The Black Lake Chute took me ten years to ski. All that time it teased me from Anchorage. Above my home it looked like a thin white thread tied to the summit of O’Malley Peak. It hung down the north face and draped off of the lower wall. It became my White Whale. Sometimes, between attempts, I’d try to talk myself out of it. It’s too dangerous. There’s plenty of other stuff to ski. But I wanted it so bad….
The Black Lake Chute in February. Cody and I were climbing a ridge near the Chute during an alpine climbing course.
After numerous attempts, I finally got into the chute with the right conditions and the right partner: Roger Strong. The top 300 feet were 55 degrees above a big cliff. The consequences were too high for our liking to ski unroped. We did two raps to get into the chute.
Roger on the second rap into the chute. The run was 2,400 vertical feet. We hoped the style police wouldn’t bust us for a few short raps.
Forty-five degrees, four inches of duff on solid chalk. The stuff of dreams. But it wasn’t a free-for-all and yelling for joy. The chute ended at the top of a 300-foot wall known as the Black Lake Climbs.
We used the front points of our aluminum crampons to traverse above the Black Lake Climbs. Don’t think about the 300-foot cliff below and the traverse is easy. Focus and repeat: “You’re on the ground. Breathe. You’re on the ground. Breathe. You’re on the ground.”
Yeeeeaaaahhhhh!!!! The satisfaction of a ski alpinist: the alpinists relief of surviving the climb combined with the skiers thrill of speed and good snow. Thanks for an incredible day Roger!
Osprey Athletes, Snowsports
photo: Gus Gusciora
Osprey Packs is a proud sponsor of Mountainfilm in Telluride — we’re honored to have supported this incredible event for 10 years!
Started in 1979, Mountainfilm in Telluride is one of America’s longest-running film festivals. Through the years, in and out of trends and fads, the Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival has always been best described by one unchanging word: inspiring. Far more than any other adjective, that’s how festival audiences describe their experience.
Mountainfilm is dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating audiences about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, environments worth preserving, adventures worth pursuing and conversations worth sustaining.
Festival Schedule 2014
Osprey Happenings at Mountainfilm
- This year at Mountainfilm you can purchase a Mountainfilm/Osprey Pack on sale at the Mountainfilm store, proceeds benefit Mountainfilm.
- Enter to an Osprey Packs Beta Port and a pair of ZEAL Optics glasses from Telluride Ski Resort, one of is the most beautiful resorts in the world, offering spectacular skiing & snowboarding, golf, lodging & year-round vacation packages. Simply tag your favorite Instagram photos from Mountainfilm with #mfilm14 and @tellurideski to enter!
The Official Festival Primer from Mountainfilm
Whether you’re new to Mountainfilm in Telluride this year or a veteran with decades of festival stories, listen up. The following tips and new additions might just make the difference between a good weekend and the best weekend…ever.
Advocacy, contest, Events, film festivals, Non-profits, Osprey Culture, Osprey Life
Osprey's Shannon Hahn rappels 150 feet down a slot canyon in Zion National Park during a product testing trip in June 2012. Photo: Chris Horton
There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. ― Aldo Leopold
Here’s to finding some wildness this weekend. Happy Friday from Osprey Packs!
Friday Round-up, Osprey Culture, Outdoor Activities, Product, travel
For fifteen years we have been sewing labels listing the Principles of Leave No Trace into our larger packs. We look at it as a friendly reminder, from us to you, of your responsibility to the environment you enjoy with our packs on your back. Do your part by learning more about these principles and teaching them to others. Participate in the harmony of nature and leave no trace of your passage. We’re proud to support Leave No Trace and share news of the great work they are doing. The following is an update about 2012 Leave No Trace Hot Spots.
causes, Conservation, Outdoor Activities
Thanks Osprey blog readers for your helpful comments on my Tear Down the Cairn post. I realize it was written with some arrogance, but sometimes it has to be done to get a reaction. Below is a second go at cairns — this time, I kept it to Alaska. Keep sending your opinionated, but civilized comments so I can keep working on this project. Cheers!
adventure, Osprey Athletes
It’s summer and if you’re anything like us you’re probably itching to get out on the trail this weekend. With backpacking season in full swing, we thought it would be good to post a little refresher from the Leave No Trace Principles. Because it’s up to us to make sure our wilderness stays wild, healthy and fun!
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Learn more about Leave No Trace and the principles here. And remember, if you have an Osprey Pack, these principles are printed right inside your pack!
causes, Conservation, Osprey Culture
-23 degrees C, 04:00 in the night at Finse, Norway. Sleeping alone outside with the stars, indescribable. — Håkon Broder Lund
Congratulations Håkon! Ready to post your own love letter? Here’s how you enter…
contest, Osprey Culture, Product
A new uranium mining boom is threatening further harm to the people, water, wildlands and biodiversity of the Grand Canyon region.
The Obama administration is considering a plan that would protect up to 1 million acres of the Grand Canyon’s watersheds from new uranium mining. But only one of the alternatives they’re considering — Alternative B — affords protections across the entire 1 million acre watershed.
What can you do?
1. Knowledge is power. Watch the video and learn why we need to use our voice to speak up for the Grand Canyon right NOW.
2. Share the love! Post this video on your FB, Twitter or blogs. Tell your friends, neighbors, family what’s up.
3. Take action! Send a letter of support to the Obama administration urging them to stand firm and protect the Grand Canyon from nasty uranium mining.
May 4th is the last day the government will be accepting public comments, so please act today!
causes, Conservation, Osprey Culture
For 10 years, a dream lingered, but the clutter of modern living pressed it into submission. Still clinging to the pull of wild places and adventure, Fitz and Becca Cahall revived their youthful vision of summits and faint trails by abandoning work and the city for the wilderness. The Love Letter follows a pair of climbers in search of new and classic routes along the difficult to reach stretches of the Sierra spine, focusing not just on the summits themselves, but the process of attaining them. In the clutter of the modern world, can wilderness still restore the human spirit? We would like to think so.
We caught up with Fitz Cahall, one of the masterminds behind The Love Letter, and asked him some questions…
It sounds like The Love Letter was a dream in the making for a long time. What first sparked your inspiration for this project?
I was 22 living in a van that I didn’t own in Yosemite. We were scrambling to find a camp spot and this woman came up and said she had room in her campsite for another car. She was a scientist doing a project in the national parks. She was pretty old — 32. So ancient, I know. Oddly during that time, I’d keep running into her in the Sierra at various parks and campgrounds. She told me about this three week climbing trip she and her husband had done in Sierra and I thought that’s pretty cool. I thought about that trip a bunch then, but I never had the focus required to do a trip like that. I told Becca about it a while back and it was just always something that stayed in the front of my thoughts.
Later I found that Muir had done a similar trip. David Brower, the father of modern conservation, did an 8-week continuous climbing trip in 1934 and followed a similar course. He ticked off 54 peaks in that time. These men began their careers as climbers and writers and evolved into powerful voices. It’s not to say that I think I’m John Muir or David Brower, but they are certainly heroes of mine, and if I can some do a fraction of what they did for the American West, I will be content.
Steps halfway on the AT, courtesy Robert Nicholas
It took me nearly 40 years to reach these steps. These steps lead to a trail of a life of dreams unfullfilled, heartache, blood, sweat, tears, joy, War, Marriage, and the birth of my children. These steps are the result of trials and tribulations of a life lived and dreaming of a day I’d be able to walk down these steps. The sights and sounds that led to these steps will never be forgotten. And the first time I stood and listened to what was at the bottom of these steps made me realize how amazing this planet is and how lucky I was at that moment to be standing in that spot to hear those sounds. The day I walked back up these steps and back to my life was a sad day and happy day. I don’t know when I’ll see these steps again but I will keep walking and living until I can walk back down these steps again someday and back to the Appalachian Trail.
Robert Nicholas lives in Olathe, Kansas. He grew up hiking in Missouri. Rob hiked this section of the AT near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia on April 9, 2011 while out east on a business trip, and plans to chip away at the 40-mile long Maryland Trail each year until it’s completed. His favorite weekend activity is hiking with his wife and two daughters.
Ready to post your own love letter? Here’s how you enter…