With a new season upon us, back country skiers everywhere are digging through their closets and bringing season-appropriate gear back to the front and getting stuff like mountain bike equipment out of the way. Seems like we forget where we put the beacon, shovel, repair kit, etc. Of course, skins are part of the search and, once found, a quick inspection often reveals crappy skin glue that you can no longer ignore.
One of the problems about favoring light gear, clothing included, is that every aspect of the gear is light. This includes the zippers. With light zippers comes small zipper pulls, not something I relish in winter clothing where tugging on these things often involves gloved hands. This usually leads to some low-level cursing and removal of gloves to get the job done.
The early snow of October kept my gaze toward the high peaks most of the month. Some friends got out right after the storm and skied powder on the Middle Teton Glacier. It looked fantastic although they didn't ski from the top of the "notch" below the summit pyramid. Various commitments kept me from getting up there right away but a window opened a couple of weeks later and I rallied the usual suspects for a look-see.
It's one thing to carve up your own gear but entirely another to permanently modify someone else's. I recently took a Dremel Tool to a brand new pair of skis which I purchased for a friend last spring. He lives in Europe much of the year and wanted me to pick out and buy a pair of skis for him during one of the end-of-the-season sales we have in Jackson. So, I found a pair of sweet Trab Stelvios for about 40% off. Although nice right our of the box, they still needed some refinement.
Dane Burns is a machinist with an unquenchable thirst for cold and scary alpine and ice climbing. He writes about it frequently on his blog, www.coldthistle.blogspot.com. Bloggers in the climbing world seem to find each other with some regularity. I read Dane and he reads me. Not too long ago, he commented about my Petzl Quark ice tools which he noticed in some pictures of me climbing the Black Ice Couloir. He implied that my set-up was less than ideal and he could offer me an upgrade of his own creation. Cool.