Written by ioMerino Outsider Sabina.
On a good weather weekend in the Pacific Northwest climbing a mountain is only one of the many great outdoor activities on offer but to my mind it's one of the best! On a recent visit to the Seattle area from Australia I had the chance to do just that with my husband, photographer Andrew Peacock. Our local friend Bill was keen to notch up climbing another of Washington’s highest 100 peaks and the three of us decided to attempt a satellite peak sitting in the shadow of the lofty Mt Rainier (14,411ft) called Little Tahoma (11,138ft).
Although dwarfed by its famous neighbour, it is an interesting climb and provided enough challenges for a fun weekend of climbing. An unexpected challenge I faced was dealing with self-destructing leather mountaineering boots! Not a mile into the approach through the beautiful forest I noticed a flapping sound as I was walking and the others were surprised to see bits of colored rubber left behind in my footsteps. It became apparent that the mid layers of both boot soles were disintegrating with each step. Clearly this would be a ‘game over’ situation if they completely detached from my boots.
It had been some time since I had used the boots and they were stored in our garage back home. I knew the high humidity of hot summers in Queensland could take its toll on stored rubber products but this was a bit ridiculous and unlucky I thought. Our resources for a quick fix were minimal, even the ever-trusty duct tape solution wasn't going to solve the problem. In the end the only option to avoid a disappointing turn around was to strap on crampons immediately, even on the dirt trail in the forest, to hold the soles in place. That solution worked well although I was feeling pretty stupid awkwardly tramping through the greenery with sharp metal on my feet. Eventually though we gained altitude to encounter snow and so it all felt a bit more normal to be moving in crampons.
In camp that night it was uncomfortable keeping the crampons on all the time but that was minimal hassle compared with the last part of the summit approach the next day. In windy and cold, but clear, conditions, Andrew and Bill were able to put their trust in solid Vibram rubber to make their way securely along the final few hundred meters of a rocky ridge while I was forced to practice delicate crampon edging techniques! All went well however and we enjoyed a superb view from atop Little Tahoma Peak. Thanks to ioMerino, as always for keeping me warm, and to Osprey Packs for the excellent backpack. I guess it's time to invest in a new pair of boots though!
Photos by fellow ioMerino Outsider Andrew Peacock www.footloosefotography.com
Sabina Allemann is a former principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet and a keen outdoor adventurer. Follow her on Instagramhere.
Ever wondered why we quite often refer to our merino outdoor clothing as ‘layers’ or ‘base layers’ rather than just calling them ‘clothes’. Maybe it’s time we explained why.
While Merino is an amazing natural fibre, not all Merino fabrics are created equal. At ioMerino, we make our own fabrics, using only the best quality fibres, and to very specific specifications that make the most of the natural benefits of Merino. All of them are 'Merino rich’. No cheap blends passed off as Merino. No cheaper scratchy fibres or synthetic substitutes to save money. No unethical production. And each fabric is made for a specific purpose. So if you see something with a small amount of elastase or nylon added, you can be sure it absolutely needs to be there to enhance the natural stretch and durability.
It took every bit of our 140 years of experience in the wool industry to perfect our fabrics, but we think you’ll agree the end result was more than worth the effort.
Ethically Made. Ethically Sourced. Perfectly Natural.
Lightweight 170gsm 96% Australian Merino Wool with 4% elastane for extra stretch and comfort. A MicroMerino® Fabric.
Lightweight 160gsm 83% Australian Merino Wool blended with 12% nylon blended for extra durability and 5% Elastane for stretch and comfort.
Midweight 265gsm 96% Australian Merino Wool with 4% elastane for extra stretch and comfort. A MicroMerino® Fabric.
Ultra Lightweight 150gsm 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino® Fabric.
Midweight 280gsm 76% Australian Merino Wool, 15% Elastane and 9% Nylon for extra stretch and compression properties.
Ultra lightweight ribbed 155gsm 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino® Fabric.
Outer Weight 280gsm Fleece 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino® Fabric.
Midweight 260gsm 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino® Fabric.
Midweight 260gsm waffle texture 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino® Fabric.
Midweight 255gsm French Terry 100% Australian Merino Wool. A MicroMerino® Fabric.