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Gavin W.

Gavin W.

North Cascades National Park

Gavin W.'s Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Climbing

Gavin W.'s Bio

Currently living and studying environmental education in North Cascade National Park.
Yeah, you read that right.
Be jealous.

Gavin W.

Gavin W.wrote a review of on July 13, 2015

5 5

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

Although I prefer to backpack in trail runners, my current job requires mid-height boots when leading trips. I picked these up because I wanted something lightweight and comfortable, and I was not disappointed. They weigh only a little bit more than waterproof hiking shoes, and are ridiculously comfortable (I find myself keeping them on instead of changing to camp shoes at the end of the day). My first time taking them out I did 30 miles, and had zero foot problems. They do fit slightly wide, so be aware.

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Gavin W.

Gavin W.wrote a question about on February 27, 2015

Just a note, the specs list this as a locking carabiner, which is not true. This is your standard non-locking wiregate carabiner (although if you can't see that in the photo you're probably blind and perhaps should reconsider your life choices when it comes to leading a climb...)

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Gavin W.

Gavin W.wrote a review of on November 5, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: 43.5

I'll preface this review by saying that I'm incredibly cheap. I go for no-name brand cheapo stuff, or buy at a discount (I love steepandcheap) for everything. In fact, these boots are literally the only piece of outdoor gear or clothing that I have that I paid full price for. I returned my hiking boots and sold my Xbox to finance them. And they're totally worth it.
Right out of the box, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly light they are. They also fit my low-profile feet very well (with most boots I can tighten them so that the lace loops are almost touching, these lace up light they're supposed to) but still have a roomy toe box.
I ordered them for a late-season attempt on the Pickets, but it was cancelled due to weather, so instead I figured I'd break them in hiking up to the Coleman glacier with my girlfriend. I expected to get blisters given how stiff the sole is, but I finished the 6 mile trek (mostly hiking with some scrambling) with perfectly comfortable feet. I even wore them for some slightly sketchy stream crossings, and with my gaiters on my feet stayed dry (a concern given how the Trango S Evo tends to get soaked through).
No local shops carried them, so for sizing I tried on a Trango S Evo with a pair of medium-weight hiking socks. I wear a size 10 street shoe. The fit feels identical to the Trango S Evo.
Also, note that the lace loop right below the nylon loop shown in the pictures is locking, with helps with holding your foot in place.

Pros: Lightweight, stiff, comfortable, no break-in period required, waterproof
Cons: Expensive, color pattern not for everyone (but I love it!)

The plastic lace loops seem pretty solid, but it remains to be seen how they hold up banging against rocks.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend these as a lightweight boot for summer mountaineering or highly aerobic mountain activities where lack of insulation isn't a concern.

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Gavin W.

Gavin W.wrote a review of on November 4, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Got these as a birthday gift from my brother and have to say that I'm really happy with them. They're incredibly lightweight (I can't even feel the weight when I'm walking) and very durable. I haven't used them with crampons, but they seem like they may tear easily in that regard (an abrasion-resistant patch on the inside of the ankle would probably help in this regard).
I would also add that if you're near the bottom of the size range, size down to a smaller sized gaiter. I have size 10 feet and received the men's medium, but they fit well. I definitely have to stretch the base to get the velcro to reach on the front, and it's a bit of a pull to get the lace hook low enough that I'm happy with it, but I end up with a slim fit along the calf (which I prefer) and a great seal along the bottom (I've worn them through small but rapid creek crossings that were higher than my boots and stayed dry). For fit reference, I've fit them low over my size 10 hiking shoes, and slightly higher (although still below my fibula) on my size 10.5 lightweight mountaineering boots. If I were to buy some to go with insulated mountaineering boots I would probably size up to a large (which would be my recommended size).

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Gavin W.

Gavin W.wrote a review of on October 29, 2014

4 5

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

Got this as my first harness getting into the sport. The slim padding keeps it low profile but fairly comfortable, and the adjustable leg loops are great for someone like me with skinny thighs that has a hard time finding a harness that fits well. Black Diamond advertises this as a great harness for agencies to use for rentals, but I think it's perfect for use around the crag. It's not advertised as an all-season harness (like the momentum al harness is) but as far as I can tell the only reasoning behind this is that there is no ice clipper slot. I see no reason why this harness couldn't be used mountaineering (the adjustable leg loops are great for sizing over extra layers as well).
If you fall between sizes on other Black Diamond harnesses as well, then the dual adjustments on the waist band will allow you to keep your belay loop centered. The large range in possible sizes also makes it a great harness for loaning out to friends who are new to climbing.
I bought this harness directly from Black Diamond on closeout, so I paid significantly less than the regular price of $70. At that listed price I would suggest that you go with the momentum sa (unless, as I stated earlier, you're between sizes).

Pros: large size range, 12kN rated haul loop, one-handed adjustment of leg loops, entry-level price
Cons: limited padding, no ice clipper slot (may be preferable for some), pricier than momentum sa or al

In summary: great entry level harness that should last you years of service in all environments. I would definitely recommend this harness for someone who doesn't fit normally sized BD harnesses or will be sharing their harness with a friend.

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