Ski Traverse of the Wind River High Route

by May 19, 2021 4 min read

Wind River High Route

This year we released our Adventure Sponsorship campaign. We hand-selected 9 adventurers from all around the world who were doing something epic. These people also wanted to sew something just as epic to take with them. From April to October, you will get to read about the latest adventure and what the maker created.

Read more about all of our adventure sponsors HERE

Listen to Bryce tell the tales of his adventure on Episode 17 of the Ripstop on the Record Podcast

Here you can read all about the trip and see the beautiful photography that Bryce took along the way.

BIO

Name: Bryce Gordon 

Instagram: @brycesgordon 

Location: Montana

Bio: Bryce Gordon is a Bozeman, MT based adventurer with a passion for large outings powered by bikes and skis. He grew up exploring in the San Juan Mountains around Durango, CO before attending college at Montana State University. 

Bryce has always known the basics of sewing but began delving more into the practice three years ago when he decided to make his own bikepacking bags for a trip on the Colorado Trail. 

He enjoys sewing outdoor gear, as well as repairing things. He seeks to reuse and repurpose materials whenever possible. Bryce loves the MYOG approach and the way it changes a person's relationship with their gear and how it gets used.

Adventure

Adventure: Traverse the Wind River Range  

Distance: ~90 miles  

Details: Bryce and his partner are experienced outdoors-people with a knack for tackling big challenges. This spring saw no difference for them as they wanted to take on a winter traverse of the Wind River High Route. The Wind River Range is an iconic set of mountains in northern Wyoming. Known as some of the most remote mountains in the lower 48 states, Bryce and Morgan set out for something epic!

Due to the nature of the route and the proximity of the mountains, they had to do what is called a self-sufficient style trip. All of the equipment, food, and tools they would need to survive would be on their backs or in their sled. This means they were both carrying packs with 55+ liter capacity and were taking turns pulling a 50+ liter sled.

This route is demanding but enthralling; dangerous but exhausting; wild, but life-giving.

The two adventurers made their way down couloirs, across scree fields, and through white-out conditions - all with a smile on their face and their DIY gear behind them! 

Scroll down to see more of Bryce’s photos from the trip:

Gear

Like many of us, Bryce started making his own gear as a way to create something better than he could simply buy. In other words, he wanted gear that could be lighter, stronger, and more functional for the specific activity he had in mind.

The two pieces of equipment that Bryce made for his trip were a backpack and a sled bag. Both items included unique designs that are not commonly seen on comparable big-box items.

Here’s a breakdown of each, including materials used:


Backpack 

Materials: 

     Body - 5.0 oz Dyneema® Composite Fabric  

     Collar - 1.43 oz Dyneema® Composite Fabric

     Back Panel - 6.5 oz Melange woven with Dyneema® 

Use: His custom pack was designed with weight and accessibility in mind. External gear straps and a unique avalanche pocket kept the pack looking sleek but highly functional. The entire backpack used Dyneema Composite Fabrics and fabrics with Dyneema for the ultimate strength-to-weight ratio. 

The roll top featured side adjusters as the closure system. With their trip being 12 days long, Bryce knew the pack would be continually getting smaller over the days and would need to compress to be comfortable.

Sled  

Materials: 

     Body - 1680D Ballistic Nylon   

     Collar - HyperD 300

     Daisy Chain + Handles -  Venom Webbing  

Use: The sled is a classic backcountry tool. While in snowy conditions, it can be much easier to pull something behind you that glides over the snow and ice than putting more weight on your back. 

This sled was particularly unique because it was designed to NOT have a rigid bottom. Many sleds are made with plastic or composite material as the bottom to minimize friction. In contrast, Bryce elected to go with a fabric bottom so the sled would be easier to pick up and move when they needed to go over scree fields or rock beds. For visibility, they chose to make the sled's collar out of HyperD 300 Blaze Orange

One of our favorite things about Bryce is his emphasis on reusing and recycling gear. Now that their Wind River traverse is over, Bryce is planning on modifying his pack for summer desert adventures. Making it more suitable for backpacking and bikepacking is a challenge, but worthwhile, as this one item will get a lot more use.

Part of Bryce’s sewing journey includes using old ski wear to make recycled bike bags. He often repairs clothes and other gear to get it back outside instead of in a trash bag. This is just one of the great skills you can gain through DIY, and something that we especially appreciate about Bryce’s journey :). 

We hope reading Bryce’s trip spotlight inspires you to try something new.

When you do, we’ll be here to help and admire the finished product! Thanks for reading and see you next time. 


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