A Climber’s Dispatch from the Eastern Sierra


By Charlie Barrett

After finalizing the new Tuolumne Bouldering Guidebook this past fall, I need a vacation from, well lots of things. So I decided to head up north to Bend, Oregon then out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a few months of snowboarding. It was nice to see some new places some familiar others not. It was a great trip and had some amazing days right great snow and seeing good friends. But somehow being in these amazing places, I missed home, the Eastside of the Sierra.unnamed-4


As I stayed in touch with my friends on the eastside the informed me there was no reason to head back, it was too hot too boulder in Bishop and there was very little snow on Mammoth Mountain and in the Sierra Range, but still I felt the need to head back. I’ve been back now for a few weeks and truly felt at home. I’ve been to new climbing areas, new hot springs and been on top of a few new mountains. It’s been so much fun being home. Even though it’s still too hot in Bishop and there is no snow on the mountain, somehow the eastside never ceases to amaze with how much it has to offer. The Tuolumne guidebook should be here soon and once it arrives I will go on the road again and hand deliver the books and meet and greet people who are interested in hearing about the new Tuolumne Bouldering. I’ve heard the books are delayed at the shipping port and there is no estimated date for delivery to my home in Mammoth, so until then I guess I’ll just have to find ways to keeps myself busy on the eastside, bummer.unnamed-2


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Adventure Essentials: Brooks-Range Brisa T

American adventurer and the inspiration for Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Christopher McCandless once said, “The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.” After all, where would we be without it? It is our job to care for this special core of ours and prepare it for the endless thrills that await us in the great outdoors. This was the idea behind one of our latest product innovations.


The Brisa T is an improved layering piece and the ultimate in performance zip t-shirts created to keep your core warm and your passion for adventure warmer. Its shelled, Polartec® Power Dry® design is made with a lightweight and breathable nylon to help remove moisture and extra body heat. With highly breathable nylon side panels, the Brisa T has proven 30% more efficient at moving moisture away from the skin than single-component fabric.


A front zip allows for easy on and off and additional ventilation when needed. Great for keeping the wind away when jogging in cooler weather, climbing or hiking, the Brisa T is great for ensuring your core and body stay warm, whether it’s during high aerobic activities or chilly days when layering is essential.

Either worn alone or as the perfect base layer for cold winter days, the Brisa T is the perfect companion for those seeking comfort and mobility.

Watch the Brisa T in action in our latest video:

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From the Top of Georgia: Meet Bob “Sir-Packs-Alot” Gabrielsen

Bob “Sir-Packs-Alot” Gabrielsen is the owner of the Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center, which serves thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. We caught up with this esteemed Triple Crowner, a thru-hiker who has completed the three longest trails in America, to learn more about his hostel and his tips for taking on the trail.

top of mount mitchell before sunset

Gabrielsen was born in New York State, but it was only until his family moved to northwestern Montana that his love for the wilderness blossomed. He started learning wilderness survival skills, which he called “play” at the time, with his Blackfoot Native American neighbors. He went on to become a National Park Ranger in Montana before becoming a professional guide at just 20 years old.

Bob Gabrielson-final

He first got involved with the Appalachian Trail and thru-hiking when he got married and moved to northern Georgia. He started volunteering on the trail and doing section hikes, which eventually led him into a 2003 thru-hike of the then 2,172-mile long trail. He caught the bug and went on to thru-hike the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2005 and the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail in 2007, which made him a Triple Crowner. But despite his thru-hikes throughout the country, he kept being drawn to the Appalachian Trail. All told, he has hiked more than 30,000 miles and spent thousand of nights on this East Coast, 2,185.9-mile footpath.

Appalachian Trail Approach Sign

After an incredible amount of time hiking and thru-hiking the trail, he told us his craziest Appalachian Trail experience by far was opening the Top of the Georgia Hostel. The hostel started as a dream. He hoped he could found a place where he could share his love for the trail and provide a center in a key Georgia location, within sight of the trail, where hikers could rest and resupply.

When the hostel opened in 2014, despite being in no guidebooks and hardly known, over 1,000 aspiring thru-hikers passed through their doors in March and April alone. Gabrielsen said, “I had always felt that my experience as a counselor with troubled adolescents was not productive. But without that experience, I would never have been ready for the hiker drama I saw.”


The hostel he owns is a part hostel, part school, and part gear shop. He hopes to dedicate the last few decades of his life to pay it forward to the next generation of thru-hikers by supporting their needs on the trail and teaching classes before they start. He relishes the moment when hikers find that they are stronger than they imagined, and they were capable of doing the entire hike, despite their initial doubts.

When asked why he started the hostel, his answer is simple, “the trail is like a ‘magical lady’ to me. Whenever I give to her or her hikers – she gives back five fold.” It’s easy to see that this is true. His most life-changing hiking moment came when the hiking community came together at the last minute to fundraise for the hostel. He told us, “it was like the way Jimmy Stewart was saved by the townsfolk at the end of the Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Trail to Chimney Tops

Bob’s Parting Thoughts…

Best Tip: A thru-hike is much more of a mental game than a physical game.

Best Gear: The Brooks-Range Mojave water repellent Down Jacket for northbound Appalachian Trail thru-hikers in March and April.

Best Section Hike: Max Patch Bald, North Carolina to Hot Springs, North Carolina. He thinks, “the bald is like the southern Appalachian version of the opening of the movie The Sound of Music and the little town’s main street is the trail.”

Brooks Range Mojave Black

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