paulba

paulba

I spend most of my time in the Presidential Range and the rest of the White Mountains.

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Paul's Passions

Alpine Touring
Nordic Skiing
Backpacking
Mountain Biking
Snowshoeing
Ice Climbing
Mountaineering
Sport Climbing
Bouldering

Paul's Bio

I love being outdoors, and more specifically, in the wilderness.

paulba

paulba wrote a question about on October 4, 2011

I'm looking for the best harness for ice climbing and mountaineering. I'd like something that accepts ice clippers in between the gear loops, is easy to put on / take off, and is easy to walk in. This seems to fit the bill, but does anyone think another harness may be better for waterfall and alpine climbing?
Thanks! -Paul

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paulba

paulba wrote a review of on June 15, 2009

5 5

This set marks the first pieces of pro I've owned and lead climbed with (now have full rack). Boy do these have their place on the rack. For their weight, they are easily the best pro. On most trad climbs I use about an equal number of nuts and cams.

Nothing inspires as much confidence as a well-placed nut. They stay put while cams walk. When placed well you should have no question that it will hold a fall and not pop out of the rock because of rope drag.

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paulba

paulba wrote a review of on May 7, 2009

5 5

This pack is the shit!! Wow, where do I begin? There are so many good things to say about it. It is clear that this thing is extremely well thought out. The pack's name, "Variant", is quite apt, as it is very capable of a wide variety of excursions.

The ice tool holders are awesome - they keep the pick of your tool or axe mostly covered and secured tightly against the pack so there's no wobbling around, as is typical in almost every other pack. It has nice low profile gear loops on both hipbelts for racking ice screws, quickdraws, or whatever else. The crampon pocket works nicely for this purpose, and I'm sure most people will find it very useful for things other than crampons, such as hat and gloves. For me, the lid size is just right and not too big (I only use the lid for small items and hate when they're all giggling around). It carries skis securely in an A-frame (I have tested this). The waist belt can be either be removed entirely, or tucked around the opposite side and clipped together for when you're climbing and don't want it in your way. It has three-point haul loops. Lastly, I have never seen a pack that is overall so glove-friendly. You can easily adjust literally everything with gloved hands, including the ice tool clips and bungies.

It is also extremely comfortable, and fits soo nicely when you dial in the straps, provided you loaded it properly (with the heavy stuff against the backpanel in the middle-upper area). The weight goes where it belongs on the hips, and it is the most stable carry I've ever felt.

There are small pockets on the bottom/sides for poles or wands, but if you're someone who insists on side water bottle pockets, look elsewhere. But anyone looking for a hardcore climbing pack knows you can't put water bottles on the outside, as that ruins the skinny, streamlined profile which makes it so great for climbing. I'm not quite sure what the point of the spindrift collar is...I've never had snow get into my pack in blowing snow conditions. But you probably wouldn't even notice the thing tucked in if you weren't looking for it.

The bag seems like its volume can definitely expand beyond 37L -- maybe to 42L or so -- because of the floating lid, which I love. I can fit all I need for an overnighter nicely, including a two-person tent.

On top of all of this awesomeness, it still weights only 3.5 lbs! Oh, and if you want to go lighter for the summit push, you can strip it down to a feathery 2 lbs, almost half of the already light weight! How did they do it?

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paulba

paulba wrote an answer about on March 30, 2009

I believe the main difference is the cut of the collar area and connection to the hood. The Alpha SL, when zipped up fully, should cover a larger portion of your lower face. This makes it better suited for use in an alpine climate/harsher weather. The Beta SL on the other hand has a collar which is perhaps more flattering, if tamed-down, whilst kickin' it around town.

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paulba

paulba wrote an answer about on February 3, 2009

Jeff Gerhard: This pack has enough room for a ultralight sleeping bag & tent but not much room for anything else @ the same time. You could probably pull it off in the summer months when your clothes bag is much smaller. paulba: I agree with Jeff. I have used it for several overnight backpacking trips, but only in the summer, and when packing pretty light. I brought a 2 person tent a +45 degree synthetic bag (pretty small), 2L water, hose, clothes, MSR pocket rocket stove+fuel, food. It is a tight fit, but def can be done.

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paulba

paulba wrote an answer about on January 8, 2009

Get at least large, if not XL. i have size the large (my foot is size 9.5) and it fits my backpacking boots perfectly but its a pretty snug fit on my plastic Scarpa mountaineering boots. It works, but I sort of wish i had the XL since the fit would definitely be better.Alternatively you can go with the expedition version of the Crocodile gaiters. Those are designed for use with plastic boots, so are much bigger. I don't own a pair, but for those i would guess medium would work well (thinking about getting a pair of these for my plastics).

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paulba

paulba wrote a review of on December 15, 2008

5 5

This cookset is awesome -- it packs quite small, is impossibly lightweight, and has an awesome built-in handle. I love the way it doubles as a mug, and it also comes with a lid so water and snow boils faster.

Lastly, and here's the kicker: my entire stove (MSR Pocket Rocket), including fuel canister, fit inside the included sack! The stove, inside its own plastic case, fit in the pot with the lid on top, and the fuel easily fits in the extra room in the sack. Great buy.

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