Backcountry Pole FAQs: Your Questions Answered

As many winter hikers, snowshoers, skiers and splitboarders will attest, backcountry poles help you maintain stability and safety as you cross snowfields, navigate icy switchbacks, and traverse frozen hillsides. Plus, they help you reduce joint impact and minimize fatigue, so you can save strength and better endure the elements. Adjustable winter poles are especially useful for navigating steep inclines and descents, letting you shorten or lengthen poles to match the terrain for improved efficiency. Adjustable poles also pack up and stow away easily while in technical terrain, or when splitboarders are ready to ride down. Here are five frequently asked questions (FAQs) of our customer service department along with information to help you select and use MSR® backcountry poles that are right for you, for your environment, and for the…

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Gear Archives: The Evolution of MSR Avalanche Probes

MSR was founded on mountaineering and snow safety, and our new MSR Striker™ probes not only continue that legacy but also deliver on our founding promise to build better, more reliable and easier-to-use gear. Vastly different from the MSR probes of 40 years ago, the Striker probes’ unique construction and features meet the needs of everyone from mountaineers and professional guides, to backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers. Here’s a brief look at past and present MSR probe innovations. The history: MSR Avalanche Probes

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Colorado’s 10th Mountain Huts: A brief history and how-to guide

Photos and story by Laurel Miller Although I’m a native Californian, I grew up skiing Colorado. This is because my parents met while students at Colorado A & M (now CSU) in the mid-50s, and they were avid skiers. My dad was finishing up veterinary school, and my mom was on the barrel racing team. Although they chose to move West to open my dad’s large animal practice, Colorado to this day retains a stronghold on their hearts—something that was passed on to my brother and me in utero (I can only presume). My dad’s obsession with the Rockies began when he was pre-med and trying to obtain residency for vet school, courtesy of the GI Bill. A World War II veteran and Arizona native, he moved to Colorado and…

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Skiing and Climbing Alaska’s Remarkable Ruth Gorge

By Scott Rinckenberger When I was invited on a mission to spend two weeks climbing and skiing the Ruth Gorge in Denali National Park, I knew I’d have to bring some pretty serious equipment. Fortunately MSR was willing to help outfit the expedition. I’m exceedingly thankful for the gear, but that’s not all I picked up from the MSR HQ before my departure. I also ran into a long time friend, and while I was being told to “be safe” by nearly everyone who heard the plan, it was the words from my friend Diane which put me on the right track for the trip – “Listen to the mountains.” Our plans included climbing lofty alpine walls in the Ruth Gorge, and climbing summits from their less-technical sides for some…

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Ode to the Shoulder Season—Skiing and Rock Climbing at Washington Pass

Photos and Story By Leif Whittaker By the middle of May, when winter’s final curtains of snow are pelting the North Cascades and warm afternoons are growing longer each day, we in the Northwest are aching for the full brunt of summer. It has been eight months since we last wore boardshorts and flip-flops. All the ski resorts are closed, but the trailheads and crags are still buried in a thick layer of winter’s residue and it will be another month or two before the highest arêtes and dihedrals are completely dried out. For many of us, the shoulder season is a frustrating interlude between two joyous extremes—deep powder and hot rock. However, as I discovered during a recent trip up Liberty Bell, the shoulder season is not a mere…

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Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Inspires Big Adventure

By Ryan Hayter Since 1986, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour has brought the outdoor culture’s most creative, inspiring and adrenaline-inducing stories to a global audience. Every year, the tour reaches about 400,000 fans in 40-plus countries reaching from Antarctica to Wales, who get to experience a taste of the world’s most remote destinations and daring adventures. The North American leg of the tour started in November and has already traveled through more than 50 states, provinces and territories drawing in crowds from 100 or so in outposts like Sitka, Alaska, to thousands in Montreal, Denver and Salt Lake City. It runs through this October, with 30 more stops in the U.S. and Canada, plus more in Australia, Brazil, England, Italy, New Zealand, and Northern Ireland. The benefits of…

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Off Belay: High-Altitude Mexico

After nearly three weeks of sun and surf south of the border, we were itching for some elevation and knew just where to find it. To the surprise of many, North America’s third tallest peak does not lie in one of Alaska’s formidable ranges, but instead 250km to the west of Mexico City. Pico de Orizaba is a standalone volcano with a staggering amount of prominence. The mountain dominates the surrounding countryside, and simply needed to be climbed. Our siege of the mountain began with a pitstop in the small town of Tlachichuca to gather supplies and a bit of beta from the reputable Señor Reyes, proprietor of Servimont, the classic European-style climber hostel in the heart of downtown. After collecting our intel, we embarked on a roller-coaster two-hour drive…

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Terrible Skiing: An Ode

Photos and Story By Evelyn Spence Over my three and a half decades as a skier, I’ve witnessed a lot of things and been to a lot of places, from Alyeska to Vermont, from heli to hut. But before I stepped off the bus at Mongolia’s Sky Resort one January, I’d never seen a man skiing in pink swim goggles. I’d never seen a woman tucking with a Louis Vuitton crossbody purse flying behind her. I’d never seen a group of kids passing around a bottle of vodka while standing in the middle of a groomed run, nor a teenage boy plucking his eyebrows while waiting in line for a rifle range that’s inside of a ski lodge. I’d never seen a girl walk through a building with her skis…

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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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