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The cold world of alpine climbing.

The cold world of alpine climbing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Gear Smear?

If you climb much you'll break gear.  If you are a gorilla like myself and some of my buddies and like cold weather you'll break even more gear.  Climb in the alpine and you'll simply wear much of it out.

The recent Petzl tool threads comes to mind.  I am still climbing on new Ergos.   Remember the original Sarken?  Great crampon now btw.   But if you do much looking on the Internet Black Diamond's past pick issues will come up as well.  Or the original carbon fiber handle attachments.  I love my Cobras and generally use factory Laser picks.  Even while building my own CT picks for BD tools.

Clothing and boots aren't immune either.  I went through 3 or 4 or was it 5 pair of broken Spantiks (seriously I can't remember how many I shipped back in a two year period ) before I finally got a pair that haven't broken a lace or an eyelet. (yet).   And I love my Spantiks but owned them a lot more than climbed in them because of the lack of reliability.  How about the current shift away from Primaloft 1 to Primaloft Eco and Sport?  Or the "value" for your dollar in "belay jackets"?

It is easy to find fault, not as easy to help.   If nothing else I think it helps to speak up.  The good guys listen when there is a real problem and fix it.

Yesterday I had a conversation on how "impartial  I try to appear, but really am not".  

Of course I am not impartial.   Everyone has their own vision of fair and useful.  Through my own eyes I try very hard to be fair here.  I generally write about gear I find useful.  I have been climbing awhile.  I have developed certain likes and dislikes.  I am a small business owner (totally outside the outdoor industry) and I know how I want to be treated and how I want to treat customers. (which is pretty much the same btw)

So I come with a full load of baggage when I write reviews and support manufactures or small businesses or don't.

I have intentionally tried to keep the blog positive.   If you wondered why (and I get asked all the time) your favorite piece of kit hasn't been reviewed or commented on one of three reasons if it is ice/alpine related.  1st would be I don't like the style or it doesn't fit me.   2nd,  I simply don't have the money to buy everything I want or have yet to find it worth the expense.  Or the 3rd,  and thankfully few in this category but it might be obvious.  I have had dealings with your favorite in the past and find their products and service suck.  I'd rather say nothing at all than say something really negative in a public forum when that was the case.  Your experience might well be totally different.  Hopefully it is.   If a company really sucks, eventually word gets around.  No reason for me to pour gas on that fire.  It is a small community and we all talk with one another eventually.

I've mentioned this before, but very few things that I review are given to me.  If it is given to me I will make that clear and mention it in the review.  But I review stuff because I really like it and would have eventually bought it, not because it was given to me.   I generally buy everything myself either on a discount that is available to anyone shopping online (on sale) or on occasion via a legitimate professional discount offering.  I am not one of the climbing magazines where manufactures generally just send me free stuff to review in print.  Even if they do I owe nothing....to anyone.   If I do write it will be my own experience, good or bad. 

And I won't be reviewing an 8000 meter down jacket for use as winter bouldering apparel either.

I typically spend my own money on what I write about and I don't have a problem with that.  Couple of reasons for the attitude.  My spare time in the mountains is pretty limited.   I actually have a full time job and it isn't writing a gear blog.  No way in hell I am going out in my spare time to "test" gear I wouldn't buy.  And no way I'll write about it as "payment".  I am pretty darn picky about what I will buy.  But like everyone I make mistakes as well and have buyer's remorse.

If there is a legitimate reason I have buyer's remorse, past buying too much gear, I'll comment on it.

Same reason I will revisit some of the gear comments is with enough use, my opinions change...some times better and some times worse.

There are so many exceptional companies in the out door industry...both small and large.  Most of them will go out of their way to make things right for you.  No one is perfect and you are just as likely to find the good ones as I am....or the bad ones.

Remember what works for me may not work for you.  Always take my comments with a grain of salt and trust your own observations.  I can only write what I see or experience.  I don't pretend to know much, let alone know everything.  Do your own research...learn through your own experience when you can what works for you.  Then compare notes with anyone you can find  that has similar interests, experiences or goals.  Type it into Google. And always consider the original source.

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