Vasque Grand Traverse Review

Vasque Grand Traverse:

Looking out over the GSL

Looking out over the GSL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     About a month ago I awoke on my 37th birthday and decided I was going to go summit a Mount Raymond. So I threw on my Vasque Grand Traverse approach shoes and figured today was as good a day as any to put these comfy and stylish neon green shoes to the test. I checked the weather, on a 30% chance of showers. So I filled my pack and set out on a 11 mile
Birthday adventure.

     All the way to the summit these things were great. My feet felt awesome, no blisters, traction was great. And let’s face it, I looked pretty damn good. In my head I was thinking what an awesome approach shoes. If these things can handle a summit, my short 1 mile climbing approaches will be nothing. And then disaster struck.

The Grand Traverse work great on the MTB as well

The Grand Traverse work great on the MTB as well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     It began to rain, and it began to rain hard. Thundering, lightning and pretty much a torrential downpour. The trail quickly dissipated, and my footing became extremely unsure. The traction wasn’t enough to handle the thick, slippery mud. And the fact that these shoes are a low/mid top made the ankle support not ideal for the conditions. This trail is less than flat in some spots and runs on a downward sloping grade for long portions. And I did lose my footing quite a bit, even going down on my rear once.

     Having said that, I believe these mis-performance issues were mostly user error. I think these shoes would be great on any short approach as I have used them quite a few times heading to the climbing crag. Even on a long ascent, so long as you don’t encounter thunderstorms. The main hike I tested these on is very hard, so much so, that I encountered no one until I was less than a mile back to my car. These shoes are great for river crossing (I’ve tried) and were short climbing approaches are required. Just want deeper traction when trudging through thick mud. But they did great the entire way up, and the ridge line of this hike is literally scrambling up a rock ridge that was wet. Because the weather came in as I was approaching the summit.

Joes 023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Likes: These things are light weight, comfortable and look great. They have Vibram rubber on the soles and those who climb rocks know this stuff is awesome. The inner lining is moisture wicking so my feet stayed dry (until the rain). They also are easy to remove water when they get wet I found out.

Dislikes: Laces need to be a little bit longer. I like to double knot my shoes so they don’t untie. These I can barely get a double on. I do prefer a high top shoe, but  warming up to the mids.

Overall: Great shoe for short climbing approaches. Awesome for rock scrambling and river crossing. Even good for summits that aren’t deep snow or really muddy. Not awesome for thick mud, because traction isn’t super deep. Ultra comfortable, I will wear these quite a bit.

 

I am not currently an ambassador for Vasque. I was asked to review a couple articles as an independent blogger. I received this product for free, in return I agreed to test it and review it. In no way did this offer influence my review. The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone

See the weather looked good when the hike started

See the weather looked good when the hike started

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Kuhl Wunderer shirt & Renegade pants

Kuhl Wunderer shirt

Kuhl Wunderer shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Anyone who climbs with me knows what a fan I am of Kuhl clothing (that’s pronounced cool, and it’s German for cool). I find their pants to be the absolute best when it comes to climbing. So last winter ORshow I made an appointment with them. I was really hoping to make a long-lasting friendship, as well as see what awesome new products they had coming out. I was not disappointed one bit.
     They offered to send me a few articles to review, I jumped at the chance. You see, I already owned 2 pairs of their Krux shorts, and 2 pairs of their pants. I didn’t need convincing that their stuff was quality as well as comfortable. But wasn’t going to pass up a chance to see what their shirts were all about. Generously, they agreed to send me 2 shirts and another pair of pants.

First off, the long sleeve button down Wunderer:review 007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     What an awesome shirt. Easily my favorite button down I have ever owned. SERIOUSLY! I absolutely love this shirt, and I wasn’t the only one. Both my father and brother-in-law told me they wanted one. Easy enough Christmas gift. The sleeves are conveniently rolled up with button straps to keep them up. It is 100% nylon and under the arms is a stylish, yet breathable mesh that allows you to stay comfortable even in hot weather. With UPF 50 and a security pocket that zips up. Not to mention the awesome choice of the color white. This shirt would look great on the beach, in the backyard BBQ, on a cruise or nice day hike. It comes in 4 different colors: White, Carbon, Pirate Blue and Khaki. Retails for $70.

The Goondocks! The actual house that GOONIES was filmed in

The Goondocks! The actual house that GOONIES was filmed in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Likes: EVERYTHING! Seriously, I love this shirt, and I highly recommend it to every guy looking to add a little casual style to their wardrobe. And you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for mature styling.

Dislikes: NOTHING! Maybe that the white color will eventually get stained. I only say that because I took it hiking in the rain, and the green leaves began to run. But I was able to get that out of the shirt. But easy enough, don’t buy white. I will of-course wear the heck out of mine until that day comes.

Overall: An awesome and smart purchase even at the price. You will not regret it. Style and sophistication added to your look, what a small price for that beauty.
Second the Renegade pants:

The Kuhl Renegade pants work great for belaying too

The Kuhl Renegade pants work great for belaying too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     About a year ago, I was comfort shopping at REI. Just browsing around, looking for a reason to drop more money on some gear I may or may not have even needed. I found a pair of Kuhl pants on the discount rack. They were the perfect size, the material felt awesome and they seemed to be impeccable for climbing. Durability, with just the right amount of stretch, so I bought them. Immediately, I fell in love.

     When Kuhl asked if I would be interested in reviewing some clothing, I couldn’t say no. Naturally, I wasn’t disappointed. I found the Renegade pants to be just as awesome for climbing and long distance hiking when it’s a bit Kuhl out (see what I did there). Honestly, I haven’t found a better pant for climbing. Also great for just lounging around the house, or getting some yard work done.
Oregon 016
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     It has multiple pockets even one specifically for your cellphone. With the durable stretchy Tufflex fabric (developed by Kuhl). It’s quick drying with UPF 50, and a perfect fit. Kuhlair vent system keeping your skin Kuhl. Made from nylon and spandex. And comes in 4 great colors: Carbon, Khaki, Brown and Breen. Retails for $79

Likes: Comfortable… I mean REALLY comfortable. The stretch-ability is great, and the fit is amazing. And they look extremely stylish. Super light weight.

Dislikes: There’s not much here. The price could be a little more affordable, but I would pay it anyway for these pants. Only bad thing I can say is the interior button came off after a about 10 uses.

Overall: I would buy these pants over and over again. Kuhl has gotten these exactly right.

Super stretchy

Super stretchy

Climbing Psicobloc

The ULTIMATE photo bomb PC: Jude Engracia

The ULTIMATE photo bomb
PC: Jude Engracia

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

     A little over a week ago, I was able to attend two nights of the Psicobloc competition in Park City, Utah. It was such an amazing way to close out the evenings after ORshow, I got Psico fever. I became obsessed with the idea of climbing on the wall. I mean what could actually be cooler than climbing a wall up to 35′ (that’s as far as the organizers will allow the public to go), and then just falling off into the water. WHAT A RUSH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jude topping out

Jude topping out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     So after a few failed attempts to actually make it up to PC and get on the wall, I was able to talk my good friend Jude into going. So her, Tim (Jude’s BF), Erica (Jude’s friend) and I all decided to go up on Sunday. And although it was a little bit busy, after all it was the weekend. It was also extremely hot, about 95° outside. Which turned out to be quite nice when you took the 35′ plunge into the water..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crimping PC: Jude Engracia

Crimping
PC: Jude Engracia

 

Taking the BIG plunge PC: Jude Engracia

Taking the BIG plunge
PC: Jude Engracia

 

 

 

 

 

 

     The pool itself is only 12′ deep and I did manage to touch the bottom of the water when I fell once. But there’s really no danger if you control the fall. The wall itself has all levels of climbing on it. Everything from beginner to advanced. And there is one route most everyone can top out, as well as a few that will challenge some of the most advanced climbers.

 

 

Jude in BEASTMODE

Jude in BEASTMODE

When we got there, we decided to get warmed up so we all took a lap on the 5.8, and began to work our way up to the higher grades. It seemed as though having about 10 people in line ahead of us was the perfect rotation. Plenty of rest time, but we could still stay warmed up. After out second lap up, Jude had a little trouble making her back to the pool edge. I’m not really sure what happened, but it seems when you take the plunge, it disorients you a bit. Somehow you end up inhaling a little water, and it’s really hard to kick paddle with rock climbing shoes on.

 

Jude taking the BIG plunge

Jude taking the BIG plunge

   

     This is an account of what happened in Jude’s words: “I practiced walking off a diving board that whole week, but simply falling from 15 ft is nothing compared to the Psicobloc experience: climbing, being out of breath, and then falling from 35 ft high and having to tread and swim in climbing shoes. Instead of falling and quickly popping back up like I had done in my practices at the rec center, Psicobloc makes you feel like you’re falling forever. I had time to think, “Where the heck is the water?” and then when I finally plunged, I struggled to get back to the surface. So by this time I’m panting really hard and for some reason, when I tried to swim, I was just staying in place. The panic crept in so I finally admitted that I might not make it to the edge of the pool and finally gave a quiet, “help” and of course everybody heard because there’s a whole line of people just waiting for their turn to climb. Two guys jumped in, threw a floaty thing, and hauled me out of there (thanks, if you’re reading this!). One of the people who worked at the Olympic Park was like, “Heyyyyy so…do you know how to swim?” And I gave a sheepish, “Kind of?” The guy who pulled me out of the water piped in, “It’s no big deal. I can just pull her out whenever she’s done climbing” (which I thought was a really generous offer!), but the Olympic Park guy said “Um, no.” Another worker came by and I thought he was going to kick me out, but instead he offered me a life vest! I was super grateful and he was totally understanding, saying, “I get it, you know. You’re a climber, not a swimmer.” That was awesome of him to let me keep climbing with a life vest! All in all, I had tons of fun, despite the drowning part. 10/10 would do again next year. Except maybe I’ll take a few swimming lessons beforehand.” So Jude came running back over and jumped back in line with her floatation vest and a smile, always making the best of the situation.

I had to poke a little fun PC: Tim Gildea

I had to poke a little fun
PC: Tim Gildea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     We took turns climbing and snapping pictures. But like most times I climb with others, I’m still on the wall when they’re putting away their shoes. The group was more than happy to hang out and watch as I got my fill. After all, if we had left early, I wouldn’t have been able to send the Dyno problem.

DYNO!! PC: Tim Gildea

DYNO!!
PC: Tim Gildea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

     I highly recommend getting up to Park City this weekend (it’s the last weekend it’s open) and getting on the wall. It’s the most fun I’ve EVER had on plastic… Also, be sure to check out the Psicobloc competition next summer. You will not be disappointed.

 

Water inhalation PC: Jude Engracia

Water inhalation
PC: Jude Engracia

5ten Rogues

Joes valley 095

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     In my youth, I had a pair of 5Ten Razors, they were my favorite shoes for edging. And though I really loved those 5Ten’s, I somehow started climbing in a competing brand. And didn’t own another pair of 5Ten’s until I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of the new Rogue’s. I’m relatively new to doing gear reviews, but I jumped at the chance to review a product in relation to the sport I so love.

Me sending Kelly's Arete' v5 in Joes Valley

Me sending Kelly’s Arete’ v5 in Joes Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     Now I would be lying if I told you i didn’t have some false pretenses about the shoes I was about to review. They looked like solid shoes, but seemed like the style lead more towards crack climbing. And anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sport climber/boulderer. I was hoping for a SUPER aggressive shoe, something with a down turned toe and a love bump. Something I could get on steep sport routes with. Honestly, I couldn’t have been more wrong. So much, that I have only climbed in one other pair of climbing shoes (another brand I am reviewing) since receiving the Rogues. That statement goes for gym and rock.
Joes valley 092

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     I have literally fallen in love with these 5Ten’s. This company has always made some high quality products, and I’m not sure why I never gave them another chances? I guess because I found something I liked, and if it’s not broken, why fix it? But guess what? I’m ready to make the switch back. 5Ten has completely won me over.

Classic problem The Angler v2

Classic problem The Angler v2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
     I would recommend these shoes to any new climber looking to get into the sport, and to seasoned climbers as well. At a mere $100 retail, how can you go wrong. Great for gym climbing, especially if you don’t want to destroy the rubber on your $170 pair of super aggressive shoes. They come in a Lace up and Velcro (my favorite). And 3 separate colors, green (lace), blue and purple (women’s) are Velcro. As I mentioned before, probably a great shoe for crack climbing. They worked well for me on a few crack boulder problems in Joes Valley. But that’s not really my thing, so further testing might be needed to confirm that. I did however send Kelly’s Arête (v5) while wearing the Rogues. And quite a few technical v4 problems. They’ve done me well also in the sport world, though I haven’t gotten out on rope as much as if like.
In the gym, they are fantastic. Super comfortable, easy to put on and remove… AHHH Velcro rules! They say that this shoe is form-fitting, and I concur. Sizing is mostly accurate, though I would recommend a half-size smaller than normal for you, they do stretch quite a bit. With Stealth rubber (I’m a believer it’s the stickiest) you can smear anywhere, and the edging ability is superb. These shoes are very similar to the Anasazi’s. I don’t usually give a star rating, but if I were to rate the Rogues, 4.5 stars out of 5. I will get another pair of these awesome shoes when mine wear out.

COMFORT!!

COMFORT!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Good: The price $100 – cheap for climbing shoes. Super comfortable, easy to get on/off. And the rubber is super soft and sticky.

Smurf Feet

Smurf Feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Bad: Only one thing… After inning in my Rogues for nearly 6 months, they still dye me feet blue when I sweat in them. It actually looks like some cool weird tattoo.
Joes 019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall: The Rogues are an awesome new climbing shoe. Everything you want when getting into this sport. No one wants to waste $150 on shoes and maybe not even stick with the sport. Great for beginners, and crushers. And all around awesome shoe. Perfect for the gym, but good on the rock.

Here’s a link if you want to check out the styles and specs.
http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/14211-rogue-vcs-neon-blue-charcoal

Disclosure:

I am not currently an ambassador for 5Ten. I was asked to review these shoes as an independent blogger. I received this product for free, in return I agreed to test it and review it. In no way did this offer influence my review. The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone