Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus

The Colorado Rockies

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David's Passions

Alpine Touring
Telemark Skiing
Camping
Backpacking
Snowboarding
Mountain Biking
Road Cycling
Alpine Skiing
Sport Climbing

David's Bio

Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on April 9, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've wanted one of these for years, if for nothing else than to terrify gapers in the resort. But, sadly, Vail has added some terms and conditions to my Epic Pass specifically preventing me from doing that. So, I guess I'll have to take it into the backcountry instead.

Why is the carbon Whippet so much better than the regular one?

Well, in some ways, it's not. It weighs more! But, the fact that BD was able to get the weight of a three-piece pole within 2 oz of a two-piece pole is pretty impressive.

But, in some ways, it totally is! The collapsed length is 70mm which puts it right in line with some of the longer mountaineering axes out there. That means you can actually handle it like an axe. It won't get you up any ice, but it's a heck of a lot less ungainly.

The pick design makes for some decent self-arresting. The funky bend in the pick that looks like it would get in the way actually fits your hand quite nicely in the arrest position. BD designed the top of the pick to be equally comfortable in both the American and Euro piolet grips, so you're covered there.

A carbon Whippet, a Raven, and a Traverse pole. Set for anything.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on March 21, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got this bag to compliment my UL Super Spiral #1 in the warmer months of the year. While there's a small part of me that wishes I'd chosen a second down bag (I still may!), this Burrow bag is a better choice with a wider range of uses.

I chose synthetic for two reasons: A) the traditional warmth when wet tripe, and b) when the dogs jump on it and shred the fabric, the insulation won't blow out all over the inside of my tent again. Yes, that happened. It looked like a chicken was murdered in the tent.

While the Burrow Bags don't have as much mechanical stretch as the Super Spiral series, there is still enough to allow movement inside the bag without creating cold spots. It's not as important in the summer anyway.

Great bag for summer backpacking and car camping. Look elsewhere for ultralightness.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on March 21, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've tried a lot of sleeping bags. In the quest to reduce weight, I sacrificed comfort. Bad move!

The UL Super Spiral does a good job of keeping weight down without sacrificing comfort. Montbell's super stretch technology really does work. It keeps the bag close to your body, no matter how you toss about, without restricting movement. As someone who tends to contort into weird sleeping positions, super stretch is priceless.

The 15� rating seems a bit high to me. I'm comfortable down to at least 10� before I have to toss on extra layers. But, I sleep very warm, so YMMV.

It's not the lightest 15� bag out there, but it's definitely the most comfortable, and it's still pretty darn light.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on March 21, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Everything you need in an axe, nothing you don't. For the price, you can't really beat the Raven. But, what you lack in dollars, you pay in ounces. It's a bit heavier than some comparable axes.

Comfortable in the hand in both grips - pick forward and adze forward - and the adze is substantial enough to cut nice steps. The Raven is just about the perfect balance of price and function.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on February 26, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I absolutely love these pants. They're durable, comfortable, and even somewhat stylish. I say somewhat because I think they are, but my wife thinks the Saddle Brown color is a bit baby-poop-ish.

The built-in stretch is a great feature, increasing mobility and decreasing ball-squish.

I have noticed that when I have something in the front pockets and rub against things - underside of my desk, tree branches, etc. - the outline of the pocket occupant is abraded into the fabric. It comes out in the wash, though.

All in all, fabulous pants.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on October 21, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The most important part of a pair of sunglasses is the lens. On that point, the Wazees have it down. I purchased these to replace a pair of Smith Chiefs that were stolen. The Chiefs are a part of Smith's top-end line with glass lenses. The Wazees beat them for clarity and are a hell of a lot easier to keep clean. I miss the photochromic feature, but I'll deal, especially at 1/4 the price.

The second most important part of a pair of shades is fit. Here, the Wazees are a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, they're shaped in a way that my eyelashes don't constantly brush against the lens and muck them up. On the other hand, these and every other pair of Native shades I've tried are really tight behind the ears. My wife can't wear hers for any period of time because they give her a headache. It can probably be fixed with a hair dryer and some elbow grease, but I haven't gotten around to that, yet.

Final gripe - if you're not careful while folding them, the end of one earpiece will get stuck on the base of the other. I can see this causing someone to break their shades.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on October 1, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Watches I've owned:
Garmin - FR60, Forerunner 410
Suunto - t3, t4, X6hr

Watches I've owned that came even close to the Ambit:
Garmin - None (fairness - I haven't tried the Fenix)
Suunto - None

The Ambit is everything I've ever wanted in a watch. It functions well (especially after the last firmware update in July), is rugged, and kicks the ass of every other watch I've ever owned.

Highlights:

The case design puts the joint between backplate and face closer to the front of the watch and the screws on the face. This means your sweat can't weasel its way in there and destroy things, like it did to my t4.

Suunto has added features and fixed bugs regularly. Autopause added last update. Moveslink software bugs fixed.

The HR strap is so comfortable that it disappears.

Lowlights -

Get rid of your stupid proprietary ANT format, Suunto! (The Ambit will read regular ANT+ devices)

All said, Suunto has finally made the GPS-enabled watch I've always wanted. It doesn't hurt that it was over 70% off at an REI garage sale.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on April 18, 2013

5 5

The Marmot Basic Work Glove is a fantastic specimen of simplicity and function.

Although my 7.5" hands should be in a large, I sized down to a medium to make sure the gloves were "dextrous as f$@#." They started a smidge tight, but have stretched to the perfect size. Now treated with Sno-Seal, they're a bit darker, but water beads and rolls right off. I've worn them down to 20 degrees on windy days in the Colorado Rockies and my hands stayed tolerably tepid. They also made sure my hands didn't fall off in the Swiss Alps. Despite some heavy use, they don't show a single sign of wear.

There really is not a single thing I would change about these gloves.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on April 17, 2013

3 5

Coming from a Capo kit, this fits similarly. I'm a solid XL in the euro brands and this fits just like the rest of them. Sleeves are well shaped and not too tight, plus, they don't have tight elastic around the bottom. Bonus.

I refuse to buy a jersey without a full zipper and this one operates well.

Two concerns - the fabric doesn't seem as breathable as some other fabrics and the side seams are itchy. An undershirt will cover that problem.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on March 21, 2013

Axiom of hardshell performance? Close.
4 5

I purchased the Axiom on a whim to use as a touring and resort shell. It serves those purposes well, while remaining lightweight and surprisingly durable.

I'm 5'10"and around 200, with a 41" chest and 34" sleeves. The large fits perfectly. There is room to layer with a fleece or puffy, but it doesn't flap about. The fabric is supple and light, but handles itself well. During my last tour, it scraped on trees and rocks and never protested or snagged. The pockets are placed well - they don't interfere with a backpack at all - and are large enough for skins or various sundries.

The Gore Active fabric breathes better than other Gore fabrics, but I still want pit zips. That's really the only missing feature. I get very hot, easily, and want more ventilation. Thus - 4 stars instead of 5.

Regarding the picture: the photographer was obsessed with victory beer.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on March 18, 2013

My perfect backcountry boot.
5 5

I've spent the last year or so building my perfect quiver. The Maestrale RS completed it, slotting into the light-weight, free-walking, but burly slot in my boot collection.

I ski a pair of Ski Logik customs - 145-115-142 and 188cm - mounted with Plum Guides. I haven't measured, but overall weight is close to, if not under, 10 lbs. The Maestrales are similarly light. Everyone who has picked it up has commented on that. And, it really makes a difference. I drop at least two pounds from each stride with the Maestrale and Plums as compared to the Cochises and Dukes I ride in the resort.

I have a pretty wide foot - my Cochises with HV Intuitions are punched for the 6th toe. While we haven't gotten the Maestrales perfect yet, I think they should work without a punch. Length is spot on - 26.5 in both Cochise and Maestrale. I have a 1.5 finger shell fit in the Cochise and a 2 finger fit in the Maestrale - plenty of room for the toes while touring. (Remember - Scarpa splits on the half size instead of the whole.)

The 120 flex Maestrale is on par with the Cochise 120 in overall stiffness, but flexes differently. Where the Cochise - an overlap, alpine-style boot - has a pretty linear flex, the Maestrale feels a bit more progressive. I also find that I ski the Maestrale in a much more centered and balanced style, where I drive the Cochise forward hard and beat it around.

The side-hinged tongue takes a bit of adaptation, but becomes second nature very quickly. With it out of the way, entry and egress is a piece of cake. I'm not sure both of the forefoot buckles are necessary. They are really close together and I don't feel like they serve separate purposes when I close them. Unlocking the walk mechanism provides huge range of motion. I think the boots are capable of more motion than my ankles.

Overall, my perfect touring boot. Light and flexy for the up; stiff and burly for the down.

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Dave Marcus

Dave Marcus wrote a review of on February 5, 2013

3 5

I really wanted to like the Quasar. Really, I did!

I wanted to enjoy a 9oz waterproof/breathable jacket. I wanted to have a lightweight shell that could disappear into my pack on trips into the mountains. I wanted to forget I had it with me until the skies opened up and reminded me that I needed it.

Alas, it was not to be. Mountain Hardwear just doesn't fit me.

I first tried a large. It fit in the shoulders, but was long in the sleeves and wide in the torso. I exchanged that for a medium, but it was to narrow in the torso for me to pull over my shoulders without serious contortion. If you're my size, there's just no happy spot in the middle.

The jacket itself seems well constructed. The fabric has a suppleness to it that avoids the technical crunchiness of normal shells. I didn't think the hood was big enough to fit over a ski helmet, but a climbing helmet would likely fit. The lack of a second drawstring on the hood to hold the sides back was a flaw.

Overall, if this thing fits you, it's a decent solution for a light-weight technical shell. If you're like me, however, it won't fit. I'll sacrifice the extra 2oz in exchange for the zipper and pockets of my Arc'teryx Alpha SL hybrid.

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