Backpacking pioneer dead at 84 |

Backpacking pioneer dead at 84

Allen Best/Special to the Daily

LOS ANGELES Dick Kelty, who revolutionized backpacking by designing a pack that caused much of the pack’s weight to shift from the shoulder to the hips, has died in suburban Los Angeles. He was 84.A veteran of World War II, Kelty was working as a carpenter in 1951 when he and a friend, Clay Seaman, were hiking in the Sierra Nevada. As he explained to the Los Angeles Times in an interview many years later, both men were burdened by their heavy and awkward Army-surplus rucksacks. The rucksacks were mounted on U-shaped frames made of wood.But during the trip, Seaman discovered that by putting the bottom supports of the backpack in his rear pockets of his pants, he could stand up straight and, best all, the pack felt lighter. Later, they figured out why the weight was being shifted to the legs.”After we got back, I started making some packs in my kitchen out of nylon and aluminum tubing,” he told the Times. “They had waist straps, which put most of the weight on the hips.”He made packs for himself and a friend, but didn’t realize his business opportunity until a stranger turned up at his door one night asking for such a pack. With $500 borrowed against his two-bedroom house, he began making backpacks 29 the first year, and then by the thousands.Study suggests subsidized child careTELLURIDE – A study commissioned by Telluride’s municipal government suggests local governments subsidize child care, as they already do affordable housing and transportation.Childcare in the Telluride area costs 30 percent more than in outlying areas. Most employers attribute absenteeism among workers to staying home to care for children. The report, noted the Telluride Watch, found that it takes an income of $56,000 for a family of four to live without subsidies in the Telluride area.Alpinists grasp Tetons’ holy grailJACKSON HOLE, Wyo. Two teams of climbers have grasped the holy grail of the Tetons, completing the first continuous winter ascents of the range’s 10 core peaks.The feat took one team nearly three day and the second four days in weather that ranged between wintertime balm and full-blizzard conditions.”I can’t describe it. I’m in a daze,” one climber told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.”Today was one of the best days ever in the mountains,” said his partner. “We were both giddy.”

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