Scarpa North America Blog

Tag Archives: mountaineering

How To Backcountry Ski In The Spring

Mar. 13th 2014

Having worked in the mountain guiding industry for nearly 20 years, Mike Alkaitis is an experienced mountaineer. Not only is he the general manager and senior guide at the Colorado Mountain School, a professional mountain guide service, he is also a certified Wilderness First Responder, the former Executive Director for the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), and an AMGA-certified rock and ski mountaineering guide. We figured that he is the perfect person to give us some guidance on finding the best backcountry skiing when the weather turns warm.

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Ski Trab’s Talent Runs Deep

Jan. 22nd 2014

The town of Bormio, Italy is a crucible of mountain sports, where skiing and alpinism form a seamless bond. Home to the Pista Stelvio, one of the world’s most spectacular downhill courses, the village has an engrossing history of glissé. So, it should come as no surprise that some of the world’s finest skis are designed, crafted and produced in this bucolic alpine village. Enter Ski Trab.

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One Man’s Continuum: Vince Anderson’s Mountaineering Evolution

Dec. 6th 2013

Vince Anderson has come full circle in the mountaineering milieu. A third generation Coloradan, he began his mountaineering career at a young age, hiking to a fire lookout with his parents before the age of five. He took to the hills as any young mountaineer, satiating his appetite with climbing and skiing as much as possible. His abilities bloomed and he realized he had a genuine talent at persevering in the big peaks. In September 2005, he and Steve House completed the 13,000-plus-vertical-foot Central Pillar of the Rupal Face, on Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat, one of the world’s largest, most spectacular walls. The two were awarded the Piolet d’Or, France’s highest honor for mountaineering excellence, a first for any North American. He’s also a husband and father of three young boys, works as a fully certified IMFGA guide, instructor and examiner. Vince is also a humble vinyl collector who loves the thunderous sounds of quality metal.

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Retailer Shout Outs: Desert Rock Sports, Las Vegas

Apr. 23rd 2013

Desert Rock Sports is the total package, or, rather, a part of the total package. This niche climbing shop has been the epicenter for Las Vegas climbers for more than 25 years. Current owners Travis Graves, Mike Lorenzo and Steve Mallory met at the store years ago while Travis was an employee. In 2005, the three of them partnered to purchase the shop, as well as the adjacent indoor climbing gym, and Red Rocks Climbing Guides service – an extension of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Between the shop, the gym and the guide service, they can outfit, educate and introduce climbers, new and old, to an enormity of world-class climbing just down the road.

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Send it: Will Gadd on Helmcken Falls Ice Climbing

Mar. 8th 2011

Perennial ice climbing junkie and SCARPA athlete Will Gadd is a busy man. This winter he spent weeks with partner Tim Emmett exploring his dream cave, Helmcken Falls, a unique cavernous, ice covered playground.

Spray On is his current project, and the name fits. Drawing from the moisture from the nearby falls, the feature looks like it’s been sprayed onto the wall; long, innumerable icicle teeth hang from the towering abyss offering limitless possibilities to Will, though hardly conceivable from any other perspective. He also had a baby last week, another full time job. Nonetheless, he had a few moments to share his ever-growing enthusiasm for Helmcken Falls.

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SCARPA shod Gadd grabs Climbing Mag’s Golden Piton (Ice) for Spray On (WI10)

Jan. 14th 2011

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.

Helmcken Falls from Tim Emmett on Vimeo.

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Colorado Ski Mountaineering Cup Kicks Off Season on December 11th at new CS Irwin Venue

Nov. 24th 2010

Randonee racing continues to gather steam in North America. Witness the success of the Colorado Ski Mountaineering Cup (COSMIC). Entering its fifth season, COSMIC will include 9 races on the 2010/2011 schedule. The COSMIC season kicks off with a new race on December 11th, with the CS Irwin rando race outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.

COSMIC 2010/2011 season schedule

The CS Irwin race will be burly and is sure to attract some of the fastest backcountry ski racers in North America. As usual, there’ll be a lot of green on the scene.

The race will start at 10,400 ft and climb (yes, climb) from there, leading skiers up to the top of Scarp Ridge (12,100 ft) three separate times for a total of over 5000ft+ of gain/loss. If the elevation isn’t enough to make your quads shake, racers will travel the equivalent of over 10 miles, all of it above 10,000ft.

As Race Director Pete Swenson explains, the CS Irwin race takes ski mountaineering races back to its roots.

“There is a movement in the Rocky Mountains to establish race venues modeled after a European style of racing, which means getting these competitions off traditional ski resorts and into a backcountry setting.”

Mission accomplished: The race course is 7 miles from Crested Butte and with no maintained roads in the Winter. Athletes will either take a CS Irwin cat ride or supply their own sled for transportation to the start line. Because of the remote venue,

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Mt. Cromwell Elzinga/Miller in a Day

Nov. 1st 2010

Check out this video of SCARPA team member Raphael Slawinski and Joshua Levigne getting after it on Mt. Cromwell.

Mt. Cromwell Elzinga/Miller in a day from alpinesummits on Vimeo.

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