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Employee Gear Closet: Matt Israel, Gearhead
Bakcocuntry.com, Employee Gear Closet of the monthby Rocky Thompson
Matt Israel is a native of Minnesota and a sophomore Outdoor Recreation Major at the University of Utah. He has loose plans to become a mountain guide after he graduates in two years. Each week Matt works three full days at Backcountry.com, takes 15 credits of class in two days, and spends the rest of the week climbing and/or telemarking. Matt’s one of the guys you talk to on the phone when you need some gear advice, or you have a rare problem with your order. Though he still can’t legally drink a beer, Matt arrived at Backcountry.com already a veteran of the outdoor industry. His generous parents would give him rides to his first shop job where he helped Midwestern climbers choose gear and camping equipment. During summer Matt is a canoe guide for kids at a YMCA camp in northern Minnesota. We asked Matt to list some of his favorite gear; here it is in his own words. Petzl Corax Harness: Having a good harness is crucial, seeing as how it holds you on the rope when you fall. I like my Corax for a few reasons. First, it could not be simpler. You don’t have to worry about having to feed the buckle every time you want to take your harness off. This is especially useful on the leg loops when you are doing an “involved” decent where you may have to rappel, or you just want to leave your harness on so you don’t have to carry it. All you have to do is loosen the leg loops and oxygen is reintroduced to your groin. BD cams: Black Diamond is still on top of their game with their cams. The double axel gives a greater range, which means less cams hanging off your gear sling/harness. The redesigned C4 has made the good BD cams that much better. First, they shaved off a little weight by putting the cams on Jenny Craig. Then, they put in a thumb loop that is super easy to hold whether you are wearing a glove or not. Plus, if you are aid climbing you can clip into the loop and gain an extra couple inches, which adds up fast on 6 pitches of C2. Petzl Ecrin Roc Helmet: This helmet is still the standby for good reason. It’s RAD! It may be a bit bulkier and heavier than other options, but adjusting it to put on that beanie you have stashed between the shell and inner straps couldn’t be any easier. Two wheels, not rocket science. Five Ten Moccasym Shoe: The unofficial, official-crack-climbing shoe preferred by many. It’s thin enough to cram your little toe into that heinous finger crack down at the creek, and if sized a bit loose, it can be a super comfy shoe. How can you argue with not having to lace your shoes, and having red feet at the end of the day? Petzl Reverso Belay Device: After fully understanding how to use this tool, I have to say that this is my all-time favorite belay/rappel device. It works the same as any belay tube, but it can also be used as an auto-locking device to bring a second up on a multi-pitch route. It can also prove itself in rescue situations where “helping” a client up through a tricky section may be needed. Simple and bomber. Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket: This jacket has seen me through everything from mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies, to paddling through thunderstorms in Minnesota’s BWCAW. All I have to say is, "bomber." I feel invincible when I wear this jacket. It’s by far my favorite shell I have ever owned.