In the saturated and expensive market of high-tech sneakers for climbers, called ‘approach shoes,’ one model has for several years stood out in terms of durability and utility. In partnership with Bobo Products, the New Zealand importer of Salewa, I recently got my hands (or feet) on some new Salewa Mountain Trainer IIs. Not that I needed to: my 5 year old pair still looks almost new, despite considerable abuse. Nevertheless, the new model has received a few upgrades and improvements, and at the outset of this review I’ll simply say that they are great (you can stop reading now if you wish).
In search of a lightweight set of half ropes, I have recently been testing out the Tendon Master 7.8mm ropes. I have used them on recent climbs in the European Alps such as the long north faces of Dent Blanche, Aiguille du Jardin, and water-ice climbing in the Haute-Maurienne, and I found them to perform excellently on these particular climbs. If you are looking for a new light, compact double rope setup, read on.
The size and weight of your pack can have almost as much impact of your chances of success on a climb as your level of fitness and skill.
In this review Jaz Morris discusses what he's learnt about different models of offset cams during a long season trad climbing on North American granite. We couldn't find any comparison reviews on the internet so we hope this will fill a bit of a gap!
I have been using Jet Boil stoves for over 12 years. During this time, I have used most of the common models starting with the Zip, Flash, Mino Mo, Joule, Sol Ti and most recently the Micro Mo. As a member of the New Zealand Alpine Team I am lucky enough to get the latest models as part of our sponsorship agreement with Jet Boil. Jet Boil is the stove I have chosen to use long before we had any form of sponsorship from Jet Boil and it would still be my first choice of stove if I had to go and buy a new one in the future.
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.