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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SPRING #COLDSTOKED WINNER: THADDEUS COOK

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For this season’s #coldstoked photo competition, we tasked last season’s champ Kellen Mohr, with picking the new winner. Here’s what he had to say:

It was a pleasure digging through the thousands of beautiful photographs in search of this season’s winner.  I landed on lens assassin Thaddeus Cooke as this year’s #COLDSTOKED winner!  I based my choice on several criteria, the first of which is location.  Thaddeus gets after it in the wilds of Vermont; a place we don’t see on our feed quite as often as the PNW or Alberta or British Columbia, and his trips to remote plane-access-only Alaskan glaciers are icing on the cake.  Second, and this should go without saying; his photos are a jaw-droppingly good mix of clean, well-composed landscapes, perfectly timed action shots, portraits of good friends, and snapshots of great times in dreamy locales.  Third, his photos are powerfully evocative – the soft colors, thanks in part to his preference for 35mm film, harken back to simpler times when the experience was valued more than the shot, and they have the feeling of a memory.  All of this combines to create a vision of a cool cat staying true to his roots; one that we are more than happy to cloak in some Coldsmoke gear for whatever adventures his future holds.  At home in cold environments and always stoked – Thaddeus Cooke is this seasons #COLDSTOKED winner!

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GEAR REVIEW: INSULATED SHELL JACKET BY “MAN OF MANY”

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COLDSMOKE is a company of outdoorsman making products for those who share a similar passion. They seek gear that adapts to the various activities and environments that come with this lifestyle. Every design detail of the Insulated Shell Jacket, from its reduced, minimalist aesthetic to its cutting edge technical materials is based on the principles of adaptability and versatility. To materialize this vision, COLDSMOKE teamed up with another California-based gear company DSPTCH, who is well-known for their well crafted bags and accessories.

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The Insulted Shell Jacket features a laundry list of impressive details: eVent outer shell material, Polartec Alpha insulation in body, 3 panel ergonomically articulated arm construction, 3 way adjustable wrist closure with PRYM German made snaps; there’s more but we won’t keep going as the idea is clear. If that’s too complicated, just remember the basics: the material is super breathable and differs from your traditional waterproof breathable fabrics by its composition. Made up of millions of microscopic pores that work directly to vent sweat that builds up inside the jacket, it doesn’t require water vapor to build up in order to begin the process of venting.

The Polartec Alpha insulation was created for use in Special Forces gear, allowing it to adapt to a wide range of locales and activities without the wearer having to alter their layering in any meaningful way. The combination of style, tech and comfort results in the Shell Jacket being a real winner for anyone looking to have a diversely applicable outerwear item to keep for a long time.

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FIELD TEST: BACKCOUNTRY TO BIG MOUNTAIN IN THE TUNDRA PANEL JACKET

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Field test of the Tundra Panel Jacket by Kellen Mohr, our 2015 #coldstoked winner.

“Hope your 2016 is off to a fantastic start!  Shortly after I picked up the jacket from you in Venice, I made it up to Yosemite for a New Year’s touring trip out to Glacier Point with a few friends that were shooting a tent for Nemo Equipment and Huckberry.

The trip was the ultimate sufferfest- what turned out to be 21 miles of skinning & hiking in below freezing temps, and 11hrs of solo driving in 2 days; but my friend Bryson Malone @brysonmalone  took some pretty cool 35mm and medium format shots of me wearing your panel jacket.

The Tundra Panel jacket exceeded all my expectations for a storm-ready, highly breathable shell.  It efficiently regulated my internal temperature by blocking the outside wind and moisture, when used in conjunction with a series of synthetic midlayers and wool baselayers on this overnight trip.  The eVent fabric is extremely supple, and breathability is off the charts, while the drop-tailed design, storm collar, and massive pit zips (coupled with the slimmer fit) allowed me to dump heat as needed while touring out to Washburn Point.  I toured, cooked, slept, and reveled in the Tundra Panel jacket- what more could I want out of a shell?

After the first trip I had the opportunity to test out the Tundra jacket while skiing a storm cycle that dumped 3-4 feet of snow at Mammoth over the course of three days.  Again, it proved its worth with riding-ready, carefully thought out design elements: the season-pass pocket on the right shoulder, the well-designed powder skirt to keep blowing snow at bay, the cavernous hood that easily swallowed my helmet and moved with my head so as not to restrict my vision while skiing trees in blizzard conditions.  The supple fabric also proved to be surprisingly tough, withstanding multiple stabbing tree branches that I could have sworn had ripped right through the jacket.”

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KELLEN MOHR | 2015 #COLDSTOKED CONTEST WINNER

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Congratulations to Kellen Mohr, this season’s #COLDSTOKED winner! From the Cascades to our local Sierras, Kellen takes his 35mm deep and brings back wonderfully composed shots that would take most digital photographers a dozen snaps to get right, and he’s only a college student, still developing his craft. Can’t wait to see where Kellen goes next, and we’re glad he’ll have some Coldsmoke on his back.

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THESE HILLS AIN’T GONNA HIKE THEMSELVES: INSIDE HOOK TAKES OUR VEST TO LIBERTY CANYON

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Booze-soaked soirées. Online shopping binges. Watching back-to-back-to-back football games from your couch.

The holidays’ll make a sloth of those who aren’t vigilant.

So grab someone — a family member, a friend, a dog — and make for the hills, now with more green thanks to some late-fall precipitation. Plus: a delicious new picnic-supplier and some natty trail duds to pick up before you go.

The Hike

Liberty Canyon Trail is a moderate hike with tremendous views of the Santa Monica Mountains. Round-trip, the trail is 3.5 miles of hardpack with some ups and downs into canyons shaded by towering oaks and sycamores.

To get there, take the 101 up to the Liberty Canyon exit, then take a right and drive up the road until it dead-ends at the dirt lot. Walk north to the gate that says private property. Head left along the narrower trail that hugs the fence.

You go up. You go down. You hit a three-trail fork. The left trail weaves up along the ridge. The middle trail is a fireroad and kind of boring. The righthand trail is a single track trail.

Go with either left or right — they all merge eventually and lead to Morrison Ranch, which was in operation until 1964. Several of the sheds and the house are still there, fading away into the landscape.

You can head back from here forge ahead; the trail continues for a couple of miles.

Gear

There could be a nip in the air depending on the hour and day. The new insulated vest from DSPTCH and Coldsmoke is insulated but wicks sweat via the latter’s eVent technology. Also looks quite natty.

Picnic

Just as peace and quiet makes for good one-on-one time, so does a nice meal. Picnic LA, a new fast casual concept by the Lemonade crew, does curbside pick-up and online ordering with prix fixe dishes like oil poached Tasmanian trout with farro and squash. They’ve also got handsome picnic supplies — blankets, denim totes, etc. — for rent.

Get out there.

Via Insidehook

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.

KUNNAK SHIRT JACKET: REVIEWED BY OUTDOOR AESTHETICS

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Via Outdoor Aesthetics

Despite the Outdoor Clothing and Equipment market being overfilled with countless brands, very few actually manage to stand out from the pack. Lots of products are interchangeable; they’re basically the same, all you have to do is swap the logos. That’s why it’s such a challenge to find brands that offer quality products, are innovative, distinctive, and at the end of the day, look good.

Venice, California may not be the first place you think of when you think Outdoor Clothing. Still, Coldsmoke is one of these exceptional brands that have succeeded in creating an outdoor clothing collection that seamlessly unites function and design.

Introducing: the Kunnak Shirt Jacket.

The Kunnak Shirt Jacket from Coldsmoke is the perfect top for that in-between time of year when it’s too cold to be warm and not yet cold enough to be cold. The Kunnak is a hybrid between a shirt and a jacket, with the versatility of both. You can wear it open when it’s warmer or zip up and button up tight when it gets colder.

The Shirt Jacket uses water-resistant and windproof fabric from Schoeller and eVent. The collar is cut high and can be flipped up to provide extra protection from adverse weather conditions or worn down for more airflow. The fabric is soft and elastic and is very comfortable on the skin. It is also used for the sleeve cuffs, a nice design touch. Two breast pockets allow handy access to your wallet, notepad or phone, and two side pockets can be zipped up with waterproof zippers from YKK. Then there are two large inside pockets, which I especially like. With the minimalist design, you hardly notice how much you can carry.

On the upper left sleeve is a Velcro panel with a removable twill patch, which gives the shirt jacket a slight military touch. It has a nice modern look and brings with it more than a modicum of cool.

Overall, the Kunnak Shirt Jacket is not only highly functional and of the highest quality, it also looks great and is incredibly comfortable. With the Kunnak Shirt Jacket, Coldsmoke succeeds in combining functionality and design, maintaining all the while an elegant restraint and confidence, and staying true to their ethos of simplicity and complexity. There’s no denying that this LA brand is now definitely one of my favourites and I can hardly wait to see where they will take me next!

 

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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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SPRING 2015 #COLDSTOKED WINNERS (and Honorable Mentions)

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Congratulations to the six winners of our Spring #Coldstoked Instagram contest!!! The winners were @youngbex @allietheleon@foundlyfe @posiedonsbeard @ryderpete and @hun_jah! Each of you will receive a brand new Coldsmoke jacket for inspiring us with your photography. Thanks to everyone who posted pictures of their awesome adventures, and don’t forget to submit more this Fall for another chance to win.

See the winning photos and honorable mentions below…

 

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@cabinlife_alaska

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@youngbex

youngbex 2

@youngbex (WINNER)

vikingr.11

@vikingr.11

tonnydjk

@tonnydjk

_john_yo 2

@_john_yo

_john_yo

@_john_yo

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@danielwongikim

danielwongikim

@danielwongikim

dustinlalik

@dustinlalik

ericbeckstead

@ericbeckstead

ryderpete 2

@ryderpete (WINNER)

scottnvh

@scottnvh

sheilaismagic

@sheilaismagic

staciangeliques

@staciangeliques

thebusandus

@thebusandus

tomasohsnaps

@tomasohsnaps

 

@foundlyfe

@foundlyfe (WINNER)

WINNER

@alliethelion (WINNER)

@hun_jah

@hun_jah (WINNER)