Raw Moments: Climbing The Wind River Range With Julia Heemstra – Osprey Packs Experience
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Raw Moments: Climbing The Wind River Range With Julia Heemstra

Raw Moments: Climbing The Wind River Range With Julia Heemstra

Osprey Packs is pleased to have supported Equal Footing” — a short documentary film by Osprey Packs‘ own Dan Holz, along with Kaare Iverson & Eric Elofson, premiering at the 2016 Telluride Mountainfilm festival. The film features Osprey Athlete & alpinist Kim Havell & fellow alpinist Julie Heemstra as they reflect upon life, love & loss during a trip into Wyoming’s Wind River Range. Julie wrote the following about her experience:

Night six: Kaare, Matt and I sit in a tight circle, as the rain runs down my face, between the layers of my hardshell rain jacket and my now grungy, fragrant soft shell.  We’re sharing the last spoon-fulls of our communally cooked and communally consumed dehydrated meals – a medley of three-bean chili and herbed risotto accented with the last of the spices from my makeshift spice kit.

Despite the rain, I want to be there.  I realize that tomorrow I’ll have a roof over my head again, and walls around me to shield me from the wind; if I’m cold, I can turn the heat on.

Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming's Wind River Range via Dan Holz

Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming’s Wind River Range via Dan Holz

This trip has been different from all of my rest in the Wind River Range.  And “all of my rest” has been quite a few – I’ve been lugging 50+ pound packs in here for over a decade, often multiple times a summer.  My initial awe and fear of this place has been transformed into a full-blown obsession.  In many ways, it’s where I always want to be.

This trip has been different because it hasn’t just been about accomplishing climbing objectives with a single climbing partner whom I already knew well.  Instead, our objective was to create a media product that would allow us to share this place with others, a goal I shared with five others whom I barely knew.

Julia Heemstra celebrates another day in the mountains - Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming's Wind River Range via Dan Holz

Julia Heemstra celebrates another day in the mountains – Wyoming’s Wind River Range via Dan Holz

How do you climb with a team of six – with cameras? Stay safe when safety is often contingent on moving quickly, lightly? Share a rope with those whose hand you first shook less than a day ago?

Incredibly – with this team – it all worked out.  Perhaps it was the personalities, or that many of the team knew each other from past projects together.  Perhaps it was the fact that every task/conversation/meal was laced with so much humor that our laughter reverberated from the immense granite spires around us. Perhaps it was our common goal to create the best product we could. Or, perhaps it simply was the place.

Julia Heemstra makes her way up Pingora's 'K-Cracks' - Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming's Wind River Range via Dan Holz

Julia Heemstra makes her way up Pingora’s ‘K-Cracks’ in Wyoming’s Wind River Range via Dan Holz

Every time I am in the Winds, I’m challenged – the weather is fickle, I’m more aware of my weaknesses and limitations than at any other time and the stakes are so, so high.  Seeing those sides of me – the areas where I can so clearly improve as a human being – appeals to me.  Juxtaposed with those moments are ones when I experience absolutely unencumbered bliss; moments when I move smoothly across the five billion year old granite, glimpse a raptor soaring below me, watch as a cloud evaporates into nothing, feel freedom.

Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming's Wind River Range via Dan Holz

Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming’s Wind River Range via Dan Holz

Today, back inside, warm and dry, I’m sad.  I miss the rawness of those moments, and know that those peaks, that I love so intensely, are already lightly shrouded in snow.  Another season is done and I am already counting the days until I can go back.

Osprey Packs | Equal Footing Trailer from Osprey Packs on Vimeo.

Authored by Julia Heemstra