Project. Restore. Educate.
Osprey is a proud partner of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative – a collaborative of nonprofit organizations and dedicated individuals who are committed to the development and preservation of our beloved Rocky Mountains in our home-state of Colorado. As great lovers of the mountains and all the experiences that they have given us, we can be so captivated by their presence: the high-country wildflowers in bloom, the sights and sounds of creatures who call the mountains their home, or simply the solitude that these beautiful mountains provide. Of course, it’s important to enjoy the these gifts but is just as important to recognize and support those who make them possible and for Osprey Packs, we realize that without Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, the trail access to Colorado’s 54 14,000 foot peaks wouldn’t be possible.
This coming August 14th, Osprey will support Colorado Fourteeners Initiatives as they announce quite possibly the largest partnership in the program’s history. This partnership would take place with one of Osprey’s long standing retailers, REI, who recognizes the importance of Colorado Fourteeners Initiative and other organizations in trail stewardship across the nation.
More details to follow but we would like to introduce you to this Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, what they do and why you should support them on August 14th, 2015.
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative was formed in 1994 as a partnership of nonprofit organizations, concerned individuals, and public agencies to preserve and protect the natural integrity of Colorado’s Fourteeners after a 1993 study noted significant environmental impacts due to rapidly expanding recreational use. Founding organizations included the Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Outward Bound School, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and the US Forest Service.
Colorado Fourteeners Initiative protects and preserves the natural integrity of Colorado’s 54 14,000–foot peaks—the “Fourteeners”—through active stewardship and public education.
Colorado’s Fourteeners contain rare and fragile native tundra ecosystems that are uniquely adapted to living on these high peaks. These tundra plants, however, are ill-adapted to being trampled by the half-million people who are estimated to climb these peaks every year. In many places resource damage is past the point of natural recovery.
CFI partners with the US Forest Service, passionate volunteer partners and donors nationwide to:
- Create a structure for engaging local communities in the protection of Colorado’s highest peaks
- Build and maintain sustainable hiking routes on the Fourteeners to accommodate hiking use while minimizing damage to native alpine ecosystems
- Stabilize and restore trampled and eroded areas to protect sensitive alpine plant and animal communities
- Educate Fourteener hikers about Leave No Trace principles and sustainable recreational practices designed to lessen ecosystem impacts
Through this unique,voluntary partnership, Colorado’s Fourteener ecosystems are protected from harm while continuing to make the peaks accessible to hikers without burdensome restrictions and fees.
Stay connected with Colorado Fourteeneers Initiative, both on the Trail and Social:
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, Climbing, Trail Runner, Men’s Health and Off Piste.
In 2009, Paul Muscat and I climbed Mount Chamberlin, then considered to be the highest summit in the Brooks Range at 9,020 feet. Now, Mount Isto might be the highest at 9,060 feet. It was just the excuse we needed for another trip to this pristine wilderness.
Joining us was Glenn Wilson and James Kesterson. Over the past 17 years we’ve been on many trips together: Denali, Mount Baker, Marcus Baker, Mount Bona, Mount Iliamna, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Mount Chamberlin, Mount Logan and the Central Talkeetna Mountains. On this trip we didn’t get up Isto, but we had a blast exploring and bagging peaks.
With logistics help from Alaska Alpine Adventures, we flew direct from Fairbanks to the Jago River with Wright Air. It was a two and half hour bush flight, with no in-flight service. This region is better known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where Alaska’s embarrassing half-term governor once said, “Drill baby drill.”
The plane is a Helio Courier, made in the 1970’s and designed for a low stall speed. Supposedly it will fall horizontally rather than nose dive. The tires are Alaskan Bushwheels, made near Anchorage in Chugiak. They are the “premier tire for extreme backcountry adventures.”
Glenn and I got brand new Volt 75 packs for the trip. They were perfect! The right size for our eight days of food, fuel and mountaineering gear. They fit like a slipper, straight out of the wrapper. Once again, Osprey made our trip better.
Our first summit was the 8,625-foot Screepik. While conducting summit LNC (Leave No Cairn) we found Tom Choate’s name in a sodden film canister. In 1999 he climbed Screepik and made the impressive scramble over to Isto. His trip reports are in the October 1999, February 2000 and the November 2013 Scree newsletters from the Mountaineering Club of Alaska. Choate called Peak 8625 “Spectre”. First ascentionists called it Shadow Peak. Keeping with the tradition, we called it Screepik. Scree for the endless boulderfields, and “pik” for the Inuit word for “genuine.”
Descending from the summit of Screepik. Nobody out there. Just us.
After eight days of mountaineering at high camp, we returned to a base camp by the landing strip on the Jago River. Here’s Paul on one of our day-hikes from camp. Our tent is a tundra-colored dot in the tundra fields way down there along the river.
Another day hike along the Jago, this time up the big split in the river. While the first part of our trip was cold, drizzly and snowy, the second part was warm, calm and sunny. The bugs weren’t even out yet. Conditions were ideal for snoozing in the soft tundra.
James, Paul and Glenn mid-layover at the Arctic Village Airport terminal on the flight home. Thanks for another great trip guys! And all the memories. I can’t wait until the next installment. Maybe to try Isto again. Maybe to try the next highest Brooks Range summit. There is a rumor that it’s now some unnamed peak. Oh bummer. I guess we have to go back….
You had me at “Music. Magic. Mountains.”
Floydfest is known for its down-home approach in providing a intimate experience for its festivarians – between the 9 unique stages, the daily workshops, from ukulele clinics to yoga classes, or the selection of daily hikes or mountain bike rides in the surrounding woodlands – Floydfest unites nature and sound to provide the ultimate festival experience.
We’re thrilled to be celebrating the 14th Anniversary of Floydfest and if you plan on attending this amazing festival, here are some great reasons why you should stop by the Osprey Packs booth:
- The Osprey Fit Gurus – Stop by our booth to experience the fit and function that Osprey is known for! Our friendly staff will be able to answer any and all of your pack questions, help you select a choice based on your preferences and can ensure you get measured correctly for your next Osprey pack!
- 20% off Select Osprey Packs – You heard right! We will be selling select Osprey Packs at our booth at 20% off retail price in celebration of Floydfest! We have a selection of day packs and hydration packs and supplies won’t last long! If you don’t find what you are looking for then stop by Osprey Retailer, BC Ski as they will be doing 20% off all Osprey packs in store! They have two locations near Floydfest in either Blacksburg or Salem.
- FREE Limited Edition Stickers and Bandanas – Do you like free stuff? What about awesome free Osprey stuff? Great! Just one more reason to stop by as our graphic design elves have created limited edition Floydfest stickers and bandanas just for you! Not only do we have these premiere stickers and bandanas but we have Osprey-branded coozies and much more!
- Anti-Gravity Fit Station – “Feel it to believe it” – try out our revolutionary Anti-Gravity Fit: 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. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Interested in what this innovative suspension system feels like? Getting ready for an epic summer backpacking trip? Stop by our booth to try AG for yourself at our Anti-Gravity Fit Station.
- Osprey Guided Hikes and Demos: Demo our new Escapist or Syncro hydration packs on one of the many hikes offered throughout the week. The guided hike will go along the Blue Ridge, Thursday & Friday at 10:30am, 2:00 pm, & 4:00 pm; Saturday at 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, & 4:00 pm. Sign up and get local trail info at the Outdoor Adventures tent.
- Osprey’s “Repair Your Own Pack” Clinic: Know before you go! Our team will cover the essentials when it comes to pack repairs for the next time you hit the trail! The first 15 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!
Saturday, July 25th
Time: 3:00 PM-4:00 PM
Sunday, July 26th
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Osprey Booth
Our Team will go over everything in our Backcountry 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)
Learn more about Floydfest:
Wheelies Rule. Period.
Is it the coolness/radness factor? For sure.
Fun and thrilling? Yep.
We’re back. We pulled into Peterborough, Ontario late one night last week, ending the journey by reversing into the same parking place in which we had loaded up the van one and a half months ago. There was an overwhelming rush of emotion – a strange concoction that never quite revealed what it was, but felt like a bittersweet mixture of relief, accomplishment, emptiness and slight anti-climax. We think they all stemmed from the fact that we never thought we’d actually do it. There were too many variables, too many ways in which something could go wrong. In the end, it all went fine. The things that went wrong had solutions better than the original plan
We last left you on our way to the Grand Canyon. We made it there as planned and cooked ourselves a simple meal whilst watching the shifting light of the sunset slowly leave the canyon floor and then its walls. We returned to Page, Arizona that night but not before seeing the moonrise opposite the setting sun above the eastern side of the canyon. Beautiful symmetry.
As the sun set in the west, the moon rose in the east. Photo by Sam
The setting sun burns up the walls of the Grand Canyon. Photo by Sam
The next morning we drove into Colorado, to Mesa Verde National Park. Robbie, our archaeologist had suggested this stop and we are thankful to him for it. Mesa Verde was one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites. The park is home to some of the world’s best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites. It was almost as fun to explore the area and listen to the ranger-led talks, as it was to just watch Robbie walk around smiling. Absolutely in his element and so happy about it, his good mood was entirely infectious. We spent two days at Mesa Verde, a stay that unexpectedly became one of our favorites of the entire trip.
Robbie, a happy archaeologist. Photo by Sam
We left Mesa Verde to begin a journey that was ultimately the last homeward leg of the journey. Almost. First, we had one last stop to make – we had been talking about white water rafting for the longest time and our last chance to do that was before we left Colorado. We got out on the Lower Animas River after a period of extended rainfall. The water level had fallen enough for tours to restart just earlier that day. The rapids were insanely fast compared to how we’d imagined they might be and the water still rose to frightening heights at times. We made it though, thanks to the help of an awesome guide, who despite leading us through the most turbulent sections of water, managed to keep us all safely aboard. It was crazy good fun, a great last activity to do together before we got back into prairie country.
A break in the rainclouds, Colorado. Photo by Sam
We zoomed across Nebraska and Iowa to reach Chicago the next evening. It was here that we would be saying goodbye to Dian. She was flying back to Europe ahead of us to take up a great opportunity to work at a Dutch festival that had suddenly presented itself.
Having a quick (long) splash in Lake Michigan the day before Dian’s flight home. Photo by Sam
Saying goodbye hurt. It signaled the end of the road trip and the six weeks of fellowship that the five of us had shared. The journey back to Peterborough that followed was not the same, it was something different – it served no purpose other than getting us home.
The final tally. In a straight line around the equator that’s almost halfway around the world.
We’ve all gone out separate ways now. Robbie home to Scotland for summer, Lara to Indonesia for a research project, Sam to Indiana to visit friends and Ciaran to Washington D.C. to meet up with friends for another month’s worth of North American travels. After so much time together you begin to expect one another’s company forever. Now that we’re all apart it’s comforting to think that the journey we shared and unforgettable experiences that came with it will bind us together strongly enough that ten, twenty or fifty years down the line when we’re all grey and old, we can do it all again.
Of course, we plan the next trip to be much sooner than that – hopefully you can all join us when that time comes. Thanks for reading, and thank you to Osprey for the fantastic gear!
10 Questions with Osprey Athlete Joe Schwartz
1. What place inspires you? Why does it inspire you?
The mountains. They’re a source of endless inspiration, respect and learning. They’re where I’ve spent some of the best times of my life with the people that matter, and I look forward to many more years exploring in the hills.
2. What one item do you always have in your pack?
3. Who do you most admire?
Anybody who is driven, passionate, and carving out their own path in life.
4. What is your favorite food?
5. Which Osprey pack are you using right now? What is your favorite feature about your pack?
I ski with the Kode 32, which is the most thought out and convenient ski pack I’ve ever used. I mountain bike with the Zealot 15, a very well-designed pack perfect for all rides, from backyard epics to full-on days of enduro racing.
6. Do you have a favorite quote? What is it?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” –Henry David Thoreau
7. What’s the number one place you’d love to visit next?
Japan. Either for the plentiful powder, great cuisine, nice people, or the rumoured epic singletrack.
8. What is your favorite nonprofit organization?
9. Is there an adventure, trip, or journey you’ve taken that you’d say was “life changing?” What was it and how did it change your life or outlook?
Probably a mountain bike trip I did to Bolivia several years ago. It was an amazing trip from a bike perspective: we rode unreal trails in beautiful settings. I was most affected by the locals though: so much poverty in this country, and such hard living circumstances, yet so many happy people.
10. If you could give any advice to yourself at 10 years old, what would you say?
“Keep doing what you’re doing! Make sure to spend time with those that matter. And don’t fall on your head so much.”
About Joe Schwartz:
What I do keeps me young, it keeps me engaged and happy. I really truly find myself in the mountains, and I know it’s a place that will always remain special to me. I’m a connoisseur of good times.
Follow Joe’s adventures:
As many of you may have noticed, SW Colorado has been unseasonably wet for the past couple of months. And I’m not talking a nice and gentle Seattle-like drizzle. I mean full on thunder-hail, monsoon, wrath of the gods type of weather. Needless to say, I’ve been chased from the mountains as lightning ripped through savage clouds with my tail between my legs more than a few times this season.
It’s not like I’m not checking the weather reports before heading out on assignment. In fact, I’ve been studying over weather forecasts like it was my job. Well, because it kinda is I suppose. But at the end of the day, you just can’t predict mountain weather. So if they’re calling for 60% chance of thunderstorms, that’s a 40% chance to catch some amazingly dynamic light.
That’s exactly what Ben Clark, Sam Feuerborn and I were facing when we went out to shoot a video of the Osprey Packs Anti-Gravity™ series in the Telluride backcountry last week. As soon as we rolled into town, we found ourselves at the local dive bar, waiting for a glimmer of sunshine to pierce the gray curtain. Hunkered down by the plate glass window of The Buck, we watched our day’s plans wash down Main Street in the daily deluge.
‘Yet, another shutdown brought to you by Mother Nature’, I thought. Feeling obligated to be at least somewhat productive, I suggested that we head up to Imogene Pass and scout a little. We loaded up the truck, put it in four-wheel drive and headed up hill.
It did not take me long to discover that Imogene was not a path for the faint of heart. Imagine a very technical and frighteningly narrow road strewn with melon-sized boulders which occasionally fall from the crumbling San Juan cliff side. On your right is an unguarded 1500 foot drop to oblivion. On your left, cascading waterfalls crashing over your hood. White-knuckled, but grinning ear to ear, we continued on. And so did the rain.
At nearly 11,000 feet, we rolled into the ghost town of Tomboy. And within moments, the storm that had shrouded us in defeat began a hasty retreat. We all looked at one another, shrugged our shoulders and without a word, donned our gear.
We knew our window would be a brief one, so we focused on the task at hand and knocked out six scenes in less than an hour. When the rain clouds rushed back in, we charged back to the truck, loaded the gear and reveled on the fact on how lucky we were to have that window.
Closing the tailgate and about to head home, the clouds decided to part for us one last time. As they did, we found ourselves wrapped in the some of the most incredibly beautiful, golden light we had ever seen. Diving headfirst into the truck, Sam soon emerged with an Atmos AG pack. I grabbed my MKIII, locked on a 70-200mm lens and we sprinted up to an overlook, racing the light with every step. When we reached the top, we had just enough time to snap this frame before the magic was gone forever.
Right place, right people, right time.
Here’s the first video featuring our award-winning, innovative 2015 Anti-Gravity series:
My name is Dan Holz, and I have the good fortune of being the staff photographer for Osprey Packs. Photography has been a passion of mine since grade school and I’ve used it as a vehicle to take me everywhere from my backyard in Colorado to the lush jungles of Borneo and the glaciated landscapes of Patagonia. People often ask if I have a ‘specialty.’ It’s kind of a tough question, because while I specialize in active lifestyle and mountain sport photography, I find myself chasing the magic light more than anything else. If the face of a Nepali farmer is suddenly cast in the beautiful shadow of contrast, I become a portrait photographer in that moment. Or if a setting sun embraces a rice paddy outside of Chiang Mai, for an instant I’m a landscape photographer. As a photographer, I am always exploring self-expression and pushing the limits of what I – and my camera – can do. It’s a passion, it’s a job, it’s a lifestyle all wrapped up in a single package. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Hydration packs have come a long way since 1988, the year that a young EMT named Michael Eidson invented the CamelBak by stuffing a pilfered IV bag into a tube sock and safety-pinning it to his back during a century ride. But while hydration packs are ubiquitous today, anyone who has ever attempted a a multi-day mountain bike trip can attest to their main shortcoming: most of them are too damn small. You can’t, however, say that about Osprey’s Escapist 32, which boasts a load range of 15 to 30 pounds.
The Escapist 32 is designed with mountain bikers in mind and if bikepacking isn’t your thing, it also makes for a great day hiking pack…
Known as the birthplace of skiing, Norway has probably been the subject of most backcountry skiers’ dreams. It has always been on my radar after watching the Norwegians dominate the Olympic Cross Country Ski events over the years, not to mention the stories of endless daylight and sweet terrain.
There’s only one problem Norway creates for skiers…it just happens to be one of the most expensive places in the world to visit. Be warned my fellow skiers: Norway is the 5th richest country in world, as is visible in the sculpture-laden streets of all the towns we visited. Here are some examples of what things cost in Norway as opposed to Canada:
- Laguna Burger, no fries: $30 CAD. California patio with beach views not included.
- Corona beer: $25
- Gasoline, per/litre: $2.25
- Last minute car rental: $199 per day
Having a lifetime of practice in ski bohemia, I knew we could stretch a budget. But Norway’s prices and our lack of preparation before this trip made for quite an uphill battle. Luckily we don’t mind ‘earning’ our turns, and our Norwegian Ski-Bus-Skineering mission began.
We started in Oslo, but the classic fjord skiing was waaaaay up in the Lyngen Alps in the North. Following a quick Facebook check, I noticed that our friend Adam U. was in Norway and he diverted us to the much closer Jotunheimen zone and we hopped on the first bus out. This was all good in concept, but after we fell asleep the bus kept on driving right past our desired mountain pass in the night. Good thing camping is allowed anywhere in Norway, so we camped on the grass in Årdalstangen, a quaint little town that reminded me of Terrace, BC.
In Ski-Bus-Skineering if you don’t plan efficiently you can lose use huge amounts of time, forcing you to spend down time at bus stations (which tend harbour some sketchy characters). Eventually, we did reach snow.
Once on snow and skinning uphill it felt good to be in our natural environment. The variable weather felt like a familiar mellow BC coastal ski tour. Of course in any new area it’s always good to respect the weather — I was feeling confident we’d get up to the peak when BOOM — whiteout, and the classic “stay-or-go” debate began. Fortunately it did clear after 5 minutes and we tagged Turboka peak.
24 hours to left to burn meant GO: Oslo to Lom by bus, hitchhiking with a German plumber to Spiterstulen, set up camp. At 7:30pm, climb…then turn around 500 feet from the summit thanks to another whiteout.
“I like to push myself to the maximum in the mountains to see what I can do physically to my abilities. My parents got me into skiing and the mountains at a young age. I progressed to ski racing, to front country, then I started finding powder stashes I had to keep going further and further to see what was around the next corner.
In addition to having worked eight years as a ski patroller, I have been racing in the pro/elite category for several seasons as a mountain biker. Racing enables me to go further and faster in the mountains in pursuit of steep skiing and speed traverses. Other activities I like: free ride mountain biking, road riding, bouldering, rock climbing, mountaineering, ice hockey, tennis, trailrunning . I like to go see live bands in small venues. I’ve been following the Vancouver Canucks for many years in their quest for the Stanley Cup.”
Andy Traslin, bicycle, Bike, cross country skiing, Denmark, earn your turns, Mike Traslin, mountaineering, norway, Oslo, Osprey athlete, ski tour, skiing, skinning, Traslin Brothers
As a wise man once said, you can’t always get what you want. Our intention had been to take the car through Death Valley at night on our way back east but we ran into some unaccounted-for difficulties and at around 2am, on the advice of one the few locals still awake and driving around, we turned back for the main highway. Without air conditioning and only a half tank of gas until the next attended gas station (our European cards weren’t accepted at the self-serve stations) he strongly recommended that we drove around rather than through. “It’s called Death Valley for a reason folks!”
The next day we made it a priority to find a garage to charge the AC system a little. This done, and now, for the first time in weeks feeling deliciously cool and *not* sticky, we drove on towards Zion National Park, arriving in the evening. Our track record for early starts over the trip has been pretty terrible but we made it out before 6am the next morning. We were walking up Angel’s Landing – a tall, narrow rock formation and one of Zion’s more popular attractions. After a long slog up the trail’s switchbacks we made it onto the ridge. Sunlight was just starting to spill into the valley and the temperature began steadily rising. The final part of the walk takes you along some fairly steep rock sections that are chained to help people along. There were a few points with some pretty intense exposure (think: two foot-wide ridge with roughly 1000 foot drops on both sides). The summit widens out and gave gorgeous panoramic views up and down the valley. The red cliffs dominate the view but also visible is the subtle green of trees filling the valley floor but also speckling up the cliffs.
We would have loved to spend more time in Zion but at this point in the trip we’ve started, sadly, to become aware of a certain degree of time limitation. We’ve laid out a plan for how we’re spending out last days and that required driving on further west. We stopped in Page, AZ, where we stayed at what turned out to be one of our favourite campgrounds. The nights were so warm there that we pitched our tents without the rain covers and could watch the stars through the mesh ceiling as we lay and fell asleep. Before that though, we drove to the famous Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River for that evening’s breath-taking sunset. We think that the frequency with which a person is able to sit and just watch a sunset or sunrise is a viable method for measuring quality of life. By this measure, our quality of life has been at its absolute peak these past few weeks.
The next morning we went to Lower Antelope Canyon, a beautiful example of a slot canyon. (more…)