A Backbone “Charge” & New Faces

With half of 2015 already over (no way, right?) here are some updates on a whirlwind six months at Backbone Media.

We took a company “Charge” down the Numbers section of the Arkansas River and spent the day rafting and camping.

We brought 10 new employees on board — for comparisons sake, in 2014 we hired 13 new employees total.

The Charge

A sunny day in June. A raging river. And 20 cases of beer.


Topped off with camping in the Sawatch range, BBQ, an enthusiastic game of dice and a massive bonfire.



New Faces:

As a growing agency we hired two notable names in order to expand and develop new services. Sam Bass joins Backbone as Editor and Content Director and Charlie Lozner joins the team as Director of Integrated Services. Both will be based in our Carbondale headquarters.

517ab887-e18e-416e-aec6-48a6a2d6ff1e (1)


Charlie Lozner (left) was previously the Director of Marketing for Outdoor Research — the media team worked closely with Lozner as Outdoor Research is one of our clients. Lozner will help bridge our suite of services and offer clients the most integrated results possible across PR, media planning and content.



Sam Bass (right) joins Backbone after 12 years at Skiing Magazine where he was Editor-in-Chief. A longtime friend of Backbone, Bass will help Backbone develop content solutions for our existing clients.


On the public relations side two new hires will help drive the agency forward for some of our new clients.



Brittany Hodill (left) joins Backbone from New Zealand (and previous to that, San Francisco). Hodill brings with her knowledge of the technology and lifestyle space after working for clients like FitBit, Visa and Beats by Dre.





Eric “Hende” Henderson (right) joins Backbone as a Senior PR Account Manager —Hende was previously the communications manager at Salewa North America and before that he spent five years at Denny, Ink. Hende is also a culinary institute trained chef,  farm-to-table caterer, and hard-charging skier.

On the media side, an additional media planner, two media coordinators and a media intern bolster the growing team. Scott Warren joins Backbone as a media planner; Scott was previously at Travel Oregon as an insight and planning manager based out of Portland. Scott informed us that Carbondale actually has more bikes and breweries per capita than Portland, so he should feel right at home.



Two new media coordinators have joined Backbone, both of them recent Colorado College graduates (the Colorado College takeover is in full swing, as seven of our employees have graduated from the school). Nick Pinto (left) and Patrick Lynch (right) will provide support for the growing media team.


Interns. Backbone has three interns these days — providing support across both PR and media.


On the PR side, Philip Chambers (left) is a recent graduate of Columbia University— Chambers is an avid climber psyched to get out of NYC. Celine Wright,  another recent Colorado College grad originally from Telluride, CO, is bringing support and social media skills. Connor Jackson joins as a media intern — Jackson is a Roaring Fork Valley native.

And on that note, we’re also hiring! Backbone is in need of an Office Manager for our Carbondale office, and a PR account manager who is thoroughly involved in the hunt/fish space. Apply here.




It’s Time We Discuss that Little White Ghost

Unknown For those that don’t know, we’re talking about Snapchat: an app that allows you to share photos and videos with a select group of your friends. “Snaps” allow a user to share, in real time, an experience, a location or a reaction, with the catch being that the messages disappear within a matter of seconds — you better be paying attention.  The app allows a glimpse into your personal life unbridled by the noise of “likes” and comments which are commonplace on other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

While it once seemed like just a fad — good for taking selfies and not much else, and nearly resulted in a sale to Facebook —Snapchat’s exponentially growing user numbers, around 200 million a month, prove that it’s definitely here to stay. Snapchat’s key demographic is 13-25-year-olds, a unique group of Millennials who have grown up in this social-media-crazed age.

Because of the access to this previously unreachable age demographic, social media influencers and bloggers are now looking to have their network of followers join them on Snapchat, in addition to sites like Instagram and Facebook. On a recent press trip that Backbone organized for Eddie Bauer in Mexico, there was a mix of bloggers and fitness/style editors and this exact conversation came up a few times over the course of the four-day trip. Snapchat’s newfound importance became clear.


The media trip crew in Mexico

Bloggers see Snapchat as a way to not only allow fans greater access into their private lives, but as a channel through which they can authenticate themselves as experts in their field— be it fitness, beauty, fashion, food or healthy lifestyle. For example, the bloggers on this recent press trip were both style mavens and fitness enthusiasts, so having their fans see them surfing, hiking, and climbing a rock wall means they are living what they preach. Their experiences were captured on Snapchat unfiltered and in real time, as opposed to still photos you would see on Instagram, which have likely been altered.

But Snapchat is also capturing the interest of larger news organizations and brands. Snapchat launched the Discover feature in January, which allows brands and news outlets to continue with a traditional style of communication, reformatted for the digital age: “straight from the editorial team of a news organization into the hands of consumers, without a social media filter” says Tajha Chappellet-Lanier in an NPR article from January 2015.


Snapchat’s “Discover” feature

With the launch of Discover, it’s not just news sites that are taking notice, but brands are beginning to jump on board as well. From getting sneak peaks at new collections, behind the scenes glimpses of major fashion shows, NBA drafts or even product testing, there are limitless ways that Snapchat can be utilized.

We’ll be watching to see how Snapchat continues to grow and if more brands turn to Snapchat as a way to engage with  users — just as they do on Instagram.  Social media is an ever-evolving platform and Snapchat is the new heavy hitter.

— Alison Nestel-Patt & Celine Wright


Telluride Mountainfilm

Mountainfilm kicked off Telluride’s series of summer festivals last weekend with four, snowy days of  inspirational speakers, adventure films and coffee talks.  Several Backbone staffers attended the festival and rounded up a few of their favorite picks from the weekend.


Jimmy Chin’s highly-anticipated film, which premiered at Sundance and won the Audience Choice Award, lives up to the hype. The film covers Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk and Chin’s attempts at climbing (and eventual first ascent of) the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in the Himalaya. “Meru’s” greatest strength, however, is the way the traditional climbing narrative is interwoven with scenes and struggles from the climber’s lives. From Anker’s challenge of balancing family with the dangers of alpine climbing, to Ozturk’s severe brain injury (sustained only 5 months before the team was set to depart for their second attempt), “Meru” captures more than just the difficulty of the climb itself.

The Important Places

Forest Woodward’s short film, which also played at 5point Film Festival, is hard to not watch over and over again. The film chronicles a father and son trip down the Grand Canyon, a trip Woodward’s father, who is now 70, had completed 45 years earlier. Between the sweet poem, written by Woodward’s father, that acts as the film’s intro, and the beautiful cinematography, “The Important Places” is a gentle reminder to treasure the quiet spaces that restore your sense of self. Watch the short below:



Almost 150 people were turned away from “Unbranded’s” first, packed-to-the-gills Mountainfilm showing — an easy indicator of what was in store. The film chronicles the journey of four recent college-grads who decide to ride wild mustangs (who they’ve trained, first) from Mexico to Canada through trails on public land. And while it is a (very) entertaining adventure movie, “Unbranded” also educates viewers about the nearly 50,000 wild horses kept in government holding facilities, waiting to be adopted. “Unbranded” subtly proves these mustangs’ worth as they endure a rigorous journey through cactus-ridden mesas, steep mountain passes and summer thunderstorms.


Ben Knight was inspired to make movies because of Mountainfilm, and now his films are the ones that no festival-goer  wants to miss. “Denali’s” greatest strength is Knight’s entertaining first-person narration of his friend Ben Moon’s dog, Denali. Moon, a photographer and filmmaker, was diagnosed with cancer in his twenties, and the film chronicles the friendship between Denali and Moon as they endure life’s struggles and embrace its adventures. “Denali” won the People’s Choice Award at 5Point Film Festival, and is surely a tear-jerker for all those pet owners out there.

images   — Celine Wright

Q&A: Ian Durkin — Video Curator, Vimeo

This is one in a series of short Q&A’s with people in the outdoor/active lifestyle industry who are doing cool, inspiring things. Want to nominate someone? Leave their name in the comments and we’ll see what they’re all about.  IanDurkin01 Name: Ian Durkin

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Age: 27

Instagram: @ianbdurkin

It’s hard to define a dream job, but we’d say Ian Durkin’s is up there. As a video curator for Vimeo – a popular video sharing platform for independent filmmakers— Durkin spends his days not only watching videos, but is an influencer behind the selections for Vimeo’s famed Staff Picks. A graduate of Middlebury College, where he was an American studies major, Durkin landed a 6-month internship shortly after graduation and the rest is history. Durkin was a panelist on our recent POV panel during the 5point Film Festival, which you can read about, here.  We tried to squeeze a bit more information from him about his super cool job (he’s also a filmmaker and photographer on the side) and what’s trending in the Vimeo world these days. Here’s the lowdown :



Photos by Ian Durkin

As a video curator, what does your job really entail? 

My job entails a few different things. Daily, I’m watching a bunch of videos and featuring the especially great videos on the Vimeo Staff Picks Channel, but i’m also talking with filmmakers about the stuff they’re making via email and at film festivals. Otherwise, I’m working on one-off projects; be it curating programs for festivals or putting together editorial content.
But you’re also a filmmaker. Is watching other people’s videos all day inspiring or frustrating?
If I didn’t do it as a job, I know I’d watch a lot of videos anyhow for fun or to get ideas. So yeah, it’s very inspiring to watch great content all day. It gets me motivated to try to make my own.
What would you love to make a video about but haven’t gotten the chance to yet (or are working on currently)? 
I’m currently working on a video from a surf trip I did down in Baja with some friends. My videos tend to be trip based, so I’d love to get back to New Zealand to make one.
Who is making a big impact on the Vimeo world lately and why are their films grabbing so much attention?
That’s a tough one. There are definitely a lot of people who, when you see they’ve uploaded something new, you know it’s going to be good. I’m a sucker for style, and these guys bring a unique offering to the table each time. From the trips themselves (trains for a skate trip and Iceland for a surf trip), to shooting solely on 16mm film, to pitch perfect cinematography/editing/music selection, not to mention great skating and surfing to boot. These videos  do more than simply document a trip, they bring in an extra element that gets me psyched to do something of my own, which is what it’s all about, right?
Check out Durkin’s picks below:


—Celine Wright



A Backbone Style Gear Test

The 5Point Film Festival brings in a slew of outdoor industry insiders and athletes to Backbone’s homebase in Carbondale, Colorado. Among the attendees this year were Damian Quigley, associate publisher of Freeskier magazine and Donny O’Neill, senior editor of Freeskier. On Thursday, before the 5Point festivities started,  we took them for an old-fashioned backcountry ski test on Carbondale’s famed Sopris Mountain.


The group skinning up Sopris.

A little backstory here: throughout the year Backbone attends and hosts ski tests to get the equipment of Black Diamond, La Sportiva and other brands on snow, and tested by publications in the ski industry. The only problem with these tests is you rarely get to use a backcountry skiing setup in its full capacity (i.e. the up and down). Donny was hoping to test the new Black Diamond skis in the backcountry all year, and due to adverse snow conditions, we had to wait until the end of April to make it happen.

Sopris was the objective, but testing gear, showing the Freeskier crew Backbone’s backyard and having fun were some of the perks along the way . The crew consisted of Jason Smith, Donny O’Neill and Damian Quigley from Freeskier, and Sam Coffey, Fielding Miller and John DiCuollo from Backbone.


Yup, still skinning. Earning those turns.

We started our trek at 6:30 a.m. on a clear, April morning. After a quick walk on the frozen mud, we were able to put our skis on and start skinning. 4,000 total feet of climbing later and we reached the summit at 12,966 feet —you could see hints of spring starting to peak through the valley below.


Backbone’s Sam Coffey (front) and John Dicuollo

To me, this trip was a perfect example of what sets Backbone apart. Yes, we’re  PR and media professionals, but each one of us embodies the lifestyle that is associated with these brands. We’re an enthusiastic group of skiers, runners, bikers and climbers who live for the moments we get to spend outside.

Furthermore, when you take someone on an adventure that the gear is created for, it creates a better understanding of the equipment and its capabilities. There are the details that can’t be gathered from reading the specs in a digital workbook. Similarly, there are aspects to relationships that cannot be made through email and phone calls alone. These in-person experiences help us share the products in a more authentic way.


Damian Quigley skiing the bowl

We skied the most-common Sopris line down the bowl of the eastern side of the peak. We enjoyed cold, Colorado snow on the top, harvested some corn in the middle, hit a funky, breakable crust in the basin, and ended with soft, spring slush: it was ideal to test the skis in a variety of conditions. All in all, a solid day of work.

If you want to read the Freeskier side of the story, check it out here: http://bit.ly/1HVOkoc

—Sam Coffey



An Adventure with Backbone’s Newest Employee

Red Rock Canyon National Park, Las Vegas, Nevada – 3.9.15-3.12.15
Words and Photography: Corbin Clement


ginger buttress mt wilson_pic corbin clement

Entering the Park looking at the Ginger Buttress and Mt Wilson.

After finishing graduate school last Thanksgiving, I was fortunate enough to undertake a 6 week journey in Asia solely for pursuits of eating, climbing and surfing. For months after that, my time commitments were limited to three days a week at an SEO internship, working various events for Burton, and finding myself a job where I’d be happy enough to sit still.

Upon the realization my wondrously ample free time (and schedule flexible enough to break the back of your average Cirque Du Soleil contortionist) would be coming to an end, Holly Yeary, Thomas SeymourAbby Seymour and I decided to take a mid-week trip to one of the Canadian circus’ permanent residences, Las Vegas. For me, this was a last hurrah before accepting a dream offer to be a part of the Backbone Media PR team. (Psyched to be here!) These days, a vacation from your vacation is the only way to stay sane.

Thomas fear and loathing 8_pic corbin clement

Thomas cleans his route. This afternoon, we had a huge zone all to ourselves.

As fun as fist-pumping up in da club with Paris Hilton may be, we happily planned to remain far from the central attractions of the city. As this was the first time I’d ever done fly-in camping, I had no idea what to pack. So, due to $400,000 bag check fees, I ended up bringing barely enough clothing to keep my fellow return flight passengers from having to accompany a character of questionable appearance. 

After arriving to the campsite in Red Rock many hours after the night had, we slept immediately.  No sense dragging ass in the morning due to lack of sleep. That’s what coffee shops are for. Barred from bringing camping fuel by TSA, each morning we opted for the 5-minute commute from our campsite to Dunkin or the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  This was the soft man’s camping trip.

Thomas fear and loathing 5_pic corbin clement

Thomas leading Fear and Loathing while Holly and Abby watch. Taking this shot was very entertaining. I had to perch precariously on some very steep and crumbly sandstone. Scrambling the opposing face here was a perfect vantage point. I was able to stay level with and close to Thomas almost the entire route.

The first climb began on the alleged “classic” multi-pitch sport route, Unimpeachable Groping. After a hurried approach, we rounded the corner to the belay zone and Thomas’ fears of congregation were relieved. We embarked on an awesome 7 pitches of mellow crimping.  Not one other group arrived to follow after us. The next two days were filled with hot laps in more popular zones, all of which provided unbelievable climbs. I was lucky enough to be pushed by my monkey friends, as they showed no capacity for fatigue.

corbin american sportsman 1 pic_Abby Seymour

Everyone cleared out a little bit before this, as it was looking like rain. The weather missed and I was able to get in this last route of the afternoon. The face shown here was amazing, sporting the most consistent crimps the entire way up. I pause on one of the few good rest zones. Photo: Abby Seymour

holly ginger buttress final pitch b_pic thomas seymour

Abby climbs to the pinnacle of the final pitch of Unimpeachable Groping. Aside from what’s shown here, the climb offered 6 stacked pitches of vertical awesomeness. Regretfully, my rope management skills were frequently sub-par. Photo: Thomas Seymour

holly fear and loathing 3_pic corbin clement

Holly topping out. The rock here is so red. Don’t be fooled by the grey light. It glows in sunlight. Maybe that’s why they call it Red Rock Canyon.

Our last night there, we booked a hotel room which was supposed to have a complimentary spa. Checking in after a long day of climbing, ready to indulge, we were informed everything in the hotel closed at 7:00pm (except the casino, of course). We made do.

spa day_pic Thomas Seymour

Photo: Tomas Seymour

Backbone Media POV 2015 — “How Does Media Impact Adventure?”

Climber Tommy Caldwell, along with photographer Taylor Rees, Vimeo’s video curator Ian Durkin and grassroots marketing manager for Outdoor Research, Christian Folk spent a rainy afternoon last Friday nestled inside Steve’s Guitars in downtown Carbondale discussing, “How does media impact adventure?” The panel, moderated by Backbone’s own Penn Newhard, ran alongside the 5point Film Festival, which provided a weekend full of inspirational films, speakers, and festivities.


From left to right: Penn Newhard, Tommy Caldwell, Taylor Rees, Ian Durkin and Christian Folk. Photo courtesy of Anders Norblom/5point Film Festival

Tommy Caldwell and his climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson hovered thousands of feet above the ground during their record-breaking, free climb of the Dawn Wall in the Yosemite Valley in January. They were all alone on that monumental face, and yet the touch of a screen could ignite conversation among hundreds of thousands of people.

While 30 years ago their journey could have only been witnessed from those on the ground looking through binoculars, today, that journey was captured in real-time and shared with onlookers all across the globe.

It has Caldwell thinking.

“Do we climb for our own growth, or do we need to share that inspiration?” he said during the panel.

Essentially, Caldwell summed up the moral dilemma facing the interwoven nature of media and adventure: at what point are you taking away from the adventure with constant documentation and sharing?

Caldwell seemed to answer his own question when he mentioned that he dropped his iPhone off of the Dawn Wall. He insists it was an accident with a sly grin, but seemed relieved at the sudden freedom from the digital world.

“I would still much rather go on a trip with no content,” Caldwell said. “But I’m lucky because no companies have come to me and been like, ‘this is what you need to post.’”


Rees brought a different opinion to the table — on a recent expedition, connecting with the digital world provided some much-needed comfort. She was in remote Myanmar where her team (Renan Ozturk, Hilaree O’Neill, Emily Harrington, Cory Richards and Mark Jenkins) struggled with the brutal climate, lack of food, and illness as they attempted to climb Hkakabo Razi.

Rees’ posts during that expedition captured followers with their honesty. As she writes in a November 2014 Instagram post, “Sometimes you have to be stronger than you believe yourself to be…I huddle with them [the cooks] no longer afraid of getting sick. Pure conviction that i’m healthy as can be is my best chance.”

The desire to share your own story is nothing new, but the digital medium —especially social media— provides a window into the adventures of mountain athletes and enthusiasts. Their stories, often full of struggle, challenging circumstances and maybe a summit selfie, or two, are available to follow in real time.

“I think people are just trying to be moved  and that’s really the heart of it,” Caldwell said.

—Celine Wright

Cut Through the Noise with Integrated Strategies and Targeted Outreach

Look around your office: Is your colleague scouring a cool, new website? Is someone on a smartphone checking out Instagram or Snapchat? In the average workday, how often do you find yourself in a rabbit hole on your computer or phone, reading messaging from a brand or someone in your social circle enticing you to make a purchase?

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.04.15 PM

Consumer brands trying to cut through this noise face a significant challenge. Historically, marketing agencies recommended a siloed approach: advertise in publications that match your target audience and/or engage in a focused PR campaign with that same media.

Of course, this approach doesn’t cut it anymore.

We live in an omni-channel world where consumers not only go into stores, but they research online and survey social networks to gather even more information about products they might purchase. Moreover, they’re doing this research on desktops, mobile devices, and tablets 24/7/365—as well as leaning on their real-world social networks — to gather trend information. Every one of these touch points eventually informs their purchase decision.

This means two things: First, brands must develop marketing programs that can be supported through all touch points—there is no longer a hierarchy in determining where brands should share their message. That being said, utilizing the power of social networks and influencers should be approached with the same depth of strategy as traditional publications.

You can’t fight the power of social networks. Instagram and Twitter personalities are beginning to hold the same prestige as established print publications, and their ability to yield measureable results is staggering. See this engagement Lord & Taylor just brought to life on Instagram. I’m not arguing that a product pick-up in GQ is no longer valuable, but the sweet spot, now, is pick-up in GQ while simultaneously engaging in a digital advertising campaign and seeding that same product to a vetted list of bloggers and Instagram influencers.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 9.25.19 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 9.25.28 AM

Of course, remaining true to your brand and product is key throughout all of this. It’s ill-advised to pitch and send a new mountaineering boot from La Sportiva to a bunch of fitness bloggers simply because “They are active, too.” Finding the group of social influencers that speaks to your target audience can be tricky, but it’s essential to the success of a campaign.

There will always be room for traditional PR and advertising tactics, but as we look forward in the world of marketing we can no longer ignore just how interconnected our world has become. For brands and marketing agencies alike, acknowledging this and working towards a shift in approach to marketing campaigns will be crucial as we all learn to navigate this rapidly-changing landscape.

— Alison Nestel-Patt

Backbone Media Returns to the Big Apple

Twice a year, a critical mass of Backbone’s PR and media teams trade the Rocky Mountain corridor for skyscrapers, pavement pounding and a much wider array of cuisine. If you were in the NYC area last week and spotted a group of guys and gals rocking plaid, denim and athletic shoes, it was probably us – and no, we weren’t trying to pull off the Lumbersexual look.

Despite the rain mist, the event saw over 75 journalists, bloggers, photographers, stylists and publishers throughout the day. This showroom provided a platform for brands to reveal what is in the pipeline for fall and winter 2015. Fifteen brands were in attendance this year and covered a wide array of categories including fashion, active lifestyle, mountaineering gear, cycling, technology, deep-sea fishing apparel, and more.   Participants were Smartwool, Eddie Bauer, POC, Les 3 Valles, YETI Coolers, Polartec, Hoka One One, Vibram, American Pistachio Growers, Stio, Stower, Distiller’s List, Walls, Grundens and FluidStance.

This year we were lucky to have a hosted happy hour featuring fresh fish hor d’oeuvres from Grundens and premier cocktails from Distiller’s List.

For Eddie Bauer, last week in NYC was a double-header!  Following the Backbone Showroom, the brand held a launch reception for the new Eddie Bauer Limited Edition Collection by Ilaria Urbinati at Freemans Restaurant. A menswear line aimed at combining the heritage and original aesthetics of the brand with modern silhouettes and styling, the event targeted the who’s who of men’s design, fashion and style.

Attendees from GQ, Men’s Journal, Details, Conde Nast Traveler, Esquire, WSJ’s Off Duty, WWD, and many others made efforts to see the new collection. The notable celebrity stylist who has built her career ensuring the men of Hollywood are dressing the part, Urbinati’s long-time friend and client James Marsden stopped by to show his support of her line.

All in all, it was a busy week for Backbone in the city, and it never ceases to amaze us  with how tired you can get from walking around zero-pitch landscapes all day!

Until next time NYC,

Alison Nestel-Patt & Katie Wolitarsky


Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 1.56.06 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 10.28.11 AM



The Best Part of Work 2 of 2

All businesses have certain criteria and filters they put on their work.

At Backbone, our criteria boils down to if we believe in the brand.

Taking this beyond the work environment we can see how ‘believing in the brand’  manifests itself on a recent personal trip to Antarctica to climb Vinson Massif with friends Linden and Slinger.  Expecting cold temps between 0 centigrade and -40C it was pretty reassuring to be able to rely on client’s products for protection from the elements.

So, how do you pack for a few weeks vacation on Antarctic ice? Here’s a selection of some client and non-client products that went down south.


Russian Ilyushin 76 cargo plane on the blue ice runway at Union Glacier


Stio Rivet jeans and Otto Shirt

BD  Post Op Hoody and Mission belt

BD speed pack  – for laptop to ski touring pack

Lululemon Metal Vent Tech LS and Hoody


Lindon Mallory on the Twin Otter flying from Union Glacier into Vinson Basecamp

Core & Insulation

SmartWool NTS Lite  Baselayers – I’m a big fan of boot top 3/4 length bottoms as they alleviate bunching up of too many layer and boots

Polartec CoEfficient Hoody and Polartec Powerstretch tight – lightweight and warm

BD Stance Belay Pants

First Ascent MicroTerm jacket – lightweight and fitted to layer under jackets

BD Cold Forge Parka & Stance Belay Parkas – double down on the down


Slinger and Linden looking out from high camp

Hands, head and feet

Gloves – BD digital liner, Rambla, Guide gloves and Absolute mitt. Both Slinger and Linden used thr First Ascent Guide glove extensively.

Headwear – Kask Headband – assorted Buffs (TGR and Strafe) – old Patagonia Highloft shell hat, BD Balaclava and Cloudveil 4 Shadows Beanie. Regulating your body temp starts with your head

POC Iris goggles and Jeremy Jones Signature glacier glasses. Spare glasses were Revo Guide glasses

Thermacell Heated footbeds – remote control heat at the touch of a button. Great in climbing/ski boots and around camp

La Sportiva Olympus Mons  – these things are MONEY

BD Sabretooth crampons – probably the best all around crampon ever made

BD Quadrant ski boots with Intuition liners

Forty Below neoprene overboots (for ski boots and around camp)


Windy, cold conditions on the fixed lines


BD Vapor Point Shell

Stio Hardscrabble soft shell pant

Old School Marmot 8000 meter down pant  – yup, the old yellow and red ones


Linden descending from high camp



BD Carbon Aspect Ski

BD Ascension skins – dependability is king

BD Whippet, Raven Ultra ice axe and Expedition 2 ski pole. The Whippet is more versatile and handy than an ice axe much of the time

Assorted locking biners – (I went with a Magnetron Vaporlock which is super great with gloves/mitts on), wiregates (larger body types like the Hotwire is better), ATC, Express Turbo ice screw, prussiks, Tiblocs and 1 ascender, SMC pickets

BD Saw and Deploy Shovel


Lunch stop on the glacier


Penn’s special gorp – mix of shelled pistachios and chocolate covered espresso beans (protein, anti oxidants and caffeine)

Mix of cheeses, salami, proscuitto, crackers

Dinty Moores, Ramen, and Tasty Bites. Real bacon and burgers at basecamp.

Couple of boxes of wine, a flask of Genepi.

Assortment of Honey Stinger waffles and chews, GU and Chomps and Voke Energy Tabs. CLIF bars and Snickers


Reflecting on the summit

Sleeping and accessories

Big Agnes Doubletrack insulated pad – the pad is key to warm and comfy sleep

Big Agnes girdle – turns any stuff sack into a compression stuff sack.

Alps foam matt

Old school Feathered Friends overstuffed -40 bag – I have an extra long to stuff in liners, gloves and pee bottle.

MSR XGK stoves

Klean Kanteen insulated thermos waterbottles X2

GoalZero Solar Chargers

Lumix DMC – Gm1 – compact interchangeable lens with a 12-32 and 40 – 200 lenses. Great small camera.

BD Mission 75 backpack

Journal, Team mascot Paco the penguin. Paco summitted with us then hung on our Christmas tree and now lives in my 7 year old’s room.



Stuff I did not bring but my partners did and I was jealous

Gregory Makalu Pro Backpack  – my buddy Linden Mallory has guided all over the world with this pack. It has seen a lot of time and is a classic Gregory pack

Sea to Summit – Padded Soft Cell for electronics and Aeros Pillow Premium. Apparently Slinger now sleeps with his pillow at home

Coal Freya neck gaiter – super warm, wooly gaiter.