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Stephen

Stephen

Los Angeles

Stephen 's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Climbing

Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on August 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I don't like wearing a pack while climbing. 1200' or less of climbing and I clip water to the harness instead of a camelbak. These have been great! Until it comes unclipped during a scramble approach and disappears in the cavernous bergschrund below. Then you have to order another one. Which I just did.

I also have an earlier version of the Stash, different cap. It was less robust and the cap cracked from consistently screwing it snug. This version seems much better.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on August 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I chiseled out a #9 (Red) DMM Offset nut out of a crack that someone had left behind. Just another piece of booty gear at the time, it went on my rack of nuts.
Then I started placing it... consistently, for the rest of the season. So I ordered my own set! Stoked. Flares and weird places, these just make a more secure placement than regular nuts. Thank you to whoever bailed off that nut and opened up my world, I'll try to pay it forward.

I've used them in mostly western granite, but I foresee these being handy in some southern sandstone as well.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on July 6, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I racked all my cams on either Photon Wires or Nano 22s, then my climbing partner shows up with some new pieces this season-- he had half a rack get corroded by vicious garage moisture-- and his C4s were racked with Alpha Trad biners. Cue my biner envy:

Wow. These things are MADE for perfect racking! The shape and snag-free nose makes them easy to handle while keeping the bulk down on your gear loops. They weight to strength ratio is textbook awesome and the construction is typical bomber DMM quality. In sum: if I could do it all over I'd rack with these puppies. DMM continues to impress me.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on May 29, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 157 lbs
Size Purchased: 30 - 32

For months I've been on a quest for an alpine climbing pant. It felt like I had tried on every pant under the sun when finally I came across these. The moment I put them on I was taken with the comfort and fit. They allow full range of motion while maintaining a close cut.

I have only worn them on one trip so far, so this review is mostly just first impressions. But after just fourteen miles, including both snow post-holing and warm sun, I am blow away by these pants versatility.

It's a mid-weight soft-shell; thick enough for brisk mornings but breathable enough for when you're generating heat on the approach or climb. The textile is stretchy and soft but seemingly robust. After a couple hours of slushy snow, the DWR kept me dry. The side pockets are all zippered, crucial for when you're on a climb or approach and don't want anything falling out. Pockets are also positioned well for wearing a harness but still having access.

The hook on the front seemed to keep the pant legs positioned nicely under my gaiters. The bottom of the pant legs also have a zippered gusset for going over your boots.

Again, what I love most about these pants is the complete range of motion they allow, from squat to high-foot. I'm 6', 156 lbs and the fit for me is simply outstanding. I wish I could have ordered these from Backcountry, as they are less expensive then the local shop I bought them from.

If you're looking for a good alpine pant for early to mid-season attacks, definitely check these out. My one gripe? Made in China. I like to support brands that bring a little more manufacturing closer to home but I simply couldn't find a pant that fit as good as these.

While I can't speak to the longevity of these pants yet, if my other three pairs of Kuhl pants are an indicator, these will take years of abuse.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on May 8, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 157 lbs
Size Purchased: 43

The Gecko is my #1 go-to approach shoe if there is any scrambling involved in the approach or descent. I find it comfortable to go 5.5 in these easy.
PROS:
- Great rubber, toe control + sticky
- Snug fit
- Nice heel loops that clip easily
- Robust out-sole and leather construction

CONS:
- They are minimal, which makes perfect since for an approach shoe that you'll need to clip to your harness. But there's a small sacrifice for support. That said, I think these hit the sweet spot. Still, anything longer than 4 miles and my dogs are barking.
- Weight. They aren't the lightest shoe to be clipping to your harness or putting in a pack. But I have a pair of Arc'teryx "approach" shoes that are ultralight but terrible for scrambling... I guess you can't have it all, right?

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on February 14, 2018

5 5

And for good reason. Because it's the lightest full-sized, keyless biner on the market.
Great for trad and alpine where the ounces count, this draw has superb gate action and clearance. Combine that with bullet-proof bar tack on the dog bone and it comes to no surprise that this is the high-performance draw of choice. The draw backs? Only one: a half rack of these will shave your wallet down tremendously.

But if you can afford them-- I have two-- consider the immortal words of Ben Franklin, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

Consider, to make a poor-man's version of this draw (sans keyless and only one full-sized biner) would cost $22 (Nano 22, Photon Wire and a 30cm Trango low-bulk sling) A savings of $5. Might as well spring for the keyless. Either way I use both.
Conclusion: great draw, super spendy.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on July 2, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 157 lbs
Size Purchased: 32

My title for this review says it all but I'll expound.

The Psiphon pant is my all-around three-season climbing pant. These pants are the only thing I wear when climbing anything over two pitches.

I've climbed in these during the desert winter and scorching summer temps. I've both post-holed through snow (with gaiters) and climbed in direct summer sun. They breath enough for the heat and protect enough for the chill. However, for alpine, definitely grab a more robust soft-shell.

Climbing specific wins:
- drawstring cuffs for rolling up away from your footwork
- Amazing adjustable webbing loop. This feature is GREAT while wearing a harness. I'm lean and pant waists tend to slip off of me unless they're uncomfortably tight; this fixes that and doesn't interfere with harness comfort.
- Tailored for movement. These aren't your Friday-night jeans. They will be a little looser where it matters. i.e. knee and groin area. I utilize the high-foot to extremes sometimes, so this is a crucial trait for me in climbing pants.
- Durable. Though I have some micro-tears from Joshua Tree sends, these have held up well after washes and granite off-width.
- Flush zipper pocket for the important things you can't ever drop: car keys and chapstick.

I got a pair from Sierra Trading post for $60. Best deal I ever had. But now I want a bolder color and I love these pants taboot.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on June 30, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

To preface: I have never purchased this alpine draw specifically; however, I do load my 60cm slings with these exact biners. Therefore, in effect, I use this same draw to extend pro when pitching out trad climbs.

The Nano 22 is great for staying light but not sacrificing ease of climbing. It's great for the "gear-end"; nuts/hexes, fixed gear or going directly into your cam's sling.

The Photon is obviously better served for your rope end: larger gate for clipping most diameters, and the rope flows through nicely.

All said, I'm docking one star here because the price seems off. A Nano is $7, a Photon $8, and most 60cm slings hover around $6-8. Most of the time when buying in a bundle there's some price incentive. Unless I'm missing something, this is not a bargain. But buy the pieces separate and you've got a killer alpine draw.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on June 19, 2017

5 5

My rack is all regular C4 doubles except I have a #.4, #3 and #4's that are Ultralights. Therefore, I am constantly comparing the two.

I have NOT taken a fall on one of these yet. So this review is based on placements, walking, usability and field experience.

- Light. Per expected. And impressively so. Compared to a standard C4 the difference is very evident.

- Places nicely. Goes in, stays put. Good trigger action. I have not had any trigger wire issues like some others have voiced concerns with.

More time will tell how much less durable then these are then the regular C4. Obviously if you're taking whippers on your cams each outing, maybe stick with the bomber standard. But if you love saving weight on the rack and you can afford the price tag (and these are $$$$), then go for it. I like having both: save some weight but also keep the gold standard as the lion's share of my rack.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on June 19, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The name says it all: Low Bulk. And with the same UIAA ratings you'd find on any other sling twice the girth/weight, what's left to ponder?
These have held up surprisingly well considering the sleek construction. These are now my go-to slings and anytime I have a chance to replace or add inventory I now go with these for all three sizes.
If you wear your slings around your chest then the light and supple yet robust design of these are ideal.

Great for alpine draws and runners.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on June 12, 2017

-2 Stars for longevity
3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The Crux was a great shoe... while it lasted. Unfortunately it didn't last long enough for me to want to spent $120 on a second pair.
Shoes are a very subjective experience when it comes to fit. But when it comes to durability and robustness things are easily quantifiable. So while the Crux performed very well-- and I will stress, it performed well-- it cannot win my vote due to the swift deterioration of the midsole.

Pros: Out of the box the Crux felt great. It's a more narrow fit, euro style. The rubber on the toe is durable and the leather upper takes a beating.
I used this shoe for every climb: scrambles at J-tree, 4+ mile approaches to local crags, friction descents, long hikes and even a couple days at work. It has a great style and a nice lacing system.

Cons: Did I push this shoe? Yes. I even ran a couple miles on the trail with these. But I don't think the rigorousness of my use accounts for the short life-span. I'm 6' and weigh 160 lbs. Not exactly a heavy weight. To witness the midsole completely break down within one season, I was a very disappointed. See photos.

To conclude: great shoe, but WAY too expensive for how long it lasted.

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Stephen

Stephen wrote a review of on May 2, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

With a price tag to prove it. If it wasn't for the cost, I would have already stock piled a few coils of Aeros just to behold them.
I climb trad/sport, multi pitch, alpine and cragging. I own a Beal, a Blue Water, and three Sterlings (the Velocity, Helix, and Aero). I use the Aero solely for trad, multi pitch and cragging.

The Aero is by far and away my most preferred rope for supple handling, durability, weight to strength ratio, and down right aesthetic. I cannot recommend this single rope more for said purposes.

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