I was lucky enough to get two whole months off of work, so I decided that a trip to the new HPG world headquarters was in order. I packed up the car and drove out to Grand Junction and linked up with the Hill brothers to enjoy some good Colorado scenery. I tagged along with Evan on this trip into the West Elks, which marks my first backpacking trip into the Rockies. Although it was a short one, I really enjoyed the trip, and came away with an appreciation for a part of the country that I haven't yet spend much time in.
It was a short hike in, which allowed Evan and I to set up camp and still have a fair amount of daylight left to go do some hiking.
We were camped in a Seek Outside Backcountry shelter. It was plenty big for the two of us. The stove we used was an Evan Hill constructed stove lovingly called "The Little Pig".
Taking in the sights from our camp
Evans base mapping GPS phone app was really handy while we were remabling around.
The mountain serape made a great layering piece for hanging around camp, as well as hanging out while glassing and eating lunch. Temps were in the mid-30's during the day, but the wind definitely made things pretty cold at times. It was nice to be able to hunker down and enjoy a hot meal while we stopped for a break to take in the scenery.
Notes/Stuff I carried:
Pack: Kifaru Longhunter frame w/ HPG shoulder harness and modified stays, HPG Silnylon pakpag w/ highlander and compression kit.
Bedroll: North Face Snowshoe 0*, NeoAir large pad, montbell pillow, Mountain Serape (used as overbag at night). I was almost too warm with this setup.
Clothes: REI Acme softshell pants, Ibex merino hoody, Arc'Teryx Atom LT hoody, Arc'Teryx wraith windshirt, Smartwool base layer, Thorlo/Smartwool socks. Arc'Teryx belt. REI One gloves
Boots: Solomon Quest 4D Gore-Tex boots (These did well, but this will be their last trip. The boots wetted out from snow/sweat. Comfortable though)
Kahtoola Micro Spikes- These were MANDATORY. They allowed us save travel across a trail heavy with slick glaze ice. Travel would have been slow and dangerous without them. Evan and I took to hanging ours off of our belts with grimlocks for quick access while on the trail.
Cooking/Eating: MSR Titanium Kettle, Trangia alcohol stove w/ home made wire pot stand and wind screen, Hydroflask bottle for hot beverages. Incidentally, I filled my hydroflask with hot water right before bed, and put it in the foot of my sleeping bag. It radiated a small amount of heat throughout the night, and was pretty warm in the morning. This allowed us to have hot water pretty quick in the morning via the wood stove.
Katadyn Hiker Pro filter- Love this thing, easy to use and good output
REI trail chair- really really nice for lounging in camp and on the trail. Doubles as extra insulation when laid flat at night.
Camera: Panasonic GF-1 carried in my right side canteen pocket on the belt for quick access.
Springfield 1903A3 scout rifle