Saturday, October 17, 2009


ahhh Bolivia
Adrienne, Julie and myself for half, then 2 of us for the rest.
Diverse temperatures, altitudes and landscapes...

Apolobambo, Quismera Cruz, Altiplano,?, ?

Here is my new pack, basically I wanted a pack that is light and fine to bike with, but still have enough volume to put everything into and be able to do, say a 4 day trek.

It came in at 1 lb 9 oz, which is pretty light. Its 7 oz lighter than the Talon 33 and right about even with the 22, and able to carry much more. I was going to use my old standby, but the hip belt was a bit bulky for long term biking, and a touch on the large side.For this, the back and side pieces were already cut, and were the last bit of dyneema grid I had, so they determined the size right off the bat. I've never had a pack with a big back stretch pocket, so it's a bit of an experiment.

Full Dyneema X-pac bottom... nuts.. its incredible material.  friends in high places...

I designed the buckles so that I could use the front pocket of the harness as a lid for backpacking. I've done many a bike trip using the lid of a pack for a handle bar bag, and it's what inspired the Harness design to some extent. Multi function gear is good!

See ya later!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Front range rally

Tuesdays have somehow become my day off. I had plans today to go for a hike and get some other stuff done. When I looked outside to thick, pea soup fog and mist I had a feeling it was one of those days where you can get above it...
With wipers on driving up through borderline rain I started to have second thoughts about my optimism. Top of the Dome trail - thick fog, 1/2 way up knoya same... then it started to happen.

My energy level went through the friggin' roof right about then, let the slaying begin!
On top of Knoya, Lucy was just getting her groove on as well.

Tikishla, one of my favorite front range peaks. We took the ridge to Knoya pass then went straight up the scree face. (not great, but decent)

Luz was stoked about Tikishla, and celebrated by basking in the Indian summer sun.

Next up - East Tanaina. woo hoo, I've never done this one before, no better time like the present. Bombed down scree and traversed the basin to the right side ridge.

From the top of E. Tanaina, West Tainaina was close, but big talus and bolders are not the GPT's 18" tall specialty and we were starting to ponder return options. Humm this looked good....

Elliot Ridge and Wolverine finishing via Near Point for a loop, sounds like a plan. but first a big drop to Long Lake..

This photo is cool since it views a previous photo I took a few weeks ago in the opposite direction - scroll down.

into the fog again. 

up up up to Elliot ridge, starting to hurt a bit now...

Elliot Ridge was fantastic, can't wait to head back and do it again, just awesome ridge running.

Glen alps area..

  Looking back at the first part - Knoya, Tikishla and the Tanaina's

up wolverine, down, up near point down.

Totally giddy.. feeling like I got away with something. But with 8,000 something vert, my feet think otherwise, Lucy is busy researching new pads.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Over the weekend I pretty much finished all orders that I've promised to people. So now its all about actually getting my own gear together. In a week I leave for Colorado for a few days, then on to La Paz Bolivia for a month of biking and talking to llamas. The header photos recently have been from the last trip I did down there. The previous one was in Parque Nacional Lauca after crossing into Chile on the road to Arica. The one above is in the middle of nowhere after leaving the tiny Aymara village of Sacabaya. I had an amazing experience both in getting to, and passing through the village. So the photo above describes a lot of things right now.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

33 woo hoo!

Two weeks ago, The GTP turned 1 and I took her out for a good long mountain run. Well today was my birthday, so she took me out on one to reciprocate the favor and to visit with my mountain friends. Good thing we both like galloping!

We landed a perfect like 18 hr weather window between the "colder by the day" rain.
Up we went. Long ridge line with lots of up and down on the south side of South Fork, then back via the valley trail. I've only done this ridge one other time like 7 years ago which is crazy since it is freaking awesome.


I love ridge running.

"Go faster you slacker - there's more ridgeline to slay!..."

Hello Alaska range...
"Hurry up!"

Eagle peak looking all Alpinesque..

We made it to the Triangle pass where I threw in the towel amidst changing weather and a stiff wind, Lucy wanted to go slay Triangle peak but I talked her into chasing Sheep instead. By the time we got down to Symphony lake she was actually starting to show signs of tiring herself...

I thought she'd let us just walk the valley out back to the trail head, but nope, no such luck today. She made me gallop.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The shop

while this blog is really about running around in the mountains, I figured it was time to do a post on where I spend the vast majority of my time these days (especially recently!)
The shop started in the basement of a rental, not much, just the Juki and a small table. It eventually moved into a 1 car garage and had a bit more breathing room. Since then I've moved 3 times due to crappy housing situations until this spring when my friend Jeff granted me sweatshop Asylum. I've been taking up like half to 2/3rds of his garage ever since, slowly inching outwards (don't worry man, I'm done for a while!).

Chaos generally prevails:

This is the fulfillment center, finished stuff waits more finished stuff, then gets boxed up and weighed.

The big table: Originally I used the floor when I started out, then got some drafting tables.. Then built a 4x8 table, then expanded it to 6 x 8.. now it's 6x10 with fabric storage underneath (key...)

The big table is used for everything, but when it comes time to do a major cutting session - the thing gets cleared off completely and this comes out:

It will go through 5 layers of VX21 pretty well which lets me cut, well 5x as much...

Using lighters to sear the ends of webbing got old, a dedicated soldering gun was not much better, so I picked up this hot knife chopper. Makes chopping webbing oh so fun.

It's not on Surly's website yet, but it soon will be. It gets very very hot and I'll be happy come winter when my hands are numb.

Machine time:
Ms. Juki (DNU -241H) has been with me from the start and has made everything with an Epic Designs logo on it to date. It's former life was doing repair work for the coast guard. Smooth running and simple, it has never given me any problems or needed really any work or adjustments. With Big Brother in the house, ms Juki will be doing binding duties and other special tasks.

Big Brother... B891-705 This beast arrived on a palate shipped by truck from Tennessee yesterday. It's not your grandma's singer that's for sure. Tony and I muscled it's 250 lb+ girth into ms. Juki's old spot. I think it came out of an automotive seat factory - so I'm happy that it's new life will be in making bike gear. I wanted a machine geared towards efficiency and production - It's more machine than I really need, but once you make the jump from a basic walking foot and want features like thread trimming, needle position, auto back tacking etc, it's all or nothing. Used machines are good since they are broken in, and easily half the price of new ones. I had to buy a small air compressor today to get all the functions working. Its nuts and somewhat intimidating, very, very fast, yet controllable with a computerized servo motor and no I don't know how to really use it yet. Eating rice and beans for capital investments works.

Bartack - LK 1852. This machine is great, although somewhat fickle at times. I'm still learning it's nuances, since what it does - it does ridiculously fast and it's hard to tell what went wrong. See the video below...
Bartack reinforces key stress points and makes simple attachments easier and faster. it's also a major time saver for finishing off webbing ends.

The shelf - all the raw materials go there like zippers, velcro, webbing, buckles. It's on it's last legs, I don't think it will survive another move... the sound system typically is blaring mindless repetitive music, gotta keep the groove on somehow.

and I almost forgot - Shop Mascot and constant play needer: Lucy Dog

If there is dog hair in your velcro, it's not my fault!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!