Winter Hiking in Pisgah

Snow still covers the ground in much of Transylvania County, but 276 into Pisgah National Forest is quite clear. Yesterday I headed in to check out the snow in Pisgah and dust off my hiking boots.
Daisy and I set out on the Buck Spring Trail and criss crossed along the creek and bizare shaped icicles, eventually heading out the Mountains to Sea Trail.
There were some hiker tracks on the trail, which helped mark the way. The white blazes definitely blended in with the snow, but the trail was pretty easy to follow. The sunniest patches were completely snow free. About 85% of the trail was covered in snow that was just soft enough to punch through easily with decent traction. But, the northeast facing ridges were icy, and crusty and tiresome.

We had some great views of Looking Glass in the distance, with snow and ice dripping down over the North End, Hidden Wall and the Nose Area. It is definitely peaceful to hike in these conditions, but be very aware of how much more fatigued you get tromping through snow and how short the days are at the moment.

Winter Hiking Packing List:

Extra Layer- I stuffed my Montbell Parka in my bag in case of emergency
Water- It is easy to forget hydrating when it is this cold, but you still work up a thirst
Gloves- My Chameece Gloves were just the right weight
Hat- I took my beanie on and off as the temps and difficulty of the trail varied
Bars/ Food
Goretex Hiking Boots- Inconsistent terrain makes it worth it to wear true hiking boots to keep you ankles stable, keep out snow and help your feet stay dry
Trekking Poles - Keep you stable when the terrain is unpredictable
Watch- With the short days, it is important to keep an eye on the clock and adhere to a turn around time
Map - The trails look a lot different covered in snow, make certain you know where you are headed!
Happy Trails!


Snow Trail Running in Dupont

After more than a week of no trailrunning, mountain biking or climbing, both Daisy and I were going a little stir crazy. We finally ventured out with a beanie and gloves to Dupont State Forest for the first time since Friday's big snow.

We headed for the Reasonover Parking area near Cedar Mountain and found the parking lot to be a bit more than the Subaru wanted to handle.
But, the gate just down the road from the main parking area is perfectly suitable to park at without getting stuck or blocking access to Conservation Road.

We headed out Conservation Road and stuck to the Ranger's tire tracks. As we neared the Airstrip and headed down Camp Summit Road, the roads were quite melted and easily traversed. Lake Julia is gorgeous right now with the quiet banket of snow, although it appears to be melting quickly. The trails are particularly untracked at the moment, so we headed back to the car via Lake Julia and Conservation Road.

Daisy absolutely adores snow, so she had a great time while her sister, a thin-skinned Weimaraner who hates snow, stayed wrapped in a blanket at home. It felt great to get in some cardio and reminded me of snow runs in Teton Canyon and along the Snake River, except it is December instead of May!

Happy Holidays from LGO!


Top Climbing Destinations

As the year draws to a close and people start eyeing 2010 and making their lists, I can't help but think about my own top climbing destinations. Whether it is a world class destination that I have never been to, or a repeat tried and true spot, I know 2010 will be better if I get to climb in at least one of these places!

Smith Rocks, OR - Friends Peter & Natasha went here this past fall and reminded us that we must make the trip soon.

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - I climbed here once in my very earliest climbing days. I hope when I return, I won't be as scared!

Indian Creek, UT - We visited Indian Creek for the first time in Fall of '09, and quickly started talking about coming back. We have lots more to learn from the Creek's splitters!

TWall, TN - We'd like to head back to TN soon and test out whatever skills we might have learned at the Creek. It's the perfect time of year for this sunny spot!

New River Gorge, WV - We just don't get tired of the New and our friends there always give us the best welcome.

Looking Glass, NC - OK, so it is our backyard, but there is still more to explore!

Thailand - Who isn't drawn to a place with beaches and incredible climbing? Must check it out!

Whitesides, NC - It has been too long since we climbed at Whiteside. Must work up the gumption to tackle it again!

Sierra Nevada, CA - Must get our hands dirty with the alpine free routes and ridge traverses.

Squamish, Canada - Newlyweds Brian and Amy made us jealous with their honeymoon pics from Squamish! Yes please to granite crack climbing...

Here's to happy & safe climbing in 2010!

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.


The Snow Storm of 2009

Wow what a white weekend we had! Friday we woke up to a white, fluffy world and lots more big lovely flakes fell throughout the day. Brevard and Western North Carolina got between 9-15", causing locals to dust off what snow plows and shovels could be found. Despite a slew of cancellations, most of the main roads are now in good shape. It is perfect driving for Subaru lovers and 4x4 drivers! More pics to come from our escapades snow boarding on See Off Mountain aka in our back yard!

Warm sunshine seems to be here today, perhaps dashing the hopes of ice climbing on 215, but let us know if you head up there and find that the ice is in! Happy sledding!


Dear Santa

Here is my wish list for this Christmas. You can find it all at Looking Glass Outfitters in Pisgah Forest, NC. I hope you like the cookies!

I have been extra good, so please note #10!!

1. An LGO SportScience Tee so I can support my favorite local business!
2. A Petzl Tikka Plus because my old headlamp bit the dust.
3. Black Diamond Trail Trekking Poles because the mountain approaches can be steep!
4. Darn Tough Socks so I can throw away my old "holy" hiking socks.
5. Chameece Cord Cap for blustery days in Linville Gorge
6. Mountain Khakis Teton Twill for crag to dinner and back in style!
7. Mountain Hardwear Boy Shorts well, my girlfriend has been gooood tooo!
8. 5.10 Guide Tennie so I can dash up The Nose like a rock guide!
9. Skeletool for 1001 emergency situations
10. Black Diamond Viper Ice on 215 anyone?


The North Face Coupon

Get 25% off the super snuggly Oso Hoodie for Women. This toasty fleece hoodie is perfect for holiday giving and wintry outdoor fun! Available in black and pink.

Use Coupon Code: hoodieholiday
for 25% off The North Face Oso Hoodie

Expires 12/31/09


Rumbling Bald Bouldering Project

Help the Carolina Climbers Coalition Save the Boulders of Rumbling Bald!

Click here for a sweet bouldering video about the project

Photo by Adam Bernero