Tuesday, July 24, 2018

American Alpine Institute Guides Choice - 2018

The American Alpine Institute is pleased to announce the 2018 Guides Choice Award Winners! The Guides Choice has been a highly valued award for over 20 years and is long coveted by manufacturers and industry insiders. A core group of AAI guides thoroughly test products in a variety of demanding conditions across 6 states and 16 countries.

The Guides Choice Award winners were revealed at the Outdoor Retailer show this week in Denver.

Patagonia Sun Hoodys:

“Our guides love this piece. It was designed for fly fisherman, but works great for climbers. And even thought the hood wasn't designed to fit over a helmet, it fits great.” Christian Schraegle, AAI Retail Manager.

Patagonia Tropic Comfort II

This comfortable, quick drying hoody wicks moisture and provides UPF sun protection and permanent odor control for hot weather.


  • Super comfortable, ultra light 4.6-oz 94% polyester/6% spandex jersey fabric with Polygiene® permanent odor control and 50+ UPF sun protection 
  • Classic, relaxed tee silhouette with generous hood designed to fit over a baseball cap.
  • Thumb holes for added sun protection for the backs of the hands.
  • Fair Trade Certified™ sewing 
  • Fabric is certified as bluesign® approved 
  • 235 g (8.3 oz) 
Patagonia Sunshade

Quick-drying, super breathable technical hoody for warm weather with UPF sun protection.

  • 3.5-oz Lightweight, quick-drying 100% polyester double knit with 50+ UPF sun protection 
  • Straight cuffs with thumb holes for additional sun protection for the backs of the hands 
  • Hidden zip closure on lower front pocket 
  • Artists by color code: Andy Earl (ITBI, ITDP), Patagonia Original Art (LALB, LABE) 
  • 173 g (6.1 oz) 
Lacking fur, feathers or scales, we humans have to think up clever ways to protect ourselves from the sun. Products with the UPF designation provide built-in sun protection that won’t wear off.

To achieve sun protection, Patagonia takes a varied approach, depending on the degree of protection desired and the fabric used. Elements of the strategy range from yarn selection to fabric construction to the use of special finishes (especially for light colors which generally provide less protection).

Fabric is certified as bluesign® approved

Soto Outdoors Windmaster Stove

“I really appreciate the mastery of the engineering design on any Soto products, especially in the stove department. I started using a WindMaster in 2014, and now it's the only stove I use on my trips.” Richard Riquelme, AAI Guide.

Soto says… “Boil 2 cups of water in under 2-1/2 minutes in strong winds and gusty weather. This stove is well-made and able to stand up to harsh conditions.”… We have tested the WindMaster stove on trips to Mount Baker in the North Cascades,  on trips to Denali in Alaska up to 18,000-feet, on the summit of Aconcagua summit at 22,841-feet, and in Bolivia up to 21,000-feet. The stove always operated perfectly. It never failed to fire up and worked well regardless of the wind or temperatures.

The Soto WindMaster OD-1RXC is designed so that the pot sits close to the flame, which makes it more efficient in windy weather. and results in increased efficiency and boil time. The concave design of the burner head creates the effect of a built-in windscreen. The interchangeable pot supports make this stove efficient for whatever size pot your adventure requires.

WindMaster Stove Specifications:
  • Energy Heat Output: 2,800 kcal/h, 3,260w, 11,000 BTU
  • Duration: Burns approx.1.5 hours with 8 oz. (250g) canister
  • Weight: 0.475 lbs 
  • 2.0 oz. (60g) without the TriFlex/4Flex pot supports 
  • 2.3 oz. (67g) with the TriFlex pot support
  • 3.0.oz. (87g) with the 4Flex pot support 
  • Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 2.5 in 
  • TriFlex only (Stowed) 3.7 x 0.4 x 1.0 inch (94 x 10 x 33 mm)
  • 4Flex only (Stowed) 1.9 x 3.0 x 1.7 inch (47 x 77 x 44 mm) 

Zojirushi SM-LA60 Vacuum Insulated Bottle

“These things really keep water hot longer than any other bottles on the market. We tested it on Aconcagua on summit day. A climber got too cold and we thought we were going to have to turn him around. We had a hot drink that we prepared a number of hours earlier in one of these bottles. The climber drank the fluid, recovered and was able to finish the summit that day...!" Richard Riquelme AAI guide.

The stainless mug features an ultra-lightweight, small diameter body that makes it comfortable to hold and carry. The vacuum insulation provides excellent heat and cold retention. Available in 12, 16 and 20 oz. capacities.
  • Stainless steel vacuum insulation keeps beverages hot or cold for hours 
  • Compact lid design has fewer parts for easy cleaning 
  • New 2-step method for disassembly and reassembly of lid ensures no accidental leaks, and helps prevent the loss of parts 
  • 1-1/2" (4cm) wide mouth opening accommodates full-size ice cubes, and is easy to fill 
  • Made of BPA-free plastic and stainless steel 
Model Tested No.:
  • SM-LA60 
  • Capacity - 20 oz. / 0.60 liter 
  • Dimensions (W x D x H) - 2-3/4 x 2-3/4 x 9-3/4 inches 
  • Weight (lbs. oz.) - 0.09 
  • Heat Retention* - 190°F @ 1 hr. / 165°F @ 6 hrs. 
  • Cold Retention** - 46°F @ 6 hrs. 

*Rating is based on water at a starting temperature of 203°F (95°C) at a room temperature of 68°F (20°C)

**Rating is based on water at a starting temperature of 40°F (4°C) at a room temperature of 68°F (20°C)

Petzl Sirocco Helmet

“When you wear a Sirocco helmet, you forget that you're wearing a helmet at all. It is incredibly ligth and comfortable. Calvin Morris, AAI Guide.

Ultra-lightweight climbing and mountaineering helmet with reinforced protection.,

The SIROCCO is designed to respond to the needs of climbers and mountaineers for reduced weight and for protection. Its head-covering shape, lower in the rear, offers reinforced protection over the entire head. Optimized volume on the head, along with excellent ventilation, provides maximum comfort.

Ultra-light design: 
  • only 170 g 
  • hybrid construction with a shell in EPP (expanded polypropylene) foam and rigid crown injected with EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam 
  • Head-covering design for optimal protection against lateral, front and rear impact: 
  • carries Petzl's TOP AND SIDE PROTECTION product label 
  • head-covering shape, lower in the rear, for reinforced protection 

Maximum comfort in action: 
  • wide holes, for excellent ventilation
  • completely adjustable, thanks to the adjustable headband and chinstrap 
  • magnetic buckle facilitates fastening the chinstrap (Petzl patent) 
  • two hooks and rear elastic for attaching a headlamp
  • compatible with the VIZION eye shield 

  • Material(s): expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam shell, polycarbonate crown, expanded polystyrene (EPS) liner, polyester webbing 
  • Certification(s): CE EN 12492, UIAA 
  • Product comes with protective storage bag and spare foam.

Petzl R.A.D. System

This is an ultra-light and compact crevasse rescue kit works extremely well for skiers who wish to operate in glaciated terrain.

The RAD SYSTEM (Rescue And Descent) kit allows skiers in mountain terrain to always have the equipment necessary for crevasse rescue, rappelling, or roping up to move through a crevasse zone. This kit contains a storage bag, 30 meters of RAD LINE 6 mm specific cordage, carabiners, ascenders and a sling. 
Complete, ultra-light and compact kit:
  • 30 m of RAD LINE 6 mm cordage, developed specifically for crevasse rescue, rappelling and roping up on a glacier during ski mountaineering
  • 3 ATTACHE carabiners 
  • 1 TIBLOC ascender 
  • 1 MICRO TRAXION pulley-ascender 
  • 1 FIN’ANNEAU 120 cm sling
  • equipment is contained in a storage bag 
Kit designed for action:
  • ideal bottom-of-the-pack solution for back-country skiers
  • cord is folded for immediate use without risk of knots or twists
  • two loops on the bag for attaching it to a harness or inside the backpack
  • sewn webbing loops on the top of the bag for attachment of all components of the kit
  • ice screw holder on the outside of the bag 
Ultra-light cord:
  • only 660 g for 30 m
  • sheath has rough texture for better control when rappelling and better braking when arresting a fall in a crevasse
  • stretch of the hyper-static cord is less than 2 %, to facilitate rescue maneuvers and eliminate the yo-yo effect during rappels or fall arrest in a crevasse 
  • Material(s): polypropylene, aluminum, Dyneema®, stainless steel, nylon (bag), aramid
  • Certification(s): CE EN 564 (RAD LINE 6 mm cordage) 
  • Weight: 1,045 g

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