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.
The Chugach is not famous for rock climbing. Probably the most fame it received was in a Rock & Ice article containing the Seward Highway among the five worst climbing areas in the United States. But the Chugach does have some solid rock. And if you don’t compare it to Colorado rock or California rock then you’ll have a great time.
The foothills of the Chugach Mountains above Anchorage have some of this solid rock. The problem is finding someone to adventure up there. I recruited my buddy Joshua Foreman to go exploring on O’Malley Peak. After hiking almost two hours we reached the base of a 500-foot buttress. As we climbed we found evidence from other parties, going back forty years: pitons, bongs, nuts, rotting slings. These climbers had intense personal experiences on this cliffs. They told stories to a few buddies at the bar. The adventure became a faint memory in their lifetime of adventures. Without social media, the adventure was able to refresh itself for the next party.
Joshua following the first of four long pitches on the Deep Lake Buttress. He’s using the new Mutant 38–light and sleek! The solid Chugach rock has a weathered brown veneer.
Joshua leading pitch two. He pulled this second roof onto 60 feet of wet and runnout slabs. For an hour the rope inched up the rock as grunts and explicative floated down. Joshua also enjoys high-speed downhill biking and has competed as a speed skier in Alaska’s notorious Arctic Man. Leading a runout wet slab as his first rock climb in six months was perfect.
Joshua and I with the Deep Lake Buttress behind. Rock climbing in Alaska in mid-May. We are so lucky.
The Inca Trail in Peru is perhaps the world’s most famous trek. This four-day camping trip follows a 500-year old stone path that ends at Machu Picchu, an ancient city reclaimed from the jungle. I hiked the Inca Trail with my Dad, my sister Kate and her girlfriend Kim. We started and finished the trip in Cusco.
A mushroom cloud of smoke from hundreds of barbecues rises from Inti Raymi celebrations in Cusco. Inti Raymi is the biggest festival of the season. This party is taking place at Sacsayhuaman (pronounced “Sexy Woman”), a location famous for 100-ton stones fitted together so tight that a toothpick can not be fitted in.
While city center Cusco is tidy and historic for tourists, the surrounding streets are real Peru. This woman is selling chopped up snakes in a soda bottle. Other bottles contain the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus juice and various potions for what ails you.
The Inca Trail is lined with ruins. Here’s Kate exploring the Phuyupatamarka ruins. The fascinating thing about all these Inca ruins is that nobody really knows what happened. There was no written language before the Spanish arrived. And all of the written accounts have a Spanish Conquistador twist. This results in each Inca history buff having their own theory of what happened. Historical spiels by tour guide’s often start with “I believe….”
Dad eleven hours into the second day. What is a comparable trek in the US? Rim-to-rim on the Grand Canyon? The Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier?
Porters resting at the high point of the trip at Dead Woman Pass at 13,829 feet. Porters carry 20 kilos of group gear plus their personal gear. We carried our sleeping bag, pad and hiking stuff in 35-liter Mutant 38s.
Born in Cortez, CO, Jason Boblitt has been part of the Osprey Packs team for over 8 years. In 2006 Jason got his start in the Osprey warehouse and focused primarily on Quality Inspection projects. In 2008, Jason switched to shipping and Quality Assurance before joining the Quality and Returns team in 2010, where he still works. When Jason isn’t delivering on Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee, he loves to spend his time backpacking, traveling, drawing and sewing. This is the story of Jason’s trusty Osprey Eclipse pack.
For years now, I have sat in that dusty garage waiting for the day when my owner would throw me on his back and take me out for excitement and adventure. I went out for a day hike once and was thoroughly excited for the years to come. Then something happened that was not expected. I found myself watching pack after pack being taken out of the garage and being returned with fabric still warm from sun or wet with rain. Not me though. Am I not big enough? Am I not what they wanted? The anxiety consumed me to the point of utter darkness in my soul. I was not fulfilling my potential. All that was left was to wait for the inevitable day when I would be discarded with the trash…
Then one day several years later, my owner grabbed me and placed me on the table under a bright light. They started taking my picture at different angles. After a brief moment of confusion and a quick glance at the computer, I realized I was being put on eBay. WTF?! Why would you do this to me? Get my hopes up for adventures and then eventually sell me at a low bid to some chump that will treat me the same. Disgusted and distraught I slipped deeper into oblivion. The journey in the box was as expected, very similar to the years spent in the garage; dark and noisy. To my surprise upon arrival, a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Was I being reborn? Cardboard flaps pulled back and I am dashed by a bright fluorescent light. Held high in the air by a young man, with prominent sideburns and a headset wrapped around his neck. Wearing sandals, shorts and a t-shirt with Jimi Hendrix’s face…but words below describing Bob Marley. I have been purchased by a customer service hippy with a possibly morbid and dry sense of humor. Oh the humanity! Read more…
The Black Lake Chute took me ten years to ski. All that time it teased me from Anchorage. Above my home it looked like a thin white thread tied to the summit of O’Malley Peak. It hung down the north face and draped off of the lower wall. It became my White Whale. Sometimes, between attempts, I’d try to talk myself out of it. It’s too dangerous. There’s plenty of other stuff to ski. But I wanted it so bad….
The GoPro Mountain Games are the country’s largest celebration of adventure sports, music and the mountain lifestyle and they return to Vail, June 5-8, 2014. Over 3,000 professional and amateur athletes annually converge on the mountains and rivers of Vail to compete in 25 sports for over $110,000 in prize money. Spectating at the event is free and over 53,000 spectators annually attend for four days of athletes, art, music and mountains. A festival atmosphere engulfs Vail comprised of four expo and demo areas, nightly free concerts, an outdoor photography competition and an Outdoor Film Festival.
No matter how you get to Vail for the Summer Mountain Games, we assure you there are plenty of adventures on the way. Bring your toys, take some extra time and enjoy some of the best country in the United States. Perhaps you will end up like some of us and never leave.
Osprey Athlete Joe Schwartz is a resident of British Columbia, Canada. He has been a professional mountain bike rider for over a decade, and was a featured rider in the New World Disorder series of bike movies, as well as other movie productions and TV shows (Ride Guide, Drop-In). Through his work with film companies he has been fortunate enough to travel all over the globe, riding in some very exotic locales. Joe is an ACMG certified backcountry ski guide, and has worked for numerous catski, heliski, and ski touring lodges all over BC. While mountain biking is his main love, Joe uses his skis as an escape mechanism. His past adventures include completing multi-day ski traverses throughout BC and achieving a number of committing descents in the BC Coast Range, the Canadian Rockies, and in the French Alps.
This is a question normally asked in the initial research part of planning a trip somewhere exotic, before you’ve made any decisions, but I had already committed to this destination and legitimately had no idea where the island was. The reasons for this were a long winter of ski guiding, my Ireland-med school-attending girlfriend, our months apart from each other, and that Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, was the furthest south she could get a direct plane ticket to after a rainy winter in her new home of Cork. The plan was already in action, and I would have been happy to meet her on an oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic, so tickets to this Spanish island were booked, and then I started looking in to exactly where I was headed to.
Happy to be leaving winter behind at the Calgary airport
When we launched our #OspreyAt40 photo contest earlier this year, we knew we’d see some amazing photos of your many adventures, travels and treks — but we were blown away by the number of phenomenal photos submitted by so many loyal Osprey fans. Thank you for sharing your memories with us — we’re honored to have been part of your hikes, backpacking trips, MTB rides, snow days, city walks, summits, sojourns and every other adventure you’ve had with an Osprey Pack on your back.
We’re going to continue to celebrate our 40th Anniversary throughout the year — so please stay tuned for other fun contests and prizes. In May, we’ll be premiering the full-length documentary “Osprey Packs: 40 Years in the Making.” In the meantime, below are the final winners selected by our internal judges for Round 4 of #OspreyAt40. (Or visit our gallery of all of the 40 winning #OspreyAt40 photos here.)
Thank you again for sharing your photos with us and for celebrating our 40th Anniversary!
Round 4 is the final round of our 40-day giveaway celebrating our 40th Anniversary — it’s time to submit your favorite photo memory of Osprey Packs if you haven’t yet already! At the beginning of Round 4 of #OspreyAt40, we’ll once again reset the votes on all photo submissions back to “0.” Resetting the votes to “0” tomorrow morning will mean that each entrant is once again eligible to automatically win a Limited Edition Transporter 40 pack if their photo submission is one of the first five photos to reach 40 votes on our contest page.
We launched this contest as a fun way to celebrate this milestone anniversary with the folks who’ve made the last 40 years possible: our fans. And we’ve been blown away by the amazing photos we’ve received of so many journeys, hikes, travels and treks. We’re so glad to have been a part of those incredible adventures! Below are 10 more #OspreyAt40 winners, including the 5 photos selected as Round 2 winners by our judges, along with the top 5 Round 3 winners selected by voters.
Good luck everyone! If you’re a US resident who hasn’t yet entered but would like to, please do so here: tinyurl.com/OspreyAt40