Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash

Washington and the PacNW

Aaron's Passions

Skiing
Climbing
Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on April 16, 2012

1 5

After reading some mixed reviews on this bivy, I decided to give it a shot in an effort to lighten up my kit by about a pound. I was hoping to use it in moderate weather in the alpine where little to no precipitation would be seen. As the weather forecast was looking beautiful, I took it out this weekend for a test run atop a snowy ridge in the Cascades. Ideal conditions, clear skys, light wind, no snow, and this thing managed to sucked hard. I woke up three hours into the night to find the inside of the bivy completely soaked. A few hours later and my bag was soaked through and no longer providing me warmth. I have no idea how the product description can claim bit of breathability, as this bivy was about as breathable as a trash bag. Quite a long and cold night from that point on. A point to note; I slept with the hood open and my face out into the air all night long. My breath did not contribute to the condensation in the bag. The seams were also sealed with Seamgrip prior to spending a night in it.
It was a bummer that this bivy didn't work out as I would have liked. I don't recommend this, or any Black Diamond bivy made of this material to anyone who would use it in an alpine environment. I'm glad I tested it on a mellow climb where the only repercussions were a shiver bivy and a lack of sleep. Anything bigger and things could have been worse.
Do yourself a favor and steer clear of BD bivys.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on July 26, 2011

4 5

This helmet is crazy light, but doesn't sacrifice any coverage area, the best of both worlds. It honestly doesn't feel like it's there sometimes.
Just the right amount of hardshell coating in the spots where it matters, none where it doesn't to save on weight. It's been pretty durable so far, although I've only had it out a few times. Beat the crap out of if ice climbing the other weekend and took lots of ice to the head over two days and the helmet doesn't show a scratch.
Adjustment is easy to dial in and it fits nicely to my head. Will be interesting to see how if fells when skiing.
A great addition to your kit if you're looking to cut weight in the helmet area. You really can't find a lighter helmet!

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on July 11, 2011

5 5

I'll never wear polypro ever again after wearing a merino wool base layer. It breathes like no other and absorbs more moisture than polypro but dries slower so you don't freeze in a matter of minutes when you stop what you're doing. Also, it doesn't retain smell, which is a godsend as polypro develops a funk that no amount of washing can cure.
Stoic's version is very nice and a great value, especially if you pick it up on SAC. Get one and you'll never go back to your stinky polypro ever again

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on June 24, 2011

5 5

I took the opportunity to extensively play with and test all three of the "high end" beacons (S1, Pulse, DPS) on the market recently when upgrading from a 10 year old tracker, and the Mammut was by far my favorite. To me, the interface was very easy and intuitive to read and use. The GUI has no frills or pictures of little buried men like the S1, which to me seemed clunky and awkward. Just a list of buried signals, a floating arrow, and a number; perfect. Marking signals is easy, and scrolling through signals in multiple burial situations is easy and gives you the info you need quickly to determine who to locate first.
Being able to hear the analog signal too also aids in searching, and if all else fails and the software starts going crazy, you can always switch over to analog mode and you're still in business.
The newer firmware has gotten rid of much of the annoying "Stand Still" and "Hold Level" messages that used to pop up all of the time. I rarely see any of these now.
As always for any beacon, practice with it and become proficient with it so it becomes second nature to use.

Bottom line; this is a great beacon with many advanced features that can really aid in a recovery situation. Even with all of the bells and whistles though, the interface makes it easy for anyone to just pick up and start using without prior experience. Worth the extra $$ over other models.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote an answer about on June 24, 2011

Having owned and used both, I prefer the Pulse for it's multi-burial capabilities and I like GUI better on the Pulse. The claim that the DTS is "faster" is BS; both are equally as fast in a single burial situation given sufficient practice with each unit.
The DTS can handle multiple burials, but we've noticed on several occasions that it gets bogged down and slows the more signals that are marked. This can be alleviated by turning the unit off and then back on again to clear the buffer, but then you lose your marked signals, and you lose time; very annoying. This is why I went with the Pulse in the end.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote an answer about on June 24, 2011

The liners have a couple millimeters of primaloft on the top of the hand and a midweight fleece type material on the bottoms of the palm and fingers. My hands don't feel restricted at all with the liner+glove combo.
Pairing these with a lighter inner liner, like what you're describing, for not-so-cold temps works great. I frequently use a light OR fleece glove as an inner liner when I know the temps won't be bitter.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on June 21, 2011

4 5

I'm of the thought that you should always carry one of these guys with you when you're heading out on a climb that will require you to rappel. Whether to replace old, worn rings on other rap stations, or to set up a new one, I feel much safer running my rope through one of these guys rather than straight through a sling, and these cost less than a biner.
Just carry one, you'll be glad you did when you need it

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on June 15, 2011

5 5

That's the question I've been asking myself every time I take these boots out. The "up" in these boots is awesome. I've never actually found myself really looking forward to the up until owning these boots. The range of motion is huge letting me take bigger strides and go faster without having to fight the boot. The rockered sole and metatarsal flex provide for a more natural stride that is much more comfortable than franken-stepping.
Transition is a snap and very easy. Slide the removable tongues in (if you want) and lock down the two buckles and your transition is complete. You'll have to come up with something to kill the time as you wait for your buddies to finish fiddling with their clunky boots.
Then there in the downhill performance...which is excellent! With the tongues inserted, these boots ski similar to other stiff 4 buckle boots out there. The stiffness is pretty even throughout the flex, and you can really drive these pretty hard without blowing them out. I'm 170lbs and can't flex through these with the tongue in.
Bottom line; these boots are an amazing step forward in touring boots. Huge range of motion and comfort on the up, very stiff and responsive on the down. This is THE touring boot to have.

Quick note on sizing; I found that they run a little small. I generally take a 27.5 in ski boots (Scarpa, Saloman) but comfortably fit into a 28.5 in these.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on May 19, 2011

5 5

I really like this little device. It's smaller and lighter than both versions of grigris, and feeds out rope easier and faster in my opinion. Feeding out rope also feels safer on the cinch than feeding on a grigri as you aren't pinching the cam down in order to feed rope fast.
While lead belaying with the cinch isn't intuitive at first, after a couple uses you'll get the hang of it and belaying with it will be second nature. Top roping or belaying a second is the same action as an ATC, so no learning curve. Watch Trango's video on how to use this and you'll be comfortable with it in no time.
The lowering seems touchy but again, it just takes a few uses to get used to it. You can also redirect the rope through a biner clipped to a leg loop to give even more control in the lower.
The device catches falls quickly but provides a measure of dynamic belay as well, which is always nice on a lead fall.
In all this is the best brake-assisting belay device on the market in my opinion. Take a little extra time to learn it and break the habit of a grigri and you won't want to pick up that grigri again!

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote an answer about on May 3, 2011

I've had no problem getting great smears with these. The downturn isn't as drastic as other shoes and allows you to get some great surface contact while smearing. Definitely a much different shoe when compared to something like a Team.
I own both Teams and Quantums and my teams rarely see any more use now.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote an answer about on May 3, 2011

Any axe will do; you're really only spending the extra money on this for the weight savings. Any of the BD Ravens, Grivels, or other CAMP axes will all function basically identically. People just really like this axe since it's so light, but you can get away with paying a lot less for basically the same performance in a slightly heavier package.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on April 25, 2011

4 5

I have sizes 0-2 on my rack and really like them. They feel very solid and the action is deliberate and reassuring. 4 lobes on cam sizes this small is nice to have. The stem has a nice flex to it as well, but not so much to buckle when using the trigger (unlike the larger sizes).
I'd definitely recommend master came for smaller placement options

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on April 21, 2011

4 5

As my first touring boot, I was blown away by how different these felt than my previous alpine boots. They're very comfortable and light when compared to their beefier counterparts and make a great touring boot for short to moderate length tours.
I've been using these for over two years now and they've performed well in the situations I've thrown at them. On the up they articulate well and have a good range of motion for a easier stride. Also, having the toe tech fittings mounted a bit rearward than "normal" does make a difference and feels nicer and more natural in stride. The articulated green tongue aids in comfort when touring and is sufficiently stiff on the down. For resort/sidecountry days I'll slip the black, stiffer tongue in for added support and running the groomers.
The Intuition liners are top notch and very comfortable. Once mine were dialed in, I haven't had a problem with the fit on these in the two years I've abused them. The liners are also very warm! Often my boots end up like saunas in these boots while touring, but the liners do a good job of keeping moisture at a reasonable level inside as to not make your feet freeze when you stop moving and keep you pretty toasty when sitting around camp. The plastic grippy coating on the bottom of the liners is a nice touch and lets you wear them around camp as booties after you're done touring for the day.
All in all I've been happy with the spirit 4s and I'd recommend them to anyone looking for a touring boot that doesn't compromise much on the downhill but still comes in lighter than other beef AT boots out there.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on April 19, 2011

4 5

Bomber mitts; the warmest on the market. The shell is Primaloft filled and can be worn by itself in less cold temperatures, or in combination with a variety of liner options that OR has. I find that the included liner is too heavy for most of the conditions I'm out in, so I use a PL150 or PL400 glove liner instead. This also gives me the dexterity I need on more technical routes, yet will keep my hands crazy warm when the temp drops.
If you need a really warm mitt for extreme temperatures, this is the only option worth considering.

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Aaron Nash

Aaron Nash wrote a review of on April 14, 2011

4 5

The Onyx is a nice system for those looking for an alternative to a Dynafit binding. While not the lightest weight tech binding option, I believe it's features make the little bit of extra weight worth it over their counterparts. For one, switching from ski to tour can be done without removing the ski. Yes, I know you can kind of do this with dynafits, but it's much more fiddly than throwing the lever on the onyx.
Second, the heal risers are flip risers. I've never been a fan of the "spin the post" system on dynafit binders and have seen a few break due to this leaving the skiier in a crappy situation not being able to ski out; I don't have to worry about that with the onyx. Even if a riser breaks, my heel post is still sound and I can ski out.
Third and one of the most important is the way the toe jaw operates. On the onyx you must press on the forward piece to open the jaws and insert your toe. While I agree that this makes it kind of a pain to put on in powder or on a steep section, it prevents lateral toe prerelease. All the dynafit models (save next years radical with power towers that help to combat this) are prone to this sort of release when the boot sees a high lateral load. The wings flex and can pop open, releasing your toe piece too early. Since the onyx naturally wants to clamp rather than open, it will take a far higher load to initiate a prerelease. While this problem isn't glaring (people have been using dynafits for years) it's something I didn't really want to take the chance with. Personal preference really.

I've been skiing on the onyx for two years now and haven't had any major issues that any of the other reviewers have had. They've seen plenty of backcountry and resort days and I couldn't be happier with them. You can't ski them hard like a duke, so if you're going to go huck yourself off of stuff consider a different binding and don't complain when these don't preform in that manner. Use them for their intended uses and you'll love them.

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