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Cory Akin

Cory Akin

Utah, Wyoming, where hopes and dreams reside, your face

Cory Akin's Passions

Fly Fishing
Hiking & Camping
Running
Biking
Skiing
Climbing

Cory Akin's Bio

Let's go skiing!

Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on March 10, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This might be my favorite of all time. I was looking for something which fits my foot well, which walks well, and which skis well, and the Maestrale RS does all three.

Previous to this boot I was skiing on a Dynafit Titan Ultralight. It's a nice boot, stiff, cool looking, but it did not fit my foot well. While the Titan felt narrow and uncomfortable, the Maestrale RS in comparison feels plush and roomy. While those arent words you would usually attach to a high performance ski boot, in this situation, its perfect. You get a boot which feels great while walking up, due in no small part to the Intuition liner which comes stock with the Maestrale RS. That by itself nearly sells me on this boot - the stock Intuition is warm, comfortable, and still supportable enough when skiing down.

The cuff design is another interesting aspect of this boot. It seems odd at first, although once I figured out the best way to pull the cuff out from under my buckles (walk mode, lean back, fold back the silver top buckle catch), I've never had an easier boot to put my foot into.

The buckles are nice - top buckle and power strap are wide and strong. The strap/buckle over the forefoot works nicely as well. I find I need to tighten it a lot to keep my heel from pulling up, although nothing terrible.

Most important of all with this boot, though, is downhill performance. I find it pushes my fatter skis with no problem. And as other reviews have mentioned, I've skied the resort with this boot - bumps, groomers, etc - and the Maestrale RS does great. I prefer to use the most forward lean angle on this boot (there is a far forward, and then a more centered setting on the ski mode), which I feel helps to keep me centered on resort bumps, chop, and the whole list of conditions you find there.

And last of all, this boot is light and efficient on the uphill. From the specs I could find, it has 37 degrees of cuff rotation. Its not as much as the Alien, I suppose, but still sufficient.

(3)

 

Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on January 30, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have not purchased other harnesses, so I have little to compare this to (previous to this one, I was using a gym rental harness a buddy had procured from, well, a gym). But it works great for me for gym, sport, trad, mountaineering, etc. I've used it on multi sport routes, and I feel the gear loops are sufficient to accommodate a decent amount of pro. I've recently worn it a few times for some ski mountaineering routes, and while in the long term, I would prefer something lighter that packs down better, this harness still did fine in my rather small pack.
For sizing, I went with a large, although I was fatter then. Now that I've dropped down to around a 32 in waist, I wish I was in the Medium. The Large still fits for the most part, although I am nearly maxed out with the belt strap. And the leg straps, even when fully tightened, did not fit that tight. I've seen other reviews mention the leg straps not being sized that well, although its not a deal breaker.

Great harness for a great value!

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on January 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've used these on a number of non-technical ski mountaineering routes (hard snow/refrozen snow, up to 55 degrees) and have always loved how they have performed. They are easy enough to place on your feet, work well with ski boots (I have found at times the toe buckles on a ski will get in the way, although not to the point where the crampons slide off or won't fit correctly), and provide great purchase in hard snow.

I've had them up routes like Shasta, Moran, and a number of spring trips in the Wasatch, all of which were hard snow. For hard ice, I go with the Sabretooth Crampons, also from Black Diamond.

In all of the years using these, I have never had anything break.

(2)

 

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on January 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've owned Black Diamond Traverse's for a number of years, and was well pleased. And with the changes they made last year - secondary grip below the main grip, better flick lock opening - I am even more pleased.

The secondary pole grips are great for allowing you to choke down on the pole when boot packing up a steep ridge, chute, etc, or traversing a steep side hill, while negating the need to shorten the entire pole. I personally find this to be very convenient.

As for the improved flick lock, in comparison to previous years, the flick lock doesn't go from closed to completely open, which makes dialing in the pole length a little more difficult. There is now an intermediary position where you even after you open the lock nearly all the way, the piece maintains enough friction to keep the bottom half from sliding completely free, allowing you to carefully dial in the length. You can still let the bottom half slide completely free if you then continue to move the flick lock lever forward.

With that in mind, I have a number of friends/ski partners who have seen the bottom half of their poles rip out of the socket due to the flick lock lever snagging on a tree branch. This seems due to the position of the flick lock lever, which is almost completely forward on my friends' poles (my levers, for some reason, are shifted more to the side of the poles). The forward positioning makes it slightly easier for a branch to snag the lever and open it up completely. That's my only complaint, though, and given it's not my poles which are that way, just my friends', why should I care right?

Great poles!

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on January 14, 2014

5 5

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

Here's a quick run-down on this jacket:

- it's warm (with just a t-shirt, I can wear this down around freezing and still be comfy, although comfort level is subjective)
- it's thin and lightweight
- it fits true to size (purchased Medium, I have a 32" waist, that's what the sizing chart recommends, this fits perfect)
- it's beautfiul

Initially, I had some feathers come out when I first started wearing it. That was within the first few weeks. No feathers since, though.

This is a tried and true classic in my opinion. I use mine for anything ranging from ski touring, backpacking, or just going to the bars

(2)

 

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on January 12, 2014

4 5

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

I've put many miles on these socks, whether it be skiing, landscaping, running around town hitting the bars, hiking to climbing routes, running around town hitting the bars, operating machinery after running around town hitting the bars, and these socks have held up fantastically. For overall function, I feel these are better suited for me as a general use winter sock. They are honestly a little too big for a performance-fit ski boot (try the Ski Racer sock: http://www.backcountry.com/smartwool-phd-ski-racer-sock?ti=U2VhcmNoIFJlc3VsdHM6c2tpIHJhY2VyOjE6Mjpza2kgcmFjZXI)
While compared to what your grandparents gave you as stocking stuffers, these are low profile, thin fitting socks, I did still find I got much better circulation and overall warmth out of a lightweight sock in comparison to these. If your boots are a lighter looser fitting, which one might term a "comfort fit", these would be great for you.

While I have determined these to be true to size (I went with the Large and I wear a 10 in street shoes and running around the bars shoes, and I don't think I should have gone with anything smaller or large), these socks did seem to bunch up in places around my toes and ankle, which made them feel a bit sloppy at times.

Aside from that, I was pleased.

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on January 9, 2014

4 5

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

I've not put a lot of time into these gloves. They still have the tags on and are sitting in the top of my closet. But my initial impressions lead me to believe these will be pretty dang good gloves. The styling is cool. Gore tex will keep the fingers dry.

My only point of criticism so far would be the sizing. They are fairly tight in the medium, and I have small hands. I'm a medium in most other gloves, although that doesn't mean these have to fit the same. I would just say these are sized a little small

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on December 30, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

These are the first pair of bibs I've owned, and so far I'm pretty pleased. They are lightweight, seem very durable, have nice articulation in the knees. I like the fit for the most part - slim, but not overly tight. A great fit for touring when you don't need extra material hanging around, such as when you are using crampons.
I do feel the pants are a little tight in the crotch, although not bad. Even with the suspenders fully extended, still feeling some pull in the groin while skinning. I went with the Medium, which fits great everywhere else (33 in waist, 5'11" 170 lbs). And I have tried a large, which doesn't fit that well throughout my lower half. So it seems to me this particular pant isn't quite tailored to my body, although not a big deal.
My only gripe, although with a shell pant like this I shouldn't expect too many features, is not having a significant pocket for holding things like keys, wallet, etc when I am hitting up grocery store or gas station before heading up canyon. The pockets provided are fairly shallow and are best suited to a small snack or a multi tool, something of that size.

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on December 26, 2013

5 5

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

I have had these for five years now, and they are still rocking as I write this review. absolutely amazing slipper. i love them. like a brother.
i amazed for a number of different reasons:
durability - like I said, i've had these for five years now, and I mean five solid years. i wear these like ski boots - 150+ days a year. they do have holes along the sole, but nothing crazy, and like I said, they've seen some use.
no stink - being as they are made out of sheepskin, they are naturally anti-microbial. if you were to take a whiff, you might notice a bit of funk, but nothing bad considering its been five years.

they are sweet. get them

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on November 30, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

This is the first true technical shoe I've owned. Most of my other jackets have been resort-oriented, heavier, insulated pieces, and so I suppose I'm lacking in overall experience with backcountry, mountaineering style pieces. But, I've been loving this jacket for backcountry touring and feel it's a great piece.

I went with the medium size, which goes in line with the sizing chart. I'm 5'11", 170lbs, and the jacket fits nicely while still allowing for an insulated layering piece on top of my base and mid-weight layers.

The Alpha SV is very light and is easily stowed away in my pack while skinning. It's long enough to give it a slightly more American feel, as opposed to a skinnier Euro look. I've worn the jacket in high winds, and the styling of the hood and the face is great. You do need to put the hood on before fully zipping up the jacket/cuff, or else you won't be able to pull the head over your head, especially if you're wearing a helmet.

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Cory Akin

Cory Akinwrote a review of on November 30, 2013

5 5

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

I've been using the Mythos since last spring and I love them. I was coming off the 5.10 Coyotes, for reference, which I found ran small in comparison to the Mythos. When I bought the Mythos, I was looking for a pair of shoes which I could keep on my feet for more than just one pitch up and down, as that was how these shoes were advertised to me. I first tried on the 41.0, as I was told these shoes stretch considerably, and given I wear an 8.5 equivalent in ski boots. I found I could barely get the 41.0 on my feet, which are a little wider than average and have a number of bone spurs from skiing. I decided to jump to the 42.5, which equates to a 9.5, and which is my exact shoe size. They fit great from the start. I was able to keep them for a few hours in the gym and for multi-pitch routes outside. I've found they have stretched some since last spring, although not to the point where I would necessarily reconsider my initial sizing.

I've mostly climbed trad routes with these shoes, and then in the gym. I really like how they smear. The rubber is great for slab, for jamming into cracks, etc. They're not really touted as a great edging shoe. For precise moves like that, you might want to consider something different. For what I'm climbing, though, which is generally 5.9-5.10 on top rope on trad routes, they have been working great for me.

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