OR Blog

Say hello to the OR Blog!  This blog is one of our newest experiments on the Outdoor Rec website.  OR guides submit periodical entries on anything from a recent outdoor adventure to a funny story or even how-to information.  We're glad to have you reading!

April 24, 2009 - Spring Break in Moab

So although I wasn’t able to go on the entire Outdoor Rec Spring Break trip to Utah, I made sure I got in on the Moab section. Moab is one of my favorite places for outdoor activities, and is one of my key pieces of evidence when arguing that Utah isn’t as worthless of a state as most people believe it to be. After a day of skiing with my family in Colorado, I pulled into the Gold Bar campsite along the Colorado River about ten miles outside of Moab with the rest of the OR group. Even though I’ve been there on several previous occasions, it was still incredible to set up camp in the dark and wake up to the spectacular views that Canyonlands has to offer.
While I’ll always be partial to the Rocky Mountains of my home state, the red sandstone of Utah never fail to take my breath away. The landscape is truly spectacular. The sunlight is always changing with the clouds rolling in and out (not the gray blanket of the Puget Sound, but billowing white fluffs of cotton that frame the landscape perfectly). And the size of everything is always the most dramatic for me. Looking around, it’s easy to lose perspective on how big everything is until you see a person standing next to the massive rock formations. I am always overwhelmed by the amount of time it must have taken for all of the rock to form, and at what the formations have seen throughout the years. As I drove back up the Colorado River, past Fisher Tower backdropped by the snow capped La Sals, on my way back for another day of skiing in the Rockies, I found myself wondering why I was leaving, which is something I never wonder on my way up to ski. I guess it just goes to show what a spectacular place it really is and why I can’t wait to go back again.

- Andy

April, 15, 2009 - Rental Program Needs Use!

Hey Lutes,

I don't know if any of you daring adventurers have heard, but OR has a rental program that's a great resource if you want to get out on your own but are lacking in quality outdoor gear. A few of your fellow student have taken advantage of this program but more of you should now that the weather is nice. We rent a multitude of things (see list below) for cheap. Many other rental places would charge 3 or 4 times what we do and the quality of our gear is much better than most other rental programs. At the end of last year we purchased 8 new sleeping bags and backpacks from North Face and 4 new headlamps. This last January we purchased 3 new stoves and 3 new sets of pots and pans.

Here's the list of gear we currently rent (with prices):

Backpack ($4.00)
Sleeping bag ($3.00)
Head Lamp ($2.00)
Cook pot/Skillet/Pot Grip ($2.00)
Tent ($5.00)
Therm-a-rest ($2.00)
Stove ($4.00)
Fuel ($3.00)
Gaiters ($2.00)
Snowshoes ($2.00)
Snow Shovels ($2.00)
Cross Country Ski Package ($2.00)

The prices listed assume a weekend rental--Thursday or Friday through Monday. We also rent for longer periods of time, including J-term and spring break. Plan a trip with your friends and rent some gear, it is much cheaper then buying and you don't have to store it when you are done! If you need help in planning a trip or want somewhere to go, we can help with that too, just stop by the office and ask one of our beautiful guides for some ideas. To contact us about rental (or anything else concerning the great outdoors) send us an email at, or drop us a line at 253.536.5087.

Get outside and use the rental program!!!!

Matt F.

January 12, 2009 - For the Climber in all of us.

Hello all you outdoor (and perhaps indoor) enthusiasts!
You may not have known or anticipated it, but today is an important one because today OR has proudly published it's first ever official blog!  Of course before I go any further I think a special thanks needs to be sent out to Mr. Stephen Odell who tirelessly worked on this and other parts of the website all of last semester.  So, thanks Stephen, you rock!

And now, outward an onward with the first topic to be discussed in this blog.  First, I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Terra Vandewiele, and I've been working for Outdoor Rec. since last J-term.  Like most of you out there I have a couple of favorite outdoor activities.  Rock climbing is at the top of that list followed closely by backpacking.  I find backpacking is most enjoyable when it is used as an approach to an out-of-the-way climbing spot--even better if it's an undiscovered climbing spot!  In any case, I also enjoy slack-lining, biking, hiking, running, and I will occasionally builder though I do prefer rock.

My love of outdoor rock climbing is often put on hold based on the very wet climate I find myself living in.  During the sometimes dismal and dreary wet Washington winter, spring, and fall months (don't get me wrong, I love trees and trees love rain, so I guess you could say I love rain) I like to climb at the local rock gym, Edgeworks.  Though indoor climbing simply can't beat the fresh air, earthy smell, rough rock textures, and breathtaking views that come with outdoor climbing, I still prefer it over no climbing at all.  However, I've found that climbing in gyms does come with a negative few perks, namely "sand-paper holds."  Now, if you're familiar with gym climbing you might know what I mean.  If you're hands aren't conditioned, are too dry or too soft, you'll find that after an hour or so of climbing your hands will develop rips.

Rips, for those of you who aren't familiar with the term, are basically blisters that have had the skin ripped off them.  Getting rips to heal--at least for me--is like herding cats.  I find that rips will start to heal just fine for the first two days or so, however, after a new layer of skin starts to grow back it tends to crack whenever fingers are moved into different positions (as one might when typing, writing, waving, pointing, etc.).  So, for the most part when I get rips they won't fully heal for the better part of a week to a week and half!  It makes any further climbing endeavors painful to say the least.

About now you might be thinking to yourself: "Terra, why don't you just tape up?"  Well, I do on occasion, but I tend to have trouble with tape.  Tape is great for a little while, but it inevitably slides off after the rough treatment and high exposure to chalk it receives.  So for years I have thought that rips were simply a part of gym climbing that I would have to endure for the rest of my natural life.  This realization, combined with my love for climbing, and the rain-ridden location in which I live make for a sad sort of truth. 

So, you can imagine the excitement and pure joy I experienced when I discovered a solution to my perpetual gym rips.  As it turns out, both my dad (who climbed during his college days) and my younger brother (who was a gymnast), used tape as a way to prevent rips.  Upon my further inquiry as to how my dad and brother kept the tape on for an extended period of time I found a loop hole, so to speak, in my dilemma.  This loop hole was called "Tincture of Benzoin." 

Tincture of benzoin, usually used as an antiseptic of sorts, can be used as a very effective adhesive!  After hearing this I went out and bought a bottle of the stuff.  It took a while to find it because for the most part I found stores keep it behind the pharmacy counter--though you don't need a prescription to get it.  This last Friday night I went to Edgeworks, packing with me the tincture of benzoin and a fresh role of athletic tape.  After strapping my shoes on, I put the tincture on one hand, let it dry and put the athletic tape right over the top of it. 

I thought I'd test out the adhesiveness of the tincture by jumping straight into some difficult bouldering, but not before plunging my hand into a bag full of chalk.  Somewhat to my surprise, the tincture worked, keeping the tape solidly in place.  I was pleased, but not convinced, so I went around the back of the boulder wall and tried a couple of dino moves--the tape was still solid.  I ended up climbing for a good couple of hours without the tape budging.  When the night was finally over and I peeled the tape off it nearly took the skin with it! 

Moral of this story?  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and if you're a climber give this tincture of benzoin stuff a shot--it might save your hands a little healing time.

Until next time,
  ~Terra Vandewiele

Fun Fact

Blog rhymes with smog.