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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

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Katadyn MyBottle Microfilter
Having clean water is essential when spending time outdoors. The MyBottle Microfilter from Katadyn allows you to have clean water wherever you roam. Simply fill MyBottle with water, and the 0.3 micron pleated glass fiber microfilter goes to work with carbon-reducing chemicals to make water safe and taste better. The compact, lightweight bottle is easy to use and meets EPA standards for removing bacteria. It has a flip-up mouthpiece/straw for convenience and a carry loop to attach it to your pack. Estimated Street Price: $39. Contact: Katadyn, (800) 755-6701, www.katadyn.com.

Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15
Stay warm all night in the Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 15° F sleeping bag. With a mummy shape, the bag compresses down nicely to take up minimal space. Thermic Micro fill helps keep the inside warm and the structure of the bag durable. With dual-entry half-zippers, you can sit up and read or cook while staying warm. The zippers unzip down to your waste to save weight. A shoulder-level internal zippered pocket keeps eyeglasses, flashlights and other small items handy. Estimated Street Price: $215. Contact: Mountain Hardwear, (800) 953-8375, www.mountainhardwear.com.

Mammut Lucido TR1
Keep sight of the trail when the sunlight fades using the Mammut Lucido TR1 headlamp. The high-quality Total Reflex Optics lens focuses light efficiently and evenly across your field of vision, enhancing peripheral vision. Four LEDs are arranged with dispersion angles designed to match your peripheral vision, reducing dark spots. High and low settings offer 65 and 39 feet of illumination, respectively, with up to 60 hours of battery life on low. The lamp weighs just 2.5 ounces. Estimated Street Price: $34. Contact: Mammut Sports Group, (802) 985-5056, www.mammut.ch.

Leatherman Freestyle Multi-Tool
Keep a toolbox of the essentials in your pocket with the Leatherman Freestyle Multi-Tool. You can easily access the blade without revealing the rest of the tools, which include needle-nose and regular pliers, as well as wire cutters. When closed, the Multi-Tool measures 3.45 inches and weighs 4.5 ounces. The 420HC stainless-steel knife blade opens easily with one hand and locks into the open position. The blade features a partially serrated edge. Estimated Street Price: $44. Contact: Leatherman, www.leatherman.com.

Sandstone Wave, Utah

Like spines on a lizard’s back, the high, jagged sandstone reef known as The Cockscomb ripples across the landscape of southern Utah for more than 30 miles from the Paria Canyons in the north to the remarkable formations of Coyote Buttes across the Arizona border to the south. I’ve spent countless hours scrambling over its shattered ridgeline and recently came across this breaking wave of sandstone.

Perched high on a ridge crest where the first rays of morning light illuminate it, the question was logistical. Located about two miles from the nearest car camp and surrounded by steep, crumbling sandstone bluffs, I could either load up a backpack with overnight gear and camp beside it or get up before dawn at my car camp and hike in with a lighter daypack. I decided to negotiate the steep, unstable terrain with a light pack and a headlamp.

On my first predawn attempt, the view to the east was blocked so I couldn’t see a narrow band of clouds obscuring the eastern horizon until I had climbed to the top of the ridge. It took two more predawn attempts before a cloud-free horizon allowed me to capture this shot.

Pentax 67, Pentax 45mm lens, Fujichrome Velvia, Gitzo 1228 carbon-fiber tripod, Acratech Ultimate ballhead


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