Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson

Pacific Northwest, mainly northern Cascades

Matthew Simerson's Passions

Climbing

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on May 26, 2010

5 5

Since I'm using it for glacier climbs, I wish it were a dry rope. For the price, I can't complain. We spent an inordinate amount of time getting a butterfly knot out after we yarded on it testing anchors. That's nothing against this rope, it's true for any 8mm. As expected, the BD ATC is pretty sketchy when holding a load with this floss/rope. I bought a Petzl Verso with this rope and they work great together.

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on March 12, 2010

5 5

I used this all weekend at an avalance rescue training course and it did the job perfectly. It is on the short side but if a victim is buried deeper in Cascade Cement than this probe will reach, they are statistically dead before I could get to them.

It's also long enough to probe for a 3-man snow cave. Alas, it missed the pine tree that odorized my last cave, but that wasn't the probes fault. :)

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on January 24, 2010

5 5

My last cold weather sleep system for climbing was a z-rest with a MH Highmountain 72 pad. Combined I get about R-10, enough to be cozy when sleeping on a snowfield or glacier. Then I saw the 3" thick NeoAir in another climbers kit. It was time to check out inflatables again.I purchased a NeoAir, and two BA Air Core pads (one insulated). All regular size. To test the three, I aired then up and my wife and I 'test drove' them on the hardwood floor in our living room. I'm a back sleeper, she's a side sleeper. After the light headedness from flowing up 3 by mouth passed, I deflated them until they were just firm enough to sleep on without body parts touching the floor.I slept on the NeoAir first, with no insulation between me and the pad. I woke up an hour later, chilled because my backside was cold. Since my back was cold while sleeping in a 65° house, I determined that the NeoAir provides an insignificant/negligible amount of insulation. So I put a blanket over the NeoAir and tried again. On the NeoAir, I awoke every couple hours, needing to roll into a new position to relieve discomfort. Not bad.On the second night, I slept on the Air Core and she tried the NeoAir. I slept VERY well on the Air Core, and only recall rolling over once. She tried the NeoAir for a couple hours and then tossed it aside in favor of the other Air Core pad.I have no explanation for why we both found the Air Core pads to be significantly more comfortable. You can see that the baffles in the AC run the length of the pad, where the NeoAir baffles run the width of it. The pad material itself is thicker/heavier on the AC pads, and likely to be more durable.Where the comfort factor is likely to be variable, the killer feature of the Air Core pads is value. You can buy two or three AC pads for the price of the NeoAir. The AC pads include a stuff sac and repair kit. The NeoAir includes neither. I returned the NeoAir and kept both AC pads.

For glacier/snow climbs, I still pack along the z-rest as well. That way I can get by with a 40° bag instead of my 15°.

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on January 24, 2010

5 5

I've got several pairs of these. I bought this extra pair because I wasn't smart enough to put my rain pants on before a glissade on some crispy snow. Did a number on the back side.

While great for weeks of touring and walking, the built-in undies fail to get the job done on strenuous hikes or climbs. I've cut them out of my pairs and instead wear the underarmor or wool boxers.

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on January 24, 2010

5 5

Its hard to drop 2 or 3 hamilton's on a pair of underwear, but once you've bought a pair and worn them on a long weekend, its darned near impossible to wear anything else. I wear them on climbs, when I need a base layer that works as hard as I do. These do the job. The only underwear I like better are my wool boxers. I prefer them because I can wear them extra days before they become as fragrant.

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on September 11, 2009

3 5

I purchased a NeoAir, and two BA Air Core pads (one insulated). All regular sized. Considering the NeoAir cost as much as both BA AC pads together, I expected it to be not just lighter, but also better. But better is subjective. Is 8 oz worth a poor nights sleep? Should I save even more weight and not carry a pad at all? What is a good nights sleep worth?

I climb a lot and my current cold weather sleep system is a z-rest with a MH Highmountain 72 pad. Combined I get about R-10, enough to be cozy when sleeping on a snowfield or glacier in temps around freezing. For alpine sites, both pads is a heavy luxury (40oz!).

The best use I found for my older 1" therm-a-rest was as a flotation device while camping near a lake. It doesn't provide enough insulation or sleep comfort to justify its weight. The MH has twice the R and weighs only 5 more oz. Then I saw the 3" thick NeoAir in another climbers kit. It was time to check out inflatables again.

To test the three new pads, I aired up all three and my wife and I 'test drove' them on the hardwood floor in our living room. I'm a back sleeper, she's a side sleeper. For maximum comfort, after airing them up, I deflated them until they were just firm enough to sleep on without body parts touching the floor under them.

I slept on the NeoAir first, with no insulation between me and the pad. I woke up an hour later, chilled because my backside was cold. Since my back was cold while sleeping in a 65° house, I determined that the NeoAir provides an insignificant/negligible amount of insulation. So I put a blanket over the NeoAir and tried again. In my bed, I fall asleep and stay that way until morning. On the NeoAir, I awoke every couple hours, needing to roll into a new position to relieve discomfort. Not too bad.

On the second night, I slept on the Air Core and she tried the NeoAir. I slept VERY well on the Air Core, and only recall rolling over once. She tried the NeoAir for a couple hours and then tossed it aside in favor of the other Air Core pad.

I had great expectations for the $$$ NeoAir and I have no explanation for why we both found the Air Core pads to be significantly more comfortable. You can see that the baffles in the AC run the length of the pad, where the NeoAir baffles run the width of it. The pad material itself is thicker/heavier on the AC pads, and likely to be more durable. Plenty of reviewers love/hate the texture of the NeoAir. I liked it.

In addition to not being as comfortable, where the NeoAir really falls short is value. You can buy two or three Air Core pads for the price of the NeoAir. The AC pads include a stuff sac. The AC pads include a repair kit. Anyone that has used an inflatable pad for very long KNOWS how necessary a repair kit is. The NeoAir includes neither.

If the pads were on par for comfort, I could overlook the horrendous value proposition of it. After all, I have plenty of stuff sacks and sleep pad repair kits. But I just can't imagine a time when I'd sacrifice a good nights sleep for 8 ounces.

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on August 19, 2009

5 5

This pack is ridiculously good. Seriously. This is one of my six packs and excepting trips where I can't fit everything inside, this is THE pack. Period. I've sold a couple other packs and am getting ready to get rid of a couple more, since I never use them any more. This pack is the perfect size for a day of climbing and it bears the loads admirably. I cannot say enough good things about this pack so I'll say a bad one: it has spoiled me and is making me spend more money. I am browsing backcountry today because I want to replace my Gregory Shasta with a scaled up version of my Deuter 42. Be careful, it could do the same to you.

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Matthew Simerson

Matthew Simerson wrote a review of on July 6, 2009

5 5

I replaced my 10 y.o. BD Ultralight (hah) with this axe, mainly to reduce my pack weight. I used it on an all day (16 hour) climb this last weekend.

Because the handle is rounded, this axe does not 'grip' as much in the snow/ice. When climbing up steep slopes, it wants to pop out easier than a square/rectangular handle. It is easy to compensate for this by turning the axe sideways when you plunge it in.

While not nearly as 'burly' as my old BD axe, I have used it to dig a dead man anchor and it is sufficient. I arrested with it once and it did the job. It made for a great rudder during a 3 mile glissade.

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