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Alan Klackner

Alan Klackner

Los Angeles

Alan Klackner's Passions

Snowboarding
Climbing
Biking
Hiking & Camping

Alan Klackner's Bio

Father, Husband, Climber, Cyclist, Boarder, Opinionated Idiot. :D

Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on August 25, 2015

Probably best for larger/stiff footwear
3 5

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

I picked these up specifically for fast and light alpine climbs where I'd be wearing approach shoes and trail pants without internal gaiters. My intent was to prevent scree and snow from entering my shoes minimizing time required to stop empty/adjust shoes.

I wore these with the La Sportiva Ganda Guide, in hindsight this just isn't the best combination. It may partly be due to the sizing of the combination. I tested with 44.5 shoes and L\XL gaiters. When I test fit the Endurance gaiters I was excited that the instep strap seemed very durable but easy to adjust. Closures also seemed
durable and not overly complex. One issue I did note even while test fitting the Ganda\Endurance combination was the instep buckle sat very close to the ground. Additionally the toe hooks seem to mate to the shoes poorly, possibly due to the asymmetric lacing path of the Ganda that curves toward the big toe of each shoe.

During my first climb using this combination I found the gaiters easy and quick to get in place which is pretty huge since early morning fights with stiff clumsy gaiters just start the day wrong. Pretty quickly I noticed the toe hooks wouldn't seem to stay in place and I ended up adjusting multiple times throughout the day, though the gaiters did largely keep scree from entering my shoes I doubt they'd be successful in snow if I can't find a way to keep the toe hooks down.

Partly I think the issue with the toe hooks is the attachment to the gaiter. Each hook is riveted to what appears to be a firm plastic card allowing the hooks to pivot individually, which should help adjust to optimal angle, however, the card itself seems to only be attached to the leading edge of the gaiter (likely to minimize seams) this allows the card itself to angle away from the body of the gaiter and the hooks may rotate far enough to pop off the laces in my case. It may help keep the hooks engaged if the card were either bonded entirely to the gaiter body or the hooks were in some other way directly attached to the leading edge of the gaiter.

The gaiters have been pretty durable. Even with lots of scrambling on rough talus and grinding on scree there were no rips, tears, or even identifiable wearing. The instep strap buckles did scrape frequently due to the location near the bottom of the shoe's sole but held up without issue. I did notice some cracking in the hook and loop material, this is more of a thin plastic vs. traditional Velcro, but I haven't noticed any affect on function or ability to hold closure tabs in place.

Aside from the toe hooks not working well with the Ganda Guide my only other real complaint with the Endurance gaiters is also probably more of an issue with the Ganda Guide shoes. Where the instep strap attaches to the gaiter upper and contacts the shoe upper I ended up with tears on both shoes. This again is more of an issue of the material used for the uppers of the Ganda Guide in that location which pretty unacceptable for a shoe touting durability and use for climbing. Though with new footwear pushing the bounds of materials used for footwear it seems gaiters that might be targeting use with lighter footwear should be careful of potential wearing on contact points.

Overall I'll hold on to the L\XL pair for use with my summer boots and might test fit a S/M pair approach shoes, to see if they mate better, as I ultimately like the design and durability just not the combination with the Sportiva Ganda Guide shoes so far.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on August 15, 2015

So light!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I bought this line for a Thunderbolt - Mt Sill traverse. It served fantastically for alpine climbing. Keeping the weight to a minimum but providing the security of a single rated line!

While stiff at first it quickly became supple in the hand.

Regardless of any concerns of durability the rope handled plenty of terrain belays on rough Sierra granite without issue.

Two full length single strand (+ 6mm tag line) raps into the U-Notch were managed with ATCs in high friction mode but nothing more was required even with loaded packs.

If this rope is in your budget and you're confident with ultra skinny lines this one will make all your partners and pack happy!

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerposted an image about on August 7, 2015

Just received

I just received this in 60m last week (@Bill Porreca thanks for the special order!). Will be using it for a Thunderbolt - Mt. Sill traverse where there is enough technical climbing to want a dynamic rope and opportunity to maximize speed via a couple longer repels but all can be bypassed.

The ratings. listed on BC.com are the official UIAA ratings. The photo I've shared here has the complete rope information direct from Beal including the numbers they feel the rope is capable of, though UIAA ratings are probably better for comparison as they are generated from standardized tests.

The Beal site also includes the following warning:
Used as single rope, this is not a rope to put in all hands, or in all belaying devices: Its thinness makes it a rope which absolutely demands an expert belayer. In effect, traditional belay devices will offer reduced braking, and some automatic belay devices may not work at all.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerposted an image about on August 4, 2015

Be safe! Don't use in a confined space.

*Please don't even try this at home.
I set this up in my backyard for rough testing purposes when I was tempted after a very cold winter trip and finding designs for this hang kit online. I realize this was not scientific or comprehensive but for me yielded sufficient results to warn me from considering such use.

(photo taken before starting test)
Note the carbon monoxide detector hung in top left just above head level when sitting up. I boiled about a liter and a half of water in the 2 liter pot. Ambient temps were ~75F, little air movement but all vents were full open including both doors on the EV3. I reached a full rolling boil in about 4 min.

CO levels spiked while starting the stove. These came down a bit once running full but remained highly unsafe. The level was enough to trigger a headache within the short time I was inside to manage the stove and monitor displayed levels on the CO detector. Despite little air movement CO levels did drop rapidly once stove was shut off.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on July 30, 2015

Classy shoe that fits like a slipper
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: 10

The Foreword:
Sincere thanks to Backcountry and Astral for the opportunity to review the Astral Loyak and share with the Backcountry.com community.

The Cliff notes
Impressively versatile shoes, highly recommended.
Great as classy beach/deck shoes/laid back summer wear around town
Performed well beyond reasonable expectations on rough terrain.
Fantastic grip
Easily handled 3rd class scrambling at Joshua Tree NP between technical climbs
Kept irritating sand out of shoes for comfortable feet all day long
Not for someone who needs/wants stiff supportive soles

The whole hog
Fit, Styling, and Quality:
Classic colors and subtle design makes for a classy casual style easily at home on a weekend cruise aboard the Father-in-law's yacht or just a summer night out.
The overall fit is on the large size. I'm a 10.5 US typically, I requested size 10 and these fit very well/wraps foot well with plenty of room to avoid feeling like a sock. I might even be tempted to try a size down if I had slightly smaller feet, of course, this depends on the intended purpose and fit you're looking for.
Well manufactured with quality materials and attention. No excess glue, loose stitching, or other glaring manufacturing issues you'll see on shoes that are just slapped together.
Color differs slightly from BC photo some, more navy and rich tan for a real classic look.

Insole:
Coated foam with 1/2 in. circle pattern on surface (to provide texture?)
Very well cushioned and comfortable
The insoles did stick to bottom of foot during first wearing but hasn't been an issue since. I think this was just a slight wear-in issue and never affected use only the first time I test fit them
The insoles are removable so can be replaced or swapped, if desired
No drains direct through sole, toe box and heel drains seem to be the lowest drain points. This may cause some water to be retained around the insole. Allows for even foot bed and prevents uneven pressure that can be an issue with water shoes
Neutral/flat shape is comfortable and should work well for most people.

Outsole:
Very good grip
Rubber guard in front provides good protection against stubbed toes
Very flexible but little support
Has the feel of a slipper: soft, compliant, and wraps around surfaces for extra contact and improved grip
Astral Aquanaut might be an alternative for those in need of additional support and aren't looking for the sleek/classic styling of the Loyak.
The Loyak isn't really well suited to carrying a heavy pack for extended periods or for someone otherwise requiring stiff/rigid foot support. The compliant nature of the sole/shoe provides great flexibility, improves grip, and is even very well cushioned but intentionally doesn't resist or support against uneven surfaces.
Drains located at heel and toe just above the insole with filters prevent sand from entering and water from being locked inside.
Total width of shoes might be wider than desired for some but not clownishly wide in my opinion - makes for a comfortable fit and stable feel

Uppers:
Comfortable on foot/soft on skin from day 1
If you're one of the accident prone there's not much structure or padding in uppers to protect feet against stray objects that may shift/fall on toes. It's a trade-off for the light weight, ventilation, and drainage.
Top of shoe has mesh venting nice for cooling and to aid with drainage but I question durability of the mesh if in contact with rough rock or snagged on other hazards
Tongue is elastic mesh so functions like a slip-on but also has the laces allowing adjustment of the fit some
Balanced cup to Heel - nice feature to prevent excessive heel movement, adds resistance to peeling off in moving water or mud to a degree
Generous loops at heel and tongue to help pull them on/off, also makes hanging them to dry very easy

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 22, 2015

Mixed feelings
3 5

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

I picked up the 200' length to start doing some local canyons with friends.

This rope handles well from day one. Some ropes will feel very stiff, especially when brand new and can be difficult to tie/tighten/dress properly. This rope took and held a clove hitch tightly without any fight.

The bright color, as many have noted, really stands out in photos but also shows dirt readily.

Smooth/fast on rappels, actually a bit faster than I expected @ 9.6mm compared to other ropes I've used in the 9mm range. Be prepared to add some additional friction.

Perhaps best marketed for dry canyons.

Dry treatment didn't seem to work very well, at least on the rope I received. Looking at the Everdry designation it appears to be a sheath only treatment. In practice the rope held a surprising amount of water and would ring out like a sponge on every rap after it got into some water.

44% sheath mass keeps weight down but will likely be less durable over time compared with heavier options with over 50% sheath mass.

Edelweiss lists materials used as Polyamide\Polyester. It makes sense that this means they are using a polyester sheath with nylon(polyamide) core. Nylon stretches more and is slightly stronger than polyester so this makes sense in a dynamic rope. However, Polyester absorbs less water, retains its strength better when wet, stretches less, and is more abrasion and UV resistant. I've seen at least Imlay and BlueWater, but likely other manufacturers offer canyon specific ropes with polyester core and sheath improving suitability to wet canyons.

This rope should serve my needs for now but in the future I'll look into a lines with polyester sheath and core.

Photo: My wife navigating one of the raps in Little Santa Anita Canyon.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 12, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 185 lbs

After finding the Paramount Convertible years ago I'm hooked. I now have at least 3 pair.

I love smart flexible layers, these are exactly that.

Biggest standout is the slightly heavier weight material , feels much more durable and provides a touch more warmth on a cold morning.
Fantastic that they come in length options

Otherwise all the benefits of other convertibles, full coverage for sun, wind, or in cooler temps, open the knees a bit for some ventilation as things warm up, or strip them off and use them as running shorts that actually have a place for your keys, phone, and wallet without feeling constricting.

Due to heavier weight fabric they may take a little longer to dry but are also warmer when damp/wet than more standard lightweight nylon.

No stretch so I like to size with a bit of room, internal belt takes care of the rest but still maybe not ideal for something acrobatic like bouldering.

Cloth belt has low profile and goes all the way around (not just sewn at sides) but can get twisted inside the channel and is a pain to get untwisted then. Plastic buckle a bit larger profile than needed and might contact a backpack buckle but haven't had one fail.

I've also had to repair some seams that have failed due to abuse, nothing a needle and thread can't take care of pretty quickly. I've only damaged the actually material on a pair of these once (dropped the legs but let them sit at ankles not realizing they had slid below the heel so got the business side of my boot for miles, patched that up too :D )

A bit less around the town friendly/clearly outdoor design

NF has tried several pocket designs over the years so make sure to check out the model you're getting to make sure they are what you want, some years I've liked, others not as much. (NF if you're listening I prefer jean style[more horizontal] hand pockets not ones that open on the seam [more vertical] that make it awkward to get into :D)

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 12, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: 44.5

Getting older comes with some interesting changes, widening feet being one of them.

Recently picked up a pair of these since I noticed the toe box in my trangos started to bang/rub at the pinky toes a bit this year.

These have the extra width in the toe box I was looking for and I'm honestly not sure who made these first but seem to be the Trango S EVO in most other aspects.

I've only had them out a few times, perform as expected and experienced with the several pairs of trangos I've owned and worn out.

I did notice the lacing hooks were crimped very tightly initially and led to some issues when lacing (sitting at ground level 1/2 in tent with shell pants, so lacing where you can't see them), just hard to catch and seat the lace well. Opening them up with a flat screw driver just a touch resolved (careful not to open too much or they could catch brush/etc. hiking.

Take semi-auto/hybrid crampons fine.

From experience with others, be careful with the synthetic leather lacing loops, I've ripped one (stitching actually was what failed, I think) on an old pair of boots, really cranking down.

Yet another piece of gear has us all looking harlequin. I actually really like a touch of bright color but when every piece of clothing seems to come in different colors and then change schemes with each year model its getting to be a bit much.

If you're new to this boot style, things you'll want to be aware of:
-No insulation means this isn't ideal for long days in snow (though for some this will work fine, and there are ways to extend, like super gaiters and/or vbl liner socks).
-These are pretty stiff (don't expect to roll through your foot) but will break/wear in over time. This means crampons will be great at first and hiking miles will be tough, at some point you'll notice they flex more then they probably should for serious crampon use but hike much better.
-Super lightweight if you're used to leather boots.
-Mulaz outsole can get a bit slick on polished wet granite but really if its wet and smooth who's surprised you have to pay closer attention to foot placement?
-Some will say they're great at nothing trying to be right for everything. I say if you're used to flexing at the ankle (welcome to mountaineering), don't expect/want a lot of soft cushion (leads to fatigue anyway), and accept they aren't going to last forever (want forever durability buy plastic boots, but you better be strong) you'll like them, I do.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 10, 2015

Perfect for 2 man mountaineering trips
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The tent is fantastic for mountaineering trips where you want to cover ground and push yourself. If you want to setup, spreadout and dig in grab a MH Trango.

Light weight!!! At 2.5lbs the only thing significantly lighter would be an emergency blanket.
The least condensation of any 4 season tent I've used single or double wall. Even in temps barely below freezing we both stayed completely dry, vents were kept open but not wide.
Its tight but not too small, it fits my parner (6'+) and I (5'10") on xtherms (one wide, one regular) We keep packs, boots, and most everything but water, small essentials, and some snacks outside.
Slider guy line quick adjusters worked well, then again so do many knots which could then be rigged as needed but would require a bit of thought.
Watch the direction of pull when you guy it out if you try to pass thought the center from the pole guy point it will create slack sides (pulling the poles toward the center)

I have the model that uses toggles to secure the poles in place, these can be tough with cold/numb fingers and I understand that's improved on the 2015 model.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 10, 2015

Sweet mountaineering bliss
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Very light!
Switching from an old 85L helped drop my winter pack weight from 85lbs to 50lbs.
Carries 50 lb load comfortably.
Impressive freedom of movement.
Hip belt pivots from central attachment (standard shoulder straps).
Great size has held everything I've needed for 3-4 days.
Seems like it will be durable.
Easier to secure and access equipment than my partner's pack due to strap system.

Disappointed that the lid is fixed on shoulder strap side, prevents full expansion.
No removable bivy pad.
I have no idea what the nylon loops on the shoulder straps are, maybe for racking gear, but since they aren't rigid would be very clumsy.
Gear racking loops on the shoulder straps like on their Triolet 30L would be great.
Waist pads seemed short/barely reached my hip crest but waist strap would have fit someone nearly 2x my size. Has still carried the load comfortably though. Same experience with Triolet 30L so not an MBS issue.
Depending on length of piolet/tools I had to be extra careful setting the pack down or sitting with it on as the point could extend beyond the bottom of the pack.
To get max utility from the strap system you have to really think through how to set everything up and experiment.
Would be nice if the green highlights were yellow so they look better with other gear including my K Pro Gore shell from them.

Photo is of me with pack compressed down on a summit day.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 10, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

When I play I sweat, just the way it is. Big soppy mess that's me.

Fleece jackets would frequently get too warm, are heavier, don't compress much, and are frequently too absorbent. Best planned as a mid-layer due to complete lack of wind resistance, but this means you're wearing a shell too so not great to depend on for active wear.

Shell jackets become a sauna when on the go. Save them for the coldest/most insistent wind or rain, their hoods will also seal you off from the rest of the world.

Softshell jackets seem to combine the the best and the worst of shell and fleece jackets with less flexible utility than separate pieces. You'll likely still want to carry a waterproof shell and maybe a lighter sweater when you need a touch of warmth working hard, all increasing overall pack size/weight.

Down jackets lose all functionality when they get wet and most have no resistance to moisture from inside even if they do have dwr treatment outside. Save them for sitting around when you have kitchen duty or otherwise can't move around to keep warm.

The Atom is my perfect go everywhere layer.
Great balance of wind resistance where I want it but highly breathable where the heat gets dumped.
Synthetic insulation is warm, remains warm when wet, and dries quickly.
Water resistant (treated) exterior panels will shed a light shower.
Functional hood that is less "crunchy" around the ears so you might actually be able to hear your partner when its up.
Crazy light.
Packs to roughly the volume of a 1L nalgene, but frequently better not to compress it down and just stuff it around in top of pack then it takes up near zero space, is readily accessible, and can help keep gear dry.
Small and tough enough to stuff in your avy shovel pocket or just under a pack strap and not worry about it until you want it again.
On top of perfect functionality, this piece has worn fantastically. After a year and a half of rock climbs, mountaineering trips, hikes, backpacks, morning warms ups, and cruising around town the only difference I can identify is a bit of that synthetic funk and even that's not really noticeable after a good wash with oxy clean.

A baselayer (selected based on conditions) + the atom + 3L gore shell is my go to system for everything (summer overnight desert trips to spring backpacking to winter mountaineering) below 0F I add my Marmot Ama Dablam (as a mid) for hours running the stove. So far what this system doesn't handle whiskey makes unimportant :).

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 4, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Push (with thumb or index) or pull (with thumb and middle finger) the wire gate open, clip through inner gate, that's it you're clipped, locked, and secure.

No real directional (r/l facing or x-over) limitations, that I've noticed, on single handed clipping, the techniques do have to be modified some due to requirement to open outer gate.

When oriented upside down(rope side of draw) an open outer gate will guide the rope, sling, etc. into the biner.

If the outer gate is released before a rope, sling, etc. is fully clipped through the inner gate, into the biner, the outer gate will hold rope in position. At this point a slight tug will drop the rope all the way through the inner gate.

To unclip, don't get distracted by the outer gate, just open inner gate like any standard non-locking biner (an extra shake or firm flick will ensure you're clear of the outer gate)

Easy to catch/work the gates with even heavy gloved hands, making these ideal for mountaineering teams. (this is less true on the largest Mega, dual solid gates. The Lamda seemed like an all round better belay biner in comparison)

An option for enhanced security at pro even for 3+ person rope team, allowing a bight to be clipped through the gates quickly and single handed (as each climber passes each piece) without stopping to unscrew or release a complex locking mechanism.

This is true of most climbing gear but I wouldn't recommend using them with a partner who hasn't used these before the climb. Think about about the first time you clipped a twist locker. The first few times it just takes a moment longer to work it out. Its so much better to spend that moment on the ground before the climb than while breaking down an anchor when everyone's ready for you to get going.

Innovative and well thought out product so it is hard to complain about price given cost of great engineering and benefit of added safety but.... really its basically a Petzl Spirit with an additional wire gate. An extra $5 per biner (50% increase) seem a bit steep to anyone else?

Compared to other lockers the price isn't really out of range but if Grivel could get this close enough in the price range of non-lockers I think it would receive and deserve overwhelming adoption.

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Alan Klackner

Alan Klacknerwrote a review of on June 1, 2015

When your run is trail..."optional"
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 185 lbs
Size Purchased: 10.5

Most comfortable running shoe I've ever tried.

I tend to have very moist feet so have fought blistering on arch and toes in other runners, which really kept me from getting into running until now. With these I feel like my running is no longer limited by my feet and can push as long or hard as my cardio will allow. The padding on these is on the firmer side of what I'd tried in the past and has really limited rubbing with each strike.

Typically more of a hiker. I now do a 3 mi. out and back mixed (packed dirt to full volcanic rock) trail run with some pretty steep sections 1-2 times a week at this point (~10min pace run average) with an occasional ~5 mi. street run near my house on the weekend.
Stable with great traction on all terrain I've encountered (can't speak to snow or ice in these but imagine they would do well and handle microspikes better than a standard runner)

Right balance of cushioning to support for me

Flexes well like a runner needs to but provides great protection too

Has performed well on concrete, asphalt, dirt track, grass, mixed trails. I generally try to keep the out of deeper (anything deep enough to come up the sides) mud just because I hate cleaning all the knobby tread which holds a lot of mud.

These have been great specifically for the trail I run which can be very rocky, loose, and steep in sections. The shoes have a large platform for stability and has kept me on my feet even running by headlamp and feel before sunrise. The soles provide great protection against rocks (both toe and under foot)while still flexing naturally with my gait and strike. The sole feels neutral throughout contact without excessive arch cushioning.

After about 50 mi on them the insoles seems to have lost some additional cushion from new and I may look to see if NF sells a direct replacement insole. This pre-mature wear isn't all that uncommon for me though, given my weight (~185lbs), I have to replace my road bike tires pretty frequently as well due to wear from the same. If not available I'll look into a trim to fit replacement insole.

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