Gear and apparel review

Mountain Hardwear Tarvos Pant

Patryk looking fresh on the summit of Dent Blanche, Valais

Patryk W. looking fresh on the summit of Dent Blanche, Valais

One of the favorite pieces of clothing I got, as a participant in the Mountain Academy program, definitely is the MHW Tarvos Pant. Obviously, it wasn’t designed for tropical summer or severe winter conditions. But for anything else in between, the Tarvos is just perfect, be it multi-pitch sport or trad climbing, summer mountaineering and alpine climbing, or simply going for a hike! These pants aren’t truly waterproof – you’d need an extra DryQ layer for that –, but overall breathability is excellent and they dry pretty fast, too. What I like most about them is the combination of smart cut and stretchiness of the shell fabric, ensuring comfort even during very specific moves like high-stepping, wide bridging, or stretching. Finally, the sturdy knees and bum make for very good durability; there’s no need to worry when placing a knee-bar en route, or enjoying the last daylight from a rocky chair.

MHW apparel is also fully recommended for alpine rock disco!

Mountain Hardwear apparel is also fully recommended for alpine rock… disco! – Photo by Nathan S.

Black Diamond Cams

No need for cams – Trust your feet, the gear is good, com’ on!

No need for cams – Trust your feet, the gear is good, com’ on!

For last summer’s trip to the Canadian West, the Mountain Academy lent me a full rack of Black Diamond gear: Camalots (the cams), Camalot C3’s (the micro-cams), Stoppers (the nuts) plus a set of neat HoodWire clips. I guess all of you are familiar with the world-famous Cams. Well, what I can say is that during that three-month trip I also had ample opportunity to compare these Camalots to other camming devices. From this comparison I must admit that it’s true: the BD pieces of pro surely rank at the very high end of today’s best camming units.

Nathan jamming splitter cracks in the Canadian West.

Nathan jamming splitter cracks in the Canadian West. Next time, rendezvous in Italy?

Some of the world’s best-looking lines undoubtedly go along crack systems up big granite walls. Rumors are that stage 4 of our alpine training program would take place beginning of this summer on the Italian side of the Mont-Blanc mountain range. There are some mythical lines on perfect granite. So I started dreaming: as a preparation to the next stage, perhaps we should have a “rainbow” party in nearby Orco Valley, sometimes dubbed as Little Yosemite. We would gratefully take very good care of the Black Diamond babies – as long as they take good care of us!

AKU Rock Lite

Aude S. on the Dibona summit crest

Aude S. on the Dibona summit crest, barely noticing the extra weight of the AKU Rock Lite clipped to her harness.

The past year I have used the AKU Rock Lite a lot for general travel as well as for approaching base camp, mountain hut or crag. The best assets of this approach shoe are its ultra-light weight, comfortable fit and sticky sole. Thanks to the outstanding grip of the Vibram sole, it’s also possible to do some advanced scrambling. With these shoes, I even did the West Ridge of Pigeon Spire in the Bugaboos, camp to camp!

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