Photo: Will Rochfort
Story and Photos By Heather Balogh
The plane sputtered through the water and smoothly sailed into the distance, leaving the five of us standing on the banks of Circle Lake, watching our only link to civilization fly in the opposite direction. Our bush pilot had just dropped us in Gates of the Arctic National Park, near the Arrigetch Peaks in Alaska. We were literally hundreds of miles from anything, and the silence was truly deafening.
Our crew– comprised of Will, Amy, Shannon, Drew, and myself– had been planning this trip for months. Will and Drew had originally heard of Gates in 2007, but it had taken a few years to find a group of people that were interested in going so far off the grid. After a few discussions, we agreed on the adventure: packraft 60 miles of the Alatna River over the span of a week. None of us were familiar with packrafting, but it seemed logical; we could hike if we wanted to, and would be able to cover more ground by raft than we would by trekking through the trail-less park. Thus, the adventure was born. Read More →
Photo: David Katz
Story By Laurel Miller
Bacon makes everything better. This is hardly news. What causes some confusion, however, is how best to pack your meaty treats into the backcountry. Food safety, while perhaps not of highest concern to those of us who live the dirtbag lifestyle, is still important. Raw or cured/aged/preserved protein products such as meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs can cause serious food-borne illness, so choosing the right products and packing them properly is key before heading out on an adventure.
I spoke with David Katz, chef, salumi-maker, and owner of Napa’s Salumeria Sub Rosa, about what safety precautions hikers should follow when taking cured meat products on the trail. Despite the fact that frontiersmen have been packing bacon for centuries, “If it’s not a shelf-stable product, unlike most salami (or the ubiquitous Summer Sausage), prosciutto, and other dry-cured meats, which are ready-to-eat (RTE), cook the heck out of it,” Katz advises. Read More →
Story and Photos By Tara Alan
A few years ago, my husband and I embarked on a two year journey across Europe and Asia. We spent most of the adventure on a pair of touring bicycles, with everything we owned packed in our panniers.
After returning, I set about writing a cookbook for other two-wheeled wanderers. Bike. Camp. Cook. is the result of my labor. Despite its obvious focus on cycling, the book is a beautiful, informative, food-centric journey for anyone to enjoy.
In the cookbook, I show you the tools and techniques you’ll need for cooking on the road. Then, I provide a delicious collection of gourmet recipes that you’ll love making at camp. Read More →
By Ryan Hayter
The Lunch Room (TLR): You have fire in your title. What exactly is your role?
DK: I’m responsible for overseeing strategy, product development, marketing and sales for stoves, cookware and fuel. I get to use my knowledge of combustion and stoves, and tap into my engineering background on a regular basis.
TLR: How long have you been doing this?
DK: I joined the company 14 years ago as a manufacturing engineer with the goal of moving into R&D. I came in with an engineering background, and a passion for climbing and mountaineering. It’s hard to find engineering jobs in the industry because once you’re in nobody leaves them. The manufacturing opportunity opened the door for me to eventually move into product development and management roles in filters, stoves, snowshoes and climbing gear.
Read More →
Steeped coffee tastes great and is easy to make in the backcountry. The equipment is among the lightest and most compact available, and the finished brew is a step above any of the instant coffees. In fact, many coffee aficionados believe this method produces one of the richest cups you can make. The key to success is choosing a good coffee and following the steps carefully.
The Coffee: You’ll need about one ounce of coffee per finished cup. It should be ground at a coarse to medium setting and stored in an air-tight container. Look for a coffee from Kenya, Guatemala or El Salvador. Any coffee will make a decent cup, but these tend to be the best.
The Water: Use clear, filtered water from a stream or lake. The taste-free water you find in the backcountry can make great coffee.
- Start heating the water in a pot. You’ll need a little more than a half liter per cup with this method, so measure according to the number of cups you’re making.
- Put one ounce of ground coffee in the filter and place it in the cup. (One ounce fills close to half the filter.)
Read More →
We have covered how to choose the right fuel for your liquid fuel stove and the differences between canister stoves and liquid fuel stoves, but here we bring it back to the basics. If you are the recent owner of a MSR liquid Fuel Stove, looking into getting one, or just need a quick refresher, this is a great video to show you the basics of using your liquid fuel stove. This video teaches you how to fill your fuel bottle, what to fill it with, how to set up your stove, pump your fuel, ignite the stove safely, and optimize your stove for simmering with just a few quick tips.
Story and photos by Shelby Carpenter
As a guide with the American Alpine Institute on Mt. Baker, I often end up working with clients who try to bring all the appropriate gear but end up bringing just a tad more than necessary. In this post, I will talk about the gear I bring with me on a 3-Day Baker Skills and Climb trip and how I pared it down to its current amount. I hope this will help you on your fast-and-light adventures! Read More →
If you have a liquid fuel stove like the MSR Dragonfly, it is important to do annual pump maintenance. This video describes the techniques, tools, and knowledge used to make sure your pump is working safely and efficiently. Learn how to fix cracks, leaks, corrosion, loose seals, and low pressure at home, and enjoy your hassle free time on the trail.
The North Face of Kyzl Muz, a gem found in a rarely visited Valley in SW Kyrgyzstan (Photo by Graham Zimmerman)
Story and Photos by Graham Zimmerman
As climbers, we each have a personal grail; our favorite and most motivating reason to get out to the hills and crags to try hard. The lack of a rule book in climbing allows us to define this as we please, which is certainly a wonderful element of what we do. Whether we’re into bouldering, sport climbing, walling or alpinism, if we like to climb in established areas or explore well-known classic terrain, or if we like to push ourselves to redline as much as possible, or just get out and have a good ole time grabbing jugs and making hand jams, it is all up to us. We can choose as we please.
Personally, I love exploring new alpine zones for high end technical routes. This is not to say that I don’t love climbing classics in Yosemite or in the Cascades. But what drives me to train and work hard is new steep ground in rarely visited zones. It is challenging, it is wild and I think it is a hell of a good time.
Outside of the challenge of getting to these areas with all your stuff and actually getting some climbing done, there is the challenge of finding and researching these zones. Read More →
Click photo to open galleryStory and photos by Aili Farquhar
Mike Natucci and guide Aili Farquhar headed out on the sunny morning of July 20th to traverse the Bailey Range, a remote interior sub-range of the Olympic Mountains. The Baileys are known for intricate glaciated terrain, rotten rock, and abundant vegetation, all of which the team encountered during their nine-day crossing of the range.
When Mike and Aili arrived at the High Divide at 5,000 feet elevation they were pleasantly surprised. The five feet of snow the ranger had warned them about had melted out and left in its wake waving fields of white glacier lilies with bright yellow centers.
In the cool of the morning the team climbed over the shoulder of Stephen Peak onto the rocky ridge above Cream Lake Basin. The ridge proved quite a challenge – loose, third-class ledges gave way to groveling through thick evergreen branches of the ridgetop krummholtz.
The Hoh Glacier flowed down into blue ice, moraine, then became the thundering Hoh River below. They descended steep snow to the island in the sky that is Camp Pan, a small enclave of trees and flat dirt perched on a rocky outcrop a few hundred feet above the Hoh Glacier.
The next day found them again on steep glaciers. They ascended snow to the base of the East Summit of Olympus. Fourth and low fifth class loose Olympic rock led them to the summit and through a loose and blocky downclimb to the security of snow below the summit.
On the seventh day of the traverse they reached the ceiling of the Olympic Mountain Range. They took photos and ate a snack as they looked at Baker, Rainier, and St. Helens floating in the distance.
The next day Mike and Aili descended into the moss-draped old growth forest once more. They hiked along the Hoh River. Days before they had traversed the ice that would someday swell these waters during the summer melt.