Mike's Summer Staff Picks

Hi, I’m Mike

One of the most influential events of my life was receiving a snowboard for my 6th birthday. I grew up in eastern Massachusetts, not far from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where I learned how to snowboard on what could be best described as edgeable concrete. In high school, I spent my winters working as a snowboard instructor at a local hill in Mass, mostly so I had an excuse to go ride seven days a week. 

My Story

A trip to Lake Tahoe my senior year of high school made me realize two things: 1. There are few things better than riding pow and 2. Icy groomers don't exactly prepare you for riding multiple feet of snow. My college years were spent at the University of Vermont, where I graduated with a degree in geography. Those four years made it clear that living in the mountains was always going to be a priority for me.

After graduation, I worked a variety of jobs, bouncing between Vermont and Massachusetts. Eventually, I landed at Eastern Mountain Sports, kicking off my career in outdoor retail. I worked for EMS as a supervisor for a number of years before moving on to being the assistant manager at Central Rock Gym in Cambridge, MA. In May 2018, I packed up my life and moved out to Tahoe City to join the team at Alpenglow Sports.

My Staff Picks:

Sterling Rope Nano 8.9

For alpine rock routes in the High Sierra, the Sterling Nano 8.9 is my rope of choice. This thinner, triple-rated rope runs smoothly through gear on those long pitches and its light weight is appreciated on approaches that are measured in miles and not minutes. I prefer the 60m length for my alpine rope to keep the weight and packed size down.

Petzl Grigri

The Grigri is almost always the belay device I reach for when using a single rope, even on multipitch routes. Its design allows for a comfortable and safe belay, plus it can be used to ascend a rope or set up a hauling system.

DMM Revolver

While more of a specialized piece, the Revolver always has a place on my harness for wandering trad climbs. The integrated pulley wheel helps to reduce rope drag on long pitches and allows for easy setup of a lightweight hauling setup. I find the Revolver works best when paired with a dogbone or runner like the Blue Ice Alpine Runner that will keep the carabiner oriented in the proper position.

Black Diamond Vapor Helmet

What I look for most in a helmet is comfort and, to quote Ned Flanders, the Black Diamond Vapor Helmet “feels like you’re wearing nothing at all.” This helmet is ultralight and has great ventilation without sacrificing coverage and protection.

Blue Ice Wadi 22L

With a simple, thoughtful design, the Blue Ice Wadi 22L is one of my favorite climbing packs at the moment. The pack carries well over long approaches, but doesn’t hinder your movement and ability to access gear on your harness when climbing. The outside of the pack isn’t littered with straps and its material can withstand some light hauling.

DMM Aether Alpine Quickdraw

The grams add up quickly on your trad rack, so the lightweight Aether Alpine Quickdraw is what I reach for. The rope radius of the Aether carabiner is slightly larger than most other carabiners in its weight class, which helps keep the rope running smoothly. Its clean nose makes clipping a breeze.

All My Picks:

My Splitboard Picks:

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Max's Summer Staff Picks
Max's Summer Staff Picks

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