crampon maintenance

crampon maintenanceWhether you’re a moun­taineer who treks across rock, snow, and ice or a mixed climber who tra­vers­es all man­ner of abra­sive terrain—know that every time you use your cram­pons, you’re dulling their grip. Here’s how to sharp­en and main­tain them to opti­mize safe­ty and longevity.

First, Dial In Your Work Area
When work­ing with any man­ner of tools and tech­ni­cal gear, it’s worth tak­ing the time to set up a work area that’s safe, com­fort­able, and well lit. Because sharp­en­ing cre­ates met­al shav­ings, sharp­en cram­pons in an easy-to-sweep area.

Sharp­en by Hand
Start by thor­ough­ly rins­ing dirt and dust off your cram­pons, then wipe them com­plete­ly dry. Depend­ing on the design, you may be able to sep­a­rate the heel from the toe section–if you can, do so. Some choose to put their cram­pons in a vice to sharp­en them, which is fine—just take care not to bend the met­al. You can also sim­ply hold the cram­pons, but pro­tect your hands by wear­ing gloves. Using a coarse hand file, file the side and points of your cram­pon spikes, fol­low­ing the exist­ing forge. When fil­ing, be care­ful to strike a straight line from frame to tip. Nev­er use a grind­ing wheel, which gen­er­ates heat that may weak­en met­al by chang­ing the tem­per of the steel. Straight­en bent points as much as pos­si­ble, either by the direc­tion of fil­ing or with a ham­mer. For moun­taineer­ing cram­pons, aim for the equiv­a­lent sharp­ness of a steak knife tip (ultra-sharp blades can cut pants, legs, and back­packs); for technical/vertical cram­pons, the sharp­er the better.

Cod­dle Your Crampons
After you’ve sharp­ened your cram­pons, wash and wipe them down with a clean rag. Care­ful­ly inspect them, look­ing for chips, burrs, or warped edges. Care­ful­ly exam­ine the points—if they’re get­ting thin, odd­ly shaped, or notice­ably short­er, it might be time for a new pair.

When pack­ing for an adven­ture, check your cram­pons for loose riv­ets, wig­gly screws, and worn straps and buckles—replace or adjust as need­ed. Ensure the heel and toe bails are in good work­ing order and that they fit your boots snug­ly. For longer trips, car­ry a small repair kit includ­ing a mul­ti-tool, bal­ing wire, and spare parts like straps, bails, and extra cen­ter bars.

Off-Sea­son Storage
Final­ly, after each trip, make sure your cram­pons are com­plete­ly dry before putting them away; if they sit with mois­ture on the met­al, they may begin to rust. If you’re stor­ing them for the sea­son, clean them thor­ough­ly then con­sid­er coat­ing them with light oil or a water-dis­place­ment spray like WD-40.

Win­ter isn’t just for the skiers and snow­board­ers if you’re inter­est­ed in get­ting out there, hav­ing some fun in the snow, and try­ing some­thing a lit­tle more off the beat­en path, con­sid­er giv­ing one of these a try. Who knows you might just be a natural.

ski-joring-lakeside-montanna
Ski­jor­ing at its finest in Lake­side, Mon­tana. @406_rob

Ski­jor­ing
Ever thought about what it would feel like to get towed on your skis by a dog or a horse, maybe even a car? Ever want­ed to com­pete against oth­er skiers also get­ting towed? If yes, then ski­jor­ing is for you. This age-old sport is a boat­load of fun, who knows it might even be your next mode of trans­porta­tion to the gro­cery store.

Ski Bik­ing
Pic­ture a bike but instead of wheels, you’ve got two or three skis. These things are fast, fun, and even a lit­tle scary. This sport is a great way to hit the ski slopes if you don’t feel like ski­ing or snow­board­ing, and many ski resorts now offer rentals and even lessons for those look­ing to learn.

Ice Climbing/Mountaineering
While maybe not exact­ly fringe sports, ice climb­ing, and moun­taineer­ing are great ways for those who don’t ski or snow­board to get out­side and enjoy the won­der­ful beau­ty of nature in win­ter.  How­ev­er, they are both some of the more cost pro­hib­i­tives of win­ter sports, not to men­tion they are also dan­ger­ous activ­i­ties that take a con­sid­er­able amount of knowl­edge and prepa­ra­tion. That being said, they’re both a lot of fun if done safely.

Fat-Bike

Snowskat­ing
Undoubt­ed­ly the brain­child of snow­board­ers and skate­board­ers, snowskat­ing is a great way to embrace skate­board­ing and the more tech­ni­cal bag of tricks that come with it. By not hav­ing the board attached to your feet, rid­ers have the free­dom of mov­ing around like their on a skate­board, while on snow.

Fat Bik­ing
Ever tried to bike in the snow with nor­mal pair of bike tires? Does­n’t work. Fat bik­ing is all about the girth, with huge tires, wheels cov­er more sur­face area giv­ing you the free­dom to ped­dle around on snow like you would on a city street. With recent pop­u­lar­i­ty grow­ing, adven­ture trav­el trip providers have recent­ly start­ed adding fat bike tours to their list of activ­i­ties, so get out there, hop on a bike, and hit the snow.

Yuki­gassen
Last but def­i­nite­ly not least. Yuki­gassen is a Japan­ese snow­ball fight­ing com­pe­ti­tion that is exact­ly what it sounds like. Play­ers com­pete with teams of sev­en in a head to head com­pe­ti­tion that is scored sim­i­lar­ly to cap­ture the flag, where­in play­ers get out if they are hit with a snow­ball, and the ulti­mate goal is to either elim­i­nate all oppos­ing play­ers or cap­ture the oth­er teams flag. Com­pe­ti­tions are held all over the world, with a cham­pi­onship in Hokkai­do, Japan.

avalanche tips

avalanche tipsAn esti­mat­ed 150 peo­ple per year die in avalanch­es in North Amer­i­ca, a sta­tis­tic that’s made even more hor­ri­fy­ing con­sid­er­ing the rel­a­tive­ly small num­bers of peo­ple who ven­ture into avalanche-prone ter­rain. As you gear up for your out­door adven­tures this win­ter, keep these tips in mind.

Learn To Read Terrain
As you start to ven­ture into the side­coun­try, keep in mind that no mat­ter how acces­si­ble an area might be from a ski resort, it can still hold all the dan­gers as the full-on back­coun­try. Treat unpa­trolled areas with respect, and learn to rec­og­nize ter­rain traps and slide paths. Do you know what slope angles are most like­ly to slide? If you were hit by an avalanche, what’s below you—trees? A cliff? A smooth runout?

Get Edu­cat­ed
The gold stan­dard for edu­ca­tion in snow safe­ty is the Amer­i­can Insti­tute for Avalanche Research and Edu­ca­tion (AIARE), who offer cours­es at Lev­els 1, 2, and 3. The first lev­el, “Deci­sion Mak­ing in Avalanche Ter­rain,” is a 3‑day, 24-hour course that was specif­i­cal­ly designed for recre­ation­al back­coun­try users like skiers, snow­board­ers, and hik­ers on snow­shoes. Stu­dents learn how to pre­pare for and exe­cute trips, under­stand basic deci­sion-mak­ing in the field, and res­cue tech­niques required to find and dig out a buried per­son if an avalanche occurs.

Pay Atten­tion To What’s Hap­pen­ing Locally 
Check­ing local avalanche forecasts—which you can find through the Amer­i­can Avalanche Asso­ci­a­tion—is a great way to get a gen­er­al sense of what’s hap­pen­ing in your region. Pay atten­tion to recent weath­er, and avoid avalanche ter­rain with­in 24 hours of a storm that brings a foot (30 cen­time­ters) or more of fresh snow, which is when slides are most com­mon. Check local trip reports. Ask ques­tions. Stay engaged with the moun­tains as much as possible.

Wear a Helmet
Every year brings new gear tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion: inflat­able back­packs, fan­cy probes, light­weight shov­els. Effi­ca­cy rates vary (and they always increase with prop­er train­ing), but experts agree that there’s one piece of gear they nev­er trav­el with­out: the brain buck­et. Buy a hel­met. Wear it. Every sin­gle time.

Under­stand the Risks
Even the best back­coun­try trav­el­ers know that there’s always some risk. “You can do every­thing right and still get caught in an avalanche,” says Jeff Lane, a Snow Ranger at the Mount Wash­ing­ton Avalanche Cen­ter in New Hamp­shire. “Edu­cate your­self and make good decisions—but if you’re going to ski or climb or trav­el in avalanche ter­rain, you’ll have to accept that you can’t be right 100% of the time.” Be pre­pared, stay safe, and always make con­ser­v­a­tive deci­sions. And remind your­self: that sick line will be there anoth­er day.

For more infor­ma­tion, check out Stay­ing Alive in Avalanche Ter­rain, Sec­ond Edi­tion (by Bruce Trem­per), Allen & Mike’s Avalanche Book (by Mike Clel­land and Allen O’Bannon) and Avalanche Essen­tials (by Bruce Tremper.) 

Oprah might have missed these sto­ries about badass female climbers, but they’re clas­sics in the world of adventure.

annapurna_200Anna­pur­na: A Woman’s Place (Arlene Blum)
In August 1978, thir­teen women trav­eled from San Fran­cis­co to Nepal to make his­to­ry as the first Americans—and the first women—to scale the treach­er­ous slopes of Anna­pur­na, the world’s tenth high­est peak. In Anna­pur­na, expe­di­tion leader Arlene Blum tells the dra­mat­ic sto­ry of their adven­tures in Nepal: the logis­ti­cal strug­gles, intense storms, and haz­ardous avalanch­es; the con­flicts and rec­on­cil­i­a­tions with­in the team; and the sim­ple beau­ty of climb­ing ice. Despite the trag­ic end­ing, this tale of chal­lenge and com­mit­ment is told with humor, insight, and unflinch­ing hon­esty. It remains a clas­sic in the annals of women’s achievements.

womendare_300 copyWomen Who Dare: North Amer­i­ca’s Most Inspir­ing Women Climbers (Chris Noble) 
In this anthol­o­gy, twen­ty of America’s most inspir­ing female climbers share sto­ries of ath­leti­cism, wis­dom, and skill. There are how-to sug­ges­tions, per­son­al philoso­phies, and prac­ti­cal tips from women like Lynn Hill, Sasha DiGiu­lian, Emi­ly Har­ring­ton, Kit­ty Cal­houn, and Beth Rod­den. Bonus: the full-col­or pho­tos will make you want to start climb­ing yesterday.

highinfatuation_300 copyHigh Infat­u­a­tion: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Grav­i­ty (Steph Davis)
Steph Davis, arguably one of the most accom­plished climbers in the world, has free soloed 5.11, sum­mit­ed all the peaks in the Fitzroy Range, and free climbed El Cap­i­tan in a day. She’s also writ­ten two books: High Infat­u­a­tion and Learn­ing to Fly. Both are med­i­ta­tions on the uni­ver­sal themes of love, friend­ship, and the strug­gle to craft a life around unfet­tered truths. She also shares veg­an recipes and writes about a dog who knows how to BASE jump.

climbingfree_200Climb­ing Free: My Life in the Ver­ti­cal World (Lynn Hill)
In 1994, Lynn Hill did some­thing that no one—man or woman—had done before: the first “free ascent” of the Nose on Yosemite’s El Cap­i­tan. In layman’s terms, that means she climbed 3,000 feet of ver­ti­cal gran­ite with­out using gear to aid her ascent—all in less than 23 hours. In Climb­ing Free, Hill shares the sto­ry of her famous climb. She also tells of her youth as a stunt artist in Hol­ly­wood, her near-fatal 80-foot fall, her friend­ships with climb­ing’s most col­or­ful per­son­al­i­ties, and the tragedies and tri­umphs of her life in the ver­ti­cal world.

womenhigh_200Women on High: Pio­neers of Moun­taineer­ing (Rebec­ca Brown)
If you think that women weren’t involved in the ear­ly days of moun­taineer­ing, you’re wrong. Women have been explor­ing the alpine since the ear­ly days of climb­ing; you just haven’t heard of them. In Women on High, Brown chron­i­cles some of the badass women of mountaineering’s ear­ly days, and describes the ways that their goals—fulfillment, chal­lenge, and the long­ing to explore—are every bit as rel­e­vant today as they were 200 years ago.

If you’ve ever trav­eled through the Pacif­ic North­west, you’ve seen Mount Rainier. At 14,411’, the peak dom­i­nates the Seat­tle sky­line, and it’s no coin­ci­dence that more than 10,000 peo­ple try to climb Rainer’s glaciat­ed slopes each year. If you’re think­ing of mak­ing a sum­mit bid, keep these tips in mind.

Plan Ahead
If you’re climb­ing with one of the guide ser­vices that oper­ate on Mount Rainier, book ear­ly: most sum­mit climbs fill 10–12 months out. Set dates with your part­ners and reserve climb­ing per­mits with the Nation­al Park Ser­vice. Demand is so high that some climbers get turned away on busy weekends.

Get in Shape
Put sim­ply: you’ll want to be in the best shape of your life. Train­ing for moun­taineer­ing can be chal­leng­ing if you work a 9‑to‑5, but be cre­ative. Work on strength and bal­ance at the gym, go for long hikes on week­ends and com­mit to mov­ing your body con­sis­tent­ly. Embrace the chal­lenge: the stronger you feel, the safer and more the enjoy­able your climb will be.

Dial in Your Nutrition
It might sound sim­ple, but con­sid­er this: on an aver­age 12-to-18 hour sum­mit day, you’ll need to con­sume sev­er­al hun­dred calo­ries per hour. There’s noth­ing wrong with nutri­tion bars and ener­gy gels, but chances are good that you won’t feel great if high­ly processed foods are your body’s only source of fuel. Plus, it’s very nat­ur­al to lose your appetite at alti­tude. On long train­ing hikes, fig­ure out what kinds of food you can stom­ach on hour 8.

Prac­tice With Your Gear
Moun­taineer­ing is a gear-inten­sive sport, and sum­mit morn­ing isn’t the time to be test­ing out your sys­tems. Break in your boots ahead of time. Adjust your back­pack so it fits you per­fect­ly. Prac­tice lay­er­ing for dif­fer­ent kinds of con­di­tions. Make sure your cram­pons are fixed cor­rect­ly. Show up with your sys­tems dialed.

Watch the Weather
Sum­mer con­di­tions can vary wild­ly on the Cas­cade vol­ca­noes, and by watch­ing tem­per­a­tures for the week or so before, you climb you can make sure your gear choic­es are well suit­ed to con­di­tions. When it’s hot, bring extra water, lots of sun­screen, and a shirt with built-in SPF. When it’s cold, bring chem­i­cal hand-warm­ers and an extra lay­er or two.

Keep Your Cam­era Warm
Lots of climbers care­ful­ly hoard cam­era bat­ter­ies dur­ing days of climb­ing, only to reach the sum­mit and find that cold temps have drained their lithi­um-ion charge. Keep phones and cam­eras in a warm pock­et until you’re ready to take that sum­mit selfie.

Think Care­ful­ly About How Your Define Success
Moun­taineer­ing is a com­pli­cat­ed sport, and it’s impor­tant to be hon­est with your­self about your goals for the climb. The sum­mit is nev­er guar­an­teed, and expe­ri­enced climbers take the time to straight­en pri­or­i­ties in their head. Hint: it’s safe­ty first, then the sum­mit.

©istockphoto/tdub303

©istockphoto/tdub303For many coun­tries, moun­tains rep­re­sent iden­ti­ty. From the Alps, to the Himalayas, the Rock­ies, and the Andes, the moun­tains rep­re­sent icon­ic land­scapes that define not only a place, but also its sport­ing achieve­ments and the cul­tures that reside between them. Moun­tain muse­ums serve not only as a tes­ta­ment to the con­querors that dared to climb and stand upon sum­mits, but also to paint a por­trait of a unique envi­ron­ment, filled with rare flo­ra and mys­te­ri­ous wildlife.

To under­stand the moun­tains isn’t just to see them as tow­ers of rock and ice, but to see how their exis­tence shapes the peo­ple and cul­tures that grow with­in them. These are some of the world’s muse­ums ded­i­cat­ed to moun­tains, moun­taineers and moun­tain culture.

Inter­na­tion­al Moun­tain Muse­um – Pokhara, Nepal1
With a soar­ing triple atri­um, rem­i­nis­cent of a moun­tain­ous sky­line and the Anna­pur­na Range ris­ing in the back­ground, the Inter­na­tion­al Moun­tain Muse­um of Pokhara, Nepal cel­e­brates the Himalayas in sport, wildlife, and cul­ture. Set in a large, airy space, the muse­um divides into three gal­leries: Moun­tain, for geog­ra­phy, Moun­tain Peo­ple, for the cul­tures that thrive with­in and Moun­tain Activ­i­ties, the one ded­i­cat­ed to Himalayan climbing.

The Moun­tain Gallery dis­plays infor­ma­tion and pho­tographs on each of the world’s 14 8,000-meter peaks from Nepal and Tibet to Pak­istan. With rock sam­ples, plant life and wildlife repli­cas, the muse­um describes the cre­ation and geol­o­gy of the Himalayas, formed when the Indi­an and Eurasian plates col­lid­ed, thrust­ing the land upward into the famed peaks known today. The gallery also dis­plays col­lec­tions of rare Himalayan but­ter­flies, high alti­tude flora—including the rhodo­den­dron, Nepal’s nation­al flower—and a fas­ci­nat­ing look at a snow leop­ard, made famous by Peter Matthiessen’s book.

The Moun­tain Peo­ple Gallery is ded­i­cat­ed to the indige­nous cul­tures from the Andes to the Alps and the Himalayas who depend on the moun­tains as a source of life and how it affects their way of being. A large swath of the gallery is devot­ed to the Sher­pa, orig­i­nal­ly horse­men and traders who descend­ed from Tibet, who reside across the Khum­bu. Besides their famed work as guides and porters, the Sher­pas pro­duced inno­v­a­tive tech­niques to farm at high alti­tude, built resilient vil­lages out of the mate­ri­als they found in the high hills and used the moun­tains as a major part of their folk­lore and song, seen from the many musi­cal instru­ments on dis­play. There’s also an exhib­it on the lore of the Yeti.

The Moun­tain Activ­i­ties Gallery cel­e­brates Himalayan moun­taineer­ing, dis­play­ing his­tor­i­cal equip­ment from the first ascents of the 8,000-meter peaks such as Mau­rice Herzog’s land­mark climb of Anna­pur­na in 1950, Lino Lacedel­li and Water Bonatti’s con­tro­ver­sial first ascent of K2 in 1954—a moun­tain that was not sum­mit­ed again until 1977—and Hillary and Norgay’s con­quest of Ever­est. The gallery traces moun­taineer­ing from its prim­i­tive begin­ning, fea­tur­ing a col­lec­tion of ice axes, cram­pons, stoves, sleep­ing bags and down wear from the 1920s to the mod­ern attire of the ear­ly 2000s.

While most of the col­lec­tion her­alds achieve­ment, a small sec­tion just beyond the glass cas­es pro­vides a jar­ring con­trast. Heaps of rope, oxy­gen can­is­ters and cook­ing tanks take up almost an entire room. The exhib­it rep­re­sents a col­lec­tion of trash left by expe­di­tions on Ever­est over a course of three sea­sons. It’s a stark and human­iz­ing reminder of the human effect on the moun­tains and the impor­tance of pre­serv­ing the pris­tine environment.

Brad­ford Wash­burn Amer­i­can Moun­taineer­ing Muse­um – Gold­en, Colorado2
Brad­ford Wash­burn was an Amer­i­can moun­taineer, car­tog­ra­ph­er, artist and pho­tog­ra­ph­er who first sur­veyed Alaska’s moun­tains by air and cre­at­ed maps of peaks such as Denali and Ever­est. After Washburn’s pass­ing in 2007, the Amer­i­can Alpine Club and the Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Soci­ety ded­i­cat­ed a muse­um of moun­taineer­ing and climb­ing to his name, hous­ing col­lec­tions of relics, maps and pho­tographs that tell the sto­ry of Amer­i­can moun­taineer­ing both in North Amer­i­ca and abroad. Set around a mod­el of Ever­est, the muse­um, while mod­est in size, dis­plays how moun­taineer­ing was a part of Amer­i­can cul­ture, from first ascents in Alas­ka and the Himalayas to a sec­tion ded­i­cat­ed to the 10th Moun­tain Divi­sion, the famed infantry who fought across the alpine ter­rain of Italy and Aus­tria in World War II.

Among one of the museum’s most cher­ished trea­sures is a sim­ple antique wood­en ice axe that belonged to Amer­i­can moun­taineer Pete Schoe­ing, who used it in an act of hero­ism known as ‘The Belay.’ In 1953, on the heels of the first con­quest of Ever­est, Schoe­ing and his team attempt­ed the first ascent of K2 but were trapped in a storm at 7,260-meters (25,000 ft.). With one of his team mem­bers suf­fer­ing from a pul­monary embolism, Schoe­ing and his group, all roped togeth­er, began to descend in the midst of the storm. Sud­den­ly, one of the climbers, George Irv­ing Bell, slipped on an ice sheet and pulled five oth­er climbers down with him. Schoe­ing, who had been belay­ing the group, quick­ly took his ice axe and jammed it into a boul­der, arrest­ing the fall of the entire group and sav­ing the lives of five men. Schoeing’s actions earned him an award for hero­ism in moun­taineer­ing and the nam­ing of Schoe­ing Peak in the Ellsworth Moun­tains of Antarctica.

Along with the muse­um, the Amer­i­can Alpine Club main­tains a vast library of over 20,000 books, maps, films, pho­tographs, archiv­ing guide­books, hand-writ­ten route maps and doc­u­ments of moun­tain cul­ture and explo­ration. The muse­um and library also hosts lec­tures, screen­ings and social events for the Col­orado climb­ing community.

The Mess­ner Moun­tain Muse­um – South Tyrol, Italy3
Ital­ian moun­taineer Rein­hold Mess­ner entered his­to­ry as the first per­son to climb the world’s 14 8,000-meter peaks, and he has ded­i­cat­ed his life to the preser­va­tion and edu­ca­tion of moun­tain explo­ration and cul­ture. The Mess­ner Moun­tain Muse­um is not one but six sep­a­rate muse­ums across South Tyrol in Italy, each ded­i­cat­ed to a sep­a­rate aspect of the moun­tains. Set against the dra­mat­ic Dolomites, the Mess­ner Muse­um serves not only as a gallery of Reinhold’s pas­sions, but also a forum to share ideas, spur inno­va­tion and con­ser­va­tion and respon­si­bly pro­mote the sports of climb­ing and mountaineering.

The first muse­um, set in an unre­stored medieval cas­tle in Fir­mi­an, is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of moun­tain art and its sig­nif­i­cance in rela­tion to the his­to­ry of moun­taineer­ing and alpin­ism. A large seat­ed Bud­dha looks off to one side rep­re­sent­ing the Himalayas, while an Inuk­suk rep­re­sents the indige­nous peo­ple of British Colum­bia and Alas­ka. As vis­i­tors descend an under­ground stair­case, they delve into a nat­ur­al gallery carved inside the moun­tain, where they are grant­ed with sweep­ing panora­mas of the Dolomites and an artis­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the moun­tains told in var­i­ous medi­ums includ­ing paint­ings, pho­tographs, and sculpture.

The Dolomites branch, known as ‘The Muse­um In the Clouds’ is ded­i­cat­ed to the sto­ry of tra­di­tion­al rock climb­ing in the Ital­ian Alps. The muse­um is built to resem­ble a church, with 20 naves that doc­u­ment the his­to­ry of climb­ing rock in the Dolomites, fea­tur­ing antique pro­tec­tion devices, hand drawn jour­nals of routes detail­ing first ascents, ropes, boots and cloth­ing from the first rock climbers to the mod­ern alpin­ists of today.

Set in Juval Cas­tle, which dates to 1278, the third muse­um rep­re­sents moun­tain myth and spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. While a large por­tion is ded­i­cat­ed to Tibetan and Bud­dhist iconog­ra­phy such as maps, masks, and prayer wheels, the muse­um fair­ly rep­re­sents all moun­tain­ous spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, such as the rev­er­ence of Ayers Rock to Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nals, Mt. Fuji’s rev­er­ence in Japan and the impor­tance of the moun­tains to North Amer­i­can tribes.

The muse­um at Ripa (Tibetan for ‘Moun­tain Man’) is a fas­ci­nat­ing ‘Liv­ing Muse­um’ that pro­motes the exchange of dia­logue, ideas, and cul­ture between moun­tain peo­ples, giv­ing them the abil­i­ty to share ideas with the local Dolomite com­mu­ni­ty. Mess­ner has pre­vi­ous­ly invit­ed groups from Tibet, Mon­go­lia and North and South Amer­i­ca to spend the sum­mer exchang­ing cul­tur­al ideas in a wel­com­ing and open forum.

The Ortles branch is devot­ed to glac­i­ers and ice, from Alas­ka to Antarc­ti­ca and the Himalayas. The muse­um is sit­u­at­ed direct­ly under a glac­i­er that guests can walk direct­ly into, while arti­facts, pho­tos, and film tell the sto­ry of cold explo­ration from ice climb­ing to the cross­ing of the poles. Along­side the wall, sev­er­al alcoves por­tray 13 dif­fer­ent moun­taineer­ing sto­ries, includ­ing some from Mess­ner himself.

The final muse­um, which opened less than a year ago in Coro­nes, is devot­ed to the pure sport of moun­taineer­ing, rock climb­ing and explo­ration of the Dolomites. Messner’s aim with his final muse­um is to explore the har­mo­nious rela­tion­ship between ath­lete and moun­tain. The col­lec­tion is still under­go­ing place­ment, but it serves as a tes­ta­ment to Rein­hold Messner’s true passion.

 

While these muse­ums are cen­ters to the his­to­ry and rev­er­ence of the moun­tains for many cul­tures, there are small pock­ets of region­al col­lec­tions ded­i­cat­ed to the explo­ration of a par­tic­u­lar area.

Boul­der, Colorado’s Nep­tune Moun­taineer­ing has a small muse­um tucked in its store, with arti­facts from antique skis to pitons and his­tor­i­cal moun­taineer­ing equip­ment set in a fas­ci­nat­ing collection.

In the town of Ash­ford, at the foot of Mt. Rainier, the Whit­tak­er Bunkhouse hous­es a small col­lec­tion in their café ded­i­cat­ed to the exploits of Lou and Jim Whit­tak­er, one of America’s most revered climb­ing fam­i­lies includ­ing pho­tographs, ice axes, and oxy­gen tanks from their many expe­di­tions. Moun­taineer­ing is a sport steeped in his­to­ry and cul­ture as it is in ath­leti­cism. In a rapid­ly chang­ing cli­mate, the moun­tain muse­ums help pre­serve cul­ture, his­to­ry, and the pur­suit of free­dom in the high hills.

For most of us being a week­end war­rior means sneak­ing out of work a few hours ear­ly on a Fri­day to beat traf­fic and snag the best camp­site. For the folks in this short film it means fly­ing to Méx­i­co to climb and ski North Amer­i­ca’s 3rd high­est peak, Pico de Oriz­a­ba, in 55 hours.

Ski tour­ing is a phys­i­cal­ly demand­ing feat on its own, but to sum­mit an 18,491 ft peak with only few hours to accli­mate to the ele­va­tion is bold, dar­ing, and awesome!

 

Everest

Everest

The 2015 Ever­est climb­ing sea­son is under­way, and if pre­vi­ous years have been any indi­ca­tion, it should be anoth­er inter­est­ing year on the world’s high­est peak. Over the past few sea­sons we’ve seen every­thing from awe inspir­ing per­son­al accom­plish­ments to unbe­liev­able tragedy play out on the slopes of the “Big Hill,” mak­ing it a sym­bol for both incred­i­ble inspi­ra­tion and extreme sor­row. Add in grow­ing ten­sions between a vari­ety of fac­tions oper­at­ing on the moun­tain, and we enter this sea­son with a con­tin­ued air of uncer­tain­ty sur­round­ing the pro­ceed­ings. It is dif­fi­cult to say just how this sea­son will unfold, but here are some things to keep an eye on in the weeks ahead. 


Back to Busi­ness
Climb­ing Ever­est is big busi­ness, both for the com­mer­cial guide ser­vices that oper­ate on the moun­tain, and for the gov­ern­ments of Nepal and Chi­na. The two coun­tries issue per­mits for climb­ing on the South and North Sides respec­tive­ly, and col­lect hefty fees in the process. Fol­low­ing last year’s unprece­dent­ed shut­down of the South Side after a trag­ic acci­dent claimed the lives of 16 porters in an avalanche, there were some ques­tion as to whether or not that busi­ness would be impact­ed this year. While some of the com­mer­cial teams have shift­ed from the South Side to the North, there does­n’t appear to be any slow­down in the demand for Ever­est. Most com­pa­nies report full ros­ters for 2015, which means the moun­tain is like­ly to be as crowd­ed as ever. And with prices con­tin­u­ing to go up each year, there is clear­ly a lot of mon­ey to be made.


But Not Every­one is Back
While most of the com­mer­cial oper­a­tors are return­ing to Ever­est this year with plen­ty of clients in tow, some have decid­ed that the polit­i­cal cli­mate, chang­ing envi­ron­ment, and con­tin­ued uncer­tain­ty on the moun­tain are ample rea­sons to stay away. The Peak Freaks, a com­pa­ny that has been lead­ing moun­taineers up Ever­est for near­ly 25 years, has can­celled its 2015 and 2016 expe­di­tions. Instead, they will focus on other—less crowded—mountains in the region. The Peak Freaks may not be alone in that deci­sion either. If the Ever­est 2015 sea­son does­n’t go smooth­ly, there could eas­i­ly be oth­er high pro­file com­pa­nies jump­ing ship as well. No need to wor­ry about find­ing a com­mer­cial guide ser­vice to lead future expe­di­tions how­ev­er, as more and more Sher­pa-owned com­pa­nies are pop­ping up in Nepal, bring­ing new, less-cost­ly options with them.


Ice Fall

Increas­ing Dan­ger
The avalanche that claimed the lives of the 16 Sher­pas last year was the result of the col­lapse of a hang­ing serac—a giant piece of ice—over a cru­cial sec­tion of the climb on the South Side. That ser­ac had been in place for years, but final­ly gave way due to the increased impact of cli­mate change on the moun­tain. The Ice Fall Doc­tors, a group of Sher­pa charged with main­tain­ing the treach­er­ous route through the Khum­bu Ice Fall, feel that the dan­ger still remains in 2015, and as a result they are shift­ing a sec­tion of the route in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last year’s dis­as­ter. But chang­ing con­di­tions on the Lhotse Face have brought increased dan­ger to oth­er parts of the moun­tain as well. As the glac­i­ers on Ever­est retreat, all phas­es of the climb are start­ing to be impact­ed. That means that it could be even more dif­fi­cult to safe­ly climb and descend from the sum­mit. Add in the grow­ing crowds on the moun­tain, and Ever­est could be as dan­ger­ous now as it has ever been. 


High Alti­tude Inspi­ra­tion
As always, there will be a pletho­ra of inspir­ing sto­ries that make their way out of Ever­est Base Camp. For exam­ple, U.S. Marine Char­lie Linville lost his leg to an IED in Afghanistan back in 2011, and he is now prepar­ing to climb the moun­tain as part of the Heroes Project. Linville’s efforts will no doubt serve as inspi­ra­tion to oth­ers who are fac­ing adver­si­ty of their own. He’ll be joined on the expe­di­tion by oth­er vet­er­ans with a sim­i­lar sto­ry, as the team works togeth­er to over­come phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenges on their way to the top of the world. Each spring, a num­ber of inter­est­ing per­son­al­i­ties arise from the Ever­est scene, and I’m sure 2015 will be no dif­fer­ent. As we get clos­er to the start of the sea­son, which typ­i­cal­ly comes around the start of April, look for oth­er inspir­ing sto­ries to emerge. 


"Kilian jornet Grand raid 2010" by Cecuber - collection personnelle. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kilian_jornet_Grand_raid_2010.JPG#/media/File:Kilian_jornet_Grand_raid_2010.JPG
“Kil­ian jor­net Grand raid 2010” by Cecu­ber — col­lec­tion per­son­nelle. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wiki­me­dia Commons

Kil­ian Jor­net Goes For Speed Record
Acclaimed moun­tain run­ner Kil­ian Jor­net is hop­ing to set a speed record for the fastest climb on Ever­est this spring. He’ll be climb­ing on the North Side in Tibet and hopes to make a round-trip jour­ney from Base Camp to the sum­mit, and back, in rough­ly 35 hours. That would indeed be incred­i­bly fast for any climber, but it pales in com­par­i­son to Pem­ba Dor­je Sher­pa’s mark of 8 hours and 10 min­utes to the sum­mit on the South Side. Pre­vi­ous­ly, Jor­net has set speed marks on Denali, Aconcagua, Mont Blanc, and oth­er high peaks, but he has nev­er faced a chal­lenge like Ever­est. This will be the first 8000-meter moun­tain of his career, and it will cer­tain­ly test his skills. 


A New Route
Three elite climbers are fore­go­ing the more tra­di­tion­al routes up the North Ridge and the South Col of Ever­est in favor of attempt­ing a com­plete­ly new path to the sum­mit. The team includes Cana­di­an climber Raphael Slaw­in­s­ki, and Ger­mans David Goet­tler and Daniel Bartsch, each of whom has exten­sive expe­ri­ence on big moun­tains. The trio will attempt to sum­mit with­out the use of bot­tled oxy­gen, fixed ropes, or Sher­pa sup­port along the dif­fi­cult North­east Face. If suc­cess­ful, it will be the first new route opened on the moun­tain since 2004. 


Expect the Unex­pect­ed
There was once a time when an Ever­est sea­son moved along like clock­work and you could accu­rate­ly pre­dict with some degree of cer­tain­ty just how events would unfold. That cer­tain­ly has­n’t been the case in recent years how­ev­er when we’ve seen unprece­dent­ed shut­downs on both sides of the moun­tain (Chi­na closed the North Side in 2008 to take the Olympic torch to the sum­mit), high pro­file brawls between west­ern climbers and the Sher­pas, and wealthy moun­taineers going rogue to fur­ther their own ambi­tions. Watch­ing some of these events unfold on the biggest stage in all of moun­taineer­ing has been both appalling and frus­trat­ing at the same time. But these events have also taught us one thing—when it comes to Everest—expect the unexpected.

Everest


Tow­er­ing over Rocky Moun­tain Nation­al Park and the Front Range of Col­orado, Long’s Peak peaks out at 14, 259ft. One of the states most famed “14ers,” it is a favorite hik­ing and climb­ing des­ti­na­tion for locals and vis­i­tors alike. But this mound of earth doesn’t mere­ly make for a pret­ty sky­line, Long’s is a beast of a moun­taineer­ing and climb­ing expe­ri­ence not for the faint of heart. And, because she reg­u­lar­ly claims lives, Long’s is a lady to be respect­ed as the badass Moth­er that she is. Read on to dis­cov­er her many mys­ter­ies and to find out how you should treat this lady so you can be in her com­pa­ny for years to come.

The Key­hole Route:
The most pop­u­lar non-tech­ni­cal route on Long’s, the Key­hole, is not some­thing to take light­ly. This 14 mile roundtrip trek has to be start­ed well before sun­rise if you wan­na make it to the sum­mit and get below tree-line before storms roll in. Con­sid­er this descrip­tion of the route from Rocky Moun­tain Nation­al Park’s web­site before you tack­le it:Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 12.10.59 PM

“The Key­hole Route is not a hike. It is a climb that cross­es enor­mous sheer ver­ti­cal rock faces, often with falling rocks, requir­ing scram­bling, where an unroped fall would like­ly be fatal. The route has nar­row ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs.”

ldpThe Dia­mond:
For those of you who wan­na skip the long haul and just climb, Spi­der Man style, The Dia­mond is a world famous, 900+ foot, “big wall” com­prised of sheer, ver­ti­cal rock. Seri­ous­ly, it’s a climber’s wet dream with a 5.10- being the eas­i­est route up, all the way to a gut-wrench­ing 5.13. Climb dur­ing the week­ends, as this is a pop­u­lar and high­ly traf­ficked destination.

lpHell Hath No Furry:
As was men­tioned before, Long’s claims the lives of hik­ers and climbers near­ly every sea­son. Now you might be think­ing, “ Not me. I’m an expe­ri­enced moun­taineer and climber. I have all kinds of cool gear and I’m super awe­some. I’ll climb her in the dead of win­ter and not think twice.” Go ahead, but this moun­tain deserves respect, whether you’re sum­mit­ing dur­ing the prime sea­son (June-Sep­tem­ber) and espe­cial­ly if you’re vis­it­ing her dur­ing the win­ter months. No mat­ter how expe­ri­enced you think you are, avalanch­es, light­ning strikes, and hypother­mia don’t give a damn about how many years you’ve been play­ing in the moun­tains. Take all of the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions, pack the right kind of sur­vival gear incase of an emer­gency, and always tell a cou­ple of friends if you’re plan­ning on hav­ing a pri­vate date with Long’s. Just like any woman, if you treat her right and respect her, you’ll live to die anoth­er day.

As a part of Mam­mut’s 150 Years Peak Project: Tran­go Tow­er, Pak­istan, film­mak­ers have cap­tured footage of a part of the world nev­er before seen. A remote-con­trolled drone filmed moun­taineers David Lama and Peter Ort­ner climb­ing the 6000m-high peak, scal­ing the sheer gran­ite rock faces then reach­ing the snow-capped sum­mit. Video­g­ra­ph­er Corey Rich said, “Peo­ple are going to see footage from the Karako­ram [moun­tain range] that no human being has ever seen.”

[Via: Corey Rich]

Cred­it: Patagonia.com

Hap­py hump day, Clym­bers. We’ve got some fun events on the dock­et today. Ever heard of Patag­o­ni­a’s Boaris shoe? The one that’s designed to hold up to the rig­ors of a fer­al pig hunt? Yeah, they make it. And we’ve got it. We also have a load of tech­ni­cal moun­taineer­ing appar­el, acces­sories, and duf­fels from Brooks-Range. And we’re open­ing the cof­fers so that you can go full-boar (yeah, that’s right—we went there) at our stock­piles of win­ter gear and appar­el. We’ve got every­thing from snow­boards and out­er­wear to gloves and poles. Con­sid­er pick­ing up some new win­ter gear a gift to your future self, who will have no choice but to final­ly appre­ci­ate some­thing you’ve done for him or her.

Here’s some more about today’s events:

Patag­o­nia Footwear: It can­not be denied: Patag­o­nia appar­el and footwear is styl­ish­ly designed and unstop­pably com­fort­able. But it’s also so much more. A glob­al leader in sus­tain­able man­u­fac­tur­ing and renowned for its ded­i­ca­tion to pro­tect­ing the places we play, the com­pa­ny proves that finan­cial suc­cess and envi­ron­men­tal respon­si­bil­i­ty are not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive. Wear­ing Patag­o­nia shows that from style to car­bon foot­print, you have high stan­dards for the brands you sport. Slip into a state­ment with Patag­o­nia footwear, avail­able today at The Clymb for mem­ber-exclu­sive pricing.

Brooks-Range: From the begin­ning, Brooks-Range has been a com­pa­ny for moun­taineers, by moun­taineers. It’s founder, Matt Brooks, is a cer­ti­fied moun­tain guide who has served as chair of the Pres­i­dents Coun­cil of the Amer­i­can Moun­tain Guides Asso­ci­a­tion. His numer­ous alpine feats include knock­ing out the first ascent of Galac­tic Hitch­hik­er, the longest tech­ni­cal rock climb in North Amer­i­ca. Brooks and his small team of moun­tain enthu­si­asts pro­vide top-qual­i­ty equip­ment and appar­el for alpin­ists, back­coun­try trav­el­ers, and pro­fes­sion­al moun­tain and ski guides. Each prod­uct they design is put to the test by some of the world’s top moun­taineer­ing and back­coun­try pro­fes­sion­als. Step off the hik­ing trail and into the big leagues with Brooks-Range tech­ni­cal appar­el and acces­sories, avail­able today at The Clymb for mem­ber-exclu­sive pricing.

Win­ter Every­thing: Win­ter may be wan­ing but it’ll be back again before you know it. Moti­vate for spring turns or give your­self a gift to open next sea­son by tak­ing advan­tage of our mem­ber-exclu­sive pric­ing on all things winter.

Save on:

Men’s & Wom­en’s Win­ter Out­er­wear: Get mas­sive sav­ings on Men’s and Wom­en’s jack­ets, pants, vests, & more.

Win­ter Acces­sories: Shop a huge selec­tion of hel­mets, hats, gloves, ski poles, & more from your favorite brands.

Boards & Skis: Save up for next year’s sea­son’s pass with incred­i­ble sav­ings on skis, snow­boards, & bind­ings from top brands.

PLUS… There’s still time to save on Mam­mut, Gib­bon Slack­lines, Ster­ling Rope, Ahnu, Hi-Tec, Camel­Bak, Pro­Bar, Detours, Men’s & Wom­en’s Run­ning, Wom­en’s Activewear, & Sunglasses.

In oth­er news…

Moun­tain Hop: Did you know? Like all things curi­ous and awe­some, the Brooks-Range rab­bit logo was inspired by a chance encounter with a stranger from the East. The sto­ry behind it goes a lit­tle some­thing like this: Founder Matt Brooks was climb­ing along­side a Russ­ian, look­ing to make con­ver­sa­tion, when he noticed his moun­tain com­pa­tri­ot was wear­ing a rab­bit pin. Either out of con­fu­sion or as a token of friend­ship, the Russ­ian climber end­ed up giv­ing him the pin. Lat­er, back at the office, the Brooks-Range team decid­ed to fea­ture the pin on some prod­uct as a lark. The inside joke turned into a mar­ket­ing win how­ev­er, as cus­tomers became attached, some going so far as to call in and express their con­cerns over rumors that the com­pa­ny might pull it. The folks at Brooks-Range laughed and shrugged their shoul­ders and the rab­bit became the new face of the com­pa­ny. That a funky trin­ket that passed hands on a moun­tain could come to rep­re­sent a major com­pa­ny by hap­pen­stance is just anoth­er rea­son why the out­door indus­try is awesome.

SIEGE Audio is the result of a mas­sive lifestyle and music fusion. Their high-qual­i­ty audio prod­ucts bring new mean­ing to the term, “keepin’ it real.” With an eye for style, qual­i­ty and pre­ci­sion, they bring a new lev­el of authen­tic­i­ty to your favorite high-action sports, like skate­board­ing, snow­board­ing and ski­ing. Start­ing today at 9am PST, Clymb mem­bers can enjoy up to 50% off SIEGE Audio ear­buds and headphones.

And we’re not stop­ping there. We have KELTY tents, packs, sleep­ing bags and oth­er acces­sories for up to 50% off. KELTY encour­ages you to “Go Any­where” with their reli­able and afford­able out­door gear for the expe­ri­enced camper to the novice moun­taineer. With KELTY gear you can embrace the expe­ri­ence with confidence.

Remem­ber, if you need a free mem­ber­ship, we’ll be hap­py to send you one. Just vis­it us on Twit­ter or Face­book and let us know.

What do some of the coun­try’s pre­miere out­door ath­letes have in com­mon? (Besides ded­i­ca­tion, focus, and amaz­ing skill, that is.)

If you ask Ed Vies­turs, Con­rad Anker (the Kobe and LeBron of moun­taineer­ing), Glen Plake (world cham­pi­on ski­er) , and Car­o­line George (record-break­ing ice climber), they’ll tell you that Jul­bo offers the finest col­lec­tion of moun­taineer­ing glass­es for high-alti­tude and extreme con­di­tions. They’re just a hand­ful of ath­letes that appre­ci­ate Jul­bo’s com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty eye wear.

The Clymb is proud to announce today’s brand event: up to 60% off Jul­bo’s sun­glass­es and gog­gles for men, women, and kids. The event begins today at 9am PST and runs till Thurs­day (5/6) at 9am PST.

As always, this brand event is avail­able for mem­bers only, but mem­ber­ship is free. If you’re inter­est­ed in becom­ing a mem­ber, please check out our Face­book page and make sure to fol­low us on Twit­ter for instant info on future brand events.

Jul­bo Brand Movie 2010: