June Employee Gear Closet
Hud Knight's gear picksby Hud Knight
Hud Knight, one of our buyers, gives us a peek in his gear closet this month. He's into skiing, kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking. Check out his picks for Summer 2005:
Perception Carolina airlite series kayak - This is one of the smoothest rides on the coast.
Perception Lanakai 12.5 - For those who want to play in the surf or just enjoy a serene paddle across the sound.
Werner Sherpa bent shaft paddle - The quick action of the bent shaft and affordability could lend this to be one of the best all around paddles on the market.
Lotus Core Skin Shirt - Whether using it as a rash shirt for surfing or a base layer for 3 season paddling, this puppy is one of the most useful pieces in my wardrobe (if you can call it a wardrobe).
Salomon XA Pro 2 - One of the best shoes I have ever worn in terms of fit and performance.
CamelBak HAWG - I think the name says enough in itself! This is the tower of power of hydration units.. Whether biking the epics or doing a little summer alpine assault.
Black Diamond Moonlight headlamp - Why venture into the night without the Moonlight? This light will not only burn forever, pack lightly, and save your ass when you don't make it in before night on that big ride…It will allow you to find that beer hidden in the bottom of the cooler late night!
Camp USA ultra light crampon and axe set - I probably wouldn't have understood the value of this until I was half way up Tukanukavitz in the La Sals….On nearly bullet-proof hard pack/verglass, I found the crampons (which I questioned bringing initially) to be my saving grace…This set is essential far any light mountaineering and ski mountaineering year round.
Jet boil Personal Cooking System - Okay, this thing just has too many damn uses to count. Whether you are solo on the pacific crest or needing a cup of joe at the top of your favorite peak, jetboil to the rescue!
The North Face Base Camp Duffel - I'm not sure if this falls into the gear category, but by far one of the most useful GEMS in my arsenal..Whether you are hitting the airport to the beach or heading up to base camp for the assault, this is the bag for you.
Cloudveil Serendipity Jacket - I own roughly 20-25 jackets and there is one that gets more use than all of the others…Guess which? This is the ultimate year round piece that I cannot leave at home.
Chaco Z/1 Colorado Sandal - I probably don't need to justify this pick..What can I say? The best all around sandal ever made…I have had these since the were owned by Gecko and then bought by chaco…Unbelievable durability!
Here's an epic tale from Hud, for your reading pleasure:
A couple of friends and myself decided on an early summer ski / light mountaineering day on nearby Mt Superior. Being that it was June, the snow was thin in coverage to say the least, and plenty of large cliffs were exposed for our descent. The standard south face was the original line we decided to ski, but after summiting plans changed quite quickly.
We were moving a little slower than we had anticipated and the clouds began to fill the formerly bluebird sky. While waiting for the final members of the party to reach the summit, clouds thickened virtually eliminating any visibility we formerly had. Light rain and sleet then began to fall turning to heavy rain and sleet quite rapidly. I was already thinking that it was time to get down ASAP when a strange noise began to surround me.
It was a low pitched humming sound that I soon discovered was coming from the vibrating edges of the skis that were still secured on my pack. I ducked down and the noise subsided. As soon as I stood again on the arête, the humming became louder. I had just turned into the human lightning rod! In an effort to avoid being struck, I scrambled down the ridge to a low point above a couloir just a the bolts started to fly.
At this point I was in a torrential downpour / lightning storm on top of a cliff terraced peak with about 3000' vertical between me and the road. Still working my way down the ridge, I happened on a chute known as Pinball Alley. Figuring this was my best shot to connect to the lower snowfields without too many cliffs, I proceeded to down climb into the chute when all hell broke lose. The lose rock that I was down climbing released from the wall due to the massive rain eroding around it. I proceed to drop upside down and backwards about 15 feet to the snow band at the top of the chute. Now I was careening down the chute head first with my skis still secured to the pack. I saw the walls flying by as I continued to gain speed. The other small issue was the 30-40 footer at the bottom of the chute which was coming up quickly. With a final burst of energy I managed to spin myself around and slammed into the wall of the couloir.
Due to the time of the year and quite a bit of heating and cooling, there was a gap between the rock wall and the snow. Still tumbling, I dropped into the gap which brought me to a jarring halt. Still shaken and dazed, I remained somewhat wedged in this space until my friend Greg appeared at the top of the gap. "Holy $%@# ! You're alive!" he exclaimed. He proceeded to help me out and we skied out the remainder of the shot. I've been fairly gun-shy about spring storms after this harrowing experience..