Salewa produce a wide range of mountain footwear, and one of their specialities is approach shoe footwear. Over the past year, Gemma, Alastair and David have each been trialling a different approach shoe in Salewa's range, each excelling at a different level of ruggedness in the alpine continuum. Gemma has been using the Salewa Mountainer Trainer for big walling in Yosemite, Alastair has been using the Salewa Firetail Evo for long approaches around Mount Cook and Patagonia, and David has been using the Salewa for trail running and less rugged approaches in the Arthurs Pass area.
All of us in the NZAT were stoked to partner with Julbo NZ recently, and as a result of that partnership we've each been given a pair of Julbo's latest sunnies to try out. Personally, I chose the Shield glasses, which have Julbo's top-of-the-line Chameleon lenses - polarised, antifogging and photochromic ('cat. 2' to 'cat. 4').
Macpac Pulsar Plus concept by – Daniel Joll , review by Matthew Scholes
I was sitting in El Chalten, Patagonia, with Kim Ladiges after a successful but particularly wet and cold ascent of the Ragni route on Cerro Torre. In total we were out for six cold and wet days. Often sleeping in our tent on top of a bed of water. We were talking over our ideas for the perfect synthetic belay jacket. Something that would perform well in cold, damp environments and also had a technical cut allowing you to easily climb while wearing it. We used the Pulsar, but felt we wanted something a bit beefier for cold conditions. The concept for the Pulsar Plus was born from this conversation.
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.