CLIMBING MOUNT SAINT HELENS

The first time I heard of Mount Saint Helens was when I was 10 years old. It had just erupted and my family and I were getting ready to move to Seattle from Detroit, Michigan. It was both excited and frightened. The wild west coast was something with mountain ranges and oceans and erupting volcanoes. Twenty years later I was living in Portland when I first climbed Mount Saint Helens. My friend Jim and I drove to Cougar, Washington, and went to the local bar and grill where they held a lottery for permits to climb the mountain. Nowadays you can go online a purchase the permit; ahh technology. We won the lottery, got our climbing permits, and slept the night in his Jeep, which sucked because Jim neglected to tell me snores a water buffalo. Now I don’t know if water buffalos snore, but I imagine that if they did they would sound like Jim. The next morning we headed out on the trail with spirits high. The hike was about 5 miles and gained 4,500 feet. The trail wove through the woods until we got to a huge field of boulders. Hopping from boulder to boulder for awhile it finally thinned out. Next came the pumice and ash. It was slow going. You would take one step and slide back half a step. It was overcast and snowing. We kept going for what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly we pushed through the clouds and it was bluebird sky. It was a gorgeous day on top of the mountain. We could see Jefferson, Hood, Rainier, and Adams poking out over a sea of clouds. We sat for awhile soaking in the view and headed down. Looking back it was one of the best days of my life. I highly recommend it.

Andrew and Dan ascending.

Recently I was talking to two guys from the shop, Andrew and Dan, who climbed Mount Saint Helens back in June. Both moved to Portland a few years ago from New York state. They didn’t know each other, but weirdly attended the same college. Andrew has been snowboarding since he was 8 years old. He loves pizza. His favorite topping; just cheese. He’s a purist. Dan has been skiing since he was 5 and snowboarding since he was 13. His favorite food; chicken wings. Favorite sauce; the time-honored Hot Buffalo. Another purist. Pizza and wings. Classic New York.

Andrew on the ascent.

They camped overnight and hit the trail at 4:00 am. They took the Worm Flows Route which is almost 11 miles and ascends nearly 5,700 feet. Andrew was using his Arbor Coda Splitboard with Burton Hitchhiker bindings. Dan was skiing on Rossignol Soul 7 HD Skis and Marker F12 Tour EPF Bindings. Dan actually hiked up in his Rossignol Alltrack Pro 120 ski boots. They both had Dakine Heli Pro 24L Backpacks loaded with water, snacks, shovels, avalanche probes and Pieps tranceivers. The ascent took them about 6 hours. They were on the summit by noon. It was perfect weather. Blue sky all around. They hung out awhile drinking it all in and then came the fun part. The descent.

Dan at the summit.

Andrew contemplating his descent.

They took their time enjoying the ride down. It took them about and hour and a half to cover about a 4000 ft. descent. For both of them it was their first real big mountain. They both said they had the time of their lives. Cheers Gentlemen.

Dan and Andrew at the summit.

WHAT’S IN YOUR PACK-SNOWBOARDING

I remember back when I used to go snowboarding, I don’t anymore, too many gapers on the mountain. I would get up at 4:30 a.m., turn on the T.V., pop in a snowboarding video to get stoked, and pack my pack. Since I don’t snowboard anymore, I had Michael, a U.S. Outdoor snowboarder, tell me what he puts in his pack.

The first thing you need is a pack. Michael rocks a Burton Day Hiker 28L. It has enough room to carry everything you need for a day on the mountain. One of the most important things that I always have on me is a beanie. Probably because I’m bald. There is nothing worse than cold raindrops on a bald head. Michael likes the Burton Waffle Beanie. Always carry an extra pair of socks. He likes the Burton Merino Phase Socks. Always go for the Merino wool. It just sounds cooler. When it comes to keeping your hands warm I would go for gloves. They give you the freedom to give certain gestures. No not that one, the hang loose sign brah. But Michael likes the Dakine Team Baron Mitt. Mitts just keep your hands warmer than gloves. Next for a good piece of layering clothing he wears the ThirtyTwo Rest Stop Polar Fleece. When he gets too warm he just takes it off and stashes it in his pack. One of the most essential pieces of equipment a snowboarder has are goggles. Michael likes the new Anon M2 Goggles. You can change your lenses quickly with the new magnetic lens interchangeability. You need a good tool if something goes wrong with your bindings on the mountain. Like when your beginner girlfriend decides she is actually goofy foot on the top of Palmer. A good one to use is the Dakine Stance Driver. Hydrate or die. You need liquids when you are riding. The Hydroflask water bottles are the best. They keep hot things hot and cold things cold. Trust me I have two. Now we come to one of the most important things to have in your pack; snacks. Michael alway carries Cliff Bars. Now personally I’m a Milky Way man. I can hear all you Snickers people out there, but I just don’t like nuts in my candy. It just seems weird to me. These are just a few suggestions for things you need in your pack for a day on the mountain. If you take issue with any of them, don’t tell me. Take it up with Michael. It’s his list.

U.S. Outdoor Presents: Fast Times At White Owl High

Time flies when you’re having fun, so why slow down? Catch the tasty waves and a cool buzz because the summer has just begun. It is time to celebrate for no other reason than to be in the sun with friends, drinking beer and playing games as surf videos and surf music fill the air with good vibrations.

On July, 23rd, The U.S. Outdoor Summer Surf Party will wash ashore on the beaches of the White Owl Social Club. Your favorite brands such as: Vans, Volcom, RVCA, Brixton, Lib Tech, Billabong, Xcel, VONZIPPER and more will be in attendance. Prizes will be awarded, like a custom Murdey Surfboard and a whole lot more. Sound waves will be provided by the returning Don & The Quixotes and DJ Danny Corn, so don’t miss out. This is sure to be a good time.

Click here for more details

U.S. Outdoor Presents FastTimes at White Owl High

US Outdoor Beach Party!

The time to party is upon us! Time to party as hard as we can before the long summer days fade to long dark nights. Before the heat turns to hundreds of millions of drops of rain mixed with a thick grey fog. Before we switch from tank tops to down jackets and so on and so forth.

… But seriously, it is time for you to hang out with us at Rontoms Bar (600 East Burnside Portland, OR 97214), Wednesday, August 7th. We will be setting up shop and hosting our annual US Outdoor Beach Party that is FREE to attend. Yes, free! There will be games, prizes and drink specials to set the mood along with surf videos and live music performed by The Lonesome Billies and Don & The Quixotes! Whiskey drinkin’ saddle tunes mixed with twangy surf rock? Yes please. Some of our favorite brands will be hanging out too! Vans, RVCA, Xcel, Electric, Murdey Surfboards, Lib Tech, Poler, Volcom and more! IT’S A PARTY, PEOPLE! 8pm, be there.

US Outdoor Beach Party Poster

2012 – The Best in Back to School Daypacks

Gallery

This gallery contains 14 photos.

It’s that time of year again. While going back to school may not be everyone’s favorite thing, choosing the right backpack is a sure way to make a year’s worth of learning suck way less. When it comes to picking … Continue reading