Archive | April, 2011



“In 1981, Rob Lesser led a team of kayakers with primitive equipment down the then unknown Grand Canyon Of The Stikine, a remote, impossibly violent Class 5+ section of river in a deep black gorge that today remains the global test-piece for the world’s best.

For the next 20 years, fewer than 30 people repeated his feat. In between other first descents on rivers around the world, Rob returned to the Stikine 5 times, most recently at age 53, joining a team half his age. In the last 30 years, 300 people climbed K2, perhaps the hardest climb in the world. As of 2006, less than 100 had run the Stikine.

Now, in 2011, at age 65, Rob is returning with his heirs to the river that shaped so much of his life. This is a story about a quiet hero, in a deafening place of almost incomprehensible power. It is an exploration of essential human questions about purpose, perspective, will and mortality against the backdrop of one of the most powerful, yet little known, places in the world.”

Watch both of the trailers after the jump. Man alive.

Thanks to Wildwood for the heads up.
Continue Reading →

April 15, 2011 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

The Love Letter

Fitz Cahall (the voice and mind behind the awesome podcast The Dirtbag Diaries) and his wife Becca put together this great short of their 300 mile trip through the Sierras, The Love Letter. Do what you love, every day, right now. What’s really important? Check it out and then go outside.

April 14, 2011 | Music/Movies/Books | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Isle Royale Wolves

NPR did a piece last week about the alarmingly dwindling gray wolf population on Isle Royale which is definitely worth reading. Isle Royale, for those unfamiliar, is a large (200+ sq. miles) island in Michigan, off the northern shore of Lake Superior near Ontario. Isle Royale boasts no roads, flying or floating its visitors in by small bush planes or via ferry. The island also only provides year round home to a very small handful of people. Less people visit Isle Royale National Park in a year than the Smokies get in a day.

Isle Royale sits 15 miles off the shore from Ontario, its location playing an important role in the island’s moose and wolf relationship. This predator-prey relationship has been studied for quite some time, virtually untouched by human interaction. The island’s location allowed moose to swim to the island, it is suspected, sometime around the turn of the 20th century. This distance does not allow other “similar” predators or prey to swim to the island, like deer or coyote. It is thought that wolves then traveled an ice bridge from Canada as soon as 60 years ago, and numbers flourished to near 50+ until recent years. Wolves tend to prey on the weakest of the moose, allowing both species to in turn grow stronger and more vital.

Recently, because of “parovirus, bitter winters, hunger and warfare between packs” the Isle Royale wolf numbers have dwindled to 15, with a suspected one or two reproducing females. If both of these females were to die without raising a healthy litter of pups, this would spell the end of the gray wolf on the island.

Cold Splinters is hoping to make the jaunt to Isle Royale later this summer. Beautiful place.

April 14, 2011 | Flora/Fauna, Public Lands | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Hardest Of The Hard

Mark Kryskow, one of my best friends from the University of Colorado, is someone I’ve written about before here on CS, describing him as an “animal, more fit and strong and crazy than anyone I have ever met, or probably ever will meet.” It was impossible to keep up with Mark in college. Waking up at 3am to ride your bike to Estes Park and back (37 miles each way in the mountains) was not part of my agenda. Mark lives up in New Hampshire now, so I get to see him pretty regularly, either in North Conway for an ice climbing adventure, in Portsmouth (while visiting my folks) for a beer and a burrito, or in Alton at his house on Lake Winnepsaukee, alongside his equally crazy immediate and extended family.

Mark is one of the humblest guys I’ve ever met, so of course he didn’t tell me that he was featured in an article in Outside this month, in a profile of the Army program he works for, studying the effects of altitude and extreme conditions on the human body. When I called him last night to talk about it, he quickly changed the subject, probably because they refer to him as one of the “hardest of the hard” and pull a quote that details a test that involved a tube up his ass. The article isn’t specifically about Mark, but I couldn’t be happier to see him gracing the pages of Outside. Makes it even better that he and his wife don’t give a shit.

From the article:

One of the hardest of the hard men is Sergeant Kryskow, a recreation rock and ice climber who has participated in “eight or nine studies,” including one designed to test a helmet prototype that cooled the wearer’s head with streams of air coming from the lining. Researchers wanted to know if cooling the head cooled the body as well. To test this, Kryskow and others walked for hours on a treadmill in 120-degree heat, fitted with anal and esophageal temperature probes.

“It was kind of miserable,” Kryskow tells me, suddenly transported back to that test. “You’re tired, you’re dehydrated, you’ve got a probe in your ass and another down your throat. But I like the challenge.”

And in honor of Mark giving up his “horn” for a climbing helmet…

MP3: John Coltrane – Giant Steps

April 13, 2011 | Interviews, Magazines/Catalogs/Advertisements | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }

Why Ticks Suck

It’s been several months since I started listening to Josh and Chuck on Stuff You Should Know, and while most of their podcasts aren’t exactly about camping and the outdoors, their episode on the tick, “Why Ticks Suck,” is rather relevant for the coming months. For most of us, spring means camping, and of course, camping can mean ticks. Tuck your pants into your socks and go here to listen for free. It’s #74 on the list.

April 11, 2011 | Science | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

Madison Spring Hut

Originally built in 1888 and opened in 1889 as the Appalachian Mountain Club’s first hut, Madison Spring Hut will reopen on June 2, 2011 after being completely rebuilt to add new green technologies and create more comfortable dining and bunk spaces. Madison was modeled after the European alpine huts and is now part of AMC’s hut-to-hut hiking network, which is the oldest in these United States. Perched at an elevation of 4,825 feet, Madison’s above-treeline views of the Presidential Range and the valley below was originally built as a stone cabin for 12 guests with no caretaker or meal service. 

Read more about the technical aspect of the redesign here. And if you’re not a member of the AMC and you live in New England, become a member now. The AMC does some wonderful things in these parts.

April 8, 2011 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Audubon Bird Call

“Audubon bird call with rosin. When twisted, this remarkable birchwood and metal instrument makes a variety of sounds similar to wild birds. Each bird call is handmade and individually tuned. Be sure to keep the instrument dry; a small amount of the included powdered rosin, used occasionally, will renew the bird call’s voice.”

Grab one at Kiosk or REI or wherever!

April 8, 2011 | Clothing/Gear | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }


If you’re not already familiar with the blog Logcabineer, check it out. Hauntingly beautiful, still, nostalgic photos of hunting, hiking and exploring the backwoods of Sweden.

High Atmosphere & Thunderous Sounds.

April 7, 2011 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder

The good people at American Park Network have spent the last few years compiling mountains of information about all of the United States parks. That’s a lot of land, a lot of trails, a lot of telephone numbers and names of distant peaks. With that data, they’ve created the Oh, Ranger! Park Finder, an iPhone app (one day I’ll buy me one of those fancy phones) that includes the following for every national park, state park and federal public land in our country:

• Activities Descriptions
• Maps & Directions
• Important Phone Numbers
• Seasonality/Weather
• Lodging & Concession Information
• Non-Profit Partners 
• Links to Events and Related Websites
• Related Articles
• Nearby Attractions

Download it FOR FREE right here.

April 7, 2011 | Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

Weekend Cabin

One of our favorites, Steve Casimiro’s Adventure Journal, has a feature called Weekend Cabin, where, yes, you guessed it, he chronicles pictures and stories of people’s backwoods getaways. AJ explains it like this: 

Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.

Top pic is Novotny Cabin, Decatur Island, Washington. Bottom pic is in Criehaven, Maine. See more here.

MP3: Ron “Pigpen” McKernan – Two Women (thx AD)

April 5, 2011 | Long Hairs | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }