Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Red

It isn't often we get a chance to climb outside our native crags. But when we do, it is worth it to be highly selective. Last year a few friends and I tossed together a trip to the great state of Kentucky. And since last year was such a blast, we decided to make a repeat visit.

While KY boasts many exciting locations ranging from the Creation Museum to the Woodford Reserve, we decided to head straight for the Red River Gorge.

We had heard many a tale of the climbing at The Red and for once the gossips were right. Amazing sandstone pockets fill the massive walls. Easy climbs, hard climbs, they are all over the gorge and none are more than 20 minutes from the central food hub of Miguel's. Whether you are fixated by trad climbing or you spend some time clipping bolts as a sport climber, there is something here that will tickle your fancy.

Thoroughly bolted and amazingly mapped, The Red easily houses a lifetime worth of climbing. The gorge is dominated by naturally formed sandstone pockets and long iron deposits. While the iron bands form excellent crimps, I preferred the soft pockets with natural thumb catches. What I really like about sandstone is that it is really soft on the hands and beckons you to climb long after your muscles are telling you it is time to quit.

While, as it seems I can't get over, the whole area is covered with classic climbs. But few resonated with me as much as Fuzzy Undercling. I first climbed it on our trip last year, but felt compelled to get back on it this year. Couple of stiff moves at the bottom allow for beta sprayers to fight over equally fun alternatives; a) core tension on a side pull rail as you static your way up to a right hand jug or b) plant a high(ish) right foot on a sloping rail and spring up to that same right hand jug. Do it both ways for full value! For the rest of the route I spent more energy focusing on keeping the heart rate down than wondering if the next hold was good, it becomes abundantly clear 10 ft off the ground that the "right" holds are well chalked and perfect to grab.

Resting at perfect knee-bar in a hueco about 3/4 of the way up gave me the recovery I needed to clip the anchors. I always have to remind myself to take a look at the view from the anchors, and at The Red, the 180 degree view leaves you wondering just how long ago it was when the mighty river filled this gorge and how amazing it is that it left these perfect walls to climb.

When you go, make sure you stop at Miguel's for some pizza toppings that you may not find around your local haunts. We found ourselves partial to the bacon, jalapeno, roast pork and pineapple combination. A sample size of 5 indicates 100% satisfaction rates. I can only warn you though, the local drink Ale-8-one (pronounced 'A Late One') is quite addictive, and if you can, bring a case home or risk withdrawal.

In short, if you enjoy scenic environments, pulling on rocks, excellent hiking and good eats, the Red River Gorge should be on your shortlist.


Harleys, Black Flies and a Big Tower of Igneous Rock

The Smiley's have been feverishly ticking away at the 50 Classic Climbs this summer and fall before they head back to their 'real' jobs for the winter. To date, they've completed 23. Some of the routes they've tackled this year include Liberty Ridge, Rainier, North Face of the North Ridge, Grand Teton and Ellingwood Arete, Crestone Needle.

Here's their latest video from Devil's Tower, complete with Harleys, black flies and their usual stoked attitude enjoying a beautiful climb on a beautiful day. You can follow their journey here, through their website, or on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Proudly sponsored NEMO ambassador, Jeremy Jones has begun a tour of his new movie "Deeper". If you scramble, it looks like there are still seats for tonight's performance in Seattle. Otherwise check out the schedule for when the film is coming to your city. Athletes from the movie will be attending select shows. So if you're lucky, you might get to meet a few bad ass freeriders.

TGR never disappoints so I'm looking forward to when the films comes to Boston on Imax at the end of November.


Antarctica Ozone Hole Watch

Right now, I'm doing some research on Arctic climates for material development (more on that to come). I found this great NASA site on the ozone hole over Antarctica (FYI, ozone is a colorless gas which absorbs UV-B rays from the sun, and thus protects the environment below).

Today's (9/28/2010) ozone hole... looking a little bare folks!

Usually, NASA sites can be too dense with information/graphs/tables/etc, but this is a really clean site with Tufte-esque infographics, daily updated pics of the ozone hole, and animation over months/years. There's also a nice explanation of how the units they use to measure the amount of ozone (dobson unit).

In the Arctic, spring occurs roughly from Sept-Dec, so the ozone hole gets quite a bit larger during this time (meaning that the ozone concentration gets smaller).


Monday, September 27, 2010

Glaciers and Gloomy Weather

NEMO friend P. took a solo summer trip to Jostedalsbreen glacier in Norway a couple months ago (FYI, Europe's largest glacier). Since it was too late in the season to make a traverse, he spent four days wandering around, skiing, taking photos, and waiting out four days and nights of rain storms with strong winds.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Surf Porn, For Your Friday Viewing Pleasure

Looks like the swell has been up across the globe too.

(via the cleanest line)

For those who can't watch videos at work, check out the Surfline slideshow of the Cloudbreak reef in Fiji this past Monday.

Update: found this on the 'Weed.

Cloudbreak September 2010 from Surfing Life on Vimeo.


Folks, Ski Season is Coming

As you can tell by recent posts, this one included, a few of us are excited for ski season. Not that we're rushing Fall. Who can argue with cool, crisp weather and the changing colors of the leaves? But...
If you've read this month's issue of Outside, you've most likely seen the article on the Marolt brothers. Mike and Steve Marolt, accountants from Aspen, have been quieting ticking off ski descents of tall peaks around the world. Tall, as in 7-8,000 meters. As if climbing mountains like Cho Oyu and Everest weren't enough, these guys ski down when they're done and the skiing is not typically what you'd call 'powder'. Most people wonder, why are they going to such lengths to ski crud, ice, and dodge crevasses?

The story around the brothers has had its share of controversy, which is touched on in the Outside article. The brother's film, Skiing Everest, which follows their travels, will be touring around the US. After reading Outside's article, there's sure to be a good share challenge, drama and beautiful scenery (including some good looking tents).


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where Good Ideas Come Dry Erase

This video shows in enjoyable sped-up marker rendering (made famous by UPS commercials and my cousin, Jason Polan) what we all wish wasn't true. Good ideas are not a light bulb that instantly flashes on, but really a long process of gathering and amalgamating hunches so we can ultimately have that Aha! moment.

The book looks good too. Back to the grind of ideas...
(via kottke)


NEMO Ambassadors Camilo L. and Anna P. Say Hi

Travis Pastrana Rally Drives Mt. Washington Auto Road

This may be old news to some of you, but for those who haven't seen the video of Travis Pastrana covering Mt. Washington Auto Road in 6 minutes, 20 seconds and change, it is worth 4 minutes or so of your time.

Sure, there are murmurs that having a codriver, turn-by-turn directions being relayed to him, longer paved roads, and a rally prepped WRX make his run incomparable to the previous record time set 27 years ago. But hold your skepticism, appreciate that technology advances, and remember that records are made to be broken.

If you're looking to break Pastrana's record, check out the 2011 Climb to the Clouds.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nor'easter Landing Friday

The Nor'Easter starts this Friday, and will be a 3 day whirlwind of music, outdoor fun, and conservation. Hosted by EMS at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH, there are climbing clinics, free trail runs, a leg on the tour of the Unified Bouldering Championships, as well as a cyclocross race. Scheduled bands include The Constellations, Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves, Alberta Cross, Rubblebucket, Dr. Dog, The Super Secret Project, AmPm, Tan Vampires, and more.

NEMO will have a booth set up at the festival (#19), so be sure to swing by and check out our latest products (we'll have a sneak peek of next year's offerings as well). We'll be raffling off an Espri 2P, with plenty of other giveaways throughout the weekend.

See you there.


Losi Series Setup Video

Steve and I put together this setup video for Losi series tents. Hope this is helpful to folks -- we're working on churning out a few more this month.


NEMO's Saco Float - Where Did Summer Go?

Summer turned the corner and fall has arrived. We took a team trip midweek (before Labor Day) down the Saco in gloriously hot weather and managed to escape the usual circus that surrounds the Saco.

We found all the rope swings.

John showed us his fly fishing skills on the small mouth bass in the river.

There were the usual shenanigans,

and a night of camping on a secluded beach.

Quiet sunrise in the morning.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Long Treks on Skate Decks Episode 7: High Altitude

Persevering onward after Aaron's flesh wound, and a medical stop in Pucuio, our favorite longboarders challenge the 3rd mountain pass, climbing 70 km in 1 day to a plateau amidst 18,000+ ft snowcaps. Flabbergasted with oxygen deficiencies and cold headwinds, Episode 7 shows how exhausting high altitude really is. The three dirty compaƱeros aventureros endure a night in the negative degrees, sleepless at nearly 4000 meters. Their boards, tents, and backpacks are covered in frost in the morning, and they must straddle alpacas all night for warmth. Check out Episodes 1-6 in our blog archives.

Getting more and more into the heart of the Andes is a beautiful thing and a bit scary--such a raw environment with little to no comfort. You end up seeing more alpacas than people. This part of the trip was really epic in scenery to all of us. This was our first time seeing huge massive 18,000+ ft mountains surrounding us. It was when I personally really started to see the magnitude and the power of the Andes. Sleeping that night at 14,000 ft was amazing, I will always remember that sunset, it was heavenly and the clouds surrounded us and sat so close to the ground glowing amazing colors of red, yellow and orange. The morning we woke up frozen and we were so stoked to feel the warmth of the sun as it defrosted our gear. Humor and chasing alpacas kept us sane. Pushing to Negro Mayo will always be in our hearts because in Episode 8 you will know why.


Igor = Beach Cleanup

Hurricane Igor made for a convenient beach cleanup last Friday.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Banff Radical Reels Tour

It's that time of year again. The Banff Mountain Film Festival is landing in about a month at the Banff Center. Right now, their Radical Reels tour is making the rounds. While the main tour's themes can be centered around adventure sports, environment, wildlife, mountain culture and lifestyle, the Radical Reels focus exclusively on action sports (for those adrenaline junkies).

Check out the lineup of films and the tour locations.

As usual, the Boston area screening is at Arlington Theater, tomorrow Tuesday September 21, 7:30 pm.


Friday, September 17, 2010

NEMO on the Subway

For those of you in the NYC area, keep an eye out on the Metro N Line for NEMO. While we don't have enough pull yet to set up in the subway, our photographer friend Michael Hanson took the following shot while traveling to the salt flats in Bolivia. The image will be used as an ad for the NY Times travel section.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Climb #22 Completed for the Smiley's

The Smiley's, (who typically are all smiles) just uploaded a new video from their 50 Classic Climbs project. Check out the South Howser Tower in the Canadian Bugaboos.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PFDs for your SUPs

Looks like there will be increasing enforcement of SUPers wearing life jackets when not in a designated surfing/swimming area. No new rules here, just enforcement of existing rules as the sports becomes increasingly popular.

That's something we didn't think about as we paddled down the Saco last week...


Maine Climber's Body Found After 21 Years

The body of a mountain climber from Maine was recently discovered in a melting glacier more than two decades after he fell 1,000 feet to his death in the Canadian Rockies, a park official said.

The remains of William Holland, 38, of Gorham, were found in Jasper National Park in Alberta in August by a pair of hikers, said Garth Lemke, public safety expert with Parks Canada. Lemke said glacial ice preserved the body, which had a mummified appearance.

"If you look at where he was, he was basically in a deep freeze for the last 21 years," he said.Holland had reached the top of the Slipstream on Snow Dome Mountain on the Columbia Icefields in 1989 when an outcropping gave way, sending him tumbling. His climbing partner sought help from another climbing party, but an avalanche struck before searchers arrived the next day, Lemke said. The search was called off.

There are at least two other cases in which mountain climbers in Jasper National Park have disappeared since the 1970s and are presumed dead, Lemke said.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Motorcyle in Mexico

Motorcycle journeyman Ben S. (who earlier in the year completed a 23,000 mile trip down to the tip of South America) is headed back on the bike. He's making an instructional video on motorcyling in Mexico, and will be videoing portions of his trip for footage.

Ben stopped by last week to pick up a prototype tent, get the lowdown on next year's products, and tell us a little bit about his journey to come. If you see him on his cross country journey first to California, and then down south to Mexico, give him a little wave for us.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Third time is a charm!

This trip to the Franconia Ridge marks the third attempt Alyson and I have made to summit Mt Lafayette in the White Mountains.

Granted this is not a sheer cliff requiring 12 pitches, but the mountain is a challenge nonetheless. The first 2 attempts were cut short at a mere 1.1 miles from summit due to weather changes (total fog out, sleet/ice).

Finally, the summit of Lafayette!

This two day trip was about as perfect as you can get. Warm sunny weather, great campsite (Liberty Springs) and a long decent requiring a 3 mile walk out on the bike path back to the car. I'm not going to lie, my legs STILL hurt, but it was worth every second!

Camp at Liberty Springs Tent Site


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jeremy Jones, Deeper in the Storm

We've mentioned NEMO ambassador Jeremy Jones's Deeper project. This isn't just another boxed dvd set of steep lines, big drops, and chest deep powder though; it's the journey, not the destination. JJ explains it best:

Over the past 15 years, I’ve shot over 45 snowboard movies. It was always about riding new stuff, finding new stuff, finding that ultimate terrain -- the ultimate mountains to snowboard down… About 4 years ago, I started to realize that I’m really going to the same zones and same faces year in and year out. It started to take the joy out of it. Over the years, I’ve realized that if I just went a little bit deeper, I’d be in this untouched, unridden realm. I’ve had a desire to really focus on quality lines and not necessarily quantity – those lines that take days or weeks or months to prepare for.

We basically picked locations that I’ve been going to for a long time that are some of the meccas for free riding – Tetons in Wyoming, Sierras in California, Wasatch in Utah, Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Alaska outside of Haines, and the Alps in Europe. In all the areas, there’s this small chunk of terrain that everyone is fighting over, but if you want to go and walk a little bit further, than you have the place to yourself. That’s the deal. Focus on the meccas, but go where no one’s going in those meccas because it takes too long to get there.

In anticipation of the 2010 fall release of Deeper, Teton Gravity Research has been spitting out episodes of Deeper Unplugged. Episode 11 is a doozy, with the crew in Glacier Bay Alaska as a major winter storm hits.