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Road Trip Week Three: The Rockies

May 20th, 2015
Robbie, Ciaran, Dian, Lara watching the sunset in Dinosaur Provincial Park

Robbie, Ciaran, Dian, Lara watching the sunset in Dinosaur Provincial Park

Wow! The few days that have passed since we last wrote have been intense! We arrived at Dinosaur Provincial Park on the evening of our last post.  The park appears suddenly and in stark contrast to the pleasant, but remarkably unspectacular surrounding pastureland. As we crested the low hill from which the first view into the park valley is revealed, the sun was close to setting; we had maybe an hour of light left. Sense told us to pitch camp and start cooking in daylight but our gut had us running out and climbing the tallest hill that we could find with a view to the west.

Ciaran and Lara coming down from the hill after sunset.

Ciaran and Lara coming down from the hill after sunset.

After two days of prairies and almost 20 hours driving it felt so good to be out of the car. We ran around jumping, shrieking and laughing as the sun lit the surrounding prehistoric clay and rock mounds in a golden orange. We stayed out long after the sun had set and the orange and reds had cooled to blue and purple before finally making our way down to pitch camp and cook in the dark, energized by what we had just experienced.

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Sam went out after the others had gone to sleep to take some photos of the stars above the moonlit landscape.

The next morning we watched sunrise from the eastern side of the same hill. The rest of the morning was spent packing. We do a lot of that. It’s also largely pointless. It seems that however much we try, within about half a day of us having packed all our gear and ourselves neatly into the van, it’s complete mayhem again. We know we have too much stuff and we should probably have bought a roof box or just been more ruthless in stripping down our gear to necessities but in some ways we’re growing to like the clutter. It’s slowly becoming a vaguely functional collection of clutter too. For instance, it’s now instinctive that the box packed to the right of the ukulele contains our oatmeal, two propane bottles, three tennis balls, the first aid kit and all of our spoons. We like to think that with more time we could have done a better job of organizing what to bring but with 25 exams between us we think it’s fair to say we did at least an alright job.

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We also packed bear spray, which seemed like a necessary investment after seeing seven bears just on the drive over.

In the afternoon we drove west across Alberta, skirting north of Calgary and entering Banff National Park. The day had turned grey and rain fell heavily as we drove up into the looming dark masses of the Rockies. Luckily the rain had stopped by the time we arrived and we spent the rest of the evening walking around the woods and small hills near our campground at Tunnel Mountain. We’ve come to really appreciate the fact that we’re visiting these places so far off-season. We’ve had the chance to explore with no crowds, empty trails and room to ourselves. Banff was the first place where we realised why this was possibly the case. Our naïve European sense for the seasons led us to think that by May, surely spring would have arrived and green, grassy summer meadows would be just around the corner. Silly Europeans.

A little less blue than we had hoped for.

A little less blue than we had hoped for.

Of course, in Canada and at altitude snow remains well into June and the summer. Unfortunately that meant that a lot of the more interesting, longer walks that would take us out of the valleys and onto the ridgelines were inaccessible to us. A shame, but no problem! We’ve shifted things up and are going to leave the Rockies a little earlier than planned. We’ll dot about a little bit between Jasper and Vancouver before taking a ferry over to Vancouver Island where we expect much milder weather and the opportunity for having some fun in the Pacific – see you there!

 

Dian and her Osprey Packs Sirrus 24 near Johnson Lake, Banff.

Dian and her Osprey Packs Sirrus 24 near Johnson Lake, Banff.

 

Road trip. Two months. Five European friends across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver and through the States from San Francisco back to Toronto via as many cool places in between as we can find. We’ve used cities as way-markers but our interest is in the land we’ll travel through between them. Along the way we’ll pass through more National Parks than you can shake a stick at. Camp stoves, beaches, forests, mountains, waterfalls, adventures and waking up in a tent somewhere new every morning.

Keep up with us throughout our journey via the weekly blogs posted here that we’ll be writing for Osprey Packs or follow us on Instagram:

SamLeakey

RobbieTravels

CiaranTragheim

Travel , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dirt Rag’s Dirt Fest – Pennsylvania’s Mountain Bike Festival!

May 15th, 2015

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There are 33 miles of smooth, fast, flowing trails surrounding Raystown Lake, the largest lake in Pennsylvania. They range from beginner to expert level in three stacked loops, making for endless combinations. This sustainably-built trail system is open year-round to all users, is owned by the Friends of Raystown Lake, and is maintained by the volunteer efforts of the Raystown Mountain Biking Association.


 

Dirt Fest is here — and we’re ready to get dirty at Dirt Rag Magazine’s epic annual celebration of mountain biking in the hilly and lush region of Raystown Lake, PA. We can’t resist a weekend of single track, clinics by top athletes in the industry, time on the lake, and camping out with our fellow diehard MTB enthusiasts — so we are flying 1,800 miles east from Colorado to join the fun! If you are attending, then swing by the Osprey Packs Dirtfest booth for some of the following:

Osprey Pack Demos: Our 2015 pack lineup for bikes is extensive & comprehensive — but you don’t have to take our word for it! Swing by the Osprey booth to talk with our in-house cycling pack experts to figure out which of our pack options will best enhance your cycling experience.

We’ve got great offerings like the Syncro Series, which features Osprey’s ventilated AirSpeed and is perfect should it get humid on the trail in PA. Also of note is our Escapist Series, highly versatile packs that are full-featured and equipped for a variety of adventures. Be sure to check out the 2015 Zealot, which meets the evolving needs of enduro mountain bike racing. Stop by the booth to see and try out the  fleet of select Osprey packs available for free demo.

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Best Swag You Eva Had! Just another great reason to stop by the Osprey Packs booth — we’ll be giving away custom Osprey hats, coozies for your bevy, organic lip balm, and much more!


 Learn More about Dirt Rag:

Schedule of Events

Map of Trails

Facebook


 

Active Lifestyle, Bike , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dominion Riverrock – Rocking on the James River!

May 15th, 2015

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The fusion of music, outdoor events, good people, great times and the city of Richmond, VA’s unique personality make Dominion Riverrock one of the most dynamic and entertaining summer festivals in the East!

Dominion Riverrock provides a awesomely curated experience for all of those who attend. Whether your interests are mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, adventure racing or even the air dog dock competition for your canine, this event celebrates the great outdoors while being extremely accessible in the heart of Richmond and set against the stunning backdrop of the James River. This event is one at which Osprey is able to connect with both avid, longtime pack-users and those just discovering the outdoors.

What better way to spend a weekend in Richmond than on Brown’s Island with free music, multiple outdoor clinics, competitions and +50 sponsors and vendors to check out?

We’re excited to head back east again this year for the weekend, making it the 3rd consecutive year Osprey Packs has been the “Official Backpack” of Dominion Riverrock! This premier event is a fantastic way to get outdoors this spring and get ready for summer — Dominion Riverrock fuses some of our favorite activities, like live music, top outdoor athlete competitors, and great clinics to help outdoor enthusiasts at any level step up their game and learn from some incredible athletes.

Come celebrate the beautiful community of Richmond at Dominion Riverrock – and while you’re enjoying Brown’s Island, be sure to stop by the Osprey Packs booth for some awesome prizes, free gear and much more! Here are DRR_403x403_Demo-Packsjust a few reasons why you should stop by and say “Hi!”

Osprey Pack Demos: Competing at Dominion Riverrock or thinking about taking about a fun run through the Richmond? Swing by the Osprey booth to experience the fit that Osprey is known for and try out one of the technical trail running packs in fast & light  Rev Series or the Syncro Series, which features Osprey’s ventilated AirSpeed (perfect for those humid days on the trail). We’ll have a full demo fleet of select Osprey packs available for you to demo and take for a spin.

Our Anti-Gravity Fit Station: Revolutionary. Innovative & maybe a little bit magic: our award-winning Anti-Gravity™ Suspension system provides seamless comfort that contours the body allowing a trail experience like no other. Combined with custom capability and a full feature set, the Atmos AG™ sets a new standard in ventilated backpacking. Interested in what this award-winning pack feels like? Stop by our booth to try AG™ out at our Anti-Gravity Fit Station.

Blue Sky Fund Ladder Toss: Come Support Blue Sky & enter-to-win an Osprey pack! Donate $2 to benefit the Blue Sky Fund, a non-profit providing outdoor experiences for Richmond’s urban youth, and enter to win a new pack! Test your skills at “Ladder Toss” to win an Osprey hat, shirt, watter bottle, compression sack or even one of our Daylite packs!

Osprey Athlete Ben Clark: Mountaineer, endurance runner, filmmaker & all-around great guy Ben Clark will be attending Dominion Riverrock as well this year. Ben will be joining the Central Virginia Trailblazers for a day of hikes on Saturday, May 17th and Sunday, May 18th. Sign up with the Central Virginia Trailblazers for one of his hikes on either days!


(C) Image Machine LLC

Keep up with Dominion Riverrock on social media to so you can stay up-to-date on all of this weekend’s fun events:

Hashtag #Riverrock
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Trail Days: Celebrating the People and Traditions of the Appalachian Trail

May 14th, 2015

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The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.

Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life. Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Osprey Packs has proudly attended AT Trail Days for more consecutive years (12 in total!) than any other Osprey-sponsored event. Mid-May is a gorgeous time of year on the Appalachian Trail and the city of Damascus, VA is full of some of our favorite people: thru-hikers! Thru-hikers typically hike a long-distance trail end-to-end (like the Appalachian Trail) and are a special group of outdoor enthusiasts whose commitment to backpacking parallels our own. Backpacking is an activity deeply ingrained in our company heritage — our founder and Head Designer Mike Pfotenhauer’s passion for backpacking was one of the reasons he founded Osprey Packs 41 years ago in 1974.

Thru-hikers continually inspire us with their commitment, tenacity and gumption, which is one of the reasons we support backpacking and community-oriented events like Trail Days and initiatives like the Thru-Hike Syndicate. We look forward to the opportunity to give back and support the hikers’ efforts by providing the them (and larger community of Damascus) with free gear repairs and much more during the fun Trail Days celebration May 15-17, 2015.


 

Trail Days gets better every year — here are just a few reasons you should stop by the Osprey booth:

“Long Start to the Journey” Premiere:

Join us for a documentary film premiere directed by Osprey Ambassador and filmmaker Chris Gallaway who documented his efforts to complete the AT Trail in “The Long Start to the Journey”

Date: Friday, May 15th, 2015

Time: 9:00 PM

Location: Rock School

The Long Start to the Journey – Trailer 1 from Horizonline Pictures on Vimeo.

Free onsite gear repairs: We’re offering gear repairs for all AT Thru-hikers at Osprey’s Tent City location for the duration of the event, Thursday through Saturday, 9AM-6PM. Come out and see the work of Master Repair Tech Jason “Jimi” Boblitt (he also shreds on Air Guitar!) and PackMaster Otis, who after years of practice has perfected his amazing “Kung-Fu” Pack repair techniques. Stop by, get your gear trail-ready and see the masters at work!

The Crew at Work

“Guess Your Own Pack Weight” Contest: How much do you think you’re luggin’ around in that pack of yours? Well, we can tell you! Guess within a pound of your pack weight and win some Osprey goodies! Giveaways happening Thursday through Friday – so bring by the pack!

Osprey’s “Repair Your Own Pack” Clinic:

NOTE: Limited Spots! The first 20 to sign up will receive free food, drinks, an Osprey Packs Repair Kit, Custom Osprey Pint Glass and custom Osprey hat – make sure you sign up!AG Fit Station_Final_resend

Date: Friday, May 16th, 2015

Time: 4:00 PM-5:00 PM

Location: Osprey Booth

Our Team will go over everything in our BC Repair kit along and how to use it while out on the trail:

  • Removing Buckles
  • Installing Quick Attached buckles
  • How to repair a tent pole with our tent pole section (something that McNett sells)
  • How to repair and stitch a hole in both mesh and fabric
  • We will go over the whip stitch
  • How to repair a zipper in the field
  • How to repair a zipper slider in the field
  • When to use duct tape (and when NOT to)

Our Anti-Gravity Fit Station: Revolutionary. Innovative. And maybe a little bit magic: our award-winning Anti-Gravity™ Suspension system provides seamless comfort that contours the body allowing a trail experience like no other.  Combined with custom capability and a full feature set, the Atmos AG™  sets a new standard in ventilated backpacking. Interested in what it feels like? Stop by our booth to try AG for yourself at our Anti-Gravity Fit Station.


For more information over Trail Days, check out their site and Facebook:

Schedule

Vendors and Exhibitors

Facebook


2015 Thru-Hike Syndicate

The 2015 Thru-Hike Syndicate is out on both the Appalachian & Pacific Crest Trails!

We’ve once again partnered with our friends at Vasque Footwear, Darn Tough Vermont Socks, NEMO Equipment, & LEKI to support a group of 20 incredible thru-hikers on the AT and PCT.

Follow the Thru-Hike Syndicate on Instagram for updates from the hikers along their journeys to complete two of North America’s most epic hikes.

 

Facts About The Appalachian Trail

Information via Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Support the AT Conservancy

The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. The A.T. is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), an array of state agencies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.

  • About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
  • The A.T. has hundreds of access points and is within a few hours drive of millions of Americans, making it a popular destination for day-hikers
  • “Thru-hikers” walk the entire Trail in a continuous journey. “Section-hikers” piece the entire Trail together over years. “Flip-floppers” thru-hike the entire Trail in discontinuous sections to avoid crowds, extremes in weather, or start on easier terrain
  • 1 in 4 who attempt a thru-hike successfully completes the journe
  • Most thru-hikers walk north, starting in Georgia in spring and finishing in Maine in fall, taking an average of 6 months
  • Foods high in calories and low in water weight, such as Snickers bars and Ramen Noodles, are popular with backpackers, who can burn up to 6,000 calories a day
  • Hikers usually adopt “trail names” while hiking the Trail. They are often descriptive or humorous. Examples are “Eternal Optimist,” “Thunder Chicken,” and “Crumb-snatcher”.

Active Lifestyle, AT Trail, Backpacking, causes, Conservation, Events, Hiking, Non-profits, Osprey Adventure Envoys, Outdoor Activities, SouthEast, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Four Days Out.

May 12th, 2015
Group at Kakabeka Falls lookout

Kakabeka Falls lookout

The empty spring fields of Manitoba and Saskatchewan are proving to be less-than entertaining so this one’s coming to you from the road. We’re four days out of Peterborough, Ontario and just about to cross the Alberta border.

Traveling long distances by car is something that you acclimatize to quickly, we’ve found. Who sits where is already well-established. The Town & Country has a “two, two, two” seat arrangement. Sam and Lara, our drivers, take turns in the two front seats. Ciaran and Dian are settled nicely in the middle. They are the car’s providers of snacks and drinks, having a cardboard box full of each under their seats. We removed one of the seats in the rear to make room for all of our gear and Robbie is tucked very cozily in the (little) remaining space back there.

Perhaps not unexpectedly for people that know us, we set off incredibly behind schedule on the first day and underestimated the time it would take to cover the 700km from Peterborough to Sault Ste. Marie. As a result, we arrived there at around 1:30am and checked into the first 24hr motel we saw.

Lara at Kakabeka Falls

Lara at Kakabeka Falls

Day two saw us start to get into the swing of things with a slightly earlier departure time of 10am, still leaving time for everyone to shower and have a leisurely breakfast in the morning. Within half an hour the first shrieks of European excitement were erupting in the car. We’d driven past a moose. Half an hour later, we saw the first bear; a young black bear, loping along the tree line that disappeared almost as soon as we’d seen it. Adrenaline levels definitely spiked.

We don’t have an adequate way of describing our reaction to Sam having to brake to avoid a second black bear as it crossed the highway in front of us but we lost it. Completely. The fact that situations like that even exist is so foreign to us, the idea that we’d ever experience one ourselves – well, we’ve not got our heads around that yet.

That’s something that has come up a lot actually. We’re actually doing this. We’ve bought a car, loaded it up and for the next two months are going to be driving it across North America. What? We haven’t even come close to getting used to this idea. For instance just earlier (after a 9am start and breakfast on the road – we’re getting better) we turned off the highway to have lunch. We drove along a gravel road for a while before finding a hill to eat our picnic on top of. We sat in the long, dry grass looking out over miles of rolling grassland. In the distance, the longest freight train any of us had ever seen was traveling slowly westwards. The sun was high in the sky, a light breeze cooled us and there was a moment when we had been sitting in silence and then all of a sudden we started smiling. Smiles quickly broke to laughter as we struggled to comprehend how this was happening to us.

Lunch in the prairies

Lunch in the prairies

We get the feeling that’s going to be happening a lot along the road. We just crossed into Alberta and are heading towards the badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park where we’ll finally get a chance to leave the car behind and do some proper exploring on foot. We can’t wait; this has the makings of the trip of a lifetime.

 

 

Road trip. Two months. Five European friends across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver and through the States from San Francisco back to Toronto via as many cool places in between as we can find. We’ve used cities as way-markers but our interest is in the land we’ll travel through between them. Along the way we’ll pass through more National Parks than you can shake a stick at. Camp stoves, beaches, forests, mountains, waterfalls, adventures and waking up in a tent somewhere new every morning.

Keep up with us throughout our journey via the weekly blogs posted here that we’ll be writing for Osprey Packs or follow us on Instagram:

SamLeakey

RobbieTravels

CiaranTragheim

Travel , , , , , , , , ,

Road trip. Two months. Five friends.

May 5th, 2015

Road trip. Two months. Five European friends across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver and through the States from San Francisco back to Toronto via as many cool places in between as we can find. We’ve used cities as way-markers but our interest is in the land we’ll travel through between them. Along the way we’ll pass through more National Parks than you can shake a stick at. Camp stoves, beaches, forests, mountains, waterfalls, adventures and waking up in a tent somewhere new every morning.

Left to right: Sam, Ciaran, Robbie, Dian, Lara

Left to right: Sam, Ciaran, Robbie, Dian, Lara

Introductions. We are Ciaran, Dian, Lara, Robbie and Sam – we’ve spent the year on exchange at Trent University but now exams are finished, school’s out and summer’s nearly here; time for a change of scene. You’ll get to know us along the way but for now:

Ciaran, 20, from England studies history – his most recent big adventure was climbing Africa’s highest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro.

Dian, 21 from the Netherlands studies psychology and is our most seasoned road-tripper – having driven all over Europe in what’s possibly the world’s tiniest two door hatchback.

Lara, 20, from Germany studies environmental sciences, we’re all convinced that if she’d been growing up in the 60’s she would have made a great hippie.

Robbie, 21, from Scotland studies archaeology and spent his childhood scrambling up the Munros of northwest Scotland.

Sam, 21, from Scotland studies astrophysics and spent last summer hitchhiking and walking around Iceland. Very rarely spotted not carrying at least one camera.

It did all fit, eventually!

It did all fit, eventually!

Four of us met at the end of last August at an orientation camp organised by the university just south of Algonquin Provincial Park. We were driven there directly from the airport late at night, in darkness. We can still remember waking up early the next morning just after sunrise and walking outside to find that we’d been delivered to a log cabin built on the shore of a huge lake, steaming in the sun and surrounded on all sides by thick spruce forest. We’ve haven’t stopped smiling since! Dian joined us in January for the winter semester. I think it was only about three minutes before it felt like she was another old friend.

It took until the end of February or so for us to realise that time was actually passing very quickly. We had all spoken of summer travels, and ‘going out west’ but never in any more specific terms than those. We had to get a move on! For Lara and Sam, the next month or so was spent navigating the used-car market. Steep learning curve and lots of obstacles. In the end though, after exchanging their British and German drivers licenses for Ontario, hours of insurance policy hunting, blocked bankcards and actual fraud on one account, we were successful. Parked just outside is the 2002 Chrysler Town & Country minivan that is going to carry us across a continent and back again. We haven’t named her yet – we’re waiting for something to happen on the road to tell us what she’s called.

The cabin we stayed in at Magnificent Hill

The cabin we stayed in at Magnificent Hill

Our European sense of distances and idea of what a ‘long drive’ is often amuses our Canadian friends. We find it hard to believe that we can drive for two straight days and still not have left Ontario! Despite that, our idea is to drive straight out west to Alberta. Sorry Manitobans and Saskatchewanians but we heard your prairies just aren’t as interesting as what lies beyond! Once in Banff, we’ll travel north to Jasper and then southwest via Kamloops, Whistler and Squamish to Tofino on Vancouver Island.

First morning_1

The view we woke up to on our first morning in Canada at Camp Timberlane.

The next leg of the journey will take us south into the States, the plan at the moment being to head towards Yosemite. From Yosemite onwards our itinerary gets more and more vague but we expect to spend some more time on the Pacific coast, visit the giant trees of the redwood and sequoia forests in eastern California, the deserts of Death Valley, and well, beyond that, things really do become vague. In planning this trip it was important to us to stay as flexible as we could. Over the eight weeks we have only four dates where we are tied to being somewhere. For the rest of the time, if we wake up to beautiful sunshine and decide we really don’t want to leave where we are, we’ll stay! No schedules, no appointments; just our tents, backpacks, us, and the road.

Lara on fire road_1

Keep up with us throughout our journey via the weekly blogs posted here that we’ll be writing for Osprey Packs or follow us on Instagram:

SamLeakey

RobbieTravels

CiaranTragheim

Travel , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Traverse Sans Retour at Les Calanques

May 1st, 2015

Osprey Packs Athlete Joe Stock is an internationally certified IFMGA mountain guide based in Anchorage, Alaska. He has been climbing and skiing around the world for 25 years with extensive time in the mountains of Alaska, the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the North Cascades of Washington and Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Since 1995, Joe has been freelance writing for magazines starting with a feature article in Rock & Ice on climbing the Balfour Face on Mount Tasman in New Zealand. Since then, he’s published numerous articles on adventures and mountain technique in rags such as Climbing, Backcountry, Alaska, Trail Runner, Men’s Health and Off Piste.

To climbers, “Les Calanques” means sea cliff climbing on the Mediterranean Coast in Provence in south France. Where temperatures are warm, the food fresh and the wine the best in the world. My wife Cathy and I spent two weeks climbing in the Calanques. We rented a VRBO in the town of Cassis, which is 15 minutes from Marseille. Our favorite route of the trip was a linkup of Traverse Ramond and Traverse Sans Retour. This added up to 700 meters of sea cliff climbing with a crux of 6b (5.10+). Ten hours of climbing with an hour of walking on either side.

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At 8am, after an hour-long walk, we found the entrance to Traverse Ramond. It was shaped like a doorway. We rappelled from a thread (a sling through a natural rock anchor) in the roof of the doorway down the sea cliff. Traverse Ramond is an easy sea cliff traverse, but the wild location makes for a nice entrance route for the next route, Traverse Sans Retour. 

 

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Cathy at the point of no return on Traverse Sans Retour. We completed the most terrifying rappel of our lives. From a dangling rappel station we rapped sideways down the overhanging face above the raging water. To avoid swinging into space, we clipped bolts on the way down. When Cathy rapped, she unclipped the bolts and I pulled her into the wall. Sans Retour means “No Return.” In this photo we just pulled the ropes. There is no return.

 

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Cathy on the crux 5.10+ traverse of Sans Retour. Although warm, the wind was raging and sea foamy white below us.

 

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In addition to traversing, Sans Retour involved many rappels, straight up climbing and route finding. Route-finding was half the challenge of Sans Retour. The english guidebook was a joke. Climbers have been exploring these sea cliffs for 50 years, so bolts, pins, slings and abandoned ropes coat the wall making confusing route options.

 

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Cathy emerging from a belly crawl on a narrow shelf 100 feet above this cauldron of whitewater. Maybe mellow if you’re used to sea cliff climbing in Wales, but for us, WILD! We finished after 10 hours of climbing. We walked back to the road in the twilight holding hands. Then drove to Cassis and drank some wine.

Osprey Athletes, travel , , , , , ,

Celebrating 25 Years of the Sea Otter Classic with Osprey Packs

April 16th, 2015

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“The Subaru Sea Otter Classic will turn 25 next year and the celebrations will take place April 16-19, 2015. The 25th anniversary will feature a roster of time-tested events and activities as well as all the innovative new products that participants go in search of in Sea Otter’s expo.”

 


Sea Otter Classic. photo credit: Sean Cope

Sea Otter Classic photo credit: Sean Cope

 

Osprey has been attending the Sea Otter Classic for half a decade now and we are thrilled to be attending the 25th Anniversary! This week we packed up the Osprey Packs van and made the trek west from Southwest Colorado to scenic Monterey, California for a weekend filled with top bike industry brands, athletes (all-star and amateur alike) and everything else cycling-related.

If you haven’t yet attended an Osprey Packs event, let us fill you in on what will be happening when you stop by our booth. We will be offering some of the best giveaways, pack deals and athlete appearances for the 25th Anniversary Sea Otter celebration!

What’s New from Osprey for Spring 2015? If you haven’t seen for yourself, come check out the updated Syncro Series, Escapist Series, and Zealot Series - these packs are available in great new colors with improved functionality and the custom fit that Osprey is known for!

Zealot15_S15_Side_AtomicOrange

The Zealot 15L now comes in Atomic Orange or Carbide Grey

Syncro20_S15_Back_VelocityGreen

The New Airscape Backpanel for The Syncro Series

  • Smokin’ Deals on Osprey Hydration and Commute Packs — While Supplies Last! This is your one chance to receive a killer 20% off our new 2015 packs such as the Syncro, Escapist, and Zealot as well as Osprey classics like the Raptor/Raven and select Osprey Commuter Packs! Visit the Cambria Bicycle Outfitters next to the Osprey Packs tent and be sure to arrive early — these packs will go fast!

 

  • Meet Osprey Athlete and Enduro Racer Macky Franklin! Come by the Osprey Packs booth to see a video slide of Macky Franklin‘s recent MTB trip to New Zealand. Macky will be on hand to answer any questions about his personal experience at the Chile Enduro World Series, world travels seeking races and ultimate single track. We will have exclusive Macky Franklin posters available for free so stop by and get a signed copy!Moab5-332x500

 

  • Osprey Giveaways: The Best Swag You Eva’ Had! Need to keep your bevy cold? We’ve got a coozie for that! How about some chapstick with SPF during the long day of racin’ – Osprey has got you covered! We’ll also be handing out tire levers, stickers, custom Osprey Packs hats and much more! Stop by to grab some fun swag and ask our Osprey team any questions you may have about our products!

 

  • Pack Gurus to Help You Get the Perfect Pack! Not only is the Osprey Sea Otter crew avid mountain and road bikers, but they also know, use and test the rest of the Osprey product line up on a daily basis. They’re ready to help you make the best pack choice based on your personal preferences and pack needs. Questions, Comments, Feedback, Ideas? We want to hear it all! Stop by our booth for a chat with and a high-five from one of our Pack Gurus – you’ll be glad you stopped by!

 

 

Sea Otter Classic photo credit Sea Otter
Sea Otter Classic photo credit: Sea Otter

 

See what Sea Otter is all about in this video celebrating both the last 25 years as well as what’s yet to come!

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Public Lands: Valuable to Our Bottom Line and Way of Life

April 4th, 2015
Dolores, CO

Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado. photo via Osprey Packs

 

Public Lands: Valuable to Our Bottom Line and Way of Life,” written by Osprey Packs co-founder & co-owner Diane Wren, originally appeared in the Montrose Press.

 

Twenty five years ago, my husband Mike and I moved from the coastal redwoods of California to the edge of sandstone canyon country in the San Juan Mountains in the hopes of building a headquarters for our homegrown company – Osprey Packs – that would allow us to test our handmade gear in the most inspiring and rugged of places. After settling in Cortez, Osprey quickly became an international force in the outdoor industry, and we’ve been proud to grow our classic American dream in southwestern Colorado. We now employ over 80 people in Cortez and are still growing. Like many other international outdoor businesses across Colorado, we chose to build a business here because access to public lands makes this the perfect spot for our employees to settle down, for us to try out our next idea in the field, and because so many in our community share our love for getting outside and exploring our wild West.

 

The same incredible landscapes that drew us to Colorado, though, are now facing a serious threat. Out-of-state special interests like the American Lands Council are pushing legislators across the Rockies to try to seize our national public lands and transfer them into state control, which could bankrupt our states and lead to massive access closures. Colorado is lucky enough to have 24 million acres of federal public lands within our borders, but the state managing them would cost Coloradans over $300 million a year, and a single wildfire could add tens of millions of dollars to the bill. Our state is constitutionally bound to balance its budget – this additional financial burden would likely force the state to prioritize extractive uses or sell off our lands to the highest bidder for private development.

 

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SW Colorado Lightning. image via Rory Pfotenhauer/”Osprey Packs: 40 Years in the Making”

 

Getting locked out of our land would not only be bad for Coloradans, it would threaten businesses like ours that rely on the public’s ability to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and skiing for our livelihood. Outdoor recreation contributes $13 billion to Colorado’s economy annually and supports over 122,000 jobs statewide. Undercutting our industry would be a big blow to the state and especially small towns like ours which serve as gateways to the great outdoors. Osprey, for example, is hoping to hire 14 more employees in Cortez this year – having to “pay to play” or being excluded entirely from places like the San Juan Mountains, Canyon of the Ancients, and our renowned local mountain biking haven, Phil’s World, would make attracting good talent much more difficult.

 

Phil's World

Phil’s World MTB Trail, Cortez, Colorado. photo via Osprey Packs

 

We, along with millions of other Coloradans, have built businesses and homes here distinctly because of our access to these wild places. Losing them would be a huge blow to our bottom lines and way of life. On top of that, we have a responsibility to preserve and protect places like the Uncompahgre National Forest, Dolores River Canyon, and Chimney Rock for future generations to enjoy and explore. Over 70 percent of voters in Colorado think our national public lands should remain open for the enjoyment of all Americans, and we agree – our land is part of our shared outdoor heritage, and part of what makes this country so great. Simply put, these land grabs are bad for our families, and bad for business. On behalf of Osprey, I urge our elected officials to address these efforts to transfer or sell off our public lands with loud and swift opposition.

 

Dolores River Canyon - photo via San Juan Citizens Alliance/ The Conservation Alliance

Dolores River Canyon.  photo via San Juan Citizens Alliance/ The Conservation Alliance

Uncompahgre management area. photo via Western Colorado Congress/The Conservation Alliance

Uncompahgre management area. photo via Western Colorado Congress/The Conservation Alliance

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Osprey Athlete Alison Gannett’s favorite places to ski…or MTB?

March 28th, 2015

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“My Favorite Places to Ski, Part 2″ was to be the subject of this post.The weather has been so strange this year (I’ll save that rant forlater), that I pondered writing my favorite places to mountain bike instead. Then is started snowing again! So instead I’ll write about where I’ve skied and biked recently. Quite a year it is when you can do both in the same day!

Whistler, BC, Canada has long been a favorite place for me. Big alpine lines, impressive backcountry access, beyond-stellar views, big big big…the list goes on and on.

 

Since I’m a small town girl, I adore staying in Pemberton, BC instead of in the fancy Whistler resort. Only a half hour away, Pemberton’s lush valley is surrounded by animal, veggie and berry farms, with mountains like Mt. Curry rising 8,000 feet above. For food, don’t miss Mile One – burgers with local Pemby Beef that are to die for, especially with toppings like handmade goat cheese.

The Whistler/Blackcomb resort is so massive that finding a local guide is essential to link the goods together. They do offer free guided tours (check the map/grooming report/big boards for info) or just post on Facebook before heading there and find a friend or friend of friend to guide you. Unless you want to spend a lot of time on lifts or looking at vistas, choose either Whistler or Blackcomb to ski for any given day.

The backcountry is vast, and often requires a sled, but I’ve found plenty great stuff via skins as well. The Duffy is one of the local classic places to go tour. This video below is of Alaska, but it reminds me of the alpine terrain in that area:

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So while there last week, the skiing was, well, just ok. Temps had gotten so warm the week before, going above freezing in the valley and all the way to the summits way above. BUMMER. Alas, Whistler and Blackcomb are so extensive, that we even had fun cruising all the groomers. I had fun testing my new Meier Skis – a new women’s prototype that we are working on together that will launch next season. Like our new graphic? Its in the photo above. Venturing off piste was sketchy, slide for life conditions to say the least. So we puckered ourselves just a bit anyway – why not?

Since our backcountry plans got stuffed (no snow on the approaches), we turned to mountain biking those areas instead. Why not? Since my plush Juliana was at home in Colorado, I demoed a more appropriate gravity bike 65 degrees of slackness and 6 front and back to ease my fears from Bike Co. Even though I make a living teaching Mountain Bike camps with Osprey Packs, I wanted to push my own riding. So my friend Susan set me up with Pro-Downhiller and MTB Coach Sylvie Allen and Sweet Skills Mountain Bike Coaching. Whoop, whoop! She took my riding to a new level, with a bit of boosted confidence from my plush ride. One line in particular, to the side of the main Cream Puff trail, had me puckered with its slanting fall line but with some help, voila! Thanks Sylvie! Here is a short video of some of the splendor:

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Up next this year: KEEN Rippin Chix Mountain Bike Camps with complimentary Osprey Packs hydration pack demos. I’m hoping the new Osprey Zealots will be in the mail this week, so that you can try them in my upcoming MTB skills and singletrack camps in Fruita, followed by Eagle/Vail, Paonia, Crested Butte, and Moab.

Zealot15_S15_Side_AtomicOrange

This hydration pack not only has all my favorite great looks and features (bite valve/hose magnet, rigid reservoir, helmet carrying fixins, special tool compartment/carrying system, etc), but also enables carrying of your more gravity oriented equipment.

Active Lifestyle, Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities, Snowsports , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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