Ice Climb Ouray Dec 05

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So, in the short stint that I could find to get away from work in the midst of Preshows and such was during Christmas. Jim Donini was kind enough to offer to put us up at his little "Chalet" as he likes to call it, in Ouray CO. The Chalet in fact is an awesome little spot over the garge complete with heat, a little fridge, a shower/bathroom and it's own training facility with a couple of weights and a great bouldering wall. Oh, and lest I forget to mention, an incredible view of the San Juans through some immense windows.
Ouray is a great place to get out and test the new tools and or clothing that is on the market. Having just joined the Marmot team I was keen to try out a whole range of variables in the Glove and Soft Shell category.
I can tell you that the Sharp Point Jacket is the #1 selling soft shell for a reason. The fit was great, it took lots of abrasion and my groveling through tough rocky sectionswhile not shifting around or pulling out of my harness. I was suprisingly a huge fan of the Photon Soft Shell jacket as well, with room for all my stuff, like Belay mitts, and iPod and when necessary the best fitting hood yet, and when not necessary, I forgot the hood was there.
As far as gloves, they were all pretty solid. Having used everything from Napa Mechanix gloves, to the Cloud Veil Ice Floe gloves, as well as BD's fine selection of handwear trying to find the perfect combiniation of warmth with dexterity, I've come to the conclusion that once and for all, there is no perfect pair of gloves. Reassuring however is the fact that Marmot has multiple gloves that can run the gambit.
I found that the Alpinist Pro Tool Glove was super sticky, even when wet and kept me stuck to whatever tool I used. The gauntlet on the glove isn't too long or too short, but just right for the type of jackets that I was using. The same could be said of the Alpinist Pro Glove, which by comparison was a bit warmer, and an AK glove. Ideally it would have a bit longer gauntlet/cuff for plunging into deeper corn snow, but really a kick ass glove just the same.
With most any glove I've found that you can really crank up the heat a notch by simply adding the little shake and warm heat packets to the inside of your wrist. They even have little holders made for them these days. Somebody was on to something......
I tried a number of different Soft Shell Pants and found that the old Magic Line Pants that I've had for a couple of seasons are really beyond compare, but some solid runner's up are the Dolomite and ATV pant by Marmot. They allowed me to stretch-well maybe to far to hope to have children later- but let's just say that they didn't inhibit-i.e. give me an excuse for not being able to get up something that required gymnastic moves as much of Ouray's testpieces seem to require.
The lined ATV pant is a great piece for those activities where you're pushing pretty hard. Even though they are lined they didn't seem overwhelming as they did a great job of moisture management.
It was a great trip all in all and I look forward to future forays into "gear analysis" that have me out and about.
There is always ice somewhere. Anybody for a trip to the Cordillera Blanca??

P.S. Did you know that they have Sushi in Ouray again? Being from IA I won't even say anything about it being landlocked, etc. Taki in Des Moines has Great Sushi-on par with Seattle I swear.....B Block Posted by Picasa

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