Expeditions

  • Climbing at the Edge of Nowhere

    This post is one of a series highlighting the outdoors experience of Feathered Friends employees. Written by Mandy Godwin. 

    DSC_0103-2 Mike Burns with photo slides.

    The first I learn about his Aconcagua trip, Mike Burns is standing behind the desk at the Feathered Friends flagship Seattle store and holding a sheet of photo slides up to the light. He passes me the loupe, and holding the lens to the page, I see with incredible lucidity an image of him twenty years younger, wearing bright primary colors at high altitude in South America.

    Those who meet Mike in the store could be forgiven for not immediately guessing his mountaineering background. Despite his extensive climbing resume, Mike isn’t the type to hold forth on the gravity of his accomplishments, and is much more likely to be found mid-deadpan, his quick grin hinting at a tendency to treat life as one long-running private joke just waiting to be shared.

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  • One Season, 28 Volcanoes: Two Women Take on the Cascades

    This post is one of a series that takes a closer look at the lives of Feathered Friends Ambassadors. Written by Mandy Godwin.

    Kate and Madeline together in the mountains. Kate Carothers and Madeline Dunn.

    Madeline Dunn picks up the phone a few minutes after getting off a plane in Utah. She’s just flown in to meet Kate Carothers, her friend and 2018 Volcano Project climbing partner, in the Wasatch Mountains for a day of spontaneous training. After an entire season of living in different states, planning together but training separately, today marks their first day back in the mountains together—a milestone in the preparation for this summer’s ambitious ski mountaineering project.

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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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  • 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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  • Pumori, the Dream: Expedition Report

    Himalaya climbing season is just around the corner and we are busy shipping down suits and jackets around the world. As those climbers prepare for their journeys, we wanted to share a trip report by Feathered Friends ambassador Erin Smart about her first trip to the Himalaya and attempted ski descent of Pumori last fall. Words by Erin Smart. Photographs by Erin and Benjamin Ribeyre.

    1.-just-below-the-bergschrund-about-to-start-skiing-back-to-advanced-camp-photo-Benjamin-Ribeyre

    With my crampons secure on the 55 degree slope, and my axes sunk in above me, I looked up to Benj a few meters above as he asked me “what do you think?” I knew what he was asking. I looked down at the steep icy slope below us, and at the bergschrund that was above a 100 meter ice cliff, and then I looked above us at the 1000m of steep snow above. I spent a minute gaging the “maybe” in my head, and thought of my brothers words from the previous days satellite phone call, “Only do it for you. Remember that no one cares.”

    Paul had tried to climb Pumori before in 2011, but due to bad weather, his team didn't get much farther than base camp. He recruited Benj in the spring, and I received my invitation to join shortly thereafter. Benj and I had been in the mountains a lot before, but we only had one mountain prep trip with the whole team before we left for Nepal. We climbed and skied the Tour Ronde in the Chamonix valley in October and the team got along great. The adventure was off to a great start.

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