Planes, Helicopters and a Long Slog Home

Planes, Helicopters and a Long Slog Home

When you travel light and fast you are used to making choices but a pair of Thunderbolt Mark II soft-shell jeans takes one choice away. One Pair of Pants.

The weekend started with a rush to PDX for a quick flight to Phoenix, the base for a weekend adventure into the Four Peaks Wilderness via helicopter for a visit to one of the two places in the world where Siberian Amethyst can be found in its natural state.


Friday night in Phoenix was a couple supply stops and a great dinner with friends and fellow adventurers. We all hit the sack early knowing we would be up at dawn to head to the heli pad for a quick ride into the mountains. 

Saturday arrived warm and sunny as expected in that part of the world. Little did we know how quickly that would change.

It was a great ride in “The Bird” to get up to elevation.   It felt a bit like cheating but once in a great while its fun to cheat! No pack weight to worry about, throw everything in and go.

Pretty sweet view on the ride in!


Set up camp on “the perch” and got ready to start putting the Thunderbolts thru the paces.


First thing on the list – climb to the top! Great test of the stretch and abrasion resistance scrambling up between Peak Three and Peak Four in a steep chute filled with big rock, cactus and prickly pear.


You know the saying “everything’s great until its not”? Great started to turn to not once we were back in camp and the wind started to flex its muscles. Then came the rain, hail and thunder and lightning.   Thunderbolts kept me dry and comfortable no doubt about it. There was some serious pants envy going on from the denim crowd.

It was a long night in the tents as the wind got stronger, the rain got heavier and the temperatures started to drop.   By morning it was frozen rain flys and a skiff of snow. Thunderbolts took it all in stride – spent the night hanging the tent and bone dry in the morning!

All good but for this:


 It’s the one thing you don’t want to see when you are counting on a ride down in The Bird. Helicopters can fly in the wind and rain but fog keeps them on their skids.

We waited a few hours for the fog to lift but we all knew The Bird wouldn’t be saving us and we are going to have to hoof it out five miles to the nearest road. Did I mention the rain, hail and snow? Did I mention I was wearing my Thunderbolts?

We talk a lot about versatility and this was a great test of just that. Headed to the airport with temperatures on the 50s; land in Phoenix in the 70s; went to a nice dinner looking great; three hour hike up and down a mountain; rain, hail, snow and temps touching the 30s, dry pants in the morning and tackling a big unexpected hike out with more rain, hail and snow. One Pair of Pants.

The weather cleared as we descended out of the mountains and all was great again.

There is a lesson here: Pull on a pair of Thunderbolts and forget worrying about the weather or looking good. We got you covered.

Mr. Mugatu
Mr. Mugatu


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