COLDSMOKE CHRONICLES: EXPLORING THE ALASKAN BACKCOUNTRY

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When Trevor Olsen and best buddy Brandon Baker told us about a trip they were planning into the Alaskan backcountry just as the seasons turned, we jumped at the chance to get our new Alpha-lite Pullover, Alpha-lite Bomber, eVent Shadow Anorak, and MA-1 jackets on their backs where they could be put to the test in a most unpredictable and demanding environment.

Gear in hand, Trevor and Brandon waisted no time, going straight from the airport to the trailhead of the Gold Mint Hut trail in Hatcher Pass where they hiked nine miles up-valley and sheltered through a night of snow in the pass’s iconic red hut. The next day they hoofed it nine miles further into a neighboring valley where wet boots were rewarded with breathtaking expanses.

From Hatcher Pass, they drove four hours north to Denali and hiked deep into the park, spending their last days camping at Wonder Lake, famous for its views of Mt. Denali, which rises  20,000 ft into the sky. Despite its size, and because of relentless cloud cover, Mt. Denali only shows itself to 20-30% of park visitors, and it kept itself hidden until Trevor and Brandon’s last morning in the park when they woke at sunrise to clear crisp clear skies and a glorious Mt. Denali, looming above them, blanketed in fresh snow.

 

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THROUGH CLOUDS AND WATER: A FILM ABOUT COLDWATER SURF CULTURE ON BRITAIN’S INDUSTRIAL NORTH COAST

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In this revealing short film, Tom Elliott and Simon Reichel, the duo known as A Common Future — explore the characters and culture of cold water surfing in Britain’s industrial north. Hardy locals brave freezing water and toxic waste to ride breakers along the smokestack dotted coastline they call home. “For the past few decades the factories have pumped vile stuff into that river mouth. In the words of the locals, if you go on the wrong day, the water fizzes,” says Elliot.   A spot called The Gare at the mouth of the river Tees churns out world-class walls in deep winter when you come out with icicles hanging off your face.

Through Clouds and Water from A Common Future

 

COLDSMOKE CHRONICLES: CRAFTING A LIFE ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD

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This summer we got a chance to visit woodworker and organic farmer Collins D. Heavener, at his studio and farm on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. Many people fantasize about living off the land and honing their artistic craft in a rural paradise, but few share Collins’ talent and drive to work their dreams into reality.

CS: What brought you to Martha’s Vineyard and what’s kept you there?

Collins Heavener: I first washed ashore following a lady friend. But ultimately it was landscape, the people, my friends, the farm–the fact that, by some miracle, I’ve been able to make a living for myself doing two of favorite things–farming and furniture making. That keeps me.

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CS: Your favorite kind of wood and why?

CH: I can’t choose a favorite child. Though, Claro Walnut has been making decent grades lately.

CS: What’s the first piece of art you can remember making?

CH: I remember drawing a lot as a kid. Mostly copying the graphics of my favorite skateboards from the latest CCS mag. I’d fill reams of paper with colored pencil drawings with those.

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CS: Favorite artists/ Greatest influences?

CH: My greatest influences have by far always been my friends. I mean, there are some pretty incredible people in this world that I and many other people admire, revere, worship, whatever. But for me it’s been the shitheads I grew up skating with in Southern Vermont who influenced me the most. Some of their parents were carpenters and they’d help us build ramps and other stuff to skate. I’d lurk around their wood shops in total awe of the tools and piles of wood shavings. That was the genesis of my interest in woodworking. One of those shithead friends of mine, Israel Lund, is still one of my favorite artists.

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CS: Favorite, and least favorite thing about being a farmer?

CH: I love getting to interact with the people who cook and eat our produce. I manage the wholesale accounts and farmers market for our farm so I look forward to making the rounds with my chefs and seeing what they’re cooking up. The market is always a blast, I have a bunch of regulars and friends coming out to say hi, seeing what’s the best stuff coming out of the ground each week. I really like the contrast of the solitude you have in the field and the zoo that is the West Tisbury Farmers Market.

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Wearing: MA-1 Bomber, Topographic T-shirt , Fidlock Shorts

 

COLSMOKE CHRONICLES : BAJA SURF + MIXTAPE

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Words and tunes by Rory McAuliffe. Shots by Walker Cole

Featuring the upcoming Womens’ MA-1, and Alpha-lite Pullover

Here are some things that happened on the trip. 7 large people 9 surfboards one un-roadtested 3,000 dollar van. Stopped in Encinitas for plantain burritos. Crossed the border late afternoon and suited up as soon as we got to Gaviotas. Got yelled at for taking wine glasses down to beach. 4-7 ft swell. House was decorated inside almost entirely of white marble.

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Got delicious tacos at K23 taco surf. Had delicious seafood and margaritas in puerto Nuevo, sat next to the possible future mayor of Baja at a little restaurant there with ivy covered windows. Did some barefoot bouldering while waiting for the tide to be right. Lots of home cooked meals.

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The highway one between the border and Gaviotas was beautiful and the coastline was rugged, big cliffs and turquoise and white water. Guys sitting in the beds of pick up trucks in Mexico laughed at the 55mph top speed of the van as they sped by.

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CONGRATS MASON STREHL: OUR WINTER #COLDSTOKED WINNER

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Congratulations to Pacific Northwest native Mason Strehl, this season’s #coldstoked photo contest winner! What can we say that his photos don’t already. Fantastic shots of fun times in beautiful places.

As for the prize, we’re outfitting Mason on his upcoming adventure from Bellingham Washington up to Fairbanks Alaska. The kit includes the MA-1, The Cruiser Jacket, and Aurora Down Jacket.

You’ll be able to follow along with Mason via our instagram feed. And don’t forget to tag your own adventures #coldstoked for your chance to win.

We asked Mason to select twelve shots from his portfolio and tell us a little about each. Check out the stories and splendor below:

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This photo is from a mid-summer camping trip around the Mt. Baker wilderness. After a beautiful sunset and a clear, starry night we awoke enveloped in clouds. Instead of heading out we built a fire and made some coffee and just enjoyed the cool, wet weather. It’s definitely something you have to get used to living in Washington.

 

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This photo is from one of my many “suicide trips” of the summer. I left town the day before around 11pm and drove 3 hours to the Maple loop trailhead. I took a quick hour long nap once I got there and started hiking to reach the pass by sunrise. I continued along the loop and snapped a picture of Heather Lake, then headed down to the lake and swam out to that island in the freezing cold water. After that I was thoroughly chilled and I headed home getting back around noon – not bad for 13 hours out of town.

 

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When I lived in Oregon, I used to spend days just driving the coast and hiking and camping all up and down it. This was before Instagram started blowing spots up, and there was nothing cliche about going and shooting anywhere. I actually stumbled upon Samuel H. Boardman State park completely by accident and captured it as I discovered it over the day.

 

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After a night of camping with some really good people. Dylan Furst (@Fursty) , John Winfield (@johnwingfield) , Bridget Smith (@wanderingalaskan) and I were headed out camping and we got an invite from Andrew Kearns (@andrewtkearns) to spend the night with him and Tina Niemitalo (@tinaniemitalo) out at a spot he knew about. We were joined by Bex Fairleigh (@youngbex) and we spent the night around a fire cooking and laughing and getting to know each other. The next morning we woke up to one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen and I captured Andrew capturing a portrait of Bex amid the morning light.

 

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Mt. Baker wilderness has quickly become my favorite place since moving out to Washington. I’ve spent way too much time just out and about wandering the colorful fields and forrest. This particular trip I headed out and got lost with one of my favorite dogs Millie the Golden (@millethegolden). This was caught just as the evening sun came down getting ready to set.

 

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This photo is from the hands down best sunset I’ve seen in my life. Another Mt. Baker adventure with friends, we reached Artist Point just before sunset and ran around like madmen shooting and staring in awe at the light and cloud display nature was putting on for us.

 

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Another “suicide trip”. This one was pretty insane, I left after work and drove to Whistler and met with one of my photography and videography idols Aaron Leyland. He told me about a hidden cabin back in the mountains, and as I didn’t have anywhere to stay for the night I headed out to find it. I eventually found the road and drove as far up as my car would take me. When I couldn’t drive up anymore I got out and walked with my gear in snow and heavy winds. I didn’t reach the cabin till around 10pm, and I was completely soaked through. I started a fire in the cozy cabin and a local cruised up in his old Land Cruiser and joined me for the night. He was nice enough to give me a lift back to my car in the morning.

 

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This photo is from the same trip as the one above, just on the way home. I got a bit tired driving back and decided to pull off the road just outside Squamish and take a quick nap. I snapped this before I went to sleep.

 

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Another trip out to BC. This shot came during a 24 hour trip up to Garibaldi Provincial Park. I took off at around 5pm and shot up and stayed the night in the Garibaldi Lake trailhead. I got up at 5am and hiked the 18km trail in just a few hours, but managed to catch a few good shots on the way. My engine actually ended up blowing up on the way home from this trip so the rest of the day consisted of a long tow truck ride and a strong drink.

 

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Me and Dylan Furst decided to head out for a day of hiking in the rain out in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and after a long day of wet and cold adventuring we settled into our camp site for the night. This was the view I woke up to.

 

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This photo was one of my more recent shots from a trip to Alaska. I traveled up to Fairbanks with Megan Evanson (@megan_evanson) for a week and we decided to head to Summit County for the day. We spent the day exploring frozen river beds, icy canyons, and some very cold mountains, all in a brisk -30º F.

 

 

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One of my personal favorites, this shot came during a recent trip to the Olympic Peninsula. It was my first time out there, and some friends showed me the good spots. This suspended tree is definitely one of those spots, and as I love to hammock, I decided to throw one up directly underneath it. More camp coffee was made, and more hangs with friends were had.

 

ICELAND BY WINTER

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Cinematographer Justin Kane  and Designer Faye McAuliffe explore Iceland’s west coast.

COLDSMOKE CHRONICLES: IRELAND

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SWIMMING HEADLESS: A SHORT FILM ON GETTING THROUGH BY BEING PRESENT

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It’s a hardwired fact – we have no control over the difficulties life decides to throw our way. But while we are all vulnerable and powerless to this force, it doesn’t mean we don’t have the power to choose how we react. When you learn to go with the flow, simply allow life to happen as it will, and enjoy every moment with those surrounding you, less emphasis is placed on the past or future and more appreciation is placed on the only thing that’s real – the now. The resulting sensation could almost be described as “swimming headless,” a phrase originated by philosopher Alan Watts and the title of this piece.

Inspired by Watts’ teachings, photographer Kellen Mohr (the subject of this short documentary) navigated through an impossibly difficult hardship by maintaining a calm center, taking it a day at a time, and somehow always keeping a smile on his face. He’s an inspiration and a legend, and we count ourselves lucky to have had the chance to hang with him through the process of making this film.

Swimming Headless : A short film on photographer Kellen Mohr from tispr on Vimeo.

 

COLDSMOKE CHRONICLES: EAST OF THE SIERRAS

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Photos and words by Kellen Mohr

We loaded up the truck, hopped on the 395 and rolled into Lone Pine by late afternoon. After a crucial stop at the skate park next to a McDonald’s, we headed up to the Alabama Hills in time to catch the golden light as the sun set behind Mt. Whitney and the Eastern Sierras.

On a previous trip we had found a killer campsite tucked under a large overhang and were gunning for it this time around, but we found another car already there. So we scrambled up some pinnacles to scout for a new site, reveling in the cooler temps and soft light as the sun slipped away.

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From our vantage we saw the taillights of the car at the overhang turn on. It reversed and wound away down a dirt road.  We sprinted back to the truck, hopping from rock to rock, dodging angry desert plants, and mobbed to our perfect campsite. Hooting and hollering, we set up camp, then split off to get cold beer from a gas station in Lone Pine while Chris and Michael stayed behind to gather fuel and get a fire going. We returned with provisions, swapped stories around the fire, then pulled a night exploration of the canyon behind our site, scrambling over huge boulders, navigating the rocky maze with our headlamps and guided by cairns.

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The next morning we woke at 7 and headed up Whitney Portal road to skate its steep curves. After bombing the few sections that weren’t riddled with gaping cracks and cheesegrater pavement, we headed back into town to meet up with three friends who were living out of cars and travelling all over the West in search of killer climbing. After taking a quick dip in a roadside creek they took us out to a route in the Alabama Hills called Shark Fin. We climbed as clouds painted themselves onto the evening sky.

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Next we headed up to Bishop, where our friends showed us a secret spot alongside a rushing creek overflowing its banks with snowmelt rolling down from the huge dark mountains towering above us. We pulled off the road, circled the wagons, feasted, and hit the sack beneath the shimmering Milky Way.

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Chris and I woke before sunrise and explored our surroundings as the morning sun turned the peaks bright creamsicle orange. We headed back into Bishop to fuel up at Black Sheep, the go-to meeting spot for the many itinerant climbers living out of their cars, then headed out to a nearby river to cool off during the day’s hottest hours.

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When the temps dropped to a sane level, we headed over to the Buttermilks, a world-renowned bouldering area home to some of the biggest bouldering problems in the world. We lugged our crash pads up to the surprisingly empty problems and gave them our best shot.

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That evening I saw one of the most breathtaking sunsets ever. A continuous lenticular cloud hovered over the sierras, its edges illuminated in fantastic shades of orange and pink as the light in the valley turned a deep, apocalyptic orange.

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Earlier that day Michael had found a $15 kids bike at the Bishop Gear Exchange, and decided then bomb down to the paved highway where he vanished into the darkness in a flurry of flailing pedal strokes. We followed his erratic track through the gravel, positive that we’d find him in a heap. Two miles down the road we caught up with him grinning madly, unscathed but covered in dust.

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As the darkness grew deeper, we headed north to spend the night at one of the many hot springs that boil out of the Long Valley Caldera. We found an empty spring where we whiled away the night with many a brew. Hypnotized by the Milky Way glowing above our heads, we lost track of time, eventually retreating to the truck and turning it in at 4AM. Rising in the morning, we all went our separate ways returning from what felt two full weeks of constant exploration, though we had been gone a mere 4 days.

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HYPEBEAST REVIEWS THE NEW TECH BOMBER

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Via Hypebeast: Premium outerwear brand COLDSMOKE returns with a seasonal addition to its 2015 fall/winter collection. Dubbed the Tech Bomber, the jacket is constructed with a Japanese soft-shell waterproof fabric that allows for optimal breathability and protection against harsh winter conditions, available in either a Charcoal or Deep Green colorway. The technical textile is bonded to a deluxe fleece lining that provides both warmth and comfort. Detailing on the piece also includes American-made waterproof zippers, heavy-duty custom knit ribbing, nylon gold-colored binding, and an inner media pocket. Combining both functionality and a rugged design, the piece is a standout wardrobe must-have for the colder months ahead. You can shop the Tech Bomber now at the COLDSMOKE webstore.

100 YEAR OLD LOST ANTARCTIC IMAGES

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CENTURY OLD ANTARCTIC IMAGES DISCOVERED IN CAPTAIN SCOTT’S HUT

Photographic negatives left a century ago in Captain Scott’s last expedition base at Cape Evans have been discovered and conserved by New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust.

The photographs are from Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Ross Sea Party, which spent time living in Scott’s hut after being stranded on Ross Island when their ship blew out to sea.

One of the most striking images is of Ross Sea Party member Alexander Stevens, Shackleton’s Chief Scientist, standing on-board the Aurora.

 

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Source: nzaht

MODERN NATIVE HUNTING CABINS

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With images that feel thoughtful and observant rather than prying or exploitative, photographer Eirik Johnson, explores the seasonal hunting cabins of the native Iñupiat in Barrow, Alaska.  The cabins are constructed using found materials along the Chukchi Sea, a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean.  By photographing these structures in both summer and winter Johnson’s series becomes “a meditation on the passage of time and seasonal shift along the extreme horizon of the Arctic.”

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COLDSMOKE CHRONICLE: ICELAND

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