Friday, July 29, 2016

Hiking Hacks: Replacement Trekking Pole Tips



New trekking poles usually come with protective tip covers. The covers are great for protecting your gear during travel and storage, but they're meant to be removed for hiking, so they usually end up lost or misplaced. Buying replacement tips can be next to impossible, or expensive for what you get, so here's a quick and easy hack for making your own

Cost
Less than $2.00

Time 
5-10 minutes, (not including the drive to the hardware store). 

Skill Level
Easy

Materials
6-8 inches of vinyl or polyethylene tubing (available at your local hardware store). 
Scissors, or a knife for cutting the tubing. 

Step 1. Take one of your trekking poles to the hardware store and locate the section that sells vinyl tubing. It's usually in the plumbing section and most stores carry large spools of it. 


Step 2. Find your diameter. Eyeball the tubing that will fit over the tip of your trekking pole. Stick the tip of your pole into the end of the tubing, and choose a diameter that fits snugly and won't fall off. Make sure to insert your pole all the way to the basket. For my poles, I used .5 inch diameter tubing. It goes on easy, but fits snugly against the pole basket. Note: Vinyl tubing is the clear, flexible stuff. Polyethylene is the cloudy, stiffer tubing (photo #1). Try them both and see what you like. I've found that the stiffer polyethylene does a better job of staying on, but it's harder to put on and take off. 

Step 3. Buy a six inch or foot-long section of tubing. Most hardware stores sell the tubing by the foot. It's not expensive. My local store sells vinyl tubing for $.79/ft and polyethylene for $1.29/ft.


Step 4. Slide the first pole into the end of the tubing. Mark an extra half inch or so from the end of your trekking pole, and make the cut. On my poles it works out to a tip cover that is 2.25 inches long. You can also cut right at the tip for a clean look. 


Step 5. Do the same with the second pole. You're done!


Note: These are NOT to be used as replacements for the rubber tips used by skate skiers or hikers on ecologically sensitive terrain. These are just protective tips for travel and storage. 

Do you have a hiking hack that you'd like to share? Please share it on our Facebook page or in the comments below. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Here's the Quietest Corner of the Alps



Phyl Newbeck and Bryan Harrington recently completed our self guided Matterhorn Trek and sent us these photos. Their trek began in the village of Cervinia, Italy, and finished one week later in the famous resort town of Zermatt, Switzerland. While Zermatt is certainly on the map, the path they chose took them through one of the quietest corners of Italy and Switzerland.


One of the coolest things about this trip is that Phyl and Bryan got to see the Matterhorn from both the north AND the south sides (1st and 2nd photos). It's a really special thing to do. 


The snow was deep this year, (even in late June/early July), which added a fun adventure component to their hiking tour.

You'll notice that there aren't a lot of people in these photos. The trails in this part of the Alps are remote and rarely traveled. The trails are so remote, in fact, that we don't offer this trip as a self-guided option unless we feel confident in our guests' hiking experience and ability. 


The Matterhorn Trek is a challenging hike, and luggage transfer isn't practical, so you have to be in good shape and comfortable traveling light. That said, the hotels are wonderful, and the solitude and abundance of wildlife are superb.  

Do you think you'd like our self guided Matterhorn Trek? Give us a shout

Thanks to Phyl and Bryan for sending these images!

Friday, July 08, 2016

Our Guests Soar Above Chamonix


Our Tour du Mont Blanc wrapped up on a high note. The entire group finished the last day's hike with a parasailing descent into the town of Chamonix, France. What style! The whole team went for it," says trip leader Dave Gruss.

Those of you that have hiked the TMB or the Haute Route have most likely noticed the parasailors that launch from the top of Le Brevent lift. The parasailors literally run off the side of the mountain until the wind pulls them away. They go a little bit up, then down, down, down, (around 3,000 feet down) to the village of Chamonix, France. It looks like so much fun! 

Here's a shot of our team gearing up.


The last breaths before commitment.


And we're off!


I love the fact that the parasail has the word Patagonia emblazoned on it. Dave Gruss, the one who shot these photos, put together Ryder-Walker's first hiking tour in Patagonia. The trip ran this past spring, and everybody raved about it.

Would you like to go hiking in Patagonia, or trekking and parasailing in the French Alps? Get your name on the list.