The Boston area isn’t exactly recognized as a climbing mecca. But Vedauwoo in Southeastern Wyoming is exactly that. It’s also the home crag of Scott Hunter, who founded Vedavoo, a gear joint targeting primarily climbers. So while Hunter built his new company up in Mass, testing its meddle at Solomon Pond, it’s roots are solidly embedded in the Rockies.The flagship of Vedavoo is its modular climbing pack line, which offers an interchangeable system of rope bags, crag packs and rack haulers that can be clipped, strapped and connected to one another based on your trip’s needs.
Outdoor gear, especially that which is designed by industry non-cognoscente, is ripe for multi-use gimmicks that often result in it being capable of nothing at all. Not at all so with Vedavoo. Well, from what I can tell anyway. First, the packs are very simple in scope with minimal accouterments outside of their ability to interact with one another. This tells me that Hunter and crew focused on the true needs of its user: to haul stuff. That will attract me every time. I like packs that are essentially barrels with straps. Give me some durable material and I’ll decide how to organize things.
The crag pack is an easy roll-top design with three strap systems that can hold tight an array of tools and equipment via 35 different points. Now, I’m not a big fan of externally hauling anything but in climbing and mountaineering, it’s simply part of the game.
More over, credit has to be given to the background of the company’s principals and the number of iterations the company has experienced as it refined its products. A lot of good can come out of growing pains.
Well, some may feel it’s a skill that hardly seems like having anymore, given the ubiquity of handheld GPS devices and the ever-increasing capability of smartphones, but any hiker worth his bootlace should be able to properly use a compass.
Backcountry hikers who keep their compass as close as their paper topo know that the first step in correctly navigating with such a tool is to adjust their declination for magnetic north. It could mean the difference between a few quick miles through the forest and winding up in a twisted slot canyon. Apparently though, we need to learn to adjust for declination on the fly because scientists have found that magnetic north has entered a “fast shift” phase.
Jeff Love with the U.S. Geological Survey Geomagnetism Program (again … not a Michael Bay movie) says that this is nothing unusual but should be consistently monitored by those who navigate sans satellite device. It’s just that, you know, our planet’s revolving core of molten iron tends to adjust its pace every few generations.
“Magnetic north is shifting all the time; it’s a continuous process, not an event … In 10 to 20 years from now, it might be slowing down,” he said.
I’ve touched on this topic before; the morphing of traditional outdoor adventure into adrenaline-driven feats of one-upsmanship. The biggest wave, the steepest ski run.
Climbing for speed isn’t anything new and by all means, the history of mountaineering is filled with tales of those trying to be first. However, even for guys as accomplished as Dean (I’ll free slackline over anything) Potter and Sean Leary, and their competitors, no good will come from turning 3,000 foot vertical monoliths into the proverbial catch-all urinal for a speed-climb pissing contest.
Does being the fastest to the top really measure a climber’s skill? Or merely the depth of their Karma? These guys don’t need to prove anything. The entire climbing world knows their names.
Maybe I’m just a purist, hating on the idea of outdoor recreation becoming competitive among its participants. Can’t it just be about us learning to embrace, not beat, Mother Nature? I don’t know; maybe this is just the natural progression of mankind’s contemporary propensity to turn everything into a statistic or record, a throw-away commodity to be put on a shelf for a while, only to be soon neglected under dust and disposable memories. Like bowling trophies and bronzed baby shoes.