Tag Archives: Gear Thirty

Gannett Peak Winter Attempt Gear List

Greg Reynolds, Gannet Peak, January 2016

 

A few months ago I was feeling the need to do something stupid. In my 29 years of existence I have done many stupid things, but it had been a while since I’d done something really stupid.

 

When I say stupid, I’m not talking about saying something to my wife that lands me on the couch for the night or locking my keys in the car. I’ve done plenty of those things recently. Doing something really stupid for me is like that time when my friend and I decided to climb a mountain in the middle of a nasty winter storm and got stranded, turning a half-day trip into a two day ordeal that had search and rescue involved and had my friend and I shoving our feet in each others’ armpits to try to stave off frostbite. Or the other time when myself and some friends decided to climb another peak in the middle of a winter storm. One friend got separated in the storm, was caught in an avalanche (but luckily not fully buried), and ended up flying off the mountain dangling from a lifeflight helicopter.

 

I told my pregnant wife that I felt like I needed to do something stupid. She knew what that meant and simply said, “Just don’t kill yourself. Our children need a father.” “Deal,” I said, and started making preparations.

 

I called my friend Phil and proposed that we head into the Wind Rivers for a week of climbing and skiing. Phil is the friend who, without fail, is always game to do something stupid with me. In fact, his are the armpits that have warmed my toes and he was the one that spotted three moose while dangling from a lifeflight helicopter as he was flown off the mountain.

 

After some deliberation, Phil and I decided to try to climb and ski Gannett Peak in the Wind Rivers. Gannett Peak is the highest peak in Wyoming, 33 feet higher than the Grand Teton. And though there are more extreme peaks to climb, it is very remote and gets pummeled with nasty weather all winter long. The climbing is a mixture of glacier ice, steep snow slopes, and 50-degree rock. It is a climb, not a hike, but it’s not so steep and crazy that we won’t be able to ski off the top.

Based on the weather over the last three weeks, we are planning our gear lists based on the following conditions:

 

Daytime temperatures: 0-15 degrees Fahrenheit

Nighttime temperatures: -10-10 degrees Fahrenheit

Windy and snowy.

 

My Gear

 

Apparel

  • Bottom Layers
    • 200g Merino Wool Baselayer (Icebreaker)
    • Arc’teryx Psiphon AR Softshell Pant
    • Arc’teryx Kappa Pant
  • Top Layers
    • La Sportiva Troposphere Long Sleeve Baselayer
    • Mountain Equipment Eclipse Hooded Zip T
    • Arc’teryx Cerium SL Vest
    • CAMP Flash Anorak (windshirt for quick on/off in windy weather)
    • Berghaus Vapourlight Hyper Jacket (Ultralight waterproof jacket, mostly to block wind up high)
    • Rab Neutrino Endurance Down Jacket or Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody
  • Hands and Feet
    • 2x Thick Merino Wool Ski Socks (Darn Tough and Icebreaker)
    • Dynafit TLT5 Performance Ski Boot
    • Western Mountaineering Flash Down Booties (Frostbite Insurance)
    • Lightweight Merino Wool liner Glove (Rab)
    • Mountain Equipment Super Alpine Glove
    • Arc’teryx Beta Shell Glove and Atom Glove Liner
    • Black Diamond Superlight Mitt (Frostbite Insurance up high)
  • Head and Face
    • Merino Wool Buff (Icebreaker)
    • Thick Merino Wool Beanie (Icebreaker)
    • Dynafit Headband (Lightweight for skinning when not too cold)
  • Hardgoods and Equipment
    • Cilogear 60L Worksac Backpack (No top lid)
    • Osprey Kode Race 18 skimo pack (for summit day)
    • Dynafit Cho Oyu 183 Skis w/ Dynafit Radical Speed Binding
    • Dynafit (Pomoca skins) speedskins for Cho Oyu ski
    • CAMP Race Skins for flat skinning (skinny, short, lightweight, glides well)
    • Black Diamond Quickdraw Tour 320 Probe
    • Black Diamond Deploy 3 Shovel
    • BCA Tracker 2 Beacon
    • MSR Reactor Stove and Pot and 2x 8oz bottles of fuel
    • Black Diamond Highlite Tent or dig snow cave, haven’t decided yet
    • Western Mountaineering Alpinlite Sleeping Bag
    • Thermarest Neoair X-Therm Sleeping Pad
    • SOL Escape Emergency reflective bivy
  • Tech and Accessories
    • Delorme inReach Explorer Emergency Transponder
    • iPhone w/maps and Delorme GPS app (Camera, navigation, communication in conjunction with the Delorme inReach Explorer
    • GoPro Hero 4
    • Morakniv Companion knife
    • Firestarter and First Aid Kit
    • Smith Goggles and Julbo Sunglasses
    • LED Lenser Headlamp and Batteries
    • Power Monkey and Goal Zero Dump Chargers for all electronics
  • Food
    • Mostly Mountain House, Oatmeal, Hot Chocolate, and GU energy products

 

 

The total weight for the stuff I’m taking is about 35lbs without water. I’m sure there are a few items that I have forgotten, but it’s getting late and I still have a lot to do tonight to get ready for the trip tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow night we should arrive at the end of the plowed road a few miles (5-6) away from Elkhart Park. The plan is to grab our gear and start hiking through the night, hopefully arriving in the Titcomb Basin around noon the following day. That would be about a 20-22 mile day. I hope we have the legs for it. It may take us more than one day to get that far.

 

The forecast is looking clear but windy for the first half of the week so we are hoping to get up Gannett by Wednesday at the latest.

Phil and I will be communicating via the Delorme inReach Explorer starting from the trailhead on Sunday night (January 10, 2016) and we will try to send an update text about 3-4 times per day as long as there is something worthwhile to update about.

You can follow the progress (or lack thereof) at the following link:

 

http://gearthirty.com/blog/live-track-1-2016/

 

We will follow this trip up with photos and a trip report as well as a discussion of our gear choices and how well the gear did or didn’t work so if that interests you, stay tuned.

 

Thanks,
Greg

Stairway To Heaven Ice Climbing, Provo Canyon

This post is a couple years old.  This climb of Stairway to Heaven is from February of 2013.  Even though its a little old, hopefully it can be encouragement for people to get out and have some adventures this winter.

 

Originally published 3/1/2013:

 

My friend Phil and I made plans about 6 months ago to head to the Tetons in early February to give the Black Ice Couloir on the Grand a go.  We had been told that climbing the Black Ice Couloir during the winter is the closest thing to climbing the Japanese Couloir on Denali as you can get in the states.  Both are at about the same elevation, both have about the same technical grade, and both have to deal with similar temperatures. Because the Cassin Ridge is on my “to do before I die” list, we thought it would be worth checking out.

As early February arrived, my wife (who is pregnant) started having consistent contractions.  She got a checkup and the doctor told us the baby could come at any time, even though it was still a couple months early.  I didn’t feel comfortable taking off on a climbing trip and risking missing the birth of my first child, and not being around to help my wife during her time of need.  Phil understood and we canceled the trip.

After about a week of no action on the baby front, my wife started encouraging me to go to the Tetons and get this climb done (probably so she didn’t have to hear my talk about it anymore, and because she is very supportive of my good habits).  Without too much effort, I was convinced and we started making plans to go again.  A busy week of work postponed it a week, but we were ready to go.

Another appointment with the doctor a couple days before we were to leave confirmed that taking off at this point was too risky.  My wife was partially dilated and mostly effaced, and the baby was a week away of being full-term.  I called Phil up to apologize again.  He understood and we made plans for a climb closer to home (since we both already had taken time off work).

With that wordy introduction, here are some pictures and explanations of our climb of Stairway to Heaven in Provo Canyon:

Stairway to Heaven
 
Neither Phil nor I had ever climbed Stairway to Heaven.  In fact, we had never done any ice climbing in Provo Canyon.  Most of our ice climbing had either kept us closer to home, or led us to some larger mountains in Wyoming or deeper into the mountains of Utah.  But, with a baby coming soon, we decided to get on something bigger than Ogden had to offer, but close enough I could get back quickly if necessary.Phil took a nasty 65 foot tumble on snowy 4th class terrain about 3 weeks ago while approaching a gully of ice in Ogden.  He smashed his face, knee, hip, elbow, and was bruised all over.  He walked away from the fall, quite battered and sore, but still able to walk.  He assumed he was just bruised all over, but even after 3 weeks, putting on a seatbelt hurt his hip and he still has some pain in various parts of his body that were banged up on his tumble.As we approached the waterfall, our excitement grew.  We had heard stories that Stairway can be quite busy, so we were psyched to see that we had the waterfall all to ourselves.  Phil claimed the first pitch and I belayed.

Approaching the waterfall.

 

Phil half way up the first pitch.  Following the path of least resistance, P1 is WI3.  Picking a steeper line could take it to WI4.  Our path was probably WI3.
After leading the first pitch, Phil mentioned that his previous fall (from 3 weeks earlier) had gotten into his head a little, and that he’d like to top rope a pitch or two before he tried to lead something a little harder.  In addition to that, his knee, hip, and arm still hadn’t totally healed.  So, I took pitch 2.
Myself on P2.  I don’t remember how long it was.  Maybe 80-100 feet.  WI4

 

Again P2.
Topping out on Pitch 2.

 

Myself heading up Pitch 3.  It was only yesterday and I have already forgotten how long it is.  I think about 80-100 feet and WI5 (according to Mountain Project, which only had the rating, not the length).  The length to the belay anchor is much longer than 80 feet.  It seemed like steeper climbing than the previous pitches, but not quite as steep as Pitch 5 which is also rated WI5.
Near the top of Pitch 3.  Because it had been climbed a lot previously, this pitch went really quickly and easily with minimal effort.  Happy hooking:)
My view from above Pitch 3.  I didn’t get many pictures of Phil because I usually couldn’t see him as he followed.
After following a few pitches, Phil decided his head just wasn’t in the game for the day and I gladly continued to lead.  Phil is every bit the ice climber I am and would have cruised these pitches just fine.  I’ve taken some falls, never as big or as bad as his recent fall, and took longer to recover and get back out climbing than he did.  I’m impressed at how quickly he was back at it and don’t blame him one bit for letting someone else lead.
I didn’t get any pictures of Pitch 4.  It was a shorter, albeit steep pillar.  I’d guess it was about 25-30 feet.  WI4.  This ended up being one of the more difficult sections for me, simply because I got a tool stuck and had to fight for about 5 minutes to get it out.  I swung the tool into a depression and sunk the pick fairly deep, with the top of the pick flush with the ice so I couldn’t pry it up to get it out.  I tried and tried for a few exhausting minutes before I put a screw in, shook out, and went at it again.  I was afraid to chip at the ice above the pick for fear of having that pick (the one weight-bearing pick) come loose.  So, I sunk my other tool about 4 feet above my stuck tool, matched on the higher tool, hiked my feet high, and kicked at the ice.  Looking back, I think that was a pretty dumb thing to do.  I could have potentially kicked the tool loose and lost it into the snow below (which was really only about 20 feet below) and been stuck with one tool.  Oh well, it worked, I got the tool loose, and I topped out on the 30ish foot pillar, somewhat pumped and tired.  What normally would have taken 5 minutes to climb probably took about 20.  But I didn’t get any pictures of this pitch and Phil didn’t either.  I think he was watching intently, waiting for me to do something stupid and fall.
Anyway, I pulled over the top and got a look at Pitch 5, the crux of the pitches that were in.  We were hoping that they would be in up to Pitch 7, but no luck.
After the short pillar on Pitch 4, there is a small snowfield and then some low-angle ice leading up to the P5 pillar.  I belayed at the base of the pillar.
This is another view of P5 on the descent.  It was a really fun pitch.  There were a few bulges that almost made the climbing feel a little overhung in places, though I doubt that was the case.
Myself traversing out onto the pillar.  I had gloved stuffed in my jacket.  I’m really not that fat.

 

The views of the canyon from this high were incredible.  There was ice all over the cliffs on both sides of the canyon.  I couldn’t believe it.  There was as much ice in just this small section of canyon as there is in all of Ogden and its surrounding areas.
With that said, I think I’d put Ogden’s ice climbs up against almost any other ice climb of similar size and difficulty.  I’d put Malan’s waterfall up against almost any 3-pitch, WI5 climb around.  I’d put Willard Waterfall up against almost any multi-pitch WI3 climb around.  The beauty of the surroundings and the exposure (of Malan’s 2nd pitch in particular) make these climbs incredible and classics, in my opinion.
Ok, back to Stairway.
Phil at the belay.

 

Though Pitch 5 is steeper, there was a narrow runnel that allowed for a little bit of stemming lower on the pitch.  The whole pitch went pretty smooth.  Up high I got a tool stuck again (same way as before), but got it out much quicker this time with a little bit of chipping from the other tool.  It did wear me out though.  This pitch was about 100 feet of steep climbing, followed by about a 75 foot snowfield to the anchors.  There wasn’t enough ice on pitches 6 or 7 to climb, unless we wanted to do some mixed climbing, which we weren’t really prepared for (in time or enthusiasm).

 

More stemming.
A bit higher.
More of the same.
After topping out on P5, we started rapping back down.  At the top of P2, I dropped a glove which slid down over the edge of the waterfall.  We had to work around another group that was heading up, which led me to forget about the glove.  We rapped down to the bottom of the waterfall before I realized I forgot to find that glove.  Phil hadn’t come all the way down yet, so he headed back up and I belayed myself back up while he looked for the glove.  By the time I’d climbed back up the first pitch, Phil had been looking for 15 minutes without any luck.

 

I decided to climb halfway up the 2nd pitch to see if I could find the glove.
The glove slid down through the gully that is just up and right from where I am on this climb.  When I peeked my head up over the ice, the glove was sitting right there smiling at me.  This glove was a recent gift from my wife for Valentine’s Day.  There was no way I could have gone home without it.  I’m grateful to her for the gloves.  They worked incredibly well on this climb.  Rab M14 gloves.  I recommend them.

GoPro 3-Way Mount

(Video Transcript)

Hey, what’s up guys?  It’s Matt from Gearthirty.com and I just wanted to talk to you about a new mount from GoPro.  This is the 3-way mount.  It’s a really awesome new accessory that they’ve just put out.  It’s called the 3-way because it has three different functions.  You could use it as a selfie stick, like this.  The camera goes up here either facing you or facing away from you.  You could use it as a follow cam in this configuration here-the camera would go right here.  Or, it has a really secret hidden feature that we will get to in just a sec.

So, initially, when you’re looking at this guy, it will come packaged just like this.  Nice and little.  Just over 6 inches tall.  Easy to throw in your backpack.  Easy to use as just a single handle, if you want to do that.  It extends out fully, 20 inches long, so you can really get your handle out of the frame and get your best action possible without having the distraction of seeing your mount.  And then, it has these three adjustments here.  You can adjust the angle of your camera, the middle adjustment, and then the bottom where it attaches to the handle, so you can get a variety of different lengths and angles.  You can take this entire assembly here off the top and mount your GoPro directly to the handle if you want to save some weight.  And then this is my favorite feature here.  In the bottom of the handle, you see this little plug.  Just unscrew that plug, and inside is this little tripod.  This is a really cool feature.  You can screw this right back into the bottom of the handle.  You can get six inches high, you can get 20 inches high with this guy, or you can just pop this out and directly attach to the tripod.

This is the 3-way mount, and that is available from GoPro and GEAR:30 (www.gearthirty.com).

Thanks for watching.

Pre-Trip Report: Yellowstone’s Bechler Area

She calls to me. I hear it in tingling in the back of my consciousness. She’s both patient and demanding. “Come discover me. Relish me. I will be here, waiting, “ she whispers, drawing me in over the miles that separate us. And I rebuff her. It’s not that there’s no desire, it’s that there is no time. Or maybe it’s that I don’t make time. Yet she remains, she’ll always wait for me. Yellowstone.

The Bechler Meadows near Boundary Creek in Yellowstone

The Bechler Meadows near Boundary Creek in Yellowstone

My early childhood is filled with memories of her beauty, her wonders. Every October, my family would pile into the 1985 Dodge Prospector and this behemoth of a van would lurch forward, slowly, toward her Western Gate. My young eyes devouring field teeming with strange creatures: slow-ambling bison, awe-inspiring moose, stealthy foxes, all new creations in my young and wonder-struck mind.

The mystique of Yellowstone is something I’ve never outgrown and I pray I never will. In October, I will be privileged to get to share that love with a friend who has not yet experienced her.

As the crispness of autumn settles in, Otto and I will set out on our journey, the streets bathed in the cool pre-dawn glow. We will make the 3 hour drive to Ashton, ID and experience 4 illustrious days in the wild outside of Yellowstone’s Bechler Meadows area.

Wildflowers in Bechler Meadows, Yellowstone

Wildflowers in Bechler Meadows, Yellowstone

Positioned at the extreme South-West boundary of Yellowstone National Park, The Bechler Meadows area is known for its numerous waterfalls and abundance of rivers, brooks, and streams, many of which are thermal features. The plenitude of water and the varied topography of this region has earned it the nickname “Cascade Corner”.

HISTORY

In 1872, Dr. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, the appointed geologist-in-charge of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories led an expedition of around 50 men to the Yellowstone area to survey the recently organized Montana Territory.

During the expedition, Frank Bradly, a member of the party, named the Bechler River for the party’s Chief Surveyor and Mapmaker, Gustavus R. Bechler. Henry Gannett (considered to be the father of the USGS Quadrangle) who was another member of the troupe said that Bechler had in fact discovered the river. Later revelations would reveal that Trapper/Explorer Osborne Russell had discovered it some 40 years earlier.

"BelcherRiver1964" by RG Johnsson - Downloaded from National Park Service Archives Bechler River, 04027.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

“BelcherRiver1964” by RG Johnsson – Downloaded from National Park Service Archives Bechler River, 04027.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Regardless, Bechler remains the name of that beautiful river and subsequently the entire region and it’s Ranger Station. The station itself is a piece of history. Having been constructed by the United States Army in 1911, it is a relic in its own right.

CLIMATE & TOPOGRAPHY

The Cascade Corner is a land fraught with sprawling plains, thick pine forests and fresh, crystal-clear water. It is a relative low-land in the Yellowstone Region, sitting at around 6,400 feet. As you arrive at the Bechler Ranger station and step on to the trail, you’ll begin a lengthy descent into the marshy, slough-ridden meadows. During the summer, (June-late August) this is a breeding ground for every creepy-crawly you can think of. And mosquitos, LOTS of mosquitos. The kind and bounty of which you can’t escape, you just have to button down, and bear it. On one trip in the summer of 2014, I returned home and my wife thought I had a severe rash. Nope. It was just HUNDREDS of mosquito bites. Bites on top of bites. I was wearing Ben’s 100 Max, which normally is the bullet-proof vest of repellents and it didn’t even phase these suckers.

Once you power through the lowland marshy areas, you’ll be treated to the challenge of a few river fords. Take a break here and enjoy the coolness, but watch out for the horseflies. Are you getting it that the bugs are thick here?

Taking a break in Bechler Meadows

Taking a break in Bechler Meadows

Upon forging the river, you’ll start your ascent back into the hill country. You’ll be treated to waterfalls, thermal features, and lots of wildlife. There are Grizzly in the area, so make sure you’re hiking loudly to let them know you’re coming. Also, carry bear spray.

The varied terrain makes this region a fantastic hike because you never know when you’re going to turn the corner and your surroundings will completely change. It really is incredible.

Because we are adventuring in the month of October, we are prepared for lows in the 20’s and highs in the upper 40’s. For your benefit, here is the spreadsheet I put together for weather data during the month of October. This is based off of data from 2004-2014: Yellowstone Historical Weather Data

We were very worried that we might run into some snow in early October but based on the data we could find, snow (at least for the last 10 years) has been a non-issue during our window of travel. So we plan to pack for cool but relatively dry conditions.

GETTING THERE

North-bound from Salt Lake City/Ogden, Utah Area:
Get on I-15 Northbound and follow it north 140 miles to US-20 (near Ashton, ID). Take Exit 119 to get onto US-20 Eastbound toward Rigby/West Yellowstone. Go about 52 miles then turn right on Main Street (a.k.a. ID-47 N). In about 6 miles, turn right again, this time onto Cave Falls Rd (a.k.a. E 1400 N). This will turn into gravel road/trail. Be watchful for OHVs and ATVs as this is a popular road for them with quite a few blind corners. After about 16 miles turn left onto Bechler Ranger Station Rd. This will dead end in about 1.5 mile at the Bechler Ranger Station. To view this info on Google Maps, click here

PRE TRIP PREP LIST

As I mentioned, I’ll be leading a 4 day trip with a good friend who hasn’t yet experienced the indescribable beauty of Yellowstone and the allure of her backcountry trails. In the interest of helping a fellow outdoor enthusiast, I’ll share with you my current packing list. This is evolving and you will need to tweak it to fit your personal style and situation.

 

SLEEPING Tent MSR ELIXIR 3
Sleeping Bag Marmot Trestles 30
Thermobarrier SOL Escape Bivvy
Pillow Klymit Pillow X
Sleeping Pad Thermarest Allseason
STORAGE Pack Osprey Aether 70 (Ariel 65 w/ Men’s Harness/Belt)
Bear Bag MSR TENT BAG
Carabiner/50′ Paracord
FOOD Stove MSR Reactor Stove
Fuel Optimus 8oz Canister Fuel
Food 2 Mtn House Meals
Breakfast Oatmeal Single Packets (2/person/day)
Cup Olicamp Spacesaver Mug
Utensil Spork
Blade UST Paraknife
H20 Purification Steripen Emergency UV Water Purifier
H20 Bottles (2 L) 2 x 1L Nalgene
Spark Firekit(H20-Proof Matches/Tampons(2)/Lipbalm)
1st Aid/Emergency 1st Aid Kit AMK Ultralight/Watertight Kit
Signalling SOL Rescue Flash™ Mirror
Direction UST Deluxe Map Compass
Map
Visibility Orange Poncho
B.I.F.F. Shovel UST U Dig It Folding Shovel
Bear Spray Counter Assault Bear Deterrent Spray, 8 oz w/ Holster
Sunscreen Kiss my face SPF30
Clothing Base Layer Bottom Saxx Vibe Boxer-Briefs (x2)
Base Layer Top Icebreaker Short Sleeve Merino Wool T-Shirt (x2)
Mid Layer Top Flannel Shirt
Insulation Top Marmot Variant Jacket
Shell/Rainwear Orange Poncho
Socks Darn Tough Hike/Trek Sock (x2)
Footwear (Hiking) Salomon Quest 4D GTX
Footwear (River Crossing) Teva Sandles
Outerwear Pant (Hiking) Prana Zion Stretch / Columbia Silverridge Cargo
Outerwear Pant (Insul.) Fleece Pants
Hat UV Buff
Sunglasses Native Eyewear Blanca Sunglasses
Misc Trekking Poles Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z Poles
Camera GoPro Hero3 (Silver Edition)
Solar Panel Goal Zero Nomad 7
Battery Recharger Goal Zero Flip 10

 

PRE TRIP CONDITIONING

To condition for the trip, myself and my friend, Otto, have begun doing full weight hikes 3 weeks before our expected date of departure. Our first hike out, we both discovered that we were more out of shape than either of us would care to admit. We loaded up our packs with our full load-out of gear and hit the local trail system. We chose a route that would give us a challenge and closely simulate the distance of our longest segment which would be about 8 miles. Our training route is slightly shorter at just over 7 miles, but with roughly twice the vertical gain of our overall route, we felt that we would rather over prep for the altitude gain since that is the area that we both have the hardest time with.

For the next 3 weeks we will hike this segment once per week while focusing the rest of the week on other areas like cardio and strength training.

IN THE FIELD

While we are immersing ourselves in the beauty and majesty of Yellowstone, we will be creating several video reviews and “how-to”s for the GEAR:30 blog. Please, comment below with any suggestions of what you’d like to see!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Matt Francis, an Ogden, Utah native was born with the mountains in sight. He enjoys helping people learn how to get more out of their outdoor experiences. He works full time at GEAR:30 doing that. When he’s not at the store, he and his wife enjoy hiking the trails in and around Ogden with their two dogs, Todd and Zelda.

You can contact him at [email protected]

 

Race Report: 2015 Jackpot 24 Hour – Turning Circles in Vegas

2015 Jackpot 24 Hour: Turning Circles in Vegas

By Kelly Agnew

Gear:30 and Hammer Nutrition Ultra Running Athlete

I don’t run very many of these timed events because I don’t envision myself as a “timed event runner”. I like to see myself as an ultra trail runner…or a mountain runner. Running across ridge lines at high altitude is much sexier than turning loops for 24 or 48 hours. 
This comment is not meant to disparage the timed event aficionados of the world, but rather to highlight my own delusional opinion of myself. I want to do epic things and amazing mountain venues, and do it well. But I rarely do.
The fact is…I love running in the mountains, but I’ll never find the level of success that I do on those little loops. I need to find a way to accept my lot in life.
That point was driven home with force while running the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival 24 Hour Race in Las Vegas over the weekend.

I had no idea what to expect from this race and I didn’t really look at the website and study the course. I knew a lot of my friends would be there, so I accepted that as a testament to the quality of the event and decided to run it.

My intention was to run Jackpot as a training run to prepare for the Pickled Feet 48 hour in March. I didn’t have a goal going in, but I did give some consideration to a possible spot on the podium if all went well.

Vegas was having record breaking heat at the time of the race, so I spent a lot of time refining my nutrition and hydration plan. Hammer Nutrition is the race sponsor, so I had some comfort and a tremendous amount of experience with the fueling products that would be available at the aid stations. I planned to run with a bottle of HEED and Jo would always have another bottle available to swap with me whenever I needed it. The rest of my calories were going to come from Hammer gels for as long as I could tolerate it.

Jackpot is a 2.38 mile course, mixed with every fathomable running surface. There’s absolutely NO shade and you can see the entire course from anywhere you’re standing. It’s a sea of sweltering bodies and hard running surfaces.

There was a bit of confusion at the race start. Nobody was really clear when they started the race and we all stood there staring at each other for a moment before I decided to run. It was never my intention to lead the pack, but somebody had to take charge.

[…read more on Kelly’s blog]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly AgnewAs Kelly puts it, he “is your typical anemic, vegetarian ultra runner with Lyme Disease.”  Kelly Agnew started running a few short years ago and has quickly risen to the top of the ranks among ultra runners. He holds records in 24 and 48 hour races, holds the FKT (“Fastest Know Time”) for both the supported and unsupported 100 mile White Rim Trail, and has won many other ultra-distance races. When Kelly isn’t winning races and setting records, he can be found running the trails of Ogden, Utah with his beautiful wife and dogs.  Follow Kelly on his blog, slippingslowlyintopain.com.

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How to Snowshoe: Choose Your Accessories

snowshoe-header-quiz

NOTE: This is part 2 of a 3 part article on "How to Snowshoe". Click here to read part 1.

In our last article, we covered the basics of choosing snowshoes that fit your style of adventure. So you’ve got the basics down and you’re ready to head out, right? Wrong. There’s still a couple more things to consider.

How will you get water?

Its a simple, important but often ignored question. How will you hydrate and stay hydrated? Snowshoeing, even in its simplest form is capable of burning more than 400 calories per hour. That means, you’re going to sweat. You’ve got to replace those fluids to keep moving. I have a friend who went snowshoeing last year with a friend. It was a simple enough hike, covering no more than 2 miles. On the dry trail it would’ve take about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. But it snowed that day. It was deep, powdery, dry snow. Which means they sank more than usual. It was more work to power through than they had planned. About 2 hours into it, they realized, neither of them had brought water, turning what should have been a relatively easy hike into a dangerous journey. They had to rest more so they wouldn’t start to sweat, take breaks to eat snow, and recoup energy. Overall, the journey took more than 5 hours.

Don’t end up like my friends. Plan ahead how you will hydrate. Will you need a stove to melt snow? Are you packing a filter to clean creek water? Are you going to use a bladder or a bottle to keep the water in? How will you keep that from freezing? The cold complicates everything and you need to mentally prepare for it ahead of time.

How will you refuel?

When you have the kind of energy output one see’s when you’re snowshoeing, you have to be thinking about refueling your body. Are you going to be taking some PB & J’s with you on the trail? Or are you packing energy gels, chews, and bars? How about freeze dried meals for dinners and breakfast on longer excursions? Will you need a stove and fuel to melt and boil snow to rehydrate them? Evaluate the length of your trip and plan your energy intake accordingly.

How will you keep warm once you stop moving?

When you’re snowshoeing, you are burning off lots of calories, you’re sweating, you are creating your own heat and a lot of it. Its a different story though once you stop moving. You go from burning 400+ calories per hour to burning about 35 to 60 calories per hour. You’ve got to find away to retain your body heat. You’ll want to have a good hat, a nice warm jacket and something to keep your hands warm like gloves or mitts. Here are a few factors to consider when you’re choosing your insulation layers.

Is it light weight? Remember, you’ll be carrying these layers with you but not wearing them until you need them. Choose a light-weight packable insulation material so that you can go farther and longer on your adventure.

Is it wind proof? Often, people choose to take breaks in places with great views, which means you’re exposed to the elements. Finding a windproof layer, especially in your jacket and trousers, can mean the difference between taking in the vistas and begging to get moving again.

Is it water-proof? You’re snowshoeing. Snow is wet, and when your hot body plops down onto of a snowy stump for a break, you’re going to wind up melting that snow and sitting in a puddle. Choose a layer that has water proofing where you need it most. The most common areas are on the seat of the pants, the front of the jacket and across the neck and top of the shoulders (places where snow will come to rest).

How will you pack it all up?

Now that you’ve chosen how you’ll hydrate, and how you’ll stay warm, its time to think about how you’ll keep all those things together with you as strike out into the wilderness. The most common solution is a simple one. A backpack. It’s easy to access, out of the way till you need it, and versatile. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right pack for your journey.

How long will  you be gone? This is the most important question to ask when choosing a pack. If you’re going on a 5 day snowshoe expedition, you’ll definitely need a bigger, burlier pack than someone who is just going out for the afternoon. A good rule of thumb to find a correct pack size (in Liters) is to take the number of days you plan to be gone and multiply it by 12. So for instance:

EXAMPLE: I’m planning on being gone for 4 days and 3 nights. 4 (days) x 12 = 48 (Liters). I should look for something around 48 Liters in capacity to suit my supplies for a 4 day expedition.

As you put together your kit and gain experience on what you personally need, you might want more or less capacity. Experiment with it and find what suits you!

How will you keep the contents dryAs you hike, snow will accumulate on your pack whether or not it’s actually snowing. You brush tree branches and knock snow off, the wind blows snow around, you’re hiking buddy pelts you with snowballs. The question is not “if”, but rather “when” your pack will get wet and how will you keep it’s contents dry?

Pack Covers. Pack covers are a waterproof cover that go all the way around the front, top, and bottom of your pack (think of it like a shower cap for your backpack). They can be held in place by elastic bands, nylon straps or if you’re my father, an old fraying bungee cord held together by duct-tape. They are light weight, easy to use and pretty effective in snow and rain. They do, however leave the back of the pack open and susceptible to water permeation. Usually this is not a big deal because the back of the pack is usually on you, the snowshoer. If you’re in a down pour, or you fall in the creek (not out of the question…trust me) this can leave the contents vulnerable to getting wet.

Dry Bags. Another option is dry bags or dry sacks. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The way these work is you put whatever you want to stay dry inside of these backs and seal them. Some have a gasket closure, some have roll-tops. Either way, you’re stuff will be protected should the worst happen. The down side to them is that it is a separate bag with in your pack, so it takes more time to stop, take off the pack, open it up, pull out the dry bag, open it up and retrieve your stuff.

The beautiful thing about snowshoeing is that the sport is what you make of it. If you want it to be a calm walk down a familiar trail or just a few laps around a park, it can be. If you want the thrill of hiking through the backcountry, it can be that too. You decide you’re own level of adventure. The suggestions made in this post and the questions posed are just a few things to get you thinking about what your personal level of adventure will require along with your new snowshoes. You’ll learn that you need something more, you might learn that you actually need less. The snowshoe experience is as unique as the snowflakes that make it possible.

What have tips do you have that you’d like to share with those who might be new to snowshoeing? Share them in the comments below.

 

Event | Salomon Running Demo

Salomon Demo Day

Demo Salomon Shoes and enter to win a FREE pair of your favorite Salomon’s.

FREE DEMOS:

April 19th in the GEAR:30 / Striders Running Parking Lot. 8am – 3pm.
The Salomon Running trailer filled with demo shoes will be in the GEAR:30 / Striders Running parking lot Saturday from 8am – 3pm. Take advantage! Test new shoes in the parking lot, run the Riverwalk, or join us on our group run. Swing by and demo some shoes!

BONUS GROUP RUN:

GEAR:30 and Striders will host a group run beginning at 8:30. Be there at 8am to pick out your demo shoes. Plan 9ish miles. We’ll run from the shop parking lot to Rainbow Gardens. Hit some dirt, then return. Treats will be at the Finish.

Visit http://www.salomonrunning.com/us/ to learn more their shoes, the brand, and lifestyle.

Salomon Running TV Season 3 Episode 6:

In 1974 Gordy Ainsleigh competed against the horses in a 100 Mile trail ride through the Sierra Nevada mountains… on foot. In true pioneering spirit he wanted to achieve something that others thought impossible. This single event led to the birth of one of the most famous 100 mile footraces in the world, The Western States 100.

 

Improve Your Outdoor Experience.

GEAR:30 Basics – Ultralight Backpacking

Ultralight Backpacking Basics

 

The Basics class that started it all – Ultralight Backpacking. Nearly a year ago, we kicked off a Basics education series with Ultralight Backpacking. It’s time we brought this topic back.

How light can you go? What about comfort? Is ultralight backpacking unsafe? What gear is the lightest?

GEAR:30’s Gregory Reynolds will answer the above questions and suggest gear from packs and sleeping bags, to shelters and cook systems, and even emergency supplies that are the lightest on the market.

Weigh your kit!! We have a scale and can tell you how much your gear weighs! Bring your stuff and Greg can help educate you on how to lighten your load.

Here’s to the upcoming Backpacking season!!

GEAR:30 Basics – Ultra Running

Ultra Running Luke Nelson Basics

 

Patagonia and La Sportiva athlete, Luke Nelson, will cover the BASICS, and more, of Ultra Running.

Topics include:
• Training
• Nutrition
• Race Strategy
• Technique
• Life Balance
• Q&A Session

About Luke Nelson via his website: Challenge of Balance

My entire life I have been drawn to the mountains. Over the years I have found many different ways to enjoy wild places. Trail running is the method that I have found the most appealing to me as a way to explore the world and to challenge my body.

I have an incredible talent for biting off more than I can chew, hence the current status of my life: Husband to a stunningly beautiful woman, Tanae; father to two amazing girls; 6 year old Brynlee and 3 year old Chloë; Professional Trail and Ultramarathon runner, and a Physician Assistant. All of this rolls in to a complicated challenge of balancing all the aspects in my life while maintaining my sanity…but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sponsors:

Patagonia
La Sportiva
First Endurance
UltrAspire
Smith Optics

Jim Skaggs – Antelope Island Buffalo Run Race Director

Jim Skaggs

Jim Skaggs, Race Director for the Antelope Island Buffalo Run sat down with us to chat about this year’s race, buffalo wrangling, mountain lion fears, finish-line stew, and yes, some ultra-running.

Skaggs’ best racing advice for first timer’s on the Island: “Don’t p**s off Earl (the buffalo).”

 

 

GEAR:30 Radio: