Photo courtesy of Mikey Schaefer and Patagonia
Two comments that took a few minutes to write and I thought worth repeating here with an additional link from Patagonia.
Patagonia and water proof down?
"I've seen a lot of nice down jackets in the past couple of years.
And the industry has a twice yearly "game changer" @ OR. Some real and some imagined. Here is what I have been told. YMMV. I simply don't know enough to comment any further. But call me skeptical.
Water proof down goes back to/comes from the fly fishermen.
I have not talked with any of the current proponents of water proof down directly. But I did happen upon two of the major manufactures that have decided not to use a treated down in their garments.
The reasons as I understood them? Not hard to turn 700 fill down into 1000 fill down by this process. Just hard to keep it 1000 fill down in long term use.
Not hard to make water proof down. Just hard to keep it water proof down long term.
Down garments and bags will last generations and fully functional if properly cared for. The good ones are and have always been expensive. I want mine to last and work as expected from day one till I decide to ditch it.
I understand the reasoning behind wanting water proof down. Great idea. And it may well be a game changer. But when two of the best manufactures in down gear currently decide they want to wait...and for what seems like good reasons. I'm hesitant.
The flip side to all that?
I've had the chance to spend the winter in the newest Patagonia alpine line of clothing. Guide, Mixed Guide, North Wall and Knife Blade/Piton combos. Gotta say I am really impressed with every piece of the line. The designers and the athletes have obviously come together in the alpine line with some amazing synergy. I really am impressed. Even though I think it might better be described as a dh ski line as easily as a "alpine" implied climbing line. It works for both and looks pretty natty All of which bodes well imo for the new down. Just not convinced yet."
Much more here from Patagonia and worth the read:
Black Diamond Crampons again:
"the heel piece that I just received used a harder alloy and different plastic design than previous generations....on first glance they look much better. the plastic piece is designed to pop onto the heel with more accuracy"
Only two known failures? The first in public mid Dec 2012. Nice of Joe to give us all a heads up on what to look for. And your second warning Keenan. An anomaly I am sure. Now a new heel piece design from BD. Hard to keep up on all the problems and the resulting redesigns/fixes.
You seem to imply this is only a larger size boot issue? 46 and larger by your implication? Or just not an issue...until it is an issue?
I only ask because you and Joe brought the heel lever failures to the public. Joe ended up dumping his from what he said in his last public accounting. You now seem satisfied with yours.
Seems what I get from this is we are back to, "inspect your gear" and some gear just requires you to "inspect it more often".
May be the lesson is gear fails, complain on the Internet until the company calls you and fixes their shite. Then go back on the Internet and make nice. Tell us how good the stuff really is once fixed.
Side track here..in case there is any misperception. I have no loyalties to any gear manufacture. And no bone to pick personally or professionally with any gear manufacture. Much to the consternation of a few that have commented. I simply keep track. And I rely on my own gear to not fail.
Two BD heel levers obviously fail. 2 months later we get 2nd hand word of may be a new design to solve a problem that may be is caused by using bigger boots. Not sure where that leaves me with my heel levers but OK...I've been warned anyway, thanks to Keenan and Joe. And the Internet.
All too familiar territory and scenario imo, if you are keeping track.
The flip side?
One broken connecting bar on a well worn (worn out!) Grivel G20 comes to light at Grivel. No Internet fuss. Just a simple email to Grivel. Grivel replaces the entire crampon in trade for the pair with one broken connecting bar. Couple of months later totally new design on the connecting bar. Grivel makes a public statement of the improvement and offers free replacements for anyone in the older G20s or G22s.
Just to go a little further. I still own BD Sabertooth and Serac crampons. If I could simply trust them to NOT FAIL I would climb everything from hard M to WI6 in Sabers. I like how they climb and have done both in them. But in the current stainless versions, from experience (remember I keep track) I simply don't trust them to be reliable. That started with the first failures reported back in the winter of 2010/2011. I continue to read reports of their failures today. Never been any word as to why they fail. May be it is the big boots, soft boots, beginner climbers, walking in them, climbing in them (seriously?) or the other paltry answers BD "officially" pronounced early on. But never a faulty crampon...just more "fixes" never acknowledged, that are still failing on occasion.
Now folks (such a gentle term) on the Internet tell me that horizontal crampons are not made for technical climbing and that big feet cause crampon failures. Which of course defies history and common sense. Or that some of the best and most well respected alpine climbing boots ever designed are NOT appropriate for use with that crampon.
Better yet some want to quote the statistical failure rates based on the manufacturer's information. If the company had a history of being open and transparent I might take those numbers to heart. Grivel and Petzl for example..seem pretty open about gear failures.
Only statistics that concern me are the ones I generate from my boots and my crampons. Those numbers I trust and are the only ones meaningful to me when I clip on my crampons.
I may have fallen of a turnip truck. But thankfully I didn't fall off yesterday."