Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold

Eastern Sierra, Idaho, and So Cal (where I currently reside)

Spencer Arnold's Passions

Running
Biking
Climbing

Spencer Arnold's Bio

A little about me: Born and raised in Idaho (best place on Earth..seriously). I now live in Southern California. I'm into the out of doors and hit the trails on my Pivot 5.7, trail run, hike, all to prepare for my real passion: winter mountaineering and skiing! Whether it's seeking out some sweet side stash or climbing in South America, I'm all about getting anywhere steep and deep. My goals are pretty basic; keep working on my skill set, and hopefully work as a guide when I retire from my current profession.

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on January 28, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Initial review/thoughts: Me: 6-1, 198, purchased size 11. I'm a 10 1/2 and the 11 fits great in the Performance.
Now keep in mind my first climb in these was in relatively hot weather. I live in So Cal and close to Mt. Baldy and we've had some good snow thus far. But, I picked a day where it was in the high 60's at the trail head, around 5,700 ft. I need to break them in, so instead of wearing trial runners at the start, I wore the boots. I got hot. I also want to say my sock choice was stupid as they were thin but old and kind of worn on the inside. My bad. But I got a blister x2. Witholding judgment for now as to the "Blister Free Guarantee" but the seam was noticeable.
Ok, now for the climb part. In the walk mode, I dug this boot. It flexed just enough to put some miles in on the approach. The heel underfoot was very stable. Not too wide, not too narrow compared to my Mammut GTX. So getting going was....thoughtless. Meaning, I was motoring along and never thought about traction, roll or anything. Once on the route, the snow was super firm and I didn't put my crampons on right away, switched to climb mode and edged up a 35-40 degree angle. I cut a couple of steps with my ice ax, but mostly just edged and used the toe to climb a short section. Kinda dumb as it was super icy and sketchy, but dang there's nothing like a new Vibram sole! The sole on the Salewa is quite different than the ones on my Mammuts. It's better. Better uphill and downhill, as breaking was awesome. Once the crampons were on, I made short work of the route section I was on. Is there still some flex? Yes, a bit. But not much. Is this a completely rigid boot like my Millet Radikals? Nope. But for me, who is more of an Alpine / Mountaineer climber, they are bomber. I just wish it was colder and I was not moving so fast in order to see how warm they were, but I'll never get a good feel for that until I get into the Eastern Sierra next month.

(3)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on January 16, 2013

5 5

Just ripped on the Lobo and felt sorta bad about it ( but deserved rip to be certain). So, to achieve my inner balance, I'm writing this review that merits 5 stars....
The likes: the hydration compartment has a loop to hang the bladder! So that's a nice start. Material seems....flimsy. But not so! It's wicked tough for how light it is. The pack's capacity is above average and has just enough pockets in the right places. Keep in mind I'm writing this review as a mountain biker...so not having pockets or loops along the waist strap is a good thing, because that's the last place you want weight. I've loaded the Charge down purposely to see how well it does under load. The Charge does not shift when I shift my body around on my bike from the attack position to back over my rear wheel on drops. Stays put and that's what you want. I'm looking for dings on the Charge and can't find one yet. So great purchase.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on January 16, 2013

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Me: 6-1, 195lbs, 16 1/2 x34 shirt size
Ok, here we go. I bought the Lobo to replace a Mule that was worn out and converted to use for desert moto. So I had high hopes for the Lobo because of the....sort of split design. First and foremost, the bladder compartment does not have a loop for the bladder to hang from (at least mine does not). So guess what happens when you start sucking down water? You guessed it! It collapses on itself and that makes it tough to get those last few drinks out. Second: The main pocket doesn't hold too much as far as a base layer or whatever. I always roll with a pump, chain breaker, spare tire etc and it barely fits. Then, the two vertical zippers start backing and come unzipped during long rides. The fit is pretty good and it's a comfortable rig. I'm just not feeling the stoke on it because the design, while intriguing and seemingly innovative, is really not well thought out and under performs. And that's about it.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on December 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Let's try to upload this review again....
Me and the trail type I run:
6-1, 197, 45 yrs old, 10 1/2 foot, low to mid volume. Sand and loose trails that mix into blue groove sand stone, some steep climbs (20 degree).
For comparison, I also have had over the past few years three different Speedcross 2 and 3's with the GTX and the climashield. Also currently have the Fellcross.

I am digging the stoke on the XT S-Lab 5! This shoe in comparison to the Fellcross is more stable, as it's a little bigger footprint underfoot. It's not nearly as "fast feeling" as the Fellcross, but more of a journeyman shoe. It's solid, stable and has good traction in most conditions. The Fellcross and Speedcross had incredible traction in loamy conditions, but suffered in rainy conditions on blue groove trails that became slick. Not so with the XT5. Last night it was raining and I tackled a 20 degree hill that's about a 1/4 mile, and it was getting loose. Going up was no issue as long as I picked my line carefully. On the return, I thought, "oh boy, here we go. Slip and fall time!" Not so...downhill breaking was better than expected, and they packed mud but it wasn't a huge issue. I could feel them getting heavier but still, the traction was good enough. I was surprised how well the shoe threw mud off the bottom.
So far, very impressed with the shoe and it fits my style of slow going trail running better then the Fellcross. I don't feel the rock impact nearly as much as the Fellcross. Great shoe!

(1)

 

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on November 24, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Picked these up to replace some Natives that were just plain worn out. My second pair of Julbo's. I made this purchase to compliment my mountaineering Julbo glasses. They look stylish enough for town and seem more versatile than my other pair (can't remember the name of them).
Similar to my other pair, these fit just a little bit big for my face. I don't think I have a shrunken Bettlejuice head or anything, but maybe I do. Lens works well in various lighting conditions but are just a little dark when transitioning from full sun to wooded shade. Quality is great, they stay in place well considering they are just slightly too big for my mug. Price is steep; so let's hope they hold up better than my Natives.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on October 11, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had the Gigapower stove for 5 years now and it's still going strong. My brother and I go at it over white gas v ISO fuels, and you guessed it, I'm not a white gas guy.
The giga is tiny, super light and dependable. I've used it at lower elevations (13,500) in super cold conditions and no issues with the stove clogging. Not the most powerful stove out there, so if you're a guide doing group cooking and melting LOTS of snow, this may not be the stove for you. But for solo or two teammates doing winter assaults, this is a great stove. Small, compact, with enough power to handle your needs (especially cooking in the tent out of the wind).

(0)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold posted an image about on October 4, 2012

Adidas Terrex FAST R, Italian Volcanos

Having trouble updating my review, but the FAST R slider lacing system couldn't take the micro-pulverized ash. Locked up the slider. Maybe a manufacturer's defect, not sure. 5 stars gone, 4 stars for now. But, the durability was great as I put them through the wringer and they held up to abrasion and scuffing. Still great traction; best I have ever had!

(0)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on September 16, 2012

4 5

So I've been riding the Iodine 3's for close to a year now, and overall I'm pretty stoked on them. My ride is a 2011 Pivot Mach 5.7, aluminum frame (large). I added the Iodine wheel set because I wanted to add some strength and drop a little rolling weight. Mission accomplished.
The Iodine 3's to my knowledge have not experienced the failures of previous incarnations. I am not into hucking my bike and only hit short drops of up to two feet, so this wheel set is plenty robust. No flex in the wheels that I can tell and they seem pretty bombproof thus far. I dig on the color combinations of the dual spokes. Adds to that factory look and yes, I roll perhaps a bit on the vain side. The black rim is holding up to rocks and dings really well and is not showing too much wear.
The Iodines are a good deal for this price point and I am pretty happy with them so far. Just watch out for water exposure, as my rear wheel's hub locks up and will turn your ride into a fixie until it dries out.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on September 12, 2012

5 5

After 4 years of hard use, I think I am ready to pen this review. I'll cut to the chase: If you're looking for a bombproof ruck and can deal with a little porkyness, this is your pack. For mountaineering, I don't think it can be beat. I have used and abused this pack like a garden weasel working the back forty of a potato farm. Totally resists abrasion, you can throw your crampons in the outside pocket that's big enough for wands or pickets and not tear through. I've done that a couple of times when I'm really tired and don't recommend it all the time, but so far so good.
This hauler will accommodate all the gear you need for any trip but the longest expedition. I've used it in Chamonix and the Swiss Alps, Ecuador, and all my trips in the Eastern Sierra and Shasta. Fit and comfort is great as the adjustments are meaningful if you take the time to dial it in. I think the main selling point of this ruck is simply its durability. When I tell you the Bora is bomber, I mean it. My Bora looks worn and it is, but it's still going strong and ready for the upcoming season of lots of abuse.

(0)

 

0 Comments

0 Comments

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on July 27, 2012

4 5

The Fiamma is my third Mammut pant ( also have the Alto and Courmayer). Yeah, I get it, I obviously like Mammut products. But there is a pretty good reason why; because the Swiss know a little something about mountaineering gear. This pant is a little cheaper than the Courmayer and is made of Mammut's Softech material (as opposed to Schoeler).
First thoughts are super positive. The Softech material is on the thin side but seems durable. Bomb proof like the Courmayer? Not sure yet, but time will tell as this was my first season in them.
I am 6-1, 200 lbs. I purchased the 34 long and the fit is spot on. Unlike the Courmayer, which has snap closures for the cuffs, the Fiamma has a pull cord. Works well and stays cinched and tucked well. No articulated knees but no need as the Softech material is like 4 way stretch material. Excellent give during athletic moves and scrambling. This pant is quite breathable in warmer temps. There are no venting options, side zippers etc, but they don't really need them. Not a pant designed for the heat so if you find yourself on the Vegas strip, gambling away your laundry dough and sweating your ass off, don't blame the Fiamma. You shoulda been wearing shorts. These are designed for mountain temps and in that environment, high output activities will be rewarded while wearing the Fiamma.

(2)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on July 23, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Here we go for the Terrex FAST R GTX, as I have had them for three months now, with several hikes in rain, some heat and various terrain.
-Fit is true to size. I am a 10 1/2, with a mid volume foot. They fit like, well, glove for you foot.
-Lacing system is similar to lots of other brands. They use a little slider thingy so you can dial in the lacing from the toe box to the top. The little button that depresses in order to slide the "laces" does not work very well on mine. A minor annoyance overall.
-Amazing traction, in nearly any condition or surface. It's like magic. Down hill braking is excellent, the sides grip well during class 3/4 scrambling, almost like an approach shoe with randing. Excellent on scree, rock, water rock, you name it. Yes, on really rugged trails, you will feel sharp-edged rocks; but these are basically sneakers on steroids and NOT a mountaineering boot, so that is to be expected. But even though I could feel the sharp rocks and stuff, they didn't bother me at all...even after long days, no bruising or sore feet.
-When I took them out of the box and saw the construction and light weight, I thought they would wear down quickly like my Inov8 360 Para's did. Not so! These are WAY tougher and much better on your feet than those overpriced hunks of junk.
-Ankle support is good for how light this hybrid hiker is. I found myself not worrying about rolling my ankles...they will hold up, even under a load.

Overall, I love this "boot", or super sneaker, whatever it is. I find that I go faster and harder for longer wearing the Terrex. No, this is not a Viagra review, but these Adidas do make me feel younger in that 'special way'. I love them. The start of a beautiful relationship...

(1)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on July 16, 2012

5 5

This is my third Marmot bag; I also own the Never Summer 0 degree and the Pounder 40 degree. For the price, the Never Summer is a great bag, but a little on the chunky side (4 lbs!) My Pounder is great, but it weighs over a pound (1.4 lbs I think), but don't worry Marmot, I am not suing for false advertising! But the Plasma...what can I say? It's super warm and feels warmer than the 15 degree rating. I am 6-1, 200 and bought the long. I admit I sleep warm anyway, but it's a heater. Took the bag into near 0 temps and I was just fine in it. The Plasma is really packable, which is fantastic when you are trying to cut weight and keep the smallest pack size possible during Alpine style climbing. In South America, the bag got a little on the wet side with a lot of condensation. The pertex DWR kept the insides dry and the bag itself dried pretty quick when others in my team weren't so lucky. Bag has never failed to loft up, vents pretty well and is more durable than you would first think in feeling the exterior material. I got mine on sale and feel lucky...but, and I don't say this often, this bag is worth full price and then some. Yes, the zipper sticks, but you will find that in light weight bags with thin materials. Just watch it a little and back it off when it sticks. No big deal really and I am just getting nit picky. Bags cut is on the trimmer side, but is acceptable. Perhaps that is one of the reasons it stays so warm (in addition to the draft collar). This bag will be in my pack for years to come due to it being bomber and high quality. Thanks Marmot!!

(2)

 

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on July 9, 2012

4 5

This is my second season in the Mamooks, so I feel that I can qualify my comments. Overall, really good boot for what they are intended for and the price point. I have also used Kayland Apex AT, Millet Radikal (more of a dry tooling boot) and La Sportiva Trango Xtrm GTX. So I have been around a bit!
The Mamooks fit is a bit on the narrow side and good for low to mid volume feet (such as mine). The heel is more narrow than the toe box, but not an issue for me. Underfoot, the Vibram sole is solid but...really narrow? It's NOT a rockered boot, initially it felt..unstable. But literally after a few minutes that sensation evaporated. What was left, however, was a very comfortable mountaineering boot intended for moderate alpine adventures. Great to crampon in, fairly warm (summitted Cotopaxi and Cyambe in them, as well as Eastern Sierra 14'ers), and pretty good in scree and talas. I have used them a couple time as backpacking boots--not what they are intended for but they actually were not all that bad, especially under heavy load. Downhill breaking was really good. I have not had issue with the front rubbing issue that someone else had. Another thing I thought was really interesting that adds to the comfort; take out the footbed and push down on the heel cup. It's soft! Not like many other boots that are hard as the blue groove mountain biking trail next to my house (Old Camp, for those in Southern Cal). I just thought that was really cool feature.
I am in the market for another boot for pushing past the 6000 M mark in colder climates, but these will be in the rotation for a while to come. Still in great shape despite a lot of tough use. I am looking at the Nordwand or Scarpa Phantoms for my next purchase...but if the Nordwand is anything like the Mamooks in terms of quality and comfort, I can't go wrong with them.

(0)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on July 9, 2012

5 5

Love this pant. This review will be short and sweet, but quite frankly, this pant speaks for itself.
-Lived in this pant for over two weeks. Wore them everyday. Got really dirty, but surprisingly pretty stink free.
-I had a decent slip on Whitney MR route on some Talas, and thought "great, there they go...how big is the rip going to be?" Hardly any abrasion what so ever. Amazing.
-Belt system, like many others, does not exactly work. But there are belt loops and I have used one on more than one occasion.
-Schoeller is some kind of wonder material. Wore them in moderate snow at 2 AM and because of my body heat and the material, they never really got wet. I even glissaded in them in really wet snow and I got damp, but that was it. Dried quickly once we were moving again.
These pants are terrific. Because of these, I purchased the Alto and another soft shell (forget the name). You could do much worse then buy these, and since they are on sale, the decision is an easy one. You will not be sorry. They are tough climbing pants.

(2)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on July 8, 2012

5 5

This is my second review of a Mountain Hardware product. The first review was for the Jovian shell...I hated to pen that review, because I am a fan of MH gear, what they are about (pre and post Columbia) and their overall line of gear. But the review was truthful. I figure many of you will, like me, read these reviews thoughtfully and determine what gear is going to earn its way into your ruck. So here we go. And by the way, this review will be a pleasure to write!
I bought these at the beginning of last season and used them several times. Bottom line: I love this glove. I do not care for mittens but was going climbing in South America (albeit Ecuador, so not too cold) so I wanted something better than my OR Arete' gloves. The fit was spot on (size large for me), the OutDry worked as advertised in rain, snow and LOTs of wind...the inside of the glove has a sort of soft lining that adds warmth; add the liner and you have a glove that was plenty warm for me during our rest breaks in snow and high wind. I would take these to Denali as my main climbing glove but with a more robust after market liner. The Typhon packs down pretty small and easily fit in my pack lid. The gauntlet comes up nice and high over your shell or layer and the drawcord was comfortable. I am trying to find some dings on this glove but I can't. These gloves will find their way into my ruck for a long, long time.

(1)

 

0 Comments

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on April 16, 2012

3 5

Let me see where to start. I am 6-1, 200 lb, with an fairly athletic build. About a 45 1/2 coat size. Bought the Jovian because of the DryQ Elite fabric. And also because I got a deal on it through Mountain Hardware's Pro Purchase. Had I paid full price, I would have been annoyed overall.
As most have said here, the fit is off. I bought a large hoping the shell would fit close to my body, as I only wear shells when necessary and do not layer underneath. I don't use shells for any warmth etc, only for bad weather. So, I wear a powerstretch or similar base layer underneath and that would be it. Good thing because the fit is tight across the shoulders and back. Also, as one person mentioned here, the sleeves are short. But get this, after I was wearing it i could swear the right sleeve was shorter than the left. Guess what? It's about a half inch shorter! Seriously? Ok, now for performance.
I have used this shell enough to write about it. My longest trip was to Ecuador for some volcano climbing. We had some bad weather so I wound up using it quite a bit, from acclimitization hikes in the rain to some bad weather, wet snow and high winds on the bigger mountains. Here are some of what I found:
1) Zipper is crazy tough to work. I noticed the curvature of the neck contributes to the problem. Once fully zipped up and you are trying to unzip it, lift your chin up toward the sky, hold the shell with one hand under your chin and unzip with the other. This sort of straightens the neck line and it unzips easier.
2) The fabric seems to pull some moisture from your body, but it traps it in the pockets...what I mean is I had an iPhone in the chest zipper pocket and it got soaked (was not raining but snowing). IT seems like the moisture does not fully travel through the layers? Not sure, but Goretex Proshell seems to breath more efficiently.
3) Cut is not super low and barely is below my harness. When you lift your arms over your head to place a tool or whatever, there is not too much room in the shoulders and there is quite a bit of lift.
4) Wind did not penetrate material, and it was good. I also like the material better than Proshell in terms of comfort, sound. I thought the softness of it would mean durability issues but not so. The material is pretty tough as I was hit with some big chunks of ice, rolled and there were no abrasion marks. I also threw it in my pack and was tired and threw my crampons on top and they didn't puncture or tear. I was surprised at that, so that is good.

Overall, a decent purchase but I qualify that due to the price I got it for. I would be disappointed had I paid full price. It's good overall but far from exceptional.

(0)

 

Spencer Arnold

Spencer Arnold wrote a review of on May 5, 2009

3 5

Ok, I have owned these boots for over a year now and they are, overall, a good boot. They were just not for me for two issues, which I will get to. Sizing was spot on for me (I am an 11, low to mid volume). Weight is very light, which is great. Every ounce you can get off your foot is like a pound off your back. Traction was good, but downhill breaking in mud suffered because the tread packed up. If no mud, then good breaking. Excellent lacing system. Very stiff and has remained stiff for crampons etc. But, and here it is, the E-vent lining for me did not breath well at all. I found that even in cooler temps (40's) my feet would get hot spots and would be soaked (even with liners on only). Also, the seem that runs directly down the back of the heel has caused blisters in a bad, bad way. Too bad, because I really wanted to love them...wound up buying La Sportiva's. Review to follow.

(0)

 

0 Comments