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Kane

First Ascent Clothing - New choices

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Thanks Mike. But good question and it deserved an answer. Truth is I was never that good of climber on my best days so I have always searched out any edge in gear I could fine and take advantage of. Serious injuries in the last few years (tore off both biceps at one point among others) have really made me pay heed to any minute improvement I can identify these days and quickly adopt it :)

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XV is about the same as the WT...but I'll have more detailed info in a few days. No question the XV is worth the sale price and retail price for that matter imo.

 

If you are looking for a jacket that is tiny in the pack this aint it. But it is also one of the warmest ( a step up over the WT BJ and most everything else) when it comes to real climbing jackets available....just no free lunch.

 

Using an OR compression sack I can get my WT BJ down to about a Nalgege-and-a-half...will have to see if the EB XV can squish the same.

 

Thanks, man. I just ordered it at my local EB for $175 shipped. (They didn't have my size/color combo in stock.)

 

Sha-zam!! :tup:

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My XLs won't make 1.5 Nalgene :)

 

XV on the left in a 6x12 with room to spare. Mtn Hardware Compressor Hoody on the right, tight, in a # 3 FF stuff sack, 8x5?. Both jackets are XLs. If you wear a "Small", things would go into much, much smaller sacks :)

 

aeb.sized.jpg

 

I'm finding the best sythetic belay jackets (DAS, WT BJ and Dually) and the best down belay jackets will go into a smaller sacks than they are shipped with and all my XLs will go into the 12x6 with different levels of effort and generally with room to spare.

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Anyone catch Andrew Bisharat's review of the XV in the newest issue of R&I?

 

I never fail to be unimpressed by some of the stupid shit people write who should obviously know better. And EB gave him the jacket to review!!! "complaints: no big pouch pockets...I use those to store climbing shoes...and a thermos. "Doesn't have a dual zipper...that helps us climbers when we don hardness, tie knots..."

 

Having Andrew write a review on sport climbing in the XV is like having a 14 year old with a learner's permit write a driver's review of a Formula One car.

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Anyone catch Andrew Bisharat's review of the XV in the newest issue of R&I?

 

I never fail to be unimpressed by some of the stupid shit people write who should obviously know better. And EB gave him the jacket to review!!! "complaints: no big pouch pockets...I use those to store climbing shoes...and a thermos. "Doesn't have a dual zipper...that helps us climbers when we don hardness, tie knots..."

 

Having Andrew write a review on sport climbing in the XV is like having a 14 year old with a learner's permit write a driver's review of a Formula One car.

 

Don't get that mag but I assume the review was bad?

 

I don't see anything wrong with writing a bad review of free gear ... in fact journalistic ethics would demand it and I'm happy to see the mags actually still give out bad reviews...

 

I do find it interesting that the two people we have heard from who got this jacket for free (the dude who had it fall apart in the wash and bishart) and have actually used it didn't like it for one reason or another.

 

Have you used yours yet? Your reviews generally seem well thought out but I find raving about a jacket you got a week ago and haven't climbed in pretty objectionable.

 

I also think your dismissal of sport climbing and your statement that down jackets shouldn't need to be washed are pretty funny.

 

I'm just a weekend warrior but I do get out most weekends and for half the year, I basically live in my poofies. Maybe my comfort range is way different then yours but I've been freezing in just my (web special olive drab) DAS over r1's + jeans sport climbing in some dripping cave in the middle of winter when it is above freezing. I hike in the poofy, i cook in the poofy, i eat in the poofy, i spill food on the poofy, I climb in the poofy, I warm shoes in the poofy, I scramble through brush looking for new boulder problems or late season chantrell's in the poofy, I sit around the fire in the poofy when there is one.

 

Maybe all you alpine hardmen will mock me for it, but I routinely layer the DAS over a hooded micro puff I got used at second ascent ... on bouldering trips (and lend my gf my old montbell down to layer over her poofy)...I laugh pretty hard when I here you say coats like the DAS are too warm for the cascades.

 

My point is, while you may be in a place where you can spend hundreds of bucks on a jacket to sleep in a few times in the far north lots of us find coats this warm useful on a regular basis and expect them to last, to stand up to occasional washing and even have a few features like mesh pouches and double zippers that make our lives that much easier.

 

3426355847_5d2651a2d2.jpg

 

Spring bouldering.

 

2309715942_4d560a7490.jpg

 

Sport Climbing.

 

3244737593_662cdc0f45.jpg

 

Descending from rarely forming winter classic last january.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by ryanb

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My XLs won't make 1.5 Nalgene :)

 

XV on the left in a 6x12 with room to spare. Mtn Hardware Compressor Hoody on the right, tight, in a # 3 FF stuff sack, 8x5?. Both jackets are XLs. If you wear a "Small", things would go into much, much smaller sacks :)

 

I'm finding the best sythetic belay jackets (DAS, WT BJ and Dually) and the best down belay jackets will go into a smaller sacks than they are shipped with and all my XLs will go into the 12x6 with different levels of effort and generally with room to spare.

 

Well, my WT BJ is a large, as will the EB XV (when it arrives), so they're a little smaller, but I think one of the big diffs is that I use a compression sack and crank the crap out of the straps, where your photo shows a regular ol' stuff sack.

 

To Ryan's post, I did notice no internal Nalgene chest pocket, though that won't likely be an issue for me as I usu. carry my bottles in a cozy on the pack or waistbelt. A little disappointed about no two-way zipper, though. (Dumb of me not to check...)

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I also think your dismissal of sport climbing and your statement that down jackets shouldn't need to be washed are pretty funny.

 

Fair critism on first impression. But in reality not very well founded. No offense taken but let me tell you why. First thing you missed between your puffy and the XV. The XV is a quilted down jacket. They aren't the most common design and generally very warm and expensive. From using several different brands of quilted down jackets I can tell you I don't use one often and I would never, ever, put one in a machine...you'll tear the baffles. That should be common sense although the manufacture suggests it in the case of the XV. I'd bet your down puffys are sewn through. A good sewn through one a machine wash won't hurt on gentle. And most any synthetic on the market you can throw in the machine as required. A turn in the dryer even helps the synthetics reloft.

 

You made a few comments about layering and the DAS and my statement about a DAS being too warm for the Cascades.

 

"Your" (generic term your) use was not what I was discussing.

Neither was Allen's use shoveling the driveway. Both legit uses. Just not legit uses to judge the effectivness of a XV imo. My discussion of the XV was directly targeted at really cold alpine climbing and what the XV jacket was actually designed for. If I do a review it will be within that context. I (and many others)have worn a sleeping bag while bouldering in Camp 4 and JT but I don't want to climb in one.

 

In the context of "belay" jacket it is assumed that people will use a standard alpine layering system under the belay jacket and not a t shirt.

 

The reason I don't wear this heavy of a jacket very much? Well..they are too much insulation for almost anything. That would include sport climbing or rock climbing or ice climbing or shoveling your drive way or walking the dog or as a belay jacket on road side crags. As a group dismisal I could add a few more activities in there but suspect it was my reference to "sport climbing" that got your attention.

 

I won't write a rock slipper review and bitch they don't keep my feet dry and warm. You'd laugh at me :) My take on Andrew's review or your comment, "lots of us find coats this warm useful on a regular basis".

 

"while you may be in a place where you can spend hundreds of bucks on a jacket to sleep in a few times in the far north"

 

My "place" is a good belay jacket on serious winter climbs is a piece of survival gear. I pay what it takes to play the game.

 

My take on wearing a XV while doing any of the uses I mentioned is the users have no idea what the jacket was actually made for or don't care. In the case of the XV it was made for really cold technical climbing. I wear a mtn hardware or a patagonia puffy around here in winter when the temps allow it. The XV and its class of coats are over kill for me but admittedly maybe not for you.

 

Have you used yours yet? Your reviews generally seem well thought out but I find raving about a jacket you got a week ago and haven't climbed in pretty objectionable.

 

Have I used it yet? NO, I have not used it. I can tell you the number days I have used a similar coat while climbing. As I said before they are few and far between. And I would not consider myself overly warm blooded. I generally get cold before my partners. Bought the XV for a winter project which has yet to happen. I may or may not write a review before I use it as intended. It is worth noting "raves" are not reviews.

 

A good written review should review the item in the context of its design.

 

Agreed?

 

As far as "raving"? I bought mine on sale for a limited time at EB. My impression was EB sold shit these days. I was wrong about that and wanted to change that impression publically. For my own climbing I generally only buy exceptional quality. When I find that quality and at a remarkable price, ya I don't mind "raving" about it. In the case of the XV my impression was the sale was 2 days. Turns out it was more and others could get an exceptional deal. That to me is worth sharing and raving about.

 

Here is a picture I took for review I am working on. It might give you an idea of the difference between belay jackets like the MtnH Compressor (or DAS) and bivy jackets like the XV. Both jackets are folded over to show what they can provide for insulation.

 

Hard to see in the photo size..the XV tops out @ 8.5", the Compressor @ 2".

 

aec.sized.jpg

 

Of the eight bivy/belay style jackets I have for review, all but one in the $300+ range, 4 have two way zippers and 4 don't.

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This might help. All XL jackets with a T shirt under them. On a good day I am 6'1" and 205#.

 

Mtn H Compressor $190 retail Primaloft Eco

adt.sized.jpg

 

new Patagonia DAS $300 retail Primaloft 1

aea.sized.jpg

 

Eddie Bauer XV $269 retail 850+ down

adw.sized.jpg

 

Feathered Friends Front Point $429 retail a 850+ down

adv.sized.jpg

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Matt all the jackets shown are XLs. The DAS fits just as it looks. No trick photos or a differenent stance. I felt like a little kid trying to wear my Dad's clothes in it. I'd have to go down at least one size and maybe two for it to fit me as a climbing/belay jacket. But haven't tried that yet. I could easily put some of the other jackets shown and all my cold weather climbing layers under it. Lots of room in the torso, arms, neck and shoulders.

 

Clearly the wrong size for me. And the biggest surprise in the jackets out of the box (but not the only one for size).

 

Primaloft 1 insulation is suppose to be 2x as warm as down per thickness. The average loft of the new DAS I have here is around 2" front to back. Similar thickness as the Mtn Hardware Compressor in Primaloft 1. I am trying to get the info from Mtn Hardware as to what weight of Primaloft they use compared to the 170g in the body of the DAS.

 

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Hey Dane,

 

Thanks for the thorough response, I should have made it clear that I have a hugh amount of respect for your opinions on gear based on what I've read on cc.com.

 

But i still think a guy who regularly redesigns his gear with a grinder getting mad at someone using a jacket for something besides his chosen style is funny. One of the designers may have had alpine climbing in mind, but its a piece of gear designed and produced for the mass market and it will get used for all sorts of things by all sorts of people.

 

I'll be interested to see how you think the compressor compares to the DAS. I honestly have a hard time imagining someone doing some of the winter climbs you have posted in something a bit warmer then a micro puff.

 

But I mostly try to climb dry granite in the sun so maybe i'm just weak.

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Hey Dane,

I'll be interested to see how you think the compressor compares to the DAS.

 

Me too. Any initial reactions? Fit (how the DAS would fit were you to be 6'6" and 260lbs :) ), cuffs, cut, hood? Mobility in the Compressor (looks pretty tight on the helmet)? Looks like they were intended for similar usage...

The XV looks like it fits bigger as well... no?

Thanks

-Matt

Edited by Matt Kidd

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Hey Dane,

....

But I mostly try to climb dry granite in the sun so maybe i'm just weak.

 

Ryan, honestly the only reason I climb in winter is you don't have to pull hard to play hard :)

 

Guys let me get all 8 jacket reviews done and the piece published here. Then pummel me with the questions :).

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"complaints: no big pouch pockets... "Doesn't have a dual zipper..."

 

I do find it interesting that the two people we have heard from who got this jacket for free (the dude who had it fall apart in the wash and bishart) and have actually used it didn't like it for one reason or another.

 

Let me chime in here.... again. The XV for the price is a good, maybe great jacket especially for the price. Like most everything in the FA line the quality vs. price point seems to be really hard to beat. For what it is worth I have invested in several pieces (7 or 8) of their product line (1/4 zip and fleece jacket pieces, both hoodies, XV, to give them a try as the sale prices at 50% are hard to beat.

 

Back to the XV. The XV for the current sale price of around $180.00 is a deal plain and simple. One probably can't find a better jacket at a better price. The jacket is really warm and is cut for technical uses as opposed to being a long cut expedition "parka". Personally I would have liked to have an inner pocket, a double zipper, and an Event shell and it would be perfect but the lenght of the jacket does nullify the need of a double zipper some-what. In my mind the fragility of the jacket is still in question and will not be fully answered until some use ( abuse) and I would have liked to see a top quality fabric like Event to protect the down.

 

Dane, I looked forward to reviewing another one of your great and throughal reviews!

 

BTW, what do you think about their Serrano/Igniter Jacket and and Igniter Pant Primaloft line compared to the compressor / DAS?

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Back to the XV. The XV for the current sale price of around $180.00 is a deal plain and simple. One probably can't find a better jacket at a better price. The jacket is really warm and is cut for technical uses as opposed to being a long cut expedition "parka". Personally I would have liked to have an inner pocket, a double zipper, and an Event shell and it would be perfect but the lenght of the jacket does nullify the need of a double zipper some-what. In my mind the fragility of the jacket is still in question and will not be fully answered until some use ( abuse) and I would have liked to see a top quality fabric like Event to protect the down.

 

Rockcreek has the new das on clearance for 195 though they just sold out of the smaller sizes. It will be available for less then that next time patagonia does a run of military green ones (anyone know why they do those...outfitting steve house and a team of elite commandos for alpine style missions in pakistan???). I have no idea if its a better jacker or not but it has proven itself and has a dual zipper and big inner pockets for trying to dry out gloves etc ...

 

The deals I have seen on eb gear are just ok compared to deals you can regularly find on reputable gear using spadout.com or google shopping. The xv may be something special being quilted and all but I still think you guys will be much happier if you do your research and go with something that has been proven and refined over the years.

 

 

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anyone know why they do those...outfitting steve house and a team of elite commandos for alpine style missions in pakistan???). I have no idea if its a better jacker or not but it has proven itself.....but I still think you guys will be much happier if you do your research and go with something that has been proven and refined over the years.

 

Elite commandos?

 

The US Army and our Spec Op community went looking for a cold weatherr clothing system some time ago. Primaloft was one of the third gen. results of that research.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Cold_Weather_Clothing_System

 

http://www.millikenmilitary.com/products/Pages/extreme-cold-weather.aspx

 

Companies like Patagonia and Wild Things get huge $ contracts from the US military because of it. Those contracts are one of the major reasons Wild Things recently sold for several million $. The contract over runs get sold to the public, cheap.

 

http://www.wildthingsgear.com/legacy/?cat=15

 

"do your research and go with something that has been proven"

 

Now don't beat up the old fat guy again for asking but how long have you been climbing? :) Gear, especially clothing, can change on a seasonal basis. Yearly is almost a given. Stuff that was awesome 5 years ago may be off the market, changed for the better or a total POS today. Better to just do your own research and TRUST no one :) Many good climbers wear what they are paid to wear or are given to "test" not because it is proven or the best for their needs. That term "proven" has taken on a whole new meaning when compared to what is available. I have begun to think of "proven" as the name brand that has the biggest advertizing budget and sold the most amount of product at a discount.

 

I always accepted the DAS as the gold standard in belay jackets. My first stop looking for a belay jacket was to buy one, thinking it would be an easy decision, at Patagonia DT Seattle. Found the new Primaloft DAS jackets and balked. I knew nothing about Primaloft at the time and walked out of the store. Since then I was able to email Steve House. His comment was something like this .."best DAS yet, packs smaller and is 20% warmer..".

 

Which I believe now from my own research (been climbing in a Primaloft jacket for almost 2 years and didn't know it) to back up what Steve said.

 

But something that should scare you. Military contracts (except for the Spec OP community) are awarded by the lowest bid. Last time I checked it actually was law passed by Congress. Take a look at the newest DAS in the pictures above, even though it is obviously the wrong size, and tell me that looks like a $300 Patagonia jacket?

 

I can tell you that when you take a DAS and put it side by side with other belay jackets in a price range between $190 and $500 it is nothing spectacular. And certainly no longer my gold standard.

 

Patagonia was not my only surprise. The other two jackets I had seriously thought of buying were in like company. And obviously I do my research and in all three cases thought the jackets "proven" and good investments.

 

I don't want to spoil the surprises. I'll give all the details in the up coming review.

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Dane, interesting information as always. I guess I had assumed that patagonia was not a candidate for military use as (some of?) it is manufactured overseas?

 

I didn't mean to imply that the DAS was the best parka out there, but you can't deny that it has been proven to work in challenging situations and can be had for a good price this time of year.

 

My worry is that a lot of climbers will see this thread, and think all this eb gear is the best deal out there and end up with gear that looks good on paper but may or may not be that great in the field. I have done similar things many times in the past...Remember when people online were really excited about rock empire cams first intro to the US? I bought two sets. Petzl ropes? I dropped too much money on one of those... I would like to save others from similar wastes of money.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that the most cost effective way to buy climbing gear is to buy proven stuff from reputable manufactures when it is on sale...you are probably right about the XV. If you are still raving about the it in a year or two I will know you are definitely right, but at the moment its performance over time in the field can only be guessed at.

 

As too how long I have been climbing, I asked my dad over x-mas when he got me started and he wasn't quite sure. Something over 20 years anyways. He learned in the late 50's and 60's in CA and Italian alps and kind of got out of it for a while till he started taking me out on trips to my grandmother's in california. Meaning I learned to climb on twisted rope with hip belays and dulfershitz rappels and homemade gear and eventually got up to speed with modern gear and technique.

 

 

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"If you are still raving about the it in a year or two."

 

Seriously if a piece of clothing lasts a year or two alpine climbing it is obvious I aint doing enough of it. The XV has made it through a bunch of big mtn trips. Nothing I will do alpine climbing will trash one like those trips do wearing a XV for days and days in a row.

 

There was a good reason Allen needed to wash his XV. Bags and down gear are usually trash from one trip like that. Ever tried to buy a bag used on Denali....stinky! Nepal trips are generally 2 times as long.

 

You may be worried about me giving bad info about the XV....I bought one and have no worries about it being one of the best values available @ 269. If you need that style of jacket....and most never will. I don't give gear raves or endorsements lightly, although it may seem that way from the volume of my writing. Why would I? Nothing in it for me. I do like talking about good gear finds. I don't have to wear anything long to know it is good or bad. Knowing it is good in my office just tells me if I want to take it someplace BAD.

 

"I asked my dad over x-mas when he got me started"

 

You are obviously destined for politics with that answer :)

 

In my DAS commentary I was simply pointing out that by your suggestion of searching out the "proven and refined"...which i did with the DAS...my continued search found what lay below the tip of the iceberg of "proven and refined".

 

I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth about the quality of the DAS. I was just using it as an example of what I found with a little more research.

 

The easy answers are not always the best. I originally though the DAS was actually one of the very best jackets available for my own use and at a decent price in comparison to some. I obviously have a lot more faith in my own judgement that you do and after some research I found myself wrong on both counts. No one more surpised than me! But I also found much better jackets and what I would consider even better values ..although they might not be less money than the DAS.

 

I use this forum to stimulate my mind and open my "eyes" to other posibilities. If it were not for this thread I would never had made the effort to walk into EB last week. The surprise purchase of the XV made me rethink what I thought I knew about "belay" jackets. Only then did the real learning begin. Hopefully I've helped a few open their own minds as well. That I do get something from.

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I'm reading these previous posts after my Seattle shopping trip last weekend, and will tell my tale.

 

I went to Patagonia set on buying the DAS(bc it's "better" when wet), which I did. I then "had" to drive to the U-Village Eddie Bauer to see the Peak XV which I knew was on sale. Turns out it was 50% off. I bought it and was really torn between the two, and was set on returning one or the other after an in hand once over.

 

The $135 price on the peak XV was obviously a steal! Are you kidding me? In the end though, I liked it better, so the DAS was returned. Some design features on the DAS are nice, but the fit wasn't as good for me, and I decided to just sack-up and go with down.

 

I figured if I'm sweating it's too hot, so off with any parka. If the precip is rain, it's too hot for any parka. If I fell in a river, I'm soaked, so is any parka (unless it's in a dry sack) So the old "down vs synthetic" isn't super relevant to me.

 

As long as you're aware of what's going on, 850 down is awesome. So far it seems quality made. I'm more into mountaineering than super technical rock or ice climbing, so for me the use is more of a camp/cold weather outer wear parka.

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I'm reading these previous posts after my Seattle shopping trip last weekend, and will tell my tale.

 

I went to Patagonia set on buying the DAS(bc it's "better" when wet), which I did. I then "had" to drive to the U-Village Eddie Bauer to see the Peak XV which I knew was on sale. Turns out it was 50% off. I bought it and was really torn between the two, and was set on returning one or the other after an in hand once over.

 

The $135 price on the peak XV was obviously a steal! Are you kidding me? In the end though, I liked it better, so the DAS was returned. Some design features on the DAS are nice, but the fit wasn't as good for me, and I decided to just sack-up and go with down.

 

I figured if I'm sweating it's too hot, so off with any parka. If the precip is rain, it's too hot for any parka. If I fell in a river, I'm soaked, so is any parka (unless it's in a dry sack) So the old "down vs synthetic" isn't super relevant to me.

 

As long as you're aware of what's going on, 850 down is awesome. So far it seems quality made. I'm more into mountaineering than super technical rock or ice climbing, so for me the use is more of a camp/cold weather outer wear parka.

 

That $135 is a steal. If you cannot get to a store, or if your local store does not have them on clearance... use code jantra2 online and get the peak xv for $180 shipped. (if you do not live in washington, then you save even more... you don't have to pay tax.)

 

The guys at Backpackinglight have run tests and say that this jacket is approximately 1 degree colder than the FF frontpoint. Obviously FF craftmanship and quality are unquestioned.

 

This is just a silly price for a great jacket.

Edited by zeroforhire

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The guys at Backpackinglight have run tests and say that this jacket is approximately 1 degree colder than the FF frontpoint. Obviously FF craftmanship and quality are unquestioned.

 

Having both jackets here I have to call bs on all the temp comparison and the craftsmanship of FF. FF makes great bags. Incorportaing bag technology into a jacket wasn't the best transition imo. More details on that in the upcoming cold thistle blog review. Warmth? The EB has a full 1" + more loft when compared side by side. Hood/pattern cut? Both jackets being designed for similar use it should be fairly obvious which offers more warmth and protection.

 

Eddie Bauer XV $269 retail 850+ down

adw.sized.jpg

 

Feathered Friends Front Point $429 retail a 850+ down

adv.sized.jpg

 

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