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The Summit

Source: . Credit: http://www.impawards.com .
Source: IMP Awards. Credit: http://www.impawards.com .

I recently discovered that a film about 2008 K2 disaster called The Summit had gone unnoticed by me. It's cast certainly isn't as impressive as that of upcoming Everest but being the movie-buff I am, I clearly have to watch this one too.

Tragic events of August 1st and 2nd 2008 on the Abruzzi RidgeK28611mSouth sideIII, 50° have also been covered in several books, at least The Time Has Come: Ger Mcdonnell - His Life & His Death on K2.O'brien, DamienCollins Pr2012Damien O'Brien is married to Ger McDonnell's sister, Denise. A keen sports fan, especially of GAA, Damien spent 3 years as chairman of his local GAA club. He was fascinated listening to Ger tell his stories and was delighted to write this book in his honour.97818488914329781848891432The Time Has ComeNon-fictionen, No Way Down: Life and Death on K2.Bowley, GrahamHarpercollins2011In the tradition of Into Thin Air and Touching the Void, No Way Down by New York Times reporter Graham Bowley is the harrowing account of the worst mountain climbing disaster on K2, second to Everest in height... but second to no peak in terms of danger. From tragic deaths to unbelievable stories of heroism and survival, No Way Down is an amazing feat of storytelling and adventure writing, and, in the words of explorer and author Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “the closest you can come to being on the summit of K2 on that fateful day.”On August 1, 2008, no fewer than eight international teams of mountain climbers—some experienced, others less prepared—ascended K2, the world's second-highest mountain, with the last group reaching the summit at 8 p.m. Then disaster struck. A huge ice chunk came loose above a deadly three-hundred-foot avalanche-prone gully, destroying the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers—many without oxygen and some with no headlamps—faced the nearly impossible task of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not. In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history.97800618347909780061834790No Way DownNon-fictionen, K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, 1 Reprint Edition.Viesturs, EdBroadway Books2010Ed Viesturs, one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers, explores the remarkable history of K2 and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time, he probes the mountain's most memorable sagas in order to illustrate lessons about the fundamental questions mountaineering raises—questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one's teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory. Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and got caught in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death before Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott's.Focusing on seven of the mountain's most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs's personal collection and from historical sources, this is the definitive account of the world's ultimate mountain, and of the lessons that can be gleaned from struggling toward its elusive summit.97807679326089780767932608K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous MountainNon-fictionen, One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story of Tragedy and True Heroism on K2, Paperback Edition.Wilkinson, FreddieNew American Library2011One Mountain Thousand Summits reveals the true story of the K2 tragedy that claimed the lives of eleven men. Based on his numerous trips to Nepal and in-depth interviews he conducted with the survivors, the families of the lost climbers, and the Sherpa guides whose heroic efforts saved the lives of at least four climbers, Freddie Wilkinson's narrative uncovers what actually occurred on the mountain, while delivering a criticism of the mainstream press's incomplete coverage of the event, and an insightful look into the lives of the six Sherpas who were involved.97804512333189780451233318One Mountain Thousand SummitsNon-fictionen, K2 Surviving Three Days in the Death Zone, 1th Edition Edition.Rooijen, Wilco van & Thurman, RogerG+J Publishing CV2010In the summer of 2008 the 'Norit K2 expedition' climbed without additional oxygen the 8611 meter high peak of K2 in Pakistan. During the descent the expedition turned from triumph to tradedy. One of the biggest tradedy's in mountain climbing history. Statistical every quarter 'conqueror' will die on the "Killer Mountain". In 2008 11 climbers lost their life. The news was going over the whole world from CNN, Al-Jazeera, Sky News, BBC, New York Times etc.Wilco van Rooijen, the Dutch expedition leader has been missing for three days and give up by the outside world. On his last strength he came back a life out of the 'Death Zone'. The 'Norit K2' Expedition 2008 paid a high price. What exactly took place that August 1, 2008? How could this tragedy have taken place?97890892704679789089270467Surviving K2Non-fictionen and The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest Days.Falvey, Pat & Pemba, Sherpa GyaljeO'brien Press Ltd2013On 1 August 2008, 18 climbers from across the world reached the summit of K2, the world's second highest and most dangerous mountain - a peak which claims the life of one in every four climbers who attempt it. Over the course of 28 hours, however, K2 had exacted a deadly toll: 11 lives were lost in a series of catastrophic accidents. Attracting a climbing elite and standing at 8,611 metres on the Pakistan-China border, K2 is known as the 'Mountaineer's Mountain' because of its extreme technical challenges, its dangerously unpredictable weather and an infamous and hazardous overhanging wall of ice known as the Serac. Snow-bound at Base Camp for weeks on end and increasingly despairing of their prospects of success, an unexpected weather window gave the climbers the opportunity they were waiting for. In their collective desire to reach the summit, seven expeditions agreed to co-ordinate their efforts and share their equipment. Triumph quickly turned to tragedy, however, when a seemingly flawless plan unravelled with lethal consequences. Over the course of three days, a Nepalese Sherpa called Pemba Gyalje, along with five other Sherpas, was at the centre of a series of attempts to rescue climbers who had become trapped in the Death Zone, unable to escape its clutches and debilitated by oxygen deprivation, chronic fatigue, delirium and a terrifying hopelessness. The tragedy became a controversy as the survivors walked from the catastrophe on the mountain into an international media storm, in which countless different stories emerged, some contradictory and many simply untrue. Based on Pemba Gyalje's eyewitness account and drawing on a series of interviews with the survivors which were conducted for the award-winning documentary, The Summit (Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Productions, 2012), The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest Days is the most comprehensive interpretation of one of modern-day mountaineering's most controversial disasters.97818471764319781847176431The SummitNon-fictionen. Obviously there is no shortage of articles covering the disaster in main stream media including: Few False Moves, K2 tragedy: 'We had no body, no funeral, no farewell ...' and K2: The Killing Peak. Unfortunately this is not the first time when large group of climbers were held captive high on K2 with catastrophic results: 1986 K2 disaster.

One Day as a Tiger

Source: . Credit: https://www.v-publishing.co.uk .
Source: Vertebrate Publishing. Credit: https://www.v-publishing.co.uk .

Once again, Amazon recommendations came up with interesting suggestion in a form of One Day as a Tiger: Alex Macintyre and the Birth of Light and Fast Alpinism.Porter, JohnVertebrate Publishing2014'The wall was the ambition, the style became the obsession.' In the autumn of 1982, a single stone fell from high on the south face of Annapurna and struck Alex MacIntyre on the head, killing him instantly and robbing the climbing world of one of its greatest talents. Although only 28 years old, Alex was already one of the leading figures in British mountaineering's most successful era. His ascents included hard new routes on Himalayan giants like Dhaulagiri and Changabang and a glittering record of firsts in the Alps and Andes. Yet how Alex climbed was as important as what he climbed. He was a mountaineering prophet, sharing with a handful of contemporaries - including his climbing partner Wojciech Kurtyka - the vision of a purer form of alpinism on the world's highest peaks. One Day As A Tiger, John Porter's revelatory and poignant memoir of his friend Alex MacIntyre, shows mountaineering at its extraordinary best and tragic worst - and draws an unforgettable picture of a dazzling, argumentative and exuberant legend.97819102400839781910240083One Day as a TigerNon-fictionen. The book is a biography of Alex McIntyre, a name that may not be household name like Reinhold Messner, but arguably just about as influential for the development of modern alpinism.

After ticking some of the hardest alpine routes of the era, he steered to Himalaya for bigger objectives. With partners like Wojciech Kurtyka he was a strong advocate of pushing pure alpine style to the biggest routes on the highest peak at the time when massive expeditions and siege tactics were very much the norm. Granted, there had been alpine style attempts and even successful ascents before, such as the first ascent of West SpurBroad Peak8047mWest sideAD; 60°Normally three high camps. by Fritz Wintersteller, Marcus Schmuck, Kurt Diemberger and Hermann Buhl, even purer in style climbs on East sideSkilbrum7410mEast side53h and Chogolisa by the same climbers during the same expedition and even far earlier attempts by Albert F. Mummery on Nanga Parbat8126m to name a few examples.

McIntyre arguably pushed the style further than any of his predecessors laying the groundwork for a style that much later became to be known as fast 'n light style. McIntyre sadly died at the age of 28 when climbing on Annapurna I8091m. Before his untimely death he put up extremely impressive palmares including:

The author John Porter was not familiar to me. However, having participated in many of McIntyres's biggest climbs he clearly was at the forefront of the sport during the late 70's/early 80's. However, his contribution to climbing world does not stop at selection of landmark ascents as he is one of the founder's of Kendall Mountain Festival as well as co-founder of SteepEdge.

The Roskelley Collection

In 2014 spring John Roskelley was awarded Career Piolet d'Or, a trophy formerly awarded to Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Robert Paragot and Kurt Diemberger, all mountaineering legends.

Roskelley was not too familiar to me although I had bumped into his name here and there. As Amazon 's recommendations email featured his book The Roskelley Collection.Roskelley, JohnMountaineers Books2012Three extraordinary stories of mountaineering literature, now combined in one volume* Includes 30 color and 75 black-and-white photographs* Part of The Mountaineers Books "Legends and Lore" series for climbers, armchair mountaineers, and readers of classic adventure literature The Roskelley Collection includes legendary climber John Roskelley's three acclaimed books, together for the first time in one volume and all written with opinion, self-reflective humor, and spellbinding adventure. Also included are two new essays about Roskelley's more recent climbs with his son: an ice climb (Slipstream) in Colorado and a summit climb of Everest.Stories off the Wall is Roskelleys autobiography, told in a series of essays that includes accounts of attempts and ascents on the North Face of the Eiger, in the Russian Pamirs, in Yosemite, and in the Himalaya. Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition, a compelling and emotionally raw page-turner, chronicles the 1976 expedition, co-led by Ad Carter and Willi Unsoeld, on which Unsoeld's daughter, Nanda Devi Unsoeld, died on her eponymous mountain. Last Days recounts two legendary climbs in the Himalaya: one a successful first ascent of Tawoche in Nepal with Jeff Lowe, the other an attempt on Menlungste with Jim Wickwire, Greg Child, and Jeff Duenwald.97815948566489781594856648The Roskelley CollectionNon-fictionen, I decided it was time to change that and wen on to do some research. Mr. Roskelley has several groundbreaking ascents (like NE ridgeK28611mEast faceV, 50-70°, Direct east faceUli Biaho Tower6109mEast facenccs VII 5.11d,A434 pitches, American routeGreat Trango TowerMain summit, West side5.9,aid and West faceGauri Sankar7145mShankar, West faceA32800m, 66 pitches, many of which still unrepeated and marking milestones in technical climbing in Greater ranges) to his name.

The book consists of books: Stories Off the Wall, Reprint edition.Roskelley, JohnMountaineers Books1998He has lost toes to frostbite, suffered pulmonary edema, survived avalanches and icy bivouacs. Roskelley, one of America's premier mountaineers, recounts his experiences on the high peaks and his transition from teenage exploits to middle-age prudence. He offers stirring tales of adventure: a dramatic rescue on Denali (Mt. McKinley), an impulse climb on the North Face of the Eiger, tackling a frozen waterfall in Canada's Banff National park. Roskelley claims three 8000-meter peaks; he was the first American to reach the summit of 27,000-foot Mahalu in Nepal. He attended the ill-fated 1974 International Climbers Camp in the Russian Pamirs, an expedition beset by an earthquake and avalanches, during which one of his companions and nine women climbers died. To select a climbing partner, Roskelley uses the "shoelace test"--if the person's shoelaces don't stay tied, he won't tie onto a rope with him or her. His adventures provide peak reading.97808988660949780898866094Stories off the WallNon-fictionen, Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition.Roskelley, JohnMountaineers Books2000In 1976, John Roskelley joined an expedition to climb Nanda Devi, the third highest mountain in the Indian Himalayas. This is the story of that ascent, led by top mountaineer Willi Unsoeld, whose young, inexperienced daughter, named for the peak, perished there. It is the story also of Ad Carter, part of the team that first summited Nanda Devi forty years earlier; and of Lou Reichert and Jim States, two of the three members to actually reach the summit. But mostly this book is about Roskelley himself, who led the summit party of three and who outspokenly criticized an expedition that allowed unqualified climbers to participate in the technically difficult ascent. Originally published in 1987, Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition established Roskelley's reputation for being not only a forthright and uncompromising climbing critic, but also a wise and authoritative mountaineer dedicated to grueling preparedness.97808988673989780898867398Nanda Devi: The Tragic ExpeditionNon-fictionen and Last Days, 1st edition.Roskelley, JohnStackpole Books1991Roskelley, one of mountain climbing's more prominent figures, describes two of his Himalayan climbs: Tawoche's East Face in Nepal (summited 1984) and Menlungste's Southeast Ridge in Tibet (attempted 1990). In addition to detailing the climbs, Roskelley offers his climbing ethics: a quick alpine-style climb is preferable to porter-supported battering of the route by teams of climbers; depend on skill and experience; opt out when luck is given too big a part in the climb. His point of view is that of a family man approaching middle age, yet his language is that of latter-day climbers. Recommended where there is a climbing clientele.- Paula M. Strain, MLS, Rockville, Md.97808117088909780811708890Last DaysNon-fictionen and seemed to be highly recommended. Besides, such many-in-single-covers books (Kurt Diemberger Omnibus: Summits & Secrets, the Endless Knot, Spirits of the Air.Diemberger, KurtMountaineers Books1999Kurt Diemberger is a the only person alive to have made first ascents on two 8,000-metre peaks – Dhaulagiri and Broad Peak – and he is recognised as one of the finest chroniclers of his contemporary mountaineering scene. His books have popular around the world and his writing is guaranteed to enlighten, move and entertain.As a fantastic mountaineer and career expeditioner, and a skilled filmmaker and writer he has been a witness to 50 years of eventful Alpinism and Himalayan climbing. He gives us a link to the golden age when the 8000-metre peaks were first climbed – in the 1950s and early 60s.The Kurt Diemberger Omnibus brings together three fine books, one of which, The Endless Knot, is perhaps the most gripping and tragic mountaineering saga ever written. It describes the ill-starred K2 attempts of 1986 during which thirteen climbers died in a variety of incidents. At the end of the season seven climbers made one last bid to gain the summit, five succeeded but, overtaken by a storm during the descent, only two of the seven climbers survived. One of them was Diemberger, who describes events with harrowing candour.Summits and Secrets deals with Diemberger’s early climbs in the Alps, the Hindu Kush and the Himalaya. It describes the epoch-making first ascent of Broad Peak in 1957 and the equally significant first ascent of Dhaulagiri in 1960, where he reached the summit with a Swiss team. The final book is the more relaxed Spirits of the Air, where Diemberger reflects on his varying – and often hilarious adventures – and on the contrasts between his life in Italy, Austria and the always-beckoning Himalaya.97808988660639780898866063Non-fictionen and The Boardman Tasker Omnibus: Savage Arena, the Shining Mountain, Sacred Summits, Everest the Cruel Way.Tasker, Joe; Boardman, Peter & Bonington, ChrisMountaineers Books1995Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker each two accomplished books which, deservedly, soon acquired classic status and became required reading for all those venturing to high altitude. It is fitting that the memorial to these two exceptional climbers and writers should take the form of the annual Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature. As for their own four books, these are now reprinted for the first time in one volume. 97808988643669780898864366Non-fictionen) are great for longer trips.

Crack School

Wild Country Crack School Masterclass - with Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall.

British gear manufacturer Wild Country sponsors Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, known as Wide Boys. The lads are no slouches when it comes to crack climbing whether it being full body combat of off-withing or the other end of the width spectrum.

Hot Aches has filmed their exploits on Century Crack (wide boyz ) and Cobra Crack (wide boyz ii – slender gentlemen ). The manufacturer has also produced Crack School Videos a series of videos where the guys reveal tricks of the trade.

Wide Boyz II – slender gentlemen

Slender Gentlemen. Source: . Credit: Hot Aches .
Slender Gentlemen. Source: Hot Aches. Credit: Hot Aches .

features some cutting edge climbing both in alpine terrain (Shark's FinMeru Central6310mNorth East Pillar6a,A4, WI5,M61400m) as well as high-end rock climbing. I would imagine most of us having seen the film remember section titled "Wide Boys", as it is driven, gripping and funny all at the same time.

I wasn't too sure about whether I should buy the full-length version of Wide Boyz as I already owned the Reel Rock. Boy am I glad I did, as it is not merely a extended cut of the same film, rather than completely different movie. Having really enjoyed the film, when I read that there's a sequel in the making, a decision to buy it was a no-brainer.

The sequel Wide Boyz II – Slender Gentlemen sees the lads change their focus from wide to thin. Having tamed the most difficult offwidth, Pete and Tom set their sight to Cobra Crack, a legendary finger crack located in Squamish, Canada. The coveted first ascent of Cobra Crack fell to Sonnie Trotter in 2006. At the time it was considered one of the hardest traditional crack routes in the world, and still is. The grade was never set in stone and has wavered somewhere in the low to mid 5.14 range. Some seriously interesting additional info can be dug out from the web regarding the preparation for the climb, the climb itself as well as behind the scenes action.

Crampon tuning

Petzl Dart. In many ways a polar opposite of Grivel Rambo 4. Very light and reportedly highly sensitive due to horizontal and minimal frame. Configuration of secondary points seems very good, although it has no smaller additional point between frontpoint and outside secondary point. Furthermore, secondary points could benefir from being a tad longer and facing outwards. Also, points facing backwards woulkd work better for hooking if they were polaced further to the back (or maybe those backmost orange points could have similar shape than the back part of secondary point). Credit: Petzl promo photo.
Petzl Dart. In many ways a polar opposite of Grivel Rambo 4. Very light and reportedly highly sensitive due to horizontal and minimal frame. Configuration of secondary points seems very good, although it has no smaller additional point between frontpoint and outside secondary point. Furthermore, secondary points could benefir from being a tad longer and facing outwards. Also, points facing backwards woulkd work better for hooking if they were polaced further to the back (or maybe those backmost orange points could have similar shape than the back part of secondary point). Credit: Petzl promo photo.

I was planning on replacing the heel lever of my Darts and Lynxes with Grivel one, as it has the attachment strap in the top whereas Petzl level has it at the bottom. Grivel placement has two advantages: it is more secure and the lever is easier to open.

As for the security, the lever cannot open when the strap is closer, as its position makes it physically impossible for the lever to open. This is not a biggie in my book, as the lever of Petzl crampons has never opened accidentally on me; neither have I ever seen it open for anyone else. I have however read of that happening. As for the opening part, Grivel lever is dead simple to open by simply pulling on the straps, while Petzl one needs to be pressed open. Like mentioned before, neither one of those are big issues, but as the function can be made better with no penalty, there's no reason to do so.

Unfortunately the switch doesn't really work as the bail of the lever is longer in Petzl design. Effectively this means that you would have to make the crampon too long in order for the Grivel lever to work. Additionally, Grivel bail is somewhat thicker, which causes it not to work too well with Petzl crampon. So basically you would have to switch the whole back part. Unfortunaly I don't have Grivel back parts lying around anymore. You can't replace just the lever either, as Grivel design is such, that the bail doesn't easily come apart. BD levers would also have strap at the top, but I don't have any of their crampons, so can't comment whether that would work on Petzl crampons. I've read that they can be fitted, but then again I also read the same regarding the Grivel lever.

While I was trying the mod, I also compared the crampons. One thing I like about the Petzl DartPetzlDarthttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/dart_2.jpgThe DART is the crampon for extreme mixed and ice climbing. The mono-point is designed to displace less ice and make for precise placements on micro-edges. The third row of points is angled towards the rear for hooking in steep terrain or around ice columns. Ultra-lightweight. is that their secondary points are placed more forward than those of Grivel Rambo 4GrivelRambo 4http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/15/binding_0/15_l.jpgOur range’s most technical crampon is now at its fourth evolution, integrating Grivel’s active anti-balling plate and simplifying all adjustments: just one screw to adjust the length, just one screw to substitute a point, just one screw to position the spur. Rigid crampon with anatomic curve. Asymmetrical forged mono-point, extremely easy to substitute with just one screw, integrated with a half point external lateral support point: a new solution for external support. Structure in rigid plastic acts as a spacer for the screws and as support for the supple rubber anti-balling device. Accordeon in supple rubber holds together the front and rear parts of the anti balling system. Four retention points for descent. Moveable spur. Completely patented. 's. Even if I have replaced the front bail with the one taken from old Rambo 2. It is somewhat longer than the bail of Rambo IV, therefore I placed it furthest to the back, whereas I used the original bail in the middle hole. I believe this evens out the lack of additional tertiary point in Petzl design.

On another note, Dart feel stickier and more secure than Petzl LynxPetzlLynxhttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/lynx_1.jpgFrom snow couloirs to dry tooling, the LYNX is a versatile crampon. Modular front points allow for many options: dual or mono-point, long or short, and/or asymmetrical. They come with two types of interchangeable front bindings to adapt to boots with or without toe welts.. Apparent reason is not obvious, as the location of the secondary points appears to be damn near identical. Possibly this could at least partially be due to failed front point system of the Lynx as the front point wiggles around unless the screw is very tight. Which it won't stay for very long, as it tends to loosen eagerly. The issue is made worse by back retention mechanism of Lynx front points, which allows the point to wiggle sideways.

I've seen a pair of Lynxes modded with additional small point to offer more stability. This is done to mimick the additional point of Grivel Rambo IV. It was done simply by adding another front point, which was modded heavily to be half as long as the original. Reportedly it adds stability and works well, despite it being a bit too close to the front point.

The reasoning behind this is to mimick the stability gains of conventional twin front points without the down sides. All things being equal, twin front points are more stable on pure ice, no questions about that. However, it is not the whole story, as monopoint penetrates the ice better, which makes it easier to plant it deeper, particularly in pick holes. Monos have other advantages as well. On pure ice, the second front point has a tendency to lever the crampon out of ice, when you twist your foot sideways. Which is unfortunately pretty much unavoidable when topping on bulges. On mixed ground, monos are generally far better as they go readily in cracks on rock almost like pitons. Therefore you can often get a very good foothold where you would have basically nothing with twin points.

In order for such tertiary points to fulfill their purpose, they need to be placed far enough from the front point. Too close, and they hinder the penetration in ice. This not ideal in the modded Lynx, as it ends ups a bit too close. It also needs to be long enough to have any noticeable effect. Black Diamond StingerBlack DiamondStingerhttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod21/dw/image/v2/AAKN_PRD/on/demandware.static/Sites-BlackDiamond-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1374905101088/products/ice_alpine/400029_stinger_web.jpg?sw=472Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the Black Diamond Stinger is our lightweight stainless steel crampon with a replaceable monopoint. An asymmetrical design fits the contours of modern mountain boots, and thin, low-profile heel and toe wires offer a precise fit for less weight. and Grivel G14GrivelG14An evolution of the species. Our G14 crampons combine the technical performance of forged, vertical frontpoints with the low profile, collapsible frame of the G-12 to make an altogether fresh, modular, and customizable crampon suited to many climbing disciplines. Our success and experience with the Rambo crampons reinforces the efficiency of forged points: they penetrate hard ice better, with less vibration, and offer the opportunity to combine vertical and horizontal axis. Front points are simple to configure on the G14, allowing the user to build mono or dual point crampons and replace worn points easily. The low profile of the crampon frame places the climber´s foot closer to rock or ice, and is less prone to balling up. At last, alpine climbing crampons with the technical performance of their ice and modern mixed counterparts. The G14 crampon is delivered with the Antibott included. have too short points imo, so they barely make contact to ice. Best designs in this respect are the aforementioned Grivel Rambo IV and possibly Simond MonocerosSimondMonoceroshttp://www.simond.com/media/min/Monoceros_3253_662x496_img_ori.jpgUltra-lightweight mono-point crampon designed for ice climbing and dry tooling. Asymetric, semi-rigid structure that perfectly matches the curve and shape of your boot, for a more precise bite. Improved rigidity between crampon and boot. 15 points: 11 at the front, 4 under heel. Speed bindings for use on boots with toe and heel welts. Comes with crampon bag and tool. Weight includes anti-balling plates., the latter of which I have never seen in real life.

While talking about the crampons, not much has changed during the recent years, despite all of the best design having some room for improvement. I've not seen Simond Monoceros or heard anything about their performance, so can't really comment on them. Designwise it looks promising though.

  • Grivel Rambo 4GrivelRambo 4http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/15/binding_0/15_l.jpgOur range’s most technical crampon is now at its fourth evolution, integrating Grivel’s active anti-balling plate and simplifying all adjustments: just one screw to adjust the length, just one screw to substitute a point, just one screw to position the spur. Rigid crampon with anatomic curve. Asymmetrical forged mono-point, extremely easy to substitute with just one screw, integrated with a half point external lateral support point: a new solution for external support. Structure in rigid plastic acts as a spacer for the screws and as support for the supple rubber anti-balling device. Accordeon in supple rubber holds together the front and rear parts of the anti balling system. Four retention points for descent. Moveable spur. Completely patented. is heavy and bulky. Aside of that it would benefit from secondary points placed further forward. It is also absolutely the worst crampon to walk in, due to their height caused by vertical frame and lack of bite underfoot when walking (point facing forward and back rather than straight down).
  • Obvious down side of Petzl DartPetzlDarthttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/dart_2.jpgThe DART is the crampon for extreme mixed and ice climbing. The mono-point is designed to displace less ice and make for precise placements on micro-edges. The third row of points is angled towards the rear for hooking in steep terrain or around ice columns. Ultra-lightweight. is their lack of changeable front point. Granted the whole front section can be replaced, however their availability is rather limited and they cost a lot more than front points. This is not as big of a deal as one might think though, as secondary points wear as well which affects the crampons bite. Also, the front point is fairly long to start with, so it can be filed a good bit before it gets too short. They also lack antibot and the point underfoot are fairly scarce, so they are not ideal alpine crampons. Lack of antibot is not as bad with many other crampons though due to minimal area.
  • Petzl LynxPetzlLynxhttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/lynx_1.jpgFrom snow couloirs to dry tooling, the LYNX is a versatile crampon. Modular front points allow for many options: dual or mono-point, long or short, and/or asymmetrical. They come with two types of interchangeable front bindings to adapt to boots with or without toe welts. is very good crampon for overall use, however they don't feel as good to climb in as Darts. Also the front point attachment system is far from ideal. I also know of several snapped front bails. Interestingly, I have not heard of that happening with Darts, albeit the front bail looks identical. Perhaps Petzl has been getting bad batch of steel from their supplier.
  • Black Diamond StingerBlack DiamondStingerhttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod21/dw/image/v2/AAKN_PRD/on/demandware.static/Sites-BlackDiamond-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1374905101088/products/ice_alpine/400029_stinger_web.jpg?sw=472Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the Black Diamond Stinger is our lightweight stainless steel crampon with a replaceable monopoint. An asymmetrical design fits the contours of modern mountain boots, and thin, low-profile heel and toe wires offer a precise fit for less weight. is in many ways similar to Dart but with replaceable front point. Which also makes them heavier. They also wear pretty fast.
  • Never tried the Grivel G20GrivelG20http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/23/binding_0/23_l.jpgThe evolution of the modern technique of climbing ice push towards a more fluid motion, more elegant and faster, therefore it demands a crampon that makes it possible: a technical crampon, and a super-light one. G20 is a crampon 100% technical, reliable, efficient and the LIGHTEST IN THE WORLD: less than 800 grams per pair! The new MONO-RAIL technology (patented) distributes the 12 points in an intelligent and original way. but a mate had them (1st gen). At least that one had the front point in stupid angle (facing out) making them awkward to kick. The design has changed since then though, not sure whether the front point is now in better angle. Furthermore, the mono rail system makes them higher when walking, which in all likelihood will have similar stability issues than the Rambo when walking in rocky terrain but to lesser extent. However, they have few point underwood, which can't be a good thing when walking. I also know of at least pair which had the mono rail snap off.

Skinny single Ropes

Mammut Serenity. Marketed as currently the thinnest single rope (actually it isn't; Edelrid Corbie is 8.6mm and weights exactly the same). Source: . Credit: Mammut .
Mammut Serenity. Marketed as currently the thinnest single rope (actually it isn't; Edelrid Corbie is 8.6mm and weights exactly the same). Source: Mammut. Credit: Mammut .

Modern single ropes are getting thinner and thinner. The thinnest single ropes at the market are under 9mm thin, with Mammut SerenityMammutSerenityhttp://static2.mammut.ch/medias/sys_master/8815865757726/8.7_Serenity_lime_green_bild2.eps_Zoom2.jpgOur thinnest and lightest single rope - with the 8.7 Serenity, Mammut is once again proving exactly what is possible in the area of high-end ropes. The 8.7 Serenity is the first choice for ambitious sports climbers when tackling the most difficult climbing routes at the absolute limit. With a high sheath proportion for such a thin rope, the 8.7 Serenity is the longest-lasting rope in its class. As well as meeting the standard for single ropes, the 8.7 Serenity also meets requirements for half and twin ropes, and is therefore suitable for mountaineers looking for a versatile and light rope. Thanks to the COATINGfinish™ treatment, the 8.7 Serenity of course guarantees top performance and outstanding, flexible handling. (8.7mm, 51g/m) being the thinnest as far as I know. These are without the doubt the ones to consider if you prefer to climb alpine or ice with single rope coupled with a separate tag line.

Mammut Serenity, as well as the thinnest singles from Edelrid (Edelrid SwiftEdelridSwifthttp://www.vaude.com/out/pictures/generated/product/1/1024_1319_75/71037_138.jpgOne rope – three certifications. With its 8.9 mm diameter, the Swift is one of the skinniest single ropes on the market. It is a single rope, double rope and twin rope all in one. 8.9mm, 52g/m), Tendon (Tendon Master 8.9TendonMaster 8.9http://cdn1.bigcommerce.com/server800/d4ec7/products/1314/images/3357/527_1__45819.1330746882.1280.1280.jpgAn exceptional rope with a diameter of 8.9 mm, a single, half and twin rope in one. With a low weight, 52 g/m and the Complete Shield finish this is a rope to allow you to push your climbing even further. The double impregnation increases life span and its resistance to moisture, abrasion and penetration of impurities into the rope. The fantastic handling properties of the rope and the minimum friction through running belays make this rope your ally on long sport routes and technical mountain terrain. 8.9mm, 52g/m), Petzl (Petzl VoltaPetzlVoltahttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_zoom/node_media/volta-0_0.jpgMulti-standard, ultra-light 9.2 mm diameter rope for classic mountaineering and elite climbing performance. The VOLTA 9.2 single rope has the light weight necessary for elite users, offering maximum longevity and performance in any conditions, thanks to its Duratec Dry treatment. Certified for all uses: single, half and twin, for multiple uses and maximum versatility according to the terrain. 9.2mm, 55g/m) and Beal (Beal Joker UnicoreBealJoker Unicorehttp://www.bananafingers.co.uk/images/beal_joker.jpgAfter having been the first thin rope on the market to meet the requirements for all three standards for dynamic ropes, JOKER will from now on benefit from the latest UNICORE technology. The JOKER, at one and the same time a single, double, and twin rope, is now UNICORE and will delight the most experienced climbers and alpinists seeking lightness, easy running and security, and at the same time the traditionalistslooking for a multi-purpose rope for ridge climbs, or other classic, mixed or snow routes. 9.1mm, 52g/m) are also rated as half and twin ropes. These are without the doubt the ones to consider if you prefer to climb alpine or ice with single rope coupled with a separate tag line.

That being said I don't really see much value in triple rating, as such ropes are far too heavy for regular use as half ropes. Maybe occasionally for rock routes, if otherwise drag would be a problem. Using such a rope as twin a stupid idea. Light weight is really the only reason to use twins in the first place. Using such a thick ropes as twins would bring no benefit compared to use as single and would make the impact force far higher. Only scenario where such use of such rope system would make any sort on sense to me is if gear is bomb proof and risk of rope cut is very high.

Such skinny ropes obviously hold fewer falls than their beefier sister models. However that is not too important; if taking factor two falls is a routine to you I warmly recommend other activities as safer option. Which pretty much covers any other activity. More importantly, they are also not as durable against wear and tear. Depending on your belay device, it may be more difficult to hold a hard fall.

Slightly thicker breed of ropes between 9.2-9.5mm are somewhat heavier (generally around 53-58g/m) and promise to offer a bit more durability. Such ropes include the likes of Sterling Rope Fusion NanoSterling RopeFusion Nanohttp://www.sterlingrope.com/aimg/x3_d86691c20389d607db4903c030864afa.jpgThe Nano may be the most versatile rope in Sterling's line up. It's both the largest diameter half and skinniest single rope that we offer. Duel certified, the Nano is the top choice rope of many of our athletes for alpine climbs, extended expeditions and long routes where rope drag would be an issue. (9.2mm, 53g/m), Tendon Master 9.1TendonMaster 9.1http://www.bananafingers.co.uk/images/Tendon_Master_92.jpgThe Tendon Master range is top-dog in the Tendon collection. These extremely light ropes, which have a small diameter and low weight are intended for daily use on artificial climbing walls, for the toughest sports climbing and for extreme ascents in the mountains. (9.1mm, 56g/m) and Tendon Master 9.4TendonMaster 9.4http://www.klettern.de/sixcms/media.php/6/KL_Seil-Test_09-10_Tendon.jpgAn excellent single rope with low weight, great technical parameters and SBS construction of the sheat, which makes the rope not only more resistant to abrasion, but also soft and easy to manipulate. The best choice for both hard and sport climbing. (9.4mm, 58g/m).

Comparison of the numbers of the different diameter ropes in the same product family reveals some interesting points

  • Tendon Master 8.9TendonMaster 8.9http://cdn1.bigcommerce.com/server800/d4ec7/products/1314/images/3357/527_1__45819.1330746882.1280.1280.jpgAn exceptional rope with a diameter of 8.9 mm, a single, half and twin rope in one. With a low weight, 52 g/m and the Complete Shield finish this is a rope to allow you to push your climbing even further. The double impregnation increases life span and its resistance to moisture, abrasion and penetration of impurities into the rope. The fantastic handling properties of the rope and the minimum friction through running belays make this rope your ally on long sport routes and technical mountain terrain. 8.9mm, 52g/m, uiaa falls 5, 8.7kN, Static elongation (%) 6.9, Dynamic elongation (%) 33, Knotability 0.8)
  • Tendon Master 9.1TendonMaster 9.1http://www.bananafingers.co.uk/images/Tendon_Master_92.jpgThe Tendon Master range is top-dog in the Tendon collection. These extremely light ropes, which have a small diameter and low weight are intended for daily use on artificial climbing walls, for the toughest sports climbing and for extreme ascents in the mountains. (9.1mm, 56g/m, uiaa falls 5, 9kN, Static elongation (%) 6.4, Dynamic elongation (%) 29, Knotability 0.8)
  • Tendon Master 9.4TendonMaster 9.4http://www.klettern.de/sixcms/media.php/6/KL_Seil-Test_09-10_Tendon.jpgAn excellent single rope with low weight, great technical parameters and SBS construction of the sheat, which makes the rope not only more resistant to abrasion, but also soft and easy to manipulate. The best choice for both hard and sport climbing. (9.4mm, 58g/m, uiaa falls 7, 7kN, Static elongation (%) 6.2, Dynamic elongation (%) 37, Knotability 0.9)
  • Tendon Master 9.7TendonMaster 9.7http://www.bananafingers.co.uk/images/tendon_master.jpgA top-class single rope with low weight and our SBS sheath construction that combines both increased resistance to abrasion, and great handling qualities. If you care about maximum performance, you have just found the right rope. (9.7mm, 61g/m, uiaa falls 9, 7kN, Static elongation (%) 6.3, Dynamic elongation (%) 36, Knotability 0.9)

First off, 9.1mm version is obviously heavier than 8.9mm version. And by a greater margin than could be expected from the diameter difference. It also has higher impact force, no doubt due to lower elongation numbers. Both are rated to same number of falls. Based on numbers alone, I see no reason why anyone would go with 9.1mm version. 9.4mm and 9.7mm versions in turn are of course heavier, but perhaps not by as large a margin as I would imagine. Both of them have lower static elongation (which is to expected) but higher dynamic elongation resulting in significantly lower impact forces than their 8.9mm sibling. However, there's no difference between 9.4mm and 9.7mm versions. Therefore, numbers would suggest that between Tendon models, my choice would fall between 8.9 and 9.4 versions. Obviously numbers don't tell anything about how durable the ropes are or how comfortable they are to handle. BTW, Tendon Master 9.1mm and now discontinued 9.2mm (might still be available) are entirely different ropes, as the latter had very low impact force (6,8kN) and was not rated according to all three standards.

Next, comparing 8.9mm version to competing models reveals that Edelrid Swift has virtually the same impact force than Master 8.9mm while Beal Joker has significantly lower (7.9-8.2kN) while Petzl and Mammut fall in between. Basically my takeaway from this little number excercise is that in order to pass the tests, real skinny single ropes need to be made harder than their beefier siblings. Skinny versions are marketed primarily for sport climbing and based on the impact force, there appears to be a solid reason for that. Due to their higher impact forces they may not be the best options for trad climbing far above sketchy (read: hilariously shitty) gear.

Too bad that the brands using changing pattern in mid-rope (at least Mammut for ages and more recently Edelrid) don't seem to do so in their thinnest singles. Mammut RevelationMammutRevelationhttp://static2.mammut.ch/medias/sys_master/8815866675230/9.2_Revelation_Duodess_lemon_bild2.eps_Zoom2.jpgExtremely light, top class single rope for sport climbers in extremely tough situations. Thanks to its small diameter, and therefore low weight, the 9.2 Revelation offers outstanding handling for climbing and belaying. Thanks to the superDRY™ treatment, the 9.2 Revelation is resistant to dirt and water. This top level rope also meets the standards for single, half and twin ropes, making the 9.2 Revelation an all-round rope for alpine activities on rock, ice and snow. (9.2mm, 57g/m, 8.7kN) and Sterling Rope Fusion Ion2Sterling RopeFusion Ion2http://www.sterlingrope.com/dimg/dddc72ca6bdb8a9a22631fe40b2c81c5.jpgThe Ion2 is the largest diameter rope in the fusion range. It's unique design is manufactured by first twisting multiple colored fibers into a single sheath-strand and then braiding the sheath to create the speckled pattern. It's diameter is a great size for intermediate climbers looking to match a lightweight rope with performance while knowing that the diameter isn't TOO thin for a beginner belayer. (9.4mm, 57g/m, 8.1kN) are the only thin(nish) ropes available as such a version that I have come across to. Come to think of it, I would love for such versions of half ropes to be available. I often use just a single half rope in my home crag (tied to both ends of course) to avoid carrying two ropes as single 60m rope halved in this way is still plenty long. It would also make evaluating the amount of rope left much easier, which is a great help when climbing full pitches. To take it a bit further, my ideal rope would have changing pattern in mid-length and 10m before both ends. Obviously, no such ropes exist. Some have a black marker in mid-length, but it is nowhere near as good a solution as changing pattern, as they are not as easy to notice, particularly when the rope is well worn.

Klettern 4/2014 has tested skinny singles that are new or revamped for 2014. Edelrid Eagle LightEdelridEagle Lighthttp://www.vaude.com/out/pictures/generated/product/1/1024_1319_75/71213_053.jpgThe next generation of Edelrid's Eagle single rope. Its thinner diameter means that it's lighter, more compact and provides better handling. By using state-of-the-art yarns, Edelrid can reduce the diameter without compromising the technical standards., Mammut FinesseMammutFinessehttp://static2.mammut.ch/medias/sys_master/8815868772382.image/9.3_Finesse_blau_neongreen_bild2.eps_Zoom2.image.jpgThe 9.3 Finesse is an absolute high-end rope featuring the innovative Double Twist technology. An innovative and unique braiding process allows four parallel threads instead of the usual two to be used in the sheath construction. The result is an extremely fine rope surface and unparalleled flexibility in handling. The Double Twist technology also creates unique and striking rope designs. Of course a rope of this caliber is also equipped with the high-quality COATINGfinish™ treatment, to ensure lasting protection from dirt and water. Meets the standards of single, half and twin ropes., Cousin-Trestec Tepee III and Petzl ArialPetzlArialhttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/arial-0_0.jpgWith a 9.5 mm diameter, the ARIAL 9.5 single rope is designed for experienced climbers, offering maximum longevity and performance in any conditions, thanks to its Duratec Dry treatment. receive recommendation. Unfortunately the test misses several of the models that I find interesting. Also Climb Magazine (May/2014) has tested some ropes. The article can be downloaded from their website for free from Archive section (requires registration though).

Scarpa Zodiac

  • Source: . Credit: Scarpa .
    Source: . Credit: Scarpa .
  • Source: . Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
    Source: Anmavo. Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
  • Source: . Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
    Source: Anmavo. Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
  • Source: . Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
    Source: Anmavo. Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
  • Source: . Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
    Source: Anmavo. Credit: http://www.anmavo.com .
  • Source: . Credit: Globetrotter .
    Source: . Credit: Globetrotter .

I need to replace my badly worn out approach shoes. Besides getting to the crags I also use them in longer trips to big peaks, during which use they need to be fairly stiff in order for them to be good to walk in with relatively big pack.

This rules many shoes out, as they are too soft and/or lack proper cushion in the mid sole. Most of the hiking boots don't come to question either, as I fail to see the logic in mid high shaft. That may have place in climbing boot, but in hiking boot I feel that is both unnecessary as well as counterproductive. They add weight and warmth, neither of which are desirable properties for such use scenario. They are supposed also to add stability, but as far as walking goes, I don't buy that logic. Unhindered ankle mobility is far more important in my book. In order for the shaft to actually provide sufficient support, it would have to be higher and stiffer.

Feature wise Scarpa ZodiacScarpaZodiachttp://www.scarpa.net/all-scarpa/products/approach/zodiac/zodiac-g.jpgChosen by alpine guides to face different terrains, approach and technical trails. A versatile, technical, precise and resistant shoe. Water resistant suede upper, snug fit and up-to-the- toe lacing system for volume control. Moraine sole and Mulaz Vibram® tread, technical and precise in climbing. looks like it could be exactly what the doctor ordered. And Scarpa shoes typically fit my feet very well. Unfortunately they are pricey, reviews seem to be impossible to locate and none of the local shops have them.

Zodiac is essentially a bottom half of a B1-graded boot with a properly stiff sole unit complete with big, aggressive lugs and a serious protective rand making it ideal for stuffing into cracks. B1 boots are targeted to winter walking and may do at a pinch for the very easiest mountaineering routes. Zodiac obviously has no shaft, so they are not as warm or as well suited for walking in snow than B1 boots with the shaft. In return, they are lighter and more agile. And they are probably stiff enough to be used C1 crampons (such as Kahtoola, Grivel G10) in some use scenarios. Word of warning though, using Zodiac with crampons is no substitute for real crampon compatible boots and proper climbing crampons. That being said, such combo might be viable lightweight option when having to cross occasional snow fields. Not at all uncommon when approaching rock climbs in alpine terrain.

At roughly 500g/show depending on the source, Zodiac is about 200g lighter per shoe lighter than Scarpa Rebel (regular and GTX), which are about the lightest boots compatible with semi-automatic crampons. Rebel Pro weights the same (708g/shoe, give or take few grams depending on source and size) than Rebel or Rebel GTX, making them the lightest shoe that comes with welts front and back making them compatible with crampons with "automatic" binding.

Training for the New Alpinism

Training for the New Alpinism. Source: . Credit: Steve House .
Training for the New Alpinism. Source: Steve House. Credit: Steve House .

Steve House 's new book: Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete.House, Steve; Johnston, Scott & Twight, MarkPatagonia Books2014In Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete, Steve House, world-class climber and Patagonia ambassador, and Scott Johnston, coach of US National Champions and World Cup Nordic Skiers, translate training theory into practice to allow you to coach yourself to any mountaineering goal. Applying training practices from other endurance sports, House and Johnston, who combined have over 60 years of experience, demonstrate that following a carefully designed regimen is as effective for alpinism as it is for any other endurance sport and leads to better performance. They deliver detailed instruction on how to plan and execute training tailored to your individual circumstances. Whether you work as a banker or a mountain guide, whether you live in the city or the country, whether you are an ice climber, a mountaineer heading to Denali, or a veteran of 8,000-meter peaks, your understanding of how to achieve your goals will grow exponentially as you work with this book. Chapters cover endurance and strength training theory and methodology, application and planning, nutrition, altitude, mental fitness, and assessing your goals and your strengths. Chapters are augmented with inspiring essays by world-renowned climbers, including Ueli Steck, Mark Twight, Peter Habeler, Voytek Kurtyka, and Will Gadd. Filled with photos, graphs, and illustrations.97819383402399781938340239Training for the New AlpinismInstructionalen is about to hit the shelves shortly. The book is about training for alpine climbing. In this respect, it appears to be somewhat similar to Climbing Stronger, Faster, Healthier: Beyond the Basics, 1 Edition.D.C., Michael A. LaytonCreatespace Publishing2009A must have book for all climbers: boulderers, sport, trad, ice, alpine & big-wall. Complete training and conditioning section, up to date nutrition section, full injury and rehab section written by a sports physician, Climbing tips and tricks from the pro's (learn their secrets), huge section on gear, and the only info available on proper bolting and anchor placement. Hundreds of photos!97814392319829781439231982Laytonguidebooken. Definitely interesting to see what its like.

His first book Beyond the Mountain.House, StevePatagonia Inc2009What does it take to be one of the world's best high-altitude mountain climbers? It takes raising funds for an expedition, negotiating some of the world's most dangerous countries, suffering freezing-cold bivouacs and enduring the discomforts of high altitude. It also means learning the hard lessons the mountains teach. This book explores those lessons. Dubbed by Reinhold Messner, "The best high-altitude climber in the world today." Steve House's story chronicles his experiences in the worlds highest mountains, each chapter revealing a different aspect of mountaineering.97809790659589780979065958HouseBiographyen concentrated on his development as a climber and select ascents, mostly his attemps on Nanga Parbat culminating in first ascent of Central PillarNanga Parbat8126mRupal facenccs VII 5.9 M5 WI4; WI4 M5 5.94100m. 8 days round trip 4500m, a climb that won him Piolet d'Or.

Hybrid clothing

Alpha Composites for ice climbers and alpinists offer more protection than a softshell, but stop short of replacing a hardshell. They are for the fast and light world of rapid travel, mixed environments and alpine conditions. Source: . Credit: Arc'teryx .
Alpha Composites for ice climbers and alpinists offer more protection than a softshell, but stop short of replacing a hardshell. They are for the fast and light world of rapid travel, mixed environments and alpine conditions. Source: Arc'teryx. Credit: Arc'teryx .

Several brands appear to be coming with hybrid clothing. The principle is logical enough: combining hardshell where the protection matters the most with softshell where breathability is more important. In theory this should yield the best of both softshell and hardshell in a single garment without the downsides of either.

At least Millet has had such garments out for some time (e.g. Millet Roc Composite PantMilletRoc Composite Panthttp://www.millet.fr/resize/media/declinaisons/13231/image/f488x520/MIV5711_4333.jpgPant with braces, built from WINDSTOPPER® X Fast Stretch 3L fabric for modern mountaineering: ultimate performance, absolute precision, freedom of movement, extreme resistance to adverse weather and abrasion with Gore and Windstopper fabrics) and BD Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid ShellBlack DiamondDawn Patrol Hybrid Shellhttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod21/dw/image/v2/AAKN_PRD/on/demandware.static/Sites-bdag-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1394263047035/products/apparel/W27W_Dawn_Patrol_Hybrid_Shell_azurite_410_50.jpgCombining hardshell protection with softshell flexibility, the Dawn Patrol™ Hybrid Shell is a dynamic, hybrid layer built for continuous movement and unpredictable weather. came to market for 2013/2014 winter season. For 2014/2014 season at least Arc'teryx and Marmot are having a go with comparable approach. Arc'teryx uses combo of Gore and softshell fabrics in their Arc'teryx Alpha Comp seriesArc'teryxAlpha Comp serieshttp://images.arcteryx.com/S14/450x500/Alpha-Comp-Hoody-Cayenne.pngAlpha Composites for ice climbers and alpinists offer more protection than a softshell, but stop short of replacing a hardshell. They are for the fast and light world of rapid travel, mixed environments and alpine conditions. whereas Marmot combines various Polartec fabrics in their Marmot Misto JacketMarmotMisto Jackethttps://orhub.s3.amazonaws.com/discoverW14/2014_New_Product_Gallery-500px/Polartec_MarmotMistoJacket.jpgPOLARTEC’s Marmot Misto Jacket & Pants is a cold-weather mountaineering kit featuring a first-of-its-kind hybrid construction using the most breathable waterproof fabric on the market, Polartec NeoShell. The kit also features Polartec Power Shield and the first-ever breathable puffy fabric, Polartec Alpha fabric, to maximize weather protection, insulation, stretch and breathability..

The idea seems sound enough, particularly for pants. Nothing really breathes when stuck knee deep in snow, therefore having lower legs made of of very breathable fabric comes with little gain. No reason not to use as waterproof a fabric as possible where it comes with no penalty. The mix of fabrics is a delicate art though; too little waterproof stuff and it does you no good, too much of it or in wrong places and the downside of waterproof fabric becomes all too evident (impaired flexibility and comfort due to lack of stretch (in most cases, albeit some waterproof fabrics have at least some stretch)) and impaired breathability. Another possible downside of such approach may be additional seams.

As a side note, apparently Rab is expanding their Neoshell line with Neo Guide jacket and pants. They are supposed to utilize heavier fabric in places compared to their Rab Stretch Neo pantRabStretch Neo panthttp://rab.uk.com/assets/product-images/stretch_neo_pants_beluga.jpgThe Stretch Neo Pant is a fully waterproof and highly breathable over trouser. The Stretch Neo Pant makes a perfect partner with the Stretch Neo jacket and provides complete wet weather protection. The Stretch Neo Pant boasts 3/4 length side zips to make getting them on and off very easy, 2 zip pockets with water- resistant zips, belt loops and brace attachment points and reinforced crampon patches. All these features hint at the Stretch Neo's favourite environment - out on the Mountain! garments.

History