Friday, March 27, 2015

Cheating Death


Climbing: On the edge, pushing limits. Higher and higher, my world is air and a slippery ridge of ice covered rock. My head swims in exposure, as my vertical dance takes me closer...

Snow: Deep and heavy, never ending, mile after mile after mile. Thick as quick sand embracing my legs. Each exhausting step cements me further into the mountainside. Think light, sink less. If only I could fly…

The summit: A brief victory in a hostile place. Late in the day, dark and cold. So far from home, so far from the life I know…

The wind: Screaming, suffocating, unforgiving. Ears stinging, eyes tearing. Not a good day to die. Not a good day to die…

Descending: Hour after hour after hour. Joints aching, lungs burning as I stumble past each tombstone of rock. They are watching me, searching for my weaknesses. I will not stop. I will not give up...

Hypothermia: Cold...Cold…
I wrote this poem after a day long ordeal in hurricane force winds in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire in mid winter.  

Our Place in The Universe

When I was young, my father, a fairly wise man, taught my sister and I a geography lesson that was to stick with me throughout my life, he called it; our place on Earth...


He started by saying that we live in a vast thing called the Universe which for all we knew was infinite and unknowable and probably eternal. Leaving us to our thoughts and imaginations about that he directed us immediately to one important part of this massive landscape within our small minds which is our Galaxy, the Milky Way which I liked the sound of immediately. He said that we live within a collection of many stars, which are suns with planets revolving around them, some burning cold and others icy hot: I remember what a strange feeling I had to learn that we were not at the center of our own galaxy but on a spiral arm sort out on the edge. Beginning to feel more lost than found we got to something which began our path home; our solar system which I always believed could have had a grander name.


We learned each planet along our journey in an imaginary spacecraft home: Pluto, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars, then over the crest of our moon we saw our home, Earth. Third Rock from the Sun he would tell us about how conditions on Venus & Mercury the closer planets are much like the Earth was before it cooled. 


On Earth he took us from re-entry to our country on the North American Continent, to our state here in Massachusetts, to Boston and all the way to our Living Room. The final purpose being his way of teaching us our home address should we ever get lost; the result for me being that for the rest of my life I would compare everything that ever happened to me against the weight and gravity of my position in the Universe.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Dance of My Life Michael Coyne

My father had a heart attack while lying in my arms, he told me to reach for the stars…
So I found myself waking up in foreign countries and watched as our sun set from 12,000 feet high.
I fell in love and married an angel and have been with her nearly every moment since.

I almost died in a raging river of white water. I saw a volcano explode near a crowded Mexican City and an avalanche of snow rush down a mountainside in an icy desert of desolation.
I watched as lightening danced across an endless Canadian sky. I learned to swim, skate, ride a bicycle and a motorcycle, I learned to drive a sports car and an 18-wheeled tractor-trailer unit. I once flew a plane over an ex-girlfriends house.

I saw an American Bald Eagle stretch its wings and yawn, shortly after, I watched as a section of glacier collapsed into an Alaskan inlet, and how this startled a small seal sitting on a nearby iceberg.
I bottle fed a baby tiger that was curled up in my arms and held it steady as it got grumpy and tried to scratch my eyes out.

I have been behind bars and I have driven a police car. I bungee jumped, sky dove, climbed a frozen waterfall, and set out into a northern sea in a small narrow boat.
I walked against 100 mile per hour winds and struggled to breathe: Weeks later, a hungry wild bird ate crackers out of my hand, high on this very ridge.

I slept in a cave and on the side of a cliff, while standing at attention during the day, and all night long, while exposed to a pouring rain.
I drove a tank across a desert and faced my fears whenever they arose. I killed the most beautiful bird I ever saw with my bare hands, and it took me 15 years to cry over this.

I rode a horse in the Jungle and herded cattle in a Savannah. I bugged a bug and kissed a fish on the lips in an underwater cavern.
I danced at the end of a rainbow and touched an 8-foot Caribbean Reef Shark with an ungloved hand, from his gills, to the tip of his tail.
Crocodiles have surrounded me in South America and a boa constrictor was wrapped playfully around my neck for a photograph in Thailand.

I have been shot at, sliced with a knife; maced in my face and beaten unconscious, all within 20 miles of the house my mother raised me.

I climbed an unclimbed peak and named it Hope.

I smelled flowers and chocolate on a daily basis. I got on television numerous times and made the front page of my cities local newspaper.

I fished for Piranha and was the first to wake board a remote tributary of the Amazon River. Then I set the Guinness Book of World Records for the most useless luge endeavor down a steep 18,000-foot mountainside.

I watched stars as they fell from the sky over the world’s highest navigable lake and feared being taken hostage by a group of Bolivians afraid of their Government’s cruelty.

I drank wine and beer and tequila and once got so drunk I fell down.

I sat in the cockpit of a 747 jet as it flew over the Arctic Circle and played Santa Claus to the children of an Eskimo village there.

I ate gourmet food daily and rappelled face first down a 1000-foot cliff. I lifted heavy weights with the single obsession of growing big muscles all over my body; I then looked in the mirror at my success and thought I looked too skinny.

I watched a guilty man get set free and an innocent soul imprisoned. I watched a baby be born addicted to Cocaine at 2 AM in an inner city housing development, and I danced all night, every chance I could, to loud electronic trance music.

I touched silk and leather, diamonds and dirt, and have burned my flesh by accident, on more than one occasion.
I have always done my best to live everyday sensually and never to separate love from sex, and thus be comfortable with nudity and every other nuance of what it means to be human.

I saw the turn of the century and watched as a wall came down. I flew to Asia with the U.S. Marines in the name of peace. I saw two buildings collapse in the name of hatred.
I lost my spirit and found it again; it was right where it has always been, in my heart.

I found the meaning to my life became enlightened and now see how life and self are the same, and how you and I have always been one, despite meaningless evidence pointing to the contrary. I found out how love may not be what is always real, but it is what we wish were true in the deepest place in our minds, and that its what our minds wish to feel that becomes true, when we finally let it be.

With love, Michael

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Technology for hitting the trail, getting more from less.

My friend & Honorary Team member of Expedition Outreach, John Kolker is set to embark on an AT trail through hike to raise money & awareness in the fight against heart disease.  This article is dedicated to him. 

Technology is both a blessing & a curse for humanity but no matter what side of the fence you fall on, we have to admit it can enhance our experience of nature on extended hikes, bike tours & expeditions. I remember the days of carrying heavy satellite phones, laptops & large Motorola radios on expedition deep into the Alaskan wilderness of the Wrangell Mountains, all to broadcast live on television from our summit. I have dealt with all possible manners of technical difficulty. Back then I would have been the first one to make the argument that technology distracts us from the beauty of nature, but we have come so far in our advances that this new lightweight, mostly waterproof technology keeps us safer, happier & healthier, truly the power to enhance our experience on that long road through our own hearts to come back home once more.

My suggestions for a complete expedition technology inventory for a solo trip…  

·        A Smart Phone, preferably the new IPhone

·        A pair of waterproof wired headphones, EcoXGear

·        A waterproof case for phone check out the ECOPOD at EcoXGear.

·        A small Goal Zero solar system for recharging all your tech.

·        Contour Video/still camera with 2 extra batteries

·        DeLorme Explorer InReach

·        CamelBak Flow Meter

·        Princeton Tech Impulse (small, light but powerful flashlight) Hang this plus your Dermatone lip stuff right on your backpack to always have near.

·        Headlamp (Princeton Tec) (One that uses AA or AAA batteries & bring extra batteries in a zip lock baggie).

·        A Jaybird Rein Activity Tracker

·        Along with your favorite music in your Smart Phone add several Sound Technology Meditations from Brain Power Music & IAwake Technologies  

The hows & whys…

I use the IPhone, so based upon my own experiences, we will use that as an example though I understand most smart phones have similar APPs. It’s one piece of tech that does many things thus saving weight.

Add a pair of EcoXGear wired headphones, they do not need charging, they are totally waterproof, they weigh next to nothing & are stereo. There are several good waterproof cases out there I like the ECOPOD.  The IPhone has the following functions one might need.

·        An MP3 Player: With your favorite music, music is a performance enhancer & you will have LONG hours hiking or on the road. You have plenty of time to listen to nature but it’s also amazing to have a soundtrack playing. Music as a stimulant (when you need it most) instead of taking an actual stimulant.

·        Emergency safety distress beacon. Secondary to the DeLorme.

·        Contains maps of all the Trails & towns you will visit on your journey.

When meeting new friends on your trip you can use your phone to make notes & reminders, jot down names, exchange numbers, friend them on Facebook either then or later. You would not need a pen & paper as this serves that purpose. If you do carry a writing system bring a waterproof expedition notepad & NASA pen but with the Dragon Speaking Naturally APP you can go hands free! Check out the Trip Journal App.  

·        It’s a secondary altimeter, barometer & compass. A complete navigation & weather system.

·        A secondary backup watch & flash light

·        A calendar

·        A backup camera that posts directly to your Facebook page, & your group where people can follow you. It can pair with a DeLorme Explorer InReach so you can make posts to a Facebook page & live progress is possible! This along with MapQuest is a great feature to let friends, fans & family know where you are.

·        A weather APP gives more accurate weather readings than your barometer as you have professionals interpreting the drops & rises in pressure.  

·        Audio books allows you to read or listen to the books that you save in your IPhone & saves weight of a book, instead of bringing one, you can bring many. I recommend The Power of Now, Into the Void, Into Thin Air, The Perfect Storm, The Endurance, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Into the Wild, Marvel Comics, all classic trail reads…  

·        When resting you can make collages & edit your images so when you post they will be more interesting.

·        You can play games like Plants verses Zombies!

·        You can pare it with an activity tracker like The Rein by Jaybird    which gives you all kinds of health data.

·        I like the Map My Fitness & My Fitness Pal Apps to record calories burned & taken in to make sure I am eating & hydrating enough.

·        And so much more!

Along with music you can have sound meditations, they can cure insomnia, help bring you into the moment of now to increase appreciation, lift the blues on a rainy grey day & help you wake up in the morning.  

Speaking of hydration I recommend a CamelBak Flow Meter that fits right onto your CamelBak water bladder, a must to rehydrate properly.  Hydration is its own article but I just wanted to add this as it is technology.

Your primary camera should be all about telephoto because your IPhone excels at selfies & close range shots of new friends you meet along the way. Consider instead of or as an addition to, a Contour video camera which also takes these amazing wide angled photos that are similar to a Go Pro but I feel, better. Waterproof & fits in the palm of your hand. The Contour easily pares with your IPhone.

I carry an IPhone 5 but these new larger screen IPhone 6’s are better for reading your books & even watching videos.

This would be my system of technology all coupled with the appropriate Goal Zero Solar panel recharging system, they have many & it’s probably best to consult with them what is right for you once you select exactly what you will bring. I hang a small solar panel right off my backpack so something is always getting recharged up while I trek, climb, paddle or ride. Depending upon what you choose all this is only between ½ a pound & 1 ½ pounds total. Definitely worth the weight.

Friday, March 13, 2015

How to Plan an Expedition

How to Plan an Expedition

I have been planning expeditions since the mid 1990’s & have found that being organized is most important element of success. This led to my Expedition Planning Phases, they are briefly…

The Planning Phase – This is preceded by a time when you dream wildly & a time when you make practical how you will make your dream a reality. Try not to worry or be limited about things like money & time, just visualize & dream, there will be enough time for practicality later but first you have to know deep in your heart that this is what you want to do.  Dream big & set your goals just out of reach to force you to challenge yourself. Ask yourself “how will I use this expedition to become a healthier, happier person”? That’s the point of adventure, at least for me. Travel is more than rewarding, it’s enlightening & each expedition becomes a big part of who you are.

The Training Begins – Starts at the Planning Phase & doesn’t stop until 24 hours before you leave.  Depends upon the expedition you are preparing for, if it’s a cave, mountain, canyon, sea, river, desert or glacier you will travel across, so training for the specific activity & sport differs but one thing remains the same, general conditioning: Strength as in weight lifting & body weight exercise, cardiovascular fitness & endurance & flexibility which encompasses mental toughness like yoga. I often break this phase down into bricks, like triathletes do. The best way to train for the specific sport is either by doing the specific activity at an easier level closer to your home or by simulating the conditions you will face in nature. Try to train harder than what difficulties you will face on expedition. One does to a certain degree need to learn to perform well in ‘bad’ weather so there is no ‘bad’ training day; only opportunities to grow as a person & become more proficient & skilled.  

Training has four components to it, Strength which is weight training but also TRX or Crossfit, Boxing & lots of core work, Cardiovascular ‘heart & lung training for endurance & stamina, I find bike touring & running in races from 5K’s to marathons & triathlons helps keeps me motivated:  Flexibility which is training for both your body & your mind. I think Kundalini or Hot Yoga is the most challenging but any Yoga or stretching works. Then the fourth one is skills training, what you need to know specifically for the expedition.

Every expedition often has a mental component to it, a fear that must be overcome. Being extreme is a very relative thing so it is different for each of us, lately I have found that if I am experiencing too much adrenaline it is simply because I failed to train hard enough & specifically enough. 

The Expedition Itinerary Phase – Thanks to the Internet this phase has become so much easier; I remember hanging out at the Appalachian Club Boston Library going through old National Graphic magazines & journals from explorations of long ago. Now everything is on line. It’s about getting permissions, hotels, plane fares & any porters & services in country you might need. Maps, GPS, Sat & Cell phone coverage, Wi-Fi capabilities, transportation to & from the airport to hotels & campgrounds & more, all must be factored in. This is when things get real & you commit financially with a deposit & plane fare is always best to get well in advance.  

Be sure to plan not only the struggles but the pleasures as well. I like to research places to get a massage or local exotic healings, find places like nude beaches & the best places to go night clubbing, eat gourmet food, dive with Dolphins & other wildlife; plan your decadence & debauchery, whatever that means to you. Life is too short!  

The Expedition Inventory Phase – This phase is about knowing ahead of time what you need for the trip & slowly accruing it either through buying or getting sponsored for the right gear: Having the right gear, lightweight & versatile can make all the difference in the world between a memorable trip & a suffer-fest. Never take old equipment with you but never take anything that you have not broken in & trained with many-many times. Expedition is no place to try out something new! Less is best & light is right are general rules.  

I have check lists upon lists designed especially for every kind of expedition you can imagine. Be packed months in advance but view everything & check it off no later than a week before you leave so it’s fresh in your mind that what is on the list is actually in your bags. This goes hand in hand with the Sponsor Accrual Phase because you have to determine what it is you need to make this expedition a success.  

The Sponsor Accrual Phase - It all starts with the Press Release which can be created once your team has officially committed to the expedition. Once they have made a deposit to the team. Once the PR is tweaked then I usually use a shotgun approach & hit up hundreds of potential sponsors for items needed, this can be labor intensive: The other approach is a more of a marksmanship approach, one only asks for certain key items needed & focuses all their attention on a few potential sponsors. If your cause is worthy & your trip interesting enough, most outdoor retailers will offer at least a professional discount which is often more than half off. Be sure to return to them lots of reciprocal donations so they will continue to take care of you throughout the years.   

The Media Phase – This phase is where we promote both our sponsors & our expedition. At this point I train & I promote, that’s all I do. This is when I am not requesting anymore sponsorship however this is often when a potential sponsor hears about you! Don’t be afraid of a little shameless self-promotion, the squeaky wheel gets the grease & the media can be used for many important reasons beyond self-promotion, it is a place where one can raise money for charity & thank our sponsors: The more the better, it also gives you motivation being so committed on television & in the magazines, it all starts with a good press release. 

Believe it or not this can really help when you are actually on expedition, knowing that people are interested in you, knowing that good companies have sponsored you & have an interest in your success, use this to re-create & re-invent yourself.

Expedition allows me to be greater than myself. To live out a fantasy of whom I would like to be. It allows me a unique opportunity to express myself as hero or villain, healer or warrior. It’s my most treasured time of year. I view going on an expedition as a way of getting lost, for as Henry David Thoreau said, it is not until we are lost, can we begin to understand ourselves, they are like a miniature lifetime, compressed or perhaps accelerated to the point of experiencing every possible human emotion in just a few short weeks”

The Charity Process – Not every expedition raises money for charity but everyone I lead does, for me it gives a value to the trip that would have otherwise been missing. We use the media to raise money & awareness. This is simple enough, just some Facebook & other social media posts asking friends to go to a website & help out this charity. Having a charitable component to an expedition makes it worth sponsoring. Actually raising money is great but also using the media attention you get for your expedition to raise awareness is also helpful & it makes what you are doing more important to the world. I can’t imagine asking for sponsorship without giving something back in this fashion.   

The Expedition: Climbing, shooting video & photos & broadcasting trip reports on Facebook & our websites. Problem solve as a team with emphasis placed upon each team members specialty or job on expedition. As Expedition Leader I find my teams strengths & then appoint them as leaders in that field this is the best way to lead, by getting out of peoples way & letting them lead themselves, to a large extent. If everyone has done their training & homework the Expedition Leader can just ride the wave of positive energy & excitement of the team. 

Reciprocal Donation Phase - Give back to those who supported you, more than what you received from them. They receive hundreds to thousands of requests for donations a month & they chose you, outdoor outfitters & gear companies are some of the most generous well-meaning business practices this world has. Blow their minds with some really good PR for their company & don’t stop promoting them even though you got what you needed. Few people will heed this advice but those that do will often have more sponsorship in the future & have a few marketing reps as your new friends.   

The whole process normally takes me a year.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Essentials of Mountaineering - Updated!

The 10 essentials of hiking, or anytime you don a pack & venture into the wilderness. Tried & true or outdated? Having led expeditions for over 15 years I would humbly offer that its time we tweaked this list a bit. Light is Right in the mountains & ‘stuff’ we pack adds up in weight. This can be dangerous because it slows you down if a storm rolls in, let alone avalanche conditions change. So as mountaineers we make compromises: Here’s the original list is: Map/compass/GPS, whistle, extra water & food, rain gear/extra clothing, fire starter/matches, first aid kit, knife/multi-purpose tool, flashlight w/ extra batteries, sunscreen & sunglasses. Not bad, but here’s my modifications with some of my favorite suppliers of gear for everything from expedition proven to just fun in the outdoors!
First a word about technology… Technology is great but consider the technology the backup & don’t overly rely on it. Also plan to keep your tech dry & warm in small neoprene & fleece cases & bags, & have extra batteries or a system like Goal Zero Solar panels so you can charge your tech outside!
Map, yes if you don’t have a clear trail & know the area like the back of your hand, I hike all the time in my home mountains without one but yes, a map. Compass, ok but only if you are really good at orienteering, you have to train with it or it’s just a piece of dead weight. I use an altimeter watch sometimes with & also without a map, depending upon my familiarity with the territory. GPS is awesome right? But can stop working if it gets cold. I really like The DeLorme Explorer InReach Satellite Communicator, they also make great GPS Units.
Whistle; not all are created equal. On expedition we use Midland Hand Held Radios: but I also have an emergency whistle from Adventure Medical Kits attached right on my backpack. The ones made for kayaking & SCUBA diving are lighter & louder than most.
My backpack is usually an Osprey or CamelBak Pack with a built in Hydration Bladder & rain fly. The built in Hydration & Rain Fly are the items that I would consider essentials for any serious trek or adventure, also my Leki Trekking Poles but that’s just a personal choice, they make hiking easier & I can keep a better pave with them!

Extra water: Yes but how much is the real question. Food & water can add pounds not ounces. Along with my built in hydration bladder where I put my fresh water, I also carry a wide mouthed Nalgene bottle to use with a high energy electrolyte Carbohydrate drinks such as my personal favorite, BRL Sports TriFuel. If it’s cold out place the bottle upside down so the mix freezes from the bottom up!

A water filter: Try a superlight water filter like Life Straw, or an Eco Vessel water bottle with a built in water filter, then check the map where a stream may be & fill up your bladder & your water bottle with high energy nutritional powders. I put my snacks where they are accessible like in a side pocket on my pack or a Ribz Front Pack, also a great place for your small digital camera which is not a necessity but an important luxury, I use a water proof Nikon Coolpix AW110 & keep it warm in my front pack wrapped in my fleece gloves. for a Life Straw  

Extra Food: We used to get our condensed nutrition from loafs of bread, cheese & logs of salty meat, but today we can do much better, now we have super nutrition like high protein Ostrim Jerky, protein bars & food supplements to keep us moving. Just remember, Chocolate is health food in the mountains.
Wear Layers: During the 3 seasons all you need is a super light rain system like a 1 ply Gortex jacket, maybe late fall early spring the same light system only bring the bottoms. Full on winter 1 piece altitude suits rule but many like a 3 ply Gortex jacket bib or pant system. I have a nice set from Red Ledge that is really light weight, too much extra clothing will weight you down, in the old days we brought changes of socks because boots back then were not all that waterproof, but now a days boots are very reliable, Five Ten is my favorite but we all have a brand that fits us best. I add a Spenco insole especially designed to add additional warmth & a Forty Below overboot in arctic conditions. Most of the time a nice gaiter boot combo like the tailor made gaiters Hillsound makes you so waterproof you don’t need the extra socks unless fording rivers is in your itinerary. Multi-day trips do require extra socks & I use Thorlo exclusively, they cater to mountain sport athletes by designing socks for every particular type of mountaineering, altitude, trail running, skiing, snowboarding, you name it they have a sock for it! Clothing is all about layering & that’s what we do, I use Terramar underwear because it looks cool as outer wear too as so often happens when backpacking for days on end. Terramar has high warmth to weight ratio & several of their tops have hoods so with a baseball hat you are all set in pouring rain.

  • Winter extras include a BekoGear nose guard & Cold Avenger face mask, a Smith Goggle with a turbo fan & extra batteries for it but mostly I use my Oakley prescription Sunglasses year round, the Split Jackets make great glacier glasses. I carry a Terramar light weight Balaclava, no heavy hats. For gloves I use Hot Fingers since 1995 from Swany Gloves & always carry an extra fleece glove with me from Marmot.

Fire starter? I have never carried matches; I do what many climbers do, use electrical tape to secure a lighter around my neck attached to a thin perlon necklace made with a double fisherman’s knot. You can also carry your Dermatone lipstuff here as well. Sunscreen from Dermatone also protects against wind burn & frostbite. They come in nice lightweight small bottles. Matches have never worked for me, even windproof ones seem to fail when you need them most, like in alpine zone hurricane force winds. Keep your lighters warm & have 2 backups if you are going to be out long. Fire Starters can also be helpful.
First aid kit, you actually need very few items in a small Adventure Medical Kit. Most useful, moleskin enough for others too, a few Band-Aids & a multi trauma dressing, tape & maybe an adhesive wrap. That’s it, all the rest of the room in the kit is for medication, your personal meds that you may need if you get caught out for the night & a few life saving ones like pain killers, altitude medicine & a stimulant like a few caffeine pills, these can make the difference between life & death, especially at altitude or climbing alone. Add any prescription meds & medical conditions you may have on a small laminated piece of paper here & in a pocket. Or, easier still use Road ID, like runners do, around your ankle or wrist.

I rarely carry a knife unless rock climbing, then it’s a Spyderco. A small light weight multi-purpose tool only if camping, select one carefully, they range in weight from heavy to sort of light. If all your systems of food, water & clothing are tweaked then you simply will not need a big old survival knife. Even if you had one you need to know wilderness survival skills to actually know how to use it in such a way that it’s useful.
No Flashlights ever, take a tip from Cave Divers & keep your hands free, headlamps rule. I have a Mammut or Petzl headlamp with either a new battery or a backup one. Be sure to keep that extra battery warm! Check out Princeton Tec for all manners of great lighting solutions, for bike touring, hiking SCUBA diving & more. Mammut makes great clothing as well as climbing gear & Petzl has every manner of technical rock & ice climbing gear you’ll ever need! Any secondary light source is either something like a candle lantern for camping or a really small bright LED thing like the type you play with cats with, Princeton Tec makes these really powerful ones that weight next to nothing.


So that’s the list but I would add a Parachord Bracelet like an Airborne Ron’s High Speed Parachords & a Gortex bivy sack. It’s basically a body bag & weighs almost nothing but when you need shelter it could save your life. It doubles as a waterproof sleeping bag cover & if you meet someone injured on the trail you put them in it while they wait for help to arrive. This single item I feel is the most important thing a wilderness explorer should have with them. They range from OR Double Bivy’s which have hoops that take the material off your face & are basically a 4 season mini tent for 2 people, single person hooped sacks & really basic ones that are lightest. I like Black Diamonds Bivy Sacks. If you are on vertical terrain, be sure to carry a Carabineer & anchor for it. CAMP USA makes the lightest Biners in the world & webbing is half the weight it used to be.

In winter on long climbs it makes sense to add a lightweight stove like a 1 person Jetboil stove with a small canister of gas. & 1 bag of mountain house food, even if you don’t plan on camping it could turn an unplanned bivouac epic into fairly comfortable unplanned night out under the stars!

Titanium & air craft aluminum crampons & ice axes scale weight down drastically CAMP USA has some of the lightest technical climbing gear also Hillsound makes a nice super light trekking crampon that’s easy to don with gloves on. Sterling Ropes makes Dry Core Alpine Touring ropes at 9.2 mm which is an amazing savings on weight & they don’t get heavier when wet! Misty Mountain Has the best lightweight alpine harnesses’ without the frills of their big wall or sport climbing harnesses so if glacier traveling is your thing you can have all the same protection without the bulk. Last but not least, when you need a snow shoe Northern Lites makes snowshoes that are the lightest you will find, they make all others seem like boat anchors by comparison but still grip the mountain just as well!

The difference between successful professional mountaineers & explorers & people who hike for fun & often experience discomfort is the willingness to take the time out from the hike to hydrate, eat, apply lip stuff & sunscreen, even when you are tired & want to press on, cold because you are exposed to full on winds & distracted by your goal of reaching your goal of the summit or other destination & then returning quickly to the comfort of your car or home. I hope you enjoyed my wilderness survival tips & gear reviews. J Check out our group Wild Heart Expeditions on Facebook at

Expedition Outreach: The Wild Heart Virtual Race-A-Thon

Expedition Outreach: The Wild Heart Virtual Race-A-Thon: Virtual Racing, Real Distances! Run a virtual race to fight heart disease.

Our virtual races are only going until May, & the medals are going fast, so be sure to sign up for a race today; you run, walk, hike, swim, or bike pretty much anywhere for whatever distance you select, then your $35.00 entry fee/donation gets you a Finisher's Medal & lots of free stuff as well as a raffle entry for even more outdoor adventure gear! To participate go here…