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Reviews by holdplease2 (19)

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SNAKE CHARMER Big Wall Rope Bag (Manufacturer link) Average Rating = 5.00/5 Average Rating : 5.00/5

In: Gear: Add-On Climbing Gear: Bags and Haul Bags

FISH - SNAKE CHARMER Rope Bag 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: holdplease2, 2008-09-22

This bag is the shit. You guys have it all wrong...its not one side for the lead line, one for the haul line. Its one side for a rope, one side for your jacket, snacks, beersch, water, whatever. Or your haul line or tag line or spare rack.

The bag is made from bomber construction and is big enough to hold a 70-meter wall-worthy (meaning fat) rope on each side. The thing is perfect, IMO. Plus, its made in the garage of a guy who actually climbs by a guy and gal who get out and climb every damn weekend and has sent more walls than 99.9% of us ever will! SUPPORT the companies that are out there inventing stuff, like the Snake Charmer, booze muffler, etc. Fish, made in a garage the way it should be. -Kate.

Big Wall Gear Sling (Manufacturer link) Average Rating = 3.00/5 Average Rating : 3.00/5

In: Gear: Essential Equipment: Harnesses: Full Body

Review 0 out of 5 stars

Review by: holdplease2, 2006-08-17

[size=12]Disclaimer: The reviewer paid full retail for both the Misty Mountain and the Yates Big Wall Harnesses. This company does not currently advertise on --8/24/06While it’s hard to beat Yates when it comes to climbing equipment, Misty Mountain is trying to give them a run for their money. But first, for those of you who haven’t bought a big wall chest harness before, here are some things to consider:

• When hauling a heavy load, attaching not only the sit harness, but also the chest harness, to the rope will reduce pressure on the kidneys and reduce bruising/abrasion to the legs.

• A heavy aid rack can result in an upside down fall. Additionally, if the rope is connected to the sit harness alone, and gear pulls when weighted during a fall, the hips will be lifted by the rope and the climber inverts. Running the rope through a full strength chest harness can help the climber to remain upright.

There is some danger associated with this if you are a soloing using a self-belay device. If you run the rope from the self-belay device up through the chest harness, in theory the chest harness could interact with the camming device on the grigri, pressing it down when the chest harness becomes weighted during a fall.

• When sorting the rack or changing leaders, it is important to be able to secure the rack to the anchor. Multiple bar-tacked clip in loops facilitate this and reduce the risk of losing the rack due to gear sling failure.

• Aid racks are typically larger than free racks. Even double gear slings often are not roomy enough for an aid rack. Having several (typically three) loops per side reduces clustering of racking biners and provides opportunity for much-needed organization.

Dual Chest Buckles: Dual chest buckles are important because you want to be able to keep the front clip-in loop centered. One buckle on either side of the clip-in point allows you to do this.

• The Misty Mountain Big Wall Gear Sling ($84.95) by Misty Mountain Threadworks

• Yates Big Wall Chest Harness (84.50) by Yates Gear.

FISH products also makes a chest harness, but I have not seen one and have not climbed in it. I will say that FISH products are typically well designed (based on FISH’s decades of wall climbing experience and years as a gear manufacturer) inexpensive (because he is not a money-whore) and, um, not that attractive (because he uses random color batches).

Both are a bargain compared to trying to climb with a free climbing gear sling. Tie.: Yes to both. Tie.: Both have 2 per shoulder, basically a daisy chain. Multiple bar tacks on each, durable and convenient. Tie.: On the Misty, there are 2, one short and one long, on each side. This is plenty, but results in “gear clumping”, not a problem with the Yates system. On the Yates harness, there are 3 per side, offset to the front and back. They are made of spectra stuffed with plastic tubing, making them stiff for easy clipping. : Easier clipping and more organization opportunities win for sure.

: Each has dual chest buckles. Tie.: The misty has padding on the back, and the shoulder straps cross at the spine. This means that you can really tip backward and weight the harness when hauling. Very nice and comfy. Also, the shoulders have plenty of padding for carrying the rack. The closed cell foam padding yields both comfort and durability. Finally, the cross-over in the back keeps the straps from slipping off of your shoulders…NICE! The Yates is not as padded in the back, for hauling, thought the shoulders are well padded for rack-carrying. for the crossed back design and closed-cell foam padding.

: With a variety of sizes available, Misty makes one for me (at 5’4”) and one for my partner (6’, 230lbs) On the Yates, even the XS came nowhere close to fitting me, a 5’4” female. Disappointing. : Misty: Awesome: A replacement part (for one I lost) was sent for free! Yates: Outstanding: Free big wall advice from some of the best when I called with questions! Both have been excellent. Tie. will be traveling up walls with me in the future, as it has for my last 9 walls. If not for the sizing issues, however, the Yates gear racking system might be enough to tempt me to use it. Its all a matter of your personal priorities.

B3 (Manufacturer link) Average Rating = 4.86/5 Average Rating : 4.86/5

In: Gear: Shoes: Climbing Shoes: Velcro

Review 0 out of 5 stars

Review by: holdplease2, 2006-08-17

Full Disclosure: The reviewer paid pro-deal prices for the Acopa B3s and has been climbing in them exclusively for 6 months in Joshua Tree and Yosemite. Sept 2006. That’s the headline from the Acopa web site. Yeah, right, marketing BS! Hardcore senders like myself (as in regularly thrashed on 5.10, but still trying), need a tight aggressive fit! And there’s no way that an aggressive shoe can be comfortable.
Climbing shoes are often designed in the shape of a foot in "normal" foot position, even if the shoe requires that the toes be in a "cambered" position. The climber is required to break in the shoes, forcing the shoe to form around the toe bulges. The extreme slingshot rand that is stretched around the foot with pull tabs makes this possible…and painful.
You’ll find no extreme slingshot rand on Acopas, even on the most aggressive models. This is because Acopa designed the lower and the upper around a climber’s foot…taped into climbing position for cambered-toe shoes.

When I opened the box with my new Acopa B3s, I was simultaneously impressed by the thick leather (reminding me of the quality of Boreal) and intimidated by the prospect of breaking it in (ouch!). I also noticed the burly Velcro and pull tabs and the *perfectly* finished rand and rubber.

Then I put on the shoes.

They didn’t hurt my feet. “Oh man.”, I thought, “They’re too big!”…yet there wasn’t even the slightest ‘air pocket’ in the arch, on the heel, or anywhere around the toes. Maybe they did fit. I sat in them for a while and walked around the house for 15 minutes.

Then sat down at my computer and got distracted.

For two hours.

In aggressive new climbing shoes.
When I finally pried them off of my feet, I swear, there was no blood in my toes (just the way I like it!) but my feet didn’t hurt. Amazing. These shoes were designed to fit…from the start!
I have climbed in these shoes almost exclusively for six months, including multi-week trips to Joshua Tree and many laps on Yosemite’s granite cracks. My footwork is not the greatest, so these shoes got a workout. All I can say is that the leather, pull tabs, and Velcro show ZERO wear. The rubber is showing normal mileage wear, of course.
Acopa’s rubber is unique; it’s made from natural latex. And for some reason, this natural latex doesn’t oxidize the way that synthetic rubber does. Despite spending some time on the shelves at Acopa, the rubber was sticky, not slippery, when it arrived.

If you like 5.10 rubber, you will probably like Acopa rubber. I’d venture to say that it is slightly stickier, and perhaps a tiny bit softer, but otherwise very similar. It has been durable (even on Joshua Tree rock) and has worn well. There is no “chunking” of the rubber and the awesome finish on the shoe means there has been zero delamination, despite much crack climbing in very bad style.
You may not be able to find Acopas in a store near you. But you can order them online. How do you know that the shoes will fit? You provide the Acopa team with the make, model, and size of a few shoes that fit you and they will send you a perfect fit. No kidding. If they get it wrong they pay the return shipping costs and the shipping for the replacement pair. I tried this and it worked perfectly. They didn’t know I was planning on reviewing the shoes, so I didn’t get special treatment.
Editor’s Note: Please consider contributing to help John Bachar get through his recent tragedy. For more information (and to learn how to help) [url=]click here.[/url]

Wall Bags (Manufacturer link) Average Rating = 3.67/5 Average Rating : 3.67/5

In: Gear: Add-On Climbing Gear: Bags and Haul Bags

Review 3 out of 5 stars

Review by: holdplease2, 2006-01-14

[size=12][b]This reviewer paid full price for these products. Neither manufacturer currently advertises with -- 3/10/06.[/b]

Big Wall Bags: FISH Products vs. Metolius vs. Average Stuff Sack

Ok, you’re probably thinking “I don’t need special sacks for bigwalls, I’ll just use my regular stuff sacks.” I thought that, too, once upon a time, and climbed a few walls without them. Silly me. You see, on a bigwall, most everything is hanging -- you, your ledge, your waste and yes, your stuff sacks.


[i]A difficult to access regular stuff sack, hanging from its draw cord, next to a FISH Big Wall Bag hanging from its clip-in loop.[/i]

Here’s why the difference between regular stuff sacks and bags designed specifically to be accessed while hanging matters. Retrieving an object from the Wall Bag is easy because it has a separate clip in loop. The regular stuff sack, on the other hand, hangs by its drawcord. The weight of the items inside forces the bag to stay closed. Trying to retrieve something from the regular stuff sack in this configuration is like trying to pull a handful of cookies out of a cookie jar with a small opening. Cookie jars must have LARGE openings, so we can grab entire fistfuls of cookies at a time. And your bigwall bags should too. The clip in loop on the typical wall bag is much stronger than the drawcord on a normal stuff sack. You wouldn’t want your gear to go rocketing to the deck because you clipped it in with a flimsy drawcord. Wall bags are also typically made of heavier material than normal stuff sacks. This is important, because the bigwall environment is not the place for lightweights… climbers or stuff sacks.

Now that we have that settled, two leading manufacturers of stuff sacks are FISH Gear and Metolius. After roughly 75 days climbing with a combination of Metolius and FISH Big Wall Bags, I think I may have an opinion or two about both.

Both Metolius and FISH Products bags have clip in loops, however, the Metolus bag has two. I have not found this to be particularly useful, but there must be a reason. The clip in loop on the FISH bag is longer, which I believe is more convenient because you can handle it easily with gloves or even sling it over your arm like a purse.

The FISH bags seem to be wearing better than the Metolius bags. The bottom panel of the FISH bags is vinyl coated nylon. The bottom of the Metolius bags is 600d polyester, as is the rest of the bag. The side panels of the FISH bag is a slippery nylon, 420-denier pack cloth, which appears to resist abrasion better than the 600d polyester on the Metolius bags. Finally, for the ultimate in durability, try the Mesh FISH bag, which is so tough that even if you cut a hole in it, you cannot tear it with your hands!

(FISH also makes an even stronger series of bags, called Beef Bags, made of vinyl coated nylon. They are great for pointy objects like pin racks, bolt kits, ice tools, etc.)

Because the drawcord on the old Metolius bag was exposed, it caught on objects, abraded, and became a tangle-fest. Thankfully, the new ones are enclosed; same with the FISH drawcord.

[i]Watch out for bags with exposed drawstrings, like the old Metolius. They never last. (The new Metolius bags dropped this liability like a bad habit.)[/i]

[b]Big Wall Tip:[/b] Metolius bags are more short and squat, while the FISH bags have a more elongated cylindrical shape. Each manufacturer makes several bag sizes. I have many bags of various colors, shapes and sizes, which make some bags better suited to certain tasks than others and helps me tell them all apart. Be sure to, at the very least, ask for different colors when you order yours. Don’t risk digging to the bottom of your haul bag to retrieve your Bivy Sack only to discover that you’ve found your dirty clothes bag.

In the event that you insist on using your normal stuff sacks on walls, AT THE VERY LEAST send them off to FISH Gear or another reputable stitchin’ house to add a strong clip in loop to your bags for a nominal fee.

Small (6"x13"): $8.50
Beef Bags: $7.50, $9.50, & $13.50 ea.

Cadillac (Manufacturer link) Average Rating = 4.24/5 Average Rating : 4.24/5

In: Gear: Essential Equipment: Harnesses: Adjustable

Review 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: holdplease2, 2005-11-16

[b]Full Disclosure: The company that manufactured this equipment provided it free of charge to and then provided it as compensation to the reviewer for his or her review. This company does not currently advertise on[/b]

I didn’t need a new harness. I didn’t want a new harness. I like the harnesses I have. I’ve climbed in Petzl, Arcteryx, and Black Diamond sport/trad harness and Yates and Metolius wall harnesses, and when a package from Misty Mountain arrived I knew it contained the Cadillac… a harness which has gone through very few changes over the past few years.

This Misty Mountain classic is favored for its versatility. It is rumored to perform well from the sport crag to long trad routes and the occasional bigwall. This harness has a pseudo-cult following of trad climbers and even some wall climbers.

But still… to say the least, I was skeptical. Honestly, when I opened the box I was a little disappointed. The harness was smashed flat in its package and due its unique padding, it felt like cardboard. I couldn’t imagine how this harness could be comfortable. Because of it’s low-frills gear loops, not-so-special packaging and subdued colors, I didn’t get excited like I do over a Metolius or Petzl harness. I’m a girl. I like frills.

However, after five days of hangdogging, trad leading, and belay-slaving in Joshua Tree, I owe Misty Mountain a big “thank you” for my new favorite all-around harness. Here’s why:

While the Misty Mountain Cadillac does not have Frills, it does have Features. What's the difference? Frills: Things that are desirable but not necessary; luxuries. Features: Prominent or distinctive aspects, qualities, or characteristics.

The Misty Mountain Cadillac is a hybrid-type harness, purported to have the everyday usability of a good trad/sport harness with the special features of a wall harness, perfectly designed for the all-around climber. For the sport climber, the Cadillac is trim enough to allow freedom of movement, while providing high-quality padding for those projecting days, but let’s face it… it’s also a little heavier and bulkier than a purely sport harness.

For traddies, hanging belays are almost bearable in this harness, which is designed for comfort, with some of the thickest leg loops on the market and firm padding well suited to the task. If you’re leading long pitches and like to rack on your harness, you’ll appreciate the extra two gear loops, positioned above what would normally be the rear two gear loops. I did find that the front gear loops were, perhaps, a bit too far back on the swami. This may be because the harness was a bit, um, small for me. If I lost a little weight, the gear loops would be further forward.

Ice climbers, if you need to add insulation layers, the adjustable leg loops will fit nicely over your weather gear and the dual swami buckles will allow you to expand your waste line while keeping your tie in points and belay loop nicely centered. Cons: I ain’t no ice expert.

For bigwall climbers, the removable and droppable leg loops allow you to sleep in your swami belt and make “taking care of business” a breeze. Six gear loops come in handy when organizing your personal gear and rack. But, the padding on the leg loops and swami don’t hold a candle to the Yates Big Wall/Shield harness or the Metolius Waldo. You will need a belay seat to be comfortable on long belays. (Importantly, however, the wall harnesses listed above probably shouldn’t be used for trad/sport, as they are impractical for crossover. Misty Mountain makes a Titan harness which is better suited to walls.) Also, there is no hammer loop, so consider an aftermarket loop, such as the BD Blizzard Holster.

• The leg loops and swami can be replaced separately when worn.
• “Taking Care of Business” is easy, even when in a hanging belay.
• The leg loops can be removed at night on bigwalls, allowing the wearer to sleep safely and comfortably in the swami.
• This reduces “cluster factor” for those who like to rack on their harnesses and provides a little extra space for storage of personal gear. The extra gear loops are stacked on the upper portion of the swami above the rear gear loops.
• This allows for haul lines and trail lines to be attached securely to the rear of the harness.
• This allows layering of storm gear and all-season climbing. Importantly, rain pants can be put on one leg at a time at a hanging belay without having to remove the harness.
• Adjustability allows for fine-tuning of harness rise and for adjusting the harness when loaning it to friends.
• When the, [i]ahem[/i], expanding waistline demands swami adjustment, tie in points and belay loops can drift to the side of single-buckle closure harnesses. With two buckles, the tie-in points and belay loop can remain centered.
• The Misty Mountain Cadillac lives up to its name. The leg loops and swami are generously and firmly padded. While the padding may seem too stiff at first, the reality is that foam that feels soft out of the box will not be firm enough to keep a hanging belayer comfortable for long.

Comfort, usability, and versatility are the defining features of this Misty Mountain classic. As I spent the week climbing in Joshua Tree, I enjoyed the knowing nods from others who appreciated the low-profile, high-function Misty Mountain Cadillac. Thank you, Misty Mountain!

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