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“Right place, right people, right time.” Behind-the-Scenes on an Osprey Packs Photoshoot

As many of you may have noticed, SW Colorado has been unseasonably wet for the past couple of months.  And I’m not talking a nice and gentle Seattle-like drizzle.  I mean full on thunder-hail, monsoon, wrath of the gods type of weather.  Needless to say, I’ve been chased from the mountains as lightning ripped through savage clouds with my tail between my legs more than a few times this season.

It’s not like I’m not checking the weather reports before heading out on assignment.  In fact, I’ve been studying over weather forecasts like it was my job.  Well, because it kinda is I suppose.  But at the end of the day, you just can’t predict mountain weather.  So if they’re calling for 60% chance of thunderstorms, that’s a 40% chance to catch some amazingly dynamic light.

That’s exactly what Ben Clark, Sam Feuerborn and I were facing when we went out to shoot a video of the Osprey Packs Anti-Gravity series in the Telluride backcountry last week.  As soon as we rolled into town, we found ourselves at the local dive bar, waiting for a glimmer of sunshine to pierce the gray curtain.  Hunkered down by the plate glass window of The Buck, we watched our day’s plans wash down Main Street in the daily deluge.

‘Yet, another shutdown brought to you by Mother Nature’, I thought.  Feeling obligated to be at least somewhat productive, I suggested that we head up to Imogene Pass and scout a little.  We loaded up the truck, put it in four-wheel drive and headed up hill.

It did not take me long to discover that Imogene was not a path for the faint of heart.  Imagine a very technical and frighteningly narrow road strewn with melon-sized boulders which occasionally fall from the crumbling San Juan cliff side.  On your right is an unguarded 1500 foot drop to oblivion.  On your left, cascading waterfalls crashing over your hood. White-knuckled, but grinning ear to ear, we continued on. And so did the rain.

At nearly 11,000 feet, we rolled into the ghost town of Tomboy.  And within moments, the storm that had shrouded us in defeat began a hasty retreat.  We all looked at one another, shrugged our shoulders and without a word, donned our gear.

We knew our window would be a brief one, so we focused on the task at hand and knocked out six scenes in less than an hour.  When the rain clouds rushed back in, we charged back to the truck, loaded the gear and reveled on the fact on how lucky we were to have that window.

Closing the tailgate and about to head home, the clouds decided to part for us one last time.  As they did, we found ourselves wrapped in the some of the most incredibly beautiful, golden light we had ever seen.  Diving headfirst into the truck, Sam soon emerged with an Atmos AG pack.  I grabbed my MKIII, locked on a 70-200mm lens and we sprinted up to an overlook, racing the light with every step.  When we reached the top, we had just enough time to snap this frame before the magic was gone forever.

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Right place, right people, right time.

 

 

Stay tuned for Dan’s forthcoming 2016 Osprey Anti-Gravity Series video — subscribe to Osprey Packs on YouTube and Vimeo to be the first to see the footage once it’s released!

Here’s the first video featuring our award-winning, innovative 2015 Anti-Gravity series:

Click here to view the embedded video.

 

My name is holz2Dan Holz, and I have the good fortune of being the staff photographer for Osprey Packs. Photography has been a passion of mine since grade school and I’ve used it as a vehicle to take me everywhere from my backyard in Colorado to the lush jungles of Borneo and the glaciated landscapes of Patagonia. People often ask if I have a ‘specialty.’ It’s kind of a tough question, because while I specialize in active lifestyle and mountain sport photography, I find myself chasing the magic light more than anything else. If the face of a Nepali farmer is suddenly cast in the beautiful shadow of contrast, I become a portrait photographer in that moment. Or if a setting sun embraces a rice paddy outside of Chiang Mai, for an instant I’m a landscape photographer. As a photographer, I am always exploring self-expression and pushing the limits of what I – and my camera – can do. It’s a passion, it’s a job, it’s a lifestyle all wrapped up in a single package. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

Read more from: Blogs,On The Road

Everest in Alpine Style: Processing an Early Homecoming

Editor’s Note: On April 25, 2015 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal and the region around Mt. Everest killing over 9,000 people including at least 19 at base camp on the Nepali side of the mountain. SCARPA athlete and college professor Raphael Slawinski was on the peak’s northern base camp in China when the quake […]

The post Everest in Alpine Style: Processing an Early Homecoming appeared first on SCARPA North America.

Read more from: Athletes,Blogs,On The Road

Norway Skibuskineering

 

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Known as the birthplace of skiing, Norway has probably been the subject of most backcountry skiers’ dreams. It has always been on my radar after watching the Norwegians dominate the Olympic Cross Country Ski events over the years, not to mention the stories of endless daylight and sweet terrain.

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There’s only one problem Norway creates for  skiers…it just happens to be one of the most expensive places in the world to visit. Be warned my fellow skiers: Norway is the 5th richest country in world, as is visible in the sculpture-laden streets of all the towns we visited. Here are some examples of what things cost in Norway as opposed to Canada:

  • Laguna Burger, no fries: $30 CAD. California patio with beach views not included.
  • Corona beer: $25
  • Gasoline, per/litre: $2.25
  • Last minute car rental: $199 per day

Having a lifetime of practice in ski bohemia, I knew we could stretch a budget. But Norway’s prices and our lack of preparation before this trip made for quite an uphill battle. Luckily we don’t mind ‘earning’ our turns, and our Norwegian Ski-Bus-Skineering mission began.

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We started in Oslo, but the classic fjord skiing was waaaaay up in the Lyngen Alps in the North. Following a quick Facebook check, I noticed that our friend Adam U. was in Norway and he diverted us to the much closer Jotunheimen zone and we hopped on the first bus out. This was all good in concept, but after we fell asleep the bus kept on driving right past our desired mountain pass in the night. Good thing camping is allowed anywhere in Norway, so we camped on the grass in Årdalstangen, a quaint little town that reminded me of  Terrace, BC.

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In Ski-Bus-Skineering if you don’t plan efficiently you can lose use huge amounts of time, forcing you to spend down time at bus stations (which tend harbour some sketchy characters). Eventually, we did reach snow.

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Once on snow and skinning uphill it felt good to be in our natural environment. The variable weather felt like a familiar mellow BC coastal ski tour. Of course in any new area it’s always good to respect the weather — I was feeling confident we’d get up to the peak when BOOM — whiteout, and the classic “stay-or-go” debate began. Fortunately it did clear after 5 minutes and we tagged Turboka peak.

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The weather tease proved to be a good warning sign for later in the trip — the next day was a full storm-raining through the tent, indicating that it was time to move on.
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Since we were in Scandinavia with funky weather, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a detour to Sweden, then a short stop to the bustling bike city of Copenhagen, Denmark — the #1 bike friendly country in the world! We stretched out the legs and took those rental bikes for a rip.
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Riding bikes in Copenhagen was such a cool experience and a definite highlight of the trip. Everyone rides bikes in Denmark, whether they’re a 4 year-old or 80 your-old…or the whole family. North America could really learn a thing or two, especially people who live in cities. The amazing benefits of bikes — they’re cheap, a healthy alternative to driving, good for the environment and you always feel better after your ride your bike.
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With more Ski-Bus-Skineering calling, we jumped back to Oslo and then to the other side of the Jotunheimen park, home of Galdhøpiggen, the highest peak in Norway.

24 hours to left to burn meant GO: Oslo to Lom by bus, hitchhiking with a German plumber to Spiterstulen, set up camp. At 7:30pm, climb…then turn around 500 feet from the summit thanks to another whiteout.

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Bag some birthday turns off Norway’s ‘almost’ high mark, hitchhike ride from Norwegian carpenter, 40 minutes later bus to Lom, and 20 minutes later bus to Oslo. A dialed skibuskineering connection. #journeyisthereward.
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Our first trip to Norway was a rewarding tease and we’ll have to come back. The Northern meccas of the Lyngen Alps and Svalbard are there waiting for us, as long as we stick enough Kroners in our pockets. Until then, local missions to BC’s Waddington Range sound right up our alley: Cheap, big terrain, and guaranteed adventure. Onto the next adventure…
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Story: Andy Traslin
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Follow Mike Traslin, Andy’s brother and fellow Osprey Athlete:
About Osprey Athlete Andy Traslin

“I like to push myself to the maximum in the mountains to see what I can do physically to my abilities. My parents got me into skiing and the mountains at a young age. I progressed to ski racing, to front country, then I started finding powder stashes I had to keep going further and further to see what was around the next corner.

In addition to having worked eight years as a ski patroller, I have been racing in the pro/elite category for several seasons as a mountain biker. Racing enables me to go further and faster in the mountains in pursuit of steep skiing and speed traverses.  Other activities I like: free ride mountain biking, road riding, bouldering, rock climbing, mountaineering, ice hockey, tennis, trailrunning . I like to go see live bands in small venues. I’ve been following the Vancouver Canucks for many years in their quest for the Stanley Cup.”

Read more from: Blogs,On The Road

From Yosemite to Baffin: Dave Alfrey’s First Ascent

Editor’s Note: On May 19th, SCARPA athlete Dave Allfrey and his partner Cheyne Lempe summited the Great Cross Pillar on Baffin Island via their new route Deconstructing Jenga (Grade VI 5.9+, A3+, 900m) after a 10-day push. We asked Dave to explain why he searches out new routes on remote big walls. From the first […]

The post From Yosemite to Baffin: Dave Alfrey’s First Ascent appeared first on SCARPA North America.

Read more from: Athletes,Blogs,On The Road

Road Trip Week Seven: Canyons

As a wise man once said, you can’t always get what you want. Our intention had been to take the car through Death Valley at night on our way back east but we ran into some unaccounted-for difficulties and at around 2am, on the advice of one the few locals still awake and driving around, we turned back for the main highway. Without air conditioning and only a half tank of gas until the next attended gas station (our European cards weren’t accepted at the self-serve stations) he strongly recommended that we drove around rather than through. “It’s called Death Valley for a reason folks!”

 

Sunrise on the road — The view that greeted us at around 5am on the morning of our night drive. Photo by Sam.

 

The next day we made it a priority to find a garage to charge the AC system a little. This done, and now, for the first time in weeks feeling deliciously cool and *not* sticky, we drove on towards Zion National Park, arriving in the evening. Our track record for early starts over the trip has been pretty terrible but we made it out before 6am the next morning. We were walking up Angel’s Landing – a tall, narrow rock formation and one of Zion’s more popular attractions. After a long slog up the trail’s switchbacks we made it onto the ridge. Sunlight was just starting to spill into the valley and the temperature began steadily rising. The final part of the walk takes you along some fairly steep rock sections that are chained to help people along. There were a few points with some pretty intense exposure (think: two foot-wide ridge with roughly 1000 foot. The summit widens out and gave gorgeous panoramic views up and down the valley. The red cliffs dominate the view but also visible is the subtle green of trees filling the valley floor but also speckling up the cliffs.

 

Sam at Angels Landing, taking a quick break on switchback #231 with his Osprey Talon. Photo by Ciaran.

We would have loved to spend more time in Zion but at this point in the trip we’ve started, sadly, to become aware of a certain degree of time limitation. We’ve laid out a plan for how we’re spending out last days and that required driving on further west. We stopped in Page, AZ, where we stayed at what turned out to be one of our favourite campgrounds. The nights were so warm there that we pitched our tents without the rain covers and could watch the stars through the mesh ceiling as we lay and fell asleep. Before that though, we drove to the famous Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River for that evening’s breath-taking sunset. We think that the frequency with which a person is able to sit and just watch a sunset or sunrise is a viable method for measuring quality of life. By this measure, our quality of life has been at its absolute peak these past few weeks.

 

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Quality of life: 10/10. Photo by Sam.

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The swirling sandstone of Lower Antelope Canyon. Photo by Sam.

The next morning we went to Lower Antelope Canyon, a beautiful example of a slot canyon. For a number of confusing reasons we weren’t at all sure what time it was – we still don’t really understand how it all worked but it was something like Arizona, Utah and the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park were all on different timezones and our phones were all connected to different masts that gave different times. Even the locals we asked seemed to have different ideas of exactly what time it was. Anyway, the upshot of all that confusion was just that we arrived an hour ahead of our scheduled 8am meet-up time. For the whole of that hour we were no more than a couple of hundred feet from the canyon we were to be walking around but had no idea. From above, there is almost no trace of it – only a narrow slit. We entered, being led by a local guide, by descending steep staircases fixed to the rock. As soon as we reached the bottom and started looking around, we were exposed to the beautiful rock walls on either side of us. The sandstone rock of which they are comprised took on swirling shapes of all colours that seemed to change as the light shifted. It’s another place that is very difficult to describe adequately with words but completely engrossing when experienced in person. If you’re in northern Arizona, go.

 

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Incredible natural formations at Antelope.

 

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Dian takes the chains on the final ascent of Angel’s Landing ridge. Photo by Sam.

 

We’re now driving down to the Grand Canyon – we should arrive in time to cook some food and then watch the sun set over the western rim. We’ll let you know how that all goes and whatever else we get up to next time.

Road trip. Two months. Five European friends across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver and through the States from San Francisco back to Toronto via as many cool places in between as we can find. We’ve used cities as way-markers but our interest is in the land we’ll travel through between them. Along the way we’ll pass through more National Parks than you can shake a stick at. Camp stoves, beaches, forests, mountains, waterfalls, adventures and waking up in a tent somewhere new every morning.

Keep up with us throughout our journey via the weekly blogs posted here that we’ll be writing for Osprey Packs or follow us on Instagram:

SamLeakey

RobbieTravels

CiaranTragheim

Read more from: Blogs,On The Road