Gear Review: Mountaineering rentals from Next Adventure
Value Rating: 10
Durability Rating: 10
Overall Rating: 10
Location of Test: Mt Saint Helens
Product Name: Next Adventure Light Mountaineering Package
Product Brand: Kahtoola Microspikes (or Camp Universal Crampons), Scarpa Charmoz Boots, Camp Ice Axe
Best Use: Non-Technical Mountains (Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, etc.)
The Full Review:
It was the beginning of March and ski season was in full swing, yet I still had an itch to get up a mountain. Enter Mount St Helens, a perfect starter-mountain for those looking at bagging their first peak. There are no technical parts and the winter route (aka the Warm Flows Route) usually just consists of long stretches of uphill walking.
We purchased our Marble Mountain Snow Park permits and camped out in the parking lot, hoping to start with the full moon around 2 am. Getting to the (roughly) halfway point at treeline took no time at all and that's when the elevation gain really kicked in. My Kahtoola Microspikes gave me great traction in the well-packed trail to the top. Even though there was fresh powder all around, hundreds of people summit Mt St Helens every week so the trail is well packed and very easy to follow. My Scarpa Charmoz boot rentals were especially good in this terrain, because of the full shank I was able to easily ascend the steepest sections of the climb.
Before we knew it, we made it to the top! Mt St Helens has one of the best 360-degree views of all the PNW mountains I've summited and was definitely worth the effort! Getting down was a treat because of all the glissading spots we could choose from. With our ice axes in hand, we used them to slow our slides until we arrived back at the treeline. From there it was an easy route back to the parking lot and some delicious post-hike beers!
The Bottom Line:
I would highly recommend the gear I rented from Next Adventure. It was so easy to come in, get my gear, and cruise up to the mountain! They also offer ski touring rentals so it would be very possible to skin up Mount St Helens or even Mt Hood!