MSR Dromedary Bags: My Guardian Angels For More Than 50 Expeditions

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Cooking in Greenland with my Dromedary Bag nearby.

Story By Mike Libecki

MSR Dromedary Bags have become my guardian angels, providing me life––yes, literally providing life––on more than 50 expeditions around the world to complete major athletic goals.

From first desert crossings in China to climbing huge first ascents on vertical rock walls in Greenland, on every continent and beyond, they have kept me alive. Let me explain: Water. It is the sweet giver of life.

This transparent fluid forms the world’s streams, lakes, oceans and rain, and is the major constituent of the fluids of living things. We are water and water is life. And, of course life is sweet. Read More →

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Timelapse of a Glacier: A Climbing Ranger’s Perspective of Mt Baker

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Photos and story by Leif Whittaker

Every weekend when I arrive at a trailhead that I have been to a hundred times before I wonder if I should get a new job. Most climbers would find it monotonous to visit the same ridges, valleys, glaciers, and summits over and over throughout the summer. Admittedly, I often look at the first few steps of a familiar trail and have trouble getting motivated. But after three years on Mount Baker I have learned to appreciate the tiniest details of the seasonal cycle and I believe the mountain is always telling a new story. 

Brandon skinning up the Easton Glacier in June conditions.

Brandon skinning up the Easton Glacier in June conditions.

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Behind The Photo: How To Get that Glowing Tent Night Shot

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Photo and story by Eric Larsen

Full disclosure: I’m not a professional photographer. Still, as someone who has held a camera in his hand for the better part of the past 20 years in some of the world’s most extreme and inhospitable environments, I’ve managed to snap a few sweet pictures along the way, many of which have gotten published or sold.

Nearly every day, I use photos to help tell stories of my adventures and connect people to the places I’ve been. My goal has always been to try to inspire and educate, and photographs have been and continue to be a powerful tool to help create a sense of place. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been singularly focused on improving my photography skills, but it’s been a slow process for me. After all, modern cameras are just as much ‘computer’ as your computer so mastering the technology inside a camera takes time. Equally important (and complicated) is understanding the ‘art’ of photography. Creating compelling images in today’s photography world is equal parts nerd and Picasso.

Luckily however, I’ve been able to meet a lot of professional photographers along the way. Really good ones. You know, people who take pictures for National Geographic. And a bunch of others as well. What follows is an amalgamation of information I’ve accumulated over the years—advice from pros, a lot of research, rereading of owner’s manuals, and perhaps most importantly, my own insight from mistakes and practice. Read More →

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Behind the Curtains of Hell: 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell

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A report from the 9th annual 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell endurance climbing competition.  

by Andrew Chasteen

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The shotgun blasts, and 280 climbers scatter like buckshot in all directions.  Most are running—some are walking briskly up the steep approaches to the crags that make up the borders of Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.  Ten minutes ago the full crowd of 700-plus was lost in a trance of psyche and adrenaline as Jeremy Collins and Kris “Odub” Hampton put on a show (as usual) for the famed Climbers Creed to “I got 99 problems but 100 pitches ain’t one.”  But now minds are focused and fixed on the next 24 hours of pain. Read More →

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MSR Backcountry Cafe: Make Ahead Mac-N-Cheese

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Story and Photos by Tara Alan

Where I live, in the Green Mountains of Vermont, the first yellow, orange, and russet leaves are beginning to appear scattered upon the ground. Nights are becoming cool enough to wear a jacket, and the scent of wood smoke is apparent on the breeze. It’s clear that autumn is just around the corner!

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What better way to spend these glorious end-of-summer days than in the woods? And what better way to end them than with an evening of camping? On chill nights like these, I want a supper that’s warm and cheesy, quick and easy: macaroni and cheese.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s a spectrum of macaroni and cheese. On one end are those blue boxes containing a handful of elbow noodles and an accompanying “cheese” packet. The resulting dish is neon-orange, and of dubious nutritional value. On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s pasta with an unctuous cream sauce and pockets of oozing melted cheese under a burnished top. Think four cheeses melted together with bacon, chili flakes, and caramelized onions. Or how about mozzarella and ricotta with chunks of fresh tomato?

So, what do we do when we want the cozy, comforting dish of mac and cheese while on the trail? When we want the simplest of dinners, but we want it to have ingredients we recognize? When we want that delicious, cozy treat, but we don’t want to pack a ton of items to make it? We make it ahead of time and carry it along, of course!

Below, you’ll find my recipe for a version of macaroni and cheese that falls somewhere between the two extremes of the spectrum, closer to the ease of blue-box side. It’s a cinch to assemble and pack for the trail, and it’s quick to cook once you’re out there. It also makes a great base for improvisation. See my suggestions below the recipe for ways to jazz up your mac. Read More →

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Backpacking to British Columbia’s Garibaldi Lake

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Photos and story by Riley Leboe

I’m lucky enough to travel the world doing what I love. Chasing powder snow as a professional skier has brought me to many amazing places around the globe. Still, I often find it difficult to leave the west coast of British Columbia, where I call home. With the Sea to Sky corridor offering so much in the way of activities, I’ve left much unexplored in my own backyard. Read More →

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Getting the Shot: Behind the Scenes on the MSR Snow Tools Photoshoot

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Photos and words by Scott Rinckenberger

This spring, I had the pleasure of shooting the photography that will be used by MSR in the marketing materials for their new Snow Tools line of products. In an impressive effort to round out their hardware offerings to support backcountry travel, MSR’s new Shovels, Probes and Snow Saws are smartly designed and intended for professional use.

In order to reinforce this commitment to professional quality in the new products, it was important to MSR that we photograph the gear being put through the paces of an actual practice use scenario. To that end, they recruited long time collaborator, ski patroller, ski guide and NWAC field observer Jeff Hambelton to lead myself and a couple of Baker pros on a mission to take field observations and run a simulated avalanche rescue.

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

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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 worked summers as a wrangler on various ranches, which was a convenient way to indulge his combined loves of horses and the high country. The U.S. Ski Patrol visited Dad’s high school when he was a senior, looking for recruits for the 10th Mountain Division. At that point in the war (1944), the Army was no longer looking for experienced skiers; rather, they wanted to train their own. Camp Hale, the Army training facility, was located between Leadville and what is now Vail, on the Tennessee Pass. Read More →

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Water Treatment 101: When & Why Should I Treat Backcountry Water?

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The natural landscape is a dynamic place, and therefore so too are the qualities of the water supplies that flow through it. While an undeveloped water source may seem clear and clean, it can be carrying waterborne pathogens, microscopic agents that cause illness in humans. Popular backcountry camp spots are obvious high-risk zones, but places like the high alpine that see little human or animal traffic can actually be pretty low-risk. Still, the simple truth remains: The only real way to verify that your water is safe to drink is to treat it. And the effort it takes to treat water is minor compared to the complications of illness. Read More →

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Colorado’s Longs Peak: A Reward Worth The Suffering

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The boulder field, photo by Whitney Oliver

The boulder field, photo by Whitney Oliver

Story by Hilary Oliver 

When it comes to hiking, there are mountains—and then there are the mountains that haunt your fantasies. The legendary peaks that don’t come so easily. The ones with iconic shape, or stunning cliff faces. Longs Peak in Colorado’s Front Range is one of those mountains—one of the most scenic and challenging summits to bag without technical climbing.

I fell in love with Longs as a 16-year-old hiking it in jeans and a cotton T-shirt. We ran out of water. I ripped a hole in my jeans and got super cold near the summit. But the scenery and the experience hooked me. I’ve gone back several times since—with more mountain savvy and better clothing, for sure—which makes the experience a little less Type-2 fun. Here are my tips for making it to the top via the Keyhole Route and have fun doing it. Read More →

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