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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reader's survey?

If you look at the top ten most read articles on the Cold Thistle blog they are:

•Petzl Nomic and Ergo.."danger danger will robinson"  (gear update)
•Scarpa Phantom Guide vs the La Sportiva Batura (gear review)
•Be attentive when placing ice screws!  (climbing technique)
•The Outdoor Retailer Show SLC 2011  (gear news)
•The Scarpa Phantom 6000 review (gear review)
•The Climbing Sweater? (gear review)
•My climbing pack?  (gear review)
•Ice climbing skills and techniques (climbing technique)
•Petzl Nomic Review..Old vs New (gear review)
•Design triumphs..the Norrøna Lyngen Down Belay jacket (gear review)

Gear reviews get the most over all traffic.  And I have more of those planned.  But many of the new ones will be on clothing not on hard goods.  The exception this spring will be BC skis, boots and bindings as I wade my way through to come up with gear that will work better for me next year.  We might be lucky enough to have Crystal Mtn stay open till late June or early July this year.  So I plan on skiing in the BC and on lifts until the majority of snow is gone.

I have a litany of reviews I am still working on from this winter season (another look at two previous boots, more crampons, something on ropes, a bit on rock gear, a test on stoves, but mainly more clothing) but what I really want to know is what would you like to see for content.

The Blog started as me just spewing about what ever interested me at the moment.  As the seasons change so do my interests.   Long easy alpine traverses, spring skiing, triathlons, rock and of course some alpine climbing is generally the mix.   My interests.  But I'm curious as to what yours are?


Anonymous said...

I love the gear reviews, and would like to see more technique and training articles! Thanks!

Greg said...

Hey Dane. Devout follower here, love reading the gear reviews. Excellent blog.

I will gratuitously oblige your request for future topics, though you may regret having asked by the time you finish this list ;)

I know you're a fan of Mountain Hardwear (mostly due to their use of Outdry), but would be curious to hear more about which models you've settled on recently. Would also like to hear which gloves you use for specific conditions, as well as if you have any other brand/model preferences at this time.

Did you end up buying/testing the Westcomb Neoshell jacket? Would love to hear any updates or reviews if so, or any rumors in general about this new fabric.

-Warmer weather clothing.
I've read all about and adopted several aspects of your cold weather layering system (merino/R1 base, Atom LT mid, Down/Primaloft Parka). With spring/summer approaching I am curious to hear what, if any, tweaks you suggest for warmer conditions where an outer parka might be overkill. I'm especially curious to hear your suggestions for wind/rain protection (Gore-tex Paclite? Softshell? Warm living room until the weather improves?).

-Non "ice specific" climbing hardwear.
I'm interested in hearing what your favorite carabiners, slings, harnesses, anchoring systems, helmets, ropes, etc. are and why. Do you typically go for the lightest available or are there certain pieces where function wins out over weight for you?

That's all for now. Any reviews you post will, as always, be enjoyed and appreciated but these are just some specifics from this reader. Keep up the great work. Cheers.

-Greg, Salt Lake City

Dane said...

Greg, much of what you have asked for is already in the works. Some I'll add at your request or add to what I have. Thanks for the feed back on the summer stuff. Blog coming on the Neoshell jacket...just did some more Noeshell deserved it. My new profle pic is in the Neoshell. Good stuff.

Jay said...

Yes, we are all gear nerds, and since I have a limited income to spend on climbing gear (and would prefer to spend as much as possible on climbing trips instead) it's nice to know what works best for you. I'm new to climbing so technique is great too and of course whoc else to read and what other resources are good. I'm always happy to be directed to a post by Colin or Will or whomever else. Thanks for the great work.

Wyatt said...

Dane, just keep doing what you're doing. I love the history, the ice tips, I love the gear reviews, the tech talk, the technique and philosophy discussions, the links to other blogs, the sweet videos you find, everything. Just keep it coming. This blog is the most consistent way to get my fix for alpine climbing knowledge. I know its just one man's (sometimes rambling) opinion, but its killer material. One post an hour wouldn't be enough for me.

A few things I'd like to see:

-more history!

-impressions (not nessesarily reviews if you haven't used the stuff) of non petzl/bd ice tools and crampons. Lots of interesting/cool stuff out there by Grivel, CAMP, DMM, e-tools, etc.

-thoughts, reviews, philosophy on non screw pro, especially pins

-technique, objectives, and do's and don'ts when tuning or sharpening picks, crampons, and screws

-(more) thoughts on rope systems, decision making, training, skiing, mountain movement, racks, lightening up, whatever.

-more cool stuff from CT tools! tool mods, new pick designs, how bout some pins or ice hooks?

Anonymous said...

Gloves, stoves, bivy systems, alpine anchoring, skiing for climbing and cloths for different temps all would be amazing!
To some extent axes and crampons/boots are extremely well covered now. Enjoy the focus but all of the above would be really interesting.

Joseillo said...

I think, the most of people find your blog while they are looking for some information about new gear. I found it like this while I was looking for "Batura vs Phantom". Then, I am taking interest in this blog because I also like almost all articles. And the other hand, I know others alpinist bloggs through this one.
Perfect for me, don´t changes!!

morgan said...

more than anything I read for the technique tips. I'm 2 years into an obsession with ice climbing and I want to immerse myself into the world of classical alpinism in the coming years.

i'd love to see short musings on alpine techniques or tricks that are often overlooked because they seem second nature, but that someone just entering the game would be less likely to know (but needs to know).

be it tidbits on protection, common misconceptions, tricks of the trade, that kind of thing.

I'm also somewhat of a tinkerer always with an eye for improving my own gear, and would greatly appreciate more posts about your experiences with tinkering.

Morgan...from oh-so-mountainous-Ontario

Anonymous said...


Big fan of the blog. I would love to see more on systems and climbing technique. As a new climber in the alpine world I find my BC and sport climbing roots to be a small step in the right direction. Having picked up Mark Layton's book, I am amazed at some of his tips and tricks on bivying, proper rope managment, and climbing technique. If you could cater these two subjects more towards a beginners crowd, I feel like it would be much appreciated.

Anonymous said...


I always enjoy reading your gear reviews and I hope you will continue with this part of your blog. Although I enjoy all your gear reviews, I am primarily interested in your reviews on ice climbing equipment and the associated accessories. For example, your recent reviews on ice screws and your older reviews of the new or updated Petzl ice tools were very informative. In addition, since ice climbing is such a gear intensive sport, I like to hear what you have to say about the clothing that is associated with the sport such as gloves (I feel I will be searching for the rest of my ice climbing career for the "perfect" ice gloves), leashes, boots, etc.

In my opinion, you have one of the best blogspots on alpine and ice climbing.



Julian said...

Hey Dane,

Frequent reader of your blog here who loves all the content so far. My favorite pieces are the ones where you combine together a review of gear and/or techniques with the history/evolution of that topic. It's great to hear the perspective of someone who has been part of the game for such a long time, but who's also excited by the modern innovations in climbing rather than dismissing them.

Rafal said...


As you know, frequent reader of the blog. What I find best about the blog is that it makes me think and analyze my own technique, gear, processes and systems.

With that in mind, I think the content you have is great.

I know it's impossible for one person to test all the gear that's out there, but as the others have mentioned, I would like to see more info/reviews of gloves and clothing, as these are the hardest pieces to trade with someone and try out for yourself.


Jon Rhoderick said...

Hey Dane
I've been reading you blog for the past nine months or so, and I check it at least once a day when I'm thinking about doing anything else but my college homework. I see your blog as the alpine equivalent of Wildsnow, which is the best example of a successful outdoor blog. I would rate this blog and Extreme Alpinism as my main resources for alpine techniques. Your blog's greatest strength is how you draw together the gear and technique together to show not only how to climb mtns but how to "think like an alpinist". I like articles that put it all together like Cosmin's Cassin article and the ice tool and crampon articles that not only review gear but emphasis when it is best used (and avoided!).

Thanks for all the knowledge and congratulations for making a successful blog

Greg said...

I really appreciate all of the great information you've posted on your blog up to this point. Your insight has helped broaden my understanding of light and fast technique. As my alpine climbing has progressed from day outings to multi-day climbs, I have started testing various lightweight bivy/sleep systems (i.e. tents, tarps, bags, quilts, half-bags, etc). I am hoping to get it dialed for a trip up the Cassin next May. Any wisdom/experience/insights you have concerning this would be much appreciated.
Greg, Ogden, UT

Dane said...

Denali is a huge step up from Rainier and the Cassin even more so than the West butt. Always good to think about gear but if you are asking about light and fast on Denali you need a few trips to Rainier first to sort it out a bit better. Nothing I can tell you is going to help more than your feet on the ground and miles in the mtns. Cold mtns at that.

Cosmin's article on the blog about soloing the Cassin is a good place to see the suffering involved on Denali no matter what you bring for gear. As is Colin Haley's blog in May every year.

akalpinist said...

I really like your weight charts, but by far my favorite posts have been throw backs. Bringing up great old articles and stories about the more classic "super alpine" lines around the world.

In response to the Cassin, I have to agree with you. There is very technical climbing on the Cassin. Having done it in a push, I would say the less you bring the more you'll enjoy it.

Thanks for the great blog Dane. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

LTW Alpine eyeware would be a good post - sunglasses/glacier glasses/goggles/helmet visors, ect. I was ust thinking about this and wondering if there was a lighter way of doing this then yellow goggles and 2 pr sunglasses on big trips