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  1. Lowe Alpine makes very good stuff, but I haven't used any of their newer stuff so I can't make an informed comment - seems to be very well build from handling their attack series in the shops. I have a new BD speed 30 - and I really like the activ suspension. It feels a bit weird at first but I find it comfortable after you get used to it. I agree with the other person that said that the fabric is too light for extended ski use - I would opt for the Epic series or the Axis - and I think the 2013 series is built with higher denier fabrics than the 2014 models, plus BD has them on sale.
  2. What do you want to know? For general cragging, Rock Deluxe (SI) is the guidebook to get. The newest edition should be out by January. For the darrans and mount cook, order the NZAC guidebooks for the darrans and mount cook respectively. NZ alpine guidebooks do not give very much detail at all. Something like the zubriggin's ridge on cook might get 2 sentences. I live in Wanaka. Let me know if I can help with anything. G
  3. I assume you're going to the South Island? try posting on www.climber.co.nz Feb is the end of summer here (I live in NZ) and most things with a glaciated approach are very dicey by this time. If you want, you could fly in and skip a lot of the lower ice-fall type stuff and that would open up some more options. I doubt you'd be able to get much done in 1-2 days. NW ridge of Aspiring might be a good option, Cloudy Peak is non-glacieated and has some decent alpine rock. It's also in the rain shadow so it tends to have better weather than the west coast. Those would each take about 3 days. If it's not raining in the Darrans there is good alpine rock to be had there too that could be 1 or 2 day missions. BE FLEXIBLE. Most of the time the weather will shut you down. I wouldn't set aside x and y as your alpine climbing days and be able to bank on x and y having good weather.
  4. I would seriously consider a Cold Cold World pack in spite of the non-removable hipbelt. Awesome packs. Way more robust and better designed than the Cilogear packs and the non-removble hipbelt is a non-issue once you've used them for a little bit. Fantastic packs.
  5. The straps are surprisingly robust - much more robust than the pack they are attached to. I've used mine to make compression straps for another brand of pack after multiple cilogear pack failures. Throw the pack away and keep the straps. If you feel compelled to keep the pack, be VERY gentle with it. If you want it to last as long as a normal pack, don't use it.
  6. I have used an EV2 - really stupid tent, in my opinion. No mesh door, and no vestibule. Really only useful in very cold/high environments. I would also recommend the firstlight (I own one). I'd also have a serious look at the Sierra Designs Convert 2 (I've used one a bunch and really liked it - quite well thought out)and the new North Face Assault 2 (I think it's called that?)
  7. My recommendation (having owned vipers and used quarks) would be to go for the vipers. I would also throw the X-all Mountain into consideration as well. The vipers will serve you well for everything except hard mixed, but they will be fine for starting out - I happily climbed M7 with mine. As far as BD picks go, I would agree with Jon that they are pretty good these days - though in 10+ years of climbing with both BD and Petzl/Charlet Moser tools I've only ever bent one pick and that was on my Nomics. Currently (if you care) I only own Nomics and green Fusions. I upgraded from Vipers to Cobras then to Nomics as I got more into mixed climbing, then got some fusions for alpine climbing (love the spike) and harder mixed. The quarks (in my opinion) are too light for hard ice, too straight for moderate mixed and have that stupid adjustable trigger rest that will break.
  8. I have both the Trango Extreme Evo and the Batura 2.0 gtx. Both fantastic boots - but different. The edge in technical performance goes to the trango - it's like a rock shoe, but it's not that warm, not super supportive, has a bit more sole flex...I use my trangos for ice and mixed climbing. I have used them for alpine climbing (before I bought the Baturas) too. I prefer the Batura for alpine climbing because it's warmer, lighter (I'm not sure if it's actually lighter, but it certainly feels lighter), stiffer and more weather-proof (as it has a gaiter). I'd use them for ice climbing too, but only if it was really cold. I'm sure they would mixed climb well too, but it seems like my trangos have a better "feel". I dunno. The Trango has a much narrower last than the Batura - both feel about the same in the heel/arch but there is a lot more room in the toe with the Batura. I think if you had to pick one it would depend what sort of stuff you were climbing and where. Out east where it's mostly single pitch/cragging type routes, very little alpine, I'd go with the trango. If you're futher west and want to do some winter alpine climbs along with your ice/mixed then maybe the Batura would be a better choice. The new Nepal Cube looks cool too.
  9. Have you tried the Chalet Ski Station? Nice place, super helpful owner, pretty cheap.
  10. There isn't really a "sweet spot" per se. If you read the old NZAC journals, it was relatively common to get long stretches of good weather back in the day. Now, from personal experience and from the experience of others, getting a long stretch (a week or so) of good weather is relatively rare at any time of year. That's not to say it can't happen, but i certainly wouldn't place any money on it. NZ is such a long, narrow, country with several directions for weather to come from (across the tasman from australia, north from antartica, south from the pacific islands etc...) that weather patterns tend to change more rapidly and be less predictable than when you're on a big continent. Summers have been getting longer and hotter in the past couple years and routes on Cook, in particular, that usually have good snowcover over crevasses and such until late in the season have been becoming impassable much much earlier. The mountains around Wanaka (where Mt. Aspiring is) are a bit drier than the Mt. Cook area, but there's not that much of a difference. There is plenty of good cragging around wanaka (the town) where it will be drier than in the mountains. Pretty common to be cragging in the sun in Wanaka and see Aspiring covered in dark clouds. I'm not trying to shit on your parade, but just warn you not to get too stoked on alpine climbing in NZ. It's so reliably shit here that I've sworn off climbing here until I'm in a position where I can take some time off at a moment's notice and head into the hills when the weather's good. Right now I have to plan my time off in advance and I don't want to waste it sitting in huts waiting for the rain to stop. Although we're actually in a major drought right now - the worst in almost 40 years...
  11. I currently live in NZ (have for a long time...) Aspiring would be a good bet as there's quite a few hiking trails in the area for the non-climbers. They could even walk to the edge of the glacier with you if they were keen. In good conditions, 3 days will be plenty of time to get in, up down and out from Aspiring. Mt. Footstool (very close to Mt. Cook Village) would be another good bet for a decent climb than has a short approach from an easily accessible from an area that has other things to do around. However - I would honestly NOT waste your luggage space bringing down mountaineering gear. Bring a sport rack and hiking gear and just pretend that the mountains do not exist. 99 times/100 the weather will be shit and you won't end up climbing anything. At least if you're hiking you can still go do something, and there's plenty of decent sport climbing about. Buy or rent a car while you're here - the public transport sucks and you will have trouble getting to most trailheads without one. Hope that helps
  12. very cool. thanks for sharing that
  13. I have a CAMP Air CR - fucking awesome harness. Super light, very comfortable, two ice clipper slots (in my opinion, you don't need more than two, speed buckles, adjustable leg loops. Of all the harnesses I've owned it's by far my favourite.
  14. I really don't like Cilogear packs, especially the strap system. I have owned 3 (all 3 fell apart relatively quickly) and I think I found the strap system the most annoying part about cilogear packs (aside from the fact that they fell apart). Once I had my packs set up the way I liked them (which, suprise! is pretty much the same as every major pack manufacturer configures their straps)I found little need for the switching or fiddling with any of the pack straps themselves. I did however, often take the lid straps off when I was using the packs without lids. A few times (once on a trip to Peru!) I would toss my pack and lid separately into the car/luggage and forget the straps that held the lid on. My fault, but still a pain in the ass. The way the lid attaches to the front of the pack is a very weak orientation, and I eventually ripped the little tab/metal ring partially out of the seam. I think the general design of cilogear packs is quite good - they carry and climb well. I really liked the internal compression strap. However, the external strap system is a gimmick, and some of the packs are extremely poorly made. Every time I see someone with one, I think "I wonder if you got a dud". After 3 duds in a row (I'm a slow learner) I bought a CCW. Excellent pack, have had absolutely zero troubles with it. As far as sizing goes, yes, Cilogear packs are HUGE for their size. I suspect that Graham is catering to the wannabe weekend warrior crowd who think "wow, look how awesome I am, I can fit 4 days worth of gear in a 30L pack". I find sadly amusing how some people on other Cilogear love/hate threads can steadfastly love their Cilogear packs as they say that they've had their super expensive pack for a short period of time and it's failed catastrophically. If you want to make an expensive gamble, buy a cilogear. If you want an excellent, no bullshit pack, buy a CCW or pretty much anything else. Lots and lots of people make good packs these days. There's no good reason to gamble on whether you're going to get a cilogear that lasts years or days.
  15. I've got some genesis halfs - I don't really like the way they handle - too stiff, and i find the colour combination they use difficult to differentiate in low light conditions - they seem to have fixed that though. Extremely durable, good dry treatment, still going strong after several years.
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