Expedition Tales

  • Summer on the Divide: A Thru-Hiker's Notes on the Continental Divide Trail

    Our own Tessa McGee reflects on her time hiking the Continental Divide Trail. Words and images by Tessa McGee.

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    I'm not sure how to tell this story. I'm not much of a storyteller and there are a lot of ways to sum something like this up. A recap feels a bit like trying to tie a little bow around some unruly pile of junk. I find it hard to talk about thru-hiking without making too much out of too little, or too little out of too much. It’s not for anybody else, so sharing it feels a bit uncomfortable. But here it goes - in the spirit of reflection in the start of a New Year - I'll try to strike a balance!

    It was 136 days with 21 zeros (days off). June 28th - November 10th, 2017. Canada to Mexico through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. My hike was a little over 2700 miles.

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  • In Deep: A Brief Expedition Recap

    With a last minute change of plans, alpinists Nick Aiello-Popeo and Justin Guarino embarked last year on an expedition to climb a remote 20,653 foot peak in the Himalaya called Baihali Jot. Words and images by Nick Aiello-Popeo.

    Tent Views from high camp

    Shortly before Justin Guarino and I departed the United States for our first Himalayan expedition, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) informed us that, due to recent border disputes, we would not be receiving a permit for the mountain we’d studied for almost a year. Justin and I scrambled to find a replacement peak that lay further from the volatile borders of Pakistan and Tibet and – after scouring the American Alpine Journal and Google Earth – settled on a mountain named Baihali Jot (20,653′, 6,295M). To the best of our knowledge, the northern peak of this mountain had been climbed only once, and the southern summit was unclimbed. The lack of information about the peak was extremely alluring.

    On September 14, we heaped two hundred pounds of climbing equipment onto the scales at Boston Logan Airport and settled in for the long flight to New Delhi. To keep costs low, we stayed in the basic accommodations of the IMF's dormitory in New Delhi. While not the luxury option, this gave us the chance to chat with several Indian mountaineers who were also boarding there. Forgoing the trappings of “adventure tourism” in favor of local food, lodging, and companionship would become an unexpected and enriching theme on the trip. However, the intense smog, heat, and humidity of Delhi was overpowering as we dragged our jet-lagged bodies to a briefing with the head of the IMF. This is where we met our extremely friendly IMF Liaison Officer, Sanjeev.

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  • Vern Tejas: Seven Summits Presentation - September 28

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    Ever wondered what it feels like to climb all Seven Summits? How about 10 times in a lifetime?!

    Alpine Ascents International Guide sensation, Vern Tejas, will be visiting Seattle and stopping by Feathered Friends for an evening of story telling and presentation. Vern is known for Denali's first solo winter ascent, the first solo of Mt. Vinson (Antarctica's highest), first winter ascent of Mt. Logan (Canada's highest) and as lead guide for Col. Norman Vaughan's first ascent of Mt. Vaughan in remote Antarctica.

    Check out his full bio on AAI's website here: https://www.alpineascents.com/guides/vern-tejas/

    Vern just finished writing his 2nd book where he describes his personal, guiding, and mountain life. He'll be sharing some of those stories along with an indepth perspective of his experience climbing the Seven Summits of the world.

    Where: Feathered Friends
    What: Vern Tejas: Seven Summits Presentation
    When: Thursday, September 28th 2017
    Time: 6:30 PM
    Cost: FREE!
    Bonus: Book signing after the show!


    Check out the FB Event Page

    This is a show you certainly won't want to miss!

  • Fit for a King: Expedition Report from Mount Logan's King's Trench

    Earlier this year, five climbers summit Canada's highest mountain, Mount Logan, towering at 19,551 feet (5959m). While painting vivid moments of terror and gratification, Chris Rowat shares his experience climbing one of North America's toughest peaks. Words and images supplied by Chris Rowat.

    Chris Rowat on top of Canada. Mount Saint Elias in the distance. Chris Rowat on top of Canada. Mount Saint Elias in the distance.

    The alarm goes off. It’s 5 a.m. Time to finish what we started almost two weeks ago. It’s time to summit. It’s really cold. Probably –30°F. My two tent mates are still asleep. I roll over and a rude dusting of ice crystals settles on my face from the inside of the tent. In fact, the whole inside is covered with frosty rime from our breath. Did I really volunteer to be up first and get the stove going? This is the worst part of the day: getting out of my cozy sleeping bag to begin the countless tasks of “getting going.” When it’s this cold, and the air so thin, every task is a struggle.

    Our group of five is going for the summit of Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain. At 19,551 feet (5959m) it is also famous for having the world’s largest base circumference of any non-volcanic mountain and is surrounded by the world’s largest non-polar icefield. Mount Logan comes second in height only to Denali, in Alaska, which is the highest mountain in North America at 20,310 feet. It is about 400 miles away to the northwest.

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  • Camping With An Infant

    Pro tips for camping with your newborn with Juna

    Camping with an infant may require some different preparation, but there is plenty of joy and playtime to be had Camping with an infant may require some different preparation, but there is plenty of joy and playtime to be had

    When my husband and I told people we were taking our seven-month-old camping we usually got one of two responses. For those who told us how “interesting” that sounded, while backing away slowly with looks of pure terror on their faces, I get it. Truth be told, I was a bit terrified as well. As a relatively new mom, terror, or at least mild anxiety, seems to be my default response when faced with most new baby-related activities.

    Responses from the other camp, so to speak, were filled with so much enthusiasm that it countered my fears and kicked me into planning mode. If you’re reading this, either you fall in the first category and are here to gloat at stories of mayhem and disaster, or, more likely, you’re a fellow parent who loves to get outside and doesn’t want to stop just because you’ve added a tiny member to your expedition team.

    We decided to start off with a car camping trip in California’s Anza Borrego State Park and Joshua Tree National Park as sort of a shakedown trip to work out what made kiddo happy and what could be improved on. I’m happy to report that our first camping trip included a lot of dirt and a few less-than-restful nights, but no mayhem or disaster.

    These notes and packing suggestions are what worked for us; I would love to hear from others about what’s worked for them and what we could try next time.

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