10/26/09

Thank you!

A Big Thank You to all who helped us celebrate our 25th anniversary! The beers were gulped, the burgers were devoured and the cupcakes depleted. Steve Longnecker's menagerie of hawks and owls were a big hit and Ron Sanga's Mount Everest Show was wonderful. Thank you to Elaina Smith, Tres Binkley, Sigg, Evolv Footwear, Mammut, Joshua Tree, Mountain Khakis, Mountain Hardwear and Darn Tough for donating time and goodies for the event. The proceeds go to the CCC to protect our Carolina climbing!

Sunday gave way to a perfect climbing day, and we hoofed it to Rumbling Bald for a great day of climbing. See you at the crag!

10/22/09

Looking Glass Outfitters is 25!!!

A Quarter Century and Climbing Strong!

Come help us celebrate Saturday October 24th

2-4:00 Evolv Climbing Shoe Demo with Elaina Arenz-Smith of New River Mountain Guides
Brevard Rock Gym - Brevard, NC

6:00- 9:30
Food, Drinks & Raffle to Benefit the Carolina Climbers Coalition
Raptor Show with Steve Longnecker
Mount Everest Slideshow with Ron Sanga
Looking Glass Outfitters - Pisgah Forest, NC
828.884.5854

Grab your friends and help us celebrate! Call for details!

10/21/09

Want to Minimize Your Carbon Footprint? Go Camping!


There is a lot of advice these days on how to minimize your carbon footprint - from composting kitchen trash to unplugging phone chargers and coffee makers. But one of the most enjoyable ways to minimize your carbon footprint can be backcountry camping. Whether headed into the woods to tick off the Art Loeb Trail, or simply spend the weekend in western NC relaxing, camping can mean a few days off for your gas chugging vehicle and countless other carbon producing habits you may have. Your carbon footprint will be minimal because:
  • Less water consumption since the great outdoors does not flush the toilet or run the dishwasher
  • Less electricity by using the sun to guide your days
  • Less fuel consumption running errands & heading to the bar to meet your friends
  • Less utility consumption since you can leave the thermostat super low while you are gone and you will be stepping away from the tv
  • Less trash produced since you will be drinking and dining on reusable cookwear
  • Less trips to the therapist, since the great outdoors works countless benefits on your stress level
Here are a few tips for saving even more while camping:
  • When compatible with your stove, use a windscreen or aluminum foil-covered cardboard to shield your stove from the wind and help retain heat. You will boil water faster and use less fuel. Any leftover hot water can be used for washing dishes.
  • Use food containers and grocery bags for your trash instead of a brand new trash bag.
  • Filter water or bring water from home instead of purchasing bottled water. It takes fuel and resources to get that water bottle to you!
  • Minimize use of lanterns, headlamps, and campfires. Ever seen the smog over Yosemite's campgrounds? Your camp fire does make an impact.
  • When you need a fire. cook on it. A little creativity with aluminum foil or twig spears can make a tasty meal, get the most from your fire and avoid using more stove fuel.

Snow Peak Stove $50
Bag of Oatmeal with Fruits & Nuts Added $2
Power Bill for LNT Bathroom $0
Hot Rum Chocolate $2.50
Weekend in Mountains $Priceless

Happy Camping!


10/20/09

10/19/09

Glossary of Climbing Terms




As a beginner climber, the inherent terminology can be baffling. You are eking your way up some of your first climbs or boulder problems, and your buddies begin yelling in another language "flag your foot!" "there's a gaston on the left!" "press it out!!" Here are a few terms and techniques you will see often when climbing and bouldering to help sort out the beta.

Jug - Everyone learns this word quickly. It is a joyously large, and easy to hang-on-to hold. Chicken Head City is a great example of jug climbing at Rumbling Bald.

Crimp - Crimps require a lot of finger strength, as they are tiny holds which usually require you to bend your first two knuckles extensively. Try Tips A Hoy at Hawks Bill and you will get a good idea of a crimp- ouch!

Heel Hook- Heel Hooking is extremely useful when your are on steep climbs. Tossing your heel onto a jug or ledge can take a lot of weight off your arms, and give you a little more juice to send. A heel hook can be a Godsend on steep routes at the Obed like Solstice .

Mantle - Many bouldering problems end with a mantle onto the top of the boulder. Mantling is when you put one or both arms on the hold and press your body up onto the ledge or holds. It can be daunting on high problems, but it is essential to finish the problem! You will use a lot of mantling to finish boulder problems at Grandfather Boulders.

Lock Off - Locking off requires core and hand strength, and it allows you to reach another hold while keeping your hand firmly fixed on another hold in a calculated, static movement. You will lock off a lot if you start bouldering at Rumbling Bald this winter.

Jam - Jamming is the word of choice when crack climbing. You use your fist and hands in countless contortions to hold yourself on the wall. Jamming your feet in a lace up shoe like the Scarpa Techno often means turning it a bit sidewards to maximize the width and holding power of the jam. A great route for learning to jam in New Yosemite at the Junkyard Wall of the New River Gorge.

Finger Lock - Finger locking is just what it sounds like. You use your fingers in a crack or constriction to hold your hand in place. Often, this includes taking advantage of big knuckles in just the right spot. Try this technique on Shredded Wheat at Rumbling Bald's Cereal Buttress.

Smearing - Smearing is common in western North Carolina, where the slab of Looking Glass mandates this technique. Smearing is when you stand on a relatively featureless part of the wall. Smearing is easier as the angle of the wall lessens. Try Sensemelia Sunset at Looking Glass in some comfortable, sticky shoes to try the calf-burning technique of smearing.




Looking Glass Outfitters is a full service gear shop open 7 Days a week at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and around the corner from Hendersonville, Brevard & Asheville.
www.lookingglassoutfitters.com

Happy Exploring..........




10/13/09

Leaf Season in Brevard!


We have been getting calls and questions about how the trees are looking this fall and the answer is fabulous! From the Blue Ridge Parkway to Dupont State Forest and all around Brevard and western North Carolina, the leaves are on fire with every imaginable hue of amber, sienna, ocher, ember and more.

I went for a trailrun yesterday along Mine Mountain Trail in Dupont and the ridgelines were incredible amidst the gentle fog. Don't let any weather forecast deter you, leaf season is magnificent whether combined with bursts of sunshine or the mystery of fog and clouds.

We can deck you out with gear and outdoor clothing at Looking Glass Outfitters for a host of weather conditions and destinations, and point you towards a great area hike or climb. Enjoy Brevard leaf season!

10/12/09

A Lesson on Baselayers

As fall ushers in the breezy temps and I dust off a heftier sleeping bag, I am finding myself grabbing baselayers again. Just what are you looking for in a good base layer?

- Warmth
The main reason you wear a baselayer is to add warmth. So, it must contain a synthetic or wool combination if it is going to keep you snug. On the other side, a quality layering piece also wicks well, ensuring that perspiration does not come back to haunt you as you cool down. Today's baselayers are good looking enough to wear alone once the day warms up, keeping you cool and dry once the cold weather has passed, or enabling you to enjoy a microbrew when the day is done.

- Comfort
A baselayer can be terribly irritating if tags or seams rub you the wrong way, or if the fabric feels abrasive in any way. A versatile baselayer should be easy to forget you are wearing it. If you think that a merino wool baselayer would be scratchy against your skin, think again. Today's merino wool is soft as can be, and does not make you itch like your decade old big sweater that mom knit you.

- Versatility
I tend to use my synthetic baselayers when I am likely to get hot or sweat, like heading up The North Slope for a trail run in Pisgah. I grab my wool baselayers for blustery days climbing at Rumbling Bald or the Obed, when I am really looking for extra warmth. Realistically, both types of baselayers serve well in both conditions. But with synthetics, I never bat an eye to wash them repeatedly. Natural fiber wools may show their age quicker if you toss them in the washer and dryer. But, all good baselayers dry quickly, so you will do fine to skip the dryer. Plus, I often forget to treat my wool layers differently, and so far so good going in both cycles!

In short, baselayers are great for running, climbing, skiing, backpacking, iceclimbing, camping, treeclimbing, paddling, biking, traveling, bouldering, tailgating....well, you get the picture!


Get your gear at Looking Glass Outfitters!
Serving outdoor enthusiasts of Brevard and beyond since 1985

10/8/09

Climbing Helmets

After years of loathing climbing helmets thanks to being the (un)lucky recipient of Phil's old hand-me-down, I broke down and bought a new helmet. I will admit the green flowers on the green version of the Petzl Meteor III had SOME impact on my decision, but hey, if it isn't fun to wear something, you are less likely to use it. I was pretty amazed at the difference when my helmet arrived. Not only did I no longer have to jut my chin out to hold it in place, but it was light and comfortable. Suddenly it was not such a chore to protect my noggin.

I seem to have a penchant for sports that accompany helmets, so my collection of helmets (riding, snowboarding, biking, climbing...) is getting extensive. But, I have been getting a lot better about wearing my helmet when climbing ever since spending last summer flirting with disaster in the Tetons, where chossy rock is a given.

You will note that Phil soon got helmet envy, bought a Black Diamond Tracer, and now sports his helmet pretty often as well. I would highly recommend giving a try to one of the the latest helmet models, it is likely a lot different than that crusty, stinky one you never wear.


10/6/09

Hound Ears and Linville



What a great weekend up near Boone! The October weather gave us crisp climbing days, cool nights, and lots of fun times. The Hound Ears Bouldering Comp was well attended, from Lee Means cranking out the rhymes on stage, to countless boulderers hurling themselves at fantastic problems. We had a blast and will return again for sure! The whole Triple Crown Crew really does a great job putting on a top notch event. Sunday, we were tired and sore, and headed for our first time up the Mummy in Linville. What a fun, low-key multipitch climb!

10/5/09

Mountain Khakis - Best Pants Ever


For about the last two years, whenever you see Phil wearing a pair of pants, it would be safe to bet he his wearing Mountain Khakis. Phil had a beloved pair before I started work at MK, but since then, both his appreciation and collection of MKs has increased rapidly. My brother said "I'm afraid to admit I wear them every single day." Mountain Khakis do certainly have a cult-like fan following, and the primary reason is their incredibly comfortable fit. Add the fact that they last forever, can stand countless hours, days, and years of abuse, make even the scrubbiest of dirt bags look presentable out on the town, and accentuate le derriere, and it is easy to understand why these pants truly are a man's best friend.

Just in at Looking Glass Outfitters:
the best climbing, hiking, lounging, working, flyfishing, coffee sippin, boot scooting, hay throwing, golf driving, wood chopping, client greeting, funds raising, banjo picking, fence mending, microbrew chugging, tweet postin, wncw listening, road trippin, jet setting pants you can find bar none.

Mountain Khakis!!

Pics:
Phil Climbing 5.12 in MK Lake Lodge Pants at the North End of Looking Glass, NC
A well-loved and abused pair of MKs at the Lucky 7 New River Rendezvous, Fayetteville, WV

10/1/09

Heading to Hound Ears

We have been trying to gain a little power prior to Hound Ears. After a summer of little to no bouldering, we should have started sooner! Friday at Dixon School Road was hot and steamy, yet it was chilly enough Sunday in Linville to wear a light, Mountain Hardwear softshell (thanks Tres!) all day in the shade. The sudden, crisp fall air makes it a perfect time to head to Boone and get your annual chance at the Hound Ears boulders near Boone, NC. Last year was quite chilly, so grab your fuzzy fleece and see ya Friday night at the CCC meeting!


Looking Glass Outfitters is a full service gear shop open 7 Days a week at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and around the corner from Hendersonville, Brevard & Asheville.
www.lookingglassoutfitters.com

Happy Exploring..........