Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpacks @ Untamed New England 2014

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HMG Customer Alex Provost reporting on the 2014 Untamed New England Adventure Race.

14283583929_ab28916be4_oWhat is Adventure racing? According to Wikipedia it is “a combination of two or more endurance disciplines.”

While planning our gear for Untamed New England 2014, we came to realize that we would be short on space with our actual packs as we would have to carry our two Alpacka packrafts with our four piece Epic paddles and standard AR gear like food, clothes and first aid for most of the four days. Not only would we have to carry about 40lbs of gear each, we would have to do it in the notoriously thick bush in Northern Maine. To put the icing on the cake, we were told that the middle race bushwack could take up to 48 hours. I needed a solution and fast. I did not wanted to hang our gear outside the packs and risk a hole in our boats, lose paddles and lose time by getting entangled in the bush. I immediately thought about those super slick white Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs that I had tried quickly at this same race two years ago. I remember they were ultralight but did not know how tough they really were. After some researching, I decided to reach out to Dan St. Pierre, co-owner. I was already very late and the only way to make this work would be for Hyperlite Mountain Gear to ship the packs directly to race HQ at Northern Outdoors. Read the rest of the article!

Himalaya Ice Climbing

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Bud Martin slogging upslope in the Himalayas.

By Bud Martin

It started something like this: I was lounging on a rainy day in Yosemite about a year ago when I somewhat sarcastically said to my buddy Nick, “Hey, we should go ice climbing in Nepal someday.” His response took me off guard as he immediately responded with, “Sounds great! How about next January?” And that’s how it began. We saved some cash, bought two plane tickets and gathered up our gear.

We flew into Kathmandu and neither of us had any experience with the logistics or the planning pertaining to climbing in such a remote place for an extended period of time, but we figured we’d just wing it. We didn’t bring enough food. We got off the bus in the wrong city (along with our 330 pounds of equipment). And for the first week, nothing went as planned. But as is often the case when traveling in this part of the world, it wasn’t so bad as you remember to forget the expectations and just go with the flow. Next thing we knew we were in a Nepalese valley full of frozen waterfalls capped with big peaks. Yippie…we arrived and we were ready for some Himalaya ice climbing! Read the rest of the article.

Are Hyperlite Mountain Gear Packs 100% Waterproof?

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HMG CFO Tries Packrafting and Discusses Waterproofness of HMG Packs

HMG PackraftsProcessed Low ResPeople ask us all the time if our Packs 100% waterproof. While Cuben fiber is 100% waterproof, we never say HMG Packs are 100% waterproof – although they are very highly waterproof.  Approximately 90% of seams are sealed, but there are two seams with technically different structures that cannot be sealed.  One is where the bottom of the pack meets the body of the pack and the other is where the shoulder straps are sewn into the top of the back panel.  After a hard rain or soaking a pack while packrafting, a user might experience a few tablespoons of water inside the pack.  I find that some users are not accustomed to seeing this because traditional packs will absorb water and not be noticeable inside the pack.  Since Cuben fiber does not absorb water, any small amount that does get inside the pack will noticeably remain at the bottom until the pack is emptied or the water drains. Read the rest of the article!

Lightweight Hiking with Andrew Altepeter #2

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Beartooth Mountains TenkaraProcessedPhotos & text by Andrew Altepeter. Above photo of the Beartooth Mountains.

I had a blast this summer working with some skilled and wonderful co-instructors and some great student groups.  On our twenty-eight day mountaineering course in the Wind River Range we experienced a spectrum of weather catching wintery conditions early in the summer that eventually transitioned into some sunny days.  After working hard to push through snow and rain storms for most of the first half of the course we were blessed with a weather window and climbed Gannet Peak, Wyoming’s highest at just over 13,800’.  Then after a fun time in the Wind Rivers and just a few days in town it was off to the Beartooth Mountains in Montana to instruct a leadership training for midshipmen at the USNA.  On this course we experienced the opposite weather progression…clear skies trending to days of very early build-up and thunderstorms.  Our technical focus on this expedition was off trail travel and we managed to get many solid fishing days in as well. Read the rest of the article!

72 Hrs: Angela VanWiemeersch climbs Mt. Hayes

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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 United States in terms of its rise above the local terrain. As an example, the Northeast Face rises 8,000 feet in approximately two 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. She reports on how she and her two climbing partners summited the mountain in 72 hrs while also putting up first ascents. Read the rest of the article!

Lightweight Hiking with Andrew Altepeter

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The author using our 4400 Ice Pack.

Photos & text by Andrew Altepeter

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. Read the rest of the article!

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

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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 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. Read the rest of the article!

Skiing the Grand

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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!

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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

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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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