And I had this revelation: Wow! It's so cool to work with proper tools!
We had two sliders, three cameras, a monopod, two tripods and, most importantly, we had these Manfrotto connectors with sliding plates on each of these tools. So each camera had a sliding plate connected to it and that allowed us to easily mount any camera on any tool.
So, because I was a DIY dork all these years, I was amazed at the ease of every operation. The slider worked smooth just as it was supposed to. The monopod was awesome for taking crane-like shots, etc.
What does this have to do with mountaineering gear like the Salewa mittens? Or the Durastretch climbing pants?
The short answer is: Having proper gear makes your experience more enjoyable.
Let's go out and shoot a video
A few days after our shoot, we headed up on the mountains to capture some moving timelapse with the motorized slider. We didn't do much... because I forgot to check the batteries before I left home. But that's another issue. (Note my stupidity though! And learn from it.)
Our trek up on the alpine plateau was highly dependent on gear: boots, crampons, harness, ice-axe, trekking poles, gloves, gaiters and so on. And again, I realized the peace of mind one has if he or she has high quality mountaineering gear.
It was easy for me to hit this realization because both of my friends had to improvise. One had some old crampons that didn't fit well on his boots. The other didn't have an ice axe and the plastic boots he was wearing weren't very comfortable. They both struggled compared to me. I was the luckiest of all - everything was streamlined for me. I didn't suffer a bit.
|Photos by CiriVision.com. View the whole set here and here.|
When we got out of the valley, on the plateau, the freezing wind hit us hard. And one of my friends really hates winter - because he's sensitive to cold weather. His hands were too cold to enjoy himself and that's when he asked me for my high altitude mittens. I know I could have offered them myself but I was literally enjoying the spectacle of nature (selfish me!).
He put them on and he said: Wow! I'm getting warm.
Of course he did. Mittens are great. All your fingers stick together and you get warm fast.
Now, I'm not gonna tell you to buy Salewa coz that's not the point. I will tell you what I like and what I don't like about the mittens though.
- Sleek design
- Reflective stripes - easy to spot in the dark with a flashlight
- Warm and snug
- Leather palm - good grip on ice-axe and on the trekking poles (especially when you need to twist them)
- Nice lace-up system - fast and ingenious (without a plastic stopper)
|Cool design and functionality: reflective stripes and leather palms|
- Not wide enough to envelop your forearm when you're wearing a fleece and jacket
- Lack of a pulling flap - once you have one mitten on, you loose your dexterity to put on the second one
|I'd love some pulling flaps here. I used a Head glove for comparison.|
I'd like to say something about the pants as well but the truth is, I didn't want to wear them in this tour. I'll probably take them out in lighter trips.
I'm saying this with some regret because while these hiking pants are really cool and they fit very well, I kinda feel like they're too soft for hardcore mountaineering. I like to slide onto the snow in the gullies and I use the ice-axe to break when I descend so I could't bear the thought of ripping these brand new pants.
So I choose to wear a clone of Mammut pants which have Cordura on the butt, knees and inner calves. No fear of ripping them coz Cordura lasts, baby!
Since I touched this subject, I should let my bitterness out:
Dear outdoor brands,
Why the hell would I pay top dollar for mountaineering pants and jackets if they're not robust?!
They're fashionable and all but I wanna grind against the walls of a chimney without feeling sorry... Please add Cordura or Kevlar to your alpine outwear. Butt, elbows, knees and inner calves (yup, that helps when wearing crampons) should have extra protection with these high tech fabrics.
Is it that hard? Isn't it obvious that the functionality and the durability of your garments would greatly improve? Isn't that what every climber wants? Is it just me? :-)
I think there's too much fashion at the expense of toughness in the outdoor industry these days...
Okay. Bitterness ends here.
I go outdoors for two things mostly:
- Nature itself
- Having a laugh with my homies
However, you can't ignore gear if you truly want to enjoy the mountains. It's harsh out there. Be ready. Be equipped. Get your gear and learn how to use it. Salewa or whatever.
You don't want to be at the mercy of the environment so you'd better be prepared.
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