Monthly Archives: February 2013

February 26, 2013 South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

Ask Me: Hiking Grand Canyon Rim to River to Rim

In Ask Me, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

[Note from Michael Lanza: In Ask Me, I share and respond to a reader question. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Send it to me at or tweet it to @MichaelALanza. I will answer the ones I can in a post, using only your first name and city, with your permission.]

Hi Michael,

I have enjoyed reading the stories and information on The Big Outside. I see that you successfully trekked the Grand Canyon r2r2r (rim to rim to rim) hike. I’m impressed. I’ve also been reading through your gear reviews and am hoping that you can make recommendations to me. My husband and I are planning to hike in the Grand Canyon next fall with a group of friends. Continue reading →

Gear Review: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Shoes

February 25, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

Hiking/Trail Running Shoes
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
$130, 1 lb. 10 oz. (men’s 9)
Sizes: Euro men’s 38-47.5, women’s 36-43

This new-and-improved rendition of Sportiva’s Raptor, one of the best trail-running and low-cut, light hiking shoes I’ve worn, lives up to its heritage. On numerous trail runs in the Boise Foothills ranging from five to 10 miles, on typically dry trails of packed dirt with some steep, gravelly sections, these non-waterproof low-cuts shined by any measure, but especially for stability and traction. Continue reading →

When a Good Adventure Goes Bad

February 21, 2013  |  In Uncategorized   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Anything Worth Doing coverBook Review
Anything Worth Doing: A True Story of Adventure, Friendship and Tragedy on the Last of the West’s Great Rivers
By Jo Deurbrouck
197 pgs., Sundog Book Publishing, $15

Those of us who pursue adventure and challenge in nature sometimes cross a line into a place where life becomes fragile. But as the unfortunate who have stumbled inadvertently into that dark space learn, the threshold is never actually a distinct line; it’s a gray zone where we make a series of fateful decisions and are never granted the foresight to know what awaits at the end of them. In Anything Worth Doing, former whitewater rafting guide Jo Deurbrouck takes the reader on a riveting journey into the lives of two semi-legendary Idaho river guides, showing how a life lived well can sometimes end too soon. Continue reading →

February 18, 2013 Backcountry skiing below Mt. Heyburn, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Hidden Paradise: Backcountry Skiing Idaho’s Sawtooths

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By Michael Lanza

At a pass just below 9,400 feet on the north side of 10,229-foot Mt. Heyburn, in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, the wind that has been steadily turning the dial upward for the past hour reaches full volume. Another snow squall bursts upon us, spraying white bullets sideways and dropping a veil over the rocky, snow-spattered, serrated ridge just overhead.

Six of us have labored 2,000 feet uphill on skis this morning in search of a doorway into a secluded mountain paradise of sorts, a high basin known in some circles as the Monolith Valley, though not marked as such on any map. A slender gash between Heyburn and another 10,000-footer, Braxon Peak (which I’ve stood atop in summer), the Monolith exists in the topographical shadows, easily overlooked. Most of our group have only seen tantalizing photos that revealed legions of rock spires towering above untracked snow. The images inspired visions of marking up deep powder on slopes rarely inscribed by skiers—like Zorro, but leaving many “S” signatures instead of a “Z.” Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Hinman Air Mattress

February 15, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Big Agnes Hinman

Big Agnes Hinman

Insulated Air Mattress
Big Agnes Hinman
$70, 2 lbs. 4 oz. (20x72x1.5)
Sizes: five sizes from 20x48x1.5 ins. ($60) to 25x78x2.5 ins. ($90) and a double air mat, 50x78x.25 ($200).

Camp in winter or on snow almost anytime of year, and what’s between you and the frozen ground will loom just as important in keeping you warm as your bag. Three cold, clear January nights sleeping under the stars (sans tent) outside a yurt (my family was inside) in Idaho’s Boise Mountains left me impressed with this insulated air mat designed for winter camping, with a rating of -5° F. Continue reading →

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