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Skiing the Grand

funhogging_in_the_tetonsPhotos & text by 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.

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Hyperlite Mountain Gear: 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

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My parents went ultralight

FamilyGrandCanyon3By 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.

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

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New Athlete! Angela VanWiemeersch

Angela VanStein

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

“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. Every time I’m climbing I think its the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”- Angela VanWiemeersch

Angela (or VanStein known for her epic stein pulls), lives 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.

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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!

Neon, Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail – Segment 7, The Four State Challenge!

Every year Appalachian Trail thru hikers, gear heads and dreamers flock to Damascus, Virginia for the annual “Trail Days” festival.  This year, Trail Days was held from May 17-19 and attracted thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from all over the globe. Hyperlite Mountain Gear attends Trail Days every year to meet fellow enthusiasts and show off some of its innovative ultralight gear and accessories. One of the people HMG met at this year’s festival was a thru-hiker named Brenna (trail name “Neon”).  Unfortunately, Brenna had all of her gear stolen from her tent while she was exploring the festival.  When HMG founder Mike St. Pierre heard what had happened to Neon, he decided to hook her up with a free HMG Windrider 2400 pack as well as a some other free HMG products. Mike also spread her story among other equipment vendors at the festival.  By the end of the day, Neon had an entirely brand new setup of equipment free of charge.With the ultralight and rain-proof HMG Windrider 2400 HMG trimmed Neon’s pack weight significantly which should make the next 1,700 miles to Maine even more fun. As a way of saying “Thank You” to Mike and the rest of the HMG team, Neon has been keeping us all up to date with periodic posts and pictures from the AT. We hope that you’ll check in regularly to follow Neon along the trail!  Here’s Neon’s seventh post from the trail . . .

The Four State Challenge

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It was tough getting back on the trail after taking four days off. My body had realized it was time to relax and allow the aches and pains to come to the surface: my feet were swollen and I hobbled up and down the stairs because I couldn’t bend my knees. It was even tougher getting back on because the first day we did 44 miles.

When I first heard about the four state challenge, I thought it was something that everyone did; one of those rites of passage on the trail. I decided then, at the very beginning of the trail, when an 18 mile day was a bit of a push, that one day I would walk 43.1 miles. Once the end of Virginia came into sight, I realized the magnitude of what I had committed myself to: I had yet to even do a 30 mile day. Thanks to peer pressure and my own mental obstinacy, there was no turning back.

Buckeye, Atreyu, Promise, ET, Turbo, and I were dropped off at a road crossing 0.8 miles past the VA/WV border at about 5 AM and we doubled back in order to truly hit four states in one day.

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After walking for months on end, I was surprised to find how quickly I had forgotten how to do it in my time off. I was moving one foot in front of the other as usual, but everything felt strange. Is this how I usually hike? Is this the speed I usually go? What do I do with my arms? My steps felt wobbly and unsure- my body had literally forgotten how to walk. By the 10 mile mark I was back in the groove and by noon we had completed almost 20 miles. We took plenty of breaks and no one who saw us would have thought we were doing any sort of challenge.

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Until we hit about the 30 mile mark. My legs were stiffening and I felt completely sapped of all energy. I had also lost track of where we were and kept expecting the next shelter to be just around the corner. That’s the kiss of death on a long hike- expecting to be farther than you are. By this time anyone who saw us could see in our faces that we were no longer having a good time. A few other hikers, one of whom I knew, the others I had just met, started cheering us on as we walked. We were leap-frogging with them and every time we passed by, they tried to pump us up by whooping and hollering. It felt good and it worked each time, at least for a little while.

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We finally made it to the shelter at the 34 mile mark. 10 miles to go. It was about 6 PM by this time and we were all in pain. I think each one of us was truly considering just stopping there for the night, but no one was willing to say it out loud. We had a feast of granola bars, cereal, pop tarts, bagels, peanut butter, Twizzlers pull n peel (I might have been the only one feasting on these), Fritos Honey BBQ Twists (best trail food ever by the way- high calorie and delicious. So what if it has zero nutritional value), and everything else in our food bags. Ibuprofen made the rounds.

Suddenly we were new people; walking three miles an hour, chatting, and having a great time. Suddenly we were talking about going past the 44 mile mark and making it an even 50. And just as suddenly we were back to misery. At the 40 mile mark I thought I was done. It was long past twilight and I didn’t know if I would make it to 44. I was still moving, but just barely. “This is making me hate hiking,” ET said. We slowed down to about one mile per hour and walked mostly in silence, each of us dwelling on our own pain. Chafing, cramps, tight muscles, and sore feet plagued us. The chafing was out of control. I was the only one spared the butt crack variety and to this day I am thankful for that. I silently cried the last two miles and alternately hoped that no one would see and everyone would see. I wanted to be comforted, to be held, and most of all I just wanted it to end.

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0.3 miles before the finish there was a pavilion and we decided to walk down to the state line and then come back up to stay in the pavilion, thereby avoiding setting up shelters for the night. We walked down to the railroad tracks and figured that was it, this was the line. We made it at 11:30 PM, about 18.5 hours after we had started. No state-line sign? Kind of disappointing but not so unusual.

We took a few pictures: I preferred the pictures where I could sit down and loved the pictures where I was just laying down in the tracks. I didn’t take any of my own because I no longer cared. We made our way back to the pavilion and I lay down and went to bed. “You’re not going to eat any dinner?” Buckeye asked me. No, I was not. I was extremely hungry, but even more tired.

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We slept late the next day. 10? 11? I can’t be sure. I was exhausted and walking was painful. I don’t even know why we ever left that beautiful pavilion with its beds (our sleeping bags) and its bathrooms (actual bathrooms!). Most of all, staying there would mean that we wouldn’t have to hike and that would have been glorious. For some reason we ended up leaving, hiked passed the train tracks where we had stopped and taken pictures, and then pass the sign marking the Mason-Dixon Line. Wait there was a sign? It turns out we had come up short by about 50 yards and hadn’t seen the sign because it was dark. Once again I no longer cared.

We only hiked 7.5 miles that day and then stopped at another pavilion for the night. We had gone far enough and ordered pizza; everyone except for Ramon and me eating a large on their own. Then they went to Walmart and each got a half gallon of ice cream for dessert. Atreyu got a 2 liter bottle of root beer and had the world’s largest root beer float. I took a nap.

Neon
The  AT
Fall 2013

 

 

 

Tasmania’s Overland Track with HMG Ambassador Forrest McCarthy

HMG’s Ambassadors are the testers, critics and storytellers of our products.  They put our gear through the paces in the worlds toughest playgrounds and give us critical feedback which helps us drive product development.  They also help us spread the good word about HMG’s backpacks, tents/shelters and accessories — while regularly making us jealous of  what they’re doing in the field.  This past winter HMG Ambassador Forrest McCarthy traveled to Tasmania with his wife Amy McCarthy to take on the Overland Track — one of Tasmania’s premier hiking routes.  Read on for the report . . .

Tasmanian Track Amy McCarthy

The Overland Track is Tasmania’s premier walk and attracts hikers from all over the world. The track winds its way through CradleMountain – Lake St Clair National Park traversing a vast wilderness of exposed alpine plateaus, tranquil lakes, and dense forests of beech, pine and gum. The entire track is within the 1.38 million hectare Tasmanian World Wilderness Heritage Area and home to unique wildlife including: kangaroo, wombat, wallaby, possum, quoll, Platypus, Echidna, tiger snakes, and Tasmanian Devils.

In early February of 2013 Amy and I were blessed with three days of fantastic weather and followed the track from Dove Lake to Lake St Clair, a distance of 65-kilomters. Stopping for the night at Lake Windermere and the Windy Ridge Hut we enjoyed side trips to the summit of Cradle Mountain and Tasmania’s high point — Mt Ossa.

Tasmanian Track Summit of Cradle MountainSummit of Cradle Mountain

Tasmanian Track High Alpine PlateauHigh Alpine Plateau

Tasmanian Track Camping at Lake WindermereCamping at Lake Windermere

Tasmanian Track Lake Windermere and Barn BluffLake Windermere and Barn Bluff

Tasmanian Track On Route to Pine Forest MoorOn Route to Pine Forest Moor

Tasmanian Track WallabyWallaby

Tasmanian Track Pelion HutPelion Hut

Tasmanian Track Snow SkinkSnow Skink

Tasmanian Track Summit of Mt OssaSummit of Mt Ossa

Tasmanian Track Mersey River ValleyMersey River Valley

Tasmanian Track Du Cane HutDu Cane Hut

Tasmanian Track The historic trappers hut was built in 1922The historic trappers hut was built in 1922

Tasmanian Track MapOur Tasmanian Overland Track (map care of Google)

Forrest McCarthy
Winter 2013

 

 

 

 

Putting up a new route in Alaska with HMG Ambassador Seth Timpano

HMG Ambassador Seth Timpano is a world class mountaineer and guide.  He has led him on climbing trips throughout the globe including: Antarctica, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Alaska, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Thailand, Nepal and New Zealand.  We recently found out that Seth took a pretty bad fall into a crevasse, 55 feet, but luckily walked away with it with minor injuries and a mild concussion.  Seth told us the HMG pack he was wearing might have helped pad his fall — we’re not sure about that, but we psyched that Seth is fully recovered and planning some exciting new expeditions for this coming year.  Read on for Seth’s report on a new route he, Jared Vilhauer and Jens Holsten  put up this summer on Reality Peak, a 13,100 foot satellite peak of Alaska’s iconic Denali.  Awesome photos by Jared Vilhauer.

Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit.  Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit. Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

In late May I left Seattle early in the morning and flew to Anchorage, Alaska. From there I hoped a shuttle van and was on ski-equipped plane by late afternoon. The flight into the Alaska Range was as memorable as the previous dozen, and my excitement for alpine climbing was high. Paul Rodderick with Talkeetna Air Taxi fly by the impressive Mount Hunter and Mount Huntington and spiraled down into the West Fork of the Ruth Glacier, one of the three large glaciers pouring from the south aspect of Denali. There I met my friends Jared Vilhauer and Jens Holsten. They had been skiing around for a few days scoping out different lines and route conditions and that evening we all agreed to attempt an unclimbed route on the east face of Reality Peak.
Seth Timpano climbing face of Reality Peak.  Photo by Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit.  Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

Seth Timpano climbing face of Reality Peak. Photo by Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit. Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

The next day we skied to the base of the route and started climbing. We climbed about 2000 feet of steep snow and easy ice before entering into the heart of the route, a narrow winding passage of steep granite and ice. We found 1500 feet of perfect steep alpine ice conditions. Once through this crux section we found more moderate snow and ice to the where our line joined the previously established Reality Ridge. We set up a bivy, ate, re-hydrated and slept. Poor weather kept us tent bound for nearly 24 hours but this also gave us a chance to rest before attempting to summit Peak 13,100 (Reality Peak). The ridge to the summit was typical Alaskan climbing; bigger, harder and scarier than expected.
The face of Reality Peak.  Photo by Seth Timpano climbing face of Reality Peak.  Photo by Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit.  Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

The face of Reality Peak. Photo by Seth Timpano climbing face of Reality Peak. Photo by Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit. Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

Difficult snow and ice conditions put us on the top in about 8 hours from our high bivy. The three of us were all very excited to have succeeded on this difficult climb, but we also realized we had a lot of work ahead of us. We tediously down climbed the ridge back to our camp, tired and exhausted. Nevertheless, we all knew we had to keep heading down before the intense sun hit our route, which would create a dangerous situation with rock and ice fall. We rappelled through the night, chasing the sun with each 200 feet decent. 27 double rope rappels found us at the base of our route. A few hundred feet of easy down climbing and we were safely back at our skis. We skied, tired but satisfied, back to camp, 4 days after we had left. Later that afternoon we were on a plane flying out of the Alaska Range and back to civilization.
HMG packs are without a doubt the best alpine climbing pack on the market. Durable, light, waterproof and made with climbing in mind, I continue to be impressed by my Porter Pack w/ Ice Feature. I look forward to using HMG packs on my expeditions to Patagonia and India next year.
HMG Ambassador descending Reality Peak.  Photo by The face of Reality Peak.  Photo by Seth Timpano climbing face of Reality Peak.  Photo by Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit.  Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

HMG Ambassador descending Reality Peak. Photo by The face of Reality Peak. Photo by Seth Timpano climbing face of Reality Peak. Photo by Seth Timpano on Reality Peak Summit. Photo by Jared Vilhauer.

 

Seth Timpano
Alaska
Fall 2013