The wilderness will always test you with unforeseen obstacles and poor conditions. The challenge presented to an outdoorsman is to overcome these consistently and continue on. The extreme nature of the terrain and weather that one is presented with in alpine landscapes makes it both challenging and appealing. My father and grandfather have taught me many techniques to get by and continue the hunt even when presented with poor situations. It’s amazing how little equipment one can get by with, even in tough conditions. Even so, having proper gear can make for a more pleasurable wilderness experience. Most of the outdoor enthusiasts I know are in a constant state of upgrading and modifying their equipment to better suit their application. This drives a quickly adapting industry ready to provide better gear for one’s specific needs. Perhaps this best describes the idea behind choosing the North Face Mountain 25 four season tent.
The North Face Mountain 25 four season tent
At the end of last year’s high hunt, Ron Sinnema (owner of Benchmark Barrels and my hunting partner) and I experienced a mountain storm. I had already taken my buck and we’d headed back in to the wilderness so Ron could hunt for the rest of “high buck”. We also had to collect gear that we‘d left to make an easier pack out with my buck. We found a nice flat camping spot below a glacier at over 7,000 ft elevation, with access to three different canyons where we could glass below for bucks. Two of the canyons were producing bucks daily. We filtered our water from a melting glacier only yards from our tent and all seemed well. There is little better description of this camping spot than ideal.
However, we were highly exposed to wind and elements due to lack of trees and the stunted nature of the alpine trees that did exist there. We’d had another productive day of looking over bucks, all of which Ron passed up. The day had brought typical 20 mph winds at times. Turning in for the night, conditions started to change and there was no doubt that we were in for a little extra wind. Ron’s teepee tent had served us well in substantial wind before and we drifted off to sleep. We would wake up occasionally throughout the night, with the sound of the tent being slapped by the wind never lasting for more than a couple minutes at a time. It was only raining lightly, but when carried by a gust of wind, the raindrops hit the teepee with authority!
Around 1 AM, the wind started to move the teepee about violently. I grabbed the main pole in the center, as it was clear we were about to lose the tent. Ron quickly grabbed the back end of the tent and held it down. Five years earlier, I had a three season tent literally tear apart at the seams less than two miles from this camp site. The flashbacks were vivid, and it was obvious to both of us that action had to be taken. I was impressed by the power of the wind as I held on. I was feeling smaller and smaller as the minutes wore on. Ron and I would laugh hysterically about it one minute and then hold on in complete silence the next. We both knew that hiking out in the middle of the night missing half our gear was a distinct possibility. In the occasional lulls we would hear the next tantrum of wind coming like a freight train.