Its raining Precip at Jax!

AAO Filed Under:
When I recently gave a clinic at JAX in Ames, IA I was doing the usual scurry around prior to clinic time looking for in-store items that we
represent. While doing so I came across a wonderfully prominent PreCip
display near the back of the clothing department. I thought to myself "WOW
now if that doesn't help to sell product, then I'm not quite sure what

I was lucky enough to have a great turnout for the clinic-which is
usually the case there at JAX-and got to talk about the great attributes of
Marmot's entire line of PreCip product. From Angel Wing Movement, to Pack
friendly Pocket placements the super light weight waterproof breathable
garments that make up the PreCip line are second to none. Apparently Holly
Aronson and her staff feel that way too with the kind of positioning we were
fortunate enough to have at JAX. And no, it wasn't just there for my
Thanks again to Holly and JAX for supporting AAO and the Marmot
line. I hope that all are having a great Spring Season!! Keep on Livin The
Dream!! B Block

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Alexander's Chimney

AAO Filed Under:
This Spring I was lucky enough to get out and enjoy some climbing
with my good friend Fabrizio Zangrilli. We had hoped to get out and link up
Alexander's Chimney to the Notch Couloir in a fast day. It ended up that
the avalanche conditions that were forecasted for the Notch were not
favorable so we got a "belated" alpine start on the lower part of the route.

Hiking is was great fun as it was my first time on Longs Peak in
the new season. All the running and training for my various upcoming
adventures had the regular landmarks blurring by. Fabrizio just
returned from a recent trip to the Himalaya where he was teaching Sherpas
to climb was well acclimatized and ready to run as well.
As is always the case with Fabrizio the fun of the climb is as
important as the objective, or at least he would lead you to believe that
singing 50 cent songs "if I can't do it, it can't be done" in a lounge
singeresque style while leading out tough pitches. Today would be no

Fabrizio was kind enough to swing pitches with me and bring me up
to speed on the "new alpine styles" as I've spent most of the last 4 years
repping and driving. (Things like the BD Guides ATC are all new and
fabulous tools for this kind of thing). He of course purposefully drew the
monster 5th pitch that is partially pictured. Inch thin poorly bonded ice
from the belay, going up to a mossy chossy iceless last 2/3'ds of a rope
length. Of course he did it with style.

I was glad to be out in my new "test" Marmot gear. My Alpinist 55
was amazing and light, and the Essence Jacket-(always one of my
favorites)-proved to be awesome at blocking the wind while I was at a cold
Belay and kept up with my "sweat production" when I got to lead. (I had
almost forgotten that I had actually packed the jacket until we got up to
Chasm Lake. It's really that light and packable, like 8oz and totally
waterproof breathable). I also sported the ATV pants which proved to be
just the right weight for traveling fast AND standing in place, sometimes
knee down in the snow at the belay. The fact that the cuff of the pants
readily fits over the top of my ski boots AND snugly keeps out snow over my
narrow ice boots was a real winner for sure. We of course found the
occasional Post Hole while on the way out of the backcountry so that was a
super cool factor.

One thing that I did learn was that no matter where you climb,
Ravens are a serious contender with getting between you and what you
brought. I've seen it on Denali, and Logan and now on Longs. They were
actually dexterous enough to get into the Alpinist 55 pack that I left at
the base of the climb, knowing that we were going up and down fast, and
removed my "shiny" goggles from the lid of my pack and strew my balaclava
down Lambslide..... I guess that means that getting into the lid with
gloved mittens will be a snap as well:)
All in all it was a great day in the mountains as most everyone
usually is. Keep on living the dream! B Block

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40 On Ice (Part 1)

AAO Filed Under:
Have you ever had a friend that had a Birthday? I'm betting that
you have. If so, have you ever had a friend who is into exercise and feats
of challenge and strength? Well I just so happen to have a similar friend
by the name of Peter Grimes.
It was Peter's bright idea to run, walk, crawl 40 miles on or around
his 40th Birthday. Apparently it is an old tradition for those that are in
the know that you are supposed to do "x" number of things on your "x"
birthday. For the over achievers this means that you actually do "x" number
of things "x" number of times on your "x" birthday. i.e. on your 10th
Birthday you should do 10 pushups, 10 pullups, 10 situps, drink 10 glasses
of Kool-Aid, give someone a High Five 10 times and so on and so forth until
you've done 10 particular things 10 times.

Thankfully Peter was content with covering the 40 miles one time,
and even better than that, chasing the 40 mile jaunt with 40ozs of the
beverage of your choice. Of course my partaking of some of those ounces
started early as I found myself a little frustrated and a little "thirsty".
The morning started off rather chilly, but once we got moving over
the Ice Age trail we found that the temp was just about right, especially in
the sun, to make for an all day kind of pace. It helped that I was in
Marmot Baselayer and the Evolution Half-Zip-which kept the wind out but
allowed the sweat to escape.

The plan was to have great support from a whole variety of people
along the way. The Ice Age trail fortunately has a number of areas where it
crosses roads and has pretty easy access to known "check points". Peter's
parents were there to support and his mom even did the first section with
us. Even Chet Cisek rep extraordinaire was in attendance and covered a
section or two with the group.

In the end it was Peter, his friend and new training partner for
Leadville 100 2007-Joel, and myself. Somewhere along section 2 or 3 I
"found" my old knee injury from Leadville 2006. The weather was great and
the trails were phenomenal. The only issue being that most of the leaves
had already fallen and that made for a very obscured trail. I realized this
when I found myself floating into a "unique" dive over the top type
summersault action. From that point on I continued to be on a role with
finding the "potholes" in the trail as well as the loose sections.
It was about two thirds of the way through the 3rd section that I
found one that brought my knee troubles back to life. I ended up walking
back to the end of the section where the next group of people were waiting
in support. It was at this point that I knew that the gameplan would have
to change....

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40 on Ice (Part 2)

AAO Filed Under:
So there I was realizing that once again my knee was failing and
there was still better then half the distance to cover in order to make the
40 mile outing. As I limped my way into the next rest area I asked part of
my trusty personal support crew-Sunday Park- to see if she couldn't secure
me some "motivational beverages".
I had a real tough time dropping out of the race at Leadville, as
I've never been a quitter, but in the recent past it had seemed like it was
just easier to quit than to finish. It was something that I'd always seen
in the mentality of people who lost, and then expected to lost. Injury or
not I was finishing!! Even if it took all day and night and even if no one
would wait for me I didn't care. So I changed my "strategy" a bit and
figured that if I spent very little time at the "transition"/support areas I
might still make fairly decent time.
So when I hit the next area I didn't even stop, just asked if the
trail went a particular way, and kept on limping my way to the finish. It
would be much cooler to say that I was just so tough, but the truth of the
matter is that I think I'm just that dumb sometimes. Fortunately for me I
had a very supportive allbeit "illegal" support crew. As I hobbled past a
farmhouse a sweet black lab came out to defend her turf. Ended up that she
would not be satiated with a simple pat and "go home". Against my will she
stayed with me for the next 12 or 15 miles until Sunday and Peter's wife Jen
took her home for me. What a great pacer:)

Somehow I managed to limp my way out ahead of the pack for the rest
of the day. And then the fun began. When I reached the end of the Ice Age
trail it spit me out onto a gravel road. I had though that I should see
Peter's parents by some mysterious park?? I thought that I was supposed to
see them prior to the end of the trail, so when I got to the road and found
a sign that didn't show any park anywhere near the trail or the end of it, I
decided to keep moving. For those of you that know me well enough, it is
truly a measure of my will to backtrack, so of course I did not. I instead
hobbled in one direction to see if I could see anything further, and then
back, and forth in a short little pace. Then I decided that the way to
Peter and Jen's-the final destination-had to be to the left.

After about an hour of going what I found out to be the wrong way I
found myself at a little church. There was a light on and I figured at the
very least someone could tell me where I was. It was my luck that there had
been some cooking function there just prior and the ladies of the church
were tidying up. One particular woman caught my glance and obvious need for
help and came over with the best of intentions and said, "can I help you
sweetie?" I said to her, "I'm not sure where I am." To which she kindly
replied, "well I'm not sure where you are either." I have to admit that I
was a bit thrown off by the comment, but she quickly explained that she
wasn't from the area and that someone else would most likely be able to help
A second woman came to my aid, and wanted to help as best she could.
I of course didn't know Peter and Jen's precise address and she, having
lived in the area for quite some time was more of a mind to decipher my
distance from destination with a game of "I know "x"". I told her I was
trying to get to Peter and Jen Grimes place. To which she replied, well I
don't know them, was it possible that I knew Bart and Mildred Smith, and
where they lived comparatively. After a minute or two of that and the both
of us chuckling about it she paired me up with yet another woman.
On my third attempt I had greater success as I said that I was
trying to get to 120th in Frederic Wisconsin. She said, "I do know where
that is, and honey you are about 5 and a half miles past that. You came off
of the Ice Age Trail right? You probably should have gone right..."
Thankfully they did have a phone that they allowed me to use. With
that phone I called and caught Sunday to come and pick me up. Most
importantly I made the mileage. Which of course Peter was quick to give me
a hard time about "overachieving" on his Birthday outing. We followed up
the evening with a great meal and our personal accounts of the day. What a
great event. I look forward to it later this year. After Leadville of
Keep on living the Dream!! B Block

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Lumpy Ridge-White Whale

AAO Filed Under:
This spring I was lucky enough to take my cousin Adam out and do a
little climbing. He is a new climber this past year, so catching him in the
"development phase" is a sheer pleasure. Seeing as his passion for the
outdoors had him recently leave a solid "career" in the advertising field in
order to pursue it. That kind of passion surely has him slated to become a
solid committed climber in the coming years. Sorry Aunt Nancy. cousin Adam
is a relatively new Outward Bound instructor based out of Leadville who is
excited about anything and everything outdoor related

As is par for the course I usually like to take first time
multi-pitch trad climbers up routes that I can solo should something go
terribly awry. Fortunately Lumpy Ridge outside of Estes Park as a lot of
great "safe" routes that also afford new climbers the opportunity to get a
great all around experience. Great view, great hike in, great climbing,
what more could one ask for.

On this particular day we went around to the Book on "Lumpy" as it
is affectionately referred to, to climb White Whale. There seem to be a
great number of variations, but every single one of them is FUN! There is
usually lots of sun, great gear placement, picturesque views. ON this day
we got all of the above. The rock was superb as always. The weather was
perfect and I started off in some Marmot Dolomite Pants, the new Marmot
Cocona Baselayer, and an Original DriClime Windshirt. By the time I topped
out the first pitch it was off with the Windshirt and enjoy the cool dry
feel of the new Baselayer. (yeah, it dries up to 25% faster than any other
synthetic baselayer on the market-it really does-and has the carbon remnants
burned down coconut husks integrated into the polyester that has the same
surface area as a football field and a half YEAH I'm pretty excited about

We topped out after a fun "overhanging" crack pitch -(see Adam's
head wedged into the wall)-and then headed to Ed's Cantina for a fine
carbonated beverage.
The climb was fun for me as always and I think that Adam found some
fun in it as well, seeing as I sold him a BlueWater Rope no more than a week
later. I'd say that he is hooked. Glad that I could do my part!!
Keep on living the Dream!! B Block

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Raising them right!

AAO Filed Under:
Recently I was lucky enough to become an Uncle the second time over.
My first Nephew Dylan, who just turned two, and my newest Nephew Brody who
is only a couple of months have been a real pleasure to be around.
To my nephew Dylan I am known as AHHHHHH!!! Due to the fact that
when he was a younger lad he seemed to like to SCREAM for what he wanted. I
of course don't go for that kind of outlandish behavior. So I immediately
responded to his screaming with a scream right back-(only about ten times as
loud and probably a bit more frightening). It caught him so off guard that
he fell backwards and proceeded to cry. Compassionate me that I am, I of
course ignored his "backlash". Not getting some immediate attention must
have been a novel idea to him, and one that just would not stand, so he
pulled himself back to his feet, quit crying and moved directly into my line
of sight only to say AHHHHHH!!! From that point on I have affectionately
become known as AHHHHHH!!!

Seeing as he is getting to the point that he will likely start to
remember things about his experiences I figured that I had better pull one
over on him before he is wary enough of his Uncle AHHHHHH!!! to understand
that he had been "had".
So, little nephew Dylan here is to the first and likely not the last
time you will be "had" by your Uncle AHHHHH!!!
Bide your time little Brody you are next:)
Keep on living the Dream! B Block

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Opening Day for the AAO pool!

AAO Filed Under:
A hot Sunday afternoon requires nap time! This is something extremely rare to is a herd of wild Blocks, resting in their natural habitat. They are usually so fast, pictures are blurry. It is so amazing to see them stopped, without coffee, Gatorade or computer in hand. Notice the gentle relaxation in the feet...such a rarity. only here, on the AAO blog, will you see this caliber of photojournalism.
Later, at the native watering hole, one of the wild Blocks tests his cunning and water mastery as he attempts to balance on the man-made raft. Notice the subtle way he glides along, still displaying his winter coat. But it will not be too long before he starts to shed that exterior coat for a cooler, summer version.
another image of the wild Block. Just amazing, this close encounter!
And finally, a final moment of freedom for the small, unsuspecting duck before the wild Block attacks, mercilessly, tossing the innocent duck around the water hole, just for spite and enjoyment it seemed...calling out something about temperature. terrifying, no doubt, for the little guy. Tune in next week for more close encounters with the Wild Blocks!
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Alpine Shop SWAP, May 2007

AAO Filed Under:
Well, it is that time again. Unfortunately this time, there will be no elaborate story involving 300+ cookies that spell Marmot, but we did bag around 300 2x3 ziplock bags with red candy and Mdot stickers...Anyway, the semi-annual SWAP sale in St. Louis sent us down to the Alpine Shop once again to participate in a weekend of sales, crazy customers, and fun. This event is one that draws people starting at 4pm to stand in line for 3 hours!! And it was raining not long before they started lining up!
I call this one "Under the Big Top". This is the inside view of the huge tent the AS sets up in the parking lot. Tons of merchandise.
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SWAP, part 1

AAO Filed Under:
what do you do when it is raining on SWAP set up day? Wear a wetsuit, of course! Dave Paradise, the merchandising assitant manager at the Alpine Shop...trying on some of the SWAP gear. Always good to product test.
So, as you can see, the day started off really wet. But Brian and Vanessa took refuge under the awning to mark a few of our old samples for sale...4 hours worth of writing! But it was worth it, and spending that early time at the store got us pumped for the event.
AAO's Marmot rounders
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SWAP, part 2

AAO Filed Under:
Hot Tamales, anyone? The rain finally subsided and the lines formed. Instead of the crazy line across the parking lot, they directed the group down the other side, so our grand plans of showing Marmot movies was foiled, AGAIN! It will work one of these years. However, i did run around the parking lot, passing out little bags of red candies to get everyone excited for the event.
Why, is that a chinle hoody you are wearing, Vanessa? Why yes, yes it is! Showing off some fun Marmot clothes, still passing out candy. Very political of me, Brian said. I was passing out candy, petting puppies, holding children...good times.
Our Marmot table...ignore the top wording, please! We had a movie projected on the side of the tent, stickers and Swag to hand out and, of course, more candy! Brian and i also stood at the tent as people were going in and handed out candy. Super fun. The weekend overall was great. Friday night was record breaking numbers and the people left satisfied. And we were exhausted. By Sunday night, we were ready for a good nights sleep, but we had a great time, as always. Thanks Alpine Shop!!
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AAO Promotional Partnering

AAO Filed Under:
This is an example of a sale incentive program that we are testing at the Alpine Shop in St. Louis. We are continuously searching for ways to enliven and empower the staff to selling the product, and we have found sales incentives to be a great way! If you are interested in setting up a sale promotion, please contact us and we can talk about the best one for your store!
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Marmot Merchandising Trip to Alpine Shop

AAO Filed Under:
Oliver Perry, our Marmot Merchandiser, came out to the Midwest to tackle our lodge accounts and give them some Marmot LOVE. Sunday met Oliver in Minneapolis for a Friday merchandising extravaganza at Midwest Mountaineering. Then on Sunday, April 22nd, Vanessa met up with him in St. Louis for another crazy remerch fun day at the Alpine Shop.
The obligatory identifying shot...the original Alpine Shop sign, hanging over the back register.
Spring's finest ladies colors in all of their Marmoty goodness. The white has been a big hit throughout the territory!
A little bit of bamboo for the new bamboo collection. We had a very good time doing the trips, and heard great feedback from staff and buyers. Thanks, Oliver!
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Great Plains Running Walkers Club

AAO Filed Under:
On April 21st, Vanessa went down to attend a new walking club event at Great Plains Running in Topeka, Kansas. The event was a HUGE success, seeing more than 25 walkers that morning. Vanessa got an opportunity to talk to the new club members about the benefits of Superfeet. It was a fun, and healthy morning!
Walkers lining up outside to get registered for their fitness level test. Quite the crowd!
the inside registration table. Beautiful day, fun times.
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Head Rep Meeting in Cali

AAO Filed Under:
This is a quick image to show that we were in San Francisco! We just saw the new Spring 08 line from Marmot and it is AMAZING!!! We are really excited to get out on the road for preshows and the trade shows in August. We hope you guys are as excited about the line as we are!
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...stories of perilous, nay, endless traveling in the ever changing midwest territory...