Super Bowl Tid-Bits

We may be outdoorsy and what not but that doesn't mean we don't like tossin' the pigskin around and following good 'ole American football. So, to add our two cents to the Super Bowl, I have asked our resident gear expert and football connoisseur, Marcus Webb, to provide some fun facts about this years teams. Whats the word, Marcus?

Arizona Cardinals (9-7)

First Super Bowl Appearance
7 Point Underdogs
2008 was first home Play-off game since 1947
Quarterback Kurt Warner entered training camp is the back up
Warner seeking second Super Bowl victory (3rd appearance)
Cardinals have 4th ranked offense in the NFL
19 ranked defense in NFL
Key player to watch Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald has already broken the single post-season receiving record previously held by Jerry Rice

Pittsburg Steelers (12-4)

7th Super Bowl Appearance
7 point favorite
Seeking 2nd second Super Bowl title since 2006 and 6th overall
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was the youngest QB to win a Super Bowl in 2006-now seeking 2nd title
Steelers have 1st ranked defense in NFL
22nd ranked offense in NFL
Key player(s) to watch. Steeler's secondary against Cardinals passing attack-Troy Polamalu &
Defenseive player of the year James Harrison
Polamalu-7 interceptions
Harrison- 16 sacks

Thanks for the update, Marcus!

Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday and watch the Blitz from the Super Sale Monday at Looking Glass Outfitters!

Trailrunning in Pisgah- The Banks of the Davidson River

Just a few months ago, I was marveling at my luck at being able to run along the banks of the Snake River on my way home from working in Jackson. It is truly a magnificent river, whether walking the dog, rafting along or taking a run. I am told it is not bad for fishing as well! But, also not too far from my memory, is trying to run along the Snake River in April or so and post holing so badly in the snow, that I really couldn't run and my shoes were soaked, as I resolved to continue going to the gym while waiting for elusive spring weather. And then there was snowboarding Teton Pass in May! Despite the Snake and the abundance of pure, sweet powder-filled snowboarding, the weather and outlandish home prices eventually sent us packing up for the familiarity and live-ability of the South.

Yesterday, I ran along the banks of the Davidson River, and again felt very lucky to live in an extraordinary place. Leaving the Pisgah Forest Visitor Center, Daisy and I ran along quiet trails despite being only a few miles from the shop. I only had to wear a baselayer and a vest, and I was back home by dark. This too is an incredible back yard!


Rumbling Bald Closures in February & March

The NC Department of Environmental & Natural Resources announced today that Rumbling Bald will be closed intermittently in February and March to allow for road improvement projects, erosion control and protection of vegetation. Current plans call for weekday closures in February. Later in the month, the closures will encompass the weekends as well. They apologize for the inconvenience, but Park Superintendent Adrienne Wallace states "... this project is necessary to manage and enhance this outstanding recreation asset... as we develop a master plan for Chimney Rock State Park in coming months."

Find regular updates here.

Piece of Protection Perfection - Camp Tricams

Ahhh, Looking Glass in January. Blue Bird skies, cool temps for perfect friction, and no crowds, especially when it has been raining, or snowing for the last week or so. Because of the great weather in between the lousy weather we climbers like to use this time to talk about our protection racks! When these conversations start they usually lead to talk about the C.A.M.P. Tri-cam.
Most climbers have a love-hate relationship with the Tri-cam. What is it really? Active? Passive? Right side up? Up side down? Reliable? Expendable? It certainly answers most if not all of these questions, depending on who you ask. Lets start with a brief history, shall we? Contrary to popular belief, C.A.M.P created this piece of equipment after Ray Jardine developed Friends, the first spring loaded camming device designed to protect parallel sided cracks. The Tri-Cam was the answer to the need for both an active protection piece and a passive piece in one simple unit.
Go to any crag in the Southeast and you will most likely see the four most popular sizes catching a ride up a route. These sizes (.5, 1, 1.5, 2) are commonly known as pink, red, brown, and blue. The pink tri-cam being the cult piece of gear going in pods, horizontals and solution pockets where conventional devices scarcely dare to tread. Uniquely styled, this gear is equipped with a stinger on one side and rails on the other giving a tri-point configuration also giving the Tri-cam a "bird head" appearance much like a woodpecker. The key to a great placement is in the stinger seeking out a depression inside the crack or other placement and the ends of the rails in a mid range configuration.

The exciting news comes in the form of C.A.M.P's release of two new Tri-cam sizes. Capitalizing on the popularity of the pink Tri-cam, a new size has been launched in the Black color, sizing in at .25 with a rated strength of 5 kn active and 3 kn passive. Thinking that they could go smaller, C.A.M.P produced the ultra-small and scary size .125 colored white at a "close to body weight only" strength of 3 kn active and 2 kn passive. This is a piece strictly for the aid climber and high end free climber pushing the grades in "hard to protect" land. The Black size has quickly earned its place on the discerning traddies rack while the White has earned its place as a "key chain" novelty, but nonetheless rounding out the set as the super functional, "I'm run-out and gonna die unless this White fits" piece. ( Seriously, you gotta see this thing.)
One thing is for sure with the Tri-cam though, love it or hate it, it will rule the Looking Glass roost when nothing else will go.

Looking Glass Outfitters


More North Carolina Ice Climbing!

Cold temps appear to be on the wane finally, but Phil got a good day of ice climbing yesterday near Lake Toxaway. Check out the pics! you wouldn't believe there is such high quality ice climbing in the South until you see it! But, with this area's plethora of waterfalls, it means there is some truly high quality ice climbs when the temps are consistently low as they have been this past week. Stop in Looking Glass Outfitters for ice climbing gear & local ice beta.

Hunters and Hikers in Pisgah - Be Aware

The accidental fatal shooting that occured in the Turkey Pen Gap area last month is a tragic reminder that both hunters and hikers must take precautions to be aware of each other. Be careful out there so we can all safely enjoy the forest!

- Get detailed hunting information at the Pisgah Visitor Center
- Know the times of year with increased hunting activity
- Wear bright clothing (hats & jackets) to differentiate yourself
- Keep pets nearby
- If you hear hunter activity, don't push your luck. Pick a different trail or area!


Staying Warm at the Crag

Thanks to my brother's stint living amidst England's Peak District, I have learned that some weather makes carrying a small stove on a day hike or a day of cragging or bouldering well worth the weight. With genius 19 ounce stoves on the market like the MSR Reactor, carrying a little stove has never been easier, and boiling water has gotten quicker than a dash up Edgestacy on TR. Whether bouldering at Stone Fort in December, or convincing ourselves that the sun at Rumbling Bald will make it just warm enough to ignore gusts from the lake and do some carefully picked routes, Phil & I have really loved eating a hot lunch on a cold day. Here is an easy recipe to give you a taste of how much better hot food can be than your standard pb & j when the the temps are cold. Kicking it up a notch from boring old hand warmers!

Smashed Potatoes Crag Recipe


MSR Reactor (or similar integrated stove system)

Packet of Instant Mashed Potatoes

2 Cups Water


Any Combo of Toppings in Small *Tupperwear

- Shredded Cheese

- Salsa / hot sauce

- Beans (not dried- black or Northern work well)

- Chick Peas

- Bacon Bits or Sliced Hard Sausage

- Sliced Tomatoes or Onions

1. Boil Water

2. Add to potatoes & toppings and stir

3. Eat!

4. Resume Sending

*You can further reduce weight by putting toppings in a plastic baggie and eating out of the Reactor’s Pot, but the tupperwear or a squishy bowl is nice for easy clean up.

Surviving the Economy - Outdoors!

At this point, we are all quite intimately aware of the challenges of today's economy. Here are a few tips from your favorite gear store:

1. Climb Globally, Shop Locally
We have been using this motto around Looking Glass Outfitters for a while now, and it rings true now more than ever, even if you don't climb. By shopping locally, you:
  • Stimulate the local economy that directly affects you and your family through roads, bridges, schools, and public works
  • Ensure your street does not become Foreclosure Row by keeping jobs here
  • Minimize your carbon footprint-- less shipping & less driving means less fossil fuels burned to get you that shiny new gear
  • Keep your town unique and worth living in and visiting
  • Meet your neighbors
2. Get Outside
While exotic destinations and countries are incredible and irreplaceable, it has never seemed like a better value to go hiking, climbing, trail running and camping in Pisgah National Forest and Dupont Forest. It is truly the treasure in our backyard-- and it is free! Not only is getting outside great for your waistline, it works wonders on your mind. Plus, a healthier you means less trips to the doctor and more money in your pocket. Why not explore Brevard's 250 waterfalls or a trail off the beaten path? Even winter is a fabulous time to explore Western North Carolina's amazing flora and fauna.

3. Learn to Cook
An easy way to trim your budget is through your eating habits. Whether by packing your lunch a few times a week or breaking down and learning the basics of cooking, you will see a significant change in your wallet. Whether cooking up some chili on an MSR Reactor while camping along the Davidson River or making your own pizza at home, learning to cook can save some serious dough. Check out our Camp Cooking Articles Coming this spring!


Check out the current Charleston Style Concierge Newsletter to see tips from Jessica on activewear!


Chilly temps in NC

It has been quite cold in Brevard lately, which has sent Phil on a mission to learn to ice climb. Armed with some Christmas goodies, a set of Black Diamond Reactors and a BD Sphynx, Phil headed to a nearby ice crag with some area buddies to give ice a try.

Ice Climbing in North Carolina

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Gear Review - Montbell Thermawrap versus Down

I was the lucky recipient of a Montbell Thermawrap Parka this Christmas, and the recent cold weather has given me the chance to truly review it. I confess that my old standby, a hefty 800 fill down jacket, has given me my money worth, and is in dire need of its first wash.

When you first pick up the Thermawrap, there is a certain disbelief that something so light can actually keep you warm or withstand any kind of vigorous use. Both are misconceptions! Synthetic insulated jackets can certainly hold their own against similar down jackets, with the added bonus of retaining heat even in a downpour.

I went climbing last weekend near Lake Lure, North Carolina, and hiked past many a pointy limb and nasty brier with nary a snag to my new jacket. The weather was blustery, and all around much more miserable than any of us had anticipated. I was extremely happy to have an insulated hood to pull over my beanie as I belayed, and am an instant convert to insulated hoods. The deep pockets gave welcome reprieve for cold hands between climbs and belay duty. The DWR coating makes certain that a fleeting shower will not slow you down, and, although the Thermawrap is not intended as a wind-proof layer, it did a fabulous job with the wintry wind blowing up from the lake, and I never felt the need to add a shell to the top of my layering system. Still, the Thermawrap is so light and compressible, it is fantastic for days when the weather does quickly change and you need to stuff it in your pack for a warm hike out.

Head to head, the synthetic Thermawrap really holds its own against down in the warmth category, but may nudge out the down in versatility due to the DWR coating that my old down jacket lacks. Te extreme compressibility of both jackets is neck and neck, meaning either can easily head up a multipitch route on the back of your harness. We have the men's parka and both men's and women's jackets on sale at Looking Glass Outfitters- check out the price!


Pisgah Forest Ice Report

Cold this morning! We awoke to 4 degrees on the thermometer as I was brewing coffee. I decided to take a trip up to the Sun Wall slabs with the camera and binoculars to spy the flows coming off of Cedar Rock and John Rock. On the drive up 276, long icicles hung from the road cuts and the Davidson gurgled past frozen inlets that feed the river. A frigid approach to the Sun Wall led past curled Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel leaves indicating that temps had not yet climbed into double digits. My dog Daisy kept the pace and flushed several birds from their slumber as we passed under the Legendary Nuclear Bomb and the Odyssey, eventually exiting on to the Sun Wall Slabs. With not a soul in the forest I took in the scene and through the binocs, noticed flows on the North aspects of Cedar Rock touching down and a few nearly touching down. Water grooves on the northeast flanks of Cedar have turned to ice grooves looking narrow, but climbable. Granted, from my perch I cannot attest to the thickness of these formations but they were easily identifiable- hinting that they may be thicker than one would think. John Rock looked much thinner and not yet touching the ground. Hope to see you in the shop soon! Enjoy the ice while its in!
Ice Tools from Black Diamond are discounted and ice screws are available too!

Looking Glass Outfitters


Winter is a great time to head out iceclimbing on 215, head bouldering at Rumbling Bald, or climbing at nearby sunny crags like The Nose, but the cold months of winter are also a perfect time to make physical improvements to LGO. Our goal since 1985 has been to be western North Carolina's favorite gear store! Thanks to the efforts of Phil, Marcus, and Patrick, the famous poplar countertop got a snazzy upgrade. We think you will agree that the shop just keeps getting better as spring inventory arrives. We have some great deals on winter items too, so come check it out in person! No reason to let the cold weather stop you from getting out and enjoying the treasure in our backyard- Pisgah National Forest!


Southern Fried Ice...

is on the way! Conditions are looking good for ice climbing this weekend in Western North Carolina and the Pisgah Forest area! Temps have been falling and with the monumental amounts of rain that we have received in the last three weeks the ice flows are shaping up. Expect Hwy 215 to be in for top roping and leading as well as the northwest face of Whiteside Mountain for longer multi-pitch climbs. Sharpen your picks and get the cold weather gear out cause when the ice is here in NC it doesn't hang around long. Come by Looking Glass Outfitters and check out our full line of ice climbing and rock climbing equipment from Black Diamond, Petzl, Sterling, Metolius and more! Also, Down and Synthetic winter coats from Marmot, Mont-bell and Mountain Hardware are on sale up to 30% off! Looking Glass Outfitters, serving the outdoor community since 1985!


Get your 10 Summer Camp Essentials


Growing Up Summer Camp

Read Phil's full article in the January Summer Camp edition of Blue Ridge Outdoors- available at Looking Glass Outfitters

I was a camper for one year at Wildlife Federation camp for about 8 days and I was home sick the whole time! My sister was there couldn’t bear to be seen with me. Nonetheless, between the tears, I gained a greater appreciation and respect for wildlife local to the Southeast. This led me to five life-shaping years at Falling Creek Camp in Tuxedo, North Carolina. This is an all boys summer camp where boys could (and still can) truly be boys. I immersed myself in the nature and swimming programs. I took great pleasure in handling snakes, lizards and caring for winged creatures in the birds of prey program.

Once I graduated from high school and had one year of college under my belt, I immediately applied for work at Falling Creek as a camp counselor and, over the course of 5 more years, I taught Lacrosse, Sailing, and Rock Climbing. After my 5th summer as a counselor, I was hired by Wake Forest University to run the outdoor program but I could not stay away, and I soon signed on with the Eagle’s Nest Foundation, a co –ed summer camp in Brevard, North Carolina, as the Director of Climbing Programs. After the summer wrapped up, I took a position at Inner Peaks Climbing Center running the climbing school and coaching the climbing team and summer day camps. I never let residential camping out of my sights though, as I returned to Eagle’s Nest as a consultant and trainer for their climbing programs. So wrapping this whole thing up, I took a position 5 years later as the full time Program Director at Falling Creek Camp to complete my summer camp expertise. Wanderlust proved too strong as my wife and I trekked to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to see what life west of the Mississippi was all about. A short stint with NOLS Teton Valley culminated in Jessica and I vying to purchase Looking Glass Outfitters in the heart of summer camp country here in Western North Carolian. Being back in Brevard has allowed us to concentrate on what we truly love: recreating in the outdoors and staying involved with others' outdoor pursuits. My involvement in summer camp has given me the satisfaction of knowing that with all of my great experiences, I am able to help provide kids and adults with what they need to succeed in all their own outdoor adventures.


Winter Climbing in North Carolina

Winter is a great time to climb in western North Carolina, and we have been trying to take advantage of the warm days and sunshine. Saturday we enjoyed an unusually warm day at Rumbling Bald. It seems each year, there are a few days worthy of being called "Junuary" that require a touch of sunscreen for pasty winter skin. It was an interesting juxtaposition to be climbing in a tee shirt while a Chimney Rock church bell below us chimed Christmas songs. If you have been to Rumbling Bald in the last year or two, you are familiar with the exorbitant amount of development going on in Hickory Nut Gorge. The Lake Lure area is changing quickly and thank goodness the state of North Carolina has procured a good amount of the untouched land- it is going fast!

The Sunday forecast was for plenty of rain. For once, we actually planned on the rain, yet the day turned out to be gorgeous. We hiked into The Nose area of Looking Glass to scout for dry rock. We were rewarded in some spots, but climbs like The Nose were soaked despite abundant sunshine. It was a good chance for Phil to freshen me up on the many ways to use a Black Diamond ATC Guide (awesome for multi pitching!) while we waited for the sun to work its way on the rock. We eventually hopped on Southern Crescent, which looked pretty dry, but sweating rock made for some pretty touchy slab climbing on the cruxy top. Still, fun day and oh so nice to be warm! Hope to see you out at the sunny crags in Western North Carolina soon!

A little ground school waiting for rock to dry at The Nose Area of Looking Glass

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Sleeping Crag Dog

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Headed in to Rumbling Bald

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Phil climbing at Hanging Chain

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