MntStuffer Adventures: Tyler Goes Backpacking in the Wind River Range

Posted on Posted in Uncategorized

I [MtnStuff’s Tyler Noonan] was invited to help at an event at the Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale, WY the weekend before the Outdoor Retailer show. The event was to end on Sunday and I had to be in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Rather than drive home and drive back, I thought I should take advantage of being in such a beautiful place and go backpacking. After much hunting for good trailheads and routes I settled on a loop from Elkhart Park, clockwise to Trapper Lake, Summit Lake and out the Titcomb Basin back to Elkhart Park.

 

The plan was to cover about 35 miles between 2P on Sunday and 12P on Tuesday. Given the distance and time constraint I knew I had to move fast, which was the perfect opportunity to try some new gear: Osprey is releasing the new Levity 45 next spring, aimed at carrying loads of 20-25 lbs. and weighing only about 1.75 lbs. Western Mountaineering is also going light for spring 2018, launching their new collection of quilts. I opted for the Nanolite, a 38 degree bag that weights 11 oz.

 

As I set out to complete the rest of my kit I wanted to be similarly ultralight minded, and after digging around my gear closet here’s what I came up with:

Outdoor Research Sequence L/S Zip Top

Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Sweater

Outdoor Research Transition Tights

Woolrich Superior Hiker ¾ Crew Merino Wool Socks

Woolrich Ten-Mile Quarter Wool Socks

Outdoor Research Echo Tee

Outdoor Research Activeice Ubertube

Outdoor Research Voodoo Shorts

Outdoor Research Radar Visor

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket

Astral TR1 Junction

Suunto M-3 Compass

Leatherman Juice S2 Knife

Light My Fire Spork

Jetboil PCS

Big Agnes Aircore Pad

Leki Micro-Vario Poles

Katadyn Hiker Pro Filter

Osprey Hydraulics LT 2.5L Reservoir

Western Mountaineering Nanolite

Six Moon Designs Lunar Duo

Osprey Levity 45

 

In addition to those bigger items I had a small map, a toiletry kit (trowel, toilet paper, sunscreen, insect repellant and hand sanitizer) and a small first aid kit. I carried my iPhone 7 as my camera and I wore a Garmin vivosmart HR+ as a watch and it tracked my mileage. I didn’t weight my pack with food and water, but it weighed 15.8 lbs. with everything else. I estimate that my total weight was about 24 lbs. – 5.5 lbs. of water, maybe 3 lbs. of food.

 

20246172_972328015017_1529421569526476467_n

Packed and approaching my leave date I learned I didn’t have to work on Sunday and could leave at 9A instead of 2P. I was worrying about having enough time to cover all that distance, over rough terrain in such a short time – so an extra 5 hours was welcomed. On Saturday night I grabbed a stick of salami, trail mix (tropical trail mix with M&Ms added was perfect) and some single serving, just add water, Kraft mac-n-cheese for dinner. Sunday morning I loaded up on free hotel breakfast and headed toward Elkhart Park.

 

After parking, I worked my way toward Pine Creek Trail, which descends 1700 feet toward the head of Freemont Lake. After crossing Pine Creek it was clear there would be a good amount of snow up high, the confluence of Pine and Bridger Creeks just upstream from the bridge crossing were simply raging. On the other side of the bridge was a sign noting that the connecting trail up to Glimpse Lake Trail is unmaintained. No lies there, I had to negotiate a lot of downed trees, some of which were so concentrated I would loose the trail for a short time. Fortunately the old trail was still pretty visible and easy to pick out. The trail finally tops out after climbing the full 1700 feet back out of the Pine Creek drainage at Crows Nest Lookout near Glimpse Lake. From there I turned north towards Trapper Lake, where my original plan had my first camp.

20246356_972326942167_3067242182402806155_n

 

When I reached Little Trapper Lake, it was only 2P, so I made lunch and decided I’d keep going to Summit Lake. I did something a bit different for lunch, an old long-trail hiker friend of mine once told me that some people eat their bigger meal for lunch and not dinner. The thought is that you aren’t racing daylight to cook and set up camp (especially difficult when you’re solo), and you need more calories during the day when you’re moving, so you should eat your bigger meal during the day. I have to say, it was nice to not do dishes in the dark. In bear country it was also nice to not have the scent of food prep and cleaning near my campsite. I also felt more energized than I normally do after lunch, which was nice with 8 miles ahead.

 

The trail to Summit Lake was over rolling terrain and it didn’t take long. After snapping some pictures I decided I’d keep going, since I didn’t have to make dinner I could go almost until dark. I took the Highline Trail up toward Elbow Lake. Up in the basin at about 10,800 ft. there was indeed a lot of snow. The high alpine environment, high snow pack, and copious amount of foot trails visible in the snow mean that I got lured away from the trail for a time. Looking around the basin I couldn’t see an exit that wasn’t up over a pass, which I new wasn’t right. I also knew the trail had to turn south, so I headed that direction until I saw a valley that looked promising. This thinking without consulting my map was a mistake. After a quarter mile or so I looked at my map and realized I needed to move east toward Elbow Lake and then north, where I would eventually move around a ridge and toward the south.

 

After correcting my direction I got to a nice camp spot, set up my tent, pumped some water, had some salami and trial mix and curled up for the night. Initially the quilt felt super cozy, but as the night wore on my feet got a little chilly. When I woke up in the morning I realized that the lake and small stream a few hundred feet from camp were frozen over, so it had been pretty cold and the bag is only rated to 38. Makes sense that I wasn’t as toasty as I thought I should be.

 

20374318_972327760527_6907674900907686870_n

I retrieved my bear bag, packed up camp, and started out of the basin. Trail finding continued to be challenging in the snow, there were also several very cold stream crossings. But once I saw the exit from the valley it was pretty easy to choose my own adventure to get there. There were several miles of crossing increasingly warming snow, which made my non-waterproof shoes really wet. The wool socks helped keep me warm. When I stopped on the other side of the snow to pump some water I took off my shoes and socks, and pulled out the insoles to let everything dry on a warm rock. After pumping 2.5 liters of water and eating some trail mix the shoes and insoles were dry. I put on my extra pair of socks and kept on trucking.

 

Once I turned off the Highline Trail and onto the Seneca Lake Trail, I started to see many more hikers heading the other way. To this point I’d only seen 5 people since leaving the parking lot. I would pass dozens once on the Seneca Lake Trail. Again, I was moving faster than planned. I had thought camp would be at Hobbs or Barbara Lake, but I quickly realized I would make it all the way back to the car before dark.

 

At Little Seneca Lake I took a high route when the trail disappeared into the lake. On the other side several hikers were donning their water shoes to follow the trail under the cliff face through the lake. I guess it wasn’t too deep, but the high snow this winter had flooded the trial. There were several other lakeside trails that were flooded, but the others were easily passed by rock hopping.

20246001_972327905237_5108394571551083161_n

The rest of way held few surprises. Though the number of mosquitos I encountered the last few miles shocked me, I hadn’t really been bothered the entire trip, but the muddy shady trail out was thick with those hungry buggers. The pack llama train was also something I’d never seen. A dozen or so people, each with their own llama made their way cheerfully past.

 

I’m always startled by how quickly my mind betrays me on the way out. I was fully prepared for a second night out, but the second I knew that I would make it back to the car, I kept thinking about ice cream bars and hamburgers. These thoughts encroached and embedded themselves on my will, and I became so frustrated that the parking lot wasn’t around that next corner. But, soon enough I emerged on the pavement. I swapped my hiking shoes for flips and made my way back to town.

 

I noticed that my shoulders were pretty sore. The fit on the pack the size medium sample I had should have fit my 19.5” torso, but a quick check told me the sample was too small. When I got to the Outdoor Retailer show I confirmed that the new samples (and production versions) are sized correctly. Other than a corrected fit, the pack was perfect. I never felt like I was carrying much of anything, and never missed the bells and whistles on heavier packs. I could get to everything easily and quickly, and I was able to organize my gear efficiently.

 

I’m very excited about lightening my own load on trips, and I’m very excited that our brands are leading the charge for the industry at large.

 

My final millage was a little over 35 miles. Car to car I was on trail for about 33 hours. 11 hours of that was spent sleeping or in camp. So about 22 hours of hiking means that I was only moving at about 1.5 miles an hour – a pretty moderate pace. Which means that if you hike all day you can go pretty darn far, and that’s made much easier with a lighter load.

20258175_972327041967_3887298128503138869_n

MtnStuff Gear Trends at Outdoor Retailer

Posted on Posted in Uncategorized

 

MtnStuff is honored to represent a handful of brands featured in the Outdoor Retailer Daily Gear Trends issue.

Please contact us at info@mtnstuff.com for more information about the brands we represent; Outdoor Research, Osprey Packs, Astral, Western Mountaineering, and Woolrich. You can learn more about our agency at mtnstuff.com.

Here’s what Outdoor Retailer Daily has to say about the gear we’ll be showing you at OR Summer Market:

Outdoor Research: Optimizer Jacket 
Weighing in at just under 13 ounces, the Optimizer Jacket ($399) from Outdoor Research is perfect for those looking for fast-and-light performance with a dash of style. The shell features the Gore-Tex Active 2.0 membrane touted for its balance of weather protection, venting capabilities, and light construction.

A number of Spring 18 Outdoor Research styles including the Interstellar Jacket and Optimizer Jacket were recently featured in an Outdoor Industry Association press release HERE.

Astral: Brewer 2.0 

The Brewer 2.0 ($100) from Astral is a prime example of yet another footwear trend: trail-ready shoes that fit in around town. A sticky G-Rubber outsole provides traction on a variety of surfaces, while holes along the midsole, vamp, and tongue drain water and ventilate.

Also see a feature on the Brewer 2.0 from the Outdoor Industry Association HERE.

Osprey Packs: Lumina 60 

Osprey is launching a super light line of packs designed with NanoFly, a fabric that integrates ultrahigh molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) ripstop and nylon. Translation: It’s impressively strong for its weight. The Lumina 60 ($270) is a women’s thru-hiker pack that brings together high performance fibers with durable outer fabrics.

The Lumina 60 has also been featured on Gear Junkie HERE.

MtnStuffer Adventures: Ashley Tucker Summits Mount Rainier

Posted on Posted in blog, OR, Osprey, Team, WM

Mount Rainier has been on my bucket list for six years. The 14,410′ peak calls out to be climbed every time I fly in and out of Seattle, so when I received the invite from my good friend Gabe Monroe, owner of Pulselineadventure.com, to climb the Kautz Glacier, I did a little song and dance. Combine a great group of 11 climbers (pictured below) with ideal weather and route conditions, and you get an amazing mountaineering experience.

19665245_10155527394333866_5114255720279533067_n

Route: Kautz Glacier W2-W3

Camps: Turtle Snowfield ~9,800’ and Camp Hazard ~10,800’

Trip Length: 2.5 days (dependent on weather)

Energy Expenditure: 7,000-10,000kcal per climber (based on body weight and fitness level)

IMG_0035

 

Backend to Success:

Training

Being that it was my first mountaineering adventure, my focus over the spring was on fitness, planning the nutritional needs for the climbers and myself, and learning Mountaineering 101 skills. I would like to say that I strapped on a 40lb pack and hiked Pfeifferhorn Peak in the Wasatch multiple times in preparation, but with the late winter conditions in Utah my training was narrowed to endurance workouts with limited elevation change. In the long run my spring triathlon training did the trick.

Meal Prep

Food is a cure all for down spirits and highlight in camp at the end of a long day, so planning on how to keep 11 climbers feeling good and happy was a trip highlight for me. Taking into consideration each climbers weight, fitness level, and the energy the route would demand; my kitchen turned into a meal planning and packing assembly line.

 

Leadership & Team Work 

Gabe played a crucial role as our trip leader. Gabe is a seasoned trip leader who shared his wealth of mountaineering and climbing knowledge, and encouraged teammates to persevere when the altitude hit and their bodies were being pushed out of their comfort zones.

Believe in yourself!

Each of us had to start out confident that we could withstand a 15 plus hour day at altitude with a positive attitude. We needed faith in our ability to turn our knowledge of self arresting on an ice field or glacier, managing the rope within each rope team, negotiating crevasses and ice bridges, and rescuing a teammate from a crevasse, into reality.

 

The Packing List:

 

Camp Gear

Osprey Ariel Pro 50L Pack

Big Agnes Copper Spur 3P Tent *tent carried in thirds

Western Mountaineering Ultralight 20 degree Down Sleeping Bag

Western Mountaineering Flash Booties

ThermaRest Nano Air Sleeping Pad

MSR Dragonfly Stove and Fuel

*extra lighter

Light Pot

Titanium Spork

Fozzil Solo Bowl/cup

Osprey 2L Reservoir and 32oz Nalgene

Dry Bag for Food

Petzl Knife

Go-Girl

Wag Bags

Wet Wipes

Sunscreen

First Aide Kit

 

Mountaineering Essentials

CAMP USA Armor Climbing Helmet

Julbo Suspect Glasses

parachute cord for homemade sunglass tether

Petzl Tikka Headlamp + 3 AAA batteries

Arcteryx SL-340 Climbing Harness

Petzl Reverso Belay Device and Locking Carabiner

Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe 60cm

Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters

Scarpa Monte Blanc Mountaineering Boots

CAMP USA Blade Runner Alpine Crampons

Petzl 9.2 Volta 70m Rope

3 snow pickets

8 ice screws

Shovel/Probe

2 Prusiks webbing for carabiner for backpack tether

Sewn Runner for ice axe tether

4 locking carabiner

Petzl Tibloc

Anchor Building – Webbing and Cordelette

 

Layers

Western Mountaineering Flash XR Jacket

OR Beanie

OR Lumen Ubertube

OR Mount Baker Mitt

OR Revelation Jacket

OR Revelation Pant

OR Deviator Hoody

Mountaineering Pant

OR Sun Runner Cap

OR Stormtracker Gloves

OR Echo Long Sleeve

Patagonia Capilene 1 Baselayer Pant

Arcteryx Phase SL Boxers

Socks

 

Miscellaneous

Camera

SPOT

A Smile

Whiskey for the parking lot Peak Celebration

unknown

Highlight of Favorite Snacks

Espresso Love Gu

Trader Joes Mango Taffy

World Market Stroopwafel

Pringles

 

Meals

Summer Sausage, Parmesan, and Doctor Kracker Crackers

Dolmas, Macaron Almonds, Greek Olives with Sundried Tomato Pesto Penne

Pre-made Breakfast Burritos

Smoked Salmon Dill Cream Cheese Bagel Sandwich

Good To-Go Thai Coconut Curry

Backpacker Pantry Mocha Mousse Pie

 

Parting Words

May the moment you stand on top be one of joy and tears, linked arm and arm with new and old friends; may the sun warm your skin and the mountain breeze settle, ever so briefly, your adventurous soul.

 

Osprey Aether AG 70 Awarded Outside Magazine Gear of the Year

Posted on Posted in blog, Osprey

1080x1080_Instagram_Aether-GOY

Osprey Aether AG 70 ($310)

Gear of the Year

It seems like every pack this year is trotting out a creative new spin—from a sliding waist belt to a cinching design that turns an expedition loader into a daypack. Nowhere is that progress more blissfully apparent, and comfortable, than with the Aether AG (and its sister pack, the Ariel AG 65) and its trampoline-like back panel. The suspended mesh dispersed weight over every lumbar contour and made a 40-pound load feel like helium. That panel pushes weight a smidge away from the center of gravity, but not enough to tip us backward. And that’s just the start of Osprey’s master class in design: side pockets stow tall, narrow bottles and chunky Nalgenes. Shoulder straps add thickness where you need it (collarbones) and not where you don’t (rib cage). The lid converts into the most fully realized summit pack we’ve ever seen. Think of the Aether as the Escalade of packs—big, blinged out, and badass. 5.2 lbs (men’s) / 4.9 lbs (women’s)

 

Read the full article HERE.

This Land is Our Land – A March for Public Lands at Outdoor Retailer

Posted on Posted in blog

Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Alliance, and Outdoor Alliance will be hosting a march to celebrate public lands at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM

Start in South Plaza of the Salt Palace Convention Center

march

This march will provide Outdoor Retailer attendees a way to show their support for federal public lands, and voice the importance of protecting America’s natural treasures for future generations. We encourage you to engage in the conversation at unity.outdoorretailer.com

Please note that the Osprey Packs booth will be closed July 27, 4:30-6P in support of our public lands. Stop by the Osprey Booth #4011 at 4:15P to march with us as well as to pick up a pre-made sign and hat to help beat the summer heat.

Join the event on Facebook HERE.

SM17_The_March_Map_Artwork_2_

Grand Traverse

Posted on Posted in blog

MtnStuff’s Richard Weight helped send off the brave competitors in this year’s Grand Traverse http://www.elkmountainstraverse.com, a legendary backcountry race over the Elk Mountains, between Crested Butte and Aspen.

“This year’s Grand Traverse continued the tradition Crested Butte and Aspen have built of one of the greatest ski adventure races there is. I love coming to support this event because we get to see the baddest of the bada** racers who have visions of crushing the competition. We also have tons of people who have trained hard and want to challenge themselves in a tough environment and a very challenging adventure. I can’t wait to do it again and support Outdoor Research and the Grand Traverse next year.”

In the Beginning . . .

Posted on Posted in blog

Way back when, deep into the 70s, a spry young mountain man by the name of Tom Gordon was cutting his teeth in the fledgling “outdoor business.” He had started in the ski business, racer chasing, building skis and fitting boots, and evolved into one of the first reps for Royal Robbins in the Mid West.

Tom was 19 when he started, and he grew his business over the years into a strong, independent outdoor rep agency.  How did he do it?

The short answer: Tom loved the outdoors.  He loved experiencing the outdoors and all of the gear, apparel and friendships that went along with it.  Sharing these passions with his retailers, whom he considered dear friends, made Tom one of the best reps in the business.

I didn’t know Tom then.  I was 2, and far, far away in a small town in Ohio.  But I would come to know him well, as part of my family, when he married my sister Lisa in 1992.  In 1994, after a few glasses of wine, he asked me to join his business. I don’t think either of us knew where this would take us…. But it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now, it’s at this point in the story that a critical piece comes in:  Family.  Tom is my family, and with that came trust, support, and a strong environment to learn this business from an amazing mentor. After almost 20 years with Tom, the importance of “family” became engrained in the way I approach this wonderful industry of ours.  “Family” is the “stuff” in MtnStuff.

Tom passed the mantle to me in 2013, and is now riding, skiing, hiking, and climbing off into the proverbial sunset.  Today, MtnStuff is still a family. Our focus is the specialty market, working mostly with independent outdoor stores and a few key online and multi-door retailers.  We are committed to providing sales support through training of retail staff, consultation with our buyers, and engagement with our vendors to promote and market the brands we sell.

In our family of vendors, MtnStuff currently represents Osprey Packs, Outdoor Research, Western Mountaineering and Scott Footwear.  Each of these brands are independently owned and active in the outdoor community.  It is important that we have synergy with our vendors in this way, as we love what we do, love what we sell, and most importantly, love the outdoors and the friendships that grow from it.

I am fortunate to have built a “MtnStuff” family around me that includes Richard Weight, Tyler Noonan, Ashley Tucker and Minna Casser.  MtnStuff would be nowhere without these amazing people.  Together, we share the values of progressiveness, engagement, hard work and friendship.

I’d like to leave you with a final message from us at MtnStuff, as we worked hard to develop and put into words our mission, our vision, our “WHY:”

At its heart, MtnStuff is a family.  Our family of vendors and retailers is built upon a strong commitment to one another, a deep appreciation of the wilderness around us, and a dedication to the evolution of our business.

Our work is to create meaningful and enjoyable connections within our community through collaboration, education and consultation.  The mountains, trails and rivers of the Rocky Mountains inspire us, and allow us to engage with our family in a way that is healthy, active and fun!

Commitment to our family has allowed us to grow our business, and to engage with retailers, vendors and consumers on a deeper level.  We invite you to connect with us and become part of our family.

 

-Leta Kalfas, owner and president