So, thank you to the folks who’ve sent Tuolumne and Yosemite beta… er, Greg… I sincerely appreciate it. Yes, a bunch of the camping is open (although not all). Yes, there are fires. The forecast is for more fire risk through Saturday (last I checked), and at least as of earlier today the views in Tuolumne were still not too bad. Unfortunately, my second choice stop would be Tahoe, which is also dealing with fire issues. We’ll see. I’m counting on the weather and conditions being kind to us.
In preparation for the trip, there were a few essentials that needed shopping for. I am not routesetting at the gym anymore, and I haven’t dealt with trying to work pro deals through my other channels, so for once bought retail-on-a-budget to try to fill out my stash of gear. I shopped around and found the best overall deals at GearExpress and decided to give them a try. Their website isn’t as slick and glossy as some of the big guys, but I actually found it easy to use (perhaps because I had already preshopped, so I knew what I was looking for). I filled my online shopping cart Wednesday but knew that my last chance to hit the private mail box for a pickup would be Monday. I’m skeptical of companies who promise faster shipping than they actually deliver, so before I hit “submit” on the order, I called down to see if they really thought that they could get the order out and delivered prior to my departure on Tuesday. The friendly customer service representative, Amanda, said that they’d probably actually package and ship my order out that same day, with free two-day delivery, for arrival on Friday. I didn’t believe her, but figured, if they even come close, that leaves me two days of wiggle room, so I fired off my order and waited.
Sure enough, my Wednesday-placed order arrived on Friday (today). I’m super impressed. Not only was my order on time as promised, but the side benefit of that is that I already re-racked my gear and got to flake my rope a few times… I have two whole extra days than I anticipated to play with my new gear.
And, pardon me one girly moment… my favorite gear colors are orange and green, and I put that note into my comments… in exchange I received a splendid box full of orange and green climbing gear.
Perhaps I have low expectations of mail order shops, because I do so much mail order for business purchasing and non-climbing shopping… but these smaller (aka, not REI) mail order shops do a really fantastic job (another favorite is AcmeClimbing.com, by the way).
My order was: one Edelweiss Element 10.2 60 meter bi-pattern dry rope… while I planned to go with the New England Glider again, because in the limited time I had to bond with it I really did love it, but based on reviews the Edelweiss sounds like it will be a bit more durable, and, was way less expensive. I added a full set of Black Diamond Stoppers to my rack, since I only had a small set of DMM Wallnuts and generally place almost every one on any given climb. I decided, after reading numerous reviews, to give the Metolius Master Cams a try to start out my small cam collection, so ordered the 1, 2 and 3 in those. I’m not picky about slings, so went with inexpensive Dyneema from Wild Country, and a set of 10 Black Diamond Hotwire biners.
Now, my rack is very heavy on the passive pro, including some I may never use (I don’t yet aid, so those itty bitty Stoppers are racked with my big hexes that I’ve never placed once and that typically live at the bottom of my gear bag). The Master Cams are interesting; I’m looking forward to giving them a try despite my continued skepticism about the kevlar component’s durability. Once I’m back, and maybe while you all are waiting for our trip photographer’s film to develop, I’ll post gear reviews.
But, tonight’s about GearExpress. Thanks, Blake and staff… you’re officially part of my mother worrying about my mental health because I am choosing to invest in climbing gear instead of furniture.
Sara Lobkovich Newsletter
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