Sherrie making progress toward Chitna Creek confluence with Caribou Creek, on of the day's major milestones
SCARPA athlete, Kellie Okonek, discovered her calling in life when she moved to Alaska and began exploring the mountains there. She has since climbed and skied in remote places all over the world. She recently took advantage of the last moments of warm weather up north to backpack and raft in Alaska’s Talkeetna Mountains.
When I started looking closer at the maps and seeing the big storms in the weather forecast for Southcentral Alaska, the doubts over our trip started creeping in. Sherrie and I planned to hike from the Eureka Roadhouse on the Glenn Highway, 60 miles overland to the headwaters of the Talkeetna River. From the small roadside town, we’d take 2.5 days to hike 60 miles mostly off-trail, over two passes (4800′ and 6000’), then raft 40 miles of the Talkeetna River. At the confluence with Prairie Creek, we would meet friends who planned to fly in with a cataraft and run the famous class IV Talkeetna River canyon (“the longest stretch of continuous whitewater in Alaska” and one of the state’s most classic river trips) to the town of Talkeenta.
Caribou Creek shrinking as we neared the headwaters
I really started thinking about the logistics and thoughts of all that could go wrong rushed in with a vengeance. I haven’t been nervous for a trip in a while; I have to admit in many ways it felt good to try something I wasn’t sure I could do. We made contingency bailout plans for the inability to cross high passes due to weather, packed a little extra food in case we had to hike out without the cataraft to travel the high-volume canyon, and left a good communication plan in case we didn’t make it out.
Fortunately, our first full day of hiking up Caribou Creek was graced with sunshine. Given the multiple thigh-deep river crossings of this glacial stream, and blessed with peak fall colors, the bright skies made our day super enjoyable as we covered ground. Continue reading...
Artley Goodhart has been working for SCARPA for 4 years in the distribution department. In addition to his day job, he is currently in school and climbing as much as he can in his free time. SCARPA recently gave him time off work to go climb in Yosemite. He completed the Triple Direct route of El Capitan and wrote a detailed summary of his trip and the climb:Continue reading...
Adventure (verb): Engage in hazardous and exciting activity, esp. the exploration of unknown territory.
This past weekend, that is what my friend, Jesse Zacher and I had hoped to do. We were after an adventure into new terrain and onto new stone. And an adventure (noun) was what we experienced.
Jesse had enlisted a new friend, Ryan from North Carolina, to help us schlep water and supplies to the base of the wall because it was going to be in the 90’s all weekend and we couldn’t haul all the goods ourselves. He told Ryan that the hike would be through wild terrain.
It didn’t take us long to realize just how “wild” the terrain actually was. Within one minute of leaving the truck, I found myself passing 70lb packs over barbed wire The next moment, we were navigating a river crossing on moss-covered polished rocks. Soon after, we were faced with having to claw our way up a 100 yards of steep hillside. What made that difficult was the six-foot tall blackberry and raspberry bushes. Tasty as they were, their thorns punished us for trespassing. Did I mention that Ryan did all this while wearing his Chaco sandals? What a trooper! The first thing we asked this guy (who we didn’t even know) was to bushwhack through hell! Even with bleeding feet, he smiled every bit of the way! Continue reading...
On February 2, the team of American climber and photographer Cory Richards, Italian climber Simone Moro, and Kazahk alpinist Denis Urubko completed the first winter ascent of an 8000-meter peak in the Karakorum, on Gasherbrum II, the world’s 13th-highest mountain. While recovering in Thailand, Cory had some time to talk to SCARPA and reflect on the achievement.
Q – When did you get the idea for climbing 8000 meter peaks? And when did you see them as something feasible to attempt in winter?
CR – Feeling that unique isolation that the mountains offer is something that my folks were instrumental in fostering in my brother and I growing up. Over the evolution of my own climbing career, I’ve tried very hard to stay true to that ideal…to look for honest ‘adventure’ in things. Some people find that by climbing super fast, others by soloing…I just like being completely out there…alone with your partners. In the Himamlaya, that isolation seems to be able to be most thoroughly achieved through doing new lines, or climbing in the winter…or both. As for 8000 meters…it just happens to be that number that encapsulates our highest points…and because of that, those peaks in particular draw a lot of attention. In a lot of cases, it seems that the higher the altitude, the higher the stakes…or perhpas more eloquently…the less margin for error we are allowed. But in all honesty, it’s not so much about climbing 8000 meter peaks as it is about having fun and hanging it out there in the big mountains…that can happen on a 6000 m peak just as easily…and often times even more so. CLimbing in winter just seemed like a natural progression, though a bit abrupt .
This last November SCARPA athlete and polar explorer Eric Larsen completed his Save the Poles expedition – and epic trip involving reaching both the North and South Pole and the summit of Mount Everest in a calendar year to raise awareness of Global Warming.
He placed himself in the some of the world’s most remote, and otherwise most inhospitable environments to show why they’re worth saving. Through his efforts he’s garnered attention on the world stage. Now, months after his journey, we got him to answer a few questions about what it means to realize a major life goal.
Q – You’ve successfully completed the expedition. You’ve been interviewed and celebrated in the media. Was it what you expected? Do you feel you drew the kind of attention you sought for regarding global warming?
EL – Honestly, I expected I would be able to promote more climate change initiatives—solutions to the problem of global warming. Instead I spend a lot of my time simply verifying that, yes, these places are indeed melting. I had substantial media coverage, but there is definitely more I can do. This story isn’t finished yet.
Vicariously experience the professional athlete/world traveler adventure life through our climbing and ski teams’ weekly trip reports.
SCARPA tele ripper, Chris Erikson, sends in proof that he is, indeed, working hard with this mini-trip report from his shoot for PowderWhore’sTelevision.
Adam U returns from an exploration of Japan with this trip report: “Every local we talked to told us that conditions like we had were ‘normal.’ We hope to put their word to the test by returning next year for a month. Until then, enjoy!”
Will Gadd has returned to Helmcken Falls with Tim Emmett and continues to explore how, exactly, to perhaps climb the bizarre ice formations that he and Tim discovered last year. As Will reports, “So far the climbing has consisted of super technical radically overhanging ice action to just get a line of gear out the cave. Yeah, CAVE!”
Gordon McArthur is currently touring Europe competing in ice climbing world cup competitions as part of the Canadian team, but sent us this video of a new project he is working on in the Bull River Gorge, B.C., Canada, called El Matador. Continue reading...
Climbing Magazine recognized Will Gadd and Tim Emmett’s crazy unique Spray On route, which they discovered behind the 463 -foot-high Helmcken Falls in British Columbia, Canada last winter, with the magazine’s prestigious Golden Piton award in the Ice category.
Revisiting Will’s report on the discovery and subsequent adventure of what he calls the coolest, steepest and hardest ice route he’s ever climbed still brings chills of excitement.
For a better sense of the unique route, check out Tim’s video below. Congrats to Tim and Will for the recognition.
The beta according to DowClimbing.com:
“Mount Sir Douglas is one of the most aesthetic mountains in the heart of the southern Canadian Rockies. It is located on the continental divide, split evenly between British Columbia (BC) and Alberta. Its summit actually straddles three parks, Banff National Park, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Height of the Rockies Provincial Park. Belonging to the 11,000’+ group, it ranks high on technical objective lists along with Assiniboine and Joffre in the southern Canadian Rockies. However, Sir Douglas is not as popular due to significant rock fall hazard on the routes. Continue reading...