Category Archives: Mystery Ranch Employees

Winter Wonderland Adventures with the Naya Nuki


Snowshoeing up to Fairy Lake with friends Nathan and Tim, along with two snow-loving and energetic dogs, Cassidy & Mac, we headed straight into the face of the Chinook winds.  I was glad to have the Naya Nuki pack upon my back keeping me warm, while also holding snacks & electrolyte drinks to keep me fueled for the long 4-hour trek ahead.  The wind-swept snowy road led us on a gradual hill climb winding our way towards the lake with views of both the Crazy mountains & jagged peaks of the Bridgers.  Stopping for a brief lunch break among a stand of trees, I was thankful for the momentary break from the gusty gale.  Sweet & sturdy Cassidy took shelter behind the resting Naya Nuki, which acted as a perfect wind block for her medium dog sized body.  Just a short drive north of town, the Bridger Mountains frame the backdrop of the Bozeman, Montana skyline.  An outdoor person’s year round playground, I was very excited about exploring the snowy trail to Fairy Lake that brought us closer to the heart of the range.  A range of many peaks for which a few of our Mystery Ranch packs are named.… READ MORE >

Posted in Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Skiing, Stories from the Floor, Trip Reports | Tagged | 3 Comments

Winners Announced!!! 2011 Mystery Ranch Photo and Video Contest


The entries have been received, the chads dimpled, ties settled with sewing machines at 20 paces and recounts recounted. We are proud to announce and showcase the winners of the 2011 Mystery Ranch photo and video contest. Congratulations to grand prize winners Ryan Krueger, Matthew Irving and KGB Productions and thanks to everyone who entered your unbelievably awesome photos and videos.… READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Dana DNA, Disc Golf, Fire and Trail, Military & Tactical, Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Mystery Ranch on Denali, Skiing, Stories from the Floor, Trip Reports, What's Hot | Leave a comment

Cooke Pt. 2

After spending a long weekend in Cooke, I was beckoned once again by the scale and availability of its spectacular objectives.


I couldn’t get the images of some of those lines out of my head and was fortunate enough to be able to load up, once again, and drive south.  This time, with a solid crew from Salt Lake City, including my good amigo Jay Beyer.


We had decided to spend a few days camped up where I had spent the previous weekend, to put us in good position for a solid assault on some big lines at a moment’s notice.  I took a scouting lap on my sled into the basin and found a stellar campsite in the trees located right below the immense wall, that I am nostalgically referring to as Churchbells.  After a few laps of running the boys into camp, we set out to see if anything was moving, and show the SLC crew the spectacular arena surrounding us.  I think they were impressed.

Eric Balken - still cracking me up.

We got back to camp and, after a few bouts of the Old Crow, we attempted sleep amongst the titans that surrounded … READ MORE >

Posted in Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Skiing, Trip Reports | 1 Comment

Cooke Pt. 1


If there is a heaven, I think it might be near the NE entrance to Yellowstone..

On another random Wednesday evening, Brad and I planned a quick and dirty trip south to rip big lines in classic Montana fashion.  The Tacoma adorned with my old Summit 700, a case of PBR, winter bags and a tarp, we blazed through the park, losing count of the numerous close calls with various hoofed animals.

Home sweet home

We had some big missions in mind, and thankfully, the snowpack in the region has been very conducive.  With no consistent weak layers, and a minor threat of wind slabs, our confidence in some of the bigger objectives started to overbear any fear of strength, ability or prowess.  We toured around day 1 ripping some beautiful east facing lines only to be blindsided by one of winter’s deadliest predators.  Skirting along a knife edge ridge, making it a point to stay as close to the windward side of the ridge as possible, Brad stepped just far enough to make everything go BOOM!!  Scrambling to secure himself back into terra firma, a truck sized cornice ripped itself loose and tomahawked downward.  Usually the best sign of … READ MORE >

Posted in Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Skiing, Trip Reports, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Sorry Bro

Something awesome happens when you finally decide to go for something you’re really passionate about.

Skintrack stoke

Starting President’s day weekend, I embarked on the best vacation of my life…snowboarding for 3 weeks straight.  Equipped with my new fuze pack, along with a demo blackjack avy bag from Mystery Ranch, I began my assault at Snowbowl in Missoula.  Running into my buddy Tanner C was great, considering he was one of the first people to show me how to really shred.  (By the way, the ‘out of bounds’ cliffs…..not really out of bounds….whoopsy!)

Back home at Bridger Bowl, 13” fell on day two of my vacation which signified to me I was in Ullr’s good graces.  Madman’s, Psychopath, Cuckoos nest, and the plethora of lines at Schlashmans were enough to keep me choking on powder for the first few days, and since I was finally riding mid-week it was like having the Bridger’s to myself.

Before I knew it the temps took a turn for the worse and dropped into the minus 10+ range.  Waking up one morning and discussing with my roommate how to layer for the day, continue to hike, and stay warm I panicked.  The last thing … READ MORE >

Posted in Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Skiing, Trip Reports | 7 Comments

Sunday Funday

Sometimes, something beautiful happens in this world…

Ryan Walter's pillow hopping

In some cases that may mean falling in love, getting your dream job, or finding out that you didn’t actually break your back when you smoke a tree at 30 miles an hour…  On that note, the term Sunday Funday has a lot more credibility when the beauty of 2,500 foot faces littered with pillows, cliffs, and 2 feet of fresh are all of the sudden staring you in the face.

Meg and Ryan in the lifelong quest for powder

The quest continues....

Ryan reaping what he sows...

SW Montana can have a tough time staying consistent as far as snowpack goes.  The Bridgers can get pretty bad, pretty quickly, when 90 mph winds pillage any new snow that may have fallen in previous storms.  Gallatin Range, same thing…  And don’t get me started on the Crazies….  But fortunately, with a little exploring, some serious vert, and a couple hours trying to keep 4 wheels between the lines, something beautiful indeed, can happen.

If I had to describe the feeling, it was the best...

Ryan gettin' some with his TREW threads and Mystery Ranch Saddle Peak

MR Fuze and


Posted in Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Skiing, Trip Reports | 2 Comments

The First Day of the Rest of the Season.

Photo by Jay Beyer

So after a few injury laden weeks from an episode involving a stubborn tree and my hip, I finally made it back into the mountains.  Tradeshows brought me down to Denver for SIA and Salt Lake City for OR, to ride some pow with my good friend Jay Beyer (  The Wasatch doesn’t disappoint even with an ice layer from a rain sequence the week prior, as we found good snow on the backside of Mt. Superior.  Sunny skies and decent wind deposited enough new snow to cover up parts of that ice layer and make for some good photo opportunities and easy skinning.

My Fuze and I are attached at the hip throughout most of the winter and finally got a chance to ride my new DPS Lotus 138’s after staring at them for weeks.  A few laps on the north side of Superior on wind affected, but silky smooth snow, and a final push back down to Little Cottonwood.  If you haven’t ridden in the Wasatch….  You know what exclamation comes next…

That night, forecast called for a mild storm to roll in and we aimed our sights at the Y-Not Couloir … READ MORE >

Posted in Dana DNA, Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Skiing, Trip Reports | 3 Comments

“Seacat Season” Slideshow

NWT Mountain Caribou

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Dana DNA, Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Trip Reports | 6 Comments

Behind the Pack – The Artistic Talents of Some of our Mystery Ranch Employees

Your Mystery Ranch backpack arrives and it is a dream pack, sturdy and well built. Behind each pack is a crew of super skilled production employees, who meticulously hand-make and inspect each product that Mystery Ranch produces. The design was originally created, then prototypes were tested. The fabric is hand-cut, the pack is hand-sewn, the foam is hand-stuffed and many eyes have looked over every nook and cranny of the pack. Mystery Ranch employees sew through multiple layers of tough fabric and a myriad of fastenings and straps. The crew behind the packs are outstanding. Rigorous high standards and a crew known for their technical precision are what sets Mystery Ranch Backpacks beyond ordinary outdoor packs. Each pack is finely hand-crafted right here in the USA.

Skye Bear Designs earrings & felted wool recycled small purses by Erika next to Mimi’s wildlife & landscape art cards & prints.

Many of the employees are artistically creative and detail oriented, even outside of the usual workday. The “ranchers,” as Mystery Ranch employees are nicknamed, are a crew of artisans and craftspeople. Nearly every artistic discipline is represented by the current staff. One sews beautiful corduroy messenger hats and lined handbags, while another … READ MORE >

Posted in Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Stories from the Floor | 2 Comments

My Rifle Gives Me Little Advantage


The elk have moved out of the high country and into the thick and dense low lands.  The bulls are grouping up and have quit bugling.  My sight and sound advantage has been taken away.  A positive attitude and the liklihood of snow are all I’ve got now.

This year I’ve been blessed with drawing a limited entry elk permit in a unit with high potential for big bulls.  I am able to archery hunt AND rifle hunt.  Previous years I’ve only been allowed to archery hunt.  Last September, I was fortunate enough to take a beautiful six point bull the third week of the bow season, in this unit. My success left me optimistic about this fall’s opportunities.  So far, that opportunity has been just out of reach.

Elk season started off with me walking up on another archer’s kill that was never recovered.  The meat was too far gone by the time I found him.  I left the bull hoping that the hunter would eventually find him and punch out their tag.

I hunted the low country the first two weeks of the season with a few chances on smaller bulls.  The rut was slow to start so … READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mountain Adventure, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch HQ, Trip Reports | 3 Comments