It’s day three of the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, with lots of great movies still to come. We’ve had a great time in Nevada City, getting to know some of the fantastic locals behind this event and we’ve enjoyed some very interesting films. Yesterday we headed out into the countryside to ponder the South Yuba river. While a 39 mile long stretch of the river was designated as Wild & Scenic in 1999, the work of the Southern Yuba Citizen’s League goes on. As with many rivers in this part of the world, a huge issue is salmon restoration and there is a long way to go in that regard. Learn more about and help support the cause by visiting the SYRCL website.
We explored a section of river with clear running water and large granite boulder everywhere. Steep mossy banks and granite gorges rise to forested hillsides above. Trails run along the river and there are obviously some great swimming holes in the summer time. It’s wonderful to see that local action has worked to preserve the Yuba, hopefully for generations to come.
Back in Nevada City, the films and fun are winding down, but we hope to see you at a tour stop sometime this year or here, at the home festival next year!!!
This weekend finds us in Nevada City, CA, site of the 8th Annual Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. Inspired by the successes of the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYCRL), this event is grassroots at its best featuring over 100 inspiring, engaging and life changing films about the environment. Kerry and I arrived at the festival via Sacramento in our rented Toyota Prius, appropriate for such an event but not without controversy!!
The other national sponsors are a set of fantastic companies, Clif Bar, Patagonia, Sierra Nevada Brewing and Tom’s of Maine. The latter two are especially great new friends to make and we’re doing our best to build a lasting relationship!! Beer, deodarant, toothpaste or deodarant, beer, toothpaste: how do you order that sequence?
There are some great Osprey takeaways at the festival headquarters and in the main venue you’ll find a display table with some great information on and examples of our product. If you’re in town, feel free to catch Kerry and I if you have questions on anything and everything related to Osprey!
Last night we watched a great short made for the Conservation Alliance and featuring Osprey Athlete, Timmy O’Neill in our own beautiful San Juan Mountains. That was followed by the premiere of Osprey athtlete, Majka Burhardt’s film, Waypoint Namibia. Superbly done and chock full of Osprey’s too. We also had the pleasure of meeting Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man. His film by the same title was amazing and I am brimming with ideas, both for my personal life / homefront and for our company. We’re heading into the countryside today to see the river that inspired this all, so look for more tomorrow. If you are in the area, stop in and see some films or look for a Wild and Scenic tour stop near you.
Just out, the 30- Minute Documentary, Waypoint Namibia, from Osprey Athlete Majka Burhardt
Fresh from the Ouray Ice Festival and the Osprey/Colorado Environmental Coalition Fundraiser, I have just released the DVD version of “Waypoint Namibia.” Check out the trailer below and buy it here.
In May 2009, a small team of rock climbers departed for Namibia with two goals: to find a way up an unexplored face, and to find a way into a deeper understanding of southern Africa. At the heart of their trip lies the question, can adventure and culture combine to create understanding? “WayPoint Namibia” is the story of their journey. Directed and Produced by Chris Alstrin and Alstrin Films, with Executive Producer Majka Burhardt.
5% of your purchase of “WayPoint Namibia” will be donated to the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation, an organization that strives to improve the lives of rural people by diversifying the socio-economy in Namibia’s communal areas to include wildlife and other valuable natural resources.
Waypoint Namibia is currently touring film festivals around the country with a stop at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival January 15th, and the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival January 29th. Learn more about catching an event or seeing a show here.
Saturday was a first…ice climbing in Ouray’s Ice Park during the world’s most famous ice climbing festival! I slinked away from the Osprey demo tent to see just what this ice climbing thing was all about. Osprey athlete Majka Burhardt hosted a climbing clinic and I was lucky enough to squeeze in.
Putting on our harness, crampons, helmet and grabbing our ice axes, we headed up along the ravine edge to our destination, the Schoolhouse area. My eyes widened a bit as I surveyed the metal ladder. Hmmm. Exposure anyone? Ignoring a slight adrenaline surge, I turned around and gingerly made my way down the steps, my crampon points occasionally getting stuck between the inch-thick bars until I met the near-vertical snowy path, where a rope lay on the snow.
“Turn around Kerry!” Majka called to me, “It’s easier to pick your way facing downhill.”
Oh. And indeed it was, as I regained composure coming down.
We followed the path, passing under belayers’ ropes and gathered around. Majka methodically went through all we needed to know before getting on the ice. Harness safely in place. Check. Laces tightened up. Check. “Loose boots are no good ice climbing. You’re pivoting your foot and you want your feet snug in the boots, so make sure you cinch down the laces, especially around your ankles,” Majka explained. Next, she described the differences of tools–the shapes of the handles, what a leash will or won’t do for you and the types of crampons we all had and what they were good for.
Wasting no time, she showed us the motion and plane that the ice axes should be wielded, how far we should reach and where our arms and legs should be positioned to get leverage on the ice. The first two guinea pigs where up (okay, actually…there were only two of us who hadn’t tried ice climbing). As they made their way up the ice she instructed them and gave them pointers, both when they were climbing up and rapping down. A few more went. I happily snapped shots, occasionally chirping in with “Ice!!” as chunks came careening down.
“Alright, you’re up Kerry,” Majka surprised me.
No panseying-around here!
Despite my lack of excitement for heights paired with my cautiousness with two strained wrist muscles, this was just the ass kick I needed. Off I went. I didn’t have time to get worked up, although I did tell my belayer to take up a little more slack, that I preferred to know the rope was a bit more taut. My feet and my arms worked simultaneously in rhythm as I ascended the ice, Majka correcting me from the ground. I could feel the difference–the ease of proper technique versus relying on an awkward hold or foot placement.
So different from rock climbing. But I liked it. And I’ll be trying it again! Time to get back to the tent to help Sam show the Osprey love…
If you are not in Ouray now for the 15th Annual Ice Festival you need to get your axe in gear and get here soon to join Osprey Packs for North America’s premier ice climbing event which only runs through Sunday, January 10!
Today’s Osprey celebration festivities included a day at the beautiful Ouray Ice Park where we provided free pack demos, sizings , fittings and a display of all the best new technical packs 2010 has to offer this galaxy-or any other.
From the Ice Park it was on to the Ouray Community Center where the tribe gathered for food, drink and a great gear silent auction which featured several choice Osprey Packs and raised considerable funds for the Ice Park. Osprey Prophet of Passion, Timmy O’Neill joined in the festivities drawing a single name-in a style all his own-from the many attendees who threw down some hard earned cash in support of the Colorado Environmental Coalition (CEC), who have been Colorado’s voice for the environment since 1965.
Not ones to not fill the day, Osprey also sponsored Majka Burhardt’s Namibia Speaking Tour presentation at the Main Street Theater. If you missed it you have another chance to catch it Tuesday, January 12th, 6:30PM, at the Dolores Community Center, 400 Riverside Avenue in Dolores, Colorado. Highly recommended.
How can we top all of this on Saturday!? Not really sure we can but we will certainly try and make it worth your while to pay a visit to Osprey and the Ouray Ice Festival. The 2010 Ouray Ice Park Competition starts at 9AM and features some of the top climber’s in the world challenging themselves mentally and physically on a route designed to do just that. We will be in the Ice Park all day providing free pack demos, great giveaways, and another chance to win a pack if you donate some cash to benefit the not for profit efforts of the CEC. Osprey Athlete Majka Burhardt will lead a 12:30PM Easy Ice WI 3+ clinic that is not to be missed.
Saturday evening wraps with the Guy Lacelle Super Hero Party (costumes encouraged!) with music and your Master of Ceremonies, Osprey Prophet of Passion, Timmy O’Neill-who rumor has it will be coming as himself!
In celebration of the Ice Festival, all Osprey Packs are on sale at Ouray Mountain Sports for incredible savings that will not come around again until 2011, so don’t just sit there reading this, get your axe in gear and join us now!
Surviving winter in Alaska is not for the weak. Months of darkness, polar temperatures, cloudy skies and rain. Stateside friends ask “Does the sun ever come up?” Well that depends on where in Alaska you’re talking about. The Arctic Circle is the southern extremity of the polar night, meaning the sun never rises on one day of the year. I live in Anchorage—along with 42% of the state’s population—564 miles south of the Arctic Circle, so the sun climbs above the horizon for about five hours on the winter solstice. The sun does a lazy arc just above the horizon creating twilight all day. We loose our sunglasses in October and find them in March.
In winter, my wife and I often vacate Alaska for South America to climb rocks and soak in the sun. This year we’re going to France and Italy, but not until February. I was dreading the midwinter months, but Alaska is all about surprises.
After Christmas, Cathy I made the six-hour drive to Valdez in the Chugach Mountains to ski at Thompson Pass. Valdez is the snowiest city in the US, so we crossed our fingers for clear skies. We got lucky. We then drove straight back through Anchorage to the Kenai Mountains and spent New Years with friends at the Crescent Saddle Cabin. We got even more lucky. Oh Alaska!
Max Kaufman, a long-time friend from Fairbanks, skiing in twilight from the summit of Girls Mountain, Thompson Pass, Chugach Mountains, Alaska.
Najeeby Quinn soaking in the midwinter sun above Crescent Saddle. She is squinting a bit, although the sun has zero warmth.
I’m spotting Jeff Conaway with his Osprey Aether 70 from the safety of a rock overhang as he skis a chute below a dangling cornice. As we prepared to drop in, a bus-sized portion of the cornice snapped off and thundered down the chute. So much for the powder, but at least we know it’s stable!
2009 was an exciting year here at Osprey. We introduced some fantastic new packs including a redesigned Atmos and Aura Series, the award winning Exos Series, the AddOns™ pack accessories, a totally revamped travel line offering unparalled design and durability, the Kode Series backcountry riding packs, and the ultra-groovy Flap Series. Phew!
Now it’s 2010 and we’re proud to announce some great new designs and technology to help support your upcoming adventures. The Aether and Ariel Series has been redesigned and now incorporates a wide range of feedback we received from folks like you in the field. The Stratos Series offers significant refinements – we’re sure that this will be the go to everyday technical pack for many. Also, check out the new Kestrel 68 and Kestrel 58 bringing simplicity and versatility to multi-day backpacking.
Don’t forget – we depend on you to build the very best product. If you haven’t already done so join our Facebook page and let us know how you’re feeling. You can also email, Twitter and (gasp) even call us. Look for us throughout the year at a variety of outdoor events, including the upcoming Ouray Ice Festival!!
From all of us at Osprey to you a happy and adventurous new year!!!