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The Very Best Of Verticulture

Author: Hilary Oliver

December 26, 2019

We here at Outdoor Research love playing outdoors—and when we can't do that, you might just find us reading about the outdoors. That's why we love working with our athletes and writers to share the funniest and most thoughtful stories we can find. The stories we tell are important, whether it's to make someone laugh or to make the world a better place. So we rounded up the very best, most popular stories from our blog in the past decade. Here they are—please enjoy.

25 Things Your Male Guide Won't Tell You (Crowd sourced)
There are so many ways to be uncomfortable outdoors—whether you’re backpacking, ski touring, or mountaineering. It takes a bit of expertise—or experience—to know the tricks of staying warm, comfortable and safe—and often, you can learn those tricks from a guide or mentor. But we women at Outdoor Research have found that there are a number of issues specific to women that are rarely discussed.

Do You Speak Backpacker? by Shawnté Salabert
Every sport has its insider lingo, and backpacking is no different. Whether you’ve logged thousands of miles or are strapping on a pack for the first time, here are some key terms that will help you decode fellow hikers’ trail talk. We'll start with "Altitoots": You’ve probably heard that symptoms of altitude sickness typically appear once you’ve reached a certain elevation; the same is true for farts. Please note that if you’re eating freeze-dried meals, your altitoots will definitely smell like an extra-rancid version of whatever you ate for dinner the night before.

10 Backpacking Food Mistakes To Avoid by Jaeger Shaw
Beginners are prone to epic mistakes. For example, I once packed five pounds of pancake mix. Don’t ask. ... Are you dissatisfied with your adventure fuel, hoping to lighten your load, or just looking to improve an important backcountry skill? Below are 10 backpacking food mistakes and how to correct them.

How To Watch Someone Else Start The Campfire by Kevin Corrigan
Your fellow campers will be in awe of your outdoors mastery. They will gasp, audibly, as the fire sizzles to life, amazed at your ability to harness the element (fire). As they sit around the glowing embers through the night, warming their toes, toasting marshmallows, and sharing stories, they’ll have you to—oh crap, someone else just volunteered to start the fire. Looks like you’d better learn how to watch someone else made the campfire. Here are a few tips.

10 Tips For Making Rainy Backpacking Way Better by Jaeger Shaw
Don’t let the dampness get you down. Backpacking through constant rain can still be quite fun if you’re good at staying dry.

5 Of The Worst Outdoor Dates You Can Imagine by Brooke Hess
At first, I can’t see what he’s doing, but then I realize that he’s attaching a GoPro to his helmet. “I don’t want to miss any sick lines,” he explains. On the ski resort. On a blue square. In November. As soon as our skins are off, helmets on and ski mode engaged, my date takes off. “See if you can follow my turns,” he yells over his shoulder as he zips off.

How To Survive—And Even Enjoy—Your First Backpacking Trip by Amanda Ellis
I wore cotton socks on my first section hike on the Appalachian Trail. An unexpected stream crossing left my feet miserably wet for the entire trip and left me with three blisters. I realized I should have been more prepared—and I threw out all of my cotton socks, investing in merino wool. It was a game-changer. And I did my research before setting out again. If you’ve never backpacked before, don’t let stories like that scare you; because with a little preparation, you can avoid some of the more miserable first-timer pitfalls.

Beth Rodden On How To Rebuild Your Climbing Life After Losing A Partner by Beth Rodden
Loss isn’t just through death but can be through a break up or even just one person losing interest in the sport. When you invest so much time in an activity with another person, building your own skills while encouraging them to build theirs, working through your problems together, how do you disassociate that activity from the person if they no longer do it with you?

7 Reasons To Bring A Puffy Everywhere by Drew Zieff
Front and center in my closet hang several puffies—the stained centerpieces in my holy shrine. Like a knight choosing a weapon before a duel, I enter that gear closet before a trip, carefully select-ing my gear, but knowing that no matter what, I’ll be relying on that same trusted armor. Why? Well, the puffy blurs the line between gear and apparel. It’s the multi-tool of jackets.

Climbing's Growing Problem: The Mentorship Gap by Shelma Jun
A disparity is growing between the number of people who are seeking mentorship and the number of people who are experienced enough to provide mentorship. ... The climbing community was also more homogenous in the past—folks tended to come from similar communities and socio-economic situations, and were predominantly white and male. ... Old mentorship methods no longer work with the current status of the climbing community. We need to create new avenues for folks to access knowledge, information and experience.

8 Reasons You Should Plan A Solo Backpacking Trip by Jaeger Shaw
It’s a unique experience, and one that I recommend to anybody who wants to grow their confidence and improve their backcountry skills.

Hilary Oliver

​Hilary Oliver is a freelance writer and creator of TheGription.com. She loves climbing, biking and writing about climbing and biking. Her work has appeared on Adventure Journal, The Dirtbag Diaries, Freehub Magazine, Women’s Adventure, The Clymb, Women’s Movement and several other publications and web sites. If she’s not on the trail or up a rock, you can probably find her typing away on her laptop, hopefully within close proximity to strong coffee and hot breakfast burritos.