Trade Show Tidbits — Mountain Boots to E-bikes — Lou

Post by blogger | August 10, 2015      

It ain’t all ski touring but it ain’t all bad. That is, once you untangle from the dog leash around your legs and find a bypass for hallways so crowded you feel like a tilapia in a farm tank. So where’s the good? For starters, we’ve got a full raft of sponsors again so we can keep WildSnow pumping along. I tie up some of these deals at the OR Show — good reason for being there! Beyond pure business, I also take a look around with focus on things truly useful or at least fascinating. More:

Arcteryx AR alpine climbing boot.

Arcteryx AR alpine climbing boot.

I can never get alpine climbing out of my soul. Still do it, really, to the degree my ski tours involve a peak scramble now and then. Summer, my mind wanders to what I could perhaps be scrambling in the Wind Rivers or Rocky Mtn. Park. Or Chamonix? But I’m at the OR show instead.

Oh well, let the fantasizing commence. I’ll admit to salivating over the debut Arcteryx Acrux AR Boot. This double mountaineering boot is trim, even elegant. It’s covered by a waterproof-breathable full gaiter. Inside, an insulated Gore-tex liner keeps your feet snug down to temps you should probably be avoiding, but did not because you love it. Or at least thought you did, until you realized that while you’re wearing your Arcteryx AR Boots but forgot to bring your Arcteryx gloves. Price? That’s like shopping for a Ferrari and asking the tuxedo clad Italian showroom person “but, what’s the gas mileage?”

Well, moving along to things more practical:

Jetboil came up with this modular (starts with two burners) propane stove.

Jetboil came up with this modular (starts with two burners) propane stove — Jetboil Genesis 2 Burner System could be the ticket for ski touring basecamp operations. Hook up to your 90 pound propane tanks and burn all night.

Jetboil bascamp stove folds together into a durable package that won't crush like that Wal-Mart cooktop you used to use.

Jetboil bascamp stove folds together into a durable package that won’t crush like that Wal-Mart cooktop you used to use. Unlike cheapo units, it simmers nicely so perhaps you’ll cook something other than bacon.

But wait, why would you really need a nicely engineered propane stove? Basecamp snow melting but of course.

But wait, why would you really need a nicely engineered propane stove? Basecamp snow melting but of course. Personally, I thought this to be the best configuration. Two big heat-exchanger equipped buckets atop a dual flame thrower. A pesky booth person got all bent when we rigged it up this way, but remembering all the times I’ve been thirsty while surrounded by miles of snow, I thought it beautiful.

Jetboil Genesis 2 Burner System

Jetboil Genesis 2 Burner System. I suppose we’ll have to install this at WildSnow Ski Touring Field HQ.

Practical for some folks, including me. E-bike with chainsaw rack.

Practical for some folks, including me. E-bike with chainsaw rack.

These are Polaris E-bikes.

These are Polaris E-bikes. I was surprised to not see another E-bike brand at the show, as these things are the rage in Europe for everything from rock climbing approaches to simply lengthening your reach for a favorite gasthaus. Here in the US I’m seeing E-bikes as the solution for ski touring routes miles beyond frustrating gates.

The front rack axe mount was appreciated.

The front rack axe mount was appreciated.

We're getting more hip to Patagonia around here.  Really, resistance is futile.

We’re getting more hip to Patagonia around here. Resistance is futile. Me want the full biking collection (pictured here) so I look good on my E-bike.

We stopped by Aspect Solar to check out their latest power packs.

We stopped by Aspect Solar to check out their latest power packs. They continue to add various size bricks, from a hand sized phone booster to a 60 pound monster that can power a whole home for a day. Our main concern with Aspect, whose gear we’ve been testing, is that they keep innovating in areas that make their equipment more robust for expedition use. Louie and I spoke with their electrical engineer from Singapore. He appeared genuinely ernest. So keep Aspect in mind when you’re configuring various alternative power systems. Our site supporter 8kPeak sells Aspect. The guys pictured here are 8kPeak owners Mike and Steve Marolt, with their friend Jim Gile to left. These guys are expedition fiends, having enjoyed more than 40 different ski mountaineering expeditions to exotic locals — everything from Muztagh Ata to skiing high on Mount Everest. To give back, they organized supplying hundreds of Aspect Solar power units to Nepal after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake.

Lastly, a whimsy. I found myself calling them  'sky tents.'

Lastly, a whimsy. I found myself calling them ‘sky tents.’ I was thinking of being about two meters off the ground in an aspen grove, September, gazing out at the puffing Colorado clouds, fantasizing about a smooth turn and a ski tour with close friends. Tentsile.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


22 Responses to “Trade Show Tidbits — Mountain Boots to E-bikes — Lou”

  1. Patrick August 10th, 2015 12:01 pm

    does it look like one could mod the EBike chainsaw rack to handle rifle or two, or hand guns? Something a little more practical for every-day use — not that many folks have chainsaws.

  2. Greg Louie August 10th, 2015 2:04 pm

    Wait until you see the Arc’teryx approach shoe with the tech fittings . . .

  3. PQ August 10th, 2015 4:20 pm

    re. Jetboil system

    What interests me more than the stove are some largish (and relatively lightweight?) heat-exchanger pots similar to the Primus Etapower pots. The Etapower pots are amazingly fuel efficient (60-70% fuel consumption) without much additional weight so very good for longer trips. These Jetboil pots look like they may be somewhat similar although it is hard to see much other than a built-in windscreen.

    There isn’t any info on those pots on the Jetboil site, but I’ll be watching

  4. Mark Worley August 10th, 2015 10:25 pm

    Lou, ever heard of Cogburn fat bikes? The brand is QBP owned, I think Salsa or Surly related. They come with racks and accessories for hunting, i.e. rifle and bow rack. Sounds goofy very briefly until you realize how much more territory one can cover by bike versus on foot for hunting.

  5. ptor August 11th, 2015 1:29 am

    Does the bike have a USB charging port for the iSaw?

  6. Lou Dawson 2 August 11th, 2015 8:00 am

    First they took our guns, then they took our chainsaws…

  7. Lou Dawson 2 August 11th, 2015 8:02 am

    PQ, they are indeed heat exchanger pots and are said to noticeably and significantly improve efficiency of the stove. I’m thinking you’ll see people on Denali with a 10-lb propane tank strapped to their sled alongside their Clean Mountain Can. Lou

  8. Frame August 11th, 2015 10:10 am

    Patrick, (non US person here), but how is a handgun more practical then a chainsaw.
    One is for cutting wood for fires, access or lumber, the other is for shooting people.

    Or have I missed some sarcasm?


    Ptor, a former colleague of mine, now sells ladies travel bags that are on rollers and have a mechanism for you to charge smart phones, tablets etc. Whether bike or luggage, perhaps you could charge your Avatech probe (once the iSaw is done ;o)

  9. Scott Nelson August 11th, 2015 11:43 am

    Nice selection of goodies. The Tentsile looks pretty cool, you could slack line to your sleeping bag; but I guess you’d have to be careful about the first step when nature calls late at night… Fat tire e-bike with ski rack sounds cool also, what’s a ballpark cost on those things, more than my Tacoma?

  10. Lou Dawson 2 August 11th, 2015 12:45 pm

    Frame, there are places in the world where having a handgun is common and quite nice, and yes, usually for shooting people if necessary, or at least brandishing to show you are equally armed. Folks also carry them for bear defense (perhaps where they’d be using that chainsaw to do trail upkeep), but the effectiveness of a handgun for bear defense has come into question as opposed to a big bore shotgun and bear spray.

    Alaska and Afghanistan come to mind, no sarcasm intended.

  11. Jerky Schmilkus August 14th, 2015 11:42 am

    e-bikes are motorized. No good for forest circus and pathway trail systems that don’t allow motors.

  12. Patrick August 14th, 2015 2:32 pm

    Frame — here’s the practical aspect. In the USA, not that many folks actually own a chainsaw. On the other hand, many Americans own guns – just sort of any everyday item in US homes — of course not everybody has them. So there’s a far larger audience of folks who may want to use the bike rack for a gun or two, just to have one handy in the event of almost any outbreak of fear. Never can tell ya know.
    Next time I hike in AZ, I’m bringing my hockey stick, in case I have to take anyone down.

  13. Mark Worley August 14th, 2015 10:06 pm

    Yes, there are a few decent rechargeable chainsaws with lithium ion batteries. No, they won’t fly past your two stroke in a hot saw comp, but they can work for some lighter duty cutting! Dunno about USB charging…

  14. Jim Milstein August 14th, 2015 11:18 pm


    Charging a large capacity battery, like a chainsaw’s, through a USB port would take a really long time—days—not hours. There is no provision for USB charging. I’ve used a Li-ion battery powered saw for clearing fallen timber on trails. It works amazingly well. Bring extra batteries. Recharging in the wild is not practical.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 August 15th, 2015 7:19 am

    I tried a small cordless sawzall for limbing trees on trail, battery life was way too limited. The sawzall turned out to be one of my best shop and building tools, however, super useful. In my opinion a few pints of petrol and a small chainsaw are still the best option for trail upkeep, or simply a sharp handsaw.

  16. Jim Milstein August 15th, 2015 8:05 am

    The latest high voltage Li-ion chainsaws are pretty good. Way smoother and quieter than the petrol models. A bunch of batteries can get expensive, however. With a sixteen inch bar, I’ve cleared twenty-four inch diameter deadfall without trouble.

  17. Lou Dawson 2 August 15th, 2015 8:35 am

    Hi Jim, I’ll have to try one of those. On the other hand, the energy density of a Li-ion battery as compared to gasoline is simply no contest, that’s why it’s so hard to build an electric car that has range. Gasoline really is pretty amazing in terms of energy storage… then we have fuel cells which might also be way better than Li-ion in terms of weight…

  18. Jim Milstein August 15th, 2015 9:23 am

    Lou, the situation with portable electric tools is not quite as bad as it looks, due to the much greater energy efficiency of current electric motors vs internal combustion engines.

    But you are right: battery storage has a long way to go to be fully competitive with chemical fuels in energy/weight, energy/volume, and cost.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 August 15th, 2015 10:11 am

    And if the electricity in the battery is made from coal, then what’s the difference between it and gasoline (rhetorical question)? Lou

  20. Jim Milstein August 15th, 2015 10:55 am

    I answer rhetorically, Lou, from behind the virtual podium here at Wild Snow —-

    The difference is that the electric tool is much more pleasant, less tiring, and quieter to use than the gasoline tool. Starting it is far easier too. An arborist friend counters that the unpleasant noise of a gas engine is a safety feature, warning people away from danger.

    Actual energy use of hand tools is far below the noise level in the big picture.

  21. Lou Dawson 2 August 15th, 2015 11:10 am


  22. ptor August 16th, 2015 2:02 pm

    well, if you go downhill real fast and hook up a generator and alternator/inverter???
    Anyways, electric bikes are already out-cooled by electric one-wheeled skateboards 😉 Let’s talk hover bikes instead of snowmobiles!!!!!

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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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