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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargrave

Utah's Unparalleled Outdoors

Jared Hargrave's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Skiing
Climbing

Jared Hargrave's Bio

Backcountry skier, mountain biker, rock climber, hiker, backpacker and avid beer drinker (good beer mind you.) I grew up skiing in Colorado but soon found Utah's powder to be better, so I made the Wasatch my home.

Backcountry skiing is my true passion and I've explored mountains all over Utah on my skis. But my favorite skiing moment came when I got to ski tour in Patagonia, Argentina.

When I'm not inhaling cold smoke or tailgating in Alta's parking lot, I write about skiing and mountain biking on my website, UtahOutside.com, and for print like the Utah Adventure Journal, Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal, and Backcountry Magazine. I'm also a television producer for the KSL Outdoors show.



Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on January 20, 2015

Jack of All Trades, Master of None
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Thank you to Backcountry.com and Liberty Skis for hand-selecting me to review the Sequence skis for the benefit of the backcountry.com community.

POWDER: The first day I skied these was on a powder day at Alta. It was the day after a 20-inch storm where 4 inches of overnight fluff fell on very wet, wind affected snow. First impressions are that the skis are nice and surfy. They handle the powder well, but the dimensions and rocker profile leave a little bit to be desired when trying to get high-speed on open faces. They are very quick turners though, which is awesome for tree skiing. The turn radius feels very short. Turn initiation is quick and easy making the skis playful and forgiving. Despite being 95mm underfoot, and without a floppy mess of rocker, I was actually surprised at how well they did in the powder. It wasn't deep powder mind you, but just enough to get a sense of flotation ability.

HARD PACK AND ICE: The skis are very solid on hard pack and icy conditions. They hold an edge extremely well and are confidence-inspiring, even on boilerplate. They also crush moguls. Another day on Alta's High Rustler, there were hard, chalky moguls and the skis navigated the mogul field with ease.

GROOMERS: These skis rock on groomers. Not terribly lively, but very solid. They like to carve sweeping arcs, though are not very fast. I would not call them hard chargers; more like easy riders. Right now they are definitely my go-to ski at Alta when it hasn't snowed in a while.

SIZE: I'm 5' 10" and the 175 feel a little too short for me. Though I wonder if the 185 version would be too long as I have had problems with skis above 185 length in the past. Regardless, having the shorter version means that they are very quick turn to turn and I never had any issues trying to control them.

Overall, the Liberty Sequence are all-mountain skis to include in your quiver for those variable, post-storm days of hard pack, chop and powder.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargraveposted an image about on January 20, 2015

Playful Tails

A closer look at the full length of the Liberty Sequence, including the upturned tails. These tails make the skis playful and create real easy turn initiation both on the hardpack and in the powder, but not so much that they loose edge grip and wash out.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on January 19, 2015

Shovels and Hoes... Shovels and Hoes...
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Evac 7 is pretty basic and works much like other avalanche shovels on the market. The blade attaches and detaches from the handle using a spring-loaded push button. The same attachment system is also used to telescope the handle from short to long. The handle becomes twice as long in extended mode, which I found to be ample length for digging pits. When collapsed, the handle fits perfectly in my BCA Float 32 pack, but if you have a smaller pack and need the space, the telescoping handle gets even shorter with the option of collapsing it into the D-grip. This gives you about another inch of wiggle room.

The D-grip is ideal, especially when wearing mittens. It is very ergonomic and has a rubber grip to prevent slippage during rapid shoveling.

The shovel blade is nice and sharp. I found that it makes a much more even and straight cut when making snow columns for stability tests. The 45-degree angle between the blade and shaft also helps in this regard as it allows you to keep your hands away from the column wall when shaving it down to perfection.

The biggest feature that sets the Evac 7 apart from the crowd is the hoe mode. A hoe moves snow a lot faster than shoveling and is much less physically demanding than throwing snow over your shoulder. In a rescue situation where there are multiple people digging to a victim, the folks in the back moving snow away from the hole would be much better served with the hoe mode as it literally sweeps the snow away.

The only issue I have had with the Evac 7 is that I keep getting the shaft stuck inside the D-grip handle when I collapse it. Once in that position, it can be difficult to extract, especially on cold days when I do not want to take off my gloves for emergency shovel surgery.

The Black Diamond Evac 7 is a major step up from the average snow shovel. The Hoe mode alone makes it worth ditching your old shovel for an upgrade.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on January 19, 2015

It's Minalist, not minimalist
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

The Minalist Jacket is an enigma. Its name implies that this is a minimalist shell. But the Minalist is anything but minimalist. Although I was fooled by the name, my appreciation for the shell developed over time.

SIZE: For outer shells, I typically wear a size large to make room for an insulated mid-layer underneath. However, the Minalist size L is more like an XL. The first time I put it on, I felt like I was wearing a big blue tarp. A puffy layer underneath takes up some room, and the arm sleeve length seems reasonable, but the torso is extremely roomy.

FEATURES: The oversized hood is awesome for wearing over a helmet, which I utilized on a very windy storm day doing laps off the Wildcat lift at Alta. I also love the offset zipper that closes up a gigantic collar. Typically on nasty days, I wear a neck gaiter, but with the Minalist, I can hide inside that collar with the hood up and be totally protected, almost like cinching down the hood of a sleeping bag on a cold night.

Other details are nice, like the removable powder skirt. If I feel it is not needed, the skirt easily zips out and can be stowed, saving on bulkiness and weight. The sleeves have great coverage over the wrists and use velcro to cinch down for heat entrapment and powder repulsion.

TECH: My favorite feature is the Dry.Q Elite membrane. This sucker BREATHES! While this hard shell is like a bomb shelter when sitting on long lift rides in a blizzard, the breathability is still top notch.

Overall, I think this shell is ideal for lapping the resort on days when a puffy mid layer is needed. Otherwise size down! I am over the moon for the Dry.Q Elite membrane. It has become my favorite cold weather/storm jacket for shredding all day at Alta, but is too bulky for backcountry ski touring.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 19, 2014

Based on last year's model...
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been wearing last year's model with the more leather-looking exterior, which I personally think looks much better than the all black version out this season. I assume not much has changed other than they put the velcro wrist tab under the wrist as opposed to over.

I have been wearing the Compulsion gloves in bounds at Alta and in the backcountry. At first, they were stiff and uncomfortable which is pretty standard with new leather. But after about 5 ski days, they have softened up real good and are now molded to the shape of my hands. The fingers also have flex at the knuckles, which allows for really good dexterity out of the gate. I also really like the pull on web loop at the wrist for easy on, especially when I am trying to get the second glove on with a gloved hand.

On the inside, the gloves are very soft and fleecy. The first day out, they actually felt too small, even though the sample is a size medium, which I have always worn. But after a few uses, the inside liner has packed down and the gloves now fit perfect.

Of course warmth is the most important element when choosing a good ski glove. Initially, because of the stiff and tight quality of the leather, my fingers were cold, probably from poor blood circulation. But now that the gloves are broken in and the liner is packed out a bit, I can safely say the Compulsion are even warmer than my Kincos. I have skied in temperatures down to the teens and those finger tips have stayed warm and dry.

Since winter in Utah is pretty dry, I've not had a good opportunity to test the waterproof qualities of the glove. So I put them on and ran them under the bathtub faucet. Water never penetrated inside the glove, so I think it is safe to say they will perform valiantly during wet, spring days.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 17, 2014

Good daily drivers for Alta
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I have skied the 182cm length at Alta in many different conditions from hard pack, to groomers, and even some shallow powder. I have not tested the Q-LAB on a really deep storm day yet, but I eagerly await the chance.

GROOMERS: From the first run, I knew I liked these skis. Turn initiation is immediate and the tails have a slarvy feeling from turn to turn without any hints of hookiness. On a warm-up run beneath the Collins chair, the Q-LAB were chomping at the bit to go go go. They are fast and directional, but even at speed, I could stop on a dime without much effort. In fact, I got yelled at by ski patrol above Corkscrew for going too fast. I could not help it… these skis are just monsters.

CHOP: On tracked up runs with chop and bumps, the Salomon Q-LAB gobbled up everything in their path. They are very, very stiff and bulldoze over all terrain features without any flap or fear of losing control. Actually, on most skis, terrain features are something to make turns around, but with the Q-Lab, terrain features became something to ski over. My perspective on line choice evolved after only one day on these babies.

POWDER: Although I have not skied these on a deep powder day, I did get to take them out with 4 inches of new snow over hard pack and sun crust. Flotation seems to be on par with other rockered skis at 104mm underfoot. What did impress me is how playful the Q-Lab get on soft snow. They have that fun shape but still remain burly. Skiing tight trees is no problemo as again, turn initiation is very quick – they like to make both wide, sweeping turns as much as tight, short turns.

FINAL WORD: Solomon has thrown down the gauntlet with these stiff, all-mountain skis. They shred in the groomers and absolutely kill it in the chop. The Salomon Q-LAB are confidence inspiring and actually turned me into a better skier. They are almost dangerous in that regard. I would trade any of my current skis for a pair of Salomon Q-LAB.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 14, 2014

The ultimate ABS-compatible pack
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

After multiple uses in the Wasatch backcountry, I found the pack to have everything I could ask for – compartments for avalanche gear and other stuff like extra layers, food and crampons, goggle pockets, helmet carry, burly front panel for protection from ski edges… everything.

CONSTRUCTION: The Kode 22 +10 is obviously built with quality in mind. I would expect nothing less from Osprey. They also clearly had small details in mind to make this bag function as a true backcountry pack. But my favorite thing is that the pack expands from a 22 liter to a 32 liter. If you are planning on a longer day and need extra space for more gear, you simply unzip the zipper that encircles the whole pack, and the back panel pushes out to create 10 liters more space.

COMFORT: The back panel, shoulder straps and hip belt are among the best designed and ergonomic I have experienced. With the pack fully loaded, weight distribution was very good and I never felt weight shift badly when skiing down. Adjustment systems are the bomb. I love the hipbelt where you can adjust the width by pulling on both sides, which makes it really easy with gloved hands.

FUNCTION: The main compartment is back panel access, so you can get into the pack to retrieve something without getting the back panel covered in snow. The helmet carry location is perfect and keeps your lid out of the way and secure. The avalanche safety compartment has organization slots for shovel, probe and snow saw. The goggle pocket is lined with scratch-free material. Zipper loops are large and easy to open and easy to operate with gloved fingers. Thick, adjustable straps on the top and bottom give the pack a huge amount of versatility for diagonal ski carry.

GRIPE: To fully open the back panel to get into the main compartment, you have to undo the load-lifter straps that connect to the shoulder straps at the top of the pack. This is annoying

This pack is the ultimate ABS compatible backcountry bag.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on December 2, 2014

Quest for the Holy Grayl
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Thank you Backcountry.com and Grayl for hand-selecting me to review this water filtration system for the benefit of the Backcountry.com community.

For world and outdoor explorers, clean water sources can be few and far between. From forest rivers (didn't know about that rotting moose upstream?) to foreign lands (hope you enjoyed your week inside a hotel bathroom!) it's vital to protect yourself from waterborne illness. The Grayl Quest is a unique water bottle/filter that allows for easy, on-the-go filtration.

What makes the Quest different from typical pump-style filters is that it works more like a French Press for coffee. You fill the outer cup with dirty water, then press the filter and inner bottle down. The water percolates through the filter into the inner bottle. Then... bottoms up!

DESIGN: Overall, I like the concept. It takes a while (as in a whole 7 seconds) to press-filter the water, but that still beats pumping. The lid is solid with a cool flip top that clicks into place, letting you know it's closed tight. The filter is easy to get on and off with a twist and click.

THE FILTER: I've only used the Tap filter so far, so to test, I sought out the worst tasting tap water I could find - from the '80s-era drinking fountain at work, to the rubber-tasting water that comes from a garden hose. The filter got rid of all nasty flavors like chlorine and the aforementioned rubber.

IN THE FIELD: I took the Quest on backcountry ski tours and low-elevation hikes. It travels well with no leaks (as long as it was upright in my pack. See below.)

ISSUES: At 16 ounces, it's a bit heavy for throwing in your pack on long hikes. Also, the silicone-lined lid can be difficult to twist closed. I've had an instance when it slowly leaked while lying sideways on the car seat.

FINAL WORD: If you don't mind the weight in exchange for peace of mind in drinking-water safety, the Grayl Quest has got you covered. Just make sure the lid is on tight.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on October 27, 2014

Comfort and stability in one
3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Out of the box, I found the Verterra to fit quite well. They are true to size and I was immediately struck at the way the Stratafuse upper wraps around the top of the foot. Also, the cushion is very plush with a much more trail running shoe feel than a hiking shoe. Clearly, there is no break in needed here. Regardless, I wore them to work and around town a few times before hitting the trails.

On the trail, comfort and stability are excellent. Despite looking like a pair of sneakers, the Verterra are, well, sneaky. Underneath the toe box, the insole feels thinner, which allows for great ground feel, more like a minimalist shoe. I could literally feel the rock and roots through the shoes, but it was never too exaggerated or painful. Meanwhile, the heels are beefy and stable, with good squish and rebound.

I also found them to be very fun while rock hopping and even scrambling. Traction is average to excellent on dirt and rock, though on a snowy section on the north side of Sunset Peak at Alta I felt unwanted slippage over exposure. My guess is that these are not meant for winter weather. Speaking of winter, these shoes BREATHE! The uppers are so ventilated I could literally feel air moving through them… but that also means my feet got chilly on cold-weather hikes.

One minus I found is that the Verterra do not handle sand very well… at all. There is a short section of trail on Sunset Peak that consists of fine sand. It’s only about 30-yards long. But in that short time, fine particulates strained through the upper mesh and into the shoes. I had to stop on both the up and down to pour sand out and wipe those rough grains out from between my toes. So if you plan on hiking in the deserts of Southern Utah in the Verterra, be warned!

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on October 19, 2014

Good for carrying an SLR camera
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

It is a true, one quiver piece of gear, but born from the womb of mountain biking. As such, I took the Escapist out on all of my mountain bike rides in Utah and Colorado this year and put it to the test.

As far as bike specific packs are concerned, the Escapist 30 goes beyond by literally packing everything you could want inside. There is huge main compartments that fit whatever you would need to pack for a long day in the saddle or multi day bike packing trips. There is also internal organizer pockets for bike tools that keeps things like pumps, chain tools and tire levers right where you need them for when you need them.

There is also an attachment for a blinker light and reflective detailing that rounds out the Escapist 30 bicycling oriented features. I am also really impressed that they even included a rain cover that stores inside the bottom compartment that you can whip out at the threat of a storm.

This pack is big, and really meant for very long days in the backcountry, bike packing, or bringing along a bunch of extra layers if you are riding in cold weather or expect a drizzle or two. However, the size also works out for shorter rides as the bottom pocket fits my SLR camera perfectly. In fact, I have been bringing my SLR along on rides far more often since I got the Escapist 30 as it makes carrying the big camera so easy.

My only real complaint with the pack is that I found the shoulder straps to be a bit uncomfortable. The bottom part of the straps dig into my ribs, despite all attempts at adjusting the straps to make it ease the pain.

In all, I’d say the Osprey Escapist 30 can be your go to pack for just about anything. Although its features make it look like a bike specific pack, with additions like the rain cover, ventilated back panel, and myriad pockets on both the shoulder and waist straps, make this gear hauler efficient for anything the outdoors calls you to partake in.

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Jared Hargrave

Jared Hargravewrote a review of on October 19, 2014

May or may not attract the ladies
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Many companies say their shirts are appropriate for the outdoors as well as dinner that night, but the Granite Creek really means it. I never wore it at a local beer joint or sit down restaurant, so I cannot speak to an ability to attract the ladies, but I did take it out on multiple hikes and peak-bagging expeditions in the Wasatch.

I really like this shirt. The trend these days is for outdoor shirts to have ventilated backs, a collar high enough when flipped up to protect the neck from the sun, chest pockets for small item storage, adjustable snap cuffs, and hidden Napoleon zip pockets for security against thieves when used as a travel shirt. The Granite Creek has all this and more.

On hikes when temps reached the upper 90s in the Salt Lake Valley, I took to the high country where 80s was the norm. While I still got hot and sweaty, the Granite Creek performed well considering conditions. Under the pack, the shirt got saturated with sweat stains, but the pack also prevented the mesh back vents from doing their jobs. However, once the pack came off after reaching my destination, the vents made the back of the shirt dry really fast, especially if there was any sort of wind. The sleeves roll up easily if you need your arms to cool off, and snap back into place when those pasty white twigs get too much sun. The seams never chafed under pack straps, and the button-down front was nice to unbutton to ventilate the chest when things got really hot.

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