Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It's all about the shoes

It happens. One of the three men on the Arctic 1000, a 600-mile unsupported trek across the northwest corner of Alaska's remote Brooks Range, has had to be rescued. Ryan Jordan, publisher of Backpacking Light magazine, was injured when he broke through the edge of an ice shelf on a creek and hit a rock. Four days later, he realized he couldn't continue walking on with Jason Geck and Roman Dial.

The group reported the injury on its Web site, and unleashed a storm of criticism about, what else, proper footwear. These three adventurers are hiking light, and all are wearing trail running shoes instead of hiking boots. That backpacking philosophy is a popular one, but also one that inflames purists, those of the Norwegian-welt leather boot and 60-pound pack mentality.

Supporters of the three men say Jordan might have gotten hurt even if he was wearing heavy boots, but others are sure it is his quest to go light that was his downfall.

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