Every week, we bring you five gear-related stories, from all over, that you won’t want to miss. Here are this week’s highlights:
Dean Potter and Graham Hunt Die in Wingsuit Accident in Yosemite
It would be difficult to discuss news in the outdoor world this week without mentioning Dean Potter, 43, and Graham Hunt, 29—two avid climbers, BASE jumpers and wingsuit flyers, who fell to their deaths during a wingsuit jump gone awry in Yosemite last Saturday. In a particularly moving piece published earlier this week on National Geographic, climbing author Andrew Bisharat reflects on how Dean Potter reinvented the sport of climbing.
“For the past 13 years, Potter had combined climbing, running, and flying into hybrid ‘sports,’” writes Bisharat, “though it is hard to label some of these endeavors as sports because they are so technical, so dangerous, and so difficult that oftentimes Potter was the only person even practicing them.”
Outside ran an equally poignant piece on Hunt, whose death has in many ways been overshadowed by Potter’s in other media coverage. In 2014, the article reports, Hunt made a video proclaiming, “I have to believe that we don’t have to die doing this. I honestly feel like I could be a 75-year-old man and still go for a hike and fly.”
Introducing Two New Snowsports: Ski-Soccer and Tandem Snowboarding
In case you missed them, two YouTube videos debuted this month featuring new riffs on good ol’ skiing and snowboarding—both of these falling squarely in the “Don’t Try This at Home” category.
In the first, some Scandinavians decide to see what happens when they play soccer while zipping down a mountain on skis, complete with aerial flips, headers and sneaky moves that really put the “slide” in “slide tackles.”
In the second, pro snowboarders Steve Klassen and Bob Carlson take their daughters, Kinsey Klassen (age 2) and Emma Carlson (age 4) on tandem rides on their snowboards down the mountain—complete with aerial jumps and tricks in the park.
Don’t Rely on Tech for Outdoor Survival
The Columbus Dispatch published a great article this week about the hidden costs and risks of relying on satellite transponders or other technology devices as a safety net in the backcountry. While personal-locator beacons or satellite-texting devices do sometimes indeed save lives, for a host of reasons, they shouldn’t replace good old-fashioned emergency equipment and knowledge.
According to the Dispatch, “As tech for the wilderness becomes more sophisticated and lighter to carry, more backpackers and long-distance hikers have access to lifesaving devices, but the security these high-tech gadgets provide are persuading more novices to tackle rugged adventures for which they are ill-prepared, wilderness leaders say.”
How To: Camping Out to Shoot the Night Sky
Photography website Fstoppers recently offered an in-depth guide to night-sky photography for those willing to hike into the wild and camp out for the perfect shot. With tips ranging from choosing a location, to anticipating weather, to selecting lightweight gear, this blog post serves as the perfect how-to guide for aspiring night-sky photographers.
The Best Road-Bike Upgrades
“There’s a saying in cycling: don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades,” begins a recent article in Cycling Weekly. After acknowledging that the greatest performance gains come from training, not fancy gear, the article goes on to offer recommendations for the best components to replace or upgrade on your road bike—ranging from more aerodynamic wheels to lighter-weight tires to fresh bar tape. After all, “The joy involved in perusing the shiny stuff on bike shop shelves, the heart-pounding moment you hand over the readies, and the thrill of introducing your new purchases to the open road, are all intrinsic parts of being a cyclist.”
Also included in the article is a list of bonus tips for the cost conscious, including gems like “If you’re considering buying a new component just to save a few grams, remember that most of us could lose a whole pound or two in a week, and it’d cost nothing.”