Gear Notes

Beginning with this blog, I’d like to keep for myself and others accurate notes on how gear performs in the field…

June 9, 2008 – More gear notes this weekend thanks to novice climbers’ new stuff. Spotted the Mad Rock Frenzy EZ, a pretty great shoe for beginners in the outdoors. As a hybrid climbing/approach/descent shoe, you have the comfort many crave in the early stages. I’ve also noticed that new climbers tend to leave their shoes on all day. The Frenzy EZ is built for it with a reinforced, extra-comfy toe box and treaded sole from mid-foot to heel. Though probably unintentional, the tread reminds you to edge on your toes and not flop your arches onto footholds. I probably wouldn’t wear the Frenzy, but only because it lacks the climbing heel. And besides, I like to air my feet out in flip-flops between routes.

May 27, 2008 – The advantage of hanging out with novice climbers? Playing with their neat new stuff. Met a remarkably skilled novice this weekend at Exit 38. He brought a newcomer to the Petzyl vs. Mammut debate I’m going through right now. The Mammut Flash 10.5mm. Felt like butter. So, in terms of handling, I’d pick the Flash first, Zephyr second, and Tusk last. However, if you look at the numbers, the Flash has a higher impact force and elongation % than the Zephyr. It’s also heavier than both contenders – and 50m rope at 63g/m (my Tusk) is about all I can handle when fully loaded with climbing gear and backpacking supplies.

Top categories for each:

Tusk – lightest weight (63g/m)

Zephyr – lowest impact force (7.28kn) and elongation (6%)

Flash – most excellent handling

May 24, 2008 – Petzl Zephyr 10.3mm far out-handles Mammut Tusk 9.8mm.

Zephyr: Smooth as a baby’s bottom right out of the bag and came in a courteous butterfly coil for immediate use. Tusk: Stiff as a horn or an exoskeletal appendage or, oh yeah, a tusk.

My sister’s is the Zephyr. Mine’s the Tusk. I wonder if she’d trade.

Since Forever – Evolv shoes stink. Best fit I’ve found – tight without the pain – but they reek to high heaven. Tried dryer sheets. Wash them, you say? I’ll let you know how that goes. I might also try Five Ten Sirens again. Didn’t have my last pair long enough to find out if their synthetic uppers absorbed as much odor as Evolvs. Bought them too small, I did, and returned them for my current olfactory nightmare.

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