Expedition Tales

The Feathered Friends Blog

  • Art in the Mountains

    Behind the work of Artist and Alpinist Nikki Frumkin.

    Sloan Peak painting by Nikki Frumkin

    This week our Seattle store just got even cooler with the addition of an art installation showcasing the work of local artist, Nikki Frumkin. We are hosting a little reception tonight (6/23/16 at 6:00PM), and her work will be on display through July 20th. If you can't swing by in person, here is an interview with Nikki about her art, Seattle, and her awesome adventures. .

    Mountains, Volcanoes and other high places. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, don’t be surprised to find Nikki sitting on her backpack surrounded by the snowy cascades and drawing in her sketchbook.

    What inspired you to start painting?

    I have been painting since I was a small kid. There is something inside of me that needs to represent my ideas about the world on drawing paper. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest three years ago, I found myself in the midst of the most stunning landscapes and mountains. They just begged me to climb and paint outside.

    I am lucky to have found what I love and do. A professor in college once told me my art would never go anywhere, but I’ve always know drawing and painting is part of who I am.

    How did you end up in Seattle, and how has this place influenced your work?

    I actually grew up in New York State which is so different than Washington. When I left New Paltz, NY I ended up in Seattle on a whim. I had no idea I would fall so hard for Washington. I like to joke that Seattle is like a mini Switzerland, embraced by the Cascades and Olympics. I feel really at home here.

    My art tries to capture the wonder I feel when I am in our mountains. Because our landscapes are so unique and beautiful it is really easy to feel connected to the wild here. I am so inspired by people who say my work speaks to their relationship with a mountain I have painted. Hearing that I have captured the magic of what makes someone’s favorite mountain unique is so awesome to me.

    Nikki Frumkin painting in the swiss alps

    Your paintings and sketches have gained a strong following on social media. How did that start, and how has the online community impacted your art?

    Social media (and instagram specifically) is a really powerful visual storytelling tool. It allows me and other painters, photographers, writers and artists to tell a unique story that might not otherwise be heard.

    I like to think people feel the joy of the mountains when they look at my paintings. I really appreciate all the encouragement I am getting when people leave kind words or buy art. It is such a joy to be able to make art and adventure in the wild.

    With so many beautiful things in nature that you could paint, why are mountains your primary focus?

    Mountain lines really captivate me. There is a powerful and calm energy in the mountains. I just can’t stop.

    Mount Rainier Painting by Nikki Frumkin

    When you make a new piece, what does the creative process usually look like?

    My favorite way to make a new painting is at camp, in the mountains! When everyone drops their packs for a lunch break, I usually pull out my sketchbook too. It is these moments in high places that drive me to keep painting and exploring.

    I almost always bring my sketchbook and watercolors with me into the mountains, even if it is only one piece of paper and a pen. The best times to paint are on lunch breaks or at camp. Then I like to wrap myself in my puffiest jacket and start drawing. I use strong black lines to capture the movement and energy of the mountains. If I am painting, I bring a water brush because it has a reservoir of water in the handle that allows me to paint without needing a cup of water. In this way following leave no trace principles is super easy.

    How do you balance outdoor adventure, art, and work?

    It takes a lot of energy! I usually adventure on the weekends because I am a preschool teacher at a play based program in Seattle that shares my values of learning through play and in nature. Luckily, I get to take time off preschool to go to the mountains and paint. I also make and sell prints and original paintings. I love to do commissions for people based on their favorite mountains and landscapes.

    Nikki Painting at Artists Point, Mount Baker

    What advice do you have for someone interested in painting outside?

    Just do it! Pull some pens out of that messy drawer in your kitchen and stick ‘em in your pack. If you can, get a friend to go with you so you can draw together!

    I wrote an article for The Outbound about how I got started trail painting. You can read it here: The Out Bound: How I took My Painting to the Trail

    What are you currently working on?

    I am working on a bigger painting on Mount Adams based on a ski tour we did earlier in the year! It was an awesome summit! The moment when you reach the summit and can see to the other side is humbling. On that trip I found the time to make 3 drawings in just two days of climbing and skiing.

    I am also have a few commissions in progress that I am excited about. Some from mountains I have climbed and others not.

    Head over to my instagram: @drawntohighplaces and my website www.drawntohighplaces.com/prints.

    Nikki Frumkin stretch at mount rainier

  • How to Have Fun Climbing Mount Rainier

    Rainier, Approaching camp muir

    Thinking about climbing Mount Rainier this summer season? Here are a few lessons learned the hard way. Text and images by Claire Giordano.

    Every summit bid is different, even on the same route. Each time we venture into the mountains we move out of our safe, comfortable, and controlled environments into a setting where we are surrounded by factors out of our control. From weather to snowpack to our fellow team members, the mountains strip away the conveniences and routines of everyday life and test our knowledge, resilience, and judgement. With so many unknowns, we have a much higher chance of success if we prepare for the factors that we can control.

    1. Prepare your mind as well as your body.

    Mount Rainier is one of the most stunning mountains in the country, rising from conifer foothills to its white snowy peak at 14,416 feet above sea level. It also has a reputation for being a bit of a sufferfest. In order to find the fun in this kind of ascent, our bodies and minds have to be up for the challenge.

    Before my climb, the majority of my training focused on strengthening my body. For six months I did one to two longer hikes each week with a heavy pack, increasing the weight by set increments. In between, I biked to work, did yoga, ran hills, and jogged stairs. I tried to keep as active as possible, while also listening carefully to the aches and pains in my body and taking rest days as needed. The months of preparation meant I could go into my climb confident in my body’s abilities.

    This confidence is only part of the preparation, however, because the mind has to be strong enough to motivate the body to work. Unlike my previous summer mountaineering trips, this one was cold...really cold (at least for me). 5 degrees fahrenheit ambient temperature and 50 mph winds. Cold enough that I had to leave a sweater in my pack wrapped around my water bottles, and my frozen bagel required a fair bit of gnawing and slobber to eat. There is nothing quite like cold to sap one’s motivation. And added on top was the darkness, thrilling and terrifying at the same time. At each crevasse crossing, my headlamp would dance shadows across of the icy walls, the bottom invisible below.

    In these conditions, the ascent became centered on maintaining focus as I put one spikey boot in front of the other spikey boot that always liked to trip me. My longer hikes (slogs) with my pack had prepared me somewhat for this, but ultimately it was yoga that helped me to stay focused and keep a good attitude. I turned to a repeated mantra, or a short phrase, to guide my focus, modulate my breathing, and keep my thoughts on the present moment. In staying attentive to the mist of my breath in my headlamp, the crunch of snow in my crampons, and the coolness of my ice axe griped in a thick glove, I was experiencing every moment. And while not every moment was a bonanza of joy, the overall climb was much more enjoyable because I kept a positive attitude.

    Mount Rainier, Disappointment Cleaver Route

    2. Food. Food. And more food.

    An ultra runner once told me that whoever can eat the most in the shortest amount of time wins. I think mountaineering also adheres to this theory. The surest way to ruin a fun day is to get hangry. Not only does a hungry tummy make us pissed off at everything, but it also seems to reduce our mental acuity and focus. I can always tell when I am hungry because my inner dialogue shifts from “look at that pretty icicle” to “when will I be off this dumb slippery bad idea of a route?”

    Before you climb, spend a lot of time trying different foods on your hikes. For years I swore by protein bars of various manufacturers, until I tried to eat one that was frozen solid. Never again. I now go for bagels and other easy to eat carb and sugar loaded things like pastries, bread, dried fruit, nuts, and cookies or even some energy chews. The mountains have a weird ability to take away the appetite, so finding things you will actually eat is another foundation of a successful ascent.

    I stop every hour at most, and try to take in at least 300 calories. In the cold this was a lot harder, however, so I pre-loaded with a huge breakfast of oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruit. With that on board, I was ok eating only about 150 calories an hour to the top, and then switched back to normal intake amounts on the way down.

    My personal favorite: bagels. Bagels with peanut butter, bagels with salami, bagels with sirracha… anything that makes those carbs taste good, even when frozen-ish.

    Looking upon Camp Muir

    3. Learn how to pee in the cold.

    Ok, this one is mostly for the other adventurous ladies out there, but learn how to use a funnel. Many guiding companies will recommend this, and they are 100% correct. I will never, ever, ever have my bare butt out in 50 mph wind and blasted by ice pellets. Its is as unpleasant as it sounds. And you moon everyone, all the time, since you are stuck to each other with ropes and simply can’t wander far on a crevassed glacier. Not to mention that the de-layer and re-layering process is made 100x harder by a harness. So, trust me, it is worth it to put in the time and become a pro at peein like a man.

    Camp at Ingraham flats

    4. Become an expert napper.

    This is a skill best honed over many months, so start now. On my trip, I was the only one who got decent sleep, and it made a huge difference. I was much more chipper after our summit and nearly 10,000 vertical feet of descending than my teammates. I attribute it to my high school days of taking 30 minute naps during late-night study sessions. Like any other skill, napping requires practice to not only fall asleep quickly, but also to train the body to feel rested after only 30 min.

    I recommend learning some kind of meditation technique to help put you to sleep. This can be as simple as intentional breathing, or as complex as a mental check-in with each part of the body (or a body-scan meditation). While many people make summit pushes on zero sleep, even a few hours can make a huge difference in how energetic you feel, and how much fun you will be having once the adrenaline of the ascent wears off.

    practicing snow skills above camp muir

    4. Focus on your breathing.

    We take it for granted that our bodies will breathe. They do it all day, every day, for our entire lives. Sometimes, however, our bodies need a little extra help to do it right.

    At low altitudes and in everyday life most of us use only the upper portions of our lungs. Pause, and direct your attention to your next breath; does your chest or your belly move with each inhale? Most likely you used your chest and neck muscles only.

    At elevation the body has to work harder to supply the oxygen that our working muscles require. This means that one of the easiest ways to help your body perform is to use all of that available lung capacity by belly breathing. Instead of using the auxiliary muscles of the chest and neck to inhale and exhale, use the strong diaphragm and core muscles. Outwardly, this will look like your belly is moving in and out slightly as you breathe; this is the kind of using-all-my-lung-capacity breath we want in the mountains.

    This technique of diaphragmatic and regulated breathing is so important, it is taught to Navy SEALs. Before, during, and after combat many are trained to do the 4x4 breath, which is a simple breath pattern of inhale 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, exhale 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, and repeat. You may have to work up to a duration of 4 seconds, but practicing breathing techniques over time strengthens and stretches the body so it can breathe more efficiently, and focuses the mind.

    The second main technique to use on Rainier is pressurized breathing, or a forcible exhale every so often. I ended up doing one every ten breaths. To do it, purse your lips and force the air from your body, and exhale as long as possible.

    Focusing on the breathing maintains our attention and keeps us in the present, where we are more attentive and less likely to make a mistake. Happy muscles are muscles that have enough fuel and oxygen, so we need to do all we can to help them take us up and down the mountain.

    Mount Rainier peeps through clouds

    5. Take moments to look around.

    When climbing, I sometimes find myself in the zone of focused unfocused-ness. I am moving, aware, alert to hazards, but not truly present or observing my surroundings fully. I am in a head space oriented to ascent and descent. In these moments, I try to stop for a few seconds to look around me and notice; the colors of icicles caught in the first light of dawn, the scalloped surface of the snow, the way dark rocks silhouette against the moon. I stop, and remember why I am out here. I am here to challenge myself, to learn, and to enjoy the stunning expansive overwhelming beauty of the mountains.

  • Warmth for Two

    Penguin Double Bag

    Feathered Friends Double Bags

    When we started making down gear in 1972, Feathered Friends was a small operation run out of our founders’ basement. Each bag was a design adventure, from exploring baffle techniques to fabric choices and shape. The founders also had complete freedom to create what they wanted, from specialized alpine gear to versatile bags that could support a wide variety of outdoor pursuits. It was from this pursuit of versatility that the Feathered Friends double bags developed.

    At their inception, the doubles started as simple wide full zip sleeping bags that were favored by one person looking for extra comfort and space (or by the occasional two if half the party didn’t mind having a hood on their side of the bed). The next step was to make a groundsheet for the bag, and then to add a second draft tube to both sides of the zipper, so everyone stayed warm regardless of which side of the bag they got.

    As more and more people started using the bags primarily for two, the founders decided it was time to revisit the design and optimize it for versatility. The result are bags that have an optional and removeable hood and groundsheet, so they can be used comfortably by one or two people. This design is alive and well in our very popular double bags the Penguin and the Condor.

    The Penguin is a semi-rectangular bag and one of our best sellers. It has been on adventures big and small, keeping people warm in tents, vans, campers, and under the stars. Of the double bags, the Penguin is the lightest weight but still very warm, so it not only works for backpacking trips but is also at home in cabins or campers. The condor is similar, but features a full rectangular shape. With the optional groundsheet and hoods, you can build your ideal sleep system with exactly the features you need.

    The last double bag, and the most specialized, is the Spoonbill. Created 5 years ago in collaboration with climbers, the Spoonbill was made from the beginning for two to share on big wall climbs where space is limited and sharing body heat important. What makes the Spoonbill unique is not only the shape, but also the two hoods that are separate and cinch fully so each sleeper can be as warm as possible. Often, climbers will cut two closed cell foam pads and insert them directly into the bag for light padding.

    Check out our video to see how the whole sleep system works!

  • Roadtrip Reports: Arches

    Arches-Feathered-Friends-Journal

    “For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels.” Edward Abbey

    In 1956 and 1957 Edward Abbey was the park ranger for Arches, at a time before it had achieved National Park status and when the unpaved roads were more traveled by tumbleweeds and lizards than visitors. Now, the park is visited by 1.5 million people each year.

    Even with this incredible number of visitors, Arches retains its sense of awe and wonder. Of all the parks I visited, I saw more people here who were simply standing, observing, and marveling. You know you are somewhere special when a child’s expression of awe at the 290-foot expanse of Landscape Arch is mirrored on the face of the adults beside them.

    Exploring Arches is much easier than trying to navigate Escalante, as almost every hike starts and ends at the single paved road. The road can get crowded, and one of the biggest benefits of visiting on the fringes of the peak season is fewer people throughout the small park.

    If you are someone who likes to camp, the Arches campground is one of the best I have ever stayed in. Situated right at the end of the road, the campsites are nestled below red slickrock formations or look out over the distant mesas and La Sal mountains. The spectacular nature of the reservation-only campground means that the spots are all claimed early… if you know you want to stay, plan well in advance and expect to try to reserve your spot the first day reservations open.

    Sunset-sleeping bag-Feathered Friends

    If park service campgrounds aren’t your style or you’re on a last minute mission, check out the many camping areas scattered across BLM lands just outside of the park.

    Pro tip: I highly recommend an early start, especially later in the year. In past visits I started every hike shortly before dawn to take advantage of the cool morning temperatures and enjoy a few moments of solitude. This also allowed me to maximize the best light. Landscape arch is unbelievable in the morning, right as the golden light of dawn filters over the mesa. Delicate Arch, however, is best in the evening, but don’t expect to have the place to yourself; photographers and hikers usually line the entire natural bowl surrounding part of the Arch.

    When exploring the Southwest, Arches is on the top of my list every time.

    Delicate Arch and Eos jacket

  • Roadtrip Reports: Escalante

    Escalante, Boulder Airport sign with Eos jacket

    A bright blue fuselage sticks out of the sand and sagebrush, adorned with the words “Boulder Airport and UFO Landing site.”

    After hiking through sagebrush, stunted pines, and a light drizzle I finally arrived at the blue structure I spotted in the distance miles before. The man-made monolith is one of the many gems waiting to be found by intrepid visitors to the Escalante National Monument in Utah.

    The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument was created in 1996 by Bill Clinton and encompasses 1.9 million acres of land. To put that in perspective, the monument is slightly larger than the entire state of Delaware. As a National Monument, the land is managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and is protected from many forms of development and use (but not all) and is open to more recreational activities than National Parks.

    There are a few things that make exploring Escalante an adventure, no matter where you are going.

    First, the road signs that say “high clearance vehicles only” are not kidding...my Subaru lost some paint along the way. Many of the access roads to hikes are unpaved, and a high clearance vehicle would increase the probability of getting where you want to. There were also some roads with such bad washboards I worried the car would shake apart then and there, but the rewards were worth it (and I guess a good test for the car’s durability).

    Second, finding the trailhead is an adventure in itself. Trailhead markers exist, but are not always easy to find and are rarely next to the road. Unlike National Parks where signs lead you everywhere and the best attractions are easy to locate, in Escalante the best hikes and trips require a lot of effort, time, and a willingness to go out in the middle of nowhere.

    With this in mind, the most accessible day hike is fortunately also one of the most beautiful. Lower Calf Creek falls gives a little taste of everything, starting with an incredible drive from Escalante. Leaving town, the road winds its way across a plateau of stunted pine trees, and then drops down into a magnificent and vast expanse of slickrock. The road continues through white, red, pink, yellow, and everything in-between shades of rock that are swept and contorted into flowing patterns and convoluted cracks. The best is yet to come, however, as the road takes you over a hogback…

    This part of the road is not for the faint of heart. At one point, the narrow two lane highway is a white knuckle traverse of a spine of rock, with big airy cliffs on either side. Get your most confident driver behind the wheel, enjoy the views, and marvel at the gumption of Utah road builders.

    Escalante-Calf-Creek-Falls-Sketch-SEO

    The hike starts a little farther along the road, and is well marked (for once) with a good sized parking lot that fills up quickly. I have done this hike three times now, and it never gets old. The trail meanders next to the creek, and I am always surprised at the verdant oasis of startlingly green plants nestled between slickrock cliffs coated in streaks of desert varnish. Keep your eyes out for petroglyphs on the distant walls and granaries perched high above the creek floor. The ultimate reward, however, is the tall waterfall at the end. The cool air is welcome after the sunny hike, and in the past the more intrepid members of my group have gone for a cold swim.

    Escalante has many other gems, from the boulder airport fuselage marker to slot canyons and crazy mountain roads with names like “Hell’s Backbone.” With the right sense of adventure and navigation, you can get to scenery as remote and stunning as you wish.

  • Spring Hiking in the Southwest: 5 Pro Tips

    Escalante Twisty Road

    Last month one of our staff members road tripped through the southwest. Here are five of her tips on how to make the most of your adventure.

    1. Layer, layer, layer.

    Springtime means unpredictable weather. When the sun was out I happily stolled along in short sleeves and sunglasses. When clouds, rain, snow, or nightfall rolled in, however, I had to be ready to layer up quickly. My go-to pieces of gear were a thin pair of wool gloves, a wind shirt, a hooded quarter-zip base layer (I now want hoods on everything), and my down Eos jacket.

    2. Hike in the morning or evening for the best light.

    This held true no matter where we went, from Bryce to Arches. The low light of dawn and dusk has long been praised as the “golden hour” by photographers, and I can see why. In the southwest, the red, pink, yellow, and white rocks become incredibly vibrant and even more spectacular. Plus, there are usually fewer people around.

    Bryce Canyon at Sunrise

    3. Have a backup plan

    In the early spring, the parks are waking up after a slower winter season. This means that campgrounds may not be open yet, trails can be blocked or closed, and operating hours can be different. And of course we can't forget about the weather, which went from sunny and bluebird to snow within less than a day. It also rains in the Southwest, and when it does it can be extremely dangerous. Always check flood risk at the local ranger station or land management office. With this in mind, I had a backup hike and hotel in mind at each park if conditions turned for the worse.

    4. Go stargazing

    Some of the clearest nights I have witnessed were in the southwest. The combination of few clouds, expansive views unhindered by big peaks or forest, and the silhouettes of rock formations in front of the milky way make for an incredible experience. Bring along a flashlight with a red light setting to preserve your night vision as you move to or from your chosen stargazing locations. It is also worthwhile to check in with local astronomical societies to see if they are having any events in the National Parks. I encountered one in Arches, and the astronomers kindly gave me a tour of the night sky, from seeing the rings of saturn to multi colored stars and galaxies. If you do find these groups, be respectful and ask nicely, as they are usually more than happy to show you the sky, but sometimes have specific stars they are following and do not want to be disturbed.

    Arches National Park, Hiking in Devil's Garden

    5. Explore lesser known trails

    National Parks get extremely crowded, and it can sometimes feel like an amusement park when a trail is filled with a constant stream of people going up and down. To avoid this, hit the most popular trails early (and on weekdays), and then explore other trails in the afternoon. Some examples include the rim trails in Zion, longer loops in Bryce that link the rim and canyon trails, and Devil’s garden in Arches. Before you head out on these adventures, however, carefully assess your group’s fitness level, preparedness, and comfort with slickrock.

    Bonus Tip: The Southwestern landscape captures the imagination like no other landscape I’ve visited. Take your time when exploring these parks to take it all in.

  • Memorial Day Sale!

    It’s that time of the year… to gear up for your summer adventures!

    Memorial Day Sale Image- Hiker in mountains

    Our in-store Memorial Day Sale starts on May 19, and goes through May 30th.

    Whether you are going on your first backpacking trip or preparing for Mount Rainier, our sale and clearance items will help you get out there and send your adventure.

    Sale items include:
    20% off select Osprey Packs
    25% off a selection of climbing gear from Black Diamond, Camp, and Mammut
    20% off Petzl Ropes and select Edelweiss Glacier Ropes
    20% off Julbo and Native sunglasses
    20% off Suunto watches
    25% off all Arc’teryx baselayers
    20% off select 850 and 900 fill down bags
    … and more!

    Clearance Items: who’s feeling lucky?

    Our clearance items get special treatment this year, with a progressive gambler’s sale. This means that the longer the sale goes on, the gear that has not found its new home gets cheaper and cheaper every week.

    Clearance item inventory is limited, but includes items like La Sportiva mountaineering boots, Arc’teryx winter shell jackets, Patagonia layers, winter hats and scarves, and a lot of other gems.

    Here's how it will go down:

    5/19/16 - 20% off all Clearance Rack Footwear & 30% off all Clearance Rack Clothing

    5/28/16 - 30% off all Clearance Rack Footwear & 40% off all Clearance Rack Clothing

    6/4/16 - 40% off all Clearance Rack Footwear & 50% off all Clearance Rack Clothing

    Clearance racks will be clearly marked, and the progressive sale only applies to these items.

    Please note: All sales are final on clearance items. Sale prices are not retroactive. Discounts based off of regular full price. We also might adjust prices at different times, so some items may receive bigger discounts earlier, and clearance items may be subject to change without notice.

  • Roadtrip Reports: Bryce Canyon

    Bryce Canyon National Park Watercolor Painting

    Part One: A Feathered Friends Tour of the Southwest

    Hoodoos. Ladies with hairdos. Fairy Chimneys. Whatever you call them, the incredible rock formations of Bryce Canyon are unlike anything else in the world. The towering spires, vibrant colors, and chromatic vistas were the first stop in a road trip to celebrate the National Park Centennial.

    Last month I went on a month-long road trip to explore the parks that are arguably one of “America’s best ideas” in relation to conservation and recreation. It was also the perfect opportunity to put some new Feathered Friends gear to the test in a cold and arid climate.

    The National Park Service was created in 1916 "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Over the last 100 years, the National Park system has grown to include 58 parks across the United States, which receive tens of millions of visitors each year.

    Bryce first captured my imagination when I visited it as a kid; the colors, rocks, and hikes were about as different as you can get from the greens and greys of the Northwest. Returning as an adult, these same formations re-awakened my sense of childhood wonder and a new feeling of gratitude that Bryce is protected. In practical terms, this means that although the park sees millions more visitors and has more amenities than when I first visited, the natural features are exactly as I remember them.

    Hiker in Bryce Canyon

    A testament to the splendor of the park is that people visit it from around the world. Walking on the rim of Bryce at peak travel season (which starts right about now) immerses you in a melting pot of languages, cultures, and experiences. One of my favorite things to do is sit on the rim and paint. Often the painting sparks conversations and inspires interactions with people thousands of miles from home.

    This was also my first time visiting the southwest in spring, and I was surprised at how COLD (and windy) it was. Each night temperatures hovered right around or below freezing, and it even snowed the day we left Bryce.

    It turns out our founders and owners were at Bryce the same time I was, doing some product testing of their own. They hit the cold and snowy conditions as well, and I think we were all glad to have lightweight down jackets like the Eos and Hyperion stashed in our packs.

    Pro Tip for exploring Bryce: The canyon is structured in a tiered system. Layer one is the rim, which is the most crowded, and has expansive views down into the rock formations and to the mesas beyond. Layer two includes the shorter hiking loops that drop into the canyon, such as the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden. These trails still see a lot of people, but allow you to get up close and personal with Hoodoos of all shapes, sizes, colors, and heights. Layer three is the Under the Rim trail, which is primarily used by backpackers, and is the place to go to find solitude.

    Bryce Canyon Hiking

  • Throwback Thursday: The Feathered Friends Photo Archives

    Feathered-Friends-Archive-Photo-Throwback-Thursday-Everest-web
    A dusty green binder lay in the corner of the office, a forgotten treasure trove of images from the early adventures of Feathered Friends on big mountains.

    The binder is a jumble of slides, negatives, and faded prints. Holding slides up to the light of my computer monitor, I discovered pictures of ice falls and blue skies. Upon further inspection, handwritten labels revealed words like “Everest, K2, and 8,000” hinting at the big adventures documented in the tiny images.

    Starting in the 1970’s, the pictures recount ascents in the local Cascade Mountains to expeditions across the world in Nepal and Pakistan.

    Keep your eyes out over the coming months for more pictures and longer stories recounting the journeys behind our favorite archived pictures.

  • Simple and Streamlined: Introducing the Eos Down Jacket

    Eos Down Jacket in Bryce Canyon National Park

    The Eos - our newest down jacket - handmade in Seattle

    The Eos jacket was named after the Greek goddess of dawn, and we designed it for all of your early morning adventures that require simple, lightweight, and fast warmth. Whether gearing up for an early ascent to catch the alpenglow or getting cozy in camp, the Eos has just the right amount of insulation to keep you warm on its own or as a layering piece when the weather moves in.

    Every jacket is hand made in Seattle with 900+ fill goose down that is ethically sourced and RDS certified. The Eos is filled with 3.7 ounces of down and easily compacts into an included stuff sack, making it easy to stow once you and the sun are warmed up.

    The down, combined with a low profile hood and zippered handwarmer pockets allow the Eos to keep you warm when conditions change. It also features an elastic drawcord hem and lycra around the cuffs and hood to keep your heat where you want it. Lastly, the jacket is constructed of Pertex Quantum brushed nylon fabric, which is the perfect balance of weight, durability, and protection with a DWR treatment on the exterior of the fabric.

    With spring in full gear, the Eos is the ideal companion for your adventures.

    Eos Down Jacket in the Enchantments, WA

    Fun fact: According to Greek mythology, the goddess Eos is the daughter of Hyperion, who is the namesake of one of our other light to midweight jacket.

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