KUIU on Mt. Whitney

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Earlier this Spring I was fortunate enough to draw an Overnight Permit in California’s Mt. Whitney recreation zone, which contains the lower 48’s highest peak (Mt. Whitney: 14,505′) along with some of its most rugged backcountry. This past weekend we completed our trip and got some great off-season gear testing in.

For this week’s post I wanted to share some photos of the trip, and also highlight the awesome high country we have here in California- which may come as a surprise to some.

On the trip was Ben Britton (KUIU), my dad Mike Harney, and myself. While we could not summit due to an impassable 8-day accumulation of snow along the cliffy portions of the trail on the final ascent, it was a quality self-assessment trip to gauge our strengths and weaknesses heading into the 2015 season.

 

Looking back toward the valley floor on the initial ascent.

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Dad on a sit break.

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Onward and Upward.

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Dad and I.

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Ultra Star in the afternoon….

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And then the next morning.

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The MSR Reactor boils snow incredibly fast at 13,000+ feet.

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The top finally begins to show itself in the distance.

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Once again, lots of overnight snowfall.

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Feeling the elevation.

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Ben and I broke in the trail for the day after a night of snow. This climb up “The Chute” was definitely the steepest and toughest portion of the trip.

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Luckily we hit the chute early while the snow was still hard. The day prior, an avalanche slid through this section taking a few hikers with it.

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Ben making his way up.

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If you look closely in the bottom left corner below, a couple people can be seen following our tracks to the base of the ascent.

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This is where we decided the trail became too sketchy. Having never been there before we didn’t want to guess where the trail was beneath the snow through this cliffy 1/2-mile traverse.

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Lastly, Ben would like to remind everyone not to forget sunscreen when hitting the snow-covered slopes this Spring…

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If anyone else has used their KUIU gear on any epic off-season climbs this year, email me your best photo and a caption at ToddH@KUIU.com. I would be glad to post it up here.

Thanks for reading.

Todd Harney

 

Wilderness Athlete

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Earlier this year some of us here at the office began trying out a variety of supplements from Wilderness Athlete during our indoor and outdoor training activities. While we have used and been more than satisfied with most of the supplements they make, the items highlighted here will be their Energy & Focus and Hydrate & Recover products. Having drawn our own real-world conclusions on the performance of these items, we are excited to bring them in as the newest offerings in the KUIU Gear Shop.

The Company

Wilderness Athlete’s founder, Mark Paulsen, has a long working history in Strength & Conditioning and Sports Nutrition at the collegiate level throughout the US- which can be read about here. Through Mark’s education, career, and professional networking he has built a strong expertise on knowing what the body needs in order to perform at the highest level during physical activity- whether it be on the playing field or in the backcountry. Wilderness Athlete is a company who’s products are the result of over 100 years combined experience in athletic science between Paulsen and his team.

Hydrate & Recover

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Many times we find ourselves rationing water in the backcountry- even in areas where re-filling sources are readily available. Topping off on water is both time and energy consuming, often requiring daily drops in elevation to fill up before climbing back to prime glassing points. None the less proper hydration is critical to performance, especially on long duration hunts. Hydrate and Recover is not a product that allows you to get by on less water, but it does improve the performance per sip of the fluids you ingest.

The jargon on the label may be of value to some but when it comes to supplements, most potential users prefer to hear a personal example on how the performance is “felt”… so here’s one example: My main means of fitness training this year has been by road cycling- anywhere from 120-170 miles per week for the past number of months. I ride pretty much the same 20-25 mile route every afternoon during the week, always pushing to hit higher average speeds in different portions of the ride. Hydrate & Recover is almost always in one of my water bottles. To jump to the point, the only times I’ve experienced severe leg cramps have been during rides when I did not use the product. While this example is far from scientific, I personally feel that Hydrate & Recover produces noticeable results on a daily basis. Others here at KUIU have agreed wholeheartedly based on their own uses.

For backpack hunting purposes, Hydrate & Recover is a good drink to start or end each day with. If you find yourself cramping up in the sleeping bag after a hard day, this would be a great supplement to take before bed. The single-serve packets weigh 0.55 oz each, making them a convenient part of the daily consumables portion in the pack.

Energy & Focus

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This product provides similar results to some of the hyped up pre-workout products found in big box supplement stores, but without the jittery side effects or questionable ingredients. Furthermore, Energy & Focus doesn’t seem to have the crash effect after it wears off like many pre-workouts or energy drinks do. This formula uses no simple sugars and contains less caffeine than what’s found in a 16 oz Starbucks ‘coffee of the day’. Instead, the main energy boost is derived from neuroactive nutrients that promote mental clarity and focus.

To relate the performance of this product to the cycling example used above, it’s simple: miles seem to go by faster, and mental focus and resiliency reach another level for hours after drinking this stuff.  To be quite honest, we even drink it around the office as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Just like the Hydrate & Recover product, Energy & Focus comes in 0.55 oz packets for easy single-serve use on the go. In the mountains, this is a good drink to take in the morning before a big climb or during slow midday glassing sessions when it’s easy to lose focus.

Altitude Advantage

One new Wilderness Athlete product that we have not yet tried is Altitude Advantage, an intriguing pill-form supplement that’s formulated to reduce or eliminate the effects of acute mountain sickness. As with anything we sell in the gear shop, we plan to perform our own testing before selling it at KUIU.com. A few of us will be climbing Mt. Whitney (14,505′) in a couple weeks which will be a good starting point in evaluating the effectiveness of Altitude Advantage. If it works as advertised after a few trips, this will be our next Wilderness Athlete offering.

In the mean time, if any of you have tried Altitude Advantage, I’d like to hear what you think in the comments section below.

In The Gear Shop

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To shop Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover and/or Energy & Focus, follow the links below. We are offering their newest flavors, which won the ‘best taste’ vote here at the office.

Link: Wilderness Athlete Hydrate & Recover $29.95

Link: Wilderness Athlete Energy & Focus $29.95

GIVEAWAY

UPDATE 5/18: EDGAR AND PETE, YOU TWO ARE THE RECIPIENTS OF THE GIVEAWAY! I’LL SEND YOU BOTH FOLLOW EMAILS TO COORDINATE THE TRANSACTION.

Just like with previous Gear Shop product announcements, subscribe and leave a comment below for a chance to win a free box of Wilderness Athlete. On Monday, May 18th at 12pm PST I’ll choose two names. One will receive Hydrate & Recover, and the other will receive Energy & Focus. Whether you’ve used these products or not, please comment!

Lastly, Mark Paulsen from Wilderness Athlete will be at KUIU in Dixon, CA on Saturday, May 30th from 10am-4pm to take part in our Open House event. If you live close by, please feel free to attend and take advantage of having such a great Sports Nutrition resource in town. He will be giving a seminar around 1pm.

-Todd Harney