Sunday, April 29, 2007

Climbing for Kids yard sale

Here ye, here ye. You are all cordially invited to the unofficial Climbing for Kids yard sale. Mark the date of May 5th on your calendar. Or you can save it in your PDA, as a fancy pants sibling of mine who makes smart comments on my blogs might do.

There will be lots of goodies for sale, including some delicious items which were ever so kindly donated by the good people of No, I won’t tell you what will be on display, you will just have to come on down and find out. As far as great deals go, let me just talk to my sales manager and see what we can do. We might be able to throw in free undercoating….. [Think Fargo]

Anyway, if you’re in the area of Hailey, Idaho on said date, stop buy and say hello. If you mention this blog I’ll let you camp in my back yard. If you donate $100 or more to Climbing for Kids you can take a shower.

All proceeds from the yard sale will go to benefit kids in need, via Climbing for Kids. The Climbing for Kids event is the annual, bread and butter fund raiser for Bay Area Wilderness Training. If you didn’t read my last post, shame on you. I am climbing Mount Whitney to raise money for this cause. So, as an ex-coworker of mine who struggles with English slang says “check it up”. This is a great cause and shall be a dandy yard sale.

The photo was taken from a predawn turn earning session up Bald Mountain. It has chair lifts, but you don’t train for Whitney by taking the lifts. Besides, lifties don’t get up early enough.

See you at the sale.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Free Coleman Cooler With Your Next K2 Seth Pistol Purchase?

First they sack up for an Everest expedition but that was chump change compared to the $1.2 Billion (yep, that's a B) that Coleman's parent company (who, as Rocky at The Goat pointed out, sells just about everything in your house so why not own your garage too with buying K2?) is sacking up to buy K2. Are there that many car camping folks out there to fund the machine? Wow.

Stepping back a bit to see the big picture reminds me of those Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom nature films I watched as a kid. You know the one - where that "big" fish goes around gobbling up all the smaller fish. Yea, he's got mad respect in his neighborhood, strutting around making those other smaller less tasty fish that he passed up feel oh so small. That is until the moment in the film, which only camera man sees, when the great white comes out of nowhere and BAM! he's not feeling so big anymore.

Perhaps K2's acquisition rampage over the past few years was part of a bigger plan. You know, buy up a bunch of companies, sell the investors on the idea and then sell to a bigger fish in the pond? Unlikely theory? Not so much me thinks.

More to come on this deal...including if you'll be seeing a mini cooler or a grill next season as your "Gift With Purchase" when you buy the Seth Pistol or Pontoons from K2.

Edit: Added link to The Goat and clarification about Coleman's "Parent company"



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Goat Sighting - Our Man hirScH in Africa

This weeks Goat Sighting comes to us from hIrSch who is a blogger and cycling adventurer. After pedaling from Canada to the tip of South America he recently headed off to Africa (Morocco to be exact) and beyond. is stoked to help hIrSch along the way with essential gear he needs.

Two beards in Morroco
Typically with the weekly winner of the "Show Us your Goat" Goat Sighting contest the photographer will receive a Organic Goat Tee Shirt but given that hIrSch is, well, in Africa and unable to receive packages I'll give his shirt away to the first person to comment on this post with their e-mail address. I'm sure hIrSch won't mind and you can thank him later.

Post your e-mail address in this format: name AT location DOT com.


And as always, if you think you've got what it takes to stick a winner but you haven't got a sticker to stick, well head on over to and get yourself a FREE goat sticker by filling out the form or placing an order as each box we ship gets a free sticker. Then get out there and stick it, take a photo and submit it online.

Of course if you see a goat sticker out there and take a photo of it you're welcome to submit it for consideration.

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Climbing for Kids

It was while winning the shopping cart race I bid farewell to two finger tips. So you can’t say I’ve no spirit of adventure. I like to play outside with the best of them. Snowboarding, skiing, kayaking, snow shoeing, biking (mountain and road), hiking and the like have made me happy for years. These passions are in part what drew me to settle in the beautiful mountains of Idaho. It’s just that peak bagging has not been in the repertoire in the past. So why would I start with the highest point in the lower 48 states? For the kids of course.

This June I will be climbing California’s 14,505 foot Mount Whitney. Though thousands of people climb Whitney every year, a small percentage do it via the “Mountaineer’s Route”. More importantly, fewer folks do it to raise money for at risk, urban youth.

I am participating in the Climbing for Kids event to help raise money for Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT). BAWT is a project of the Earth Island Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. The goal of BAWT is to take kids who are heading down the dangerous and destructive path that urban life can foster, into the mountains to learn about respect for oneself and our world. BAWT trains counselors and lends gear from its extensive library to make these life changing backpacking trips safe and enlightening. Generous support from (where I feed my gear addiction) and my friends and family are helping to make this possible.

Perhaps some readers might be thinking “I climb Mount Whitney for breakfast”. That is not the case for me, and I assume I’m not alone. Prior to volunteering to raise money I was not someone who climbed mountains. I was inspired by the cause to help some of America’s less fortunate kids. Also having just turned 30, I realized it’s never too late to fulfill a dream. The training has been arduous and exhilarating, not to mention challenging with a full time job, two dogs, a nineteen month old son and a lovely, pregnant wife who seems to want my attention as well.

Donations for this cause are greatly appreciated. If you are interested in learning more and/or donating please visit If you would like to help me reach my fundraising goal, please click on this link. All donations go directly to BAWT and are tax deductible. I will be periodically posting my training activities and will follow up with a climb recap.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Support the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance

Comp PosterThe Front Climbing Club is holding a fund raising climbing competition for the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) on May 3rd. As with previous Front "citizens" comps, this one is open to climbers of all levels. The format of the comp is really laid back (participants score themselves), and everyone climbs simultaneously, so there's never any real spotlight on anyone. These comps are always a good time- fellow climbers on the whole are supportive and encouraging at these events rather than competitive. As always, there will be tons of prizes and giveaways, and the comp will be followed by an after party with food and drinks (included in the comp fee).

All proceeds are to go to the SLCA to fund an planned bolt and anchor replacement initiative in the local canyons. Props to for supporting a great cause.

So come out to see how hard you can crank or just to mingle with fellow climbers! And if you're a local climber and not yet a member of the SLCA, I highly suggest joining. For more information on the comp, go here.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

2007 Collegiate Nationals Adventure Race

A week ago, I traveled with three friends to Reno, Nevada to compete in the 2007 Collegiate Nationals Adventure Race. The Collegiate Nationals is a series of "extreme" sport competitions for college students from all over the nation. They are hosted by College Sports Television (CSTV), a TV network that beat ESPN to the university level sport showings by a couple of years. It's my understanding after talking with one of the camera men of CSTV that ESPN has only recently revealed its new channel of ESPNU for ESPN University that also focuses on all college sports including those listed as extreme.

Other competitions included in this weekends outing were whitewater kayaking, downhill skiing/snowboarding and boxing. The entire production is pretty interesting. More information about the Collegiate Nationals and pictures from our race can be found here.

We competed in a sprint style adventure race, consisting of running, mountain biking, and paddling. I was impressed by the course they had set as it started and ended in downtown Reno. The expected winning time was set at 2 hours and 30 minutes. We started with a run upstream to a whitewater paddle downstream to a mountain bike through the city to a single track ride in the foothills, to a trail run, back on the bike to the original transition area, to a mystery event which was a run back upstream to a final island hop through the finish line. My partner Jenn Kuhlmann and I came in at 4th for our division with a time of 2 hours and 51 minutes.

The race was super fun. We had a great time. 23 school competed. A few factors contributed to the overall adventure race feeling including the snow flakes that touched down during the map distribution and the 43 degree river water.

A special thanks to for their contribution of some GoLite clothing for both Jenn and me. The GoLite DriMove Short Sleeve Top acted as a great wicking baselayer while the GoLite Cruise Jacket shielded the unwanted water and wind, also providing great ventilation and movement.

The trip was fun, the people were great, and the competition was challenging. I look forward to more adventure racing opportunities in the near future. Plans of a possible 12 or 24 hour race are in the making for later this summer. We'll keep you all posted.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Postponed, But We'll Be Waiting

I guess if can post videos when creativity lacks, we will too. Actually, this movie teaser is top notch and doesn't lack at all from a lack of creativity. It's produced by Hungry Sloth Productions, a crew out of Alaska that is sponsoring. I guess Tramdock needs to pony up some more cash for these guys....


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mississippi Kayak Challenge

Kayaking the Mississippi River This summer, I get to realize a childhood dream. I am embarking on a 2,000 mile Mississippi kayak adventure. My journey starts at St. Paul on May 13th and I plan to be in New Orleans by the end of August—a 100 day adventure! I'll be posting some of my reports here but to learn more about my journey and to follow my progress please visit

All my life I have known that one day I will meet this river, and get to know its people, its places and its history, in an up-close and personal way. I can think of few more intimate ways than to make my way downstream in a kayak, paddle in hand, at the river's own pace. I will share my experience through my web site, blog and photo gallery. I'm also planning to a write book about my journey, the river and its people.
This venture would not have been possible without the generous support of and my other sponsors. My adventure seems to have struck a chord with many people, not just to the extent that they are willing to support me with gear and supplies, but I'm finding genuine interest and enthusiasm from people in general. I guess some things will always have the power to appeal to our more imaginative and romantic sides. For a complete list of my sponsors please visit
I plan to use an ocean kayak for my voyage. It is not the obvious choice for a trip of this nature. Earlier and latter day explorers have typically opted for rafts, canoes, barges, inflatables—the kinds of vessel more traditionally associated with the Mississippi. I decided to use a Prijon Kodiak. It's the perfect boat for the task. At 17 feet long and 23½ inches wide at the cockpit, it offers the perfect balance between stability and speed. I can stuff eighty pounds of gear into the hatches and comfortably paddle along at three knots per hour. It is made from polyethylene plastic that is virtually indestructible, so I don't have to worry about logs or other debris doing a Titanic on my kayak. I pay a weight penalty for all this strength: my kayak tips the scales at 62 pounds empty; the same design in fiberglass weighs around 50 pounds. But I do not want to end up with a mile of river on either side and a hole in my boat, so fiberglass is not an option for me. Besides, when you're hauling a lot of gear it's easy enough to make up the weight difference by leaving a few non-essentials behind.There is something to be said too for being familiar with your equipment.

I've spend so many hours in a similar kayak that it feels like an extension of my body when I get into the cockpit. Knowing your kayak intimately means fewer surprises on the water. There are enough variables a paddler has to contend with; equipment shouldn't be on that list. I know exactly what to expect from my kayak, and how it will behave in different situations—whether I'm facing five foot waves, battling a strong current or doing a recovery roll in rough water. It's a comforting feeling.

Supply and other logistical arrangements for this expedition are straightforward and for the most part without the challenges inherent to wilderness or ocean trips. Food and other supplies will be cached and replenished as required en route. There are stretches along the last few hundred miles of the river that cut through undeveloped terrain, where I will have to be self-sustained for a few days. This poses no problem since my kayak can hold a seven day supply of food and water in addition to all my gear. I plan to camp most of the way. I will stay in touch with friends, family, the media, my sponsors, publisher and agent via cell phone and a laptop with wireless connectivity. More about logistics, maps and GPS tracking in my next blog post....
Jacob van der Merwe, a.k.a. The Crazy Kayaker

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Super Sherpa Expedition Lands in Nepal

Super Sherpa 2007 Mount Everest ExpeditionApa Sherpa and Lhakpa Sherpa are headed to Mount Everest, again. Should they summit, which is highly likely considering their track record, it will be their 17th and 13th summits respectively.

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to share a few moments casually chatting with these two climbers. The event was a pre-screening of a soon to be released documentary by David Breashears (yes that is a link. David must be out climbing since his own name site says "Coming Fall of 2005") about the storm and events following the May 10, 1996 Everest summit attempt by two teams, that of Rob Hall and the team of Scott Fisher.

What I found most interesting was that while all the event attendees were busy talking one with another prior to the pre-screening, Apa and Lhakpa were essentially flies on the wall. Most were oblivious to these two, not knowing what they have accomplished in the world of high altitude climbing and how it sets them apart from the masses. But after speaking with them I don't think that what they have accomplished are the defining elements of who they are. Humble, happy, big heart, cheerful, kind. These attributes are more true to defining what sets these two men apart.

I watched a couple of the videos on the Super Sherpa website, namely the video "Apa's Message" and "Lhakpa's Message" which gave me further insight into the humble nature of these climbers. If ever anyone had bragging rights, it is Apa and Lhakpa but that is the last thing they would ever do, being completely contrary to their persona's.

So they're off to Everest, having recently arrived in Kathmandu to meet with Nepalese dignitaries and other officials.

As one of's good friends, Roger Kehr, is the base camp director for the Super Sherpa team I'll be updating this blog with any news we hear from them. Additionally, the Salt Lake Tribune has a dedicated mini-site with a blog where they will be following this Utah based expedition.

Best of luck my friends...Namaste.

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Moab Jeep Weekend

Climbing on Wall Street
Last weekend was the big boost for the Moab economy: Jeep Safari! As much as I love big high maintenance machines, I usually go rock climbing on Wall Street on Potash road and ride the practice loop on the Slickrock trail. This last weekend was a great opportunity to get out and use some new gear.
  • Exped SIM Sleeping Mattress- Very easy to blow up, super thick, and very warm. I probably got down to about 30 degrees at night which didn't bother me as much as the wild partying going on well into the night. This was a great pad for throwing in the car for Moab, I can't see myself taking this backpacking, its pretty heavy(roughly 2lb.) and pretty big. I want to look at some other options for taking one of these up Rainier this summer.
  • Kelty Sunshade Medium- This is so easy to set up. The poles are very burly and you can tell they built it in a way so that one person can put it up. It fits over a picnic table with ease and really cools down the area. It was nice to have a retreat out of the Moab heat.Snoozing in the Sherpani
  • Sherpani Rumba Kid Carrier- This is 2lbs. lighter then most Kelty carriers and has a built in Sun/Rain cover. Our baby absolutely loved this thing! It is very comfortable and folds up nicely for throwing in the car after hiking around. She fell asleep in it numerous times, so we store it next to her crib.

Moab was great this past week! The weather was totally warm and the hiking was great up to the waterfalls that any local will help you get to. Also check out the WabiSabi thrift shop for some authentic Moab High School T-shirts. We snagged a Mountain Hardwear tent there for an unbelievable deal.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

17,600 - The Magical Everest Base Camp Number

17,600 is the magic number. It is where Everest Base Camp resides and where the trek ends, but the true climbing begins. It is where you move forward in your journey to the top of the world and where there are so many adventure stories written about and a person always wonders about - well Baxter made it there!!

It is Wed, April 11, 2007 in Nepal and Baxter and the climbing team are sleeping snug in their tents at Everest Base Camp. By "snug", I mean, they are listening to the creaks and cracks as the glacier moves and the sound of avalanches through the night remind them where they are. Apart from the noise, its also a searing 16 degrees IN the tent at night, and Baxter said his water bottles froze, even with the wrap-around insulators he got from The altitude at EBC is 17,600, so they are once again acclimatizing. Everyone is healthy and moving on, so that's a great start.

While the trekkers who have been following Baxter's climbing team head back to Kathmandu, the climbers will attend a Puja ritual. The puja is a spiritual ceremony where the team asks permission from Chomolungma (the Buddhist term for Everest) to climb her. Also, the llamas bless the climbers, their gear, and their climb. It is great experience because everyone participates from the sherpas, to the climbers, to the Base Camp staff.

The next few days will involve an acclimatization hike up Kala Pattar, where they can enjoy the spectacular views of Everest. They will also begin adjusting to the unusual terrain of the Khumbu Ice Fall and crossing the crevasses with their crampons and the down suits which will be a new experience for most. In the weeks to come, there will be new adventures on a daily basis and it should be exciting to hear all the tales.
More to come as they reach the higher camps and hopefully the summit!

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Medicine Outdoors With Himalayan Health Exchange

Since a very young age I have had two passions in life, the outdoors and medicine. Now I feel like the luckiest person in the world being able to combine the two in an amazing trip to North India and Nepal this coming summer. As a RN and medical student, I wanted to help people who otherwise would have no healthcare. Through the Himalayan Health Exchange, I found my chance. This program has a summit involving a few doctors, nurses and medical students from around the world to villages in Nepal, which we will set up a mobile clinic for those in need of medical attention.

I leave June 29th to fly into New Delhi where I will then head to North India to begin the trek. After a night in Shimla, we then venture into the Himalayans to go to Dodra. We will hike for three days before we set up a clinic for several days to treat the locals. We then will continue to the village of Kwar. Here again we will set up a clinic for several days before moving on. The final place we will set up camp is along the Rupin River. Although this area has a lot of residents, they are not localized in a town so much as around their only water source. We will be able to treat a wide spectrum of illness from mild infections that frequently result in death there to crazy diseases like Japanese Encephalitis. The area we are going into is inaccessible by both air and road, and the passes are not impassible for 8 months of the year due to snow. The entire adventure last about 3 weeks, which works out well being that I only have a 5 week break from school.

Thinking about the trek I realized that I am already behind on my training. Being stuck inside studying 14 hours a day for med. school does not help at all. I have been managing to workout 1.5 hours a day both cardio and weights. Collecting all the gear has been a blast. Thanks to, I only had to go to one place. Now that I have all the gear I will be taking and know what kind of weight I will be carrying, I plan to train to carry at least two times as much to account for the high altitude. Definitely not there yet though.

Most of the gear I already had experience with and know what I liked and didn’t like (like my Big Agnes sleeping bag that I will never give up despite being a few ounces heavier than others), but searching for a good 2000-3000 cubic inch pack proved to be hard. When looking for a good pack, I found it difficult to weigh through all the different options. Arc'teryx packs have always been a safe bet in the past, plus the M40 is a good size for day treks and is waterproof so no fumbling with a rain cover. Although a little more technical than what I am used to, it was the only pack of this size that was waterproof. So with my new pack, I am training with extra weight in it to break in both the bag and me.

As you can tell I am stoked about the whole adventure! I’ll update you all about training and trip details. I'm also thinking about where I am going to put my goat sticker to add it to the collection on backcountry’s website.
-- Jennifer

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Journey to the Top

After an eventful flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, including a "go-around" on the foggiest day the guides have ever seen planes fly, the Adventure Consultants Team arrived in the Khumbu. The Adventure Consultants Team madNamche Bazaar, Nepale it to Namche on Monday where Baxter was able to do some shopping for a few last minute items, like a Tibetan rug for the tent floor (every tent has GOT to have a nice rug!!) and some prayer flags to leave at the top of the world. The team also got their first crystal clear view of Everest from Khumjung! Boy, did it look slightly windy at the top.

They spent a couple rest days in Namche, where they were able to acclimitize to the higher altitude as well as get to know each other. The team includes a variety of people fromPrayer Flags all walks of life and places around the world, so its interesting just to hear all the individual stories that brought each person to this place in the world at the same time.

From Namche, they will continue the trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC) which will include several days of 6 hour hikes until they arrive at 17,600 ft. They have quite a bit on their mind with the climbing still ahead and its great that they have each other as they continue to build on their skills and acclimitazation.

We will get more updates as the team moves up so be sure to check back!

Next stop Everest Base Camp!!!

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Introducing Whiskey Milita - Lock up your wallet...

...cause your teenager is going to be plucking your credit card more often once he/she finds Like Woot and the beta version of, is one deal per day until the item sells out or midnight arrives.

Whiskey Militia will feature stuff that is surf, snowboard, skate, bmx and wakeboard related. But don't believe me, check out the "Manifesto":
We pledge to deliver one fix at a time, 'til you're shaky, sweaty, and compromising your morals for more. We'll drop one stupidly marked-down deal each night at midnight and sell it 'til it's gone. And it sells fast. After that you'll have to bite a stick to fend off your jones until the next midnight when we drop another. We're raiding the warehouses of the sickest brands in the biz and giving you stuff at next to nothing. It's pretty much stealing. And we're like Robin Hood and his Merry Men...uh...minus the rad tights and feather hats.
Today's "steal" is a Darkstar complete skate deck for $49. Hard to beat that.



Monday, April 02, 2007

Gear Review: G3 Targa T9 Roxy Telemark Binding

The Women's G3 Targa T9 Roxy Telemark Bindings are both burly and (at 35.6 oz per pair) very light at the same time. I'd been a bit worried at first, as I tend to be pretty rough on my gear (in general), but these bindings have held up extremely well. Despite the poor snow year, I tested the bindings in a variety of conditions up at Snowbird from early January till mid March, on a couple of (brutal for me, but not the bindings) backcountry runs in Little Cottonwood, as well as in 6 inches of fresh untracked powder on a yurt trip in early February.

The cables are really strong (especially in comparison to my previous Riva Z's), and worked nicely with my Scarpa T2's to provide plenty of stability and control. They did start to squeak during one of my shortish backcountry outings (which didn't do much for the calm quiet of the afternoon), but I haven't heard peep from them since.

There is a fairly equivalent Men's version- the All Mountain (35.7 oz per pair), which is minimally heavier than the Roxys, but sized for larger boots. Really aggressive or heavier skiers would likely want to opt for the XRace version which have stronger cables and are no heavier than the All Mountains (35.7 oz per pair).

I found the Roxys to be an absolute breeze to mount with the K2 binding system. So easy, in fact, that I even managed a successful mounting despite my customary refusal to look at any directions whatsoever. Paired with my K2 She's Piste, they did rather well both on groomers and in crud up at Snowbird and in deep untracked powder on our annual yurt trip near Wolfe Creek Pass. Overall, these are a fantastic binding for those of you who want to get after it both at the resorts and in the backcountry.

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