San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Northern California Coast, Wasatch, Uintas, Southern Utah Slot Canyons
I was recently in an optometry's glasses store (or whatever you call it). I noticed they had these (and other Julbos and other brands) available. So I asked them about it and apparently you can get prescription lenses made for them. So the answer is yes, but probably not on backcountry.com.
Yeah, I have that zipper as wide open as it can go. I have the hood as up as possible. On nights that aren't too cold, I even sleep with my head outside. And I still get wet down at the feet. Maybe my feet are just super juicy...
Does this have a tie-in point?
That amazes me that people claim to not get any moisture...I get quite a bit! And I keep the zipper open. This is blowing my mind. From my point of view you'd definitely want a tarp or something if it's going to be raining or whatever (unless you have some other kind of shelter). Otherwise water will get in since you have to keep the zipper open (I can't imagine how much moisture would be inside if the zipper was closed). I personally take along a small tarp when I expect bad weather. But in my case it's usually just to aid in fast snow trenches in bad weather. So no rain so far, just snow (and not slushy snow). As far as the packed size goes, I hear you about your issue with the size. There are ways to compress it more, but the limiting factor is definitely the wire hoop. If it wasn't there, this thing would pack super small. But once again, it depends how you pack it as far as how compact it will be. And for the small opening, I think it's easy to get in and out.
I've used this bivy a few times now. I realize condensation is general problem, but has anyone had problems with water build up (from condensation) at the feet? This water build up tends to get my feet wet and I start losing temperature. Know of ways to prevent this kind of problem?
These crampons work sufficiently well for low key stuff. Four stars because the strap tends to get a little loose, causing the connection between boot and crampon to be poor (but not bad). But that probably just comes with the nature of full strap-on crampon bindings. Personally, I'd recommend getting full clip-on crampon bindings (which is what I mainly use). But these work reasonably well and on boots not really designed for mountaineering. Make sure you check out whether or not you'll need the long center bars (ordered separately for an insane price). My US 11.5 backpacking boots fit well in the standard center bar. But my 46 mountaineering boots require the long center bars. When considering whether these will work for you, if you really don't want to get mountaineering boots, you'll be doing fairly low key climbing (just traveling on hard snow), then these are probably ideal. But if you just traveling on snow, I might consider some of the lightweight (non-steal) variety.
I like this bag so far. I don't like it as much as my Phantom 32, but that should be a little obvious. I would've gotten the Phantom 0 but I wanted something with synthetic insulation just in case it were to get wet since my purpose has been winter alpine climbing. It's close to being too small for me. I'm about 5'9" and have size US 11 feet. My feet seem to touch the end of the sleeping bag. So far, whenever I've slept in this bag, I've gotten pretty cold. One night my feet even felt like they got close to numb or something. The night my feet got so cold I didn't have any insulation between me and the ground (I happened to grab the wrong ground pad and didn't have enough extra clothing to put under my feet). So far, the outings I've taken it on have gotten close to zero degrees but more like 10 degrees. A couple nights I even got it a little wet all around and it still kept me reasonably warm (meaning I was cold be was able to at least get some sleep). I like the short zippers. My bivy sac is the Bibler Big Wall bivy, so its zippered entry is even smaller. So I don't notice the small entry that much. It closes quite well over my face except for all the cords that slide against my face all night. I've modified my sleeping arrangement with this a bit. For temperatures around 10 degrees or so within a bivy sac within a snow trench, I definitely wear additional clothes within this sleeping bag. I wear lightweight down booties on my feet. I make sure I have a full length closed-cell foam pad. I definitely wear long Johns (top and bottom). I'm considering some puffy pants. I wear either a lightweight down jacket or fleece top. I also wear a sock hat and face guard thing that goes around your neck. I have also worn mittens...hahaha. Well I guess that's what all it takes for me. But that's all stuff I bring anyway for day and night operations.
OK. Doing some background research I decided to try two sizes and then return the one I least like. I often wear size US 11 (men's) in street shoes. That depends. Some times I have to go larger. I have a pair of Asolo Fugitive backpacking boots that are size 11.5 I believe. They're fine but sometimes I wonder if I should have size 12. I mention all of this just so that you have more information on your possible sizing. Anyway, I decided to try the Baruntse in sizes 45.5 and 46. It turns out I prefer the 46, even though that just seems like it'd be way too super huge. I was tempted to go with the 45.5 (temptation probably stemming from my experience downsizing snowboard boots so that they fit better on the board). The 46 simply felt like there'd be fewer issues involving possible blisters, etc. I've taken them on a couple outings already and they stick well (after tightening the top laces a lot) and I have no blisters. 46 was definitely the way to go for me.
As far as the shoe itself goes, it's great! I'm very happy with it so far. It feels good and secure. I imagine it'd keep water out better than the Scarpa Inverno because there are no possible entry points for melted water. The liner's a little funky. Something on the liner agitates the top of my foot after a long day. It might be the tie-in point. I'm going to investigate it further and possibly modify it.
I use these guys for winter mountaineering mainly. But perhaps I'll go on a simple winter snowshoe hike some day. Anyway, since one of my purposes is to climb steep slopes, I always appreciate the traction on these snowshoes. Similarly, the ascender bar is absolutely necessary! That thing seriously changes the world. I've often found myself thinking the slope is brutal on my heels and just awkward since you want to keep traction. But then I raise the ascender bar and everything changes completely. No more heel problems and good traction is maintained. Unfortunately there's only one ascender level. I can see a multi-level ascender bar being very useful. As far as size goes, I have the 25 inch version. I chose this because I'm primarily tromping around the Sierras and Cascades (but occasionally the Wasatch and Uintas). I weigh about 155 lb but my pack is probably around 50 lb or so. The 25 inch works well in the Sierras and Cascades. I haven't gotten around to using them back in Utah yet. For the time when I use these guys in Utah, I'll probably want to get the extensions so that I can surf in the powder. A friend of mine says he prefers showshoes with laterally more flexible attachments (usually some stiff rubber or something) because when you're traversing a long distance on the face of some mountain, rigid attachments (like on these snowshoes) make your ankles very tired and soar. Just so you're aware of that. It is totally true. But I think it comes with less traction. I can see how it'd be nice though. I've only ever used MSR snowshoes.
First of all, I got these to take with me winter alpine climbing. My feet tend to get quite cold in my sleeping bag within my bivy bag within a snow trench laying on the snow. I got these guys because they're smaller than the others and I assumed they'd compress very well. And they do! They are also very warm. They have definitely achieved my purpose in getting them. I had no intentions (and still don't) on using them to walk around camp in the snow. They wouldn't work well for that (but that's what the others are for). Walking around camp I tend to wear my boots loosened up. So if this is what you're looking for, these guys will give you a super lightweight option that will serve you well.
This pad's awesome! Don't get me wrong, I much prefer my Therm-a-Rest ProLite 3/4 pad because it's super small. But you really can't go about comparing it to an air pad because I would say its purpose is completely different. I would say this pad's purpose is mainly to provide robust insulation to the ground (e.g., when you're sleeping on the the snow or in really cold temperatures). It's way better than my generic blue roll-it-up foam pad that I've used before. It's robust because you can pierce it with sharp tools/gear and it'll still be just as good. This is important whenever you'll be alpine climbing or what-not with ice tools, etc. banging around on your pack and around your sleeping area (in a snow trench, etc.). But whenever I head out in non-alpine snowy conditions, I definitely grab the much smaller air pad. If your need fits this pad, then I'd recommend it. Note that for non-alpine ventures, you necessarily have to compare this to air pads. And in this respect I'd give this pad two or three stars because it's big. But that's not what I use it for.
I've got the full clip-in version (new-matic). Just took these to Mt. Shasta to do Casaval Ridge. They are solid...no doubt ever that they'd stay on and remain firmly connected. There was no issue with snow collecting under them later in the day. The teeth are nice and secure. There's incredible detail in the design. They work well with my new La Sportiva Baruntse boots. The last pair of crampons I've been using are Black Diamond Contact Strap ten point crampons. Those were nice too, and you really can't compare them. I'm a huge Black Diamond fan. But I'll just say I like the Grivels more when it comes to mountaineering crampons. That being said, I haven't tried out the twelve point clip-in Black Diamond crampons. But I do like Grivel's detailed design. Their kind of designs remind me of the detailed designs produced by LibTech for snowboards (if you happen to be a snowboarder). There's just a lot of attention to detail. If I were looking for some solid mountaineering crampons that'd work great for technical climbing (but not full on waterfall ice), I'd grab a pair of these.
OK. I'll try and make this straight to the point and clear. I wouldn't go as far as to say that this is the best pack ever. It doesn't have every feature I'd like for mountaineering. For example, it could use some webbing loops like two daisy chains or something for more strapping. However, it is definitely a good all around pack and it's definitely a good purchase. It carries load much better than my last pack which was something closer to a rucksac made by REI. I recently took the pack with me to climb Mt. Shasta. I hauled up tons of gear including a 60m climbing rope to practice some snow climbing stuff. The most packed it got was on the descent from base camp. At that point rope, sleeping pad, probe, shovel, ice axe, crampons, snowshoes, helmet, WAG bag, top rain/snow shell, were all strapped on the outside of the pack. The rope, top shell, and WAG bag were secured under the top flap. It was a little awkward getting it all strapped on. I tie a cordlette using four small loop sewn into the front of the pack. Things definitely fit better when I'm wearing at least one of either my crampons or snowshoes so that both aren't strapped on. The shovel head fits well in the front wide pocket. The hip belt comes out, but I'm not sure from which points I would haul the pack from. I personally like the bottom access...I put my sleeping bag and bivy sac in there (easy access). The top flap has lots of space for store oft-used items. There's a strap inside at the top that compresses from the top. I found this useful for securely the rope as well. The fanny pack option is a little annoying. The buckles come out and get in the way. I don't even like the concept of a fanny pack...I prefer bring a super thin stuff sack type pack (but I don't normally do that).
This bag is a beast. I got it primarily to store the board and to go through the airport. It's perfect for these situations. If all you're going to is use a bag for is to toss your board in a car and go to and from the resort or backcountry, then you'll want a low profile bag. This bag is too bulky for that. However, the wheels can be removed so it can be made more low profile if desired.
So far I love these boots. They're low profile, light, and stiff. The dual BOA is great. They're comfortable. I wear 11 in many shoes and the fit is usually pretty snug. The same is true for the 11 Judge. Just tight enough.
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