Anyway, I was given a pack a few weeks ago to try out. I have only been able to use it a couple times, but so far I'm really impressed. The pack is the Aarn Guiding Light. A much longer post is in the works, but this pack is one of the most complicated that I have used, so it is taking quite a while with my limited time to write. I initially didn't think I would like it because it is so complicated and I generally like clean, simple packs, but this one has surprised me with its ability to carry weight comfortably. Anyway, more is coming in the near future on this pack.
A few weeks ago I wanted a quick break to clear my head, get some exercise, breathe some clean air, and get re-energized for work (and I think the rest that went along felt the same way). My wife and I and our good friends decided to head up to Lone Peak to do a little climbing. This was the first time we had taken our wives up there. My wife is 4-months pregnant and Phil and his wife brought along their 5-month-old little boy. The hike up to Lone Peak is plenty strenuous with a day pack, but with overnight and climbing equipment, water (because there is no available water up there this late in the year), being pregnant and carrying a little boy, this hike definitely gave us the exercise we were looking for (and then some).
Here are some pictures:
Kelsey starting up the Jacob's Ladder section of the Jacob's Ladder trail. It is NOT an easy trail, but it is, in my opinion, one of the easier trails to Lone Peak. I really don't think there is an easy way to get up Lone Peak.
Phil with 65 pounds of gear and 18 pounds of child. I didn't realize that I hadn't gotten a picture of Katy on this trip.
This picture was taken on the hike back down after climbing, but I thought placing it here may be helpful to understanding which route we climbed. Open Book (5.7) which we climbed, follows the main arete on the south (right) side of the face below the main summit (the highest point on the left of the picture). This was our first trip to Lone Peak to climb, so we decided to climb Open Book which is one of the easiest routes in the cirque. We can't wait to get back to Lone Peak and climb the Lowe Route, Vertical Smile-Triple Overhangs linkup, and many others. The climbs up here are some of the best I have done in northern Utah.
Crossing talus on the approach.
Phil leading up the first pitch. He led the first 2-3 pitches (we linked p1 and p2). We planned to simul-climb the route, but ended up only simul-climbing the first pitch because the route ended up being slightly more difficult than we were expecting. We usually simul-climb routes up to about 5.9-ish (depending on the exposure and level of sandbagging) in order to move faster. We probably could have simul-climbed this route, but because we were not in a hurry and because of the physical nature of the route (i.e. offwidth), we decided to pitch out all but the first pitch
Myself at the bottom of the 2nd pitch looking down to the cirque valley below.
I'm not a very good photographer and didn't get any pictures of Phil leading the hardest pitches.
Myself on Pitch 3, I think.
Though there are a lot of cracks for protection, the cracks were not as easy to climb as I was expecting. A combination of offwidth cracks, lots of gear, and the higher elevation made for tiring climbing.
Myself heading up the 4th pitch of the Open Book route. Though the route is only rated 5.7, it is a pretty physical 5.7 with multiple sections of offwidth cracks (which I don't usually enjoy, but this route was pretty fun).
Phil took this picture while hanging at the bottom of the 4th pitch of the Open Book route. Across the valley is Question Mark Wall with the Lowe Route heading right up the middle.
Kelsey and I on the summit of Lone Peak. Kelsey hiked to the top while Phil and I climbed. Phil's wife, Katy, and their little boy decided only to hike to the cirque because she didn't want to risk falling with the babe while crossing talus.
Phil on the summit of Lone Peak.
Myself coming down from Lone Peak after a day of climbing. I am wearing the Aarn Guilding Light pack. The pack isn't designed to carry real heavy loads, but I hauled about 65 pounds of gear and water in it and it was surprisingly comfortable. Definitely a unique pack.
Kelsey, 4-months pregnant, hiking down from Lone Peak.
This was a really fun trip, though I think I would plan to go up earlier in the year next time so that there is water to filter. Phil and I ended up carrying about 25-30 lbs of water each for ourselves and wives. The hike would be much easier without that extra weight.