Photo Essay: Bailey Range Traverse

Story and photos by Aili Farquhar Mike Natucci and guide Aili Farquhar headed out on the sunny morning of July 20th to traverse the Bailey Range, a remote interior sub-range of the Olympic Mountains. The Baileys are known for intricate glaciated terrain, rotten rock, and abundant vegetation, all of which the team encountered during their nine-day crossing of the range. When Mike and Aili arrived at the High Divide at 5,000 feet elevation they were pleasantly surprised.  The five feet of snow the ranger had warned them about had melted out and left in its wake waving fields of white glacier lilies with bright yellow centers. In the cool of the morning the team climbed over the shoulder of Stephen Peak onto the rocky ridge above Cream Lake Basin. The…

Read More

MSR Backcountry Cafe: Quinoa Magic

Story and photos by Ben Kunz High in the Andean regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru grows an amazing plant known as quinoa. And what better time to eat quinoa than 2013, the “International Year of Quinoa” as declared by the United Nations! Quinoa contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs and thus is one of the rare plant-based foods that is a complete protein. It’s a great choice for vegetarians and vegans, not to mention that it’s gluten-free! Quinoa can be found in most conventional supermarkets (often in the health or organic section) and in natural food stores. A cost-savings tip: buying quinoa in bulk often leads to significant savings on this wonder food. For a reasonably sized backcountry meal for two: Add one cup…

Read More

On A Recce: Exploring New Terrain in the Waddington Range

Story and Photos By Ben Kunz rec·ce: (noun) a slang word for reconnaissance, reconnoitre Climbing the McNerthney Pillar was the primary objective for our trip to the Waddington Range, but when we returned down the Bravo Glacier route to Sunny Knob, the ensuing days continued to bring excellent weather. During our one and only rest day, we took turns man-handling the guidebook and staring at the walls, piecing together known climbs and potentially unclimbed crack systems on the incredible west faces of the spires of the Stilletto Group. We didn’t settle on any particular formation or climb, we just knew we were psyched to get up there and explore, and if the stars aligned, go for a first ascent. And what better way to seize the opportunity than to head out…

Read More

Backpacking With Cheese

By Laurel Miller Cheese is one of those glorious foods that make every meal better. The French epicure and politician Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin once said, “A meal without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.” I suppose that’s one way to put it. Because I’m a cheese writer and consultant, it usually finds its way into my backpack when I’m planning a big hike or hut trip. Because many cheeses are delicate, however, the key is to choose the right style (which refers to the texture, make-process, and how long, or if, a cheese is aged). Food safety experts cite two hours as the window in which it’s safe to leave perishable foods (think raw proteins such as meat, poultry, eggs, most dairy products) at room temperature….

Read More

Plane camping on the Kenai

Story and photos by Holly Walker “There’s a lot of air up here!”, I exclaimed, the seemingly endless Capps Glacier and everything beyond it making me as excited as a little schoolgirl. The Anchorage mountaineers stared at me as I sat in their kitchen tent and I realized how silly I must have sounded. I was comparing Alaska to the Lower 48 and was enjoying the lack of cars, busy roads and crammed airspace. My pilot friend Jake Soplando and I had just landed on the Capps Glacier in the Tordrillo Range in his personal Piper Super Cub airplane. Moments ago we were soaring above the snow as it sparkled in the alpenglow, watching the enormous peaks and hundreds of crevasses light up with a soft pink hue. “Jake, what are…

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

Pained and Pampered in Chamonix

Story And Photos By Chris Garren In Colorado, I wake every day to a scenic mountain panorama. Still, my jaw dropped when I first saw the Alps in Chamonix. Endless peaks shot up from crevassed glaciers and sunny hills. Mont Blanc was a commanding presence above the valley. A climber’s dreamscape! Drinking questionable amounts of coffee to get the better of my jet lag, I gazed at routes I’d been reading about for years. I was in the heart of the alpine climbing world; the stage for legendary first ascents and home to the best long, moderate routes anywhere. Once a pursuit strictly for the elegantly clad upper class, climbing is now written into the DNA of Chamonix. Gear shops, huts, cable cars — a vast infrastructure supports vertical endeavors….

Read More

Second Ascents: The McNerthney Pillar

Photos and Story by Ben Kunz On July 20th, 2013, Tim Halder, Joe Sambataro and I completed the second ascent of the McNerthney Pillar on the north face of Mount Waddington in British Columbia’s Coast Range. This prodigious rock pillar was climbed by the Northwest’s own McNerthney brothers, Pat and Dan McNerthney, back in 1986. Despite the appeal of this beautiful rock pillar and “providing far and away the most powerful climbing line of this face of Waddington”, it had yet to see a repeat ascent. Climbing a big, steep route like the McNerthney Pillar was a huge undertaking for the three of us. Despite forays into the other Great Ranges (Peru, Alaska, Alps, Himalaya), none of us had climbed such a technical, once-touched line on such a colossal mountain…

Read More

Overview: MSR MicroRocket

Backpacking season is in full swing and when your goal is to be fast and light, look no farther than the MSR MicroRocket. This stove improves upon the already fast and light MSR PocketRocket by adding features and cutting weight; making it the smallest and lightest stove in our line.  

Read More