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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Sledge sunglesses by Tifosi?

    -click on the photos to get a full size version-

My environment has changed a good bit in the last couple of years.     I live in an area now that gets 210+ days a year of sun and 82 days of precipitation.   It is a desert.    Beautiful as it is here the barren land and glare here are both rough on the eyes.

We moved here from a environment of 205 sunny days  and some kind of precipitation, on average, 173+ days per year.   Needless to say there was a lot of green :)

With a enough green in the environment light colored glasses are usable even with blue eyes that are more prone to bright light damage.

If you have read through CT it is likely obvious I own and use lot of different sun glasses.   Skiing, climbing, on a horse or bike, or just in the field,  I literally don't leave the house without a pair of high quality sun glasses on or stashed on my person.  

I rate my own glasses two ways.  Sun protection and eye protection.   On a tight single track or a fast road bike decent I want eye protection.   On a horse here in the desert I want eye protection from the blowing sand and dirt.   Shooting?  Eye protection is mandatory as a safety concern.

Enter Tifoi's newest sunglass, the "Sledge".    Or maybe better described as a "google"?   In the last few years any number of sunglass companies have enlarged their lens to almost the size of a small pair of ski goggles.    The Sledge is one of them  and it was designed ground up specifically for cycling.   And they work extremely well there.  Great protection and most importantly great vision with the super large lens.  There are no blind spots with the Sledge on a bike.  If you have ever been hunched over for hours on aero bars looking through the frames (not the lens) of a poorly designed sun glass frame you know the pain.   That is not a Sledge problem.   Ever done that quick lane change and snapped your head left for a second to check oncoming and not have a clear view of what's coming because of a bad frame/lens design?!

I wanted the Sledge in the darkest lens they had available.  Which is a mirrored gray.  And it is dark (3).  Good enough for the bright summer days here.   But it was the clear and intermediate lens that got my attention for every day use in less harsh conditions.

I have a couple pair of clear lens glasses that I use as safety glass for shooting or crashing through the brush.   If I am weed wacking or mowing the lawn  I use a sun glass of some sort as a "safety glass".    But typically none of them offer the eye coverage and protection of the Sledge.  

The lens come as filter rated clear is a 0, the intermediate lens is a 2 and the gray mirrored version a 3.  All tucked into a handy carrying case.

The last time I had an eye injury was from a shard of ice while climbing.   It actually cut my cornea from a pick placement mid lead .  From then on I have generally climb with a visor attached to my helmet.  A eye injury in the middle of a week long climbing trip was not something I want to ever repeat.   Ice climbing is  a place the typical sun glass might be too dark or too light or simply not offer enough protection all the while guaranteed to fog up on you.   I like having multiple len shades to choose from and good venting.

The Sledge has great venting.  I've had no fogging even when just working while stationary wearing  them during 80F temps and 70% humidity and sweating badly.    On a bike...I don't think you'd ever have a problem.  Ice climbing?   I still need to check out.

The company spiel?

Grilamid TR 90 frames.   My Dynafit ski boots are made of some sort of Grilamid.  I have yet to break any of them.  Not without trying!   :)

Polycarbonate lens...tough stuff.  Ballistics tough.
100% UVA and UV protection
Hydrophilic rubber on the frames that gets stickier as you sweat
Lens are coated to reduce eye strain

[b]and a lifetime guarantee against defects[/b]

Sold in four colors, you’ll have the choice of Crystal Orange with a Clarion Blue lens, Crystal Red with a Clarion Yellow lens, Matte Black with a Smoke lens, or Matte White with a Smoke lens – all of which are shatter proof and provide 100% UV protection.

May be the best thing about the Tifosi Sledge from my point of view is the price....$80. MSRP     I am way over what most are asking as the going rate for a decent pair of sunglasses these days @ $200+.  The Sledge is my first pair of Tifosi.   I am impressed.  They won't be my last pair of the brand.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Rethinking tech Bindings?

The most difficult lines I have skied have all been in lwt "race level" Tech bindings.    The story linked below isn't the first time I have heard of a major failure on a tech binding toe while in use.    

Y'all be careful out there!

"How a Close Call in La Grave Changed My Thoughts About Bindings" 

Gear failure is part of the risk we accept as skiers—so how do we stay safe?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Alien 1.0 and Low Tech Race bindings

I have a new pair of size 29 Alien 1.0s and a new set of Dynafit Low Tech Race 1.0 bindings I'd like to sell. $750 for the boots with a new and spiffy pair of the lycra gaiters included.  $300 for the bindings (still new in box) .  Boots just aren't a good fit for my feet.  The same bindings I use pretty much every where and on any ski up to a 110.  These are spares.

Make you a deal if you buy both.  I'll pay the shipping in the US. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The top three Arcteryx Cold Weather Synthetic jackets?

Image result for arc teryx kappa hoody

The top 3 Arcteryx cold weather jackets?

  • I'm well into the process of wearing them out                 
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: large in the Kappa and SV, XL in the SL (all seem to have a similar  fit in those sizes)                   
Unusual review for me.

I was looking for the warmest jacket I could find with literally some of the best cold weather climbing jackets hanging in my gear room now. That included both the Arcteryx Kappa and a Fission SL. The list got one more this winter with the Fission SV. I ordered up new versions of each from BC. Tried them all on and kept the SV. The others went back...nothing new there from what I already had.

A life style new to me, but for the last 6 months I've been getting up just prior to dawn, rain, shine or snow to feed livestock for the last 6 months. One of the coldest winters on record here.   Going on 60 days at or below freezing now.  The Kappa, a trusted friend for winter climbing in the Alps and Canada wasn't warm enough most days early and late. The Fission SL, the "go to" hard core winter climbing coat, wasn't up to the task when the wind started blowing @ -25F any time of day. Mind you both of those Arcteryx jackets are really good cold weather pieces! But this is an honest comparison made by wearing all three day after day of multiple sub zero weeks this winter. The SV is slightly longer, sheds wind much better than the other two and because of both the length and wind resistance, it is noticeably warmer. The double chest pockets are handier if required. I now know why you see this jacket on a lot of full time ski instructors in the Rocky Mtn States. Not seen a warmer jacket that can take a real beating (day in and day out on the ski hill or in the barn) and still do the job just as well at the end of the Season as the beginning. If you really need a cold weather jacket the SV is worth the extra price compared to the Kappa for warmth IMO.  Kappa is a taped Goretex product but not warrantied to be water "proof".   Although feature to feature IMO the Kappa is a better buy if it is warm enough for you.  And if you don't need fully taped and water proof Goretex.  Never needed Goretex frankly other than rain gear but have found the water proof layer really nice when it has been needed here.   Goretex was not something I bought the SV for however.  And would now just for the extra protection.    The Fission SL (fully water proof  Goretex as well) is a great climbing jacket for warmth and weight. But I find it hard to justify the price when compared to the other two. For a climbing parka and really cold dry occasions (think of missing the Tram mid winter on the Midi) my impression is you can do better for warmth and weight (short of snow cave living) by going to one of the better down jackets intended for the same use. Still not a big fan of the SV's fashion styling ( still undecided if I like the collar/hood design or not).  OK I'd will admit I wish the collar was higher".  Glad all the SV jacket has a dbl zipper because when it is not really cold, the jacket is too long and too warm.  When it is really cold and windy the length is perfect :)  The SV is now the only COLD WEATHER jacket I have hanging in our mud room getting daily use. And it is THE jacket I grab when I want to be warm and protected from the weather/elements on foot, on a horse or on a exposed 4 wheeler. Given the choices in cold weather jackets I have available that is saying a lot. It is still not the jacket I would take climbing. It is too heavy and frankly not cut for climbing. Kappa and SL are both lighter and cut to easily climb technical ground in. But the Fission SV is the one jacket I wish I had when I really need a warm jacket. Simply because it is the warmest most weather resistant synthetic insulation I own.

I like the snap on the hem and zipper of all three jackets.  Not a fan of the big toothed zipper used although it does work well but hard to get started sometimes.  I have to take my time and be careful.  Never a good situation when it required for a piece of my climbing kit.  Cuffs are dialed!   But also could be done better with just elastic like the Atom Series.    Hoods as expected, are exceptional with or without a helmet.  External pockets?  Not so much thought there was my opinion.  They work..enough said.  Dbls always better than one for me.  Internal pockets on all of them are awesome!   All three are solid cold weather jackets.  Kappa is the lightest least bulky, easiest to wear.  The Fission SL is warmer, slightly bulkier, more wind proof "perhaps" and costs amore than dbl what you can buy a Kappa for.  But it is water proof :)  The Fission SV is longer, more weather proof and WARMER than either.  It has a funky hood and collar design.  Both are good, neither is perfect.   SV does have double breast pockets....which I really like.   Cost is more than a Kappa, and less than the SL.   Best to find any of them on sale in late Spring or early Summer!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Reel Rock #11

I was lucky enough recently to preview all of the RR #11 Tour.  Some amazing climbing and even more amazing people profiled.  Well worth a look see,  A little digging on the Internet will give you  a number of options for viewing.   From a guy who use to really look forward to the Warren Miller ski films Real Rock Productions have taken over a good part of that yearly stoke.

Hard not to be inspired by the footage and the climbers involved no mater what part of the climbing world you are involved in.