Scarpa North America Blog

Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Alpen-Frapp: Blake Herrington’s secret to living well in a remote place

Sep. 27th 2012

Blake Herrington recently returned from a climbing trip to what he calls “one of the wildest mountain landscapes on the continent” in the Waddington Range in Canada. Having grown up in a 100-person town in the Cascades, he is no stranger to entertaining himself in remote places. On his recent trip, he and his climbing partners found a few ways to keep themselves busy when they weren’t climbing. Herrington shares his advice below.

I’m usually too cheap to lay down the big bucks on Starbucks Frappucinos and other frilly coffee drinks. They sure taste good, but I hate spending $4 for a few minutes of culinary luxury. But while spending a few weeks camped amid collapsing glaciers and granite in British Columbia’s Waddington Range, my partners and I had plenty of time to perfect the means of living in luxury as we refined our concept of the ideal alpine rest day.

We had flown into the range via helicopter, landing on a small ledgy outcropping surrounded on all sides by massive glaciers. From our island of stability, we managed to ascend 4 peaks, and establish a couple new routes on some of the steeper rock faces in the range. Between the single-push ascents and other less-successful attempts, we lazed around our camp and truly perfected the good life of alpine living. Here are a few of our most vital realizations:

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SCARPA to sponsor Rocktoberfest, celebration of SE climbing

Sep. 25th 2012

The much-anticipated 12th annual Rocktoberfest takes place this year October 5-7 and the weekend-long climbing celebration and fundraiser is expected to be bigger and better than ever. New this year, SCARPA has signed on as a sponsor of the event, hosted by the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition.

Rocktoberfest began as a way to raise money to build trails and get people to become active members of the RRGCC. Twelve years later the organization is ready to make the final purchase on a historic piece of property that will ensure climbing access in the area. All proceeds from Rocktoberfest will go towards supporting RRGCC and preserving land in the Red River Gorge for future generations of climbers to enjoy. A worthy cause and celebration indeed.

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SCARPA Retailer of the Month: Neptune Mountaineering

Sep. 20th 2012

Anyone who’s ever stepped into Neptune Mountaineering knows that they’ve entered not just an outdoor shop, but also a bastion to mountaineering and adventure. Founded in 1973, Gary Neptune originally opened his doors to help skiers and climbers fix their boots. Since then Neptune, which is right down the road from SCARPA North America headquarters in Boulder, Colo., has become one of the most celebrated hubs for all forms of alpinism, climbing, skiing and backcountry travel.

Gary Neptune himself is an accomplished climber and skier with ascents and descents throughout the world. His staff is of that cloth too. Along with his employees, Neptune’s combined knowledge and experience is encyclopedic, and customers get nothing short of bona fide beta and info when it comes to the performance of a jacket, the durability of a shoe, or the nuances of a particular route in the Karakorum.

Store Manager James Fulton, who himself has spent time guiding in the Himalaya, marvels at the store’s recycling talent. “A few workers have gone on to write guidebooks that we now sell in the store,” he says. “The resumés that continually come through the door are impressive.” That authenticity is a virtue to their customers, and like good climbing partners, their relationships are built by an implicit trust.

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Angela Hawse: Another summer guiding in the Tetons

Sep. 19th 2012

Angela Hawse is a jack of all trades. She has been guiding for over 25 years and is one of the most experienced female guides in the world. The current “AMGA Guide of the Year,” Hawse has been guiding in the Tetons in Wyoming this summer and took a bit of time out of her busy season to reflect on her time spent there.

Dominating the landscape, 7000 feet above the valley floor, the royal Grand Teton claims the attention of everyone passing through. This compact range packs a punch. It’s the youngest range in the Rockies, yet has some of the oldest rocks in North America. Thrust up boldly from the valley floor without foothills, it is one of the most stunning geological landscapes in the U.S. It teems with wildlife, coniferous forests and alpine meadows chocked full of wildflowers. This Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is the one of the healthiest and intact remaining on our planet. Grizzly bears on down the line to pine martens, pikas and peregrines are all present. Well above tree line, small glaciers are shadowed by summits that make up the brunt of the range with some the most unique alpine rock anywhere: The Grand, Middle and South Tetons, Mt. Moran, Mt. Owen and Teewinot.

For 12 seasons I’ve had the privilege of guiding here with Exum Mountain Guides.  I look forward to it every summer and it never gets old or seems routine. The diversity of climbing in the range, good friends in a solid guiding community combined with frequent encounters with creatures large and small make everyday unparalleled. My guests range from experienced folks I’ve climbed with for many seasons to walk-ins that see the Grand for the first time and feel that unexplainable need to climb it.

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SCARPA collaborates with Chris Davenport to launch new freeride boot program

Sep. 13th 2012

We’re psyched here at SCARPA to welcome big mountain skier Chris Davenport to the SCARPA roster. Not only is Dav a recognized face on the freeskiing scene, he’s a guy that understands ski products, thanks to the many days he logs each year and his racing background.

Which also makes him an idea guy to help the SCARPA team develop a new line of SCARPA freeride boots that will be available at the consumer level in Fall 2013. He’s already been testing boots on a recent trip to Chile and providing feedback. He talked a little more about the project with Mountain Magazine, Gear Institute and Earn Your Turns in recent days.

Plus, he’s an awesome ambassador for the sport, a really open, approachable skier, and that’s the kind of people that we also like to work with here at SCARPA.

Photo: Adam Clark

“I’m a product guy, a gear geek if you will. I love equipment, I love tweaking it, and I believe that you can always make a better product,” Davenport said. “SCARPA is super well respected in the world of skiing, so for me, this a chance to work with an already great line of products, but also a chance to help create something innovative and new.”

“There’s very definitely an opportunity in the freeride category – a product for a specific set of needs that doesn’t yet exist in the marketplace,” he said. “I’m not just joining SCARPA, I’m joining SCARPA to be involved in the development of the strongest boot line yet specifically built for the needs of freeride and sidecountry skiers.”

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Sensitive – it’s the new Strong: Enter SCARPA’s latest Phantom Guide mountain boot

Sep. 11th 2012

Being sensitive doesn’t always mean you’re weak. It can make you aware. It brings certain factors to your attention so that you alter your position, if ever so slightly. It can turn a potentially ugly situation into an opportunity to thrive. SCARPA sees this value, and has taken that mindset into redesigning the Phantom Guide, which has made several advancements that turn “sensitivity” into information the climber can use.

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SCARPA boots win five ski boot awards for Fall 2012

Sep. 6th 2012

It may not be snowing yet, but we’re ready for the day when it does. Here at SCARPA North America headquarters in Boulder, ski boot shipping is in full swing.

And we’re excited and honored that many of our new ski boots – along with the innovative new NTN Freedom telemark binding – are earning accolades from ski test editors. In the last few weeks, the annual first issues of many of the ski magazines, covering the season’s best new gear, have shown up on newsstands and in PO boxes.

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Class Is In Session: Keeping up with Professor Raphael Slawinski

Sep. 4th 2012

Raphael Slawinski doesn’t take his students climbing. He’s happier teaching them the first law of thermodynamics or quantum mechanics in his Calgary classroom. If they’re having a hard time in class, chances are they might have a harder time keeping up with their professor in the hills. The Polish-born physicist also happens to be a world-class alpinist, though he’d still call himself a weekend warrior. We were able to get a moment of his time before the semester starts to ask a few questions about maintaining a career in science, while tempting the laws of physics in his spare time.

Even though your father was a climber in Poland, you didn’t take in on until your family moved to Canada when you were a teenager. How come? It wasn’t until we moved to Calgary that I was living close to the mountains. Before that we lived in places like Warsaw and Paris, not exactly climbing destinations. But even so I did not take to climbing right away. Ironically it was moving away to Chicago to go to graduate school that made me realize how important mountains and climbing had become to me.

Your mother is also a physicist and your father is a geologist. Has science always been a passion for you? Why? I suppose having both parents be scientists made me aware from early on that science wasn’t just something you took at school and then promptly forgot, but that it was something you could do your whole life. I think my fascination with science started with astronomy. Not so much looking through a telescope, but thinking about the incredible things out there, the vastness of space just beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

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