Sunday, April 17, 2011

4-17-11 Miscellaneous

Skiers near the Chute on the left side of the Tuckerman Ravine headwall last Sunday, 4-10-11, taking advantage of great snow conditions with almost no wind and lots of sun. Photo taken by U.S. Forest Service Snow Rangers based in Tuckerman Ravine.

The same area of the Ravine in a photo taken by the Forest Service on 4-08-11 that includes Left Gully. There's a lot of snow in the Ravine this year.

I launched a new blog, When it's finished in a few months it will create access for readers of this blog to articles and photos in Appalachia, the august journal of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), that's been biannually published since 1876. Appalachia is an astounding resource that's difficult to access because it's available at only a few locations. Within the 135 years of its publication it contains the complete histories of skiing, hiking, climbing, and mountaineering in North America including New England, all of the US, and Europe and the Himalaya as well. It traces the development of outdoor recreation, generally, along with the conservation movement going back to John Muir. My goal has primarily been to provide access to articles focusing on the sciences: botany, geology and glaciology, ecology, natural history and the rich social/human history of the White Mountains contained in older volumes. Reading them is like taking a mountain excursion back in time. Take a look when you have a minute.

I seldom plug products of any kind in the blog. The product has to meet my criteria for sustainability which I feel is synonymous with "quality". On my climb up to Lakes of the Clouds and Mt. Monroe a few weeks ago a critical piece on one of my Kahtoola crampons broke causing the crampon to fall off my boot when I was in a fairly exposed section of the climb. I mailed the crampons back to Kahtoola in Flagstaff, AZ for repairs and was pleasantly surprised to get a call back from Vance, one of the managers, who said he was going to completely revamp them for me (even though my pair is well worn after 4 years and no longer on warranty). The turn around time was one week. Kahtoola makes a number of quality items including two different "traction" devices: the hardened steel, lightweight, fully adjustable, strap-on crampons in the above photo, and the "Micro Spike" system (with the red rubberized webbing) also shown in the photo which is a slip-on, flexible, very safe and versatile system that I see everywhere I go now. I've used the "micros" in the last two years everywhere in the Whites (and jogging and trail running around home) and I use the crampons on sheer horizontal ice or sustained, steep, hard water-ice surfaces where I want the most secure traction I can get. My overall perception, after my conversation with Vance, was that Kahtoola, like Patagonia and a few other suppliers, has a world vision based on the highest quality craftsmanship along with excellent customer satisfaction. That's why I'm recommending these products to hikers.

No comments: