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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whatever It Takes

Adventure photographer James Kay’s career is defined by his tenacity and drive to bypass the ordinary and take the extra steps to get something extraordinary

Labels: How-To

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Choose between a long-distance focused beam and a wide flood beam when wearing the Petzl TIKKA XP². The headlamp can deliver both, thanks to a flip-up wide-angle lens. When the lens is up and covering the light source, the beam is diffused. When it’s down, the light beam is more focused and travels farther. A high-output white LED delivers a maximum 60 lumens, and a red LED provides lighting to preserve night vision or becomes a blinking light for increased safety. The light shines up to about 196 feet and, when used in economic mode, can run for 160 hours. The unit is light and compact thanks to a single-compartment design for holding the LEDs and batteries. Estimated Street Price: $54. Contact: Petzl, www.petzl.com.

GoLite Quest
If you’re going camping for several days, the GoLite Quest pack is comfortable, functional and spacious. Features include contoured, padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap with whistle buckle and an air-channel back panel that hugs your back. The pack weighs just more than three pounds and delivers a volume of more than 70 liters. Adjustable load-lifter straps, a top compression strap and a size-specific, anatomically molded hip belt help stabilize the load. A large front pocket holds a rain jacket, water filter and snacks. The pack is made with recycled ripstop nylon for durability and less weight. Estimated Street Price: $175. Contact: GoLite, (888) 546-5483, www.golite.com.

Cabela’s Deluxe Tent Cot
Get a good night’s sleep in the Cabela’s Deluxe Tent Cot, which comes in single and double models. A heavy-duty, powder-coated steel frame supports the cot, and the body is made from 70-denier, 190T nylon taffeta with a 600-denier polyester floor. A full-coverage fly is included with a 1500mm waterproof-rated coating, meaning you stay dry no matter what. A rain-gutter system on the fly channels water off and away from zippers, and seams are fully taped for maximum protection. Estimated Street Price: $189. Contact: Cabela’s, (800) 237-4444, www.cabelas.com.

DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w
Stay connected and moving in the right direction using the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator. This handheld GPS with Type & Send outbound text messaging allows you to keep in contact with friends, family and emergency services, from locations around the world. Even if you go out of cell phone range, you can still send text messages to cell phones, e-mail addresses and social-networking sites from the most remote locations. Estimated Street Price: $549. Contact: DeLorme, (800) 561-5105, www.delorme.com.

Mount Assiniboine, British Columbia/Alberta

Mount Assiniboine has been dubbed the “Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies.” Surrounded by huge glacial lakes and accessed by a network of excellent trails, I decided this was the perfect venue for a combo flat-water kayaking/backpacking trip. The plan involved loading our kayaks with gear and paddling eight miles to the head of Spray Lakes Reservoir where the four of us would transfer everything to our backpacks before stashing our boats in the woods. After that, we’d backpack five miles to our first camp at Marvel Lake, which turned out to be a great spot if you like bogs and mosquitoes. I brought my 6x7 camera body along with four bulky lenses for the landscape photos, plus a fanny pack full of 35mm gear for the sports/people shots. I also brought my very stable, but large, Manfrotto 3021 tripod. Looking back now, I attribute my decision to bring this huge pile of gear to temporary insanity. Add food and clothing for a seven-day trip, and you can begin to imagine what my pack looked like. Do you remember that guy on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, toiling under that huge load of sticks? That was me, except for the beard.

It was brutal. Covered in mosquito welts and bending under my load the next morning, I slogged eight miles to the Lake Magog campground beneath Mount Assiniboine. Ah...the hard work was finally over. From there it was an easy two-mile hike up the ridge where I captured this shot. As soon as I returned from that trip, I ordered my first carbon-fiber tripod. Oh, I should probably mention one thing. If you prefer, you could just helicopter in to Lake Magog and simply skip through fields of wildflowers to the top of the ridge for this shot. But that, of course, would be cheating.

Pentax 67, Pentax 45mm lens, Fujichrome Velvia,
Manfrotto 3021 tripod


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