Test Domain http://eca-jetfloat.com Just another WordPress site Mon, 19 Feb 2018 23:53:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 http://eca-jetfloat.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/cropped-apex-icon-32x32.png Test Domain http://eca-jetfloat.com 32 32 Ropes that do knot disappoint http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/ropes-that-do-knot-disappoint/ Thu, 04 Jan 2018 23:35:26 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4911

Our Edelweiss Supereverdry Curve Unicore workhorse holds a place of honor in our office.


60m, 70m Edelweiss Supereverdry Curve Unicore 9.8mm Rope

When these ropes first arrived in their cardboard mailing box, our guides ripped the tape open, removed the two 60m and one 70m bright fuscia ropes from their plastic bags, and didn’t let them out of their sight for days. The ropes have been out in the field for about 20 days so far, look brand new, and have received nothing but rave reviews in their roles as workhorses at our mountain guiding company in Vail, Colorado.

In the often drippy guided single-pitch ice climbing setting with reasonably short approaches, these ropes shine. As expected, the thicker weave-to-sheath ratio results in a bit longer period of firmness before the ropes exhibit supple handling, but the guides overwhelmingly agree that this is a small price to pay for the durability uptick. The Supereverdry coating does not cause a noticeable weight increase and the ropes stay absolutely dry, benefiting the guide and climber because the ropes do not freeze and remain lightweight, even under otherwise wet conditions.

Our guides proudly carry this bright fuscia rope fleet because of the innovative technology that maintains the rope’s dryness and increases its durability. The rope has become a staple at our company and will continue to serve as our fleet workhorse.

70m, Metolius Monster 9.2mm Rope; 70m, Metolius Monster 8.9mm Rope

True to form, the Monster line by Metolius does not disappoint in the area of supple handling.

The 9.2mm rope, at 70m length, is an easily-managed rope that excels during the pursuit of hard sport routes due to its 35% dynamic elongation rating. It is surprisingly resilient and can take a beating, but is simultaneously just a slight bit heavier than comparable ropes. Metolius ropes have a convenient center marker sewn into their makeups.

The 8.9mm rope was used by the mountain guiding company’s director during a rock guide examination at Joshua Tree. It was chopped from 70m to 60m to become the perfect length to bring a single client and use in rappels as a single line. A friendly and trustworthy rope, the director says, “It’s all there when you need it.”

The takeaways regarding these ropes are that they are easy to manage, soft and supple, have decent elongation, and are useful in multi-pitch or single-pitch settings.

70m, BlueWater Icon 9.1mm Rope

This is our mountain guiding company director’s “go anywhere, do anything” rope. Without compromising weight for durability, the folks at BlueWater have created a rope that can guide single- or multi- pitch with ease, performing equally well in both wet and dry conditions. It’s been in the director’s fleet for more than a year and a half and it’s holding up extremely well. The extra thick sheath is comprised of a tight braid so the skinny rope is supple and durable, making this a top choice for a single-rope quiver.

“Whether single-pitch sport or trad, ice, or multi-pitching in Eldorado Canyon, this is my rope of choice for weight, reliability, and usability,” says our director, Scott.

Director’s Picks: HERA Climb4Life Attache http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/directors-picks-hera-climb4life-attache/ Thu, 29 Jun 2017 23:47:27 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4920

Petzl’s HERA Climb4Life attache

These bright blue HERA Climb4Life locking carabiners by Petzl play a key role in the gear fleet at Vail, Colorado’s Apex Mountain School. Great for use climbing both rock and ice, the simple, compact design makes it a useful tool, especially due to the keylock design, which creates a strong, snag-free design at the closure. Another nice feature is the red band indicator visible when the carabiner is not fully locked, making a quick visual safety check possible before heading on a rock climbing outing. The vibrant blue color is bold, an easily recognized tool among the palette of climbing gear on your rack, and it also symbolizes the Hera Climb4Life mission of eliminating ovarian cancer by promoting health, education, research, and awareness. Petzl donates $1 from the sale of each carabiner to HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation. HERA is dedicated to empowering women and expanding awareness of women’s cancers through its vision, as developed by founder Sean Patrick, an avid outdoorswoman and climber who died of ovarian cancer in 2009.

Director’s Picks: Scott’s favorite boot http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/directors-picks-scotts-favorite-boot/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 23:42:36 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4916

When Scott, the director of the mountain guide service where I’m employed, returned from his AMGA Ice Instructor course in Canmore, Alberta, one of the first things he spoke about as highlights from his three weeks away was his pair of Arc’teryx Acrux AR mountaineering boots. He said the mountains in the ranges north of the US border were jaw-dropping in their magnitude, that his team of fellow students and instructors was top-notch, that he was glad to be home to his daughter and team here, and that he immediately sold his old ice climbing boots after giving the Arc’teryx boots a shot.

He could go on at length about the specs of this boot and why they’re so great, about their feather-light weight, the security of the carbon fiber sole, about how the liner and lace-up systems work together seamlessly, but it’s the fit that matters most to Scott, making these such winners.

He says, “the boots fit my feet like a glove,” which translates to no more hot spots or blisters for him ever again. The inner liner can take a bit of maneuvering at first, especially for climbers with wider forefeet, but the system makes up for itself in snugness and comfort. The boots are warm, weatherproof, and Scott recommends pulling the inner liner out of the shell each night to let them dry completely and reduce any smell that may develop over time, as is generally good boot care for any double boot.

He used these in ice and mixed climbs of grade 3-5+ and on alpine climbs and approaches and says, “they were outstanding to walk in for days and hours.” Fully synthetic and looking a bit like techy martian-wear, the boots sit in a place of honor in the guide office now, ever ready for their next adventure.

Director’s Picks – 2015 Metolius Offset Master Cams http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/directors-picks-2015-metolius-offset-master-cams/ Mon, 21 Sep 2015 23:23:08 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4907

Metolius: Offset Master Cams

Metolius Offset Master Cams are a great product at a great price. I started using them in Unaweep, South Platte, Vedauwoo, and Joshua Tree National Park, locations notorious for offset and expanding cracks.  Metolius Offset Master Cams are fantastic for areas such as those, due to the cracks that are, at times, difficult to place standard cams in.

Full page photo

The number 3 Metolius Offset Master Cam

The cams have 2 sets of lobes with varied set head width, which helps them fit into tight spaces with ease, and a flexible single steam that helps prevent the cam from walking out.  The thumb loop makes placing the gear a breeze and adds a little extra security against dropping.  The cams are extremely durable, and the triggers still work as if they were new, even after months of heavy use.  The light weight design is great for weight conscious racking.

At first I thought these cams would be great for expanding cracks, and they are. But it doesn’t stop there – I decided to start carrying a few on my rack in all crack areas, and have found them to actually be MORE versatile than standard cams even in somewhat parallel cracks! They defy the laws of camming days of old by working in places that you wouldn’t think gear would hold in.  This undoubtedly has made climbing safer for me, as I can now get solid cams in locations that I would have otherwise had marginal to sketchy placements. The multitude of uses the cams provide has caused me to reduce the number of parallel lobe cams I carry in order to fit more of the Metolius Offset Master Cams on my rack.  In particular, the larger four (out of six) sizes are excellent, due to the larger variance in the size of the lobes.

The stem flexibility is slightly less than some of the other cams on the market, making it easier to place and remove the gear from the rock.  We have heard about some issues with stem size and fitting deep into cracks from other reviews, however we have not personally experienced issues with this, although this may be due to the fact that I prefer the 4 larger sizes of the 6 available.

Bottom Line: this is a rock solid cam at a price that makes their value on my rack undeniable.

For more info, visit http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/  .


Director’s Picks – 2014 Approach Shoes http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/directors-picks-2014-approach-shoes/ Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:21:37 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4904

Director’s Picks – 2014 Approach Shoes

I’m happy to say that after years of inquiries from our clients, Apex’s Director (well, that is, me) has started an equipment blog to provide reviews on what products we like best in the field. My focus isn’t on what doesn’t work well – it’s on finding the top performers in each gear category and sharing with you the best uses for each. No paid winners – just the best performing products.

Our first gear category is the approach shoe. Great for increasing traction and safety on approaches to local crags and multi-pitch routes, our staff often uses them to climb in for efficiency and ease of transition in the mountains, increasing our clients’ climbing time.


Evolv's "Cruzer"

Evolv’s “Cruzer”

Evolv:  Cruzer

A great shoe for short approaches and aggressive leads. The soles feel just like a climbing slipper and provide great friction. The reliable traction inspires confidence and makes it easy to find a relaxed stance when placing gear or building an anchor. The Evolv’s are also great for quickly transitioning from climbing to belaying because their flexible canvas means they’re easy to slip on with the heel folding down. Even with its lightweight construction the Evolv still has a very supportive insole and stylish look that would be great whether you’re pushing the grade or running errands around town.



The low-top Five-Ten "Guide Tennie"

The low-top Five-Ten “Guide Tennie”

Five-Ten:  Guide Tennie

A stiff, durable shoe that might just take the place of your climbing shoes on a wide variety of terrain. The stiff sole provides great leverage and allows for trustworthy foot placements every time. With the sharp toe edge and stiff sole it wouldn’t be a problem taking the Guide Tennie up to 5.10. This is a beefy shoe that will be an all around performer and last a long time. Off the rock this stylish shoe works great around the town with its comfortable fit and skate-shoe-like look.




La Sportiva's "Xplorer"

La Sportiva’s “Xplorer”

La Sportiva:  Xplorer

This a shoe to take up one of Colorado’s 14’ers. The Xplorer is very comfortable and is great on long approaches or any extended trail hikes. The wide and durable sole provides great stability and will have no problem taking quite a bit of abuse. If you like the fit of Sportiva or have a more athletic foot, expect the excellent fit that Sportiva is known for.




The beefy Five-Ten "Camp Four"

The beefy Five-Ten “Camp Four”

Five-Ten:  Camp Four

If you thought 5.10’s Guide Tennie was a beefy shoe you haven’t seen anything yet. The Camp Four looks more like a hiking boot than a climbing shoe but is as lightweight and agile as you can ask for. The high-top option protects against dirt and sand and is great for extended backcountry trips where ankle protection counts. The Camp Four’s stealth rubber sole is a work of art. While the soles toe is designed for edging and traction, the heel is an off-road beast providing confidence on loose dirt, sand, mud or anything else you can throw at it. I took this baby up a six pitch route in the rain and it performed just as well on the way up as on the muddy hike down. This shoe was selected as our guide fleet shoe for 2014 for Apex’s rock guiding staff.


So I hope you treat your feet to great footwear, and get out there and play hard in them!  Also, be sure to comment and let me know what gear category you’d like to see reviewed next!


Black Diamond Acid Test http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/black-diamond-acid-test/ Fri, 11 Oct 2013 23:58:58 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4900

Is my climbing harness safe?


The story starts with a mysterious incident. A Black Diamond Customer was climbing at his local rock gym when suddenly POP, his harness ripped off at his waist while top-roping one afternoon. The climber immediately contacted Black Diamond Headquarters and their Quality Assurance team researched the harness failure.

“Through extensive and meticulous testing, both in the lab and in the field, the Quality team helps ensure that you can count on your BD gear to be as durable, reliable and as strong as possible every time you head into the mountains or out to the crags”, says the Black Diamond QC lab.  

The team’s first impression was the possibility of the harness’ exposure to chemicals and contamination. They dove head-first into the effects of chemical contamination on climbing textiles.

Quality Assurance engineers tested popular household cleaners and other potential corrosive substances on harnesses to see the effect and hopefully find the culprit. They narrowed it down to hydrochloric, muriatic, and sulphuric acid which is present in aquarium pH adjusters and bleach. The BD investigators also sent the customers harness into the lab for further chemical analysis.

With exposure to these chemicals, the lab could recreate the level of degradation of the harness similar to the customer’s experience. They tested samples of nylon, Dyneema, and polyester with the chemicals in question. After exposing test harnesses to the chemicals, the team determined that some chemicals weaken the structural integrity to a point where the harness would fail at extremely low loads.


Photo courtesy of  Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.

After the team’s hard-work and testing, they were not able to determine the exact cause of contamination of the harness failure. However, the teams work was not in vain —protecting your gear from hazardous materials and visually inspecting it on a regular basis is of the utmost importance. The Black Diamond Team suggests…

Don’t give your gear the opportunity to be contaminated. Store your gear properly, use rope bags, and know the complete history of your gear. If you’re unsure if your gear may have been exposed to harmful chemicals, retire it. Likewise, buying used textile climbing equipment is never recommended.”

Note: This article is for educational purposes only. Apex Mountain School accepts no responsibility in the accuracy of this information and/or the failure or safety of your gear and/or it’s use.

Want to read the Entire Black Diamond Acid Test? Check it out at: http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/qc-lab-acid-harness.html

Apex’s Jon Kedrowski on Gasherbrum 2 http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/apexs-jon-kedrowski-on-gasherbrum-2/ Tue, 23 Jul 2013 23:47:57 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4896

Over the past 2 weeks Apex’s Dr. Jon Kedrowski has been positioning for a summit attempt on the infamous Gasherbrum 1 and 2 in the Baltoro Glacier Region of the Karakoram Range in the Himalaya.

Gasherbrum-1-Jon-Kedrowski-climbJon and his team arrived July 7th at the moraine base camp after an 80 mile trek in, and spent a few days there to acclimatize to the 16,400ft elevation. After 3 days of acclimatization Jon headed to base camp 1 on Gasherbrum 2, located at 19,700 ft. He spent a couple more days there acclimatizing to the elevation then moved up to base camp 2 located at 22,000ft, then up the Banana ridge to base camp 3 at 22,600ft.

On July 15th after reaching base camp 3, Jon and his party headed back down to base camp 1 to rest, refuel and wait for the 3-5 day weather window to cooperate with their summit attempt. After a bout with an intestinal bug, he prepared for an attempt on the summit of Gasherbrum 2.

Jon is now headed for the summit. The team left basecamp in excellent weather this morning, and are now at camp 1.  Today or tomorrow they will depart for camp 2, look to climb to camp 3 tomorrow or Thursday, and go for the summit of Gasherbrum 2 at 26,362 feet on Friday or Saturday.

After summiting Gasherbrum 2, the team will descend and rest for a few days before attempting Gasherbrum 1 at 26,509 feet.  We will be watching closely and provide more information during the expedition.

Backcountry Avalanche Training http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/backcountry-avalanche-training/ Sat, 16 Feb 2013 23:17:52 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4876

Headed out to backcountry ski or snowboard this winter? Make sure you are properly educated about avalanches first – Avalanche Education is a crucial tool for anyone venturing out of bounds in the winter. Basic avalanche education includes:

  • Characteristics and types of avalanches
  • Movement of avalanches
  • Classifications by size and danger scale
  • Mountain snowpack: metamorphism and layering
  • Trip planning and preparation
  • Risk management and decision-making
  • Human influence in group dynamics, decision-making and accidents

Travelers in the backcountry should also be proficient at:

  • Beacon and probe use
  • Identifying and evaluating avalanche terrain
  • Route-finding and travel techniques
  • Snow pit and snow layer analysis and tests
  • Risk evaluation
  • Identifying “red flags”
  • Avalanche rescue and beacon search techniques

Further information about these topics can be found on the Forest Services National Avalanche Center website.  Information is a great start when coupled with formal training, like an AIARE Level 1 course. Apex’s AIARE courses offer the tools you need to increase awareness in the backcountry. Upcoming three day Level 1 courses take place beginning Feb. 22nd and March 8th. For more information and to register, view our Colorado AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Education courses on our website.

Additionally here is a interesting video about avalanches from National Geographic

Backcountry Skiing Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division Huts http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/backcountry-skiing-colorados-10th-mountain-division-huts/ Thu, 04 Oct 2012 23:15:23 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4872



In the mid 20th century, Fritz Benedict dreamed of creating a Colorado hut system modeled after the European Alps’ Haute route.  The WWII 10thMountain Division soldier teamed up with an Aspen architect, and created what is today considered one of the premier backcountry hut systems in the world.  The 14 huts are linked to 300-plus miles of skiable routes, and are connected to 17 other huts in the area between Vail, Leadville and Aspen.

Ready for turns in pristine powder

Ready for turns in pristine powder

Skiing or snowshoeing Colorado’s backcountry hut system is ranked as one of National Geographic’s top 100 adventures, and is an idyllic winter playground for the backcountry enthusiast.  The 10thMountain division hut system is the most extensive in North America.  The term “hut” is misleading, as the polished log cabins are furnished with wood stoves, private bedrooms, group bunks and propane cooking stoves, which makes for a comfortable stay in Colorado’s rugged backcountry.  A few of the huts even boast saunas.

Beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers alike can enjoy the hut system, as the spectrum of accessibility for most huts ranges between 2 and 11 miles, or more with hut link-ups.  Vance’s Cabin is a short distance from the trailhead and can be accessed easily, which makes it the perfect destination for those seeking an easygoing outing into the backcountry . The Eisman hut, located 7 miles north of Vail in Colorado’s Gore range, is most popular among backcountry skiers seeking adventure in pristine powder.  The area bordering the cabin offers a wide variety of treed lines and open bowls.  The 10thMountain Division hut is located near Leadville, and access trails are linked to the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails.  Skiers and snowboarders can make fresh turns in the open bowls surrounding the cabin, while Homestake Peak (13,209 ft) beckons ski mountaineers.   Sweeping views of the Continental Divide can also be enjoyed from the wraparound window bench adjacent to the hut’s wood stove.

Window bench by the wood stove. Just add hot cocoa!

Window bench by the wood stove. Just add hot cocoa

Best Climbing Spots in Thailand http://eca-jetfloat.com/general/best-climbing-spots-in-thailand/ Wed, 20 Jun 2012 23:08:27 +0000 http://eca-jetfloat.com/?p=4868

Thailand’s international tourism industry is booming. In the past couple of years Thailand has seen a sharp increase in American tourists and welcomes all who visit. To add to the appeal, the beautiful islands of Koh Phi Phi, Railay, and Koh Yao Noi are home to some excellent rock climbing in a beautiful tropical setting. The best part is, these local crags aren’t very far from your hotel and offer some of the best climbing in Thailand.

Grateful Wall (Mang Sau) –Koh Yao Noi

The Grateful Wall is a private ocean side climbing area offering single pitch sport routes up to 130 feet long. The reason this area is so private is because it’s only accessible by boat. You can charter one for the day for a minimal fee and enjoy these 5.10-5.12 routes. If they tire you out you can check out some great snorkeling at the nearby beach.

Tonsai Tower – Koh Phi Phi

This massive tower is full of 5.8 moderates to more difficult 5.11 routes. They range from 40 feet for shorter climbs and up to 450 feet for routes to the summit. This tower has seen a lot of re-bolting and now sports mostly titanium and stainless steel glue in bolts, all have been placed after the year 2000. This wall is also popular with climbing schools. Guides are always friendly and cooperative if you want to climb something they are using, just ask!

Drinking Wall – Koh Phi Ph

This neat wall is accessible via a trail just 15-20 min. from Tonsai Tower. The routes are shorter, but more challenging then Tonsai Tower. Expect the lowest rated routes to be 5.10+ and the harder routes to be 5.12. The drinking wall is less featured then most of the other walls in Koh Phi Phi and provides hard routes with challenging and fun crux sections.

Thaiwand Wall – Railay Beach

Some of the locals consider the Thaiwand Wall one of the best crags in South East Asia. This massive formation of limestone offers long, challenging multi-pitch routes with a reward of fantastic views at the top. The area is full of overhangs so plan your descent carefully and try to get off by sunset because navigating the jungle in the dark is very difficult with no trail. It’s also unique because the formation is hollow. Non-climbers can scale their way to the top via ladders and fixed lines from inside the rock formation.

Thailand is home to countless opportunities for world class climbing in an exotic location and is sure to offer an experience you’ll never forget. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of route finding, transporting gear, and want to maximize your climbing in Thailand make sure to contact us and let Apex Mountain School take you on the climbing adventure of a lifetime.