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Jessie Leong

Jessie Leong

Zooming past some of the most imposing 4000m mountains in the Valais region, acclimatisation to the rapid height gain may not sound like everybody’s most relaxing start to a holiday.

As the UK plunged into its third lockdown, views of the jagged winter peaks seemed more remote then ever… until an unexpected snowy forecast and a cold snap turned the local hills into a mini arctic tundra.  Observing local restrictions, Sheffield-based Jessie Leong went to the snow-topped plateau to test the grip on the Women’s Arctic Ice Nomadic Vibram® Short boots.

2020 has been a whirlwind of a year, not in the least when it has come to testing gear.

What makes it possible for the human mind able to view past memories and forget the pain of the cold and temporal feelings of sadness and make homesickness fade?

October 2019: As an avid Trad climber, who spent every spare window of time calling up friends and arranging climbing sessions on the local Gritstone crags, a product test of two Black Diamond Harnesses was going to be easy-peasy. Or so I thought…  

Iceland - the land of ice and fire (and more recently months, hurricaine winds and slush). Jessie Leong went to the ice caps of Langjökull to test the grip on the Women’s Arctic Ice Tall Muck Boots…

As a seasoned trad climber, an occasional Scottish Munro bagger, a wandering nomad and occasional dabbler in winter sports, there are many outdoor sports with different technical requirements.

Described as the ultimate in lightweight, highly breathable insulation that eliminates the need for constant layering changes my first impressions with the Black Diamond Women’s First Light jacket… it looked a bit girly for me.

For the outdoor enthusiast, there's probably no more essential piece of kit than a waterproof jacket. When entering an outdoors shop buyers are often faced with enough makes and models of jacket to try a new one each day of the year.Despite the overwhelming amount of, often bespoke, technological terminology and quoted facts and figure the reality is that not all waterproofs are equal and chossing one that's appropriate to the activity it's used is the key to navigating the stacked sale rails.

You could have been easily forgiven for thinking winter this year was little more then a distant memory. With the UK’s unpredictable weather system, lack of major snowfall and freeze-thaw temperatures, there have not been many opportunities for anything other than frustration to develop whilst waiting for stable snow conditions.