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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean

Utah, Maine, New Hampshire, VT, Sierras

Courtney Dean's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running
Yoga
Paddling
Skiing
Climbing

Courtney Dean's Bio

I like to Ski, but I can get distracted with Ice and Alpine climbing. Especially in the Northeast where scratchy snow skiing can get a little uninspired during the frost/freeze cycles. I'll do just about anything fun in the summer, but always try to find an opportunity to climb and camp. Gear is expensive and even more so when it doesn't get used.

Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on November 11, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I drooled over this pack for several months before i finally picked it up. The major decision factor was the rigid frame. I need something that will stand up and hold my kit a little bit better. I had a sack before that had a soft frame and I routinely found the pack folding in the middle, putting all the pressure on my shoulders and belly button (e.g., no weight on my hips where it should be).
The Ascensionist is the right size pack for a day of cragging. I fit rope, draws, biners, cams, nuts, helmet, lunch and water in here with no problem. There's just barely room to spare for another layer and removing the rope increases the available space dramatically - a better option for an overnight bivy.
The hood is awesome. Lots of flexibility and expansion room (for that bivy kit).
Ice tools fit nicely on the pack, though there's no magic interface that lets me reach back and pull one off one handed (no pack does that as far as i know).
The hip suspension is nice, though I haven't found a use for the gear loops just yet (only used for day trips).
I've been carrying the pack heavily laden for alpine training, too. It holds up ok with 30lbs of random stuff. Tried to get it close to volume full at 30lbs and it was pretty comfortable for 2 hrs.

(4)

 

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on October 7, 2014

5 5

Fit: True to size

I took a pair of Julbos with Zebra lenses up Rainier and in bright sun my eyes were really overwhelmed. They just couldn't get dark enough. I found myself resting my eyes closed periodically and was concerned about how well my sight would persevere.

So for my next trip i picked up the Explorers. I made the buy for two reasons: the SPectron 4 lens is as dark as things get, and the Explorers have LOTS of coverage. I wasn't always convinced that the frames on my glasses were large enough. Now, I can go up with confidence that i can tackle a variety of conditions.
I'll probably bring both glasses and make the call based on weather before heading up.

The Explorer with Spectron has great coverage with removable blockers. They still aren't fashionable, but they work. That's more important than anything else. They also feature a nose clip if you want to add the nose cover.

The case is spacious enough to put my other glasses in it. I'm a little bummed there was no cleaning cloth or bag. fortunately i have lost enough pairs of glasses to have a spare.

The lens is dark. Really dark. Perfect for super bright, blue bird days at elevation.
They fit my average sized face nicely and reach my uneven ears pretty well.
I have not tested their resistance to fogging yet. Hoping that doesn't turn out to be a problem.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean posted an image about on September 17, 2014

First ingredient is key

Some important info about the bar: ingredients and some nutritional facts.

The first ingredients are Lamb and Currants. And while the whole list isn't pictured, I'm not seeing maltodextrine, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sucralose, nitrates, or nitrates.
The last two are the scary ones!

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on September 17, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Like wool is to performance wear, meat is to performance food. Why not? We're carnivores. There's not that much processing in these. OK, that's a lie. They're hardly a hunk of raw meat sawed off a carcass. But they don't have too many fillers, nasty preservatives, etc. And they are low in sugar. The fat and protein gives you a slow burn that stays with hungry muscles for much longer than a sucrose surge.

They don't all taste perfect. I am not a huge fan of the turkey, though i am not going to hesitate to work my way through the box. It's just not the worlds best flavor combo.
I LOVE the lamb. Well constructed. It breaks down nicely and it tastes great.
I like the beef, though i wish it had more of a kick. I could probably carry some hot sauce to spike it up a bit.
I haven't tried the Buffalo yet, but will eventually.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on August 28, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Like, really, really large. I am size 13 and there are 6 or 7 more notches on these bars. That's getting into clown shoe sizes!
I am wondering about trimming to fit and saving the 20 grams, but figure i'm not that big of a weenie.
Other than the astounding lenght, the center bar system in BD crampons is great. Easy to swap out and set up. The bars are not dedicatad to either foot (flip it over and a right suddenly becomes a left) making installation practically fool proof. Great for the absent minded Gear Guru.

(1)

 

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on August 5, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

first, you should not fall. But if you do, the pink one is pretty bomber. They obvously get weaker as you go smaller, but the Pink is plenty strong enough to cover a whipper.

I took my first lead fall on the pink one, and it was frightening, but the catch was sound and i am thankful for the placement.
Definitely a valuable addition to any kit. i place them before i place cams half the time.

(3)

 

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on August 5, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

It's simple, rugged and heavy duty.
it does NOT have cinch straps so you buy the size you need. I bought the largest size so i could check a backpack, or scuba gear on the plane and not worry about vulerable straps/buckles getting jacked up. Though i have had plenty of luck checking a packpack (straps and all) on planes, I am not convinced i won't end up in some foreign country with a foot long tear down the side or a broken buckle that i didn't pack a replacement for.
it folds inside it's own pocket for storage. This is cool.

The cross straps don't offer suspension but they do improve the bag's integrity. I can fill this thing and know it won't tear being tossed about.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on July 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Tricams are bomber. And teh Evo's thick nylon sling makes them so easy to place, even a hack like me can't put a bomber cam in.

Took a good fall on the pink one. It held and walked away. That's what they're there for.

the three options for placement make tricams a very versatile tool with miniscule weight penalties. I rack all four and use them whenever I find a pocket and choose them first for horizontal cracks.

(2)

 

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on June 30, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

These are awesome light and excellent for absolutely minimizing the weight of your rack. But they are tiny. Not ideal for gloves or for the rope end of a quickdraw - unless you have nice, narrow fingers.

At 23 grams a pop, these things are virtually weightless. they make an excellent link for cams - especially with the color coding.
Gates work excellent.
They do have a deep catch though, which will make extending an alpine draw a little hassle.

(2)

 

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on June 26, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I bought this on impulse a week before my Rainier summit. Was necessary as my Rab Microlight isn't quite a sub-zero jacket.
Turns out the weather was pretty spectacular and the Greenland might have been more than enough (roughly 20* low). But i was super warm when we stopped and really comfortable the entire way up. Rocked this jacket at the summit in warmer than expected weather and was comfortable with the jacket unzipped.
Now the technicals:
Zippers engage well,
double zippers means you can zip up from bottom to access harness, or fly.
Big pocket for nalgene is great for that summit rest stop.
Baffles are massive and puffy keeps you super warm
Hood is huge!
cinches are great for keeping face warm
Stuffs into its own cavernous pocket for a really nice camp pillow. Not too firm, not too soft and almost half the size of a queen!
Wrist straps adjust to get the jacket sealed and wind resistant.

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on May 13, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

What makes this awesome is the velcro attachment. Ask anyone who has ever attached a nalgene bottle by a caribiner or other hook. The flopping, bouncing and jossling will drive you absolutely mad. But with the fat, velcro strap of the OR Water Bottle Parka, the problem is solved! It works on hip belts or thin gear straps. It's got a couple of inches of velcro to hold fast even when the pack is getting nocked around.
It's not a super thick insulator. Parka is a generous term here. But, a 12-1 liter volume of water should stay liquid in most conditions (if you're nearing 0* latitude, i suppose you've got to find a better system).
Now, if only I hadn't lost my Backcountry logo nalgene...

(1)

 

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Courtney Dean

Courtney Dean wrote a review of on May 13, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large

If only i could conform to Merrell's unreasonable human body expectations! Why do they only cater to runner with more perfect bodies and not to those of us with feet that aren't quite what they would call "perfect?"
I am a victim. Genetics dealt me an odd card. I was born with.... size 12.5 feet. And Merrell stops making half sizes at 11.5. Moreover, the 12 (which is taggee at 46.5) is pretty small for a 12. The 13 is pretty big (tagged at 48) for a 13. It's like they don't want me to be happy.
Other than that it's a great shoe. Light, really good lacing system lets me cinch down the 13 to where i don't feel like i am wearing clown shoes and my heel doesn't float.
They breathe nicely and I can get traction on anything.

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