Craig Wisner

Archive for December, 2010

Tattoo Color

Finally had some color added to my left chest plate two nights ago.  I’m really happy with this piece so far.

By Paul Stottler at True Tattoo in Hollywood.



Trekking Pole Connector

I was looking for a simple way connect my trekking poles to pitch my Shangri La 3.

I used:
18″ of 1″ tubular webbing (get it at a climbing shop)
2 double-sided hook and loop wraps
pole connector

Insert pole tips into the tubular webbing (the bite of the carbide tip on the nylon holds it really well).

Wrap ends tight.
connector 3

I can place 100lbs of body weight on this easy…I’m pretty sure the poles will break before the connection fails.
Everything weighs just under 0.8 oz.
I tried it with a shorter length of webbing, but 18″ seems the minimum necessary to keep the poles from bending at the connection under heavy pressure.

Brook Trout, Kearsarge Lakes, CA

Brook Trout, Kearsarge Lakes, CA.


Golite Shangri La 3: Hex to Mid Conversion

A very versatile shelter, the Shangri La 3 has been my go-to for everything from fast solo trips to trips with the kids.  At only 23oz. for the body, it’s light enough to justify carrying solo yet easily large enough for 2 adults and plenty of gear, 1 adult and two kids, or three adults in a pinch.  The only issue I’ve had with it is the large footprint, especially when traveling alone.  The huge hex shape requires a large site, limiting solo site selection opportunities.  Some time ago I found that by staking four corners (as opposed to six), I had a mid almost identical in dimensions to the Mountain Laurel Designs Duomid, only ~6″ shorter in length and width.  The Shangri La 3 in mid configuration is ~4’6″ x 8’6″.  In it’s original hex configuration, it’s about 8-9′ in diameter…a large footprint indeed.  The mid setup nearly halves it’s footprint.  The only thing it is lacking in mid configuration is a stake loop in the center of the long wall.  As this long wall is 8.5′ long, it certainly needs a mid anchor point for wind stability.  I sewed two on today using 3/4″ webbing and a 2″ square of cordura, seam sealing with silicone.

Here are some images:

1.  Prior to sewing on stake loop, green arrow pointing to where it’s attached.  The excess fabric is rolled up inside in this view.

2. This photo shows the stake loop sewn onto the fly, outside:

3.  This photo shows the interior and the stitching pattern; I used an x-box inside of a square for the reinforcement.

4.  Finally, a photo showing the location of the new stake loop relative to the factory loop used for the hex configuration:

I’m pleased with the results and anxious to get out with it.  In addition to creating a more versatile shelter in regards to pitching options, I believe it will also handle snow loads better in the mid configuration due to increased wall steepness.  If the MLD Duomid is considered decent in this regard, I don’t see why this wouldn’t work just as well; I believe the walls are slightly steeper.  Another advantage is a faster pitch.  Staking the front two corners, then the back two, and finally the side midpoints,  it’s far easier to achieve the geometry of a rectangle than a hex, resulting in a faster, better pitch with less tensioning/re-staking.

The only additional modification I’m considering is sewing on 4-6 additional high guy out points (identical to the stake loop I just did) for increased wind stability/snow load handling.

Kearsarge Pinnacles

Kearsarge Pinnacles, CA.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout. East Fork, San Gabriel River

Some old writing….

I found these on a hard drive earlier, memories restored, I like them.



Park, lace up, strap the headlamp on, and hike in.

Keys stashed in a tree; ready to fly through the dark.

Echo Mountain waits above, 2,000 feet of climbing, a good hill to stoke the fire.

Dancing through the rocky sections, climbing, climbing, the city lights falling away into clouds and drizzle.

Silence now; the cloud and fog smothering sound.  Crickets alive, a chirping horde, just them and my breathing.

The occasional rustle in the bush.

Is it her, the mountain lion, watching from above?

Do I look like a wounded animal or a warrior?

Keep running.

At the summit, harder rain.

The weather has completely covered the city, no lights, no sound not a trace.

The way it was, the way it will be again.

It’ll always win, no need to worry.

It’s got the time to wait us out.

Panting, I let loose with three of my best howls;

all hail the Dreamtime


Untitled (Trouble)

Awakening to the sound of raindrops on my tarp, I feel a small amount of spray wetting my head.  Cursing the tree root that was poking me in the ribs all night, I sit up as far as I can and begin to wiggle myself out of the bivy, straining my neck to look at the sky.  A glance at my watch says it’s just after 5 AM.   A low growl of thunder rolls through a canyon beyond.  My entire world is shrouded in thick fog, rain coming steadily.  Surely there is snow and ice forming in the higher reaches of the peaks.  My stomach knots slightly thinking about the weather and the tasks that lay ahead.

I chose to be here, alone, doing this?  It was one of those moments of doubt that can be part of trips in the mountains.  It was a small dose of fear, a realization that the day would bring hard work, cold, and the real possibility of trouble.  Not trouble in a civilized sense, not trouble as mere nuisance.  No.  This is a different kind of trouble; possibly getting thoroughly wet and hypothermic, caught in an electrical storm on a ridge, or taking a fall off something high and jagged.  I’m talking about real trouble, the kind that can, on occasion, cause people not to return.  How many of us get to experience this feeling anymore?  I’m not sure many people ever want to.  So many of us have it so good that I’m afraid we’re losing our edge.  But we were built for trouble.

I know because I am here writing this, because I made it over the ridge that morning.  I put my head to the wind and ice, hands frozen, and I kept going when I could have turned back, trudged upward when fear was telling me to go down.  I went into the mountains alone when I could have stayed home.  Despite terribly blistered feet and a fatigue so deep it hurt, I made it.  Looking back, it was even enjoyable. Today I can only remember vast, beautiful horizons, crisp wind in my face, and the colors of the sunset when the storm began to break that evening.  I don’t remember the discomfort, at least not in a way that would prevent me from going again.

Every year new plans are hatched for the next journey, the next climb, another goal.  I keep going back, trying to push harder and further each time.  It seems to be what I’m supposed to do.


In the West

In the West

I sit atop a boulder

and eat an orange.

(this was actually part of a larger poem, but I like it on its own better).