Trip Reports

  • 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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  • Skiing Alaska's Mount Sanford

    A trip report from AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide Jediah Porter.

    Jed Porter skiing perfect pow above the clouds on Alaska’s Mount Sanford. 1000 feet done, 10000 more to go! Photo: Meagan Buck Porter Jed Porter skiing perfect pow above the clouds on Alaska’s Mount Sanford. 1000 feet done, 10000 more to go! Photo: Meagan Buck Porter

    Human adventures are like caribou antlers; born soft and fuzzy with hope. Really, both start as just an idea, deep in one’s DNA. As they take shape, before they even take action, they are gentle and virtually unnoticeable. The promise of their power and prominence is there, but the scratched, hormonal, prideful reality is yet to be revealed.

    For us, the climb and ski of Alaska’s Mount Sanford started as just a tiny, incubating idea in a teenager’s soul. In Wildsnow, the definitive tome on North American ski mountaineering, guru (and now mentor) Lou Dawson mentions the Sheep Glacier route on Mount Sanford as perhaps the ultimate mid-difficulty ski run on a giant peak. I stumbled across that literally 20 years ago, and the idea has simmered since then.

    My wife Meagan and I booked some guiding work in Alaska in the spring of 2016, and looked to tack on a personal adventure. The time was right, the team was right, Mount Sanford was the call.

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  • Sketching the Alpine Lake Wilderness

    Earlier in the summer a Feathered Friends staff member embarked on a five day backpacking trip through one of the most spectacular regions of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Her goal was to document the trip through daily sketches of the scenery she encountered. Here is an account of what it takes to paint and draw while exploring the backcoutnry. Pictures, paintings, and words by Claire Giordano.

    little annapurna sketch giordano

    The light shifts continually, playing across the face of the massive andesite rock walls rising from the crystalline lake at my feet. I work quickly, my paintbrush dancing between my sketchbook and the watercolor palette. Between strokes, I swat at the mosquitoes that hound my ears and bite my hands. It is just after dawn, and the alpenglow of sunrise has already changed from the palest of pinks to brilliant yellow. Soon, the light show will be over, and I hurriedly try to capture it’s colors before they are gone.

    In July I had the lucky fortune to be invited on a backpacking trip to one of the most beautiful and highly regulated areas of wilderness: the Enchantments. Thousands of permit applications are sent in each year to visit this zone of alpine lakes, towering peaks, and fragile meadows. With so few chances to visit this area, I wanted to make the most of my experience and immerse myself in the landscape. My strategy was to bring a sketchbook, pens, and watercolor paper to record the things I saw each day that inspired me.

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  • Get Your Kid in a Park This Year

    Looking for some ideas on ways to enjoy the first few weeks of fall? Our friends at the Washington Trails Association created this great article with ideas on what to do with your kids in our Washington. This blog post was originally published on WTA's Signpost blog, which is a fantastic resource for hikers and families looking to plan their next trip.

    kid on a beach

    Every Kid in a Park is a national initiative started last spring that connects fourth graders and their families with the trails, wildlife, resources, and history on federal public lands for free in 2016.

    Many fourth graders have already received their passes, and there is still plenty of time left for your next big outing. Your pass is good in all six of Washington's National Forests, as well as the National Parks. Not all trailheads on National Forests require a pass, but if you're not sure, it's always good to have it displayed just in case.

    All of these places have fantastic family adventure options. Take a look at our suggestions below, or search our hiking guide to make your own adventure.

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  • Where the Big Stuff Goes Down

    A trip report by Mark Pugliese on climbing in the Central Alaska Range.

    MarkPugliese- Alaska Camp

    As the plane banked my heart started racing and I thought “This is where the big stuff goes down.” We were flying into the East Fork of the Toke and the mighty West Face of Huntington dominated the window. I was seeing for the first time how truly massive this terrain was. Unfolding below us was an immense alpine playground of endless peaks, lines of ice, and crumbling glaciers. It would be a place to test ourselves and to find what we were both looking for in our climbing; a great adventure.

    In late April of this year Nik Mirhashemi and I flew into the Central Alaska Range with plans of climbing some commonly ascended classics as well as hopefully establishing some new routes of our own. With a pattern of warm and unsettled weather we decided to fly into the Tokositna glacier at the base of Mt. Huntington to attempt the Harvard route as a warm up for the trip.

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