Naming Rights: Team GJ Stakes Claim on Patagonian Mountain Pass

You read the headline right. Our Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers squad last month staked its claim on a Patagonian mountain pass. Actually two. The context was a week-long adventure race, the Patagonian Expedition Race, and the venue was the Cordillera Darwin, a mountain range of far-south Chile. Our race squad, after becoming the first known ascentionists over a remote peak, put footprints in the snow and staked proverbial flags on two high passes later named “Paso GearJunkie” and “Paso YogaSlackers.”

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High in the Cordillera Darwin of Chile, Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers makes a first ascent

In the little-explored mountains, near the tip of South America on Isla de Tierra del Fuego, our sponsored racing team (for this event comprised of team members Jason and Chelsey Magness, Daniel Staudigel, and Paul Cassedy) went off the race’s recommended route and instead climbed into an alpine zone that it’s assumed has never before seen human passage. (We confirmed with a local geologist, Stjepan Pavicic, who is also the director of the Patagonian Expedition Race.)

The video below documents the feat with footage culled together from a tiny recorder the race crew brought along during the event. Please excuse the expletives, the crew was under some stress after days of racing. And this kind of behavior during a competitive event we do not usually recommended, though it did help our team get ahead and played a part in the squad’s third-place finish in the race, which is often cited as among the “world’s toughest” outdoor competitions.

Jason Magness, captain of the race team, called the video “How to get a mountain Pass Named after You!” He explains that it reveals step by step instructions to “getting a geographical feature named after yourself, your loved ones, your team.” The footage is a bit rough, and the accomplishment is only minor in mountaineering terms, we know. But more than anything the video provides a unique look into the mindset of our team, their spirit for adventure, and also a look at some rare scenes from the great race down there in South America in the wilds of Patagonia.

—Editor Stephen Regenold raced on Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers for the 2010 and 2011 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race events. See the team’s 2012 post-race report in the article High Insanity: Patagonian Exped Race.”

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Moment of elation after discovering high-mountain route

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