Review: BCA A-2 EXT Avalanche Shovel with Saw

Review: BCA A-2 EXT Avalanche Shovel with Saw

I’ve been carrying a new shovel and saw in my kit this season: the Backcountry Access A-2 EXT shovel with saw. One reason I was looking for a new avalanche shovel was to save a bit of space in my pack. My old Black Diamond Deploy shovel is a bit of an awkward shape and doesn’t pack super well in the avy gear pocket of my Mammut Spindrift pack. The blade of the A-2 is lower profile and looks like…

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The Best ‘Light’ Touring Bindings in 2022

The Best ‘Light’ Touring Bindings in 2022

There are so many good tech/pin bindings out there right now it’s hard to go wrong. But with all the options it can be confusing to figure out which binding will suit your needs. Every skier is a little different and not every binding will be perfect for every skier. Far from it. In this article we’re going to narrow it down to a few of the best light touring bindings as of early 2022. We aren’t going to rank…

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First Look: Black Diamond Helio Carbon 115 Touring Skis

First Look: Black Diamond Helio Carbon 115 Touring Skis

Well Christmas came really early (or maybe a bit late?) for me. New skis arrived on my doorstep this afternoon and I couldn’t wait to unwrap them. This is a true first look – I haven’t even mounted bindings on these yet. What I have in my hands is an ultralight powder touring ski: the Black Diamond Helio Carbon 115, which is the successor to the Helio 116 Carbon. BD is really getting crazy with the name change…’Carbon’ has moved…

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Review…sort of: Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide Climbing Skins

Review…sort of: Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide Climbing Skins

Pomoca skins are one of the most commonly seen climbing skin out in the wild in my experience. Their website claims that they are the ‘world leading manufacturer of climbing skins’ and I don’t really have reason to doubt this. They make a wide variety of skins (there are 10 models on their website at the time of writing), from grippy and durable to light and fast mohair skins. This review is about the Pomoca Climb Pro S-Glide model, which…

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Long Term Review: Salomon MTN / Atomic Backland Touring Binding

Long Term Review: Salomon MTN / Atomic Backland Touring Binding

After a couple of seasons of backcountry skiing on the Salomon MTN pin bindings I’m ready to share my thoughts. In short: simple, light, and solid (with one caveat I’ll get into below). The toe clamps are crazy strong, the lifters are easy to use, and they climb and ski like a traditional pin binding. Which is mostly good but can be bad in some scenarios – hard pack in pin bindings is never great. But hard pack isn’t what…

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First Look: Blizzard Zero G 105 Skis

First Look: Blizzard Zero G 105 Skis

After 2 seasons of skinning on 2019 Candide Faction 3.0s, I picked up a new set of sticks at the end of last season. I had been itching to get my hands on the Blizzard Zero G 105 for a while – they sounded like they would be right up my alley. A combination of light but still fairly stiff with good float for the width is a recipe for success. But do they live up to the marketing hype?…

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Ortovox Trace 25 Review: A Lightweight Ski Touring Backpack

Ortovox Trace 25 Review: A Lightweight Ski Touring Backpack

“Fast, lightweight and safe” is how Ortovox describes the Trace 25 and after testing I have no reason to argue. The Trace is as fairly minimalist pack and competes in the ultra-lightweight touring pack segment. It’s a 25 liter pack that weighs less than a pound with a claimed weight of 445 grams. If you don’t need 25 liters of storage you could look at the Trace 20 and the Trace 23 S and Trace 18 S (which are basically…

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Hot New Backcountry Skiing Gear for 2021

Hot New Backcountry Skiing Gear for 2021

Every year we see an evolution (and occasionally a revolution) of backcountry gear and this year is no exception. I’m pretty sure I say this every year, but the selection just keeps getting better! Here are a few goodies that we’ve been drooling over at Hikeforpow. Get ’em while they’re hot! I’m not even kidding – supply is a bit on the short side this year because of the whole pandemic situation driving more skiers to the backcountry. BCA Tracker…

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BCA Tracker S Avalanche Transceiver Review: Budget-Friendly. High Performance.

BCA Tracker S Avalanche Transceiver Review: Budget-Friendly. High Performance.

Backcountry Access avalanche transceivers are some of the most popular on the market. They’re reliable, easy to use and the BCA Tracker S continues that trend. “Simplicity is Speed” is the BCA mantra. The Tracker S is essentially a slightly pared down version of the excellent Tracker 3. The performance, ease of use and physical characteristics are the same but BCA has removed motion sensing auto-revert-to-transmit (aka revert-to-send) and USB upgrade capabilities. Neither of these are essential to an avalanche…

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Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding Etiquette

Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding Etiquette

We’ve talked about backcountry skiing etiquette a bit in the past, but with all the new backcountry skiers this season we thought it would be good to go over a few things. I haven’t personally encountered anything too inappropriate in the backcountry this year (aside from my ass-camping friends) but have heard some good stories. Backcountry skiing etiquette isn’t rocket science. Being a decent human and treating others with respect get you most of the way there. But there are…

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