Jason Griffith

Arcteryx Alpha FL Pack review by Dave Burdick

It’s not often that a truly category-changing product comes along. Products like single wall tents, Nomic ice tools and LED headlamps were so innovative that they radically changed the landscape of their categories. Light weight climbing packs though are all relatively the same: some nylon cloth, a couple shoulder straps and not too many extra bells and whistles. What differentiates Arcteryx’s new Alpha FL climbing packs is that they are waterproof while still being tough and light weight. They are [...]

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Arcteryx Alpha Comp Hoody & Pants Review by Jenny Abegg

Let me first state the obvious: last year’s winter (2013/2014) in the Pacific Northwest was a bizarre one. In December we had uncharacteristically cold, dry weather, giving all of Seattle’s ice climbers a chance to play in their own backyard for a few weeks. January and February turned balmy, the ice disappeared, and skiers started thinking about picking up a new hobby. And then at the end of February, the clouds let loose, finally, dumping feet of snow in the [...]

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Top Rope Solo: Where and How in the Pacific Northwest

Toprope soloing is the fastest and easiest way to maximize climbing with limited time at the crag. This week I will focus on standard setups and ideal locations for TR solo climbing, but for an introduction to the topic and why you should try it, please read the first article in this 2-part series. The individual hardware setup that you use and where you choose to use it are the two decisions which may seem confusing or daunting. However, there [...]

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How Long is Your 60m Rope?

Have you ever come up short on a rappel when you remember that you’d managed to make it before? How about tried to toprope a pitch only to find yourself unable to lower a climber to the ground when others, with the same length ropes, had no problem? This might not simply be your memory going bad on you. There are significant differences in the lengths of ropes all labelled and sold as being identical. And these difference don’t just [...]

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Elbow-Saving Belay Setup – Streamline Your Multipitch Performance

As climbers and climbing-gear buyers, we are accustomed to wading through marketing claims, weeding out hearsay, and determining  the facts on our own before we act.  Is that carabiner really just 29g? We’ll simply put it on the scale and know the answer. Do these ski bindings collect ice and snow like I’ve heard? I’ll demo a pair and find out before I buy them. This tendency toward skepticism is healthy, and helps keeps us safe while climbing and skiing. [...]

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Patagonia M10 Shell Jacket Review by Dave Burdick

The Patagonia M10 jacket is their lightest waterproof/breathable hardshell. My production version of the jacket, in size Medium, weighs in at just under 8 ounces (221g) and packs down into its own pocket making it about the size of a softball. While the M10 is mainly marketed as a streamlined alpine climbing jacket, I think the light weight and versatility of the piece should make it popular for a variety of uses. With such a small and light shell, it [...]

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Jetboil Sol – A Major Upgrade Gets it Right by Blake Herrington

When the Jetboil Personal Cooking System first came onto the market in 2004, it was truly a “game changer” for climbers. The system (originally around 15oz before fuel) wasn’t any lighter than a small cannister stove and cookpot, but its genius was the integration of stove, lighter, burner, and 1liter cookpot that would al click together into a single unit. For climbers rapidly breaking out the stove on a snowy belay ledge, or squeezing it into a cramped Firstlight or [...]

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Arcteryx Nuclei Hoody Review by Dave Burdick

The moment I picked up the Arc’teryx Nuclei hoody, I realized that Arcteryx had made my other belay jackets obsolete. And I have a lot of belay jackets. For my uses, which are mainly alpine climbing and backcountry skiing, the value of a belay jacket primarily comes down to the numbers: how warm it is, and how much it weighs. To cut to the chase, what is special about this jacket is that Arcteryx put an 80g/m2 insulated body and 60g/m2 insulated [...]

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La Sportiva Spantik Review by Dave Burdick

La Sportiva Spantik Review by Dave Burdick

The La Sportiva Spantik is one of the very best cold weather technical climbing boots currently made. It is built with a combination of the latest technology and innovation in design features. In this review I tested its performance and took a close look at the details of the boot and how it compares to the main competitor in its category.   Double boots are often the best choice for high altitude and super cold weather climbing for two reasons: [...]

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Synthetic Insulated Jacket Layering Review by Dane Burns

The typical question: “I will climb Rainer this summer…next Orizaba, Kili, then Aconcagua! What do I need for clothes?” Here are some thoughts on a well proven “systems approach” that you may have not had. It is a multilayer and multi use cold weather system based at least two garments. One garment with 60g insulation (part of your “action suit”) and the another with 100g insulation. (your “belay jacket”) The bench mark Patagonia DAS belay jacket is 170g insulation by [...]

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