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Tuesday
Nov152011

Mammut Eiger Extreme

In November of last year, I went to Switzerland to be a part of the Mammut Eiger Extreme Test Event.  We were briefed on the new product line and tested the Nordwand jacket and pants on the Eiger. Because of the size of the team and the time constraints (weather), we climbed the West Ridge to the summit then traversed the summit ridge and dropped down onto the summit icefield on the North face.  It was a fun experience.  I'm the guy on the bottom right of the X.

Friday
Aug052011

K2 summit push 2011

Right now climbers are going for the summit on K2.  Wish them well.  Hopefully they will top out and all come back down smiling.  No one has summited K2 since the tragedy in 2008.  Two years ago today I skied from 8350 meters on the south side, here is a shot.

Photo courtesy of George Dijmarescu

Friday
Apr292011

Lhotse Ski Expedition 2011

Hey All,  I've had a few people ask me lately "What's up with your website, did you abandon it?"  No, Sorry.  I just feel like I don't have anything worthy of sharing.  I've been pretty mellow over the last 10 weeks because of an injury.  Now I'm getting back out free skiing and about to head up to Mount Rainier for 10+ days. Hopefully I'll be able to do something rad.  

For day to day posts, pictures and news I use Facebook and Twitter, find me on there to check out stuff that I think is cool enough to share but maybe not appropriate for this site.

I try to only post the things that I find to be significant from a broad interest or historic perspective.  Recently the climbing/ski community has been rocked by the passing of several highly experienced athletes.  Fellow East Coaster and K2 ski company teammate Kip Garre was killed in an avalanche in the Sierras that also took the life of his girlfriend, Allison Kreutzen.  In the Bernese Alps, Swiss legend, Erhard Loretan died in a fall on his 52nd birthday.  Deepest condolences to the families and friends of all the adventurous souls who have passed in the last few months.

The spring climbing season in the Himalaya is going strong, with climbers acclimatizing on Everest and other peaks.  Swiss athlete Ueli Steck just blasted up and down Shisha's South Face in a blistering 10.5 hours.  This guy is so awesome, I'm stoked to see what he does next.  He's got permits for Cho and Everest North side. Hopefully we will see him float the Everest Super Coulior (Japanese>Horbein) to end what could be an amazing season.  American skier of the Gnar, Chris Davenport is currently on the south side of the Big E guiding a friend, perhaps he will find time to ski a line or two.  

There may be some other ski descents going on, I haven't heard of any except for the Lhotse Ski Expedition. This is a trip no doubt put together by Jamie Laidlaw.  Jamie skied from over 8000 meters on Lhotse in 20??. He's been on the route before so he knows what's up and if the conditions are remotely reasonable I think he'll send it.  With Jamie on the trip is Kris Erickson, who is a total badass as well.  Kris has skied on Cho, Shisha and G2 among many others.  These guys are a class act and I expect they will come home with mind-blowing imagery that The North Face will use in future campaigns.

This post is loaded with links, check them out, all are interesting.  Please send positive vibes to all the folks out in the hills now.  Remember, "The mountains don't care who you are" and "There is no conquering going on here, just pure fun".  I feel like someone older and wiser must have said those phrases before me, but I don't know who.  Peace

Thursday
Feb032011

Mammut launches Avalanche Airbag Backpacks

The 150 year old Swiss company Mammut debuted a new product line at the Outdoor Retailers Winter market in Salt Lake City.  The R.A.S (removable airbag system) is another step forward in Mammut's dedication to alpine safety.  The line of backpacks are modified versions of the popular Nirvana series and are capable of handling the airbag system designed by another Swiss company, Snowpulse.  The Snowpulse system can be removed from the pack and replaced into other compatible packs, Mammut will produce 2 packs of different sizes (30L & 22L).

A "ripcord" handle is attached to the shoulder strap, when pulled, it releases the compressed air from a small cylinder which inflates the 150 liter airbag in less than 3 seconds.  The idea of avalanche airbags is that of "inverse segregation", which means that the largest particles of a moving fluid make their way to the surface.  The bag increases the volume of the user while reducing density and increasing buoyancy.  Simply put, it will keep you on top of the avalanche debris, so even when your legs are broken, at least you won't suffocate.

The weight of the airbag and cylinder is approximately 1,500 grams (3.3lbs), roughly the weight of a liter and a half of water.  This will soon become standard kit for anyone traveling in avalanche prone terrain.  The likelihood of surviving an avalanche increases dramatically if the victim is not buried.  I must say that these tools are not a free ticket to get rad and be free of consequence.  The whole idea is to use good judgment and not be caught in a slide, but we all know that shit happens and it is best to be prepared for the worst.  These packs will retail for nearly $800.  Yes, it's pricey but not nearly as expensive as a funeral.

 

Please consider taking an avalanche education course.   It is likely you will learn a lot, and you'll also be putting in that much needed practice time.  American Avalanche Institute.

Friday
Dec172010

National Geographic: Skiing K2 is one of the most extreme adventures on the planet

This week National Geographic released a story about the 20 most extreme adventures on the planet.  Seems that skiing down K2 is in their top 5 on the Ultimate Adventure Bucket List.  

Other adventures include, summiting Everest, downclimbing into an active volcano, swimming with great white sharks, and kayaking off 180 ft waterfalls.  This is one heck of a list and a great database for future vacations. The see the story, go to National Geographic.