To me, the name “Merrell” has been associated with dad stuff. Kinda ugly, really traditional, super brown—not the good kind of brown from playing in the dirt, and a little bulky. They’ve never been hip or cool. Until recently. If you showed me a shoe from their new line, I couldn’t tell you it was by Merrell. When Merrell offered to send the #UintasHike16 crew shoes, I was a little skeptical. I worship my Salewas. They are my ultimate shoe. I decided to give Merrell a try; if they didn’t make me a convert, at least I could change my tune about the brand as a whole.
Matthes Crest is one of the iconic, classic High Sierra climbs, and it’s been on my todo list for god knows how long. A granite knife ridge cutting straight through the sky, this beast of a rock is tucked away in the backcountry of Tuolumne Meadows away from Highway 120 and any main trails. This was my one sufferfest this summer that didn’t feel too much like suffering. We somehow ended the long day still smiling and laughing.
As a climber, most of my weekends are spent in the mountains where the rock is prime and the views are unbeatable. Local crags like, Castle Rock, Indian Rock, are my playground on days where I can’t make the 3+ hour drive out to the Sierra. Sometimes it’s hard to give up that play time, and sometimes, the stars align and I have that opportunity to give back to the places where I play.
The mountains are a fickle place. Too hot, too cold, incredibly sunny, raging winds, all the weather that makes packing sometimes damn near impossible. Especially when you want to be prepared for all the things. When the mountains can’t make up their damn minds, there’s the Outdoor Research Whirlwind Hoody.
This past summer has been the summer of weekend road trips. Friday nights we were tossing our gear in the back of the car and driving for hours. I’m basically the best sleeping road trip partner you can possibly find, and I do it in comfort. The Black Diamond Dawn Wall Hoody was my best friend for those sloth-like hours and hours in the front seat.