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pell

pell

Yosemite, Tahoe, Needles, Alta, Snowbird

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pell

pellwrote a review of on August 28, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

CAMP Nano 22 is a solid fix of Nano 23 design flaws. With the only exception - size. I would call it an adequate price for a job. Nano 22 is a lot of binner for a little weight and bulk.

I like Nano 22 as much as I dislike Nano 23. All major flaws (too wide wiregate catching everything on a harness loop, unhooded gate opening by itself, etc) are fixed.

Nano 22 is a good ultralight binner. Both - ultralight and good - are equally important. You know what you pay for - ultralight binner is ultralight, it wouldn't be comfortable, it wouldn't be full-size, etc.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on August 24, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It is light, it is comfortable.

I use it for big walls and trad multi pitches with short approaches. Several times I have used it for sport climbing on long road trips and even for indoors plastic pulling.

Two additional reinforced daisy chain loops is a cool feature. Although do not hang on those loops for more then several seconds - asymmetrical hangs are awkward.

Buckles are smooth. Although two waist buckles are a bit overdesign, personally I prefer DMM floating waist belt design. Also there is a small issue with a bit too bulky straps which are going in the way when waist buckles are tighten more then half way, I'm solving it by wrapping 'em around harness's waist belt.

Small size is not really small. There should be an XS size (the common men harnesses design flaw).

You really can use only 4 gear loops for racking gear on lead. Not a big deal - 4 is enough, two back loops are for wind membrane, anchor material, water bottle, snacks, belay device, etc.

I found anti cross loading belay loop to be an overdesign. Most likely because I use anti cross loading Edelrid belay locker.

The small extra "hauling" loop is a great addition. I found it very usefull to hang small light compact things (like snack bag).

Pros:
+ Light.
+ Breathable.
+ Comfortable even on long hanging belays.
+ Smooth buckles.
+ Easy to convert to swami belt.
+ 4 convenient gear loops.
+ Low bulk for that comfortable harness.

Neutral:
* Two reinforced daisy chain loops.
* Two waist buckles.
* Anti cross-loading belay loop.

Cons:
- Two gear loops are virtually inaccessible when leading.
- Small size is a bit too large (I'm 5'9" 130lbs).
- White straps become dirty too fast.

Have never tried it for winter/ice/mix climbing. There is not that much snow and ice in California last two years.

Bottom line. My sincere recommendation for big walls and long trad MP with awkward belays.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on August 17, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Mega Jul is very smooth when lead belaying, when lowering down, when belaying your follower(s) from an anchor. Especially when belaying your follower(s).

I like it is made of steel, thus I expect it won't be grooved in less then 2 years which is the case with aluminium ATCs.

The only drawback is rappeling. If rappeling in "inverted" mode (yellow plastic facing to your chest) it is not possible to ascend the rope(s). When rappeling in "normal" autoblocking mode it is far from smooth - basically it is an annoying (and sometimes even dangerous) sequence of short jumps.

Bottom line. Everything but rappeling is the top notch. Rappeling with this device is a pain.

P.S. BTW, the binner in this package is really nice. Probably the least annoying and the most adequate anti-crossloading belay binner design.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on June 28, 2015

4 5

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

Spent a weekend at Lover's Leap trying to protect everything with WC Super Light Offset Rocks and reaching for cams only when #10 is too small.

First, they work. Took half a dozen or so (intentional) lead falls on them. No surprise, they hold.

Second, #5 and #6 are of slightly different shape compared to Ultralight Rocks (with a single wire cable) #5 and #6. Offset Rocks are slightly asymmetrical.

Third, in slightly flaring cracks Offset Rocks in taper orientation work much better then "normal" Rocks due to narrower profile. Everything comes for its price - placing Offset Rocks in taper orientation sometimes (in parallel sided cracks) require a bit more attention.

Fourth. They are really light. Ultralight Rocks + Super Light Offset Rock combined is a great ultralight set from seams to wide fingers (with natural doubles in the most useful sizes).

Did not find that much good "offset" placements.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on April 7, 2015

4 5

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

I have only initial impressions on this harness. Climbed about dozen routes using it and took about half a dozen falls (including two long whippers), gave some belay and caught about half a dozen falls (including one really long whipper).

First, it is really comfortable when taking falls. Even hard catches are OK. It seems that slim belt could not be comfortable, but this impression is surprisingly wrong - this harness feels very good when taking or arresting falls.

Second, it is light. It is ultralight. And it provides a good ventilation.

Buckle is easy to operate. Basically I do not like step in harness design, although for sport harness it is OK. Still don't like an idea of "alpine" step-in harness - it is almost impossible to put it on and off while wearing crampons. Not a World class problem for sure.

Front gear loops are roomy enough for half a dozen draws. It is possible to hang there 8 or even 10 QDs but it will be not that convenient. Rear gear loops are for misc items only, nobody wants to reach it for gear been pumped. There is a haul loop and this is the only good thing about it - it is tiny and hard to clip, anyway it is better to have a haul loop (even that small and inconvenient), so it is a good thing.

One definitely do not want to take a long hanging belay wearing this harness, it will turn to a painful miserable day.

Overall it is a pretty good gym and sport cragging harness. Not that sure it is really good for alpine even been that light.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on March 13, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

As far as I remeber I did not need a harness when I bought my Black Diamond Chaos harness. It was an emotional "oh gosh! It has so good reviews and 30% off today. I should try it against my cheap harness". Everybody knows this hook and still some of us are sometimes caught by this trick.

My initial impression on this harness was positive: low profile, light, comfortable, big and convenient gear loops, strong haul loop. Anyway there were something we call "a spoon of tar in a honey jar" in Russia - step-in design and speed buckle.

Speed buckle is something to fry a webbing (mine was worn off in about year and half). It is just bad - uncomfortable, hard to adjust, sometimes it sticks in the middle. Bad.

A few words about step-in design. First, it is unsafe. Sometimes you need to put your harness on without moving your feet. Clearly impossible with step-in harnesses. OK, they are not for alpine, so this argument is not valid. Not a problem, I have another stronger argument - I feel like I am putting on underpants over my pants every time I put on a harness of this kind, a ridiculously foolish feeling.

Also there are some other issues with this harness:
* The Small size is not that small. There should be at least half size smaller harness.
* It is very assymetric after tightening the buckle to the end position.
* Gear loops attachment points break easily.

In short. Pros:
+ Little bulk.
+ Comfy gear loops.
+ Strong haul loop.

Cons:
- Not durable.
- Speed buckle.
- Step-in desing.
- Gear loops break esily.
- No small size.

I can recommend it only to those who:
1. Have at least 32" in theirs waist.
2. Can afford a new harness every year (stop here! This is a waste! Please, do not trash my planet!)

Bottom line. Look for something better.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on October 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Finally we have bar that is:
1. Does not melt.
2. Of the right size.
3. Tasty.
4. Not too sweet (a bit sweet at my taste, but I do not eat sugary stuff except of hard days, so my taste is somewhat shifted).
5. Helps hydration.

On a long climb I typically eat one apple (I typically carry 0 to 3 small apples in my pack) or one Chia Bar and drink a couple or so sips of water on each belay. That's the way to stay energized and hydrated all the way up.

Bottom line: the best bar I've ever tried.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on August 7, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

It was a curiousity is pushed me to get a DMM Ultra O Anti-Vibe binner. I was really wondering what is it and what is it for.

The first question has a pretty short answer - Anti-Vibe is just a screw-lock which gets more and more tight while being screwed on. One really needs to apply some force to make the last twist. Good news - there are some force needed to unscrew it. Thus Anti-Vibe lock most likely won't unlock due to binner movements back and forth along rock. The last is the answer for the second question - it is for an extra peace of mind when rigging an anchor.

Personally I found it to be a perfect top rope carabiner for cragging days, the best top piece carabiner for TR solo setup, the best micro traxion binner for pigs hauling.

I own one Ultra O Anti-Vibe and about to get the second for anchors power point.

I don't like it as belay binner for my Cinch - it takes a while to put it on and off and I found it to be a bit frustrating.

Bottom line. Highly recommended for anchors and hauling.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on June 2, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Do you remember your dream project? Good but not excessive protection along the gorgeous looking line. Just right amount of steepness and hardness. And fun. Lots of fun. You had been training really hard. You had been dreaming this line for months. And finally you got there... WHAT THE [censored]?!?!?! Chalk line. Hidden holds? No way - this is the chalk line. Every and any hold is chalked. Really they are over chalked. You can see every move from the quarter mile distance - this is the chalk line. You barely need to carry your chalk bag - at any rest spot you can dig enough chalk to chalk up your fingers, and your palms, and even your butts if you by any chance need it. Do you remember it?

What to do? Begin with yourself. Stop using chalk that marks rocks. Get Metolius Eco Ball. Convert to non-marking chalk today and tell your friends to do the same tomorrow.

I used Eco Ball a several really hot days and did not notice any serious issues with it. Just get it and stop mark your favorite rocks.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on May 21, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I own 70m yellow Tusk rope for 4 years or so.

First, it is a good do-it-all rope. Crag days, multipitches are OK. It is light and compact enough for long approaches especially when you are on a budget.

Second, been a good cheap rope it is a cheap rope. After the first mile or so climbing with this rope it fries. And more it fries more rope drag you have, and faster it gets more worn. Not a World class problem - for it's money Tusk does a great job in terms of longevity. It can eat a lot of dust. Surely it will. Not a World class problem again - just wash it frequently. Middle mark will disappear soon. Again, not a World class problem - get a cheap Sharpie Rub-a-Dub laundry marker and refresh it.

It is soft when you need a soft catch. It is stiff enough when you jug up.

Bottom line. Mammut Tusk is a good cheap do-it-all climbing rope. One of the best "my first rope" choice. For extra bucks one can easily find a rope that fits better with theirs climbing style. Anyway rope is just a rope and Tusk is a lot of rope for a little money.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on May 16, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I love these cams for several reasons:

1. They share color scheme with BD C4. Everybody around know BD C4 color scheme, so there is no problem at all to mix C4s and Dragons.

2. They are low bulk (compared to "the modern gold standard" BD C4s). It really makes difference when your have sever miles approach.

3. Elongated slings. You can cut half quickdraws from your rack. And get even less bulk. Sweet!

The only two concerns are:

A. Sometimes they are tricky to clean when sling is elongated. This is not a World class problem at all - practice on the ground a bit and you'll get an idea how to make it smooth. And clean it from a good stance.

B. I don't like the #6 gray action. It sometimes hard to place (it is hard to align properly). And I do not feel confident with it's rock bite. BD C4 #4 gray is a better piece.

Bottom line. Sizes 00 blue to 5 blue are perfect. They are the best free climbing rack backbone. Especially love them in #0 gray to #3 red sizes. If are not a clean aid climber consider and you are not on a budget they could be better choice then BD C4.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on May 16, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Sometimes both yellow and blue DMM Dragons and/or BD C4s feel a bit off - yellow is a bit under- while blue is a bit over- cammed. The purple #3 Daemon falls perfectly in between #2 and #3 C4s sizes and solves this (not-a-World-class) issue. I would recommend to double your yellow Dragon (or yellow C4 if you are not a clean aid climber) with this cam.

A spring action is a bit stiffer then Dragon's one. Lobes are a bit wider then Dragon's. I have an initial impression that Daemons bite rock a bit better then Dragons.

Bottom line. A solid cam with elongated sling and solid confidence-inspiring feel. The purple #3 size falls perfect in between yellow and blue Dragon/C4 sizes.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on May 16, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was always a kind of BD VaporLock fun. I love it's shape, and size, and feel. VaporLock is the #1 all purpose locker - big enough to Munter hitch rappel, small enough to have it on my harness.

When they released Magnetron I was really skeptic about this technology. At first it seemed as a solving of non existing task "just because we can". But more I read about Magnetrons, more I tried it when they spread around, more I realized that Magnetron Lock is not senseless at all - it is dust- and dirt- proof, it is symmetrical for both right- or left- hand usage, it cannot be accidentally opened by rolling, it is low bulk, and it is extremely fast to open (again, with any hand).

When jugging I always backup my jumars with lockers. Just for extra peace of mind. Every time I put them on a rope, or take them off, every time I pass a knot I lock, and unlock, and lock. and unlock, and lock, and unlock, etc. This is a bit frustrating to spend my rock climbing time to locking/unlocking screw gates. Magnetron solves this problem.

Bottom line. Magnetron VaporLock combines one of the best shape with comfortable easy-to-use lock. It is the best jugging binner available today.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on March 21, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I love the simple idea behind this Rhino binner. It solves the cross loading problem. But nothing comes for free - the price is a bit awkward clipping and/or unclipping your Rhino binner with Cinch (or GriGri) on it to/from your harness. When you have an empty gear loop on your harness this is not a problem at all, but on a long trad or bigwall climb it would be a pain.

Personally I've found this binner (with a Quicklock or a Locksafe gate) to be the perfect Cinch (or GriGri) match for indoors training sessions or cragging. But on a long climbs I still use my big bad old oval screw gate.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on March 12, 2014

4 5

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

This is a very comfortable 2nd layer for those colder skiing days. Also it is very good as outer layer for those warmer sunny skiing days. I love the hybrid construction - insulated chest to keep your body warm and thinner sleeves to keep you away from sweating. And, the last but not the least, it looks cool.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on October 27, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

When climbing long thin line it is important to have a variety of small protection. Sometimes TCU goes just fine and fits bomber in the spot no other small piece can protect. Sometimes it is a Master Offset, sometimes an Alien Offset, sometimes C3.

I like C3 in purple, green and red sizes. These 3 pieces often fit bomber where nothing else goes. Did not yet placed the gray and almost always prefer an X4, or Master or Master Offset in the "yellow C3" size.

Do not really like the mess with X4's color scheme but it's OK - it took only two days for me to figure out how to mix and rack C3 and X4.

Good solid protection for small irregular cracks.

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pell

pellwrote a review of on September 6, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got a pair of Stonelands Slippers for the gym. After a while I found myself using them for everything from narrow cracks to face climbs and from gym or random cragging to long multi-pitch routes.

Stonelands Slipper vs Anasazi VCS quick comparison. Those owning Anasazi-VCS-shaped-feet will find them to be of almost the same size and shape. They are a bit more stiff and precise then Anasazi VCS, a bit less sensitive and feel a bit less secure when heel hooking.

They are good comfy all-around shoes (if your feet are of "Anasazi shape").

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pell

pellwrote a review of on June 5, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Just a right size, great weight and profile. Feels bomber (as always when using Metolius hardware).

And sooooooo slow screwlock action. It takes forever to lock or unlock it.

It is good when you need a bit of extra safety (e.g., when you want to KNOW that your locker will not open by an accident by moving back and forth along some grainy rock).

I would prefer CAMP Photon screw locks to this for most applications.

upd 2014-08-07. After using a pair of these for year or so I updated the rating (increased to 4 stars). It is a next to perfect locker for anchors - ultralihgt, no bulk, screw action adds peace of mind. The most important "cool feature" - it has a very convenient shape to be put on and off to/from any anchor chains/links/etc. Grab 2 of them to your favorite crag to rig an anchor above your next project.

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