Josh

Josh

North Cascades, WA

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Joshua's Passions

Trad Climbing
Telemark Skiing
Mountain Biking
Road Cycling
Mountaineering
Sport Climbing

Joshua's Bio

Snow, and lots of it. Or, barring that, long alpine routes, single track, and craziness in most forms.

Josh

Josh posted a video about on November 28, 2013

Has anyone seen this before? Intermittent screen failure -- happened both in send and receive modes. This is shot in a car, but it happened in the same fashion in the backcountry far from EMI.

I returned this to Ortovox and they had a brand new unit to me in less than a week. Nice work on the customer service!

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on November 22, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small

One of the most versatile pieces of clothing I own, and I think the heir to the famous R1 hoody (which still has its own benefits, so don't go throwing it away now). This is one of the only pieces of clothing that seems to make it into my wardrobe all climbing season and all skiing season.

Pluses:
- Slim fit...unlike some newer patagonia jackets, which seem to be growing in size (or maybe I'm shrinking?)...this one has a great slim fit without looking super-euro
- Very breathable, quite warm...this jacket really strikes a balance. Over a T-shirt when I'm alpine climbing in mid-August or over a baselayer as my uphill jacket in the winter.
- Under-helmet hood works great...nice and snug without suffocating

Minuses:
- The stitching on the arms has started to fray a bit...but I blame my poor off-width technique and not the jacket

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on November 22, 2013

5 5

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

I think this is one of the best jackets patagonia makes (or made)...it's simply my ideal layer for ski touring. I just throw it on over my softshell for the downhill...instant warmth and wind protection in a light jacket with excellent fit!

Pluses:
- Synthetic insulation is perfect for layering over, since if I have some sweat or moisture on my next layer, it's not the end of the world.
- Great fit -- not too long, and the gusseted cuffs are perfect for going over my gloves, but can easily be velcroed down to go under gloves.
- Just the right amount of insulation for cascades winters
- Great shell material -- robust, but not too heavy, with a nice soft hand.
- Sheds snow and light "snain" really well.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on November 22, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

As someone who yearned for the TLT 5, but simply couldn't deal with the narrow shell (I would say I have normal to narrow width feet, too), I was very excited to get my feet into the TLT 6. I was able to delude myself that maybe these were wide enough on the carpet, but as soon as I hit the skin track -- ouch. As Lou Dawson over at WS has shown, these things are just as narrow as the TLT 5, but the saving grace is that the new liner has much more bulk that can be taken out during thermomolding. After some aggressive liner squashing, these fit like a dream.

Pluses:
- So damn light
- So much range of motion for touring, and they tour so smoothly...there is simply less resistance in tour mode than any boot I've ever toured in...the huge soft pivot zone in this liner is awesome
- Not a super stiff boot, but these are remarkably stiff for what they are

Minuses:
- Still too narrow for many (or a plus if you have narrow feet), but at least they have some width to gain with molding, and much easier to punch without the TLT5's bellows
- New liner is a huge improvement in warmth / fit, but still not the most robust liner out there
- Like many carbon boots, the flex feels pretty "on/off", not super progressive

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Josh

Josh wrote an answer about on February 12, 2013

This boot will be a great option for you. The fit is as if dynafit mated the zzero and the TLT lasts -- I also struggle with the narrow forefoot on the TLT, and these mercurys (once thermofit) are significantly wider. This boot is certainly much stiffer than both the zzero and the TLT with the tongues in...with the tongues removed, it's a similar stiffness to the old zzero green machines. Where the mercury really excels over the zzero is the cuff flex (similar to the TLT)...with the tongue out, these things tour so well!

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Josh

Josh wrote an answer about on February 12, 2013

While the Vulcan is indeed as stiff as everyone says it is, the purpose of the vulcan is stiffness combined with reasonable weight. In my mind, the Duke undoes that equation. If you're skiing bigger lines than Hoji, perhaps the Duke is warranted, but I've been skiing some big committing lines with dynafit bindings. If you spend even 30% of your time outside of the ski area, dynafit bindings are the way to go, even if you're skiing big lines. If you're really concerned about binding stoutness -- check out the CAST system...personally, I think it's overkill, but at least you're not picking up the rediculous Duke with every step.

If you spend 80-90% of the time in the ski area, and only 10-20% of the time in the backcountry or side country, the duke-vulcan would be a comfortable, yet stiff option.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on February 11, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Durable, simple, well-designed...but take away those stupid ribs.

Pluses:
+ Nice size and shape
+ Great handle (bright, good angle)
+ Flat-ish shovel blade makes it easier to have flat pit walls

Deltas:
- Even with the new end-caps, the extendable handle still freezes up way more than my old BD shovel
- The strengthening "ribs" on the blade make it look tough, but they make unsightly marks on my pit walls -- using this shovel makes it significantly more difficult to achieve my anal-retentive-standard smooth pit walls for layer ID.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on February 11, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great materials and weight, backed by Patagonia's waranty and environmental commitment. But the design needs some work, which is kind of dissapointing considering how long these have been around.

Pluses:
+ Good material (nice blend of breathability and warmth). I use these in temperate weather ski touring without long underwear, and the warmth/breathability is ideal.
+ With the gusseted leg zippers, they work for both ski boots and mountaineering boots
+ Some nice design points, such as a way to clip the leg button down when in expanded mode
+ The internal belt does not go all the way around (this makes it WAY easier to tailor these pants...your tailor can take them in without ruining the belt system)

Deltas:
- the elastic belt design is silly -- each side of the belt is attached to the pant with elastic...so you can't crank the belt down (since it stretches).
- Fit: Please Patagonia, please, please, please....make technical pants in "short" inseam lengths...I spend $20 per pair of pants to shorten them (and then I loose the elastic and grippers at the bottom of the pants)
- Make the legs a tiny bit wider and they'll actually fit over my shiny new dynafit boots.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on February 11, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Thin, light, breathable. A fantastic fit (for me).

I've used this jacket extensively for N. Cascades ski touring, and I must say, it's one of the very best uninsulated softshells on the market. This is my jacket of choice for the up, and the insulated softshell goes right over it for the downhill.

Pluses:
+ balance of wind protection and breathability
+ Light, simple (only 2 zippered pockets)
+ really nice fit (gusseted sleeves that fit over gloves, excellent hood)

Minuses:
- Where's the rest of my zipper? I don't want to take it off over my head!

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on December 10, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

A very nice pant from H/H.
Pluses:
1.Much softer hand than most gore-based fabrics.
2. 2 pockets on the thighs are very useful
3. removable bibs -- adds weight/complexity, but a nice feature that lets me use these for spring/summer mountaineering when a bib would be too hot.
4. Unique and functional waist tightening system that's much smoother than a belt.

Minuses:
1. Not very light
2. Internal gaiters are a bit loose for my smallest mountaineering boots (but they're totally fine on my double boots and ski boots)

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on December 10, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I'll begin by saying that all airbag packs have some huge advantages (a potential life saving tool) and some minor disadvantages (will we someday talk about the "airbag heuristic"?). This season, I decided that the advantages far outweighed my excuses (so heavy/so expensive/not a very good pack).

What an incredible improvement over the first crop of float packs! This pack is much lighter and has a much more well-thought-out design. Thanks BCA!

Pluses:
1. Tons of internal volume. BCA says 32 liters, and it feels even more spacious inside.
2. Well-organized: a large avalanche tool pocket, a nice goggle pocket, a large waist belt pocket...all nicely laid out. The helmet holder tucks out of the way easily as do the diagonal ski carry straps. This pack has a nice clean appearance.
3. Catridge system is simple, refillable and you can fly with it (empty)

Minuses:
1. Heavier than my non-airbag pack. But I need the exercise anyway.
2. The "safety" buckles on all airbag packs are more of a pain than a traditional plastic snap buckle...
3. While this pack will take a hydration bladder hose inside one of the shoulder straps (the one not being used by the pull cord), it requires unfolding the airbag and threading the hose carefully. I'd recommend using the new generation of camelbacks with unclipable hoses and leaving the hose in the pack all season.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on December 10, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

4 days and 24,000 vertical feet later, I feel like I have a pretty good initial impression of this boot. Comfortable, but not a slipper. Light, but not a TLT. Remarkably stiff. Not a game changer, necesarily, but a great boot nonetheless.

Pluses:
1. This boot is so much stiffer than you might imagine. I'm 160lbs and I like to charge and push a stiff boot. I grew up ski racing on the east coast and skied stiffer skis at age 13 then I do now. That being said, these boots still surprised me with how solid they are. I had waited and waited for the Vulcan to become available and now I'm glad that I broke down and bought the Merc instead. I'll admit it: I think the Vulcan would be too stiff for me. During the rediculous powder of the past week, I found myself skiing without the tongues and really did not miss them. In more variable conditions, the tongues made the boot significantly better.
2. The removable tongue is a nice, if quirky, feature and certainly makes the touring mode significantly better. Removing the tongue also makes the entire boot less tight (regardless of the buckle tension) and more comfortable.
3. A much improved liner from dynafit. They used to shave boot weight via stupid-thin liners, but this generation of boots has a well-made liner.
4. Tons of cuff mobility -- a touring dream boot!

Minuses:
1. The removable tongue does make transitions a bit more cumbersome. Just one more thing to do!
2. A relatively narrow forefoot last. I have relatively low-volume feet, but still feel just a touch squeezed in these -- definitely not for those of you with wider feet! I haven't baked my liners yet and I hope that I can get a bit of width that way.
3. These are a light boot relative to their performance, but a bit heavier than the Maestrale RS (and with 1 less buckle). I'd like to see Dynafit bring the weight down a bit more.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on June 13, 2012

4 5

Not as warm as a big down puffy, but warmer than an ultralight such as the Patagonia nano-puff, this jacket fills a useful nitch. It's well constructed, compressible and warm for its weight. I kind of shy away from carrying it though -- I bring my Pata nano for ultralight endeavors, and a big down coat for my expeditions, and this jacket seems to get left behind. I've been experimenting by combining this and my Patagonia Nano in place of my big down jacket during early season guiding and that's seemed to work well in all but the coldest conditions.

Pluses -- Better construction than I've seen on some recent MH clothes. Light, simple. Good pockets (fleece lined, not too many).
Minuses -- I prefer the hood on my Patagonia Nano Puff (it is tighter and fits underneath my helmet.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on June 13, 2012

5 5

What else do you need in a o degree bag? This bag has held up well with extended use, with minimal feather loss. The shell material has held its DWR coating and sheds morning condensation remarkably well. It's worth buying a waterproof eVent dry-compression stuff sack to get this bag to its smallest, and with that it can get remarkably small for a zero degree bag.

Pluses -- Light, accurate warmth rating (compared with other brands, it feels about right), quality construction
Minuses -- It's expensive, but the price is certainly within reason compared with other brands of this quality.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on June 13, 2012

4 5

Fully seam-sealed, this tent is light and packable and ideal for certain conditions: it should be cold and dry to prevent excessive condensation (like many single-wall tents), and you should be friends with your tent-mate, since it is tight in there!

In warm / wet -- condensation becomes a serious issue and you will get wet inside.

Pluses -- Light, simple, packable
Minuses -- condensation, the need to seam seal the whole tent at home (takes 1-2 hours and some care), the vestibule which is overly complex and really a pain to attach.

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Josh

Josh wrote a review of on June 13, 2012

5 5

Warm. Light. So comfortable! Those in La Sportiva Baruntses complained that their boots were, "filled with buckets of water" and my feet were bone dry! These things are the most comfortable double boot I've ever worn -- no shin bang, no blisters, no discomfort with thousands of feet of french technique (OK, maybe just a bit!)

Pluses: The tizip zipper seems robust and really does keep water out! Simple lacing system. Comfortable (if they fit you well). Climb remarkably well for a double boot.

Minuses: The liner is thin and looks a bit chintsy...but so far, it's held up great! I'll probably replace it with an intuition liner as soon as it wears out.

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