Trailrunning in Pisgah

will admit one of the things I miss from working in Jackson Hole and living in Victor, Idaho, is the plethora of trails at my fingertips on my drive to and from work. I found it pretty easy to run regularly with such splendor on the way home. I don't miss my commute over Teton Pass- see above from the Jackson Hole News & Guide. We have already had a pretty wet winter here in Brevard if you ask me, having barely seen any rain in my year away from the South. So, there are plenty of days when rockclimbing is just not going to happen. In contrast, Jackson is getting bombarded by fluke avalanches, so no complaints here!

My friend Laura and I have been talking about starting a weekly trailrunning group in Pisgah Forest this spring, so I am trying to familiarize myself with some area trails for our to-be-named group. I have been frequenting the area around the Pisgah Forest Riding Stables. If I am in a pinch for time and daylight, I simply run along Forest Road 477, which is very much in the thick of the forest, with Avery Creek running alongside. Thanks to Phil recently getting some new Sportiva Fireblade Shoes, Phil and I did this run last night in the dark, pinched for time and daylight. Normally Phil hates to run, but new gear is usually an impetus to try running again! It was quiet, yet chilly, and despite my headlamp, I have to admit I was a little jumpy that the hood of my jacket swishing on my back was actually a wild boar rustling in the woods. Not true!

Anyways, I am looking for good trail runs in Pisgah that you can do car-to-car from the Looking Glass Outfitters parking lot in around an hour. If you have any suggestions or want to join our running group once evening daylight permits, please email me at info@lookingglassoutfitters.com

Happy Trails!

Trail Running Goodies:
Black Diamond Cosmo
Montrail S'Presso
Montbell Chameece Cap & Gloves
Marmot Half Zip Fleece (with thumb loops!)


Yosemite in September- from Marcus Webb

Near the end of September of this year Brian Williams and I took a 10 day trip out to this little known choss pile in northern California known as Yosemite Valley. We climbed all of the relatively short and forgettable routes pretty easily and never really needed any rest days..........Just kidding. In actuality, we took a trip to one of the most spectacular places in the world, even for someone who has never climbed a day in their lives. And for those of us who are affected by said vice, it was that much more incredible. It was a pilgrimage of sorts to what many feel to be the Mecca of climbing in the USA if not the world.

Of all the adjectives used to describe the Valley and it's stature, the most encompassing to me is the shortest, BIG. Everything there was just so big. As a Valley virgin, the first real view of El Capitan really puts you in your place; it's kind of like a nice punch to the gut just as a reminder of its grandiosity. Unfortunately we weren't able to attempt a suffer-fest up the big stone on this trip, but we did tick some major highlights. The big two were the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral and the Regular Route on Fairview Dome in Tuolomne. Mixed among those were many great routes including a day at the Cookie Cliff, some bouldering at Camp Four, and a brutal on-sight attempt by Brian and our friend Peter Eiland of the Rostrum. They made it up, but only after what Brian described as feeling like being locked in the Octagon with a UFC fighter for a couple if hours.

To wrap up the trip, we hooked up with a few more buddies from Brevard who were just starting a trip of their own to the Valley and made our second jaunt up to Tuolomne to climb West Crack on Daff Dome. It was a great ending, running a massive crew one after the other on some pristine, glacier-polished granite for a few hours and then all hanging out on top for a while before heading back East. It was a hell of a trip, and hopefully only the first on many.

New Goodies!

A quick peak at our home page and you will see something we are all buzzing about: BD ice tools! The stealth Black Diamond Viper and Black Diamond Reactor are so awesome looking, they truly make you want to head out ice climbing in North Carolina, New Hampshire, and further afield. Come in and feel them in your hands, because today's ice climbing technology is truly incredible. Top off your ice gear with a Sterling Duetto 8.4, the perfect rope for heading out to practice your ice skills on 215.

Another great addition for the ladies is the Scarpa Zen Lady. I bought these shoes a few months back, and found they are a great technical approach shoe. They have enough support for hiking into Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, but have a great stick factor for scrambling around the north end of Looking Glass to check out the new routes going up. I think they look ultra cool, too.

Now in stock, the Montbell Chameece Gloves are a mix of fleece and chamois, and were perfect to keep Phil's hands warm while bouldering at Stone Fort last weekend when snow flurries dashed around here and there amongst the Triple Crown climbers. At $19.99, they are easy on the wallet and fit well into any stocking.

Come take a peak at the goodies soon!


Oh Vile Day

Today's weather is just plain nasty. A quick look at the radar and it looks like most of the East Coast is wet as well- not great weather for rockclimbing in North Carolina! Oh well, it gives me more time to recover from TWall and perhaps get cranking with Christmas shopping. We have a friend in town from Salt Lake City who worked with Phil at the Teton Valley Branch of NOLS. I am afraid that Brevard is not showing him its prettiest side today. Let's hope the weather peeps are correct and that tomorrow will be a perfect day to show this first timer to the South the pristine granite rock of Looking Glass.

Great things to do today:
1. read the December Blue Ridge Outdoors (LGO cameo at left)
2. re-waterproof my rain jacket!!
3. sip green tea
4. plan another climbing trip
5. stare at pretty new Sterling 9.8 rope
5. wrap Christmas presents
6. Shop the LGO online store from the couch- Free Ground Shipping!

Come check out our rain shells and Gore-tex footwear here!


Falling Creek Camp

Thanks to the shout out from FCC! Check it here.


Tennessee Craggin

We are back from a long, cold, fun, and tiring weekend in TN. The bouldering at Stone Fort was a ton of fun despite flurries of snow. The comp was well attended, and we had a great time catching up with friends from all over while giving our best at some sweet problems. If you haven't been to Stone Fort, it is really worth a trip. Little Miss "I don't really boulder" had a lot of fun bouldering and it is truly quite impressive to see how climbers and golfers coexist. The Triple Crown festivities were plenty of fun and we headed to TWall both Sunday and Monday.
Come in to the shop and we will tell you about how we climbed right next to an incredible climbing legend- seeing him both whip and send . Nonetheless, we had a blast working our way out steep roofs and up fabulous cracks. We are indeed sore, having not climbed anything quite this steep and with this intensity in some time.

From Top: Steve Bernthal on Mystery Groove, Jessica Hoffmann on Love Handles, Phil Hoffmann on Train Wreck, Jordan Shipman on something I can't remember.


Heading to Stone Fort

Phil & I are headed to my home state of Tennessee this weekend to the last leg of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series at Stone Fort. I am not entirely sure why I am going to be in a bouldering competition since I am not a good boulderer and between Thanksgiving, rain, snow, and our big move, I really am not feeling truly climbing fit. Still, I am excited to see the place, having never climbed much growing up in Knoxville or going to school in Sewanee. In fact, in those days, Chattanooga was not a particularly cool place. Now it seems to be the town every body is talking about and moving to.
Also, despite our small amount of climbing we have done lately, somehow Phil convinced me that we need a new rope for this trip. We have a shiny new 70 meter 9.8 Sterling rope on the way. (There will be one in the shop as well.) Funny that we HAD to buy a rope for a bouldering trip, but that is besides the point. I am excited to break it in at TWall. I guess the gear geek in us is still alive and well. Hope to see some of you in the Noog!



Last Weekend's Cold Spell Created a Good Bit of Ice on Hickory Nut Falls

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Peter Eiland Plugging Gear on Zydego

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Coastal Turkey Day

Once in a while even rockclimbers have to head to the beach. Phil and I did a lot of family-visiting over the last week, visiting relatives in Pawley's Island, SC, St. Simons, GA, and Orange Park, FL. Although we were itching to climb, it was great to run on the beach, eat too much, visit with fam, and fly a kite. It is hard to catch the magic of flying a kite in a picture, but it really is pure magic when the wind blows just right and you can twirl a flimsy little kite around like a rocket. Our black lab mix, Daisy, worked herself into a frenzie darting around after the kite.

We are back in NC now, helping with the Post Thanksgiving Sale (25% off!!) at LGO and wishing the sun would come back. I can't say our Turkey Day festivities are going to get us very far next weekend, when we head to the last leg of the Triple Crown, but once in a while, it is pretty lovely to relax at the coast!

Stop in the shop, peak at the goodies, and say hello! We hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving as well.
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New Arrivals!

Check out our recent arrivals! Now featuring Evolv Shoes, including the popular Pontas. Also, a flock of Darn Tough Socks just arrived- guaranteed to keep your piggies toasty!


Perfect Conditions at Rumbling Bald- Winter is Here

Happy Birthday to me! I can't think of a better way to usher in 32 than perfect temps giving way to a great day of climbing at Rumbling Bald with Patrick Weaver and Rodney Lanier. I pulled out the down coat as Patrick picked me up in the AMI Subaru on our way to meet Rodney. We chatted it up as I watched the thermometer slowly creep through the thirties and edge closer to the 40s. "Gonna be sticky" I said as we greeted Rodney at the RB parking area. On the agenda was a warm up with Comatose (5.8) followed by some 5.9 face climbing, an attempt on Rusty Redneck (5.10c) and hopefully some laps on the super classic finger crack Shredded Wheat (5.11a). Patrick led as I took pictures and Rodney and I commented that it was nice to by guided for once! All was well until I racked up for Shredded Wheat. I haven't exactly been climbing alot but this one has such bomber gear that there was no reason not to give it a go. I realized that was a mistake as I blasted out of the crux for a 18' ride onto a zero Metolius TCU. Hadn't taken a whip like that in a while. I climbed back up to my high point and climbed through next go, realizing that a botched sequence is the difference between falling and sending. Rodney gave a strong go on the top rope and Patrick waltzed up using expert finger crack technique. I gave a go on top rope and dialed in my sequence remebering what to do the next time on lead.
I got two great gifts today, a humbling experience keeping me honest on the rock and the companionship of good friends and great weather. Happy Birthday to me!
Phil Hoffmann

Patrick Weaver pulling the crux on Comotose

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the beginnings of a Partay

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Jay Young Braves the Grill

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ReLaunch Party was a Blast!

Thank you to everyone who made our Re-Launch Party a great success! From the all-day sale, to the shoe demo at the Brevard Rock Gym, to the food and drinks at Looking Glass Outfitters, to the John Bachar slide show, we had a great time celebrating the new ownership of the shop. We hope you filled your belly with yummy grub and took a good, long peek at all of our new inventory, which continues to arrive each week.

We had folks from Charlotte, Asheville, Boone, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Fayetteville (WV), Atlanta and beyond attending the festivities and raised over $1000 for the Carolina Climbers Coalition. We certainly appreciate your support as we continue to improve the store to make sure we are your favorite local spot for outdoor gear. A BIG thank you to:

Brevard College
Appalachian Institute
Brevard Rock Gym
Fox Mountain Guides
The Hoffmanns
The Shulers
Marcus Webb
Jay & Wendy Young
Kurt Smith
Rob Robinson
special guest...
John Bachar

John put on a great show and it was a treat to see so many fabulous pictures and hear stories of his free soloing prowess. Over a hundred of us were lucky enough to learn from a truly amazing and inspiring climbing legend. Thanks again and hope to see you soon as we enter the holiday season !

Check out our new selection of down & synthetic jackets- guaranteed to keep you toasty- from Mont-bell, Marmot & Mountain Hardware.


day before the ReLaunch

It is hard to believe we took the reins of Looking Glass Outfitters a month and a half ago. It has gone by very quickly, and after much preparation and a 2000 mile move, I think we are ready for a great party tomorrow! Word is we have people coming from Raleigh, Asheville, Charlotte, Jackson Hole, and Fayetteville, WV. I know the whole climbing community is excited to see John Bachar and hear his wild tales at the slide show.

We have been busy rejuvenating the store and bringing in great fall inventory to make sure there will be plenty of options whether you are looking to update your wardrobe, expand your rack, or modernize your camping equipment. I am a big fan of the new Marmot Gravity Jackets, and must admit I feel a twinge of envy every time I see these slick softshells. Also, great new gear has already arrived from Metolius, Black Diamond, Misty, Prana, Kleen Kanteen, Mont-bell, Camp (yes we have the new tricams!), Sterling, Evolv and more.

Phil and I made it to the North End of Looking Glass on Sunday for a bit of climbing, and had the place to ourselves. It was a great day, although I think that side of the Glass is quickly getting chilly in the shade. Hopefully the skies will cooperate so we can get outside again this Sunday. After spending a very snowy winter in Jackson Hole last year, we are oh so thankful not to see snow in the forecast!

~Hope to see you tomorrow~

9:00am-7:00pm Relaunch Party & Sale Looking Glass Outfitters, Pisgah Forest, NC
3:00pm-5:00pm Shoe Demo: Evolv & Acopa Brevard Rock Gym, Brevard, NC
5:00pm-7:00pm Free Food & Drinks! Looking Glass Outfitters, Pisgah Forest, NC

7:00pm Slide Show by John Bachar Dunham Auditorium, Brevard College
& Silent Auction to Benefit the CCC

*$10 Tickets available at the door and at Inner Peaks, Climbmax, Brevard Rock Gym, & Looking Glass Outfitters

Fall pics by Joel & Rachel Shuler