by Seth Lightcap. posted on 31 March
If you are willing to walk far with a heavy pack your front door can look like this.
Story by Jeremy Jones
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do then by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbor and catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER." - Mark Twain
This quote has gotten me off the couch and packing my overnight gear more then once. The comfort of the living room, a warm bed and a stocked refrigerator lull me into home life more then they should. The quiet call of the wild gets louder and louder the longer I go without real immersion in wilderness and disconnection from society. “Life is not meant to be lived in the padded cells of society and certainty”, I tell myself as I grab my overnight gear, crampons and ice axes.
Spring is the start of adventure season and the time of year I start looking at more serious lines and more grandiose missions. The days are long, my legs are strong, the mountains are filled in and the snowpack is usually more stable. It is the time to make a go at that hidden valley, high peak, or dream line I have been watching fill in all winter. It is the time to tick something off my mental “hit list.”
But every time I cross a line off the list I seem to add another dozen to it. No complaints though. That is the most wonderfully awesome problem to have. There are truly an infinite number of wild and untouched lines to keep one inspired and motivated for many lifetimes. There is no end game. A snowboarder willing to walk far and sleep on the ground will never say, “I have seen it all, been there done that or there is nothing left to do.”
With humble gratitude to our forefathers who fought so hard to protect national parks and wilderness areas, now is the time to celebrate their efforts by chasing away from society and exploring some new country. To inspire you to wander outside your comfort zone, here are a few tips to help you suffer a little less sleeping under the stars and my gear packing list.
Up with the sun and summoning the strength to shoulder this pack for a 14-hour push to camp. 70% of the time I loved the sled. The other 30% I battled like I have never battled before.
There is no need for extra clothes other then one pair of socks. You should be wearing everything you brought when the temps are coldest, otherwise you over packed. Have clean clothes at the trail head. Otherwise you may not be allowed in the restaurant for that much earned burger and beer.
This is the one area I do not skimp on. I bring less clothes, but an extra warm sleeping bag. In AK I bring a -20 degree bag, in the Sierra I use a 0 degree bag. A warm bag offers great piece of mind when freezing around camp as you know you can crawl in your bag and get warm. If you are under gunned and cold at night, go to sleep with a water bottle full of boiling water in your bag. Wrap the bottle in clothes so you don’t get burned and make sure to tightly close the lid. I also bring two sleeping pads - a lightweight inflatable pad and a foam pad. The foam pad will save you if your inflatable pad pops and it’s nice to sit on when cooking or chilling around camp.
Jimmy Goodman is the master of packing light and setting up a good bivy. Minimalist bivys can make for some hard nights though. Here he wakes from a cold night of massaging his toes.
Quick boil canister stoves may be small and lightweight but they can be finicky in cold temps or when you need to boil snow for water. For longer trips or boiling a lot of snow I always bring a liquid gas stove with a refillable fuel bottle. A broken stove or running out of fuel will end a trip early if you need to melt snow for water. Camping next to water can save you a ton of precious fuel.
If something goes wrong will you have communication with the outside world? Communication is crucial because any serious injury in the backcountry will likely require a heli evacuation. If there is no cellphone reception in the area you are traveling you should bring a sat phone or emergency radio/beacon. Also do not rely strictly on Search and Rescue to save you. Depending on the country or area you’re in, Search and Rescue may not be prepared to stage an immediate rescue plus bad weather and nightfall can shut down an evacuation. It’s crucial to have enough medical supplies to stabilize a person for the night if possible. For that reason, serious lines should be ridden in clear weather and in the morning. Always keep in the mind the consequences of an injury in the backcountry. Even minor lines can be a “no fall zones" depending on how remote the location.
The dream has changed for me. It use to be spending 20 grand on a private heli and riding 7 or 8 lines a day. Now the dream is to set up a base camp in a remote zone and spend a month climbing and riding virgin terrain.
Sleds are a great way to get the weight off your back when touring on roads or across glaciers, but traversing or climbing even a short hill can turn into a twelve round MMA fight.
As much as we try, keeping your boots dry when camping is next to impossible. Don’t be confused by that golden moment in between frozen boots and wet boots when your boots seem dry. The illusion will clear up in in the morning when your boots are frozen.
A few hour drive from home, some cold night/hard mornings and two days of walking is the price I paid to get here. Thirty years into snowboarding and it is the act of walking into new terrain for the first time that has me frothing over snowboarding like never before.
Socks (one pair for each day)
Down booties for camp
Lightweight tour gloves + warm riding gloves
Beanie + sun hat + neck gaiter
Insulated bottle for tea/coffee
Sleeping Pads (inflatable+foam)
Warm Sleeping Bag
Ultralight tent/bivy or tarp
Repair kit (ski straps, duct tape, zip ties)
First Aid kit
Ice axes or axe-pole
Splitboard + skins
Emergency radio or Sat phone
by Seth Lightcap. posted on 19 March
Jones Ambassador Geraldine Fasnacht crossing South Georgia island. Photos - Bertrand Delapierre
Honored to share a special trip report from an esteemed new Jones Ambassador. We are thrilled to begin working with the legendary Swiss snowboarder, base jumper and wingsuit flyer Geraldine Fasnacht. Geraldine is a veteran competitor with 11 Freeride World Tour wins to her name including 3 Verbier Extreme titles. She retired from competition in 2010 to focus on base jumping and expeditions.
In October 2014 Geraldine set sail for an incredible snowboarding adventure honoring the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s pioneering crossing of South Georgia island off the coast of Antarctica. Geraldine and her team followed Shackleton’s route from Elephant Island to South Georgia island and then retraced his infamous footsteps by traveling 50 km across the island on splitboards and skis. After completing the crossing they went on to establish first descents on other peaks.
Read on for images from the expedition and thoughts from Geraldine about the epic journey:
On October 4th we set sail from the Ushuaia Harbor at the tip of Cape Horn on the Austrailis, a polar expedition sailboat. We were a team of nine, most of us from different backgrounds including a scientist and two soldiers. There were three primary objectives for the trip: trace Shackleton’s route from Elephant island to South Georgia island and across, gather scientific data about polar ocean currents and glaciers, and if conditions allowed, climb and ride virgin peaks.
Crossing the Drake Passage to Elephant island took us three days. The seas were very rough so it was a tough crossing for me. Reminded me that water is not my element...
Arriving at Elephant island we were greeted by fantastic Southern Lights and incredible wildlife. The wind died slightly allowing us to take a boat ashore and make our first turns of the trip on huge glaciers that poured down into the ocean.
After a couple days on Elephant island we set sail for South Georgia island. The rough crossing took us four days. Shackleton and his men did the crossing in 16 days.
Upon reaching South Georgia we prepped our gear for an immediate attempt at crossing the island from West to East. After launching into the mountains for one night, bad weather forced us back to the boat to wait out the storm. We spent the next two days riding steep couloirs that end at the beach while waiting to begin the crossing again.
With a clear forecast, plans were made to leave early the next morning. Bertrand the photographer and I left the boat at 3am that next morning with the intention of climbing and riding a beautiful virgin face on Trident Mountain before we continue the crossing with the rest of the team.
That morning brought the most beautiful weather we had seen since the beginning of our trip. The views were impressive as we could finally see all the mountains around us. At the bottom of the face we switched to crampons as the face was long 1000 meters and steep 50°degrees. The ambiance was fabulous climbing up next to big ice flutes. At the top we could see from one side of the island to the other. Dropping in the snow was perfect as it had stuck to the ice layer underneath.
At the bottom of the run we met up with the rest of the crew and skied another 20km before we set up camp for the night. That was a big day!
The next morning we completed the traverse to the Grytviken fjord and rode a couloir down to the boat. The quick crossing left us hungry for more adventure so we set sail south to the Sandwich Islands. We sailed for another three days during which we helped Zoe the scientist collect ocean current data.
Bad weather cleared just as we arrived at the Sandwich Islands allowing us to go onshore and ride the Zovadoski volcano. When we landed on the beach all the penguins were playing and surfing on the waves. The snow was hard and icy but the views were so special that we didn’t care about the bad snow conditions. We were on top of a volcano in the middle of the Southern ocean surrounded by seals and penguins - truly a dream.
But every good time has to come to an end and that meant sailing back north to the Falkland islands. The seas were once again rough which made the seven day crossing the hardest part of the trip for me. Whale watching made it a bit nicer but I have never been so happy to stand on flat ground when we finally docked the Austrailis.
This teaser video narrated in French shows live action and riding footage from the expedition. The full-length film by trip leader Luc Hardy is entitled “’The Pursuit of Endurance - On the Shoulders of Shackleton” and premieres this March 27 and 29 at the Bow Tie Cinema in Greenwich, Connecticut. More info on the event here:
Follow more of Geraldine’s adventures in the mountains here:
by Seth Lightcap. posted on 10 March
Day for day, year after year, February is still the heavyweight champion of pow-tastic months around the Northern Hemi. While Feb 2015 did not set many, if any, snow records, no doubt the pow hunter’s sweetheart month delivered enough good lovin’ to maintain the title for another year...
Kicking off the report, check out this slash from the Teton backcountry by Jeremy Jones (@JeremyJones). The Tetons went off in Feb as the avy danger was unusually low.. You could ride steep lines in good pow that are usually unsafe. Photo - Allison Lightcap (@allisonlightcap)
Jumping across the pond, the Film For Food crew (@filmforfood) was doin’ their thing in Saas Fee, Switzerland. Here’s Wyatt Stasinos, Cory Stasinos (@coco-stasi) and Alessandro Boyens (@aleboyens) crushing a party run. Photo - @brown_anthony
You can bet Sten Smola (@sten_smola) was out and about in the Swiss Alps as well. Here’s a shot from one of his splitboard missions in the Valais.
No surprise where Luca Pandolfi (@pandolf73) scored epic Feb pow... under the cables on the Hellbroner, Italy
Congrats to Miikka Hast (@miikkaphoto) who became a father in February! He was understandably chilling at home in Finland with his wife and new daughter for the month but he still found some backyard pow turns on the Jones Mountain Surfer.
Ryland Bell (@rylandbell) stayed in Japan for the month of February. He found plenty of faceshots including a few mid-method, or as they call the trick in Japan, mid-old fashioned.
Whistler and the Coast range of BC are not having a great season. You know what that means? If you want fresh tracks you better be willing to earn them. Yuta Watanabe (@utawatanabe) is definitely willing.
Might look like pow turns but really these are one of the sweetest varietals of corn turns known to man... Taylor Carlton (@taylorc27) and crew tagged up Mount Shasta in the California Cascades.
No pow, no problem for Taylor Carlton (@taylorc27). He loves spring hucking on natural features like this Mount Shasta wind lip.
Forrest Shearer (@forrestshearer) found a tasty left-hander to surf in the Wasatch.
Did you see the latest addition to the Jones quiver yet?! We debuted the 2016 Storm Chaser at the SIA and ISPO tradeshows in February. This new pow-seeking missle is a collabo design with surf board shaper Chris Christenson (@chris_christenson73). Look out for the Storm Chaser at your local dealer next fall!
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