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Leah A

Leah A

Golden, CO

Leah A's Passions

Climbing
Skiing
Hiking & Camping
Biking
Running

Leah A's Bio

I'm a fiery midwestern girl with a love for donuts, coffee and all things outdoors.

My college years were filled with various guiding jobs, from kayaking Lake Superior and canoeing the Boundary Waters, to working high ropes courses, to climbing the Colorado Rockies and rafting the Arkansas.

I'm passionate about sharing my experiences and adventures with others; I believe the outdoors can provide unmatched potential for growth if we are open to the challenges we may face.

Now working in an ad agency, I've kept the fire of my adventurous heart alive (although I can't wear my harness and favorite pair of performance tights to work anymore). I'm an avid climber and skier, and am always looking to escape to a new adventure.

Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on November 30, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 115 lbs
Size Purchased: X Small

These pants are awesome. You get the stretch and performance of a legging with the versatility of a casual black pant.

F I T: True to size and the length is perfect - finally a pant that isn't too short! I'm tall and slim through the hips, so I need a pant with a less curvy cut - these are the ones. They are fitted in the booty and thighs, but open up to a slim boot cut bottom.

S T Y L E: These really are the 'everyday' pant. The pockets and slim leg opening add versatility and make these more pant and less "yoga-wear," allowing you to wear them outside of hiking, climbing, etc. - I've even worn mine for golfing at the country club!

P E R F O R M A N C E: I mainly wear these pants for climbing. They're lightweight and breathable, but made of a slightly thicker fabric than most other performance pants/tights. Most importantly, these are not see through at all - something that many other pants like this miss! I've worn / washed these many times, and am frequently rubbing against abrasive surfaces (like rock) yet these pants still look brand new. I also love the pockets, which are large enough to fit an iPhone 5 in sideways without falling out.

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on November 29, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Worth every penny. I bought the grigri2 for lead belaying, and although there is a bit of a learning curve, it's completely worth it to master the skill. A friend took a big whip while sport climbing and met his belayer in the air, kicking her in the head and knocking her out. The grigri's assisted braking system locked, preventing both climber and belayer from decking - awesome. If I wasn't a believer before, I am now!

PSA - make sure your belayer knows how to use a grigri - It's not as idiot-proof as some people tend to think and you CAN still drop a climber!

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on November 29, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 115 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

I bring this fleece EVERY time I go to the crag. It's warm enough to wear as a light layer on cooler days but thin enough for layering under heavier jackets. The hood is a little small and awkward on its own but fits perfectly under a helmet. I love that this zips high enough to cover my neck and chin.

The long and lean fit is great but I have the same problem as Emily - the bottom of this jacket flares out a bit too much for those of us who are slimmer through the hips. I also wish BD would add a pocket somewhere!!

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on November 29, 2015

Most comfortable aggressive shoe
4 5

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

I picked these up for a steal at a garage sale this summer thinking they'd be a shoe for burning rubber in the gym - I quickly fell in love and they've ended up being my go-to shoe for both indoor and outdoor bouldering.

F I T: True to street shoe size. The three velcro straps provide a snug fit and I'm a believer in the love bump / knuckle box technology that allows these shoes to be powerful without sacrificing comfort. The heel cup is a little big but does not affect performance. These shoes did stretch a little.

P E R F O R M A N C E: The Shamans are a stiff, powerful shoe, but are extremely sensitive on steep terrain and the shape allows for extra precision. I used to drag my toe a lot, but the shape of the Shaman's toe and the extra sensitivity has helped my footwork become much more precise and clean. The extra rubber on the toe and the fully covered heel makes these heel and toe hook like a dream (why not use both at once!?). I avoided toe hooking until I had these! The rubber is very sticky but pretty soft in comparison to other brands. These don't seem to be great for flat walls or edging in comparison to my LS Miuras, and the rounder toe took some getting used to after wearing La Sportivas for the past year. These are hands down my go-to shoe for overhangs.

D U R A B I L I T Y: The edges seemed to wear down faster than Vibram or Stealth rubber does, but there is still plenty of rubber left. My biggest complaint with the Shamans is they smell TERRIBLE - seriously the worst - something that I've never experienced with another climbing shoe.

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on September 28, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Elia is a well-rounded helmet for a great price. The ponytail cutout is bomber, but could use a few improvements. Overall - awesome ladies'-specific helmet.

FIT / STYLE
The Elia has a lower profile than many other climbing helmets and doesn't sit quite so high on my head. It's 2-way adjustable straps help the helmet fit snugly to your noggin and the ponytail cutout is awesome. My biggest complaint is that the adjustments, located on each side of your head above your ears, are not convenient and take two hands to adjust (compared to BD Half Dome's one-handed adjustment). I've also noticed that the helmet seems to loosen throughout the day and never sits quite right on my head. These flaws are likely due to the ponytail cutout - a great feature that could use a little improvement.

PERFORMANCE
Lightweight, breathable, durable. The headlamp clips are extremely easy to pop your headlamp into and hold it where it's supposed to be. The ponytail cutout fits perfectly with a little practice and is a great feature for a ladies' helmet. The Elia has more coverage than similar hard-plastic helmets, but again, the ponytail cutout is a point of weakness as it leaves a crucial part of your head exposed. Be mindful of the unprotected area of your skull if you experience any rockfall!

OTHER IMPROVEMENTS
C'mon Petzl, can we please have a ladies' helmet that is NOT pink?

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on February 16, 2015

Best Tights I Own
5 5

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

These are, hands down, my favorite pair of performance tights I've ever owned. Because of how often I rock climb, it is important for me to find leggings/tights that are durable enough to withstand being scraped against rock, constant rubbing from my harness, and general wear and tear. If they're see-through at all, they're a no-go for me.

The O'Neill Ridgeline pants have been everything I could ever want in a performance tight and more. The shape and seaming is super flattering and the mesh-like inserts (not see-through) behind the knees and sides of thighs make the Ridgeline ultra breathable. I am very narrow through the hips, so yoga pants and tights often pull and gather funny through the hips and crotch, but these do not! They fit perfectly (5'7 120 pounds). The O'Neill logo on the back of the leg is a great addition to give these pants a little differentiation.

My only regret with these pants is that I didn't buy a second pair. Bring back the Ridgeline, O'Neill!

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on February 16, 2015

5 5

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

I work in an ad agency, so I wanted a coat that was dressy enough to wear to work, warm enough to withstand a brutal winter day, and light enough so I don't feel like a marshmallow. I LOVE my Fiona.

Even on subzero temp days, the Fiona Parka keeps me warm (enough) on my 10 minute walk to the office and blocks the wind without being bulky like most down parkas. The slim cut is flattering and maintains a feminine shape without sacrificing warmth. I am 5'8 120 lbs and own this in an XSmall. It fits great and hits about mid-thigh. It's snug, but not too tight in the shoulders. If you're looking to wear thicker layers underneath, you will want to size up. This is also not a jacket to wear outside for extended amounts of time in frigid temperatures - it is a lighter option for running around town or taking the dog for a walk. That being said, it is extremely warm for its weight and fill. If you're looking for an everyday coat to wear around town, try the Fiona.

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on February 16, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

There are many aspects I love about the Ninja, and many that could be improved upon. I've used this PFD for guiding kayaking, canoeing and whitewater rafting for two seasons.

STYLE
The Ninja has a sleek, low profile design with subtle stitching details. It's very gender-neutral. I have it in black.

FIT
The side-entry is great, with buckles and easily adjustable straps that make it fit like a dream around your torso. The front panel, however, does not have any flex points - its one solid, stiff piece - which keeps it from comfortably fitting to a female chest. The shoulder straps are adjustable but don't fix the issue. I've also found that they tend to rub on my neck at times, but only on occasion - this has not been an issue for me.

PERFORMANCE
The Ninja is extremely buoyant and keeps me on the surface when I take a swim, and the shape allows for unrestricted range of motion when paddling, swimming, etc. Even in chilly water, the Ninja helps keep me warm, and the neoprene-lined interior handwarmer pocket is my absolute FAVORITE thing about this PFD.

OTHER IMPROVEMENTS
The front pocket is great for keeping a whistle or snack in, but anything else I want to carry (i.e. radio) has to be attached with a carabiner. The lash tab is in a convenient spot for easy access (I use NRS Copilot knife), but I've found that it gets caught on things easily. It's most noticeable when flipping boats back over or climbing back in. On more than one occasion, the knife has actually delayed me from getting back in a boat, and I work with others who have said the same.

Overall, I think this is a great PFD from a great company and highly recommend it.

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on February 16, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I originally bought the O'Neill Epic wetsuit because I wanted something warm but not too warm to use for kayaking in Lake Superior. This has been such a "warm-but-not-too-warm" suit that I sometimes use it to swim on chilly days at the cabin.

FIT
The Size Chart provided by O'Neill is super accurate. I'm 5'8 120, and my measurements either fell on a 6 or a 10, so I went with an 8. It fits great - nice and snug without being too tight, and minimal bunching/baggy spots. My only complaint is that at 5'8, the size 8 is a little short.

PERFORMANCE
On an average day, I use this wetsuit to paddle or swim in 50-60 degree water, and it is great - I'm never chilly, even after being in the water all day. The first time I used this wetsuit was in Lake Superior for rescue practice. The water was a balmy 34 degrees. I would not recommend taking an extended swim in water that frigid, but the Epic kept me super warm. After the initial shock, the water in the suit warmed and I was able to sit in the water for up to 8 minute drills without getting cold. I also love the reinforced knees and the super-seal neck to lock out extra water.

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on February 1, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it
Fit: Runs small

I ordered this jacket in the Seafoam color in a Small.
I am 5'8 120 lbs and generally wear a size 0/2 or Xs/S

The Vixen is extremely well made and technical for a soft shell. The taped zippers are great - something I wish more women's ski jackets had. The colors are so fun, and I LOVED the seafoam color I ordered. Unfortunately this jacket was too small.

I typically wear an XSmall or Small in ski jackets, and ordered a Small in the Vixen so I could layer underneath (as it has no insulation). I was super bummed when this jacket was too small, and a Medium was unavailable. Even with no layers underneath, the Small size was awkwardly short when paired with ski pants. When I put a light down layer on under (my layer of choice on cold ski days), the Vixen was instantly too restricting through the shoulders.

I wish this jacket had fit how I wanted it to, but it just didn't do it for me. If you are shorter (I'm a little taller) this jacket would probably fit great, but if you are taller, I'd recommend sizing up.

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Leah A

Leah Awrote a review of on February 1, 2015

4 5

Fit: True to size

Following the format Lauren used below...

FIT
These pants are the best fitting ski pants I've found to date. I am 5'7" 115 lbs and typically wear a size 0. I like more of a freeride style without being too baggy, so I ordered both a Small and Medium. The Mediums were way too big in the waist and about 4 inches too long. The Small fit perfectly.

STYLE
I ordered a lot of different pants this season because I just couldn't find one that I liked. This particular pair was my favorite - by far. They're insulated, super soft, and have a nice slim fit to them without being too tight. As stated below, they are actually flattering.

COLOR
I ordered both the Space and Clay/Olive. Neither were as expected. The Space color appears to be a sort of medium brownish-grey online, but they turned out to be pretty much charcoal grey with a slightly warmer hue. They were way too dark to go with my navy ski jacket. The clay/olive color appears (on my screen) to be a greenish-khaki color with cream around the waist. They are VERY green - like army green with khaki at the waist - very drab. So that was disappointing, as the colors look great online.

Overall, I loved these pants but just didn't love how the colors looked in person.

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