Scarpa North America Blog

Tag Archives: Phantom Guide

Ouray Ice Festival Recap Part 1: Sam Elias

Jan. 30th 2013

The Ouray Ice Festival took place January 10-13 in Ouray, Colorado. SCARPA athlete, Sam Elias, participated in the festival competition this year wearing the SCARPA Phantom Guides. Elias shared a few thoughts on competing and his experience at the festival.

The Ouray Ice Festival is the largest ice climbing event in North America. It is also the busiest few days of the winter for the small mountain town in southwestern Colorado. I love the town, and the festival is one of my favorite climbing events to be a part of. My first experience at the festival was for the difficulty competition, and it has been a source of sweetness and suffering for me ever since. In 2008, it was my second season ice and winter mixed climbing. It was incidentally my first climbing competition ever. I took 16th, and didn’t qualify for the finals. I had no expectations or thoughts about how I should do, and it was fun, but I knew I was strong and could be good at it. In 2009, I was not invited to compete. Unlike 2008, in 2009 there was no qualifier, only a final. So, you were either invited into the final, or not. I was still inexperienced and unaccomplished. I was invited into the final in 2010, and I had a very memorable performance. I ended up topping the route in a diving, buzzer beating finish with only 2 seconds left on the clock.

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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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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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The Trust: Ueli Steck and SCARPA discuss their symbiotic relationship of innovation and design

Mar. 29th 2012

Literally coming off the heels of their latest collaboration, the new Rebel GTX Carbon alpine boot, speed climbing supercharger Ueli Steck and SCARPA answer a few questions about their decade-long relationship of designing, building and testing the best mountain boots, and how it pertains to the changing state-of-the-art in alpine climbing.

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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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This brings new meaning to fast and light …

Sep. 1st 2010

One of the key athletes involved in SCARPA’s 2010 redesign of its technical mountaineering boot line is Ueli Steck. In fact, Steck was super involved in giving design feedback that helped SCARPA achieve a new sole/midsole design that both increased shock absorption for walking while simultaneously increasing climbing precision – seemingly goals at odds.

If you pay even a little attention to the world of climbing, you probably know this guy gets after it and excels in all realms of the sport – hard rock climbing, alpine terrain at elevation, and just being fast.

Absurdly fast.

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