4,000 meters is an unrecognized altitude threshold within the United States. However, it is as well known where the metric system is used, as 14,000 feet is known in the US. This page is dedicated to climbing those peaks in Colorado that rise above 4,000 meters (13,123 feet)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Please have a look at my recently published book, “a common experience”

a common experience is a collection of autobiographical short stories that took place between 1998 and the present. a common experience started out as a "fine art" photography book. The text was merely to provide some quick background and context on each image.

However, as the book progressed, the text became as, or even more, important than the images. As the details of each image were elaborated into words, the intention of my book morphed from an art book, to a collection of scenes describing how my life was changed by the stories accompanying each image. The story behind each image, I realized as the book progressed, was the essence of each picture and the thing that made each image so visually powerful and important.

a common experience is not a hiking book, or a guide book. It is an autobiographical journey set in the Colorado landscape. Hiking and climbing in a common experience provide only the context and subject matter for my photographic interests, and the classroom where I was able to face fears, meet challenges, share experiences, and create a record that will hopefully be read by many.

Mile High Mountaineering Flatiron 38 - Backpack of the Gods!

OK, so it can take me a few times to get something right now and then. But, I can be a bit picky. I have been through three packs already this season and really, the season has not yet started.

It began innocently enough with a closeout Granite Gear pack. It was nice. A good pack but it didn't work out. Next came an Osprey pack. Osprey is one of the finest makers of backpacks and I have been using their gear for years. But, alas, it was not to be. The Kestrel looked good on paper but for various reasons it did not work for me. Mostly it was the lousy plastic back panel that bulged with a full pack.

Then a student in my Wilderness Trekking School class told me about a new Denver company called Mile High Mountaineering (http://www.mhmgear.com/). They are small. They only make three packs. They have only been in business since April 2011. But boy, they make a damn fine pack.


The Mile High Mountaineering Flatiron 38 Backpack.

(image courtesy Mile High Mountaineering)

The MHM Flatiron 38, at 38 liters, is for me a perfect size for a day pack. I have not measured its volume but it seems a BIG 38 liters. MHM has not cut any corners on this pack either. This rig is full-featured and contains several features simply not found on other packs.

I won’t go into details as to the Flatirons specs, features, etc. You can, and I urge you to do so, check out the MHM web site for a complete description of all their gear. I will say that the construction, materials, fit and finish are perfect. Its beautiful to look at and it carries loads quite well.

A few details I really like are the way that MHM has implemented the adjustable shoulder straps. You access Velcro adjustment straps from the inside of the pack. Very simple and MHM has even provided torso length measurements so if you have someone measure your torso, you may start directly with the actual measurement on the pack and see how it feels.

MHM has also provided huge zipper pulls so that you can zip/unzip while wearing gloves or mittens. There is a sturdy full length zipper down the front of the pack providing easy access to the pack innards without disgorging all your gear to get at that extra pair of socks at the bottom of the pack. There is a double row of gear loops (4 on each side) running down the front of the pack. It also, to my great surprise, incudes a rain cover. But with the water-resistant zippers I am not sure how needed a pack cover is.

MHM…Check em’ out. Like any good business, MHM of course is building product in order to make a living. But Jeff Popp (president) and the rest of the gang at MHM clearly want to be successful by building the best packs. I look forward to seeing their product line broaden.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gear Report

The Osprey Kestrel backpack has worked out well. I am not yet sold on the way the internal bladder works but the problems I have had may be a function of the way I pack. I think I just need to do some tuning. I have only used it twice for Wilderness Trekking School class.

Overall the Kestrel holds gear great and loads easily. The hip suspension is perfect. I think I need to do some shoulder strap adjustment to get it just so. But the hip belt is really comfortable.

The problem I have had with the internal bladder is that a full bladder causes the back panel to bulge out (into my back). What I think is happening however is that I pack my bivy inside parallel and directly against the bladder. When the pack is full the bivy pushes against the full length of the bladder and causes it to bulge against the back panel. I will try moving the bivy to the side and see if that helps next time I hike.

Time to whip up something to eat

I also picked up a GSI Halulite Minimalist cook set. GSI has cleverly designed several different cook sets for nearly every outdoor use. The Halulite Minimalist is specifically designed for a backpacker who just boils water for dehydrated meals and perhaps some coffer/soup/hot chocolate or similar.

The entire set cleverly nests with all the included components as well as a small gas cartridge and stove. I am using the Snow Peak Gigagpower stove. I have had this stove for years and it really works well. It folds up into a very tiny package and fits right inside the nested cook set. There are of course several other small foldup stoves that would work.


GSI Halulite Minimalist cook set (Image Courtesy GSI Outdoors)



Snow Peak Gigapower Stove (Image Courtesy Snow Peak)