Friday, July 30, 2010

Visual Notes

Konrad Zoll, a.k.a. Sketcher, sees his art as the best means to connect with the world around him. He also tends to leave civilization for stretches of time to commune a little more directly with the natural world.

I met Sketcher at Trail Days this past May. As an Appalachian Trail hiker he wasn't nearly as concerned about his mile count, like most of his compatriots, but trying to capture his experience with charcoal. Visual Notes he calls them. He explained how he stops often as he hikes to capture scenes of distant mountains, winding trails, dense foliage, shelters, botanical specimens, and the occasional wildlife study.

As I scrolled through his portfolio, so many simple sketches were so iconically Appalachia that I almost felt like I had walked past that same mountain view this morning (though its been 6 years since I hiked the AT).

Sketcher further develops his sketches once at home at his studio to create realist color pencil drawings and oil or acrylic paintings.

Very inspiring.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Expedition Spotlight: Baffin Island Climate Research

In August, a team of nine graduate students from the UK will set off to Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic with team leader Antony Jinman. They will be living with the Inuit people exploring the Auyuittuq National Park and the Penny Ice Cap. The purpose of their expedition is to help continue Arctic Explorer Jinman’s school outreach work, heightening awareness within schools of issues facing the Polar Regions, especially climate change. Auyuittuq actually translates into ‘land that never melts’. The project, supported by the Royal Geographic Society, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the University of Plymouth, as well as being a participating project of the International Polar Year, is entering its fourth year visiting the region.

Team members will witness firsthand the arctic environment and apply their individual backgrounds and area of expertise to develop resources for the classroom. The team includes a geologist, marine biologist, zoologist and geography teacher. The team aims to assess the effect of climate change on the landscape of Baffin Island and also on the Inuit people and wildlife.The expedition phase of this project will see the team exploring the interior of Baffin Island, an island two and a half times the size of the UK but with a population of just 25,000. Through logging GPS locations of photographs and film footage, a virtual expedition will be developed upon return so that students of all ages will be able to explore an area of the world that few people have ever been to.

You can follow the expedition here or visit their Facebook page, Baffin Island 2010 – Support Us.

NEMO is supporting the team with Moki’s and Moki Links.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

You're a Good Man, Leroy Brown

It's always heartbreaking and sad to say goodbye to family -- especially given so many office memories and laughs.

If you're questioning if all dogs go to heaven, this is worth a read.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tote On A Rope

New Ditto Totes just arrived and are now in stock! Bag bodies are generally from green tents with a black lining, and the straps are extra sturdy thanks to a donation from our friends Sterling Rope up in Biddeford, ME.

I personally think the blue/red climbing rope with core removed for handles looks really cool. Though the sling straps have a nice pleasing silky feel.


Get In the (Blue Tarp) Tube!

Flat forecast or landlocked? Get out the blue tarp, and the possibilities are endless. I know this has been making the rounds recently, but still worth reposting.

(via kottke)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The More You Know

There's some really good knowledge if you dig deep into the REI site. Take the time to read and process these articles, and I'll bet that you will understand more than 99% of people that purchase gear.

Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Care
Rainwear: How It Works

There are also some nice basic gear checklists to print out for day hiking, backpacking, backcountry snowboarding, paddling, cycling, etc.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Longboarding across Morocco

Adam, Aaron, and Paul return from their Moroccan longboarding adventure. Take a look at the photoessay of their self supported, 7 week, 2000 kilometer skateboard journey across the arid hot landscape of Morocco.

Paul, carving out speed, epic shaped mountain in distance.

Paul getting creative with some water bottles.

Walked through a dark field to find this camp spot outside a Moroccan Army base.

Skating to FEZ, with bread and cheese in our stomachs

Some Crazies we found on the road, they smelled.

We walked through farm fields to find this epic camp spot. We woke up to fisherman starring at us in our tents. We were invited in for some tea and raw milk.

Aaron pushing up the summit of Tizi N’Tischka.

Epic fun with the sails down the Gorge.

-Aaron Enevoldsen

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rain and the Pacific Northwest

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest over the summer months, it's easy to forget the seemingly endless rain the region gets from fall to spring. This comprehensive report explains what's going on that makes it so rainy.
Approximately two-thirds of the region’s precipitation occurs in just half the year (October-March) when the PNW is on the receiving end of the Pacific storm track. Much of this precipitation is captured in the region’s mountains, influencing both natural and human systems throughout the PNW.

So there's some justification in all the weather complaints we hear from Washington/Oregon folks...


Animal Deaths in Gulf a Mystery

There are many losers in the Gulf oil spill -- fisherman, beachgoers, tourists, homeowners, the environment -- even the oil companies are taking a hit from this disaster. The most powerless of them all may be the wildlife. Apparently, as this recent article notes, oil is not the only factor contributing to their deaths right now in the Gulf.

Despite an obvious suspect, oil, the answer is far from clear. The vast majority of the dead animals that have been found — 1,866 birds, 463 turtles, 59 dolphins and one sperm whale — show no visible signs of oil contamination. Much of the evidence in the turtle cases points, in fact, to shrimping or other commercial fishing, but other suspects include oil fumes, oiled food, the dispersants used to break up the oil or even disease.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

50 Classic Climbs, Revisited

We're sponsoring Mark and Janelle Smiley on their quest to become the first people to climb all the routes in the famous 1979 book, 50 Classic Climbs on North America. This adventure will involve more than 164,000 vertical feet of technical terrain on a road trip that will span more than 25,000 miles. And they're married. They've got a 3 year plan of action that will make you wish you were along for the ride.

View 50 Classic Climbs of North America in a larger map

Janelle and I had a productive week with three routes on the list completed (Liberty Bell, Forbidden Peak, and Mt. Shuksan). We are heading to Canada today for Slesse and then on to the Banff area for seven more climbs.

We thought it would be a great idea to climb Liberty Bell on Independence Day. July 4th dawned a cloudy day, but we went for the crack regardless, hoping it would clear. We climbed the first pitch and the clouds rose up from below us and the temperatures dropped. It was not the best day for a 1200 foot tower. So we rappelled down and went to Winthrop to catch the fireworks and thaw our frozen toes.

July 5th: Sunshine! Let’s try again. Three pitches up the sun disappeared, temps dropped, and I wished I had down booties. We fixed two 60 meter ropes to the wall so we could ascend them quickly the following day.

July 6th: The weather guys are calling for higher temps and sunny. We’re ready to get this climb done! Early morning we again hiked up the now familiar trail to the base of the climb, we jugged up the fixed ropes and starting rock climbing. It was warm, we were happy climbers. The white granite felt amazing as we ascended the eight beautiful pitches. After nine hours of climbing we were sitting on the summit in our tee-shirts admiring the beauty of the North Cascades. We rapped down the route we climbed. The top few pitches were a little unnerving to rappel off, for they were high angle traversing pitches that could very likely snag our ropes. Thankfully, ropes came down cleanly and we landed back on the ground just 12 hours later. We walked back down to the car with the satisfaction of the completed climb.

-Mark Smiley

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Tuesday - New Tshirt Colors

We did a fun little photo shoot with some folks around the office to show you our new tshirt colors. As you can see, Brandon is pretty psyched about his new scooter!


NEMO at 2010 Vermont Mountain Bike Festival

Nicole will be working the NEMO booth at this weekend's Vermont Mountain Bike Festival in beautiful Waterbury, VT. Not only will she be showing our new 2010 tents at the festival, but I'm sure she'll go for a ride with you if you ask nicely (watch out -- she's been known to leave grown men in their own dust). We're planning on having a nice selection of Ditto wallets, totes, and backpacks there as well.

The festival will feature shop vendors, group rides, womens’ skills clinic, Saturday afternoon entertainment will be provided by The Concrete Rivals, along with a BBQ and free Ben and Jerry's (you gotta love Vermont) for everyone. On Saturday night, plan on attending the party at the Reservoir Taproom in Waterbury, with free schwag, beer specials, mountain bike movies, and more live music.

While we're talking bikes, I'll sneak a quick plug for Freewheel Cycles, Gun's new bike shop in Nashua. He's the man, and will take care of your bike like a newborn baby.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Long Treks on Skate Decks Episode 5: Summit #1

We're back with Episode 5 of the Long Treks Peru v Bolivia trip, provided so graciously by Adam, Aaron, and Paul. Moral of the episode? Skateboarding uphill for 3 days proves an actual possibility, with the requisite bad pavement, diarrhea, scrapes, and bruises.

The restaurant we stayed in all day and the owner of the restaurant.

The owner of the store let us sleep in this little hut. It was tight, Aaron and Paul shared the concave bed and I laid cardboard on the floor and slept. It was a cold night.

This episode was the turning point for me. When we are sitting on the ledge after going up and down our first huge pass that was 79 miles of uphill with the highest elevation being 14,400 ft, I felt we could do and accomplish anything. We are stoked.

-Adam Colton

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blue Ocean Society Fundraiser

For all you New Englanders out there, the Blue Ocean Society (who coordinates the NH coastline beach cleanups, amongst other things) is throwing their annual Tropical Sunset Cruise Fundraiser in Newburyport on August 10, 2010.

The evening includes a sunset cruise aboard the M/V Prince of Whales, tropical & dance tunes, a raffle to benefit Blue Ocean Society's research and education program, cash bar, and light snacks.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Long Treks on Skate Decks Episode 4: 127 km of Climbing

Adam just posted the fourth episode of their longboarding adventure across Peru y Bolivia. I can't imagine anyone else in the world who would push their longboard 127 km, inch by inch, through a raincloud, on some of the worst pavement you could imagine, to the top of a 14,000 ft mountain.

Check out 7:40 for a gnarly sunburn.


The Old Whistle From a Can Trick

There will be more to come about last week's NEMO backpacking trip. As they say, it isn't an adventure without something unexpected...

The trip got me thinking about one of the first bushcraft 'arts' I learned from a friend. I was going to shoot a quick video to show you how to make a whistle from an aluminum can, but then I found this one.

Any other favorite bushcraft projects out there?