Scarpa North America Blog

Monthly Archives: April 2011

SCARPA Gecko Guide field review by Jim Donini

Apr. 28th 2011

Jim Donini (via Wikipedia) – (born 1943, Philadelphia, PA) is an American rock climber and alpinist, noted for a long history of cutting-edge climbs in Alaska and Patagonia. He was president of the American Alpine Club from 2006 to 2009, and a 1999 recipient of the AAC’s Robert and Miriam Underhill Award.

“I’ve done a lot of trekking into remote, nearly inaccessible, places – make that about 50 years’ worth. Scree, glacial moraines, temperate rain forest, sandy desert washes, river crossings and even the occasional maintained trail or two. Your pack is important and so is your clothing but nothing is the game changer your footwear can be – for better or worse.

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The Tehipite Sanction

Apr. 19th 2011

Rob Pizem is a high-school teacher, and pretty avid rock climber, and a SCARPA team member. What follows is the first part of his account of how he circled around to find himself attempting a new big-wall free route in summer 2010:

Tehipite Dome lies in the northern portion of Kings Canyon National Park, about a mile away from the Sierra National Forest boundary. But that is not where this story begins.

I had planned on a summer adventure in Alaska, where my partners and I would have to trek through the bush, cross icy rivers, navigate unknown glaciers, and finally end up at an enormous unclimbed big wall. We would make base camp and establish an amazing new free route on the virgin stone. Afterwards, we would triumphantly hike out from our now “established” path and happily fly home to our families and friends with memories of overcoming the obstacles that were before us. That is what I had planned. So, as life goes, even our best laid plans don’t come to fruition.

For a long time, I have been of the thought that things always work out and that I would always accomplish something during one of my climbing trips. It wasn’t until this past March 2010 that I actually didn’t accomplish anything and now my once in a lifetime trip to “Seward’s Folly” isn’t happening. What was going on? First of all, my always psyched and seemingly always available partner on these adventures, Mike Brumbaugh, was not taken with the idea. He had been there and didn’t like the taste that crossing glaciers left in his mouth. Actually, he had been there multiple times and apparently had done or attempted the climbs that he had wanted to and was satisfied. And since finding a good partner is as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack, I knew that I wouldn’t find someone that I was psyched to have watching my back in Alaska, so that trip was kyboshed.

I was a bit upset, but never showed it and began researching other possibilities that did not involve icy glaciers. What was ironic was that I didn’t even have any experience crossing these death traps, yet I was the one initiating the experience. I guess that I am just too naive in thinking that Freedom of the Hills will get me out of any situation in the mountains.

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Climb Mt. Elbert with SCARPA team member Erik Weihenmayer

Apr. 13th 2011

SCARPA team member Erik Weihenmayer was involved with an inspiring project this past fall, Soliders to the Summit. Erik and his climbing teammates, many of whom have been a part of Erik’s climbing team on Everest, El Cap and elsewhere, took 12 wounded soldiers from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines, whose injuries included amputations, blindness, and PTSD, to climb in the Himalaya.

They reached the summit of a difficult Himalayan summit, in the process achieving their other goal: Prove what’s possible despite adversity.

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Slawinski climbs new boltless mixed route in Rockies

Apr. 8th 2011

In our ongoing coverage of bad-asses and freaks of nature, check out this video of SCARPA team member Raphael Slawinski, who recently climbed a bolt-less new route called The Peach in his backyard of the Canadian Rockies. Alpinist just posted a short report on the climb and Slawinski has more beta on his blog.

According to Slawinski, “it’s fun to go out on easy days … but … after an easy day, I’m left wanting.”

Second go at The Peach from Wiktor Skupinski on Vimeo.

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Ueli Steck speed soloing the Eiger

Apr. 7th 2011

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to speed solo an alpine face, this video of SCARPA team member Ueli Steck, who contributed to the design on SCARPA’s latest mountaineering, ice and mixed climbing boots, gives you some idea of what it’s like, high on the Eiger, ropeless, thousands of feet off the deck.

This video captures just amazing perspective on what it must feel like to be in that position What’s particularly poignant is how quickly Steck trusts his axe and crampon placements in this kind of mixed terrain. And no room for error here …

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A Q&A with SCARPA team member, alpinist Caroline George

Apr. 4th 2011

Caroline George’s life resume is enviable. Born to American and French parents she grew up in Switzerland where she learned to speak four languages by the time she finished high school. Living in the Alps she’s been climbing and skiing since she could walk. While attending law school she participated in ice climbing comps for three years, so there’s that. Echewing the legal life, she’s now a professional climber and writer. When she’s not climbing for sponsors or translating articles for magazines from various countries, she works as a fully certified UIAGM guide with her husband. We were lucky to get SCARPA’s multi-tasker to give us an idea of how her world works.

What disciplines of climbing do you enjoy the most and why? I enjoy ice climbing the most. I love climbing up ephemeral frozen water flows that change constantly and are never the same from one year to the next. I also like climbing gully systems in the alpine: finding ice hidden between beautiful orange granite buttresses high up in the mountains.
What I really enjoy about climbing is the diversity of it, jumping from one discipline to the next: rock, alpine, ice and ski. With my job as a guide, I have to do it all and that’s what keeps it so interesting and rich.

Was there a natural progression from one to the next for you? I wouldn’t say there was a natural progression from one to the next. Motivation is what makes you progress in all disciplines. But I believe that rock climbing is the base of it all and that if you’re a strong rock climber, you can be stronger in all the other disciplines, and that’s where I need to improve the most.

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