opera at Index, Washington, the Cascades, Sawtooths and Wind River Range, Clark writes, “the Opera is a great choice for alpine routes when saving weight is key.” Five stars.

The author wearing the La Sportiva Testarossa climbing shoes at a crag near Redstone, Colorado. [Photo] Nat Gustafson

La Sportiva Testarossa: Still one of the best climbing shoes money can buy

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz has been using the slightly redesigned La Sportiva Testarossa climbing shoes for the past several months and discovered what he’s been missing in his collection. He writes, “I only recently came to realize why so many of my climbing partners have been rocking the La Sportiva Testarossa for the last 17 years. I get it now!” Five stars.


Rab Muztag GTX Jacket: A worthy high-end shell that is light and durable

Alaskan climber Clint Helander generally prefers softshell jackets instead of hardshells when climbing and skiing, but the Rab Muztag GTX Jacket proved to be an exception. He writes, “I have always appreciated the ability of softshells to breathe and stretch while I methodically plod up steep snow slopes. In my mind, Gore-Tex jackets were still too heavy and restrictive in regard to movement…. I was happy to be proven wrong.” Five stars.

Derek Franz on Magnetar (5.13d), Rifle Mountain Park, Colorado. The Edelrid Bulletproof quickdraw is the first one clipped to the rope above the ground, near the lower right corner of the frame. The carabiner that the Bulletproof draw replaced was severely grooved. [Photo] Karissa Frye

Edelrid Bulletproof quickdraw: The burliness of steel with the lightness of aluminum

Alpinist Digital Editor tested the Edelrid Bulletproof quickdraw at Rifle Mountain Park, a world-famous sport crag where the volume of traffic frequently destroys carabiners. The Bulletproof showed hardly any signs of wear after hanging on one of the canyon’s most popular routes for four months, earning five stars. “Wait! This review is for Alpinist, what the hell is this sport climbing equipment doing here?” Franz writes. Read the article at for his answer.