Denali: Chasing the Summit

16 Ridge at 16,000′ (Photo credit: Mareshah Duncan)

It was February of this year, when I received the text message, “This is a longshot, but do you want to join our team to climb Denali in June?” My heart immediately started pounding. This was a dream come true for me, and my answer was YES! The next few months were a whirlwind of training and gear hoarding. I’m a trail runner with some winter mountaineering experience; however, I had a lot to learn and needed a lot of gear. The mountaineering community was very generous!

Denali Day 1, June 4th: We took off for Talkeetna, Alaska, with 830 pounds of gear in tow, boarding a single prop plane for our flight to the Kahiltna Glacier at 7,200’. Upon arrival, we loaded up sleds and backpacks, strapped on our snowshoes, and started traveling. Our sleds and large backpacks made for an extremely heavy load!

When we arrived at camp at 7,800’, we noticed a helicopter flying in. We were later informed that the helicopter was in the middle of a crevasse rescue, taking 15 hours to rescue a man that had fallen 60’ down. An air chisel and blow torch were needed to free him, and he was lucky to survive!

Denali Days 2-11, June 5th-14th: Over the next several days, we methodically moved our way up the mountain from 10,200’ camp to 11,000’ camp, and then up to 14,000’ camp. We climbed Motorcycle Hill, Squirrel Hill, Windy Corner, and encountered many crevasses. Although the days were long and difficult, I was always in awe of the beauty around us. At 14,000’ the sky opened up to amazing views of Mount Foraker and Hunter and the surrounding peaks. We could see the different routes up Denali, including the West Buttress Route we intended to climb.

Reaching camp at 17,000’ our backpacks were very heavy with all of our summit gear, but I was stoked.
Despite a bit of altitude sickness, this was the highest I’d ever been!  

Denali Day 12, June 15th: Summit Day…..We waited for the weather to subside, but the wind failed to die down. Half of our team was leading the way ahead of us when, near Denali Pass, the wind was so bad they had to turn around. We all hiked back to camp together at 17,000′ and settled in, with the wind whipping and the temperature dropping to -20 degrees. The next morning we learned that a team of 3 from Nepal made it to the summit. On the way down, one of them collapsed 6 minutes from our camp and died. He was only 28 years old, and Denali would have been his 7th of the Seven Summits. He paid the ultimate price!

Denali Day 13, June 16th: The next morning we woke to snow and to teams packing up to head down in low visibility, so we joined them and climbed down to 14,000′ to evaluate our situation. The forecast wasn’t looking good for the next several days, and we heard that the crevasses were opening up down below.  The decision was eventually made, we would pack up camp and head down the mountain in one push.

Denali Day 16, June 18th: I felt torn about leaving without our summit – we all did. For two on our team, this was their second attempt. But with the threatening forecast on the horizon, we packed up and left 14,000’ on Sunday afternoon and hiked all night to get back to Base Camp around 5:45am. We were on our way back to civilization, and a hot shower sounded so good!!!

Denali was an absolutely amazing experience! I was blown away by its beauty and humbled by its fury.  I realize now that it’s not always about the summit but about the experience and friendships you make along the way. I will always cherish this experience and the things the mountain taught me. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to return to Denali someday. Until then, I’ll be exploring and climbing new summits! Happy 100th Anniversary, Denali!

*The summit success rate was 31% for the season, when we left Denali.

Written by Hive athlete Katie Katalin

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Honey Stinger Introduces New Bulk Energy Gel

We are excited to introduce new bulk containers for select flavors of our Organic and Classic energy gels. The new bulk gel containers make it easy for athletes and coaches to measure the exact amount of gel to use for training and racing.

“While our gel packets are perfect for single servings, we recognize that many athletes prefer using their own containers for gels,” said Rich Hager, Honey Stinger co-owner. “Our bulk containers make it easy to personalize your fueling needs and help to reduce waste.”

The Organic Fruit Smoothie, Organic Acai Pomegranate, and the Classic Gold flavor will be available for purchase in 23.1 ounce bottles. The energy gel containers will be available for purchase starting this September for $18.95.

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels are available in six flavors: Fruit Smoothie, Acai Pomegranate, Vanilla, Mango Orange, Caffeinated Chocolate and Caffeinated Strawberry Kiwi, and are comprised of a blend of organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) in individual 1.1 ounce packets. Honey Stinger Classic Energy Gels are comprised of pure honey, electrolytes, sodium, potassium, and B complex vitamins in Gold and Ginsting flavors, in 1.1 ounce packets.

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HIVE SPOTLIGHT: Get to know Leslie Battle

Athlete:
Leslie Battle

Home base:
Warwick, RI

Main sport:
Triathlon

How did you get in to the sport?
When I first got stung by the triathlon bug, I probably weighed 270+.  I’d stopped counting.  I had gained weight throughout a difficult, long relationship and was eager to get back to the fit weightlifting, skiing, tennis playing lifestyle that I had let slowly slip away.  Once I got my first sweet taste of racing at the Falmouth Spring Triathlon on Cape Code in 2009, where I surprised myself by earning 3rd Athena (I’d never won anything in my life), there was no turning back.

Greatest personal accomplishment(s): 
Well, qualifying for the Boston Marathon as an Athena was very special.  But, having the support of my family and friends at each of the national championships events I have competed in has been precious.  I have now won seven USAT National Champion titles in triathlon, one in the sprint distance, five in the Olympic distance, and one in the half iron distance.

Training tip:
“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”

Favorite Stinger fuel:
I’m a purist.  Honey Stinger Gold Gel only and always.

When do you use your Stinger?
Have you tried it on toast?  Divine.

Person or athlete you look up to?
Wow.  So many, Simone Biles, Serena Williams, Misty Copeland, Simone Manuel, Debi Thomas.  They each rose to the top of their respective fields in sports where minorities have not traditionally had a presence.

Favorite hobby:
I take my role as the creator of the “Athena Triathletes (& Athena Alumna)” Facebook page seriously.  It is a group designed for female triathletes weighing no fewer than 165 pounds.  I believe we have created a unique space where athletes of like life experiences can come together to support and learn from one another.

Tell us more about the Athena Triathletes page:
I turned to Facebook to build a sense of community and support among the Athena athletes I was competing against…collecting their names at races from results boards like a bee gathering pollen to return to its hive.  The group has blossomed to nearly 2,000 members.  Finding one’s collective, one’s cooperative brood is extremely important for women who are not perceived as your typical athlete.  We are dedicated to improving opportunities for recognition of Athena athletes as a competitive class, as well as to shattering misconceptions in perception of the comparative abilities of Athena athletes.

Goal for the future:
To do my part to advance the regard and participation levels of Athena triathletes.

Stay connected with other Athenas…

Facebook: Athena Triathletes (& Athena Alumae)

Hashtag love: #athenaproud #athenastrong #dontcountusout

Media links about Leslie’s endeavors…

Athena Multisport Magazine – Part I

Athena Multisport Magazine – Part II

Triathlete Magainze – July 2017

*Leslie also represents Pierce Footwear , Go Nuts, Co. ,

Oofos Recovery Footwear, and Blue Competition Cycles

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HIVE SPOTLIGHT: Get to know Giff Walters

Photo credit: Lucid Images

Athlete:
Giff Walters

Home base:
Grand Junction, CO

Main sport:
Mountain, Ultra, and Trail Running (MUT)

Do you compete on a team and/or for other sponsors?
I am on the Altra Global Endurance TeamPyllon Racing Team , and am an ambassador for Swiftwick Socks, in addition to being part of the Honey Stinger Hive.

How did you get into the MUT running?
I fell in love with the mountains through hiking, mountaineering, and backpacking.  Slowly I came to the realization that if I left all the heavy stuff behind I could run in the same places and see a ton more in a day.  In 2013 I paced a friend of a friend at the Leadville 100, got hooked and ran my first 100 miler at the Grand Mesa 100 the next year.

Greatest personal accomplishment:
Climbing Mount Rainier in a day.  At the time, I didn’t realize how everything came together to make it happen or how fit I was – which tends to happen when you are just following the fun.

Goal for the future:
To run healthy, to run mindfully, and to continue to push myself to see what I’m capable of.

Favorite Stinger fuel:
Pomegranate Passion Chews

When do you typically use your Stinger?
I usually consume 5-6 chews or one gel every 45 minutes – 1 hour during competition.

Recovery training tip:
Take the time to be with the people and to do activities that you miss out on during intense training blocks.

Strangest training or competition moment:
Pulling off my first dead toe nail.  Now it’s odd if I have all ten on any given day.

Interesting or random fact about yourself:
I have played African and Latin drums for much of my life and although I no longer perform or practice regularly, I tap out rhythms all day long.

Stay connected with Giff…

Website: https://rinnanrunning.wordpress.com/
Instagram: @rinnanrunning
Twitter: @rinnanrunning

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Honey Stinger Adds New Sales and Marketing Hires for 2017

We are excited to announce the addition of new positions across our sales and marketing divisions in order to accommodate the company’s growing business.

Patrick Leslie will fill the role of east coast regional account manager for grocery, Erin Ross will manage inside grocery sales, Abbie Durkee will become the new northern California field representative, Shannon Grasser will manage eCommerce, promotional, and athletic program sales, Mac Kelly will manage sales for collegiate and high school athletic programs, Kirsten Tidik will become a seasonal marketing event representative, and Jason Stephen will join the team as the new customer service & sales support representative.

“We are thrilled to add several new positions and highly qualified members to our growing team here at Honey Stinger,” said Rich Hagar, Honey Stinger co-founder. “Given our expansion into grocery, NCAA collegiate sports, and our increasing presence at tradeshows and events, we saw the need to accommodate our growing business with these new roles.”

Bringing 20 years of experience in the bike industry and outside sales, Leslie will be responsible for managing and growing the eastern U.S. grocery business for Honey Stinger. Ross will transition to inside grocery sales from her former position as customer support specialist, where she will manage all current independent grocery accounts along with new business in that category. Former professional mountain bike racer and Honey Stinger Hive athlete Durkee will assume the role of northern California field representative. 

Moving from key accounts and collegiate sales, Grasser will manage a newly created department and team, overseeing the eCommerce business, including direct website and promotional sales, college athletic programs, and new business. Kelly joins the team from Honey Stinger’s sister company, Big Agnes, where he previously served on the customer service team. Kelly will manage collegiate and high school athletic program sales to increase sales and brand presence within college and high school athletic programs.

Transitioning from independent grocery sales, Tidik will take on a role as a seasonal marketing event representative to boost sales and brand awareness at tradeshows, clinics and sampling, as well as assisting with the organization of the Steamboat Stinger races, and all other sales and marketing events. Finally, Stephen will relocate to the Yampa Valley from Beaver Creek for his new position as customer service & sales support representative.

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HIVE SPOTLIGHT: Get to know MTBRaceNews.com/Pivot

Team:
MTBRaceNews.com/Pivot

Home base:
Park City, Utah

Main sport:
Mountain biking

About the team:
Not only are we racers, but we provide race coverage on MTBRaceNews.com to help provide proper media coverage for the best mountain bike races.

Greatest accomplishment:
Marlee Dixon won Firecracker 50 in 2016 and is consistently on the podium at BreckEpic.  Karen Potter has been dominating XC to marathon to ultra endurance races back East for years.  She recently won the Hampshire 100k.  Jen Hanks is a 2-time breast cancer survivor.  In 2016 she placed 3rd with teammate/husband Shannon Boffeli at TransAndes.

Most memorable training or competition moment:
During TransRockies  sharing porta-potties with 1,000 dudes while camping in the wilderness for a week.  If you can do that, you can do anything!

Favorite Stinger fuel:
Waffles!

Piece of wisdom to pass on:
Race prep never goes perfect; don’t sweat the small stuff.

What animal best describes the team?
I don’t know about animal, but you could compare us to a dandelion.  We’re pretty resilient!

Other team sponsors:
Pivot Cycles, DNA Cycling, Stan’s No Tubes, Kask, Xpedo, CarboRocket, Continental Tire, Go-Ride, CEP, Bliz Eyewear 

Stay connected with MTBRaceNews.com/Pivot…

Website: MTBRaceNews.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trouperacingco/
Instagram: @HanksJen @kpbikes @graciedaze
Twitter: @HanksJen

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The Let’s Talk Project: Face to Face Conversation in a Digital Age

What is your project?
The Let’s Talk Project is a solo, 3,000 mile cross-country journey on foot with the goal of highlighting the importance of face-to-face conversation in a digital age.

A few portraits to capture who Chris interacted with along his journey. Go to LetsTalkUSA.com to hear more about their conversations.

How did it come about?
I was in my final year of school at the University of St. Andrews and found myself so consumed by what was on my phone and happening on social media that whenever I had free time, I was pulling my phone out and draining hours into it. I found myself becoming so connected to what was on it that I was disconnected to the people around me. The call to action was when I began to question the effect this had on me. I appreciate what these amazing tools offer us, but I remember thinking there has to be another side to this. In researching, I learned about Sheri Turkle’s  research at MIT on the effects of phone usage on patience and empathy, and from there I did more research on conversation as a skill and an art.

How did you find Honey Stinger, and why did you want us to be a part of your journey?
I heard about Honey Stinger through a friend and loved your message. Honey Stinger’s phrase ‘Sting or Bee Stung’ can also apply to how we engage with technology. That’s a lot of what Let’s Talk deals with, taking your life into your own hands.

When do you typically use Honey Stinger and what is your go-to flavor?
The Classic Ginsting Gel.  Usually I use Honey Stinger in the middle of the day, about 2 hours after lunch. The extra caffeine gives me a boost when I need it most!

What are a few major takeaways from your project?
First and foremost, being able to build strong relationships and engage with the people around us on a deep level is the most important thing that we can do in our lives. I’ve learned about how speed and depth interact.  Because I walked at 3 mph and did not drive or fly across this country, I was able to connect with the communities I travelled through in a deep and meaningful way. Similarly, I’ve realized that this relationship between speed and depth is at the core of the Let’s Talk project. When we engage patiently and honestly with those around us, we come alive and experience the true beauty of human connectivity.

What are your next steps, once you reach the west coast?
Currently I am working on getting a video made during this last month of my journey. This would be something that could be shared and spread across the world. I believe finding a balance in the way we communicate is something that will resonate around the world. As I am a musician, I am looking forward to releasing an album soon and am considering writing a book as well.

How can we follow the rest of your journey?
Sign up for the weekly email update: http://www.letstalkusa.com
Instagram: @letstalkusa
Facebook: @letstalkusaproject

 

 

For Let’s Talk media coverage, see links below.
Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFSIGby-D7Q
1000 miles Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFSIGby-D7Q
Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/life/digital-life/2016/11/22/meet-guy-walked1473-miles-promote-face-face-communication

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Honey Stinger Introduces Three New Flavors at Expo West

Today we announce the introduction of three new flavors of our popular gluten free organic waffles and energy chew products at the 2017 Natural Products Expo West Tradeshow this week in Anaheim, California.

Released this spring, Honey Stinger will add Vanilla & Chocolate and Chocolate Mint flavors to its Gluten Free Organic Waffle lineup (MSRP $1.49 each or $23.84 for a box of 16), as well as a strawberry flavor to its Organic Energy Chew lineup (MSRP $2.25 each or $27.00 for a box of 12). The new flavors will be available for sampling at Honey Stinger’s booth, #3969, at Expo West.

“We’ve seen great success with our Gluten Free Waffle products since their inception and are excited to expand upon that category with two more unique flavors,” said Rich Hager, co-owner of Honey Stinger, “We’re also eager to build on the momentum of our Organic Energy Chew line with the addition of the strawberry flavor. As one of the three flavors in our best-selling Fruit Smoothie Chews, strawberry has been a top consumer request for many years and we’re excited to bring it to market as its own flavor.”

New Vanilla & Chocolate and Chocolate Mint Organic Gluten Free Waffles and Strawberry Organic Energy Chews will be available for sale this spring at select grocers, convenience stores and specialty retail outlets, as well as online, through Amazon and the Honey Stinger website.

For more information on Honey Stinger, please visit www.honeystinger.com.

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A Letter to Honey Stinger: When Smart Packaging & Thinking on Your Toes Saves the Day

To the Crew at Honey Stinger,

Thank you!  Recently I was on a training ride on a road that I have ridden nearly 50 times.  A rough and rutted stretch of two-lane tarmac that drivers would probably characterize as one of the worst roads in the county.  But for me, a cyclist, it is a uniquely challenging route that has become my warm-up, due to its proximity to my house.  Shortly into the trip I found myself in a precarious position in a groove in the asphalt only slightly wider than my tires and was forced to ride it out.  I was relieved to come out the other side without any obvious signs of wear.

wrapper-as-tire-boot1

Can you spot the foil?

Quickly I was in the clear and on to smoother roads, the next of which turned upward for a 3-4 mile climb.  Everything was perfect.   Traffic was low and the sun was high.  As my pedals turned over and the rear wheel spun, I started to feel a very subtle (and unnatural) puff of air on my leg.  Soon my saddle started to bounce and I knew that feeling was air slowly seeping from the tire.  I found a wide section of road to turn out and check the damage.  Confirmed – the rut I was in only a few miles before had successfully eaten into my side wall, leaving it worn enough for the tube to blow out with 10 miles to go in my ride. 

Let’s get one thing clear.  I am a cyclist.  Sadly, I am not much of a bicycle mechanic.  I can change a tube no problem and, for the most part, keep my bike quiet and moving forward.  When I saw the size of the hole in the tire, even I knew this was not just a tube switch.  Unfortunately, I had only ever read or heard about using a tire boot and had certainly never attempted it.  On top of that, my knowledge of booting a tire involved a dollar bill – something I did not have.  What I did have was a Honey Stinger Organic Salted Caramel Waffle.  I ripped it open and enjoyed it on the roadside while pondering my next move.  Then it dawned on me, “Energy bar wrappers can also be used to patch a tire!”  So I gave it a shot.  I folded it a couple times and stuffed it between the tire and my replacement tube, screwed on a CO2 cartridge and pulled the trigger.  Perfect!  The wrapper from my waffle held, and I could see the shine of the foil filling the hole that had left me stranded. 

Nervously I headed home, wondering how far I would get.  But slowly I started to gain confidence GF-SaltedCaramel_WithWafflewith every mile.  When it became apparent that I was going to make it, my ride gave me a rather peculiar sense of accomplishment and gratitude.  Thank you Honey Stinger for your support.  Not only was the waffle a delicious treat, but also a timely piece of gear that held for the rest of my ride and into the next morning.  Your “smart packaging” on an already exceptional product saved my ride and added to the list of reasons why I will continue to ride with Honey Stinger.

Never stop pedaling,

Josh
Oceanside, CA       

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Honey Stinger Protein Bars Now Use 70 Percent Organic Ingredients

 

Minneapolis, MN - December 6: The UnitedHealthcare team presentation on December 6, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Jonathan Devich/Epic Images)

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling rider refuels with a Honey Stinger Protein Bar. Photo by Jonathan Devich.

Today we are excited to announce our line of protein bars will now contain more than 70 percent organically sourced ingredients. With 10 grams of whey protein in five delicious flavors made with non-gluten ingredients: Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond, Dark Chocolate Mint Almond, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, caffeinated Dark Chocolate Mocha Cherry and Peanut Butta, Honey Stinger 70% Organic Protein Bars are a great-tasting meal replacement bar and portable recovery snack.

“Honey Stinger has successfully balanced protein bars with taste and function for years, ensuring that our consumers receive necessary nutrients, while guaranteeing superior flavor and texture,” said Rich Hagar, Honey Stinger co-owner.  “Building on that success, we are excited to take it one step further and offer consumers our 70% Organic Protein Bars, which is a niche we felt needed to be filled in the protein bar category.”

This shift means that ingredients in the Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, and caffeinated Dark Chocolate updated10gbarsMocha Cherry Bars are 70 percent organically sourced, while ingredients in the Dark Chocolate Mint Almond and Peanut Butta Bars are 76 percent and 78 percent organically sourced, respectively. 

Honey Stinger’s 70% Organic Protein Bars (MSRP $2.19 each or $34.35 for a box of 15 bars) will be available for sale May 15, 2017, at select grocers, convenient stores and specialty retail outlets, as well as online through Amazon and www.honeystinger.com.

 

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