Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thank You REI for Supporting CMC's Conservation Efforts!

The Colorado Mountain Club would like to thank REI for generously supporting our summer stewardship program. CMC just completed two great projects with the BLM in the Eagle Valley. 

This past weekend 6 CMCers assisted the BLM in mapping the trail system within the Castle Peaks Wilderness Study Area north of Wolcott. Buskwacking aside, everyone had a great time visiting new landscapes and giving back to this great place we have the privilege to call home. 

Earlier this month CMC volunteers helped rehabilitate the Lyons Gulch campground on the Colorado River just north of Dotsero that was overtaken by mudslides last summer. Volunteers restablished trails, dug-out picnic tables and fire rings, and cut back overgrown vegetation. Thanks to the BLM for partnering with us on both projects. Thanks again to REI for making projects like this possible!  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Remembering long-time CMC member Frank King

Long-time Colorado Mountain Club member Frank King died at his home on July 19.

climbers are sometimes asked: "Why do you do it?" Among the many good reasons is the potential for forming friendships of a lasting and unequaled value. Frank was an epitome of this reward.

He was upbeat and personable, kind, sensitive, generous, highly intelligent and resourceful. He possessed a sense of humor that brought light to situations that many would view in darkness.

Frank climbed all but a few of Colorado's Fourteeners and many of the state's other high peaks. He also reached the summits of a number of the nation's more difficult mountains and the high points in many of the states. He had been on top of 18,510 foot Mount Elbrus in Russia. He had climbed Mount Kenya in Africa as well as mountains in the Alps and Spain. He also spent time hiking and climbing in the Himalayas.

He recently retired from more than fifty years of practicing corporate, business and tax law and enjoyed an enviable reputation for integrity and competence. Furthermore, he was a faithful supporter of causes and institutions dedicated to protecting the mountain environment.

Frank will be missed by his wife, Susan, his daughters, step-daughters, son and grandchildren, as well as his very many friends. He will be remembered for the mountains he loved and enjoyed climbing.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 26 at The Cathedral Basilica of Immaculate Conception, 401 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver.

See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/denverpost/obituary.aspx?n=francis-primbs-king&pid=165988727

al services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 26 at The Cathedral Basilica of Immaculate Conception, 401 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/denverpost/obituary.aspx?n=francis-primbs-king&pid=165988727#fbLoggedOut
Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 26 at The Cathedral Basilica of Immaculate Conception, 401 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/denverpost/obituary.aspx?n=francis-primbs-king&pid=165988727#fbLoggedOut
rvices will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 26 at The Cathedral Basilica of Immaculate Conception, 401 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/denverpost/obituary.aspx?n=francis-primbs-king&pid=165988727#fbLoggedOut

Sunday, May 26, 2013

From the Trailhead: Product Spotlight

Products: Grand Trunk Parachute Nylon Hammock Double & Hammock Tree Sling Hanging Kit
Price: Starting at $55
Rating: 4.5/5

As an avid hiker, camper, and general adorer of the outdoors, I’ve always had an inclination towards
Grand Trunk Hammock
Grand Trunk's Parachute Hammock can find a home just about
anywhere in the outdoors.
sleeping under the stars.  I’ve jerry-rigged more loungers, hammocks, and sleep systems than I can count trying to optimize comfort while still enjoying the outdoors.

Grand Trunk’s Parachute Nylon Hammock offered me the opportunity to do both, quickly, easily, and most importantly, comfortably. 

The nylon parachute hammock by Grand Truck is a great solution for anyone that enjoys the great outdoors but is looking for something a little more comfortable than sleeping on the hard ground.  From rigging it up in the backyard for an afternoon spent reading, to summer camping under the stars, Grand Trunk’s Parachute Nylon Hammock offers a range of functionality that made it not only simple to set up, but even easier to maintain.

Not only does the hammock come with a stuff bag attached to the hammock itself (think: no need to keep track of the ever illusive stuff sack), it has nautical grade carabineers attached to the hammock, making anchoring to the hanging kit as simple as click n’ go – with absolutely no knot tying required. 

The parachute fabric not only allows for a light breathable, wickable fabric, it is quick drying and mildew resistant.  And this sucker is strong.  The double hammock can hold up to 400lbs, and after a quick snuggle with the honey, I can attest to strength and comfort of close to 300lbs.    

full sleep system hammock camping
Rain or shine, a hammock sleep
system is an affordable and simple
As for its size, it weighs 20oz and packs down approximately the size of a football.  While it may be heavier than ideal for most ultralight backpackers, if it was used as an entire sleep system replacing your tent and sleeping pad, coupled with a bivvy sack in the warm summer months, it would be nothing short of perfection.   I’ve even seen this set up in the winter months with the bivvy sack upgraded to a down sleeping bag.

The hanging kit is designed to not only protect trees from the abrasion of typical load bearing rope (great for the Leave No Trace practitioner in us all), it also makes set up a breeze.  The design allows for single person to synch down the ropes and the attached tree protectors to the hammock through its 10’ pre-knotted rope.  Again, no knot tying or tag teaming set up required.  Synch, click, and go.  It took less than 2 minutes total before I settled in with a good book. 

After recently hiking and traveling through remote parts of Costa Rica, I could also see the Grand Trunk Parachute Hammock being a great go-to traveling asset. 

With single hammocks starting at $55 and double hammocks starting at $65 – is affordable to even the most frugal of outdoor adventurers. 

You can find out more about Grand Trunk and its products here: http://www.grandtrunkgoods.com/

About From the Trailhead:

Amanda K. Larrinaga blog post
From the Trailhead is written by active CMC member and volunteer, Amanda K. Larrinaga.  Amanda is a recent transplant to Colorado by way of Idaho and Montana.  

As a young outdoor recreationist and environmentalist, she can be found working film festivals for the Colorado Mountain Club, leading some of its annual summer stewardship projects, and supporting programming of the CMC's new Alpine Start teen leadership and outdoor recreation program.   

You can connect with her at: amandalarrinaga@cmc.org

Amanda hand-selects the products she reviews and while she'll always give it to you straight, it's important to note that she received this month's Grand Trunk Hammcok for free from Grand Trunk Goods as coordinated by Deep Creek Public Relations in consideration for review publication.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Backcountry Skiing Abroad With Donny Roth

World-renowned skier and Conservationist, Donny Roth sits down with the Colorado Mountain Club to discuss the ins and outs of skiing abroad; his experiences in Chile, how to get started, and what makes all the travel worth it. To learn more about Donny Roth and hear his first-hand account of backcountry skiing in the foreign lands of Chile, come join us for his exclusive talk on January 30th: Exploring the Cordillera of Chile.

You're part professional skier, part guide, and part conservationist.  That’s pretty impressive at such a young age.  Tell us a little about your journey getting started.

Ha!  I haven't been called "young" in a while.  I am actually thirty-seven.  This is my twentieth year working in the ski industry.  I was an avid ski racer all through high school, so when I graduated I naturally picked up ski instructing while attending University.  I’ve moved through a lot of positions in my time, and worked in bigger and bigger mountain environments. All of this eventually led to me becoming a heli-ski guide in South America. With traveling all over the world, this is now my nineteenth consecutive winter without a proper summer!  Working as an athlete, guide, writer, and blogger means I am constantly learning and being challenged, and this makes it easier for me to keep going season after season.

You ski all over the globe.  What attracted you most to skiing abroad?  And more specifically, why Chile?

I don't think I was actually attracted to skiing abroad as much as I was attracted to simply exploring foreign places.  Skiing just turned out to be the best way to do this.  I wasn't able to rub two nickels together for most of my life, so working in different countries was the best way to get there.  I don't know why I had such a strong curiosity about Chile.  I think it's a logical place to find adventure – it has everything from the mountains to the ocean, from the driest desert in the world to the craziest weather known to man. It only has one main road, and there are wild places in every direction from this road. They speak a different language and have a much different culture, but it wasn't so different that it was impossible to grasp either.

What was the most memorable part of your trip to Chile?

I would have to say, the sunsets or Tyler's (writer for Backcountry Magazine) smile.  It seemed like every night we had different light come sunset, and each one of them was magical.  Each evening the three of us were allowed to just be quiet while we watched the sky turn crazy colors.  The thoughts that ran through my mind were thoughts of being content, which is something I am not very often.  As for Tyler, he had never done anything like this before, and I know that he surprised himself every day.  He killed it, and he never stopped grinning because of this.  To get to witness that was a privilege. 

While you’ll be discussing your trip to Chile during your talk next week, we know that you also ski all over the world, including Asia and different areas of South America. For someone that has wanted to ski abroad but has yet to take the leap, how would you suggest they get started?

Keep the trip as logistically simple as possible.  Don't try to cram too much in.  If you try to visit too many locations in too short of a time you will feel like you're constantly traveling and you will only see the tourist attractions.  Spend time in a place – get to know it and its people.  Pick a spot and give yourself time to explore its nooks and crannies.

What are 3 things to keep in mind when looking to ski abroad?

More than anything, I would say that (1) you have to be flexible.  Often most things don't go like clockwork.  Building time into your plan to accommodate for unforeseen changes really relieves a lot of stress.  (2) Travel lightly, but bring your own skis and boots.  Rental gear can be really difficult, especially in developing countries.  Get a ski bag with wheels.  Be able to move 100% of your gear all at the same time, for at least a couple hundred yards, and up a flight of stairs.  (3) Leave all your stereotypes and preconceived notions at home.  The best food might be from a street vendor, the most knowledgeable man in the village might not have any teeth, buses might be better than planes.  I see so many people get frustrated because they think the system doesn't work.  It does work, it just works differently.  The key is to not look for what you're used to, but to see what's actually there.

What is the most difficult thing about skiing abroad?

Without a doubt, it's getting information about the mountains and the conditions.  Most of the time the information you’ll need isn't even being collected, much less shared.  If it's South America or Asia, there is no real standard protocol to follow, so any information you gather may basically be hearsay.  Maps are outdated, fuzzy, and scaled too large.  Guidebooks are also non-existent, so asking around town can definitely lead you on a wild goose chase. However, it’s all a part of the adventure, the good and the bad.

What is the most rewarding thing about skiing abroad?

The people you meet when you're off the beaten path.  It's the guy that picks you up while hitch-hiking and invites you into his home for the night, or it's the husband and wife that own a restaurant and sit down with you for dinner. It's the young people that bring you to a real asado.  It's the conversations in two broken languages, where when words fail you, paying attention to the other person's entire being is the only way to understand their meaning. 

What are 3 things to keep in mind when looking for a guide in the backcountry, whether in the States or abroad?

Experience, certification, and professionalism – in any order.  The term "guide" is over used.  As a client, you want to ski with someone that has seen a lot and can handle change gracefully.  You want someone that is trained to be level-headed and operates with the appropriate margin of safety.  You want someone that is part of, or is, a reputable business.  Cutting corners by using dodgy travel, or food, or lodging generally just ends up in mild discomfort and really funny stories. But going with a guide that was the cheaper alternative can also have grave consequences, so be smart!

We know you see the direct connection between being an outdoor recreationist and the importance of conservation, but that’s not always the case for others.  Why do you think that is?

There are as many reasons as there are people – everyone is different.  I do think that most of us have cluttered our lives to the point where we can't see the forest through the trees.  We can't see the problems around us because of all the junk in front of us.  The hectic pace of our daily lives consumes us and saving the wilderness doesn't register as important.  In the U.S. we are really good at hiding the extraction of natural resources – clear cuts aren't visible from highways, mines are often behind mountains, and oil and gas derricks are often pretty small on the landscape.  And if we are honest about it, we have to admit that we are spoiled.  We like the conveniences of modern life, and we want to bring them with us into the mountains.  This is a mistake on our part. 

Keeping conservation and outdoor ethics in mind, what are some things that skiers should think about when skiing aboard, particularly in a developing country like Chile?

I try my best to encourage people to use small, local businesses.  Avoid the big, cookie-cutter resorts that pander to masses.  Backcountry skiing is a great way to do this.  Giving your money to large corporations only increases social stratification and spreads non-environmentally friendly development.  Go to national parks and reserves – and pay the fees.  Use small, local hotels and take an interest in their conservation efforts.  The governments of developing countries are not blind to the problems we have created for ourselves, but they need revenue for their social systems also.  Tourism is one way that they can justify preserving wild places. 

For next week’s presentation, if you could leave one take away with your audience what would it be?

I don't want to give away my punch line, but I can tell you that there is one.  This story I tell won’t be one about an epic journey of athletic prowess.  It's about the value of space, and it's told through a few characters. I think it will be a while before the story really, truly ends.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Conservation E-news - Holiday Edition

Welcome to the holiday edition of the CMC Conservation E-news, a once monthly interesting mix of news and action items that seeks to connect CMC members and the public with the work we are doing in CMC Conservation. Thank you for your support of our fourfold mission:
Protecting Wild Places, Defending Quiet Recreation, Promoting Stewardship and Access.

Happy holidays from CMC Conservation!

Please remember CMC Conservation programs in your year-end giving.

CMC Conservation is Colorado’s leader for sustainable recreation and conservation.  It is this unique perspective, as a large user-group, that informs our conservation ethic.  We are a respected voice connecting hikers and winter backcountry users with stewardship of our public lands.
With your support we have been able to advocate for additional wilderness in Summit , Eagle and Pitkin counties. With your voices, we have been able to help craft a better Colorado Roadless Rule, protecting over 4 million acres.  With your help, we are working actively on trail projects from Dillon to Grand Junction, bringing the hiker and mountain climber voice to the table.  With your help, we’ve been able to give over 3,000 hours of volunteer service in the last field season. 
We are supported by gifts from individuals like you and some grants.  CMC membership dues do not directly support our Conservation.  Thank you for your support and for caring about protecting what is best about our state and working to steward it for a sustainable future!  Donate to Conservation at http://www.cmc.org/support.


Comment today on the proposed Bang’s Canyon motorized trail near Grand Junction.  This proposed system of motorcycle, ATV and Jeep trails threatens the quiet hiking experiences popular with Western Slope CMC members and the public.  CMC Conservation has been working to protect hikers experiences and these beautiful redrock canyons for a decade now.  Unfortunately, the BLM is once again trying to expand motorized trails into primitive, quiet areas.  Comments are due by this Friday December 21  – check out our ALERT.

CMC Conservation invites winter recreation users to get involved with our program serving the human-powered winter backcountry recreation community – the Backcountry Snowsports Initiative, or BSI.  BSI seeks to defend human-powered winter recreation for skiers, snowshoers, snowboarders, and other users, while protecting the wild lands that support these activities. .  Join this community by signing up for our winter season monthly BSI e-news.

We are pleased to announce that CMC is a founding member of Outdoor Alliance Colorado, a coalition representing voices for human powered recreation and conservation.  Members include CMC, Colorado Mountain Bike Association ( COMBA), and local affiliates of Access Fund and American Whitewater.  We believe that we can influence public policy and stewardship as the authentic voices for hikers, paddlers, climbers, mountain bikers and winter backcountry users.   Recent studies show that outdoor recreation is a huge positive economic driver in the West. We want to be able to help link that conservation of public lands is an economic engine for Colorado.  Recently, OAC representatives, including CMC Conservation Director Scott Braden, met with Sen. Mark Udall’s staff to endorse the senator’s proposal to create a national monument and wilderness for Browns Canyon of the Arkansas River.  Stay tuned for more news of this exciting new partnership!