Friday, September 28, 2007 Sticker Party

Backcountry StickersEmployees at gathered last night to what I would call a "Stick your Sticks" party. Boarders don't really get it so we ended up just calling it a sticker party. Its getting colder here in the Wasatch and sticker parties always help with getting people stoked to ride, as if anyone really needs help.Snowboard Stickers GaloreWe had some video's playing and loud music I wasn't really in to, oh and about a bagillion stickers. Companies were gracious enough to send us socks, beanies, and DVDs stuff to pass out. Thanks to the followingWhiskey Militia Goat? companies for all the booty:

Lib Technologies
Bent Metal
Betty Rides
K2 Snowboards
Ride Snowboards
Thirty Two
SectionBackcountry Goat Action
Head Snowboards
Burton Snowboards
Capita Snowboards
Coal Headwear
Skull Candy

I wasn't sure how to do my skis, the blue ones in the picture. After concluding that "goating it out" would be the way to go, after I felt bad that I cut those goats in half. But oh buddy when I turn those planks the different colored goats are going to match up! Who said tele skiers aren't clever? NO ONE, we are super clever!



Dueling Entrepreneurs - CEO and Black Diamond DOS

Black Diamond - makers of big kid mountain toolsTwo of the larger players in the Outdoor Industry who have grown and matured in Utah are and Black Diamond. Although the two companies do vary in focus and the type of businesses they each run, there has been a lot of connectivity between the two of them. Most recently, the relationship has flourished as has emerged as one of the top if not the top retailer of Black Diamond gear.

Launch magazine, a Utah based publication for entrepreneurs, somehow lassoed two very busy individuals in CEO Jim Holland and Black Diamond Director of Sales and Marketing Chris Grover to have them chat about each others business. It's a unique format, one Launch calls e2e (entrepreneur to entrepreneur), and after reading some brief pieces of text from the discussion I spent the time to listen to the podcast. I have to say, I found it insightful and quite interesting.

Here's a sample of the interaction through conversation that emerged - the aged old question in the Outdoor Industry. And a fine answer by Chris Grover!
Jim Holland: Chris, how do you guys incentivize people? Sometimes that gets a little tricky. Is there an incentive for people just being in this industry?

Chris Grover: Yes, but that is not enough. You get to be in the industry. You get to be in a good environment if it is the right environment for you. You get to be part of something you are passionate about. There is a lot that comes with working at companies like ours but you are absolutely right, at some point the answer to, "Where is the rest of my paycheck?" can't be, "Look at the view out the window."
So grab a cup of joe, a fresh bagel and either download the podcast from Launch Magazine or listen to it from their website.

After you listen to it, comment below with your feedback on what you thought or perhaps things that struck a cord with you or even things that cut you to the core. You've got carte blanche.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Free Crap from

I love free crap, especially when it's the high performance outdoor gear type. In celebration of it's first anniversary (I knew we should have celebrated the 700th post of this blog *snap*) has launched a new weekly gear giveaway contest.

But the cool thing is that the celebration doesn't end this month nor likely this year. So far they've lined up one piece of gear to give away each week through the end of the year with plans to run it forever or at least until The North Face stops making the Denali Fleece Jacket. Check out gear giveaway list which includes the Jetboil PCS Camp Stove; GoPro Digital HERO 3 camera; the Kelty Lightyear 15 Sleeping Bag; Gregory's Z22 backpack; Osprey's Talon 11 pack; and a pile more.

Since my pile of crap has grown tremendously from all the irresistable deals available to the employee, I signed up my wife for the giveaway. Then if she wins I'll simply wish her a Happy Birthday or a Merry Christmas as both of those events are coming up before the end of the year. That'll take care of that. So don't sign up to win free crap so I'll have better chances of coming out smelling like roses.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Community helps Gary Wohlfarth of Park City

On September 3, 2007 Park City local Gary Wohlfarth, known as Bam Bam, was in a rock climbing accident crushing the left side of his face. He was climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon when the accident occured. Pulling on the rope dislodged a rock the size of a bowling ball from about 70 feet striking the left side of Gary's face. The rock crushed his orbital bones around his eye and cheek. Gary has already had two major reconstructive surgeries.

The bone in his face was replaced with plastic and titanium plates and screws. Gary is doing well but faces a long recovery with more surgeries throughout the year. Hopefully he will fully return to work within a few short months. Gary lives in Park City with wife Jessica and his two-month-old baby Connie. Gary has been active in the Park City Community for over 15 years and considered a staple in the town.

On Thursday, September 27th, there will be a Silent Auction, door prizes, and great food at Butcher's Chop House & Grill from 6-9pm in Park City. will be donating 2 logo softshells and a Black Diamond pack for the auction. Proceeds of this event go directly to Gary and his family for recovery and medical costs.

For information or to donate contact Joe Butterfield 435.901.0788 or Jason Foote 435.640.1904.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jeff Mikaelian's adventure story

This summer I decided to get into a few new sports, Longboarding and Canyoneering. Afterwards I started wondering what the hell I was thinking of taking on some Extreme sports at my age. So we won't talk about my Longboarding, my fellow cube-mates saw what happened with that and was not too pretty.

This spring a friend was telling me about the slot canyons she was doing and said “ yeah it's really fun you should come, bring a harness if you have one”. So I packed up the old harness and belay device Matt Young gave me and headed to Capitol Reef National Park for my first big canyoneering adventure.

On the first day, Malia decides we will do Cassidy Arch, which a spectacular arch on a slickrock plateau. We get there and she sets up the anchor to a Juniper tree and throws the rope into the arch. Then informs me I go first and its a 140 foot free rappel into a seemingly bottomless abyss! I then inform her that I have NEVER rappelled before in my life.

As I am crawling backwards over the edge I start to thinking to myself that this maybe isn't the best place to rappel for the first time. While I am parked there with my butt hanging out into space and contemplating chickening out, I hear a bunch of tourists yelling to me “its easy, go for it”. I was scared enough and did not really need a bunch of people watching me.

Finally I started down and was soon hanging in the middle of a large sandstone alcove, right then I knew that I was hooked on a new sport. Not until I told my story to my fellow Gearheads was I informed how sketchy it was rappelling for the first time on a single 8 mm line.

But it was not over yet, this hike consisted of 5 rappels. On the third rap we were dropping into another alcove through another arch. As I was trying to get over the lip of the alcove gracefully, I slipped and slammed on the sandstone edge on my left side.

I thought I looked like a beater, but after we both were down, Malia complimented me and said at least you did not let go with your right hand. Only then did it sink in that if I had let go I would be dead. I have since done two more canyons and have only freaked out on one of them.



Everest Base Camp by Bike or by Bus?

I'm a backcountry skier, but I'm also a road biker. Mountain biking towards Everest's North side base campYea I fit the demo - shaved legs, tight spandex, jump on an ultra small super firm seat and ride for hours. But before you laugh, it sure beats what wrestlers do - put on a tight spandex outfit and jump on another guy.

Anyway, like most roadie's there's nothing better than finding an ultra smooth fresh section of blacktop and better yet if it goes for miles and miles. That is unless that road is headed to Everest's Base Camp on the North side. I'll have no part of it.

You know what's going to happen. I don't even need to write it, but I will. We've already seen long boarding expeditions ready to take clients to Everest to longboard the Big "E" Expressway (soon to be known as the Double E).

It makes me cringe but I'm willing to put money that Backroads will soon offer the Everest Base Camp Bike Expedition. If not Backroads, someone else will do it. Then there will be endless "travelers" taking a bus ride to Everest Base Camp, long a place of legend and mystic and now chaos. I've even read musings of a resort. Sadly, it's bound to happen.

In their newsletter this month our friends at KE Adventure Travel are posing the following questions regarding the soon to be paved road:

* Is this a step in the right direction, making base camp more accessible to everyone?

* Or are we overcrowding the fragile ecosystems at higher altitudes in the name of progress?

Got an opinion? Enter a comment below by clicking "comments" or send your $.02 to KE Adventure Travel and be sure to entitle your e-mail "Tibet Road".



Climbing Kyajo Ri in the Khumbu Region of Nepal

This blog post comes from Connie Garrett of Bozeman, Montana. You may remember Connie from a previous post about the clothing drive she has put together to benefit the Khumbu Climbing School. Connie is a customer who we've teamed up with to help support as she heads to Nepal this October.
Nestled along the line of magnificent peaks of the Khumbu Himal region, Kyajo Ri rises 20,290 feet from the Thame valley to the west and the Gokyo valley to the east. Just 26 days and 10,990 feet of climbing will bring our team to the sharp defined summit just about on Halloween!

Reaching base camp is most of the adventure. Beginning in Lukla, Nepal, our team will nearly circumnavigate Kyajo Ri before beginning essentially a 4-day climb. Beginning by trekking into the hills of Namche Bazar where a rest day hike brings us to Khumjung, 12,600 ft, for a view of Mt. Everest and Ama Dablam. From here our team climbs passes and sweeps into valleys as we make our way from Machhermo around to Mende and a faint yak trail that leads the way to base camp. Only one additional camp will be established on the mountain at 17,500 before our ascent to the summit. On summit day we cross the Kyajo glacier to a talus and easy rock section leading to the southwest ridge at 18,700 feet. Here we climb 10 pitches of steep snow and ice to the sharp narrow wedge of snow at the summit. Our decent follows the ascent by way of rappel, down climbing, and lowering.

After a few photos it'll be all downhill from there. Once I return to the U.S. I'll be writing a trip report about the climb and will also report on the clothing drive. Thanks to everyone for your donations and well wishes.


If you're interested in donating some clothing be sure to get in touch with Connie this week. Her information can be found on the Clothing Drive Post

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Desert Dogs Comp - CO

Desert Dogs CompWith the first skiff of snow I am going to hang up the cams for the winter and start heading to the gym for my climbing fix. Those of you who will be in the Grand Junction area on Saturday October 20th can show off mad skills at the Desert Dogs Competition. Desert Dogs 2007 Bouldering Competition is presented by Core Elements Rock Gym in Grand Junction, Colorado.

The comp will have a men's and women's division. is giving some sweet gear for the winners and every competitor will get hooked up with a goody bag. Stay for the after party with live music and free food.

Pre-register online for $25 or at the door for $30. Only 27 days to get in shape, giddy up!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sublimation Experiment - KGB's New Ski Film

Last week in the "Winter Will Soon Be Here" post I mentioned that one of my two favorite teasers for this coming winters ski films is the Sublimation Experiment from KGB Productions. I found the trailer on YouTube for you to check out.

Based in Jackson, Wyoming, these guys are taking a different approach to the skiing lifestyle, one I think is easier to relate to. It's an approach that not only appeals to an audience but because it's not your typical ski pro flying around the globe skiing patches of snow on far away mountains it relates to those who will watch it. Sinners, a ski film by Bill Heath, was for me one of the more recent films that was successful at doing just that.

It will depict the lives of a few "normal" skiers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of sliding on snow in a sustainable fashion, both monetarily and environmentally.

I suspect their approach to living in ski town USA is not fashionably sustainable like so many others out there in the ski world. The passion driven "dirtbag" lifestyle is a hard one to persue, one I suspect many have passed up for more reliable means. (myself included - Mr. Family Man)

Here's how they describe the film:

The Sublimation Experiment is not a story of big name pros, but a story of people who are devoted to the sport and to the mountains and who struggle to make it work, just like you and me. It is an experiment that follows the lives of a handful of individuals throughout the two winters of 2006 & 2007 as they showcase their skills while trying to sustain a lifestyle that is founded upon a common passion

The film is 73 minutes but a shorter 50 minute version will be showing at various mountain film festivals around the west.

Enjoy the trailer.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cirque Traverse Report - Part One

The Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming's Wind River Range is one of the premier alpine rock climbing zones in the lower 48, and I'm lucky enought to live about 5 hours from the trailhead. Although the ideal trip to the cirque would be packing up a week's worth of stuff on horses and heading in for a long trip, sometimes the need for a fast, surgical mission comes up.

One such occasion came up recently and I asked a good friend to head out for a weekend trip to try and do the entire Cirque Traverse, car to car. Not a light mission, but do-able, and somewhat necessary given the demands of life in the city. We left the office around 4:30 on a Friday and punched it to Wyoming, getting to the trailhead around 10 or 10:30 pm. We put together some sandwiches for the next day and crashed out.

Up at 3:30 am, ate some breakfast, and began the eight or so mile hike into the Cirque. The trail in is very well traveled so hiking at night was straightforward, and before we knew it we were rounding Arrowhead Lake and saw the sun's first rays were hitting peak #1, Pingora.

After a little soloing up the south buttress of Pingora, we tied in and pitched it out to the top since neither of us had climbed this section before. Didn't see many folks up that early in the Cirque, but a few were already on route.

Next up, the uber classic east ridge of Wolf's Head. That's Ari walking across the ridge to the start of the route. For gear, we had lightweight Black Diamond packs, about 4 camalots, a handful of stoppers, and a Petzl Dragonfly 8.2 mil rope. The route involved some easy climbing up to about 5.7 and a few rappels off of each technical peak, so this was about as light as we wanted to go. To the left you can see the Overhanging Tower (peak #3), the Shark's Nose (peak #4 and #5), and part of Block Tower(#6).

Here's Ari nearing the top of the ramp section on Wolf's Head. Lots of exposure, perfect rock, fun climbing and sick location. About this time we were surprised to run into Adam and Trent, friends from Salt Lake City already on the route. It was their first trip up there and they were psyched. We stopped long enough to look around and agree on how awesome it was to be up there, and on we went.

Maybe the sweetest pitch of the day - the hand traverse on Wolf's Head.

Pinogra sure looks small from the top of Sharks Nose. At this point it was mid afternoon and we still had a long way to go...

To be continued....Check back in a few days for Part 2.

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14th Annual Utah Avalanche Center Fundraising Party

Utah Avalanche Center" If your in the Salt Lake area tomorrow night come support Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center at Black Diamond Equipment. The party is from 6-10pm and will have Mexican food, dancing, and music by the Red Top Wolverine Show. is proud to help sponsor the event through donating gear for their silent auction.

I think the goal of the Utah Avalanche Center says it all:

Our goal is to keep people on top of the Greatest Snow on Earth instead of being buried beneath it.

Tickets for the event are $35 at the door and the address for Black Diamond is 2084 East 3900 South, Salt Lake City. Get stoked for that snow!

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Destination: Hispar Glacier in Pakistan’s Karakorum Himalaya is stoked to help support customers Steve Su and Pete Takeda on their climbing expedition to Pakistan's Karakorum. This is the first update of a few we expect to hear from them.

September 3, 2007

Steve “CM” Su and I (Pete Takeda) depart Denver, bound for Islamabad via London. Our final destination is the Hispar Glacier in Pakistan’s Karakorum Himalaya. The area – due west of K2, and the famous Baltoro area - has many aesthetic peaks , many of which are unclimbed. We are leaving fairly late in the season to take advantage of colder temperatures and stable post-monsoon conditions – better we hope, for peaks in the 6000 to 7000 meter range.

September 4 – 6, 2007

We arrive in Islamabad 48 hours later. On the calendar its taken three days, with an overnight flight delay due to an engine malfunction on Heathrow’s tarmac . It seems that two of our bags have come up missing so its an extra day in Islamabad, capitol of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The city has the usual sights, sounds, and smells of a busy South Asian city. Though our guide Nafeez insists that the current political and social climate is fine, he suggests we, “stay and relax” in our room at the Regent Hotel while he, “arranges everything.” We notice that our van dropped us off at the entrance of the hotel, inching with stealth through a crowded parking lot and minimizing our public exposure. At night we see a US Consulate warning on the news. Frankly, I do not feel any feel any more concerned about my security than in any big city in the States.

September 7, 2007

We wait on our baggage. The British Airways desk asks if we can’t wait until Monday – three days from now for our bags. It’s ridiculous. The plan us to leave tomorrow for a 17 hour drive north, up the Karakorum Highway to Gligit. Then it will be a shorter drive the following day to Hunza and the trailhead at Hispar village. A four day hike should put us in Base Camp. But first we need our bags.

Oh the possibilities...see anything you'd like to climb?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cookies for Randy...and 20% off at for You

This blog post comes from Connie Garrett of Bozeman, Montana. Connie is a customer who we've teamed up with to help support as she heads to Nepal this October. But it's not her climbing that we're most stoked about. Read on...

One birthday particularly stands out in my memory when my grandma and I made cookies for Randy, the disabled son of one of her friend’s. It is odd to make a Christmas present for someone else on your birthday, but shortly after Christmas I received my birthday gift – a “thank you” card in Randy’s handwriting, which I still have displayed on a shelf in my office over 25 years later.Kyajo-Ri, a fine mountain to climb in Nepal

Flash forward to this coming October when I depart on an adventure of a lifetime. Half way around the world is our climbing objective – Kyajo Ri (pictured here to the right). Nestled along the line of magnificent peaks of the Khumbu Himal region, Kyajo Ri rises to 20,290 feet from the Thame valley to the west and the Gokyo valley to the east. Just 26 days and 10,990 feet of climbing will bring our team to the sharp defined summit just about on Halloween!

So what does this have to do with cookies? Giving back.

Through climbing I’ve overcome some of life’s biggest obstacles and healed life’s biggest pains. For the expedition to Nepal, Vertical Realty (my company) has teamed with to collect at least 200 pounds of clothing for delivery to Nepali porters and high altitude workers. All clothing collected will benefit the Khumbu Climbing School, part of the Alex Lowe Foundation.

Clothing items need to be non-cotton and can include hats, scarfs, fleece jackets, fleece pullovers, waterproof jacketes and pants, and sweaters. For each person that donates 5 pieces of clothing or outerwear, you'll receive a 20% off coupon code from Connie that is valid through Feb 1, 2008 at

Please e-mail Connie - - to coordinate mailing your donation if you don't live in the Bozeman, Montana area.


If we receive more donations that are needed for the Khumbu Climbing School, additional donations will be delivered to the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). IMEC promotes responsible and sustainable connections between travelers and the people of developing mountain regions through education, assistance, and cross-cultural experiences.

About the Khumbu Climbing School

The climbing school is an annual vocational training and instructional program designed to teach technical climbing skills, English, wilderness first aide, and basic rescue scenarios to those working in the these high regions. We need your donations to help make this program an on going success.

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Brighton Halfpipe - June 10, 2007

This post is from employee James Richey in conjuction with the annual Adventure Contest.

Brighton Halfpipe- Adventure Contest

It’s June 9th, 2007 and I am down in my basement scraping the wax I put on my board about a month ago. My last day on the snow was May 6th as the season hadn’t been quite as good and the base at Snowbird had been melting away fast. So I had decided to seal my board up for the summer and move onto warmer weather activities.

But here I am, on June 9th prepping my board for riding? It had snowed 14 inches on Wednesday and the weekend before I had been hiking up at Brighton up to Lake Mary. We had noticed off in the distance that the half pipe was still up and the walls were still quite large. With the added snow a few days before it was irresistible not to hike up to it and see what fun could be had.

I woke up promptly at 8 o’clock in the morning on Saturday June 10th. The elated feeling was similar to waking up for opening day of the season in the fall. I had prepped and had everything sitting out waiting so that we could get out the door and up to the mountain. My wife Caitlin and I meet our friends Steve and J.J. and proceeded up Big Cottonwood Canyon. It was really weird to drive up the canyon with the AC on, but none the less we were going to ride.

We got to the parking lot at Brighton and looked up and the pipe was still looking really good calling out to us that it wanted to be ridden. So we through on our boots grabbed our packs and boards and headed up. The hike wasn’t bad, but it was really strange to see all of the terrain without any snow on it, only took about 15 minutes with all of our gear to hike up to the pipe.

We were pleasantly surprised that someone else had already had the same idea with us and there was a small jump, log jib and a large kicker built into the pipe already. Brighton had their annual closing day “Pipe luge” and there obstacles had been built where that jump was.

It was an absolute blast! We started out by hitting the small jump to get dialed in to the snow conditions, which really weren’t that bad at all. The log jib was a bit intimidating at first but we quickly got comfortable sliding up it and popping off to the landing. Unfortunately the temperatures started heating up and the snow holding the log in soften and the log popped right out. We made an attempt to get the log back into the snow the same way, but just couldn’t get it right so our attention turned to the big kicker.

The bigger kicker was great because we did a quick hike up to the top of the pipe and strapped into our boards. You dropped into the pipe and hit the left side wall, not enough vert to get out of the pipe, but enough to pop little backside 180’s and butter tricks. Then you just did a straight line down to the kicker. Depending on your speed you could easily pop off and do a grab or spin and land on the pipe wall with enough room to stop. Or it was very easy to ride up 180 tap or air up and down fakie with a nice grab.

It was really funny, because we were the only ones up there the entire day with our snowboards. There were several hikers that would stop on their way by the pipe and just double take that there were people in the half pipe riding snowboards when it was 80 degrees and the mountain had been closed for almost two months. But they just stood there and watched us for 5-10 minutes waving and clapping when we hit the jump before continuing on with their hike.

We got up to the pipe at about 10 a.m. and rode until just after 3 p.m. I would have loved to keep going but hiking up the pipe over and over had me exhausted and I caught my edge trying to come around on a front side 360 and hit my head pretty hard. Even though it was so much fun, it was time to call it a day.

The day was so much fun and definitely will be one of the days of the 2006-2007 season that I will always remember. Nothing better than hanging out with friends in less than ideal conditions having the most fun you can possible have on your board.

James Ritchey


Monday, September 17, 2007

Chicks with Picks

It may be a little too early to be thinking about snow, so I know its way too early to be thinking about ice. Nonetheless Chicks with Picks is an organization that tackles a year round feat, to help raise money for womens shelters. is stoked to help out their cause through donating items for their silent auctions this upcoming ice season. Here is what Kim Reynolds has to say about the 2008 ice season:

Clinics are open to gals (sorry guys) of all abilities, all ages, all shapes and all sizes. Our motto “kiss my axe” (ice axe, that is) pokes fun at the sassy, approachable attitude that keep women returning year after year. We teach technical skills & self reliance in a safe and supportive environment that inspire our chicks to become confident (if not righteous) climbing partners. We are NOT kidding! Sign up for beginning to advanced skills in two icy locations with all demo gear included. You’ll get the scoop in a 4-to-1 ratio with our famous girly-guides which alone, is worth the price of admission.

Our theme "women climbing with women, for women" promotes women's empowerment, the
spirit of service and giving back to the community. Chicks with Picks has raised $116,800 for local women’s shelters through hosting public auctions during our events. After all, it’s wayyy more than “just” ice’s life changing.

New to Chicks – we are now offering Chicks on Sticks back country ski trips in Canada & Mountain Mamas trekking excursions in Nepal. Don’t forget to check out our Karen McNeill Scholarship Fund because the possibilities just never end!


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Friday, September 14, 2007


Mountains surrounding the Cirque of the Towers, WyomingOften when I head outside it is to realize some objective or goal that I have daydreamed. My vision becomes tunneled, I don't see anything else other than that day's aspiration, whether it is a line to ski, crack to climb, or trail to run. I get laser-focused on the recreational agenda that I often overlook everything else that is outdoors.

On a recent trip to the Wind River Mountains I experienced one of those "moments" when everything comes back into focus. One of our trip purposes was to get in some sport climbing at Wild Iris. Due to timing and weather we weren't able to get in any climbing and faced a lot of down time.

One morning was particularly lazy. I found myself lying on my back in the middle of the Shoshone National Forest watching the clouds slothfully drift by, memories of previous outings replaying through my mind. In my memory it seems that during each and Wind River Mountains near Tomahawk Lake, Wyomingevery trip I allowed some form of 'distraction' that kept me from appreciating what was around.

I think that sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life that we often bring the hustle-and-bustle into the wilderness with us. How often do we overlook the simplicity of nature? When was the last time you laid on your back on a mountain side, lazily watching the clouds go by? How often do our "agendas" distract us from garnering what we came seeking from nature?

Heading out into the mountains is a way to let go of the complexities of life. It was nice to have a moment of realization of why it is that I try to get outside as much as I can. Now every time I go out I try to keep in mind why I’m there.

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700 Isn't So Cool

We hit our 700th post yesterday and just as I was about to celebrate with some fantastic post and office party I read that Lou over at reached his 900th but is postponing the party until post number 1000.

Put away the party hats (EC Headwear from the buyers), streamers (old school florescent powder cords) put the Fat Tire (the CEO lives in Evanston, Wyoming) on ice. Back to work everyone...sigh....



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Devils Tower, WY - Adopt a Crag

Sylvan Rocks and the National Park Service is holding a Devils Tower Adopt a Crag this Sunday the 16th. is stoked to help sponsor the event through gear and swag for the volunteers.

The nearly vertical monolith known as Devils Tower rises 1,267 feet above the meandering Belle Fourche River. It is the remnant of an ancient volcanic feature. Known by several northern plains tribes as Bears Lodge, it is a sacred site of worship for many American Indians.

Not only does the tower hold historical value, but is an epic climb for many crack junkies. Contact Michael Baum for more information about the event and get your clean on! ( in a non-Star Trek kind of way)



High Altitude Ski Expeditions...Yes, Happening Now

It was another warm one today. Temps here in Utah are pushing the upper 80's once again while inside the warehouse it's at least a sweaty 93+ where skis and snowboards that are piling up in anticipation of your winter adventures are feeling the heat. With more skis coming in right now out numbering those that are headed out the door it's clear skiing isn't on the brain for the majority of you.

But for a few skiing is entirely on the brain. My friend Tim is one. I just received an instant message from him. He's been skiing in Argentina and Chile for a couple of weeks now and today he skied 8500' on a volcano whose name I can't remember, forgotten while contemplating the enormity of skiing 8500' in one September! He was stoked beyond words.

And take Fredrik Ericsson for example. After a week of lost baggage and hanging out in Kathmandu, Nepal he's now off to climb and hopefully ski Dhaulagiri. At 8168 meters (that's 26,795' for us non-metric folks) Dhaulagiri is the 7th highest peak in the world and as if that weren't challenge enough Fredrik is going to do this solo.

Would you ski this mountain?
Dhaulagiri - 7th highest peak in the world
Just 40 miles to the east of Dhaulagiri is the Gurhka massif which contains the 8th highest summit in the world - Manaslu. A strong team of three Euros Benedikt Böhm, Sebastian Haag and Nicolas Bonnet, will not only attempt to ski Manaslu this month but they'll be looking to set a speed record while doing it. Check out the Manaslu Ski Expedition website but be sure to brush up on your German before doing so or it'll be a mostly worthless click.
So you didn't take on skiing Dhaulagiri - how about Manaslu?
Manaslu - 8th highest peak in the world
On the gear side of things, a cool thing to note (at least for me) is that both of these ski expeditions are utilizing Dynafit bindings which I switched to to seasons ago and will never go back. Dynafit's are bomber and at half the weight of Fritschi Freerides they are hard to argue with.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Linville Gorge, NC - Adopt a Crag

Will you be in the Linville Gorge Area this weekend? Linville Gorge is known as the Grand Canyon of North Carolina and home to many climbers and hikers. is proud to sponsor the outdoor clean up that will be held this Saturday, September 15th.

Head on over to the Table Rock Picnic Area at 9am with some tough boots and tools to help renovate the Amphitheater Approach all day.
Then later on they will have dinner, a slideshow, raffle off the 'goods', and an Access Fund membership drive. Contact Ron Funderburke with questions.

Cleaning up the Earth, one Adopt a Crag at a time.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Pretty in Pink?

While I was up at Snowbird for this year's Octoberfest, I decided to poke around the clearance sales at Christy's and Cliff sports. Because I'm a light and not very aggressive skier, I mostly have to stick with women's skis. As I was looking everything over, I kept wondering why every last darned women's ski seemed to have some shade of pink or purple on the graphic. There were a few blue or red exceptions, of course, but the overwhelming majority of skis were... well... pretty awful.

In the end, I bought a pair of K2 Phat Luv's (that should provide me with the ability to plow through crud that I was aiming for) despite the fact that I think the purple swirly girly graphics are just plain silly (in the store, the saleswomen looked offended when I jokingly referred to them as the Phat Ugs). Ultimately, how your skis- or bike or climbing shoes or the countless other women's specific outdoor items- look doesn't really matter all that much. And maybe for most girls like myself, the super swirly cutsie poo graphics are just mildly annoying. This is of course, supported by the fact that I actually did buy the skis. However, I nearly didn't.

But what about the guys who would in truth be better off with a women's bike frame or a women's boot? Not many have the self assurance to go blazing by on a hot pink bike, or buckled into some opalescent purple ski boots. Perhaps I am just really ignorant about the whole marketing process, and all these froo froo graphics really do sell more skis, bikes, etc., but it seems to me like they might be missing out on some demographics- like the tom boys (such as myself) and guys with high arches and low volume feet, etc.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Signs That Winter Will Soon Be Here

Last night I awoke at 2am and couldn't get back to sleep. The entire time I was thinking about skiing, wondering what lines I was going to ski this coming season, pondering what the snow will be like (Please Ullr, let there be snow) and thinking about what gear I'm going to "need" to pick up.

After awaking this morning I pondered my restless night. I started thinking about what signs signal to me each year that instead of being a distant memory winter is now an anticipated arrival. Here's a list of the signs that tell me I'll be rolling out the red carpet shortly welcoming Winter.
  1. Fall colors - I first noticed some of the under brush changing hues a couple of weeks ago but as I was driving to the valley earlier this week the reds and oranges of the scrub oak was a telling sign that summer's grasp is loosening.
  2. Teasers - All of my favorite ski film companies start to pump out the porn. (ski porn of course) There are too many to point out but a couple of my favorites so far this season are PNW from Theory3 and The Sublimation Experiment from KGB Productions . Like many of you I too am waiting for the Powderwhore trailer for PW07 which should be out soon. (FYI - is one of the title sponsors of PW07) Check out Teaser Season at for a full run down.
  3. Powder Magazine - Despite magazines like Coulior (RIP), Freeskier, Backcountry it's the arrival of the first issue of Powder Magazine and the subsequent cover-to-cover reading of it that surely signals to the brain "let the dreaming begin"
  4. Frost - Although the upper peaks in Colorado and even the tips of the Wasatch have seen the first flakes of white, for me the first frost on the car windows are a sign. This morning I woke to frosted windows, the familiar "scrape" sound of the wipers skimming across the frosted windows in a vain attempt to avoid pulling out the window scraper.
What signals to you that winter will soon be here? What signs of winter's arrival resonate with you? Tell us by posting a comment

Enjoy this tease from Theory 3....