Posts Tagged ‘Gear’

OR Show – Summer 2013 Sort-of-Live Casual Perspective Report of the First 1.5 Days

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

I’ve been in Salt Lake City for less than three days but it feels like a week.

My Outdoor Retailer experience started when I arrived at Pineview Reservoir, location of this year’s Open Air Demo on Monday night, the Open Air Demo day had not started yet but I was there because I had won a glamping spot and because of the kindness of Brook of @brookalooktrout who gave me a ride as her boyfriend navigated. Glamping, it turns out means staying in a hotel like room tent with a picnic basket of goodies for dinner (I was a late arrival so missed some of the night’s activities like dinner and s’mores). Glamping on this occasion also meant enjoying local Utah wines and other beverages while a local jazz ensemble played music and then retiring to one’s “tent” by following a paper bag lantern lit path way. The bonus was getting some really nice goodies like a usb lantern from Backbone (glamping contest sponsor) and a solar charger/speaker system from Eton.

The only downside for me was that I woke up once cold and that I was rather dehydrated the next day (my travel to OR Show was eventful in a negative way but I’ll spare you the details).

Tuesday was fun, I saw some old friends like Martha of Action Wipes, James Mills of  The Joy Trip Project, and Randi aka @upadownamtnmama and had made new ones from the glamping group. Amongst the booths I saw some interesting products like a tether device for hanging gadgets off of you, an electronic device that allows one to text and email from anywhere via satellite, and inflatable SUP boards… which I had to touch to verify they were indeed the inflatable kind. I got out on the water and managed not to fall in. I was invited back for another session complete with pointers towards the end of the show but unfortunately didn’t make it as I had to catch a shuttle back to Salt Lake in order to then take a train to where I was staying.

Official Day 1 of the show is today… I’m typing this from the Convention Center. I’ve had official and unofficial meetings with StoneWear, Petzl, Osprey, Fox River, Travel Chair, Evolv and will soon be leaving to go to Twitter friend Sara Lingafelter’s talk and then on to 5.10.

Today, I also lost and found my phone. I left it at a computer station where I had brought up my email to check on appointment times. When I went back for it a nice man had taken the creative liberty of calling some folks on my contact list to tell them to tell me that my phone would be at his booth, but since I was there we instead talked a bit and I may be reviewing a product from his company. The kindness of strangers is something that has worked out well for me on this trip.

Well this is it for my semi-live dispatch from the conventi0n center, I’ve got  to run to finish out the day! More in a few days, including of course more practical reports on the gear and goods I’m seeing.

Photo from yesterday, more to come

Camera Phone Photo from yesterday, more to come

Outdoor Research Insight Lab – I’m in!

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Outdoor ResearchA representative for Outdoor Research, makers of outdoor gear since as long as I can remember [they officially started in 1981] recently contacted me via Twitter asking me for my email.

I gave it to him and it turns out I was chosen to be part of the inaugural Outdoor Research Insight Lab team! This team is a group of outdoor folks who will receive OR gear and we’ll write reviews and give feedback to OR designers about the things we receive.

I was asked what categories I would be interested in: active sports, a new women’s line, or their climbing apparel. Of course climbing was my top pick but I also expressed an interest in women’s apparel too. Also, I was asked what other sports I do, and though this site and my Twitter handle are named “rockgrrl” if you’ve followed either one you’ve probably noticed that I do a variety of outdoor sports (and in fact used to fence competitively which is mainly an indoor sport). I don’t know if I’ll get varied things because of my answers, but we’ll see!

At any rate, I’m happy to be part of the crew and OR has already sent me some goodies.

Belaying with the OR Women's Belay Gloves and wearing a Whirlwind Hoody

Belaying with the OR Women's Belay Gloves and wearing a Whirlwind Hoody

I received: the Enchanted tank top, the Women’s Voodoo pants, the Women’s Whirlwind Hoody, and Women’s Belay Gloves.

My initial impression was, “I didn’t know OR made this kind of stuff!” and then, “Hey neat!” as I noticed little things about each of the items that showed nice attention to detail. I haven’t tested the gear enough to make a review just yet, but here’s a picture of me wearing the Women’s Whirlwind Hoody and the Women’s Belay Gloves from their climbing line of gear. You might notice that I’m smiling.

A note about this program and my reviews in general, as you’ve probably noticed I disclose how I get the items I review. While initially my reviews were on things I already owned, eventually I started getting things for free. However, there has never been a requirement that I had to write positive things about the product and in fact I believe that is now against FTC guidelines [Edit: FTC only requires disclosure]. In any case, I think reviews are only helpful if they are truthful so I’ll continue to share as I do in real life, I’ll give my opinion on something, whether good or bad, and if it helps my readers and/or designers of gear, all the better!

Cébé Cinetik and Wild Sunglasses Review

Friday, September 7th, 2012

I have issues with sunglasses. Sometimes they are too big for me and slide down my face, sometimes they give me headaches from temple pressure and/or poor quality lenses, sometimes they give me funny indention marks on my nose that hurt a bit when they decompress, sometimes they pull my hair out, and sometimes I lose and/or abuse them.

In fact, I lost my last pair while on a hike in Yosemite a few months ago. Luckily for me, French adrenaline sport brand Cébé (owned by Bushnell Outdoor Products since 2009) had perfect timing with a sunglasses review request and sent me two pairs from their new line to review. I got the Wild style in black and the Cinetik style in metallic grey.

Wearing Cebe Wild sunglasses (and a Rockgrrl Climbing icon shirt)

Wearing Cebe Wild sunglasses (and a Rockgrrl Climbing icon shirt)

I’m happy to say that of my usual sunglass issues, only one occurred, and that only occasionally.

I attribute this happy state of sunglass contentment to the pros I discovered:

  • Lightweight. Both the Cinetik and Wild styles feature ultra-light (5.8 gram) frames
  • Smart frame design. No places that pinched hair when I chose to put sunglasses on top of my head (I often do this when taking photos)
  • Great peripheral vision. As a former prescription glasses wearer, I always hated the lose of peripheral vision when I wore them before I switched to contact lenses. As a climber I don’t like it when a glasses frame blocks that hand hold I was looking for.
  • Lens choices. The default lenses are great, I can see detail but also be saved from glare. As a photographer, I also appreciate that the color shift is not overly distracting.
  • No fogging. Apparently this is part of the frame design of the styles I was given – there’s a gap between the lens and frame in the top outermost corners of both the Cinetik and Wild styles (it’s larger on the Wild than on the Cinetik).
  • Ample accessories. Nice protective molded case (with a soft lining and detachable extra lense pocket orgranizer inside), handy accessory carabiner, cleaning cloth.

Here are the few cons I’ve found:

  • The bottom of the left eye lens of the Cinetik and Wild styles sometimes touch my face, causing sunscreen smudge on the lens. This is pretty common with sunglasses for me (usually it’s the entire bottom of the glasses that touch). This may be due to my genetic luck of the draw as I have a short nose bridge and wide face (and maybe my left ear is lower than my right?). Since it’s happening on only one side though, I may go into a glasses shop and see if they can adjust the left sunglasses arm. At any rate, it is a huge improvement compared to other glasses I’ve worn, and is not hard to ignore.
  • The case for the glasses — while I like the fact that is it protective and nicely curved to fit the glasses — is bigger than past cases I have had.  I could use a different case but I would be afraid to break the glasses if I just kept them in a simple fabric pouch and stuffed them in a pack. Note that the frames are made of  TR90 nylon and should be sturdy and flexible… but I’d still rather not put this to the test with my new favorite glasses!

Bottom line is I’m very happy that I finally have sunglasses I can wear all day, on the approach hike and while climbing. Either style, the Cinetik or Wild will be great multi-pitch climb choices and for general backcountry and sport use.

Cinetik

Cinetik

Petzl Elia Helmet Review – Don’t Let Looks Fool You

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Me onsight with the Elia at Atlantis Wall, Joshua Tree

Onsight with the Elia at Atlantis Wall, Joshua Tree

“Hey, cool helmet!” a guy arriving to the crag called out from behind me.
I said, “Thanks, I’m reviewing it. It’s a women’s specific helmet.”
“Oh, I could guess that because of the things around it,” he circled his finger around this head. He meant the vine and leaf like design on the helmet. A shallow ridge on the helmet made up the vine and the leaves were air holes and head lamp clips. I hadn’t really noticed that design detail up till then. Upon receiving the complimentary helmet from the good folks at Pemba Serves, I had been most interested in the unique fit system of the Elia. “Do you like it?” the climber asked.

And here, dear reader, is the short version of this review. I answered, “Yeah!”

I’ve worn a variety of climbing helmets over the years and currently own one closed cell foam helmet (Petzl Meteor III) and one hard shell (Black Diamond Half Dome) that I have been meaning to replace because it’s over 10 years old and has taken some knocks to show for it. The opportunity to review the Petzl Elia came at a good time. Since receiving it I’ve worn it to a local crag and just came back from a 3 day weekend in Joshua Tree National Park.

Here’s my video review of the helmet:

Helmet Features:

  • Specifically sized for women (52-58 cm headband)
  • Patented OMEGA system adapts to pony-tails
  • Headband can be adjusted with two lateral buttons to obtain precise and comfortable positioning of the OMEGA system
  • Side openings for ventilation
  • Injection molded ABS shell is both lightweight and durable
  • Expanded polystyrene liner absorbs impacts
  • Adjustable chinstrap, nape height and headband for an extremely comfortable fit.
  • Chin strap position adjusts forward or backward and redesigned side-release chin strap buckle is positioned off to the side for comfort
  • Narrow polyester webbing straps offer improved comfort.
  • Headband adjustment folds into the shell for compact storage and ease of transportation.
  • Headlamp attachment with 4 optimally placed clips.
  • Foam is removable and washable

Pros:

The fit. I was quite taken by the OMEGA system. I had heard about the “ponytail fitting” feature of the helmet before but what I didn’t realize is that this meant a complete overhaul of how the helmet was adjusted as well. I found the system to be the best fitting system I have yet worn. The helmet felt snug and secure but still comfortable (with one caveat, see Cons below). I was impressed with the sliders on the outside of the helmet which let me loosen or tighten the system easily by pressing in and moving them with my thumbs while the helmet was on my head. While climbing I felt the helmet moved with me and I found I didn’t have to readjust it between climbs.

The ponytail feature. This performed as advertised, I didn’t have to pull my ponytail through some small space in between webbing. I just put the helmet on my head, fast and easy. Now I have the option to wear pig tails or a ponytail again!

Build of the helmet. It felt solid without feeling too heavy.

Price. The Elias is priced at the lower end of the Petzl line of helmets and I think is a great buy if you’re looking for a good all around helmet that will last you well into your climbing career.

Cons:

Mary liked the Elia helmet

Mary liked the Elia helmet

Sizing. Petzl says one of the ways this helmet was specifically designed for women is that it fits a smaller range of heads. Well, I guess I have a big head. I pretty much had to use the sliders at the largest end of their range. The helmet is quite comfortable for wearing straight on my head but I don’t think I’ll be able to wear a fleece hat under the helmet. Fortunately I have a Buff and the non-fleece Buff fits fine under the helmet so I’ll be covered for warm to cool climbing situations. Please note that I let another female climber use the helmet for a few climbs and it fit her fine with room to spare. Also, I’ve read a few other Elia reviews online and none of the other women have mentioned the sizing being snug. In case you’re wondering, I also can’t fit into the smaller CAMP brand helmet, and that’s without a hat or a Buff under it. So if that size works for you then the Elia will definitely fit you.

Jealous girl friends? Sorry, I’m just trying to think of another con to justify the pluralization of the word “Con” in the heading of this section. Of note, this past weekend I went on a 3 day Joshua Tree Trip. One of my friends arrived at the base of Double Cross while I was at the top. We shouted, “Hellos” to each other and then she added, “I like your helmet!”

Conclusion:

As I mentioned in the Pros section, I think the Elia is a great buy for a female climber looking for a good all around helmet, just check your head diameter with a fleece hat on. Personally I’ve decided it’s time for me to finally retire my old knocked about Half Dome helmet and let the Elia fill its role.

The Petzl Elia is available in many gear shops. You can also buy it online here: Petzl Women’s Elia Climbing Helmet [my affiliate link].

You can read more about the Petzl Elia helmet and find a list of retailers at Petzl’s site.

Elaine bought an Elia after seeing mine!

Elaine bought an Elia after seeing mine!

One of  those retailers is Nomad Ventures, right outside of Joshua Tree National Park. How do I know? Another friend of mine who I was climbing with this past weekend liked the helmet so much that at our stop at Nomad’s on the way out she bought one for herself. I didn’t know she was going to do this so I asked her what swayed her,  she said, “That ponytail thing is amazing!”

Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter Pump Review – Oldie But Goodie

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Katadyn Water Filter Pro

Katadyn Water Filter Hiker Pro

I think reviews don’t always have to be for the latest gear so here’s one on a product that’s been around awhile, it’s my tried and true water filter, the Katadyn Hiker Pro.

I first encountered this wonder when my then boyfriend (now husband) brought it backpacking on a trip we were taking in Yosemite. It was so much faster and smoother to operate than other filters I’d tried. Years and many backpacking trips later, it still works great. I’ve been asked in the past what filter I use so thought it was a good share here.  While I’m intrigued by the new gravity fed filters, I don’t admire their price since most of them are double what this little guy costs. I may change my tune down the line, but if you’d rather pump and go than wait for gravity I’d say this filter is still a steal and would be especially useful for short trips while covering a lot of ground. It would also be useful in places where it may be hard to scoop out a lot of water, for example, when the water is below or there is just a small opening to a running stream of water, just plop the float down into it and pump away from more stable ground.

Product Details:

  • Long lasting AntiClog pleated cartridge requires no maintenance or cleaning.
  • Very large filter surface for fast output.
  • Easy to use because of minimal resistance whilst pumping.
  • Active carbon core reduces unpleasant tastes and odors from the water.
  • Small pre-filter on in-hose protects filter cartridge life in turbid water. [Rockgrrl’s note: while I’ve used it for years with no problem, it was mainly used in places with relatively clear water (the Sierras for example) so I can’t attest to how it works in turbid water. I did find the prefilter float to be handy in keeping grasses, etc out even before it got to the inside filter though.]
  • Compact design and easy operation–fits in any backpack or travel bag.
  • Easy Fill Bottle Adaptor attaches directly to a drinking bottle. [Rockgrrl’s note: I love this, it fits great on Nalgene bottles]

Feature Details:

  • Technology: AntiClog Technology with 0.3 micron glassfiber and activated carbon granulate
  • Output: ca. 1 liters/minute
  • Cartridge Capacity: Up to 750 l (depending on water quality)
  • Weight: 11 ounces
  • Size: 7.6 x 16.5 x 6.1 cm (3 x 6.5 x 2.4 inches)
  • Includes: Prefilter, bottle adapter and carry bag

The Clymb: $10 for Signing up! and What is it?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Now through July 18th, your friends get $10 just for signing up

The Clymb is building the planet’s most dedicated network of core outdoor enthusiasts and athletes. So tell like-minded friends and family about us. We’ll credit your account $10 when their first order ships.

There are two ways to tell people about The Clymb

Email, IM, or post your personal invite link: http://www.theclymb.com/invite-from/EileenRingwald

What is The Clymb? It’s a members only site that features different outdoor brands for a limited time and offers that brand’s items for around 40 – 70% off. I’ve purchased from them before and got a great deal on Kuhl clothing and Icebreaker clothing. They have also featured Teva and Sigg (right now they’re doing a multibrand Summer thing featuring some Sigg stuff , Dakine, Teva and some other stuff). Each featured run only lasts a few days long.

Disclosure: As the quote above mentions, I get $10 if you sign up with my invite and purchase something but membership is free for you (and as mentioned, you’ll get a $10 credit just for signing up, which to my knowledge they haven’t offered before).

Also, I’ve done a non paid guest blog post for them for their “Why I Climb” series. You can see that here: http://theclymb.com/blog/2010/07/heights-fear-and-respect/

Camera Harness Review – The KEYHOLE

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

KEYHOLE(TM) Harness
As an outdoor adventure photographer I find myself wearing a backpack and sometimes being caught between wanting to have fast access to my camera and wanting it to be secure and comfortable to carry while I scramble around.

The folks at Backcountry Solutions have come up with an answer to this situation. They offer the KEYHOLE™, it’s a camera harness system which lets you keep your camera at chest level but takes the load off of your neck while also making sure the camera doesn’t swing while you move.

They provided one for me to test out, which I’ve been doing for awhile now. I used it hiking, climbing (a climb I did to get to a vantage point, about a 5.2), and I used it snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing with the KEYHOLE (TM)

Snowshoeing with the KEYHOLE (TM)

How it Works

The KEYHOLE™ has a webbing strap and buckle system which attaches to 1″ webbing found on many backpack straps. The webbing centers a plate with a keyhole shaped cutout in which a round piece can be slotted. This piece attaches to your camera at the tripod mount. Once it’s on your camera, you just slot your camera into the keyhole and the camera hangs lens pointing down. A velcro strap is also included for you to attach to your camera’s lens cap, helping stabilize the camera as well. The get up is intended to be used with your camera strap around your neck, but the weight of the camera when hanging is mainly distributed on your shoulders via the harness system.

My Impressions

Pros: It worked as advertised. I tested it with my heaviest short zoom lens (24-70) attached to my Canon XSi, this combination is just slightly over 3lbs, an uncomfortable weight to have just hanging on a neck strap for any length of time. With the harness system my neck felt fine. And even though I did not use the velcro strap, I felt that the camera did not move very much at all. I hiked miles and was able to grab shots of wildlife showing up unexpectedly, faster than even accessing the camera from a special camera bag with side access that I usually bring. I was also able to use this system while using hiking poles, my arms had full range of motion.

Because the harness system attaches where a chest strap would be on a pack, you don’t have to use your other strap, also you will probably already be used to wearing something there (the buckles are the same as on my packs).

I loved that I could use this system with a backpack I already owned and that I could remove it to use with my pack of choice for whatever activity I was doing, thus converting a regular pack into a camera pack.

Cons: While I was able to use this doing a rockclimb, my camera was still sitting out in front of me so I had to be careful to not have it scrape on the rock face. Keep in mind of course that the climb was about a 5.2, thus low angled with many protrusions, a different climb with less jutting portions would’ve been easier to climb with the camera. Of course I could bring my camera inside a backpack up the climb but I wanted a lighter weight option than bringing up my heavy crag bag.

As a female I had a few misgivings about the placement of the harness and plate but once I wore it, it didn’t seem too bad. I’d not want to run a race with it on, but I did wear it snowshoeing and was fine (perhaps the extra padding of my jacket helped as well). If you had a lighter camera set up, for example I used my camera with my 50mm lens, the comfort factor was greater. In addition, with the 50mm lens being shorter, it also avoided hitting my backpack buckle if I scrunched down and I also had more room to move the whole system (up or down along the 1″ straps on my backpack).

The biggest con is that this can only be used with a pack with 1″ webbing (or a harness with said webbing). Two of my packs (newer models) have the “railing” system instead of a 1″ webbing on the shoulder straps. If they had a “railing” compatible version it’d be perfect for me to use with my usual backpack on long trips and even with my camera/crag bag.

Additional Thoughts

I really liked this harness, for its price point (around $35 including shipping and handling) I think it’s a great tool for photographers. As a climber we’re always hiking into a crag and already have a backpack full of stuff, being able to wear your regular backpack and have a camera handy during the hike to take pics as you see them is nice and also convenient. If you go with this system I suggest bringing a neoprene wrap or a small “bucket” camera bag, the kind that basically just fit the camera with a lens on it (I have one that I can squish down) to put your camera in when it’s not in use during those climb and shoot outings.

I think the harness really shines for backpacking, snowshoeing and regular hiking. When you’re putting in the miles you don’t always want to stop and dig out your camera and you definitely don’t want it swinging around on your neck by its neck strap for hours. Couple the system with a neoprene hood if you want a little more protection while moving but otherwise I think you’ll be fine.

Traffic Jam Malibu Creek Style

Traffic Jam Malibu Creek Style

To the right is a picture I took while waiting for the “traffic jam” on the water traverse to the back area in Malibu Creek. I would not have dug my camera out of my backpack at this moment but I felt secure enough to just lift it out of the harness to use it (and keep in mind, even when you lift it out, the neck strap is still around your neck in case you should drop the camera). While it’s not photographically a perfect shot, it does exemplify an interesting feature of the area (the water traverse you must do before you even start to climb) and for me it’s definitely part of the experience (though I don’t like the occasional traffic jams of course).  Kudos to the KEYHOLE™ for enabling me to take it.

Review: Orikaso Bowl and Cup

Monday, September 21st, 2009

_mg_6530I’ve been meaning to write a review on the foldable bowl and cup I own for some time now so here it is.

The Orikaso Bowl

“What is that?” a fellow camper asked me.

It’s a question I’ve gotten a lot on various backpacking and camping trips. It comes up because someone sees me using my Orikaso foldable bowl.

It’s just what it sounds like, it’s a piece of plastic which, when folded origami style along pre-bent lines, becomes a bowl. I love it for a few reasons:

  1. It’s lightweight – 1.3 oz
  2. It can pack flat and you can even use the plastic packaging envelope it came with to store it in
  3. It is flexible and fairly durable
  4. It’s reasonably priced

I’ve been using mine for a few years now, I mainly use it for oatmeal but have also put soup in it. It holds a lot, I can fit two packets of oatmeal in it easily with room to spare (it’s bigger than it looks in the picture). The thin plastic doesn’t insulate however so when I put something hot in it I am sure to hold the bowl carefully. However I’ve never been afraid that the bowl would come apart, just that my hands would get warm or if I held it by one side it might spill.

Some fellow Orikaso bowl owners I have run into also complain about it being hard to clean because food gets stuck in the folds, however I don’t find that much gets stuck in there (a few instant oatmeal flakes but nothing bigger for example). I unfold the bowl when it’s time to clean it and have no problem.

Orikaso Cup

I found the Orikaso cup on sale and bought it to try it out. I wish I could say I love it as much as the bowl but I find it much harder to put together. There are more folds to it so it takes longer, something that you don’t look forward to in the morning if this is the cup you want to use for your morning coffee (or hot cocoa in my case). I also found it hard to put together as the instructions were hard to follow. I thought it might just be me but I ran into another cup owner who said he had given up and his friends had to do it for him.

It still has the same pros as the bowl though, but to me the weight savings is not that signficant when you compare the cup to what I normally use, a plain brown plastic camping measuring cup with a small handle.

So there you have it, my Orikaso review. I highly recommend the bowl (which I also use as a plate occasionally, I just unfold it and though it won’t lie completely flat on its own, its serviceable if you’ll be eating on a flat surface). I’d say the cup is worth a try, especially if you also get it on sale and if you don’t need to fold and unfold it multiple times in a trip. Otherwise, just get a regular cup.

If you’re interested in the Orikaso bowl, here’ s my Amazon link to the Big Bowl (the one I have). The cup can be found here.

Our Trad Rack is Gone – Trip Report Prologue

Monday, July 20th, 2009

“I’m sick to my stomach,” K was telling me. Mine wasn’t doing too well either.

It was Thursday, July 9, a day before my departure date for a 9 day climbing trip and I was just getting the news that our trad rack of gear was possibly donated to a local charity who would have then sold it at their local thrift store.

What!?!

Yes, that’s what I’d be saying right now if I were you, dear reader.  Well, we had known our rack was “missing” for a few days but naively thought it would show up as stuff sometimes did within our small but crowded place or within our circle of climbing friends. I had not been planning on bringing the rack on my trip as I had already arranged to use friends’ gear and leave the rack at home for K. We hadn’t used the trad rack in a while due to K’s knee surgery & the business of getting married & going on a honeymoon. However we had just done a big purge of the garage which included boxes of stuff for donation that we had formerly kept in the apartment.

K had called the charity’s headquarters and someone there said the manager of the thrift store had recalled seeing the blue bag of gear (we kept the trad rack in a blue freebie nylon bag). If that was so then the rack had been gone for about a month.

I went down to the local thrift store. I’d never been there before and the amount of people shopping mid-day on a weekday made my stomach sink even farther. If the rack had been put out to sell it would surely be gone by now. I talked to the manager who was a very nice guy but he didn’t remember seeing a blue bag. He told me that they put things out for sale the very next day after getting them.  I could see the “back room” and the very efficient sorting going on there, this really did not bode well. I spent the next few hours searching the store, checking the sports equipment area (things were very efficiently bagged and tagged), the electronics area, the toys, the knick knacks and clothing… basically everything, even a basket of belts. I checked the entire store twice, and was very methodical about it. I was hoping I might see just one cam though it was explained to me that they would have clear plastic bagged the whole set and sold it as one unit.

I eventually called K, hoping that since the manager I talked to did not recall seeing the blue bag that there was some kind of mistake. K called the headquarters again and was told the female manager was the one who remembered it. She came in on the weekends. The male manager told me he wished we had called sooner as they sometimes were able to locate things up to a week after getting them but generally things sold very fast.

I thought that even if a person didn’t know what a trad rack was they might buy it just because it looked neat. I didn’t let myself think of what it might have sold for but small working TV’s were going for $25.

I still needed to prepare for my trip and after talking to K and him saying he’d check with the weekend manager while I was gone I left to distractedly go food shopping.

This was terrible news. K was talking about giving up trad climbing (partly due to his knee though but that’s another story). I didn’t want to give up trad climbing but…  well, the first rack was partially built with pro deals and we didn’t have that option anymore.

What a way to start a trip.  We should’ve called the charity right away. We should have double checked the donation boxes, but we didn’t. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

July 20th, 2009 – My trip did get better from then so please continue reading for a more uplifting tale, but I am back from my trip & our rack is still missing. If you know anyone who bought a rack from a Ventura, California Thrift store, please have them contact me. We’ll pay them whatever they paid for it, plus a reward and our humble gratitude.