Trip Reports

  • Loneliness, Warmth, and Finding Home in South Dakota’s Black Hills

    Guest post by Korrin L. Bishop. 

    korrin-bishop-feathered-friends-sleeping-bag Photo: Stephanie Rockwood

    A -10 degree night is the kind of cold that settles deep into your bones and finds a way to creep into your heart. A chill in the heart serves to over-activate the brain, and left unchecked, can spiral into loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, the antidote is fairly simple—warmth.

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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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  • 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.

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    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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  • Ominous: An Expedition to the Rolwaling Himal, Nepal

    Rolwaling Valley new route "Mixed Emotions"

    Earlier this fall, Feathered Friends Ambassadors Mark Pugliese and Nik Mirhashemi journeyed to the remote Rolwaling Valley in the Himalayas in pursuit of big mountains and new routes. Words by Mark Pugliese. Pictures by Nik Mirhashemi and Mark Pugliese.

    I shook violently with cold. My hands felt like pieces of wood. My body was attempting to pump what felt like molasses though my veins. I was standing under a rock outcropping at 6,100 meters on the West Face of Chugimago in the Rolwaling Valley of Nepal. As I swung my hands side to side to get the blood flow going, I watched the alpenglow of the setting Himalayan sun engulf the 7,000 meter peaks around me and burst into brilliant orange and red flames. It was beautiful and terrifying all at once. I knew the light would be gone soon, and I would be left with only the dull glow of my headlamp. I thought my partner had reached the ridge, but I wasn't sure. I drew within myself in that lonely space beneath the rock, accepted and embraced my fear, and prepared to move upwards. Time to harden up.

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