Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Categories

Archives

Meta

Recent Posts

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Blog

Climbing Mt. Hayes in Alaska with Angela VanWiemeersch

Mount Hayes is the highest mountain in the eastern Alaska Range. Despite not being a 14,000 footer, it is one of the largest peaks in the U.S. in terms of its rise above the local terrain. As an example, the Northeast Face rises 8,000 feet in approximately 2 miles.  Mount Hayes was first climbed in 1941 but it is not very frequently climbed due to its remoteness and the resulting difficulty of accessing the mountain.  Below is Part of HMG Ambassador Angela Van Wiemeersch’s trip report where she and her two climbing partners summited the mountain in 72 hrs while also setting some never yet attempted routes.

Mt_Hayes

“One, two, three in a row. Jason Stuckey, John Giraldo and I stood at the base of Mt Hayes with our chins high in the air, staring at the northeast face. We passed the binoculars back and forth discussing how to best approach this beast. I remember feeling like we were the three Musketeers, getting ready to embark on an epic battle. However, I later realized that we were more like the three Ninja Turtles avoiding a run-in with their archenemy Shredder.

Mt_Hayes_hikers

The Northeast Face of Mt. Hayes is an object of intimidation and inspiration.  Its poor quality rock face has many runnels, prows and snow slopes; a marvelous set of features to climb. The only catch was that nearly every line was threatened by seracs (blocks or columns of glacial ice), including our originally planned line. So down went the cards and we folded. It wasn’t worth it. We decided to try and climb the line on the far left with the least amount of overhead hazards. Moms and Dads, from Alaska to Michigan, would be psyched.

Night passed, morning came, and we soon ditched our skis and headed up and over the bershrund. John blasted up the first block of steep “snice,” placing gear in small rock outcrops when he could. Our gear was always in places that were sketchier to get to than the actual climbing. So on cruiser-terrain we didn’t worry that much about the gear and kept pushing upward. We swapped leads in blocks while simul-climbing just about everything until the top 1,200 feet of the face.

Mt_Hayes_ascent

We then started pitching things out here and there when the climbing got trickier. We experienced icy snowfields, super fun rock moves, and calf-burning pitches of glacial ice. From there we thought it was a straight shot until I led a mixed pitch to the edge of a cliff. I traversed out left and set up a belay in hopes that the terrain above didn’t cliff out as well. As I handed the rack to John, I suddenly realized which Ninja Turtle he was. As he flew out of the belay and styled the exposed crux I had no doubt in my mind he was Raphael. No, he did not talk with a Brooklyn accent but he had that fiery, strong-willed, go-for-it attitude. Not to mention a witty comment here and there to keep me giggling all the way up the route.

Jason led us up some steeper ice pitches to a knife ridge as the sun went down. We were psyched to have finished the face. The cold temperatures settled in and we were getting sleepy. Our current location didn’t provide for a good bivy. John cruised up high on the ridge looking for a place to dig, but it was too steep and all ice. He eventually struck gold and found us the most amazing snowy cornice to sleep beneath. It was such a lucky find, really the only thing around. We dug out a trench as much as we could, but it was still only wide enough for one grown man to sleep comfortably. So there we were, three smelly alpine climbers playing Tetris with body limbs and sleeping mats. We made it work and we were stoked.”

Mt_Hayes_Peak

To be continued soon…

Lightweight Hiking with Andrew Altepeter

My name is Andrew Altepeter and for the last five years I have been working as an instructor of hiking, lightweight hiking, climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, and skiing courses in and around the American West for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).  The courses that I instruct range from one to four weeks in length with pack weights ranging from 30 – 65 lbs depending on the skill type, environment, and number of days between resupplies.  I have experimented with a variety of ultralight packs over the years and spent time modifying, stitch ripping, and chopping various bells and whistles to create simple, lightweight, and functional packs for work…and play!  I have also significantly downsized from the 90+ liter sized packs that are standard for our long expeditions by making deliberate gear choices appropriate for the given environment and gaining better understanding of how to plan and pack just what I need to have a successful backcountry experience.

lightweight_hiking

In Spring 2011, I discovered what HMG was making and my eyes lit up!  I saw that the 4400 Porter Pack could be the solution to all of the modifications and an answer to the desires that I was trying to satisfy by modifying other packs.  I was skeptical at first about whether the lightweight Porter pack would carry loads comfortably due to a lack of classically designed load lifters on the shoulder straps, as well as the minimalist design of the back panel and aluminum stays, but I took the plunge, bought one, and started taking the 4400 Porter Pack on my NOLS courses and personal outings.  I am happy to report how pleasantly surprised I was at how well the pack carries loads.  For instance, on some travel days in the desert we carry up to ten liters of water (on top of the 35-45 lb pack weight) knowing that our camping destination for the day is dry.  I found the pack to be just as comfortable, if not more so, than the complex, bulky, and heavy packs I had used in the past.  With a little care, the pack has been appropriately durable as well.  When lowering fully loaded packs down sandstone slabs in Southeast Utah the Porter Pack took some abuse but was not worse off than other thick nylon canvas packs I’ve used.  I believe HMG has hit the mark for me with their high-end minimalist design aesthetic that accomplishes a lot without extraneous features.  HMG has stripped away all that is unnecessary and incorporates exactly what is needed in a pack design to make sure it is functional and carries well.  For this I am grateful!

4400_Ice_Pack

It is going to be another busy summer in the mountains with a month long Wind River Mountaineering course starting soon followed by a lightweight hiking course in the Winds that is nearly as long.  I will be taking a 4400 Ice Pack for this mountaineering course as we’ll need personal and group technical gear like crampons, ice axes, climbing ropes, and snow protection, plus course paperwork, communication devices and educational tools/resources, which all add to the challenge of a sub 60 lb pack.  But I’m looking forward to meeting the group, getting geared up (as light as makes sense), and heading off into the mountains.  And I’m also eager to share the experience and what I learn about going even lighter on institutional expeditions when I get back in a month.

Sunset_Hike

 

 

Trail Days in Damascus, VA – May 15th to 18th, 2014

Once again, HMG will be traveling to Damascus, Va for the 28th annual Trail Days festival celebrating this year’s 4,000-5,000 Appalachian Trail thru-hikers.  In addition to the majority of thru-hikers that will be in attendance, the festival draws an additional 15,000-20,000 hiking enthusiasts and lovers of the Appalachian Trail from around the U.S., North America, and the entire world.

Hyperlite_Trail_Days

Hyperlite Mountain Gear will be loading up a few cars and trucks on the morning of May 13th to make the 1,000 mile journey from Maine to southwestern Virginia for its fourth showing at the festival.  HMG will have a booth set-up demonstrating its ultralight mountain gear and will also have a large stock of inventory available for sale.

Stop Trail Days by to:

- Check us out
- Get a gear shakedown from HMG CEO, Mike St. Pierre
- Replace your old gear to finish faster and with more comfort
- Sign up for a pack giveaway raffle
- Or just say Hello

We might even choose you for a gear sponsorship!

Ultralight_Backpack

Ultralight_Pack

 

 

Skiing the Grand with HMG Ambassador Beau Fredlund

This week things aligned for some exceptionally good ski mountaineering in the Tetons.  A nice spring storm had come in warm, bonding well to the old snow surfaces, and finishing cold and dry.  Perfect for skiing and avalanche stability.  Our week included some excellent adventures with bicycle access in Grand Teton National Park (on a road closed to auto traffic), and was punctuated by a ski descent of the highly coveted Grand Teton .  Possibly the most iconic mountain in the lower 48, and a challenging ski mountaineering objective by any route.

funhogging_in_the_tetons

As with many things in life, timing is one of the more important aspects of a project like this.  Two days of letting the new snow settle, and we were off at 11:30pm.  Climbing through the night, our HMG Ice and Porter packs were carefully packed (two thin ropes, ice climbing gear, some rock pro, a stove, and lot’s of photo and video equipment, ect. ).  The plan being, to ski the Ford/ Stettner route on the Grand, capture some amazing video content, and then link up the Middle and South Tetons, for a Teton trifecta.  Above all though, we hoped to do it in good style.

kt_grand_teton_

The weather ended up turning a bit too warm for the link-up, but skiing phenomenal untracked/ bottomless powder down the upper east face, and Ford Couloir was an experience we won’t soon forget.   :)

HMG is off to Everest!

We’re proud to share the news that cameramen and adventure videographers John Griber and Ed Wardle will be carrying HMG ultralight packs when they climb Mt. Everest to film Joby Ogwyn’s historic wing suit jump off the summit.

“I’ve been hired by NBC as a cameraman this spring for an event called Everest Jump Live,” said Griber.  He and Wardle will be following Ogwyn up the mountain filming his climb and running jump off Earth’s highest point.  No human has ever attempted this feat before and the Discovery Channel will be airing the 11,000 foot drop and five mile descent back to Base Camp during a two hour live broadcast in May.

Joby Ogwyn 3

This is not the first summit attempt for Griber who has reached the top twice previously, but it is the first time he will be filming a live broadcast.

“As a cameraman, just to be asked to go to Everest is one thing, but to be breaking ground in broadcasting is entirely another level. This live event will be broadcast to 224 countries/territories and that’s very exciting.”

John Griber 3

While Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs have been all over the world including Everest Base Camp, this is the first time an HMG ultralight pack will summit the world’s tallest peak.  According to Griber, weight and gear are of the utmost importance while climbing at altitude.

“HMG makes sense on various levels.  The Cuben fiber based pack is obviously lightweight as well as incredibly strong and durable.  The basic design is perfect for Everest where you don’t need any extras, you simply need gear that you can rely on and that works.”

Wardle will be carrying the 4400 Ice Pack, a 70L technical climbing pack.  But Griber will be carrying Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s 4400 Windrider – a basic large volume hiking pack.  When asked if he realized this or had any thoughts on it, Griber humbly said, “Well after all it’s just one big hike…I just happen to be walking to the top of the world!”

Be sure to check out this epic event live in May on the Discovery Channel

4400 SW Three Quarter

4400 Ice Pack Three Quarter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Wardle 3

Why my parents adopted a lightweight mindset

 

By Amy Hatch

Large external frame backpacks protruded over their heads. Bungee cords lashed to them a frying pan, heavy foam sleeping pads and an extra daypack. A bulky backpacking shower, full books, and eggs, bacon and hash browns added to the unwieldy load.

This is how backpacking used to look for parents, Nancy and Cleve Schenck, back in the ’70s and early ’80s, before I was a twinkle in their eyes – and, for that matter, even once I became part of their outdoor adventures.

FamilyGrandCanyon3

“Packs used to not have sternum straps, so we’d jerry rig the sternum straps,” my mom reminisced.

Back then, my mom and dad managed to make it work, hiking into remote and breathtaking backcountry destinations, many of which in later decades would become “discovered.”

But now in their 60s, they’ve changed their approach, adopting a lightweight mindset, mostly out of necessity.

“It’s made the difference between being able to backpack or not, that’s the bottom line,” my mom said. Going lightweight prevents back, shoulder and neck injuries and also allows them to sleep comfortably when they arrive at their destination “because our bodies feel good,” my mom said.

“My days of carrying 60 pound packs are over,” my dad said. “Every year the pack gets heavier, even though there’s less weight in it.”

My mom’s pack weight is now down to 23 pounds and my dad carries between 30 and 35 pounds.

DSCN1715

Today my parents are cheerleaders for companies that make lightweight equipment, like Hyperlite Mountain Gear, but it’s been a transition that’s come with some resistance. My dad clung to his 11-pound, all-season, four-man tent for years, even after my brother and I had moved out of the house. It wasn’t until the tent fly was in threads from having been water proofed so many times that he finally upgraded to a technical 4-pound tent.

And when I first suggested to my dad that he try out my HMG Windrider backpack, he showed little interest. It took my mom’s raving about it, to get him to put it on. But only a few weeks after he tried it, he was buying his own for an upcoming trip to the Dolomites in Italy.

“The thing about the Hyperlite that struck me, it’s nice that it’s lightweight, but it’s really comfortable,” my dad said.

My mom echoed this with:

“It has everything you need and nothing more. I feel more secure on more challenging trails, especially when there is some exposure, because I feel like the pack is fitting so well that it’s not throwing my body weight around.”

DSCN1662

Amy Hatch is an ambassador for Hyperlite Mountain Gear. She’s also the founder of two companies: Jackson Hole Packraft & Packraft Rentals Anywhere (www.jhpackraft.com) and Garage Grown Gear (www.garagegrowngear.com).

HMG’s Newest Ambassador

Hyperlite Mountain Gear would like to welcome our newest ambassador.  Bad Ass for sure!

Angela VanWiemeersch

Screen shot 2001-01-11 at 3.50.24 PM

Angela VanWiemeersch (or VanStein known for her epic stein pulls), lives a passion for the mountains. From the peaks of Alaska to her home crags of Zion where she works a climbing guide, Angela is constantly seeking to push herself to higher limits.  As an accomplished climber on rock, ice and mixed terrain Angela views her self as an explorer at heart.  In 2010 she completed a 1400 mile solo unsupported bike tour from Detroit, Michigan to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The lure of the unknown and the vast beauty of untouched landscapes then continued to drive her North. In 2011 Angela found herself again on a journey where the road ends and the tundra begins. She paddled 430 miles, unsupported on the Mackenzie river in the Northwest territories of Canada.  Her pursuit to find great adventures led her to the Alaska Range where she became (as far as the records go) the  first woman to free solo Ham and Eggs on the Moose’s Tooth.3000′ while using the Hyperlite Mountain Gear 2400 Ice Pack. Angela has made her life not only about getting to the top of summits around the world but about the reward of the journey and the adventure of each endeavor.

Climbing Resume – All routes below are climbed on lead
**with the exception of cali ice and stairway to heaven where i was swapping leads.

Screen shot 2001-01-11 at 3.52.44 PM
ALPINE ASCENTS
First female free solo of Ham and Eggs (WI4+ M4- Jon Krakuauer / Nate Zissner) 3000′ . west side of mooses tooth, central alaska range

Almost A Free solo ascent of Mt. Francis (IV, 5.8,60′ snow) 3,600′. (I ran into some climbers and roped up for one exposed crux pillar pitch just to be safe) Kahiltina glacier, central alaska range.

**california ice (WI4-5)3,000′ in the Beartooth Range in Montana (1st pitch in photo)
**Stairway to heaven ( WI4-5) 7 pitches in jan 2013

WATER ICE ASCENTS
White Nightmare (WI4-5) 2 pitches,150′  provo canyon, utah
Bridal Veil Right (WI4-5) 2 pitches,200′ provo canyon, utah
Bridal Veil Left (Wi4-5) 2 pitches,200′ provo canyon, utah
The Matrix(WI 4, M4-5) 130′ hyalitet canyon, montana
Scepter(WI 4 +) 100′ hyalite canyon, Montana

IMG_4911

Basically i’m in love with wide open places and I strive to explore those places to the fullest. Climbing gets me exactly where i want to be. Connected to the landscape, In a zen i never thought was possible. Every time i’m climbing i think its the coolest thing i’ve ever done.
- Angela VanWiemeersch

What is new for 2014?

What is new in 2014?

We get asked that question from the media, friends, and customers all the time. So we thought we would take a moment to give an update on what we’ve been doing at Hyperlite Mountain Gear to make our products even better!

We have rolled out NEW features across our entire pack range in the 2400(40L), 3400(55L) and 4400(70L) sizes. These include taping all of the packs critical seams for improved water resistance, a double-reinforced 150d pack bottom, re-designed hip-belt pockets for improved utility, and extended hip-belt length for better wrap around support allowing improved weight transfer capability from the shoulders to the hips.

Also on our large 4400(70L) sized packs we are building the entire pack from our Cuben/150d Poly hybrid material and we have added an additional back panel frame-sheet allowing an increased carrying capacity of up to 60 lbs.

Remember when ordering a pack to get a measurement of your torso size to ensure the best fit and best performance from your pack.
Take a look at our size chart to make sure you measure right.

All of our gear is designed and tested in the ‘worst conditions’  to ensure it is the best it can be.  Our CEO Mike St. Pierre was recently out on an R&D mission to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park here in Maine. He and the crew he was with endured -30 degree weather to do some skiing and climbing to test new materials that we plan to launch a bit later this year!

Check out this picture from their trip – photo credit Max Neal

HMG in Action

HMG in Action

HMG is on Instagram! Are you?

Follow us @hyperlitemountaingear

Follow us @hyperlitemountaingear

HMG – Evolution

Evolution! - We love this illustration by HMG Ambassador Steve Graepel!

Evolution! – We love this illustration by HMG Ambassador Steve Graepel!