Expeditions

  • "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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  • 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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