Alpine Shop Announces Early Open for “On Your Way Saturdays”

If there’s one thing you can count on when you’re ready to leave for a day (or a week) of adventure, it’s that you’ll realize you’re missing something right before you leave.

Alpine Shop has a solution with our new early morning hours each Saturday at our Kirkwood location. Starting June 21, we’ll open the doors each and every Saturday at 8 am and we’ll have coffee and donuts waiting for you when you come in. PLEASE NOTE: “ON YOUR WAY SATURDAYS” ARE AT OUR KIRKWOOD LOCATION ONLY. That way, you can grab the gear you need… and fuel up with some energy at the same time.

On Your Way Saturdays: Alpine Shop Kirkwood now opens at 8 am every Saturday morning.

Alpine Shop Welcomes Conrad Anker to St. Louis

One of the most acclaimed mountaineers of recent history, Conrad Anker has climbed some of the most technically challenging terrain in the world. This quest has taken him from the mountains of Alaska and Antarctica to the big walls of Patagonia and Baffin Island and the massive peaks of the Himalaya. In May of 1999, as a member of the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition, Conrad discovered the body of George Mallory, the preeminent Everest explorer of the 1920s. The disappearance of Mallory and Sandy Irvine on their summit bid in June 1924 is one of climbing’s great mysteries, and Conrad’s discovery and analysis of the find has shed new light on the pioneering climbs of the early expeditions.

Alpine Shop, in cooperation with The North Face and the St. Louis Science Center would like to invite you to experience the majesty of the Himalayas and the dangers they pose through two special presentations. First: an exclusive showing of the OMNIMAX film EVEREST followed by an even rarer chance to see this majestic region of the world through Anker’s eyes through a mulitmedia presentation immediately following one of his expeditions to those very mountains.

Make plans to join us on Thursday, May 14 at 7 pm for Conrad Anker: A Night of Summits and Support. General admission tickets are just $5 for the whole night and will be available in advance starting Friday, May 1 at 7 pm (as part of our Swap Friday Night First Choice Night) at all Alpine Shop locations.

Want to make a dramatic night even more memorable?A very limited number of exclusive engagement passes will be sold on a first come-first served basis. These passes will include tickets to the show with preferred seating as well as an invitation to a private reception at Culpepper’s in Kirkwood before the show. Along with food and drink (also provided with the ticket cost), you’ll have a chance to meet and talk with Anker about his adventures. We will sell only 30 of these exclusive passes at a cost of $35. Again this package includes a pass to the private reception at Culpepper’s with Conrad Anker, all food and drinks at the reception, and preferred seating at the show.

All proceeds from tickets sold to this event will benefit the Khumbu Climbing School Program, part of the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.

The Night’s Agenda:
4 – 6 pm: Meet & Greet Reception at Culpepper’s in Kirkwood (premium ticket required)

7 – 7:45 pm: EVEREST Film on the OMNIMAX screen

7:45 – 8 pm: Intermission

8 – 9 pm: FEATURED Presentation – Conrad Anker

Banff Mountain Film Festival – First Night

I’ve been hosting the Banff Mountain Film Festival for Alpine Shop in St. Louis for quite a few years now and there’s always something amazing each and every time we do this.

A lot of people think we get to see all of the films beforehand and hand pick which ones we think will work best. Well, there’s some truth to that; but the whole truth is a lot more interesting. You see, we get about two minute clips of each of the films. So, you can imagine with a film like Red Gold last night, it’s impossible for us to tell whether or not an hour-long feature film will be any good based on that clip. It’s kind of like a film critic writing reviews based on trailers instead of the actual movie. No, what’s great about Banff is that I’m seeing these films for the first time alongside everybody else. That’s not to say that there isn’t work done by a bunch of people to select which films we think will go over best; but we just never know until the lights go down each year.

The Red Helmet kicked off the show with the tale of a youn,g timid boy coming to grips with his fears after he finds a red helmet in the forest. After experiencing the lives of a number of adrenaline sport athletes (kayaker, climber, mountain biker, etc.) through the helmet, the little man faces his own fears and takes the plunge, literally. Good start to the show.

Papiroflexia (Spanish for origami) was an animated feature. Dealt with the dream to get rid of all the noise and pollution of our lives and get back to nature. Will it be the most popular animated film of the year? We’ll have to wait till tonight to see The Cable Car to find out?

Now for the most controversial topic every year at the Banff Mountain Film Festival… did the feature film live up to your expectations? Red Gold dealt with a proposed mine at the headwaters of two of the largest remaining sockeye salmon runs on the planet near Bristol Bay in Alaska. I’ll just say that I loved the film. The cinematography was gorgeous. The story resonated with me. I know there were people that thought it was too long. But I’d be interested in what some others thought. What did you think of Red Gold? (For conversation’s sake, I think the best feature we’ve ever shown was Alone Across Australia during the 2004 tour.)

The Sharp End: Eastern Europe was hands down the funniest movie of the night. “We don’t drink a lot, a lot. I mean 8-10 beers a day is standard.” That pretty much sums up this group of Checzk climbers’ philosophy. Not that this film was all drunken play. Some of the climbing was pheonmenal. A little humor never hurts, though.

One of the fascinating things about this festival is an almost 50-50 split among our audience as to why they’ve come to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Half of them come strictly for the adrenaline. The other half are there for the culture and nature. Maybe I’m generalizing that a little much, but I can tell you each year I hear from numerous people after the fact “Why didn’t you show more of this?” or “Why did you pick that?” and it always has to do with the cultural/adrenaline split. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if half of our audience loved Shikashika and half hated it. This was the story of a Peruvian family that climbs into the Andes, hacks enormous blocks of ice from the mountain glaciers and brings them down to the valley on the backs of mules to shave off and sell as snowcones (or as they call it- shikashika). Can you imagine the TroMo kids having to bring down the blocks of ice from the mountains to give Kirkwood it’s snowcone fix? That’s what I kept thinking anyways….

The last two films, Under the Influence and Seasons, both showcased the adrenaline rush with two of the best production groups in the business today. Teton Gravity Research’s Under the Influence had some absolutely unbelieveable powder footage from last year’s massive storm system in Jackson, Wy. Seasons comes from a group called the Collective. Every year that they have a film in the tour, I’ll pick it. They’ve been on the cutting edge with their style in all three films they’ve produced starting in 2004 with their self-titled DVD, The Collective, and continued with ROAM and now Seasons. Their work features some of the most innovative use of zip-line cinematography, super slo-mo and helicopter footage you’ll ever see. So, in the future, just so you know, don’t miss a mountain biking film from the Collective.

So that was night one. Tonight, our feature film is Journey to the Center, and we’ll move from sockeye salmon to BASE jumping. That’s Banff for you. It’s why I love the festival so much and look forward to it all year round.

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did last night. All of us at Alpine Shop have loved hosting this festival for the past 20 something years and look forward to doing it in the future. Leave a comment on what you liked or hated…

By the way, funniest Banff Mountain Film Festival ever: Xtreme Tramping II: Lord of the Springs.

Share Your Adventure: Photo Competition

For those of you who have visited our new Chesterfield location since its grand opening in October of last year, you’ve seen the future look for all Alpine Shop stores. The images which span the walls include those our own customers have taken as they’ve explored the world.

This spring, all three Alpine Shop locations will take part in the fun as our Kirkwood and Columbia shops put up frames to showcase their customer’s adventures.

Simply put, we don’t want stock photos of models from California in our store. We want images of you, our Alpine Shop customers.

We will be choosing as many as 25 images for each of our stores, so please indicate which store (or stores) you shop at when you submit the images. If your photo is selected, you’ll receive a gift certificate for $25! From all the photos selected, we will select first, second and third prize winners for each store and a final grand prize winner chosen from those contest winners.

If you have a great photo of you or your family on an adventure anywhere throughout the world, please e-mail a high-resolution version of the shot to Please also include the names of everyone in the shot, the photographer and the specific location (as close as possible) where the photo was taken.
A Few Notes & Fine Prints…

Please understand that these images will need to be increased in size to 24″ tall or 48″ wide (and for front window photos up to 72″ tall). Mobile phone photos will simply not make the grade. For those of you with some experience with photography, your photos should still be over 80 dpi when height is set (not enlarged) to at least 24″ tall. Only a total of five photos may be submitted by each family. If you have questions, please contact the e-mail address above.

Please do not send single e-mails with over a total of 3 mb of files. If you a number of high-res photos you would like to send, please contact us at the e-mail above so we can give you our ftp access.

Images will be placed in our stores during the middle of May.

NOTE: $25 gift certificates will be given for total number of photos selected. (E.g. Family “A” submits 5 photos from three different e-mail addresses and 3 photos are selected for the walls. Family “A” would recieve three (3) $25 gift certificates.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour Returns

For those of you who have been there before, I know you’re hearing the voice in your head right now at the end of the intro: “Welcome… to the Banff Mountain Film Festival…” For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, well, watch this:

As the host once again for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, we’ve got TWO nights of shows this year, Wednesday, April 1 and Thursday, April 2 back at the Moolah Theatre and Lounge at 7 pm both nights.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning, March 6 at 10 am. $10 for either night or come both nights and get the second night for half price: $15 total. Drop in to any Alpine Shop location or call us at 314-962-7715 to pick up tickets before we sell out once again.

We hope you’ll join us for a pair of nights dedicated to the mountain life, to culture, to adventure and to a little fun.

Final film selections will be up on soon.

Orienteering at Rockwoods Range, February 21

As many of you remember Saturday morning’s weather for this weekend’s orienteering course at Rockwoods Range was a little poor: windy, cold and snowing. But, as it has been said: “there is no bad weather, just bad gear”, so I geared up and headed out. As I had planned, I chose the green course and electronic scoring.

One thing I noticed was that the clue sheet was covered in some sort of hieroglyphics. Apparently on the green course they use the IFO symbols, I probably should have learned those.

Off I went. I felt pretty good, a little cold as I left but from my two previous events I knew I would soon heat up. Down the road and past the playground, over the hill and then halfway down the gully and bingo!

Oh yeah, I forgot the 45 minutes of fruitless searching, then looking for #2 and backtracking to #1, then bingo…

It had not started well. #2 was easy, because I had already been there. It was up the opposite side of the creek, then back down to the creek and back up the other side for #3, I think there must be some sadistic tendencies in those who set these courses. From #3 to #4 I really used my oxygen deprived brain. I could just follow the contour of the hillside, with the creek to my right, at a nice cut-in with a large rock, bam! Well not really, it was more like head down to the creek, jump over the water and try to land on the opposite bank, well it looked like bank. It turns out it was just some snow covered leaves and sticks that swallowed my left leg up to my knee.

A few moments later I was crossing the same creek when I landed on a rock that bent my foot like a horseshoe. Then I twisted my ankle, got a twig snapped on the side of my face, then took a whipping twig strike to the giggle-berries, tripped over a branch and found #4!

From this marker to #5 was just follow a creek, halfway back up the hill and around the bend and there it should be. According to my clue sheet marker 169 would be on top of a small knoll. There it was, right where it should be, except it was marker 166. I spent the next 45 minutes looking back and forth. I climbed to the top of the ridge, found the trail (called a handrail) followed it over a hill then cut back down the side of the ridge and found marker 166, again.

I’d been in the woods for two hours at this point and I wasn’t even halfway done.

I couldn’t for the life of me find the fifth control. The sun had melted the snow on the western side of the gully, my feet were soaking (but still warm thanks to Smartwool’s new PhD socks with WOW technology) my legs were wet, my ankle had a nice twinge and I had had enough. I checked the map and looked for the most direct route back to the start and the car.

As you probably know, while creeks are the roads of the forest the ridge-tops are the highways, really cold and windy highways. I pulled my hat down swallowed my pride and headed home, then to add injury to insult I of course got a cramp in my right quad. I got back without too much trouble, turned in my SI card and asked where marker 166 was on a map so I could see how far off I really was. Oh wait! the course setter had made an error on the clue sheet; I was supposed to be looking for 166. He was really sorry, and apologized profusely.

I got in the car, cranked the heat on my feet and headed home to think of how I could spin this in some sort of positive light, at least I had an Alpine Shop driclime jacket on. Don’t worry kids, only 33 days until the next one!

Great Canoe & Kayak Event Moved to March

In the best interests of the company, Alpine Shop made the decision to move the 9th Annual Great Canoe & Kayak Event from February 7-8 at the Kirkwood Community Center to March 27-29 on site at Alpine Shop Kirkwood.

We hate to mess with these schedules as much as anybody; but in this economic climate, it doesn’t make much sense for us to concentrate on paddling during the first week of February. There’s still too much skiing and boarding to do. So we’ve pushed the paddle event to the last weekend of March. For all of you that have offered to host clinics and trip reports, we hope you can make it back with us then. If you can’t, we surely understand why not.

For our customers, we hope we haven’t inconvenienced you too much. And we promise we won’t be moving the dates – or the location – on this event for the next few years.

Alpine Shop Chesterfield Grand Opening

Last week, Alpine Shop’s Chesterfield location kicked off the official beginning of our fall season with five days of celebration. Celebration about what, you ask? The Grand Opening of our new location at 1616 Clarkson Road.

Featuring the bold and original prototype design that all Alpine Shops will eventually boast, this new location – right next to Barnes & Noble Booksellers near the intersection of Chesterfield Parkway and Clarkson Road – is perfect for a new generation of adventurers.
We’re also rolling out a new marketing campaign based on the look and feel of the Chesterfield store. Titled: “i” can do that!, this new campaign ties in with our inclusion of posters on the shop walls of our customers doing the things we sell. We want to make sure the Midwest knows we can help them accomplish anything to do with outdoor recreation through instruction, expertise and through the right gear. It’s pretty simple… we want our customers to say, “Hey, I can do that!” 

The Daily Adventure Is Underway

Start exploring: your world, your limits, your life.

That’s what this blog is about. Here at Alpine Shop, we truly believe in the transformative power of the outdoors. So, whether you’re planning on a multi-day canoe trip down the Jacks Fork or a walk outside your front door, start exploring! You never know what you’ll find once you take that first step outside your comfort zone.

Make every day an adventure. That’s what we live by here at Alpine Shop and we’re going to keep you on top of all the adventures that we find.

Thanks for reading.