Tired of running, hiking, or just plain old gym hours in the winter time? This can be a great time to explore the outdoors with a variety of modes of transportation. Have you tried snowshoeing, or maybe even back country skiing? Both can be done with relative ease. This past Monday, I headed up to Stevens pass looking for some skiing. Looking to avoid the crowds and spend some quality time in the winter wonderland of the Cascades, I went straight to the resort parking lot. After dodging some Subarus and jamming to their latest dubstep, I hit the PCT. Thats right, it cruises straight through Stevens Pass and is mostly over looked by 98% of the shredders. It starts in the D parking lot on the north side of Hwy 2. It’s very mellow at this point and well within the trees providing for increased safety from avalanches. This makes for a great out and back trail. Even starting around 9:30, I still had first tracks that day. There is plenty of snow covering the well defined trail for both snowshoers and backcountry skiers looking to practice some skinning and increase or maintain those fitness gains from the summer.

Kevin Sullivan is an instructor and outdoor educator for both Kaf Adventures and Outward Bound. He was kind enough to write a blog on his experience and thought process when shopping for cams:  I’m not alone when it comes to commitments, or commitment issues for that matter. My logical mind contradicts my emotional half that says “just go for it”. When the consequences are low, then it really doesn’t matter; it’s just one side of my mind against the other. However, when you add a monetary factor to it, I have my own attention, not to mention this a commitment that will last a long time. For roughly an entire year-I have been considering how to finish my trad climbing rack. The task is daunting, but enjoyable for me; I crave organization and a solution to a mess. The mess is all of the manufacturers in the outdoor market and the solution is how it looks and feels on your harness. After considering a multitude of options, discussing with my climbing friends, and narrowing it down, I am convinced that the two industry leaders are Black Diamond and Metolius. Further, neither does everything really well, so it was important for

While traveling around India for a month, with a group of high school students, I decided that since I couldn’t be climbing, I would read about climbing. With this in mind, I dove into “Training for Climbing” by Eric Horst, to help with my continued growth and education. The book is a great resource and offers tools the help you analyze your current abilities, think about where you want to go, and to plan how to get there.  That being said, what follows are some basic takeaways that stuck with me; Personally, after doing a self-analysis, I came to the conclusion that areas I want/need to work on are; foot work, tried forearms, sore elbows, finger strength and the fear of falling. Other takeaways; It is helpful to video yourself climbing so you can analyze your technique. Also have other skilled climbers give you feedback and assess your technique. When climbing, visualize success. Develop a “pre-climb ritual” to prepare you mentally for a climb. To remove the fear of falling, you must get comfortable with falling, and evaluating the risk involved with the fall. Fall from 2 feet, then 5, then 10, then 20, then more. Practice! Breathe slow and

Yoga means union. It’s a practice of fostering tools within us to connect to our intuitive nature to live our true nature, true path, connected. Bringing outdoor adventures and yoga together is so symbiotic. For me time in nature fosters intuition as well as a deep respect and connection with my surroundings.   Truly being in nature, those moments in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the epic landscape. Those moments out of our fast paced society where you are confronted with yourself and what surrounds you easily tapping into your intuitive nature. Where your thoughts are clearer, more connected. When you give yourself space to be in awe of the little things your intuitive nature is nurtured. Where you push yourself, trust yourself and enjoy the journey. A great example of this symbiotic yoga and nature relationship is how in yoga and meditation we try to quiet the constant stream of thoughts to find that connection of the self and surroundings. One of the ways we do this is moving in postures with mindful, aware breath. Say for about a hour we go through several postures, maybe allot of them strenuous but all with mindful breath harnessing strength and ease to sustain. And to finish we allow ourselves to absorb that work, let’s say in savasana

This winter I have been dreaming of snow, skiing, and split boarding. With only 1 certification left in my IFMGA track, skiing is a top priority. However, I love snowboarding. I have always loved snowboarding. Why is snowboarding less effective in the back country? Most guides in this country truly believe that Alpine Touring is the most efficient way of travel in the back country. I have to agree with the argument especially with hilly terrain. Some arguments are about the transitions from skinning to downhill travel. I am going to disagree with this argument and I will show you why later in the blog. Last, most snow boarding boots don’t work well for other types of activities in the back country, such as mountaineering or ice climbing. This article shows exactly how to use a splitboard to travel in the backcountry as a climber and mountaineer and can keep up with your skiing friends. A fellow guide and friend, Steffan Gregory, has shared with me his split boarding set up that is the most effective for back country touring, transitions, and the ability go climbing as well. To begin with, the photo below shows the entire set up. In

Wanderlust: “a strong desire for, or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world” by: Brittany Goris It wouldn’t be a northwest adventure without rain all week long, but no amount of ill-timed precipitation could dampen the spirits of the thousands of people that flocked to Whistler last weekend for the Wanderlust music and yoga festival. Team KAF had the privilege of attending the event to manage the yoga hikes and present a series of climbing adventure classes for the participants, and in between the late nights of music and dancing and early mornings of meditation and practicing we were able to experience what it means to be a part of the international global yoga community, and get the opportunity to share our company mission with new and enthused people. Personally I might seem more in the right place at a climbers’ festival, associating with the mountain people that haven’t showered in a month, living out of their tricked out vans and throwing in a few burns on their project in between the clinics and speakers, so this was my first time being surrounded by so many yoga aficionados and being immersed in the unique culture they bring with

7,000 miles of flying can get you pretty far.  This trip took me to the southern hemisphere, the beloved region of the world known as Patagonia.  Lifting off from Seattle on a cold and foggy morning only to land at the 41st parallel, south of the equator, in the midst of summer and 100o weather. Mountains carry the same magic the world over, yet the varying cultures which surround them are special and unique, providing an experience so much more than a summit or vista.  The trails feel different, the language buzzing in your ears and mind, different foods and the ever present reality that your life is on your back for a moment in time. I came down here to work a course for a former employer, to have a moment back in a land which was instrumental in my development as a mountaineer, facilitator and human being.  Having spent almost 2 years of my life here already, it felt much more like a homecoming than a wild and new adventure.  Evenings full of conversation, dinners and an agenda full of trips with friends has made this adventure more than just a mountain escape.   Mountains tell such a

Seeking the climbing experience that we all desire…Infinite Bliss Moving over stone   “I just want to move over a lot of stone” said Mick as we were talking about getting out and climbing together. It seemed reasonable enough, there’s plenty of stone to move over in Washington State, I’m sure we could find a suitable objective. We began talking, a climb was mentioned called infinite bliss on Mt. Garfield. It’s a large route, 2,400 ft. in length. It’s approximately four times the height of the space needle and only 40 miles from downtown Seattle! It’s hard to imagine a face a large as Yosemite’s half dome in our own backyard. Though, it is as large as half dome the climbing style is much different. Half dome being mainly a crack climb, while Mt. Garfield is a face climb. This climb can be a hot topic in the Washington climbing community because it is a bolted climb in the mountains. There are pros and cons to bolting mountains and not bolting them. Today, we’re going to focus on the stories from the route and not stories of the route. Before I knew it Mick and I, as well as two

Ascending mountains is a contradiction.  So much effort and time is spent to attain some objective which offers little to the outside world in benefit, some would say.  KAF had the privilege to be a host for Summit For Someone, a fundraising effort for Big City Mountaineers this summer in an effort to raise funds for their programming by climbing Mt. Shuksan.  This was an extra special trip in that it was a Military Veteran specific climb, blending mission, philanthropy and adventure.   One of our participants, Shenan Sanchez, took the time to write the below reflection, and we would love to share it with the KAF community!  Enjoy.   “Between 08-11 September, I was a member of the Summit For Someone, Veterans Climb team on Mount Shuksan, Washington – A great program that serves an even greater cause.  As an infantry Marine for almost 20 years, I have spent many nights outdoors, extreme and otherwise; but I can honestly say that I had never undertaken the challenge of climbing a mountain.  The reasons why I did are simple:  I have a true love for the outdoors; and in a world that can be complex and dark at times, I purposefully seek the

Climbing Mountains is a passion of mine. Climbing mountains is also dangerous. Luke Humphrey Climbing Remote mountaineering in the North Cascades National Park is demanding and rewarding. The North Face of Mt. Shuksan is a mountaineering gem, tucked away in the northern part of WA. State. I was lucky enough to mentor and support Luke, Alin, and Catalin through the rigors of this iconic peak. Team work, communication, and the ability to work under stress and fatigue is a big part of the story. Follow the well done story  and beautiful pictures here:    

We had a great day yesterday climbing at Mt Eerie with an awesome crew of folks! Since I have done a few rock 101’s this season and reflected on what I taught and what our students learned, I had realized a good book is a great way to round out the course. I personally have really enjoyed Craig Luebben’s book, Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills. This twenty-dollar investment is well worth your time. If you find yourself striving to learn more as well as enjoy reviewing what you just learned this book is for you.  I purchased this book when I took my first rock climbing class and it has carried me through rock 101, 201, Traditional Climbing, Sport Climbing, Multi-Pitch Climbing and so much more!  As a teacher I am always learning and reviewing and when I find myself asking “why?” this book is there to give the best answer. Happy Reading! Cheers! Steffan Gregory  

A trip Report from Lenka Stafl on 6/23/12 Lovely participants Morrie, Zale, & Joe! Backpacking in the rain for 3 days can be fun it turns out. Walking through deep old growth forest in the heart of Alpine Lakes Wilderness can be enjoyable even in the rain, downpour and hail. Three participants and I marveled at the vibrancy of this Northwest Rain forest and managed to stay (mostly) dry and definitely smiling during our introduction to backpacking trip last weekend. It’s hard not to focus on the enormous amounts of ceaseless precipitation when you are surrounded by it and literally living in it; so we found a little cave to take shelter in, cook a delicious vegetable quinoa stir-fry on our camp stove and wrote poetry to the rain. This is what we came up with: Some Haiku’s for you!   The sky is falling Forest exhaling liquid Spilling off my hat     Buck of moisture Bringing light and smiles despite Thunder, lightning, hail     Water is neither Death nor life but together: It simply is ALL     Hydrogen Unites With Oxygen seducing Bringing rain, rain, rain     There’s Rain snow and hail Bag, hat, sock boots

Moving into the Summer season… This is where Pacific Northwestern’ers earn our reputation for being hearty.  There is always something to do outside, even if it is not perfect weather.

People have many reasons for climbing mountains, for endeavoring and struggling to reach the high places of this planet.  Don Wheeler shares his story, from 1977.

Breathing Mountain Air, finding your center while being immersed in Nature.  Discover a new view from your Yoga Mat.

As summer comes to a close, we are starting to prep for the 2012 season! Woah, what a great year we’ve had! We have some cool ideas, trips, & events coming for the next year. We are excited and we hope you are too. Our fall newsletter will come out soon with some details. In the meantime, we’re in the process of switching over our email list to a new platform. As the KAF community grows, it’s been increasingly hard to keep track of everyone in our old system.  Unfortunately we were not able to transfer everyone into the new system. If you’ve received our newsletters in the past and still want to receive them, please use the form below to sign up!

KAF Adventures has a new intern this year! Woo hoo! We’re so excited to have Steffan on board this summer. He’ll be helping us get organized for the summer season and working with our teams in the field.  Geeking out on gear, working with professional educators, and seeing some cool places in the Cascades, not bad! Steffan is a Pacific Northwest native. He cut his teeth on the slopes of Mt Baker as a skier and then took it backcountry with a splitboard. He’s an active member of King County Explorer Search & Rescue, and volunteers at Mt St Helens. What a stud! We’re excited to have him on the team. Please give him a warm welcome by leaving a comment. You can read his full bio on our about page.

KAF Adventures’ head guru, Mick Pearson, ponders “To Gaiter or Not To Gaiter” in a recent Seattle Backpacker’s article.

Vlogs (video blogs), tech tips, dispatches, oh my! One of our goals for the new website is to connect with our clients and outdoor community. One way we want to do that is by creating video content which updates you on what’s going on in the KAF world, a tech tip library for you to reference, and provide in-field updates from our courses & trips. To see our videos, you can subscribe to our blog’s rss feed, check in at our new video page, or subscribe directly to our youtube channel.

This month an article was published in Seattle Backpacker’s magazine. I was able to finally express my passion for both backpacking and yoga outdoors.