Macpac Pulsar Plus concept by – Daniel Joll , review by Matthew Scholes
There are many alpine rock routes including technical rock climbing, that you want to change into rock shoes for, that you need to carry the shoes you approach in. This is the category this shoe works brilliantly in, that I call approach shoes. Low weight is key here, you don't want to lug your old heavy leather tramping boots up a hard pitch, but they also need to be robust enough to handle a scrambling approach or scree descent that might rip a pair of light fabric trainers to shreds. The Firetail is my favourite shoe in this category. They were light enough to carry up a hard pitch of a new route at Cloudy Peak, robust enough to handle the long scree descent.
After doing the maths on my trusty old Macpac Paclite jacket and realizing there were more patches than actual jacket, I knew the time had come for a new one. I’ve always had good performance out of Macpac jackets in the past and the Macpac Lightweight Prophet AP Rain Jacket didn’t disappoint. A jacket is one of the most important pieces of clothing for any climber or mountaineer so it’s important to get a reliable one which performs well.
If I had to describe the Mac Pac Fitzroy soft shell pants in one word it would be AWESOME. The Fitzroy is Macpac's premier soft shell pant which combines breathable stretch and high water resistant materials that make a well-rounded performing mountaineering and rock climbing pant in cooler conditions. The Fitzroy pants are made of 50D stretch fabric with DWR treatment for water resistance which means they wick water extremely well for a soft shell pant.
For almost three years now I have been climbing with the Tendon Master range of ropes. During this time I have used almost every style from half ropes, light weight single ropes and thick single ropes for big wall climbing. For this review I am going to focus on the 7.8mm Master Half Ropes. These are my favourite ropes for ice and winter alpine climbing. When its time for summer alpine and rock routes I usually move to a pair of 8.5mm Master Half Ropes.
The synthetic puffy insulation jacket is a cornerstone insulation piece. I have had one in my bag for almost every trip I have done in the hills, for almost the last 10 years. It is extremely versatile and useful. It is my choice compared to a fleece or down jacket in most circumstances. It is warmer for the same weight than a fleece, as well as wind and water resistant. A good down jacket can be warmer for the weight, but with a sacrifice of robustness and performance when wet. I originally used one as a 'belay jacket'.
A stiff pair of technical boots is amazing for slashing steps over short sections of snow without needing crampons, confidently edging on rock, or using with technical crampons. Stiff boots are often heavy and cumbersome though. I was looking some light stiff boots for summer climbing when I came across the Salewa Raven Combi.
I’ve been wearing these approach shoes for three months. Usage has included extended bouts of bush-bashing in soaking wet Fiordland jungle; long approaches to single-day rock climbs in the Darrans; multi-day tramping trips on reasonably well-formed tracks, one short transalpine trip involving glacier travel; and general use like going to the crag or the supermarket.
It has been several years since I felt Mapac had gloves in their range suitable for alpine climbing. I am pleased to say this is now changing. Up until the 2015 season the main Macpac glove that I wore on a regular basis was the Stretch Fleece Glove. This is one of the better base layer fleece gloves I had found. Both the fit and size are perfect for cold approach walks or ski tours.
In 2012, I lost my Jetboil virginity whilst walking the 30+ kilometres down the Dobson River in torrential rain, wearing plastic boots. Reaching Kennedy Hut, two hunters took pity on us and boiled up some water for a tea. The virtually instant hot water blew my mind; a stark contrast to the rigmarole associated with getting my liquid fuel stove up and cranking.