Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Squamish Spray Down Day One: The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada

Lesson #1 when packing for a long trip: weigh your luggage!  You don’t want to have a garage sale-like event happening at the check-in desk at the airport.  Fun fact here: a Sterling Evolution 9.8 60 m rope and Metolius rope bag weighs exactly 10lbs (according to luggage scale at flight check-in).  Luckily all it took was a little shuffling and all was ‘flying’ smoothly again.  See what I did there?  

Some people just aren't cut out for the red eye flights!

After arriving in Squamish I decided to locate the outdoor/climbing shops to pick up a guidebook.  I highly recommend doing this for this area due to the sheer number of boulder problems and routes (totals go into the thousands for both!).  Also,bring an ATC and learn how to rappel off of the top anchors if you don't already know how.  Most locations in the northeast have locking biners at the top or cold shut anchors that will allow the climber to be lowered by the belayer.  

My final thought for the day is this: mingle with the folks at the crags or boulder fields.  Many of them were locals and were very friendly and helpful in finding routes/boulders that suited my style.  They provided some colorful history of the area along with some of the best places to grab a brew.  So far after 1 day, I have accomplished more than I imagined here in the outdoor recreation capital of Canada!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bags are Packed and We're Ready to Go!

And.....We're off!!!!

Six days in Squamish for the Squamish Mountain Festival and eight days in Hawaii for some bouldering, surfing, and stand-up-paddleboarding make for a perfect vacation for some much needed time off!  I plan on doing something a little different on this trip and provide some daily updates on the happenings and run-ins with stellar rock climbing routes, volcanic bouldering, or some epic waves that will most likely toss me around like a rag doll!

This trip will be fresh adventure for me.  I've never climbed outside of the northeast or surfed.  But that is what makes an adventure great: trying new things!  Along the way, I will be testing some gear for Outdoor Research and seeing how it handles outside of my usual climbing areas here in New England! Stayed tuned for updates, photos, stories, and helpful tips for traveling on a multi-location climbing trip!

Gear packed and ready!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

#ORInsightLab: Men's Growler S/S Shirt Review

Tags on a shirt can be important, "Designed by Adventure"
(Photo by Mike Bowsher)

This week's 'Spray Down' for #ORInsightLab will be about Outdoor Research's Growler S/S shirt!  I decided to take this item for multiple test runs up at my favorite crag, Farley Ledges.  By now, you readers have to know I love this place for how much I have been writing about it and using it as my testing grounds for the #ORInsighLab program.  This past weekend was a hot one with temps reaching into the mid 80's F (~29 C for the international or scientist folks).  It is imperative that my clothing is able to keep me cool and dry through multiple lead ascents at the hot humid ledges of Massachusetts.

The shirt itself has slightly more stiffness (95% nylon vs 98% cotton of the Jinx S/S) than the Jinx S/S shirt but by no means performed in a lesser capacity.  The temperature crept higher and felt sauna-like while climbing.  Once I started perspiring I thought that this shirt would be a nightmare for the rest of the day!  But the surprise came with the shirt became wet.  Not only did it dry quickly, it brought a relieving cooling sensation much like the kind you get when you open a refrigerator door, very refreshing!  The shirt kept me cool at this point so it was time to ascertain the performance aspect of the shirt during such a sticky humid day.

Staying cool on the roof section on Oosik 5.12a at Farley Ledges!
(Photo by Shannon B.)

Quick and upfront: the shirt performed excellent!  My key favorites of this shirt is its ability to move with me and not stick to me while climbing in the heat.  It did not feel restrictive in any ranges of motion my upper body performed.  Although I do wish that the shirt had some elasticity, this preferred perk did not deter the overall performance.  The Growler S/S also seems very durable as it stood up well to some stomach drags over some roof routes.  The no nonsense collar on this shirt also maintained its fold and did not become wrinkled after washing, which is one of my biggest annoyances of collared shirts.  Once again, with this shirt also carries an element of style.  After leaving the crag you can feel at ease knowing that if you didn't get your sends that day you will have at least looked good trying! 

Definitely feeling good at the end of the day!
 (photo shot by Shannon B.)

I definitely recommend this shirt as it performs very well in the heat, tough rock situations, and can be worn in a casual setting with a cold brew in hand.  OK the last part doesn't necessarily require a brew in hand...but it definitely doesn't hurt!  Stay classy folks and send away!

Stay tuned to the blog for the next installment of #ORInsightLab reviews: The Outdoor Research Handbrake gloves!

The products reviewed in this program were given to me by Outdoor Research in exchange for honest reviews and feedback.  Any and all positive opinions presented by me in the program are my own and were not required to receive products.