Monthly Archives: February 2012

February 28, 2012 NZ2-171 Rim of Red Crater, Tongariro N.P., NZ

Super Volcanoes: Hiking the Steaming Peaks of New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park

In Hiking, Hut Treks, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

We have just begun our all-day hike over some of the volcanoes of New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park when a trailside sign conveniently itemizes the life-threatening hazards awaiting us.

For starters, an eruption could eject large rocks into the air to rain onto us from the sky or release lava flows. Pyroclastic flows, which are clouds of ash, rock, and gas that can cook flesh, could come upon us at 60 mph. Continue reading →

Gear Review: BCA B1 EXT and Black Diamond Deploy 7 Shovels

February 28, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Backcountry Access B1 EXT Shovel

Backcountry Shovels
Backcountry Access B1 EXT shovel
$50, 1 lb. 5 oz.
backcountryaccess.com

BCA’s light and compact B1 EXT has a great strength-to-weight ratio. Its small but solid aluminum blade chopped easily into consolidated snow and icy crust in test pits I dug while backcountry skiing in Idaho’s Boise Mountains. The two-section, straight shaft and blade assemble as quickly as most traditional shovels of similar design, and the shaft compresses short enough (16 inches/40.5 cm) to fit into a pack’s snow-gear pocket without separating its two sections. Extended, the shovel’s length (22.25 inches/56.5 cm) allows for digging without being uncomfortably hunched over. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Outdoor Research and Rab Winter Down Jackets

February 28, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Outdoor Research Maestro Jacket

Down Jackets for Winter
Outdoor Research Maestro Jacket
$325, 1 lb. 5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL
outdoorresearch.com

On January nights that dipped into the low teens during a four-day yurt trip, this fat, 800+-fill power, hooded down jacket was so warm I could hang around outside for hours in the evenings and early mornings, staying perfectly warm. At a bit under a pound and a half, it’s a burly puffy jacket made for very cold situations: ice-climbing belays, winter camping, or all-day backcountry ski tours on frigid days when you need a super-warm puffy for breaks (or even just inside your pack as an insurance policy in an emergency). Continue reading →

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Mt. Baker Modular Mitts

February 13, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Outdoor Research Mt. Baker Modular Mitts

Outdoor Research Mt. Baker Modular Mitt
$139 for system, 9.5 oz. (medum)
Sizes: M-L
outdoorresearch.com

Skiing in a wind chill around zero at times during a four-day, January trip to a backcountry yurt in Idaho’s Boise Mountains, my fingers—which get cold very easily—stayed toasty in this two-layer, mitten-glove system. The warmth comes from 170 grams of PrimaLoft synthetic insulation in the glove-style insert, which has a soft, fleece lining. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Glove

February 13, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Glove

The North Face Etip Pamir Windstopper Glove
$62, 3 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XL, women’s XS-L
thenorthface.com

As someone who gets cold fingers easily but loves ski touring, snowshoeing, winter hiking, and fast activities like skate-skiing—where you don’t always want thick, bulky handwear—I find that many lightweight gloves designed for those activities don’t deliver enough warmth. But on numerous outings this winter, many of them skate-skiing, I found the Etip Pamir gloves kept my fingers comfortable in temps down to the low 20° F. Continue reading →

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