Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Piolet d'Or Nominations: SE Face Logan

The Piolet d'Or nominations are in for 2011, and I really hope that the amazing Japanese team of Yasushi Okada and Katsutaka Yokoyama win for their ascent of the SE Face of Mount Logan (5959m) in Canada. Jack, Jay and I were there a few years ago. It was the greatest trip of my life, spending time with two of the best alpinists around and some of the best people also. We flew to the Canada border from Alaska, skied in (me with pony keg in tow - no joke) and gave it our best shot. This is a compilation of some video that I shot from the trip. Time flies, I always said I would go back, but never did. Jack gave them alot of beta and they named the route after the connection of people, they did a great job climbing the wall in 4 bivies. Congratulations!!!!!!

Check out the video here:

All photos by Fabrizio Zangrilli, all rights reserved.

Low pressure systems everywhere, a long wait in Haynes to fly to the border.

Packing it into two 185 flights was not easy.

The start of the long ski to the SE Face of Logan.

Our BC with nobody around.

Jay getting it done.


Friday, March 25, 2011

RMNP Conditions: Ice, Ski, Photo and Video

I have been out every day this past week either ice climbing or skiing, conditions are great right now. Dragontail has been skied a bunch the past couple of days, the fresh snow on the 23rd made all of the skiing in the area great, everyday we seem to be getting a light dusting that has made everything fun. Was up at Tyndal Glacier on the 24th, very wind blown at the top, but the ski down to Emerald lake was great.

Ice climbing at Hidden Falls today, Bryan and I had it all alone until we packed up at 3:30 when two motivated nice guys showed up. The bolted mixed (now dry) climb just to the right of the falls is stellar, very techy on the face. Alot of photo and video shooting has made the 7 days on tolerable. With no end in sight, as the forecast predicts a bit of snow and colder temps the next few days, I hope to have a good video representation of why RMNP is such great and varied place to climb and ski!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

CAMP R&D Visit: Photos and Story

Last month I was very fortunate to make a visit to the R&D department at CAMP/Cassin in Premana Italy. I have long been interested in the development of climbing equipment and so was very lucky to spend time in 120 years of climbing history. My amazing hosts and the food made it even more memorable. Thanks very much for having me!

Arriving at the Lecco train station I was immediately reminded of the history and importance of alpinism in the area. We all know about the Lecco Spiders, but the tradition of very strong climbers lives on today.

Along with playing, tinkering and developing new toys, I was very pleased to get a full factory tour, seeing where and how some of the best and lightest gear is made. Ever wonder exactly how a crampon is made?

The history in the old part of the building is amazing and in the very modern and newly built R&D facility the future is even more amazing. I, for some reason, thought carbon fiber tools were modern and not 25 years old.

There is a wall of history leading to the main R&D facility, which every designer walks past daily. Along with pieces of climbing history that line the walls, photos of the current and recent best athletes that have worked with CAMP are on display. The news of Simone, Denis and Cory's success on Gasherbrum II had just been heard so everyone was happy! Cassin's pitons and crampons reminded me how incredible he was, to have done so much with the available technology.

The contrast between the factory and the R&D Dept is startling. Down stairs a constant pounding of machines, metal being bent, shaped and cut. Upstairs we sat at futuristic looking testing equipment, drop testing dummies - no, not me - and testing the hardness of metals. Computer programs that helped develop crampons confounded me. Everything was frankly so cool. One thing to note, everybody who worked on product was an athlete, some like Ottavio had put up numerous very hard sport routes, to Mateo who "is not a good rock climber at just 8a, won a mixed comp or two and climbed new A4 routes out of hellish caves...." OK. Important I think when gear needs to work well and keep you alive.

The fourth generation of the Codega family is taking CAMP/Cassin to new places, (yes you read that right, from great great grandfather to the current generation, it has stayed in the same family) far from what the founders could have imagined.

The problem with seeing toys that are not available is wanting them. For many reasons, in the past few years I have tried to live the Buddhist philosophy of not wanting, but that was all destroyed in a quick visit to Premana. Now I cannot wait until next winter when product ships.
Still, I am amazed that one building has created axes for the Italian military in 1920 and the curent generation of mixed climbers.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The BBC Interview: Man on a wire


I thought Man on Wire was an amazing film and this is a very interesting interview for BBC with him, enjoy.