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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayer

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 20, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

There's not much to say about these that hasn't already been said. They work super well, and for how small they are, they open cleanly and aren't too fiddly. That being said, I prefer a biner with a notchless gate (Hoodwire, Wild Country Helium, etc). For color coded racking biners though, they get the job done.

(1)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 18, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This Jetboil is the perfect stove for a backpacking trip for two--or even more! While it is a little hard at times to simmer effectively with it (they don't call it the Jet Boil for nothing), I've mastered the art of the Jet Boil slow cook, and have even learned to stop burning my damn oatmeal to the bottom of this thing (Trust me, once you've scrubbed it out a few times, you'll learn.)

Overall, this is a great product--my only grips are that it's a little tricky to clean, and simmering took a while to master. A very solid piece of equipment.

(2)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 18, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

--Other then the fact that the Gri Gri 2 is, quite simply, the best autolocker on the market.

Nothing else even comes close. This is one climbing purchase I would make again and again and again. It practically pays for itself with such incredible catches, easy lowering, and incredible rope range.

(0)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 18, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

After climbing on the DMM Offsets for two seasons, I don't even bother bringing up my BD Stoppers up with me any more. I still carry a few large wallnuts, but almost all of my passive protection these days is offset nuts. The offset gives these things crazy versatility, and if I'm ever looking for a straight-sided piece, I just turn them 90 degrees to minimize the offset. These guys are great--a must have for any climber, but especially one who frequents areas with irregular cracks.

(2)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 18, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Simply put: these are the finest small nut for any area with pin-scarred rock.

The security these guys provide in marginal, flaring situations is incredible. Even if you're not an aid hardman pushing the limits on some C3++ X line, you'll appreciate the 3 of the biggest in this set almost anywhere, and the smaller ones are perfect for marginal stuff. Pair these with their bigger brothers, the offset alloys (http://www.backcountry.com/dmm-offset-set-7-11?rr=t) and you're set.

(1)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Like most things, there are specific tools for specific jobs--the DMM Big Boa is my go-to tool when I need a biner with a huge carrying capacity, easy gate, and relatively lower weight. Right now I have one of these on my rack, but I'm looking to pick up a couple more. This guy ends up serving as the powerpoint on most of my anchors, and while I have rappelled on it in a pinch (buddy's got my belay biner, etc), I don't typically rappel too often on it... any i-beam biner won't do as well as a solid-stock as far as durability is concerned, but like I said--different tools for different jobs.

at $12.72 right now, it's a total steal.

(1)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

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

This stoic layer compares extremely well to pieces costing twice as much--the 17.5 micron wool is buttery-smooth, and I've never had any itch while wearing it next-to-skin... and it wicks just like it should. I'm not sure how the magicians at Stoic make such an amazing wool layer happen for so little money--but at this price, I'll be picking up a couple extra layers this winter.

For reference, I'm on the tall side of 5'11", and I weigh just under 140. A small fits me snugly--just like I want it to.

(0)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

While originally intended as a wall-in-a-day bag, the BD Stubby also has a secret double life as one of the very best crag packs ever made.

Don't go taking your UL backpacking pack to the crag when all you're doing is shlepping around your rack & a 6-pack from line to line (not that you should be drinking and climbing at the same time!)--the BD stubby is tough enough to get thrown around at the base of any climb, it's easy to use, and seriously--who cares about saving grams when you're just headed from the parking lot at Donnely canyon up to run laps on Generic Crack?

Seriously. My favourite cragpack ever.

(1)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Ever wonder why the only belay devices you see at the crag are the BD ATC Guide and the Petzl Grigri? There's a reason for that--this belay device is one of the most versatile, all-around belay devices on the market. It does what it should; catches big falls, rappels extremely well, and can be used in guide mode to easily bring up a second on a multipitch climb.

Not much else to say about it.

Pros: extremely versatile, does everything you need it to exceptionally well.

Cons: none.

(3)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

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

After 400 miles, this has been one of the best approach shoes I've ever owned. Even though the edging profile in the toebox isn't as defined as shoes like the La Sportiva Boulder X, this shoe more than makes up for that with it's super sticky sole, supportive heel, and great footbed.

Unlike most approach shoes, this shoe feels amazing when hiking even with a heavy pack on--they give plenty of support, and are a real confidence-booster on uneven terrain.

While I would never use this shoe for climbing harder than 5.7 (I've soloed Mount Olympus in Utah in them a few times--they did just fine for that), they're easily the best hiking approach shoes I've ever owned. They do great on long pack-ins, technical canyons, and other peak bagging adventures. Great shoe.

(2)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

BD's solution to the keyed-gate problem that many carabiners face is both elegant and highly functional. I love the feel of the gates on the hoodwire--they clip smoothly and have the perfect amount of resistance. It's not fiddly small, either, which makes using it for ice climbing or mountaineering very easy. Great biner.

(2)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Not much can be said about this draw that hasn't already been said--when you need something that won't weigh you down, but don't want to fight your biner with a tiny gate or a hooked nose, this is the draw to go with. The dyneema sling keeps your weight down, the biner is a dream to use, and these guys hold up surprisingly well with extended use.

(2)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Background: I own C3's, Aliens, Mastercams, DMM's, and a few other odds and ends. I've climbed on X4's, Heliums, Zeros, and a handful of other cams.

Product familiarity: I've had these on my rack since they came out. Offsets, normals, everything. Used them on big lines, free routes, sandstone and granite and everything in between.

Conclusion: These are a serious contender for "best small cam" ever award. Sure, I like the soft aluminum on the aliens, and I love the idea of an added size range on the X4's (not that I can tell, to be honest)...but each of those cams have their own issues. Mastercams, on the other hand, are amazingly reliable, solidly built, and place super well. I've never gotten one stuck , and I find that when I really need to feel good about committing to a hard move, there are few things as confidence inspiring as a bomber master cam (particularly the yellow or orange sizes).

The green size is totally worthless--so floppy it's almost impossible to place. Other than that, each of these cams is incredible. Durable, flexy, and places like a champ. I've fallen quite a few times on them, and have never been disappointed. These cams are well-worth a 5star review..just pretend the green # 6 doesn't exist, and replace it with a BD C4 #1 or comparable.

(2)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on December 2, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Full disclosure: I'm a total petzl-tool fanboy. I've climbed in the Ergo's, Quark's, and Nomics, and I love them all. I currently own a pair of Nomics and Quarks, and I probably put just about equal time on both sets of tools. I can't quite decide which tool I like better , but I think the Nomic is an incredible tool.

For the first time ice-tool buyer, it's important to keep in mind that most of what you'll hear from reviewers (like myself) is a combination of experience, hype, and preference. I climb with a guy who swears by his BD Vipers, but you honestly could not pay me enough to climb in them--clunky, annoying, and non-ergonomic..the petzl tools, especially with the head weights attached, are the absolute best tool in my mind for my swing style, personal preference, and climbing areas.

If you, like me, prefer a tool that is precise over heavy-handed, ergonomic over straight-shafted, keep reading. The Nomic is a great all around tool, but I find myself reaching for my Quark's on easier ice and alpine jaunts, and my Nomic's on harder ice. The tool has a great balance and flick to it, and with a little bit of detuning, the Ice picks stick super well, and clean easily too. I wish that the handle in the hole was a little lower so as to provide a clip-in point (either at anchors or for umbilicals), but I have found that I can extend that hole down a bit with a small loop of 9/16's webbing. I also like to wrap the shaft with 3M Waterproof Electrician's tape, to allow for effortless matching and choking. You'll never be plunging with these tools, so no reason to leave that shaft naked.

The ergo handle puts your wrist in a much more neutral position for steep climbing, leading to less fatigue and easier swinging--I like it a lot, but I don't care for the swing of the Nomic on easier ice--as previously mentioned, I tend to reach for my Quarks first in situations where I anticipate rampy ice.

Overall, this is a great tool! 4.5 stars!

(2)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on November 28, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Sometimes I wish I could go back and have conversations with my past self--you know, tell Past-Thomas to buy shares of Google, pick up a few bitcoins, etc...if I could, one of the ones I would have with past-self would go like this:

Future Thomas: You know, Past-Thomas, your tent really isn't working out too well for you, is it--don't you get tired of setting that thing up in the rain? And really--do you enjoy constant condensation and poor ventilation? How's that 7 pound packweight treating you?

Past-Thomas: Oh, you know, I guess it's fine. I'd like a better tent, but with all of them so expensive, I guess I'll just keep on suffering.

Future-Thomas: Your call, mate. Tell you what--eventually, you're gonna break down after your tent fails in an all-out rain storm up in the Lone Peak Cirque, and you'll end up dropping a few hundred to get yourself a nice, new iTent...but if you don't believe me, see for yourself. Spoiler alert: once you try to hide under that big rock near the meadow camp, it's gonna flood, too. Don't worry, you'll pull through the night--but not without a ton of swearing, a soaked-through sleeping bag, and an awkward cuddle sesh with your partner.

My only regret is that it took me so long to buy this tent. Perfect for one, cozy for two (great for alpine climbs), and an all-around killer design. Buy it now...before you get caught in a full-on gail storm in your mediocre, heavy old tent--take Future-Thomas's advice on this one, and you'll thank me later.

(5)

 

Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on November 26, 2013

The best women's helmet a man can buy
5 5

So my wife picked up this helmet a few months ago, and I never gave it the time of day until I was heading out for some early-morning rock and couldn't find my trusty half-dome. Without thinking, I snagged her helmet and drove to the crag. I had no idea what I was missing out on this whole time.

Seriously, this is my favourite helment I've ever used. The adjustment system is brilliant, it's super comfortable, and I always forget I'm wearing it. I'll definitely be buying my own here--especially because my (now wife) is getting tired of me stealing it!

(3)

 

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Thomas Gappmayer

Thomas Gappmayerwrote a review of on November 26, 2013

5 5

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

I've had this coat now for almost two years, and I've probably worn it no less than 300 days--it literally goes with me everywhere, and I've definitely put it through the ringer. Now, the only signs of wear are a small abrasion on the sleeve, and a pinhole I easily patched on the back of it. The zipper is starting to fail, but with as much as I've put this through, I'm not at all upset.

This coat fits as a great midlayer should--not boxy, but not so tight I can't squeeze a layer underneath it as well. The Pertex Microlight is surprisingly durable, and the coat looks great for around-town use as well.

(3)

 

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