san juan mountains
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.
“Public Lands: Valuable to Our Bottom Line and Way of Life,” written by Osprey Packs co-founder & co-owner Diane Wren, originally appeared in the Montrose Press.
Twenty five years ago, my husband Mike and I moved from the coastal redwoods of California to the edge of sandstone canyon country in the San Juan Mountains in the hopes of building a headquarters for our homegrown company – Osprey Packs – that would allow us to test our handmade gear in the most inspiring and rugged of places. After settling in Cortez, Osprey quickly became an international force in the outdoor industry, and we’ve been proud to grow our classic American dream in southwestern Colorado. We now employ over 80 people in Cortez and are still growing. Like many other international outdoor businesses across Colorado, we chose to build a business here because access to public lands makes this the perfect spot for our employees to settle down, for us to try out our next idea in the field, and because so many in our community share our love for getting outside and exploring our wild West.
The same incredible landscapes that drew us to Colorado, though, are now facing a serious threat. Out-of-state special interests like the American Lands Council are pushing legislators across the Rockies to try to seize our national public lands and transfer them into state control, which could bankrupt our states and lead to massive access closures. Colorado is lucky enough to have 24 million acres of federal public lands within our borders, but the state managing them would cost Coloradans over $300 million a year, and a single wildfire could add tens of millions of dollars to the bill. Our state is constitutionally bound to balance its budget – this additional financial burden would likely force the state to prioritize extractive uses or sell off our lands to the highest bidder for private development. (more…)
#KeepItPublic, #OurLand, Canyon of the Ancients, Chimney Rock, Colorado, Conservation, Cortez, Diane Wren, Dolores River Canyon, Osprey Culture, Phil's World, public lands, San Juan Citizens Alliance, san juan mountains, the conservation alliance, the new york times, Uncompahgre National Forest, Western Colorado Congress, Will Rogers
What better way to kick off 2014 than with a few jitters, chattering teeth, and a full serving of adrenaline as you carefully choose where to swing your axe next??
That’s what will be happening in the little town of Ouray, Colorado, as people from all over the country travel to Ouray to participate in one of the largest ice festivals in the nation. This will be our 10th year attending and there are MANY reasons we keep coming back!
It will all kick off on Thursday night, January 9th, with presentations and delicious beers brewed in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. (more…)
It is funny to me how goal setting can be such an indomitable force. Sometimes I have to strive for something really impossible just to find my motivation, while other times I’ll set my sights too low and be greeted by successful dissatisfaction. I’ve found that balance is harder than executing, especially when the factors are out of your control and dictated by nature. But not this summer… this summer in the mountains has been one of the best, and it just keeps on giving.
It has been a tough spring here in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. Spring was a complete dud in terms of moisture and delivered little from the skies except numerous big dust storms. The dust made the already dwindling snowpack melt even faster leaving us with conditions that more resemble late July than early June. What can you do but make the best of a bad hand? This past weekend I loaded up the trusty Subaru Outback for a drive up to Clear Lake above Silverton. Numerous long couloirs lead to aprons that end at the lakes edge making for some of the most scenic runs in the regions.
We love a good hut trip, and the San Juans… well, they’re our magical backyard.
via Adventure Journal:
Bob Kingsley spent eight years guiding at Colorado’s famed 10th Mountain Division Huts and found it…frustrating. He wanted to offer people a remote hut that could access easy to intermediate terrain like the 10th Mountain huts and hardcore terrain, too. So ever since that first year guiding he’s been looking for just the right spot to build his own hut. After 16 years of searching and then the last four summers pounding nails, it’s complete, and the Opus Hut, a skin-in, ski-out cabin a few miles from Silverton, is about to open.
And unlike many of the 10th Mountain huts, Opus has something for everyone.
“Right out the back door is Owl Meadow. That’s excellent beginner terrain. Low angle. No avalanche danger,” Kingsley says. More intermediate terrain lies to the south. “That gets a little sun crusted, but bust through and you’re skiing powder through sparse trees right to the valley floor.”
The north-facing slopes of Ophir Pass less than a mile away are steeper and 13,661-foot Lookout Peak right behind the hut has the goods, too. “There are crags and big faces and couloirs,” Kingsley says. And right next door 13,380-foot South Lookout peak has “…phenomenal terrain. There’s enough there to keep me busy for the rest of my life.”
… the bottom line of Opus is that it gets you to the white.
Read the rest here…
PHOTO via Opus Hut