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Anchors are extremely important. Whether you’re going up or down, at some point your anchor will be the only thing connecting you and your partner to whatever you’re climbing. Pulling a piece of gear in a lead fall usually just leads to a bigger fall. Anchor failures, on the other hand, always result in death (with the exception of some super lucky people). Because of this, sketchy anchors scare me more than just about anything else in the world of climbing. Here are some common sketchy anchors you should look out for. The Death Flake Coming across a big flake [...]
Salomon FreeskiTV’s Episode 6, “The Architect” takes a look at the changing face of ski areas through the eyes of Ryley Thesen, one of the world’s leading ski-resort designers. Backcountry.com athlete Leo Ahrens, Vincent Gagnier, and Simon Ericson met up in China to check out the designer’s work first-hand and experience the potential of an emerging ski industry. In the post below, Leo recaps his curiosity going into this unforgettable episode. As I find myself shuffling through the Salt Lake City International Airport with a pair of ski boots on my shoulder and a plane ticket in my hand, I can’t help [...]
The possibilities for backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering in Washington State are endless. I moved here from Utah five years ago, and though I’m a seasonally employed professional skier whose job is the exploration on skis of my home turf, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. While there are superb options for backcountry skiing near all of the state’s ski areas, the following ski tours give an idea of the more wild possibilities out there in the thousands of peaks and dozen-or-so volcanoes that make up the Cascade Range. Local resources include the conditions and trip report website www.turns-all-year.com, [...]
Hundreds of ski boots have walked the bamboo floors of the Tiny House. Many different skiers have rested their heads for the night near the small, warm fire. And many ski-fueling meals have been cooked in our small kitchen. After two seasons of living the tiny life, we’ve thought of plenty of ways to keep consolidating, simplifying, and beautifying our small space. A priority for season three was a list of renovations. Small changes in 112 square feet can have major implications. Yes, the Tiny House now has a shower—an outdoor shower, but still a shower. Warm water to rinse [...]
Backcountry ski athletes Kim Havell and Chris Davenport recently sat down together to talk shop on Outside Today. In addition to sharing memories of a past ski mountaineering trip up the Grand Teton and hinting at a future expedition in Antarctica, Kim and Chris both reflect on the great teamwork involved in their recent projects with backcountry.com, which helped to communicate a shared passion for mountain sports.
This week we sat down with four of our sponsored athletes and asked for tips to spotting a douchebag mountaineering or skiing partner. We spoke to Exum Guide Andy Tankersly, Exum Guide Garrick Hart, Arc’teryx Athlete and two-time Freeski World Tour Champion Crystal Wright, and Dynafit Athlete and US Ski Mountaineering Team Member Meredith Edwards. Below are 6 tips and some advice along with them. Above Photo By: Tommy Chandler 1) Watch for Big Talkers “Right off the bat, they talk too much,” said Andy Tankersly. “They’re talking about all the stuff they’ve done. Most people who really get after [...]
Tri season’s looming or even under way, which means it’s time to gear up for racing. For many triathletes, particularly less experienced ones or those without a competitive swimming background, the prospect of swimming through open water with others thrashing away close by is terrifying. But by increasing your comfort level and de-stressing the whole swim leg, you can likely realize nearly as significant gains in performance as you can by piling on the training yardage. Even if you’re limited to getting most of your training done in a pool, it’s possible to address some of the conditions you’ll encounter in the [...]
Mountain Hardwear proudly presents Days of My Youth, a new film from Red Bull Media House and MSP Films, featuring backcountry.com athletes Cody Townsend and Michelle Parker. Days of My Youth will portray the joys and struggles of shredding in the big-mountain arena and will showcase the delight of childlike discovery that skiing can offer as more than just a form of recreation, but as a way of life. Look for it Fall 2014. For more great MSP Films check out McConkey and Superheroes of Stoke.
Bill and Casey are two of backcountry.com’s finest Gearheads. They recently summited Denali, and they’re currently attempting to ski the top 50 greatest descents in North America. These guys tour every chance they get, and they happen to know a lot about the best gear for the job. Below are the kits Bill and Casey prefer to pack for their backcountry missions. Bill Porreca Backpack: I carry the Black Diamond Alias Pack. I used to roll with a 27L, but this 32L is a bit bigger and allows me to carry some extra layers without everything overflowing. I can even [...]
My friend Mavs’ camper van, and old Fiat version of a Winnebago, sputtered up the pass toward the Dolomites. We had gotten up early in the lake-view town of Arco, Italy, and started our drive. The views made it easy to stay awake. We swayed our way through the serpentine mountain roads, which describes almost every road in Northern Italy. Before I knew it, I could see the outline of some heavily featured mountaintops in the distance. “That’s our spot,” Mavs said. We continued on another fifteen minutes or so until we were out of the dense trees and into [...]
Throughout mankind’s history, the direct link between manliness and plaid has been a dominant theme. From the Tartan prints of the dirty but undeniably mannish Scots to the sap-scented flannels of the red-blooded lumberjacks, a male individual’s vitality has always been measured by the amount of plaid he dares drape on his chiseled frame. The Scots While examples of plaid have been discovered that date as far back as 3000 BC, the Scots have generally been credited for the popularization of this printed fabric—mostly wool—since the 3rd or 4th century AD. There is no doubt these folks were tough. For centuries [...]
There’s nothing like a cold, plasticky energy bar to bum you out on even the most epic day of touring. Sometimes I swear I’d rather bonk than eat another mealy, chocolate-esque conglomeration that’s more pretending to be food than actually being it. Well, enough is enough. (You don’t have to throw out your old energy bars, just leave them in your pack. You know, for emergencies.) We can eat better in the backcountry, and it starts here and now. French Toast PB&Js Never heard of a French toast PB&J before? That’s because it didn’t exist until just now. And while [...]
Everyone knows that the pilgrims left England in order to escape laws enforcing worship under the Church of England. But the truth is, that’s only one of the reasons they hoisted their tights, buckled their hats, and set sail across the Atlantic. Yes, they left as an act of dissent—but also as an act of descent. Here are the other important reasons the pilgrims came to America. Above Photo Credit: LearningLark, Creative Commons 1: It snows way more here. Photo Credit: Zach Dishner, Creative Commons 2: The whitewater is way better. Photo Credit: Chauncey Davis, Creative Commons 3: No roads, just tons [...]
Bound up hips affect your whole body, tightening everything from your hamstrings to your neck. Through my skiing and BASE jumping, my back takes a lot of abuse. I’ve found that when my lower back often gets really sore and tight, my body as a whole tightens up. Hips are definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when you have lower back pain—or at least they weren’t for me; I didn’t even realize that “tight” hips were a thing. But, a tight back and hips are something pretty much everyone can relate to, whether you’re a skier, runner, [...]
There are few things that make you feel better about your day than starting off with a dawn patrol. Getting up at 5 a.m., skinning in the cold dark of early morning, watching the sun rise from high in the mountains, and skiing fresh powder with your friends really makes those hours at work go a little more smoothly. I’ve only been skiing in the backcountry for about five years now, but close to half of my total days have been morning tours. During that time I’ve made just about every mistake in the book. Sometimes the only way to [...]
Packed with travel bags stretched at the seams, Sam Cohen and Zach Halverson board a jet plane in search of the powder paradise of their dreams; Japan. There, the two meet up with fellow skier Bryce Phillips to explore the notoriously mystical Japanese forests and pristine upper alpine. Get ready for a trip of a lifetime with “Hakuba” from Dubsatch Collective.
Winter Vinecki is a delightful and refreshingly unusual 14-year-old, with lofty aspirations and goals. She recently set the world record for youngest person to run a marathon on all seven continents, is attending high school online, and has her sights set on the U.S. National Aerial Ski team. I was lucky enough to grab a few minutes of Winter’s time just prior to her record-breaking marathon, and we chatted about everything from her family to living away from home for months on end to Team Winter, which raises money for prostate cancer research and awareness. Team Winter is all over [...]
FOX RACING SHOX has become a leader in mountain bike suspension due to the cutting-edge technologies that it employs in all of its components. In this video, Outside Technician, Louis Angeley, walks you through the most noteworthy tech employed in FOX’s forks and shocks. This Video Covers: CTD Damper Adjustment FIT (FOX Isolated Technology) Sealed Dampers Air Springs (Short Travel, Long Travel, and TALAS) Kashima Coating Video Transcription Hi. I’m Lewis Angeley, an outside tech for Fox. Today I’m going to talk to you about some of the different technologies we use in our forks. First we’re going to highlight [...]
Mt. Yotei is easily recognizable on a clear day from almost anywhere on Japan’s northern island. This perfectly symmetrical volcano is an iconic landmark that is too noticeable, and too difficult, to ignore. With over 6000 feet of vertical, it can take anywhere from three to eight hours to ascend. Although this wasn’t my first ascent, it was my first trip taking clients up Yotei as a ski guide. It was a sunny January day, and it had just snowed a few feet, which is pretty typical of Hokkaido. It was to be one of the rare two or three [...]
Your puffy spares you the shivers on long chairlift rides, it offers a cozy embrace when you’re belaying a long pitch, and it lets you enjoy evening stargazing on alpine backpacking trips. And what do you do for it in return? Cram it into a stuff sack. Not cool. Without proper care, an underappreciated puffy will start to lose its loft, which compromises its insulation and makes it look lumpy. (It will also develop a lingering aroma reminiscent of, well, you at your mankiest.) Consider these tips for keeping your high-quality down jackets—and those filled with synthetic insulation, as well—in [...]
Instead of spending too much cash and allowing some greasy shop tech to run his paws all over your beloved snowboard, take control of your destiny and give your shred stick a first rate tune in the comfort of your own home. Dedicated rider and Backcountry buyer Brandon Collett shows you how in this eight part video series. Part 1: Edge Sharpening and Maintenance Part 2: Detuning Contact Points Part 3: P-Tex Repairs Part 4: Clean the Base Part 5: The Final Wax Part 6: Brushing and Polishing Part 7: Summer Storage Part 8: Tools of the Trade Part 1: Edge-Sharpening [...]
You’re a backcountry-touring enthusiast. And after a long autumn of training hikes and some hearty early-season tours, you figure you’re in rock-solid shape. This list includes five of the best tours on which to find out you’re not in as excellent shape as you thought. However, each tour offers views so jaw-droppingly gorgeous, you really won’t mind taking frequent breaks to catch your breath. So clear out your camera’s memory card and load your gear, extra layers, and high-calorie delights in your pack. Then, set your alarm for sunrise. It’s gonna be a long one. Above Photo By: Tommy Chandler And [...]
Getting into your boots is truly a necessary evil, but one that can be lessened if you follow a few simple steps. I worked as a bootfitter for more than a decade and witnessed every imaginable way people try to stuff their feet in and lock down. Above Photo: Backcountry Athlete Jenn Berg getting ready at Snowbird, UT Shot By: Re Wikstrom Show me one person who looks forward to pulling on alpine ski boots. I’m not talking about performing this act inside a heated ski shop or next to the roaring fire in the lobby of that fancy country-club-ish [...]
In general, bike racing is a pretty foreign subject to many people on this side of the pond. It’s fairly safe to say that outside of le Tour, the yellow jersey, and “Big Tex” Armstrong himself, the wide and wonderful world of two-wheeled pedal competition is not well known or understood around these parts. So when you take a sport that involves people running and riding with bicycles around a snow- and mud-covered obstacle course, the head scratching seems justified. Welcome to cyclocross. Above Photo By: Tommy Chandler To understand what this cycling discipline is all about, we must take [...]
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