8000M Challenge & Big City Mountaineers

by frank Thursday, July 26th 2012

Each year, a team from Summit Hut joins about 150 of our closest outdoor friends for a heart-pounding, 38-mile day hike! The goal is to summit 3 of the tallest peaks in Southern California in under 24 hours. It's an incredible physical challenge, but it's also an amazing experience. The camaraderie between stores that are otherwise competeing against eachother is a reminder of why so many of us love the outdoor industry.

My favorite 8000M memory was starting up the second, and most daunting, peak, already feeling quite defeated. The first of the 16+ miles that take you to the summit of San Gorgonio has over 1,000 feet in elevation gain, and it doesn't back off much from there. I made my way up the first couple miles and had slowed to a crawl. Behind me came two chipper hikers, I recognized them as members of a competing retail chain's team. They came up behind me, encouraging me with every step. As they caught me, they offered more encouragement, but more importantly, they offered Oreos and Cheetos! The much appreciated snacks helped me along the way but were not quite enough to push me through the entire 38 miles. I ended up having to turn back due to some pain in my knee, but that story always reminds me of the reason we all love the outdoors. We may have varying objectives when we go outside - some of us are out to log as many miles as we can, some to have a feeling of peace - but more often than not, the hikers you come across are some of the friendliest people you'll meet. 

2009 8000M Challenge - Team Summit Hut  

This hike is supported by the outdoor team over at Jansport and is a benefit for Big City Mountaineers. BCM mentors under-resourced urban teens through transformative outdoor experiences to enrich lives, broaden horizons and instill critical life skills. This organization does amazing work with youth across the country, and for many of the children they serve, these programs offer their first experiences in the outdoors. If you're reading this blog, you have some sort of passion or interest in the outdoors, and you can almost surely remember the first night you spent under the stars, or the first peak you bagged. Those experiences are not only what spark the passion for the outdoors, they are what make us who we are. Please consider making a donation towards our efforts to raise money for Big City Mountaineers by donating online

Events | News

Merrell Mix Master 2 Review

by Korey Konga Monday, July 23rd 2012

Well folks, we just got the Mix Master 2 by Merrell in at Summit Hut.

Weighing in at 8.1 ounces, this is a great minimal trainer from Merrell's M-Connect line of shoes. Merrell markets the Mix Master 2 as a light-weight multi-sport shoe with minimal drop. “Multi-sport” meaning that the shoe should perform equally well on the trail as it does on the road (hence the name, Mix Master).

The Mix Master has a mesh upper with lightweight TPU overlays. The mesh upper gives the shoe that slipper-like fit and flexibility, while the overlays lock your foot down. It also features a bellows tongue which helps keep rocks, pebbles, and other debris, out of the shoe.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Top

The collar is very soft and comfortable, minimizing the chances of ankle irritation.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Back

The toe box is a little narrower than say, the Trail Glove, but it still provides a decent amount of room, more than most trail runners. There is also a rubber toe guard for protection on those super technical trails where the chances of smashing a toe are more than likely.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Top

The Mix Master sports a 4mm drop with a stack height of 9mm in the heel and 5mm in the forefoot (plus a 2mm EVA insole) and the EVA foot bed is treated with Merrell's antimicrobial solution to keep odors at bay. 

Merrell Mix Master 2 Side 1

Merrell Mix Master 2 Side 2

The outsole features lugs made with Merrell's “sticky” rubber. Hidden beneath the outsole is a flexible forefoot shock pad which protects your foot against rugged terrain and evenly distributes impact forces.

Merrell Mix Master 2

With all of these protective features you'd think that the shoe would lack flexibility, but it doesn't. It remains flexible and nimble, to ye minimalists delight.

Merrell Mix Master 2 Flex

Wear test and thoughts: In the last couple of days I took the Mix Master 2 on a few runs on various terrain. I took them on the treadmill, paved road, single track, some technical trails, steep climbs and equally steep descents.

Merrell exceeded my expectations with this shoe. The low drop and stack height made for great ground feel and definitely encouraged a mid-foot strike without sacrificing cushioning. The outsole is very sticky and the lugs are aggressive enough to handle some very technical terrain, but not so over bearing that you can't hit the black top. My foot didn't slip around in the shoe during descents, but didn't feel constricted in the toe box either.

I would recommend the Mix Master 2 as a daily trail trainer or a transitional shoe for someone who wants to switch to a minimal style, but isn't quite ready for a 0mm drop shoe.

Thanks for reading!

For more of my adventures and training visit: koreykonga.blogspot.com


Patagonia Light Flyer Review

by Korey Konga Tuesday, July 10th 2012

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket is a light weight breathable waterproof active shell featuring GORE-TEX Active Technology is a great option or any runner looking for some reprieve from storms.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The back panel vents as well as zippered vents on the upper arm allow for extra air flow when you're really pumping out a tough work out.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The waterproof zippered pocket on the back of the jacket is great for storing a few essentials. I can fit a credit card, my ID and my electronic car key, which gives me more space in my handhelds for GU, which is awesome.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

The collar is lined with a soft moisture wicking fabric providing comfort even after prolonged friction.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

Finally, one of my favorite features of Patagonia's Light Flyer are the  built in mittens which fold down from the jackets cuffs. I can't tell you the number of times I've gone out for a run and left my gloves at home only to be thinking about how cold my fingers were for the entire run. This was a FANTASTIC idea and I give big props to Patagonia because I'm sure this feature will save my day many times in the winter months.

Patagonia Light Flyer JacketPatagonia Light Flyer Jacket

One thing you should keep in mind if you're ordering this jacket online is that it runs a little small. I wear a size small in EVERYTHING, but in the Patagonia Light Flyer I wear a medium, which fits me perfect. It's a slim fit jacket which is just how I love all of my shirts, so I love the fit.

This is literally the best running shell I've ever worn. Whether you're an elite runner or a weekend warrior, I strongly suggest investing in this piece of essential gear for the upcoming season.

Patagonia Light Flyer Jacket

Thanks for reading!

For my training and adventures visit: koreykonga.blogspot.com


Mt Humphrey's Sunrise Summit

by Richard Monday, July 2nd 2012

We left Tucson around 3pm headed for Flagstaff.  We had two options for our hike.  We could either find a campsite, get a good night's sleep and start early in the morning OR we were considering having dinner, getting a few hours of sleep and starting around midnight, putting us at the summit around sunrise.  We had dinner at the Lumberyard Brewery in Flagstaff which was delicious.  After a beer we decided to head to the trail head and go for the midnight start. 

A note on camping at the trail head: According to a staff member at the Snow Bowl lodge, you are allowed to leave your vehicle in the parking lot overnight but you are not allowed to be there after dark.  He did say that we could camp or park on the road anywhere that was not marked as "No Parking".  We found a spot about a quarter mile away from the parking lot, laid out our sleeping bags and tried to get a couple of hours of rest before we started. 

The alarm went off at 11:45pm and we popped up and tried to eat a quick breakfast.  If you haven't tried it yet, PocketFuel makes a delicious and nutritious breakfast, especially on a banana or bagel.  It is a nut butter (usually almond) that has other flavors and crunchy bits.  We quickly packed up and were hiking by 12:11 AM.  We crossed the ski slope and entered the forest as the trail starts a series of long switchbacks that lead up the slope to the saddle.  We weren't hiking more than 20 minutes before we heard something crashing through the brush.  We stopped and listened and started to guess at what was making the noise.  After about 2 minutes the animal seemed to get spooked and started moving quickly making quite a racket breaking branches and dislodging large rocks.  You can't be sure without seeing it but we assumed it was a bear and starting moving slowly up the trail, tripping on rocks and roots as we scanned the forest for eyes instead of looking at where our feet were going.  A few minutes later as I came around a turn I illuminated a pair of eyes about 30 yards away and quickly came to a stop.  My friend caught up and as his headlamp hit the area, we could make out 3 separate pairs of eyes!  We both prepared for a bear encounter and started making noise and doing our best to be as big as possible.  We finally got enough light on the creatures to realize that they were deer.  After a few deep breaths we were off again up the trial.  We were moving slowly and reached the main saddle after about 3 hours of hiking.  There are several steep sections before you get there but the trail is pretty easy to follow, even at night. 

At the saddle the wind picked up considerably and we started adding layers to stay warm.  From the saddle the trail gets harder to follow at night but is marked by small cairns and large white branches.  There are several false summits along the way but we reached the final summit just before 5am.  My GPS watch didn't seem to be recording very well but it recorded 5.24 miles to the summit.  It was a tough hike after a week of work and a day of driving but for me, it was worth the reward of seeing the sunrise at the highest point in Arizona.  It felt like temps were in the high 30's, give or take 5 degrees.  The wind was already building for the day and our best guess was a sustained 25mph.  Both of us were feeling the day's elevation gain of around 10,000 feet (from Tucson) and were eager to get down as quickly as possible.  We found our way over to one of the higher ski slopes and worked our way down the mountain that way. 

This hike at night was a challenge but an achievable one.  It definitely makes me want to do more night hikes, especially if they have a fantastic view at the top. 

Here is a list of noteworthy gear I was using and would recommend:

Pack – Repack 15 from Boreas.  What a great pack! The volume was a little bigger than I needed for this trip but it easily compressed down.  Enough pockets to keep things organized but still simple in design. 

Trekking Poles – Ultra Distance Z from Black Diamond.  The carbon Z poles from BD are fantastic.  They are so light you forget they are there when they are on your pack but still give all the stability you need when you are using them. 

Footwear – NewBalance MT10.  These were the first minimal shoe I tried over a year ago and I keep going back to them.  They are light and give enough cushion for the very rocky sections if you slow down.  For me, the fit is fantastic and I love the heel cup. 

Jacket – TNF Verto Micro Hoodie.  This jacket combines down insulation with waterproof and breathable arms and hood.  It’s very light, compact and surprisingly warm.  Look for it on the rack in early spring 2013.

Trails | Trips

The Authors

Dave BakerDave Baker

I'm Dave Baker, founder of Summit Hut, an independent outdoor retailer based in Tucson, Arizona since 1969. As an experienced and passionate hiker, climber and backpacker, my blog is intended to be an informative and interesting look into the outdoors and the outdoor industry.

Dana Davis

Dana Davis

I’m Dana Davis, co-owner of the Summit Hut. I mostly enjoy hiking and road biking though I often do other things to keep it interesting (mountaineering, motorcycling, backpacking, climbing, you name it!) My biggest challenge is sometimes finding the balance between career, family, and fun but it’s working out so far!

Dan Davis

Dan Davis

I'm Dan Davis, after retiring from the National Park Service as a Ranger and manager, I worked for the Summit Hut until 2009, then retired for good (maybe). I'm now spending my time traveling around the southwest writing and working on my nature and fine art photography business.

Emily Gindlesparger

Emily Gindlesparger

I’m Emily Gindlesparger, a member of the Summit Hut floor staff. Since moving here from the Midwest, I’ve been taking advantage of all possible adventures in Arizona: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, whitewater kayaking, caving and trail running; I’m always excited to see what’s next!