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Pace Measom

Climbing the Iconic Peak on the 150th Anniversary of the First Ascent, Powered by Mammut. “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” Edward Whymper So People Really Do Win These Things The Matterhorn is perhaps the most famous, most recognized mountain on the planet. It’s the crown jewel of the Swiss Alps and its likeness can be found on everything from deodorant [...]

Pace Measom

Climbing the Matterhorn is without question one of the world’s great classic adventures; a bucket-list must-do for anyone with a passion for mountains. In July of 1865, an English climber named Edward Whymper became the first human to stand on the summit of the Matterhorn—Switzerland’s most famous mountain. On the descent, the triumph of the summit quickly turned to tragedy, and in the 150 years following, the controversy, fame, and mystique surrounding the mountain have only grown. In 2015, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ascent, Mammut launched a sweepstakes on Backcountry to win a trip to climb [...]

Pace Measom

Highway 89 is a slow road. It winds north from Mexico to Canada for nearly 1600 miles, connecting seven iconic National Parks including Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. As long as there have been cars, 89 has beckoned to travellers yearning to see the American West, especially so during the ‘50s and ‘60s—the golden age of the American road trip. Faded remnants of the era are still visible in the one-stoplight towns that have since been bypassed by modern freeways―boarded-up motor inns, faded diners, and neon signs that have long gone dark. With the promise of Teton powder [...]

Matthew Pizza

In addition to length and weight, another way fly rods differ from one another is in their action. Loosely defined, it’s related to the flex pattern of the rod; the action and flex of the fly rod significantly affect its feel and performance. Rod actions are rated as soft, medium, and fast. Following is a rundown of each. Fast Action Most fast-action rods will be tip flex, meaning only the tip of the rod is going to bend while the butt is very stiff. These rods can be hard for the beginning angler to cast, but if you are on [...]

Dan Gates

Finding the right set of snowboard bindings can take your setup to the next level in terms of comfort and control. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Dan Gates reviews some things to consider when picking out your next pair. Snowboard bindings are the direct interface between you and your board. A good binding should enhance the natural flex pattern of your board as well as provide all-day comfort, because when the goods are good, you don’t want to have to head to the lodge with hurting feet while your buddies are scoring lap after lap of freshies. Flex When picking a binding [...]

Colin Clancy

Ten years ago this very moment I may have taken a break from shotgunning beers with my ski bum friends to stir the Crock Pot of sloppy joes simmering atop the toilet for lack of table space. Or I may have been hot-lapping Loveland Pass backcountry lines under the full midnight moon until the cops kicked us out. More likely, though, I was dropping into the superpipe on a stolen cafeteria tray, because we did that damned near every night. I earned my ski bum stripes at Copper Mountain, where I spent two seasons bumping chairs, shoveling snow, setting up [...]

Ryan Schoeck

Above Photo by Tommy Chandler On their own, they look like something you might wear to a costume party. Little half leg tights, arm sleeves, mesh net tank tops, and even those special covers for your shoes called “booties.” And while they might look a bit ridiculous by themselves, these layers of clothing can make or break your rides when Mother Nature decides to flex a bit of her muscle. Every year, around this time, we go through a transition. Those glorious days of mindlessly throwing on our jerseys, shorts, helmets, and little else before rolling out the door come [...]

Wally Phillips

Selecting a new pair of ski boots can be difficult, to say the least. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Wally Phillips, a former bootfitter, offers some guidance to help you select just the right pair of boots. Every year, ski companies roll out their shiny new boots in a myriad of styles, sizes, flexes, and widths. If you’re wondering what it all means and how these correspond to your specific skiing needs, here’s a little guide designed to help you make sense of this dizzying array of choices. Your skiing style The first thing you’ll want to consider is the type of [...]

Patrick Law

How much waterproofing do you really need in a jacket or pants, and what factors affect how waterproof your jacket will be? Membranes, Laminates, and DWR Coating When people picture high-end outerwear, they’re thinking of jackets with a waterproof breathable membrane. If you’re really getting after it and expect some nasty weather, then this is what you want. Note that we’re not talking about heavy-duty coated garments like foul-weather gear for sailing; the PVC coating on this may be great for keeping the wet stuff out but it makes this jackets and pants heavy, and you’ll be sweating buckets if [...]

Adam Riser

Until synthetic insulation, down feathers were the primary insulation used in sleeping bags and puffy jackets. Down feathers offer powerful warmth, but they have a weakness: moisture. A new type of water-resistant down insulation addresses this weakness, and we’ll discuss its benefits in this article. The Beginning Temperature and weather are two of the biggest obstacles to any outdoor activity. Much of the gear that we use either protects us from weather or helps us regulate temperature—and some do both. Until recently, down feathers were the primary insulation used in sleeping bags and puffy jackets. Down feathers offer powerful warmth [...]

Adam Riser

Looking for a ski or snowboard jacket, a technical shell, or a rain jacket? Here’s a guide to waterproof jackets and pants, including features to look for and features to avoid. What’s Covered: Ski and Snowboard Jackets Technical Shells Rain Jackets Ski and Snowboard Pants Technical Pants Rain Pants Ski/Snowboard Jackets Key Features: In a broad sense, anything with a powder skirt can be considered a ski or snowboard jacket, as that’s really the only unifying feature. Powder skirts are pretty key, because whether you’re riding deep powder or just experiencing a particularly nasty crash, snow is always trying to [...]

Cole D. Lehman

You’ve probably heard that yoga can fix every problem known to humankind—and that’s suspect, isn’t it? Yes, it certainly is. Anything touted as a miracle cure deserves scrutiny. That’s why more research is being done on the ancient practices of yoga and meditation. So far, the confirmed benefits make it worth looking past the hyperbole and getting over the discomfort of trying something new. It’s especially important not to get caught up in the story that “yoga is for women.” Yoga is for everyone. Athletes and pro sports teams use it and attribute it to their success—from the NFL to [...]

Jared Downs

We’re often not very good at planning for the worst, and fail to plan ahead for emergencies when we’re heading outdoors. After all, what could go wrong? The answer is, “Plenty.” Having a first-aid kit handy is an essential component of your equipment because it can make all the difference if and when a serious situation arises, or even when you just need to tend to a minor problem. In 2007 I began backpacking and as time went on I realized there were many things that I either did not know or situations I was not properly equipped to handle. [...]

Curtis Jensen

While the reasons for a bike tour are ever-increasing, packing for a bike tour depends heavily on the time frame, distance to be covered, weather, and road conditions. However, before you pack, it’s best to determine what kind of tour you’re actually going to have. In general, most cycle tour itineraries fall into four categories: Credit-card touring means paying for food and lodging along the way at motels, B & Bs, hostels, or cafes. And, aside from clothes and bike equipment, the most important item to pack on a credit-card tour is, well, a valid credit card. Supported touring typically [...]

Cameron C

Canyoneering provides an incredible way to explore the depths of remote canyons etched by millions of years of erosion. The sport will lead you to beautiful areas and views rarely seen or experienced by others. Stealing Solitude: Legendary Outlaws and Sketchy Slot Canyons in Robber’s Roost from Backcountry.com on Vimeo Last year Backcountry.com created this video about canyoneering in the network of canyons in southern Utah known as Robber’s Roost. Several customers called our Gearheads in Customer Service looking for more information about the trip and how to get started. This article is a beginning guide for anyone who is [...]

Cameron C

If you’re intrigued by canyoneering, and are ready to get into the sport, you’ll want to start thinking about the gear that you need. Canyoneering can be a highly gear-intensive activity, in part because of the wide range of conditions and terrain that you might encounter, and because the sport is just hard on equipment. If you’re going out with an outfitter much of this may be provided, but there are other things you’ll want to be sure to bring along, or that you might want to begin to accumulate as you get into the sport. Equipment Ropes When selecting [...]

Catherine Greenwald

All photos by Tyson Stevens When it comes to run training, all work and no play is a sure recipe for burnout. You could try throwing in a few Farleks or intervals to break things up, but sorry, that’s still work. One way to mix things up, possibly gain a little speed, and, most importantly, have fun at the same time, is to inject some play into your routine with some Ultimate Frisbee. Usually referred to as “Ultimate” for fear of attracting unwanted attention from certain corporate attorneys, the game involves elements of soccer, football, and basketball. Physically, you can [...]

Matthew Pizza

Backcountry Expert Gearhead Matt Pizza is an avid fly fisherman who has been fly fishing since he was a teen. He has fished all over Utah, as well as Idaho, Wyoming, a bit in Colorado, and even upstate Wisconsin and New York. Although trout makes up the bulk of his prey, he has been known to land pike and walleye, and has found a new love for catching bass on the fly. Here, he breaks down one of the essential skills for fly fishing, tying knots. Tying knots is a huge part of fly fishing. There are dozens of knots [...]

Matthew Pizza

Backcountry Expert Gearhead Matt Pizza is an avid fly fisherman who has been fly fishing since he was a teen. Here, he breaks down the essential step of rigging your line. We all know that there must be some work before you can play; it makes plucking that hog out from his favorite hiding spot all the sweeter. Preparing your fly line is necessarily painstaking, but doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some guidelines for making that all-important first step of rigging up your fly line a little bit easier. Dry Fly Dry flies simulate natural patterns hatching and [...]

Curtis Jensen

Not all fleece jackets are created equal. Differences in synthetic and natural fibers, fleece weights, and jacket features make for a range of possibilities when choosing a fleece jacket. Here’s the lowdown on this popular midlayer. Enter Synchilla In 1985, Patagonia released its first Synchilla fleece jacket, a mass-produced, synthetic fiber, midlayer insulating piece that was quick drying, packable, and lightweight, an excellent alternative to the badly pilled powder-blue-and-tan pile sweaters common in the early ’80s, or the traditional water-absorbing wool, down, or cotton layers that dominated mountaineering clothing in the decades before. Synchilla was the product of years of [...]

Kyle Livingston

Bikes have a voice of their own. Every click, squeak, creak, grind, and snap is your bike trying to tell you something—namely that it needs attention, most likely in the form of cleaning and lubrication. No matter where or when you ride, your bike will always have some sort of grime or dirt build-up to show for it. To keep your beloved masterpiece of engineering working properly, cleaning it regularly is a must. It prolongs the life of parts like chains, cassettes and suspension pivot bearings, and keeps things running fast and quiet. Yes, it’s hard to put the extra [...]

Lexi D.

The high desert of western Utah looks the way you’d expect it to: dry, rugged, and desolate. But it hasn’t always been that way; 500 million years ago this place looked like the Bahamas, covered in a warm, shallow sea. Trilobites, distant ancestors of crabs and lobsters, crawled around on the reefs in this sea, and their hard shells made them prime candidates for fossilization. One of the best spots in the world for hunting trilobite fossils can be found in the foothills of Utah’s House Mountain Range, embedded in a layer of limestone called the Wheeler Shale formation. To [...]

Vinny Mauro

Seeking equal parts waves and adventure, twelve of my close friends and I have made Central America our destination of choice for three years and counting. This year was no different; in late spring, thirteen of us traded our heavy jackets and ski gear for board shorts and surfboards, and headed south to Nicaragua to celebrate the close of another season with two weeks of surfing and traveling. I took only a carry-on duffel stuffed with minimal gear to greet the warm waves and bid farewell to another winter. The art of packing light for a two-week surf vacation. What [...]

Emily Jenson

After water and a good pair of hiking shoes, a well-fitted backpack is the next most essential item you need when you embark on a multi-day backpacking trip. Backcountry Expert Gearhead Emily Jenson has a few tips for getting the ideal pack fit: If the pack you’re carrying on a backpacking trip isn’t right for you, you’ll know it. A poorly fitted pack can bounce around on rough terrain, dig into your shoulders, bruise your hips, or rub your lower back raw after just a few miles. That’s why getting the right sized backpack and adjusting it properly is so [...]

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