Tag Archives: Desert Shield

Gear Review: Black Diamond Offset Micro Stopper

A review of Black Diamond’s newest passive protection should really take place in the context of the competition. BD’s offset nut is the first not produced by a British company, and Black Diamond (BD) is fighting for a niche market held by the HB Brass Offset for a long, long time. The HB Brassy has proven itself to be an indispensable aiding tool. When HB went out of business years ago, the brassies become a coveted piece of equipment, unavailable on the retail market until recently, when DMM bought the old molds and continued the production of these amazing little nuts. Now, BD has tweaked the tried and true formula, using bronze instead of brass for better durability, and utilizing a less aggressive taper. The width of the sides correspond almost exactly between the HB and BD offsets, but BD made their stoppers with a slimmer, longer profile giving it a larger surface area. When I finally got my hands on a set of these I had very specific ambitions to climb the Desert Shield in Zion. With a few hundred feet of sustained thin aid and pin scars, it was the perfect place to put them to the test. … Continue reading

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Autumn in Zion: Adventure Season

The season for adventure is ripe in Zion right now. The weather is ideal, crowds have thinned out, and permits are readily available. A huge rainstorm just came through the area, which has cooled things down, and filled the canyons with fresh water. This is the season for frolicking, splashing, and exploring.This month I have had the opportunity to descend Cave Creek, Imlay (via the sneak route), the Subway/Das Boot link up, Echo Canyon, and the daily canyon guiding outside the park. These routes represent the full spectrum of technical canyoneering in Zion. Each descent is unique, beautiful, and remote. I find release in this terrain because it lends itself to creative problem solving and having fun. Descending the Subway with a wetsuit, for example, allows ample opportunities for slipping and sliding, swimming, playing in waterfalls, and enjoying an enchanting natural playground. This is the ultimate form of recreation. Canyons are a medium for play, and while there is a certain risk associated with canyoneering, the exercise of exploring, of flirting with danger, and the unknown satisfies a primal desire. My conversation with guided clients often touches upon the need for recreation. It seems that the average American is overstressed … Continue reading

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