Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

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Buena Vista, CO – A Climbers Dream

Post by:  Jake
12/13/11

Traditionally, rock climbing is a spring through fall sport.  It’s tough to grip the rock when it’s covered in snow and ice, but even if you could find clean rock your hands get so cold they become useless stumps.  At least, that’s been my winter climbing experiences.  Yesterday, a couple new friends and I made the quick 20-mile drive south from Leadville to the sleepy (at least in Winter) community of Buena Vista, Colorado.  What we found was endless rock climbing routes.  As far as the eye could see in every direction, granite spires break up the horizon like skyscrapers in Manhattan.  Tower after tower of clean, hard granite.  A comfortable 30 degrees Fahrenheit in Leadville, Buena Vista was an even more comfortable +40.  Barely a flake of snow was present, while Leadville was blanketed with nearly a foot.  The southerly exposed rock faces were warm and dry.  Several routes later in the day we made our way to the summit of Turtle Rock and sat in awe at what our eyes gazed, literally thousands upon thousands of climbing routes on hundreds of spires; most of which lie within an easy drive and approach with any kind of vehicle.  Best of all, we only saw about 5 people the whole day and only 2 of them were climbing (the other 3 were mountain biking).

When Veronica and I moved to Leadville I was excited about the quick 4-hour drive from Moab as that meant warm weather and mountain biking and climbing during the winter.  Now, after adventuring in Buena Vista for the day, I’m super psyched and just had to share about its awesomeness!  If you’ve got cabin fever this winter, make the trip to BV.

 

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Last Minute Stocking Gift Ideas

Need some last minute gift ideas for your athlete friends and family?  Veronica and I have some great ideas for you.  Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite gear for biking, running, and races, all way less than $50!

Detours Bike Bags: Particularly the Goodie Bags.  Retails for $30, they are easy to find at your local bike shop.  Veronica and I LOVE these bags and use them constantly.  They sit on the top tube of your bike for quick easy access to snacks, energy bites, camera, ect…

 

Nite Ize Lights:  Nite Ize makes a pile of PERFECT stocking stuffers.  From the brand new Bug Lights at $12.99 to the tiny two pack of spoke lights at $6.99,  there’s definitely a few products everyone would love to find in their stocking.

Hestra Bike Gloves:  Hestra has been making gloves for decades but just started making bike gloves.  these gloves are perhaps the warmest, nicest winter cycling gloves I’ve ever owned.  Well worth the $30-$40 for a pair of cold weather cycling gloves.

Energy Bars and Drinks:  Always a great Idea for the stocking.  Our favorites are Nuun hydration tablets, Hammer (huckleberry flavored) energy gel, Gu products, Honey Stinger bars and chews, and Odwalla Bars.

Socks!  Athletes can never have enough nice socks. Some of our favorite run and bike socks are Teko, and Pearl Izumi

Hydroflask water bottles:  Veronica and I got to sample one of these a year ago and have loved them so much we just bought a pile to give away this winter to friends and family.  These are the Mercedes Benz of water bottles.  Not too heavy, they are insulated stainless steel (like a thermos, but WAY better) and they keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks REALLY HOT.  They are awesome, and are very worth the $20.

First Aid Kits:  be creative and put together some first aid products (band-aids, sharpee marker, gauze rolls, ect…) Fun, and easy to put together a nice kit for around $20-$30.  If they travel a lot – don’t forget the imodium.

Travel Guide Books:  If your friends/family are planning a big adventure, guide books are always a good idea.  It can never hurt to have two or three good guides for an area.

Headlamps:  Just like water bottles, tape measures, and socks, you can never have too many headlamps.  Headlamps are getting cheaper and cheaper too.  You should be able to find a good Black Diamond Headlamp for around $20.

 

 

 

 

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Colorado Elk Hunting Trip with Sitka OPTIFADE Gear

Post by:  Guest-John S.
12/3/11

About a month ago a friend of mine was passing through town on his way to an elk hunt in South Central Colorado.  I loaned him my Sitka OPTIFADE camo and asked him to take some photos and write up a guest post after the hunt.  Not only did he get some amazing photos, he managed to bag a nice Colorado bull elk while he was here.  Below is his review of the Sitka OPTIFADE gear.

>>Guest Post<<  This past October I had a chance to put a set of Sitka gear to the test on an 11 day Elk hunt out in Colorado.  I was planning on purchasing new camo, and was really interested in Sitka gear, for both the Gore OPTIFADE pattern and the high-performance aspect of their clothing.  I got in touch with Jake and it turned out that he had recently moved to Colorado and had a full set of Sitka gear in my size, and he offered to let me borrow it for the hunt.  Keep in mind that we’d never met in person, so the offer was pretty amazing.  I ended up driving through Leadville and picking up the gear on the promise of either bringing it back or mailing it after the hunt.

When I finally unpacked the bag, I was pretty excited with what I saw.  This is some serious clothing, high speed/low drag as I like to say.  So all in all I had the Jet Stream jacket with Gore WINDSTOPPER, the 90% pants, a Core Zip shirt, Traverse beanie, and Jet Stream gloves all in the Open Country camo pattern.  My first impression of the gear was as if Arc Teryx made hunting clothes.  Super good quality and construction, or so it looked.  I was pretty excited to get in the stuff and see how it worked.  For me, this is exactly the type of clothing I would idealize for backcountry hunting, very high performance.  It seemed to be designed as very rugged and very functional.  (Can you tell already that I loved the gear?)  This isn’t your typical hunting gear, at least as I think of it, it’s not bulky and cumbersome, it has a nice fit and is well suited to movement.

On this trip I spent 11 straight days in this clothing and saw pretty much every weather condition.  For starters, the camo pattern is great.  In my research of the Gore OPTIFADE pattern, I was really impressed.  I wanted Sitka gear solely based on that pattern, the science behind it, and all the impressive demos.  When I put it on for the first time, I stepped out of the tent, walked about 20 yards and sat down in front of a cluster of sage brush in plain sight of the tent.   My uncle came out looked in my direction and scanned back and forth four times before he saw me and started laughing.

The first few days of the trip were warm, so I layered in both the jacket and shirt.  This was warm enough for the cold mornings and by mid afternoon I was in the shirt, zipper open and sleeves up.  What impressed me was that I stayed pretty comfortable with the big temperature swing.  I never got too cold or too warm.  Only when it got up around 60 and we were climbing did I feel the need to shed the jacket.  Of course once I did I found it was warmer than I expected as I wasn’t that hot in the jacket but plenty comfortable without it.  The next few days it got colder and snowed.  I sat at the base of a tree one morning in a snow storm and stayed comfortable.  There was definitely some wet-out going on, and that made things cooler, but it wasn’t a showstopper.  The next couple of days in the snow were just fine, and then it got muddy.  Most days were windy, and up high atop mountains it was even windier, which never posed a problem.  The clothing was definitely super breathable, but kept the unwanted wind out also.

I did end up getting an elk, which was awesome.  What goes with dealing with an elk is a lot of blood during gutting.  I did my best to keep the clothing clean, after all it was a loaner set, but getting bloody is inevitable.  I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get all that blood off, so I figured I’d deal with it later and hope for the best.  I literally lived in these clothes, up in the back country, dusty, dirty, muddy, and just loved it.  The clothes were bloodied up on Thursday, and on Sunday I took a handful of snow and started scrubbing on a bloody spot.  To my amazement, it was actually coming pretty clean with just snow.  There was hope!

So to summarize some of the highlights of this stuff here are some brief points:

  • Very rugged and abrasion resistant.  Dragging on rocks, busting through timber, sliding around, never seemed to phase the softshell material
  • Extremely wide comfort range.  Looking at it, you’d think it wouldn’t’ keep you that warm.  I couldn’t believe that I stayed warm when it was cold out and cool when it was warm.  Very impressed by that.
  • Designed to move.  Never felt restricted, not baggy either.
  • Very quiet material.  This is pretty key for still hunting and stalking anything.  We snuck up on a group of 4 elk, so I know it works.
  • Looks awesome.
  • Plenty of pockets
  • Very breathable, but also very wind resistant
  • Cleans up easy
  • Doesn’t take on smell.  I wore this for 11 days straight amongst blood, sweat, and dirt, but it really never got to smelling bad.  Even after I had showered up back in civilization, when I threw the clothes in the wash they didn’t even really smell.
  • They don’t pick up burrs.

Possible improvements:

  • More water resistance.  Yes I know it’s a softshell, but I would love it to be drier.
  • Suspenders were slightly annoying.  As the day went on they would get loose.  Required too much attention to keep them where I wanted.
  • Snaps at bottom of pant leg were nearly impossible to open.  Could be a good thing if that’s what you want, but I thought they were going to rip out of the fabric.  I even bent the flange on the male side of the snap trying to undo them.

All in all I was really impressed.  I’d love to have a set of Sitka gear and honestly after spending that much time in it, I’d be ok with buying it at full price.  What’s nice for me is that this is gear that doesn’t have to be hunting specific, meaning I could take it out mountaineering, climbing, hiking, or whatever.  It’s that kind of clothing, only it would come with a killer camouflage pattern.

I’d give this a solid 5 out of 5 stars.  The only bias I have in this is that I tried it and loved it.  Thanks to my new friend Jake for turning me on to some great product!

 

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