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NickM

NickM

NickM's Passions

Climbing

NickM

NickMwrote a review of on June 9, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm not a gear aficionado or typical early-adopter of new technology; I just want to go skiing. I updated my setup this fall and was headed towards Dynafits and Mastrales like everyone else, but saw the deal on these (+ Maestrale-esque compatible boots) and went for it. After a solid season of ski mountaineering in the PNW, I'm happy. I think these are almost the holy grail of bindings (free heel, light on the up, alpine binding on the down), minus a few key drawbacks.
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Pros:<p>
- Full alpine style spring-loaded heel retention and release to DIN 13. These ski like alpine bindings, not tech bindings.
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- Alpine-style adjustable DIN at the toe with lateral release. On my couple releases thus far they've acted as expected.
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- Same weight category as Dynafit Radical ST & FT, G3 ION, and Vipec, but you basically get an alpine binding on the way down. You'd think this would be a big deal...I thought this was what everyone's been dreaming of all along.
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- Seamless switch between ski and touring heel mode
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Cons:<p>
- The kicker: you have to buy Scarpa Spirit boots, which are just Maestrales with a modified heel to work with the TR2. No other boot will work. Because of this, nobody wants these, and thus the great sale prices.
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- No flat touring mode, and the highest riser isn't that high. I thought this might kill it for me, but I've managed and decided it's worth it. I've done some long flat tours and been fine, but I'd rather not know what a rando boot with flat touring mode feels like.
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- I've decided that entering the bindings isn't as easy as Dynafits. The toe tab must be depressed while carefully lining up the toe boot pins, which can easily be done in tough places by actually lifting the ski up to the boot by hand. The issue in steep/awkward places is the heel, where you push down on the heel mechanism with a tone of force to retract the jaw and sneak the boot heel in. This is tricky and unnerving on steep, icy terrain of consequence.
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- They aren't sexy looking. At all. If you care about that...
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Conclusion<p>
I've had a good first season on these skiing routes on the bigger and steeper end of things, in snow from icy to chalk to corn. These are mounted on 181, 98 wide K2s with metal. I was happy sacrificing the heel riser issue and harder entry in order to get a classic tech binding on the way up, and an alpine binding on the way down. This, for the weight of other standard tech bindings. I'd recommend them to anybody.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on January 6, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Pros: - Thinner, lighter, more supple than BD
- More glide than BD nylon

Cons: - Serious issues with snow getting in between ski and glue on big days
- Less traction than BD nylon...similar to BD mix

G3 skins are a strange creature in the ski touring world. You can find tons of people using them and loving them, or meet people who've tried them once and won't touch them with a 10' pole ever again. Sure, they worked fine for a couple 500' laps on a nice day, but once I started really pushing them in inclement weather, the glue started to fail in the wet/snowy conditions. Grip is significantly inferior to BD nylon, to the point I was deviating from my friend's skin track. Sure, glide is better, like BD Mix.

Every middle-aged, super-experienced backcounty skier I know took one look at my G3 skins and went: "oh, bummer". That's just how it is, I guess. I never thought I'd return skins, but it had to be done. These just blew.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on February 26, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Like many folks, these were my first touring boots; my first ski boots actually.

Pros: They're comfy, wide, fairly light, and tour well. If you have super wide feet, these may do well for you. If you can find them on a great deal, a great 1st boot for sure; well, maybe for a few months...

Cons: Downhill performance leaves a lot to be desired, so I was forced to upgrade within 3 months of owning these. They're so high volume and flexible that downhill can get a little rowdy, and I'm a pretty damn intermediate skier. Also, the liner is a lightweight, flimsy piece of garbage. Some aftermarket liners would really help this boot, but you'll end up spending as much as a 10x better boot.

Bottom line: They work, sure, but there are a ton of better options that tour well and ski significantly better . Black Diamond is definitely quite a few years behind the curve on ski boots. I have friends with Quadrants, as well, who aren't exactly in love. After using something like Scarpa's Maestrale or Freedom, BD boots are kind of a joke.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on December 31, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

Could be helpful when choosing sizes...

I'm 6'0, 155 lbs and wear 32" jeans with a belt to snug. Size Medium: fit waist fine, length was good. But the cut is wide and baggy; there's a LOT of fabric flopping around the legs. Fine for lookin' cool at a resort, not ideal for hiking/skinning around in the backcountry all day. So I tried and kept the size Small: nearly too tight on the waist, a bit short on the length, but with a considerably slimmer cut.

Definitely not an ideal pant on slim people for active/technical use, but since it's the only bib like it in the price range, I'm gonna put up with a marginal fit for better function.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on April 8, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had this guy for a year and a half now and am very happy with it. I would say the biggest selling point is the burly sheath...just used it almost 30 consecutive days in Yosemite and it's just starting to get a little fuzzy. Second best part is the middle marker, really useful.

Other ropes like Bluewater and Sterling seem to handle a bit better, but nothing major. Also, after 1.5 years and 60+ days of climbing I wouldn't count much on the dry treatment (maybe that's true for all ropes).

There's a ton of other cheaper options out there, but I'm sold on Monster and my next rope will be the 9.8 or 9.2 for sure.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on December 5, 2011

3 5

Let me start by saying I got the suit on sale for $100 and I'm really happy about it; even if I payed full price, I'd be satisfied. But...there's no question in my mind that Hyperflex is inferior to higher priced suits from O'neill, Xcel, etc.

Main 2 complaints: None of the seams are sealed on the inside and it's way less stretchy/more restrictive than other major brand 5/4's I've used. Just cheaper made than $400 wetsuits, pretty simple.

That said, it's pretty new right now and it's doing the job in Northern CA this winter. I expect it to start to die quicker than more expensive suits due to the cheaper neoprene and un-welded interior seams, but heck, i's a 5/4 for under $300!

Bottom line: I'm satisfied. Does the job. But it's no replacement for your $450 wetsuit. Occasional surfer or people wanting a back-up suit, get it! Serious surfer looking for their go-to wetsuit to last a season or two, Hyperflex is not for you.

Also good to note: I read the review below and have encountered none of those issues with neoprene falling apart. I've had the thing for 3 months and have used it around 15 times and it's holding strong.

Hope I've helped.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on July 22, 2011

4 5

I was surprised at how sturdy and solid this little guy felt, and how good the gate action feels. HOWEVER, KNOW HOW SMALL THESE ARE: 3 inches on the long axis, 2 inches across. I love them for anchors and racking nuts and what not, but would not put them on the rope end of a quickdraw.

I'm new to climbing and have only been on sport / top-rope single pitch stuff, but if I ever do backcountry alpine climbing, I'll be getting more of these for their weight and size. They are tiny!

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