MSR Backcountry Pole Technology: Rethinking Traditional Design

For winter backcountry travelers, poles are simply essential pieces of gear. Whether your route contains snow-laden log bridges, endless switchbacks or a rocky alpine approach, poles help increase your safety and efficiency while traveling through demanding terrain. But not all poles are engineered equally. Here we take a look at the unique technology behind MSR’s backcountry poles, and explain how our engineers employed fresh ideas to solve many frustrations plaguing traditional pole designs.

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MSR Winter Backcountry Poles: Behind the Gear

MSR Senior Design Engineer Blake Andersen answers a few questions about the design and performance of MSR Backcountry Poles. Who were MSR Backcountry Poles engineered for? MSR Backcountry Poles are designed for winter backcountry travelers who want a high performance adjustable pole that won’t slip, and makes no compromises in weight, stability or ease of adjustment. That could be mountaineers, skiers, snowshoers, or splitboarders who rely on their poles for efficiency and safety through many types of terrain. The inspiration came from our president who walks an impressive distance every day with poles. He recognized the need for lightweight, positive-locking poles that were easy to adjust. After finding the current offerings lacking, he asked me to come up with a better solution. What were your design goals with the Backcountry…

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Cariboo Mountain Hut Adventure

Story and photos by Riley Leboe This past December, I made the 7-hour journey north from the coastal town of  Squamish, British Columbia to the tiny northern interior town of Quesnel, BC. It was my cousin Josh’s 30th birthday and we’d decided to celebrate it with a few days of skiing fresh tracks and living in the mountains. The following morning, we loaded up our trucks and headed out to the Cariboo Mountain Hut—a small touring hut at the foothills of the Cariboo Mountain Range. There was an incredible arctic outflow moving over British Columbia that weekend. The temperature was at that magic number of -40 where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet. Still, it was a clear and dry day, so we weren’t overly concerned about the frigid temps. We felt confident we could stay warm providing we were conscious and diligent about regulating…

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Fine-Tuned Forecasts: Northwest Avalanche Center Launches New Website

Story by Kate Hourihan / photos courtesy of NWAC Between all 20 Avalanche Centers in the U.S., and many others worldwide, no two organizations deliver a daily avalanche forecast in exactly the same way. While there are many overlaps in language, iconography and general structure, each avalanche center ultimately has its own format. And because of this, as research evolves in understanding how to best to keep people safe from avalanche danger, avalanche centers have the ability to fine-tune how information is delivered to users through forecasts. In December 2013, the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) launched a new website. In addition to a visual face-lift, new mobile capabilities, and a more user-friendly interface, significant changes were made to how the daily avalanche forecast is broken down and presented to users. The…

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Multi-day Ski Mountaineering: Tips from New Zealand

Story by Kate Hourihan In early October, American skiers Nick Webb and Beau Fredlund met up in Christchurch to catch the tail end of the New Zealand winter. Arriving just after the ski resorts closed, and the flocks of winter tourists departed, they aimed to take advantage of the milder weather, longer days and more stable snow of the New Zealand spring. While the snow was still plentiful at high elevations, it was not easy to reach. And while they made several long day tours, Nick and Beau focused on multi-day trips to take advantage of the terrain above the long, tiring approaches. Their longest trip, totaling ten days, was spent exploring the upper Tasman Saddle in the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park. After walking two full days up the Tasman…

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“Tempting Fear” – a ski film featuring Andreas Fransson

What does it mean to live life on the edge? Ski mountaineer Andreas Fransson shares his thoughts on the subject in his new film “Tempting Fear” “Only by defying society’s expectations can you find the true uncertainty that defines adventure.” Fransson examines his perspective on the risk, euphoria and philosophy surrounding his approach to high level ski mountaineerning pursuits, describing what it’s like to take risks when death lies just one misstep away.

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