On Friday September 25th at approximately 6:00 am MST Osprey Athlete, mountaineer, filmmaker and ultra-runner Ben Clark kicked off his 6th attempt to complete Nolan’s 14. Nolan’s 14 is a challenging traverse that links 14 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot summits, one that covers nearly 100 miles of some of the Sawatch Range’s toughest terrain, one that must be completed in less than 60 hours.
Ben shares his reflections on “touching the edge” during this attempt:
In frigid air and with dreary gaze I saw that an ascending moon lit the long and toiling spine of rock that sends mountain climbers down the East side of 14,196′ Mt. Yale and back to the lowest point along a route called Nolan’s 14, connecting 14 Colorado 14,000′ peaks-14er’s.
I was alone in the dark past midnight on my second sleepless night — 10 peaks and 43 hours into a single push across these mountains. An hour after reaching the summit, I laid down in a small pocket of pyramid shaped rocks and layered my storm shell over my legs barely blocking the winds and sub freezing chill. It was my second chance for a 15 minute nap that night. It was here that when I awoke around 3 am, I knew I had pushed my limits and that moving forward was only part of the answer. I had just ramped up the pace for a few hours and I was hypoxic-altitude sick and making slow decisions — my best option since rushing anything through this maze of rock in the predawn hours could lead to amplifying an already temporarily suspenseful fate in what was to be a full and focused effort to descend.
I like challenges — I do.
I am ok chipping away at the most complicated ones that I engage a piece at a time. I can.
But there are some challenges that transform us. If even once, then maybe twice in our lives we will have an opportunity for that. For me, it is being open to the hard work and reality that those challenges require to execute that reveals the value of the knowledge inside a challenge, the virtue of a transformation I need to make. I completed an effort like that in my early 20’s, climbing Mt. Everest’s North/NE Ridge. I think I’m on the second great challenge of my life with Nolan’s 14 and this line has revealed to me more about who I am than any other.
Judiciously and with a cynicism reserved for only my most tired and underfueled self, I talked myself down the ridge, spiting the wind every step of the way. The year before and hours ahead of my current 45 hour time, I had been in a similar circumstance on this peak — Mt Yale — where descending in the dark during freak flooding forced an end to an attempt on this line, just like the previous year when I reached this 70 mile point and the route became engulfed by snowstorms. Both times were heavily supported and I was on the route with great friends — now I was alone and a sniffling mess. As I contoured along Yale’s mighty ridge this third and arguably much more difficult time I began to falter mentally and to lose track of time and where I was. I laid down in a clearing by some dead trees just below treeline and decided to sleep again hoping for daybreak to light and reveal the way, this time I didn’t set an alarm and just like that I was out, out in the cold frozen air.
When I approach a challenge in the mountains, it is not always clear at the outset how it all wraps together, or why it will. There are a lot of variables to the type of experiences I wish to learn from. But if the process is always fun, and the long term benefit of health is not risked, then I pursue it based on merits that serve my intrinsic motivation to explore. I do it to do it. I’d like to think that as a mountain climber I’m pretty fit and that it matters, but more or less, I think I am just strong willed-fitness is a by product of that. But with that fitness and my experience of adopting challenges I know I have to really work at to complete, I can find myself a long way away from anyone or anything that most folks are going to find reasonable to be living for, therein lies the challenge: I reach beyond limits — others and my own — and hope I have the courage and confidence to stand up against myself all alone in the most extreme low points of circumstance.
When I woke up a sliver of faint blue light lit the horizon extending in front of me. I was cold and shivering, my throat was constricted, I had laid there too long and sunrise wasn’t coming fast enough. I was sick and mentally reduced to just a few thoughts; The memory of popping a Dayquil the day before I started to ward off the cold I had, my hand being my 3 year-old’s Kleenex and us joking about it, how happy it made me to walk him home from school that day—Then back to the mountains my thoughts ran as I waited for direction from inside.
“Could I move?”
“Man, I had already lost my way looking for a trail and just wanted the sun to come up so I could see.”
“Why the hell isn’t anyone answering me?” I wondered. Because I was alone…
I alerted my friends and family that I was sick and cold using my tracking device and a cell phone. Within 40 minutes, my father had instructed me on how to find the trail. Using my reference point on a track that uploaded every 10 minutes and showed my position on a detailed map online, I was just a half mile from it. I started running, as planned months before, as soon as I reached the trail. My granny gear auto pilot had taken over. After all the starts and stops I still had it; the relentless will to stick to a plan.
In the last 3 summers I have become obsessed with this line and completing it on foot in one single push from start to finish. This was the sixth run over 30 miles I have done on this route. I think that going alone on this 94 mile line with 92,000′ of vertical change has been the most mind-blowing experience of my life. It is the most committing mountain objective, stacked on top of a lifetime of already committing mountain objectives. No cocaine, no acid, no drug could blow a mind like this…just old dirt and rock. And they whup.
And I keep coming back to learn from them.
As dawn rose and the dim light of my headlamp receded into the suns diffused rays I lay down after running a mile, passed out again on the side of the trail in that old mountain dirt, coughing. I set my alarm on the iPhone and placed it in my chest pocket one last time. I woke 15 minutes later and quickly hustled down the trail. There I saw a man hiking, then another, and then two more. Or maybe I didn’t. I will not exaggerate my state, but many have reported hallucinations near the 40 hour mark of sustained efforts like this. I was sick, I knew that, but felt I could still cough it out and get my head back together.
As I neared the valley lowpoint at 9300′ I was not overwhelmed by the heaps of sub-alpine oxygen, instead it was the immediate reentry into cellular reception signaled by text after text coming in. I kept walking, I kept thinking, I kept walking.
“Don’t give up.”
People were coming to meet me at the end, I would have support if I needed to get down from the next peak.
I hiked for a few more miles in the honey colored light of a Sawatch sunrise and blinded by the sun embraced the day again from a trailside stump where I brewed one final cup of coffee on the trail, my third since starting two days prior. As with anywhere, this place specifically to find myself having been alone 46 hours and traversed 10 peaks over 70 miles through two nights was a place of sanctity. But not one I could keep up, I was just a visitor. The first one on this end to have gone so far, but not the last.
As the sun slowly crested the ridge it washed over me from my neck down and I sipped that semi-warm brew, just to soothe my throat. That 180 calories fueled the next thought, after running on nothing for 6 hours.
It was time to let go. I was sick, I didn’t recognize myself. I was going to blow it if I kept on. Someone would have to get me. And that would mean losing. This I could own.
And there I figured out why. I figured out why I did it and why I’ll try it again. Why it doesn’t matter. Why it does.
Every moment I was alive and connected to the environment alone for feedback, for stimulation, for direction. I just went out and flowed it and life led around by the mountains was good, until the end when it was just euphoric, when my own limitations brought it down to the human level, to my limit. But unpolished and wild as it may be — I’ve touched the edge for the second time. I’ll take that time in that place of dreams, it is why I live my life.
Watch Ben’s film, “Nolan’s 14”
Keep up with Ben:
Read Ben’s thoughts on previous Nolan’s 14 attempts and how he prepares for this formidable traverse.
About Osprey Athlete Ben Clark:
“I have shared some accomplishments with luck, and a couple of great colleagues, like most people aged 35 years. Yes, there are experiences that stand out but the impact of that 17 years and the meaning of what came forward, far exceeded the tangible values of grades on hard things I did with some real strong people that became like family to me. Nonetheless, my bucket list included Everest’s summit forever ago and putting up a few mixed climbs in the Himalayas while on a quest skiing them. But different from some I backed away-I’ve saved friends lives and my own has been spared, often off nothing but a photo I pursued fresh tracks on virgin terrain-obsessively and then mostly not when I became a dad. Simply put after all that, I am a mountain athlete and pioneering within them motivates me.”
This October, Osprey Athlete Kim Havell found herself seeking adventure in the Patagonia region of South America. On this trip, Kim’s goal was to enjoy life on the road while discovering big ski lines before the winter season ended in the mountains of our hemispheric counter-part. As a gear-hauling company focused on design and function, we thought this would to be the perfect opportunity for Kim to test new women’s-specific Osprey Packs gear to be released in 2016. As Osprey Product Coordinator Rosie Mansfield explains, “(Athlete Testing) enables us to provide insight to the unique fit, function and aesthetics of this new technical women’s ski line from the perspective of a professional athlete.
Here is the first recap of Kim’s journey traveling the Patagonia mountains on the open roads with her friend, Jessica Baker.
There are endless backcountry ski-route options in the Patagonian Andes of Argentina and Jessica Baker and I were interested in getting off the beaten track with just a road map. Put to task by Osprey Packs to gear test a pending new women’s pack for next season, I moved forward with a long-time goal of road tripping down the Patagonian range.
Plans came together quickly – fellow Ice Axe Expeditions Guide, Jorge Kozujli, has a Renault Master van (see his Facebook page ‘Camper Van Rental Argentina’) that was available for rent and the Andes were seeing record snowfall for their spring season. The combination of lodging, transportation and record snow conditions made the decision easy. Jessica Baker, a fellow EXUM Mountain Guide and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Alpine Guide, was able to jump on board as well.
With logistics in place, we assessed options and objectives on-line from our starting point of Bariloche and ending point of El Chalten. The van gave us the flexibility to stay or shift locations depending on conditions and weather; this would prove invaluable to our experience. Jess and I left the US in early October and arrived in Bariloche as a major storm system moved in for the week. The weather resulted in limited snowfall and overcast skies with warm, humid air.
We checked out the classic spots around Bariloche’s main ski area, Cerro Catedral, and then ventured further west to ski tour in the mountains above its famed lake district. The skies were tempermental with fog and low hanging clouds on our approaches. It took two hours or so to reach snowline and transition to ski gear. We quickly found conditions to be isothermal and dangerous for not only climbing but also for making ski turns. The snow was not freezing at night and the snowpack made for challenging ascents and descents. Nonetheless, we found some decent skiing up higher and explored around some beautiful peaks.
After a few days in Bariloche, we decided to move south. It was hard to leave the gorgeous lakeside camping outside the town and, spoiled, we aimed for great camp spots as we headed to El Chalten – big views, level ground and privacy – and with patience and some luck we found a perfect spot to park our trusty camper van each night. Our route traced down the infamous ‘Ruta 40’. Paralleling the magnificent Andes range we crossed the barren Patagonian steppe on a lonely run-down road with a myriad of obstacles along the way and an abundance of native wild life including Guanaco, Armadillo, Condor, Pink Flamingos, Giant Hares, and more.
As we took shifts navigating the bumpy highway, separate concentrations of high peaks beckoned in the distance. However, with multi-day approaches needed for each spot, we continued on down the road with our sights set on maximizing our days in the mountains surrounding El Chalten and the renowned Fitz Roy Massif. Access to the mountains would prove to be our biggest challenge for the trip…
Keep up with Osprey Athlete Kim Havell:
“Ben Rueck makes the second ascent of the Escalante Canyon test-piece Frank Zappa Appreciation Society (5.13+), Colorado.
With miles of untouched sandstone, splitter cracks and no crowds, Escalante Canyon is “like the Forgotten Indian Creek,” says Mayan Smith-Gobat.”
See Ben sending “Gutless Wonder” at the Poux, Glenwood Springs, CO:
About Osprey Athlete Ben Rueck:
I am a professional rock climber focused on reaching my greatest potential in the discipline that I have chosen. Why do I climb? To put it simply, there is nothing else that inspires me to better myself quite like climbing does. It has this incredible ability to bolster and humble me as I push harder toward my goals. Climbing makes me earn every inch– and what one can achieve is simply amazing. In my pursuit to better myself I travel the world in search of inspiration from people, cultures, and rock.
Follow Ben’s adventures:
You have to be crazy to build trails in the harsh and unforgiving Negev Desert. Summer temperatures that rise to over 40 degrees Celsius and a rainfall average of less than 20mm per year are not ideal conditions to ride bikes in. Couple these meteorological roadblocks with the rock-infested terrain that makes up the majority of the landscape of Southern Israel, and you basically have the antithesis of great riding. It’d take a lunatic to dream up the idea of creating a riding destination down here, right?
Yaron Dari agrees. “I’m crazy, but just the right amount of crazy”, he tells us, as we bump along in a Land Cruiser towing a custom-built bike trailer, heading up into the mountains above his home at the Kibbutz Samar, towards his trail network. Yaron is the man responsible for the trails we’ve come to ride in this far corner of Israel, and the man just nuts enough to pull off the ambitious goal of creating a mountain bike destination in this inhospitable area.
YouTube Video link:
Despite the un-welcoming nature of the Negev Desert as a whole, the Kibbutz Samar is a veritable oasis in the middle of it all. The kibbutz was established in 1976, and like the hundreds of other communal kibbutzim in Israel, was founded with agriculture as its base. Plump and juicy dates were, and still are, its main export and source of revenue, but mountain biking is poised to become another reliable source of income. The Samar Bike Hotel runs from November to March (we’re visiting a week before the season kicks off). The timing of the operating season takes advantage of the cooler temperatures and more frequent rain.
The hotel is more of a collection of small cabins, featuring a welcoming open air gathering area, and a dining area shared with all the kibbutz members and volunteers. Bike hotel guests eat what the kibbutz community eats, which generally means healthy, wholesome meals, mostly sourced from the immediate area. The amenities are all perfect for a laid back, relaxing stay, and one of the best features of the hotel is the pumptrack. A striking anomaly in the desert, the cement pumptrack is bordered with green grass, and has overhead lights for cooler night sessions around the track. The track is our first sign of the kibbutz’ commitment to mountain biking, and the night we arrive the lights go on and we carve up some laps.
Despite some abnormally heavy rains recently (over 30mm in twenty minutes a couple days before our arrival), Yaron is psyched to show off the fruits of his hard labour. On our drive to the trails, I watch a timelapse on his phone of his team moving a multi-ton rock out of their proposed line using pneumatic pillows. Why not go around? “My vision for the trail was such that the rock needed to be moved, so we moved it”, is his reasoning.
As we explore the trails, I learn the extent of the rock transportation that Yaron has undertaken. His trails are not dug into the mountain, but rather built out from them. Boulders are shifted to create elevated benches, but instead of fighting the terrain, the terrace-style build flows with the hillside, almost belying the amount of work that went into them. Not only does this style of building blend seamlessly with this particular environment, it also aids dramatically in drainage, evidenced by the lack of destruction caused by the near biblical recent rainfall.
Yaron leads us down less manicured trails as well. On the upper ridge above the main valley, and looking across to the Red Mountains of Jordan, the Israel Bike Trail runs 300 kilometres from the Red Sea to the town of Mizpe Ramon. This length of trail is about a quarter of the full 1200 kilometre proposed distance, spanning the entire distance of Israel. We ride a very short portion of it, and then drop off the ridge on gnarly descents taking us back down towards Samar. These trails are rocky and real, dropping off exposed ridgelines down to the stepped desert plains below, and into more flowy terrain dips and dives in and out of dry riverbeds. These descents follow ancient trade routes that have been modernized for mountain biking by Yaron and his trail building crew.
As we explore the region on our bikes, the bleak first impressions of the area quickly fade away. Like the Kibbutz Samar, these trails are a mountain biker’s oasis amongst the rocky cliffs and vast open desert. Our respect for Yaron’s efforts deepens with every turn railed and each descent enjoyed. It takes a certain type of person to flourish in these extremes of this environment., and Yaron is just that type of character. Lucky for us, he’s also just crazy enough to take on the herculean task of building a mountain bike destination in the desert for us all to enjoy.
This week’s #MusicMondays celebration recognizes a Colorado favorite and a group that is near and dear to our hearts — Leftover Salmon! For those of you who haven’t yet heard of Leftover Salmon, this group has been on the scene for 25 years!
Looking back on the legacy of rootsy, string-based music, the impact of Leftover Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, the Colorado slamgrass pioneers took their form of aggressive bluegrass to rock and roll bars at a time when it wasn’t so common, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jamgrass genre. Today, Leftover Salmon consists of Vince Herman (vocals, acoustic guitar, washboard); Drew Emmitt (vocals, acoustic and electric mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle); Andy Thorn (vocals, acoustic and electric banjo); Greg Garrison (vocals, acoustic and electric bass); Alwyn Robinson (drums).
This November they’re celebrating by giving back to their fans with something that will pull at your heartstrings – a new release of their latest album, “High-Country” as well as a limited edition 20 oz. Bomber, The Silver Salmon IPL by Breckenridge Brewery!
“It’s the perfect beer for hanging out at a show and celebrating life, music, and Colorado! There’s no fishy aftertaste, we promise!” according to Greg Garrison, bass player for Leftover Salmon. Not only do you get to enjoy this tasty beverage after a long day outside, when you purchase a Silver Salmon IPL, you will receive a the free album download and celebrate 25 years of Leftover Salmon and Breckenridge Brewery! The album, “25,” will feature twenty five never-before-released live recordings, and will also be available on iTunes and all digital outlets beginning November 27th!
Q: If you could give any advice to yourself at 10 years old, what would you say?
AR: “I would tell my 10 year old self to keep enjoying the countless hours that were spent watching “Power Rangers” and to never stop running around the house pretending to be a ninja! Sure is a great way to frighten your parents when they come home late at night.”
AT: “Get a banjo and learn to play it, it will change you’re life.”
Q: What’s on your current playlist?
AR: My current playlist (albums) for this week:
Erykah Badu – “Mama’s Gun”
Gary Clark Jr. – “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”
Clifford Brown – “Study In Brown”
Paul Simon – “Graceland”
Ella Fitzgerald – “Ella and Louis”
Bob Marley – “Catch a Fire”
Aretha Franklin – “Amazing Grace”
Ray Charles – “Yes Indeed!”
A Tribe Called Quest – “Low End Theory”
Incubus – “Morning View”
Steely Dan – “Aja”
AT: The new Jon Stickley Trio is amazing! Also really into Hayes Carll at the moment and Hard Working Americans.
Q: What’s your spirit animal and why?
AR: “The owl – Intuitive, the presence of an owl announces change, wisdom… I feel like I’m trying to impress a young lady right now…”
AT: “I would say a bear. They’re all over our new neighborhood in Boulder, CO. and I try to think like a bear to keep them out of our house and trash.”
Q: If there was one musician from the past that you could have dinner with, who would it be? What would you ask them?
AR: “I would love to sit down with Tony Williams (started drumming for Miles Davis at the age of 17). Some of the questions that I’d ask: ‘What sort of pressure did you feel performing with Miles Davis at such a young age? What was the intensity like of the social environment that you were engaged in during that era and how big of a role did that play on your emotional approach to music?'”
AT: “John Hartford. I think I saw him play once but was very young. I’m obsessed with his songs and banjo playing and would love to pick his brain.”
Q: When you aren’t on tour, what is something you like to do in your free time?
AR: “I love walking around and exploring new coffee shops in NYC/whatever city I may be visiting. The different atmospheres at the numerous coffee shops in that city are great and there’s always a good opportunity to meet some great people. What better way to start your day with a kind gesture than by purchasing someone’s coffee! It’s inexpensive, and it is an easy way to spread a positive vibe along with good conversation.”
AT: “I love to cook. If I’m home I like to cook every meal I eat out enough on the road and its healthier and more fun!”
Q: Are you a cat or dog person?
AR: “100% dog person. I own a Boxer, and there’s just something about being able to go outdoors with your dog and hanging out that suits me better.”
AT: “Haha, neither.“
Q: What do you like to do in the outdoors?
AR: “I enjoy kayaking, being in the mountains, biking as much as possible, and going on nice hikes. Always a nice way to enjoy the day whether I’m on tour or off of tour and is a great way to clear the head and press the ‘refresh’ button.”
AT: “Everything! I love to camp and mountain bike in the summer, especially if I can route from festival to festival in CO. in between. But winter is probably my favorite, skiing in CO. is so easy and awesome. You can’t beat ‘ski tour’ where you’re picking at night and skiing all day, meeting all the great people and just having a blast.”
Q: What place inspires you? Why does it inspire you?
AR: “Traveling to any place inspires me, whether it be somewhere that I’ve been numerous times or to a place foreign to me. It’s a great opportunity for me to reconnect with a familiar culture or the option of experiencing something new presents itself, which is always an adventurous, humbling time for me. I used to believe that you had to travel to foreign territories to discover inspiration, but sometimes revisiting a familiar place can bring just as much inspiration.”
AT: “The whole western slope of CO. I love camping near Crested Butte in the summer when the wildflowers are blooming or the fall aspens. That is my best time to get out the banjo or guitar and work on new songs with all the inspiration around.”
Q: What one item do you always have in your pack?
AR: “I always carry my little ‘thought’ book. That notebook allows me to express myself, create, and is essential for my reflecting. I try to go back and read the things jotted down to figure out where I was at that point of time and how I’ve processed that information into my current state of mind.”
AT: “My water purifier. I like to stay very hydrated and you can almost always find some kind of water to pump and drink.”
Q: Which Osprey pack are you using right now? What is your favorite feature about your pack?
AR: “I’m currently using the Osprey Flapjack Pack as well as the Shuttle 36″/130L everywhere that I travel. I’m in love with the backpack for the various compartments within the back followed with a simple, sleek design. It allows me to pack numerous items, such as my Macbook, books, magazines, sticks, and leaves plenty of room for extra accessory items; the comfort of the backpack is very nice, especially if you’re exploring and carrying weight for long periods of time. The Shuttle 36 is perfect for traveling due to the wheels, allowing an easy haul whenever you’re moving from place to place. I also tour quite a bit and carry many things with me and this bag allows a great amount of space/compartments to make this possible.”
AT: “I absolutely love the Shuttle 36″. I can fit my pedal boards and all my other stuff, and sometimes my soft banjo case sticking out to roll long distance. It sure has made travel easy and smooth. We also use the hydration packs all the time when biking. I never used to use one before I had an Osprey and I’ve had much more energy by staying more hydrated with my Raptor 14.”
Enter to win an Osprey FlapJack (or Jill) and a signed copy of the newest Leftover Salmon Album, “High Country”
(Traduction Française disponible en bas de la page).
By Michèle Leclerc, mother of 9
Journalist and film-maker for Les Grands Explorateurs (The Great Explorers)
Twenty-eight years ago, Pierre and I decided to leave Québec to travel the U.S. West Coast on horseback, from Vancouver, Canada, to Los Angeles, California. I came back pregnant from that journey. Since then, the family has grown to 9 kids, aged 10 to 27. We are the 11 (#the11).
“What time is it?” echoed through the alpine basin. “It’s the time of your life!” we reply, ripping singletrack amongst snowcapped peaks, quickly descending into a broad valley in the midst of its autumn transformation, grass turning from its lush summer green into a wild display of yellows, oranges and reds. This descent in the Purcell Mountain Range was just one moment among many in a two week romp through British Columbia, a road trip jam packed full of adventure, good friends, and a lot of bicycle shredding.
After a string of niggling injuries through the spring and summer (read: getting older), I was feeling better, and felt the urge to hit the road. Through luck and good timing, a few opportunities had presented themselves all within the span of a couple weeks, and all in the Interior of BC. I’m not one to deny fortuitous timing, and took this as a sign to link it all up into a bit of a road trip.
First stop: SilverStar Mountain Resort. Finishing up a week of work in my home of Squamish, I make it to SilverStar late Friday night. I’m here to write a story for Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine on a new IMBA Epic trail that is being built, and as a guest of the mountain, I get a good night’s rest in a plush slopeside condo, complete with my own hot tub. I’m greeted the next morning by wet and cold conditions. My road trip coincides with literally the first rain of the summer, but it’s welcomed, particularly by the parched trails.
I spend a couple days here, ripping bike park laps with my hosts, and exploring the new epic trail that is not quite finished yet, but promises to be an amazing addition to the already extensive network of trails that SilverStar boasts. In classic road trip style, I’ve not left a single moment unanswered to, and Sunday afternoon I say my goodbyes and blast up to Revelstoke, where I have bags to repack, friends to meet, and a plush backcountry lodge to ride into for a week of exploring and good living.
Our destination is Purcell Mountain Lodge, a short heli flight from the town of Golden BC. Our crew: pro rider Mike Hopkins, pro photographer Bruno Long, and pro energizer bunny Marty Schaffer. This trip has been in the works for some time, and while I’m psyched to check out some new terrain on my bike, I’m just really pumped to hang out with these guys for a week. Marty and I ski guide together in the winter, Bruno and I have collaborated on a few trips, and Mike and I have Koots roots, me growing up in Nelson and him just down the road in Rossland. All solid people, and just the positive energetic team you want for a trip like this. All that positivity will help, as the forecast is for continued precipitation and a lowering snowline. A little damp, but it’s nothing that’ll phase this posse, and we proceed to have an amazing week of bike riding, lodge living and good times in the mountains.
Keeping the frenetic flow of the road trip alive, Marty and I schedule just enough time in to do a couple loads of laundry in Revelstoke, re-pack and head south to Retallack to race the final weekend of the BC Enduro Series. This is the pinnacle of the race series, and while I’m bummed to have missed all the others this year due to injury, this particular one I am very happy to be healthy enough for. Road trips are all about re-connecting with friends, and this race makes that a little easier: 200 likeminded people hanging out for the weekend shredding the raddest trails in the world creates a pretty lively atmosphere. The rain continues, creating some pretty wild trail conditions, but does nothing to dampen our spirits, and if anything makes the racing even more fun.
Needing to catch up on work, I slow the the pace of the road trip down after Retallack, and hang out at Marty’s place in Revelstoke for the week, getting work done remotely. I easily insert myself into the pace of the town: fresh baked goodies from the bakery in the morning, hammer out some time in front of the computer during the day, an after work rip, and dinner and beers with friends. A bit of routine amongst the lovely chaos that is this road trip. On Friday I have my rubber arm twisted and unchain myself from the computer, and we heli drop Mt Cartier, a 7000 foot descent just south of Revelstoke. The sun has returned to BC by now, and we have a glorious heli-assisted day in the mountains, riding what has to be one of the longest singletrack descents in North America.
I end my roadtrip by attending a friend’s wedding in Invermere, to the east of Revelstoke. Catching up with old acquaintances at the party reminds me of that ultimate road trip goal of connecting with friends. Without them, what do we have? Despite the myriad of ways we have to stay in touch in this uber-connected word we live in, sometimes it feels like that technology can disconnect us from the people that matter. Sometimes the best remedy to that disconnect is heading out on the road and showing up on those folk’s doorsteps. As I drive back to Squamish after the wedding, hungover but happy, I can’t help but start thinking about my next road trip, and the friends I’ll see then.
It’s been a huge life change, one that I couldn’t have imagined, but so worth it in every regard. I knew I would have to adapt my climbing career while Theo was young and I was recovering from birth. But one thing that I didn’t anticipate was altering another passion of mine, cooking. Over the years, I’ve become incredibly excited about cooking and using good, quality food. With Theo, I quickly realized that involved recipes would have to take a backseat for a while. This is one of my favorite recipes that I have been cooking recently with the yummy local winter squash. I love that I can prepare it in different stages, allowing me to play with Theo in between. It also it great frozen and a perfect food for an active toddler. I hope you enjoy! – Beth Rodden
Beth Rodden’s Autumn Squash Soup
- 2 winter squashes (Buttercup is my favorite, but I have also used Butternut and Kabocha)
- 1 32 oz jar of chicken broth (or veggie broth)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to 400.
- Cut the squash in half, and de-seed them.
- Generously brush the flesh with olive oil and roast cut side down in a roasting pan.
- Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes depending on size of squash.
- Remove when the squash is tender when speared with a fork. Let cool then scoop out the flesh onto a plate.
- Sauté chopped onion in a pan on the stove until the pieces are transluscent. Add the chopped garlic and spices and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the squash and broth.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 – 20 minutes to let the flavors permeate.
- Use and immersion blender or scoop into a normal blender, and blend until smooth.
- Top with parsley if you have the time and energy
Beth fell in love with the mountains and wanted nothing more than to travel the world exploring climbing areas. Over the next decade she became one of the most accomplished female climbers in the world. Beth has free climbed three routes on El Capitan, more than any other woman. She has also established some of the hardest traditional climbs and sport climbs in the world by a woman.
Over the past few years Beth has become very involved with clinics and working with young climbers across the country. Climbing has been her passion since childhood and she loves sharing that with young climbers today; working to develop their skills and enthusiasm into good stewards for the sport. Beth has also developed a strong passion for local food systems. She is very engaged in bringing awareness that food sourced and grown locally is beneficial for the environment as well as people’s health. She is fortunate enough to split her time between Yosemite and the Bay Area, where she can pursue both her love of the mountains and climbing, and her love of good, quality food. When she’s not climbing she can be found cooking with food from the local farmers market, and spending time with her four legged companion, Max and her son, Theo.
Beth’s Favorite Pack:
Osprey athlete Kim Havell has skied on all 7 continents, with 1st descents on 4, and adventured in over 50 countries. During her travels, she has climbed and skied big peaks in the Himalaya & the Karakorum, the highest mountains across the US, with 1st descents both at home and abroad including in the Arctic and Antarctic. Kim has numerous first female descents in Southwest Colorado, climbed and skied both the Grand Teton and Mt. Moran in a 2 day period, completed multiple ascents and ski descents of 13ers & 14ers, and cut lines on peaks in France, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Alaska, Russia, and Japan.
This October, Kim found herself seeking adventure in the Patagonia region of South America. On this trip, Kim’s goal is to enjoy life on the road while discovering big ski lines before the winter season ends in the mountains of our hemispheric counter-part. As a gear-hauling company focused on design and function, we thought this would to be the perfect opportunity for Kim to test new women’s-specific Osprey Packs gear to be released in 2016. As Osprey Product Coordinator Rosie Mansfield explains, “(Athlete Testing) enables us to provide insight to the unique fit, function and aesthetics of this new technical women’s ski line from the perspective of a professional athlete.”
At Osprey, a key philosophy in designing gear has been “To Inspire & Ease Your Journey.” To stay true to our commitment, it takes feedback at all stages of a pack’s development, from our consumers, professionals athletes like Kim and other Osprey athletes. Kim Havell has been a key player in the design, testing, development, fit and end-use of our women’s-specific pack offerings and will continue to assist us in pushing the envelope so that we can offer innovative, groundbreaking products that provide the best design and function for woman who get outdoors.
We caught up with Kim to ask her a few questions about her upcoming trip to Patagonia.
Stay tuned for more from Kim and her adventures while living on the road in South America.
Ultimate goal for this trip? What about little goals?
KH: Both are the same – ski some fun peaks and great lines and embrace the culture and flexibility of life on the road.
Have you been to South America before?
KH: I’ve been to Bariloche, Buenos Aires, and Mendoza – did a ski expedition on Aconcagua a few years ago.
What makes this trip so special? What are you doing different this time around?
KH: We’re picking up a fellow Ice Axe Expeditions guide’s van and driving and skiing down Ruta 40 from Bariloche to Patagonia. There’s a real freedom to this trip and it is an accessible option for those who love to backcountry ski and explore big mountains.
What do you typically eat on a trip like this?
KH: Well we’re going to meat country so we’ll shop and eat local. And, I’ll have a healthy supply of PROBARS for our ski days in the mountains.
Do you have any special rituals or traditions when you’re on the road for long periods of time?
KH: Check snow and weather every morning and evening. And, I’ll bring some lavender and eucalyptus so the van smells nice.
What are some of the things you’re most looking forward to about this trip?
KH: Seeing the lake districts and après with local vino.
How do you scout or research trips like this one to Patagonia?
KH: I am always watching weather and conditions in remote or interesting places. When certain opportunities pop up or things align, I make a spontaneous trip happen or plan for something down the road. Usually, I see, hear, or read something that is of interest and a trip grows and cultivates out of that.
In regards to what you pack, how was this trip different and what do you do when preparing for these types of trips?
KH: We are car camping so it is lighter packing than most expeditions but we have a great deal of gear to bring along. My ski companion, Jessica Baker, and I have compiled a comprehensive list of necessary items and we’ll pack off of that.
What do you do when you’re not skiing?
HV: I’m usually in the mountains – hiking, running, climbing, or with horses.
Anything else you’re currently psyched on for this year?
KH: My boyfriend, a 4th generation Outfitter in WY, and I just adopted 3 mustangs and 3 burros from the BLM wild horse program at the Honor Farm in Riverton, WY. So, I am excited to work with my 2-yr-old horse, Otter, over the coming months and learn how to train and work with him in the field.
Current favorite Osprey pack(s)?
Be sure to keep up with Kim as she plans for bigger and better in 2016:
In celebration of #MusicMondays, we’re going to jump back to one of our favorite moments of the summer — Floydfest 2015. If you haven’t yet had the privilege to attend Floydfest, then we should preface this account by saying that words can only capture a small fragment of the beauty and magic that’s present during this week-long festival in late July. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this festival is an epicenter of good vibes and great times — the music and passion generated by the Floydfest community seems to reverberate throughout the Appalachian Mountains. For those of you wondering what makes this festival a standout among so many other festivals across the nation, we’ll let you in on the secret.
Osprey Packs Ambassadors, Ms. Tess and the Talkbacks rocked the main stage!
Osprey has attended Floydfest for 4 consecutive years — not only because of a stellar musical line-up that somehow manages to outdo itself year after year, but because of the tangible sense of community created at Floydfest. Although the music may be the initial magnet that draws attendees to the festival, once on the ground in Virginia it’s immediately apparent that this festival offers so many other experiences outside the live performances, each of which focus on and allow for personal growth and the expansion of a community. Beyond the musical performances at multiple stages for responsive and fun audiences, Floydfest expands the festival experience and offers multiple workshops to attendees, including instrumental clinics and outdoor orientated excursions. The festival takes advantage of the beautiful environment of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers mountain bike demos, a 5k and guided nature hikes for anyone interested, taking an incredible natural backdrop and turning it into an experience that is shared. Instead of this festival being about consumption and observation, this blending of music, the outdoors and festival attendee participation lends itself to a uniquely collaborative festival.
We were able to capture all of this (and more!) in this short video, filmed & edited by Osprey’s own Dan Holz.
After fondly remembering this summer’s adventures at Floydfest, we’re even more excited for next year in the Appalachian hills.