Bivvy Flying- What’s on your back?

This post is a follow up to an earlier gear post I wrote about the kit Will Gadd and I carried on the Rockies Traverse, “the things we carried” and hopefully answers many questions I’ve been getting about what’s critical and what’s not. I actually haven’t changed much but it has been refined and I’ve been able to cut more than 10 pounds of weight which is considerable.

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Chinks in the Armor- The Red Bull X-Alps Reality

Every morning I head out and my head says no but my body says yes. The sweating starts, the cursing follows but the body just does the work. “Shut the fuck up head!” I keep saying, but it keeps grunting relentlessly. “I’ll shut up when you take a break!” But I don’t feel like I can afford a break. Just a few more weeks and that gun goes off in Salzburg and there won’t be any more time to prepare.

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A life uncomplicated

I answered immediately: “Fuck No!” Training for what is billed as the hardest adventure race on Earth has consumed my every move and thought for the last 7 months, and I’m sure will only get exponentially worse until the race starts July 5th. And I mean CONSUMED. I eat; I train; I eat and eat and eat; train and train and train; make lists that have no end; and sleep whenever possible. This is my life. Unless you have competed in this race, or are a rookie like me this year I promise you can’t possibly imagine what goes into this kind of campaign.

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6 Months and Counting to the Red Bull X-Alps

Niviuk pilot Gavin McClurg is having an amazing year. He is one of the 2015 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year for his ground-breaking vol-biv across the Canadian Rockies with the legend mountain athlete Will Gadd, and he’s been selected to compete in this years edition of the hardest adventure race on Earth, the Red Bull X-Alps. We sat down with Gavin recently to find out how his training is going, here’s what he had to say.

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And so the Training Goes. Countdown to the Red Bull X-Alps

2015. An absolutely terrifying combination of 4 unique digits. Two reasons. It is a reminder that is bigger than any billboard of how fast time keeps skipping along at an ever faster pace; and it is the year that in just over 6 months time the Red Bull X-Alps will take place. If all goes well between now and then I will be one of 32 international competitors standing at the starting line in Salzburg, heart beating like a snare drum, thrilled and terrified at what is before each of us- quite likely the most grueling adventure race on Earth. My only question now, and my only question at the start will be the same: have I got what it takes?

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The things we carried

Will Gadd and I just completed what we believe to be the longest connected track log that has ever been flown. About 650 kilometers across the Canadian Rockies to the US border. One rule: all forward progress was made in the air. Most of the line had never been flown. All up it took us 35 days to complete, with two long bouts of bad weather that shut us down completely for more than a week at a time. A great deal of media will be out shortly documenting the journey, that is not what this essay is all about. I’m still too frazzled, thrilled, shocked, and exhausted to put into words what the expedition meant. I haven’t even begun to look back and process the risks, the rewards, and ultimately what comes down to a lesson in humility.

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Defining Adventure with Will Gadd across the Canadian Rockies

Vol Bivouac (fly camp) style adventures seem to be all the recent rage in this rather off-route, deeply addicting fringe sport that a friend recently pointed out quite eloquently as “ridiculous”. Flying plastic and strings hundreds of miles without an engine, everything needed to survive on your back. People keep going farther and farther.

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Stupid Lines in the Stupidly Pretty

I was very tempted to call this post “Balls Deep” in honor of Tony Lang, who started this rather genital based thread after watching my Spot page and noticing that the flight track did in fact have quite a phallic outline. Of course that was not exactly what I set out to do. Coming off 7 straight days of flying some incredibly awesome tasks (including a 204 km send into the Palouse region of Eastern Washington, a place I’ve always wanted to see), but hardly crushing the US Nationals in Chelan I was in a bit of a funk.

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Freefall

We’re talking about all of this and George says, “hey do you want to go skydiving?”. He had purchased a parachute on ebay this winter. It arrived in the mail packed and he got his buddy Jake to take him up to 10,000 feet in his plane and he jumped out and free fell 6,000 feet. He’d never done any skydiving before. It went well so he and his son packed it that night with the help of YouTube and he jumped again the next day. That also went well. Are you getting an idea of who George is?

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