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James S.

James S.

James S.

James S.wrote a review of on May 26, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

After ten years away I return to climbing only to find that my tolerance for foot pain has vanished along with my desire to climb hard and scary or long and heavy right now. What's a guy with narrow feet who wants comfortable shoes for moderate routes from Smith Rock to Yosemite to do? Buy these beauties. Ironically, my first "beginner shoe." Gotta love the price point!

Here is what I wanted: soft, flat last, laces, multipitch all day comfort. I knew that I would loose some edging but I would gain some smearing...yes. Heel hooking? Overhang toe pointing? Nah. And to be fair, should I want performance at the price of pain I've got some Stingers and some Kaukulators waiting if I get all my mojo back for overhung sandstone or trad racks in the valley.

The shoes are soft, comfortable, and gentle. But their not bunny slippers. Some toe curl for a good fit but in a way that seems right not cruel. Given the rubber and the last I went with between a full and a half size down to start so there is room to stretch but even with my narrow-ish feet the laces are have plenty of room before they will meet. They lace up in a snug and reassuring fit and if needed I could really crank them down. On the rock they are soft with good feel. They smear confidently and are joyful on slabs. I did have some problems popping off smaller slick holds on general Smith Rock junk but chalked that up to habitually trying to edge instead of smear and climbing in the near dark to clean my partner's last lead of the day. On the plus side, once it was too dark to really see foot holds I stuck to just about everything. And my feet didn't hurt. Joy. True Joy.

Slabs and 10b range? YES!!! Crimpy technical edges? Maybe if you can stay on the smearing side of things. Overhangs? Maybe. Cracks? I wouldn't want to jam in these for long but I haven't tried yet, people climb cracks in Mythos so...

No long term beta but in my experience, other than slippers, most of the shoes I've had don't change much in performance even if they bag out a little. But I'll come back and update.

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James S.

James S.wrote a review of on April 21, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

First, I bought it on sale at nearly half off. At that price it is six stars. At full price, four. IT looks like it will wear well but I've only had it out about four times now.

I bought this to carry everything for a day for me and my daughter to climb half a day at Smith Rock or for me all day splitting gear with a partner. It is just enough pack in volume for a 60 meter rope, 2 liters of water, shoes, harness, a rack, some sandwiches, and a layer or two. Odds and ends in the pockets. If I'm carrying my kid's stuff too, or more layers, It is easy to put the rope on the top of the pack and bring too much stuff. I carried a second rope out a few weekends ago and the weight and feel were just fine. It adjusts well and is plush without being bulky or stiff.

The zipper in the back makes getting in and out in the dirt easy and I never feel it on my back. The top access lets you use it as a rope bucket in a pinch, or to just cram stuff in a bit easier once the main bulk is in. The side pocket is a little weird because of its low volume. The top pocket is good.

I subtracted one star for the weird side pocket and the strange lack of outside daisy chain with some loops instead. I just like easy to use stuff and this level of minimalism is just not intuitive to me yet and I still look around for places to hang a spare draw or sling. I don't get the loop system or what I'm supposed to hang off of it to make them useful. I'm sure I'll figure it out but...why no daisy chain?

This really is not an alpine pack. I would use it for long routes in Tuolumne that are all approach and rock, but not if I was carrying axes/tools, bivy gear, or a lot of weight for a long time. This is an excellent rock climbing pack for easy to burly day trips.

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James S.

James S.wrote a review of on April 21, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 190 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I started replacing worn or lost essential gear this year and an R1 layer was an easy to replace piece I have missed. I went for the full zip instead of the pullover. I like the easy on/off of the full zip but I kinda miss the low front profile/ bulk of the pullover. I'm almost 6'1" and about 190. The fit is stretchy, and snug but not tight. It's longer overall than my old pullover and comes a few inches past my pants and the arms stay put even when climbing. This is nice when standing but the full zipper makes weird waves when sitting if you are worried about your photo pose while driving or overall bulk of layers.
The layer is perfect for cool weather. I use it for everything from an under-shell layer for morning spring skiing to a quick layer in the shade climbing or cool-ish evenings. It sheds moisture super fast and washes easily. I wear it to work over business casual in a medical office. R1 is bomb proof. I found my last one on the side of a mountain after a spring melt and it had been there a while. I wore it for nearly everything including off widths for about 5 years until somehow I lost it. I expect this one will last just as long. It is similar to a merino wool sweater except tougher and only a little bulkier to pack. It also makes a great travel piece.

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