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.
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.
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.
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.
Aluminum and light weight ice screws have been around for many years in various forms. Early Jeff Lowe models that were in short supply or Russian titanium ones that had a tendency to bend or break saw most climbers steer clear of the light weight screw options.
The perfect boot? I know this is a bold statement but what is needed from a boot? Comfort, warmth, dexterity, durability, being able to take a technical crampon and cost, fortunately the Trango Extreme has all of these qualities in spades…
Over the past 18 months the New Zealand Alpine Team along with Macpac have been developing the ultimate alpine climbing pack. Light, robust and full of features specifically aimed at those who like to hike, climb or travel light and fast in an alpine environment. The pack comes in two sizes and two material options. Its been great to hear the feed back from other climbers around the world when they have seen the new packs. While loading the new Alpine Series Pursuit onto our glacie
I dislike living in tents as a rule. Whenever I do trips, I’ll avoid taking a tent at all costs if I can stay in a hut. The condensation, the lack of space, the extra organisation required to make the most of the minimal space, not to mention the weight all deter me from tenting; especially if there’s a hut nearby. Therefore prior to Alaska, the two things I was dreading the most was melting water for every drink or meal, and living in a tent for over a month.
I always try to be light in the mountains, not least because I hate carrying a heavy pack, and I’m always keen to shave off a few grams. One really good way I’ve found to do this is to make sure you’re making use of the advances in Carabiner design, and that the ‘biners you chose are the best for your situation. I’ve been nerding out over the lightest ‘biners and draws since I started climbing, and thought I’d share my thoughts about some of the designs out there. It’s very possible to shave as much as half a kilo from your rack, even before you start slimming it down, just by making sure you chose the very best ‘biners for the job
Winter climbing is hard work. In general you are weighted down by extra clothing, heavy boots, deep snow and cold temperatures. In general the tendency is to carry to much. Everyone likes having a safety net around them too some degree. Climbing is a progression. Little by little you unlock parts of the puzzle and progress to the next stage. Clothing and climbing equipment seem to move at about the same speed.