These sticks I actually bought!
I post this kind of thing once every few months so the new readers get an idea of how Cold Thistle works.
At one time I bought everything I wrote about. I now buy some of what I write about. Black Diamond was the first gear company to give me gear. It didn't "buy" them a review however. Check out the stainless crampon threads to see how that relation worked out long term. Nor will giving me gear now "buy" a review. Not uncommon I am given gear I won't use (or write about) and will buy another brand I actually will use.
Free gear is actually pretty easy to find. Good gear is much more difficult. I find it easier (and cheaper in the long run) to buy good gear than waste time and energy dicking around with the...........lets say, "less than good gear".
But I also no longer keep track of what I buy and what is free. I do try to mention the "freebees" in the reviews however. As I remind some of my co-authors, nothing is ever free. You have to use it. Which is some times easier said than done. You don't have to write about it.
What you get here is simply opinions. Our opinions. They may not match your opinions. What works for me or any of the other authors may not work for you. Pays to keep that in mind when reading our reviews.
I still use everything I write about. I am pretty picky about the other authors that post here or do reviews. All of them are climbers I'd climb with and I trust their judgement on gear. But I may not always agree with them. Some times I bite my tongue and don't comment. Sometimes I'll disagree in public. That is how it works here. You need to make your own decisions based on your own experience level. If you have little experience don't be afraid to ask a question. I'll certainly try to find you an answer that I would trust.
It is a blog people. One I do for free and intentionally without ads to distract you. My reviews are bad enough if ads annoy you. Ads annoy me! Everyone has a voice if they want it on the Internet. I've been climbing awhile now. I don't like the institutional memory of our tribe to disappear piece by piece, body by body every year. So I decided to make my own voice heard and hopefully others of the tribe. But it is simply my voice in the end.
I enjoy writing and hopefully others get some enjoyment from the effort. Either way thanks to all for dropping by.
If you want to know more about me or how I come to my opinions this may help a little:
If you need more just ask.
The freebee here is an old pair of Grivel umbilicals.
I generally find it easier to just buy what you actually trust for gear.