October 30, 2014

Dynafit Huascaran

Dynafit Huascaran

Dynafit’s Huascaran took me completely by surprise. With the Huascaran we know we’re getting a light ski, but who could have expected how solid its performance is? Skiing the Huascaran in-bounds at Copper Mountain, I go no sense I was on an underweight touring plank. To the contrary, the ski seemed right at home across a variety of frontside conditions, demonstrating a smooth, playful character (more…)

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October 28, 2014

Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Fly Creek Platinum vs Hubba NX Solo

Here are two interesting tents with very different approaches to the challenge of building a viable solo shelter. The overriding ethic of Big Agnes’ Fly Creek Platinum 1 is “make it light!” MSR’s Hubba NX Solo, on the other hand, comes at the problem more from the angle of “make it right!” (more…)

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October 21, 2014

Wildrose Peak Panorama

Wildrose Peak Panorama

As with next-door neighbor Telescope Peak, Death Valley’s Wildrose Peak features striking juxtapositions of desert and alpine landscapes. Wildrose is in the Panamint Range, squeezed in between Death Valley, to the east, and Panamint Valley, to the west—both places so severe and austere they practically demand contemplation (more…)

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October 10, 2014

Volkl Reboots the Mantra

Volkl Reboots the Mantra

The Mantra has changed. Yes, there have been minor tweaks to Volkl’s All Mountain masterpiece over the years, including the daring addition of a dash of tip rocker. But this time is different. For the 2014-2015 ski season, Volkl has rebooted the Mantra, giving us a ski that substantially departs from the concept and feel (more…)

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October 3, 2014

Fransson

Fransson

He was one of the titans of modern extreme skiing, with a traditional, mountaineering tilt that connected him directly to the most storied names of the past. On September 29, Andreas Fransson and ski partner J.P. Auclair were killed by an avalanche while ascending Mount San Lorenzo on the Chilean-Argentinian border (more…)

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September 11, 2014

Dirty Girl Gaiters

Dirty Girl Gaiters

Of course we all hate scree gaiters, but the darned things tend to be useful—particularly (as is often the case) when we’ve decided not to bring them. Leave the scree gaiters at home, and you can bet that easy trail hike you’re expecting is going to turn into a steep field of calf-deep sand and gravel, where a nannyish voice will continuously snark in your ears if only you’d remembered (more…)

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September 4, 2014

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

The only thing wrong with La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor is that it’s not a mid. For ultra-class hikers and runners, this is an outstanding all-day shoe. The Ultra Raptor is reasonably light (I’m measuring my US 10.0 pair at one pound, ten ounces, post-use), eminently stable, and confidence-inspiring in that most critical of metrics—extended use comfort. La Sportiva specs this as a medium/wide fit (more…)

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September 1, 2014

Sawtooth Peak

Sawtooth Peak

Trevor and I paid a visit to Mineral King yesterday, and as we hiked past mile after mile of richly colored rock, I have to say I kept feeling potent impulses to grab a pick axe and start digging. This was my first-ever trip up the famous Mineral King road. It absolutely exceeded its reputation—I shudder at the thought of having to drive it with any regularity (more…)

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August 27, 2014

Black Diamond Speed 22

Black Diamond Speed 22

The Speed is back—sort of. In its original, 2005 edition, Black Diamond’s Speed backpack was a masterpiece of light-is-right design. The original, 30-liter Speed backpack gave us a floating lid, side compression straps, a stiff single-stay frame, and not much else. For fast travel with heavy loads, the pack was and is just about perfect. Big ski mountaineering day trips? Check. Desert hikes that demand (more…)

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August 22, 2014

Sierra Class 3

Sierra Class 3

Insofar as I can tell, the Yosemite Decimal System, which is by far the most widely-used climbing route grading system in the United States, works extremely well provided you stay within the bounds of the Class 5 designation (more…)

Posted in Climbing | 5 Comments

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