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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011

Editors' Picks with Climbing Gear Editor Julie Ellison

Climbing's gear editor weighs in on her favorite harness and ice axe.

CAMP USA Stratos (Courtesy Photo)
CAMP USA Stratos (Courtesy Photo)
Black Diamond Raven Pro (Courtesy Photo)
Black Diamond Raven Pro (Courtesy Photo)

[harness]
CAMP USA Stratos
No surprise: We use a lot of harnesses while gear testing at Climbing. But I was surprised at the instant comfort of the lightweight Stratos, thanks to two layers of perforated foam padding that evenly distribute my weight and breathe well. It has literally saved my butt hundreds of times on sport and multipitch climbs throughout the West. $100; 12.3 oz. (small); camp-usa.com

[ice axe]
Black Diamond Raven Pro
This tool has been with me for countless early-season Fourteener attempts, peakbagging in Yellowstone and the Tetons, and glacier travel and summiting in the northern Cascades. I’ve tested several other ice axes, but I keep coming back to this one for its light weight, ergonomics, and versatility. $100; 13 oz. (50cm version); blackdiamondequipment.com

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