Expedition Tales

  • 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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  • Down Care Guide

    Down is an absolutely amazing material, and with a little extra love your gear can be the gift that keeps on giving for a long time.

    Below are the best practices to keep your favorite jacket, sleeping bag, or comforter fluffy and warm for years to come.

    Gear in the Southern pickett range photo by sammy davis Feathered Friends gear in action. Photo by Sam Davis.

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  • 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.

    IMG_5988-e1518016539344-edited

    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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