International Peace Climb

Tomorrow evening the 25th anniversary of the International Peace Climb will be celebrated in Seattle, WA. In 1990, when most of the world was at odds with each other, a group of people from the United States, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, and China took it upon themselves to make a statement. A statement made by having the most successful summit of Mt. Everest, with a total of 20 people from the group reaching the summit over several days. Proving that a group of people from different countries could work together as one with a common goal.

The message, however, was not just that they could summit a mountain together. Rather, they were also making an environmental statement. The timeline they had for summiting coincided with the 20th anniversary from the first Earth Day. They wanted to bring awareness to the fact that we need to work together to take care of the planet we live on and demonstrated this by clearing over two tons of garbage from the mountain. Expedition leader, Jim Whittaker, said, “When our team left Base Camp, you couldn’t tell another human had been there.”

One of SlingFin’s own was honored enough to have been a part of this historic event and will also be in attendance. Robert Link, a lifelong mountaineer, was one of the 20 people of that expedition to summit Everest. Link has summited Mt. Rainier over 300 times and climbed extensively around the world.

As well as this being a reunion for the members of that original group, this gathering is also being held in hopes to once again raise awareness that it is time to join forces and start addressing the issues that the earth is facing.

“We’ve invited the leaders of our countries to talk to the team on Mt. Rainier—just like they spoke to us on Mt. Everest in 1990,” said Whittaker. “Presidents (H.W.) Bush, Gorbachev and Li Peng all called us—we had one of the very first satellite phones. They sent said that working on behalf of world peace and a clean environment was the most important thing we would ever do. It would be great to hear the same message from today’s leaders!”

All attending members of the team will travel together from Seattle to Mt. Rainier National Park. This is where they first met and trained for Everest in 1989. An official ceremony will be held at the mountain on the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21st, followed by an anniversary celebration dinner in Paradise Lodge.

The following is information obtained from a press release Mr. Whittaker’s office sent out:

The public is invited to two special events, with slide shows by the team and a screening of the video about the 1990 climb, “Three Flags Over Everest,” narrated by Robert Redford.

The first is on Thursday, September 17 at 7:00 PM, at The Mountaineers Program Center, 7700 Sand Point Way, Seattle WA. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and children, and may be purchased in advance at The Mountaineers. Advance purchase is encouraged, as seating is limited. All proceeds benefit The Mountaineers conservation and youth programs.

The second is a free event on Sunday, September 20 at 8:30 PM, in the lobby of Paradise Lodge, in Mount Rainier National Park. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served.

Help Save the Guides on Denali.

On a big mountain a good guide can mean the difference between a life changing experience and basic survival.

The NPS is planning to reduce the amount of guides on Denali next season by 75%, in some cases cutting the employed guides from 54 to 13.

Slingfin received the following email today and it was so well written I felt the need to post the whole thing.



The first round prototype of one of our new tents the "Hardshell" on Denali last May.


“The NPS has Denali climber allocation up for final discussion.  Thanks to all of you that commented last winter on this topic! They read the comments and came up with 3 alternatives to try and work from. 
I really appreciated that they are trying to resolve this issue. Sadly, all of the alternatives they list include a baseline 25% commercial use. This percentage could drastically effects the future of guiding and guiding jobs on Denali. 
25% equals 47 clients per concession and only 15 guide positions per season for AMS. 
To compare: This year we led 94 clients on Denali and had 47 guide positions on Denali.
You can comment and find the whole plan at this address:
We are still formulating our comments to this plan, and we need you (and your friends and family) to comment too!  Comments must have a solid reasoning to be considered. Here are some points to consider. Scroll to the bottom to see our proposed solutions.
The Denali Park # 3 preferred alternative is good with exceptions of: 
         1. Limiting commercial capacity to 25% of 1500
         2. The inclusion of mountain guides to the base allowable percentage  
         3. Lack of clear implementation plan. 
Here is why:
 1. Inadequate Range of Alternatives:
The base allowable commercial use of 25% is listed in all three alternatives. The 2011 EA and the 2006 BCMP do not acknowledge the significant economic impact that the reduction to 25% commercial use will have on the Denali mountaineering concessioners, their employees, park visitors, or surrounding local businesses. If the Denali National Park feels it must reduce base commercial use to 25% of total allowable use, then, NEPA requires an Environmental Impact Statement with socioeconomic studies. The NPS preferred alternative #3 does suggest the opportunity for increased use due to potential unclaimed permits, but offers no plan to implement that increased use to meet current visitor demand and no implementation of that plan. 
2. Lack Of Conflict/ Ease of Using Current Methods:
Guided and individual climbers are not being displaced using current methods of regulating climbing activity, we suggest using the working current percentages, with moderate room for growth to accommodate the trend of increasing demand.
3. Decreased Job Opportunity:
            In 2011, Alaska Mountaineering School (AMS) employed 47 guide positions.  Decreasing guaranteed commercial opportunity to 25% would allow only 15 guide jobs on Denali for the season.  Another Concessioner employed 54 guides, for their business model a reduction to 25% would provide only 13 guide positions available.  
For all the concessioners estimates show that over 90 guide positions could be lost.


4. Decreased Stewardship:
            Each guided expedition on Denali provides 21 days of education to clients; this encourages and results in excellent stewardship of the glaciated mountain environment and Denali National Park. In 2010 there were 169 guides on Denali educating the public. Reducing the guaranteed opportunity of commercial activity to 25% could result in a loss of 1,974 days of guided education on the West Buttress.
5. Decreased Cleanliness:
            Field observations show that guided groups are cleaner and more responsible for a cleaner mountain environment. They are, in fact, bound to be cleaner by their concession contract and therefore are additionally accountable. 
6. Decreased Visitor Opportunity:
            In 2010, 1177 people climbed Mt. McKinley, of those 409 were guided climbers, a 25% limitation could result in 174 less guided park visitors.  That is 42% of the people may not be able to climb Mt. McKinley with a guided team.


7. West Buttress Special Use Area Corridor
The area of Mount McKinley that we are discussing is the West Buttress, not the entire massif. The park BCMP acknowledged that the area is higher use and designated it as such by calling it the West Buttress Special Use Corridor, which is within the Old Park wilderness area. 
The Parks BCMP sates that within this corridor park visitors will encounter:
• High Evidence of Human Use
• Landscape modifications
• Encounters with large groups
• High Camping Density
High Administrative Presence
We believe the original intent was to limit commercial use to 25% of potential use in the Wilderness Area outside of the Special Use Corridor (precisely why it was designated).  This Corridor designation allows the NPS to be flexible within the acknowledged busier area of the West Buttress Route of Mt. McKinley, to accommodate park visitors wishing to join a guided expedition.  
8. Don’t Count Guides
Guides are not recreating; they are working. Excluding guides from commercial percentage allows a smaller commercial percentage (closer to the BCMP figure) and greater park visitor safety.  Including guides in the percentage will result in fewer guides on the mountain, decreasing overall quality of experience to all park visitors who climb because of the support guides provide for the entire visitor population. Mountain guides provide a multitude of positive contributions to the national park lands and all park visitors while climbing Mt. McKinley, which include but are not limited to: increased safety and hazard awareness, assistance to park rangers in SAR operations and maintenance of equipment on the mountain, LNT environmental ethics and practices, education of the natural and human history of the Alaska Range and surrounding terrain.


Proposed Solutions:
1. (Preferred) Include guided climbers only in the guaranteed opportunity of commercial use to 38% of total possible activity on the West Buttress of Mt. McKinley. To accommodate increased visitor demand in the future, utilize the NPS plan to share with concessioners unused climbing permits. Implement the plan with an equally divided, structured format, in order to offer the park visitors fair opportunity to climb Denali and to protect future opportunities.  Include the plan of implementation within the mountaineering concession contracts.


2. Include guided climbers and guides in the guaranteed opportunity of commercial use to 50% (1982- present allowable use) of total possible activity on the West Buttress of Mt. McKinley. To accommodate increased visitor demand in the future, utilize the NPS plan to share with concessioners unused climbing permits. Implement the plan with an equally divided, structured format, in order to offer the park visitors fair opportunity to climb Denali and to protect future opportunities.  Include the plan of implementation within the mountaineering concession contracts.”

Prototype development on Mt.Rainier.

Michael Horst is a mountaineer who has recently added a page to mountaineering history.

This past May he summited Everest and Lhotse in 21 hours, making him the first human to accomplish such a feat.  He was followed by another team of climbers led by Garett Madison, who were using the L.F.D on their expedition.

Being a good friend of SlingFin and with his recent accomplishments, we offered Michael a prototype of a tent we are developing called the Hardshell.

The Hardshell is the smallest of our alpine tent line designed to be pushed up high on the mountain and shelter 3-4 climbers and gear. Built around the Webtruss the Hardshell has all the advantages of the OneUp in a smaller lighter package and a full pole supported vestibule.

Michael got the Hardshell to 11,000ft at Ingraham Flats on Mt.Rainier and came back with great reviews and some stunning photos. This little fortress is in the final stages of development and with its recent performance in the field, we are certain it will be a driving force as strong as those it was designed to withstand.

We are also working on a few other models and if you look closely at the album on Facebook you may be able to spot them…

Tell me what you find and ill send you a sticker!

Happy Trails.



Go shred ‘lil dude!

The Start House has been put in to use by a youth ski team as, you guessed it, a Start House!

The team placed the tent at the top of the ski run for a place to stay warm, tune skis and review the video from the last run without glare.

The door is so wide on this tent that the ‘lil shredders can ski right out the door and down the slopes.

The Start House is made almost entirely of ET70 fabric coated with titanium dioxide, giving it tremendous staying power.  The Start House could be left there for seasons on end, but as it turns out, the instructors liked the mobility of the shelter, moving it to multiple runs in the same day.

This very Start House is currently on its way to Nepal with a team of russians attempting an unclimbed peak.

We will keep you posted on that.



Ephi just waiting to get into his tent

Thanks to the strong and experienced guides at Mountain Trip, they had a 100% summit success!

All the comforts of home in our big dome! Laurie brings sushi to base camp.


And what from what i’ve seen from the crew so far, this group does it right. Sushi at base camp? Labatts beer at Camp 3 @24,500ft ?  Days of extras oxygen at Camp 4? Sounds like Mountain Trip pulls out all the stops for their clients, add to that guides like Scott Woolums and Bill Allen who have spent more nights in the back country than an alaskan bear cub, and you have a recipe for a solid expedition team.


Alpine Ascents’ website officially reports: At 4:22 am on May 20th 2011, Garrett Madison, Tom Halliday and Kami Rita Sherpa made the summit of Lhotse!

This is a truly amazing feat of mountaineering in all aspects of the sport. The level of skill and sheer endurance that this type of climb requires is possessed by very few people on this earth.

Garett Madision and his Rain-on tech box that allowed him to tweet from the summit of both mountains