Archive for March, 2009

March 30th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Missy and the family go-a-trekking in NH

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country as well as reporting on adventures in their own neck of the woods is happy to share with you a family hike in the Monadnock-Sunapee region of New Hampshire. Here is the latest from brand team member Missy Prodoehl

My husband Eric, two-year-old daughter Norah, Cali our lab/husky and I headed out for a early spring hike up Pitcher Mountain of Stoddard, New Hampshire (one of the many lookout tower trails in the Monadnock-Sunapee trail head region). Spring is coming on quickly now and here in NH and VT the maple sap is flowing heavily with the cold nights and warm days so we wanted to get in some more snow fun before it melts off. Pitcher Mountain is always fun any season with great views on the summit. You can check out Mt. Monadnock and various Vermont landscape.

More information about Mt Monadnock: With its thousands of acres of protected highlands, 3,165-ft. Mt. Monadnock was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1987. There are 40 miles of maintained foot trails, many of which lead to the bare rock summit through unique alpine vegetation. Unsurpassed 100-mile views to points in all six New England states are the reward for a climb. A magnet for hikers, Monadnock is said to be the second most frequently climbed mountain in the world, after Japan’s Mt. Fuji. Approximately 12 miles of the trail system in the lower elevations offers ski touring for the experienced cross country skier.

I have learned traveling with toddlers you need to be prepared in order to continue enjoying your adventure or travels. My Osprey Kestrel 38 was the perfect size for all our gear and essentials. And the comfort level I was highly impressed! I might add I am 5 months pregnant at this time. And I barely even felt my gear on my back. Even the waist strap fit very comfortably under my growing belly. I am chasing Norah just about all day long, so it is very important to me to get outside with her and enjoy what nature offers.

Norah loved this hike for the excitement of seeing a tower on top and having a snack I packed for the summit! I definitely always need to travel with extra diapers, dry clothes, SNACKS for this growing machine of a kid, camera cause I don’t want to miss any exciting moments, and of course water. I loved having the multiple extra hooks on my pack for carrying extra gear to keep Miss Norah in her adventurous mood, so I could gather some sane time on the trail. Getting to the summit was a great hike and enjoying the views is always such a treat. But our poor pup Cali was off nosing around and found her self a dead porcupine and got multiple quills in her nose and tongue! She was a good sport for the removal of them all and we were off and running again. Norah loved seeing the mountains surrounding us and checking out the fields and birds coming out. And especially kicking back for snack time! I am stoked with my pack for helping me provide everything I needed to accomplish another successful adventure with Norah and new babe kicking along in my belly! YAY!

For more information check out Missy’s bio page here.

March 26th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Riding the magic bus with Osprey Packs at Red Rock Rendezvous by Carson Warner

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 Osprey ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country over 2009, lands in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the Red Rocks Rendezvous. Here is brand team’er Carson Warner’s account of riding on a “magic bus”…

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to take part in a sport climbing clinic at the Red Rock Rendezvous just outside of Las Vegas. From the outset I was thoroughly impressed with the well-organized nature of the event. I found the staff, comprised primarily of guides from the American Alpine Institute, to be extremely helpful and patient as they successfully conveyed hundreds of climbers throughout Red Rock Canyon.

My particular clinic was set at Magic Bus, a collection of 5.8 and 5.9 routes with names such as Ken Queasy and Electric Koolaid. No one I spoke with could offer any explanation for the psychedelic nomenclature, but whatever floats your boat. Kevin Wilkinson, the instructor for my clinic and a sponsored athlete, was awesome to say the least. Kevin detailed climbing intricately enough to leave little to wonder and then adeptly demonstrated the techniques he described-including some poor ones he termed “bear on a ladder” and “penguin out of water.” Watching him take falls was, let’s say, interesting to someone new to the sport like myself.

In the end it was a free for all as the six of us students were released on the “Bus.” I climbed three of the routes, with Kevin and his two assistants providing guidance throughout. Overall it was a great day on the rock with fair weather and good company. I learned a great deal about climbing and was humbled by the knowledge and skill of the climbers I was privileged to be amongst. The Rendezvous was excellent and I can’t wait to return next year!

March 24th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Osprey Packs Rendezvous in Mojave: Climbing, camping, and clinics

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 Osprey ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country over 2009, lands in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the Red Rocks Rendezvous. Here is brand team’er Theresa Blake’s red rock review.

Thanks to Osprey Packs, I was among 1000+ other lucky climbers who got to enjoy the 6th annual Red Rock Rendezvous this weekend in Las Vegas at the Red Rock National Conservation Area. I have never attended the Rendezvous before and had only ever seen pictures of the area, so naturally I was stoked to be going. I signed up for a clinic and hit the road to Las Vegas with my tent and trusty Osprey pack.

I was pleased to find a nationally protected conservation area in the midst of the Mojave Desert rife with unique geological features and ancient desert culture (quite the contrary to what most people envision when you think of Las Vegas). The Strip is just 13 miles to the east but is definitely small and pale in comparison to this place. Views abound for miles along the Keystone Thrust Fault with dramatic red and tan sandstone mixed up with rocks from ancient oceans.

The festival itself, which benefits the Access Fund, was held at Spring Mountain Ranch with camping offsite at Bonnie Springs, and was nicely put together by a hard working crew who were super friendly and helpful to boot. A funky-looking solar powered generator that reminded you of the sun and its vast capabilities accompanied the stage.

Climbing, food and libation vendors were poised offering something for everyone to buy or enjoy for free, thanks to generous sponsors. The beer provided by New Belgium Brewing Co was delicious and was served in cups made out of corn instead of plastic.

The Rendezvous was highly organized and brought together an amazing roster of professional climbers like Joe Kinder, Sonnie Trotter, Katie Brown, Micah Dash and a whole bunch of other superbly talented athletes to teach clinics and offer resources to fellow aspiring climbers. I found most everyone I met to be down to earth, fun and really, really excited about climbing.

With over 1,000 routes available in Red Rocks, there was definitely something for climbers of all ability levels. Add good beer, friends and music to this and you really can’t go wrong.

SIDEBAR: I learned about a mishap that occurred last year that reminded me how personally responsible we are when we recreate not only in the mountains, but everywhere we go. Apparently an event attendee vandalized a historic building at Spring Mountain Ranch during the festival. As a result, area officials mandated camping for the event be moved from the green-ish field directly next to the event pavilion out to the dustier Bonnie Springs lot several miles away. This made for “special” camping quarters when 40+ MPH gusts kicked up.

I was surprised to hear that someone attending an event like this would do such a thing given the event is a benefit for the Access Fund, but bad things sometimes happen when you get a whole bunch of people around with alcohol being served. This gives the climbing community a bad name and as we learned firsthand this weekend, cuts off our access and takes away our privileges.

March 20th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Osprey Packs Brand Team hits Red Rock Rendezvous

The Osprey Brand Team, a group of 10 Osprey ambassadors reporting from the field at consumer outdoor events across the country over 2009, lands in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the Red Rocks Rendezvous.

The Osprey Brand team headed out of Durango, Colo., a little early this week to soak up the sights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip. What they found lurking in the trenches of in city was, let’s say, informative.

Carrot Top seen lurking around the strip...

Carrot Top seen lurking around the strip...

A first person sighting of the “one hit wonder” Carrot Top occurred on our first day. He’s alive and well and living at the Luxor Hotel. This man needs an Osprey pack, but we’re not sure if he could get the pack straps around his surgically-enhanced biceps. The Red Rock Rendezvous kicked off today, and all of this weirdness makes us even more excited to hit the Vegas backcountry!

Las Vegas at night


March 17th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

From a snowcave in the Kootenays…

I am laying here in a subzero cocoon deep in the Kootenay mountains, thinking and watching the snowflakes pile up outside. Along with a few other Nelson Search and Rescue members we embarked on a ski and survival weekend. Although we did not cover as much ground as we would have liked as a result of the heavy snow and lack of visibility, we managed to get some good turns in.

My Kode 38 stood by me strong and comfortable and allowed me thread the needle through some tight treed lines. People who recognize a well-designed pack ask me all the time about it and I always manage to show them some of the great fit and function features of the pack. The slender back panel sits close and comfortable allowing me a full range of motion in the arms for the more technical lines. Furthermore the closed cell foam material ensures that my back stays dry and snow free all day. Laying in a snow trench alone is a soul packed experience and allows one to really reflect on not only the days past events but larger puzzles of life. A strange dichotomy is taking place, on one hand I am in complete solitude and remoteness, on the contrary I have my i-pod touch with me that allows me not only to listen to some good tunes but also sit here and draft up a post from a less than traditional office!

This trip we walked a good distance into a river drainage and made a basecamp. From here we skied laps through the trees all afternoon. Happily I was able to strap my touring pack the Kode 38 onto my Argon 70 with the one of a kind compression system for the walk in. Both of the packs carry so well, that even though I was breaking trail through thigh deep snow they moved with my body and didn’t hinder my travel at all. Some of the other S&R team members had large amounts of snow build up on their packs as the fabric sucked it up like a sponge. The high tenacity nylon shed snow and kept my load light and gear dry all weekend long. With the light fading and snow coming down at more than 5cm. per hour we decided it was time to call it a day.

After a wonderful re-hydrated beef stroganoff dinner we enjoyed a bonfire and wound down our day with a few sips of heart warming single malt. As the coals faded and the fire dished deeper and deeper into the snowpack we called it a night! It is always a weird feeling climbing into a snow shelter at night, luckily inside my pack I had a sleep system fit for a king and managed to log 10.5 uninterrupted hours of great sleep. My snow trench kept me warm and luckily my arsenal of packs allowed me to seal myself in and doubled as a set of French doors. I was surprised to see myself snowed in as I awoke and learned one key lesson about snow shelters…DO NOT leave your boots outside the entrance!

March 10th 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

Osprey brand team’er Joey T. drops knowledge on avi’s in AK

Osprey brand team ambassador Joey Thompson recently returned from an avalanche education course and ski touring in and around Valdez, Alaska. Joey took part in the The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education’s (AIARE) level 1 avalanche instructor training course. AIARE is a non-profit organization whose goal is to “provide avalanche instructors with the tools to educate students about the knowledge and decision making skills necessary to travel in avalanche terrain.” With a pedigree in the outdoors to rival even the most experienced mountaineers, Joey is the perfect guy to test Osprey gear in the backcountry. He came to Alaska equipped with an Osprey Variant 37 and had this to say about the training:

The Variant 37 is the perfect size to carry all that I needed. For light touring days I was able to get by with a bit less. When on the avi course I was able to load a bit more. What I really liked for the touring days was the crampon pouch, I stored my skins in the pouch to cut down on transition time. I also liked the finger zippers to get in and out of the lids where I stored goggles and snacks. The ski carrying capabilities were another big benefit easy on easy off with good weight distribution.
Valdez, Alaksa

The port in Valdez, Alaksa

AIARE put on a level 1 instructor course for people like me to be able to provide high level education to outdoor minded people. It is a course that has taught me to better relate to my students and relay the information to them in a more recycled/refined way. The avalanche course is wrapped around decision making skills in the backcountry going from the ground up and then managing from the top down. We provide a decision making framework, field observations check list, tour planning and preparation that is to be used by the student. We start every morning in the classroom and finish the afternoon in the field. The “field” included the rugged terrain of Valdez, AK. Situated at the head of a deep, stillwater fjord in the northeast section of Prince William Sound, Valdez is surrounded by the Chugach Mountains. They are the most heavily glaciated mountains in the Northwest.

Joey T. on a mountain in Valdez

Me on 27 Mile Glacier, Valdez, Alaska

Our training and skiing was around 27 Mile Glacier and The Odyssey on Thompson Pass up the road from Valdez. This is where the majority of the skiing happens in Valdez. I also skied Sugarloaf Mountain. As a town, Valdez is remote. Being from Colorado, I thought that some of our small towns were remote, but Valdez is on a whole other level. With a town size of full time residences at 4800 people and with one small grocery store this makes a perfect escape of all the hustle and bustle of the lower 48. Valdez is the northernmost ice-free port in North America and the town covers 274 square miles.
Joey in Valdez

Me and the Variant 37 in Valdez

I met a couple of guides from from Valdez Heli-Ski Guides who were also in my training class and while I’d love to try it one day, my skiing on this trip consisted of skinning up the mountain and then skiing down, by my own devices. The price of these heli tours is $1000/day based on how many feet down the clients want to ride or ski. The guides are really hard working and show their clients a great time.

March 1st 2009 - Written by: Kelsy

No One at Osprey Packs has seen Shaun White in Velocity Basin

image-thumb2Velocity Basin, a 12,300-foot bowl close to Silverton, Colo., at the foot of Storm Peak, has become the top-secret training ground for snowboarding’s reigning U.S. king, Shaun White. The high-altitude half pipe is close to Silverton Mountain. This was a rumor in Durango’s trusty weekly, The Telegraph, but was confirmed in late Feb., by Silverton Basecamp blogger Matt Lanning via the Denver Post.

I took my six-year-old to Durango’s Jet Center, adjacent to Durango’s Regional Airport, on Feb. 27.  We usually time our weekend Jet Center visit for 4-o’clock sharp, when both the United and Frontier planes come in. We got there late. … The guy manning the desk at the Jet Center was more than cordial. “What time is the next one coming in?” I asked. He looked at my son, and back at me. “Shaun White’s Red Bull/Oakley film team helicopter is parked in our hanger right now, do you want to see it?”

My son and I looked at each other, and began to resemble a Road Runner cartoon as our eyes rolled back and forth to match the timing of our shaking heads. “Um… yes. please.” my son stammered. I felt good that he used his manners.

One of the beautiful things about living in a rural area is our small airport. We can literally walk around the tarmac and check out Piper Tomahawks, Beechcrafts and Cessnas. Local pilots love to educate my son on how to decipher what type of plane a is by its wing configurations. We know the planes in the hanger. But a helicopter? Affixed with a video set up? For Shaun White? We’re used to P3’s during fire season, but this?  I was just as awe-struck as my son!

Shaun White. We’re fans. Red Bull and Oakley love him because he goes so continually huge. YouTube Red Bull Snowscrapers is what the Ice Capades were for my early 80’s youth. But doing the highest-altitude pipe on record in Osprey’s backyard? It’s done. The beautiful thing is that we don’t see Shaun White around Durango or Silverton, there are no blog posts citing his whereabouts. He’s completely incognito — a tough proposition for White, we’re sure. Just one more thing to make us proud to be Four Corners’ locals.


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