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Patrick Fink

Patrick Fink

Portland, OR

Patrick Fink's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Climbing
Running
Fly Fishing
Yoga

Patrick Fink's Bio

I'm a ski mountaineer, trail runner, rock/ice climber, mountain biker, adventure junkie, and beverage connoisseur based in Portland. I like moving fast and far through the mountains under human power, and I grind my gear into the ground. I share my adventures, tips, techniques, and photos on Mountainlessons.com.

Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on September 30, 2014

Light shoe for long distance
5 5

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

I've used these shoes now for >250 miles, all on trail and most recently running around Mt Hood. I disagree with the reviews here that say it fits narrowly, or that it hasn't enough padding in the heel.

For comparison, I have run through two pairs of cross-lite's, and a pair each of anacondas, wildcats, and multiple other branded shoes. Compared to other LaSportiva shoes, if you fit for length, the width is greater. I've usually had issues with the width of some of their other shoes, but the Bushido continues to fit my foot, even with swelling during the day. The durability of the shoe ha been better than any of their other models as well.

The shoe feels great while running-- it's not uber-sensitive, but what you lose in sensitivity you gain in protection (toe guard!), a bit of heel cushioning, and a great underfoot rock guard. The trail is aggressive enough for all but pure mud, but not as knoby as the xlite or anacondas. This is a bonus for running on firmer surfaces or on smoother rock. The tongue is also bonded with a nice elastic guard on each side, so the shoes fit like a sock but still breathe.

What else is there to say? They're light, and they look sexy.

(I've marked fit true to size. LaSportiva sizes vary between ALL shoes I've tried, so you should try them on in person.)

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on December 26, 2011

4 5

This is practically NOLS instructor uniform in the rockies. It's super light, and for its weight, its incredibly warm.

Compared to the standard jacket of this weight -the mountain hardwear compressor- this jacket is better cut, weighs less, looks better, and is only slightly less warm. It has great stretch cuffs and the zippers are of appropriate weight for a lightweight jacket.

It's not the most durable jacket ever, but nothing made of featherweight nylon is. it quickly frayed a little bit around the cuff and at the jawline, but it's on the whole snag resistant. Not for offwidth climbing.

Mine has seen at least 100 days in the field heavily used, and another 50 in the city, worm everywhere, and its still going strong. It's also easy to wash, and unlike down, you don't have to worry about it getting wet.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on December 7, 2010

2 5

Unlike Peter, I cut these to fit my S7s and they failed to impress. It's true: they save a few ounces for the climb, the fold and pack more easily, and in some cases they seem to have a little bit more glide. That said, those few onces saved translate into greatly decresed climbing performance on steeper tracks. They climb just fine if you're cutting mellow switchbacks to-and-fro, but if you're skinning a ridge with steeper steps then you're in for a time. I'm switching back to the normal STS skins, which have done the trick for years.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on November 14, 2010

2 5

These skis feel great under foot and ski well in a large variety of conditions. However, the inserts are not to be trusted. I had a pair of Dynafit FT12 bindings mounted on my manaslus at a dynafit-certified shop. Then, 3 months later after about 25 days of touring, I ripped the insert of out the ski. Not just the screws-- the inserts came with. And this was on moderate terrain. Had this happened 10 minutes earlier, I might not be writing this. Dynafit offered me a full refund, but no explanation. Having talked to friends at a couple ski shops, this isn't an isolated problem, but is a recurring one with this ski. I can't recommend this ski to anyone who needs a no-fail system.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on January 17, 2010

4 5

I have the non-stainless contact strap from last season, and I've used it extensively in the cascades, both with Scarpa Freney mountaineering boots and with my Dynafit ZZeus ski boots. I have been very happy with them when I've used them as designed. For hard snow and glacier travel, they're great. the lacing is solid, though the strap is too long (this looks like its been fixed on the new model), and the toe/heel bales sit comfortably and securely on both boots. The steel is durable, and easily tolerates walking on rock and gravel as well as hard ice. The toe points are a good length for glacier travel, not so long that they catch while walking but just long enough to front-point when needed. The antibot plates work really well, even in gloppy summer snow. I've never bothered to remove them.

For pure ice-climbing, these crampons aren't so great. They have horizontal rather than vertical front points, and they're not quite long enough to feel really secure. Though they work well enough for ~WI3, you'll be happier with something more ice-driven.

All in all though, as an all-around crampon, they're a workhorse that I expect to last quite a while, and I'm very satisfied.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on January 17, 2010

4 5

This is a great tool. I used these (usually use CF Black Prophets w/leashes) on moderate water I and I was very pleased. The curve in the shaft makes sinking tools a breeze, they just fly right in. If there's a downside to the tools, it's that the pick is so easy to place it can be easy to over-sink them and make them difficult to remove. Once you learn to deal with that though, it means less energy spent all around.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on January 17, 2010

5 5

I've been using this binding for 3 months now, and I love it. I graduated away from Fritschi Diamir freerides, which I used extensively over the summer on the cascade volcanoes, and it has been a dream getting to know the FT12. Though i was initially concerned that a tech binding wouldn't hold up to how hard I wanted to ski, I haven't had one problem with the FT12 in 21k' of backcountry skiing on everything from powder to breakable crust. I've even had this in the resort for several days of hard skiing on ice, bumps, drops, etc, and it hasn't pre-released or caused me any problems.

Switching between heel-post settings and from tour to ski modes is very easy once you become familiar with manipulating the heel post. I have brakes on my bindings, which I think is a mistake, as it hinders the ability to switch from ski to tour without stepping out of the binding. That said, making the switch is very easy and quick once you're used to it.

As to releaseability, this binding has performed perfectly, releasing only once when my leg found a buried tree, likely saving my knee. The only word of caution that I offer is to make sure to lock the toe lever when switching to touring, because if you forget to do so it will release more easily than you'd think-- a problem on steep or prone terrain.

All said, this is an excellent binding, and I look forward to using it for years. I would certainly make this choice again.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on September 20, 2009

5 5

I've put about 150 miles on these puppies since they arrived a month and a half ago, on everything from blacktop (so-so) to super-gnarly all-fours terrain (great) and I have to say that these are the best rail runners I've ever had. They breathe well, a very stable on chunky terrain, and they grip the slippery stuff like a boss. Like any non-gortex shoe, when the trail turns into a river, these get wet, but all told they perform well when soaked. The only downside that I've seen is that they don't shed mud really well, but that's the tradeoff for having such a nice knobby sole to negotiate rocky terrain. I'm sold.

you can see a longer review here: http://sittingstone.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/gear-review-la-sportiva-wildcat/

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on September 14, 2009

5 5

It's hard to beat a classic, and this is no exception. Descriptions of lines and the rating system are great, as is the huge selection. My only beef is that the description of the approaches is a little lacking, but I think andrew apologetically addresses this in the into.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on June 28, 2009

4 5

I've taken a few trips in my Zzeus now, and I'm really happy with how they've performed. They were surprisingly comfortable on a 4 mile hike in, and once I was on snow, they articulate amazingly and give you a pretty free stride. They fit a BD Contact strap crampon like they were made for each other, and with a little bit of practice, kicking steps in high angle snow is pretty secure. My only two gripes are minor, first, I'm going to have to adjust the forward tilt in the downhill setting, as the default setting is too upright and doesn't give me enough forward lean. The second is that after about 6 hours in the boots, I start to feel constriction in the toe box. I have some small bunyons, so these are likely the culprits, and I think punching them out will solve the problem. Otherwise, these are a great boot, and they let me drive a pair of borrowed BD Ethic's (terrible ski btw) through hard ice, breakable crust, and deep slush.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on June 3, 2009

3 5

This is an alright leash, but all told, its a bit of a fussy solution to a simple problem. I found the leash to be a little tricky to operate with mittens on, and the cinch sometime resists being released. My solution was just to sacrifice some security and not cinch it down, otherwise hand-changes take too much time. A bungee would work just as well, and I've also seen this clipped to the harness instead of the hand, avoiding the switch problem altogether.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on June 3, 2009

5 5

A solid 10-point. I use these for ski-mountaineering in the cascades, as well as general alpine climbing. If you're going vertical you'll likely want something a little beefier, but nothing beats the security of the strap on crampon for glacier and snow travel (I've used these up to about 55 degrees with no trouble). I also found that these fit perfectly on my Dynafit Zzeus, and they also fit nicely inside the BD Crampon bag.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on June 3, 2009

4 5

I couldn't agree less with those who say that the bag is too small, or that the mesh is a problem. The bag fits my BD contact strap crampons perfectly, and pretty easily every time. It's also easy to orient your poons in the bag so that the spikes point away from the mesh, which lets them dry and not rust. Furthermore, it laces nicely onto the crampon patch on my BD speed pack, and its cheeeap. You can't ask tooo much from a $15 bag.

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Patrick Fink

Patrick Finkwrote a review of on June 3, 2009

4 5

This is a solid axe for trekking and for some reasonable mountaineering as well. It's sturdy as all get out, and though I've never had to use the grip in a self-arrest situation, it is pretty nice if you have to start swinging the axe, as is the leash. They both save some juice on those long pitches of rime. That said, as a tool rather than an axe, it leaves something to be desired, but for most cascade routes, combining one of these with a BD Venom hammer will do you right. The only real downside is that its a few ounces heavier than some other axes, and while it's not that much alone, these things do add up.

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