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625 Lost in a Black Hole 2012-04-19

Rainpants and Black Hole bag

In the early 1990's there was a small outdoors company in Colorado named Mountain Hardwear. Craig Luebben started the company which made Big Bros (rock climbing protection) and other miscellaneous items. One of my most used purchases of all times was a Mountain Hardwear waterproof rainsuit. We're not talking about a waterproof and breathable fabric, but a completely waterproof garment.

A few years later I met Craig. As we talked, clipped on my climbing harness was the rainsuit (yes it was that compact). At the time I did not know that Craig had made (thru his company Mountain Hardwear) the rainsuit. We had a funny conversation about the garments.

Craig sold the Mountain Hardwear name to the large outdoor manufacturer. Then, last year Craig tragically died in a climbing accident. I still own the rainsuit and use it regularly. Well, until recently ...

I use the rainsuit mostly in the mountains. The waterproof suit is perfect insurance against those pesky afternoon storms. The tightly sealed waterproof fabric traps all of your heat inside and keeps you warm and dry. Rarely did I ever hike in the suit, but when the weather turned bad and I needed to wait the storm out, I would put on the suit, pull up the hood, and hunker down.

Back home in Tennessee I rarely use the suit. Rain in our fair climate is mostly a nuisance and generally I just keep moving. The waterproof - breathable type of fabric works better for hiking in the rain.

Then, as I began to prepare and pack for this summer's trip (a couple of months ago) I could not find the pants. The rain top was exactly where it was supposed to be, but the bottoms were missing. I had not used the pants since last summer - they could be anywhere.

Thinking I probably just stored the pants somewhere different, I was not really worried about them being missing. I casually began searching for them though. My preliminary search came up empty.

I asked Amy, if she had loaned the pants to anyone - no.

So the game was on. I do not lose things and especially something as important as my Craig Luebben's Mountain Hardwear rain pants.

I looked in every pack that I remembered using in the last year. Then I searched in some of the packs I had not used. No pants.

Next, I looked in the closet. I took everything out of the closet and then put it all back in. No pants.

I asked Amy, if she had loaned them to anyone - no.

Upstairs in the gear closet where we keep our sleeping bags and winter coats, I sifted through the piles. No pants.

Back in the bedroom I went through the dresser. No pants.

Just to make sure, I went through the packs again. No pants.

I asked Amy, if she had loaned them to anyone - no.

Weeks past, and I was still searching. I knew I had to have overlooked them, so I repeated each search at least once more and asked Amy if she had loaned them to anyone - several more times.

Amy and I finally discussed the inevitable ... what if the pants were lost and I needed a new pair? I shook my head and promised myself to look harder.

Then while searching the upstairs closet again, I looked through a stack of duffles I use for packing clothes. The pants were not in the duffles, but I thought of someplace I had not looked.

Back in the garage I looked in a few previously un-searched packs, but no pants were found.

I though about calling Amy to ask if she had loaned the pants to anyone, but thought better of it.

Under a stack of packs were our Patagonia Black Hole bags. The Black Holes' are huge duffles. We normally do not store anything inside the bags, but I checked them anyway. Inside one of the Black Hole bags was my long lost Craig Luebben's Mountain Hardwear rain pants!

Amy was overjoyed that my search was finally completed.

The rainpants are about twenty years old and have helped me weather many storms. There are a lot of good memories sewn in their waterproof seams. It was therefore, important to me to spend the time and effort to find the pants.

Happy Black Hole trails


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