Forum Index » Post-Trip Reports » Yellowstone / Beartooths Trek


Display Avatars Sort By:
Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Photos: Ryan's Yellowstone Hike on 09/28/2005 01:52:56 MDT Print View

This is a long and bandwidth-rich post. It will take some time to download because of the photos.

---
OK, settling down now post hike. Here's a few photos and annotations on gear, the trip, weather, etc.

Overall, this was one of the most satisfying walks I've done in awhile. Not a lot of distance, still only 90% from my back injury. Hiked up to about 10-11 miles/day, could've done a little more, but not much more than that at this time.

We spent 9 days out, with one layover day (day 4) so my Jewish hiking partner could observe the Sabbath (Saturday). I spent the day hiking and fishing the valley near our camp.

I hit the trail with 21 pounds including food, my partner had 26 or so. I skimped on food big time, hoping to make up the calories by catching trout. The temperatures were quite cold, we had some wet and very cold weather, and I was worried about the fishing. The fishing was tough, but manageable and calorie wise my gamble paid off. I averaged about 16-18 oz of food per day, not including fish, which I ate on 4 of the days.

Weather was quite good - not a lot of precipitation - but cold. We had nights cold enough that our full Platypus bottles were mostly frozen by morning. My X6 watch, laid near me and under my tarp, read 21-23 degrees on those mornings. Ambient temperatures were likely a little colder than that. We had 2.5 days of pretty foul and very cold/wet weather: always rain, but temperatures down to 30 degrees. Due to an inversion, the precip stayed as rain where we were during those days (in valleys). We did walk through snow on the high passes from that storm.

OK, on to the pics:



1. Stealth Zero NANO Tarp @ Pebble Creek, Yellowstone National Park. This was our first night's camp, one of the most little-used campsites in Yellowstone National Park, on Pebble Creek. It is perched on a nice bench and has an impressive "bay window" view of the Pebble Creek Valley. The tarp is the new Stealth Zero NANO, 4.2 oz! I was way more impressed with the NANO fabric than with the LITE (spinnaker) fabric. It is more waterproof, less bulky (folds nicer), and plenty strong for gusty winds and 3-season ultralight backpacking. Also, it doesn't shrink so much like nylon and polyester woven tarps. See the link above for more info (Premium Members only can view/buy, for the first production runs through the new year, however, because they will be in limited supply for awhile).

---



2. Morning #2, Slough Creek, Yellowstone National Park. I'm pretty much wearing all my clothes. It's dang cold. Unlike summer, when you know you're going to be warm when the sun comes up, this is a different ballgame. I think it's around 9:30 am at the time this photo was taken and it's still below freezing. This is a beautiful area: huge meadows, campsite on a bench, and very open. Normally, when spending the night at this camp, it's a safari show: grizzly bears, moose, elk, and wolves frequent the meadow. Nothing this time around, though...

---



3. Slough Creek, YNP. We would spend three nights in the Slough Creek valley; here, we're walking up to the upper reaches of the creek and crossing out of YNP into the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. My pack for this trek was a McHale Summit Pack. With frame stays, wand pockets, kangaroo pouch (sewn-in), compression cord, and top pocket, 33 oz and around 2,400 ci total capacity. Custom fit, extraordinary comfort, my favorite all-round backpacking pack. This is the first trip I've ever crammed 9 days worth of stuff into it. Hiking clothing is a Smartwool Microweight L/S Crew, Cloudveil Inertia-fabric pants, Smartwool trail running socks, Montrail Hardrock shoes, Tilley LT5 hat, Life is Good cotton bandana...

---



4. After crossing across the YNP N boundary, the pound-per-day food diet is catching up and I need to eat, so we stop to catch some fish for lunch. 15 minutes later, I had a couple in the bag, which was a very good thing. These are Yellowstone Cutthroat trout.

---



5. On Day 4, while my partner rested in camp observing the Sabbath, I explored the far upper reaches of Slough Creek. I left camp in intermittent rain with the temperature around 48 degrees. I assumed it would get warmer, so I simply brought my rain jacket with me. An hour and a half walk from camp, I got blasted by the Mother of all Fall Thunderstorms. Within 10 minutes, I was getting blasted with freezing rain, hail, and temperatures down to 36 degrees. I got cold quick and finally took refuge in a willow thicket and curled up in the fetal position, shivering my brains out, hoping it would pass. Which of course it did.

My raingear for this trek included a Driducks jacket (4.8 oz) and a pair of Montbell ultralight rain pants (Goretex paclite) that I hacked off below the knees to bring them down to 3.0 oz, knicker style that could be pulled on over shoes easily. I loved them. They are a great solution for the backpacking fisherman who gets his lower pants wet anyways from wading. Contrary to my fears, water did not wick up my hiking pants to wet my trunk area. But then again, I treat my hiking pants pretty aggressively with ReviveX wash-in repellent, so wicking is probably compromised.

---



6. As the storm raced up the valley, it let the sun peek out for an hour or so, with spectacular lighting and rainbows. This is at around 3:30 in the afternoon. Note the Armageddon-like wrath occuring in the distance.

---



7. On Day 5, we broke our "layover camp" and set off again in the cold rain. Before leaving the Slough Creek valley, we stopped for an on-trail breakfast at an abandoned hunting camp (note the tables and chairs). It was so nice having a hot breakfast and big pot of tea on the trail this morning. This photo has a good shot of the "Paclite Knickers".

---



8. Climbing out of the valley, we hit our third major pass of the trip. All of the passes we crossed had some snow, the snow you see in this photo is fresh from that night/morning. I'm using a 2.7 oz silnylon pack cover from Integral Designs (product testing). It's the nicest pack cover I've used so far - it fits so securely to your pack, and around your hip belt (in slots just for that purpose) that even in hard rain my pack stayed completely dry. In spite of the argument of pack liners vs. pack covers, the wieght of a pack cover, in this case (with my McHale pack made of Spectra ripstop), easily makes up for savings of water weight absorbed by a pack when not using a pack cover.

---



9. Descending from the divide, we come into view of the magnificent upper meadows of the Buffalo Valley, another key home to wolves, elk, moose, and grizzlies.

---



10. On the morning of Day 6, we took it easy: warming up with lots of hot drinks after a very cold night with some pretty damp down bags...we took the opportunity to sleep until the sun came out, and dry our gear. Man, am I glad I had the Cocoon on this trip! It provided great warmth, even for hanging around camp at night in subfreezing conditions.

In addition to my hiking clothing and raingear, I brought a GoLite Ether wind shirt (3 oz), Cocoon Pullover and the 1.8 oz pair of ultralight polypropylene tights by Sahale (Early Winters). I also waffled a lot prior to the trip about taking a 5th torso layer: WM Flight Vest (5 oz) or similar. not wanting to deal with the bulk, I opted for a 4-oz GoLite C-Thru L/S Crew. It was a great choice, leaving me with a totally functional (breathable) system for morning and evening hiking, and layered over the windshirt, a great way to maintain a nice tight microclimate while sleeping.

---



11. Climbing up (again) out of the Buffalo Drainage, we were to cross our final big pass today. Here, we are taking the long walk across Telephone Basin, one of the most remote, and seldom-visited alpine basins in the Yellowstone area. Formerly, this was home to some of the biggest elk herds in the U.S. only 10 years ago. Now, they've been severely thinned (since the reintroduction of wolves) and hunters of this area are not happy about it! We saw neither elk nor wolves here, but did run onto some pretty fresh bear tracks.

---



12. After crossing Hummingbird Pass, we descending down into Hellroaring Creek, where we'd walk its length for the next three days. We stayed at a campsite (now back in Yellowstone National Park) that offered all the amenities: great firepit, creekside camping, and a high bear pole. We dutifully hung our food in trees or on poles each night. Both of used the UrsaLite Bear Bag System, which made the chore so much easier and quicker.

---



13. We built campfires on four of the eight nights of our trek. In addition to the warmth and security from the wild beasts of the forests, they allowed us to dry wet shoes and socks and to burn our garbage. Proudly, we built each fire without firestarters using wet tinder. It was great practice for the "real thing"!

That night, we did have a wolf visit our camp. He came within just a few feet of the tarps, then ran off when I shined my light at it.

---



14. I brought an 8 oz (net) MSR IsoPro fuel canister for this trek, with a Vargo Jet-Ti stove. The Jet-Ti is a fuel miser, simmers very low, is one of the lightest canister stoves on the market, and is very well built. It's my favorite canister stove. However, the cold weather / hot drinks and frequent trout meals were taking its toll on my fuel consumption and I was almost out by Day 7. So, I switched over to cookfires, saving the precious fumes remaining in the canister for our last campsite in Yellowstone, where we weren't allowed to build fires...

---



15. A shot of our upper Hellroaring Camp - a nice forested refuge in an ecosystem where 2 million acres were burned by fires in '88.

---



16. Elk get big out here. This is only a 6x6 rack, but clearly, would qualify as a trophy for just about any hunter.

---



17. Hiking down the Hellroaring is an interesting experience: almost overstimulating due to the variety of terrain encountered in such a short distance. Subalpine meadows, thick forests, open burn areas, rugged canyons, and finally, it opens up to the Hellroaring Plateau teeming with free ranging wild Buffalo. It's a cool place. Entering the plateau, is where this picture is taken.

Note my pack size - it's getting smaller and my top lid is now flopping down!

---



18. This is another good shot of the pack, giving you some perspective of its thickness. I'm not a fan of fat packs that hang off your mid/lower back like a tumor. They simply aren't comfortable over long distances. So, my McHale is tall enough to extend the length of my torso (but not much more), thin enough to keep the load as close as possible to my back, and narrow enough to allow my arms to swing freely. I really don't understand why other manufacturers don't build a pack with this type of profile. It's so comfortable and stabilizes both capacity and undervolume loads perfectly.

---



19. At our last camp, at the confluence of Hellroaring Creek with the Yellowstone River in the roaring Black Canyon. Good, but difficult fishing for rainbows, cutt-bows, and Yellowstone Cutthroat are the rewards. This is a noisy place. Too bad YNP doesn't allow packrafting down that river... :)

---



20. Enjoying the last sunset of our trek, looking back at the Hellroaring Plateau, which we had hiked down earlier that afternoon.

---



21. It still boggles my mind, even after all these years, that one can carry so few supplies and engage themselves in a wilderness experience for a week or two without resupply. Even in cold, wet conditions, surprisingly little is actually required to keep your warm, dry, and comfortable. What you see in this photo is what I took on the trek: shelter (pitched), bag and bivy (under tarp), clothing (worn, mostly), pack (on ground), and about 5-6L volume of other gear (cooking, hydration, navigation, essentials, etc., on the ground at the front of the tarp).

---



22. And, at the finish, on the suspension bridge over the Yellowstone in the Black Canyon. We both are outwardly dressed quite similar: Tilleys, Smartwool, Cloudveil, Montrail, and McHale pretty much round out our ensembles!

---



23. Here's a closer shot of the gear I brought on this trek; I think this might have been taken around Day 6. The five stuff sacks at the right contain: (1) insulating pullover, spare socks, tights; (2) bivy sack; (3) tarp; (4) raingear; and (5) wind shirt, gloves, and hat. I "spent" a total of 1.8 ounces on these five stuff sacks, but it was well worth the organization on trail and the ability to keep the pack packed well (by placing clothing and other stuffed items not used during the day into the nooks and crannies of the lower pack).

---



24. Finally, this shot, although again sort of out of order shows the "narrow"-ness of my McHale Summit Pack: allowing my arms to swing and the pack's profile to remain trim to maintain a center of gravity as close as possible to that of my body's without worrying too much about how to pack the pack.

Hope you enjoyed the photos and comments, because I sure enjoyed the trek!!

Edited by ryan on 09/28/2005 02:06:28 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Yellowstone / Beartooths Trek on 09/28/2005 02:37:08 MDT Print View

great pics and commentary. thanks for sharing.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Yellowstone/ Beartooths Trek. on 09/28/2005 04:16:14 MDT Print View

The pictures are great. Some have many more words than a 1000.

I was really glad to hear/see your new nano-tarp. The idea that I can now have so many stuff sacks at so little weight is something I hadn't given much thought to. Seems like another great idea for the really light weight fabric we can now get.

I also like the way the MaHale pack looks and seems to really fit you well. I can see why those that own them really like them. Pictures 18 and 24 show the pack really well. I like what looks like side pockets for your water bottles.

Edited by bfornshell on 09/28/2005 04:18:27 MDT.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Photos: Ryan's Yellowstone Hike on 09/28/2005 09:53:28 MDT Print View

Great pictures Ryan!

I'm wondering if you could comment on the sleep system you used. I think I remember you were going to test out a cocoon quilt/arc x combination.

I've used my arc x for temps down into the mid 30's which is about the limit for me. I really like the quilt design being a stomach sleeper.

Assuming you used the cocoon quilt/arc x combo I'm wondering how well it works compared to say using a Nunatak arc alpinist.

Thanks
Dan

Edited by dag4643 on 09/28/2005 10:31:38 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Ryan's Yellowstone sleep system on 09/28/2005 10:21:44 MDT Print View

Great trip report and pics. What a great place and way to observe Shabbat.
I, like Daniel, am curious about your sleeping equipage.

And how,not to bring up a sore point, did you injure your back? good prospects for full recovery?

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Ryan's Yellowstone Hike Sleep System on 09/28/2005 12:59:19 MDT Print View

I struggled with the sleep system on this trip (sunny day at the trailhead, easy to jettison gear :))

The options I considered:

1. Arc X (16 oz)
2. Expedition Arc Alpinist (21 oz total)
3. Arc X + Cocoon Pants (24 oz total)
4. Arc X + Arc Cocoon (25 oz total)

I've had option 1 in conditions this cold, but over 9 days, I knew the bag would crash if every night was to be below freezing due to condensation. Easy choice to ditch that. Advantage is that when it was sunny, it would dry a lot faster than Option 2...

Option 2 I know would be warm enough but would be risky if sustained cold and/or wet conditions would prevail, causing excessive condensation. There is a lot of down in this bag, and it's thick (3 inches) so it's not the easiest to dry out in the sun.

Option 3 would've been great if the Cocoon pullover was just a touch thicker. Leg warmth would've been no problem, but this system would suffer a small bit of torso cooling at 20 degrees, when you're wet cold, running low on calories, etc. This would've required another or different torso insulating layer to make it work comfortably. Plus, this system has to assume you are drying the Arc X out fully every few days to preserve its loft, because you'll need it with every night below freezing.

Option 4 is certainly the safest, most conservative, fastest to dry, warmest. This is the option I had packed when I left Bozeman.

But of course, when you arrive at the trailhead and it's sunny, you get jaded, so...

I chose Option 2 to save 1/4 lb. I got lucky with weather. This could've been bad, and in fact, after very cold and wet nights 2, 3, 4, and 5 with no real opportunities to dry gear, a bit of loft was gone and the footbox was wet.

If I had to do it again I'd go with Option 4. The thing is, I was right on the edge with temperatures for this trip and I took the gamble. From here on out for the rest of the fall, temperatures are now consistently low enough that Option 4 will be my regular system, and I'll be sure to report back on that as we go, as it's been since early spring since I've used the two bag X-Cocoon system. Once winter comes, I'll use the same system with a heavier jacket and Cocoon Pants, down to zero or lower. Again, I'll keep posting results here in the forums.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Ryan's Yellowstone sleep system on 09/28/2005 13:04:19 MDT Print View

>> And how,not to bring up a sore point, did you injure your back? good prospects for full recovery?

I broke my back (fractured sacrum) in July. Spent 6 weeks doing absolutely nothing. Went on a warmup hike (25 miles over three days) Labor Day Weekend, to make sure I could do this one.

I would like to say I injured it doing something cool: NASCAR, ice climbing, saving a kitty, etc. But truth be told, I fell 4 inches off a skateboard...

Prospects for full recovery are 100%. Now it's time to really hit the gym and get the core strength back. I did zero activity for a month and a half to let the bone set and heal, and as such, there is a lot of soft tissue weakness in my core that I need to deal with to grab that last 10% and stabilize my lower spine.

Adam McFarren
(amcfarre) - F
Nano fabric on 09/28/2005 13:27:31 MDT Print View

Any chance we'll see a Nano fabric poncho tarp?

-adam

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Nano fabric on 09/28/2005 13:36:24 MDT Print View

>> Any chance we'll see a Nano fabric poncho tarp?

Yes, it's being used in a whole new line of gear to be launched in the next few months. Ponchos, tarps, stuff sacks, bear bag sack upgrades to the Ursalite system, and it will be incorporated into new Vapr Bivies, at some sacrifice in durability, but the new bivies will run less than 5 oz (my proto is 4.1 oz).

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Ryan's Yellowstone Trip on 09/28/2005 17:37:23 MDT Print View

Hi Ryan,
Thanks for a nice synopsis of your Yellowstone trip. I wondered about a few details:

How did you pack, or in what did you pack, your sleeping bag(s)?

Is the ID pack cover the current model?

What did you use under your legs and feet for insulation at night?

Thank you for your reply. Good to see your on the mend.
Paul

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Ryan's Yellowstone Trip on 09/28/2005 18:04:05 MDT Print View

>> How did you pack, or in what did you pack, your sleeping bag(s)?

In a Nano stuff sack (prototype, size M like our others in the BPL store, 600 ci, 0.25 oz) lined with a 0.3 oz mylar turkey roasting bag.

>> Is the ID pack cover the current model?

Yes.

>> What did you use under your legs and feet for insulation at night?

My pack. It has a 1/4" foam back panel.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
yellowstone/ Beartooths Trek. on 09/28/2005 18:12:25 MDT Print View

Hi Ryan, I have to ask but you don't have to answer if it is to early to talk about it. Will the nano bivy use the light material for its bottom? What about the top cover part? Thanks.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Nano Bivy on 09/28/2005 20:42:59 MDT Print View

>> Will the nano bivy use the light material for its bottom? What about the top cover part?

Bill, the Vapr NANO Bivy will use a similar (not exact) material used in the tarp for the bottom. The top will be Pertex Quantum. We have some prototypes out there that have a 0.6 oz/yd2 breathable nylon top but at that weight, the fabrics are junk. Not windproof, not water-resistant, and very tear prone. It's going to be a few years before we see that weight come to breathable fabrics. There are some fabrics in that range that are water resistant/breathable, but they are poorly breathable. The proto I made out of the latter class of fabrics really kept moisture in. For now, Quantum (and some, but certainly not all, 1.1 nylons) is still the best blend of weather resistance vs. weight IMO.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Nano Bivy on 09/28/2005 22:33:27 MDT Print View

Ryan, Thanks for the answer.

My BMW-Vapr Bivy only weighs 7.21oz (L) size. The screen part weighs 0.80 in part due to the tape stuff on each end of the zippers I think. 6.41oz with the screen removed. Mine is one of the Black on Black Bivy's and I really like the color combination.

I will watch for the Nano-Bivy when it comes out but I expect to get a lot of use out of this one first.

For now I will find another way to save a few ounces.

Michael Fickes
(mikefickes) - M
Re: Ryan's Yellowstone Hike Sleep System on 09/28/2005 23:51:50 MDT Print View

Hi Ryan:
You mention that your sleeping gear got wet after several wet/cold nights. What was the primary cause for your gear getting wet?
On a different topic, Ive read that it is recommended to use a tent in bear country. Obviously you dont subscribe to that approach, can you share your thoughts/theories on using tarps in bear country vs. a tent?
Thanks.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Ryan's Yellowstone Hike Sleep System on 09/29/2005 10:54:23 MDT Print View

Tent vs. Tarp in bear country.

The only meaningful thing I've read is about shelter COLOR in POLAR bear country.

Either there isn't enough data, or the data is inconclusive, regarding tents vs. tarps or tent colors in grizzly country.

Here's my take.

I sleep with my bear spray handy, right at the head of my bivy.

I don't sleep with earplugs, mp3 players, or sleeping pills, so I wake up easily to noise.

I'm going to hear a bear coming.

The primary reason a grizzly bear will come into camp is predatory. They are fixing to eat you. This is in contrast to the most common type of grizzly attack response, which is defensive (ie you run into mom & cubs on the trail and surprise them).

In this situation (predatory bear in camp), you do not play dead and hope the bear goes away. You are the king of camp and you need to fight the bear.

If you are cocooned up in a tent, the bear has the upper hand, and you have no visibility for managing the attack.

So, I like tarps in grizzly country.

This is in contrast to black bear behavior. Black bears stroll into camp all the time because they are curious or they are scrounging (habituated). Also, lots of data exists showing that black bears "usually" don't enter tents or otherwise destroy them (there are exceptions).

Predatory grizzlies, on the other hand, have been known to tear into a tent and eat its occupants.

Edited by ryan on 09/29/2005 10:55:07 MDT.

AK Hiker
(akhiker) - F
Tarps in Bear Country on 09/29/2005 11:38:57 MDT Print View

I agree totally. The problem with tents is poor visibility and being unable to see animals. I haven't had problems sleeping in bear country with tarps. If a bear is predatory, it won't matter if you are in a tent or a tarp.

The yellowstone trip looks really great. DId you see many people? It seems like a good time of year to go. Do you have a gearlist for that trip? It looks like you took your cabelas fly rod. WHich model is that? What reel do you have on it?

Thanks for posting.... looks like a great trip and makes me want to go!!!

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Ryan's Yellowstone Trip on 09/29/2005 12:03:49 MDT Print View

>> The yellowstone trip looks really great. DId you see many people?

Day 1: 2 rangers, poaching patrol from YNP.

Day 2: 1 party of six on horseback.

Day 3-6: nobody.

Day 7: three groups of hunters, all on horses.

Day 8-9: none with the exception of four dayhikers at the trailhead.

We saw no other backpackers. All horse parties were hunters, one group was guided.

>> Do you have a gearlist for that trip?

I do, I need to transcribe it from my journal to e-form, i'll post that here when I do that (soon).

>> It looks like you took your cabelas fly rod. WHich model is that? What reel do you have on it?

I took the 8'6" 3wt 5pc Stowaway model, Sage 3100 reel.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Yellowstone/ Beartooths Trek. on 09/29/2005 15:00:58 MDT Print View

Ryan, How did your feet hold up to the cold/wet conditions? How did you like the Montrail Hardrocks?

Thanks

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Yellowstone/ Beartooths Trek. on 09/29/2005 16:06:46 MDT Print View

>> Ryan, How did your feet hold up to the cold/wet conditions? How did you like the Montrail Hardrocks?

It pretty much sucked:

1. During the day, cross streams hiking and fishing. Wet feet.

2. Get into camp late, hang out in wet feet setting up and cooking. Activity decreases, body heat decreases, temperature decreases, feet get cold.

3. Change out of wet shoes and socks at bedtime, put on dry socks. Bliss! Feet are wrinkled pretty bad from being cold and wet all day. But by morning (wool socks) they are in good shape and ready to do it all again.

4. Get up in morning and note that wet socks you laid beside you are now frozen boards. This is a lesson you learn quick: put socks under bivy sack at night.

5. Shoes are also frozen bricks. To deal with this, you unlace them as much as possible before going to bed, so you can cram your feet into them in the morning. Shoes under the foot of the bivy helped keep them from freezing solid.

6. OK, so the morning routine: remove dry socks, put on wet socks, cram feet into wet shoes, and enjoy the numbness until the shoes thaw out. This is when the fun meter really gets pegged, and it's particular bad on the very cold, rainy mornings when morale is in the toilet.

7. Move fast to get out of camp, because hiking in wet cold footwear is way better than standing around in it.

The only real bad vibes you get are in the early morning when your feet are cold, and in the evening in camp, when you're just sick of wearing wet shoes all day.

Other than that, "it's the lightest way to go, man!"

The Hardrocks are a GREAT shoe, wet OR dry.

However, they absorb a ton of water and dry reeeeeally slow unless you are hiking in direct, warm sunshine on a dry trail.

We hiked a lot in sticky mud, and the Hardrocks did pretty good in it. They do cake up mud pretty bad, but what shoe doesn't?

I wish the upper of the Montrail Highline, which absorbs a LOT less water, was mated to the platform/sole of the Hardrock, which is a lot more stable. That might be the perfect backpacking shoe, if you fit Montrails ok.

Edited by ryan on 09/29/2005 17:16:01 MDT.