8/15/17

Trip Report: Neon Canyon


During the first weekend in July I was given an impromptu invite to go down to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument to descend Neon Canyon. Neon is a beautiful sandstone gorge that starts deep in the canyon country of Escalante and finishes spectacularly with a drop through triple arches into the Golden Cathedral, an amazing room with curved walls.  The highlight of the room is a ceiling of arches and light reflections that dances off the water. The cathedral itself is awesome enough that most visitors to the canyon are only going to see the room without ever venturing into the slot canyon above.



Our morning started late by canyoneering standards due to a late-night drive but we were on the trail by 8:30. The hike into the canyon is a very easy descent given that fact that we are plowing straight down slick rock slopes.  We knew that this was going to make the exit very miserable in the July heat. 



We reach the Escalante River and hike past Native American Petroglyphs on the walls of the canyon. Once we reach Neon canyon we hike along the rim until we reach our entry point.

The canyon is fairly dry and most obstacles are easily by passed.  We took our time in the canyon not wanting to skip an opportunity to practice our keeper-pot escape skills.



As we get closer to the golden cathedral we are finding more water and begin having to swim through some of the final pot holes.






The final obstacle is an 80 foot rappel through the sandstone arches into the cathedral.  The perfect encore to a remarkable canyon.





We spend time enjoying the Golden Cathedral in all its glory and prepare for the three-hour ascent out of the desert bottom in afternoon temperature.  The hike out is long and taxing and uses up all of our remaining water but is worth every bit of it.




My Gear List:

Camelback Crux Reservoir 3l Great for hydration on the go. Just remember to make sure you put the bite in your mouth when you enter a nasty pot hole of water and filth.
Nalgene Wide Mouth Canteen 32 oz. Great because is rolls up small for packing once the water is used up and I have yet to puncture one.
Overboard Pro-Light Clear Tube  I like the flexibly and pliability of the TPU. The bag stretchy and making it easy to take camera bags in and out without much trouble.
Five Ten Guide Tennie My go to canyoneering shoe.  The climbing rubber soles are perfect for canyon environments.  I also size my shoes so that I can get a neoprene sock in it.
Edelweiss Canyon rope 9.6mm x 200’ The water retreatment keeps your rope from becoming water logged.  
Grivel TAU Wire Lock  As much as I like the twin gate carabiners for sandy canyon environments this may become my new favorite as it does not require that I retrain my hands to a new carabiner opening sequence.
Kong OKA Multi Descender  Easy to add friction on the fly, a must for skinny canyoneering ropes.
Singing Rock Garnet Harness My dedicated canyoneering harness, not too bulky but beefy enough to handle the abuse of sandstone rock.
Cypher 3 Stripe Tubular Webbing I always take 50 ft of webbing. Great for using as a handline when down climbing and for building anchors


Christian Weaver is a father of five, canyoneer, and business analyst at Liberty Mountain.
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7/13/17

Trip Report: West Slabs of Mt. Olympus






Mt. Olympus, West Slabs and both Summits on July 4, 2017 
Location: Wasatch Mountain Range, Salt Lake City, Utah 
Trip Report by Liberty Mountain Employee Paul Larkin 

My good friend Braden Jenkins and I got off to an early 4:21am start in the darkness. After hiking in headlamps for 1.5 hours, we arrived at the start of the climb at dawn. The wall was intimidating, around 500 feet wide with endless variationsWe decided to free solo (no rope) the 1,500 or so vertical feet of climbing. It's rated at 5.5 and for more comfort people should consider roping up on this exposed climb as falling would have serious consequences. We enjoyed the freedom and speed of climbing ropeless. The first rays of sunlight hit us about three quarters way up the climb, a great way to watch a sunrise! 











The West Slabs climb goes up the rock face shown in the right side of this photo

After achieving the ridge of the north summit, we scrambled east up the ridge and made it to the proper north summit of Mount Olympus. From there we did some route finding and down climbed to the saddle between the north and south summits. We then climbed up a gulley up to the ridge of the south summit where we met up with the trail that originates at Pete's rock and followed it up to the true north summit at 9,026 feet. We took a rest break in the shade and snapped some summit photos. From there we took the trail down 4,100 vertical feet in the 100 degree Fahrenheit weather. It was a great way to spend America's Independence Day. 






Gear Highlights: 




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7/6/17

Employee Spotlight: Michael Shaw



My dad was a school teacher before he retired, so when I was younger my family would spend summers taking road trips to different national parks.  By the time I was 16 I had traveled to 48 of the 50 states, and I had seen more than half of the U.S. national parks. The family trips that I took as a kid instilled in me a respect for the scenery across the country and a love for the outdoors. I enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, and I’ve always dreamed of working in the outdoor industry. When I got the chance to work for Liberty Mountain, I jumped at the opportunity.


Name: Michael Shaw

Time working for Liberty Mountain: 2 years

Job title: Buyer

Short description of what you do at Liberty Mountain:  I’m the buyer for books, knives, and non-climbing imports. The main responsibility of my job is to maintain proper inventory levels through forecasting, reorder points, and purchase orders.

What do you like most about your job?  Forecasting sales for the year based on relevant information is one of the better parts of my job.

Active in the following sports/activities/hobbies: Hiking, Canyoneering, Biking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Climbing, Unicycling

Favorite activity: I really enjoy most outdoor activities, so asking me to choose one is like asking a parent which child is their favorite, but if I have to pick just one it is probably hiking. My family traveled to a lot of national parks when I was younger, so hiking has always been a big part of my life.


Favorite outdoor areas: Glacier National Park and Banff National Park are two of my favorite places to visit. It’s hard to beat glacial lakes with a backdrop of snow covered peaks.

Piece of outdoor gear you most wish you had: At this point I have most of the outdoor gear that I need, but I wouldn’t mind upgrading my mountain bike in the near future.

Most interesting place ever lived:  I’ve really only lived in Salt Lake City, Utah and South Bend, Indiana. I can tell you with certainty that Salt Lake City is more interesting than South Bend in almost every measure imaginable.

Top-five favorite movies: The Princess Bride, Shawshank Redemption, Guardians of the Galaxy, You’ve Got Mail, Lord of the Rings

Top-five favorite books: Ender’s Game, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Princess Bride, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Harry Potter


First memory spending time Outdoors: Yellowstone is one of the first trips I remember.  My family went there just after the big fire, and I distinctly remember looking out and seeing the charred landscape. Every time I go back I’m reminded that even the most devastating events can create positive opportunities for growth.

Inspirational Hero: My Grandpa. He was a World War II veteran, and one of the most spectacular people I’ve ever met. He lost his eyesight in his 60’s, but he remained active into his 90’s.

Dream vacation: I would love to take a summertime trip to the Swiss Alps.

Favorite food to eat outside: I rarely go on outdoor adventures without having beef jerky in my pack. It’s my outdoor staple food.

Cake or pie:  Neither. I’m a cookie person.

Dogs or Cats:  Dogs
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