Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Black Diamond Alpine Start Hoody

Surely, the windshirt quest will never stop. Finding an ideal active layer for days which are neither warm nor arctic, neither calm nor storming fiercely, involves delicate balancing of contradictory attributes. The shirt must be significantly wind resistant, but quite … Continue reading

Posted in Backpacking, Bikes and biking, Climbing, Fly Fishing, Hiking with ropes, Hunting, Packrafting, Racing, Skiing, Tech | 26 Comments

Ski gear for backcountry traverses, revisited

My original post on this subject, written over 3 years ago, has proven to be enduringly popular. I take this as a testimony to the scant material available on the subject, ever increased interest in winter backpacking via ski, and … Continue reading

Posted in Backpacking, Skiing, Tech | 7 Comments

First Annual Packraft Roundup

Put on by the American Packrafting Association, the first annual Packraft Roundup will be at the Big Creek Campground on the North Fork of the Flathead, July 11-13th.  A one day swiftwater rescue course will be held on Friday the … Continue reading

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Functional remoteness

Most analyses of remoteness in the lower 48 are misleading. They ignore on the ground factors, though for the understandable reason of accessible numbers to crunch. There is the famous claim that the place furthest from any road in the … Continue reading

Posted in Backpacking, Hiking with ropes, Packrafting, Racing, Skiing | 16 Comments


As it turns out, civilization is strictly contextual. Glacier has a lot of gobsmacking valleys, and it’s an absurd exercise to quantify them. St. Mary in winter has a special fondness for me. The road is so crowded and hectic … Continue reading

Posted in Backpacking, Skiing | 6 Comments

Anorak conversions for blown main zippers

It is to be expected that a heavily used jacket with a #3 main zip, like the 2.1 year old Rab Xenon pictured here, will have zipper failure within the useful life of the garment. While manufacturers continue to use … Continue reading

Posted in Backpacking, Bikes and biking, Climbing, Hiking with ropes, Hunting, MYOG, Packrafting, Racing, Skiing, Tech | 5 Comments

Guidebooks and South Fork access issues

White River from Haystack, looking west towards the South Fork of the Flathead, Bob Marshall country. This morning I amended, with considerably reluctance, my Crown of the Continent packrafting guidebook.  There are now three short paragraphs toward the beginning, right … Continue reading

Posted in Backpacking, Cultural critique, Fly Fishing, Hunting, Packrafting | 2 Comments

On turning 33

Monday morning I awoke in the surprisingly warm loft of a forest service cabin, went down the ladder in my socks, blew coals back into life, and put a pot for cowboy coffee on the stove. I was 33 years … Continue reading

Posted in Backpacking, Bikes and biking, N.O.S., Skiing | 8 Comments

Envy the wind

It started with the wind, and ended with tea. Walking the mile downtown in ski boots, early in the morning, was just as introduction.  I drank a macchiato in the coffeeshop, the slowest such in the valley, with all my … Continue reading

Posted in Skiing | 14 Comments

A good winter

This morning I deemed it too cold to ski.  Temps at our house were right around negative 30F, and seemed like a bit much.  So I swapped; hiking around the neighborhood with a 40 pound pack in the morning, skin … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural critique, Skiing | Leave a comment