Category: News & Events

Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Jake Norton.

When I was 12, my father and I climbed Mount Rainier in Washington. After our climb, we visited my great uncle, Roe Duke Watson, in Seattle. Sensing that I wanted to understand more about this “game” of climbing, Duke disappeared into his office and shortly emerged with a worn and tattered old book, its pages dog-eared and cover scuffed. On the cover was a simple, yet remarkably inspirational, photograph of two climbers silhouetted against a whale-backed ridge and about to disappear into the vast immensity of a Himalayan peak. The photo – and the climb it depicted – is one of the most iconic in all of climbing, showing Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld on the West Ridge of Everest.

Mount Everest is a magical place from a myriad of perspectives. While much aligned in the popular press today (and much of that being deserved), there still is a great deal to be impressed and inspired by on the mountain. From its sheer height and challenge to the wellspring of motivation it touches in its climbers, from the friendships forged on its slopes to the sunrises and sunsets viewed from its shoulders, Everest has a lot to offer to those willing to accept. For me, however, the greatest inspiration emanating from the highest point on earth comes from the past, from the ascents made decades ago and the people and personalities who made them.

In my brief time on Everest – seven expeditions since 1999 – I’ve been fortunate to brush with those historic climbs. I was a researcher and photographer on the Mallory and Irvine expeditions of 1999, 2001, and 2004. And, last spring, climbing for Eddie Bauer, I was able to follow some of the footsteps of Hornbein and Unsoeld.

Spring 2012 was a tough season on Everest, following a uniquely dry winter that left the upper mountain icy, scoured, and raining rock. My teammates – David Morton, Brent Bishop, and Charley Mace – and I worked hard, but were relentlessly pushed back by the route, the conditions, and our choice of climbing style. We didn’t make it too far on the mountain, but we were able to brush with history, to follow some of those inspirational footsteps of Hornbein and Unsoeld. While unsuccessful from a summit standpoint, Spring 2012 stands as one of my top expeditions of all time.

It was exactly fifty years ago today – May 22, 1963 – that Tom and Willi emerged from their tiny tent at 27,300 feet in the Hornbein Couloir on Everest’s North Face. From there, they climbed through difficult terrain – 5.6 crumbling rock, steep snow, and ice – and reached the summit at 6:15pm. They completed a new route on the mountain, and then descended the Southeast Ridge, making the first-ever traverse of Everest. Oh, and they spent the night out in an open bivouac at 28,000 feet to top it off.

To me, though, the most incredible part of their ascent was not the climb itself – although that was phenomenal. Instead, it was the perspective they climbed with and maintained after the climb was done. Tom and Willi were not after praise and pedestals (although they received plenty of both). Instead, they were after the pure essence of climbing: they chose the West Ridge because it presented deep uncertainty. No step was guaranteed on that route, the risk quotient was high, and that’s exactly how they wanted it. The climb to them was about far more than that little patch of snow on top of the world; it was about embracing the uncertainty which is, as Tom says, an “essential seasoning of life.”

For the past year, David Morton and I have been working with our co-director and editor, Jim Aikman, on a film telling the story of Everest in 1963 and the groundbreaking ascent of the West Ridge. We put the final touches on it last week, and High And Hallowed: Everest 1963 will make its world premiere at MountainFilm in Telluride this Friday.

In his book “Another Roadside Attraction”, Tom Robbins wrote that “history is a discipline of aggregate bias.” That may well be true – and I know where my bias stands: the West Ridge in 1963 was perhaps the greatest climb in Himalayan history, and one to inspire for decades to come.

So, on this day, let’s fill our Vapur bottles and tip them back in honor of Tom and Willi and all those who made their ascent possible.

Tipping an Anti-Bottle to the West Ridge

  • May 22nd, 2013
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Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Eric Larsen.

Attention visitors: If you are coming to my country and are looking for a place to visit (cities and other cultural attractions aside), you can skip over the Grand Canyon, Redwoods, Smokey Mountains and pretty much every other natural area in lieu of one place – Moab, Utah.

Now, this wasn’t always my core belief.

I grew up in the midwest and for roughly 20 years of my life it is the only world that I knew. Sure, I’d been a few places: Florida, Seattle, northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters but only briefly – so by the time I graduated college, terra cognita was limited to cheese and the Green Bay Packers.

Being an outdoor lover from a very young age and majoring in natural science in college, I possessed an intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna, and geology of my homeland as well. Glacial moraines, limestone bluffs and hardwoods to the South, the beginning of the boreal forest (the world’s largest land ecosystem) and the hard ingenuous and metamorphic rocks of the Lake Superior basin to the North. This is what I knew. This is what I loved.

But despite all that I knew about my homeland, there were many more things that I didn’t know about the rest of the world and it was this draw that first led me to Alaska and then to Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, California, Arkansas, the Arctic, Antarctica, the top of Mt. Everest and eventually, Moab, Utah.

Little known fact that will most likely ruin my reputation as the polar/cold guy: As much as I LOVE cold (and I really love cold) I actually like all extreme environments, and especially, deserts.

The arid climate makes for a tough life and most of the vegetation is in close proximity to rivers and washes. That means the rest is rock. Magnificent rock. Within a hundred mile radius you can see gravity defying arches, delicate spires, sheer cliffs, massive canyons all forming a labyrinth of twists and turns so convoluted getting lost is more the rule than the exception.

And the mountain biking is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Sure my ‘thing’ is polar travel, but I’m a huge fan of all kinds of adventures and when the opportunity arose to bike the White Rim trail with some friends, I didn’t hesitate.

Now, I don’t want to bore you with the details of riding a bike through Canyonlands National Park on a rough double track trail. I mean, how many times can I describe one breath-taking view after another. The red desert sand. The slot canyon we scrambled through. A million stars.  Flip flops. While we had vehicle support for this small adventure, it felt good to cut the ties from the civilized world and travel with the rhythms of the planet.

There were a few big climbs but for the most part the riding was leisurely and fun. The only real stress came from a constant awareness of and desire for water. As in, because we’re in a desert, there isn’t any water around so monitoring our water usage became of utmost importance. In an area where being thirsty is only a few short steps away from a survival situation, staying hydrated is critical.

For our White Rim trip, we relied heavily on our Vapur Anti-Bottles. Lightweight and packable, whenever we weren’t riding, our Vapurs were close by. During one long day of riding, I carried an extra Vapur with me while riding. They were especially nice during afternoon hikes.

It’s now two weeks since our trip and I am still trying to clean up all the red desert dirt. I accidentally deleted most of my pictures so all I have is a fading desert tan and memories. But it’s Moab and you never really leave a place like this.

 

Go to Moab!

  • May 14th, 2013
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Photo provided by Earthworks Climbing School

“Amanda, you’ve got the Elvis Shakes,” said Laura Bylund, Vapur Pro Team member.

Smiling with knees knocking, Vapur’s Sales Manager made her way up the steep rockface stopping only to reply, “Just call me the King of ROCK!”

This past Friday, professional climber, Laura Bylund and Matthew Fienup, founder of Earthworks Climbing School, took the Vapur Team out to free climb in Montecito, CA.

The Vapur Team is a unique breed of foodies, designers, innovators, musicians and adventurers, but even these renaissance men and women were a little hesitant to climb higher than a nine-story building. The day was filled with instruction, friendly banter, great food and encouraging words as the group cheered on each Vapur employee as they conquered the mountain.

Needless to say, by the end of the day, everyone reached their goal and made it to the top!

Thank you, Laura and Matthew, for an unforgettable day!

See more photos of the Vapur Team climbing here.


The Vapur Team (climbs) Rocks!

  • May 1st, 2013
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Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Eric Larsen.

I recently returned from short expedition in Svalbard, a group of islands which comprise the northernmost part of Norway. Located considerably north of mainland Europe, Savlbard is half way between Norway and the North Pole and a unique combination of mountains, glaciers, sea ice, cold and polar bears. It’s relatively easy to get to via direct commercial flight and, in theory, you can be sleeping in a tent on sea ice just one or two hours after landing in Longyearbyen. It’s the perfect place to train for polar travel.

At least, in theory, you could be sleeping on the sea ice in a tent.

I left for Norway with the usual collection of overweight duffel bags and gear. Skis (expedition and alpine), snow shoes, boots (alpine and polar), stoves, fuel bottles and more transferred from one place to another via variety of vehicles, people and planes. ‘Moving piles,’ Ryan, my friend and expedition partner for this Svalbar adventure, calls the process of transferring gear to different locations. With each leg, there is always a sigh of relief when all of the bags arrive at baggage claim.

The relief comes from experience, because things don’t always go smoothly. For example. I once traveled for nearly a week in Kolkata, India with just the clothes that I was wearing – my pack stranded at JFK in New York. During my last North Pole expedition nearly all of our cargo shipment arrived in Resolute except, mysteriously, our bacon. If there is one thing you don’t want to go without on the Arctic Ocean… it’s bacon… Actually, I can think of several other things as well, but my goal here wasn’t to talk about polar bear deterrents or the merits of adding butter to your morning oatmeal to increase its calorie count.
After meeting Ryan in Oslo and repacking our gear and food, we arrived at the airport on a crowded Sunday morning. Norwegians go nuts for Easter vacation and take the week to travel just about everywhere in the world. Who would have thought? Not me. But I’m off topic again. We checked four duffels and one ski bag for the direct flight to Svalbard. Pretty straight forward.

A few hours after arriving, we were still waiting in the Longyearbyen airport, sipping out of our Vapur Anti-Bottles, waiting for one duffel and our ski bag to arrive. ‘At least I never have to worry about my Vapur getting lost,’ I thought. It’s lightweight and super packable and as a result, it rarely leaves my side. In that moment, it was also a reminder to “Live Flexible,” Vapur’s motto that definitely applies to more than a way to hydrate.

‘How is it possible to lose bags on a direct flight?’ we asked. Then, loaded our bags onto a bus that dropped us off in the middle of town. Somehow, we then befriended a diesel generator mechanic who drove us around town looking for a place to crash for the night. One day’s delay wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

However, when our ski bag didn’t arrive the next day, even Ryan’s mild mannered demeanor became slightly agitated. As a mountain guide, Ryan has had more than his fair share of delays and obstacles, both pre and post expedition. While flying into Indonesia to guide a Carstensz Pyramid trip, he was delay indefinitely by a volcanic eruption. Recently in South America, he returned to his hotel after leading an Aconcagua expedition to find that all of his clean clothes were locked in storage and the ONE person who had the key was out of town for the weekend.

One of the most important aspects of expedition travel is to be flexible. Logistically, there are a myriad factors constantly in flux. In the U.S., we are used to things occurring on a regular schedule and according to a specific plan. Not all of the world works like that, so when there is a small snafu, it can be easy to over react. In reality, being patient and understanding the situation often offers a quicker resolution.

On the trail, we are constantly dealing with changing conditions, energy levels and more. Trying to obtain a specific goal while ignoring all other factors is, quite simply, very dangerous. To be successful requires assessing and reassessing, making plans and then changing them. In other words, living “flexible”.

The fact that our skis didn’t arrive on time actually allowed us an opportunity to check out more of Longyearbyen, take some fun pictures and hike to a nearby ice cave. Had we stuck to our rigid schedule, we would have missed all those opportunities.

– Eric Larsen


 

Live Flexible

  • April 18th, 2013
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When we exercise, a lot of us just grab a disposable water bottle and head for the treadmill or the jogging path. Disposable bottles are expensive to buy and bad for the environment because so many of them are never recycled. Additionally, most water bottles are made with harmful chemicals that can get into our bloodstreams.

When purchasing water bottles, buyers should look for BPA free versions that are made in the USA, like Vapur.  Since BPA free bottles are no more expensive than those with the harmful chemicals, there is no logical reason to expose ourselves to the risk of BPA-filled product.

Vapur water bottles, also called “Anti-Bottles,” come in many colors, different cap variations and the company also offers a customization service through overprinting on the bottles for a nominal fee. Vapur Anti-Bottles also come with their own carabiner, making them easily attachable so you can keep your hands free!

Staying hydrated is necessary for safe and effective physical exertion. The point of working out is to be healthy, so not drinking enough water during the process can be counter-productive. Becoming dehydrated can cause confusion, muscle-spasms and other unpleasant symptoms. Regular sips from a Vapur water bottle can prevent this problem and make working out more pleasant. Anything that helps keep us hydrated while we are physically active is a plus.

Getting the right water bottle can make all the difference in a person’s workout routine. Vapur Anti-Bottles, with water or other refreshing beverages, help people to keep plugging away through their daily exercise, replenishing all the fluids they are losing through healthy sweat. Getting rid of disposable water bottles is good for the environment and the individual. Drink up!

A Hydrated Workout

  • April 17th, 2013
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Using a collapsible water bottle can provide you with the means to maximize your storage space when preparing to camp, hike or enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities. Staying properly hydrated is an important concern, especially for those who are in warmer climates or who may be preparing for more rigorous outdoor activities. Having to decide between a water bottle and any number of other essential items when you have limited storage space to make use will not have to become an issue when you have access to a durable storage container that is able to be packed and stored more easily.

Proper Hydration

Lacking access to suitable drinking water, even for a short period of time, can quickly become a major concern. Finding the water your body needs to stay hydrated in short supply can be uncomfortable, limit the range of opportunities and activities that you may be able to safely enjoy and could even pose a health risk in certain situations and circumstances. Having an adequate supply of water and ensuring that you are able to stay properly hydrated should never be discounted or overlooked when it comes to rigorous, strenuous or prolonged outdoor activity.

Collapsible Bottles Offer Superior Storage

Ensuring that you have access to basic supplies when you are planning on jogging, hiking or spending a long period of time out doors may require you to make the most out of limited space and storage opportunities. Being able to collapse your bottle when it is not in use will ensure that you are able to make use of it in a wider variety of environments and during a greater range of activities. From joggers who may not want to burden themselves with an empty bottle during their run to campers who may be interested in optimizing their available supply and storage space, bottles that will be easier to store and transport can be a welcome resource.

Choosing the Right Bottle

Carrying a portable supply of portable drinking water with you can provide you with the opportunity to more safely and comfortably enjoy a wide range of activities. In addition to being easy to store, choosing a bottle that will be durable, lightweight and able to provide you with an adequate volume of water can all be factors that you may wish to consider. Equipping yourself with the right bottle will ensure that you can stay hydrated more easily and enjoy greater comfort along the way.

Benefits of a More Versatile Bottle

Burdening yourself with a poorly designed water bottle may find you far less likely to make use of it. With the superior versatility and greater convenience that a collapsible water bottle has to offer, meeting your needs and making the most out of limited storage options and situations can both be accomplished. Investing in the right equipment may be of paramount concern when it comes to your exercise routine, hobbies and any other activities that may find you in need of a more versatile way to quench your thirst.

Save Space with a Collapsible Water Bottle

  • April 16th, 2013
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Avid hikers know the importance of doing their part to preserve the environment. They also know how important it is to remain adequately hydrated on those long hikes. Now, environment-conscious hikers can take along sufficient water while doing their part to protect the planet. Imagine a hiking water bottle that’s completely reusable, eco-friendly and compact enough to roll up or fold when not in use? Savvy hikers choose Vapur Anti-Bottles for all of these reasons.

What’s Special About Vapur?
The Vapur Anti-Bottle offers hikers a reusable, durable design. It’s convenient to take along packs or camping gear. The Anti-Bottle is constructed of three layers BPA free plastic and nylon for flexibility. These bottles are great for a leisurely afternoon hike on a low level trail or one of the more challenging hikes along the Appalachian Trail or Hawaiian Cathedral mountains. Vapur provides the hydration you need to restore natural water levels in the body. It’s so convenient that it can even roll up like an ordinary tube of toothpaste.

Travel Light With Vapur
Trekking the challenging trails is always easier when hikers travel light. Vapur’s water bottles accommodate this need for unencumbered hiking gear. Tuck one in a pocket of hiking shorts or attach Vapur to a belt or buckle. A plastic carabiner will keep it secure and ready for use. The Anti-Bottle has a flip-top SuperCap for convenience and the cap also screws off to make refilling quick and easy. Vapur Anti-Bottles also make great gifts for all of the outdoor types on your list and they’re available in a wide range of colors.

Innovation and Eco-Sense
The creative team at Vapur has broken the barriers in innovation to create a product that’s combines a useful source of hydration with eco-sense. A ready source of water supply is crucial for hikers. Don’t drink and dump disposable bottles! Feel good about taking water along on your hike by reducing plastic bottle waste with Vapur.

Hydration on Hikes

  • April 16th, 2013
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Running is still one of the most popular sports in the world, giving rise to endless debates about form and preparation. Although, one thing that experts agree is a must for any serious runner is maintaining proper hydration. Unfortunately, running with a water bottle can be awkward and inconvenient. Finding a water bottle that doesn’t interfere with a morning jog or trail run is an important consideration for serious runners.

Fortunately, many water bottle options now exist. Some hand-carried water bottles come with ergonomic handles, allowing the runner to avoid hand cramps and the distraction that pain brings. In most cases, allowing the user to run freely and naturally.

Multi-bottle belts and other carrying systems allow the runner to be prepared to tackle long treks. Bags and packs also serve the same purpose, and these are designed for easy portability to keep from interfering with a runner’s movement. The runner may need to try several systems before deciding on the right option for them.

Bottles come in various materials. Some are insulated to keep liquids warm or cold. Of course, water is the usually the officially recommended beverage, but some bottles can handle soda and juices as well. Aluminum-lined, glass and metal, and various combinations of plastic are popular materials for the bottles, with some being vacuum models. And, looks do count, with bright colors and sleek designs available, so users can look good while staying hydrated.

No matter what your bottle of choice is, make sure it’s reusable! The number of bottles discarded each year has hit record numbers, and only a small percentage reach recycling plants. The toil on the environment is incalculable, so purchasing and using a reusable bottle is important.

Though many theories of running and physical fitness are put forth daily, the one thing experts do agree on is the importance of hydration during exercise. Becoming dehydrated has numerous ill effects upon the runner, including lowered performance, lack of concentration, and mood impairment. These effects are well-documented and must be taken seriously.

All physical activity requires that a person stay hydrated in order to perform at the optimum level and to avoid negative physiological effects. Finding the right running water bottle makes it easy for the athlete to stay hydrated and on the move. Also, buying a water bottle that can be used and reused is helpful to the environment. Already, the sheer quantity of disposable water bottles has littered the landscape and caused unnecessary damage. Running is great, but running with a quality, reusable water bottle is even better.

Running Water Bottle

  • April 14th, 2013
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Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Anna Levesque.

Hydration is essential every day, but especially when traveling on airplanes.  The dry, recirculating cabin air sucks the moisture out of our bodies and the little cups of water the flight attendants offer just don’t cut it.  I’ve been traveling on international kayaking trips for over 18 years and I’ve traveled with many a bulky, awkward water bottle that takes up too much room in my bags.

So it was refreshing this year to travel with my Vapur Anti-Bottles to Costa Rica where I run whitewater kayaking and yoga trips for women.  Vapur water bottles are so easy to pack and carry and don’t take up any room in my carry-on luggage.  They’re easy to stow through security and ready to be filled on the other side so that I can stay plenty hydrated during the flight to San Jose.

There are many reasons why I love to run kayaking trips in Costa Rica:  Sunshine, exciting whitewater, clear blue rivers, toucans, fresh coffee, morning yoga, latin dancing, and Caribbean style rice and beans – just to name a few!  We had 23 ladies over two trips join us on adventures on the Sarapiqui and Pacuare Rivers this year.  Our paddling chicas came from as far away as France, Germany and Canada, as well as from across the US – Idaho, Cali, Alaska, Wisconsin, Missouri, North Carolina.

My favorite part of the trips is our two-night stay at Jungle Camp on the Lower Pacuare.  I love falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle and the river rushing by.  Teaching morning yoga surrounded by lush, colorful plants and flowers reminds me of how rich and abundant our planet and our lives are. The rivers and Costa Rican culture remind me to go with the flow and that makes it easy to step into the present moment and enjoy every instant.

This is why I love kayaking so much.  The river has so many things to teach us, not only about maneuvering through its cascading waters, but also about navigating the currents of our own lives living in the present moment.  I’m pretty sure this is what Costa Ricans mean when they say, ‘Pura Vida!



Pura Vida

  • April 12th, 2013
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According to the FDA, the chemical BPA is considered safe in the low amounts present in some plastic products, including the linings in soda and food cans. BPA has been removed from many items, but is still present in many things that are used daily by the average person. Studies suggest that BPA can cause heart arrhythmia, certain types of cancer or even fertility problems. Enough evidence exists to make choosing BPA free products the wiser and healthier path to pursue.

Replacing these BPA-filled plastic bottles with glass can get rid of the risk, but then there’s the added worry of the bottle dropping and the glass breaking. The best option is to go with a plastic bottle that’s made using completely BPA free materials. Options like Vapur’s Anti-Bottles are flexible, durable and 100% BPA free.

People who pursue physical activities must keep themselves properly hydrated. To do so safely, they should choose a BPA free water bottle. These models are plentiful on most sporting good sites and come in a wide variety of styles, ranging from the most basic models to cutting-edge products with the latest options. Purchasers do need to check and make certain that the items are marked BPA free or lack the Code 7 designation, which sometimes indicates that it may contain BPA.

Some cooking items and food storage bags also contain the chemical, but BPA free versions of these items exist. Even some food packaging can transfer BPA to the food, making fresh fruits and vegetables the safest choice. In fact, avoiding this chemical is easier than consumers think: it just requires vigilance and a little basic knowledge.

The possible negative effects of BPA are now well-known, and many manufacturers have addressed the problem by completely eliminating this chemical from their products. Manufacturers have a responsibility to produce safe consumer products, but being educated and aware is the safest route to making sure no harmful chemicals, like BPA, leech into you or your family’s food or drinks.

Free Yourself From BPA

  • April 12th, 2013
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