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Daily Dirt

Backpacker Photo School: Capture Your Favorite Trees

Trees do more than keep our ecosystem in balance with oxygen: They bring nature closer to our lives, especially when we can't escape the bustle of daily city life.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation and American Photo recognize the importance of trees in our daily lives and our country's history. They sent 12 photographers to document a few of the most important and at-risk trees in the country. The result: "Every Tree Tells a Story." Read Full Story...
Friday, November 19, 2010 in: Backpacker Photo School
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The Pulse

Bros on Everest

BP tribe member goes for the Big E, and a shout-out for Montana shuttle drivers

Redrock and Utah penstemon; Capitol Reef on Tuesday. pic:

Backpacker buddy readying for Everest summit attempt
Friend and globe-trotting video cameraman Scott Simper - who's been on many editorial expeditions over the years and tested lots of gear for our reviews - is right now getting ready for a summit attempt on the Big E's classic South Col route. He and fellow Hanesbrands Expedition member Jamie Clarke are leaving base camp today (Friday), and should be at Camp III on the Lhotse Face by the 9th (Sunday). You can see footage from their expedition here.

Scott and Jamie will head for the top Monday or Tuesday, weather depending. The expedition is sponsored by Hanes (which also owns numerous other athletic clothing companies) to highlight their new performance base layers, and test a high altitude "supersuit" that's insulated with space age aerogel rather than goose down.

Aerogel, also known as 'frozen smoke', is a basically a gelatin of silicone, carbon, or various oxides and alcohol. After the components have been mixed, the liquid is slowly vacuumed out, leaving behind an ultralight matrix that's almost entirely air pockets. Aerogels have the highest insulation value and lightest weight of any known solid. Invented in the 1930's using a mixture of silicone and water, aerogels were revived by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for aerospace insulation. Recently aerogel insulation has appeared in outdoor sleeping pads and high altitude climbing boots, but this is one of the first real-world attempts at testing aerogels for ultra-warm clothing. Will it work? Check in at And good luck Scotty! Climb safe bro!

Wanted: Montana/Great Falls shuttle driver for July/August Bob Marshall thru-hike
Yo readers. A little networking help here, please. I'm prepping for a mid-July to mid-August thru-hike of the Bob Marshall Wilderness complex in western Montana. Tentatively this will be a "high route" ridgeline walk 230 miles from Rogers Pass on MT 200 (between Missoula and Great Falls) to Marais Pass on US Hwy 2 (the southern border of Glacier National Park). For a highway map of the layout, look here. Yes, this is a stupid idea that will probably result in... Read Full Story...
Friday, May 07, 2010 in: Survival, News and events
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Green Scene

Gulf Oil Spill Grows

See it on Google Earth

It's been more than a month since BP's offshore well failed and oil slick started pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. The largest oil spill in US history started with a catastrophic explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform on April 20, 2010, about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast. 

Now, a month later, oil continues to spew from a well 5,000 feet below the water's surface, and somewhere between 5,000 and 100,000 barrels of crude oil (210,000 to 4.2 million US gallons according to the  Christian Science Monitor ) are being discharged daily. No one but BP knows just how much oil is being released each day, and they are refusing to allow independent scientists to measure the discharge, or the underwater plumes of oil not visible from the surface.   Read Full Story...
Thursday, May 20, 2010 in: News and Events, Environment and Green Living
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