Jul 10, 2007 at 12:52 am #1224037
I'm heading from Vancouver down to Portland over the first weekend in August and I am looking at cruising past a few gear stores on the way.
Any suggestions of good places to check out would be most appreciated.
I'd also be keen to fit in a day hike close to a viable through route if anyone has any suggestions. Ideally something around 10-15 miles that gets me up above the tree line would be superb. I'm happy to accomodate some elevation gain.
Thanks, RodJul 10, 2007 at 6:41 am #1394942
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
You should check out Promountain Sports, which is a tiny shop but carries good ultralight stuff. They carry Western Mountaineering, Montbell, Patagonia, Golite, etc. They kind of emphasise mountaineering but carry backpacking stuff too.(promountainsports.com)
Also for general stuff you should visit the REI flagship store.
DanJul 10, 2007 at 6:44 am #1394945
Doug JohnsonBPL Member
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Yes! This is the best ultralight shop I've ever seen! They focus a lot on climbing but all the backpacking gear is there too.
Fantastic shop!Jul 10, 2007 at 11:03 am #1394970
You may want to check out Feathered Friends in Seattle, which is right across the street from the REI flagshipJul 10, 2007 at 11:18 am #1394973
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Marmot Mountainworks in Bellevue, Wa is a great shop!
Also, Second Ascent in the Seattle area and the OR store in SoDo.Jul 10, 2007 at 11:55 am #1394976
Oregon Mountain Community – Western, Montbell, etc. Sometimes have very good sales.
Mountain Shop – Feathered Friends and other high-end gear, plus they sell locally produced alcohol stoves.
Next Adventure – Kind of a crap shoot. Have found some great deals on Go Lite gear here, other times just junk. Revolving stock and used gear.Jul 10, 2007 at 8:02 pm #1395028
REI of course. Make your way to the level below the bikes for the Garage Sale area.
Outdoor and More is not too far from REI. Make your way upstairs and to the back room on the main floor for closeouts.
Second Ascent in the Ballard neighborhood is a great place. They buy and sell used gear as well as state-of-the-art new. Hiking, climbing, and bike gear too. They know their stuff.
The Outdoor Research company store is south of the downtown area, close to the baseball stadium (Safeco Field).
Outdoor Emporium is close to the OR store and has hunting and fishing oriented gear, with a good selection of clothing.
GI Joes and Big 5 are local mass market stores that can have some deals. You can check their web sites for the weekly sales in the area.
Email dwambaugh at yahoo dot com and let me know what kind of gear you're looking for. If I'm in town that weekend, I might be up to acting as tour guide :)Jul 11, 2007 at 7:38 am #1395071
Thanks very much to you all. I'm signed up to do a Mountaineering course the following week so some climbing oriented stores are welcome.
I'm not looking at totally maxing out my Visa card, but I'm keen to feel and try some gear hands on. It will make it a whole lot easier to order stuff online.
I will be looking for a helmet (Yellow Petzl Ecrin Roc), which I may pick up from REI. I'm keen to check out some belay jackets, especially the OR Chaos, and also the Montbell range of Jackets and sleeping bags.
Apart from that I'm a sucker for a sale/closeout, so I'll see what's around. (Does anyone know if Black Diamond Rocklock Screwgates are available for less than $11.00? Otherwise I'll pick them up from MEC.)
Dale, thanks for the offer, I'll send you a note tomorrow from work.
RodJul 11, 2007 at 12:42 pm #1395091
Here are some of my favorite local hikes (Seattle), that are close to your criteria (mainly great above-treeline views that are relatively close-in to Seattle):
Mailbox Peak (North Bend) – 6mi RT, 4021 ft elev gain, 4840 max elev
Mt Teneriffe (North Bend) – 14mi RT via logging road(5 mi RT via shortcut), 3840 ft elev gain, 4788 max elev
Bandera Mt. (east of North Bend) – 7mi RT, 2900 ft elev gain, 5100 max elev
Crystal Peak (near Mt. Rainier) 7.5mi RT, 3100 ft elev gain, 6600 max elev (can see 6 Cascade volcanoes, Hood to Baker!)
MarkJul 17, 2007 at 4:01 pm #1395690
Ross BleakneyBPL Member
Excellent suggestions as far as gear stores are concerned. Just to reiterate, I think the best cluster are by REI. Feathered Friends is across the street and Outdoor and More is only a few blocks away.
As far as hikes are concerned, it depends a bit on how much time you want to spend and where you want to leave I-5 (on your way South). Regardless, I feel you should go into the mountains far enough to get into wilderness (often this is only a few more miles of driving than where many people hike). With that in mind, I recommend the following:
End of the Mount Baker Highway: Table Mountain or Ptarmigan Ridge. Ptarmigan Ridge probably won't be melted out, but it is fairly flat, so if you are comfortable on snow, this is a good bet. I think Table Mountain will be melted out. Even if neither are melted out, the view from the parking lot is rather spectacular and worth it. This drive is a bit further than my other suggestions (it is 60 miles from Bellingham) .
Lower Part of Mountain Loop Highway (outside of Everett or Marysville): Mount Dickerman is a very nice hike, with outstanding views and flowers, but plenty of people. http://tinyurl.com/2wtaa7
I-90, Snoqualmie Pass:
Snow Lake, Gem Lake, Wright Mountain — Snow Lake is very popular, but if you keep going you can lose the crowds. Wright Mountain sits above Gem Lake and is officially a scramble (no official trail) but very easy (if not, then you probably are not on route).
Snoqualmie Peak — This is a scramble. If you are comfortable doing scrambles and don't mind icing your knees after the day is done (it is about 3 miles and 3,000 feet up from the road), this is a very quick way to get excellent views. As scrambles go, this is an easy one — there is a path, but not an official path. Park as for Snow Lake, but find the path about 20 feet or so south of the Snow Lake trail head.
Pacific Crest Trail to Kendall Cat Walk and Beyond — This is probably the smoothest trail on the list (being the PCT). It takes a while to get up to views, but when it does it is very nice. So nice that you will have trouble deciding when to turn around. The Kendall Cat walk is a nice turn around spot, but since the walking is very nice from there, you might considering going on a bit (unless pressed for time).
A couple of web sites to consider as well:
http://www.wta.org — Washington Trail Association — This has great information such as trip reports and links to ranger stations. You should be able to get trail information directly from them or from the associated ranger station.
http://www.nwhikers.net — This is a forum based site with plenty of information. You may have to join up to post a question (this would be handy if you can't find trail information based on my info).
A couple more things: You need to buy a trail park permit to hike. If your friend has one, borrow it. If not, I think you can buy a day pass at any of the hiking stores, a ranger station and at many of the trail heads. Then again, if you are driving a Canadian car, it may not matter if they ticket you.
For a map, you can try topozone (free) or buy one. If you buy one, I recommend Green Trails.
Here are some pictures I've taken of some of the places I mentioned:
Snoqualmie Peak: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossbl/sets/72157594207362420/
Kendall Cat Walk: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossbl/sets/72157594322453543/
I don't have a summer picture of the Table Mountain/Ptarmigan Ridge area, but this is a winter picture of the trailhead/road area: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossbl/sets/72157594456870948/Jul 18, 2007 at 6:06 am #1395742
I'll digest all that over the weekend after I finish writing my presentation. I'll also see if I still have a map in the shed from last time I was over there. What time does it get dark there at the moment?
I may aim to get out of Seattle at 6.00 on Sat night and hike up to camp somewhere the night. I'm happy to hike after dark (plenty of 24hr rogaine experience) if I need to.
Also, how are the bugs by 1st week in August? Will a tarp or Megalight do, or will I need a net?
RodJul 18, 2007 at 11:34 am #1395783
Ross BleakneyBPL Member
The bugs are unpredictable. You can't count on them being gone until September. You might get lucky, but I wouldn't bet on it. It gets dark at 8:44 (in Seattle) on August 1st http://tinyurl.com/yprrmk.
Camping changes some of my recommendations. I don't think you can camp at Dickerman or Table Mountain. I thing there are some spots to camp on the way to Snoqualmie Peak, but I'm not sure if camping is worth it (it's a big grunt to get up that hill). You may be able to camp on Ptarmigan Ridge somewhere, but it might be snow camping. Snow Lake has several options (including Snow Lake) and one not too far from the trail head if I remember right (take a left at the first fork). I think the first spot to camp on the PCT north of Snoqualmie Pass is Commonwealth Basin. I think this hike would give you the most benefit from backpacking (it is the only one I would consider backpacking to). I think you can set up a tent (or sleep in your car) without being hassled at just about all of the trail heads, except the Mount Baker one (Ptarmigan Ridge/Table Mountain). I'm pretty sure they ban camping there (if they didn't, it would be a big mess there — it is probably one of the prettiest parking lots in the world). We are starting to get into nwhikers.net category now (when you throw in the "starting the night before"). It might make sense to ask the nice folks there for some advice and to confirm or correct what I said. I'm pretty sure you can join for free.Jul 19, 2007 at 1:07 am #1395891
Thanks Ross, I'll head over there and ask.
RodJul 19, 2007 at 7:41 am #1395907
Just skimmed this thread and didn't see a reference to Oregon Moutnain Community, which used to be downtown but is now out Sandy Blvd. We like it as an alternative to teh barcoded corporate genericness and unhelpfulness of REI when it comes time to get real advice. A woman at OMC spent an hour with me fitting me for a pack after I returned a POS pack to REI immediately after a weeklong trip. She was sweaty and smelly from kayaking that day before work and I was stinky from my trip. She went over and above.
Next Adventure at present has some good gear. They have some go lite rain wear. I went for another brand because I preferred it's hood. It is a good place to hit any time.
The central Portland REI is a pain in the hind quarters to get to because it is in the trndy overpriced and crowded Pearl District.
If you are inclined to get off the beaten track (avoid the Gorge!) and head to the Table Rock Wilderness East of Molalla.
SimonJul 19, 2007 at 7:45 am #1395908
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Definitely stop by NWHikers! Lots and lots of good advice for the area.
Depending on what area you decide to visit you might be able to do dispersed camping on the road. For instance, up near Baker there are a couple trailheads that actually have free campgrounds right at the TH. Don't forget though, if you are doing any NF stuff, you need a NWForest parking permit!Jul 21, 2007 at 7:36 am #1396124
Now, it's a little ironic that I'm posting this from Melbourne Australia, but I happened to get a heads up that OR are having a sidewalk sale this weekend.
If anyone wants to pick me up a Wasabi Chaos Jacket in men's Medium at 50% off, I'll fix you up when I get there. ;)
RodJul 21, 2007 at 3:09 pm #1396140
Headed that way now (3:09pm PDT, 7/21)Jul 21, 2007 at 3:51 pm #1396142
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
I'll second(or third or fourth) the Pro Mountaineering Sports recommendation. Lots of quality ultra light gear and Jim Nelson, the proprietor, is a top notch alpine climber, certified guide, and extremely knowledgable about both gear and places to hike/climb in the Cascades. Definitely worth a visit. His shop is located on University Ave, just south of Ravenna Blvd, less than 1 mile east of I-5. As for hikes, one that hasn't been mentioned is Kaleetan Peak via Lake Melakwa. It is a 12 mile round trip that includes a ridge run, mostly on a climber's trail, out to the peak after you pass Lake Melakwa and has spectacular views from an airy perch on the summit as well as when you are running the ridge. It is 4 1/2 miles and ~2700' of elevation gain to Lake Melakwa from the TH and there are several nice campsites at the lake. Be warned, the lake can be crowded on weekends, but you won't have much, if any, company if you continue on to Kaleetan, which will gain you another ~1000' of elevation. The last bit is a class 3ish scramble up to the summit. The hike starts from the Denny Creek TH, which is ~2 1/2 miles off I-90 from Exit 47. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a great time.Jul 21, 2007 at 5:33 pm #1396146
Tons of gaiters, gloves, beanies, balaclavas, hats, a good selection of women's clothes, and quite a few UL windshirts.
I showed remarkable restraint and got away with some nice Gore-Tex Packlite gaiters and a Hydroseal belt pouch– all for $23 with tax :)
So I went to to Goodwill and got a Raliegh M40 mountian bike for $12.99, a Bell helmet with a visor for $1.99 and a Victorinox suitcase for $4.99. Lawdy, I love a bargain!
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