Craig DeMartino has been a climber for the past 24 years. He climbs around the US and the world chasing routes of all types. In 2002 he was accidentally dropped 100 feet onto the talus of Rocky Mountain National Park which resulted in the loss of his leg, a fused back and neck, and a lifetime of chronic injuries. It is also what led him to Paradox Sports. He leads clinics for Paradox teaching other disabled climbers how to get back to climbing, and life, with humor, psych, and a love for their new ‘normal’. Craig was the first amputee to climb El Capitan in Yosemite in under a day, part of the team on the First All Disabled Ascent of El Cap, and a Bronze Medal winner in the Paraclimbing World Championships in France. He is a dad and husband and loves to spread his love of climbing to the world through our programs at Paradox. – Paradox Sports
Staying warm in the mountains and getting all my climbing stuff to the crag are VERY important to me. As a self-described skinny climber guy, I’m always cold. Enter the Bergans of Norway Bladet INS Jacket.
It’s an amazing tool for keeping warm in the backcountry. On a recent trip to Red Rock, Nevada it was in the 20’s all night and this jacket kept me toasty. It has a combination insulated outer shell that blocks wind and water with a wool-blend lining that holds in the heat close to your body. I’ve only used down or synthetic jackets so this was new to me and I couldn’t be more impressed.
Even in the shadows on belay duty, the jacket kept me warm, and the integrated hand warmer kept my hand tops warm and allowed the digits free movement. Its a great feature when not using gloves since it provided me some warmth without loss of dexterity. My hands are always cold, so this feature was a real plus.
The hood fits nicely over a hat or helmet and I scraped up a few sandstone climbs in it with out so much as a mark on the outer shell. The wool lining makes it really easy to wash as well, so it’s easy to keep clean. I tested the black model, which on a cold sunny day was awesome at soaking up the heat, but if you like color there are other options to pick from.
I paired it with the Bergans of Norway Trollhetta 55L Pack on the same Red Rock trip. This pack is a monster! It can hold everything I need for a long day (or weekend): a 70m rope, draws and rack, and water and food without even using the outside strap system! I also climbed with it on and tried to beat it up and tear it without any luck. The fabric is bombproof and it has some really great additions.
One of the things I hate with other packs is the sliders that close the main parts of the pack: I find them hard to operate and they slip all too often. With this pack, Bergans has a great pinch system that you squeeze with your thumb and index finger to open and close. It operates easily and holds the pack shut when you need it. Even when my hands were cold and tired, I could work this little clip without a problem, and when I overloaded the pack, it still compressed and the top closed easily.
The pack carry system is comfortable and easy to adjust to a lot of different sized frames. I could get it to sit just right on my hips with a few pulls of the straps and it carried great even with all the junk I had for the days in the desert. It also has a great lash-down setup on the sides where I can carry something heavy (like my prosthetic leg) with ease and not worry it about it falling off even when bushwhacking, something I’ve become quite good at!
Both the Bergans of Norway Trollhetta 55L Pack and the Bergans of Norway Bladet INS Jacket are a great purchase for any climber or outdoor enthusiast because of the smart features and excellent quality: you won’t have to replace them year to year, and you can use-and-abuse them knowing they will take a licking and keep on ticking!
Have fun out there.