December 4, 2013 Lange XT 120 Gear

Lange XT 120

Lange’s XT 120 is a slightly-softer version of the XT 130. Both boots feature a walk mode switch which allows you to release the cuff for enhanced walking mobility. Like the 130, the XT 120 is best thought of as an Alpine boot with a walk mode, rather than a true Alpine Touring model, though (more...)...

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November 24, 2013 Scott Cosmos Gear

Scott Cosmos

There’s a bit of a leap of faith involved in buying a pair of Scott Cosmos ski boots. Just a year ago, the Cosmos was made by legendary but now-defunct Garmont USA. Garmont’s parting gift was at least one and possibly two critical design/manufacturing flaws embedded in the otherwise-stunning Cosmos. Early adopters (including me) thus (more...)...

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August 29, 2013 Look Pivot Gear

Look Pivot

Where Alpine equipment is concerned, I generally believe nearly all modern bindings are safe and effective. That said, there is still variation in performance and durability. Look’s Pivot has a reputation for excellence even in the relatively homogeneous realm of Alpine bindings, thanks to its outstanding durability and its remarkable 40mm lateral travel (toe) and (more...)...

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August 13, 2013 La Sportiva Xplorer Mid Gear

La Sportiva Xplorer Mid

La Sportiva’s lightweight Xplorer Mid is not at all the shoe I was expecting. In terms of weight, stiffness, and structure, the Xplorer is almost an anti-boot. The Xplorer Mid is minimalist to the point of being primitive. In fact, the shoe reminds me most of my Pearl Izumi Peak XC trail runners—they both have (more...)...

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August 1, 2013 Between Me and Gu Gear

Between Me and Gu

Sports drinks have been making various claims of superiority to plain water for a long time, and I’ve been generally skeptical of the whole lot of them. Still, if you’re chasing someone who’s got a pocketfull of Gu gels (and you don’t have any), you do tend to wonder how much of a benefit there (more...)...

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July 16, 2013 Airhead Na Pali Gear

Airhead Na Pali

If you’ve ever driven up to a scenic mountain lake and found yourself wishing you had a paddleboard or a sea kayak, Airhead’s inflatable Na Pali is worth a look. When not in use, the Na Pali rolls up into a reasonably compact package—about three feet by one feet—certainly small enough to fit in your (more...)...

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June 27, 2013 Trust Issues: Steripen Freedom Gear

Trust Issues: Steripen Freedom

I’ve been twice burned by Steripen’s Adventurer hydrophoton water purification device, so forgive me if I’m a little less than glowing in my comments. No, the problem wasn’t that the light came on when it wasn’t supposed to—it was that it never came on at all. The Steripen, in its various incarnations, uses ultraviolet light (more...)...

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June 3, 2013 OR Cirque Pant Gear

OR Cirque Pant

At some point I realized my backcountry ensemble was starting to enter a Mao phase. To combat the trend, I’ve begun seeking cheerier gear and clothing choices. So I was drawn to Outdoor Research’s Cirque pant not so much because of my high regard for OR’s Igneo pant, but because of the Cirque’s ‘glacier’ blue (more...)...

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May 27, 2013 The Bonafide Strikes Back Gear

The Bonafide Strikes Back

While I had a fine time breaking in my new Soul 7’s two weeks ago, I ended that trip worried I’d just killed my Bonafides. How do the two skis compare, and can they coexist (peacefully) under one roof? There was only one way to answer that question—head back to Mammoth Mountain for some extended (more...)...

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May 13, 2013 More Thoughts On the Soul 7 Gear

More Thoughts On the Soul 7

Rather than update my Soul 7 review, I think I’m just going to add some additional thoughts here. As expected, I did go ahead and buy a pair, and I paid with my own money. First of all, there’s nothing I hate more than ski manufacturers making me bleed my own blood, but it does (more...)...

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When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

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