This October, Osprey Athlete Kim Havell found herself seeking adventure in the Patagonia region of South America. On this trip, Kim’s goal was to enjoy life on the road while discovering big ski lines before the winter season ended in the mountains of our hemispheric counter-part. As a gear-hauling company focused on design and function, we thought this would to be the perfect opportunity for Kim to test new women’s-specific Osprey Packs gear to be released in 2016. As Osprey Product Coordinator Rosie Mansfield explains, “(Athlete Testing) enables us to provide insight to the unique fit, function and aesthetics of this new technical women’s ski line from the perspective of a professional athlete.
Here is the first recap of Kim’s journey traveling the Patagonia mountains on the open roads with her friend, Jessica Baker.
There are endless backcountry ski-route options in the Patagonian Andes of Argentina and Jessica Baker and I were interested in getting off the beaten track with just a road map. Put to task by Osprey Packs to gear test a pending new women’s pack for next season, I moved forward with a long-time goal of road tripping down the Patagonian range.
Plans came together quickly – fellow Ice Axe Expeditions Guide, Jorge Kozujli, has a Renault Master van (see his Facebook page ‘Camper Van Rental Argentina’) that was available for rent and the Andes were seeing record snowfall for their spring season. The combination of lodging, transportation and record snow conditions made the decision easy. Jessica Baker, a fellow EXUM Mountain Guide and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Alpine Guide, was able to jump on board as well.
With logistics in place, we assessed options and objectives on-line from our starting point of Bariloche and ending point of El Chalten. The van gave us the flexibility to stay or shift locations depending on conditions and weather; this would prove invaluable to our experience. Jess and I left the US in early October and arrived in Bariloche as a major storm system moved in for the week. The weather resulted in limited snowfall and overcast skies with warm, humid air.
We checked out the classic spots around Bariloche’s main ski area, Cerro Catedral, and then ventured further west to ski tour in the mountains above its famed lake district. The skies were tempermental with fog and low hanging clouds on our approaches. It took two hours or so to reach snowline and transition to ski gear. We quickly found conditions to be isothermal and dangerous for not only climbing but also for making ski turns. The snow was not freezing at night and the snowpack made for challenging ascents and descents. Nonetheless, we found some decent skiing up higher and explored around some beautiful peaks.
After a few days in Bariloche, we decided to move south. It was hard to leave the gorgeous lakeside camping outside the town and, spoiled, we aimed for great camp spots as we headed to El Chalten – big views, level ground and privacy – and with patience and some luck we found a perfect spot to park our trusty camper van each night. Our route traced down the infamous ‘Ruta 40’. Paralleling the magnificent Andes range we crossed the barren Patagonian steppe on a lonely run-down road with a myriad of obstacles along the way and an abundance of native wild life including Guanaco, Armadillo, Condor, Pink Flamingos, Giant Hares, and more.
As we took shifts navigating the bumpy highway, separate concentrations of high peaks beckoned in the distance. However, with multi-day approaches needed for each spot, we continued on down the road with our sights set on maximizing our days in the mountains surrounding El Chalten and the renowned Fitz Roy Massif. Access to the mountains would prove to be our biggest challenge for the trip…
Keep up with Osprey Athlete Kim Havell:
Osprey athlete Kim Havell has skied on all 7 continents, with 1st descents on 4, and adventured in over 50 countries. During her travels, she has climbed and skied big peaks in the Himalaya & the Karakorum, the highest mountains across the US, with 1st descents both at home and abroad including in the Arctic and Antarctic. Kim has numerous first female descents in Southwest Colorado, climbed and skied both the Grand Teton and Mt. Moran in a 2 day period, completed multiple ascents and ski descents of 13ers & 14ers, and cut lines on peaks in France, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Alaska, Russia, and Japan.
This October, Kim found herself seeking adventure in the Patagonia region of South America. On this trip, Kim’s goal is to enjoy life on the road while discovering big ski lines before the winter season ends in the mountains of our hemispheric counter-part. As a gear-hauling company focused on design and function, we thought this would to be the perfect opportunity for Kim to test new women’s-specific Osprey Packs gear to be released in 2016. As Osprey Product Coordinator Rosie Mansfield explains, “(Athlete Testing) enables us to provide insight to the unique fit, function and aesthetics of this new technical women’s ski line from the perspective of a professional athlete.”
At Osprey, a key philosophy in designing gear has been “To Inspire & Ease Your Journey.” To stay true to our commitment, it takes feedback at all stages of a pack’s development, from our consumers, professionals athletes like Kim and other Osprey athletes. Kim Havell has been a key player in the design, testing, development, fit and end-use of our women’s-specific pack offerings and will continue to assist us in pushing the envelope so that we can offer innovative, groundbreaking products that provide the best design and function for woman who get outdoors.
We caught up with Kim to ask her a few questions about her upcoming trip to Patagonia.
Stay tuned for more from Kim and her adventures while living on the road in South America.
Ultimate goal for this trip? What about little goals?
KH: Both are the same – ski some fun peaks and great lines and embrace the culture and flexibility of life on the road.
Have you been to South America before?
KH: I’ve been to Bariloche, Buenos Aires, and Mendoza – did a ski expedition on Aconcagua a few years ago.
What makes this trip so special? What are you doing different this time around?
KH: We’re picking up a fellow Ice Axe Expeditions guide’s van and driving and skiing down Ruta 40 from Bariloche to Patagonia. There’s a real freedom to this trip and it is an accessible option for those who love to backcountry ski and explore big mountains.
What do you typically eat on a trip like this?
KH: Well we’re going to meat country so we’ll shop and eat local. And, I’ll have a healthy supply of PROBARS for our ski days in the mountains.
Do you have any special rituals or traditions when you’re on the road for long periods of time?
KH: Check snow and weather every morning and evening. And, I’ll bring some lavender and eucalyptus so the van smells nice.
What are some of the things you’re most looking forward to about this trip?
KH: Seeing the lake districts and après with local vino.
How do you scout or research trips like this one to Patagonia?
KH: I am always watching weather and conditions in remote or interesting places. When certain opportunities pop up or things align, I make a spontaneous trip happen or plan for something down the road. Usually, I see, hear, or read something that is of interest and a trip grows and cultivates out of that.
In regards to what you pack, how was this trip different and what do you do when preparing for these types of trips?
KH: We are car camping so it is lighter packing than most expeditions but we have a great deal of gear to bring along. My ski companion, Jessica Baker, and I have compiled a comprehensive list of necessary items and we’ll pack off of that.
What do you do when you’re not skiing?
HV: I’m usually in the mountains – hiking, running, climbing, or with horses.
Anything else you’re currently psyched on for this year?
KH: My boyfriend, a 4th generation Outfitter in WY, and I just adopted 3 mustangs and 3 burros from the BLM wild horse program at the Honor Farm in Riverton, WY. So, I am excited to work with my 2-yr-old horse, Otter, over the coming months and learn how to train and work with him in the field.
Current favorite Osprey pack(s)?
Be sure to keep up with Kim as she plans for bigger and better in 2016:
Currently based in Jackson, WY, Osprey Athlete Kim Havell started her career as an alpine ski coach in the Telluride, CO valley. From there, she gradually made the transition into freeskiing, climbing and ski mountaineering. She has been an instructor and/or guide for Ice Axe Expeditions, San Juan Outdoor School, CVA, Babes in the Backcountry, H2O Heli Guides, as well as a 12 year member of the San Miguel County Search and Rescue Team (and Advisory Board member), with medical and rescue certifications. Kim has skied on all 7 continents, with 1st descents on 4, and adventured in over 50 countries. During her travels, she has climbed and skied big peaks in the Himalaya & the Karakorum, the highest mountains across the US, with 1st descents both at home and abroad including in the Arctic and Antarctic. Kim recently became the first woman to ski-guide the Grand Teton:
On June 2nd, working for Jackson Hole Mountain Guides (JHMG), Brian Warren and I summited the Grand Teton with our client, Greg Paul. Greg’s goal to ski the Grand Teton was coming true. We had made it half-way. (more…)
Osprey Athlete Kim Havell is back from another successful trip ski-guiding and exploring in Antarctica, and she’s got some incredible photos from her adventures! Check them out in the gallery below:
It’s that time of year again! Vertfest is and always will be known as “the best Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle in North America,” and it’s back, ready to kick off on February 16th and 17th in Alpental, WA. Naturally, we’ll be there to help celebrate. Here’s the full scope of what you can expect:
The weekend will begin on Saturday with the Monika Johnson Memorial Rally, with a race division that’ll take participants on two laps up Alpental and back — in addition to a recreational division, as well as a 50+ and splitboard division, all of which will offer up just one lap. Saturday will progress with a contest, an awards ceremony and an epic raffle with ski and pack giveaways. Saturday’s festivities will cap off with live music from Head Like A Kite and Daydream Vacation.
Sunday is the day of educational clinics, ranging from an Intro to Splitboarding with Neil Provo to a clinic focused on landscape photography to a Sidecountry Steeps Clinic with our very own Osprey Athlete Kim Havell. This clinic will take place from 9-12 and 1-4 p.m. You can check the full clinic schedule for details here, but be sure to stop by the Osprey booth on Sunday between 4 and 4:30 for a chance to meet Kim Havell, who will be doing a poster-signing!
Throughout the weekend, Osprey will be providing free demos on the Karve series of sidecountry riding packs, as well as the Kode 22 backcountry riding pack, so be sure to swing by to try on a Karve or Kode pack and get fitted by a professional. We’ll have Karve 6, 11 and 16 as well as the Kode 22 on hand for free demos. What’s more, we’ll be there with the entire Osprey winter collection and all of the new packs that will be coming in Spring of 2013. And while you’re at the Osprey booth, be sure to take the 3-minute Osprey Vertfest survey for a chance to win a brand-new Osprey pack. We’ll see you on the mountain!
Know the poorest of the poor are among your neighbors, in your neighborhoods, in your town, in your city, perhaps in your own family. We must look first to our own streets. — Mother Teresa
The dynamic Kenyans we met demonstrated that the first place to make a difference is in our own neighborhoods—in our own country. For those with greater wherewithal the help can and should extend further. In the big picture, our greatest hope is to educate as many people as possible in the areas where our world is struggling and losing balance: clean water, sanitation, wildlife poaching, climate change, poverty, illiteracy etc.
Pete McBride and Jake Norton teamed up to film the trip. Their talent is exceptional with stunning imagery that captures the path of water from its origins on Mt Kenya, which supplies the country with 70 percent of its water, through the bush to the city where it runs dry in the slums. This film will show even those in the first world that there is a lot at stake as we lose our watersheds.
Great deeds are usually wrought at great risk. — Herodutus
This has been a tough season and the losses are overwhelming. Because so many friends died in the backcountry this year, it is in the spirit of discussion and education that I thought I would share more about some latest adventures.
There have been many moments of confusion and sadness. It has been a difficult process of personal internal recovery to get back out there.. but, the mountains are what move me.
In 2007, I skied the Grand Teton in WY. It was a long and exciting day, but fairly easy going. Everything fell into place and the mountain welcomed us at each pause. My ski partner Karen and I had planned the trip and took a long weekend off from work. We drove 10 hours from Telluride, arrived at 8pm, and our team left for the park at 12am. We climbed 7,000 ft, covering some miles with heavy packs. Conditions were great for climbing and for skiing so we pulled it off. It was my first time skiing in the Grand Teton National Park, and 16 hours after we started we were back in the parking lot, elated with the accomplishment of a great ski descent.
Skiing the Grand Teton along with climbing Lobuche and Ama Dablam in Nepal in 2005, were notable turning points for me because both endeavors went so smoothly. With these two successful experiences I was deeply enchanted with the big mountains and with bigger possibilities in ski mountaineering.
Osprey athlete Kim Havell sent this video to us this morning and it’s a perfect mental health break to kickstart your day. This beautiful short from Fisher Creative captures the beauty and the reality of ski attempts in the high Himalaya — in this case on the 14th highest peak in the world — without the use of any oxygen and with no one else on the mountain with them at the end.
Kim, and the rest of the team, was attempting to complete a first descent on the mountain, but not the first descent. The peak has been skied before… they were just hoping to ski a new route from the top. The crew turned around just shy of the final summit push because of a sick teammate and other factors. Take a few minutes, grab your cup and enjoy.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each week. We call it the Osprey Round Up.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” — Helen Keller
We saw this photo of our friend and Osprey athlete Kim Havell over on her latest article for Outside Magazine and it got us thinking of all of the people we know who are out exploring this world and living life to it’s fullest right at this very moment. So here’s to our friends and to all of us who “behave like free spirits”… And here’s to finding some adventure this weekend. Happy Friday!
Osprey athlete Kim Havell, sent us the link to her latest Salomon Freeski video this morning. We love getting new stuff from Kim, because it gives us a little mental health break in the day watching her carve into big, beautiful powder and also, it makes us jealous — giving us a kick in the pants to get into the mountains even more than we already do. Thanks Kim!
Deep in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia Chris Rubens, Elyse Saugstad and Kim Havell put the new Salomon Guardian binding to the test. Beautiful conditions, deep powder and good folks to tour with… just another day at the “office”.
Based in Salt Lake City, Kim Havell began her career in the mountains as an alpine ski coach. From there she gradually made the transition to climbing and ski mountaineering. Kim has since been an instructor for the San Juan Outdoor School, CVA, and Babes in the Backcountry. She has also tail-guided for H2O Heli Guides, and been a twelve year member of the San Miguel County Search and Rescue Team, with medical and rescue certifications. Kim is the only woman (& one of less than 5 people) to ski the direct couloirs of the infamous Little Wasatch Ridge in Telluride, Colorado.
To follow Kim’s adventures please visit: HavellTravels-The Adventures of Kim Havell Professional Skier or follow Kim on Twitter.