Got this bike because I killed my Rocky ETSX-70. Lasted 5.5 years which is a record for me so sold on Rocky's construction. Went with the Altitude since I've always loved 9ers and I swapped out all the Shimano SLX with SRAM X9 and XT cranks. This is my 3rd 29er but first FS. At first I thought I made a mistake. The geometry is so different I felt awkward and too far forward on the bike for the downhill and it seemed to climb slow. After riding it for a few hundred miles with friends, I realize it's not slow at all. As you would expect on a 29er, this thing gets rolling and it doesn't want to stop for any obstacle.
What really surprised me was the stability on technical switchbacks. Didn't expect that from such a massive wheel base. It also is like a M1 tank climbing lose steep stuff as it seems to climb over everything including railroad tie stairs that I've never cleared.
I miss the nimbleness of the ETSX, but this bike is growing on me. It's fairly heavy for an XC or light Trail bike but feels solid under my 6'3" 220 body. Might try racing it next month.