Sale Athee – The Dirty Amythist and Exped HL M Mat Test

IMG_20170718_153153 copy

The line of Sale Athee on the Charpoura side of the Aiguille du Moine

 

If you are looking for the lightest airmat for bivis and the fast and light approach, read on as this will be of interest to you.

IMG_20170717_210546

Time for a mountaineers snack of cheese and sausage at the bivi

IMG_20170717_203228_1

Will soaking up the rays at our bivi spot in the Charpoura

IMG_20170717_203558

Bouldering in the evening light

 

When I received the Exped Airmat HL M through the post I was impressed by the small pack size which similar to the size of Thermorest’s popular NeoAir. However when I opened the stuff sac I realised about 1/3 of the volume was due to the ingenious pump that is supplied to keep moisture out of the mat, although Exped claim the mat is impervious to hydrolysis. Leaving the pump at home will save a few precious grams and more importantly reduce your pack size.

IMG_20170811_161428

Small pack length of around 7 inches

IMG_20170811_161332

The inflation pump that fits into the stuff sac with the mat

 

This is a very comfortable mat with a shoulder width of 52 cm, length of 183 cm and thickness of 7 cm. The mat boasts next-to-skin comfort and anti-slip GripSkin honeycomb-pattern coating. I put the mat to the test in the Charpoura basin for an open bivi this summer on route to climb the mega Sale Athee 7a+ on the Aiguille du Moine – a contender for the best rock routes I have done in the Alps. Despite our bivi location being on rock I had a great nights sleep with no cold spots from the ground or dead arms from pressure points when lying on my side. The mats is full length so you avoid cold feet problems with ¾ length mats.

The low packsize to comfort ration means I’ve also taken to chucking the mat in overnight bags when I am away guiding in other places of the Alps and if I get the chance to ride the mountain bike tour of Mt Blanc this autumn it will be coming with me for a remote bivi.

Full metric specification can be found below along with a short video from Exped taking you through all the design features.

IMG_20170718_085502

Will putting into Yosemite style back foot/knee cams on the pod section

IMG_20170718_093615

Will heading off on a gorgeous 6C pitch

IMG_20170718_090828

Will further up the pitch with stunning views to the Dru and Sans Nom

IMG_20170718_101033

The crux 7A+ fist sized crack

IMG_20170718_123640

Will coming up another amazing 6C+ pitch

IMG_20170718_123756

Will nearly the belay

IMG_20170718_135857

Myself and Will on the summit

 

SPECIFICATION

 

Temperature: 

4 °C

R-Value: 

1.90

Thickness: 

7 cm

Length: 

183 cm

Shoulder Width: 

52 cm

Foot Width: 

35 cm

Weight Mat: 

310 g

Weight Pump: 

45 g

Weight Packsack: 

10 g

Packed height: 

18 cm

Packed diameter: 

7 cm

Pack volume: 

0.8 l

Product contents: 

Mat

Mini Pump

Packsack

Repair kit

instruction sheet

Repair manual

Warranty: 

2 years

 

VIDEO

http://www.exped.com/switzerland/en/product-category/mats/airmat-hl-m – prettyPhoto[node-nid-13015-field_video]/0/

Orb Freebird Review

The Orb Freebird has been in the line up at Black Crows since the conception of the Freebird touring range and is instantly recognisable by its iconic fluro yellow topsheet and matching sidewalls.

My initial ski test of the Orb Freebird back in spring 2014 was on a loaned pair. Back then the ski was traditional camber construction which provided plenty of pop and power but wasn’t the easiest thing to pilot on soft snow. I used them to ski Whymper Couloir during a traverse of La Verte from Couturier Couloir.  That day a cruel southerly wind stopped things softening but the Orb’s edge grip did the necessary.

This year the ski has undergone some changes and it’s designer Julien Regnier added a front rocker to the ski to bring it in line with the now well established Navis and Corvus Freebird skis. The Orb FB 178 has put 1 mm on its waist line bringing it to 91 mm and the pair weigh in at 2.99kg. I mounted mine with the 2017 PLUM race 170 bindings with the additional bolt on ski crampon mounts to give me a light but very strong ski for steep skiing above 4000 m, long days and expedition skiing.  The addition of the rocker has been a necessary revolutionary work over for the Orb and made it easy to ski while maintaining its founding characteristics.

Orb freebird evaluation

 

 

 

Ski Kit For Sale

The following items are for sale. Prices exclude postage.

Item 1. Dynafit D4 130 Approach skis with dynafit speeds and skins. Very good condition. 150 Euros.

IMG_20170412_174446IMG_20170412_174534

Item 2. Dynafit TLT6 carbon with performance liner. Used but with loads of life. 225 Euro. 297 mm sole

IMG_20170413_132315IMG_20170413_132418IMG_20170413_132404

Item 3. New 175 Armada VJJ. 260 Euros.

jj.jpg

10 Tips to Improve Your Ski Boot Fitting Experience

  1. Chose the Right Type of Boot for the Job

Ideally I want a boot that offers race stiffness in the forward, lateral and aft directions, with a warm liner and enough space to stop my toes getting frostbite, has a walk mode, vibram sole, and weighs less than 1 kg per boot. Unfortunately this doesn’t exist so think really hard and carefully what you want a boot for. If you are doing a lot of uphill or multiday tours then the Evo F1 could be ideal, but if its more downhill orientated you will appreciate the support of the Freedom. I run a World Cup race boot, a Freedom RS, and Evo F1 and the Alien to cover everything from 160 kph runs on my GS skis to skinning up hills for training. Spend a little time contemplating what you really want the boot to do and where you are willing to compromise.

Also bear in mind that a rockered vibram sole is not compatible with traditional alpine downhill bindings and flat DIN soles should be used like those that come with the Scarpa Freedom. Some newer alpine bindings have a height adjustable anti-friction device at the toe that allows adjustment for the additional height between the rockered sole and the top of the toe piece. 

  1. Chose the Right Shell for Your Foot.

This may sound obvious but the boot that is most confortable in the shop may just be the one that has most room around your foot and may end up being the sloppiest to ski. The choice of shell should not be based on colours, brand loyalty or magazine reviews. Each manufacture moulds it boots around its own last and they are all slightly different. i.e. Scarpa’s last for ski boots is 102 mm wide across the forefoot and mid volume in the heal and arch areas whereas Dynafits last is 98 mm across the forefoot and is very low volume throughout. That means a narrow foot with skinny heals will work in the Dynafit whereas a medium to wide foot with normal heals will be better in the Scarpa. The stock shell is just a starting point, and if its confortable straight out the box then its probably too big or has too much volume for your foot. The correct shell length can be confirmed by removing the liner and placing your foot in the empty shell and with your toes just touching the front, there should be 1 cm between the heal and the shell. Remember that the liner will pack out through the moulding process and skiing, especially when the snow is heavy as you put more force through the boot to turn the ski. Once you have a shell that will provide a glove like fit, the boot fitter will heat the liners, put them back in the shell and then strap your feet into the liners while the moulding process goes on.

  1. Customising the Shell for Your Foot

Once the liner has been moulded, the next step is to customise the shell for any tight or pinch points you may feel. It may be you need to ski the boot for a few hours to work out what needs modified or things may be apparent straight away in the shop. By removing the liner and applying some marker paint to any bone spurs, bunions, or bulges on your foot and then putting your foot back into the shell where the marker paint will be transferred to the inside of the shell. The boot fitter will decide if he can create more room in this area by grinding the internal surface of the shell or if the shell needs ‘blown’ out – a process involving softening the plastic of the shell with a heat gun and then applying and holding pressure to that area with a press. This is usually an overnight process as the plastic in the shell has a strong memory. The various plastics respond differently with grilamid being the easiest to work with and pebax having a stronger memory to overcome. I’ve found I often have to repeat the blowing process on a pebax boot to get the result I want. I usually blow all my boots in the 6th metatarsal area and also at the heal due to bone spurs.

Don’t forget boots that fit well in the colder months may pinch your foot when it swells in the heat of the spring months requiring the shell to be pushed along the side. I find myself pushing my boots again in spring along the 6th metatarsal area since my feet get warm and swell up skiing north faces in mild temperatures between April and June.

If you are bow legged or have other alignment issues you will need to adjust the canting (verticality of the upper cuff). Most shells have the options to adjust forward lean. Before you crank it right forward to the most aggressive angle, see how much you can flex you lower leg forward with your foot flat on the floor. For most people have a more upright forward lean on the boot will allow them to flex forward and absord bumps. If the boots is already forcing you towards the extend of your flexibility, there is little range of motion left for you to flex, and you will end up skiing backseat.

  1. Customising the Insole

Firstly throw away the piece of cardboard that comes with the boot. Choose a footbed that will support your foot, closely fit the underside of your foot and provide good friction so foot movements result in instantaneous boot and ski movements. A good insole will also prevent the down force from tight buckles collapsing your foot and that burning lactate sensation which has you reaching to pop open the buckles at every opportunity. Superfeet or the more expensive moulded Conformables are a good investment and you may choose to get an electrically heated insole if you suffer from cold feet or are off on expedition (I recommend Lenz electrically heated socks nowadays as you can use them in any boot). I prefer Conformables and run them in all my boots. Superfeet have a little too much heal raise for my liking. Raising the heal from footbed/insole/binding ramp angle (the angle off the horizontal due to the heal being higher than the toes) used to be common to try and make people more aggressive over the front of the skis. However it does the exact opposite. Try it at home, place a book under your heals and I bet you stick your bum out to compensate. In skiing this would make you more backseat. Now try this, feet flat on the floor, lift your toes and notice your weight going forward. Push your toes into the ground and you’ll feel your weight going backseat again. Try lifting your toes when skiing to get that weight forward.

  1. Choosing the Liner

Surely the liner comes with the boot? Well it does but again you need to decide what you will do with the boot. If the intent is to do day tours you may have no specific requirements but if you are doing multi-day tours or expeditions then you will love Intuition closed cell foam liners. The closed cell structure does not absorb sweat so at the end of the day its easy to dry overnight in a hut or sleeping bag whereas a porous liner will stay saturated and may freeze without a direct heat source causing you major problems. There are other reasons why you may discard the stock liner. An Intuition Powerwrap is warmer, stiffer and will take some volume out of the boot, and the Intuition Pro Tour is designed specifically with that with a hinge point, rear stiffener and a choice of tongue stiffness’s.

intuition-liner

Scarpa’s boots come with Inuition Liners as stock

  1. Customising the Liner

It’s now time to get the liner thermo moulded to your anatomy. The boot fitter will place the liner in an oven at 200 F for around 10 minutes until the liner looses a little stiffness. It will then be placed in the shell and you’ll be asked to slide your foot into the liner. The boot fitter may have already placed some foam pads on any bone protuberances to create more space for them while the liners conforms to your anatomy. If you are ski mountaineering make sure you mould with toe caps in place to create a warm air space for your toes within the boot. Its essential that you get the heal firmly into the back of the boot and you’ll be asked to stomp down on the heal which will create a nice heal cup to hold your heal securely – you don’t want heal lift touring and any lateral heal movement will make it tough to smear the tail of the ski when you are buttering the turns off. The boot fitter will crank up the buckles and ask you to walk around and flex for ten minutes or so. And that’s it, well, almost. Final adjustments to remove volumecan be done by adding customised shapes of self-adhesive foam to any problem areas. In the photo below you can see where I added 2 mm thick green foam around the heal to get the glove fit I was after with my skinny Achilles. These simple bits of foam can transform a boot from almost unskiable to world class so bear that in mind and if you think you’ll need some once the liner packs out ask the bootfitter to give you a sheet to take away. In the second photo below you’ll see how I put foam ontop of my foot to take volume out around the ankle to get the heal locked down in the boot – super important with modern skis where you can use heal pressure to control the ski at the end of turns. Alos if you have low volume foot like mine and your liner has a lacing option, use it.

modified-liner-with-foam-pads

modified-liners-with-adhesive-pads-2

Customising the fit of your liner with self adhesive foam & use of laces

Read more about moulding liners here: http://www.powder.com/gear/gear-hack-how-to-cook-your-liners-in-an-oven/ – GpEHChwuVVLvCYdh.97

Finally I am going to mention a few other things I use to get that glove like boot fit. Don’t forget boots that fit well in the colder months may pinch your foot when it swells in the heat of the spring months requiring the shell to be pushed along the side.

  1. Spoilers – these typically come with alpine boots and are a wedge of plastic that velcros to the top back of the liner to take out any space. Skiing is a very dynamic sport and when you want to put power on the back of the boot the last thing you want is a delay as your leg chances angle to move from shin contact to calf contact. My calf muscles also disappear as I go from the climbing and biking season into the ski season so it something I introduce as my anatomy changes through the season.
  1. Volume Reducers

These are flat incompressible foam or rubber insoles that you place under your moulded insole to take out some volume. Typically 2 or 3 mm but if you need more a cork board might be the solution.

  1. Heal lifts

An incompressible foam or rubber wedge under the heal to take out room. I don’t like these much as it changes the ramp angle – its remarkable that you will notice a change of a couple of mm in heal height causing you to be more backseat or thrown forward – until you get used to it and subconsciously compensate.

Read more about tech binding delta (ramp) here: https://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

  1. Heal Space Frame

These cheap plastic frames create a more pronounced heal pocket by inserting over the outside of the liner. They do push your foot forward and you’ll notice more pressure on your toes. I also find that while they are good for downhill, they tend to give me blisters along the sides of my Achilles and so I always use adhesive foam.

heal-cups

 

Black Crows Corvus Freebird Review

Black Crows Skis is the Cult  brand in France, conceived by Camille Jaccoux and Bruno Compagnet and born in Chamonix. The name derives from the friendly mountain crow the Choucas,  the legend being each bird is the soul of a dead alpinist or skier. Treat them with affection next time one pays you a visit on a airy ridgeline. Chamonix lays claim to be ‘the World Capital for Skiing and Mountaineering’ and whether you love or hate it, there is no denying that its the ultimate testing ground for high performance, big mountain skiing. The guys in the ski films like Glen Plake, Scott Schmidt, Andreas Fransson, JP Auclair, Seth Morrison, Sam Favret, Aurelian Ducroz, Oli Herren, Nate Wallace, Alex Pittin have all served time perfecting their arts in many different disciplines of skiing before coming to Chamonix and undertaking a long apprenticeship in the unforgiving big mountains  before they could turn on the style on the big test piece routes. This ain’t Alaska where you throw caution to the wind and tomahawk a line and walk away unscathed, make a mistake here and the next second will probably be your last. Its the perfect testing ground, equipment has to perform and withstand abuse (dry skiing, morraines rock, roots) or it gets left in the cellar.

The Corvus has been Black Crows Sovereign ski since the brands conception, and with each year they have added some extra width to drive the market trend. The Freebird version landed in 2016 and won many awards. It is a backcountry orientated ski, lightened to help you get up the hills,  and for a 109 underfoot ski at around the 3.6 kg mark, its boasts a lot of performance.

Like its full weight brother, this is a ski that likes to charge, and the harder you push the more impressed would will be with its stability as it shows its calibre. You can ski pow with dustbin lids but when its variable, crusty or firm then you start to appreciate the all round abilities. I’ve skied this on heavy touring boots but the combination of stability, ease of pivot and dampening has meant I’m happy to go out on this in the mountains with my Scarpa Evo F1.

Photos by Michelle Blaydon on the Shoulder of Aiguille du Tacul above the Mer de Glace.

dsc00586dsc00616dsc00617dsc00636

Black Crows Skis is the Cult  brand in France, conceived by Camille Jaccoux and Bruno Compagnet and born in Chamonix. The name derives from the friendly mountain crow the Choucas,  the legend being each bird is the soul of a dead alpinist or skier. Treat them with affection next time one pays you a visit on a airy ridgeline. Chamonix lays claim to be ‘the World Capital for Skiing and Mountaineering’ and whether you love or hate it, there is no denying that its the ultimate testing ground for high performance, big mountain skiing. The guys in the ski films like Glen Plake, Scott Schmidt, Andreas Fransson, JP Auclair, Seth Morrison, Sam Favret, Aurelian Ducroz, Oli Herren, Nate Wallace, Alex Pittin have all served time perfecting their arts in many different disciplines of skiing before coming to Chamonix and undertaking a long apprenticeship in the unforgiving big mountains  before they could turn on the style on the big test piece routes. This ain’t Alaska where you throw caution to the wind and tomahawk a line and walk away unscathed, make a mistake here and the next second will probably be your last. Its the perfect testing ground, equipment has to perform and withstand abuse (dry skiing, morraines rock, roots) or it gets left in the cellar.

The Corvus has been Black Crows Sovereign ski since the brands conception, and with each year they have added some extra width to drive the market trend. The Freebird version is touring orientated ski  that has been lightened to help you get up the hills and for a 109 underfoot ski at around the 3.6 kg mark, its boasts a lot of performance.

Like its full weight brother, this is a ski that likes to charge, and the harder you push the more impressed would will be with it stability as it shows its calibre. You can ski pow with dustbin lids but when its variable, crusty or firm then you start to appreciate the all round abilities. I’ve skied this on heavy touring boots but the combination of stability, ease of pivot and dampening has meant I’m happy to go out on this in the mountains with my Scarpa Evo F1.

I rated the ski on the 10 qualities I look for in a ski:

corvus-freebird-2016-evaluation

Petzl Laser Speed Light Ice Screw Review

In the mountaineering and ski touring World weight means everything. Its simple physics that the amount of energy to elevate an object is equal to mass x gravity x height raised, hence why we are all obsessed with shaving a 100 grams off one bit of kit or another. For example, in theory to raise 1 kg 1000 m in elevation take 1 x 9.81 x 1000 = 9801 J or 9.81 kJ and that does not account for significant the additional frictional losses from walking or skinning or wind. So it can be seen that carrying one kilogram less will easily result in the energy from an extra bar or two being saved, plus the added benefit of moving faster and more easily and saving the accumulated strain on your neck, shoulders and spine.

In the last 2-3 years we have seen big advances in ski touring boots and skis. Right now a pair of boots weighing 2.4 kgs skis 90% as well as a 4 kg pair of boots did 3 years ago and the same is true with freeride touring skis loosing 1 kg/pair over the last few years – thats a 25% weight reduction.

Our attention to our kit should not stop there, every item of your gear clothing, hardnesses and equipment should be scrutinised for pack size, weight, is it overkill, can I make do with something lighter? This goes for clothing, harnesses, backpacks, crampons, axes, ropes, etc. As an engineer the downside of reducing the weight of an item is the fatigue life is reduced, and for the majority of us fatigue from every day use is the governing factor in the design life of an object. For those of you who are heavy on kit then the overall strength of an item will be the governing factor and maybe going light is not right for you.

Petzl have done an amazing job with their  Laser Speed Light ice screws reducing the weight from 192 g for a steel 17 cm screw to 101 g for the ‘light’ version, thats a weight saving of 91 g per screw. Thats 1.1 kg saving for 12 screws in a cascade rack! So how is this possible?  Ice screws have been around in the steel form for decades with the main innovation being the introduction of winder handles for quick placement and removal. About 20 years ago there was a short period where titanium made and entry on the scene with larger diameter tubes but these were difficult to sharpen and poor quality control of materials from Russia often meant these were unreliable. Petzl have taken a step back and have engineered a screw with an aluminium hanger and tube with hard steel teeth bonded to the tube to cut through glacial ice. Petzl technical spec states there is unlimited lifetime on laser speed light so there are extremely  confident in the new design.

So far I have used mine for climbing alpine faces where neve and ice are present or for ski touring where I’m most likely to use them for an anchor on glacial ice or for creating an abalakov v-thread anchor to abseil from. For ski touring its brilliant as 99% of the ice screw is just a precaution for glacial travel and rarely used in anger and I have not noticed any difference in performance between the ‘light’ and the steel versions.

Price wise they are only a few euro more than the steel version so make sure you check them out.

DSC05058

17 cm with bue winder handle and 21 cm with the green handle. 13 cm are also available

DSC05059

The steel teeth on the laser speed light

DSC05056

17 cm laser speed light on the scales at 101 g

DSC05057

17 cm steel laser speed on the scales at 192 g. Thats 91 g heavier than the light.

DSC04857

Equalised double abolokov in the shaded cooler ice backed up by the ice screw.

12752116_10207394017039963_1466449635_o

Skiing in wild places with exposure after coming through an icy mixed section

DSC_9004gearing-up

September 2015. Me racking up under the Grandes Jorasses photo : Ben Tibbetts

DSC_9404jorasses-ross

Heading up the initial ice field on Michto – Polish, Grandes Jorasses. Photo Ben Tibbetts

DSC_9117jorasses-ross

Its starting to get steeper now. Photo Ben Tibbetts

DSC_9296jorasses-ross

Shacking out on a small bulge. Photo Ben Tibbetts

Grandes Jorasses Michto Ben Tibbets-5

Ben Tibbetts enjoying the sunshine on the summit ridge

Lenz Heat Sock Preliminary Review

During this winter I am preparing for a spring ski mountaineering expedition to the north east fiords of Baffin Island. Situated deep within the Canadian Arctic, this area has granite walls that soar up to 1500 m out of the frozen fiords. Where there are diagonal weaknesses between the walls is where you find the couloir skiing. The team will be dropped into the fiords by snow machine and from that point onwards we will operate on our own for 3 weeks; skiing, eating and sleeping from a tent on the ice. With temperatures there regularly in the -20C range and dipping as low as -40C, its important to test all equipment thoroughly beforehand. I have been to this area before and found that the sea ice acts like a heat sink sucking the heat out of your feet and legs, which became a constant worry to stop my toes freezing. The nearest helicopter is 3000 miles away in Halifax so rescue is not straightforward or fast. For this year’s trip I have chosen the Lenz heat sock combined with the rcb1800 lithium battery to help keep my feet warm, using solar charging systems to recharge the battery at night.

When I received the socks I wanted to test them with my ski touring boots and get used to operating them. The product is well made with the high quality you would expect. Out of the box the batteries were partially charged and only took a few hours to fully charge.

Baffin Berghaus Black Crows Ski Mounatineering Expedition-33

Marcus Waring and Michelle Blaydon in Gibbs Fiord, Baffin

 

Baffin Berghaus Black Crows Ski Mounatineering Expedition-46

Michelle Blaydon in Crosshairs Couloir, Baffin Island

 

When I received the socks I wanted to test them with my ski touring boots and get used to operating them. The product is well made with the high quality you would expect. Out of the box the batteries were partially charged and only took a few hours to fully charge before being ready to go.

Before Christmas there was only 50 cm snow in the Alps, just enough to get around on the glaciers in the high mountain. With low avalanche risk we were ski touring a lot and managed a trip to the beautiful old Couvercle refuge in the Talefre Basin. This coincided with the full moon so the night skies were due to be spectacular.

 

It usually takes 3 hours to go from Aiguille du Midi to the Couvercle refuge but the lack of snow and the need to rope through the Salle a Manger on the Mer de Glace meant slow progress and in the end it took 6 hours. I was happy the sock felt the same as other merino socks and didn’t cause any problems such as heal rub. The heating element runs under the foot and although you initially feel it when you put the socks on, you soon get used to it and completely forget its there. The socks have 3 heat levels and I set them on the lowest during the tour and then went to level 2 later in the hut when the outside temperature dropped. The battery clips in place to stud fasteners on the top of the sock. The sock cuff then wraps over the top of the battery. Its worth taking the time to ensure the sock cuff is fully wrapped down over the battery as I found in the lift queue its quite easy for people to graze the outside of your leg and knock the battery. Once you are aware of this it’s easy to avoid. In comparison, other ski boot heaters I have used with batteries at the rear of the boot tend to get damaged/knocked off on chairlifts so it’s a better system.

 

DSC01996-2

Michelle Blaydon on the Leschaux Glacier with the Chamonix Aiguilles behind

 

DSC02005-2

Full moon over the Vallee Blanche

 

12631325_727116977392082_1595384911660522990_n

Ross Hewitt on the ‘roof’ of the Couvercle getting ready to ski down.

 

The next test planned was more onerous with an alpine climbing trip to the classic 700 m, TD- Fil a Plomb ice route (700 m, TD-) on the north side of the Rognan du Plan near Aiguille du Midi. I teamed up with Andy Houseman for this and as always, in the shady north faces, its pretty cold in the short December days. With the benefit of heated socks I chose my lighter, less insulated Scarpa Phantom boots to enable me to climb quicker. The test here was those periods standing belaying where you usually get cold feet pretty quickly. I set the battery to level 2 and was really pleased to find my feet stayed confortable throughout the day. Without the heat socks this was definitely a day I would have used more insulated bigger boots which are less fun to climb in. We reached the cable car around 3 pm and after 7 hours on setting 2 my batteries were starting to fade but they had done the job brilliantly.

DSC02042

A thin, fragile initial pitch

DSC02053

Crux pitch of Fil a Plomb

 

Since then I have used the socks for the 3 days ski technique course that forms part of the training on the British Mountain Guides scheme. Training days tend to have some time discussing topics when you can get cold and I was pleased to keep my feet warm with the Lenz socks.

These tests have confirmed the socks are brilliant in ski touring and climbing boots and the element under the foot does not affect performance and is not felt after a few minutes.

Note : If you have world cup fitted race boots then the sock may be too thick to fit in the boot and you should check the fit with the boot.