Category Archives: Mountain Adventure

Kletterwerks by MYSTERY RANCH: 40 Years of Fortitude

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Kletterwerks was founded in 1975 by Dana Gleason II, founder and owner of MYSTERY RANCH. Kletterwerks was Dana’s first endeavor designing and manufacturing backpacks. Today, because of the simplicity and durability of these authentic designs, the Kletterwerks brand resurrected and brought under the same roof as MYSTERY RANCH. Though these heritage designs retain their historic lines, they now incorporate new millennium features, perfect for everyday carry.

Definition: Kletterwerks is derived Germany. “Kletter” meaning climbing. “Werks” meaning plant. – so Kletterwerks essentially means “climbing factory.”

In 1975, Kletterwerks was founded in Bozeman, MT by experienced outdoorsman, Dana Gleason. Prior to Kletterwerks, Dana was one of the founders of Erehwon Mountain Supply in Chicago and started importing European Mountain climbing equipment. He would eventually move to SD and open an outdoor store, Mountain Man. There, Dana focuses his efforts on product repair and customization and finds that the pack industry is lacking packs with long haul durability and customized fit options for these mountain fanatics – hence, the beginning of Kletterwerks – where he will focus his knowledge and experience into building what become legendary packs.

Dana wearing one of the first Kletterwerks’ packs

Kletterwerks’ packs in use high in the Himalayas

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Mystery Ranch ISO 9001:2008 Certification is Official!

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If you had been visiting Mystery Ranch on a Friday at the end of June, you would have been surprised by all the hooting and hollering.

If you worked at the Ranch, you would know that really, we do this all the time.

But this celebration was something different. Dana Gleason, with great fanfare, and in front of a floor of momentarily motionless sewing machines, had just announced that our ISO 9001:2008 registration audit was over – and our auditor was recommending us for certification!

Now, for the acronymically overwhelmed, that last sentence may mean very little at first glance. But for us, it means the culmination of over two years of preparation and effort put into our quality management system.

At the Ranch, we’re committed to upholding the highest standards in the industry for design, craftsmanship, improvements, and customer satisfaction. Not all gear is created equal, and we wanted to ensure that the quality management system that backs those high standards was also one of the best in the industry. After thorough research, several intense analyses of our existing system, and a few not-so-gentle nudges from potential customers in Europe and the fire industry, we chose to start work … READ MORE >


Posted in Backpack Hunting, Disc Golf, Fire and Trail, Military & Tactical, Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Stories from the Floor, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Don’t Tell My Physical Therapist

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The words of the surgeon cut through my oxy codone soaked brain more effectively than his scalpel through my shoulder.  “I can’t believe I’m saying this… but I think we might have to go back in there.”  We sat and looked at each other blankly.  I came to two realizations during this silence (1) I wouldn’t ride my bike again this summer, and (2) you shouldn’t purchase used body parts from Belgrade MT.

The bike crash I experienced on the summer solstice has resulted in two surgeries, 10 weeks in a sling, and god knows how many pain killers. I have two more weeks before I can begin to move my arm out of the sling, without weight.  To say the summer hasn’t been the best would be an understatement, so when my friend Jay Beyer gave me a chance to go into Yellowstone on a backpacking fly fishing trip, I jumped at the opportunity.  Although I couldn’t cast, the idea of sleeping out in the backcountry had me in a whole new state of mind.  I traded out my pouty pants for a pair of waders and headed to West Yellowstone to meet the boys.  Dana had previously built READ MORE >


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Innovation Invasion: The 3-Way Briefcase and Invader are LIVE

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If you haven’t seen it yet, Inc. Magazine has featured Mystery Ranch in its list of the 25 Most Audacious Companies.

The article defined an “audacious” company as “on the one hand…bold, courageous, even heroic. Yet, on the other, they are defiant, presumptuous, irreverent, and even cocky. They see a better way to do something and work to make it happen, fearlessly committed to not only making their vision a reality but also spreading that vision.”

We certainly feel that this is an appropriate assessment of what we stand for and how we go about our business of designing packs for the mountains, the street, and the front line. Dana Gleason has always done it his way: committed to his version of the best, even when that idea may have gone against what is popular.

Robots in Disguise. 

Our latest products are no exception. Two more designs from Dana’s son, D3 (who is rapidly making a name for himself in the Adventure /Urban market), represent our full commitment to irreverent innovation. Both packs draw on the designs and technology of our work with the military, wherein we attempt to solve complex carry problems as efficiently and effectively as possible. … READ MORE >


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New Mystery Ranch Adventure Backpacks

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We are excited to launch three new packs today, all designed by Dana’s son, D3. With backpacks in his blood, D3 designs with deep respect for and understanding of the history of pack building, and strives to improve on the classics using innovative materials and a fresh perspective on his father’s brand.

Designing packs for Adventure has been at the heart of my work since I first tried to trick out a custom version of one of Dana’s originals. Pack bags give me room to play as a designer, but the frame is hallowed ground since my dad takes pride in his frames above all else. I knew that whatever change I made was going to have to be a big step forward. Years of exploration and testing have lead me to understand basic elements, strip away the extra, and re-craft a frame that carries a load better, is more comfortable and lets people forget about a user’s manual.

– Designer, Dana “D3” Gleason

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Going big and going home – The first ascent of the Pisce Wall

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About a year ago, my friend Tom mentioned that there was an alpine wall way back in the Beartooth Wilderness that not only had not seen an ascent, but had no name.  He had done a reconnaissance trip in 2009 to see what this thing looked like and exactly what it would take to get back there.  He told me about a 20+ mile approach, much of which was off trail and through swamps, down timber and difficult orienteering.  Apparently, other parties had tried to access the wall from different locations, but all had been skunked.  Often called the Phantom Wall or the Secret Wall, the details were undeniably intriguing.  Tom’s pictures showed it to be steep, littered with cracks, and beautiful.  I had to at least see it.

My enthusiasm grew, which only stoked Tom’s interest in an attempt. Once we persuaded Tom’s brother Pat to come along (an easy sell), our team was complete.  Pat’s experience with dreaded offwidth cracks rounded out our skill set and  and set us up to handle anything this mountain could throw at us.  Since August typically has a short weather window, we decided that a week in the middle of the month … READ MORE >


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Alex Lowe – The Greatest Mountain Athlete Of All Time

Alex and Jennifer Lowe skiing toward the north face of Notch Top in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1982.

Words by: Jennifer and Max Lowe

Alex and Jennifer Lowe skiing toward the north face of Notch Top in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1982.

Alex Lowe was a Montanan who arrived on the national climbing scene in the early eighties with a voracious appetite for climbing in all disciplines. He became known as the “Jack of all Trades” and “The Fiend”, climbing big walls and difficult free routes as well as forging steep ice and notable alpine ascents around the globe. Alex was known to be fast, bold and somewhat of a visionary in developing the direction of mixed climbing and technical ice routes. In the spring of 1999 he was called, “the world’s best climber” by Outside Magazine. He died in October 1999 at the age of forty, buried by an avalanche in Tibet.

Jennifer – The North Face of Notchtop was one of hundreds of adventures that Alex and I shared in the mountains during our first years together. Our Kletterwerks packs accompanied us as we explored the US and traveled to Europe, Alaska and South America to climb. In later years Alex went on to climb on every continent and we settled in Bozeman where he READ MORE >


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Camp Patriot Celebrates Its 6th Annual Rainier Summit Bid

Andy, Art and Keith on their way to the summit during the 2012 Camp Patriot Rainier Climb

Camp Patriot 2012 Summit Challenge

 

Andy, Art and Keith on their way to the summit during the 2012 Camp Patriot Rainier Climb

Tim and I summited Mt Rainier in July of this year with 2 men wounded in war.  One had a prosthetic leg above the knee, the other, 2 carbon fiber braces supporting his legs that had been violently destroyed.  They summited a 14,000 foot peak, whose average summit success rate is somewhere below 40.  Not an easy challenge, let alone doing it with 1 leg.

I had the opportunity to climb Rainier with Camp Patriot in 2010 during my first year working at Mystery Ranch.  Mark Seacat had done it the past few years and since we became one of the main sponsors of the event, we continued to send guys to shoot photos and video of the summit attempt.

There was a strong crew this year.  Alongside the sturdy and determined Curtis Fawley and Art Rausch, were 2 inexhaustible guys from RMI and IMG, and the invincible Andy Politz to assist in the summit bid for our guests of honor.

Our Guests of Honor, Keith Zeier and Victor Munoz at Camp Muir

Let me introduce –Victor … READ MORE >


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Kyle Taylor Profile : Implement Productions

Kyle Taylor

Our friend Phil Baribeau just launched his new site, Implement Productions.  Check out his profile on Mystery Ranch Athlete, Kyle Taylor.

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Athlete Steve Popovich 2011-2012 Ski Edit

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Athlete Steve Popovich shreds. Hard. Watch his full 2012 season edit here!

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