After a fitting finale to the ski season with a motley crew on Torreys’ Tuning Fork, it was officially time to switch into summer mode. I generally always welcome the transition with open arms, and this season was no different. While skiing peaks is without a doubt my favorite thing to do in the mountains, there’s something freeing about exchanging the plastic boots and heavy pack for a pair of comfy trail shoes and a light rucksack, and heading out for a day of unimpeded peak bagging under sunny summer skies. Read more…

Mt. Guyot sits on the Continental Divide 7 miles south of the Keystone Ski Area and 4 miles west of Jefferson Lake. The peak was named after Arnold Henry Guyot, a Swiss geologist who emigrated to the United States in 1848 and was eventually hired on as a professor of geography at Princeton University. Like many Front Range peaks, Mt. Guyot has multiple personalities. Steep faces studded with cliffs comprise its southern aspect, and its east ridge route is exposed and can be challenging in certain conditions, but from the north, Guyot is relatively easy to access and friendly in character. Keep reading…

I’ve been in the market for a hooded softshell that can bridge the gap between burly inbounds jacket, breathable and functional touring jacket and something to wear around town when the weather gets a little brisk. After years of searching, I think I’ve finally found the right match in the Stio Vescent Softshell jacket. But first, a little background on the jacket and on Stio as a company, as it too, has been a gear company I’ve been waiting for quite some time.

Background

In 2007, I stumbled upon a nice looking, versatile “fleece” on the clearance shelf at REI with a Cloudveil logo on the chest. It was referred to at the time as the Cloudveil Gridlock Fleece with Windstopper technology that was used for the better part of 5 years as a do-it-all jacket in all seasons. I also owned a Cloudveil Koven “Hardshell” that had an innovative “Cloudburst stretch” material that gave it the feel and function of a softshell, but also contained the waterproofness of a hard shell with pit-zips. It seemed like the most versatile piece of gear on the market at the time. Unfortunately, Cloudveil as a company couldn’t find enough of the right niche, and eventually, after shutting their doors at the Flagship store in Jackson and changing hands between one ventured capitalist after another, the present company is a shell of its former self with offices somewhere in New England and a much smaller lineup of clothing. Keep reading…

For those who are unfamiliar, Mt. Meeker sits three quarters of a mile southeast of the undisputed monarch of the Front Range, Longs Peak. Together they are often referred to as the “Twin Peaks” of Rocky Mountain National Park, and indeed the two are so intertwined that if Meeker were 130 ft shorter in stature, it wouldn’t be considered its own peak at all but rather an unranked offshoot of Longs. When viewing both peaks from the Denver/Boulder area, it’s tough to make out where Meeker ends and Longs begins, and so most people just resort to believing they’re looking up at Longs. Keep reading…

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