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

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Dana skinning towards Liberty Bell Massif on a warm May morning.

Dana skinning towards Liberty Bell Massif on a warm May morning.

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 delay; it is a unique mixture of two opposing forces and, when combined correctly, the resulting concoction can be wonderfully potent. Read More →

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MSR Staff Picks: 5 Fast-and-Light Pieces

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This one is for the ounce-counters, minimalists and ultralight packers. We asked five MSR employees which pieces of gear they pack when the objective is to go farther—faster. These pieces represent some of our smallest, lightest and smartest products for minimizing weight without sacrificing reliability on high-adventure journeys. Read More →

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GETTING THE SHOT: Behind the Scenes on the Hubba Hubba NX Photo Shoot

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MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent marketing campaign photo. Photo credit: Garrett Grove

MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent marketing campaign photo. Photo credit: Garrett Grove

By Ryan Hayter

At MSR, we strive to not only build great gear but to inspire others to get outside and experience what makes us so passionate about the mountains. Imagery that captures those real moments in the outdoors – whether it’s a breathtaking view, an incredible sunrise or a shared, though silent experience with friends – plays a big role in telling the MSR story and our reason for being.

iOs photo credit: Megan Bailey

iOs photo credit: Megan Bailey

Read More →

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Posted by & filed under Tech.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 10.12.25 AM

Camping season is calling, and if you haven’t been outdoors for a while, it may be time to get your gear in order. The good news is that if you take care of your MSR tent, you’ll have it for years to come. Here are three frequently asked questions and tent care tips from our customer service department that can help you keep your tent in good working order.

1. What’s the best way to store my tent between trips?
It’s best to store your tent in a dry and cool area, not in direct sunlight. Instead of storing the tent in its stuff sack, keep it in an oversized, breathable cotton bag or mesh duffel, just as you might store a sleeping bag. Or using a simple pillowcase can work just as well. Read More →

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Behind the Photo: Photographing the Milky Way

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By Jameson Savage

I vividly remember lying on the wet grass staring up at the Milky Way passing over Yellow Stone National Park as a child. I had never seen anything so thought-provoking or awe-inspiring before in my life, and I can’t safely say I’ve seen anything that compares to it since. This is an experience that I wouldn’t want anyone robbed of, but as our cities expand we lose our connection to the stars ever so gradually. The larger they grow the smaller our view into the universe becomes.

Over the course of the next five months I’m setting out to capture the Milky Way throughout the Western United States documenting the impact that our cities have on it’s visibility, and what we can do to curb this effect. I’d like to share the experience of this project with you by running through the planning and gear that you will need to capture Milky Way images such as these taken at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Crater Lake, Oregon.

Bonsai_Rock_MSR Read More →

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Fly Your Tent Down the Freeway

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The original Mountain Safety Research Newsletter (1969-1982), written by MSR Founder Larry Penberthy, is always a fascinating read. The newsletters are filled with extensive and technical product testing and mountain safety information. However, Larry and his team were also known to have some fun.

One of our favorite features in this vast newsletter archive is the makeshift “wind tunnel” testing report in Issue 7 (April 1973) for the new MSR Mountain Tent. Important performance features of the tent are profiled under the headings “More Room,” “Condensation,” “Doors,” “Ease of Erection,” “Wind Stability,” “Cookholes,” “Materials,” and “Weight.”

Within the “Wind Stability” description, the reader is given this glimpse into MSR’s rigorous and fun DIY testing methods. It’s true that Larry was never satisfied until he personally put gear through the ultimate paces.

Tent Testing April 1973 Read More →

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Eric Larsen Reaches the North Pole!

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MSR ambassador Eric Larsen and expedition teammate, Ryan Waters, reached the geographic North Pole last night, successfully completing their Last North Expedition! The pair has spent the last 53 grueling days traversing 480 miles of frozen Arctic Ocean via snowshoes and skis, becoming only the second American team in history to complete the crossing. The team reports that while they’re exhausted, they’re overjoyed to have achieved the end. At MSR, we’re proud of Eric’s and Ryan’s accomplishment and congratulate them on the extraordinary feat.

The last 19 miles of their journey posed the greatest challenges, as fractured ice required them to put on dry suits to swim from one small frozen peninsula to the next, all through near-whiteout conditions. Today, they’ll be picked up and flown back to Resolute, Canada, where they’ll rest for the next few days. Read More →

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Off-Belay: Costa Rica – The Pura Vida Lifestyle

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Entering Costa Rica offered a stunning visual of a country that chooses to cherish its environment.  The aesthetics of a healthy landscape are obvious and this vitality seemingly permeated through individual personalities and communities alike. Enthusiastic to soak in the tranquility we headed to the mountainous cloud forests of the northeast to explore the stunning Rio Celeste. Flowing with a hue unmatched in liquid beauty, the river cascades through boulders and basins protected by dark green jungle walls that hold the mystery of this unique place. Days passed by as we took in the surrounding landscapes via Land Cruiser and on foot. Our worn legs eventually carried us back to lingering evenings highlighted by traditional meals of rice, beans, chicken and plantains we collectively prepared. Pura vida lifestyle had quickly set in and from the easy reaches of our hammocks strung out beneath the flawless nighttime sky we could only imagine what was to come. Read More →

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The Sherpa Support Fund

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The tragic death of 16 Sherpas in the April 18 icefall avalanche on Mount Everest has deeply affected the alpine climbing community. As families, friends and colleagues struggle with the sadness, many are also seeking and establishing ways to support the families left behind.

One such organization is The American Alpine Club (AAC), a longtime MSR partner whose mission is to “support our shared passion for climbing and respect for the places we climb.”

In the wake of the event, the AAC quickly responded by establishing The Sherpa Support Fund. The purpose of the fund is to lend aid and support to the families of the fallen climbers and the communities affected by this tragedy. We spoke with AAC Executive Director Phil Powers to bring you more information about the fund. You can join us in making a donation on the AAC’s website.

Why did the AAC respond with The Sherpa Support Fund?

As climbers, we care about the people who support us in the mountains we visit around the world. At the AAC, we felt we had the infrastructure and ability to mobilize quickly and help. We can make sure all the money goes where it should and we have the connections to make sure the organizations involved are coordinated.

What has been the donation response?

There has been an inspiring response and we have raised over $60,000. We plan to close the fundraising on May 30 so that we can turn our attention to making sure the money is spent well. I think we will easily surpass $75,000 by that date. It is an amount that can do a lot of good.

How will the funds be distributed?

The AAC has no real infrastructure on the ground in Nepal so we will be working with other organizations to make sure our funds are deployed well and in coordination with the efforts of several other non-profits who are trying to help.

We understand that the AAC is putting together a committee to help decide how to distribute the funds fairly and wisely. What kind of leaders are you seeking for that role?

I want a small group of people who care about the area and have a good ability to help us evaluate the right partners.

How can people get involved?

Certainly people can donate. There are several organizations doing good work here and I have a high regard for the American Himalayan Foundation, The Juniper Fund and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. And we can all look to our own personal practice and how we treat others. Personally, I am trying to do something for the people in Pakistan who I depended on during my climbing days there.

What are the next steps after the fund closes on May 30th?

My main goal is to make sure we convene the right people for conversations about long-term solutions. We are hosting a conference here, Sustainable Summits, in July on this very topic.

Please consider joining us with a donation to The Sherpa Support Fund. http://americanalpineclub.org/p/sherpa-support-fund

The AAC’s July Sustainable Summit of land managers, climbers, planners and scientists representing the world’s mountainous regions is open to all interested individuals around the world. For more information, visit: http://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/sustainable_summits




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