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Mads

Mads

Up and down the Cascades and Sierras

Mads's Bio

I love big mountains and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee to fuel the climb up more mountains.

Mads

Mads wrote a question about on May 27, 2012

Since this biner isn't perfectly oval, can you use it with a pulley as part of a crevasse rescue system? Would it be better to go with the regular Black Diamond oval to ensure that the load is evenly balanced? I like the wiregate a lot but in a crevasse rescue situation I'd want to maximize the efficiency of the system, and I'm not sure if this biner's "oval-ish" shape would affect that. Thanks!

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on May 1, 2012

5 5

This top is both functional and really cute. It looks dorky in the stock pictures because it's buttoned all the way up. I have the "blizzard" color and wear it unbuttoned with a sports bra or tank top underneath, which gives it a nice pop of color. It's great for wicking sweat and keeping you warm while hiking, backpacking, climbing, and being active outdoors. I'll also wear it around town with jeans because it's a really cute top on its own.

Quick wash warning - it will shrink a tiny bit when you wash it. Be sure to wash with cold water and hang to dry ONLY - otherwise it will shrink a lot!

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on May 1, 2012

5 5

I love this bra! It's comfortable, breathable, plenty supportive, and really feels like it's barely there. It's sexy for essentially being a sports bra. It's great for being active although not supportive enough for running. I wore mine for 18 straight days on Aconcagua and it felt great - no digging into my shoulders and DIDN'T STINK afterwards! Couldn't say the same for the rest of me... The one negative thing is that I nip out like crazy in it but it's so comfortable that I don't really care - and that's saying a LOT!!!

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on April 30, 2012

5 5

This harness is so light and well made; it's so comfortable that I often forget I'm wearing it! I could hang in it all day. It's minimalist in design but has very well thought out features. I especially love the stiff gear loops that are front-tilted so gear falls forward and is easier to grab when you need it. The lining is a light, cushy mesh that keeps me cool and dry even on hot days. I can't even express how much more comfortable and functional it is compared to the other harnesses I've used (Black Diamond Momentum and Petzl Luna). Plus the "bondi blue" color is so, so pretty! I'm definitely going to be wearing and loving this for many years.

I only wish Arc'teryx made a similar women's harness for ice climbing! I'm an XS so I won't fit the men's version...

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on April 30, 2012

5 5

I have this top in "white tea" which is a very pretty cream color. I've worn it backpacking, climbing, and mountaineering in both above 80°F and below 50°F. It's great for keeping the sun off my skin when it's hot, which helps me stay hydrated and cooler in the long run, and it helps retain body heat in cooler weather to keep me warm. It's also great as a base layer when temps go colder. I'm normally an XS in everything Arc'teryx but I sized up to S because I didn't like the snug, short fit of the XS. I'm 5'2" / 100 lbs and the XS is skin tight and hits a couple inches below my waist (and tends to ride up) whereas the S is form-skimming and hits mid-hip.

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on April 30, 2012

5 5

The most important part of a helmet is how well it fits your noggin and I could never get "unisex" helmets to fit correctly. The Elia stays perfectly atop my head when I move and tilt it while climbing; I almost forget it's there sometimes! It's comfortable, has good ventilation, and I can fit a beanie or balaclava underneath it when temps get cold. And don't worry ladies, it's certified to UIAA/CE safety standards (which tests both top and side impact), even though it has a (very, very useful) contour for your ponytail. I wear mine confident that my head is well protected. Highly recommended!

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on April 30, 2012

2 5

These seem to get generally good reviews, which I don't understand because they don't work at all for me. The main problem is that you can't really grow with this shoe. I purchased it as a beginner and outgrew it within two months. It doesn't edge very well and the rubber isn't sticky at all. I found it passable for gym climbing (where you have defined footholds) but on outdoor rock where you're smearing on tiny edges or textured rock faces it really sucks. One positive thing is that it is very comfortable though. I replaced this with the La Sportiva Mythos for multi-pitch climbing and 5.10's Anasazi LV for sport climbing and I like both of them MUCH better. If I could do it over again, I would've just bought the Mythos (also a good beginner's shoe) in the first place!

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on April 30, 2012

5 5

I really like this jacket. I wear mine all the time for mountaineering, rock/ice climbing, and backcountry touring. I brought it to Aconcagua and it did a great job repelling snow and high winds. I saw other reviewers saying this jacket wasn't waterproof in thunderstorms - that's something I don't have experience with as I typically use it in wintry conditions, so I can't comment on that.

I originally debated between buying the SL (Pac Lite) or the SV (Pro Shell) because I was not sure if the SL would be sufficiently durable for my needs. I am pretty tough on my gear and the SL has held up fantastically over the last 1.5 years of regular use. However, I have accepted the fact that eventually, I'm going to take a harsh fall or stab an ice tool into it, and it will be time for some repairs. C'est la vie.

Finally, I really like the minimalist design of this jacket. It has all the features I need and none that I don't, which saves me weight I don't have to hump up a mountain. I especially like the integrated hood which is great for layering and the higher pockets which are accessible when wearing a climbing harness or backpack (over the hipbelt).

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on April 30, 2012

5 5

This is a great fleece that I wear often. It's very soft and comfortable - great as a cozy layer for cooler days or when the house gets chilly. The material is about "sweatshirt warmth" but looks nicer than a sweatshirt for running errands or going out to dinner. When it gets really cold during Chicago winters I'll wear it as an additional layer under my big down jacket (over a t-shirt) so I can adjust my layers to how much the heat is blasting at my destination. I'm an XS and it runs true to size; I find the fit more flattering than other fleeces too. My mom got one too and she wears it all the time!

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Mads

Mads wrote a question about on April 10, 2012

The Starlets look awesome for touring but I'm a little lady and I'm wondering if I will feel a lack of control and stability in anything except fluffy powder. I'm 5'2", 100 lbs, and I ski everything in all conditions. I am looking for skis that would be ideal for both backcountry touring and ski mountaineering purposes, so light is important, but so is control, especially since conditions can sometimes be unpredictable. I typically ski ~160cm and I heard these ski short, so I was considering the 166cm. Should I go shorter? Will there be stability/control issues in anything short of perfect pow? Any advice or feedback would be appreciated!

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on November 29, 2011

5 5

I own two of these tops, one in light gray and one in horizon/petunia, which is a really nice deep purple color. I've used them solo for hot, sunny approaches as well as a base layer when mountaineering or ice climbing. They do a great job of keeping me warm or cool as the activity requires. I especially love them for cold weather aerobic activities.

Before I got these, my go-to base layer was Patagonia Capilene, and I absolutely loved it and never had a single issue with it UNTIL I tried wool! This top doesn't retain odors and doesn't stink (can't say that much for Capilene), even after I wore them every day for a week straight on a mountaineering trip. I was worried about itching with wool as I have sensitive skin, but even when I was going hard, this top remained comfortable. I'm going on a three-week trip in a month and I've switched out all my next-to-skin base layers for wool.

I'm usually an XS (5'2", 100 lbs, petite frame) and the XS is "form fitting" while the S is "form skimming" on me. I could have worn either size but I kept the XS because I'm usually rocking a few layers so I like my base layers to be fitted. The sleeves are the perfect length and the top hits me mid-hip.

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on November 29, 2011

5 5

What else can I say? Chalk is chalk. This one happens to work great! I like its small-chunked, ground-up consistency because I don't have to spend time breaking up big chunks and it dries out my hands without giving them that squeaky/slippery feeling that can happen with fine powder chalks. I don't use much chalk at the gym but I use it often climbing outdoors, and this one's my favorite. I've tried big, cheap chalk blocks and Metolius chalk and my personal preference is for the BD White Gold.

By the way, the 56g size comes as a solid block whereas the 100g, 200g and 300g sizes come loosely ground in a bag or little plastic tub. It's confusing the way BC presents it above in the picture so I thought it'd be helpful to clarify.

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Mads

Mads wrote a review of on November 29, 2011

5 5

I am in LOVE with these shoes. Edges well, jams well, smears VERY well. The Stealth C4 soles are super grippy and make me feel like I can stick to any surface. I've had both my feet smeared on a smooth face and they feel more secure than my old beginner shoes (La Sportiva Nago) did on little foot holds. Just amazing. They definitely make me a better, harder climber.

My street shoe size is 5.5 and I got the 35. Around my heel and arch they fit like a glove but I have a wide toe box so they are veeery snug in the toe. I thought about going bigger but the bigger sizes still crimped my toes and created dead space in other parts of the shoe. I'm glad I stuck with this one; I just take them off at every belay. It's worth it because they climb like a dream!

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Mads

Mads wrote a question about on July 13, 2011

How does this helmet perform in cold, alpine conditions? I am looking for a new helmet for mountaineering and ice climbing. I've used both the Petzl Elios and Grivel Salamander in the past, but neither fit my head perfectly and I really like the comfortable fit and light weight of the Meteor. I have a couple concerns though. With its heavy ventilation, is this helmet colder compared to others? Since I'll primarily use it in cold, windy conditions, venting sweat isn't as paramount as efficient heat retention. I'd rather not layer on the extra beanie or switch to the heavyweight balaclava unless I have to. Also, it looks like this thing has 5x more vents than other helmets so I have to ask - does it pile up snow during a snowstorm or heavy spindrift? Thanks for any insight!

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