Cashiers NC

Phil got to poke around the stomping ground from our wedding recently. If you've never been to Cashiers, NC, it is well worth a trip to The High Hampton Inn. They have a stunning rock face as a backdrop! Also don't miss the Carolina Smokehouse for some mighty tasty NC BBQ!


Great Hikes in Pisgah

With just an afternoon to hike and pick berries, some friends and I headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to fill our containers and admire the views. We parked halfway up Black Balsam (FR816) and headed down the Mountain To Sea Trail towards Graveyard Fields. Luscious blackberries were everywhere! We found a great little clearing to scarf down some sandwiches before heading towards Ivestor Gap and looping back to the van via the Art Loeb, but not before snatching plenty of sun-drenched blueberries. A fog moved in swiftly as we walked across the Art Loeb's balds, and I was missing my Precip Pants as the rain-soaked undergrowth drenched my pants! Still, the Irish-esque weather made for a beautiful hike and kept us cool in the middle of August. My pedometer is not terribly accurate, but I would bet this is about a 6 mile loop- definitely a great half day hike in Pisgah with rewarding views!


Looking Glass Adopt-A-Crag

A big thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors, and vendors who made Saturday's Adopt-a-Crag at Looking Glass a big success! We had an excellent crew of climbers, guides, Access Fund & CCC members who all contributed to carefully steward the various climbing areas of Looking Glass. From cleaning up campsites to barricading switchbacks, we worked together to protect our trails and crags, then had a fun afternoon of climbing as the muggy morning gave way to a sunny afternoon. Thanks to donations from Black Diamond, Evolv, Looking Glass Outfitters, Misty Mountain, Fox Mountain Guides, Redpoint Climbing, Black Dome & more, the silent auction raised over $1000 and no participants should have gone home empty handed! Thank you!


Berry Pickin on the Parkway!

As August nudges towards September, the Blue Ridge Parkway is getting full of ripe blueberries and bucket-carrying pickers. Daisy and I headed up to the Art Loeb to fill our tub. There should be plenty more berries ripening in the next week or so, but be prepared for crowded parking lots at Graveyard Fields and Black Balsam. Still, it is worth it to head out a mile or two and fill your tub with these sweet treats!


Rainy Day Gear

Brevard and the Asheville area are no strangers to rain, since the weather in Pisgah National Forest has often been called a Temperate Rainforest thanks to the annual precipitation levels. It is of course what keeps our forest lush, our streams gushing, and enables great ice climbing when the temperatures are just right. Here are a few tips for handling the rain in your outdoor adventures, from an afternoon shower to a downright deluge.

1. It is never a bad idea to pack a light rain jacket to ensure the most basic rain coverage is nearby. These days you can get an excellent, seam-taped jacket for under $100 from renowned brands like Marmot and The North Face and they are light enough to fit in the smallest of daypacks, but won't cost you your entire savings.

2. Know the forecast. Although the weatherman can often bugger the forecast, it is helpful to know if the forecast calls for a deluge or just the hint of an afternoon shower. The former can be cause to change plans, and the latter may be little more than a minor inconveniencee. Yet, if you are hiking deep in the backcountry or climbing a long route at Whitesides, a deluge can be dangerous.

3. Wear wicking fabrics. Comfy as cotton can be, it does not wick well like technical fabrics. When cloudy skies turn to rain, you will want clothing that wicks moisture efficiently so you can stay dry and comfortable. According to etisurvival.com, "Wet clothing can extract body heat at a rate of 240 times greater than dry." So, choose your clothing wisely! A simple pair of synthetic pants from Arborwear or Prana can keep you from feeling like a wet sponge.

4. Be ready to call it a day. When lightning and thunder enter the scenario, air on the side of caution. Whether half way up a trad route with (metal) gear all around, it may not be worth it to wait until the lightning gets any closer! When in doubt, take cover or head home. If you are on the ground and cannot return to safety, avoid high areas. You can also sit on your backpack to help separate you from the ground, but remove metal objects from the bag and place them 50 feet away from you.

5. If you are quite certain you will be encountering precipitation, consider more of an arsenal of waterproof gear- waterproof pants, a pack cover, & Gore Tex Footwear are excellent items for the wettest of conditions.

When the weather has you stumped, feel free to call us at the shop and we will let you know what we see outside. Or just come on over!



Why Sanuk?

We are excited to add Sanuk to the LGO lineup this fall, and we thought we would share a few thoughts on Sanuk we have heard and witnessed:

"I wish I had my Sanuks."
-- heard at Ship Rock in Linville Gorge, NC

"Wow! Are those Sanuks? Those are cute!"
-- heard at EORA in Greenville, SC

"Best Day of My Life!"
-- heard from a happy LGO customer when the Sanuks arrived

"They'll Bro Your Mind!"
-- heard at The Twig in Teton Valley, Idaho

Come try on a pair of "not shoes" and see what you think of Sanuk! They are super comfy & stylish, but won't break the bank!


Rockclimbing Safety

As I realize I will be taking more time away from climbing due to an angry toe joint, my inbox filled with information about Craig Luebben's tragic and untimely death and an article from SportsOneSource about climbing injuries on the rise. According to the 8/11/09 article:

9 million Americans climb each year
63% = the increase in rockclimbing injuries from 1990-2007
70% of injuries requiring hospitalization were from falls higher than 20 feet

I point these out not to scare you, but to remind you to make certain that safety is ALWAYS the top of your list when climbing. Here are a few safety tips to keep you safe and minimize your chances of being one of these statistics:

- Always check your partner's harness, tie in point, and belay method before leaving the ground. Climbing is truly a team sport because your life is in your partner's hands!

- Pay close attention to the weather! Rain, nightime, lightning, and cold temperatures can quickly affect your chances of getting home safe and sound. Pack for changing weather conditions and be prepared to bail because of the conditions.

- Know your escape route on multi-pitch climbs! Western NC's Whitesides Mountain is a perfect example of long routes that can be difficult to escape when your climbing day goes south. A headlamp can be a godsend!

- Wear a helmet. We all hate wearing helmets, but your brain is worth it. Ice, rocks, gear, and more come down from well-traveled crags every day. Today's climbing helmets are so light and comfortable, there is no good excuse to climb without them!

- Tie a knot at the end of your rope. This simple precaution can prevent injury when lowering or rappelling off a route. Guidebooks are a great reference, but they are not always accurate when it comes to route lengths and descent routes.

- Alert a friend or family member to where you are climbing. It is hard to help someone if you don't know where they went!

- Spot each other diligently! How many times do you see a boulderer fall with people sitting idly nearby, not spotting? Put your hands to use!

- Learn from other's mistakes! Join the American Alpine Club, and you will receive Accidents in North American Mountaineering each year. It is an interesting account of recorded accidents, and there is much to learn from it.

Safe Climbing!!


Bouldering in British Virgin Gorda

Check out this great little video by Jeremy Collins from a recent jaunt bouldering in Virgin Gorda. Looks pretty sweet!!




Backyard Fun in Brevard

As I complete my 1 month hiatus from climbing, I spent one last weekend doing "normal" things like playing Bocce, tubing down the Davidson, grilling steaks, and peeping at backyard deer. If you haven't done any of those recently, I suggest you put them on your "Must Do This Summer" list. With the exception of grilling a perfect steak, the rest take absolutely no skill or athletic prowess, and can be enjoyed by all! On top of all the fun, I think I now have a Chaco tan- another true sign of a summer well spent!