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Our February Roundup

The Latest Must-Read Stories to Explore

Our monthly roundup of the best from the backcountry and beyond. 

February 2021 

52 Places to Love From Afar in 2021

We’re scouring The New York Times’ annual list of alluring, underlooked destinations to seek out in *fingers crossed* 2022. Red rock canyons in India, a land of baobab trees in Senegal, and Siberia by train are just a few trips we’re adding to the bucket list. 

Gearhead Take: 2022 could be a major year for travel—find lesser-known destinations and plan ahead to manifest your wanderlust dreams when the time comes.

2 Ways to Mark Black History Month, Backcountry Style 

Want to support BIPOC inclusivity in the backcountry this February? Support Slim Pickins Outfitters, the first Black-owned outdoor gear shop in the country, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Then give our friends @the_blackfoxes a follow—they’ll be sharing stories of Black individuals rewriting outdoor history all month long.

Sherpas Bag First Winter Ascent of the “Savage Mountain”

A team of 10 Nepali climbers recently became the first to make a winter summit of K2, the second tallest mountain in the world and one of the gnarliest to climb. Team member Nirmal Purja, who recently made history by climbing the world’s 14 tallest peaks in six months, put it best: “THE IMPOSSIBLE IS MADE POSSIBLE!” 

Gearhead Take: We’re stoked to see Sherpas taking the reins of the records after many decades as the unsung heroes behind many a fabled ascent.

Fleece Now Considered “Sexy”

Turns out, you’ve been on-trend all along. As more and more people make getting outside part of daily life, outdoor styles are in demand. From celebrities rocking anoraks and “sexy” fleece and the puffer vest finally enjoying its long-due moment, to the recently dropped The North Face x Gucci collab, this is the moment we haven’t been waiting for, but are glad is here.

It’s Peak Yurt Season

While that trip to ski powder in Japan may be on hold, backcountry huts don’t have to be. Get Portland-based adventurer Ali Lev’s tips on how to pack for your next hut or yurt trip, including how to bring the stoke because, as Ali puts it, “a good après set up is a game changer.”

The Latest on Land

It’s been a busy couple of months for public lands. First, we got a new national park in West Virginia: New River Gorge, with 1,000-foot sandstone cliffs boasting over 1,500 routes and 50+ miles of class III-and-up rapids. Then, the Biden Administration paused oil and gas leasing on federal lands and is soon expected to reverse Trump’s downsizing of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in southern Utah (our backyard).

Gear of the Month: Backcountry Access Tracker S Beacon 

If backcountry ski gear sales are any indication, more people than ever are earning turns. Play it safe out there with the proper training, your local avy forecast, an abundance of caution, and the trifecta of avy safety gear (beacon, shovel, probe). If you’re newer to the backcountry, the easy-to-use Tracker S Beacon is as approachable as it is affordable. 

Gearhead Tip: When the skintrack grade changes and you need to adjust your heel lifters, flip your pole upside down and use the handle (rather than the tip) to do so—the grippy rubber makes flipping those lifters back and forth super easy.

Climbing Media Makes Moves

Long-time rivals Rock and Ice and Climbing magazines are joining forces this spring and the name Climbing is taking the sharp end. In other sendy shakeups, Mountain Project and its sister sites have been acquired by onX, a GPS mapping company. 

Gearhead Take: A new Mountain Project app may be in the works and we wouldn’t be surprised if the mapping features were off the charts.  

Bada** Female Photographers You Should Follow

We’ve always known our house senior photographer was the G.O.A.T., but “Gear Junkie” just confirmed it: Re Wikstrom recently made their list of the six female outdoor photogs you should be following. She also happens to be the first woman blind-juried into the Olympus Pro-Photographer Showdown at The World Ski and Snowboard Festival—and she shreds as hard as she shoots. See her shots @rewikstrom.

What We’re Sipping: Hot White Russian  

Mark your calendar for February 27 (National Kahlua Day) and mix up this warm take on the classic cocktail to enjoy in the resort lot or at the firepit back home. To further channel Dude vibes, enjoy wearing an oversized cardigan or bathrobe post-pow.

Adventure Dog of the Month

“They say ‘no friends on a powder day.’ Joke’s on you. I’ll always be your friend. Every day. Whether you like it or not.” —Baya (@findmeoutside)