25
Apr
2011
jloomis

Mile High Mountaineering Flatiron 38 Backpack Review

Product Rating: 
4
Mile High Mountaineering Flatiron 38 Backpack

Features:

The Flatiron 38 is the smallest pack in Mile High Mountaineering's (MHM) Expedition Series. It is a technical pack intended for climbing or quick and light backpacking trips. It is nearly bulletproof with Cordura Plus™ fabric used on the entire pack. The fabric is coated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish to keep things dry, but if it gets really wet there is an included packslicker rainfly made out of silnylon. Gear is easily accessed through either the top opening or the vertical front zipper. The Flatiron features a sturdy frame system, ventilated back-panel, dual-pivoting hipbelt, adjustable harness, internal hydration pocket, ice axe loops, and much more.

24
Apr
2011
jloomis

Climbing Mount Hood, Oregon

Mount Hood Summit Ridge

Finally, the long-anticipated nice weather came to Mount Hood on Friday morning. My friends Matt, Al, and I were able to get the day off to climb the mountain. This was Al and my first summit attempt of Mount Hood (I had previously been as high as the hogsback earlier this year). Matt is veteran mountaineer with six or seven successful Mount Hood climbs under his belt. We all met in Portland around 11:30 PM Thursday night to carpool to Timberline Lodge. We were going to climb the popular South route through the old chute to the summit.

20
Apr
2011
jloomis

Columbia Sportswear Men's Peak 2 Peak Jacket Review

Product Rating: 
5
Columbia Sportswear Men's Peak 2 Peak Jacket

Features:

Columbia Sportswear's Peak 2 Peak™ is the ultimate waterproof, windproof, ultra-breathable jacket for active pursuits. The 3-layer fabric features a bonded liner, taped seams, and Omni-Dry® to diffuse moisture vapors while shedding rain and snow. This jacket, part of Columbia's Titanium™ collection, features zippered underarm vents, articulated elbows, hand pockets, and a security pocket with Invizzip™ technology. Available in three colors (blue, red, & black).

18
Apr
2011
kloomis

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to Table Mountain, Washington

Table Mountain, Oregon

On Sunday we took advantage of the promising weather forecast and planned a hike with our friends Kara and Matt to Table Mountain. Located across the river from Bonneville Power Plant, Table Mountain is one of the tallest landmarks in the Columbia River Gorge. Though not overly technical, this eight-mile round-trip hike is difficult due to its length and steep (3,300 feet elevation gain), rocky terrain.

17
Apr
2011
jloomis

Lookout Mountain Climb in the Snow

Summit of Lookout Mountain, Oregon

On Saturday, Matt, his friend Al, and I went on a climb (non-technical) to Lookout Mountain. At 6,525 feet, Lookout Mountain is second in elevation only to Mount Hood within the Mt. Hood National Forest. The trailhead is about 4.5 miles Northeast of the Mount Hood Meadows turnoff on Hwy 35. The weather forecast was a mixed bag with rain showers predicted and a freezing level of around 6,000 feet. As it was still early spring, our 7.4 mile round-trip route was different from the normal trail due to the amount of snow above 4,500 feet elevation.

13
Apr
2011
jloomis

Komperdell Contour Foam Powerlock Trekking Poles Review

Product Rating: 
5
Komperdell Contour Foam Powerlock Trekking Poles

Features:

Komperdell's Powerlock Trekking Poles sport extended foam grips, allowing you to grip the poles lower on traverses or steep slopes instead of having to stop and readjust the pole lengths. The three-section telescoping trekking poles are lightweight, strong, and corrosion resistant. Komperdell's Powerlock system makes length adjustments easy and secure. Poles feature EVA foam grips, neoprene straps, and tungsten carbide tips. Snow baskets are included and trekking baskets are available.

10
Apr
2011
jloomis

Spring Chinook Salmon Fishing on the Willamette River, Oregon

Salmon Fishing on the Willamette River Near Swan Island

The Columbia River opened back up for spring chinook fishing, so my friend John and I decided to try the Willamette River on Saturday to avoid the crowds. We launched John's North River at the Swan Island boat ramp shortly after 7 AM. The weather was overcast with occasional sun breaks and light wind. The water temperature was about 48° and still pretty turbid. The ramp was not crowded, nor was the river.

06
Apr
2011
jloomis

REI Lite-Core Sit Pad Review

Product Rating: 
5
REI Lite-Core Sit Pad

Features:

The packable, self-inflating REI Lite-Core Sit Pad is designed to keep your behind warm and comfortable on snow, hard, and/or rocky ground. The top non-slip surface helps keep you in place while the durable polyester bottom resists wear. Includes stuff sack and is available in three colors (orange, gray, & turquoise).

04
Apr
2011
kloomis

Coyote Wall Hike in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington

Coyote Wall in the Columbia River Gorge, Washington

On Sunday we decided to take advantage of the sunny spring weather and ventured out for our first hike in Washington State. Our new friends Kara and Matt suggested we all hike Coyote Wall in the Columbia River Gorge. Located approximately 4.5 miles East of Hood River on the Washington side, Coyote Wall rises high above the river and offers spectacular views of the Gorge from its rim. The trail head is relatively easy to find, located on Courtney Road off SR 14.

02
Apr
2011
jloomis

Hiking the Appalachian Trail to Blood Mountain, Georgia

View from Blood Mountain, Georgia

I was able to go into work early on Wednesday in order to get off at 3 PM to drive to Neels Gap where the Southern Appalachian Trail crosses US Highway 19/129. It's about a 1.5 hour drive from Chatsworth, Georgia. Neels Gap is about 13 miles South of Blairsville. My plan was to park in the Walasi-Yi parking lot (with permission) and hike 2 steep miles along the Appalachian Trail to the summit of Blood Mountain and back. The 4 mile round-trip gains 1,400 feet of elevation on the way to the summit at 4,458 feet.

29
Mar
2011
jloomis

Hiking in Fort Mountain State Park, Georgia

Fort Mountain, Georgia

My job took me to Georgia this week where our carpet fabrication facility is. On Tuesday evening after work, I was able to drive up to Fort Mountain State Park for a short hike. The park is only about a 20 minute drive East of Chatsworth. The road quickly winds up into the mountains leaving the city far below. I went on a short easy mile loop hike to the summit of Fort Mountain and back. The conditions were calm with overcast skies and a temperature around 50°F.

24
Mar
2011
jloomis

Atlas 9 Series FRS Snowshoes Review

Product Rating: 
4
Atlas 9 Series FRS Snowshoes

Features:

Just like the 10 series, the Atlas 9 Series FRS Snowshoes are built on a 6000 series aluminum frame with Nytex decking. The flexible Wrap™ bindings easily tighten and provide a solid connection to the snowshoes. Traction is achieved with steel front All-Trac™ toe crampons and rear Tri-Cleats. Atlas 9 Series Snowshoes also feature Free-Rotating™ Suspension for natural articulation and greater traction on uneven terrain. Available in two sizes: 25 and 30 inch.

23
Mar
2011
kloomis

Snowshoeing Maxwell Butte near Sisters, Oregon

Summit of Maxwell Butte, Oregon

After spending much of the winter enjoying the sights and peaks of the Northern Oregon Cascades, Jason and I decided to travel further South and snowshoe to Maxwell Butte on Sunday. We left early, hoping to avoid any Spring Break traffic and have the trail at least partially to ourselves. Our reward was a nearly empty parking lot. The only cars there had clearly been left overnight. The sky was high overcast with a slight breeze and 29° F temperature when we arrived. Maxwell SnoPark is located approximately 28 miles Northwest of Sisters, Oregon along Highway 22.

22
Mar
2011
jloomis

Snowshoeing Barlow Butte, Oregon

Summit of Barlow Butte, Oregon

After a fun night snow camping at Devils Half Acre Meadow, Matt and I took off on snowshoes for Barlow Butte. Since we were camped at the base of the butte on the Western side, we chose to go almost straight up from there. Our route was about 0.6 miles each way. The temperature was in the mid 20s F with no wind and mostly sunny skies. This was one of those times I regretted not bringing my sunglasses.

21
Mar
2011
jloomis

Snow Camping at Devils Half Acre Meadow Campground, Oregon

Devil's Half Acre Meadow Campground in the Winter

On Friday night, my friend John and I headed off with fully loaded pulk sleds to snow camp at Devils Half Acre Meadow. We left my house at about 2:30 PM and set out from the Barlow Pass SnoPark at around 4 PM. Another friend, Matt, planned to meet us there just after dark. It's an easy 1.2 mile hike downhill to the campground, which was our destination. The campground sits right at the base of Barlow Butte. The weather was a comfortable 29°F with moderate to heavy snow fall.

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