Sitka- Running Wild

Story by Adam Andis/ Video by Alex Crook I used to imagine Alaska as a vast, wild expanse. In my mind, this state was full of immutable glaciers, unsummitable mountains, and impenetrable forests. I had always assumed that Alaska’s remoteness and immenseness protected it from the forces that had forever changed my childhood home in the Midwest. Now that I live in Alaska, I’ve come to realize that the Alaskan wilds are just as fragile as any other. It is just fragility on a larger scale, but the threats, in fact, loom even larger. I live in the small island-town of Sitka. We only have about 14 miles of road; the rest of our 100-mile by 30-mile island is jagged peaks, deep fjords, and dense forest. Incidentally, the coastal brown bears…

Read More

The Lunchroom: An Interview with Terry Breaux, MSR Product Manager, Shelter

By Ryan Hayter The Lunch Room (TLR): Shelter is a basic need for mankind. What exactly do you do? Terry Breaux (TB): I design tents. It’s not just about stopping the rain from getting in or about deflecting cold weather. It’s more about how you feel when you’re in the space – the livability. How easy is it to get in? How do you function inside? Is the natural lighting plentiful and pleasant? Does it make you comfortable? All of this goes into the design process. For four season tents you’re looking for security and strength while three-season backpacking tents need to be airy and light. Every design is different. TLR: You’re probably one of a handful of tent designers in the world. How did you get into it? TB: I…

Read More

Leif Whittaker on the Privilege of Climbing Mountains

Photos and story by Leif Whittaker The view from the barren promontory above Namche Bazaar in Nepal looked out on a windswept hunk of the Himalaya where the sunrise struck, bathing the world’s highest mountain in flattering gold light. Dad and Mom stood next to me, their breath white in the frigid morning. The alpine air was redolent with juniper. We talked about climbing, a favorite subject of the guides, Sherpa, and photographers who clustered around us. I listened intently to Dad’s stories about his ascent of Mount Everest in 1963 and Mom’s stories about the 1978 K2 expedition. Though they spoke of daring, superhuman feats—like descending from 29,035 feet half blind and without bottled oxygen—I heard a conspicuous tone of humility in their voices, as if they acknowledged how lucky…

Read More

Roping Up

Story and photos by Keenan Murray A brotherhood of devotion. Sinuously dangling in the breeze, it is the last connection and the vehicle of strength from one friend to another. Out of respect for the thin line of life, I cherish it — take care of it, for I know that it will guard against more than an unexpected meeting with the stone cold ground. The words of Royal Robbins run through my head: “Climbing is a great game — great not in spite of the demands it makes, but because of them. Great because it will not let us give half of ourselves — it demands all of us. It demands our best.” Not only is the team physically bound together by the rope; it is the mental, emotional,…

Read More

The Lunchroom: An Interview with Jim Meyers, Senior Copywriter

By Ryan Hayter The Lunch Room (TLR): You don’t hear of too many brands having dedicated in-house copywriters. What exactly do you do? JM: We now have three full-time copywriters and basically, if it’s got words on it, one of us wrote it. Up front, a considerable amount of time goes into planning and strategy. We work with the division directors and marketing team to determine where products fit into the line and ensure we develop messages that convey what the engineers had in mind when they created the product. We even sit-in on line-planning sessions, talking about products that are still just a glimmer in an engineer’s eye. We’re all “users” too, so we can all offer feedback that helps shape the products we create. On the other end…

Read More

The Lunchroom: An Interview with Drew Keegan, Division Director, Fire

 By Ryan Hayter The Lunch Room (TLR): You have fire in your title. What exactly is your role? DK: I’m responsible for overseeing strategy, product development, marketing and sales for stoves, cookware and fuel. I get to use my knowledge of combustion and stoves, and tap into my engineering background on a regular basis. TLR: How long have you been doing this? DK: I joined the company 14 years ago as a manufacturing engineer with the goal of moving into R&D. I came in with an engineering background, and a passion for climbing and mountaineering. It’s hard to find engineering jobs in the industry because once you’re in nobody leaves them. The manufacturing opportunity opened the door for me to eventually move into product development and management roles in filters,…

Read More

Q&A with Photographer Jason Hummel

by Kate Hourihan When I first moved to Washington State, I was struck by the vast beauty of the Cascade Mountains and the opportunity for year-round adventure there. Around the same time, I learned of photographer Jason Hummel. The deeper I dug into the skiing and mountaineering scene, the more I read articles and researched trip reports, the more I saw Jason’s name and saw his photos. And his photos, which I started to recognize everywhere, seem to capture the unique spirit of exploring the wildest parts of the Pacific Northwest like few others. Jason stands out because, in addition to being a great photographer, he is also an athlete and adventurer. He carries heavy camera equipment to places most people don’t go. And he captures moments that people rarely…

Read More

The Smallest Mountain

Now that you’ve climbed Everest, or at least sifted through a porter-load of stories about climbing it, you should take a break and do something different. Something completely different. That desire led us to Mount Wycheproof, the world’s smallest registered mountain. Located in Australia’s Terrick Terrick Range, Mount Wycheproof stands 486 ft (148 meters to the rest of the world) above sea level, which is not bad as far as small mountains go. The catch is that it only rises 141ft (43 meters, I suppose) above its surroundings. The mountain is located in the town of Wycheproof. It could also be said that the town is located on the summit, it’s hard to tell. However you choose to see it, the mountain/town is home to a population of 686, which…

Read More

5 Tips From Chad Kellogg’s Everest Speed Training

Getting Sick at Altitude? 5 Tips From Chad Kellogg’s Everest Speed Training Chad Kellogg has trained for more than six years to become the fastest climber on Everest. The lessons he learned on previous Everest attempts and speed climbs of other mountains have given him a strong understanding of what it takes to succeed at altitude. Here are the key techniques Chad uses to prepare for Everest: 1.     Train your heart, legs and lungs in advance. Chad’s Everest program focuses primarily on volume and endurance training. Both types of training also condition his legs for climbing. Most of the locations and resources he uses are free and available to anyone, anywhere. You can easily scale Chad’s workouts to fit your available resources and goals. Chad’s volume training involves high-intensity sets…

Read More