Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Keen Believer

The Keen style has taken me a while to get excited about but I am finally there. I really love the fit and arch support. Things that Keen does well with their Targhee II:

  • Super solid lacing system, who wants junk laces anyway?
  • The sole rides high which feels really good on the trail. It fits similar to the Dansko Professional which in my opinion totally rocks.
  • The Rubber Toe! Just makes sense for some burly use on the trail.
  • eVent leather that blocks water.
When I ride my bike to school I really despise taking an extra pair of shoes with me to walk around class. I tried using these on my roadie pedal and the signature Keen wide fit is perfect. With all the stop lights it is actually nice not being clipped in. And then I don't have to worry about tipping over in front of a fancy Hummer.


On this Day...

Hillary and Norgay on EverestHillary and Norgay

In 1953 the world witnessed two men reaching the top of Everest and returning home. They have inspired millions of people to explore the outdoors in extreme conditions. Congratulations to Baxter's team and to all the other climbers on the mountain at this time, your families will be happy to see you again.



Monday, May 28, 2007

Everest Summit Success!

Hey Guys!

Just a quick post to let you know that our team reached the summit on May 21st at 7:00am!!!

I'll post a few photos when Molly and I get back from Kathmandu but, for now, check out the video at: http://www.humanedgetech.com/expedition/ac22/videos/Summit%20Day_0002.wmv

Thanks for all the support over the last few months.


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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Kilimanjaro - The Top of Africa

I’m currently writing from Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I arrived here last Monday to visit my parents as they were transferred out here for my Dad’s career.

Part of the reason for making my journey out this way was to travel to Tanzania in Africa and climb Mount Kilimanjaro with my Dad. It’s interesting, as my dad rarely gets out and attempts this sort of undertaking. When he was younger, he climbed Mount Whitney in a day (as anyone knows who is familiar with Whitney, this can be one very long day), but in the recent years, nothing has lead him towards mountains.

My Dad is very fit, especially considering his age of 56. Also, his knowledge for international travel is very impressive considering this is he and my Mom’s sixth overseas assignment after 30 years of working internationally in the oil industry.

The understanding was that I would handle the planning of our trip once in Africa, and he would handle all the airplane ticket booking and entry visa requirements for the two of us.

As a Mountain Guide working in the US, I found it easier and less expensive to link directly with a local Tanzanian guiding service. The Tanzanian government requires that to climb Kilimanjaro, you must hire a minimum of one local guide for the climbing group and porters for each climber. Even other guide services such as the many American services, follow this guideline. Typically, when a booking is made with an American guide service, they have a partnership with a local Tanzanian service and send one of their guides to work along side with a local guide and their porters. I decided to go directly to the local service. I linked with Destination African Tours.

There are many routes to choose from when considering a climb up Kilimanjaro. The well traveled standard routes include the Machame and Marangu. These tend to be the most popular as they are usually shorter in their distance, and better equipment with a comfortable hut system at almost every camp. The less attempted Rongai route approaches from the Northeastern sides near the Tanzanian – Kenyan border. This route is much more secluded and not as readily traveled. There is opportunity for combining this route with others to allow better adjustments while on the mountain. This is the route we chose.

Our plan is to spend 7 days on the mountain. This is extended from the standard 5 to 6 days that most will take to climb this route. By adding additional days, we will combine parts of the Machame and Marangu routes with our climb. This will allow for a more diverse climb and ability to experience the different environmental zones that Kilimanjaro offers. Our goal is to summit by day 6.

We fly out from Dubai, another emirate in the UAE tonight at 2:00 A.M. Via Kenyan Airways, we will fly to Nairobi and then to Kilimanjaro International Airport. The local guide service will then pick us up and transfer us to our hotel in Arusha, the Tanzanian safari town. We will overnight and transfer to the Rongai trailhead Tuesday morning. If all goes as planned, we should be on the mountain at camp 1 Tuesday night.

I’m excited to experience this area of the world, the mountain, the people, and spend some quality time with my Dad. Since coming to college in Fall of 2004, we haven’t been able to take a trip, just the two of us. I was very excited when my Dad mentioned this idea a few months ago. It combines my love for the mountains with his love for travel and geology (he works as an international geologist for an oil company).

I’m excited to make a post either while in Tanzania (if there is an internet connection available), or once back in Abu Dhabi. It will be a great journey and experience. I look forward to sharing my story and pictures once I return.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Moab Utah = Desert Rock Climbing & World Class Mountain Biking

I’ve spent many trips away from home in the wonderful area of Moab, Utah. My primary focus has been the incredible desert sandstone for the many opportunities involving climbing. Recently, I spent my winter guides earnings on a Cannondale Rush full suspension mountain bike with a Lefty front fork. What does this mean to those unfamiliar to the mountain biking world? I’ve now opened up possibilities for technical two wheel climbs, speedy downhills, and the potential to walk away with the first broken bone my body has ever seen (knock on wood).

A few weeks ago along with one of Backcountry.com's product reps Rob Stanley and two of Nike ACG's adventure racers, Jenn Kuhlmann and Chad Markle, I had a disappointing failed attempt to complete the well known multi-day White Rim trail in a period of 12 hours. We started, making our way nine miles of the 108 before turning around due to the near freezing temperatures, snow, rain, and eight inches of mud that covered our drive trains. It was a pretty epic experience. Our hike and bike back to camp was long and frustrating. We ended up making the best out of the weekend by spending the rest of the day taking a weather day which included a couple hours in the Moab bakery, touring a for sale bike, eating dinner at the Moab brewery, and watching Spiderman 3 at the local movie theatre.

The next day Rob, Jenn and I headed over to the well known Slickrock trail for a near perfect conditions ride. It was slightly overcast, with the rock still wet enough that our bikes tires stuck like traveling on sandpaper.

This past weekend, I headed back down to try some other mountain bike rides and show some friends two fairly known towers in Arches National Park, Owl Rock and Off-Balanced Rock.

Our first ride of Klondike Bluffs was a good reminder of the different features involved when biking in Moab. Also, it set the stage for how much water we were going to need for an all day ride. The heat is back!

The next day, my two housemates, Tyler and Brannon, and I got dropped off at Slickrock trailhead with extra water to stash for a later ride via the world known Porcupine Rim Trail. Our other friend, Claire decided she wanted to spend the day enjoying a road bike ride into Arches. This worked well as the Porcupine Rim trail lets out 14.5 miles away from its trailhead, making it beneficial for someone to run a shuttle. Thanks Claire!!

Slick Rock was amazing as usual. Unfortunately, we were on it in the middle of the day, causing some of the climbing sections to be a little sanded out and hard to complete. It was the first time for Tyler and Brannon. We all finished with smiles on our face, not sure of what to expect for the rest of the afternoon.

We topped off our water, put on the CamelBaks and made our way up the dirt road that connects the Slick Rock trailhead with the Porcupine Rim trailhead. With the temperature at about 90 degrees and lack of cloud cover, the “short” seven-mile commute didn’t feel so short.

I had heard about Porcupine Rim as this incredible mountain biking trail that had to be ridden. I failed to read up on how technical some sections were and what it actually took to complete this ride. We went into it knowing there was some continued climbing. This climbing ended up being some of the more technical riding I’ve done. This was followed by some downhill with more climbing, then some back breaking downhill, and a deadly single track that included a lot of hike and bike sections through fallen boulders, 5+ foot drop portages, and exposure usually experienced on technical climbing routes. Another factor working against us was that even with two water bottles and a 100 oz bladder each, we ran out of water a few miles short from the let out onto River Road.

The ride was worth the experience, but I warn anyone considering this challenge, to read up in a guidebook, on the internet, or by stopping in to a local bike shop. Ask lots of questions and be prepared. Also, if you can tolerate the weight on your back, carry lots of water. Like I said, 125 oz wasn’t enough when we rode it.

The next day, we all went into Arches National Park and climbed on Off Balanced Rock and Owl Rock. These are two great rock climbs for anyone wanting an introduction to tower climbing but still maintaining a difficulty in the 5.7 to 5.8 range.

Off Balanced Rock provides a fun 5.7 crack with a few traverses for the first pitch. The second pitch takes you into a squeeze chimney with sections small enough that you can’t turn around in them. You climb out of the chimney with a finger to hand sized crack between your legs that takes beautiful protection. Don’t be fooled by the different guide books as this route has recently been worked on with the installation of new chains that allow for a much easier pull of the rope after a double rappel with one rope or single when using two ropes.

Owl rock is a very distinctive route that follows a beautiful 5.8 crack that varies from hands to off widthy arms. Some sections provide a jug haul while others follow a tricky sequence that needs to be thought out before making your move. Due to the strictly enforced rule of no white chalk in the park (thanks to a well known professional climber for his stunts on delicate arch, this rule and others have been enforced now to greater extremes), many sections are fairly greasy. The top of this single pitch route is just shy of the summit. From the well placed bolts, stay on belay to the summit for an opportunity to impress the tourists that provide the occasional yell of, “That’s crazy.”

Our trip was quick, but as always, super fun. I look forward to many more experiences in Moab. Ride and climb safely.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jetboil Cookoff Recipe: Salmon and Edamame Penne

Ask and ye shall receive. Monday I posted the winners of the Backcountry.com 2nd annual Jetboil cookoff
and Anonymous said...
"What, no recipes?"
So, I'm going to post a few on the blog over the next week and will ask the employees whose recipe it is to chime in with any extra instructions in the comments area. If you end up making one of these recipes, let us know.

Salmon and Edamame Penne by Ali Thackeray

  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup green Manzanillo olives (about 10), diced
  • 1/8 cup capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 6 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 10 ounces (two five-ounce portions) wild salmon, with skin
Backcountry.com employee Ali Thackary makes up some Salmon and Edamame Penne on her JetboilHere Ali is cooking up her masterpiece in the parking lot of Backcountry.com's warehouse


Saute onion and pepper in one teaspoon of olive oil for three minutes. Stir in olives, capers, and herbs. Remove from heat.

In a pot, saute yellow onion in one teaspoon of olive oil until golden brown. Add tomatoes. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the pot with a hand blender. Stir in olive mixture. Set aside.

Boil pasta according to package directions, adding edamame about two minutes before pasta is ready. Drain.

Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick saute an over high heat, cook salmon, skin side down, for one minute. Lower heat to medium and cook for another five minutes. Flip and cook for another minute.

In a bowl, mix pasta with three-quarters of the tomato sauce. Plate two portions. Top pasta with salmon and distribute remaining sauce across salmon.

[Then look across campground to your friends as you savor bite after savory bite]



Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Staying Dry in The Rain Forest: Pre-Trip Report

Water is the enemy.

I’m not entirely sure that my profound fear of the life giving element isn’t pathological, but somewhere between a youth spent in the Boy Scouts and a few ill fated (and thoroughly rained on) trips to the Lost Creek Wilderness as a teenager I came to despise the stuff. Falling into lost creek two days from the car with my pack may not have helped much either. Regardless, fast-forward a decade later and you’d be hard pressed to find someone less excited about spending a day walking in the rain. You might wonder then, how a person who hates being wet so much could end up living in a tent in the rain forest for ten weeks. Oops. Or maybe not. As it turns out material technology has come up with some pretty sweet stuff to keep you keep you and your gear dry, and with a little bit of help from the folks at backcountry.com I think water and I might be able to make an uneasy truce.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is that come June 2 of this year, a team of myself and two other adventurous medical students will be heading to Madagascar for ten weeks to work with a group of French doctors to provide basic health care to a group of villages bordering the rain forest Ranomafana National Park on the south eastern tip of the island. Ranomafana was created in 1991, and set aside about 110,000 acres of richly diverse rain forest with the intention of both preserving the native wildlife and motivating the local subsistence farming villagers to not burn it for rice patties. Part of this deal was the establishment of a research station, and the beginnings of outreach to the twelve villages surrounding the park to assess what the villagers considered their most important concerns. Turns out that behind adequate land for farming, health care is their number two priority, and for the last several years a team of French-educated physicians has seen over 400 households and 2500 individuals to address basic health care needs such as caring for coughs, headache, stomach ache, fever, dysentery, malnutrition, malaria, as well as chronic problems with rat and flea infestation.

This is where we come in.

Starting in early June the three of us will be traveling with the health team to aid in the administration of medical care to the villagers, as well as educating village health care workers on topics such as sanitation, malaria prophylaxis, water treatment, and contraception. We’ll be hiking from village to village for the summer carrying not only the things we need to live out of backpacks for 7-10 day intervals between re-supplying, but also the medical supplies we need to treat the villagers. Needless to say with up to 160 inches (over 13 feet!) of rainfall annually, on top of me not wanting to get wet, we definitely don’t want most of what we’re carrying to get wet. It’s kind of a new dimension for me to be suddenly faced with depending on my gear to not only keep me moving quickly, comfortably, and dryly for my own reasons, but also to have a lot of people depending on the condition and timeliness of the things that I’m carrying. Having something break, leak, or come apart is really not an option, especially since we’ll be three days on foot and one more in the car away from the nearest place I could even hope to get something fixed. We’re depending on well designed and made equipment such as the Arc'teryx Naos 85 Backpack, and the Arc'teryx Bora 95 Backpack to carry big loads safely and dryly, and Granite Gear Drylite Rock Solid Compression Sacks, Granite Gear Dry Sacks, and GSI Outdoor Utility Dry Boxes to keep other supplies dry and protected.

Not the be overshadowed is the fact that the whole time we’re going to be backpacking in one of the most beautiful and undisturbed ecologies remaining on the planet. For the hiking aspect the team will be taking Black Diamond Alpine CF Trekking Poles to save the knees during a summer of heavy loads on mountain trails, and taking both a MSR Mutha Hubba 3 Person Tent and a Big Agnes Seedhouse SL-3 3-Person Tent to keep us dry and keep the packs light. We’ll also have some time to explore other parts of Madagascar and do some more backpacking there, so having the right gear so far from home is crucial to us not only getting the job done, but also having a blast in the process.

Ranomafana is truly an amazing place, with the opportunity to both have a great impact as well as great time, and we’ll keep you posted as our journey through the rain forest unfolds.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Backcountry.com 2nd Annual Jetboil Cook Off

The 2nd Annual Jetboil Cook Off among Backcountry.com employees was a huge success! The 6 finalists and thier recipes were as follows:

Mike Cory: Breakfast Burrito

Ali Thackeray: Salmon Edamame Pasta

Greg Davis: Black Bean yummy goodness, w/veggies

Aaron Carlson: Curry

Colin Edwards: Mushroom Risotto

Matt Young: Thai Pizza

This year's winner Matt Young made a tasty Thai Pizza (even made the whole wheat dough in the Jetboil) that the judges just couldn't pass up.

The Top 6 chosen finalists were graciously given a Jetboil setup directly from Kirk Haskell and Keith DEntremont, our Jetboil sponsors of this event. The Top 6 competed for the coveted Cook Off Winner Apron and a super sweet gift certificate to Market Street-compliments of Kirk and Keith, not to mention all the Jetboil stuff they now own!

Our second place winner Ali Thackeray won an equally delicious gift certificate to the Porcupine Pub and Grill for the "Most Nutritious Recipe"

What type of stuff are you cooking up on your Jetboils? Comment below if you've got a good recipe. (And you thought they were only good for boiling water in 90 seconds)

The Crew of Finalists

Thai Pizza! Eggs and stuff....burrrrrito!
Whoa! That looks good. Aaron's curry.
Mmmm, Bacon!
Matt Young is the winner (seen here taunting the other finalists with his spoils - a new Jetboil cooking system)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Gore Procel Cast LinerOk this is too cool! A cast wrap that you can swim in by our friends from Gore. For $51 that is a small price to pay to stay on top of your game. Personally I have never broken anything in my life, after falling 20 feet in Kirtland, NM and spraining my ankle, I would have totally got one of these if they slapped a cast on me. If your on the computer reading this with your broken limb, get stoked on going out for a swim or chillin in a jacuzzi. I didn't see anywhere on the site about retaining Sharpie ink, but then again I guess that is like drawing a Liger on your $400 Arcteryx jacket.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Baxter Going To the Top of the World

It's Game On!!! Baxter is headed to the top of the world. The Adventure Consultants team left base camp and will go through the Khumbu Ice Fall, past camp 1 and on to camp 2 in the Western Cwm. From there they will head up the Lhotse face and on to the South Col. Anticipated summit day is May 20 or 21. Stay tuned.

This is Baxter's note below:
Basically, it's 3:15pm on Monday Nepali Standard Time (NST) which is 3:31am Sunday Mountain Standard Time and we got the word this morning, after reviewing numerous weather forecasts, that a weather window may be opening up for later in the week.

Our current plan now is to leave tomorrow morning at 3:00am NST and head directly to C2. This is going to be a long day through the Ice Fall and past C1 but will give us more flexibility with the weather. We will then rest for a day at C2, then to C3 the next day, then to C4/South Col where we may rest for a day or head for the summit depending on the weather. Summit may be around Saturday or Sunday NST if our plans don't change.

As you can imagine, Base Camp is VERY active and exciting right now. Sherpa are running around, team members are packing and guides are planning. What a cool place to be! All the preparation that we have done now comes into play and we can just hope that we all stay healthy and the weather stays good.

Since Molly is traveling down valley at the moment, I'd suggest that the AC Dispatches may be the best source of news if you want to cut and paste for the blog.

Wish us luck and thanks for the support!


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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Goat Sighting - NBC's The Black Donnelly's

This weeks "Show us your Goat" winner comes to us from one of our own, longtime Backcountry.com employee Gardner Seawright. His title is "Bouncer/Fix-It Guy/VP of SKU Production" and although titles are over rated around here if there is trouble trying to enter HQ, Gardner is our man.

While relaxing at home from a tough day of bouncing, fixing and SKU making, Gardner was watching The Donnelly's and in his own words this is how it went down...
When I was watching it I said, “WHAT?!? Noooooo way… Is that?... nah couldn't be…. IT IS… ITS THE GOAT!!” haha Next thing you know it the goat won't just be hiding in the background It’ll be swingin' bats and bustin' heads with the Donnelly brothers!"
Either way, this is a pretty cool Goat sighting.


Photo Shot by: NBC (screen shot by Gardner Seawright)
Photo Location: On a pole on the set of NBC's The Black Donnelly's
About the photo: Sean Donnelly (1 of the 4 donnelly brothers) is hitting on the girl that sold him a juke-box for The Firecracker (the Donnelly brothers bar) and as the camera pans a Goat is spotted in the background on a pole behind the girl.

The goat sticker is seen on the pole in the background (click the photo). To watch the episode check out part three of the episode title "Isn't That Enough?" at NBC's online episodes of The Black Donnelly's. It's right around the 4:00 mark.

As a weekly winner Gardner will receive Backcountry.com Organic Goat Tee Shirt.

If you think you've got what it takes to stick a winner but you haven't got a sticker to stick, head on over to Backcountry.com and get yourself a FREE goat sticker by filling out the form or by 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.

Or if you see a sticker out there take a photo and submit it as your own.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Resting and Recovering at 14,000'

I just heard from Baxter, one of our Backcountry.com customer bloggers here, as he is descending from Everest Base Camp to Periche for a few days rest before they head for the summit. We'll be wishing him luck as he returns to base camp and starts up the mountain.

Hey Man!

We'll I've survived the acclimatization process by enduring the forays up to the Lhotse Face and sleeping there without Os. It was really cool going through the Ice Fall (man does that thing move!), wandering the Western Cwm, and being up close and personal with the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur. I can't wait to get on the South Col and then finish the rest of this "Everest sightseeing trip" :>). Weather dependant, we should begin the summit push mid-next week but right now we're resting at BC and prepping for a few days down in the valley at around 14K to recover. Molly is going to meet me in Pheriche for a day to chill before the team heads back to BC for the final summit prep. The main import that Molly is bringing us is the movie "Talladega Nights", funny what you want sometimes when away from home! I think the altitude has effected my sense of humor... or maybe it is living in tents on a glacier for over a month, who knows.

Thanks and take care.


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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mountain Hardwear Mission Project - Giving the Glory to the People

Mountain Hardware Mission Project ContestI'm all about giving the glory to the people. This blog is proof. A pile of our customers are now blogging here and more are welcome to join the Horde and play along.

(Just ping me in the comments with your NAME AT EMAIL DOT COM if you too want to join the blogging party)

So I was particularly stoked to see Mountain Hardwear giving their customers, who are our customers as well, some real estate on a new blog they launched called the Mission Project. They also have a blog called the Hardwear Sessions which is essentially a work release program for their athletes. Makes sense though. Give a pile of gear and money to some over achieving athletes and watch them travel the globe playing with said gear and spending said money should require a little kick-back from time to time. Start blogging! [whip cracks]

To the original point, the Mission Project invites Mountain Hardwear customers to tackle a challenge in the outdoors using MHW gear and then tell about it on the project blog. What I want to see is a Backcountry.com customer win one of the monthly prizes or the grand prize - $2000 shopping spree and a guided trip up Mount Rainier.

If that didn't stoke you enough they have a video (why they didn't make it a YouTube video so it could be passed along easier and played more I do not know - hint, hint MHW) that you can watch.

Check out the Mountain Hardwear Video.

If you need to get some gear so you can get going on the contest, check out the Mountain Hardwear selection at Backcountry.com. Follow that link and you'll score 10% off on any Mountain Hardwear product - that's over 3200 items to choose from - I'm sure you'll find something to go out and adventure with.

More details and fine print on the Mission Project.

Edit: I'm a moron. Thanks for the help Alex.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Mississippi Kayak Challenge (last pre-trip post)

I went out yesterday with my good friend Ted Gornall to do a pre-trip photo shoot. My adventure is beginning to attract media attention, and I realized last week that I have very few kayaking pics of myself—I'm always the one behind the camera. The photo shoot also gave me an excuse to try out and show off some of my cool new gear. The day was windy and overcast, but we still managed to get 150 good photographs. I've posted 16 of these new images to my gallery. We were both rather pressed for time, so I didn't get a chance to set up the tent and unpack all my camping gear.

When I talk to reporters and friends about my trip, the question of danger usually comes up. There are five factors that can make kayaking dangerous: currents, tides, wind, boat traffic and stupidity. Of the five, boat traffic is the most unpredictable, and stupidity the deadliest. Large freighters and cruise ships can be intimidating to most inexperienced kayakers, but in reality they pose little threat. You can see them from miles away, so you have plenty of time to get out of their way; they stay in deep water, usually far from the shore and sensible paddlers; and they track a steady course and change direction slowly and deliberately, again giving you plenty of warning. I worry most about recreational power boaters when I'm on the water. Whenever horsepower and speed meet with a lack of common sense and consideration, somebody suffers—in this case the kayaker. Kayaking is, generally speaking, one of the safer recreational activities. Most, if not all, kayaking deaths are caused by errors of judgment and a lack of common sense, collectively known as stupidity.

The value of good navigation charts for this kind of undertaking cannot be overstated. I love maps, the more detail the better. The US Army Corps of Engineers have been custodians of the Mississippi for more than 170 years, and they have the most accurate and up to date navigation charts. The charts show all the navigation features I need for my trip: hazardous areas, historical sites, state and national parks, campgrounds, locks, dams, etc. They have a scale of 1:31,680, or one inch on the map for every half mile of river, which allows for great detail. I will also be using a handheld GPS receiver.

I'll be making my way downstream fully armed with notebook computer, cellular phone, hands-free digital voice recorder, GPS tracking device, and on the other end of the technology scale, but still very cool, waterproof notebooks and paper. The GPS tracking is really neat: it will be possible to follow my progress in real time on my web site, courtesy of Eye-On GPS tracking technology, provided by The Real Security Company. I hope to have that up and running by the end of next week.

So far everything is on track to set off from St. Paul on Sunday, May 13th. Visit my web site for media news and press releases.

Jacob van der Merwe, a.k.a The Crazy Kayaker

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Moving On Up

Baxter and crew (Adventure Consultants Team) are now on their second acclimatization hike through the Khumbu and resting at the base of the Lhotse Face. Their goal for the week is to spend a couple nights at Camp 3 (23,500ft) on the Lhotse Face without oxygen, and then descend to a more oxygen rich environment prior to their summit attempt.

Last week, the climbers were relaxing and enjoying the “thicker” air at Everest Base Camp, after taking a four day hike up to 22,500 feet. Their environment is extreme and there are continuous avalanches and shifting of the icefall, which can look very different going up as it does coming down. In addition to the acclimatization, the team also has “normal” ailments to contend with, including, colds, flu, cough (sometimes severe enough to crack ribs) and just the general intestinal bugs that come with being in a foreign country. It is incredible they manage these issues while continuing to climb and power through the conditions.

Baxter has mentioned the gear on several occasions and it is so incredible that everything is exactly what he needs. As many outdoors enthusiasts can relate, a person is setup for failure if they don’t have the right equipment. From his Marmot 8000m pants and jacket (which he sleeps in at Camp 2) to the Petzel ascenders that keep him from falling off the Lhotse face, he wouldn’t change a thing. I even found that a “short” trek still requires a North Face Base Camp Duffel to fit all the gear.

I am fortunate enough to be leaving the Wasatch today to join Baxter in the Himalaya for his trek back home. We will continue to provide the updates from the road as the adventure continues.

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Dynafit Bindings Save a Pain in the Crevasse

Our friend Andrew McClean has seen his fair share of close calls. But he never seems to lose his sense of humor when it comes to recounting those close calls.

While in the Wrangell-St. Elias Range in Alaskafellow climber/skier Ben Ditto went to ski a "sweet line" a short distance from where he had been photographing Andrew and plunged into a crevasse. The only thing that kept him from falling all the way in was his Dynafit binding that held him to his ski which were lodged in the snow. There he stood suspended nearly 60' from the bottom of the crevasse likely praying that his Dynafit's would hold.

Although Dynafit does not recommend locking the toe piece while descending it's fairly common for some ski mountaineers to do just this. I'm sure Ben was stoked that he was locked down.

After climbing back up the glacier and pulling Ben out, Andrew rolled the camera....

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Like Dog Owner Like Dog?

Now our dogs can be lazy (and look stupid) with us!You thought this was going to be a goat sighting, didn't you? Not quite.

I heard on NPR the other morning that 25% off all kids under the age of 10 are over weight with 10% in the obese category. Like father like son? Yea, yea, so this comes as no surprise.

How about this one: Dog Strollers. Yes, you heard me correctly, strollers made explicitly for dogs. I supposed if we are obese then our dogs should share in our obesiety. I'm as shocked as Adam Frucci over at Gizmodo. Check out the stupidity at Gizmodo.

So many calories, so little burning of them.