Archive for September, 2012
Danny Uhlmann and I thought a couple pitches of ice climbing would be fun during our day off. The weather forecast seemed fine: no precip forecasted and low winds. We took the 9,000-foot Midi lift up from Chamonix to the alpine and trudged over to our route: the Chere Couloir on Mont Blanc du Tacul, a sub-peak of Mont Blanc. As we neared the route we realized the wind was funneling through the pass where the climb was located… Here’s what ensued.
The Chere follows a gully in the rock up the right side of the Triangle du Tacul.
Danny geared up, minus goggles. We led with our faces down, blind, climbing by feel. Our frozen sunglasses protected our eyes with a layer of ice.
At the top of the six-pitch route we exited the wind venturi — and the raging sandstorm subsided enough for a cup of mud.
Then we rappelled back into the blizzard.
And experienced a nice exfoliating facial for the boys.
Final rap down over the bergschrund. Let’s get out of here!
We ran back to the Midi station and zoomed down to the warm valley below. Next time we’ll bring goggles!
MoveShake is a series of films that tells personal stories of movers and shakers creating positive change in the world around them. Follow MoveShake on Facebook to catch all of the updates on new installments and more.
In the latest MoveShake installment, Alexandria Bombach of Red Reel tells the story of Gregg Treinish, founder of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC). ASC is an organiztion that works to change the way that people spend their time outside while creating “an army of citizen-scientists” who can gather the information necessary to prove to decision makers that the right management choices must be made.
Last week, the MoveShake crew went grizzly bear tracking in the Tabacco Roots in Montana. Turns out if solid evidence of grizzlies in the area is found, there could be stronger protection of this beautiful area. What’s more, this week ASC is taking inner-city kids from West Oakland middle school to the Desolation Wilderness for pika monitoring with their Osprey-donated packs! The photos here are just a sneak peak from the latest MoveShake installment, but the upcoming film will certainly be worth waiting for. In the meantime, check out more images from the grizzly tracking expedition here.
And don’t forget to check back here for the upcoming MoveShake film that tells the story of Gregg and ASC!
Because I am a sponsored athlete and adventurer, people often ask me: “How do you get paid to have fun?” Well, the answer is simple: I just don’t agree with not having fun so if I’m going to get paid to do anything, it’s going to be something I like — a lot. Now, that’s just the fundamental philosophy behind why I do what I do, but the real “answer” per se is more complex and hard to fit into a box… I invest myself, my resources and a team of people that I work with into things I think others will like and that I like. So, believe it or not, it’s you (the reader) who inspires me to do this far more than my own adventures. It’s you who I hear and you who I want to hear from. That often means that I have to like things others may not like at all that are unrelated to the conventional definition of having fun, like finance, litigation and collections. So be it. Without making sacrifices or doing things that aren’t fun, I could never “get paid to have fun.” I will admit those less than fun details can be frustrating. I’ll admit that often I personally won’t stand to collect a single dollar for my efforts, that I just like accomplishing things and in doing so watching a team succeed and profit around me as a reward. I accept that what I do won’t make me rich, but I am able to settle for being proud to be a part of something, to contribute, to lead.
Case in point, just before Labor Day, I visited New York City on the beginning of what would be considered a vacation to me despite having a lot of business thrown in. As many people might assume a well-backed mountaineer’s visit to NYC would include, I wasn’t actually there on some cool lecture circuit to talk endlessly about myself or how my process for exploring mountains is going to save the corporate world faster than all the governments out there. I was just there as a working man in a suit (yes, like a black one that was ironed that forced me to ride in cabs because the matching shoes sucked and give me blisters). Just another dude in a suit in New York, I was there as a business person with hope that after I got through the security guards of a few ad agencies, I would be able to stand up for adventure-based broadcast television programming for our generation and not just be shown the door in 10 minutes. Not exactly a situation where you may think you’re going to find someone who not three months ago pulled off a first ski descent in the Himalayas and was rappelling off of three tiny pieces of gear to get home. Believe it or not, it was my second time in a month on a sales trip to NYC, but at least this time I had the early morning to run the big loop in Central Park before my meetings. Overall, it’s a beautiful park, I like the city… and it’s much easier to navigate than Kathmandu.
As you do when you meet with the world’s decision makers on what makes it to TV and what doesn’t, I had a digitized and unflattering photo snapped at the security desk, stuck to my suit jacket and I was sent upstairs in buildings that seem higher than El Cap. In both meetings I was shown the door in 30 minutes, and like any other person out on the streets of New York, I was back at it again with the usual, “We’ll be calling you” response rolling around my head with all the other stresses of result production on the cue in a strained, risk-averse economy where we are hoping to pioneer some inspiring programs. You see, I don’t get paid to have fun, as a CEO and Founder of the company I represent in these meetings, I only get paid if I work hard enough to get the story of inspiring adventures (including my own) out there for you and for me and to convince people that adventurers are doing things of value that others want to see. I admit, it is a tough sell when it is easier to just exploit people as the current model of many networks so effortlessly eases along doing, but although the ad world would prefer you and me to sit on a couch and escape reality by eating yogurt, using soap or applying deodorant, they realize that there is something happening out there. A whole generation of us is on the move and experiencing life for ourselves and making headway in the world — we just aren’t on TV yet. That’s where I come in. I want the world to be inspired; I want the world to communicate; I want all of us who are out there living for the experience to be heard; I want to put that suit away sometimes and so I do… you inspire me to and so does broadcast television. I do this because I believe that every now and then when one of those people really does call on us, the team of people I work with will knock it out of the park and you the viewer will benefit. I do it because I am as unafraid of what challenges I will find on my way to the top floor of the skyscraper as I am approaching the summit of a Himalayan mountain.
Following those meetings, the next day I found myself in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, at the base of Mt. Washington — the beginning of a two day vacation. See, I hitched a ride with some friends to NYC and then we found ourselves tagging this sweet and storied East Coast summit as they continued an ongoing business summit to New hamsphire. That is how I keep my sanity, knowing folks who are driven like me but more successful and able to fit in goals I admire. One of my friends is a high pointer (people who climb all 50 of the United States’ highest points) and Mt. Washington’s 6,288 summit was #49 for him. He is a high level broadcast executive who works hard and travels a lot and who has found a way to “get paid to have fun” too and keep others happy around him. This rounds out a life filled with a lot of pressure to produce big business results. People like that are bigger inspirations to me than the next guy who wants to climb Trango Tower and base jump off of it. It seems like there are a lot of us out there who want to see the world from a lot of places, but it is the few who may not have soloed the Eiger but have achieved a balance that I am now learning from, people who came to climbing after starting careers and have made it to their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and are still full of goals despite having completed long-standing goals like the 54 fourteeners, 50 state high points and 7 summits. Without these friends driving me, how else would I be able to claim in the same year that I did my first-ever 50 mile ultra marathon, that I stood on the point on Earth closest to the sun (20,561′ Chimborazo), the site of the highest recorded wind speed in north America (6288′ Mt Washington), bagged a fist ski descent in the Himalayas (21,509 Chulu West), Heli skied in Haines, Alaska and then spent Labor Day on the summit of Rio Grande Pyramid in the San Jauns.
Wait, what was that last one? Rio Grande Pyramid. Oh, you haven’t heard of it? It is about as cool as a peak ascent can get and it is a far cry from NYC! The bottom line is, I don’t get paid to have fun, I work hard, I knock on every door and I am as curious about how things work as I am about how to get up mountains. Somehow, finance became a tool in that process, but certainly not a driver alone. So if you want to get paid to have fun, well, I can only suggest you do something you believe in and that you don’t give up. Only you can answer what that is and how long you will have to try at it to succeed. The only advice I have on that is that I hope you pick the right partners in your fun endeavor because it is pretty awesome to watch a team reach the top and know you were part of something bigger than an individual’s vision or a solitary moment on a summit, the process is the fun and the process to me is priceless.
The incredible organization known as 5 Gyres is about to embark on its latest outreach project: Last Straw Plastic Solutions Bicycle Outreach Tour. The Tour will take the team of 5 Gyres staff on a cross-country bicycle route where they’ll share stories of their 5 Gyres expeditions along the way; “doing trainings on how to enact common sense plastic mitigation policy, sharing film, networking, and… running a cleanup contest throughout the tour for a chance to win prizes from all our awesome sponsors!,” according to the 5 Gyres blog.
Check out the poster above for dates and details of the tour. And feel free to email 5 Gyres with any questions along the way!
The 19th annual Telluride Blues and Brews music festival took place this last weekend and Osprey Packs was there as always to join in the fun. This year was something special though and it wasn’t just because of the B-52’s, Gov’t Mule or the epic jamming of Phil Lesh and all of his friends. It was because it was Talon the Osprey’s first attendance at a music festival and boy oh boy does that bird know how to get down!
I had a brief moment to ask Talon some questions about his experience…
Osprey Athlete Alison Gannett seemingly wears a million hats. She’s not just a Champion Big Mountain FreeSkier, accomplished ski mountaineer and Environmental Scientists; she’s also a pioneer in the movement to reduce our global carbon footprint and, most importantly, she works hard to save what she loves most: winter.
Our friends at Grist recently wrote up a story about Alison’s inspiring eco-efforts, and it goes something like this:
At first blush, Alison Gannett’ssacrifices in the name of fighting global climate change don’t seem all that sacrificial. In 2001, the world champion extreme freeskier gave up helicopter skiing. She sold her snowmobile in 2005. Several years ago, she rejected a lucrative contract with Crocs because of the shoe company’s questionable environmental practices. (She kept her contract with the more sustainable Keen Footwear.) Just recently she turned down a photo shoot in the Alps because the flight over the pond was too much for her carbon footprint to bear.
Go ahead, roll your eyes. (Oh muffin … no heliskiing??) Then take note: Gannett walks the walk when it comes to living green. She and her husband grow their own food on an earth-friendly farm, and she’s battled to bring sustainable eats to residents in her rural corner of Colorado. Gannett has also leveraged her personal experience into a business that helps individuals and corporations — including a few of her athletic sponsors — reduce their energy consumption by up to 50 percent.
“219 miles and 25 days to complete the John Muir Trail. Each day another story, another achievement and another photo. The smiles sometimes wavered, but my Osprey backpack never did.”
We always dreamt of creating a documentary to share the adventure and grandeur of the John Muir Trail, and after nine years our eclectic group of five finally stepped into the California wilderness. Truth is, that first day on the trail, July 10, 2011, we didn’t know what all to expect. It was a record snow year, which in and of itself presented a formidable challenge. We had no idea whether we’d be able to overcome the endless obstacles set out before us, let alone capture enough footage along the way to produce a feature-length film.With a bit of luck and a lot of perseverance, we finished all 211 miles of the JMT (as well as the 8 miles required to return to civilization after summiting Mount Whitney). As we had cautiously hoped, we left the trail with more than just sore feet. Our packs were often ridiculously heavy and the amount of work was no small task, but we truly exceeded our own expectations in capturing the images, sounds, and experiences of the trail.
Found on SF Bike Expo‘s Facebook Page.
If you do something enough… does it become the new normal? I am not sure about that. But skiing on the Northwest volcanoes has become a fun tradition. And maybe if turns all year and summer skiing become popular with the masses, it will become the new normal. We’ll see… check out some photos from our latest trip to Mount Baker in Washington State.
Check out this cool video of Osprey supported Yackle Brothers Racing. These kids can tear it up!