Our editorial staff and bloggers write, take photos, and make videos about their adventures; they review Mountain Gear’s vendor-partner products; they cover events sponsored by Mountain Gear; they profile athletes of various disciplines; and some of them draw cartoons or otherwise illustrate blog posts. If you would like to submit a blog post, please contact Blog Editor Steve Durham at firstname.lastname@example.org. As well, please review the submission guidelines.
Steve Durham, Mountain Gear Editor
Sizing: Pants-36×34; Top-XL (sometimes tall); Shoes-The Brannock device says 11EE but depending on the manufacturer I can fit in a 10.5 to 11.5. I need a TALL toebox.
Outdoor Activities: fly fishing, climb, Nordic/alpine skiing, snowshoeing, rafting/driftboating (to support the fly fishing habit), backpacking/hiking, yoga, Kettlebells/weight training/cardi training.
Brief Bio: I grew up in Vermont. The family legend says I could ski before I could walk. I was a junior ski racer and raced through high school. I split my time nearly evenly between downhill and Nordic. Family fun included hikes along Vermont’s Long Trail and the AT and a lot of time sailing Lake Champlain and the Atlantic Ocean. I was and am a compulsive woods walker. A move to Montana after graduation changed my life. I was in the Rockies. I learned to fly fish. I was ruined for life. I’ve spent the 20 years since chasing trout all over the West. Lots of time in rafts and driftboats, lots of time hiking to remote lakes and little known or unknown rivers and streams. I also write, read, and hang out with my wife.
Size: Pants: 32 Tops: S/M Shoes: 10.5 (street), 9 (climbing)
Outdoor activities: Rock climbing, skiing, running
Brief Bio: I’ve spent more of my life out of doors than in. I spent my youth tromping around the hills of East Tennessee. When I was 11, my family took a vacation to Jackson, Wyo., where I had my first rock climbing lesson. I was instantly obsessed, and my passion for climbing has taken me all over the world. From exploring unclimbed boulders in Alaska, attempting big-wall free climbs in Peru, savoring the immaculate limestone of Spain, to passing a sunny afternoon with friends at a local crag, I love the joy and possibility that the climbing journey offers. I am an educator who has taught English and Spanish and a wide range of outdoor skills, including climbing and skiing. Beyond my career and outdoor pursuits, I fancy myself a passable amateur chef, both in the kitchen and in the backcountry. My backcountry specialties are enchilada pie and birthday cake. Yeah, that’s right, backcountry birthday cake.
Goals & Dreams: I constantly aspire to explore more. Maybe it’s a trip to a new climbing destination, putting up a new route on an alpine wall, or just a harder redpoint; I’m motivated by pushing into the unknown a little bit more. Long, difficult free climbs inspire me most, and I hope to continue seeking out these challenges for a long time.
Sizing: Pants-36×29; Tops-XL; Shoes-10 1/2
Outdoor Activities: Hiking, backpacking, and fishing.
Brief Bio: Growing up in Spokane I’ve hiked, camped, and fished my whole life. In 2008, I went backpacking for the first time. My first time I carried an old canvas external frame backpack and a huge dome tent that I bought at White Elephant for $30 that took up almost all the room in my pack. Sitting around the campfire that night by the river I realized that I was meant to be there. Then I moved to Arizona. Now, I’m a desert rat. I hike into canyon bottoms where water is scarce and the terrain is rocky and filled with cactus and rattlesnakes, but I still love it. I’m a passionate conservationist.
Goals & Dreams: I want to be a thru-hiker. I literally dream about it everyday. I want to hike the long distance trails, and support myself by writing about it. I know, it’s a long shot, but that’s what I want to do.
Sizing: Pants-33×32 womens; Tops-men’s medium or large; Shoes-men’s 9/wmn’s 10/11; Climbing shoes 37.5/38.5 (depends on the model).
“I am 5’10″, and my hips (where I wear my pants) are around a size 33. Day to day I usually wear men’s pants because I like pockets I can actually put stuff in and pants I can move in that aren’t skin-tight. Women’s t-shirts tend not to fit me very well as I’m tall and have a long torso, and the cut is nearly always for shorter bodies.”
Outdoor Activities: Rock climbing primarily, also hiking, skateboarding, snowboarding, waterskiing.
Brief Bio: I grew up playing sports like baseball and roller hockey, springboard diving, skiing, snowboarding, waterskiing, bike riding, hiking and camping with my family. At 16 I began climbing. Now I spend 4-6 months a year traveling and have spent hundreds of days camping and sleeping in tents, the back of my truck, and just recently a 1976 bumper-pull travel trailer my boyfriend and I are fixing up. I am the Head Route Setter at The Spot Bouldering Gym in Boulder, Colo. I’ve also set many climbing competitions and am a coach of The Spot Climbing Team. I enjoy helping people to better understand the sport I love.
Goals & Dreams: To publish some of the books I’ve been working on! And to keep climbing as hard as I can.
Sizing: Pants-32×32; Shoes: 9
Outdoor Activities: Climbing, backcountry snowboarding, biking (road and mountain)
Brief Bio: Having grown up in Iowa, I try not to take powder days and beautiful splitter cracks for granted. I’ve been obsessed with climbing (trad climbing that is) for some time now. My back yard is Rocky Mountain National Park but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the western states and destinations that climbing has taken me to. In my old age I’ve found myself doing more snowboarding in the high peaks with my fancy new splitboard.
Goals & Dreams: To be content with life in general, spend more time with friends and family, and to stay healthy into old age… oh, and send 5.14.
Chris Van Leuven
Sizing: Pants-30×30; Top-medium
Outdoor Activities: Climbing, Biking (road and mountain)
Brief Bio: I started climbing in the San Francisco Bay Area nearly 20 years ago. I spent 10 years of that time living in Yosemite climbing everything from boulders to trad, sport and big walls. For a period I lived seasonally in an RV, visiting various crags. I’ve taken three trips to Patagonia, written two climbing guides to Yosemite, and freed a few big walls in the Park. These days I’m back in the Bay, literally, living on a boat. I frequent the local boulders and crags, bike up the mountains, tour along the coast and row nightly around the marina. I also skateboard skijoring with my dog.
Goals & Dreams: I like to find adventures and pick goals in my backyard. There are two islands nearby — I dream of swimming to them. There’s a mountain out the port window — I want to run up it. Looking out past the aft I see the biggest mountain in the area and I like to ride up it at night, in the rain. All these dreams and goals provide a challenge, a fear to overcome and moments of elation.
Size: Pants: 32×32 (M); Tops: M; Shoes: 12 (Running), 45 (Climbing)
Outdoor activities: Trail Running, Climbing, Skiing
Brief Bio: Grown in New Hampshire, I found a love for the quiet and wild places pretty early on. I was thrown onto skis at the age of two and spent fall weekends camping and exploring the moody, stubby-treed summits of the White Mountains. As life moved me further and further down the East Coast, I decided to turn west in 2010 and found my way to the Front Range of Colorado, where the vitamin D levels are high and the big decisions involve packing trail shoes, climbing shoes or ski boots. Or if you’re lucky, all three. These days I chase the dream over at Eric Ian Photography.
Goals & Dreams: To simplify. To have a van-life phase. To climb more desert towers, and to see opportunities for adventure both in the backyard and around the world. To maximize nights around the campfire with friends, a guitar, and whiskey while minimizing time in front of a computer. To live well.
Sizing: Pants – 32X33 (or Large); Tops – Large; Shoes – 9 ½ or 9 US womens
Outdoor Activities: Primarily hiking; also camping, road & mountain biking, downhill & water skiing, running, and golf
Brief Bio: Raised on the prairies of South Dakota, I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad and brother. That is where I came to appreciate spending time outdoors, and first discovered my passion for “mountain” biking (although the terrain there was pretty mild!) But alas, the Rocky Mountains called… and I didn’t find true peace until I settled where I could see them on the horizon, each and every day. I now live in Western Colorado with my husband and two young kids. It’s high mountain desert terrain here, and we’ve come to absolutely love it. I try to balance pursuing my own desire to stay fit, with spending as much time as I can nurturing a love of the Great Outdoors in our kids. At this stage, taking them hiking is easiest, and hence is our favorite family pastime.
Goals & Dreams: My wanderlust and travel dreams in life are far from satisfied! As a novice travel and outdoor blogger at Colorado Mountain Mom, I dream of someday trading in my boring office work as a software engineer for my dream job of travel writer. I’d also love to run my first half marathon in the next year.
Pamela Shanti Pack
Sizing: Pants-25 or XS (Size 0-2); Tops–XS or Small; Shoes–Wmn’s 6 (street) and 35.5 or 36 (climbing)
Outdoor Activities: Climbing, Pilates, yoga, trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, ice-fishing and sea-kayaking.
Brief Bio: I was a competitive gymnast before discovering rock climbing on an Outward Bound course when I was 18. I love all styles of climbing but I found my niche as an offwidth specialist. My greatest passion is establishing FAs of hard inverted style offwidths. Currently I divide my time between climbing primarily in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming and working as a hydrographic surveyor in the Bering Sea. I also love ice-fishing with my brother in Montana, exploring the desert, writing about my adventures and experiences as a climber and training for climbing through weight lifting, plyometric training and especially Pilates.
Goals & Dreams: I want to continue seeking out and establishing hard offwidths throughout the United States, and I hope to climb the test-piece offwidths in Europe and Japan in the near future. I am currently training to become a Pilates Instructor and hope to specialize in sports performance and sports injury rehabilitation with my emphasis for climbers. I would love to someday have a PhD in Exercise Physiology and to write a book about offwidth history.
Sizing: Pants-32×32 (or medium); Tops-Medium; Shoes: 9-10, depending on brand.
Outdoor Activities: Rock climbing, alpine, and ice climbing, trail running, road biking.
Brief Bio: I ran my first half marathon at age 10. Cross-country in high school segued into marathons in college. I started climbing at age 13, and by the time I finished college I decided to put running on the back burner to pursue climbing more fully. Now, I use running and road biking as cross-training for climbing. I also write, read, travel, salsa dance, and read climbing history.
Goals & Dreams: I want to expand my writing to appeal more to non-climbers. I want to start writing my first book in the next year or so. I’d also like to write a guidebook for a local climbing area I’m passionate about. I’d like to visit Africa and South America. And, my climbing goals include sending 14b and V11, and establishing more quality new routes.