Reviews

SPOT Connect turns smartphones into backcountry tweet machines
SPOT Connect turns smartphones into backcountry tweet machines

The SPOT Connect, unveiled at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, connects smartphones like iPhones, Blackberries and Android phones to satellites when they are off the cell phone grid. This provides a cheaper way to communicate from the backcountry than buying a full-on satellite phone.. The Connect, which is 3...

Jan 22, 2021
This little piggy stayed warm
This little piggy stayed warm

Call it “digital parity.” Toes, long maligned as stubby, incompetent fingers, are finally getting some respect. . Vibram now offers its Five Fingers line of toed shoes and since 2004 Injinji Footwear makes “toesocks” that give each toe its own cozy sleeve. Injinji claims that separating the toes is this way prevents between-the-toes friction and...

Jan 22, 2021
Summer Alps Chiller
Summer Alps Chiller

My friend Charles Sherwood and I were all set to climb the Walker Spur, one of the classic major alpine routes of the French Alps, when the weather changed dramatically.. It was summer, but the temperature dropped from a balmy 86 degrees to 41 degrees in the valley and it snowed down to an altitude...

Jan 22, 2021
Solar flares expected to distrupt GPS systems
Solar flares expected to distrupt GPS systems

Portrait of the sun taken on March 30th by the recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Shown in false-color, the composite view covers extreme ultraviolet wavelengths and traces hot plasma at temperatures approaching 1 million kelvins. Credit: NASA / Goddard / SDO AIA Team. The sun is awesome. It gives life. It blasts us with...

Jan 22, 2021
SPOT Satellite Communicator for Wilderness Texting Recalled
SPOT Satellite Communicator for Wilderness Texting Recalled

Spot has recalled the SPOT Satellite Communicator (on the left) because it fails to send messages in cold weather.. Spot is recalling its SPOT Satellite Communicator, a device that was supposed to allow the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w GPS to send and receive text messages from the backcountry via satellite.. A part which “does not...

Jan 22, 2021
Art from on high
Art from on high

During their years as nomadic climbers, Amee Hinkley and Renan Ozturk carried an unusual form of survival equipment. Packed in their bags, with food, shelter and climbing gear, were art supplies.. The couple roamed the globe together for half a decade, living from a car for long stretches and changing crags with the seasons....

Jan 22, 2021
Benoît Mandelbrot, rogue mathematician inspired by nature, dies at 85
Benoît Mandelbrot, rogue mathematician inspired by nature, dies at 85

Benoît Mandelbrot, a mathematician with a rogue streak who found beauty in the roughness of nature, died last Thursday at 85.. By all accounts, Mandelbrot was an iconoclast, willing to follow his own curiosity when the field of mathematics was headed in a different direction. Instead of joining the herd in pursuit of more accepted...

Jan 22, 2021
Leather brings durability to new weatherproof winter gloves
Leather brings durability to new weatherproof winter gloves

Leather gloves used to be for farmers and ditch diggers. Skiers and snowboarders eschewed animal hide in favor of nylon or some other weather-proof synthetic with a few Cordura patches sewn in for toughness.. Now, thanks to advances in fabric technology, that’s all changing. A number of manufacturers are using leather in construction of this...

Jan 22, 2021
Kokatat uses sun power to make water gear
Kokatat uses sun power to make water gear

Workers installing solar panels on the roof of Kokatat’s California factory.. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, water sports apparel manufacture Kokatat has installed a large solar array to power its factory in Arcata, California.. The company, best known for its water-proof outwear for kayaking, canoeing, sailing and other damp sports estimates the...

Jan 22, 2021
Kloofing Nuy River Gorge in South Africa
Kloofing Nuy River Gorge in South Africa

Canyoneering in Nuy River Gorge, South Africa. Photo by Stormy Sweitzer.. Following the second pitch of a five-pitch descent, I made the mistake of being overconfident on flat land. I tripped and landed hard on a rock on my left shin and hand. The pain was intense, but it was only when I sat up...

Jan 22, 2021
Hiking Point Lobos, a Monterey Bay Gem
Hiking Point Lobos, a Monterey Bay Gem

The meeting of the mist and the ocean has formed one of the most beautiful spots on earth, the collision of ocean and rock that is Point Lobos on California’s Monterey Bay.. Inspiration abounds in the vistas and tides of Point Lobos today as it has before any of us were around. A hike...

Jan 22, 2021
Glacier National Park turns 100 years old
Glacier National Park turns 100 years old

False-colored photograph taken in the 1930s of hikers on snow field returning from Grinnell Glacier, in Glacier National Park. Photo: National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection . Tomorrow marks 100 years to the day since Glacier National Park in Montana officially joined the US National Parks system.. On May 11, 1910, President William H. Taft...

Jan 22, 2021
The Death Grin
The Death Grin

Dragon carving from a temple in Yunan, China. . The dentist grinned at me. He was missing teeth. Several teeth.. He stood in front of a small, sturdy building in a dusty town in southwestern China, sharpening some kind of pointed tool on stone wheel. Like his stone-block office, he was short and sturdy,...

Jan 22, 2021
The Joys of Whistler Blackcomb
The Joys of Whistler Blackcomb

Two lucky skiers taking in the none-too-shabby scenery of Whistler Blackcomb. Photos by Gordon Metz.. Arriving in Whistler, I felt a “wow” coming on.. It’s very apparent upon approach that you are going to have a good time. I entered Whistler Village through a large, brick yard that is generally being crisscrossed by boots, whatever...

Jan 22, 2021
US trail system gets 716 miles longer
US trail system gets 716 miles longer

Map of the National Trail System in 2008. The system grew by 31 trails this year. Click on the map to enlarge.. Thirty one new trails in 15 states were added this week to the National Trails System, a federally managed network of trails, according to an announcement by federal officials.. The 716 miles of...

Jan 22, 2021
Go North, Young Man
Go North, Young Man

As of Sunday, March 21, Andrew Skurka, a 28-year-old long distance hiker and runner was 180 miles into a bold attempt to ski, hike and raft a unprecedented 4,700-mile loop through Yukon and Alaskan wilderness.. Nine days into his trek, which started in Kotzebue, Alaska, Skurak reported skiing quickly along a snowy trail. The...

Jan 22, 2021
Columbia Sportswear matron thwarts kidnapping attempt
Columbia Sportswear matron thwarts kidnapping attempt

Gert Boyle sporting the Born to Nag tattoo featured in Columbia Sportswear’s 1980s ad campaign.. Gert Boyle, the 86-year-old matron of Columbia Sportswear isn’t just tough – she’s crafty. When a would-be kidnapper forced his way into her home in West Lynn, Oregon, on November 10, Boyle set off a silent alarm under the pretense...

Oct 17, 2020