Houdini Guccini

Me & Houdini

Me & Houdini

I recently bought the Patagonia R1 Hoody and the Houdini windshirt. This past week I tested the Houdini in cold wet, icy and snowy conditions in upstate New York.

I was skeptical of this “piece”. Many reviewers claim ecstatically that it’s the single best windshirt out there. Bold indeed. The Marmot Ion née Trail Wind Hoody is certainly less expensive and the DriClime Windshirt a bit heavier. Oh, but the cut? Most Patagonia stuff I wear in size small, but sometimes I find small feels constricting or medium feels a bit loose. With the Houdini and R1 Hoody I ordered size small and the fit is athletic but not tight and you can wear a thick baselayer underneath, while the hood fits nicely over a hat or the R1 Hoody.

The first of many runs I took wearing the Houdini was in the rain and melting snow. So far so good, it kept me warm and dry, much unlike my feet. Next up were two hours of snowshoeing. Uphill I was hot, but simply flick off the hood, pull up sleeves, unzip, and go. How about running in a snow storm @ 18°F? Perfect again, the DWR works well and the cut of the shell is really well done for movement. The final test were two bouts of classic Nordic skiing. One afternoon it was almost 32°F out! I was on fire. Nonetheless with the wind I kept the Houdini on, though I did take off the gloves and hat! It was too hot on the snow.

The next morning proved a better test, 10°F on icy XC tracks. I kept the hood on over my hat and wore my goto Black Diamond MidWeight gloves. Once moving I was warm and stayed warm, never getting clammy as I have in other windshirts. My older thin Pearl Izumi cycling jacket I ran in frequently this winter would often become clammy within 30 minutes of running, whereas the Houdini breathes well and keeps the precipitation off.

I certainly haven’t tried every windshirt on the market, but I can tell time was spent getting the Houdini dialed in. At approximately 4oz, folded into its own pocket, it’s a no brainer to bring it traveling or zip it on for a cold early morning run. It’s on my “go list” for Alaska.

Not Making Any Small Plans

Went up North. The first two days involved cold wet feet on iced, melting snow and snowshoe tracks. The next day we awoke colder to a fresh 8 inches and still falling. We ran in the snow on the roads. The following morning we ran again, faster and longer, on the icy shoulder. I Nordic skied in the sunny afternoon. Next we awoke early again and skied, it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit. I took the train south. It was good seeing friends.

Hudson River North

Hudson River North

California Plate Tectonics

Day 0: Arrive SFO. C and I drink some beers with E overlooking the city, go pickup M, drop off E, go to bed.

Day 1: Wake up, it’s sunny in West Berkeley, get an espresso at Cafe Trieste, hike 8 miles with M on Sea View and Quarry trails in Tilden Regional Park. Call GTO. Run with GTO and his roommate up Strawberry Canyon trail up to MSRI, sunset over the bay, dusky redwood single track.  Roasted root vegetables.

Day 2: Wake up, sunny again, get an espresso at Trieste, M takes bus to the city. Run with GTO down past Berkeley Marina, past Golden Fields, out to the East Shore State Park with cool sculptures by the water, loop back via Cesar Chavez State Park. Dinner and drinks with E in the Mission. M doesn’t like Pirates, who does? He enjoys the ambiance of Latin American Club.

Day 3: Drive to Sugarloaf Ridge SP in Sonoma and hike for a few hours. Drive to Napa.  Buy a boat, I dare you.  Burgers & a bottle of Malbec at Gott’s Roadside. Ritual espresso from Oxbow Market  & a nice hand pour over Costa Rican single origin for M.

Day 4: Hike up to the Eucalyptus grove over the dirt track on Dwight with R&M.  Swung from the rope swing, hiked up then down from the insane house at the top overlooking Berkeley & the bay.  Colin Farrell is Crocket, living the dream.

Day 5: Pt. Reyes National Park with friends. Nice 10 mile hike down to the cliffs and shore overlooking the lighthouse. Drove to Marshall, drank Lagunitas, ate oysters, watched sunset. Land of milk and honey.

Day 6: Run with GTO on a nice big loop up Dwight up and over back below Sea View in Tilden, down Quarry, and back around. About a two hour run.  G Bombed down trails at the end onto the Berkeley dirt track. Vietnamese dinner with E; last night in SF.

Day 7: Fly to SD. Climb with L&B at a giant new gym.

Day 8: Hike Mt. Baldy via the “Baldy Bowl” (elev. 10,064′), about 8.4 miles roundtrip, about 3,900′ gain most of it in the last mile up the bowl. Crampons and ice piolets recommended and used. Took a bit more than 4 hours car to car.

Day 9: Run along coast south through La Jolla down to Wind & Sea beaches and back, about an hour. Drive to Joshua Tree & camp under a full moon; hear coyotes yipping.

Day 10: Start day climbing by 07:30 at Hemingway Buttress (east face, right) B leads a hard 5.9 to warm up (‘For Whom the Poodle Tolls’) & then ‘Head Over Heals’. I pull the bolt, sadly no heel hook for me.  Go to Lost Horse and climb three pitch ‘Bird on a Wire’. Walked to Jimmy Cliff & climb “The Harder They Fall”, easy 10a, then B solos the ‘Aiguille de Joshua Tree’.

Day 11: It rains in Southern California. Drive to Mammoth.  It’s snowing in Mammoth.

Day 12: Snowshoed big loop around Mammoth Nordic Trails, Inyo Forest welcome center. Deep powder. About 7-8 miles total.

Day 13: Drive to Lee Vining. Deep powder still being plowed, we have one pair of snowshoes &  poles for 4 people. Hike into Power Plant takes an hour. Hike to ice climbing takes another two hours. Ice climb on far right flow, traverse left above & top rope some WI 3 routes on the Chouinard Wall. Hike back. XL pizza in Bishop. Long drive back to SD.

Day 14: Run from Glider Port down Black’s Beach (aka Naked Man Beach), past Torrey Pines, back up through the preserve, down to the beach, back up final cliff staircase up to the Glider Port. Met with K, discussed logistics.

Day 15: Surf in LJ. Get up on small waves with a nice longboard.  The water is cold.  Climbing gym again in the evening.  Flight back east.

NE Ice

Did some easy WI 2-3 grade stuff here, this morning:

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Borrowed an old Charlet Moser tool and a (not as old) Petzl Quark. The Moser had a nicer heft & swing to it but the shaft had less curve, putting your knuckles right against the ice. The Quark was easier to choke up on, curve was nice for coming up and over. The crampons I used were glacier style mountaineering crampons, not ideal but they worked fine. The boots were some old Koflach Degres, I believe, maybe a little narrow but I could’ve probably gone with thicker socks and pulled out the insole. The Scarpa Inverno/Vegas are allegedly wider, but I’m not sure I believe it after trying on the Omegas.

The sun has come out in full effect this afternoon and as such it’ll be a couple of weeks until the ice is back in thick.

Charlet Moser Ice ToolPetzl Quark
Koflach Degre