This week’s #MusicMondays celebration recognizes a Colorado favorite and a group that is near and dear to our hearts — Leftover Salmon! For those of you who haven’t yet heard of Leftover Salmon, this group has been on the scene for 25 years!
Looking back on the legacy of rootsy, string-based music, the impact of Leftover Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, the Colorado slamgrass pioneers took their form of aggressive bluegrass to rock and roll bars at a time when it wasn’t so common, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jamgrass genre. Today, Leftover Salmon consists of Vince Herman (vocals, acoustic guitar, washboard); Drew Emmitt (vocals, acoustic and electric mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle); Andy Thorn (vocals, acoustic and electric banjo); Greg Garrison (vocals, acoustic and electric bass); Alwyn Robinson (drums).
This November they’re celebrating by giving back to their fans with something that will pull at your heartstrings – a new release of their latest album, “High-Country” as well as a limited edition 20 oz. Bomber, The Silver Salmon IPL by Breckenridge Brewery!
“It’s the perfect beer for hanging out at a show and celebrating life, music, and Colorado! There’s no fishy aftertaste, we promise!” according to Greg Garrison, bass player for Leftover Salmon. Not only do you get to enjoy this tasty beverage after a long day outside, when you purchase a Silver Salmon IPL, you will receive a the free album download and celebrate 25 years of Leftover Salmon and Breckenridge Brewery! The album, “25,” will feature twenty five never-before-released live recordings, and will also be available on iTunes and all digital outlets beginning November 27th!
Q: If you could give any advice to yourself at 10 years old, what would you say?
AR: “I would tell my 10 year old self to keep enjoying the countless hours that were spent watching “Power Rangers” and to never stop running around the house pretending to be a ninja! Sure is a great way to frighten your parents when they come home late at night.”
AT: “Get a banjo and learn to play it, it will change you’re life.”
Q: What’s on your current playlist?
AR: My current playlist (albums) for this week:
Erykah Badu – “Mama’s Gun”
Gary Clark Jr. – “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”
Clifford Brown – “Study In Brown”
Paul Simon – “Graceland”
Ella Fitzgerald – “Ella and Louis”
Bob Marley – “Catch a Fire”
Aretha Franklin – “Amazing Grace”
Ray Charles – “Yes Indeed!”
A Tribe Called Quest – “Low End Theory”
Incubus – “Morning View”
Steely Dan – “Aja”
AT: The new Jon Stickley Trio is amazing! Also really into Hayes Carll at the moment and Hard Working Americans.
Q: What’s your spirit animal and why?
AR: “The owl – Intuitive, the presence of an owl announces change, wisdom… I feel like I’m trying to impress a young lady right now…”
AT: “I would say a bear. They’re all over our new neighborhood in Boulder, CO. and I try to think like a bear to keep them out of our house and trash.”
Q: If there was one musician from the past that you could have dinner with, who would it be? What would you ask them?
AR: “I would love to sit down with Tony Williams (started drumming for Miles Davis at the age of 17). Some of the questions that I’d ask: ‘What sort of pressure did you feel performing with Miles Davis at such a young age? What was the intensity like of the social environment that you were engaged in during that era and how big of a role did that play on your emotional approach to music?'”
AT: “John Hartford. I think I saw him play once but was very young. I’m obsessed with his songs and banjo playing and would love to pick his brain.”
Q: When you aren’t on tour, what is something you like to do in your free time?
AR: “I love walking around and exploring new coffee shops in NYC/whatever city I may be visiting. The different atmospheres at the numerous coffee shops in that city are great and there’s always a good opportunity to meet some great people. What better way to start your day with a kind gesture than by purchasing someone’s coffee! It’s inexpensive, and it is an easy way to spread a positive vibe along with good conversation.”
AT: “I love to cook. If I’m home I like to cook every meal I eat out enough on the road and its healthier and more fun!”
Q: Are you a cat or dog person?
AR: “100% dog person. I own a Boxer, and there’s just something about being able to go outdoors with your dog and hanging out that suits me better.”
AT: “Haha, neither.“
Q: What do you like to do in the outdoors?
AR: “I enjoy kayaking, being in the mountains, biking as much as possible, and going on nice hikes. Always a nice way to enjoy the day whether I’m on tour or off of tour and is a great way to clear the head and press the ‘refresh’ button.”
AT: “Everything! I love to camp and mountain bike in the summer, especially if I can route from festival to festival in CO. in between. But winter is probably my favorite, skiing in CO. is so easy and awesome. You can’t beat ‘ski tour’ where you’re picking at night and skiing all day, meeting all the great people and just having a blast.”
Q: What place inspires you? Why does it inspire you?
AR: “Traveling to any place inspires me, whether it be somewhere that I’ve been numerous times or to a place foreign to me. It’s a great opportunity for me to reconnect with a familiar culture or the option of experiencing something new presents itself, which is always an adventurous, humbling time for me. I used to believe that you had to travel to foreign territories to discover inspiration, but sometimes revisiting a familiar place can bring just as much inspiration.”
AT: “The whole western slope of CO. I love camping near Crested Butte in the summer when the wildflowers are blooming or the fall aspens. That is my best time to get out the banjo or guitar and work on new songs with all the inspiration around.”
Q: What one item do you always have in your pack?
AR: “I always carry my little ‘thought’ book. That notebook allows me to express myself, create, and is essential for my reflecting. I try to go back and read the things jotted down to figure out where I was at that point of time and how I’ve processed that information into my current state of mind.”
AT: “My water purifier. I like to stay very hydrated and you can almost always find some kind of water to pump and drink.”
Q: Which Osprey pack are you using right now? What is your favorite feature about your pack?
AR: “I’m currently using the Osprey Flapjack Pack as well as the Shuttle 36″/130L everywhere that I travel. I’m in love with the backpack for the various compartments within the back followed with a simple, sleek design. It allows me to pack numerous items, such as my Macbook, books, magazines, sticks, and leaves plenty of room for extra accessory items; the comfort of the backpack is very nice, especially if you’re exploring and carrying weight for long periods of time. The Shuttle 36 is perfect for traveling due to the wheels, allowing an easy haul whenever you’re moving from place to place. I also tour quite a bit and carry many things with me and this bag allows a great amount of space/compartments to make this possible.”
AT: “I absolutely love the Shuttle 36″. I can fit my pedal boards and all my other stuff, and sometimes my soft banjo case sticking out to roll long distance. It sure has made travel easy and smooth. We also use the hydration packs all the time when biking. I never used to use one before I had an Osprey and I’ve had much more energy by staying more hydrated with my Raptor 14.”
Enter to win an Osprey FlapJack (or Jill) and a signed copy of the newest Leftover Salmon Album, “High Country”
I feel the chill in the air this week, watching the leaves turn, and suddenly everyone starts to talk about skiing/snowboarding. We can’t help ourselves — powder is just too addictive. Here at our homestead, Holy Terror Farm, we can ski and bike out our door AND still manage to grow and raise almost 100% of our own food.
At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be “training” as hard here in Paonia as I was living in Crested Butte. Little did I know how hard farming was! We joke daily about starting a new fitness trend – “CROP-fit” – hauling water, food, animals (weights!), weeding (yoga), herding dogs/animals (cardio). Farming like Little House on the Prairie involves using every muscle in the body, in a fantabulously comprehensive way. Ever tried lifting a 400 pound pumpkin?
Worried that you don’t have a farm for your training? Stay with me and I’ll give you my favorite ski/snowboard trick below.
Right now, we are harvesting about 2000 pounds of winter squashes.
I pick about 100 pounds of tomatoes a day, seed and core them, solar-cook them down to paste and then can them.
For winter preservation of zillions of peppers, I ferment them, dry them, or roast them.
Last week, our Scottish Highland cows met their maker and are now in the freezer, along with their much coveted fat which we use everyday – for cooking, chicken/dog feed, candles and soaps.
I’ve learned firsthand how our ancestors kept fit — and it didn’t involve a gym or any fitness gimmicks. Fitness was an inherent part of survival and life. Incredibly, now when I ski, bike or surf, I find myself even more all-over fit than when I was “training” in a less farm-focused manner and with no injuries.
But asked what my favorite quick way to get in shape for ski season, I will always resort to running in the mountains — preferably bounding downhill with a loaded pack (Osprey of course!). That simulates those muscles that contract when you are riding your board/boards and the extra weight make those muscles respond more vigorously.
You will know that you have achieved your plyometric training when you find it difficult to sit down or go downstairs. Voila – your first days of skiing/boarding will be a piece of cake now.
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.
For everyone at Osprey, our commitment to the environment doesn’t end with the support of various nonprofit partners who dedicate themselves to conservation, sustainability, environmental awareness and continuous efforts to preserve the great outdoors.
This commitment is something that we also work to embody as a group. Each year, Osprey Packs has a tradition of acting on this commitment with our “Adopt-A-Highway” program with CDOT. Come fall, when the leaves in Southwest Colorado begin to change and the warmer temperatures begin to drop, we offer the opportunity to all Osprey employees to join our 3 hour annual cleanup along Highway 145. This particular stretch of road takes you from the Osprey HQ in Cortez, CO to Dolores, CO — which is home to many Osprey employees — and up to our beloved winter playground of Telluride, CO. As Osprey employees, participation in this group effort stems not only from our a commitment to doing our part to take care of Mother Nature, but also because of the sentimental value attached to this annual tradition. This year we had a great turnout with 14 Osprey employees participating! Osprey’s Diane Wren, passionate advocate for the environment (be sure to read her op-ed on Public Lands), co-owner of Osprey Packs and wife of our own Mike Pfotenhauer explains why this program is important to her on a personal level and talks about the 2015 Hwy Cleanup.
How many years has Osprey Packs been doing the Hwy clean-up?
DW: Osprey Packs has been a part of the CDOT “Adopt A Highway” program for almost 15 consecutive years. We adopted a section of highway right outside the small town of Dolores which was home to the original Osprey factory and now home to many of our employees.
What motivated Osprey Packs to take on this community service?
DW: I don’t really remember, but it is a stretch of road we all pass en route to the mountains that needed clean-up support. The mountains are part of our outdoor natural community and so is the road!
How long have you been participating in the Hwy clean-up and why is it so special to you?
DW: For me there is something satisfying about tidying up almost anything! It’s fun to be outside in the beautiful autumn weather with your co-workers (teammates) ambling along looking for interesting and not-so-interesting trash while cleaning up our roads and forests. It really is another form of hiking!
What are some interesting items you have found during the clean-up?
DW: Today Michael H. found a fishing rod, also found were boxers, panties and lots of alcohol bottles! Susan found a box of unused ear plugs. Last year I found an old tape recorder with a tape jammed in it…too bad we couldn’t get it out so we could listen to it. The usual items are beer bottles/cans and of course skoal.
Why would you encourage others to get involved in this type of program?
DW: Team building, fun exercise, clean up our environment and give back to our community.
About Diane Wren – Co-Owner of Osprey Packs
I’ve been with Osprey since 1985 and have been of “Jill of all trades” CS, finance and shipping in the early days.… I have always been and still am involved in Leadership – deciding the course
of the company. I am also a member of the HR Department. I do
support Mike of course but I take my roles seriously in the company. I am still an avid day hiker and love hiking the canyons of CO and Utah as well as exploring urban landscapes.
On Friday September 25th at approximately 6:00 am MST Osprey Athlete, mountaineer, filmmaker and ultra-runner Ben Clark kicked off his 6th attempt to complete Nolan’s 14. Nolan’s 14 is a challenging traverse that links 14 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot summits, one that covers nearly 100 miles of some of the Sawatch Range’s toughest terrain, one that must be completed in less than 60 hours.
Osprey employee Scott Robertson pretty much sums up everyone at Osprey’s awe and appreciation for Ben’s efforts and accomplishments with the following reflection: (more…)
Osprey Athlete, mountaineer, filmmaker and ultra-runner Ben Clark has attempted the formidable challenge of completing Nolan’s 14 multiple times in the past — and he’s getting ready for his next attempt, this weekend. Ben has been candid about the difficulties, the uncertainties and the unrelenting commitment to add his name to the very short list of individuals who have completed Nolan’s 14.
What exactly is Nolan’s 14 and what is its allure to the most elite ultrarunners? Nolan’s 14 is a run — a traverse unlike any other — one without clear markers or even trails at some points, linking fourteen of Colorado’s 14,000-foot summits, one that covers nearly 100 miles of some of the Sawatch Range’s toughest terrain, one that must be completed in less than 60 hours.
Ben’s determination — fed and fueled by moments of elation, disappointment, triumph and patience — has led him to doggedly attempt this physically-demanding, emotionally-challenging route that is undoubtedly one of the hardest in ultrarunning’s history. Join us as we cheer Ben on this weekend as he laces up his shoes, pulls on his pack and sets out on his final attempt this summer to achieve this incredible, daunting feat.
We caught up with Ben recently to better understand some of the mental and physical preparation for Nolan’s 14 and to get a sense of what it’s like to answer the mountains when they call.
Osprey Packs: This will be your sixth attempt at breaking the 60 hour mark; what about Nolan’s has its claws in you?
Ben Clark: Nolan’s makes me miss the Himalayas. Not a day goes by that an image or memory doesn’t haunt me from there. So I’d say the mountains, in my experience, are the essence of “infectious” to me.
I learned that there are safe ways for me to venture deep into the mountains, and my own soul for that matter, that if I am truly reaching I will not need the fear of deadly consequence to attain my goal. I used to need that fear, as much as I might deny back then I didn’t. The motivation of having the knowledge of what it is like to execute something like Nolan’s 14 in the way I want — safely but with no distraction — is a nice motivator for me to keep seeing what I can do.
60 hours is a long time to immerse into the heart of a range of 14ers. But you can walk away from the mountains if they gets too rowdy, so that means I have to really want it in my heart, to be willing to keep trying until I’ve experienced it. I feel like maintaining the health and fitness to do so is a lifelong reward as well.
OP: After spending countless hours on the Nolan’s “course” — both training and during the main event — what has gone well?
BC: I think being prepared for anything is probably the best evidence I can offer of anything going well. It has been exhilarating at times, but always safe, thanks mostly to the crews that supported the early attempts.
OP: On that note, what hasn’t gone particularly well in the past? Is there anything you are planning to change significantly this time?
BC: I feel sometimes when people fail to meet their expectations in the mountains they will say that the mountains are humbling. I don’t think that. I think the mountains are “mountainy.”
If I start my expectation equal to their conditions then I’m never humbled — schooled sometimes, yes, because rather than scale them down to me I accept them for how much more beyond my control and scale they are and I like that about them. That has led to an appreciation of their many moods and an attitude of embracing them to have an understanding of this or any mountain line.
This line’s lack of consequence has completely transformed me physically and mentally, it has innovated everything about what I think I need to move along on a big day and what I don’t. This time I’ll be carrying just an 18 L pack, with a better and more substantial sleeping/shelter kit.
OP: Endurance athletes can be incredibly particular about food and fueling, are you a supplement/gel/salt-tab scientist or more of a cheeseburger/candy/whatever-I-can-find fueler; what’s your strategy?
BC: I eat a mix of things — some that I make myself, mostly a higher fat concentration during sustained endurance efforts. Of packaged food, Clif Bar products keep me well-fueled and allow me to change it up both flavor- and calorie-wise if/when I’m “over” my other food. McDonald’s plain double cheeseburgers also happen keep well.
OP: What puts your mind at ease the day/night leading up to the main event? Do you have any pre-run traditions?
BC: I’m as at ease with any event, including this one, as I can be. I travel half the month and I am a Dad. Even though I have all the commitments that come with that, I have very few things that are as much a pillar to my daily routine as my training as I balance a career as a filmmaker and athlete. It’s all in the numbers when it comes to training and as long as I restrain enough to avoid injury and I’ve put in the time and miles, I look forward to the release I feel the moment I hit the trail. It is all fun to me, to just go and do it.
OP: Gear choice is critical on something this demanding, which Osprey pack do you bring and what’s critical about that piece of gear? What else is on your gear list?
BC: The Rev 18 pack is as light and small as I can go but substantial enough to handle the weight of 3 days food and all my gear, roughly 25 pounds. Because it fits more like an article of clothing than a traditional pack suspension, the Rev stays snug and compact while I move quickly and doesn’t snag as I bushwhack through dark forests or bounce while I quickly trot downhill through loose terrain! My Rev has been modified to include a Stow-On-The-Go™ system for my trekking poles when I need my hands free and has an in-line water filtering system so I don’t have to pump water.
My gear list includes:
3 peanut butter cookies
10 kits organic Clif Bars
12 Clif gels
6 Clif organics pouches
12 salt tablets
5 via lattes
9 Clif electrolyte drink mixes
3 litre reservoir
Sawyer inline water filter
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro
Superfeet Carbon Pro insole
2 Smartwool compression sock
2XU calf sleeve
Patagonia Strider short
Patagonia fleece tights
Patagonia Forerunner L/S Shirt
Patagonia Fleece vest
Patagonia Leashless jacket
Patagonia Super Cell pants
Patagonia Nano Air hoody
Patagonia Ultra Light down Sweater
Patagonia Duck Bill Hat
Osprey Packs beanie
4 pairs of gloves
Esbit fuel cell stove
8 fuel cells
Montbell 10oz summer seeping bag
Outdoor Research Helium Bivy Sack
Sol 96″ x 54″ emergency blanket
Stainless steel cup
Med kit with bandages
3 spare batteries
Goal Zero Venture 30 Charger
1100 Lumen compact Flashlight
Delorme InReach Explorer
Suunto Ambit 2
On the weekend of August 22nd, I was joined by 5 other Osprey employees on a mission to climb Mt. Sneffels just outside of Telluride, CO. The plan was pretty basic and thrown together at the last minute, but the weather was shaping up to be great and we had an awesome crew that was both excited and eager for the adventure ahead.
Geoff, Rosie, Scott, Rob, Vince, and I all left work Friday evening and piled into cars headed for Ouray, CO – a short 2 hour and 15 minute drive away. After a pit stop in Telluride for some food and cheap beer, we made our way around the Sneffels Range to Ouray. After trying and failing (multiple times) to get past a section of the “4wd Only” Yankee Boy Basin Road in my Subaru Outback we made camp by the creek about 2 miles away from the trailhead. With a clear night in front of us we made up our cowboy camps and got to rest under a blanket of stars.
I always enjoy the hustle and bustle of a campsite early in the morning before a big objective –6 people and 3 dogs all scurrying about getting their packs in order, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and conversing with one another at the same time makes for a lively environment to start the day. Admittedly, time slipped away from us more than we’d liked it to that morning and we started up the Yankee Boy Basin Road just after 7:00am. We had seen a multitude of cars and trucks drive past our makeshift campsite earlier that morning so we knew it would be a busy day on the mountain.
The first 2 miles leading up to the trailhead were simple. We moved quickly up the slopes of the 4wd road, occasionally making way for a family of four in their Jeep Wrangler (or another type of engineering marvel that gobbles up rocky terrain as if this road should be its daily commute). The sun was shining and the views were stunning, for all of us in the group it was our first time in this basin and on this mountain – 4 of the 6 in our group have only moved to Southwest Colorado in the past year!
At the trail-head we began to see what was in front of us: just over a mile of terrain left to cover, but over 1,500’ of elevation gain in that distance. Pushing on with Scott and Geoff out front with the dogs we made great time ascending the loose, scree-covered col. At “the notch” below the summit we took turns in groups staying with the dogs, and groups heading up for the summit at 14,150’. Spending almost an hour near the summit resting and enjoying the views, we ran into our US Sales Director, Brad Bates, and his wife Vicky celebrating their wedding anniversary in style. After a few more minutes enjoying the thin air, we made a plan with Brad and Vicky to rendezvous at our campsite for beers and started our descent down the mountain. The steep, loose scree made for some interesting moments on the way down, but we all made it down in one piece. Well, almost all of us… Vicky fractured her wrist in 2 places after slipping on the descent. Like the true badass she is she came down to camp, drank some moonshine, and then went to get her injuries treated.
Being able to haphazardly throw a plan together and also have 5 of my coworkers added the mix is my favorite aspect of being an Osprey employee: Every person I was with shared my excitement for adventure and was willing to spend 24 straight hours with each other, despite the fact that we still don’t know each other very well. My coworkers are my friends, and my friends are pretty damn cool.
Written by Osprey’s very own Mychal McCormick, our International Sales Coordinator. Mychal has been with Osprey for 2 and a half years now. In his downtime, you can find Mychal perfecting the art of bocce ball as he pursues his semi-pro career under the pseudonym of Demetri Lemeux. On the weekends, Mychal enjoys quiet strolls up the numerous 13,000 foot mountainous peaks that surround our headquarters in Southwest Colorado. From time to time, he makes a quick escape to the residing desert in our neighboring state of Utah. Follow his adventures on Instagram.
“After 15 years in obscurity, Nolan’s 14, a hundred-mile traverse of 14 14,000-foot peaks in 60 hours, emerges as a new test piece for elite mountain runners.” –National Geographic Adventure
Yes, that’s correct — completing Nolan’s 14 entails traversing 14 summits, each over 14,000 ft (nearly 100 miles in distance!), in under 60 hours.
Ben shares what this particular group of 14 peaks means to him and how this traverse has shaped the last three years of his life:
In all my life, I have never been so prepared. But in all my life, I have never found the right sequence to complete this unending task, a three year commitment of endurance fitness topping 33 previous years of hard knocks and tussles with progress through the mountains. “Is this time different? Is it worth it?” I have to ask myself — this is the grandest journey on foot of my life — through them and through these years and it has taken longer than I ever thought. It has ground me down while building me up. It is so long, so enormous.
The last two summers I have “gone for it” 4 times on ultra marathon distance traverses over 10 mountains in central Colorado, on a route known as Nolan’s 14. In that two years I have seen my hopes of finishing crushed more than 75 of 93 miles into it twice.
Despite the setbacks along the way toward reaching an understanding of visiting all 14 of Nolan’s 14’s fourteen thousand foot summits in one push, its mystery and magnetism continue to compel me because I love the mountains and big days. I have made mistakes out there but had a satisfying and safe time pursuing this adventure and don’t want to give up on my original purpose for engaging with the line in it’s totality. It’s the biggest effort I can reach for these days and I feel like is suited to the most focused strengths I have trained for and within reason. Now that the time approaches for another long stretch, I’m happy to be exploring it on the best terms I can-those grounded on experience gained on the line and preparation refined each time.
My plan is to start at the north end of the trail and go in one long push from the Fish Hatchery in Leadville, Co. to the summit of Mount Shavano near Poncha Springs, Co. I’ll have no crew, but will have one pair of shoes, one pack (my Osprey Rev 12) and some pretty sweet food, enough gear to do all 14 of the fourteeners. I’m psyched about this. You might be wondering, how the hell is that possible if it took so much crew before to not finish? It will, after all, be me alone.
And this brings me back to the point of this journey, to answer my own questions, to staying committed to a purpose, to answering “is this time different?” No. This time is the same. I began my journey as a mountaineer in this same mountain range 16 years ago, before a decade committed to high altitude Himalayan exploration. In that time I lived many impressionable memories and shared moments with friends that indemnify a lifetime of happiness. It is worth it to know the mountains, and also their uncertain moments. I stopped taking physically consequential risks in the mountains when i became a father 3 years ago. I will always love the mountains and I wanted a safer way to explore them when pushing myself. Nolan’s 14 is for me, that path.
It is a return to my roots as a climber, I view it as the biggest climb in the world. It is minimal and asks for a high level of concentration and accountability during the experience. I will need to be present and own the outcome of every decision for days on end…and nights. I perform my best and truly enjoy the mountains when I have to do that. So many great friends helped me learn it is possible, only in the doing of this would we have known.
With 4 attempts already under my belt, the first 3 adhering to a set of pre existing conventions that led to 13 others completing sub 60 hour finishes on the line since 1999, and 6 since I first attempted it in 2013, I have learned a thing or two. Organized more like a competitive event than a mountain traverse, those rules can lead to success if the timing is good. But with so many opportunities to figure it out in that way specifically and still not completing it due to my own timing and logistical complications, I’ve had to forget those conventions and slowly develop my own personal style based on my experiences on it, what mountaineers would call our “fair means”. The means is a simpler version of things than what I had been doing or what might normally be done. Fewer things to line up means better chances, I believe, and still a whole lot of fun. I hope to flow over it now and to just “surf the chaos” as a good friend would say. I’m excited about the start rather than coordinating a party of people.
I will do my best with what knowledge I have to “finish” with as little time on my feet as possible and per the schedule below, which is still below the 60 hour goal I have had previously. This is not implied to be a “solo” journey as there are many people climbing fourteeners every day of the week and being alone out there any time other than night would be rare, it is just an unsupported trip alone and based around the most ideal weather window. I am heading out there to finish safely, under my own power with all my stuff on me and within a single push. There are no guarantees, but if history is any indicator and the X factor I have been missing is present then I believe it’ll go!!!!
Ouray is famous for ice climbing in the winter months, but during the late summer becomes home to many amazing waterfalls tucked away inside hidden canyons.
Filmed during the 2014 Ouray Canyon Festival, “Ouray” features some of the best Class C (flowing water) canyoneering that Colorado has to offer.
World Falling Away is an outdoor adventure series with a focus on canyoneering and kayaking in the Southwest U.S.
My name is Paul McDaniel, and I have been with Osprey Packs for over 2 years. Currently I am the Business Process Manager, where my focus is on continuous improvement for all of Osprey’s business processes.
I was born and raised in Arkansas, where I was reared on a steady diet of whitewater, climbing, and general outdoor shenanigans. After living in Florida, South Carolina, and Washington state (due to a 6 year stint in the Navy) I ended up in the Southwest US (Arizona & Colorado), where I was introduced to a relatively obscure sport: canyoneering.
Armed with a climbing background and overconfidence, I set out on my newfound passion, where following a couple of close calls and dumb luck, I quickly discovered about the only thing climbing and canyoneering have in common were the helmet and the harness.
Soon after however, I was able to find a training pipeline that allowed me to bring my technical skillset up to my level of ambition. At this point, I was introduced to some rather talented individuals, with amazing canyoneering expertise, and after introducing them to whitewater kayaking, World Falling Away was born.
With the help of my friends, I started World Falling Away as a way to showcase the unique experiences that culminate from mixing a rugged Southwest environment with the most basic of elements — water. Monsoon storms turn canyons that are normally dry into something else entirely once they flash flood, creating canyoneering experiences only for the brave at heart. Spring-filled creeks surrounded by desert provide year-round kayaking where there shouldn’t be any. Late summer alpine lakes become the headwaters for waterfalls so intense they not only test a person’s rope skills, but also how long that individual can hold their breath. World Falling Away is the about experiencing the moment, and letting everything else fade into obscurity.
I currently live in Cortez, Colorado, where I am also an avid mountain biker, trail runner, and ice climber.
“16 world-class teams will compete over seven stages that will take the riders across nearly 600 miles of epic terrain. Included amongst the competitors will be BMC Racing Team, Team Garmin-Sharp and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling. This year’s race begins in the legendary Bike Town USA, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and winds across the Rockies to what will certainly be a thrilling circuit finish in the state capital of Denver.”
Stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge proved to be a challenging one right away with the ascent of Fremont Pass (11,318 feet). That steep climb proved to be just a warm-up as the real challenge for riders was ascending the upper slopes of Independence Pass and then heading down its breathtaking descent into Aspen, where some of the most memorable moments in Pro Challenge history have played out. Over half of Stage 3 of the 2015 USA Pro Cycling Challenge was above 10,000 feet — which makes for incredible views and seriously tired lungs.
- Check out the final results for Stage 3.
- Here is a recap video of Stage 3 for those of you who missed it.
Stage Three of @usaprochallenge in #Aspen! We're thrilled to once again be at the #ProChallenge AND to be the Official Backpack of this world class, 7-stage professional #cycling race taking place every day from 8/17 until 8/23 across our great home-state of #Colorado. Learn more: blog.ospreypacks.com
Onward to Stage 4 in the breathtaking city of Breckenridge, Colorado – which sits at just above 9,000 feet.
If you are in the area, we would love to see you at the Osprey Packs booth! Here’s just a sampling of what we’ve got going on at our booth for the 2015 Pro Cycle Challenge:
- Limited Edition FlapJack Pro Cycle Challenge Pack: Osprey is proud to be the Official Pack of the Pro Cycle Challenge! You can pick up one of our newly designed Fall 2015 FlapJack Packs which is co- branded with the Pro Cycle logo, a functional and memorable souvenir for years to come! In celebration of the Pro Cycle Challenge we doing a killer deal of $85 normally ($110 MSRP) and only while supplies last so don’t delay!
- Osprey Packs Cowbell — all proceeds benefitting IMBA: Earn some good karma points while cheering on the pros by picking up a customized Osprey Packs cowbell! All proceeds from the sale of your ProChallenge cowbell will benefit Osprey Packs’ non-profit partner, International Mountain Bicycling Association, which supports great rides nationwide by providing trail project grants and funding access issues.
- Pack Fitting by the Experts: In the market for a new pack but still need to figure out some of the details? Not to worry, our Pro Cycle team are pack-fit gurus and can find the pack that fits your specific needs and style! Stop by to get professionally fitted or just to chat about the options we have.
- 20% off at Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge: We have teamed up with our local retailer, Mountain Outfitters to bring you 20% off all Osprey Packs in their store! If you are attending the Breckenridge stage of the challenge, stop by to take advantage of this great deal!
If you weren’t able to make it out to Colorado this year, then check out the livestream of each stage or the Official Tour Tracker to keep up with the racers! Be sure to follow this year’s races on social media with the Official USA Pro Cycle Challenge social sites:
Follow Osprey Packs on social media to keep up with the race throughout the week:
As many of you may have noticed, SW Colorado has been unseasonably wet for the past couple of months. And I’m not talking a nice and gentle Seattle-like drizzle. I mean full on thunder-hail, monsoon, wrath of the gods type of weather. Needless to say, I’ve been chased from the mountains as lightning ripped through savage clouds with my tail between my legs more than a few times this season.
It’s not like I’m not checking the weather reports before heading out on assignment. In fact, I’ve been studying over weather forecasts like it was my job. Well, because it kinda is I suppose. But at the end of the day, you just can’t predict mountain weather. So if they’re calling for 60% chance of thunderstorms, that’s a 40% chance to catch some amazingly dynamic light.
That’s exactly what Ben Clark, Sam Feuerborn and I were facing when we went out to shoot a video of the Osprey Packs Anti-Gravity™ series in the Telluride backcountry last week. As soon as we rolled into town, we found ourselves at the local dive bar, waiting for a glimmer of sunshine to pierce the gray curtain. Hunkered down by the plate glass window of The Buck, we watched our day’s plans wash down Main Street in the daily deluge.
‘Yet, another shutdown brought to you by Mother Nature’, I thought. Feeling obligated to be at least somewhat productive, I suggested that we head up to Imogene Pass and scout a little. We loaded up the truck, put it in four-wheel drive and headed up hill.
It did not take me long to discover that Imogene was not a path for the faint of heart. Imagine a very technical and frighteningly narrow road strewn with melon-sized boulders which occasionally fall from the crumbling San Juan cliff side. On your right is an unguarded 1500 foot drop to oblivion. On your left, cascading waterfalls crashing over your hood. White-knuckled, but grinning ear to ear, we continued on. And so did the rain.
At nearly 11,000 feet, we rolled into the ghost town of Tomboy. And within moments, the storm that had shrouded us in defeat began a hasty retreat. We all looked at one another, shrugged our shoulders and without a word, donned our gear.
We knew our window would be a brief one, so we focused on the task at hand and knocked out six scenes in less than an hour. When the rain clouds rushed back in, we charged back to the truck, loaded the gear and reveled on the fact on how lucky we were to have that window.
Closing the tailgate and about to head home, the clouds decided to part for us one last time. As they did, we found ourselves wrapped in the some of the most incredibly beautiful, golden light we had ever seen. Diving headfirst into the truck, Sam soon emerged with an Atmos AG pack. I grabbed my MKIII, locked on a 70-200mm lens and we sprinted up to an overlook, racing the light with every step. When we reached the top, we had just enough time to snap this frame before the magic was gone forever.
Right place, right people, right time.
Here’s the first video featuring our award-winning, innovative 2015 Anti-Gravity series:
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My name is Dan Holz, and I have the good fortune of being the staff photographer for Osprey Packs. Photography has been a passion of mine since grade school and I’ve used it as a vehicle to take me everywhere from my backyard in Colorado to the lush jungles of Borneo and the glaciated landscapes of Patagonia. People often ask if I have a ‘specialty.’ It’s kind of a tough question, because while I specialize in active lifestyle and mountain sport photography, I find myself chasing the magic light more than anything else. If the face of a Nepali farmer is suddenly cast in the beautiful shadow of contrast, I become a portrait photographer in that moment. Or if a setting sun embraces a rice paddy outside of Chiang Mai, for an instant I’m a landscape photographer. As a photographer, I am always exploring self-expression and pushing the limits of what I – and my camera – can do. It’s a passion, it’s a job, it’s a lifestyle all wrapped up in a single package. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.