Winter Carpe: Final Training

The team spent two months training in the Canadian Rockies. They enjoyed climbing waterfall ice, skiing the powder and refreshing self-arrest and glacier travel skills. Image: Pascale ice climbing by Bryce Brown Image Here the team was with friend Bryce Brown on a classic climb called Circus Circus located in Yoho National Park, an ice waterfall that rarely forms - what a treat. Image: Ice Climbing Circus Circus & Bryce Brown on Circus by Lonnie DupreScheduleSchedule

Winter Carpe

Located in the shadow of Alaska’s Denali, Mt. Carpe (12,552 ft) can be brutally cold. The two person team Dupre and Marceau, can expect minus 50 degree temperatures, high winds and 10 hours of daylight. The attempt at Mt Carpe’s first winter ascent will be a test of human will, mountaineering skills and 25 years of polar expedition experience. Route Description: The duo will fly into Kantishna, the last stop on the Denali Park Road which is closed during the winter. On skis, they will make their way onto the Muldrow glacier via Wonder lake, Turtle hill and McGonagall pass. This was the classic route followed for the 1st ascent of Denali in 1913. Once on the glacier, the team will glacier s

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: Warm Hands

The best system I have found to keep my flanges warm are brain and smoke tanned deer skin and Norwegian knull-bended wool liners – hands down! Northern indigenous cultures use a process of smoke tanning which keeps the mittens durable and supple. It also increases the leathers insulation value and makes it more breathable. The key to the wool liner is that its natural lanolin is preserved, which helps keep the liner drier and allows me to beat the frost out of it at the end of each day. An added bonus of this system is that the smell of wood smoke reminds me of home. A special thanks to long-time sponsor Primaloft & local Grand Marais sponsor Voyageur Brewing for their continued support th

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: How to Keep Feet Warm at -60F?

First, it starts with good boots which inevitably comes with trade-offs. The more support and stiffer the boot, the colder your feet are going to be… regardless of insulation. That is why at times, even in the best mountaineering boots, people lose toes. There is plenty of insulation, but the rigidity of the boot restricts circulation. For mountaineering, rigid support is essential to hold crampons, for front pointing and for those steep and rugged pitches and ridges. On the other end of the spectrum are soft bottom mukluks or kamiks used by the Inuit or Athabaskan people. The warmest of these designs are made from smoke tanned moose hide. They feel like bedroom slippers, offering lots of

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: Tasty Energy Bars

This energy bar packs a punch. It’s really easy to be creative too – tweak it to use your favorites. We typically plan on 2 bars a day per person. The bars stay soft, even in extreme cold. Ingredients: Equal parts of by volume: Crunchy peanut butter Sesame butter Unsweetened shredded coconut Fine diced apricots – use cranberries or any other dried fruit Whipped honey Instant oats Half the volume as above: Clarified Butter Preparation: Heat everything up in a large pot on the stove just for mixing purposes. Mix well and transfer to cookie sheet and spread out, slightly compact it. Baking: Bake at 325 ̊ F for 30-45 minutes, until looks cooked in the center. Cut into 2

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: Yummy Jerky

Nothing beats homemade jerky. Here’s my favorite concoction… Meat: lean round steak – cut to 3/16th thickness Marinade: one pint maple syrup one pint Braggs two gallons water Let the meat soak for 6-8 hours. Over-marinating could make the jerky too salty. Drying: Hang the meat on oven rack. Dry in oven at very low heat (180 ̊ F) with door cracked open to let the humidity escape. Check after 2-3hrs, flip each piece so that they dry evenly. Drying can take up to 8-12hours. Enjoy! Schedule

Sampling Where No Human Has Ever Been

Vertical Nepal team working their way up the glacier on Langju. Photo by Elias de Andres Martos. Exploration, adventure, pioneering, remoteness – all words that describe this fall’s Vertical Nepal Expedition. The team had an objective to complete the first ever ascent of Langju Himal (20,885ft), a mountain situated in the Tsum Valley, deep in the heart of the Himalayas. Although snow conditions, extremely technical terrain, and respiratory colds forced us to turn around just a day from the summit, Vertical Nepal remains a great success. The team was excited to see the results of the sampling they did in collaboration with Adventure Scientists. Pascale Marceau collecting a water sample at t

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: Cold Weather Nutrition

Food is an art; this is true in the mountains too. Over the years, I have learned what works for me. Meals are a careful balance of the following attributes: ease of cooking, lightweight, hearty, easy to digest, and savory. Here are my tried and tested favorites. Goat milk powder, homemade vacuum packed huevos rancheros (made of hummus powder, instant potatoes, instant refried black beans, powdered eggs, and spices), grapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, instant lentil and split pea soup, Simply Native Food's Wild Rice Hot Cereal, thick cut double smoked bacon, homemade beef jerky, mac & cheese, and homemade energy bars. These delights keep us well fueled and climbing hard.

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: Stove & Fuel

My choice of stove for winter solo expeditions is the MSR Dragon Fly; it is most efficient for liters of water produced per ounce of fuel burned. Also allows for regulating the heat output thus extending fuel supply. I get by using only 7oz of fuel per day when winter climbing with this stove. For two or more team members, I go with the Whisperlite International. It’s slightly less efficient and versatile but is much quieter for chatting and just having a little extra peace at camp. Plan on 11oz per person, per day, during the winter. Both these stoves are efficient, clean burning and easy to repair. I choose white gas because it is clean,with high BTU. White gas remains usable, even at the

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: A “Right-weight” Cook System

In cold weather pursuits, staying dry, hydrated and fed are essential for survival. Having a carefully designed cook system is worth its weight in gold. We are carrying a lightweight stove board, fabricated from marine grade ¼” mahogany plywood. I choose this over a metal board because it feels better when handling in the cold and is equally strong and light. There is reflective aluminum under the burner to protect the board and reflect heat. The stove legs are clamped to the board and a bungee is used to secure the fuel bottle. The extra weight of the board system is worth it! It creates a stable platform such that one won’t tip their water, mug or meal in the tent. Such a mishap onto a sle

Gearing up for a Winter Climb: Sleeping System

Here is my tried and tested sleep system for prolonged outings in the cold – particularly key when thereis not much sunshine to offer any kind of radiant drying inside the tent.Here are my layers from the inside out: A reflective vapor barrier liner - Western Mountaineering -15F PrimaLoft down blend inner bag 25F PrimaLoft synthetic over-bag Get the synthetic bag slightly bigger then the down one.Ensure both bag zippers are on the same side.​ScheduleSchedule

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