September 29, 2008

The SoCal 8000m Challenge

The SoCal 8000m Challenge

Jansport apparently issues an annual challenge to its gear retailers: get as many employees as you can to the top of Southern California’s three big peaks (Mt. Baldy, Mount San Jacinto, and San Gorgonio Mountain) in one day. For the uninitiated, that entails a whopping total of 24,000 total vertical feet (more…)

Posted in Hiking | 2 Comments

September 26, 2008

Sunscreen in a Pill?

For fair-skinned persons like myself, it’s sort of the Holy Grail of sun protection: the concept of a sunscreen that you ingest as a pill rather than slather all over your body. Interestingly enough, one of my parents’ health newsletters is mentioning a product called Heliocare which promises to do exactly that. It’s a pill. Take it before you go out into the sun, and you get extra protection from the sun (more…)

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

September 25, 2008

We Must Change…or Perish

It’s been hard to come up with a subject to write about this week. Every backcountry skiing or hiking related topic I’ve thought of just seems a little…off topic. So I will go off topic to stay on, and relay a dream I had last night, in which MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann was moderating a joint emergency House and Senate hearing on the current financial crisis, and the proposed bailout (more…)

Posted in Politics | 0 Comments

September 19, 2008

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

One of the things I didn’t mention about my recent Pacific Crest Trail hike was that I froze my butt off at night. At first, I was convinced the problem was the sleeping bag I’d chosen: Marmot’s 30° Hydrogen. Since it was mid-August, I was anticipating temperatures to be mild. Instead, overnight lows dipped down right to freezing, even leaving a bit of frost on the coldest morning at Crabtree Meadows (more…)

Posted in Gear | 1 Comment

September 16, 2008

BPA Study links exposure, health effects

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time a study has linked BPA exposure to health issues in humans. Here you Go…

Posted in Health, Science | 0 Comments

September 15, 2008

MSR Hyperflow

MSR Hyperflow

With its various parts and configurations, MSR’s Hyperflow Microfilter weighs between roughly 7.6 and 9.9 ounces total. Go with the higher number—leaving parts at home (such as the Nalgene bottle adapter or even the carrying sack) is not recommended. That makes the Hyperflow roughly two and a half ounces lighter than my current pump/filter darling (more…)

Posted in Gear | 2 Comments

September 14, 2008

PCT: Onion Valley to Cottonwood Pass

PCT: Onion Valley to Cottonwood Pass

Horseshoe Meadow, California — I take one last look inside my car, checking to be sure nothing will appeal to the bears, and then I lock the doors. It feels kind of spooky as my hiking partner Bill drives us back down Horseshoe Meadows Road in his truck, heading east to Highway 395, then north all the way to Onion Valley (more…)

Posted in Hiking | 12 Comments

September 5, 2008

God, I Love the Smell of HDPE in the Morning…

God, I Love the Smell of HDPE in the Morning…

Among the more esoteric search topics that bring visitors to SierraDescents is the question of the scent of HDPE water bottles. Do HDPE water bottles really smell bad, people wonder? Or was that just a marketing pitch started by the creators of Lexan? Here at the world-renowned SierraDescents Institute for Plastic Odor Research (SIPOR), I decided to create an elaborate experiment (more…)

Posted in Gear | 3 Comments

September 4, 2008

Jetboil PCS

Jetboil PCS

Rarely does gear prove to be such a complete home run as Jetboil’s Personal Cooking System (PCS) canister stove. The only conceivable knock on the Jetboil is its potentially-alarming 15-ounce weight. That may sound a bit startling if you’re used to the 2.5 ounce posted weights of stoves like Snow Peak’s GigaPower or my Coleman F1 (more…)

Posted in Gear | 0 Comments





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