Expedition Tales

  • Illimani, Ascendant: A Photographer's Journey to the Highest Peaks in Bolivia

    This summer, photographer and Feathered Friends ambassador Christian Murillo traveled to Bolivia to attempt several of its tallest mountains and photograph its glaciated peaks. This trip report tells the story of his adventures there. Words and images by Christian Murillo. 

    "Crush." At Huayna Potosi. "Crush." Huayna Potosi.

    As our plane touched down at Bolivia’s El Alto International Airport, I felt my skin tingle. At the time, I wasn’t sure if this was caused by altitude or the strikingly beautiful views of the Cordillera Real mountain range.

    After spending a couple weeks in La Paz and taking some short backpacking trips in the mountains, my lungs began to acclimate. Finally, it was time to take on Huayna Potosi, one of the most iconic and popular peaks in Bolivia’s Cordillera Real. Huayna Potosi is nearly 20,000 feet tall and has relatively easy access from the city. Although it is not the most technical peak in the range, the altitude is no joke, and the danger of taking on a mountain of this nature is always in the back of your mind. The week I got to Bolivia, a 45-year old German died on the exposed ridge just below the summit after losing his balance and falling 3,000 feet. Hearing this news just before setting out on the climb was a huge reality check and a stark reminder that the mountain is always in control.

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  • "And That's Just the Way She Goes": An Alaskan Trip Report

    Alec Bergoef and Colten Moore set out on a trip to the Ruth Gorge in Alaska this past April/May 2018. Read about their challenges and overcoming adversity in the trip report below. Words and images by Alec Bergoef.

    The steep snow of the Japanese Couloir on Mt Barrill. @coltenintheoutdoors is low in the shot with the mighty Moose's Tooth massif in the background The steep snow of the Japanese Couloir on Mt Barrill. @coltenintheoutdoors is low in the shot with the mighty Moose's Tooth massif in the background

    We’ve been sitting in Talkeetna for a couple days now, waiting for the weather to break so we can fly into the mountains. Just when we are about to give up hope of getting a flight into the gorge that day, Colten’s phone rings. We have been waiting for two days. I am pushing the longboard back up the hill to where his van is parked and he is yelling for me to hurry. I hop in the passenger's seat and we rush down the road to grab our bags from the bunkhouse and pick up the pizza we had on hold at the pizzeria. Hastily, we grab our personal belongings from the hostel and rush over to the restaurant. When we arrive, our pizzas are ready and we head to the airstrip. We park and I stride happily over to the plane with two piping-hot pizzas to bring to the glacier with us. There are four others waiting, along with a pilot and Jim, the grounds manager for the air taxi service. We make small talk while we wait for our luggage to be loaded on to the plane.

    Then it is time for us to board. I’m eager, so I go ahead and take the front seat next to the pilot. The pizzas sit on my lap. Everyone else gets in and buckled and we take off! It’s exhilarating to fly in such a small plane, not far from the ground. We can see the mountains in the distance but most of the land around us is generally flat with many lakes in the expansive forest. There are some low hanging clouds and we get pushed around by gusts now and then. As we enter the mountains, the landscape becomes more dramatic.

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  • A New Roost: Feathered Friends Is Moving


    This summer, after more than twenty years in our current storefront, Feathered Friends will be moving. In early July, we’ll be opening doors at our new location, just one block north, at 263 Yale Ave N.

    The building that our storefront has occupied for the last couple decades has a storied history; it was originally built in 1917, and in 1927 was remodeled in the Spanish Revival style. It’s one of only a few examples of that style that have been built in Seattle, and at one point it was considered for the National Register of Historic Places. Long before we settled here, it was also home to Russian artist Nicolai Kuvshinoff, some of whose pieces are held in the permanent collection of the Seattle Art Museum. Our landlord is selling the building, and after we leave the new owners will demolish the building and put up a hotel on the land.

    While we’re sorry to see the space go, we’re glad to be able to stay in the Cascade neighborhood, where we’ve long felt welcomed by the community. We’re working with a local Bainbridge Island firm, Blackmouth Design, to create a new home that better features our products and incorporates local materials and work from Pacific Northwest artists. The new place will also have parking—a downtown rarity.

    Our new store may look more polished, but the heart and soul of Feathered Friends isn’t changing. We’re bringing the old-school ethos—and the screen and projector that we’ll use to keep hosting movie nights and slideshows. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to the Seattle community for your support through the years, and to everyone who’s stopped in during their travels to visit our home. We hope to see you down the block.

  • Introducing Y Fuse, Our Newest Shell Fabric


    This month, we’re introducing Pertex Y Fuse, the newest outer shell fabric for our 3-season sleeping bags. Y Fuse will replace the Nano fabric, which will be phased out. We’re making the switch because of recent improvements in fabric technology: the Y Fuse fabric uses yarns with unique Y-shaped filaments that create a tightly interlocking structure.

    Image: Pertex Image: Pertex

    This structure makes for a highly stable fabric with increased downproofing and water beading properties. We’ve put it to the test, both on the design floor and on the trail, and love the added durability of Y Fuse. It’s designed to handle years of wear and multiple washes, and comes with some added softness too.

    The Y Fuse is a 20 denier fabric, the same as the Nano fabric we used previously, but is slightly lighter weight. We still recommend that those looking for the lightest, loftiest sleeping bags check out our UL line, which features 10 denier Pertex Endurance fabric and 950+ fill down, but the Y Fuse bags will shave a few grams from the Nano generation’s weight. Great for all-around use and made to last, the Y Fuse fabric adds a fresh set of features to some of our best-loved bags.

    Which sleeping bags will be offered in the Y Fuse fabric?

    Sleeping bags we currently make in the Nano fabric will be offered in Y Fuse. This includes the following models: Flicker, Hummingbird, Swallow, Swift, Osprey, Merlin, Kestrel, Lark, Raven, Grouse, Egret, Petrel, Puffin, Penguin, and Condor.

    We’ll be phasing the fabric into our line throughout the summer, so if your model of choice isn’t available in Y Fuse yet, it will be soon!

    Will anything else change about the 3-season sleeping bags?

    In addition to new shell fabric, the Y Fuse bags will feature a new 20D nylon lining that is softer and lighter than the previous lining. We will continue to use high quality European 900+ fill down in all sleeping bags with the Y Fuse fabric, and the design and sizing of the bags will remain the same.

    What colors will the Y Fuse come in?

    We’ll make Y Fuse bags in four classic colors: Iris, Fir, Cardinal, and Marine. We’ll offer each sleeping bag in 1-3 of these color options.

    Where can I see the technical specs for the Y Fuse fabric?

    You can find more information on our fabrics page.

    Want to know which Y Fuse bags are currently available?

    You can find the latest bags on our Y Fuse page.

    Have another question?  Send us an email at customerservice@featheredfriends.com.

  • Loneliness, Warmth, and Finding Home in South Dakota’s Black Hills

    Guest post by Korrin L. Bishop. 

    korrin-bishop-feathered-friends-sleeping-bag Photo: Stephanie Rockwood

    A -10 degree night is the kind of cold that settles deep into your bones and finds a way to creep into your heart. A chill in the heart serves to over-activate the brain, and left unchecked, can spiral into loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, the antidote is fairly simple—warmth.

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