Friday, March 13, 2015

Five questions with Justin “Trauma” Lichter

Granite Gear athlete and accomplished thru-hiker, Justin “Trauma” Lichter just finished the Pacific Crest Trail, making him the first to complete the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail during winter months. So naturally we had a few questions about his accomplishment.

What was your first thought most days while waking up? Falling asleep? 
It was really dependent on the conditions. Some days my first thought waking up was "sweet, it is going to be so pretty today" and other days it was "do I really have to put these shoes back on and get out of my sleeping bag right now". At night I don't think I thought of anything. I would fall asleep exhausted as soon as my head hit the pillow (any extra clothes in a stuff sack).

We know an expedition like this has a lot to do with endurance but how did you stay mentally strong?
I think the mental challenge can be just as hard as the physical challenge. It's important to learn from previous days and experiences but to also be able to put them behind you.

How did you train for this, and would you do anything different now?
We didn't train specifically for this trip physically. The planning for this trip was a culmination of skills gained on previous trips and tune-up trips to get our gear dialed. We worked on this for a few years. We also pieced together logistics and a resupply strategy as it got closer since many of the standard resupply options in the summer are closed in the winter.
 
If you could bring one luxury item with you (weight does not matter), what would it be?
Weight does matter so I am not sure how to answer this question. If weight didn't matter then I might pack a house with TV and a heater. But realistically my luxury item is carrying a small book to read at night.

Did you sing any songs in your head or out loud while hiking and why was it Katy Perry’s “Firework”? (we joke)

I can't say I have ever even heard that song! I always get different songs stuck in my head but I have to say that The Proclaimers are probably the most common song going through my head.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lichter and Forry Complete First Winter Thru-Hike on the Pacific Crest Trail

Two Harbors, MN – March 1, 2015 – At 1pm on March 1st, Granite Gear athlete and accomplished thru-hiker, Justin “Trauma” Lichter and hiking partner Shawn “Pepper” Forry have finished the Pacific Crest Trail, making them the first to complete the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail during winter months. 

From October to March, Lichter and Forry found themselves battling frostbite, icy ponds, frozen ski bindings, blinding whiteouts, 80 mph wind gusts, negative temperatures, and many other unpleasant conditions. However, with over 55,000 miles of trail experience between them, Lichter and Forry were able to meet the conditions with safety and confidence. Detailed packing and preparation also played a major role in the safety of their trek, and Lichter and Forry are pros at packing the best ultralight gear. On the trail, Lichter and Forry carried various Granite Gear backpacks and stuff sacks. View Lichter’s full list of gear here. 


“We set out on this adventure to challenge ourselves and test our physical and mental limits and skill sets,” said Justin Lichter. “We also want to open the door and hopefully show people that the winter can be a beautiful and amazing time to experience the outdoors.”




Lichter and Forry have worked closely with the PCTA along their trek, and plan on continuously acting as stewards to protect and preserve the trail. Viewing the PCT as a capstone and symbol for America’s value of wilderness and conservation, Lichter and Forry would like to see the PCT respected enough so that people will enjoy it many generations to come.


For detailed stories around each stop on the trail, read Justin Lichter’s blog and Shawn Forry’s blog. View more photos from the trail here. To learn more or schedule an interview with Justin, please contact Shelly Smith at Shelly@DarbyCommunications.com


About Justin Lichter

Justin Lichter has hiked the equivalent to almost one and a half times around the Earth, and in one year hiked over 10,000 miles. (In total, he’s racked up over 35,000 miles!) His accomplishments include hiking unsupported from end to end through the Himalayas, through the Southern Alps of New Zealand, through Iceland and Norway, across the United States six times, and over 1800 miles through Africa. He is a ski patroller and enjoys backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, biking, surfing and anything else outdoors and active. During his trek through the Himalayas, Trauma proudly carried the Leopard AC and found it to be the perfect pack for the treacherous 1500 mile hike. Justin is the author of Trail Tested and Ultralight Survival Kit.

About Shawn Forry

Since 2003, Shawn has hiked over 20,000 miles through 26 states and 7 countries, including Nepal and New Zealand and most of Europe. Long distance backpacking has taught him determination, problem solving, compassion for fellow neighbors and the environment. He is currently residing in Truckee, CA (winter) and Midpines, CA (summer) and works as an Outward Bound Lead Instructor and Wilderness Adventures Musher.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Granite Gear Hires Hartford Sales Group to Reinforce West Coast Territory

Granite Gear, award-winning manufacturer of legendary backpacks, packing systems and travel gear, announces today their partnership with The Hartford Sales Group. The team is joining Granite Gear’s sales force with four reps in California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.

For over 30 years, the highly esteemed sales agency has represented some of the top outdoor brands in the industry including Adidas Outdoor, Five Ten, PowerBar, Feetures! and Timex. The Hartford Sales Group, managed by Larry Hartford, has an extensive network that includes outdoor stores, travel goods stores and sporting goods stores. With their reach to more than 600 accounts, Hartford will help grow the Granite Gear brand, and ensure that the right stores are carrying the best and most innovative backpacks and travel gear on the market.

“It is very exciting to align with such an energetic, driven group of reps who support our brand on the West Coast,” states Rob Coughlin, Granite Gear VP of Sales. “The team comes equipped with years of experience and expertise in the outdoor industry and an innate understanding of our brand.”
Hartford Sales Group is a dedicated group of reps that focuses on building long-lasting relationships and offering personalized service to each customer.

“We have been very fortunate to represent some of the most quality and innovative lines in the industry, and work with people who share our work ethic and love for the outdoors – and Granite Gear fits right into that culture.  We look forward to the journey,” said Larry Hartford.
This new partnership, effective immediately, will continue to help drive Granite Gear forward as a top backpack manufacturer in the world.  For more information about The Hartford Sales Group, please email Larry Hartford at larry@hartsale.com.

About Granite Gear

For 28 independent years, Granite Gear has brought cutting-edge products to the outdoor marketplace. Their award-winning backpacks, adventure travel gear, extensive variety of storage sacks, lifestyle accessories, and canoe gear offer excellence in design and construction. Granite Gear’s desire is for all outdoor enthusiasts and travelers to experience the incredible durability and comfort of their products. Located in Northern Minnesota, just minutes from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior Hiking Trail, they have a rugged and beautiful testing ground for their products.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Granite Gear Announces Partnership with North Brand Agency

Granite Gear, award-winning manufacturer of cutting-edge outdoor and lifestyle products, is pleased to announce their partnership with Portland, Oregon-based brand agency North for the upcoming year.  Effective immediately, North will assist Granite Gear with marketing strategy and creative campaigns as the company continues to make waves in the outdoor industry.

In the past year, Granite Gear has delved into the adventure travel market with the release of their Cross-Trek Collection and has revolutionized the school backpack market with their technical Campus Collection.  The brand has continued to add versatility to their offerings with the addition of lightweight packable duffels. North will be pivotal in developing messaging that speaks to Granite Gear’s Two Harbors, Minnesota heritage and to the consumer who needs quality technical gear for their travels and adventures.

“We have made huge strides in developing a product line that touches every corner of the outdoor and adventure travel markets,” says Rob Coughlin, Granite Gear’s VP of Sales and Product Development.  “We’re thrilled to be partnering with North so that we can share the unique story of our brand and continue to reach a blended outdoor audience.”

About Granite Gear
For 28 independent years, Granite Gear has brought cutting-edge products to the outdoor marketplace. Their award-winning backpacks, adventure travel gear, extensive variety of storage sacks, lifestyle accessories, and canoe gear offer excellence in design and construction. Granite Gear’s desire is for all outdoor enthusiasts and travelers to experience the incredible durability and comfort of their products. Located in Northern Minnesota, just minutes from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior Hiking Trail, they have a rugged and beautiful testing ground for their products.

About North
North is an independent advertising agency that creates fans for good brands. We're in love with creativity, and believe fans are earned, not bought. So we think less like traditional marketers and a little more like musicians who care about results. 


We work in a big, open, light-filled space in beautiful Portland, Oregon, designed for smart, curious people to think, make, do their best work, collaborate, grow, have fun, be honest and kind to each other.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lonnie Dupre is First Solo Climber to Reach Denali Summit in January

Granite Gear athlete, arctic explorer and climber, Lonnie Dupre became the first to summit Denali in January – alone. With just six hours of sunlight each day, 100 mile per hour winds and temperatures reaching 60ยบ F below, January is a daunting time on Denali, where elevation of 20,237 feet makes it North America’s highest mountain. Dupre achieved his goal in 25 days and reached the summit at 17:04 (CST) on January 11, 2015.

Dupre has spent a total of 60 days during the last 3 winters on Denali, during which he made 2 fast ascents to 17,200 feet, only to be thwarted by bad weather just hours from the summit. Only nine expeditions, totaling 16 people, have ever reached the Denali summit in winter, and six deaths occurred during those climbs. Of these previous winter expeditions, four were solo, but none were achieved in January, the darkest and coldest time of the year on the mountain. Only a team of three Russian climbers has ever successfully summited Denali in January.


“It was an amazing trip and challenge, but I wouldn’t want to repeat it,” Dupre laughingly said.  “It was the type of journey where one had to be on his toes at all times, monitoring the weather, available daylight, overall plan and supplies all while being at high altitude.” 
Currently on his descent from the summit, Dupre is wearing his Granite Gear Nimbus Trace Access 70L backpack, and pulling a 5-foot sled. On the lower elevations, the sled was packed with 165 pounds of supplies, and Dupre then switched to backpacking his supplies up the steeper parts. Dupre is also carrying 175 bamboo wands to mark the route, dangerous crevasses and his camps, increasing his chances for a safe return, which is when most climbing deaths occur.

Lonnie Dupre and the One World Endeavors team will be showing their first adventure documentary, Cold Love, at the upcoming Winter Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday, January 23rd at Brewvies Cinema Pub. Free showing starts at 6pm.  Learn more about the film and Dupre’s summit at OneWorldEndeavors.com.

Photo credit: John Walter Whittier

About Lonnie Dupre & Cold Love
Lonnie Dupre, a resident of Grand Marais, Minnesota, brings 25 years of Arctic exploration to his most recent endeavor. His accomplishments include being the first to circumnavigate Greenland by non-motorized transport, and reaching the North Pole in two separate expeditions. Dupre has also worked to bring worldwide attention to his concern over the environment.  “I spent a lot of time this past year trying to figure out how to inspire folks about our need to do something about climate change,” said Dupre. “So, we have made a one hour film called Cold Love, which is about Arctic adventure and the world’s need - people’s need - for snow and ice. Snow and ice are important in our polar regions because they help reflect the sun’s energy back into space.  Basically, the planet’s polar regions act as a thermostat to keep our planet cool.”  The documentary will be entered in international film festivals and offered on CD in 2014.  As a solution to help combat climate change Dupre is donating the profits from the sale of his book, Life on Ice: 25 Years of Arctic Exploration, published by Keen Editions, between December 15th and February 15th, 2014, to The Nature Conservancy’s campaign “Plant a Billion Trees.”  Each Life on Ice sale will enable the planting of 11 trees.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Granite Gear is proud to sponsor:
Only The Essential
View the Sneak "Peak" Video


From thru-hiker and film producer Colin Arisman: 
"In the summer of 2013 Casey Gannon and Colin Arisman thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with cameras in hand. "Only The Essential" is the story of their 5 month, 2668 mile journey on foot from Mexico to Canada across the wilderness of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The full length film will be available to stream for free online, as well as premiering around the country and being submitted to film festivals. Prior to the hike we successfully ran a Kickstarter fundraiser, and we are deeply grateful for the independent financial support of those who backed our project. The film is a non-commercial project and has been a labor of love for us. We are honored to be supported by Granite Gear and the PCTA."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Four Tips for Backpacking in the Winter

Written by Justin "Trauma" Lichter


There’s a mystique about heading out into the backcountry in the winter. In recent years backcountry skiing has been gaining in popularity, but that still typically doesn’t take people more than a few miles from the road. The allure of the short trip is obvious. Even the most popular backcountry destinations are deserted in the winter. I’ve been to Glacier Point in Yosemite, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the White Mountains, some of the most heavily trafficked areas -- and hardly seen a soul. Most people hike and backpack to disconnect, seek solitude, and experience the outdoors. There’s no better time than the winter to achieve this. Don’t be scared to leave the comforts of a warm fireplace - expand the camping season and escape the crowds by heading out in the winter!
           
I have hiked the Appalachian Trail in the winter and seen hardly anybody. This is the Grand Central Station of hiking trails. It’s amazing and beautiful, even more so in the winter because you can see out of the “Green Tunnel”, but can be crowded and difficult to get shelter space. Almost every night of the trip I was the only one in the shelter – with the added benefit of no one else snoring but me!
          
This winter I plan on attempting to thru-hike/ski the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. It will be roughly 2650 miles of varying travel methods, from skis to snowshoes, in a mix of terrain and conditions. We think this challenge will take 5-6 months through the heart of the winter. Here are a few things to keep in mind on a winter trip:

1) Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance – my favorite saying.

You want to research the conditions that you could hit, including the low temperatures, potential weather, and the potential for avalanche conditions. This includes last minute checks of the weather and avalanche forecasts, then alter your kit accordingly. For example, if you are expecting a snowstorm then you might want to throw in the GPS to help you navigate or add a few additional layers to wear. You’ll also want to cater your sleeping system to the potential low temperatures.

2) Pack wisely – but that doesn’t mean you should pack the kitchen sink

You want to be prepared for colder temperatures and adjust your kit accordingly, but that doesn’t mean that you need to throw your entire closet into your pack. The sun sets early and you’ll be in your sleeping bag when it starts getting chilly. Save on extra camp clothing layers since you’ll be in your sleeping bag, but pack something to read or a deck of cards and a shelter with a little extra room. You want to be comfortable and the weight savings from other items will allow room for extra comforts.

3) Layer

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but seriously, layer your clothing. This will help to create an adaptable and versatile system throughout the day and night. If you are sweating during the day then you should strip off a layer and save it for later before it gets wet. You don’t want to overheat because that will lead to chilling later on. Use your layering system to prevent overheating. Also when you stop for a break, make sure to add a layer before you start getting cold. It takes less energy for your body to stay warm then to get cold and warm up again.

4) Adjust your goals

A winter trip is different than a summer trip. Sometimes you can make great time if the snow sets up right, but often the travel is much slower. Adjust your expectations accordingly. Take this into consideration when you pack your food. It might snow and you could be slogging. In the winter I would always recommend packing a bit of extra food. If you don’t need it, you’ll probably end up eating it the last day anyway!
           
A winter trip is rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging. When an old timer says, “I remember when we would go weeks without seeing people in a national park”, you will respond “I still do.” Sometimes travel might feel like it is uphill both ways, but those challenges will just make the hot chocolate in front of the fireplace that much more rewarding when you return home.  
           
  
Justin "Trauma" Lichter bio:
Justin has also logged over 35,000 miles of hiking and backpacking. He has hiked unsupported from end to end through the Himalayas, through the Southern Alps of New Zealand, through Iceland and Norway, across the United States six times, and over 1800 miles through Africa. He is a ski patroller and enjoys backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, biking, surfing and anything else outdoors and active. His first book, Trail Tested, was published in April 2012, with a follow up book, Ultralight Survival Kit, released in February 2014.