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James G.

James G.

Colorado

James G.'s Passions

Climbing
Hiking & Camping

James G.

James G.wrote a review of on September 11, 2019

So light, so right.
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It's so, so light, packs down to the size of a Nalgene, sleeps two plus backpacks plus room to cook, and sets up in a minute.

This is almost the only shelter I even think about anymore, unless things might get nasty enough to grab my partners Hilleberg. That said, this thing is tough, and with snow piled on the edges and a wall it'll handle some strong (at least 40-50mph) winds.

I've used it in the Smokies, the Rockies, the Alps, and as a kitchen on Denali. I use it year-round for both backpacking and climbing, and it feels more like home than any tent I've owned.

Seam sealing would be nice, as would 1-2 extra guy-out points per side to make it even stronger, but when you consider price, weight, space, convenience, and versatility, nothing I've used even comes close.

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James G.

James G.wrote a review of on August 30, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this pack a few years ago for winter climbing and initially hated it. The buckles are a proprietary design that take some getting used to and don't perform any better or weigh less than normal ones. The straps are thick and sometimes have to be manually assisted back through the tensioners to loosen them. The lower tool holder is a little clumsy. I relegated it to a travel pack, which it was good for.
In the last year, though, I've taken it out climbing more and it's really grown on me. It's light, tougher than nails, comfortable, and climbs REALLY well. If this one ever does wear out I'll most likely buy another one.

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James G.

James G.posted an image about on August 30, 2019

So fragile it's useless

Bought this pack last year. After about 5 days of use the hipbelt stitching tore, separating the belt from the pack body. Sent it in for repairs, took it out again, and on the second day out the hipbelt stitching blew again in the same place (it's also starting to tear on the other side).

The feature set is right and the pack is comfy and lightweight, but it's so fragile it's useless. An Exos would have been a way better choice.

Additionally, Gregory wouldn't refund my money, insisting instead on repairing it again, as though another repair will somehow last longer than the previous one. I've owned several Gregory packs but probably won't buy another due to the Optic's poor quality combined with their lack of willingness to make it right. This thing's going in the garbage and I'm out $150.

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James G.

James G.posted an image about on August 7, 2019

The Col at 17k' on the West Butt.

Five stars. A golden fortress of warmth and comfort. Totally waterproof; you'll never have to worry about the ice that's raining on you from the tent ceiling. Easy enough to zip/unzip without snags, even with gloves on. Burlier material inside the footbox so your booties don't rub holes in it.

The tiny electronics pocket won't fit even the smallest gps or smartphone, and could be larger. Still, this is the best of the best winter/expedition bag.

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James G.

James G.wrote a review of on May 20, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Bought a pair of 40m about a year and a half ago and have used them from Colorado rock and ice to PNW glaciers. So far they are holding up well. Handling is really nice - supple right out of the box.
For glacier travel, couloirs, or snowy ridge lines, use a single rope and the small diameter and light weight mean you won't have an annoying boa constrictor of coils around your neck. When things get more difficult it's super quick to tie in the second one and start climbing. 40m leads or raps and still more than two pounds lighter than my 9.5mm 70m...plus you can make your partner carry one ;)
Dry treatment is effective; I've used these on late spring running waterfall ice climbs and they stayed pliable.

For general mountaineering, ice, and alpine rock these might be the perfect ropes. Just make sure your belay device works with the tiny diameter.

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James G.

James G.wrote a review of on January 18, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 165 lbs
Size Purchased: 41.5

Initially purchased a few years ago for Orizaba, and since used (in no particular order) on Orizaba, Adams, numerous Colorado 14ers, Rainier, Orizaba again, Whitney, Ouray, etc etc. I added Dr Scholls sport insoles.
These things are awesome. They are insanely comfortable. The only time they've hurt was on a 17 mile day on Snowmass, and just about anything would have hurt at that point (they didn't even rub, just sore soles from a heavy pack). Laced for it they hike nearly as well as approach shoes. Cross and crank the laces, though, and they turn into front pointing machines that'll let you run laps at Ouray all weekend long. The best technical ice boots I've used.
Paired with polartec socks they're comfortable down into the teens for ice, single digits for alpine.
Summary: If you're really into ice, these are about as good as it gets. If you're more into mountaineering, there is no boot in your gear closet better in this temp range. If you're into both, it's your lucky day.

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