"Fat Camp" in Da Wadd

Back from The Waddington Range and several pounds lighter. A full trip report and pictures will be forthcoming but work and life seem to be getting in the way. Needless to say it was a very productive trip with lots of new climbing. I should have it published before the weekend is out (honest).

In the meantime I thought I’d mention some of my fave bits of gear from this and other trips this year:

Smartwool Shadow Hoody – A mid/base layer with a hood. Yes really! I’ve worn this on several colder routes this year and it’s been great. I’m a big fan of hooded tops for alpine climbing, the Patagonia Mix Master jacket for instance. This completes the system giving me a base layer and head and neck warming possibilities. I got this as an Xmas present from The Susan… it rocks!

MSR XGK EX – The latest incarnation of MSR’s old faithful expedition stove. The flexible fuel line makes packing easier although I’ll need to build a new stove base to attach it to. Initially I was worried by the holes in the base of the stove and the possibility of fuel leaking out when priming but this doesn’t seem to be a problem. The other big difference is the legs and pot holder arms which are much larger and beefier making the stove much more stable.

Quarks – I’ve blogged about quarks in the alpine before. They went on this trip and again met expectations on bigger steeper routes. My BD Shrikes sat at basecamp while the Quarks had all the fun.

North Face VE-25 – The North Face doesn’t really have a great reputation amongst climbers these days, mainly after it’s disasterous excersion into street fashion in the 90s. Simeon brought this tent on our Yukon trip last year and it made it’s second appearance in The Waddington.

The VE-25 is very similar to my old Wild Country Hyperspace but the design has been around for a long time and has undergone many refinements. From the flourecent zipper tags to the mesh pockets for drying gear in the ceiling panels it’s packed with nice features. The fly is well thought out with lots of guying points and some snow valences around the porch. In short it isn’t going anywhere in a storm.

On the minus side I had a GSI Mini Espresso Maker on this trip. Previously I’ve been pretty impressed with their products; a four cupper and their hard anodized boiler. The espresso maker didn’t come upto scratch. The metal filter buckled under the pressure and the copper tube bent far to easily. I’m told both of these are common issues. I returned it and will replace it with one of those old style Italian jobs. Weight isn’t an issue as I never really carry it anywhere.