This Week in Backcountry

 
Chill Videos: Because It's 96 Degrees Outside
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The image for today’s forecast is a glowing ball of orange—high 90s with humidity somewhere around 80 percent. The fluorescent lights in my office are off, fans are blasting and my dog is sprawled on the floor in a collapsed heap of fur. Here are just a few videos I’ve been watching to help keep cool.

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The Hard Way Out: Catedral Norte, Patagonia

“Oh God. It’s going to kill him!” I yelled as a lone ski flew down the mountain toward Sean. He was the first to ski the line and waited in a safe zone below as Wes dropped in. On the first turn, Wes’ telemark binding tore completely out of his right ski and zipped down the steep face. I stared in shock as Sean purposefully walked directly into its path. I watched helplessly from above and imagined the ski-turned-missile leaping up and impaling my partner below.

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The Nest Egg: IAN Fund to raise money for avalanche victims’ families
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When Ian Lamphere died in Colorado’s Sheep Creek Avalanche last April along with four others, he left behind a fiancé and eight-month-old daughter. In the months following the tragedy, friends, family and anonymous donors gave more than $40,000 to the family, in part to cover expenses for Ian’s service. Now Ian’s fiancé, Elizabeth, has created the International Avalanche Nest-Egg, or IAN Fund, to do for families and children what others did for her and their daughter, Madelyn.

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Tried & New: Smith Vantage
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A helmet is a necessity in the northeast—and not just because Mom says so but because we ski mostly in hardwood forests tighter than slalom courses. While a helmet would serve some good on impact against a tree trunk, most dents in my lid are from low-hanging branches. But, for two seasons, my Smith Vantage has kept me head-trauma free.

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Tried & New: Zeal Airstream

You can buy sunglasses just about anywhere—gear shops, grocery stores, gas stations—basically wherever there’s a cash register. But finding a pair that works for me can be more of a challenge. They have to feel right, not be too heavy, have full coverage yet not so much that they don’t fit with a helmet, and I don’t want them sliding around when I get sweaty. I own four pairs of shades, but only have one that really does it all.

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The Atwell Project: A Springtime Slushfest

Early last month Bret phoned me with an excited tone to his voice and a crazy proposition: an overnight assault on a looming mountain face that had been taunting him all winter. Bret lives in Squamish, B.C., and the face he’d been staring up was the southeast side of Mount Atwell (2,655 meters), a dramatic, diamond-shaped peak that looms above Howe Sound in the Coast Mountain’s Garibaldi complex.

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Keeping up with Kim: Kim Havell talks Otterbody, Blizzard and women’s ski movies

Last month, Kim Havell found herself alongside Pete Gaston and Brian Warren atop the Otterbody, a steep, exposed route on the east side of Wyoming’s Grand Teton. The Otterbody was first skied by Coombs and Mark Newcomb in ’96, and this was Havell’s third try this the season. Secret’s out—she skied it. And her descent, the first female descent of the 2,500-foot route, capped off an impressive season of bagging peaks and classic routes in the Tetons.

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Tried & New: Smith I/O

Have you ever really loved a pair of goggles? Like, when they got scratched, did you mope the same as when you blew an edge? Or were you once unable to sleep, antsy with anticipation to wear them the following day? Well me neither—I’ve never really loved a pair of goggles. I merely tolerate what I have, and when they get scratched, I buy a new pair. But somehow, the Smith I/O has been slung around my helmet for the last three seasons.

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Rainier Record Broken Again: Dorais Brothers Set Fast Time

After standing for just two weeks, Eric Carter and Nick Elson’s Rainier speed record has been broken. On June 5, Jason and Andy Dorais of Salt Lake City, Utah took more than 20 minutes off Carter and Elson’s top time, setting a record of three hours, 57 minutes and 55 seconds.

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