“Howdy neighbor,” were the first words he said to me. I’ll call him Mr. M, and he and his young son were staying in the Curry Village tent cabin next to mine. Mr. M had a wry, slightly ironic Old World demeanor—maybe Slavic, maybe Baltic. Good neighbor material, I thought. And as a fellow father, I admired him for spending time enjoying the splendors of the Yosemite Valley with his boy.
It was Sunday, the end of August, and I was there with my friend Bill to hike Half Dome the next day via the John Muir Trail and the infamous cables. The route is immensely popular; in summer, the one photo I have of Half Dome often accounts for as much as 25% of SierraDescents’ daily traffic, as people looking for route information come calling. Half Dome’s popularity has led to a weekend quota system implemented this year for the cable section of the route, plus much active policy discussion as to how to deal with the crowds (more…)
Posted in Hiking | 5 Comments
At a published weight of two pounds, thirteen ounces, MSR’s ‘hyperlight’ Carbon Reflex 2-man tent sounds perhaps a little too good to be true. The Carbon Reflex employs a mostly traditional, tent-plus-fly double wall design at a weight typically reserved for single wall or solo shelters. If three pounds sounds too heavy, pitch the Carbon Reflex sans body with fly and optional footprint, and you’ve got a sub-2 pound shelter (more…)
Posted in Gear | 3 Comments
In the unlikely event that Mt Baldy Ski Area hasn’t already flooded your inbox with announcements, I feel obligated to post notice that the Chamber of Commerce Virtual Passes are on sale again for the upcoming 2010-2011 ski season, now priced at $99. These work just like a regular season pass, except they’re subject to a daily quota of between 500-1000 passes. You must make a reservation by midnight prior to the day you want to ski. If a quota slot is available, you’re good to go. If not, show up anyway and get 50% off the price of a full adult ticket.
To me the worst part of this deal is that you have to wait in line at the ticket hut to pick up a ticket each time you use your pass. On those busy powder and weekend mornings, that wait can easily push past 1/2 hour. Then again, you are getting a pass for a hundred bucks. I’ll continued to grumble about this for a while, but I expect I’ll be buying one soon.
What the heck is this all about? That’s about what I thought when I first saw Injinji’s “ToeSocks”—socks with individually-fitted toes for your…toes. Injinji makes the intriging point that traditional tube socks are like mittens, forcing your toes to act as one unit, rather than individually. But do Injinjis offer a real performance advantage or just a (more…)
Posted in Gear | 5 Comments
It is only natural, standing atop Grand Canyon, to gaze into the depths below the rim and wonder if it’s possible to hike all the way down to the river and back in a single day. Hiking rim-to-river offers the ultimate Grand Canyon experience—a ‘trip through time’ traversing twelve distinct geologic formations. Attempting the entire route in a day, however, is not a trivial undertaking (more…)
Posted in Hiking | 8 Comments
You have to feel like you’re on the right track as a parent when you visit Arizona’s Meteor Crater, and your three-year-old boy takes one look and asks if he can ski it. The answer to that question is a big, “Weather Permitting.” With the Crater’s rim around 5600′, it would definitely take an unusual series of storms to make any kind of ski descent feasible (more…)
Posted in arizona | 5 Comments