November 20th 2015 - Written by: Kelsy

Patagonian Ski Tales from the Road



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.Osprey_5_6956

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:





October 21st 2015 - Written by: Kelsy

Osprey Athlete Kim Havell Tests Osprey Gear in the Mountains of Patagonia

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)?

KH: The Osprey Kyte Series, Variant Series & Mutant Series.

Be sure to keep up with Kim as she plans for bigger and better in 2016:





July 20th 2014 - Written by: Kelsy

Power in the Pristine: A Victory for Rios Libres!

Baker-5-475x315Osprey has been a proud sponsor of the Rios Libres Project since its inception 4 years ago. Rios Libres has worked tirelessly to protect Patagonia, Chile, from the HidroAysén consortium and their plan to overrun the region with five gratuitous and unsustainable hydroelectric dams. This past month marks a milestone victory in the movement for sustainable energy and environmental protection in Chile’s pristine Patagonia wild lands.

After 6 years of intense local protesting by the Chilean people, joined by tens of thousands of international supporters, we all now have reason to celebrate. Newly elected Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet ran on a platform that she would not support the HidroAysén project, while the newly appointed Minister of Environment announced on June 10th that the Chilean government has rejected HidroAysén. (more…)

March 7th 2013 - Written by: Kelsy

Streams of Consequence


The above clip is the trailer for a film called Streams of Consequence, which has been described as “a solution-based film that addresses the hard questions that remained unanswered in Rios Libres’s first film: “What does an alternative energy model look like?” “How do the Chileans feel about it?” and “Could Chile become a global leader by gaining energy independence via green technology?” Here’s the full scoop on how this film came about:

In summer 2010, photographer James ‘Q’ Martin and conservation biologist Chris Kassar started an organization called Rios Libres. The organization uses multi-media to join the fight to protect the wild lands of Patagonia from proposed dams that threaten two of the most pristine rivers in one of the world’s most spectacular regions. Last April, Q traveled south once again and landed in the thick of some of the largest anti-dam protests the country has ever seen. He captured historic footage of the protests, then spent nine weeks traveling the length of the country talking to gauchos, scientists, activists and the public in search of answers.

While the conversations Q captured while in Chile last April continue, the hope is that Streams of Consequence will serve to raise awareness and support those conversations here.

The film premiered at the 2013 Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival and will continue to show across the country via Wild and Scenic, other film festivals and grassroots screenings. Check it out here and be sure to let us know what you think!

Thanks to Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line for posting!

June 22nd 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

Rios Libres Petition Contest: Take Action + Be Entered To Win A New Osprey Pack

Last week we brought you a post with tons of information about Osprey partner Rios Libres, an organization that’s fighting hard against proposed damming on Patagonia’s pristine and incredibly powerful rivers. If you haven’t already gone ahead and signed the Rios Libres petition against HidroAysen’s proposal to dam the Baker and Pascua here, don’t feel bad, we’ve got another opportunity for you to take action, and it’s pretty awesome in and of itself.

Launching today, Thursday, June 21st — and running through Tuesday, July 3rd is the Rios Libres Petition Contest, in which you can help keep Patagonia Wild and win prizes at the same time! To TAKE ACTION, and be entered for a chance to win an Osprey Atmos or Aura backpack, all you have to do is go here to sign the petition, and then be sure to SHARE it on Facebook or Twitter.

Want more background info? Here’s the scoop on the proposed dam project:

Last year, Chilean officials gave the green light to the HidroAysén project, which would build five mega-dams on two of Patagonia’s wildest rivers. Now, one of the two corporations behind HidroAysén has suspended progress on the project indefinitely. Urge Chilean President Piñera to show environmental leadership at the upcoming Earth Summit by overturning the approval of HidroAysén and saving Patagonia from destruction.

Your willingness to sign the petition in solidarity with the 72% of Chileans who are against damming Patagonia could help save these wild rivers so TAKE ACTION now! And keep in mind, your participation could just win you your very own Osprey pack, as well!

PHOTO Via: Rios Libres

May 1st 2012 - Written by: Kelsy

Travel Tuesday: Video – A Story for Tomorrow

The story of one couple’s ultimate journey—five weeks exploring the wild and rugged landscape of Chile and Patagonia. We caught this little gem on the big screen at 5Point Film Festival last weekend. It’s sure to stoke your inner wanderlust this Tuesday morning.

December 12th 2011 - Written by: Kelsy

Stop Dams in Patagonia: The River Speaks… and So Can You

Chris Kassar taking the time to say a prayer at the proposed dam site of the Baker River. Patagonia, Chile. Photo: James Q Martin

by Chris Kassar via The Cleanest Line

Every time I kneel down next to a river – even if just for a moment – I swear I can hear it speak to me. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I also know I’m not the only one who hears wise murmurs rising from the ripples of wild waters. For many of us, the rhythm of a river can mesmerize our soul, capture our spirit and force us to really stop and listen.

The Baker River, nestled deep in the mountains of Chilean Patagonia, is no different. I spent weeks walking its banks, riding its waves, and crunching through the epic ice fields that feed it. I even floated over the exact spot where its journey as a river ended and it emptied into the sea – a feat in and of itself given that so many rivers, including my very own Colorado, no longer even make it all the way to the ocean. But, this trip from source to sea was much more than just a fun adventure. We – team Rios Libres – immersed ourselves in the landscape so we could arm ourselves with the knowledge needed to join the fight to protect Patagonia’s wildlands and the people who depend on them.

During our excursion, the mighty Baker spoke volumes and gave us a glimpse into what the world used to be like – full of untamed lands, untouched rivers, intact forests and people who depended on the land and each other to survive. Spending a month at the edge of the world was like traveling back in time to an age when things were simpler and nature remained largely unaltered by the trappings of man.

Unfortunately, the experience we had may not be available for future generations unless we raise our voices and speak for the river. Huge walls of concrete threaten to choke the furious turquoise flow of Chile’s most voluminous river, the Baker and its rugged sister, the Pascua. If allowed, big business will ruin pristine old-growth forests, destroy the gaucho culture and silence the beautiful sound of these waters only to replace them with the disheartening din of ‘civilization’ – bulldozers, power lines, reservoirs and dams… all to provide power for the destructive mining industry in the north.

Timmy O'Neill dropping Class V on the Baker River. Photo: James Q Martin

But this doesn’t have to happen. Perhaps, if we could just sit and listen more carefully, we might hear the river speak and fully grasp the idea that it is more important to protect the river’s power than harness it. Chile has the opportunity to learn from mistakes made in the past; they can act as a model for the rest of the world by seeking alternatives that allow them to gain energy independence while still maintaining the character of Patagonia.

We’ve written about this in the past and our team made an award-winning film called Power in the Pristine that documented our source-to-sea adventure and highlighted the various threats to the region.

So why are we writing now? We’re writing because this fight is far from over and we need your help in giving this river and its people a voice once again. A lot has happened over the past year and it seems that the wild character of the entire region – which was once endangered – is now closer to extinction than ever before. The following video will catch you up on the issue. We hope it inspires you to read on and to act. The river speaks and so can you!


Synopsis of recent happenings: In May 2011, the government approved the dams. Tens of thousands of Chileans took to the streets in opposition and six weeks later, the Court temporarily halted all construction due to a pending appeal. This was especially significant since the Court was the only Chilean authority to challenge the project since its inception in 2008. However, in October, the Chilean appeals court ruled in favor of the dam project causing the volley to continue as opponents who want to protect this unique environment brought their challenge to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the project still requires a permit for more than 1,250 miles (2,000-km) of transmission line to carry the 2,750 megawatts generated from deep in southern Patagonia to the capital Santiago. Earlier this week (Dec. 5), HidroAysen – the company behind the dam project – released initial plans for the powerline and the environmental analysis will begin in March 2012.

Clearly, the fight to protect Chile’s pristine rivers and wildlands is not over; protests continue and polls show that over 74% of Chileans oppose the dams. This Saturday, December 10, thousands will return to the streets in Coyahique and other cities in Chile to show the government that they oppose this decision. If you cannot make the event in Chile, please show your solidarity by taking action through these groups:

  1. Rios Libres: Join the ‘virtual march’ to keep Patagonia Wild!
  2. NRDC: Tell Chile’s President to stop the HidroAysén project from destroying Patagonia (Learn more)
  3. International Rivers: Demand Democracy for Chile – NO to HidroAysén!

The river speaks and so can you!

For more info go to: www.rioslibres.com.

November 16th 2011 - Written by: Kelsy

Patagonia National Park Opens For Visitors + Why We Still Need To Fight Damming Patagonia’s Rivers

At the southernmost end of the Americas lies wild Patagonia, a still unexplored land of legendary natural beauty. Vast expanses of open space stretch out in all directions. A curious geological past has shaped this varied and dynamic landscape. Bordering the fjords of the Pacific coast, the world’s largest extrapolar icefields contain some of the region’s most impressive peaks, while to the east, the windswept steppes stretch out to the Atlantic coast. Glacier-fed rivers, full of some of the world’s purest water, tumble between jagged, never-climbed mountains. Herds of long-necked guanacos gallop across expansive grasslands as Andean condors, one of Earth’s most massive birds, soar overhead.

Six years ago, Conservacion Patagonica launched its most ambitious project yet: the creation of Patagonia National Park in the Aysen Region of southern Chile. When complete, this 650,000-acre expanse of grasslands, wetlands, mountains and rivers will secure permanent protection for an ecologically critical region of Patagonia. Spanning the Jeinimeni and Tamango Mountains and the Chacabuco Valley, the future park will mark a new chapter in Patagonia’s history: from failed sheep ranching to conservation and ecotourism. Simultaneously, the park will counter some of the threats to Patagonia, including desertification, habitat loss and industrial development.

This December, the Patagonia National Park project is opening to visitors. This gallery of photos will have you packing your passport and buying your plane ticket now…

The vision of an expansive wilderness area in Patagonia, where flourishing ecosystems support healthy populations of all native species, where visitors deepen their appreciation of wildness, and where ecotourism and eco-education help local communities thrive, inspires us. It’s a bold vision, but protecting the Earth’s last wild places and diversity of life demands that we think and act big.

One threat especially, requires bold action from not only the community in Patagonia, but the global community as a whole. Together, we must stop the proposed damming of Patagonia’s Baker and Pascua rivers. via Conservacion Patagonica:

Patagonia Sin Represas, the campaign that began in Cochrane as a small grassroots movement to oppose HidroAysén’s plan for five mega-dams, had blossomed into a series of large-scale demonstrations that swept through Chile’s major cities in May and June…

Yet despite these legal advances and the outpouring of opposition to the dams, HidroAysén has managed to push its project forward through the impressive series of obstacles the opposition has thrown in its path…

But the battle is far from over. From here, the case will go to the Chilean Supreme Court. So it seems there is still a chance to turn this roadblock into a dead end for the dams. For those who wish to stand in solidarity with the Sin Represas movement, the best advice is simple: don’t give up. From what we’ve seen so far, public opposition from both in and outside of Chile has been the strongest force in delaying HidroAysén’s agenda. Whether taking to the streets in Santiago, raising awareness about this unfinished story, or engaging in the growing dialogue around Chile’s need for alternative energy.


Patagonia is one of those places that we cannot tame. It’s identity lies in its wildness. And it’s up to all of us to protect it.

Learn more about this special place and how you can protect it here.

November 3rd 2011 - Written by: Kelsy

Take Action: Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for Good

“Alaska truly represents the Great Wild of America. For too long we have been swayed by scare tactics and misinformation regarding the preservation of areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Tongass National Forest… I cannot stand by and allow Alaska’s treasures to be exploited for reasons that ultimately hurt, rather than help our country.” — Osprey Packs’ marketing director Gareth Martins.

via our friend Ron Hunter at Patagonia:

In the words of President Lyndon B. Johnson upon signing the Wilderness Act of 1964: “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.“…

Right now, USFWS is seeking your input on this plan for the Arctic Refuge that, for the first time, includes this Wilderness recommendation.

If Americans speak with a loud and united voice, we can send a strong message that USFWS can’t ignore. Please speak up for the Arctic Refuge by signing a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar asking him to protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness.

Please go to the Alaska Wilderness League Take Action page to sign the letter.

For more information: www.alaskawild.org

PHOTO via Ron Hunter, Patagonia

May 3rd 2011 - Written by: Kelsy

Photo Gallery: Painting Patagonia Red With Photos

Joshua Johnson aka “Joshywashington” traveled through Argentina earlier this year. Joshua is a Seattle-based travel blogger always on the lookout for the next journey. He also heads up MatadorTV. Read more from Joshua on his blog

Photos have a way of bringing you back to a place… to an experience. When looking at my photos from a recent trip to Patagonia, these five bright, red images brought me right back to my journey. To me they tell a compelling story of my two weeks in Patagonia, one of earth’s most desolate, colorful and coveted travel destinations.



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