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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Best Gear of 2010/2011

I am lucky enough to see a lot of new gear.   The "new" generally gets started at the Outdoor Retailer show in January where products are shown for Fall delivery of that year,  9 or 10 months later.   But that is only half the story as many of the European manufactures don't import everything in their production lines (or show them at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City) into North America or sometimes just not into the USA.  You have to keep up on the Web sites or make a visit to Chamonix to see what is really being used and collecting a buzz..

For the first time and not the last here is my list of the best gear of 2010/2011.  My season is generally broken up by the Fall delivery of new ice gear so I'll try to do update the list every year just as summer gets started.

But unlike the yearly picks of some of the magazines once you make the list it is going to take a new and most importantly, a better piece of kit. "in my opinion" to get knocked off THE list.

My list here is gear I actually choose to use over all the gear I have available to me.  Nothing listed here that I don't have multiple choices of and have tried or still use some of those other options.  But when pushed what I have listed is the "best of the best" for my own use.  Once in a while price point helps make that decision but not often.  But it has on this list so it is worth mentioning.  What is listed here is what I would cut my gear room down to if I have to make the hard choices choices or just own one.   No surprise if some of this stuff isn't on your own list.  That is what makes a horse race and keeps every one in business.  Feel free to share your list as well in the comments or tell me why I missed the mark.  Some categories are still missing, stoves, tents and sleeping bags for instance.  And some times I have just skipped categories as it gets really confusing even to me.  If there is not category listed I have yet to make up my mind or haven't used the gear enough to make a knowledgeable comment..   At some point I'll get to those as well but in a blog effort first before adding them to the list.

If you haven't read this blog first for context, you should:

"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."

If you have read much of the blog...few of these will come as any surprise.
What I have reviewed on the blog is marked  (reviewed).  You should be able to find those reviews with the search function.

CLOTHING (the outstanding pieces)

long under wear bottoms (available again fall '11)
Costco Paradox

base layer top
Mountain Hardware Integral Long Sleeve Crew,default,sc.html

lt hoody (reviewed)
Sherpa Adventure Gear Khushi Merino wool hoody (available fall '11)

med hoody (reviewed)
Patagonia R1 Hoody

Arcteryx Gamma Lt

NW Alpine Alpinist bib (reviewed)

Sweater (reviewed)
Arcteryx Atom Lt Hoody

Insulated jacket (reviewed)
Arcteryx Atom SV

Down sweater (reviewed)
EB hooded sweater

Down Jacket (reviewed)
Norrona Lyngen

Westcomb Epoc in Neoshell (available Fall '10) (reviewed)

glove liners
Black Diamond Med weight Liner

Mountain Hardware Hydra (reviewed),default,sc.html

Head gear (reviewed)

Eye Wear
Smith goggles

Native glasses


single boots
Scarpa Phantom Ultra (reviewed)

double boots
La Sportiva Spantik (reviewed)


Biner (reviewed)
Trango Super Fly wire gate

Locking biner (reviewed)
Trango Super Fly

Belay biner (reviewed)
Black Diamond Gridlock

Belay device (reviewed)
Petzl Reverso 3

Brass Stoppers (hard to find in the USA)

Wild Country Rocks

Wild Country Helium Friends

dbl ropes
Beal Ice Twins

Single rope
Beal Joker

Black Dianmond Bugaboos

Ice tools
Petzl Ergo (reviewed)

Petzl  Dartwin (reviewed)

Ice Screws
Grivel Helix (reviewed)

Blue Ice Boa (reviewed)

Cold Thistle Hammer (totally biased opinion)

Petzl Meterior III


Gear sling
Metolius (reviewed)

Dynamic sling
Mammut Shock Absorber Dyneema

Tech watch

Small Pack
Cold Cold World Ozone (reviewed)

TLT 5 Mountain TX  (version not currently available in North America but two other TLT 5s are)

Hard snow ski
Dynafit Se7en Summit SL

Soft snow ski
La Sportiva Hi5 (availalble Fall '10)

Dynafit Low Tech Race

DIN (well not DIN but releasable)
La Sportiva RT

Best piece of retro gear
Dachstien Mitts


fulton said...

Nice list! Meanwhile some employee in the French postal system is checking off what he got from your undelivered parcels! "Ce bon! Oui, oui, oui, non plus, oui...North West Alpine? Quelle bonne idée!

Combiner said...

so, you do not use any DMM gear? I think DMM Shield carabiner easily beats Petzl Ange. I also think their Phantom beats OD Oz, and i know people that carry their Revolver as an emergency pulley for crevasse rescue, not only to reduce rope drag. They are the people behing I-Beam technology now licensed for BD.

Yes, Super FLy is a good one, but no keylock, and it seems to me like that design is dating.

Dane said...

DMM? Many many pieces of gear that I have yet to see. DMM is obviously one of the best and one of the brain trusts I was writing about in another post. It is obvious how they treat their customers by their public actions. Also impressed that DMM stayed in country for their manufacturing.

DMM isn't well distrubuted in the USA. Neither is Grivel. Both companies that deserve more exposure on the blog but I simply don't have the cash or time to test/use everything.

How many pairs of ice tools and crampons should one person own?

My "best list" is simply the best I have been exposed to as of yet.

Not all that impressed with any of the key locks so far. But agreed the Superfly is dated. Call it the best of the "old" technology if you like. But I find it interesting no one has radically bettered it either. Imagine where I put the Oz on that list.

I thought the Petzl Ange might be a big jump. But after using them, still prefer the "s'Fly"

Shield has a nice gate, bit heavier than the rest and a weird shape imo. Revolver is the sheet. Locking version of the same even better.

Thanks for pointing out the DMM gear. It does deserve more attention here in NA/USA.

"My list" is defined by a number of things. Price, weight, just how useful they are to me and how useful they are in general on my rack or in use. Weird combo I know. Hopefully it is an easy list to go through. The idea is to be able to have a list to pick and choose from and find something that might work for you with the least amount of hassles or costly mistakes.

Mr. Fulton? Yes, the French postal system does suuuuuuuuck! Now stop reminding me will you :)

Anonymous said...

As far as biners go, I really like the Gridlock, but the Attache 3D is GREAT for master points/when you need a bigger biener.
WC Nitro locker I think beats the Superfly locker hands down in terms of size, weight and keylock.
For wiregates in terms of price/weight/cost/clipping the DMM Prowire is my favorite biener of all time, the Trango wiregate is also one of my faves but only beats it out on weight.

Stephen said...

Nice list! I've worn pair of Oakley Polarized Radar Pitch for years. glass lenses! they have great customer service and used to give guides a hefty discount.