02 november 2012

Gear: Mountain Hardwear SummitRocket 40

As part of the Ueli Steck Collection, Mountain Hardwear have created the SummitRocket 40 pack 'for the expedition alpinist pushing the limits with a superlight, high-performance pack with good versatility and volume'. I got to test the updated 2012 version.
Mountain Hardwear SummitRocket 40
Mountain Hardwear SummitRocket 40 (2012)

I've used the SummitRocket 40 on a number of trips; I've taken it while alpine rock climbing in the Austrian Alps, while hiking and camping in the Candian Rockies and as my only luggage during a relaxing holiday on Bali - on average the pack has performed very well.

15 september 2012

Banff, Alberta, Canada. Nice, eh?

A while ago, I was asked by Hoogtelijn, the magazine of the NKBV, to go to Alberta, Canada to write an article about the Canadian Rockies. I spent most of my time in Canada in Banff National Park. Although the article will only be published in a few months time, I've been back for a week now, and thought I'd share a few of the highlights of the trip with you;

This is me on the summit of Mt. Cline, which is 3361 meters (or 11027 feet) high, and lies on the border of Banff National Park and the Wild Goat Wilderness Area

This is me after topping out on Gooseberry (YDS 5.9 variation) on Tunnel Mountain near the town of Banff

This is me on Sentinel Pass, which is the high point of a nice day-hike from Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise. Going up you get great views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The pass is the start point for the normal (scramble) route up Mt. Temple, the East Ridge of Mt. Temple is considered one of the '50 Classic Climbs of North America'. Now why didn't I do that!?

The trip was organised by TravelAlberta, with help from Yamnuska Mountain Adventures and the Canadian Alpine Club. 

Needless to say I've enjoyed my time in Alberta, Canada immensly. Maybe we'll do the next trip in the winter, TravelAlberta?

22 juni 2012

Rock Climbing & Gear

I should specify; this blog is about Sports rock climbing gear. Because I've done some sports climbing recently in Belgium, I thought I'd share on what I usually bring on multi-pitch sports climbing (i.e. bolted) routes.
some gear in use on a training wall; an anchor using the climbing rope

26 mei 2012

Gear: Butterfly Wallet

A 7 gram wallet. Really? Really. It's the Butterfly Wallet.
Apparently it's been around for a while, but I'd never seen it before, until I stumbled on it by chance.
This is it:
Butterfly Wallet Coupon
The Butterfly Wallet

Looking for the 10% discount coupon code? Click 'read more' or see below!

25 mei 2012

How to make an Alpine Quick Draw

I thought I'd do a quick blog on how to make an alpine quick draw.
An alpine quick draw is different from a sports-climbing one, because it has a longer, extendable sling. The long sling can be very usefull, but you don't wan't a 60cm long sling hanging from your harness.
But, what do you do with it?
Alpine Quick Draw
Alpine Quick Draw

17 mei 2012

Gear: Hanwag Ferrata Combi GTX

I've been using a pair of solid mountaineering boots, the Hanwag Omega GTX. These keep my feet warm enough down to -15c, and will take an automatic crampon. I used them for ice climbing last february. However, these boots can be a bit overkill for three season use and/or places where there's not so much snow or ice. So, I decided I needed another pair of boots for those conditions.
I got a pair of the Hanwag Ferrata Combi GTX.
Hanwag Ferrata Combi GTX
Hanwag Ferrata Combi GTX

09 maart 2012

Gear: Lightest Screwgate Carabiner In The World by Grivel

Usually in the title of a post I mention the name of the product I review. But in this case it's the 'Grivel Plume Nut K3N'. Really, what kind of a name is that!? Wild Country Neon - yes. Camp Nano - yes. 'Plume Nut K3N' - how in the world is that in any way descriptive of the World's Lightest Screwgate Carabiner?
Anyway. I digress.

As you might have guessed by now, this review is of the Grivel Plume Nut K3N. It weighs a mere 37 grams, and for a screwgate carabiner, that's pretty much the lightest I've come across, and let me tell you: I've done the research. Therefore, I dub it the 'Lightest Screwgate Carabiner In The World'.
Lightest Screwgate Carabiner In The World
Grivel Plume Nut K3N screwgate carabiner
So, it's best in class in the weight catagory. But, is it functional?

02 maart 2012

The Apprentice... aka ice skills again

This text was originally posted on Cold Thistle. As I'm in the stage of learning how to ice-climb, this was very usefull to me, so I thought I'd pass on the information on my own blog. Thanks, Dane.

Ice climbing is a subtle sport.  At first glance it would seem to be all strength and bravado.
It isn't.

When learning, you can use some help. Here our guide Werner is setting up a top-rope for us to practice on. Gausthausfall, Leusens, Austria

25 februari 2012

Gear: MLD Super Exodus backpack

This is a review of my Mountain Laurel Designs Super Exodus (2010) backpack, after a fair period of use.
MLD Exodus
You might think 'Super' Exodus? What makes it super? Well, if you go to MLD's website and look up the Exodus, you will no longer find that option, but back in 2010, Ron at MLD offered a 'Super' version of the packs he makes.

17 februari 2012

Gear: Grivel Quantum Light ice axe

During the ice climbing course I did recently, I used some new gear. Next to the Petzl Lynx crampons, also new were a pair of Grivel Quantum Light ice axes.
Grivel Quantum Light
Grivel Quantum Light ice axes, 1 with adze and 1 with hammer
 I modified the axes a little bit before I used them, which becomes obvious if you compare the picture above with this stock-image:

04 februari 2012

Gear: Petzl Lynx crampons

I've used the new Petzl Lynx crampons for the Ice Climbing course I did recently, and have already mentioned them in the post about Ice Climbing Gear. I thought I would also do a more in-depth review.
Petzl Lynx review

Petzl describe the Lynx crampons as modular crampons for ice and mixed climbing, with leverlock universal bindings. 'Modular' refers to the changeable frontpoints and bindings of the Lynx.

29 januari 2012

Ice Climbing & Gear

There are a few things on my list of climbing-things-to-do, one of them is learning how to climb waterfall ice. I´ve been able to check this off, as this past week I've been Ice Climbing in Leusens, Austria.

Gasthaussfall Luesens
Leading part of the Gasthausfall, Luesens, Tirol, Austria.
Ice Climbing is pretty gear intensive; you need a lot of it, especially for long routes.

06 januari 2012

Denali: gear that worked & gear that didnt, before I totally forget

True to the name of the blog; on my trip to Denali I took a fairly big pile of gear.
A lot of it worked great, with some, I had some issues. All items are important, but some more then others. I would say the most important items are: