Every year I find myself in the same place; ending the previous season, taking some time off to rock climb, and then back into training for the next year’s round (of competitions and winter climbing). It’s a cycle I’ve been following for a few years now-train, climb, compete, repeat. It’s been awesome and I’ve seen a certain level of success that I thought never to be possible. I’ve worked really hard to have been given the opportunity to travel the world and do what I love doing most…to climb. But It hasn’t been an easy road; the sacrifice of time, juggling my climbing career and my family all the while trying to find the balance in my sanity. And let me tell you…it’s been of great effort to hold it all together. Near on every day filled with “To-Do’s” of all sorts, demanding time and energy, commitment at the highest rate. Go ahead, just ask me how many cans of Red Bull I drink to make it all possible.
A couple of months ago, when i Began “this year’s training”, during a session, a coach I work with attached a tag line to a picture he took of me, “Take the ferocity, take the focus, and pour it into this…every day.” I read a lot of motivational content, study mental toughness books, and even work with a sports psychologist, but that quote, the ferocity, it rung so loud in my head, that it did something strange…it changed something, even broke something. Saying it over and over in my head, to pour “it” into this every day. What was “it”, what did that quote really mean to me, in fact…the better question…what was it doing to me?
Mentally I felt like someone had just removed the shackles from my repetitive cycle that I was caught in. A routine that had carried me through the last several years had been overtaken by a deeper willingness, a deeper passion, and more drive than I had ever experienced before. A collaboration between coaches (physical and mental), my family, friends, we all had a new attitude that had reached a heightened awareness of what was actually attainable. Last year I experienced the most success in my climbing journey: I won the North American championships, placed 4th in a world cup, and climbed my hardest route (outside) to-date. Wow. Total success. Or was it?
Recently I posed the question on Facebook, “What does ‘Success’ mean to you?” The answers came from every direction with all sorts of ideas. Everything from “winning” to “being happy”. Both equally right in there own sense, and for me…both applicable to my own personal definition of success. But recently that word has transformed into a more personal meaning. Success to me is it’s own form of winning, it’s own form of a podium. Would I feel successful standing on top of a podium? Yes, and I have felt that. But the podium, or “winning” isn’t the success, where as the success for me is the process. Winning is just the by-product. I’ve come to realize that my success is the ultimate effort. Not to be confused with the ultimate sacrifice. These to facets are different. My ultimate effort is full-heatedly believing that I poured every ounce of energy into a task at hand, and then some. Doing that, and knowing you did it, that’s the end of the rainbow…that’s the pot of gold.
Hearing that quote, “Take the ferocity….”, it’s like it opened a door within me that gave way to untapped energy. A resource I knew not of, but that was waiting for the right time to be channeled towards a specific direction or goal. Yes, as I said, last year was successful…to an extent, but deep down I knew there was more, more I could do, more I could try, more I could give. I knew deep down I hadn’t given it “my all”, the ultimate if you will. I could feel that there was still reserve energy but didn’t know how to get to it, how to channel it. Until now.
We took the time to understand. Breaking down the previous cycle of how; the program for preparation‑things needed to be changed, re-invented, and thought through very carefully to how the “absolute” could be attained. My coaches and I analyzed previous years, broke down the errors, weaknesses, and reasonings behind falling short of certain goals. Many were clear, some still unknown, but what was apparent…change was of the utmost. And change? That was associated with me, especially geared towards my “ultimate” (willingness). How bad did I “really” want it? How hard was i truly willing to push (physically and mentally)? Did I have that? The push?
It meant starting earlier; more focus on strength, dynamic technical climbing, more time route setting (focusing on every movement possible), it meant tempo (learning how to climb fast- technically with precision), not necessarily more time per say, but utilizing my time with a new focus, and new effort‑”the ferocity”. It meant “taking the ferocity, the focus, and pouring it into this…every day.” For me to reach my ultimate success, I need to believe in a level of energy that’s beyond my horizon. But that’s what it takes (for me anyways). For me to be successful I need to believe in the impossible. I need to believe that I’m capable of the impossible. There’s a lot on my plate for this coming winter, with competitions and personal climbing goals. To get through it all, I need to go beyond what I thought was my ultimate, and rise to a new level of “try hard”.
It’s a new season, there’s a new focus.
(#risetotheabsolute is a hashtag i created that’s linked to my push for “ultimate success”. You can use the hashtag on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook)
Climbing has become part of my daily routine. Whether training, climbing, or competing, with every hour–physically or mentally, climbing plays a role. I was once asked, “Why do you love climbing?” And the only response i could come up with was, “because without it, I feel short of breath”.
My focus is mixed climbing competitions. I travel the world every winter competing for Canada on the World Cup Ice Climbing Tour. I prepare months in advance in becoming ready to climb at my best. Throughout the “off season” I love to rock climb, spending most nights at my local crag or traveling to amazing places like Wyoming, Las Vegas, Kentucky, and my favourite: The Bow Valley (Canmore, AB).
Over the years I’ve found that in order to be fitted with readiness, you must train…and train a lot. From that I’ve built “the machine” in my backyard. Back there; it’s my fortress of solitude…where i learn, re-group, and try real hard. The backyard is outfitted with a 30ft Arch, bouldering walls/cave, and many training apparatuses.
What I do, where I go, all of it wouldn’t be possible without the support of my amazing family, and sponsors–those who believe in my dream and encourage me daily to keep going after it.
Hydration packs have come a long way since 1988, the year that a young EMT named Michael Eidson invented the CamelBak by stuffing a pilfered IV bag into a tube sock and safety-pinning it to his back during a century ride. But while hydration packs are ubiquitous today, anyone who has ever attempted a a multi-day mountain bike trip can attest to their main shortcoming: most of them are too damn small. You can’t, however, say that about Osprey’s Escapist 32, which boasts a load range of 15 to 30 pounds.
The Escapist 32 is designed with mountain bikers in mind and if bikepacking isn’t your thing, it also makes for a great day hiking pack…
Canada had become a safe and familiar place for us over the year we had been studying at Trent. We were about to leave all of that behind and cross the US border into Washington. After some initial confusion from not realizing that speed limits were now in miles per hour rather than kilometers – so people weren’t actually travelling almost twice the allowed speed all the time – we found that much of what we saw felt like it could fit into a Canadian landscape.
We didn’t have a route south planned out – for a couple days we just drove as far as we could towards Yosemite, our first US destination. Unfortunately that meant driving straight past a lot of places that we could have spent weeks exploring but we had the second date of the trip to keep as a week later we had arranged to meet friends in San Francisco.
We arrived in Yosemite Valley in darkness late at night and pitched our tents at the North Pines campground. We woke up as the sun entered the valley the next morning. Yosemite was a place that we had all seen pictures of before, we knew the names of the domes, some of the famous climbs, and we felt like we had a slight grasp of what Yosemite was. Actually we had no idea. That first morning, was spent in a state of incredulous awe, staring up at the enormous granite rockfaces that surrounded us in the valley on almost every side. Far more eloquent writers than us have written about the valley and it’s tempting to quote Muir or Adams but instead we would urge people: just go. We had all read the words and seen the pictures but neither went any way towards really preparing us for what we saw that morning.
The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.
Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life. Appalachian Trail Conservancy
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As Spring blooms, so does our excitement for the 12th Annual Red Rock Rendezvous which takes place in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas, NV and is hosted by Osprey Packs retailer Mountain Gear. This year is guaranteed to be a great one — attendees will be coming in from across the nation to enjoy a weekend of climbing, clinics, demos, storytelling and much more!
Those interested in experiencing premiere rock climbing, desert single-track mountain biking, trail running and much more will gather at the mighty red rocks that overlook the event. The crowd will range from top outdoor industry brands to expert outdoor athletes to novice enthusiasts interested in learning more – everyone is welcome and all RRR attendees will leave after an experience like no other!
What’s going on March 27-29, 2015 at
Red Rock Rendezvous:
Clinics with Exceptional Athletes: Mountain biking, climbing, running, or general backcountry skills – you name it and there’s a clinic for it! With over 75+ clinics, you’re bound to find something that interests you. Taught by experts in the field, these clinics provide a unique, hands-on experience in a small group setting.
Dyno Competition, Dance Parties, Pancake Eating Contest and More! Be sure to check the schedule because this weekend is jampacked with a variety of fun games, on-site events, and presentations. You won’t want to miss the famous Red Rock Rendezvous Dyno Comp. in which participants put their dynamic climbing skills to the test! The same goes for the live music and other games put on by the sponsors of Red Rock Rendezvous — there’s a lot of fun to be had this weekend in the desert!
Now that you have an idea of what Red Rock Rendezvous is all about, let’s fill you in on what’s happening at the Osprey Packs booth:
NEW for Spring 2015: Come by to check out the latest at Osprey Packs as we will have our select Spring ’15 product such as the Syncro Series and the revolutionary Atmos/Aura Anti-Gravity Series, and much more! Our on-site staff will show you all the latest and greatest and will be able to answer any questions you may have!
Demo Packs at Red Rock Rendezvous and Feel the Osprey Difference: We’ve got your back and will have our demo fleet of bike, climbing, and running packs available all weekend! Stop by the booth and talk with our team of expert pack fitters and outdoor enthusiasts who can help you make the best selection for your needs. Available demo packs at RRR include our Endurance/Trail packs, the Rev Series and 2015 Syncro Series as well as our Vertical Endeavor packs like the Mutant Series and Variant Series!
Our Anti-Gravity Fit Station: Revolutionary. Innovative. And maybe a little bit magic: our award-winning Anti-Gravity™ Suspension system provides seamless comfort that contours the body allowing a trail experience like no other. Combined with custom capability and a full feature set, the Atmos AG™ sets a new standard in ventilated backpacking. Interested in what it feels like? Stop by our booth to try AG for yourself at our Anti-Gravity Fit Station.
Trail Running Clinics with Osprey Athlete Ben Clark: Interested in getting on the trail? Learn from the best at RRR — Osprey Athlete Ben Clark will be available to share his knowledge of trail running with anyone interested in pursing this growing outdoor endeavor!
“Creme de la Creme” Giveaways: Just another great reason to stop by the Osprey Packs booth — we’ll be giving away custom Osprey hats, coozies for your bevy, organic lipbalm, and much more!
Needless to say, it will be a great time in the desert and we hope to see you there! Don’t forget to the visit Red Rock Rendezvous Facebook page for updates!
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“Test out the all of the latest and greatest bikes on the world-class trails of Moab, Utah. For three days, the world’s best bike and gear manufacturers will be set up at the Outerbike Expo site. You can walk through and see next year’s innovations, pick a bike you’d like to try and take it for a ride.
Repeat as needed.
There are 20 miles of connected loops that range from fun and easy to technical and gnarly. Your registration fee buys you access to the all the bikes, lunches, shuttled rides, prizes, movies and entrance to our evening parties.”
You heard right – it’s Mountain Bike Season and we are kicking it off in Moab, Utah — a stone’s throw away from our hometown of Cortez, CO! (more…)
I love and I hate farming. It all started with a quest to grow and raise all our own food five years ago. I even remember the last month I needed to actually go to the grocery store – April 2010.
Certainly there are a few key exceptions – coffee for my hubby Jason, chocolate for me, spices that we can’t grow, and life-maintaining Real Salt from Utah – for ourselves and the animals.
But back to the love and hate thing – I adore having this connection to our land, this feeling that we are doing something immensely important, and this incredible sense of self-reliance. Everyday I learn something new that my grandmother must have done her whole life.
She never had to figure out make all this garden/orchard/pasture bounty to last for months – to render lard/tallow, make butter, dry herbs and veggies, can tomatoes, ferment peppers/cucumbers, cure squash/pumpkins/nuts/shallots/onions/animal forages (corn, sunflowers, barley, wheat)….the list is endless.
The days are long, tedious, exhausting – feed, water, harvest, cook, feed, water, irrigate, harvest again, dry, preserve, freeze, jar, vacuum seal. When tasked with putting up all our food for the long winter, quitting is not an option. Skipping out for a bike ride and leaving the tomatoes to freeze and burst or the walnuts to be stolen by the squirrels he “inbox” is never empty.
But in the end, with the root cellar and freezers full of our 10 months of hard labor, we are pleasantly content to enter the long winter. Now finishing our fifth year, it has gotten a bit easier as we have figured out our ancestor’s systems. And while I wish we could take irresponsible vacations together more often, the “prepper” in me feels ready just in case.
In reality, I will most likely just have the world record amount of our farm food in all of my Osprey Packs (Transporters, Ozones, Snowplay) as I travel to my many KEEN Rippin Chix Steep Skiing/Adventure/Powder Camps this winter – Silverton, Crystal, Whitewater, Red Mtn and to anywhere the snow is DUMPING! Join me?
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Osprey Packs Athlete Joe Stock is an internationally certified IFMGA mountain guide based in Anchorage, Alaska. He has been climbing and skiing around the world for 25 years with extensive time in the mountains of Alaska, the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the North Cascades of Washington and Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Since 1995, Joe has been freelance writing for magazines starting with a feature article in Rock & Ice on climbing the Balfour Face on Mount Tasman in New Zealand. Since then, he’s published numerous articles on adventures and mountain technique in rags such as Climbing, Backcountry, Alaska, Climbing, Trail Runner, Men’s Health and Off Piste.
Half of the reason for coming to Chamonix is to climb with other guides. I’ve spent the last two weeks climbing with Andrew Wexler, an IFMGA guide from Canmore, Alberta. We’ve been buddies for 15 years and been on our greatest adventures together: the Ptarmigan Traverse in a day, the Eklutna Traverse in a day, full-length ski traverses of the Neacola and Tordrillo Mountains and a ski traverse from Anchorage to Valdez. These will probably remain the apex of our athletic careers. Since then we’ve become more work-focused, but that feels right.
Now Andrew and I get to guide and play together in Chamonix. This is one of our free days. We chose the Aiguille du Peigne in the Aiguilles du Chamonix. This is a moderate alpine rock route that starts with the classic Papillion Arete.
The lower altitude of Aiguille du Peigne seemed right for a forecast calling for afternoon thunder showers. Most of the route is easy fifth class like this.
Some places the rock kicked up to 5.8, with lots of exposure.
This is the crux pitch, a delicate traverse to a chimney with perfect finger and hand cracks in the back. The pitch was streaming with water, but the finger locks and hand jams were so solid it didn’t matter. Behind is the north face of the Aiguille du Midi.
Andrew’s beautiful photo of me leading moderate rock on the summit ridge. The new Osprey Mutant 38 worked perfect. Thanks Osprey! Chubby bolts made for four easy rappels, then we lost the rap route in the fog. We ended up slinging horns for rap anchors to get back to the normal descent route. Thanks for a great day Andrew! See more of Andrew’s photos on his site globalalpine.com.
As a long-time pro-athlete and Osprey Ambassador, I was perplexed last year with strange balance issues while skiing and riding along with odd moments of memory loss. Being the overly tough person I am, I tossed it aside and continued playing and working, chocking it up to stress from ski and bike work travel, too much exercise/training, too much “trying-to-save-the-world”, and trying to run a self-reliant homestead on the side. On June 30th, 2013, after almost burning the house down while cooking one of our piggy’s bacon, my hubby rushed me to the Emergency room to find a giant brain tumor. After many weeks of discussing death, I suddenly realized I now had yet another mountain to climb, and maybe the biggest one to date.
After surgery to remove the giant baseball HemangioPeriCytoma, saving the blood flow to my brain and my life, I luckily had time to ponder how to conquer my tumors/cancer during recovery. They wanted the standard cut/radiate/poison “treatment”, but my internet research showed a 1-3% cure rate with this approach. The radiation would also most likely give me cancer in 10-20years. I now realize how fear sets in, as I actually considered this path out of pressure, despite the crappy success rate.
That goodness for the internet and great friends, as I have learned so much about what “alternatives” are actually out there. I quickly landed at the NamasteHealthCenter.com in Durango, Colorado at a women’s cancer retreat with folks from all over the globe searching for better cancer answers. How cool that OspreyPacks.com has this right next door to their corporate headquarters!
Long story short, the amazing folks there helped me dive into my blood work and DNA – working to find out the reasons I might have gotten cancer, and why I was currently “tumor-ing”. I could now write a dissertation on this, but in short, overuse of antibiotics as a child had damaged my gut and also my DNA through methylation. My blood inflammation markers showed that my vegan diet was causing super high blood sugar (both blood glucose and HgA1C) and very high inflammation (ESR,LDH,CRP). I was doing all the things that our USDA food pyramid said to do – low-fat, lots of whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, but my blood was proof that this was not working.
Dr. Nasha Winters and Namaste showed me that cancer (and most disease) is fueled some simple things – sugars (including most fruits and grains turning into sugars), estrogen (from almost all plastics), environmental factors, and stress. All of these can damage my gut and my DNA. Good news is, they are all fixable! Even the methylated DNA!
I’m fourteen months into my Ketogenic Diet now – about 80% of my calories from fat, as cancer not only loves sugar, but it HATES FAT. I call it the one-two punch – deprive my cells of sugar and load them with fats, but good fats only! I use only homemade pastured lard and tallow, grass-fed butter/ghee, coconut oil, grass-fed raw heavy whipping cream, and unrefined/unfiltered/chem-free stonehouseoliveoil.com. Its taken me months to get used to dosing my food in these fats, but wow, what a change in my blood work. Side benefits include – great skin, no more colds or migraines, allergies almost gone, weight/fat loss, 6-pack, and no more bronchitis, yeast or bladder infections.
Every day I learn more about how this Ketogetnic diet can often prevent and conquer many diseases beyond cancer, including Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Epilepsy, MS, and Diabetes, while also bringing on the best health and athletic performance of one’s life. I don’t think of it as a diet anymore, as I LOVE The food, love how I feel and look, and love that my tumor is stunted and starving. Cancer may be the best thing that has ever happened to me, as it has helped my family get healthier and my diet can hopefully prevent the Alzheimers that runs in the family. More: ketogenic-diet-resource.com; Books – Keto Clarity and Grain-Brain. I’ve also started a Facebook page – Cooking to Conquer Cancer.
So right now we are busy harvesting all our food for the upcoming winter, today I was focusing on drying eggplant, zucchini and squash “noodles”, canning tomatoes, and curing peppers. The chickens are also going corn and soy free, and the cows are munching their ever-so-healthy salad bar of grasses. In many ways lifestyle is easier, as I don’t have to grow, thresh and winnow as many grains, stevia is easier to grow than raising bees, and raising saturated fats is WAY easier than even attempting olive oil!
I’m a lucky gal – no lasting damage to my memory or my body. I’m back on my bike, surfboard and skis – with a heap more balance than before, and WAY more appreciation for everything. Next I’m off to Moab next to teach my KEEN Rippin Chix Camps with OspreyPacks.com at Outerbike with Western Spirit. I’ve got a full schedule of my Steep Skiing Camps coming up this winter all over, including some of my favorites such as Whitewater, Red Mtn, Silverton, and Crystal. Time to go to bed, as sleep and stress reduction are also very important in my un-cancer-ing and new-found health.
ALISON GANNETT is a self-sufficient farmer, World Champion Extreme FreeSkier, pro mountain biker, award-winning global cooling consultant, and founder of the multiple non-profits. In addition to her busy careers as an athlete, athlete ambassador and keynote speaking, she runs her KEEN Rippin Chix Camps – women’s steep skiing, biking and surf camps around the globe, featuring Osprey Packs. She has starred in many movies, TV shows, and magazines receiving many awards for her work including National Geographic’s Woman Adventurer of the Year, Powder Magazine’s “48 Greatest Skiers of All Time” and Outside Magazine’s “Green All-Star of theYear” next to Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Always an advocate of walking the talk, she has reduced her carbon footprint in half and has also spent half a lifetime working to make the world a better place. In 2010, she and her husband Jason bought Holy Terror Farm, beginning the next chapter of personal health and self-sustainability.