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Tag Archives: Will Gadd

Will Gadd Video Urges You to MOVE

Oct. 1st 2013

The majority of us sit at a desk most of the week, crunching numbers, shooting off emails, surfing the internet or worse, stalking old friends on Facebook. SCARPA athlete, writer, and most notably professional ice and sport climber, Will Gadd doesn’t succumb to the seated position. Instead, he moves. Constantly.

In this memorable video, Will speaks about the importance of movement – what it does for your body, your mind, and overall well-being. He understands many of us have pressures that don’t always allow us to get outside or move the way he does. But Will says it’s not the type of movement that matters, what matters is that you MOVE.

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Will Gadd’s Favorite Ice Festivals: Modern Day Tribal Celebrations

Feb. 21st 2013

I’ve been going to ice climbing festivals for going on 20 years, and I’ve started to notice some themes at these tribal celebrations. Each one is a gathering of the climbing community; I romanticize these gatherings as the modern-day equivalent of the great tribal Pow Wows of centuries past, where the First Nations elders would tell stories, the youngsters would show off their physical prowess through games of skill, and the guy who sold the beer would do very, very well. Today’s festival communal bonfire is the slide show, and the games of skill are represented in the competitions, formal and informal, that always take place. Small sub-groups split off into bars, romances are kindled and broken, children conceived and plans made for hunting the mythical big ice climbs lurking over the horizon like the bison of old. Like I said, it’s a romantic comparison, but I believe in the idea of climbing tribes that are normally spread thin, gathering in celebration of a common idea: climbing icicles.

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Retailer of the Month Shout Out: Down Wind Sports

Feb. 12th 2013

You wouldn’t think the small town of Marquette, Michigan, which boasts a population of 19,000, would be home to a thriving outdoor store that got its start in the late 70s by selling pre-cut down sewing kits and Hobie Cat sailboats. But then again, why not? Down Wind Sports has become quite the institution, and a central character in the growing adventure community of the U.P.

A stone’s throw from the Canadian border, the modest town of Marquette is located on the south shore of Lake Superior, home to some of the world’s best ice climbing you’ve never heard of. It also has downhill skiing, cross country skiing, mountain biking, climbing, sailing, sea kayaking and, because you can, shipwreck diving. With such impressive natural terrain in the area, locals have thrived here in the last several decades. And Down Wind has been a large reason why that’s happened.

Originally opened by Dennis and Nancy Henderson in 1976, Down Wind Sports was purchased in 1998 by three long-time employees Bill Thompson, Jeff Strasser and Todd King. “Having three partners goes against every business plan I’ve ever read,” says Thompson, “but from our perspective it works.” And it does. There are currently two Down Wind Sports shops: downtown Marquette, and the DWS “North” store, located in Houghton.

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SCARPA’s packing up for the Bozeman Ice Climbing festival

Nov. 16th 2012

Photo by Ari Novak

Ice climbing season is upon us and the time to celebrate is December 5-9 at the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival, where a crew from SCARPA will be headed in a couple weeks. In its 16th year (started in 1996), the Bozeman Ice Fest will take place in the famous ice and mixed climbing mecca Hyalite Canyon, outside of Bozeman, Montana.

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The Bozeman Ice Festival: A recap by Gord McArthur

Dec. 15th 2011

Gord McArthur, SCARPA athlete and ice climber extraordinaire, just returned from spending a week in Montana, climbing in Hyalite Canyon and teaching clinics at the Bozeman Ice Festival. He has an infectious love for ice climbing and a passion for teaching. McArthur recounts a few moments from the week and talks about why he’ll be going back for many years to come.

Gordon McArthur on NW Passage, M10 Hyalite Canyon MontanaThe Bozeman Ice Festival is different from any other event I’ve ever been to. So much that it’s hard to put into words the impact it had on me. Soulful, majestic, full-hearted, committed, meaningful, driven, historical and futuristic…and sure, these words are all great and will do for now, but even still…they don’t do justice to what I experienced over the past week.

Arriving in Bozeman a week before the festival, we (myself and a few other friends – Jason Nelson, Kendra and Carter Stritch) were super energized to “get after it” in Hyalite Canyon. Hyalite Canyon is host to a sea of ice climbs from beginner to totally scary hard, so there was to be no limit to how many climbs we could fit in prior to the anticipated ice festival. Before coming I had heard about a cave up in Hyalite that hosted a hard mixed climb, Inglorious Bastards, M12, so…in hearing that, it became a priority of mine to jump on that rig and try to climb it.

Walking into Hyalite Canyon simply takes your breath away. Despite the cliché, I’m serious. Hyalite is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever climbed. Period. And standing inside the cave high up on the Unnamed Wall, there were certainly moments when I forgot all about climbing and found myself drifting off into the scenic wonderland.

Day 1 was a workday. Jason Nelson and I spent a bit of time getting used to the style of rock and sorting through the moves on Inglorious Bastards. When looking at the route from outside the cave, it didn’t seem that big or long. However when hanging horizontally close up and personal to the roof of that cave…it’s a haul and a half. I want to give thanks to Conrad Anker and Pete Tapley for putting up that route, and also a “nice work” to Sam Elias for nabbing the first ascent. On day 2, my third try I was able to repeat Inglorious Bastards, M12. (Thanks to Jason for bein’ there on the other end of my rope). I was psyched about this. Side note: It was cool and inspiring that this particular style of route was natural (nothing was drilled to enhance the route). Some may think that routes at this level don’t exist any more without “manufacturing” them.

Gordon McArthur on NW Passage, M10 Hyalite Canyon MontanaMid week, after a few days of climbing we found ourselves, amongst many others, in the Emmerson Hall (in Bozeman), mingling, giving high fives, and simply sharing the excitement about the Bozeman Ice Festival starting. Vendors and sponsors were busy handing out demo gear to all the enthusiasts, people from all over the country buzzing about clinics that they had signed up for. The hype and animation from all who were involved and participating…just standing back…for even a moment, witnessing what was going on all around me…you could just tell there was something different…something deep and inspiring.

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15 Years and Counting – Annual Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival Coming into Shape

Oct. 25th 2011

Bozeman Ice FestivalThis coming December 7-11th, The Bozeman Ice Festival will be holding its 15th annual event in the beautiful Hyalite Canyon of Montana. Since 1996 climbers of all abilities have flocked to Hyalite to discuss technique, check out new gear, learn about the sport, and share in the camaraderie of ascending frozen water. Each year the event draws world-class athletes and guides from around the globe to educate, mentor and clinic burgeoning and passionate ice climbers about the necessary skills and safety techniques, the latest tools, and craft of the sport. As a sponsor for the event, SCARPA is pleased to help share in promoting and preserving the Hyalite Canyon’s ever-growing ice climbing heritage.

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Will Gadd first to paraglide across four western Canada mountain ranges

Aug. 22nd 2011

Calling it “the trip I’m most happy in my life to have gotten done,” Will Gadd, climber, paraglider, and SCARPA athlete, flew almost entirely self-supported from Vernon, British Columbia, to Canmore, Alberta, a distance of well over 200 miles, earlier this month.

What’s more impressive than the distance, though, is the number of firsts: Paragliding over the Monashees, over the Selkirk and Purcell Ranges from Revelstoke to Invermere, and over the Rockies from Invermere to Canmore. Gadd encountered the some of the strongest conditions he’d ever flown in, conditions that grounded other pilots.

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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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Will Gadd: the souls of rock shoes

Sep. 27th 2010

I still vividly remember the day I bought my first pair of climbing shoes. The first thing that hit me was the leathery smell that wafted out as I opened the crisp box lid and saw the shoes packed carefully in white tissue paper like some sort of perfect Japanese melons.  The light disappeared into the blackness of the new rubber soles, and the laces begged for immediate bondage.

Will Gadd in Canada, 1984 - nice hexes!

But, as much as I loved the physical stuff in the box, what was most exciting to my 15-year-old mind was the very idea of what the shoes promised: Climbing! Adventure!

Breaking in new climbing shoes is a ritual, and I’d read that the best way to break in new shoes was to get them wet and then wear them around (this is actually horrible advice, but on par with the other advice I was getting as a teenager). I started with taking a shower while wearing the shoes. My mom is still annoyed about the black marks the soles left on the shower stall walls; she just couldn’t understand how they got there. (You can friction off of even wet tile if you try hard enough.)

After getting them good and wet, I wore them around the house for another hour. I’d like to say that I then went climbing in them, but it was February in Canada and climbing gyms hadn’t been invented yet. I waited until a day that was barely above freezing and then traversed back and forth on the wall of the local Texaco until the manager busted me in the same hard-ass way he busted skateboarders. Even though the shoes were ridiculously tight, I still ran.

And was back later that day.

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