11 @ .11

A good 5.11, but not in the Cascades...
The 11 best 5.11s in the Cascades:


Wiregate Carabiner Review

Does size matter? This question, historically the domain of trashy women's magazines, is now relevant to the ever-evolving climbing gear industry—in particular, rapidly shrinking carabiners.
A carabiner in the hand is worth... roughly $7.95. FS Mini on right.


Don't be a Tool

I occasionally write little reviews of products for Alpinist, which is good writing practice, and also allows me to own or borrow some new gear. Typically, big items like tents are loaned out, and smaller items are given to the review for use, and to keep afterward.

The Alpinist editor who contacts companies and sets up the reviews was recently confronted with the following response from a company's PR folks after specifying an item or two for the review:

  "Obviously, giving away equipment and then receiving a low rating wouldn't be much appreciated"


As Mitch Hedberg would say... "You've got no faith in the product itself."

If you aren't willing to allow for an honest review of your gear, don't let it be reviewed. To agree to a review with a guilt-laden caveat that the reviewer "owes" a good review is total bullshit.


On Edge

The Naked Edge is the best rock climbing route in Eldorado Canyon, and hence the entire Colorado "Front Range". It has been free soloed, it's been ascended by a blind climber, and 'The Edge' has seen its share of memorable moments. I'll certainly never forget my first time on it (a little over a year ago) and I don't think anyone else would either. This morning, my friend Scott Bennett and I climbed the route (round trip from the bridge over Boulder Creek) in 1 hour and 13 minutes, belaying the whole route.

The start of the Naked Edge is roughly 300' above the ground. We scrambled a low-5th-class ramp, I took a belay climbing through the Cave (5.8) and then began to lead.

I linked pitch 1 (5.11-) and pitch 2 (5.10), though I was nearly blown off the wall near the top of this section, after pulling around the prow of the arete into 50+ MPH wind gusts. I had to re-tighten my helmet in light of wind gusts that seemed able to dislodge it from my head. Eldorado Canyon functions as giant wind funnel, and the Naked Edge forms one of the two prows which project out into the canyon from either side. On a day when local weather stations recorded 55 MPH gusts and dust was blown into our faces while racking up in the parking lot, Scott and I chose to literally hang our asses out from "the edge" and into the gusts.

Scott followed quickly, and set off up P3, which is a rambling 5.8 section along the crest. We couldn't hear each other at all with the wind blowing, but when he started yarding in rope, I took him off and was soon following this pitch.

From a sheltered alcove on the lee side of the arete, Scott took the lead for a link of the final 2 pitches, both 5.11-.

Pulling over the top and running to the belay tree, I was immediately aware of the relative calm, a highly-welcome surprise in light of our necessary downclimb of the East slabs. Scott raced by me on the slab downclimb, but offered some key routefinding info to prevent any more off-route-adventures. We checked our cel-phone timer and high-fived at the bridge. The wind kept blowing.

Nuts and Bolts:

1x Blue Alien
1x green alien
1x yellow/green hybrid
1x yellow alien
1x #1 Camalot
1x #2 Camalot

5 dyneema draws and 5 dyneema runners, 2 wiregates on each

One GriGri, one ATC (hangable) and one 45m chunk of 9.5mm rope