Tag Archives: mountaineering gear reviews
Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX
$480, 4 lbs. 1 oz. (mondo 25/men’s US 6.5/Euro 39)
Sizes: men’s US 6-13/Euro 39-46, women’s US 6-12/Euro 37-43
For my 15-year-old son’s first technical mountain climb, a four-day, April ascent of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney—where we’d face conditions ranging from hot alpine sun to frigid winds, and be walking in snow with crampons for nearly the entire four days—I wanted to put him in a pair of all-around mountaineering boots that would feel comfortable for miles of hiking, handle the “technical” terrain of a moderately steep snow gully, hold a crampon reliably, and keep his feet warm. I decided on a proven performer that would serve virtually any climbing adventures on glaciers, snow, or ice: the Mont Blanc GTX. Continue reading →
Big Agnes Battle Mountain 2
$700, 7 lbs.
On a four-day, April climb of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney, strong winds raked our campsites—especially for two nights at our high camp at 12,000 feet, below Whitney’s dramatic East Face. But my teenage son and I hardly noticed the wind, sleeping like babies. On a trip where we needed a sturdy tent, but didn’t want to haul something heavy and bulky, the Battle Mountain 2 gave us a very livable shelter that’s significantly lighter and more compact than many competitors. Continue reading →
La Sportiva Trango Cube GTX
$390, 3 lbs. 3 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 37-48/US 5-14
Traditional mountaineering boots are heavy, and we’ve all heard the maxim that every pound of weight on your feet is like five pounds on your back. That’s taxing when you’re climbing a big mountain—and that’s why I picked the Trango Cube GTX for a four-day, April snow climb of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney. On it, and other classic mountaineering routes in the western U.S. and elsewhere, you hike more than you “climb”—meaning that you’re striding normally (albeit often on snow) more than you’re employing French technique or kicking steps for ascending steeper snow in crampons. Due to their heft and stiffness, many mountaineering boots aren’t all that comfortable to walk in. But that’s exactly the kind of adventure where this boot shines. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
In the interest of full disclosure, as a climber, I’m no one. I climb trad and sport rock routes up to 5.10 and I like moderates. I do the kind of mountaineering where people generally survive. My partners are family and friends, none of whom are sponsored (although my son has climbed 5.9 in sneakers), and my only first ascents were accidental and not recommendable. If you’re looking for a reviewer with a five-continent climbing resume and a home that has bumper stickers, I’m not that dude.
But in a sense, I’m everyone—or I’m like most recreational climbers. For climbers like me, here are my gear recommendations—based on 25 years (and counting) as a rock climber and nearly as long as a mountaineer (and 20 years as a gear reviewer)—for what you need to hit the crags and the mountains to have fun, be safe, and go back to work on Monday with some pretty good stories that will never get into any magazine.
Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
For our spring ascent of the Mountaineers Route on California’s 14,505-foot Mount Whitney—highest peak in the Lower 48—my 15-year-old son (in lead photo, above, approaching our high camp below Whitney’s East Face) and I used technical gear that you would use on many classic snow and glacier routes up peaks from Cascade Range volcanoes like Shasta, Hood, and Rainier to Mount Olympus, the Tetons, and the Alps. Here are my from-the-mountain observations about the gear that got us up and down Whitney, including backpacks, a mountaineering tent and boots, climbing hardware, super warm sleeping systems, and technical apparel. Continue reading →