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Archive for May, 2012

Great Deeds… Great Risk? Knowing When To Turn Around in the Mountains

May 22nd, 2012

Great deeds are usually wrought at great risk. — Herodutus

This has been a tough season and the losses are overwhelming. Because so many friends died in the backcountry this year, it is in the spirit of discussion and education that I thought I would share more about some latest adventures.

There have been many moments of confusion and sadness. It has been a difficult process of personal internal recovery to get back out there.. but, the mountains are what move me.

In 2007, I skied the Grand Teton in WY. It was a long and exciting day, but fairly easy going. Everything fell into place and the mountain welcomed us at each pause. My ski partner Karen and I had planned the trip and took a long weekend off from work. We drove 10 hours from Telluride, arrived at 8pm, and our team left for the park at 12am. We climbed 7,000 ft, covering some miles with heavy packs. Conditions were great for climbing and for skiing so we pulled it off. It was my first time skiing in the Grand Teton National Park, and 16 hours after we started we were back in the parking lot, elated with the accomplishment of a great ski descent.

Skiing the Grand Teton along with climbing Lobuche and Ama Dablam in Nepal in 2005, were notable turning points for me because both endeavors went so smoothly. With these two successful experiences I was deeply enchanted with the big mountains and with bigger possibilities in ski mountaineering.

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Swiss Chalet: Eight Days of the Finest Swiss and French Downhill Mountain Bike Gems

May 22nd, 2012

Head buzzing from wine, stomach full of cheese, meat and bread, I careened haphazardly down the mountain, the Rhone Valley far below and a group of howling bike riders in the exact same boat as I following closely behind.

We were mid-way through an eight-day sampling of some of the finest Swiss and French downhill mountain bike gems. Some days took us to established bike parks, and other days to obscure trails hidden to the general public, and only discovered through a combination of bribing locals, studying maps and some good ‘ol fashioned luck.

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Yackle Brothers Racing: Putting Osprey Packs to the Test

May 21st, 2012

Waiting At The Start Line During Sea Otter

I am 11-year-old Jake Yackle and I live in Cortez, CO. For four years I’ve been XC Mountain Bike racing in the Four Corners States and for the past two seasons I’ve stepped up to race teenagers and adults in competition. My brother, Nye, and I traveled to the Sea Otter Classic last month to race against nationally ranked 13-14 year-old juniors that are closer to our age.

Before our XC race, each of the three consecutive days, we completed pre-rides on the dry, hot 14.5 mile Sea Otter course. The Osprey Verve 4′s ample water capacity and innovative lightweight design proved perfect to help keep us fresh and energetic for our second most important race of the season.

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I Can’t Go to Ethiopia This Year, Can You Instead?

May 21st, 2012

This October, a powerful, engaged and curious team is heading to Ethiopia to change the world, and change how they interact in that world. Usually, I’d be joining them. But this year I need you to take my place.

Imagine Ethiopia 2012 is the third iteration of a dream I helped create in 2009 with imagine1day. Our goal was simple: enable others to have their lives profoundly affected by Ethiopia by enabling them to profoundly experience Ethiopia. For the past two years I have co-led the trip with Sapna Dayal and a select team of other leaders. Together we have created an experience blending culture, adventure and connection along with an initiative to raise $100,000 to build schools in Ethiopia. This year’s school is in the Alose Community in Oromiya.

I can’t go on Imagine Ethiopia 2012—I will be in Mozambique for my Lost Mountain Project. But you can. Here is how…

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Two Days in the Mountains: Climbing and Skiing Mount Baker and Mount Cheakamus

May 19th, 2012

We live in a pretty spectacular place, so earlier this month, I hatched a plan to take advantage…

Day 1: climb and ski the Coleman Deming route of Mount Baker in Washington State.

Day 2: Do the beautiful Spearhead ski traverse, and if the stars align, ski the North Face of Cheakamus Mountain in British Columbia.

To prepare for a trip like this, it’s important to study the weather forecast and avalanche stability. It’s a lot of hurry up and waiting for a two-day weather window.

Even then, there are no guarantees in the mountains and success is not just in achieving goals in terms of summits and descents. It’s all about new experiences, meeting new people and maybe a new sense of purpose and energy after returning to the real world.

Here is a short video and photo gallery after our trip to the mountains…

YouTube Preview Image

Special thanks to Matty Richard, Tim Grey and Dominic Melanson who unbeknownst to us had the same aspirations to ski Mount Cheakamus, but started from Whistler Mountain (the other side of the traverse). Lucky for us, they were friendly and set a good boot track up. Good vibes! Thanks for your humble offerings and gracious boot pack.

Mike Traslin grew up skiing on the North Shore Mountains of British Columbia. Starting on plastic skis at the age of 3, his passion has remained steady ever since. Being Canadian, it was always ice hockey and skiing for Mike in the winter, but soon it turned into racing gates and then freestyle skiing. And once he discovered powder and backcountry skiing he was hooked, and never looked back.

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Friday Round Up: Bike Every Day

May 18th, 2012

Serena Bishop Gordon mountain biking her way through Scotland. Read more about her trip here.

It’s Bike to Work Day today and the entire month of May has been deemed Bike Month or 30 Days of Biking. The League of American Cyclists launched this month-long celebration of biking:

National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride. Whether you bike to work or school; to save money or time; to preserve your health or the environment; to explore your community or get to your destination, get involved in Bike Month in your city or state — and help get more people in your community out riding too!

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Counting My Blessings After a Rough (and Dry) Winter In Colorado

May 18th, 2012

Spring is here, and I’m currently building a new hoop house for the tomatoes at our farm, but I can’t help but thinking about powder today. Water is going to be desperately short here in Colorado this year for us farmers, and for those of us farming powder this past season, it was a bit of a rough winter. I’m usually the person that just misses every storm, and is stuck listening to everyone spout on about last week’s epic while I watch it rain. This year was different, maybe some good karma long overdue, or not, but regardless, I was beyond blessed on every ski expedition. Sixty-three feet of fresh in Silverton, too much snow to count in Canada at Red Mountain and Whitewater, then seven feet at Kirkwood covering almost all the rocky nastiness.

Me with my herd of Scottish Highland cattle. We move them everyday to fresh grass, improving the health of the cows and our fields. Photo by Halffro Productions

I hope some Osprey folks out there got some great turns in this winter, while staying safe in the scary backcountry. I was just demoing Osprey’s new sidecountry ski pack, the Karve — it’s so sleek and convenient. I am wearing that my Karve in the above photo. Best part, aside from the look, is that it contours so well to your back that you forget about it, and don’t even notice you have something on, even on the chairlift!

Editor’s note: Colorado, especially counties in the Northwest part of the state, is heading into what may be the worst drought in more than a decade — partly due to a much below average snowpack as Alison mentioned. Learn more about what you can do to help stop climate change over on Alison’s website.

Alison Gannett is a World Champion Extreme Freeskier, founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation and an award-winning global cooling consultant who has spent her life dedicated to solutions for climate change.

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Life at Elevation: Navigating the Cordillera Blanca Range with 20

May 17th, 2012
I have been a part of a variety of backpacking experiences. Time and again, it is assured the group will bond in a unique way. The backcountry strips us of traditional interactions, of blinking lights and honking horns. Give it 48 hours… then, you start adjusting to the efficient method of packing, and hoisting your pack, making a pillow out of your down jacket and remembering to look up, and around to the mountains and streams, instead of simply the feet that are transporting you there.

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Osprey Packs Celebrates Appalachian Trail Days 2012 May 18 to 20 in Damascus, VA

May 17th, 2012

“Sign on the Appalachian Trail Outside of Damascus, VA” Photo credit: appalachianwoman.com

Appalachian Trail Days 2012 kicks off tomorrow in Damascus, VA and Osprey is ready to once again take care of thru hikers and their packs with care. There is something for everyone going on this weekend in the one town where main street and the Appalachian Trail (AT) are one in the same and a veritable slice of Americana can be tasted by all in this annual celebration of the AT.

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Take Action: America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2012

May 17th, 2012

Without fail — year after year — American Rivers teams up with grassroots conservationists to create the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report. Each year, this report serves as a trusted resource that outlines the nation’s ten most at-risk rivers; the threat being posed to said rivers; and what needs to be done to save the precious waters in each case. As American Rivers puts it:

“The report highlights ten rivers whose fate will be decided in the coming year, and encourages decision-makers to do the right thing for the rivers and the communities they support. It presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.”

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