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!