Category Archives: Gear

Hope Tech Pro 4 Hub Sound

This is a bit of a ridiculous video to make but when I was considering buying a Hope Tech Pro 4 Hub (https://goo.gl/BJGtmS) I really wanted to have an accurate idea of what they sounded like. It bugged me that the existing recordings were done based on a camera’s built-in mic because that automatically transforms the audio and picks up a lot of room noise. This recording is made using an Audio Technica ATR2100 (http://amzn.to/2tasslH) supported in a mic stand about 12 inches from the hub.

For comparison purposes I recorded both the Pro 4 hub and a Bontrager Duster Elite hub with the exact same setup, back-to-back. Each wheel was attached to my YT Jeffsy 27, though the wheel with the Pro 4 hub has a Specialized Slaughter on it while the wheel with the Duster Elite has a Bontrager XR4 on it. This is about as fair of a comparison as I could make.

Initial Review of YT Jeffsy 27 (AL One)

To sum up my initial thoughts on the YT Jeffsy 27: Just buy the bike; it is amazing.

Stuff I talked about in the review:
YT Jeffsy 27 AL One: https://goo.gl/oHlRv2
Hope Pro 4 Enduro (Front): https://goo.gl/BJGtmS
Hope Pro 4 Enduro (Rear): https://goo.gl/L4dqsc
Specialized Butcher: https://goo.gl/bmWCf0
Specialized Slaughter: https://goo.gl/a1bnpE

Sorry Blackrock Mountain Bike Association for misattributing the trail building to Team Dirt. You guys do great work.

FYI: I was really lusting over the dropper post that comes with the Jeffsy 27 CF One (https://goo.gl/XKyTdu) and originally bought the CF One over the AL One because of it. In retrospect I am really glad YT had some manufacturing delays because I am thrilled with the TRS+ on the AL One and with the extra $1,000 I was able to buy a set of Hope Wheel (https://goo.gl/BJGtmS), new Crank Brothers Mallet Enduro pedals (https://goo.gl/dh1rya), some Mavic Crossmax XL shoes (https://goo.gl/rFLSFL) which were 50% off when I bought them, and Bell’s new Super 3R helmet (https://goo.gl/5PV23L).

Quick review of the e*thirteen TRS+ dropper post that came with my YT Jeffsy 27

There is not much info out there about the e*thirteen TRS+ dropper post. I just bought a YT Jeffsy 27 AL One that came with one and I thought I’d give it a quick review after about two weeks of riding.

Note: If I don’t sound stoked about the dropper post, that’s my bad, because it is pretty awesome and would unabashedly be a fan-boy of it. Up here in the PNW where things are wet and muddy I really appreciate something that “just works.”

FYI: I was really lusting over the dropper post that comes with the Jeffsy 27 CF One (https://goo.gl/XKyTdu) and originally bought the CF One over the AL One because of it. In retrospect I am really glad YT had some manufacturing delays because I am thrilled with the TRS+ on the AL One and with the extra $1,000 I was able to buy a set of Hope Wheel (https://goo.gl/BJGtmS), new Crank Brothers Mallet Enduro pedals (https://goo.gl/dh1rya), some Mavic Crossmax XL shoes (https://goo.gl/rFLSFL) which were 50% off when I bought them, and Bell’s new Super 3R helmet (https://goo.gl/5PV23L).

How to Choose a Climbing Rope

This article by eveningsends.com is a good introduction to choosing a climbing rope.  I found the article because I need to pick up a fresh rope with my upcoming REI dividend and was searching for opinions.  I think I am going to pick up a Mammut Tusk 9.8mm 70m because it seems like a general purpose rope that will stand up to plenty of top-roping but is still light enough to take on the irregular alpine outing.  I have also had good experiences with Mammut ropes and they’ve built trust in my book.  I wasn’t planning on getting a 70m but the article made the good point that as the rope wears I’ll most likely chop off the ends to maximize its lifetime.  With a 70m there is more room to chop which is a plus.

One important point that I feel I must reiterate here is that you never want to use a sharpie to mark the middle of your rope.  The article says it best.

Finally, don’t use a magic marker to mark the middle of your rope. A report conducted by the UIAA found that using any kind of pen or marker to mark the rope results in a 50 percent decrease in strength! However, another report by Kolin Powick at Black Diamond found that this issue isn’t totally settled.

North Face Verto S4K GTX Review

The North Face recently asked me if I wanted to review a pre-release pair of their new Verto S4K GTX boots.  Without hesitation I said yes because everything I had read about the Verto S4K GTX’s sounded fantastic.  The boots did not disappoint.  My one sentence review of these boots is that I will never be a good enough climber to use them to their full potential.  These boots were designed to climb, and they were designed well.

The first thing I noticed about the S4K’s was the aggressiveness of them.  These boots were made for alpine climbing.  They are most definitely not a general mountaineering boot that was tweaked to improve climbing performance.  The S4K’s were designed from the ground up as a mixed terrain boot.

When I laced them up for their first adventure I was taken aback by the fit of the boots because they didn’t feel like any boot that I had ever tried on.  I was truly surprised by how securely my heel locked in place.  Every boot I have owned in the past has resulted in gnarly blisters from that little bit of friction from my heel rubbing with every step.  My heel in the Verto S4K’s was locked and going nowhere.  The North Face calls this healCradle, I call it awesome.

The other thing that stood out on the Verto S4K’s was the toe box.  This boot was made for climbing and as a result the toe box is more akin to a climbing shoe than it is to a traditional mountaineering boot.  I took a picture comparing the toe box of the Verto S4K to the toe box of La Sportiva’s Trango Alp.  As you can see the S4K’s is much more form fitting.  My foot fits fine in both boots while wearing a liner with a beefy wool sock, but with the S4K’s there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.  Personally I liked it.  I have average width feet so if you have wider than average feet you might be SOL.  Also if you’re prone to getting cold feet then I’d be aware that these might reduce circulation and be problematic for you.

So far I have only done a few snow slogs and a bit of ice climbing in these boots.  The snow slogs were in the heavy, wet PNW snow and my feet stayed completely dry.  It wasn’t particularly cold so I cannot attest to the warmth of these boots but I would imagine that they’d be able to handle almost everything but the burliest weather in the lower 48.

Ice climbing with these bad boys was straight up phenomenal.  I have a pair of Grivel G-12’s and the heel welt on the S4K’s was more than sufficient to hold my crampon securely in place.  What made these boots phenomenal while ice climbing was the slight down turn in the toe.  It was not obvious while I was hiking but when I was front pointing on some moderate water ice I definitely noticed a little something.  The actual sole of the boot is not turned down like a climbing shoe but rather the insole is.  It is the little things like this that really wow’ed me.  Also while I was front pointing my heel was still solidly in place.  For a half-shank boot the S4K’s are impressive.  My foot was secure in the boot, which was locked to the crampon, which was glued to the ice.  It was a really wicked combination that brought a smile to my face.

These boots are not perfect though.  In my limited testing of them the one thing that was less than ideal was the pressure in the toe box while I was traversing long, moderate snow slopes.  While I was traversing the outside of my down hill foot would get a bit achy.  I think this was a combination of the tight toe box and the fact that they were brand new.  As I continue to break them in I am pretty sure it will go away but only time will tell.

This is a review in progress of the Verto S4K GTX boot.  As I get to know them better I’ll post more.  I have yet to take them scrambling or rock climbing but I am sure they’ll perform superbly.  All things considered this boot is fantastic.  It fits my foot well, it is thoughtfully designed, and it is built to climb harder than I will ever be able to.