Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nashua Garden Hits Big Time

Our local watering hole, the Nashua Garden, gets a 30 second ESPN spot.

Do yourself a favor and "Beat the Buck" on Wednesdays ($1 a pint starting at 8 pm, goes up incrementally throughout the night). My favorite? Hitting up the shufflepuck table (upstairs and in the back), and then resting on the laurels of victory at the old ski lift chair at the bar.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Local Wildlife Part 7: Barred Owl Release

I was looking forward to last night for weeks. Being an avid wildlife photographer, this was a rare chance. Working with members from the Center For Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine, I was invited to photograph the release of 2 barred owls that were injured this past winter by cars. The center nurses the owls back to health. Then using a special cage they determine if they are ready to be released into the wild. Once they are ready to be back in nature, the owls are released as close to the location that they were found as possible. In this case the first release was in York, Maine, the second was in Kennebunk, Maine.

I met with the rehabilitator to capture the release just before sunset. Although the lighting conditions for action photography were more than a challenge, I learned a lot. Watching these owls fly off back to where they belong is an amazing feeling. I think my favorite part came when the couple who originally found the owl severely injured owl met up with us to watch the rehabilitated owl fly off into the sunset. A tear jerker for sure.

If you love animals and want to help support the Center that makes this kind of recovery possible, please visit their website and donate.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 Catalog: On Press

Catalogs are coming! We just got back from being on press at Villanti and Sons Printers up in Milton, VT. Here are some pics from the trip.

Holy paper Batman! Palettes upon palettes ready for the bindery.

Bill taking a picture of the cover sheet. We think you guys will really like it.

Start the presses!

- Bridget

Long Treks on Skate Decks Episode 16: Sale de Unuyi

Welcome to Episode 16 of the Peru y Boliva long distance longboarding trip. The last (and one of our personal favorites) of the entire series, this episode's otherworldly landscape is precisely the perfect backdrop to showcase Adam, Aaron, and Paul's otherworldly talents. It's worth watching. Check out Episodes 1-15 in our archives.

After completing our 2,500 km trek from Lima, Peru to Potosi, Bolivia we had some time to kill. We ventured around on flying carpets and came to the Salar de Uyuni, the largest Salt Flat in the World. We spent 2 days and 2 nights skating and sleeping on salt. To our luck we came during the wet season so most of it had a centimeter of water on top of the salt making the reflections amazing and skating a bit wet. Where else in the world can you skate through clouds, hahaha. We did find dry spots on the outside perimeter of the salt flat, which made traveling easier. The salt actually slid and rod fairly well, a bit cushy. Our clothes, shoes and boards however took a good beating. The salt had shrivel up our pants and made our shoes turn ¼ size smaller, haha. Some of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen. Truly an amazing place, if you ever get the opportunity I would go there, Salar de Uyuni in BOLIVIA.

-Adam C.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Patagonia Timelapse of Obi 1P

She's a stunner. Adam C. sent us this pretty little timelapse of Obi 1P down in Patagonia. Almost feels like we're standing right outside the tent...


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Big Ditch

Shortly after our pilgrimage to South Lake Tahoe, we had an engine idiot light illuminate on the Lulu's dashboard. Not knowing anything about cars, or how to fix them, we are pretty much at the mercy of the Dodge dealers' prognosis. That led to a rental car and our first (and only) hotel night stay that year. The hotel's bed was not nearly as comfortable, but the long hot shower and hours of mindless TV were pretty nice.

Four days of doing nothing and we were ready to charge again. We picked the van up and headed for Tuolomne Meadows, on the west side of Yosemite NP. Fairview Dome was in our sites, but the sun was threatening to disappear. We packed quickly, threw in the headlamps, and jogged up the approach least while camera was recording.

Triple Play (Fairview Dome, Tenaya Peak, 1/8th Dome) from Mark Smiley on Vimeo.

This climb is extremely straightforward. Janelle and I were on a roll, so we were able to blast through the route in a very timely fashion. Getting to the top before we knew it, we were greeted with a spectacular sunset over the Sierras. Making it back to the van a good bit before dark was a real confidence booster. We had just completed a sizable climb in a few hours!

That evening we dropped into the Valley. The Yosemite Valley is where rock climbing in the States was born, has grown, and continues to thrive. The most dangerous part of the experience is standing at the El Capitan observation pull off. This 3000' vertical chunk of geology is mesmerizing. So mesmerizing that all of the drivers are looking at it, as opposed to the road, so its best to stand clear when taking photos.

There are seven classic climbs representing the Valley, which is not over doing it at all in my opinion. We had climbed two of them during past trips (Royal Arches and Middle Cathedral Rock). These are the easiest of the seven, so we had our work cut out for us this time. We did some warm up climbs and then jumped on the Steck-Salathe Route on Sentinal Rock. It is known for its chimneys. Anyone that has ever climbed a chimney knows very well how fun it isn't to wear a backpack during the experience. We opted to leave the 5 pound camera behind to keep the pack sizes as small as possible. It took an entire day to get up the route. That left the night to get down. At the summit the sun tucked behind the horizon, and we dug to the bottom of the pack to get out the headlamps. Turned out, I had left mine in the car.

Not to worry though, I had brought my cell phone (best piece of first-aid equipment we own). With the dim light of the screen, and Janelle's headlamp, we picked our way around the rocks and scrubs. This descent is pretty gnarly the lower you get. At times, I had to put the phone in my mouth so both hands could grab onto the plant life, which suspended me over the darkness that felt really, really steep.

Then, I had a eureka moment...remembering that I had downloaded an app on my phone called, "Flashlight" AMAZING! This app turns on the LED bulbs, used for the camera's flash, there are even three brightness settings! By this new found bright light we made our way back down to the trail, and back to the van.

The 5 day forecast was calling for two days of nice weather and then turning to cold crappy weather. The route on Half Dome is on the North side of the Dome, so it receives very little sunlight. We had climbed plenty of cold rock already, and the thought of doing that for 2000 feet made us motivate to get on it asap.

Janelle had reservations about getting on a wall that size, since we had very little, okay zero, big wall experience. Her thought was to do some practice walls to get our systems dialed before attempting it. My mindset was to figure it out as we go. These two mindsets are similar to oil and water. Being the man in the relationship, I forced my way and the next morning we were heading up hill.

The approach is steep and grueling, up the "death slabs" of granite. The haul bag was probably 1,000 lbs (I didn't weigh it, just an educated guess), and that made it a little harder. Four people were at the base of the route when we arrived, prepping for the following day. We decided to fix ropes up the first two pitches that evening. This gave us something to do, and a jump-start for the following morning.

The big question on this route is, one day or two? If you climb it in one day you don't have to haul a big pack, but you better be a fast climber. We decided to do it in two days, which meant we had to haul. Hauling sucks. "Figuring it out as you go" is very slow. Having a climbing partner that is not really into it, because she was forced into it, does not help either. After 4 pitches we had lost steam. Each pitch was taking forever. We did the math to see how long it would take to get to the top: Forever X 23 pitches = too long. So we bailed. I was pissed. Janelle was pissed. We did not talk the entire 3 hours it took to get back to the Valley floor. Turns out, I put on my grumpy pants when I fail at an objective.

Next post will be on the Lost Arrow Spire and Round II, 2011 plans.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Home Stretch - Catalog Proofing

I surreptitiously snapped this picture of some hard core catalog proofing going down in our office yesterday.

Want a sneak peak? Find the link (it is hidden, but not so hidden now taken down). I'll leave it up for a couple days.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ambassador Interview: Alison Gannett

Many of you who read the blog regularly know I like to ski and occasionally (ok, maybe more than occasionally) blog about the topic. But, when a sport has given you so much: a way to break free from the 'rents for an afternoon, an excuse to schedule all classes in the morning, a career that made all my friends jealous, and an introduction to my life partner, you feel the need to give back a little.

OK, I got sidetracked. But recently, skiing gave me the excuse to head to Alison's Rippin' Chix clinic in Aspen in the name of work - I brought a good client and friend and it was time for a face-to-face interview with our Jill-of-All-Trades.

In this interview, after stumbling my way through the beginning, I ask Alison what a typical year looks like for her. From leading Rippin Chix clinics to educating people about climate change to figuring out how to live on a farm, you've got to admit, she's got an interesting gig goin' on.

And for those who are still skiing or need a spring ski trip - here's a pow shot of Mike rippin' it up last week in the Chic Choc Mountains on the Gaspe Peninsula. I'll see you in the backcountry.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Eyes and Ears

For the person on the White Blaze forum who asked the question, "I wonder if NEMO reads these posts?":

First of all, thank you for capitalizing NEMO. Second, yes, we do read a lot of these forums. Google alerts are amazing for that sort of thing. We like to get customer's and pre-customer's honest opinions, and forums are a great place to see what people think when there aren't any repercussions for what they say.

As hard as it is, I also always refrain from adding to the conversations because this usually leads to trouble.

While most of the comments were overwhelmingly positive, there were still questions and concerns raised. So, I'm taking this opportunity to reply to some of the questions posed:

1. Zipper flap vents - Don't knock 'em before you try 'em. As ChinMusic mentioned, they are waterproof when open in everything but hard driving sideways rain. In that situation, like all vents, close them up (you don't even need to go outside to do this) and use the natural ventilation of the high cut fly and vestibules. Please believe NEMO has done extensive testing on these vents.

2. Velcro wraps - because of the pole configuration and the way the fly pulls down over both sides of the pole, there is very little if any need for velcro wraps. They aren't needed to keep the fly in place during an "On the Fly" setup, go ahead and try it. The pole can't shift if you have it tensioned properly. And velcro plus the welded fabric it takes to keep the fly waterproof is heavier than you think. In this case it wasn't needed, so we didn't add it and saved the weight.

3. Jake's Feet - which, as someone pointed out are named after our good friend Jake Lah, always seem to be a contentious point in tent design. We love them because they have so many benefits over the traditional grommet anchor. As far as breaking, we have literally never had any customer complain about a broken Jake's Foot. Ever. They are bomber. This is why an extra one isn't included with your tent. However, we have heard of people losing them, which is why we do sell them on the spare parts section of our website. The counter point to Jake's Feet is usually that they are difficult to use. I promise you if you spend 30 seconds when you first get your tent to figure them out, you'll never go back. Its like swype for your phone. Check out previous posts about Jake's Feet if you aren't buying that they are easy to use.

4. Floor dimensions - Published stats on our website are based on measuring actual production tents. There is no fudging. And I can assure you that all of the floors are the same size since they are cut by a mechanical process. However, there are several things that can affect this measurement. The primary factors are how tightly you stake the tent out, and humidity. The first is obvious, but it might not be so obvious that fabric stretches a considerable amount according to humidity. If you are measuring in a cold dry place, the tent will appear smaller than if you measure in a warm humid environment.

5. Head guyout - From our testing, flapping is mitigated by attaching the inner tent to the fly using the guyout over the head and guying it out. As with many of the other comments, we'd love to hear to hear them after you actually try using the tent:) I also suggest attaching the sides of the tent to the fly in a similar way to volumize the tent. It makes a big difference in comfort.

For those of you who were not part of this forum, and are interested, you can check it out here. For anyone who wants direct answers, calling or emailing customer service is probably your best bet. But don't stop writing in the forums. We love the feedback.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Snazzy New Luggage Tag Colors

We just had some fun smaller Ditto products come in -- Ditto Luggage Tags. They're made using manufacturing seconds of partner supplier Dimension Polyant. We love the bright colors of these.

Favorite colors in the office so far are #4, 5, 12, 16, and 19. Your favorites?? Let us know, and we may be able to be generous and send some out to first responders.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It Is 2011 When We Say It Is, Part II

Folks, get excited. Because the NEMO 2011 Product Catalog is droppin' like its hot a mere four months into the new year. For me, anticipation is in overdrive to see this baby in print.

Highlights include some stellar pictures by photog-friend Jed Conklin and our Art Director Extraordinaire, Bill Kramer. We've also included many ambassador and customer photos from around the world. So if you want the chance to see your photo in next year's catalog, email the goods to

While it'll be a few weeks until the catalog arrives in your mailbox, here are some low-res, 1/4 size jpegs to keep your NEMO buds satiated. Until then, request your catalog here if you're not on our mailing list, and if you are, just keep waiting. We'll let you know when to start checking those mailboxes.

- Bridget

Monday, April 4, 2011

Good Pens / Bad Pens

We don't cross-post often here, but I really liked this post from across the pond (howies) regarding buying things you love, that are made to last.


Dreaming about Corduroy

Seeing waves like this would be like a dream, but a totally bizarro-world-freaky dream too. What's crazy is the mathematical function-y feel that the waves start looking like around the 1:00 min mark.


Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools, for nerdy typographers only

Apparently, some of us here in the office are included in that subset of the population. For interested parties, google "Helvetica" in your Google browser. Now.