After-School Special

Hyalite Canyon from the "Unnamed Wall"

I got off of work at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday and met Jason at Hyalite for some afternoon laps. The sun sets between 4:30 and 5:00 these days, and we had just enough time to hike in and hang the rope before the headlamps came out. We spent the next hour cruising up various lines of WI 3-3+ as a mostly-full moon painted an eerie glow on the mountains across the canyon.

It was completely dark by the time I put Jason on belay for his last turn. I doused my headlamp and took solace in the company of the winter constellations until my eyes adjusted to the dimness of the moonlit night.

As Jason picked his way up the climb, I privately enjoyed one of those priceless liminal moments – suspensions in time when self-awareness is at its most complete. With stars shining above me, the luminous moon hovering just above the canyon, and Jason’s headlamp turning the wall of crystallized water into a monochrome fireworks show, I gave profound and silent thanks for the perfection of the moment. This is precisely the type of experience I was hoping to have [Read More]

The Gear Exchange

The Outdoor Enthusiast fell into one of three categories on December 26th. If they were really lucky then his or her loved ones managed to pick out the perfect size, style, weight, and technically rated Christmas present. A second category found the adventurer with beaucoups gift cards to use at their local outdoor store. More likely, however, one woke up the day after Christmas with gifts that weren’t exactly what they wanted for his or her 2010 exploits and therefore needed to exchange the presents.

If you fall into the second or third description and plan to spend some time this week searching for gear, then take a second to check out my time tested favorites to see if there is something that you might want to supplement your holiday haul.

Patagonia Fleece

(***Please note that while the gear fashion show displayed below did take place inside, I opted for photos taken in front of an outdoor painting to present a more authentic feel.)

1. Patagonia Fleece – I love Patagonia because they are such an eco-conscious company, but I also love them because their products last forever. My lightweight fleece is a very light very and warm [Read More]

(Re)Birth Day

A good powder lap can be rebirthing experience. Or, at least, face planting in a tree well can (struggle struggle, gasp, cry, gasp, struggle, wiggle, success!). And so I found it fitting that on my 25th birthday I would do both. [Read More]


Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Winter Solstice or some other equally great holiday, this time of year is for family, friends and great memories. We hope you make quite a few in the coming days.

We’ve had a great year and could have only done it with you.

Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy the fresh snow if you have a chance.

We’ll be here for all things you need backcountry and can’t wait to see you again.

Lookin’ Strong, Man

While a rogue storm recently turned the homeland into a snow globe, I’ve been enjoying relatively mild weather up here in Montana. It’s been hovering right around the freezing point for a week now, and a lot of the ice that had been iron-hard prior to the festival is now soft and forgiving. We’ve taken advantage of the favorable conditions with several dawn patrol missions into the canyon. The hikes have been cleansing, the climbing has been classic, and I’m constantly reminded why I had daydreamed about this winter for months.

Just another December day in Bozeman…

When I say “we” in reference to my climbing outings, I’m almost always referring to my new friend, Jason. As I mentioned a while back, Jason responded to a post I put up on the Montana Ice website. He was interested in a weekday partner, and I had no real obligations at the time. Since then, we’ve tied in together no less than twice a week, and we are gradually turning into a pretty good team.

Jason tests the bottom of "Curtain" — Hyalite Canyon

It’s a rare and beautiful thing when you [Read More]

When Snow comes South

Brew Sledding

Telemarking, shredding, bindings – I know these words, I just have no clue what they are or what they mean. You see, I grew up in the South. I have spent my life in North Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia, so I am terrified of snow. Don’t get me wrong, it is pretty at first and I always consider it a rare treat to see everything blanketed in white, but after the novelty wears off then comes the fear.

In the South we don’t know what to do when it snows. Well, I take that back. We think we know what to do. For example, five days before the slightest chance of a wintery mix, we all rush to the grocery store and load up on milk and bread. Even if we usually don’t eat bread or drink milk, we still buy it because that is what you do when it might snow. Two days before a potential storm we check to make sure our flashlights have batteries inside them for when the power goes out, then the day before the possible threat we fill our bathtubs with water for when our faucets no longer work.