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THE PULSE - Your source for survival, skills, and more from Rocky Mountain Editor Steve Howe

Bros on Everest

BP tribe member goes for the Big E, and a shout-out for Montana shuttle drivers


Redrock and Utah penstemon; Capitol Reef on Tuesday. pic: howephoto.us

Backpacker buddy readying for Everest summit attempt
Friend and globe-trotting video cameraman Scott Simper - who's been on many editorial expeditions over the years and tested lots of gear for our reviews - is right now getting ready for a summit attempt on the Big E's classic South Col route. He and fellow Hanesbrands Expedition member Jamie Clarke are leaving base camp today (Friday), and should be at Camp III on the Lhotse Face by the 9th (Sunday). You can see footage from their expedition here.

Scott and Jamie will head for the top Monday or Tuesday, weather depending. The expedition is sponsored by Hanes (which also owns numerous other athletic clothing companies) to highlight their new performance base layers, and test a high altitude "supersuit" that's insulated with space age aerogel rather than goose down.

Aerogel, also known as 'frozen smoke', is a basically a gelatin of silicone, carbon, or various oxides and alcohol. After the components have been mixed, the liquid is slowly vacuumed out, leaving behind an ultralight matrix that's almost entirely air pockets. Aerogels have the highest insulation value and lightest weight of any known solid. Invented in the 1930's using a mixture of silicone and water, aerogels were revived by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for aerospace insulation. Recently aerogel insulation has appeared in outdoor sleeping pads and high altitude climbing boots, but this is one of the first real-world attempts at testing aerogels for ultra-warm clothing. Will it work? Check in at climbwithus.com. And good luck Scotty! Climb safe bro!

Wanted: Montana/Great Falls shuttle driver for July/August Bob Marshall thru-hike
Yo readers. A little networking help here, please. I'm prepping for a mid-July to mid-August thru-hike of the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex in western Montana. Tentatively this will be a "high route" ridgeline walk 230 miles from Rogers Pass on MT 200 (between Missoula and Great Falls) to Marais Pass on US Hwy 2 (the southern border of Glacier National Park). For a highway map of the layout, look here.

Yes, this is a stupid idea that will probably result in a lightning- and bear-filled disaster, but hey, maybe not! Besides, the pics oughta be sweet, the drama endless, and assigned epics are basically the job description for guinea pig freelancers like myself. (Typical editor/writer phone call: "We want you to do a feature story on the world's rainiest, buggiest, most miserable places...or maybe a first-person story on what it's like to get altitude sick.") Meanwhile my pitches on Polynesian beach hiking or great wilderness lodges languish ignored. Sigh.

Anyway, I've dialed the Bob resupply logistics. Now my biggest problem is getting a shuttle to and from  the beginning and ending trailheads, both of which are readily accessible from Great Falls, Montana. I need to start on Sunday, July 11th, and finish up on Tuesday, August 10th. I can certainly work up some cash for this service, although I'd recommend keeping your day job. If you're interested, or know someone who might be, drop me an e-mail at stevehowe435@gmail.com, call (435) 425-3339 and we'll work out the symbiotic details from there.

Happy trails campers. Enjoy your weekend! --Steve Howe

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