Archive for June, 2009
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, checks in with Durango, Colorado resident Bill Grasse. Bill wrapped up a crazy week of travel, music, and rocking river action at Salida’s FIBark whitewater festival. Here’s the story…
It’s been a crazy week. First, in a rush on Wednesday night I was off to Telluride for a day of lounging out and listening to bluegrass (T-ride Bluegrass Festival) only to end that day with David Byrne dancing in a white tu-tu. Killer show! The next day: Wake up, drive home, work for six hours, and then drive to Salida for FIBark. Oh yeah, that’s right… FIBark!
FIBark is one of the oldest whitewater festivals in America. Starting as just a race in 1949 it has grown to encompass a multitude of events from music and a fair, to a whitewater rodeo, to the famous Hooligans race where costume clad people try to paddle home made crafts through the Ark’s play holes right in downtown Salida. An orgy of whitewater fun for the enthusiast or spectator, FIBark is always high on my list in the summer.
Osprey loaded me up with coupons, “soda” cozies, hats, stickers, and sweet osprey tattoos to be handed out around the festival. I also received a GoPro camera, so some yaking was most definitely on the menu for the weekend. After all, I had to get some action shots for this blog!
So Saturday morning started with meeting some friends for a quick run down Browns Canyon and then off to the events. Well, after many phone calls and an hour long nap at the take out, my friend’s group finally woke me and we drove to the put in.
Everyone decked out and loaded up with Osprey goodies I found myself answering questions about Osprey Packs and helping one guy decide between a pack from the Osprey Atmos or Exos series’. He’s going for the Exos which may be because I happened to have one at my truck for him to look at. At the put in: rain, but we didn’t care. Browns Canyon was just down stream. Brown’s is a classic class 3+ that was bumped up a bit more by high water.
Next it was off to the festivities. I loaded my Mutant 38 with Osprey swag and headed into an afternoon of hooligan racing, handing out swag, and talking Osprey with anyone sporting a pack or that would listen. The night ended with music and friends and the twenty minute drive back to camp.
Sunday we were running the big one; a run that had me nervous… very nervous. It wast he quiet-staring-into-space-glazed-over kind of nervousness that left a bad look plastered to my face. This nervousness wasn’t there all morning, it started after I realized that everybody was still psyched to run the Numbers even though the water was at 2200 cfs making this class IV into an IV+. So after breakfast in Buena Vista and handing out more swag, we were off to the put in, scouting the river as we made our way.
So how was the run? It went smoother then I thought but some beatings did occur. What did it look like? I wish I could show you but I was so nervous that I forgot the camera. Let’s just say this: big holes and BIGGER waves.
If you find yourself in Salida this year – whether on the Arkansas River, atop one of the area’s multiple 14’ers , or ripping lines at Monarch and want to check out a full range of Osprey Packs, check out Salida Mountain Sports. SMS is located right in historic downtown Salida on 1st and F Street.
For more information, please see Bill’s bio page here.
For Osprey Packs Inc. using non-motorized transportation to commute is a given-our Sustainable Transportation Initiative already pays incentives to Osprey Team Members to do so. But on Wednesday, June 24th, Osprey celebrated Colorado Bike to Work Day in an even bigger way with 25 of 28 people in the building choosing to commute by bicycle on this special day. We logged 195 non-motorized miles on the way to work alone and prevented 210 pounds of CO2 from inhabiting the earth’s atmosphere. And that is only half of the story! Of the 25 Osprey Team Members who chose to ride to work, 23 also chose to ride home, logging another 156 non motorized miles on the way home. When all was said and done for the day’s efforts, Osprey Team members travelled 351 non-motorized miles preventing 379 lbs. of CO2 from being spewed into the earth’s atmosphere. Not bad for a day’s work!
We also had big fun riding to work with a delectable array of tasty treats awaiting all riders upon their morning arrival at Osprey and a huge prize drawing in the afternoon courtesy of a wide array of Outdoor and Bicycle Industry partners and supporters too numerous to mention here. (You know who you are and we could not do it without you!)The parking lot was nearly devoid of cars, the bike rack was full and smiles travelled around the building throughout the day.
Osprey would like to encourage all companies and individuals out there to utilize non-motorized transportation as a means to cut carbon output whenever possible for the daily commute. The benefits to the individual and society as a whole are myriad and the effort pays off on many levels. Just make sure you wear a helmet for safety’s sake and an Osprey pack for comfort’s sake!
Keep the rubber side down and make EVERYDAY bike to work day!
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, checks in with Erie, Colorado resident Joey Thompson. Besides being ski patrol at Boulder’s local hill Eldora and an AMGA Certified Rock Guide, Joe is teaming up this summer with local Boulder kids to introduce safe climbing and outdoor skills…
We started with movement right away to keep these “go getter” kids engaged, with under clings and side pulls and crimps. Finally, we demoed high stepping and counter balance flagging. They loved all of the crazy positions they would get themselves into. As a group we had a discussion about the mechanics of top roped climbing and wow risk vs. reward fits in and the high level of seriousness required while climbing. We then introduced belayed climbing with all of the participants taking a roll. There was a climber, belayer and a backup belayer.
The second day we had more time together and more ground to cover. We decided to go to up to Boulder Canyon to escape the heat. We had climbs that were slab in nature with the main focus being our foot placement and technique “nose over toes”. This area was a warm up session to get them all loosened up and relaxing and getting comfortable with our belaying/lowering techniques. We then moved over to higher and more challenging climbs. 87 foot high climbs, climbs with overhanging roofs and finger crack at a stiff rating of 5.9 – no problem – they all wanted a piece of every rock climb that I set up. I really commend them on their motivation and drive.
On the third day the weather wasn’t cooperating with us, so we wanted a place where we would be able to make a mad dash to the van if we needed. We chose Flagstaff, an area with a huge history for the Boulder local climbing community. The kids started off with bouldering some warm up problems with their teacher. Meanwhile I scrambled up the back side of the Last Alamo. I wanted to set up a climb with a mega swing if one were to pitch off during the crux (hard part) of the climb they would swing out about 25 feet into space about 55 feet off of the deck. I think the common theme was “I need to try that again!”
The last day was spent on the Tyrolean traverse. I brought the kids over one at a time to me on the other side of the rushing spring melt. We all then traveled to the base of the crag, I quickly set up a couple climbs so that they would be able to keep busy while I scrambled up and set up the Mega 184 foot Toped Rope climb. What an intimidating rock climb, we were barely able to see the top of the climb from the bottom so we needed a clear line of communication while lowering and passing the knot, which tied two ropes together, on the way down. They all had an opportunity to try and many got to the top of the climb. We quickly reached our time plan for the day and had to pack up and move across the creek again to reach the van. What an adventure for these guys and girls. Way to go Bridge School!
I packed the Osprey Variant 37 for all four of the rock days. I was able to pack a 60m rope and a medium sized rack of gear up to 4 inch Cams, climbing chalk and shoes, harness, helmet, first aid kit, extra food and water and let’s not forget the 10 essentials. There was still more room for other things, too.
My colleagues and clients made many comments on the pack, how they needed a bigger backpack for rock climbing they saw the benefits while working with me during these four fun filled days.
For more information please see Joey’s bio page here.
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, checks in with Theresa Blake, our brand team’r from Durango. Theresa recently headed up Silverton, CO, home to extreme heli-skiing, the high San Juans, and a beloved music festival called Silverton Jamboree. Here is Theresa’s take on this 9,000 ft.-high festival…
Mountain towns are often colorful places when it comes to both scenery and character. Most of these places are not for the meek and the town of Silverton, Colorado has got to be one of the burliest, most rugged towns of them all. So naturally a weekend camping and music festival in such a place is bound to draw a lively bunch of individuals and performers determined to have a blast no matter what the conditions.
The drive from Durango and over Molas Pass reaches close to tree line and imparts glorious views of Molas Lake, the Animas River Gorge and Snowdon Peak. Silverton is situated at 9,320 feet and sits nestled amid Sultan Mountain, Kendall Mountain and Storm Peak. This drive alone is more than most people can comprehend yet we-the-mountain-people commute these roads daily for work and play.
Silverton, with a population or 500, is a tribute to the survival of a gritty, tough community for whom quitting was never an option. The entire town has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It is a favorite destination for train fans, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts. Silverton remains Silver Queen of Colorado, beloved by those who live here and those who come to visit. *courtesy of Silverton Chamber of Commerce
Saturday produced some major downpour-age and frigid temperatures but luckily the Silverton Historic District was only a few short blocks away. Here revelers, myself included, took shelter from the storm to enjoy a pint or two and dinner while holding out for better weather. I wasn’t worried at all since I had plenty of layers and winter gear just in case stowed in my Talon 33 for my overnight trip.
The Saturday line up included names like Bruce Hayes, Papa Mali, Tony Furtado and Aftergrass to name a few. The rain continued for a few hours during the afternoon with some hail but by evening had dissipated enough for a rocking session with the Soul Rebels Brass Band where my down puffy coat came in handy and kept me toasty throughout the night.
The night continued on and on with three Juke Joints at various local taverns with a $15 all access ticket granting attendees entry to all 3 shows. Aftergrass, Papa Mali and Bruce Hayes made it tough to decide which show to hit first but the freedom and flexibility to bounce around from place to place kept us going until the wee hours of the morning.
Sunday’s line up included appearances from Turkey Creek Ramblers, Mama’s Cookin’, A-Dub-Rock Band and several others but unfortunately I couldn’t tough it out beyond the Dubs. No dogs allowed at the festival and I missed my pup so we packed up the campsite in record times and headed south on 550.
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, checks in with Leesa Joiner – mother, hiker, and blogger. Here Leesa describes an all-day excursion in Maine’s Vernon Walker wilderness searching for fiddleheads and geocaches…
Last week my kids and I went for an all day hike through the Vernon Walker Wildlife area in western Maine. The wildlife area covers just over 5000 acres and has many criss-crossing paths. We set out by marking our spot with the GPS, and then taking the outer paths first. We were trying out a new geocaching device and covered about 18 miles over the course of the day.
We saw quite a few deer and smaller animals, including rabbits, which seem to be pretty rare around here. We did see the back end of a moose as it walked off the path and into the thick brush. We saw plenty of bear droppings along the way also. The joke in my family is that you don’t have to be able to out run a bear – just the people you are hiking with. I think I would be in big trouble in that case!
I packed the Talon 44 with all of my gear, including the backpacking stove and food. We each carried our own water, and a little extra.
For this hike we focused on looking for geocaches and fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are the young coiled leaves of the ostrich fern. Ostrich fern fiddleheads, which are about an inch in diameter, can be identified by the brown papery scale-like covering on the uncoiled fern, as well as the smooth fern stem, and the deep “U”-shaped groove on the inside of the fern stem. Fiddleheads have a mild taste, and can be used in many different ways. I saute them in butter or olive oil, along with chopped onions, garlic and mushrooms. I serve them with a little sour cream, and sometimes put them over pasta. Many people boil them before cooking, but I like to keep them somewhat crisp.
Hunting for fiddleheads has two benefits – a great dinner treat after a day hiking, and it keeps the kids focused on something. They are great at spotting the ferns, and have learned to identify many other plants along the way.
Our geocaching didn’t go as well this time. The one that was supposed to be hidden in that area apparently was removed. We will be heading back out in a few days to hide a new one, in a nearby area. We finished the hike around 5:30 pm, dirty, a little wet and very tired. It was a great day hiking, observing and spending some time together without any interruptions. Hopefully, this all day hike will help prepare us to do a section hike of the Appalachian Trail later this summer.
For a complete listing of Osprey retailers in Maine, please click here.
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, checks in with bike racer and brand team member, James Whitesides. Here James describes the fantastic “in-town” accessible mountain bike trails Bellingham, WA has to offer…
The legs are finally coming around! After a few weeks in what felt like the cycling doldrums I finally had a good week of riding that culminated in a long ride on Sunday. Mercedes, Mark, Jon, Troy, Nick and I from the uBRDO Team Project went for a ride in Bellingham that exceeded all of my expectations.
Trail riding in Washington has always been great but an explosion of trail maintenance groups, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and WHIMPS Club among others, have kept the trails that I ride open and in great shape. The trails I rode this Sunday are some of the best town accessible trails I have ever ridden. You might ask how “in town” are they? They are so in town I wish I had a picture of the transit bus driving towards the trailhead with three downhill bikes on the front of it. The great thing about Galbraith is that the city has planned parking access well enough to make it easy to get to the trail.
Then you start going up…and up….and up…and you get the idea. The trailhead starts at 200 feet above sea level and the top of the mountain is six miles distant and 1600 feet higher; as the crow flies. Not a spectacularly steep climb but it makes for quite an interesting warm up. Since Bellingham is so close to B.C. and the Northshore scene that several of the trails are definitely down-only affairs, i.e. elevators, with healthy drops and sustained stunts that are mind blowing. Since I don’t go downhill all that fast I focus on the uphill.
With my little Talon 5.5 filled with 70 oz of water and all of the riding essentials I was a little weighed down at first but hit my rhythm pretty easily. A dry spring has left a lot of our trails perfectly tacky and smoother than normal which makes for great rear wheel traction and a much more enjoyable day on the single-speed.
The long climb is broken by quick little rollers and doesn’t seem as long as it is. A quick break just below the last pitches to the top and we took off down the most exciting trail of the day; Whoopsie Woodle. Seriously, they are going to make a great trail and then give it that name? That consideration aside, the trail is amazing. A steep and fast entry immediately takes you 200 feet lower in a flash and you fly into a series of tight but smooth switchbacks. A quick roller with a tricky log that you have to flick your bike over and the roller coaster starts again, dragging you further towards the bottom of the valley that seems really far away. Then they point you straight down what must be a 35˚ slope. After a couple of suggestions of how steep it is you traverse out into an open space where the logging companies of old denuded the side of the hill. Views of the San Juan Islands, Mt Baker, and the very tip of Vancouver Island stretch out in a huge panorama as you flow through old stumps. When you pop out onto the fire road you have but one option…up!
Two more hours of great trails, one endo, one broken chain (and bruised knee), one flat and some really hammered rear ends (most of us were on hard tails) we made it back to the uBRDO Sprinter and headed home. In two weeks we are going to ride a long double day composed of a XC race in the morning and a trail ride in the afternoon. All of this in the name of fun and bikes!
Majka Burhardt, Osprey sponsored athlete, climber, and author recently completed the Southern Crossing: a 1300-foot 5.11+, grade 5 rock climbing first ascent on the Brandberg – Namibia’s highest peak. Here is a taste of her trip from her piece “Namibia: Big Walls, Desert Mirages, and Perseverance in the Darmaland and Beyond”.
Forty-two days ago, I went to Namibia expecting to climb, explore, and push my understanding of how curiosity, ambition, and adventure work vis-a-vis culture. I knew all of these components would come into play during the month long trip, I just didn’t know the formulation. In the north, where we’d originally planned to climb the most, our best moments came from sitting in the shade of an Acacia tree with a group of Himba women painted in red ochre and butterfat. Himba, Afrikaans, English, Spanish and Portuguese were spoken, but often hand gestures and figures drawn in the sand gained us the vital information we sought. Further south, on the Brandberg, we scraped through the dirt, bushes, and bird refuse that guarded our prospective line for three days to get to what we hoped would be a way up. Each day, we looked for a way for this country, the “easy Africa,” to give us portals to a higher stance, a greater understanding, or a smooth road. We eventually found all of them.
For the rest of the story on Majka’s Namibian journey, check out her personal site here.
June 5, 2009, Boulder, CO—Three Boulder, Colorado climbers—Jonathan Copp (age 35), Micah Dash (age 30), and Wade Johnson (age 24)—are overdue, having missed their flight on June 3 from Chengdu, China.
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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, checks in with bike racer and brand team member, James Whitesides. Here James describes his team’s experience in the 24 Hours of Spokane endurance mountain bike race …
You never know how much you are going to suffer until it is too late to change your mind. About a week before the 24 Hours Round the Clock in Spokane it looked like my four-man team had shrunk to just two healthy members. Nick had a sinus/lung/generally-not-good illness going on and Jon was nursing a tweaked knee (and he rides a single speed). Despite all of this, the “uBRDO Man Bots” made it to the line at noon on Saturday and finished the race the next day in 8th, only three laps off of the winning pace.
The “Round the Clock” 24 hour event is a team relay mountain bike race, beginning at noon on Saturday and ending at noon on Sunday. Teams compete for medals, prizes and bragging rights. Anyone who can ride a bike can do this. Bring your camping gear, bike gear and whatever else will keep you going for 24 hours…then come out and get dirty with us.
I “chamoised up” at 11:30 to start the race and with a Lemans start (a 400 meter run uphill to the bikes) and in a flash I was racing. I started my first lap on my singlespeed; big mistake. My run put me immediately in 12th and the first climb was short and steep, perfect for my gear ratio, and allowed me to move up a couple of spots. Then we got to the first flat section. Geared riders, most of them expert or semi-pro racers, were slowly catching me then hovering just a few feet in front of me until we would hit little downhills where they could accelerate. 12th soon became 20th after the long climb on the course proved too long for my gearing. I slowly clawed my way past a couple of riders on a technical section, and then they passed me back on another long flat. Winding through a burned clearing I could see the leaders about six minutes up on me just exiting the section I was just starting. Then I got to the pavement. I hovered in between riders and caught a couple towards the long descent that marked the end of the lap. I handed off my timing chip to Mark and immediately felt drained. With the run I clocked in at 1:01.
Night laps proved to be almost no impediment to our lap times and we had some great rides. My lap at 1 am was crazy. I had my light helmet mounted and I felt like I was riding almost in daylight wherever I looked. I let my eyes drift a little and the edge of the light was so dramatic that the woods looked pitch black. Without a moon to help light my peripheral vision I really relied on the power of the Seca 700 light to see. This was my fourth lap and I was amazed to pass so many people. I finished the lap and immediately got back to camp and into my sleeping bag for about two and a half hours of sleep. I woke up around five, kitted up, and left for another go-round. After Nick’s fifth lap I decided to go out for a sixth to keep us in the top ten. I rode my third fastest lap and felt that I could have done another had I needed to but we decided that finishing on 21 laps and feeling at least a little bit normal was going to be better than having me or Mark attempt to ride a 22nd. I finished the last lap through the timing tent with a little bit of flair and we all felt good about our race.
Our team did pretty well: I learned that my Osprey Talon is absolutely awesome (I was the only one who didn’t complain about my pack) and that I can push myself longer than I thought (91 miles on six laps to be exact), Mark learned that eight Coors the night before is not a good idea (he was still the fastest on the team), Jon learned to stick with what he knows (but that he can also ride four laps missing most of the skin on his left hip), and Nick learned that he should not let himself get sick (and that he is, after all, a redhead).
If you never considered racing your “thing” or thought that in order to race you had to be super fit you should come to a 24 hour race in order to see that the best part about racing is not the race itself but the people you get to meet and the sheer fun of being sleep deprived and giddy. Despite spending all of last week in a fog we are already planning for next year. Endurance racing is a bug that is hard to ignore!