5.23.2017

Planning Your Next Adventure Just Got Easier

Planning your summer adventure? Thinking of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or climbing Mt. Hood? Or how about upping your climbing game or refining your rope skills? Ever wondered what climbing Everest was like in the 1960s or the early history of Andes exploration? As a member of the Mazamas, you have access to over 2500 hiking and climbing guides, technical and how-to books, DVDs, maps, and more! Finding those resources got a whole lot easier.

The Mazama Library is launching an online library catalog! For the first time in the library’s 101 year history, we’ll know what is on the shelf at any given time. Beginning June 1, you’ll be able to search the catalog by going to mazamalibrary.org and clicking on the Search Library Catalog link.

What does this mean for you? The online catalog will allow you to search the collection and put books on hold. You will still need to come to the library to check out and pick up your books. You do not need your patron number to put books on hold, but you will need a number to check books out. The library will begin giving out patron numbers on the first of June. See the librarian or a library volunteer on your first visit to get your patron number. They will also assist you in checking out books until you become familiar with the new system. (We strongly recommend that you do not put your patron number sticker on the back of your Mazamas ID card. You are issued a new ID card every year when you renew your dues with the organization. Your library number is good for as long as you are member in good standing and will not be reissued each year. We recommend that you put the barcode sticker on the back of your driver’s license or other semi-permanent card in your wallet.)

Along with the new system, we are also updating the library’s circulation policies. You will now be able to check out five books at a time for a month. We are also introducing a new, shorter loan time of two weeks on new releases. You will be able to renew new releases as long as no one has put the title on hold. The non-circulating policies remain the same for journals and special collection rare books.

Whether you're planning your next weekend away or want to increase your mountaineering knowledge, save yourself time and money and start your research with the Mazama Library. Remember, it’s yours to use!

The Mazama Library is open Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 

Searching the Catalog:
Visit www.mazamas.org/resources/library and click on the Search Library Catalog link. You will be redirected to the new library online catalog. At the top of the page you will see the search box. The default is to search by “All Words,” this will search all the catalog records, across all the catalog fields (title, author, publisher, terms, etc) and return a list of titles that contain that word. You can refine your search by clicking the down arrow next to “All Words” and selecting Title, Author, Subject, etc. This will help narrow your list of results. 

Putting a title on hold: 
The search results screen you will see the title, author, call number, ISBN (if present), publisher info, and any local holding notes. To the right you’ll see the number of holdings and number available. Click on the Request Hold button. The next screen asks for your name, patron number, and email. Your name is required, and while optional, your patron number and email will help us better serve you. You are also given a space for any special requests or questions related to your hold request. After filling in all the fields, click the “Request Hold” button at the bottom of the screen. If the title is available, it will be put on the holds shelf at the library. If the title is currently checked out, you will be put on a waitlist for the title and we will email you when it becomes available.

5.22.2017

The Grand Canyon: Rim to Rim in One Day

Amy, Michah and Keith at Bright Angel Point on the North
Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Photo: Keith Daellenbach

by Keith K. Daellenbach

In June 2016, a month after starting a new engineering manager job at a Portland company, my boss allowed me to head out on an epic 24-day road trip with my wife, Amy, and our 10-year old son, Micah. I am grateful for the generous vacation right after starting a new job. We made the most of it driving over 5,100 miles, hiking 103 miles, and visiting nine National Parks, two National Monuments, one National Recreation Area, and two Native American tribal parks in the desert southwest and in Colorado. It reminded me of the road trips I took with my family when I was a kid in the Brown family Ford Ranch Wagon, a veritable boat launched each summer for discovery. The highlight of last summer’s tour was the one-day, rim-to-rim hike across the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Of the Grand Canyon, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.” While the Grand Canyon National Park was established in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, it was President Theodore Roosevelt that first established it as a National Monument in 1908.

A little more than half way through our trip exploring the Colorado Plateau, we arrived to Grand Canyon National Park. Earlier in the trip, we were only a few miles from the headwaters of the 1,450 mile long Colorado River at Milner Pass (10,759’) on the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park approximately 750 miles upriver from Phantom Ranch. The drive up to the South Rim is admittedly not particularly noteworthy, but once at the edge of the Grand Canyon itself, the earth opens up with a vast maw miles across and over a mile deep. I could not help but chuckle recalling the irony of Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold’s character in Vacation (1983) who, upon first seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, impatiently responds to his wife’s question, “Don’t you want to look at the Grand Canyon?”, with an abrupt scenery scan and, “Ok, let’s go.”

Originally, I figured we would split up the hike with a stay at Phantom Ranch lodging at the Colorado River crossing, but by the time I planned this hike, those accommodations had long since been snapped up. So too were all sites at backcountry campgrounds (Cottonwood, Bright Angel, Indian Garden) along the route. The application for these backcountry permits occurs some five months before the hike. Not to take anything away from staying overnight in the Grand Canyon, completing the 23.5 mile hike in one day means far less gear required as it is essentially reduced to a long day hike. The beauty is no backcountry permit is required for a day hike.

Each year, this National Park receives over 350 requests for assistance by hikers experiencing a variety of issues including fatigue, heat exhaustion, underlying medical conditions, and lack of preparation or planning. Warning signs along the rim are ubiquitous, including those blaring “Caution! Down is Optional, Up is Mandatory!”. Given the summer heat an be suffocating, paying heed to these warnings is warranted. We planned for each of us to have plenty of caloric food, lots of salty snacks and protein, and plenty of water and electrolyte drinks. Amy made sure we each had lightweight hiking pants, full sleeve shirts, sun hats, and sun screen. If we had to stop at night, where the desert temperature can drop dramatically, each of us had a lightweight down or polar fleece jacket and an emergency space blanket just in case.

There are probably several ways to dial in logistics for this point-to-point hike. It makes sense to start at the North Rim and hike to the South Rim because trailhead at the North Rim (8,241’) is over thirteen hundred feet higher than the trailhead at the South Rim (6,860’), so there is less elevation gain than elevation to descend. For transportation to the North Rim, we packed our day packs and, wearing only our hiking clothes and shoes, parked our car at the Maswik Lodge and took the one-way Trans-Canyon Shuttle (www.trans-canyonshuttle.com, $90/per person). This van shuttle departs twice daily from the South Rim at Bright Angel Lodge for a 215 mile, four and a half hour trip. It crosses the Colorado River over Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon (river mile 684.2 as measured from U.S./Mexico border) just down river from Lees Ferry on the way to the Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge. There, we checked into our frontier cabin adjacent to the historic lodge (ca. 1930’s) and had a feast in the cavernous main lodge dining room. One last niggling bit of logistics required arrangements for transport from the Lodge two miles back up the road to the North Kaibab trailhead. I didn’t want to add any distance to the already long hike, so I offered “Jack” our Trans-Canyon Shuttle driver, who was staying on the North Rim overnight, forty dollars to take us there at three in the morning. He responded by saying he would be able to do it if we could agree on the price of twenty dollars. Sold!

So, after our feast and evening stroll around the grounds of the lodge, we retired to soft, warm beds and set the alarm for 2:30 a.m. We awoke, and Jack was outside waiting for us with the engine running and drove us over to the trailhead under cover of darkness. By 3 a.m. we were underway. An ominous flash of lightning lit up the forest, and a few rain sprinkles dried up quickly in the desiccated air. Over 14.5 miles, the trail descends 5,761 feet to where it crosses the Colorado River at 2,480 feet. For the most part, it is a gradual descent along a wide hiking trail. The upper sections navigate across cliffs of sedimentary rock hundreds of feet thick; in some places the route has been blasted into the cliff itself so it is nearly a tunnel with only one side open out to a precipitous drop. There is, in fact, one short section blasted directly through buttress of rock named Supai Tunnel. While expertly trained, this descent on the back of a mule would be unnerving for me.

As the morning wore on, the stars overhead lost their illumination and the first hints of sunlight striking the upper cliffs now high above us took on colors of purple, red, orange, yellow, and cream. We continued our descent. One of the remarkable things about this hike is the abundance of potable water. The Kaibab Plateau through which the Colorado River cuts the Grand Canyon dips north to south, so surface water and melted snow permeating rocks on the north side of the canyon essentially flow towards the river while surface water permeating rock on the south side of the canyon essentially flows away from the river. This manifests itself at Roaring Springs, 4.7 miles hiking below the North Rim. Here, tremendous volumes of year-round water emanate from a Paleozoic layer between permeable Muav limestone resting on top of an impermeable Bright Angel shale.

This water is treated at Roaring Springs and is pumped both up to the North Rim and, conversely, allowed to drain down to Phantom Ranch where it is pumped across the river in a pipe on the underside of the silver suspension bridge (ca. late 1960’s, river mile 601.15) and up to the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. Nearly six million people visited Grand Canyon National Park last year and most of them came to the South Rim, so it is a tribute to the bountiful Roaring Springs and the engineering feat which pumps 500,000 gallons of water a day up to the South Rim Village. When all drinking water fountains are in operation along this trail, which are between one and seven miles apart, cool, clear water from Roaring Springs is available. It is possible that this pipe distribution system could erode and break leading to no potable water at the fountains for sections of the trail. Always carry plenty of water on all trail sections and note that water from Bright Angel Creek (north side of river) and Garden Creek (south side of river) can be filtered for use if the fountains are not in operation.

Keith, Amy and Micah beside the Colorado River in Grand
Canyon National Park. Photo: Keith Daellenbach.
As the day warmed, at each fountain, we religiously stopped, ate, drank water, and doused our hiking shirt and caps in water and put them back on. Evaporative cooling fended off overheating for some time before our shirts and hats dried out before the next stop. Once in the canyon, the perspective changes from the glorious vistas over the gaping chasm to close in-cliffs, side canyons, and desert scrub flora, including prickly pear cactus and blackbrush. Along the way, we saw desert spiny lizards and mule deer.

We reached Phantom Ranch (built ca. 1922) before noon and poked our heads into the dormitory accommodations. While clean, to me, it looked a little dodgy given some of the region’s rodents carry infectious diseases like hantavirus. While we were there tanking up on water, a ground squirrel tore into the backpack of one of the Phantom Ranch guests. If it were me staying there, I’d prefer a tent. In any case, don’t feed the wildlife as they can not only spread infectious diseases through fleas and ticks, they can also be aggressive causing injury.

It was here, where clear Bright Angel Creek deposits into the Colorado River, that one-armed Civil War veteran Major John Wesley Powell and his pioneering geographic expedition arrived on the 84th day of their expedition on 16 August 1869. Starting in the Wyoming Territory and down the great unknown of the Green and Colorado Rivers, they explored and mapped one of the last truly unexplored regions of the contiguous United States. They spent a couple days repairing their wooden boats and drying out meager rations. His original name for this creek was Silver Creek, but later renamed it to its present name. We went down to the river’s edge and watched the muddy water race by; the river there is about 150 feet wide.

We crossed over the silver bridge, and the temperature was hovering slightly over 100˚F. Amy felt like we were walking through time, starting with the Precambrian basement Vishnu Schist rock—1.7 billion years old and containing intrusions of red-flecked Zoroaster granite. Indeed, the Grand Canyon is one of the most complete records of exposed geologic layering in the world. While the rocks are ancient, the canyon itself is young. Like a layer cake rising against a blade, it formed primarily in the last six million years as the Kaibab Plateau uplifted allowing greater river gradient and therefore fast erosion by the river.

Hiking up 4,380 ft. in elevation from the river over 9 miles along the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim, one eventually leaves the metamorphic schist of the Inner Gorge and passes through layer after layer of sandstone, shale, and limestone formations that were the result of millions of years of marine depositions into the Panthalassic Ocean prior to the formation of the supercontinent Pangea. The rock layer that caps the South Rim is 270 million years old. Along our way, we broke one of the cardinal park rules by hiking during the oppressive mid-day heat but we took our time. We were careful not to overexert and actually felt fine, taking frequent rest and water/food breaks. We ended up in semi-rescue mode of a former infantry soldier who had served in Iraq and, while very tough mentally, was woefully unprepared lacking basic provisions. We leap-frogged each other out of the canyon and by the last time we saw him a couple miles below the South Rim we had given him water, food, ibuprofen, ace bandage, a trekking pole, and a headlamp (which he returned to our lodging later that night).

The last push to the top above Indian Garden Campground climbs through a wall comprised of 3,000 ft. of cliff formations that look impenetrable from below. This remarkable trail threads its way through natural weaknesses in the cliffs. In the evening, as we were nearing the rim, we saw a flash of lightning . I measured 45 seconds on my wristwatch—a little over 9 miles away (speed of sound is roughly 5 seconds per mile). Indeed, the storm cell appeared to be parked about that distance away over Phantom Ranch. As the measured time between flash and sound decreased to 35 seconds (about 7 miles away), I told Amy and Micah we would have to pick up the pace on this exposed trail near the rim to make sure we reached the safety of buildings on the rim before the storm overtook us. Fortunately, after 16:44 hours of hiking, we arrived at the South Rim just after sunset and dove into the gift store at Bright Angel Lodge just as it started to pour. Here, we purchased “rim to rim” T-shirts. Micah gave his all on that final push to the top and threw up in the restroom, feeling better afterwards. Tough kid. With that behind us, we celebrated our accomplishment that night with a hot shower, meal, and a soft bed at Maswik Lodge a few hundred yards from the Rim—our epic completed.

Americans have a propensity to boast about how great our country is, and the Grand Canyon is truly one place that will not disappoint. If you’re planning a visit the Grand Canyon and want to hike, consider skipping the bureaucracy and heavy pack and hike through geologic history on a long day-hike traverse of this amazing national treasure.

5.15.2017

Oregon Pursues Office of Outdoor Recreation

Photo: Andrew Holman
by Michael Vincerra

The outdoor economy in the United States is prospering, “ ... each year generating $887 billion in consumer spending,” per the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). While it’s hard to imagine that dollar figure, consider it in terms of jobs. The OIA’s 1,200-plus member companies, “ ... support more than 7.6 million American jobs and provide $124 million every year in federal and state tax revenue.” Why is that important? More outdoor recreation means more economic growth. And more funding for conservation and outdoor recreation in Oregon.

Perhaps more importantly, when state government supports industry by creating an office to facilitate that growth, the outdoor industry returns the favor with economic stimulus. A public/private partnership is born. The outdoor industry has a champion. Synergy starts.

“In Oregon, it's about a $12.8 billion annual industry, and it creates about 141,000 jobs,” says Adam Baylor, Mazama Stewardship & Advocacy Manager. "That contributes to state and local taxes."
Along with Mazama Executive Director, Lee Davis, Baylor worked tirelessly since early 2016, advocating for the creation of an Outdoor Recreation Office in the state of Oregon. If established, an Office of Outdoor Recreation will guarantee that outdoor recreation has a representative in Oregon’s state government.

With Oregon’s 2017 budget deficit over $1.5B, and the President's proposed federal budget cuts as of March 2017, Oregon’s outdoor recreation industry remains fragile. For example, take the proposed cuts to the Department of the Interior: $1.5 billion, including $120 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

According to Baylor, "There's been a trend in the last 50 years to de-fund recreation." And Baylor takes issue with that: “That's a bad idea. If the states and federal government put a little more money into funding [outdoor recreation], that would be a multiplier. If you can promote it and people want to use your outdoor recreation assets, then you'll make money. It will attract those businesses or companies that want to set up shop in Bend or Portland because of the proximity. To grow that outdoor industry cluster, one strategy is to take what Utah, Colorado and Washington did, and implement that in Oregon."

UTAH, WASHINGTON, COLORADO
Utah, Washington, and Colorado have taken different approaches to create of an office of outdoor recreation—by task force recommendation, legislation, or appointment. Utah’s Office of Outdoor Recreation, the first of its kind, was created by Governor Gary Herbert in 2013. Washington’s Senior Policy Advisor, Outdoor Recreation & Economic Development, was introduced via SB 5843, and signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee in 2015. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Luis Benitez for the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office in 2015. In Colorado, “The industry stirs $13.2 billion in annual consumer spending, generating $994 million in local and state taxes” (Blevins, Denver Post).

According to the OIA, all states, “ ... share a focus on traditional economic development—incentives, workforce development and related work—as well as outdoor recreation through legislation, education, and public lands management.” While all states’ offices have a dual focus on economic development and outdoor recreation, each state customized the role depending on their economic priorities.

WASHINGTON AS A MODEL 
Oregon has learned from Washington, which developed a good process for establishing an office of outdoor recreation. At first in Washington, Baylor states, “They went back and forth on whether to create a cabinet-level policy advisor and use the Governor's budget." Finally, Governor Jay Inslee created a blue-ribbon task force to look at the issue around Outdoor Recreation. Per Baylor, Washington assessed, " ...the need for state-level leadership, concluding that they needed a key person to talk to when [they] had problems." Finally, Baylor says, “Washington's Blue Ribbon Task force made recommendations that shaped the work plan for the Office to move forward." As Mazamas Executive Director Lee Davis said during his recent interview with Dave Miller on the OPB radio program Think Out Loud, Washington’s Senior Policy Advisor is, “ ... working directly with the Governor to try to make sure that as laws are enacted in Washington, they’re paying attention to recreation along with the other critically important sectors like healthcare and energy.”
In Oregon, the impetus for an Outdoor Recreation Office grew out of the 'Oregon's 7 Wonders’ campaign, organized by Travel Oregon. Formally known as Oregon Tourism Commission, Travel Oregon, is "... a semi-independent agency created by the Oregon Legislature in 2003 to enhance Oregonians’ quality of life by strengthening economic impacts of the state’s $10.8 billion tourism industry."

In 2016, Travel Oregon took Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer on the Seven Wonders' Tour to allow them to listen to the citizens of Oregon and the needs of outdoor recreation. Leading out of that experience Senator Wyden introduced a bill, Recreation Not Red Tape, which seeks to remove bureaucratic barriers to expanding recreation opportunities and specifically supports the creation of outdoor recreation leadership positions at the state level.

Then in the summer of 2016, Travel Oregon convened a group of leaders in outdoor recreation, including the Mazamas, “ ... to make sure that as we look at expanding access to outdoor recreation, we’re considering everybody who has a stake in that conversation,” says Lee Davis. “It’s a necessary step to be qualified for access to federal funds in land and water conservation.”

On behalf of the Mazamas and our partners, Baylor lobbied for the Outdoor Recreation Office in Salem—and in support of a bill developed by Representative Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) and co-sponsored by Representative Ken Helm (D–Beaverton). Rep. Johnson was also a part of the leadership team for Travel Oregon's Outdoor Recreation Initiative. The Mazamas reached out to the OIA, Rep. Johnson and Rep. Ken Helm, and coordinated with local industry leaders to hash out a plan for Oregon’s Office of Outdoor Recreation.

OREGON HB 3350
Oregon HB 3350 states that it, “Creates Office of Outdoor Recreation within State Parks and Recreation Department. Creates Associate Director of Outdoor Recreation. Prescribes duties of office and of associate director. Creates Outdoor Recreation Fund. Continuously appropriates moneys in fund to State Parks and Recreation Department for purposes of Office of Outdoor Recreation.”
Baylor adds, “It would also allow local companies to advise or contribute to the work plan, and order a statewide inventory of recreation assets.”

A key provision of HB 3350, Section 4(b) is to, “Maximize public and private investment in the outdoor recreation industry and in outdoor recreation activities in this state.” On April 3, HB 3350 passed through the House Economic Development and Trade committee unanimously, and its fiscal impact will be examined in the Senate Joint Ways and Means Sub-Committee on Natural Resources.
Lee Davis concludes, “In the face of population growth and urbanization and congestion [HB 3350] is making sure that the reason we all love living here is still in place in future generations. When people spend time recreating outside, it helps them develop conservation values, which is really important to the Mazamas.” Establishing this office, Davis contends, is, “ ... making the argument that outdoor recreation is a must-have value and not a wish-list item.”


To learn more about Oregon HB 3350 (2017), visit: oregonoutdoorrecreation.com

5.08.2017

Alternative Summer Hikes

Views from Starvation Ridge. Photo: Kevin Machtelinckx


by Kevin Machtelinckx


With great weather comes great compromise here in the Pacific Northwest. For hikers seeking to soak up that coveted vitamin D and get the blood flowing in those legs, that compromise usually comes in the form of sharing the trails with countless others having the same idea. With Portland’s booming population in recent years, some of the go-to hiking spots that once allowed us to escape the bustle of the city are attracting crowds as big as you’d encounter at a Portland Trump protest. For better or for worse, Eagle Creek, Dog Mountain, Saddle Mountain, Hamilton Mountain and McNeil Point all seem to have succumbed to the same overpopulated fate in recent seasons. So where might one set their sights if they still want to get out and beat the crowds? Check out a few of these lesser-known hikes that offer alternatives to their popular counterparts while maintaining a reasonable distance from Portland.

Spruce Run Lake—Alternative to Saddle Mountain
Though not comparable to the views found on Saddle Mountain, this 6.8-mile out and back hike to a secluded lake gives you the opportunity to explore the vegetation and foliage common to Clatsop State Forest. This hike starts in the Spruce Run Campground but soon heads into the dense forest where few people think to venture. At 1,580-feet of elevation gain, the hike provides a nice alternative on hot summer days by staying out of the sun and next to a water source.

Hardy Ridge—Alternative to Hamilton Mountain
Table Mountain from Hardy Ridge in autumn. Photo: Kevin Machtelinckx
What this hike lacks in waterfalls, compared to Hamilton Mountain, it makes up for in summit views. The slight disappointment felt on Hamilton Mountain’s anticlimactic summit is nowhere to be found as you pop out of the leaf-littered forest and onto Hardy Ridge, which gives great views up and down the Gorge. Hardy Ridge is just adjacent to Hamilton Mountain, but sits further north from Highway 14, so peace and quiet is a sure bet. Be sure to catch the sunsets from up here as the evening light bounces colors off the walls of Table Mountain’s cliffs to the east.

Yocum Ridge—Alternative to McNeil Point
If you’re looking for the pristine alpine environment that McNeil Point and Paradise Park feature, but less of the human traffic jams found on those hikes, Yocum Ridge is for you. As long as you can bear the crowds during the first 3 miles, which share the same trail to get to the very popular Ramona Falls, you will be rewarded with the high alpine meadows and solitude you’ve been looking for. The round trip can be a long one, 16 miles, but the payoff is a fantastic viewpoint overlooking Zigzag Ridge, with Mt. Hood in the background. Turn around and you’ll be treated to views all the way to the coast, with the peaks of Elk Mountain and Saddle Mountain (surely packed with people!) poking their summits toward the sky.

Mt. Defiance via Starvation Ridge and Warren Lake—Alternative to Dog Mountain
Standing staunchly opposite Dog Mountain, on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, Mt. Defiance is certainly no secret. The nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain required to attain the summit are regularly traveled by those looking for a muscle-busting training hike. However, most opt for the slightly more direct Mt. Defiance trail when the Starvation Ridge option just to the east offers a slightly longer, yet more serene option to the top via Warren Lake, which can serve as a destination in itself.

Tanner Creek—Alternative to Eagle Creek
Just down the road from the hugely popular Eagle Creek, along the Historic Columbia River Highway, is the seldom-visited Tanner Creek Trail. The trail meanders through old growth forest and mossy blowdown while Tanner Creek runs parallel to the trail, interrupted only by the spectacular Wahclella Falls. Combining the many trails in the area together offers numerous variations on distance and elevation gain to cater to your particular calf-burning desires.

5.02.2017

Trail Fix: The Challenge of Keeping Hiking Trails Boot-Ready

by Darrin Gunkel

Damage from a rough winter, a growing backlog of maintenance, and an increase in use have land managers scrambling to keep hiking trails open and safe.


Fixing Hamilton Mountain

They knew it was going to be a big job. An 80-foot Doug Fir standing by the Hamilton Mountain trail, in Beacon Rock State Park, had toppled, wiping out a 20-foot section of tread on a steep slope. “There was nothing left to rebuild the trail on, so we had to build a crib wall,” said Tom Griffith, a volunteer trail crew leader with Washington Trails Association (WTA). “So state parks workers cut two 20-foot sections of log from the tree that fell. We had to peel the bark so it wouldn’t rot later and use grip hoists to haul the sections into place,” building a shelf along the slope for the new trail to follow. Volunteers then notched the logs to place deadmen, short sections of log perpendicular to the crib wall, to form a stable base on which they could rebuild the trail surface.

Before they could begin all the construction work, the crew had to dig out and cut up the massive root ball that had done much of the damage. It took more than a day, working in the rain and mud on a steep slope. Then, they had to deal with the Spear.

The Spear was a 20-foot section of trunk from the top of another fir, a few yards beyond the slide, that snapped off, plunged straight down, and jammed vertically into the trail. “It was stuck three feet deep,” said Gabe Smith, another WTA volunteer and crew leader who worked on Hamilton Mountain. The remaining 15 feet of trunk, standing straight out of the trail, was supported by a branch that had survived the fall. They secured the trunk with steel cables and cut the branch, lowering the Spear enough so Smith could get at it safely with a cross-cut saw—WTA crews work only with hand tools. “It got pretty spooky working under that,” Smith said.

And before all that, there were the logistics. Getting all the construction materials up the steep trail presented its own special challenges. “It’s pretty difficult to drive mechanical toter up that trail. We had a toter go off and almost end up in a creek,” said Ryan Ojerio, WTA’s Southwest Regional Manager. “It could have been a really expensive accident. So Washington State Parks coordinated a Larch Mountain Correctional crew (inmates) to come out and hand carry pretty large logs all the way up there as well as a bunch of our heavy tools. Sledge hammer, rock bar, grip hoist, 150-foot five-eighths-inch cable that weighs almost 60 pounds.”

Then there’s scheduling. WTA work parties, somewhere around 80 a year in Southwest Washington, are booked far in advance. So Ryan relies on a rapid response team of experienced volunteers, Griffith and Smith among them, a sort of trail work ninja force that can drop everything for a week and tackle a project the size of Hamilton. Even then, Ryan had to coordinate three separate days of site visits to scout the trail with park officials and trail crew leads before getting all the equipment and crew in place.

There were easier ways to get the trail open. “We thought about just cleaning up so people could get by,” said Ojerio, “But that might actually have made it harder to fix if the site got more messed up by people walking across it. Then it’s a liability concern.” In the end, it took a crew of eight volunteers more than a week to clean up the mess and build the new trail infrastructure. Including lead time, the Hamilton Mountain trail re-opened just three weeks after the damage was reported.

“Three weeks—and that was pretty rushed,” said Ojerio. “For something of that scope, it was about as fast as anybody could go, I imagine, short of having a paid crew just hanging out waiting for work to drop in their lap. But I think those days are over for public land managers.”

Fixing the Mounting Backlog 

Indeed, the days of fully staffed public lands, for the time being, are a thing of the past. It’s estimated that to properly run Mt. Hood National forest, a staff of 800 is needed. Currently, there are just 200 employees on the payroll. More and more, the responsibility of keeping trails open and safe is in the hands of the their most ardent users: members of groups like the WTA, the Pacific Crest Trail Association, Trailkeepers of Oregon, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, the Cape Horn Conservancy, the Klickitat Trail Conservancy, and of course, the Mazamas.

In 2016, 5,000 Pacific Northwest trail volunteers put in a combined 230,000 hours of maintenance on 24,000 miles of federal land trails in Washington and Oregon. In other words, volunteers performed half of the region’s trail work. And those figures don’t include state and private lands: those three weeks of effort WTA staff and volunteers put in at Hamilton Mountain aren’t included in those stats. Nationally, volunteers put in 1.4 million hours—labor valued at 31.6 million dollars. That said, only a quarter of the trails are up to the Forest Service’s safety, recreation, and sustainability standards.
And that number may get smaller still, according to Mazama Stewardship and Advocacy Manager Adam Baylor. “Recent storms, and this past winter, are signs of things to come,” said Baylor. “And if we don’t deal with the backlogs, winters like this will do even more damage.” With so many ready and eager volunteers and organizations, there’s no lack of enthusiasm for trail maintenance. The challenge is putting all that energy to work efficiently. Baylor would like to see a full time volunteer manager to coordinate groups.

That sort of position doesn’t seem likely under current federal management, but there are efforts to increase efficiency in other ways and put resources where they’re needed most. Recognizing how key volunteer groups will be in trail management, Congress enacted the National Forest System (NFS) Trails Stewardship Act of 2016. It sets a goal of doubling the amount of trail maintenance volunteers do over the next five years. To zero in further on the problem, in March of this year, the National Forest Service began efforts to concentrate help where it will be needed most. Officials are asking for public input in deciding where and how to best direct volunteer efforts. The NFS wants to select between 9 and 15 areas around the country that need the most attention. The Mazamas have stepped up with a proposal to combine the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and Mt. Hood National Forest as a single “priority area” under the act.

Furthermore, a proposed Area Trail Stewardship Plan would cover the priority area the Mazamas requested. The idea is to find gains in efficiency by better coordinating the wide range of groups that do work in the Gifford Pinchot, Gorge, and Mt. Hood areas. The plan calls for a GP-Gorge-Hood Joint Stewardship Shop that would help groups with project prioritization, volunteer management, and resource sharing. The proposed Shop would seek to develop an online clearinghouse for trails and identify new funding sources such as cost-share agreements, matching grants, and stewardship credits.

The challenges are complex. Government bureaucracy is notoriously stubborn. But the key players, especially the ones on the ground, forge ahead undaunted. For his part, Tom Griffith looks forward to keeping busy on the trails, “The weather’s never that bad. This winter was rough, but it’s job security! Otherwise I’d just been sitting at home reading a book. The people you work with are great—I learn something new every time—and you’re outdoors.”

4.28.2017

NEW Traditions


On July 19, 1894, 193 individuals stood on the summit of Mt. Hood, and 105 went on to become the charter members of the Mazamas. In the 123 years since that historic day the Mazamas has created many traditions. This year we set out to create a new tradition, the Mazama Awards & Volunteer Recognition Evening.

In the early years there were Annual Outings where upwards of a hundred members would travel to a new location and spend a couple of weeks climbing, hiking, swimming, and enjoying each other's company. The first Mazama Banquet was held in 1894. The first Mazama Bulletin was published in 1923. In 1932 Mt. Hood acquaintance climbs began. These climbs could see 200 people climbing Mt. Hood at one time. In 1976 the two-part climb card process that we currently use was put in place.

These traditions served the Mazamas well through the years. Some traditions lasted longer than others. Ninety-four years later the Bulletin is still going strong; although it bears little resemblance to the volumes of 1923. Our climb card process is showing its age and will be replaced next year. Acquaintance climbs went by the wayside sometime in the 1950s as the Mazamas made a turn towards smaller climb parties and more frequent climbs. This tradition changed again in the 1980s with the passage of wilderness regulations that limited most climbs to no more than 12 participants.

While these traditions have morphed over the years, the Mazamas original commitment to adventure, exploration, research, and conservation have not changed. Nor has the importance of volunteers and the desire to recognize outstanding achievement of its members been diminished. To that end, we are starting a new tradition. A night where we come together with the sole purpose to honor our members. To our volunteers who regularly give their heart and soul to the Mazamas in a variety of different ways. To our service award winners who have shown outstanding dedication to the Mazamas during the past year or over a period of years. To our winners of climbing and hiking awards for committing themselves to a big goal and achieving it. For all of these reasons we are excited to launch this new event, and have the opportunity to raise a glass to all of you.

We have been hard at work trying to create an event that can be enjoyed by all. So what is in store for attendees? The event gets underway at 6 p.m. on May 11 at The Evergreen in Southeast Portland. This venue, located at 618 SE Alder Street, is a newly remodeled open and airy space. Catering for the event is by Devil's Food Catering, and you'll enjoy heavy appetizers such as House Smoked-Salmon, Painted Hills Steak Sliders, Mezze Platters, and more (vegan and gluten-free options available). Each attendee will receive a Mazama bag, with a Mazama glass, a Kavu watch strap, and a great pair of hiking socks from either Danner or Bridgedale. There will also be some fun raffle prizes including Kahtoola Micro Spikes, Life Straw bottles, Yaktrax, a certificate for a free pair of boots, and more!

Once at The Evergreen, you'll have the opportunity to fill out a postcard to a Mazama volunteer that has made a difference in your life. Perhaps you want to send a note to your BCEP instructor or the hike leader who took you on your first street ramble. Postcards, a membership directory, and postcard stamps will be provided so that you can do just that. There will be a slideshow filled with photos and shout-outs that committee chairs and members have provided.

As we head into the official awards and recognition part of the evening, we'll be announcing the major Mazama service awards—the Parker Cup, Redman Cup, Hardesty Cup, Montague Cup, and Dafoe Award—along with climbing and hiking awards. In addition we'll be recognizing individual committees and committee members throughout the evening.

Throughout the years at different Mazama functions, we have learned that what Mazama members seem to enjoy the most is social time. Time to talk with old friends, meet new friends, and get to know what people look like while wearing something other than zip off pants and/or a climbing helmet! To that end we have built in plenty of time for socializing.

Take this opportunity to get dressed up in your finest non-outdoor wear and show your Mazama friends a new side. We look forward to building this new tradition with all of you.


4.27.2017

Public Lands: Make Your Voice Heard


Yesterday, the Trump Administration issued an Executive Order that could have a substantial impact on public lands. The order calls for a review of National Monument designations over 100,000 acres, designated over the last 21 years.
From REI's blog "The order itself does not rescind existing national monuments but it does leave that open as an option, along with reducing or resizing them. That is a threat to the integrity of our public lands, which millions of Americans see as national treasures." 
This review is focusing on the economic value of these lands. The outdoor industry just released its latest economic impact report showing that the outdoor recreation industry is a powerful force in the US economy, with consumers spending $887 billion annually on outdoor recreation and creating 7.6 million jobs.

The Mazamas have been involved in protecting our public spaces for more than 120 years. Make your voice heard on this important subject.

SHARE YOUR VOICE ON PUBLIC LANDS TODAY


Additional Resources:
Presidential Executive Order on the Review of Designations Under the Antiquities Act
Outdoor Alliance  
REI Co-op  
LA Times  
Outdoor Industry Association
                                     



4.24.2017

Best Mountain Science School Ever!


Mazama Mountain Science School (MMSS) wrapped up our third, biggest and best season yet in March. In fact, we beat our enrollment goals for 2017 by over 100 students! This winter we partnered with Centennial School District, Capitol Hill, Hayhurst and Irvington Elementary in the Portland Public Schools, and Sacramento Elementary School in Parkrose School District to provide science education to more than 600 4–5 grade students.

Over the course of three days and two nights, students learned about physics by sledding behind the Mazama Lodge, glaciology and snow science through snow shelter building, and other hands-on lessons that meet state science standards in math, science, and geology. Every session wraps up with youth presentations about an exciting topic they learned about to share with their fellow classmates. MMSS not only builds scientific literacy, but inspires the next generation of young people to care about our environment and mountain by building fun and meaningful memories of Mt. Hood.

A thank you to the Mazama Lodge for housing our students and instructors throughout the winter. Everyone, of course, enjoyed the awesome food and had a blast playing inside and outside the Mazama Lodge. Students got to take, what for many, was their first snow shoe hike on Mt. Hood, and this year we had the snow to do it!

We of course could not operate such an impactful program without our partners. Mazamas partners with Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) to provide quality education and programming at the Mazama Lodge. Our MMSS instructors are the same instructors who have taught hundreds of 4 and 6 grade students for Outdoor School and the Oregon Trail Overnight program. MMSS 2017 was managed by Shauna "Chomps" Stevenson, Amanda "Weasel" Duncan, and staff members Emily "Goose" Lootens, Kristoffer "Thunder" Thums, Celia "Mycelium" McLean, Brandi "Sparrow" Boyett, and Elizabeth "River" Longmire.


MSR provided snow shoes for our program, and BOGS boots donated warm boots. Both enabled our students to learn and play in the snow for hours. West Outward Bound also generously lent us extra rain and snow gear, snow shoes, and boots for MMSS students. As always, thank you to the Mazama members who generously support our youth programming and the Grey Family Foundation for helping make this program a possibility.

4.17.2017

First Mazama Ascent of Peak 8,913

Mazamas have been climbing mountains in the Pacific NW for over a hundred years. So, it would not seem possible for a Mazama first ascent unless it was by a difficult new route up an already climbed mountain. Yet such a possibility does exist. You just have to drive a long way and spend three days on the approach to the summit of an obscure and unnamed peak. Such peaks are relatively common in the Trinity Alps of northern California—a stunningly beautiful wilderness not much farther from Portland than the North Cascades. Mazama climb leader Verle Duckering led climbs in the Trinity Alps in the late 1980s through 1997. Other climb leaders led sporadic climbs of some of the major summits into the early 2000s. In the last several years, regular climbs in the Trinity Alps have resumed. In July 2016, four Mazamas reached the summit of Peak 8,913 (our name for it)—a peak that, as far as can be determined, no Mazama had previously climbed.

The plan for the climb was simple: get together a small number of climbers who had experience in the area and carry light packs with no climbing gear. If the climbing became too difficult, we would not reach the summit. The first day’s hike was a nine-mile walk up the Canyon Creek trail to Canyon Creek Boulder lakes. We were the only people camping at the lakes, which are nestled on a granite slab in a granite bowl with a commanding view across the canyon towards Sawtooth Mountain—the fourth highest peak in the Trinity Alps. The last half-mile of this trail resembles a dry creek bed and is described in hiking books as one of the roughest and steepest trails in the Alps. Daytime temperatures were rather moderate and only reached into the low 80s—perfect for swimming.

The next morning, the climb team ascended the north side of the bowl towards Mt. Hilton, the third highest peak in the Alps. The first part of this climb was up granite slabs and then up a small creek, which was the only way through a steep slope of dense, head-high manzanita. After the creek disappeared, a bit of bushwhacking led us to more open slopes covered in small meadows and wild flowers. After we dropped our packs, we continued up towards the summit crossing small snowfields and rock bands. A final, steepish snow field and some easy rock scrambling brought us to the summit of Mt. Hilton and a summit register with entries by Verle Duckering and Jack Grauer dating back to 1992. There was not a cloud in the sky and the view went from the Pacific coast to Mt. Lassen, and from Oregon to deep into the Sacramento Valley. Mt. Shasta was close on the eastern skyline. After we descended to our packs, we hiked a bit farther and set up a camp on a ridgeline near a small stream. The cross-country hike and climb had taken the better part of 12 hours.

The third day, we moved camp over to the next ridge. Frequent bear scat, some of it rather fresh, got our attention. After leaving all our heavy gear, we started up toward Peak 8,913. We hiked up on snow along the Hilton arête, and descended the arête on 35 snow to more level terrain. We then ascended the snowfield towards the col south of Peak 8,913. Photographs from previous trips and topo maps suggested that the south ridge would be easy enough to climb without special gear. Initially, this proved to be true as the team ascended snow fingers and boulder fields, but as we got closer to the summit, it became clear that small cliffs would block our way. The climb team solved this problem by probing every possibility, finally exploiting a weakness on the west side of the summit block to reach the summit. This route, involving 4th and very low 5th class scrambling up solid granite blocks, proved to be fairly easy even without gear. The only difficulty we encountered was deciding which route we could down-climb safely. There was no summit register, but someone had left a small cairn to show that we were not the first to climb the mountain.

Again, the view was spectacular and the same as from Mt. Hilton the day before, except that we could now see Mt. Hilton to the southwest as well as Papoose Lake, a lake we had not been able to see from any of our previous summits. We descended the route to our packs, but realizing that in the early morning, hard snow would make our descent to the valley below very difficult, we moved camp farther down the ridge. Our camp that night was both below the snow line and farther from the bear scat. Thus ended another 12 hour day. That night the temperature reached the high 30s.
The fourth day, we spent 5 hours descending another several thousand feet, constantly finding ourselves cliffed out and forced to bushwhack through heavy brush. It was a welcome relief to reach Canyon Creek and the hiker trails which brought us back to the Canyon Creek Lakes, only 8 miles from the trailhead where adult beverages and greasy, salty snacks awaited us.


The climb team for Mt. Hilton included John Meckel, Al Papesh, Mark Curran, Jean Hillebrand, Greg Clark, and Karoline Gottschild. The team for 8,913 consisted of John Meckel, Al Papesh, Mark Curran, and Jean Hillebrand.

4.13.2017

How to NOT Climb Silver Star in the North Cascades


It didn’t bode well. I was sure that when George said, “OK I’ve got ski poles,” he meant he had mine, too. No. Mine were undoubtedly still leaning against the hedge at his house in Seattle. So we stood there in the morning sun, watching a scrub jay hop around in the middle of Route 2, brainstorming alternatives, none of which any reasonable person would actually consider for a ski mountaineering trip on an 8,875 foot mountain. Share? Cut branches? Tape ice axes together?

May on the dry side of the north cascades: flowers, sunshine, the smell of Ponderosa pines in the air. Nice day for a drive. So we headed into Mazama, the nearest town, to look for an outfitter. Services are kind of limited in Mazama, but a shop owner directed us to a tour guide who luckily turned out to be home and was cool enough to let me just borrow a pair. “Silver Star? One of my favorite backcountry ski trips.” He agreed with our choice to blow off Beckey’s approach instructions, which involved too much altitude gained, lost and regained for my taste, instead following Silver Star Creek from where it crosses Route 2. “Just remember to keep to the left.”

You couldn’t ask for a finer day, but the trip would have been a lot easier a month earlier, before the snow melt exposed all the blowdown littering the climbers’ track. It also would have been a lot easier starting many hours earlier, before the canyon walls above Silver Star Creek began reflecting the day’s heat, but a late start and our little pole misadventure killed that idea. One advantage: So much blow down. That meant plenty of places to sit, study the map, and contemplate how out of shape we both felt.

Fourteen hundred feet and a mile later (it’s too embarrassing to say how long this took us) we encountered our first snow field spilling down from the heights. The canyon had been narrowing, and where we stopped to put on skis, an unseen waterfall rumbled. Time to say goodbye to the creek and tedious woods and start really moving. Or not. A quarter of the way up, George’s skins began to malfunction. Time to break out the duct tape and limp on. After gaining another 300 feet and a half mile, we got our first view of Silver Star and the spiky range of the Wine Spires. And it just so happened the view spot was at the foot of a boulder field with enough melted out space for a camp. We probably should have forged on, but the day had grown long and discouraging. Why not kick back and enjoy the afternoon? We entertained ourselves watching shadows of jagged peaks reach across the U-shaped glacial valley and submitting to camp inspections by the world’s cutest climbing rangers: Pikas. Besides, we only had a little over 2 miles and 3,800 feet left to go. Piece of cake tomorrow morning ...

The next day promised more perfect conditions. We made our way across a scenic basin, about a half mile of relaxing skiing to warm up. The going was about to get tough, with a half mile and 1500 feet of slogging to get out of the basin, but on such a fine day, what could go wrong? The lift on my left ski could break. Fortunately, a pile of rock jutted out of the snow nearby. A little searching and George turned up a perfect little wedge of granite, just the right size to fit under my heel. More duct tape to secure it, and I was ready to bag that peak!

I love skinning uphill, especially when the snow’s perfect, and the slope is reasonable. (Alpine skiers, and climbers, often 'skin' the bottoms of  their skis in order to climb upward.) You get into a rhythm, and the work becomes almost a Zen thing. However, Zen things are not really about speed. We’d set a 12:30 p.m. turn-around time, and it was 9 a.m. before we made it to the top of this first pitch. We took our time traversing to Silver Star’s glacial moraine, admiring the bare larch trees and the long, long views north over the endless ridges of the Pasayten Wilderness. Breaking for lunch on the moraine, I wondered why we hadn’t camped up here, closer to the peak. From this spot, we still had 2200 feet to go, and things were not looking good. We both had to reapply duct tape (it was kind of amazing our field fixes actually managed to hold this far), we were woefully behind schedule, and neither of us had exerted ourselves remotely this hard since a trip up Shuksan the previous July.

We hit the wall at 7,600 feet. George was sure we could make it all the way (only 1,300 feet more!) but we’d reached our turn around, and the thought of doing a class 4 scramble at 8,500 feet in uncomfortable telemark boots after (how many more?) hours of slogging didn’t seem wise. Not to mention the black diamond-level ski back down, and then having to navigate that semi-bushwhack of an approach. To work off our frustration, we threw snowballs at each other until George realized that this way, we could get dinner and beers in Winthrop before the drive home. With this consolation prize in mind, we wadded and stowed our masses of used duct tape, and sailed down some of the most glorious backcountry skiing I’ve ever done.


4.10.2017

Don't Forget the Lettuce: A Brief History of BCEP

This spring, many newly minted Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP) students will be signing their climb cards, anxious to test their skills for the first time. The south side of Mt. Hood will be the first “real” climb for many of them. When thinking about this, I was struck with a question that seemed both elemental and obvious. What did the first BCEP graduation climb look like? To answer it, I dove into the Mazama archives with the expert assistance of Mathew Brock, Mazama Library & Historical Collections Manager.

As is often the case, the precise origins of things are sometimes difficult to pin down. Randall Kester, a Climbing Committee chairman, started the forerunner of the current program in 1943. It was a series of eight classes and four field sessions that began in February and ran until June. Unfortunately World War II ended his attempts to initiate a program, and it was not until 1950 that Warren Wilson picked up the effort. Son of a former Club president and chairman of the Climbing Committee which had been formed sixteen years earlier, Wilson resumed the efforts to bring formal climbing education to the Mazamas. Initially there were six classroom and eight field sessions. Attendance topped 150 participants. However, it wasn’t until 1956 that the program, as we would currently recognize it, finally emerged.

It was under the watchful eye of William (Bill) Oberteuffer that we finally got what might be considered the first truly “BCEP” program. It is impossible and unnecessary to recount the full richness and complexity of his life here. However, I would strongly recommend reading his biography, held in the Mazama library, titled, Gazing Down From The Mountain: The Story of William H. Oberteuffer. In the fall of 1937, at the age of eighteen, Oberteuffer rode on horseback from Portland to Tijuana, Mexico with his cousin Bob and friend Bud. They were only joined for part of it by Oberteuffer’s father. A decade later, he would begin a high school teaching career in science that would span 32 years. He once recounted about his teaching practice, “Always wishing to give my students the most say and being less than sure of my own rightness, I discussed with my class what the course structure might be for about a week. We eventually wound up with about 15 areas of possible study most of which fell within my area of expertise and were possible from the standpoint of time and materials. The students then voted on the 7 or 8 most popular suggestions and these then became our course content. (This is teaching democracy by doing it.)”

In the winter of 1969, Bill and his wife, Margaret, requested a sabbatical and spent nearly all of 1970 and 1971 backpacking around the world. His expansive climbing career had begun when he was in college. He once observed, “My professor had climbed so he loaned me his ice axe and crampons, and I climbed Mt. Hood with Margaret, Moshe Lensky, Dave Raffety, and Gil Staender (the godfather of Smith Rock) who was in high school, and was the guide ... On that first climb, Gil Staender taught us all self-arrest on the way up.” I note all of this because, as every BCEP student knows, the instructors—their stories, their personalities, and their lives—richly and fully define the experience of their students. It must have been astounding to learn under the watchful tutelage Oberteuffer.

As evidence of his diligence, the teaching notes from that first BCEP course are still in the archives and even include instruction on how to speak in a manner that is clear and effective during lectures. These sessions, held at the Oregonian Hostess House, began on April 30, and they culminated with a graduation climb of Mt. Hood on June 10 and an “examination” two days later at the Mazama club house. Topics for the dozen sessions would feel familiar to present-day BCEP students. Lectures included wilderness travel, equipment, snow climbing, glacier travel, weather, and rock climbing. As well, there was a presentation by a Dr. Charles Dotter on “Climbing Miseries,” which would prove to be surprisingly prescient given the events of the graduation climb. All of this, as well as a conditioning hike and outside rock practice, was coordinated under Oberteuffer’s leadership. Students were given all kinds of sage advice including this gem about nutrition on climbs: “Many persons are subject to an acid stomach during a climb. Avoid rich, concentrated, fatty foods (chocolate, nuts, etc.). Simple sugars are good because they digest easily and produce water during oxidation. Avoid eating snow or drinking ice water fast. Fresh grape-juice may be carried in your canteen. Suggestions for lunch: Two sandwiches (with lettuce), cookies, oranges, and candy (such as caramels or fruit lozenges).”

Enrollment was 447 students that first spring, and 28 Boy Scouts or Explorers and 11 Girl Scouts were in that first group. Perhaps these numbers were so high because enrollment was free to all who registered—500 would initially sign up—and the course was advertised in local high schools and colleges (note: Mazama Membership was 1,086 in 1956). Although Oberteuffer was never in the army himself, he took cues from the military when running field sessions where assistant instructors were managing between 80 and 130 students at a time. To do this, they wore colored arm bands so that the participants would know who to report to and when.

When the graduation climb came on June 10, there were 161 participants. Each had been provided with an equipment list of required gear: “Waterproof boots, nailed or heavy lug soles—no slick soles allowed. Adequate clothing (prepare for rain, intense sun, high wind, temperatures down to 25⁰, mittens, sun goggles, canteen, small packsack, woolen socks (plus extra pair), mountain lunch (from home), crampons (must fit properly), pocket mirror, ice axe, sunburn preventative, flashlight.” At the time, there were two primary places in Portland to procure the tools for mountain climbing—the Mountain Shop and the Beebe Company. The former still serves many of the same needs and customers; the latter still exists in Portland but now has a decidedly different clientele. Participants spent that night at the Mazama Lodge where dinner cost $1.20, the midnight snack was $.50, and lodging for members was $1.00 (an extra $.20 for non-members). The climbing fee itself was just $1.50, with some exceptions where it was only $1.00.

Only 11 participants summited that day, which seems like an appallingly poor success rate for the graduation climb of this first BCEP class. Oberteuffer’s notes provide a hint as to why. In his report filed after the climb, he noted of the weather: “Lighting, fog, hail, blizzard.” Undoubtedly it is forgivable that so many failed their first time. He also noted the following: “With 161 in the climbing party, we broke party into 2 separate groups with a leader and 3 assistants each. Then to ‘share the wealth’, the total ‘financial support’ due these 8 leaders was divided among 17 leaders and rope leaders who had participated generously in the climbing school.” It sounds like the philosophy that he espoused as high school teacher carried through to this moment as well. He allowed, perhaps even required, the students become the leaders and to own their experiences.

Later in life, Oberteuffer was asked if he had ever done anything wrong on a mountain. He recounted this very graduation climb on June 10 of 1956: “We divided up into two main groups, Erwin Reiger and I as main leaders. Weather deteriorated all the way up. We got to the lower hot rocks, where it was snowing hard. We should have gone down. I asked if anyone wanted to go to the summit under these conditions. Don Eastman wanted to go, Jim Craig, about 7 or 8 guys want to, so I said OK, and appointed a guy to go down with the others. Reiger also went down. Weather was bad at the base of Crater Rock, with stinging snow. We went up a new route around the end of the crevasse, the chute, didn’t sign the register, turned around and went down. I couldn’t see the crevasse but I sensed it, went around it, and got to the hot rocks. One guy had hypothermia, a husky, young fellow, not dressed properly, starting to stumble. Two folks took him and got him to a snowcat. All was OK, but it was something I didn’t need to do. It was a challenge I guess.”
For all those BCEP students who will be packing their packs this spring for their “real” mountaineering climb, I would encourage you to think about this first group. Consider the advice to add lettuce to your sandwich. Wonder at the hundreds of students who bought their first ice ax from the Mountain Shop. Compare the electrolytes that you may add to your water bottle against the grapefruit juice in their canteens. Continue to question your climb leaders about their lives and experience—and,yes, even their choices. And remember that, even in 1956, BCEP students were being reminded to make sure that their crampons fit properly before they left home.


4.03.2017

Saying Goodbye to Royal Robbins


by Mathew Brock, Library & Historical Collections Manager

The climbing community lost a guiding light when Royal Robbins passed away on March 15 at the age of 82. Mr. Robbins’ accomplishments as a rock climber, author, teacher, entrepreneur, environmentalist, and adventurer are legendary.

Early in the 1960s, he led the way for generations of climbers by advocating for a minimal use of bolts on climbs. In 1967—five years before the clean climbing movement of 1972—he imported and introduced the British idea of using nuts over pitons. This not only minimized the impact on rock faces, but opened climbers' minds to using all of the rock's natural features.

Considered one of the most influential climbers of the 20th century, Robbins mastered record-breaking ascents around the world. In the 1950s and 1960s, his legendary ascents on El Capitan made him world renowned and put Yosemite on the map as the climbing capital of America. He was not content to limit his climbing to the sunny confines of Southern California and Yosemite. He carried the Yosemite philosophy of ground-up non-siege climbing to the Alpine world with such climbs as the 1962 climb of the American Direct on the Aiguille du Dru in Chamonix, the 1963 Robbins Route on Mount Proboscis in the Logan Mountains of NWT, Canada, and 1969 ascents in the Kichatna Spires in Alaska.

Robbins wrote two pioneering books on climbing, Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft. These two practical guides covered all the fundamentals of technical rock climbing. Looking more like a college professor, with his crew cut and horn-rimmed glasses, Robbins became rock climbing's conscience. His writing reflected his no-nonsense approach to climbing that embraced holistic climbing and respect of the natural environment while disdaining the conventional conquering of mountains with pitons and bolts.

In 1957 Robbins, along with Jerry Galwas and Mike Sherrick, made the first ascent of the northwest face of Half Dome. Three years later, in 1960, he and a partner climbed the Nose of El Capitan as a continuous climb. His first ascent of the Salathe route of El Capitan made with Tom Frost and Chuck Pratt was his proudest accomplishment. Robbin's efforts and those of his contemporaries helped usher in the golden age of climbing in the Yosemite Valley.

At the height of his climbing career, the Mazamas were fortunate to have Mr. Robbins as the guest speaker at the 1964 Annual Banquet. That year's October Bulletin states, "With his excellent collection of slides, his sense of humor and unimpeachable climbing background Royal promises to be one of the most outstanding speakers at any Mazama banquet in years." By all accounts, his presentation entitled, “High Rock Adventure” was very popular with members and the event sold out. Mr. Robbins returned forty-two years later and headlined the 2006 Mazama Annual Banquet.

In 1968 Robbins and his wife, Liz, launched Mountain Paraphernalia that sold casual climbing clothing and equipment. The company later became Royal Robbins. After his climbing career, Mr. Robbins turned to kayaking, earning renown for several first descents. Later in his life, Robbins published a three-part autobiography. To Be Brave, published in 2009, covers his birth, early years growing up in West Virginia and Los Angeles, and his introduction to climbing. Fail Falling, followed a year later in 2010, recounts the years between 1950 and 1957 and his climbs in California. Volume three, The Golden Age, 2012, covers his personal life, years in the Army, and the early ascents of El Capitan.

As a pioneering rock climber, Royal Robbins challenged the existing standards of the day and helped introduce all new climbing skills and levels of difficulty. Starting in the 1950s, Robbins established numerous new routes, many of them now revered classics on Yosemite's Half Dome and El Capitan. He had great respect for the current generation of free climbers, and lived long enough to see the routes that took him days now done in hours.

4.01.2017

Round the Mountain is Back—Fresh Routes and Backpacking Option Added!

by Shane Harlson, 2017 RTM Coordinator

Join the Mazamas 11th annual Round the Mountain (RTM) hike of Mt. Hood’s Timberline Trail over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2–4. You will experience hiking a majestic 40 miles of the Timberline Trail with spectacular views of Mt. Hood and the beginning of autumn colors. Each morning a van shuttle will take you to your trailhead, where you will hike approximately 14 miles of the Timberline Trail with only a light daypack, allowing you to enjoy the
hike without the burden of a heavy overnight pack. In the evening, you will return to Mazama Lodge, where you will enjoy great food, hot showers, and a comfortable place to sleep—along with a few good stories with your fellow hikers before turning in for the night.

This event caters to a variety of hiking styles and paces. You will experience this journey with trained hike leaders who will oversee the safety of the group and cater the pace of the hike to your team's preference. Do you prefer to meander and take lots of photos? Or do you desire to move steadily and briskly? What if you wish to bring your whole family? We have a group for you! If you and a friend(s) or family member(s) are joining the event together, choose the pace of the slowest hiker and we will assign you to the same group.

There will be some new and exciting changes to this year’s RTM. Most noticeably, the Elliot Glacier crossing is reconnected to the Timberline Trail via a re-route. We will finally hike a section of the Timberline Trail that we have been unable to safely offer since 2006. You will absolutely love this new section!

This year we will have new technical RTM t-shirts with a design that does not include a year. This allows previous RTM participants, who so wish, to finally order their long-awaited shirts. Furthermore, we are adding another new option: an on-site massage therapist.
And finally, the new addition I am most excited about, we are offering a small group the chance to register for a 4-day backpacking trip of the Timberline Trail. You must provide your own gear, food, and transportation, along with proving you are physically up to the challenge; the cost will be significantly lower than the traditional RTM trip. We are working out all the details now, so stayed tuned for more to come.

This event is the largest annual fundraiser for Mazama Lodge—last year it raised approximately $8,000 dollars! These funds help pay for upkeep and maintenance of the lodge, supplies for the organization, and improvement projects. Registration for RTM 2017 is $400 for Mazama members, and $460 for nonmembers. We estimate that approximately 20 percent of these funds will go directly towards Mazama Lodge. Registration includes: catered meals for all three days (packed lunches included), dorm lodging for three evenings, hot showers, and van transportation all weekend.
Don’t miss out on this memorable event! For more information go to tinyurl.com/MazRTM. Questions? E-mail us at rtm@mazamas.org. Online registration opens April 1. We’ll see you on the mountain!

3.27.2017

Nutritional Bar Review: Natural fuel with flavor for every taste

Photo credit: Wendy Marshall
Wendy Marshall got involved with the Mazamas through BCEP in 2014. Below, Wendy gives us a thorough report on the bars that will fuel our adventures and tantalize our taste buds. An outdoor sports enthusiast, she loves hiking, snowboarding, and studying rocks and wild plants. She also volunteers periodically with Bark, a local forest conservation non-profit. She is steadily becoming a full-time writer and novelist, fueled mostly by apples, tea, German fruitcake and dark chocolate. 

by Wendy Marshall

My early hope was to coax some of these companies into advertising partnerships with the Mazamas, with the goal of bringing an infusion of monetary and promotional support to both sides. I had enough sense to realize I was getting ahead of myself. A better first step was simply to inform people, letting relationships grow organically, and seeing what evolves. My very next idea was to review my ample stash of promotional gifts, with a focus on easy-to-pack food bars and snacks of the type I love to bring on hikes and snowboarding trips. Clearly, mountain sports types have heard of Clif Bar, PowerBar, and Luna. But what other vistas awaited us? What nutritional benefits could these products offer to the discerning consumer in search of fresh territory? Or, for that matter, to people seeking their preferred zone, be it vegan, paleo, or gluten-free?

"We're all nuts here." Where I'm from, that saying is a compliment. My trekking choices tend to agree. Where would snack bars be without nuts? The very nuttiest of these is one of my favorites.

KIND Snacks
"Ingredients you can see and pronounce" is the mantra of KIND Snacks, plus a business philosophy of, well, kindness. Aside from Clif, this may be the most familiar snack bar to us. I first encountered them at a Hope on the Slopes skiing fundraiser for cancer research, where KIND was a sponsor.

KIND has already partnered with the Mazamas for at least one event, at which I got to try their Black Truffle sample bar. I love this bar for its earthy, less-sweet flavor. It has a savory truffle bite to balance the honey, and the satisfying chewy-crunchy texture typical of KIND bars, using whole nuts and grains.

Truffles not your thing? KIND has 20 flavors of nut bars, and yet more options with added flax, antioxidants, protein, or drizzled in yogurt. Being a dark chocolate fan, I also enjoyed the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew bar in the KIND "Plus" line with added antioxidants, which had a rich, yet not overbearing sweetness. What's an antioxidant? It's a molecule that protects cells and body tissues from damage by oxygen. In short, it helps keep you from literally "rusting" and aging, always a concern with hard-working muscles and sun-exposed skin. The bars’ highest natural ingredient is cacao, the chocolate bean; other good sources are dark fruits like cranberries, blueberries and pomegranates, whole grains, and fresh vegetables like spinach and carrots.

For those wishing to skip chocolate, I recommend Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt. KIND also offers snack clusters in a pouch. Their products are gluten-free, non-genetically-engineered (GMO), and many are dairy-free as well. Find them at major Portland natural grocers and at kindsnacks.com.

Rawnola Bar
Fittingly, I first encountered a Rawnola bar at a forest activist work camp in the Mt. Hood wilderness. Earthling Organics of California uses ingredients as close to their source in nature as possible, such as raw coconuts and almonds, in that what's best for the planet is what's best for us. Or, as they put it: "Snacks for intelligent lifeforms." Their nine-organic-ingredient, gluten-free, sprouted granola bar in Vanilla has a firm crispy-crumbly texture, finely ground and nice to chew, with a strong coconut-almond flavor. If Vanilla seems too sweet, Rawnola also comes in Cacao, Goji Berry, and Matcha. The last contains chlorella, a powerful plant protein great for promoting muscle growth and healthy cells, with a full set of amino acids and vitamins, including lots of Vitamin B12. Yep, it's a green bar. Rawnola is available at most major grocers like Whole Foods, and Alberta Co-op. Also at earthlingorganics.com.

Nothin' But Foods
Here's a peek at what may arrive soon. This company, who uses nothin' but organic stuff like oats, nuts, seeds, fruit and honey, offers baked, gluten-free granola cookies and snack bars in four flavors. I like these for their chewy granola texture and notably vivid flavors—out of the citrus kick of Ginger Lemon Cashew, intense cacao of Chocolate Coconut or ripe, fruity depth of Cherry Cranberry Almond, I couldn't pick favorites. California is littered with vendors, and I heard Nothin' But wants to spread into Costco stores. Until then, hunt them down at
nothinbutfoods.com.

Whole grains and seeds are good sources of energy. I especially love sunflower seeds, which are easy to pack or add to salads. Sunflower seeds strengthen the heart and bones, balance cholesterol, and reduce cancer risk. Both grains and seeds form the bulk of some of the following snacks.

Bobo's Oat Bars
I found the name, handmade look, and story of this product endearing. Bobo's sprung from a mother-daughter team in Boulder, CO, and still prides itself on four basic ingredients and a small-batch baking process. Inside the humble, clear wrapper, you'll find a thick, hearty, chewy, and incredibly satisfying and flavorful bar. They all taste potently fresh, whether of bright tangy oranges or a coconut that's just been cracked open. Just as good as a newly-baked oatmeal cookie. So far I've tried Cranberry Orange, Coconut and Apple Pie, but this company has 15 flavors of bar to choose from. Just looking at them makes me want to either start baking or head to my friend's farm to play in the fields.

Bobo's Oat Bars are gluten and dairy free, vegan, and non-GMO. These get a definite thumbs-up. Then again, I like my oatmeal. Oats are a slow-burning source of whole grain proteins and complex carbohydrates, full of nutrients and fiber, which help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Bobo's may have begun humble, but it’s now everywhere: Whole Foods, New Seasons, Safeway, REI Co-op, Albertson's, and at eatbobos.com.

Umchu
Marketed as "primitive nutrition," food bars don't get much simpler than this. I love the name of one: Seeds and ... seeds! Be ready to nosh on this chewy, gooey, very seedy bar, which is free of wheat, soy, and dairy. You'd think a snack with a cave-man on it would be suitable for paleo eaters. Since that's a very distinct diet, I'll let readers judge for themselves by the ingredients—seeds of flax, sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin, plus brown rice syrup. That's all. Speaking of flax, if you'd rather not eat fish or fish oil, flax seeds are known for their high content of the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid, along with many vitamins, minerals and all essential amino acids. Umchu offers six other flavors of bar, too, micro-batched in Edmonds, WA. Whole Foods or Alberta Co-op can hook you up, as can umchubar.com.

Honey Stinger
The founders of this company, with roots back to 1950, did energy foods before "energy bar" was cool, using one of the greatest natural energy foods, honey. Now they're at it again, with a dozen types of organic bars, energy chews, and other goodies. I'll have to go with the Super Fruit & Ancient Grain bar, packed with dried berries and seeds, but I also like the chews. Honey Stinger is well-known for their sponsorship of athletes and organizations, and they'll be joining us again at Hope on the Slopes 2017. Natural grocers, climbing gyms, sporting goods stores—these guys are everywhere including honeystinger.com.

Taste of Nature
These snacks are laden with good things, topped with visible whole seeds and nuts like a KIND bar. There are 20 flavors, all mostly organic, certified gluten free, non-GMO verified, kosher and vegan. Some flavors are unusual, too, such as Key Lime Pie, Brazil Nut, and Pomegranate. My lone sample, Dark Chocolate Cherry with 10g protein was pure delight, bursting with cherry flavor and crunchy seeds. This is a Canadian company. Unless you venture across the border, the easiest way to try these is ordering via tasteofnature.ca or tasteofnature.com. I'm tempted to ask for a variety pack.

Nosh
It's an ideal name for a quick snack. Not a bar but a similar-sized pack of loose, whole-grain nibbles a bit like a lightweight trail-mix, Nosh has a base of puffed rice and comes in five flavor combinations. These are creative, such as my favorites, Blueberry Lavender Lemon and Coconut Chai. Besides the unique flavors, I love the addition of tiny, dried currants in the mix. For their size, black currants pack lots of vitamins and minerals along with protein and fiber. Nosh is dairy-free, vegan, certified organic. Safeway, Market of Choice and Vitamin Cottage carry Nosh, or find them at
thoughtfulfood.net/nosh-organic.

Chewy fuel. For those who prefer a smoother, dough-like consistency like that of a PowerBar, the following will hopefully fit your pack.

Raw Revolution
Raw Revolution was started by a nurse and chef. They offer all-organic, plant-based live superfood bars, vegan, gluten-free and kosher too, high in protein but without refined nutrients. I like their Golden Cashew bar, which has fat cashews in a tangy, nutty matrix, while Chocolate Raspberry Truffle grabbed my sweet tooth. At least six flavors, found in natural co-ops, grocers, and at rawrev.com.

Go Macro
Go Macro caters to the macrobiotic diet, which focuses on mostly whole grains and vegetables, an overall balance of salty-sweet, hot-cold, yin-yang, etc., and positive holistic energy in food. The Go Macro representative I spoke with told me proudly they had one of the highest-selling products on the market. I really like their "Sweet Revival" Sesame Butter and Dates bar, whose rich seed matrix has a natural, delicate sweetness. Cashew Caramel, however, is milder in flavor. Dates are high in nutrients and fiber, easily digested, help your body metabolize energy, and may prevent cancers. Vegan, soy-free, and no GMOs. Find up to 12 flavors at major grocers, or gomacro.com.

Picky Bars
Picky Bars are an exercise-focused line launched by three professional athletes. They've hit on a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein, an ideal balance for workout nutrition. They offer at least eight flavors, mostly organic, not a GMO in sight. I tried their Cookie Doughness bar, which resembles a condensed cinnamon-raisin cookie in both texture and taste. Yum! I found these guys at Trader Joe's or at pickybars.com, where you'll find a summary of ingredients and health benefits.

Protein power. Some companies express their innovation by dedicating their product line to healthier, sustainable, and at times very unusual sources of protein. Here are a few.

Chapul
"You're not paleo until you eat bugs." That's the grabber for Chapul cricket protein bars, which do, in fact, have cricket flour in them. What? Why eat crickets? This daring company is all about sustainability. My Chapul representative explained that crickets use only 8% of the food and water as cows to produce the same amount of available protein for people, and create only 1% of the greenhouse gases (cows are farty, and gobble lots of resources). Crickets, she said, have twice the protein of beef, 15% more iron than spinach, and as much B12 as salmon. I quickly began to understand. But was I ready? After a deep breath, I tried the Thai bar. It was unique in its hints of ginger and lime, but otherwise? Delicious. Pleasant texture, like any other moist, soft energy bar, yet not overly sweet. I'd never know I was eating bugs. I recommend these not just for adventure, but also their high nutrition content and genuinely tasty, cultural flavor combinations like the Aztec bar with dark chocolate, coffee and cayanne. Chapul bars come in four types, which you can sniff out at Alberta Co-op, Food Front Co-op, Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage, or at chapul.com.

Evo Hemp
If you'd rather not eat animals or bugs, try hemp, the plant source of easily digestible protein. Hemp seeds, I learned, are a nutritionally complete food. They are 33% protein, 35% essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6, and contain all nine essential amino acids, plus there's all that lovely fiber. These raw health bars, which come in six flavors, are vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and are labeled paleo outright. Evo's Apple Pecan bar is dark, moist and crumbly, full of seeds and spiced apple goodness, maybe my ideal of what a homemade fruitcake should be. The company offers hemp seed baking flour and other items as well. Find them at natural grocers and at evohemp.com.

RxBar
This whole-food protein bar draws on the power of egg whites for much of its 12 grams of protein, with an overall emphasis on simple nutrition. In fact, it lists its four main ingredients on the front of the wrapper, along with "No B.S." There's a few more, but all are basic and pronounceable. I tried the Chocolate Coconut, a dense, chewy brick with whole morsels of nuts, fruit and chocolate inside. This density gives a substantial feel to your snacking, and there are eight flavors to pick from. RxBars are gluten-, soy- and dairy-free. CrossFit gyms carry them, but so does Trader Joe's and rxbar.com.

Savory alternatives. If the thought of eating yet another sugary-sweet energy bar makes your throat clench in a Gag reflex, fear not, other options exist.

Mediterra
A company inspired by family meals in Greece, and based on the Mediterranean diet with its focus on fruit, vegetables, grains, and olives. I tried two of their savory bars, Bell Peppers & Green Olives and Black Olives & Walnuts, and loved both. These savory bars, which come in four flavors, have a great balance between sweet and savory, with the former being very subtle. Chewy sun-dried chunks pair well with crisp, puffed amaranth seeds. Mediterra also has four types of sweeter bar with yogurt and oats. Of these, I like the Apricot & Pistachio bar, a pungent, fruity bar, dipped in white yogurt. Again, I like the harmony of complex flavors. I look forward to trying all of these! All are non-GMO, gluten-free. In the Portland area, Market of Choice, GNC, Pharmaca and possibly Whole Foods carry Mediterra along with their site mediterranutrition.com.

Gopal's Healthfoods
Power wraps? What are those? A savory snack stick made from ground nuts and seeds, wrapped in nori, the seaweed used for wrapping sushi. These aren't sweet at all, and resemble a stick of jerky, but they're vegan. I tried the Masala wraps, which have a dry texture and a spicy, warm taste. Nori is rich in protein, iron, iodine (typical of seaweeds), and fiber, and lowers both cholesterol and risk of cancer. Gopal's is dedicated to ethical products for the planet and specializes in 100% raw, sprouted, organic foods. What's this scoop on sprouted foods? A seed, like an egg, is like an armored food storage unit. Much of this fuel is starch, which a human body converts to sugar. When the seed sprouts, the young plant begins consuming the starch, resulting in a food with higher protein and fiber, and a lower glycemic index. Eat sprouted bread, rather than white or whole wheat, and you'll feel fuller faster. Some seeds, like flax, are so well-armored that your body has a hard time utilizing them, unless they're freshly ground into flour or sprouted.

Besides Power Wraps, Gopal's offers four types of nutty, fruity Rawma snack bar, which I have yet to try, as well as raw food crackers and cookies, Sprouties seed packs, Rawmanola clusters, and much more. Alberta Co-op and Food Fight! carry their products; other natural grocers may, as well as their site gopalshealthfoods.com.

Rhythm Superfoods
These people make vegging out easy, even for people who dislike eating vegetables. Not bars but vegetable chips or "bites," they're delicious alternatives to trail mix or granola clumps. I particularly like all three flavors of Broccoli Bites, which are crunchy and bursting with savory spice. They also have beet chips and kale chips. Most natural grocers and food co-ops will offer them and their site rhythmsuperfoods.com.

"Are you like a vegetarian, or what?" I can't count the times I've been asked something like this, perhaps because I look like one. What I am is odd: I shy away from chicken and turkey, but like red meat (thank you, cows) and salmon. Just don't mention the chocolate. Here are three choices for carnivores.

Epic
Epic had a nice booth for their 100% naturally-sourced animal products. In keeping with paleo ideas, they believe in the wisdom of our ancestral diet, but just as important is for animals to live and graze as naturally as possible. Holistic, biodynamic ranching, Epic argues, can restore grassland, unlike the industrial farming and agriculture practices we're seeing today. I'd never eaten buffalo, so I gave their Bison bar a try. It's salty yet sweet, incredibly piquant with a slight smoky taste and cranberries inside. It's not pure bison but also contains bacon, and this is noticeable. Epic offers 11 types of meat bar, and lots more (salmon fillets, too). Most natural grocers and health food stores carry them, or go to epicbar.com.

Mighty Bar
Mighty Bar specializes in pure grass-fed, organic prairie beef from Down Under, with a farmers' cooperative over 20 years old. They have three flavors of bars; I tried Cranberry & Sunflower Seed. It has good flavor, but a bit harder texture, more in the style of juicy jerky than Epic's bison creation. Whole Foods, New Seasons and Alberta Co-op carry them; mightyorganic.com.

Tanka
Tanka is worth checking out. Native American Natural Foods makes these buffalo-meat snacks to advocate natural and healthy eating, a Native respect for living things, and racial interconnectedness. Tanka offers four flavors Tanka is widespread, from New Seasons and Whole Foods to Pharmaca, Food Front, Little Green Grocer, REI, co-ops, and many others including their site tankabar.com.
What a ride. Mighty bars, picky bars, kind bars, power wraps, a revolution in food. The most difficult part of this journey for me was choosing, from such bounty, which to discuss. Variety, the omnivore's dilemma, is truly the spice of life. For such wholesome, certified products (at the expo, I learned just how costly certification is), all are reasonably priced. Of course, if you're bold, you can also try making food bars of any sort, as I've done. But often, you may not have time.

When stuffing your pack with snacks this coming year, why not try something new? Many of us take joy in striking out on a path we've never explored before. But I discovered there's no less of a thrill in walking up to someone you've never seen, who's offering their passion to the world via a company they started only a month ago, and asking, "Can I try it?" That way, there's plenty of room to be adventurous.