Osprey’s own Sarah Harper Burke will summit Mt. Shasta for The Breast Cancer Fund “Climb Against The Odds” . Please donate to Sarah’s climb today! Whether it be $5 or $50, every dollar will help in the fight to prevent breast cancer. Donate here.
I live in an instant gratification type of society. Online shopping, instant messaging and smart phones bring me a sense of having things right now. So when we arrived at the trailhead to Snowdon Peak, all I could think about was, “that’s really far away”. I wanted to be at the summit right now. I wanted to be learning all the information I came to acquire right now.
The Breast Cancer Fund “Climb Against The Odds” Mt. Shasta climb is three weeks away. In preparation for the climb I needed to learn basic mountaineering techniques such as how to glissade and use an ice axe and crampons. Graciously, the Southwest Adventure Guides of Durango donated a day of training to the cause. It was 6:30 am and my guide Bill Grasse and I were geared up and ready to go.
I’ve been doing little work-outs here and there but this last Sunday was my inaugural training hike for the Mt. Shasta climb. With little backpacking experience and after a long winter, I am slowly working my way to being ready to ascend 5000 feet to Shasta’s 14,179 summit.
Three weeks ago I was given the opportunity by Osprey to be part of this year’s Breast Cancer Fund “Climb Against The Odds” expedition. Osprey is a long time supporter of this amazing program and this is the first year they’ve put an Osprey team member on the climb. Being one of the newest Osprey employees, it seemed like a great way to be involved. After saying yes to the chance to be a part of this, reality struck and I started to process what getting ready for a climb like this means. There’s the fundraising aspect and then there’s getting in shape but more importantly, I needed to learn more about what this climb was really for. I needed to learn about breast cancer.
In the United States, a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is an alarming 1 in 8, and no more than 1 in 10 women with breast cancer has a genetic history of the disease. A growing body of scientific evidence points to toxic chemicals and radiation as factors contributing to the high rates of breast cancer.
Last week, Francisco measured the square footage of our apartment.
The total? 325.36.
That’s a small space. Even in New York City, where postage-stamp sized apartments are in abundance and the people who live in them become expert at storing the stuff they think they need but probably don’t in novel configurations–from the ceiling (seriously; our neighbor hangs his bikes this way), in vertical stacks on walls (books), and in hidden recesses (Murphy bed, anyone?) — there comes a time when you have to admit that the stuff you’ve accumulated needs to be given a ruthless once-over.
We have the same stuff anyone else does: books, piles of CDs that we’ve never transferred to iTunes, stacks of paper that we’re convinced we have to keep for one reason or another.
But we also have baggage. Lots and lots of baggage.
I just did a quick inventory and here’s what I came up with:
- My daily use Baggallini bag. I’ve had this for about three years and it’s as new and sturdy as it was the day I bought it. It’s been with me to Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and plenty of points in between.
- A Diesel courier bag. This is Francisco’s, picked up at a thrift shop. He’s had it for years and the only purpose it serves now is to hold some of that paper we’re convinced we need to keep.
- A Leeds courier bag. This is also Francisco’s, company-issue gear he has to use when he leads educational tours for EF Smithsonian in New York and Puerto Rico. As I also lead tours occasionally, we probably have another one of these bags somewhere….
- A no-brand gym bag,
- A leather backpack,
- A Canon camera gear bag,
- A Kenneth Cole carry-on,
- A Baggallini carry-on,
- A North Face backpack,
- Two insulated day packs (one, a gift from a PR rep from the Marriott, another a take-away from the hospital where our daughter was born),
- A couple of small handbags, made by weavers in Oaxaca,
- A duffel for checked luggage, and
- A suitcase for checked luggage (which currently serves as winter clothing storage)
I’m not great with numbers, but that’s roughly 1 bag for every 25 square feet of our apartment.
Did I mention that most of these bags are in a state of utter disrepair? The Kenneth Cole carry on is frayed around the edges and its fake leather hand grip is cracked. The straps of the North Face backpack are ripped and could probably be sewn if either of us took the time to do so. The Diesel courier bag is stained by a permanent marker. The suitcase, though not old, has been put through its paces, especially since our last full backpack–which we normally use for flights–was manhandled by baggage workers at JFK to the point of non-use.
It’s time to clean house. Literally. To deal with our baggage- to give away what’s still usable, to recycle or upcycle what’s not, and to get some new gear.
Today, we’re measuring ourselves for new gear, and we’ll be going all Osprey–not the brand smorgasboard we’ve had to date. We’ll be putting these new packs through the paces, too, giving them heavy use in our daily treks in and around New York City, as well as trips to South Carolina, Cuba, and plenty of other places.
Such a busy summer – Rippin Chix Bike Camps, my Global Cooling Tour to help save our snow and our planet, my personal sustainability initiatives, my CROP workshops for businesses working to systematically green their acts while focusing on saving money, planning a ski expedition to the highest Andean peaks of Colombia, and working to plan my ski events for this upcoming winter. whew. makes me tired just typing it.
I did manage to squeeze in some bike races, in between it all, with my Talon 5.5, of course – and even won one of my new favorite races, in 5 1/2 hours – The Fat Tire 40 (part of Crested Butte’s Fat Tire Bike Week).
I’ve added 9 Rippin Chix bike camps to the ever popular Rippin Chix Steep skiing Camps, and have been packed with gals learning to tear it up all summer. I just love watching chix learn to conquer their fears and learn rad skills. If only I had been lucky enough to learn that way. My learning experience involved the motto “its a good ride if you come back bloody”…..
My Global Cooling Tour has continued in full swing – with events all over the country and working with many retailers, film festivals, events, governments, and businesses on solutions to climate change. My latest personal goal for the Tour is to “walk the talk” by bike commuting to and from each event when possible. My east coast bike route involved 9 stops in 7 states, and a 780 mile ride between all the events. My Osprey Talon 11 carried my computer all along the way – and you thought it was just a hydration pack!
Speaking of personal goals, my latest quest is to reduce my food carbon footprint, so I’ve been learning to bake bread, preserve food, and grow lots of food. Haven’t been to the grocery store since February, and am growing indoors and outside year round at 9,000 feet.
Osprey is sponsoring my upcoming Rippin Chix bike camps – If you are in the Crested Butte Area, and want some fun in September, www.alisongannett.com
I’ll be doing the Climate Ride from NYC to Washington, DC in September, working on meaningful legislation for climate disruption. Love to see some Osprey fans along the way. I might be speaking at REI or EMS while back there….