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NickM

NickM

NickM's Passions

Climbing

NickM

NickMwrote a review of on March 6, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I am enjoying these crampons. Some pros, some cons. Here are my two cents:

In snow/firm snow/neve mountaineering conditions, there's no difference from a traditional 12-point horizontal crampon (I've had the Grivel G12). In ice up to grade 3, I have experienced little difference as well. The BIG difference is on rock. I'm significantly more comfortable on rock in the Snaggletooth because of it's mono design. Be it 4th class or M5, these crampons perform a lot better. One point of contact with rock features = more secure than dealing with two like the G12.

These have a shorter front section than the Sabretooth or G12...probably done to shave weight. Same amount of points on each side under the forefoot, but over less of an area. This reduces security in 'french technique' on low-angle firm snow or ice. Not as bad as, but headed more towards the Petzl Dartwin and BD Stinger in this regard. I have had feet skate or shimmy a little in some terrain where I believe the G12 would have held.

The Con? Say what you will, but stainless steel is a bogus material for crampons, period. I am not worried about catastrophic failure, but simply rapid wear from climbing rock. Use these two times a year on snow on Rainier, and they'll never wear. Use them on a lot of alpine rock (which you should, you bought them for their rock performance) and you'll see heavy wear pretty quick. After maybe 10 proper days in the mountains with a decent amount of scrambling and climbing on rock, the main frontpoint has been chewed back a good bit. I have used Grivel G12, a different steel, in similar conditions and experienced maybe...20% of the wear? See for yourself...get a pair of BD stainless crampons next to another pair of regular chromolly steel ones. Find a rock with a sharp tip and try to etch your name into the metal of both. See what you find. Shame on BD for favoring a shinny, sexy appearance over function.

So? When these wear out, which they will soon, will I buy another? Maybe, because I really like how they work. Hopefully someone will come out with a similar design but use a proper material, so I won't have to.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on October 9, 2015

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Buy something else. Yes, it's light, but super fragile. Sure, all beer-cooler foam helmets are fragile, but this one is terrible. They made lots of vents in the back, which is nice, but that created thin, delicate spans of foam that easily break. Other companies offerings use the same, weak foam, but have a much stronger design. I've used this a lot skiing and climbing and have never really smashed my head. Foam has cracked and broken from getting shoved around in a backpack, dropped, etc.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on January 6, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Pros: - Thinner, lighter, more supple than BD
- More glide than BD nylon

Cons: - Serious issues with snow getting in between ski and glue on big days
- Less traction than BD nylon...similar to BD mix

G3 skins are a strange creature in the ski touring world. You can find tons of people using them and loving them, or meet people who've tried them once and won't touch them with a 10' pole ever again. Sure, they worked fine for a couple 500' laps on a nice day, but once I started really pushing them in inclement weather, the glue started to fail in the wet/snowy conditions. Grip is significantly inferior to BD nylon, to the point I was deviating from my friend's skin track. Sure, glide is better, like BD Mix.

Every middle-aged, super-experienced backcounty skier I know took one look at my G3 skins and went: "oh, bummer". That's just how it is, I guess. I never thought I'd return skins, but it had to be done. These just blew.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on February 26, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Like many folks, these were my first touring boots; my first ski boots actually.

Pros: They're comfy, wide, fairly light, and tour well. If you have super wide feet, these may do well for you. If you can find them on a great deal, a great 1st boot for sure; well, maybe for a few months...

Cons: Downhill performance leaves a lot to be desired, so I was forced to upgrade within 3 months of owning these. They're so high volume and flexible that downhill can get a little rowdy, and I'm a pretty damn intermediate skier. Also, the liner is a lightweight, flimsy piece of garbage. Some aftermarket liners would really help this boot, but you'll end up spending as much as a 10x better boot.

Bottom line: They work, sure, but there are a ton of better options that tour well and ski significantly better . Black Diamond is definitely quite a few years behind the curve on ski boots. I have friends with Quadrants, as well, who aren't exactly in love. After using something like Scarpa's Maestrale or Freedom, BD boots are kind of a joke.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on December 31, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

Could be helpful when choosing sizes...

I'm 6'0, 155 lbs and wear 32" jeans with a belt to snug. Size Medium: fit waist fine, length was good. But the cut is wide and baggy; there's a LOT of fabric flopping around the legs. Fine for lookin' cool at a resort, not ideal for hiking/skinning around in the backcountry all day. So I tried and kept the size Small: nearly too tight on the waist, a bit short on the length, but with a considerably slimmer cut.

Definitely not an ideal pant on slim people for active/technical use, but since it's the only bib like it in the price range, I'm gonna put up with a marginal fit for better function.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on April 8, 2012

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had this guy for a year and a half now and am very happy with it. I would say the biggest selling point is the burly sheath...just used it almost 30 consecutive days in Yosemite and it's just starting to get a little fuzzy. Second best part is the middle marker, really useful.

Other ropes like Bluewater and Sterling seem to handle a bit better, but nothing major. Also, after 1.5 years and 60+ days of climbing I wouldn't count much on the dry treatment (maybe that's true for all ropes).

There's a ton of other cheaper options out there, but I'm sold on Monster and my next rope will be the 9.8 or 9.2 for sure.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on December 5, 2011

3 5

Let me start by saying I got the suit on sale for $100 and I'm really happy about it; even if I payed full price, I'd be satisfied. But...there's no question in my mind that Hyperflex is inferior to higher priced suits from O'neill, Xcel, etc.

Main 2 complaints: None of the seams are sealed on the inside and it's way less stretchy/more restrictive than other major brand 5/4's I've used. Just cheaper made than $400 wetsuits, pretty simple.

That said, it's pretty new right now and it's doing the job in Northern CA this winter. I expect it to start to die quicker than more expensive suits due to the cheaper neoprene and un-welded interior seams, but heck, i's a 5/4 for under $300!

Bottom line: I'm satisfied. Does the job. But it's no replacement for your $450 wetsuit. Occasional surfer or people wanting a back-up suit, get it! Serious surfer looking for their go-to wetsuit to last a season or two, Hyperflex is not for you.

Also good to note: I read the review below and have encountered none of those issues with neoprene falling apart. I've had the thing for 3 months and have used it around 15 times and it's holding strong.

Hope I've helped.

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NickM

NickMwrote a review of on July 22, 2011

4 5

I was surprised at how sturdy and solid this little guy felt, and how good the gate action feels. HOWEVER, KNOW HOW SMALL THESE ARE: 3 inches on the long axis, 2 inches across. I love them for anchors and racking nuts and what not, but would not put them on the rope end of a quickdraw.

I'm new to climbing and have only been on sport / top-rope single pitch stuff, but if I ever do backcountry alpine climbing, I'll be getting more of these for their weight and size. They are tiny!

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