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Chugach Rock Climbing

November 25th, 2014

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.

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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.

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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.

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Joshua and I with the Deep Lake Buttress behind. Rock climbing in Alaska in mid-May. We are so lucky.

Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aiguille du Peigne

September 24th, 2014

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.

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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.

 

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Some places the rock kicked up to 5.8, with lots of exposure.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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Vertfest: One Grand Party for all Snowsports!

February 13th, 2014

That’s right folks — it’s here!

The Mightiest “Festival of Freeride and Mountain Mettle” in all of North America is returning to Alpental, WA on the 15th of February. So what does that mean? Well, it means that Osprey will be joining some of the best brands in the outdoor industry, including Outdoor Research, La Sportiva, and Mammut, to bring two full days of demos, clinics, beer drinking, races, snowfall, music, more beer drinking and many other forms of fun (all type 1 of course,) back to the great state of Washington.

We encourage all residents in the greater Seattle area to come out and join us this weekend — there are some events that you do NOT want to miss.

Not thoroughly convinced? Let us elaborate on why this may be the most epic weekend of skiing you’ll have this entire season: Read more…

Active Lifestyle, contest, Events, Non-profits, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life, Outdoor Activities, Product, Snowsports, video , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reminiscing Red Rock Rendezvous, Cheers to 10 years!

May 1st, 2013
Osprey Athlete Beth Rodden poster signing at the booth.

Osprey Athlete Beth Rodden poster signing at the booth.

The 10th Anniversary of the Red Rock Rendezvous not only had a great attendance rate by pro climbers and climbing enthusiast alike, but also had the best weather it has seen in the past years. The tormenting desert winds took a hike the weekend of the festival, which left climbers with the perfect conditions for enjoying the festival events and outdoor activities.

The weekend was filled with various clinics from wilderness first aid, multi-pitch climbs, trad leads and even mountain bike clinics by our very own Osprey athletes Jeff Fox and Alison Gannett. Osprey provided demo packs to attendees for a chance to test out our new hydration packs and reservoir as well as our climbing specific packs, the Mutant and Variant.

As the festivities began to wind down and outdoor enthusiasts returned from their adventures, Red Rock Rendezvous continued the party with events like the Dyno Competition, where individuals would miraculously dyno to holds 6-9 feet above, and with guest speakers including Conrad Anker and Malcolm Daly who spoke about some of their landmark climbs from the past years, to bumping beats from various DJs later into the night.

Whether you were a local from Las Vegas, a dirtbag from different parts of the country, or a newbie just checking out the scene for the first time, Red Rock Rendezvous offered experiences for all skill sets and allowed strangers from all walks of life to celebrate climbing and outdoor community.

Events, Osprey Athletes, photos, travel , , , , , , ,

Celebrating 10 Years of Red Rock Rendezvous

April 5th, 2013

Today marks the kick-off of the Red Rock Rendezvous, and its 10 year anniversary, at Red Rocks Conservation Area in Spring Mountain Ranch State Park. The event is a veritable extravaganza of outdoor adventure, which includes back-to-back clinics focused on climbing, mountain biking, trail running and more. Powered by Mountain Gear and yours truly, Osprey Packs, we’ll be there to help celebrate and make it as unforgettable an event as ever!

Osprey Packs will be providing mountain bike clinics through the weekend at Red Rocks with the likes of Osprey Pro Athlete Alison Gannett and Osprey Amateur Athlete Jeff Fox. We’ll have demo bikes from our friends at Trek Bicycles and much more.

Saturday’s bound to be a big day, with Osprey-sponsored climbing clinics instructed by Osprey Athletes and pro climbers Majka Burhardt and Beth Rodden. Majka will instruct a “Learn to Trad Lead” clinic, and Beth will be leading a clinic on “Intermediate Sport and Techniques.” Adding to that, Saturday we’ll host a “Meet the Osprey Athletes” event from the booth with free poster signings. Come by the Osprey Booth  from 6-6:30 to see Majka Burhardt, who will be signing posters and talking about her latest adventures. Right after, Beth Rodden will be signing posters and talking about her latest adventures from 7-7:30! For more information about the schedule and to sign up for clinics, visit the Red Rocks Rendezvous website here.

Throughout the weekend, Osprey Packs will also be stationed at its booth offering  free pack demos, and we’ll have the brand-new line of men’s and women’s 2013 hydration packs and Variant and Mutant climbing packs there for you to try on. We’ll also be offering free pro pack sizings, fittings and advice from Osprey Packs experts throughout the event.

Adding a little more recreation to the event’s festivities, come by the Osprey booth to play our Access Fund Bola Bowl/Ladder Toss Game and you may win a free pack as we raise funds for the Access Fund! Then, try your hand at our “Fix a Flat Contest” and race against the clock to win prizes that include our spring 2013 line of Osprey hydration packs! To top it all off, we’ll have daily giveaways with swag, stickers and catalogs — so stop by to say hi!

We’ll see you at Red Rock!

adventure, Events, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, Product , , , , , ,

Majka’s clinic: an ice climbing first

January 11th, 2010

Saturday was a first…ice climbing in Ouray’s Ice Park during the world’s most famous ice climbing festival! I slinked away from the Osprey demo tent to see just what this ice climbing thing was all about.  Osprey athlete Majka Burhardt hosted a climbing clinic and I was lucky enough to squeeze in.

Putting on our harness, crampons, helmet and grabbing our ice axes, we headed up along the ravine edge to our destination, the Schoolhouse area. My eyes widened a bit as I surveyed the metal ladder. Hmmm. Exposure anyone? Ignoring a slight adrenaline surge, I turned around and gingerly made my way down the steps, my crampon points occasionally getting stuck between the inch-thick bars until I met the near-vertical snowy path, where a rope lay on the snow.

“Turn around Kerry!” Majka called to me, “It’s easier to pick your way facing downhill.”

Oh. And indeed it was, as I regained composure coming down.

We followed the path, passing under belayers’ ropes and gathered around. Majka methodically went through all we needed to know before getting on the ice. Harness safely in place. Check. Laces tightened up. Check.  “Loose boots are no good ice climbing. You’re pivoting your foot and you want your feet snug in the boots, so make sure you cinch down the laces, especially around your ankles,” Majka explained. Next, she described the differences of tools–the shapes of the handles, what a leash will or won’t do for you and the types of crampons we all had and what they were good for.

Wasting no time, she showed us the motion and plane that the ice axes should be wielded, how far we should reach and where our arms and legs should be positioned to get leverage on the ice. The first two guinea pigs where up (okay, actually…there were only two of us who hadn’t tried ice climbing). As they made their way up the ice she instructed them and gave them pointers, both when they were climbing up and rapping down. A few more went. I happily snapped shots, occasionally chirping in with “Ice!!” as chunks came careening down.

“Alright, you’re up Kerry,” Majka surprised me.

No panseying-around here!

Despite my lack of excitement for heights paired with my cautiousness with two strained wrist muscles, this was just the ass kick I needed. Off I went. I didn’t have time to get worked up, although I did tell my belayer to take up a little more slack, that I preferred to know the rope was a bit more taut. My feet and my arms worked simultaneously in rhythm as I ascended the ice, Majka correcting me from the ground. I could feel the difference–the ease of proper technique versus relying on an awkward hold or foot placement.

So different from rock climbing. But I liked it. And I’ll be trying it again! Time to get back to the tent to help Sam show the Osprey love…

The author ascending her first pitch (ok, ok. It was a nice try!).

The author ascending her first pitch...

Events, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, Southwest Colorado, Uncategorized , , , , , , , , ,

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