4th of July Sale!

Come on in to Looking Glass Outfitters and take advantage of our
Freedom, Fireworks, & Bottoms Sale!

All Pants & Shorts on Sale through Monday July6th. Get a bargain on great pieces from Mountain Hardwear, Arborwear, Prana, and more. Enjoy 4th of July!
Photo Courtesy Mountain Tree Studios


Beach to Mountains in the Carolinas

Sometimes even a mountain girl has to head to the beach. I spent a long weekend with family at Pawleys Island last weekend. Amongst gobs of sunscreen and trying to stay under an umbrella every moment, the beach was great (minus my sunglasses floating away- good thing we have a fresh shipment of Smith Sunglasses!) I think I successfully recovered from the pasty whiteness of living in Idaho for a year, where the water was never "just right."

On the way down, my brother, sister-in-law and I stopped at Cheraw State Park. This easy-to-never-hear-of park was a real treat and one of the many gems you can find in the Carolinas if you venture off the beaten path. For a whopping $3 an hour, rent a kayak and paddle amongst cypress wetlands in 300 acre Lake Juniper. Pack a picnic, and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

I do love the versatility of the Carolinas for the Beach to Mountain living! Although, my heart truly lies here in western North Carolina. I am back in Brevard, where you still need a layer in the evenings, the air is crisp, and the afternoon showers keep things cool and green. Enjoy the weekend and stop in the shop before heading out on your next adventure!



Top of John's Rock

I grabbed Jasmine the other day for a post work hike to the top of John's Rock from The Fish Hatchery parking lot. For unknown reasons, I decided not to change out of my jeans. I was quickly remembering why true outdoor enthusiasts insist on synthetics! My jeans quickly felt like a steamy sponge in the famous southeastern humidity. Nonetheless, we had a nice hike. It may have been a bit of an ambitious jaunt for my 12 year old dog, but definitely a worthy hike with incredible mountain laurel, fabulous views of Looking Glass and the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Peregrine Falcon Closures have been...

Its official! The closures have been lifted for all routes right of the Glass Menagerie on the North Side of Looking Glass as well as Shortoff Mtn in Linville Gorge. However the NC Wall in Linville, Big Lost Cove, Whiterock Cliff and Eagle Cliff as well as Whitesides Mountain still remain closed. Get out and enjoy the opened areas and steer clear of the closed areas. Stop in or contact Looking Glass Outfitters for more info.


City of Rocks

I sure loved every trip Phil & I made to City of Rocks, and I hope that we will get to climb there again. I always marveled at how my pictures of the area did not do it justice, but then I recently saw these pictures by Boone Speed. I was both humbled and reminded what a gem this area remains for everything from moderate multi pitch to difficult sport and trad climbing! Check out the City of Rocks, outside of Almo, Idaho if you have the chance-- you won't be disappointed.


Island Climbing- British Virgin Gorda

Thanks to Steve Bernthal who send pictures of a recent trip to British Virgin Gorda, where he found some fun, beachside bouldering. The coral in the shallow water gives some extra incentive for on-sighting!

"The last go up, I had to pitch right at the top because this pissy old bird shot right down at me. We locked eyes and I knew who was going to lose."

Below: Heather Surla rocking the LGO SportScience Tee with boulders behind


Essential Gear for Adventure Racing

From Sprint to Expedition Adventure Racing....

The sport of adventure racing is a quite gear intensive sport. Expedition length adventure races typically have gear lists that can run from 5-7 pages in length. The sprint races only have a small amount of gear needs in order to participate. Typically, the rule of thumb regarding gear requirements and adventure racing is “The longer the race the more gear required.”

This article is going to look at what is the essential gear of adventure racing or “mandatory gear”. The mandatory gear is the gear required to be carried by each racer throughout the entire race, regardless of which discipline they are currently in. Please understand that mandatory race gear (to be carried the whole race) is different from mandatory discipline gear (gear that must be carried for that particular discipline). Today we will focus on the former.

When beginner racers ask me what to buy first when getting into adventure racing I always begin with the essential (mandatory gear). Any race from sprint to expedition will require you to have all or most of the items in this list. When looking for these items in the context of adventure racing look for light weight, comfort, and ease of use.

Backpack-- Look for something light weight and comfortable, features you may look for are hip pockets for easy access to food, as well as, outer mesh pockets, and a place for a bladder.

Whistle-- The fox 40 pealess whistle is the industry standard. It will work when wet and is one of the loudest whistles on the market.

Water/water treatment-- Be sure if you carry a bladder it does not leak. Over the years I have had a lot of trouble with bladders leaking. I now am sold on the MSR dromedary bladder series. It is a durable bladder that takes a great deal of abuse. In regards to treating your water for adventure racing, I recommend chemical treatment-- it is fast, effective and much lighter than any other treatment option.

Rainjacket-- I recommend a light weight breathable hooded rain hard shell with taped seams. You will pay a little more for taped seams but some races require this of your jacket. The Marmot Precip Jacket which runs at around $100 is a great option.

Compass/ Map case-- At the very least your compass should have degree marks the entire way around it. A compass that features adjustable declination is worth the extra money. The map case needs to be a style that personally works for you and will protect your map from the elements.

Extra warm clothes-- The amount of clothes you will need will depend on the location and time of year of the race. Two necessities are a thin, light weight fleece that does not absorb a large amount of water and a synthetic winter hat either made of fleece or polypro.

Knife-- Your knife should be small and compact with a 2-2.5 inch folding blade.

Emergency Blanket-- Please note that the emergency blanket you use will vary based on the length of your race. Emergency blankets range from $2-$40 in cost. I recommend you go with at least a $10-$12 blanket, as if you need to use it the cheaper version from my experience seem to be completely ineffective. The more expensive versions in the $25- $40 range offer multiple uses and are great when you know you are going to be sleeping in the bush during a longer race.

First Aid Kit-- Start with purchasing a small lightweight 1st aid kit that is preferably waterproof and add the additional items required by the race that do not come with the basic kit.

Food-- This is personal preference and will vary based upon length of the race and your eating habits. Be sure to pack your food so it is easily accessible. Be aware of what items are easy to eat during what race discipline. It is much easier to eat a sandwich during a trekking section than a biking section. During the bike section you may have an easier time with a bag of peanuts that can be opened and dumped into your mouth with one hand.

This article was written by Joe Moerschbaecher, head instructor at Pura Vida Adventures, Adventure Racing Camps.

Pura Vida Adventures offers three day racing camps, with the next scheduled for June 25-29th. In addition, interested participants can schedule their own camp date if they have three or more people and can choose to come for one or two skills-specific days for any camp. In addition to the three day camps, Pura Vida Adventures offers five day comprehensive camps in the Spring and Fall

. Please call 772-579-0005 or email contact@pvadventures.com for further detail or visit us on the web at www.pvadventures.com.


The Climbing Kit for the First Time Rockclimber

Headed rockclimbing this weekend for the first or almost first time ever? No worries! We can cover the basic equipment that you will need to participate in one of the most challenging and interesting sports you can find.

1. Climb with an experienced partner or guide.

While rockclimbing can be a ton of fun, it is inherently dangerous, so take your safety seriously and climb with knowledgeable people. Investing in a class or professional guide is well worth it. Would you teach yourself to go bungee jumping?

2. What should I wear?
Of course, this depends on the time of year and location. But, in most cases, a layering system of synthetic clothing is your best bet. Synthetic activewear is designed to allow you to move freely, yet it wicks sweat away- keeping you cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold. The weather up on the rock can be significantly different than the weather in the parking lot, so keep in mind how sun, wind, and cloud coverage will affect the temps and be prepared for varying conditions. Your clothing should allow you significant freedom of movement, yet be sturdy enough to withstand the abrasiveness of the rock face. Outdoor brands like Mountain Hardwear and Prana make pants and shorts that are well suited for climbing thanks to fit, durability, and stretchy, wicking fabric.

3. What equipment do I need?
The most basic equipment you need includes:Your experienced friend or guide will likely provide other essentials, like the rope and quick draws or a trad rack. If you are going bouldering, you won't need a harness or a belay device, but you will need a nice, beefy crash pad to cushion any falls.
*Keep in mind that climbing equipment has a life span, so your brother's harness from a NOLS trip he took 20 years ago is unlikely to still be usable or safe.

4. What should I pack?

Food/ Water - Depending on the duration of your climb, you will need to pack adequate food and water. Remember, you could easily burn over 600 calories an hour climbing, so high energy foods and snacks like Cliff Bars and Shot Blocks are a great supplement to a bagel sandwhich.
First Aid Kit - A simple first aid kit can be critical in unexpected situations.
Headlamp - Many climbing days last a lot longer than expected! A lightweight headlamp, like the Petzl Tikka Plus will help you hike out in the dark.
Extra Layers/ Rain Gear - A lightweight rain shell like the Marmot Oracle is worth carrying in your crag pack every time! Temperatures can vary greatly as the weather changes or the sun sets, so be prepared.
Bug Spray / Sunscreen - It is a good idea to apply these products before heading out climbing, since they make your hands slippery and can degrade climbing equipment. Climbing often includes significant sun exposure.
Cell Phone - While a cell phone may not work where you are headed, you should still consider carrying one in case of emergency. At the very least, tell a friend or family member where you will be climbing.


More info on the basics of climbing equipment here.


We are saddened

to hear of the climbing community's loss of Jonny Copp, and Wade Johnson. They will be sorely missed. Micha Dash is still missing so we hope for his safe return.

More info here

Gifts for Dad!

Father's Day is June 21st! While another tie may be your standby, check out some gift ideas from LGO:

Under $90

Evolv Exies $88.99
Is Dad still headed to climb in some old, nasty Reebok's? Try the Evolv Exies to update his approach and hiking shoe arsenal!

Mountain Hardwear Talus Pant
This versatile synthetic pant has enough stretch and an action gusset to keep dad comfortable hiking or climbing in varied weather.

Leatherman Skeletool $65.99
What man would not love this MacGyver-esque tool??

Under $50
Black Diamond Bbee
This bullet pack is perfect for short hikes, runs, long climbs and jaunts around European towns.

END Trail Thong $44.99
Perfect for the Dad who wants a sandal rugged enough to toss a frisbee, yet presentable enough to head out for dinner- they are eco-friendly too!

Under $30
Klean Kanteen 40 oz $23.99
This stainless steel bottle can handle more than water and keeps Dad hydrated.

Black Diamond Ion $19.99
Keep Dad prepared for outings that last a little longer than anticipated with this lightweight headlamp.

Under $15
Pelican Micro Case $14.99
Protect Dad's favorite things from the elements with these handy cases!

Sea to Summit X Bowl
This collapsible bowl is super useful at the campground and even when brown bagging to work!


10 Things to Do in Brevard, NC Before You Die

1. Visit waterfalls
With over 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County, you must check at least a few of them! Whitewater, Looking Glass, and Bridal Veil Falls are a few of the favorites.

2. Climb The Nose
The Nose is truly one of the most classic multi-pitch routes on the East Coast. If you are a trad leader, this three pitch route may be for you, or hire a local climbing guide to experience this gem.

3. Hike the Art Loeb
This popular trail sees traffic all year round, and with good reason. Pura Vida Adventures offers shuttle service if you would like to hike from Daniel Boone Campground to Davidson River Campground.

4. See a White Squirrel
You don't have to attend the White Squirrel Festival to see a white squirrel in Brevard, often called "White Squirrel Capital of the World." An estimated 27% of the local squirrel population is white - not albino! So see them for yourself!

5. Take the plunge at Sliding Rock
Just off 276 is a fabulous 60' natural rock slide. For $1 you can get a memorable jolt of adrenaline as you slide down the rock in some pretty chilly water!

6. Mountain Bike in Dupont Forest
Thanks to 80 miles of trails, Dupont State Forest has become a huge destination for single track lovers. Whether you are just dabbling with mountain biking or are already an addict, Dupont is a blast.

7. Eat ice cream at Dolly's
This tempting stand by the gates of Pisgah National Forest is not to be missed!

8. Get on the River!
Whether rafting and kayaking whitewater is your cup of tea or an easy tube down the Davidson is more your speed, the abundance of water in Transylvania County should be experienced up close and personally!

9. Go to a Concert
Brevard is a true hub for musicians, so be sure to sample either Brevard College's Porter Center, The Brevard Music Center, or Main Street Alive for great tunes.

10. Visit Looking Glass Outfitters!
Since 1985 we have been outfitting climbers, hikers, campers, runners, and travelers with quality gear to head into Pisgah National Forest and beyond. So come on in, you will be among friends!


Trail Running in Pisgah- Avery Creek

On recommendation of a friend, I checked out Avery Creek for a trailrun on Memorial Day. I quickly decided this area is yet another gem in Pisgah National Forest. The Avery Creek Trail and the Buckhorn Gap Trail were chock full of blooming mountain laurel, small waterfalls and creek crossings, and awe inspiring trees. I will have to explore the way the lay of the land a bit more, because I eventually ended up on the logging road behind Pisgah Stables, but Daisy and I enjoyed the run immensely.


Black Diamond Chaos Harness

In the last few years, climbing harnesses have seen some significant technological improvements, and the new Black Diamond Chaos is a product of this progress. The Kinetic Core Construction drastically reduces bulk & weight while remaining comfortable and supportive. The Chaos boasts ample molded gear loops for trad gear and a 12 kN rated haul loop.

This pretty little number has already received a 2009 Best in Gear Award from Rock & Ice Magazine. If your existing harness is leaving your legs numb on the hanging belay, making you squirm while your partner hangdogs on his project, or simply reaching the end of its life expectancy, it is probably time to enter the new generation of climbing harnesses and check out the BD Chaos at Looking Glass Outfitters. Happy climbing!