Marc Ankenbauer's 10+ year quest to jump in every named lake in Glacier and Waterton National Parks for charity.
168 lakes. Only 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
-- Marc jumped into Fisher Cap Lake on Sunday September 8th, 2013 to complete his goal! --
Read about Marc and how this project started...

The Magical Moments of Calm

How many of you have experienced Glacier National Park, during her rare, entirely calm moments?

There is nothing quite like standing at the foot of Two Medicine Lake, at midnight when the lake is perfect glass.

A full moon finally slipping into what sky the mountains leave unfilled.


The moon illuminates the Sinopah while the lake mirrors it and every canoe tucked along the shore.

The chalet boathouse providing the only man-made light, somehow adds instead of detracting from the whole.

Appistoki Peak oversees his entire domain and dwarfs the tiny historic buildings.


The whole scene is flanked on all sides by enormous, mountainous silhouettes.

Unique names like Rising Wolf, Sinopah, Lone Walker, Painted Tepee and Never Laughs all take on their imagined, midnight personalities.

Much like clouds can look like dragons, poodles or hoagie sandwiches.


When dawn rises from the east, each mountain will reassume its daytime persona.

But, right now they are powerful beings from a night time universe.

For me this is when the park is at her most romantic and enchanting, begging you to sit just a few minutes longer.

At this very second you are more than aware that that these are the moments you are supposed to catalog and store away for use in the future.

Delaying logical, much needed sleep, and ignoring the human instinct to go inside, simply to extend the magic for just a tiny bit longer.


It is a tough feeling to forget.

The smell of actively growing July vegetation.

The sound of literally everything other than the standard east side winds.

The feel of sitting on cold, flat shore rocks as you take in the profound scene unfurling around you.


Those moments are what get us by when life is not as… Perfect.

Glacier National Park draw over a million travelers and wilderness seeking nomads every year.

I have always loved meeting people who haven’t been to Glacier in decades.

Often, the simple fact that it’s out there, just like they remember is calming.

Somehow it’s a centering, grounding reality check in an often chaotic world.

As I was huddled indoors on this gloomy, February afternoon, with my head cold in full effect,  I found myself yearning for it.

I figured that I probably wasn’t the only one.

Pull from the catalog, que up the memory…

Maybe these photo will help.

To Life,

Marc Ankenbauer


*Do you have any personal experiences with the magic of Glacier on a calm night?  I’m sure you do!  Lets hear them.

The Winter Time Machine

Hello all,

Is everyone enjoying their spring?

Or, does it feel more like summer there?

Where ever there is…


Summer is slow to arrive in the mountains of the Eastern Front of Montana.

It’s a strange phenomenon, to literally drive back to winter.




No matter where my early spring has ever been spent, it’s always pretty nice by mid-May.

Spring in Missoula is absolute paradise!

There are Brew Fest’s, outdoor music, flip flops, bicycles, sun dresses and just a generally great vibe. 

May is by far my favorite month in the Garden City.




My home town of Cincinnati is essentially in summer by then.

Reds games, green lawns, driving with the windows down and road trips to Red River Gorge. 


winter 22


This winter was spent in Northern Wisconsin.

The town of Amery, to be exact.




We had just survived the harshest winter they’ve had in years. 

And, it was even starting to green up in the land of PBR and all things dairy! 



Winter in the Northwoods was more intense than any I had ever experienced in my life.

We had well over 50 days this winter below zero.

 When it dropped way below freezing, my apartment windows would grow beautiful snowflake designs all over them. 




Just up the road, Duluth Minnesota broke a record.

23 days below zero in a row!

That is obviously a dubious record that no one was excited about breaking.




The snow on the side of our driveway rose to five feet at its most ridiculous!

It’s not that I’m not used to seeing that much snow, but not in a suburban front yard!




Since working in Antarctica, I now use my phone to keep track of temperatures at the South Pole.

There was a few nights this winter, which were colder than the thermometers at the end of the globe.




Negative 30 degrees before factoring in wind-chill, is a very serious thing to deal with.

Cars hardly start, the seat is hard as a rock and the whole vehicle feels like it’s made of granite.

It’s impressive, in a “trying to kill you” kind of way. 




The great thing, is that you Northwoods folks just adapt.




You grin and bear it, and continue on with what has grown to be a normal annual process.




So, when the spring finally broke, I believed it was over for the year.

Surely, an epic winter in Northern Wisconsin ends about the same time as the eastern slope of Glacier Park.



Not so much…




After more than a month of flip flops, shorts and t-shirts, it was time to return to the park.

I had heard that the winter in Montana was robust.

But, I was not prepared to drive directly back into the thick of it.

It’s like some sort of bizarre seasonal time machine.





Facebook brought me photos of the first plowing of the Two Medicine Road.

A few friends had posted photos of them standing for scale in front of 12ft high vertical walls of snow.




There was snow literally encompassing our entire apartment building.




Conventional plows won’t make a dent in snow this deep. 

The park uses large trucks with heavy duty rotary snow blower mounted on the front.   

They eat vertical corridors through the packed white.

 But, after a while the once vertical walls slump and melt in the sun into something Dr Suess would imagine.




So, I’ve again driven back to winter in my time machine packed full of outdoor gear and groceries.

The gushing waterfalls and a watchful eye proves that it is indeed melting.

It’s tough to see the daily changes, until one day it’s obvious. 

Kind of like a watching a child grow or watching an adult age.  




Two Medicine Lake is finally starting to melt out, almost giving access to my kayak.

But, the loose chunks keep choking up the outlet giving the impression of an unending supply of sheet ice.





The bighorn sheep climbed down from Scenic Point and ran amuck through the plowed parking lots.

More and more employees and visitors are showing up every day.

Glacier Lillies pop up over night where a foot of snow stood two days previous.




Winter ends slowly here and lingers for much of the calendar.

But, that makes summer that much more spectacular and special.




May you all be primed for a good Summer Solstice party.

And, please wear those flip flops for me.

I’m excited for my second round of spring to hit.

To Life!

Cracks in the Last Ocean : Ross Sea, Antarctica

Note: I wrote this blog post while sitting at the South Pole in December of 2012, but it’s being posted in January 2014.  Sorry for the wait.  🙂


The Ross Sea is the southern most liquid water on planet earth.

It carves an enormous gap in what is a mostly round Antarctica.


RS 1


McMurdo Station is situated at the edge of where the Ross Ice Shelf meets the “open” sea.




An Ice Shelf is a permanent sheet of ice which is still connected to the glaciers on land.



 Photo: John Weller


The Ross Ice Shelf just happens to be the largest in the world.

It is 2000 feet thick and covers a portion of the Ross Sea that is the size of France.



Photo: Google Images


When I first got to Antarctica, the sea ice looked the same as the permanent ice shelf.

An almost unending expanse of flat white ice still frozen together after a long winter.




As the Antarctic summer progresses the sea ice will get thinner.

By the end it will become billions of pieces of flat ice floating on top of the world’s greatest aquatic wildlife sanctuary.



Photo: John Weller


Below the Ross Sea ice is a world of biodiversity that has no comparison on earth.



Photo: John Weller


Ancient oceans, before man, may have been similar…

But no other ocean ecosystem on earth is this pristine any longer.

The last 50 years of industrial fishing and environmental degradation have left the Ross Sea the “Last Ocean”.



Photo: John Weller


In 1959 the Antarctica Treaty set the continent aside for peaceful scientific purposes only.

No one country owns Antarctica and the international scientific community abides by the treaty.



Photo: John Weller


Unfortunately, there is no such law governing the world’s oceans.



Photo: John Weller 


The most dynamic part of the Antarctic ecosystem is the ocean surrounding it.

You can protect Antarctica all day long, but the fish are in the water…



Photo: John Weller


Ross Sea is filled with multiple species of seals, penguins, whales, birds, fish and every other creature that loves the undisturbed cold depths.



Photo: John Weller 


The Tooth Fish, which is known by its more marketable name of Chilean Sea Bass is drawing industrial fishing operations from around the world to the Ross Sea.

They are a keystone component in the food web of Southern Oceans and in many respects are the glue that holds it all together.



Photo: John Weller 


Most of the world’s oceans are already depleted to the extent that they can’t support the demand.

So, it’s finally time to tap into the last and most remote corner of the ocean world.



Photo: John Weller 


There is a large scale attempt to stop the exploitation of this region.

If you are interested check out the or the Last Ocean Documentary Trailer by Peter Young.




I’m certain that l will never be given the opportunity to scuba dive in the Ross sea to witness this concert of wildlife for myself.

But just the idea that something like this still exists gives me faith that we haven’t lost it all yet.



Photo: John Weller

When I return from the South Pole and the deep field stations of East Antarctica I hope to have the time to witness the more accessible, melted version of the Ross Sea.



This is the most “melted out” I ever saw it by the way…


Off the coast from the New Zealand Scott Base, there are pressure ridges that show the first kink in the ice.

I was able to explore and photograph these odd ice spires and wrinkles.




My coworkers and I were sent on a tour as a last outing before we head out to the remote field camps.




Daily the cracks and heaves change as the melting continues.

A guide was essential to lead us safely through the labyrinth of contorted ice.




Pressure ridges are created where the ice shelf and the sea ice meet.




It’s much like plate tectonics.

Mountains are created when one continental plate smashes into or ramps up onto another continental plate.




A winter of thick sea ice heaves and crumbles when the ocean pushes it against the much larger Ross Ice Shelf.




It creates bizarre spires, rolls, arches and sinks.

It’s like a Dr. Seuss book of ice sculpture.




Seals and penguins are sometimes seen tucked into the folds of the pressure ridges.

I was lucky enough to see three Weddell Seals where I went the other day.




They find their way through the new cracks in the ice and flop themselves on to the surface.

They lounge a while, take in in the scene, and then drop back into the depths below the ice.




On land they are a big sedentary blob.

I’ve never seen one actually do-anything.

But in the water they are graceful as a soaring bird.

Poetry in motion!



Photo: John Weller


It’s always exilerating to see wildlife in their natural surroundings.

And then you make this the surroundings!

Calmly lounging beneath the hulking, steaming expanse of Mt. Erebus, the southern most active volcano on earth.




In my life I have been lucky to witness some seriously amazing landscapes.

It’s kinda my bag.

You know?

But this place is without comparison!



I hope you are enjoying it with me.

If you have any questions or comments please drop me a line on the comment forms below.


*I would like to thank nature photographer John Weller.  He is the image guru of the Last Ocean Documentary.  I hope he would be accepting of the use of some his photos for the greater good.  Obviously, I don’t have any personal photographs of these amazing underwater places. 

I figured that I would borrow some of his masterful images to spread the word and make the message more visually compelling.  To help me justify my usage this man’s amazing product, please check out  Last Ocean Short Film on Youtube, and help spread the Last Ocean mission. 

New Years Music – Songs stuck in my head while hiking


New Years Eve is a festive, musical holiday.

So, I thought I would put out a few New Years Eve songs.

Keeping on theme, I figured I’d combine with notable songs that have stuck in my head while hiking through the years.

More than anything, I just wanted to toss out some music!


Turning the calendar to a new year is filled with varied emotions.

Sometimes it’s about wishing humanity safe travels and luck on their journey.

Sometimes, it’s about looking back on the amazing friends, family and moments that have made you who you are today.

Sometimes it’s about simply dancing and having a good time.

And, sometimes, just sometimes…it’s about Fighting For Your Right To Party!

Here’s a selection.

And, Happy New Years!


“Messages” is an amazing song about wishing someone you love, good luck with life and the “changes that will come”.

It reminds me of parting ways with life’s countless great aquaintances.

The ones you almost certainly won’t ever see again.

We pass through each other’s lives, affecting each other, much more dramatically than we imagine.

“With each gift that you share
You may heal and repair
With each choice you make
You may help someone’s day
Well I know you are strong
May your journey be long
And now I wish you the best of luck”.

-Xavier Rudd- “Messages”



On a lighter note, enter Lionel Richie, “All Night Long.”

I once got this song stuck in my head for the entire length of a week-long backpacking trip in Smoky Mountain National Park with my friend Scott.

Any song will feel like it’s haunting you after a week.

However, I put it to you to find a more cheery and upbeat song to wake up to in a rainy tent on day 4.

I think Lionel summed New Years up perfectly…

“Well, my friends, the time has come
To raise the roof and have some fun
Throw away the work to be done
Let the music play on

Everybody sing, everybody dance
Lose yourself in wild romance
We’re going to party


-Lionel Richie-

 P.S. Check out the costumes!  Wow!  




Macklemore has become a house hold name in 2013.

“Thrift Store”, “Same Love” and “Can’t Hold Us” all went big throughout the year.

I introduce a song called “Cowboy Boots”.

I’ve never heard a song that makes me think of my best old friends and the amazing times that we’ve had, more than this song.

Think back…

Remember when you and some friends, simply OWNED the moment you were living.

I’m lucky to have been in many situations when I knew I was a part of a “special place and time”.

You know what I’m talking about.

Be that your senior year in high school, that spectacular coffee shop job in college, your first transformative year of seasonal work or sitting on the front porch of the ski resort enjoying a pint as the sun goes down.

Whatever that moment is, your life was forever changed and memories of it lift your soul!

This song does that for me….

“And acquaintances turn to friends,

I hope those friends they remember me

Hold the night for ransom as we kidnap the memories

Not sure there is a way to express what you meant to me

Sit around a table and use those years as the centerpiece.”

-Macklemore and Ryan Lewis-



Then there’s the immortal, simple wisdom of the Beastie Boys…

“KICK IT”!!!




I would love to hear about the songs that get stuck in your head.

Leave them in the comments!


Happy New Year!

Let us toast to the Bright Future of 2014!

May it be a good one!

To Life,

Marc Ankenbauer

Christmas, in the most remote place on earth


ago christmas 19


Christmas Eve, one year ago, was profoundly different than today’s.

Christmas 2012 was spent with two friendly and brilliant, albeit quirky engineers from New Jersey, in the most remote place on earth.


ago christmas 1



By the time Christmas rolled around, we had become friends.

They are great guys.

We had a fine time.

But, I can’t imagine a more bizarrely placed Christmas will ever befall me.


ago christmas 2


Bob and Andy are the engineers for the AGO project, which work on and stay at five remote  camps in the Eastern Antarctic Plateau.

I was their Field Camp Coordinator.


They’ve spent a whole lot of time holed up at these “camps”.

During my season, we never broke ten days at any camp.

But, they have been stuck for two to three weeks before waiting for a pickup.

The name of the game in Antarctica, is patience.

You have to be ready to make the most of your time while marooned, no matter where or when it happened.


ago christmas 3


The AGO sites aren’t even field camps, they are dots on a map…a very, very small dot.

They consists of an 8’ by 16’ building that resembled a red single wide trailer on stilts.

They are made of five inch thick fiberglass insulation and closed up with a freezer door.


ago christmas 3


A wind turbine and propane heater, make it a manageable temp inside.

Eventually, that is.

When we arrive it is -25F inside, just like it is outside.

The structure holds all the electronics, but doubles as a tiny common area.

We sleep in two person mountaineering tents in the “front yard” and use the building to keep warm during the day.


ago christmas 4


There are five of these structures,  and they were placed strategically throughout the Eastern  Antarctic Plateau.

Well, there is actually six of them.

The sixth one got covered by blowing snow and has since been lost in time, never to be unearthed.



ago Christmas 5


We had been dropped off at AGO 1 by a Twin Otter, along with supplies and gobs of electronics.

We had all of our work completed after about four days, and were ready for pick up.

But, it was now day nine.


ago Christmas 6


We had plans of spending Christmas at the South Pole.

While The Pole, is still a wild place to spend a holiday, it is quite the event.

There is an elaborate dinner with deserts and a few cocktails.

Christmas lights line the walls and it’s as “Christmas” as it can be, while essentially being in a space station.


ago Christmas 7


Over 150 unique and wonderful faces were waiting to eat well, and enjoy a Christmas party fit for the South Pole.


ago Christmas 8


The South Pole Station even has a Christmas tree and Santa-like thing.

I don’t know the dolls story, but it is odd to say the least.

The tree has been crafted out of pipes, wrenches and other odds and ends, all welded together.

That’s as good as it gets,  seeing as the closest tree is 2500 miles away on the coast of Chile.


ago Christmas 9


The Twin Otter pilots had plans to remove us four days ago, but a nasty weather pattern had rolled in, stranded us in camp.

Every morning, I woke up, called in weather observations and hoped to be pulled out.

With no success.

This morning was no different.

By mid morning, we were aware of our holiday fate.

We were spending Christmas at good ol’ AGO 1.


ago Christmas 10


So, here we sit in the absolute middle of nowhere.

The closest humans were 500 miles away, rockin’ in the holidays at the South Pole.

We were actually the only three human beings in an area about the same same size as the entire western United States…or larger.

These camps are “near-ish” to a point called “The Point of Inaccessibility”.

It is the place on any continent that is furthest from a coast.

In Antarctica, that’s saying a lot!

It’s essentially the most remote place on earth.

And we were gonna “celebrate” Christmas in all its splendid, frozen remoteness.


ago Christmas 11


Trying to breathe a bit of normalcy into my holiday, I stole away and made some calls on the Iridium Satellite phone.


ago Christmas 12


Some of you reading this, were the recipients.

I appreciate the loving conversations which for a moment placed me back home.

My tent was a lot more cozy while chatting with all of you.


ago Christmas 12


Later, I went for a meandering walk to photograph the alien, ultra white landscape.


ago Christmas 14


Now, it would have been nice to enjoy dinner back home, in a nice warm house.

But, I was fully aware, that this was an epic, once in a lifetime experience.

To spend Christmas in such a odd situation, is something I couldn’t have even dreamt up.  .


ago Christmas 13


An odd phenomenon called a Sun Dog occurred while I was out wandering around.

It creates a massive ring around the sun.

I figured that was my Christmas present.


ago Christmas 14


Obviously unprepared, we didn’t have much of a Christmas vibe to the shelter.

We signed the wall,  making sure to point out that we were the Christmas shut in crew.


ago christmas 15


The evening was spent eating the best frozen burritos that the government can buy.

More importantly, a Christmas isn’t complete without gathering around a movie while letting your dinner settle.

This time Bob, Andy and I huddled around my laptop and watched Marty McFly save the day in Back To The Future.


ago Christmas 16


I will never forget that Christmas.


But, Wow it is wonderful to be back in the U. S. for this round.

Ironically, the weather in the Northern U.S.  this winter isn’t much more hospitable than the Antarctic Plateau.

But, it does have Christmas trees, yummy cookies, my lovely wife and egg nog.

Oh, the Egg Nog!

I hope this finds all of you happy, healthy and surrounded by those you love or maybe a dedicated puppy dog.

ago christmas 17

Happy Holidays Folks!

It’s great to be home for this one!


(Comment Subject)

“What was the wildest, most bizarre, most remote, most unique Christmas you ever spent”!

Tell me about me it in the comments!


ago christmas 18

2013 What’s in Marc’s Backpack…? 10 Christmas Gift Ideas!

Hi everyone!

It’s that time of year…

The time when you ask yourself, “what should I get the Glacier Explorer in my life”?

And then you think, “did that guy actually use that cheesy sentence”?

He did!


Gear 1

Unflattering maybe, but this pic shows the gear I bring with…

Now, while I don’t feel that the holidays are all about buying presents, I’m sure it’s on the agenda.

I’m also sure some of you have a hiker in your life, and need some good present ideas.

I”ll try and help.

I’ve had a few people ask me to write a “what goes in my backpack” post.

So, I’ll combine them into

the “2013 What’s in Marc’s Backpack – Christmas Gift Ideas” page and extravaganza!


My gear list teeters between high end swanky and opportunist dirt bag.

Like most people, I have to get the most out of my gear and find deals when I can.


While every gear geek loves the feeling of strapping on a new backpack or lounging in their crisp, recently purchased sleeping bag, there’s no need to have every brand new piece.

Lots of my gear is kind of old, but it gets me by.


Gear 8

The yard sale that is my pack


My sleeping bag is from 2001 and honestly should be replaced.

I would love to get a new, compressible,  down bag that wouldn’t weigh down my pack.

But, like most people, for me dollars are dollars, and the bag still keeps me warm.


I have a few pair of old convertible hiking pants that I mend over and over again.

The versatility they provide is necessary if you are going to have huge days with varied weather and plans to thrash around in heavy vegetation.

It doesn’t matter what brand, as long as they are comfortable and not cotton.


gear 1


Moderately priced sunglasses with UV protection and stationary lenses is my route.

Sunglasses still need to be expendable, because they get lost, crushed and scratched.

Half the time, I wear them as safety glasses so I don’t take a branch to the eye, while in the depths of the brush.


Gear 17


Don’t get me wrong, there are specialty pieces of gear that are of epic importance.

Pieces that my project hinged on.

Pieces that I feel naked hiking without. (Figuratively)




REI PRICE: $20.00

If you have not yet been introduced to a Buff, then here you go.

It is the perfect stocking stuffer.

Every outdoor enthusiast loves the concept of a bandana.

The problem is that they are made of cotton and don’t dry.

In general, cotton is worthless when it matters.

Enter… a Buff.


Numai Lake Post (9 of 53)

It’s a tube of stretchy synthetic material that has more uses than I can write.

It’s possible to use it as a neck gaiter, a face cover, a hair keeper downer, a scrunchy and most importantly, a sweet pirate costume.


Gear 14


I even use mine in combo with a wind proof ear band and it becomes a bombproof “hat” that cuts out wind but doesn’t make you sweat like crazy.

This thing does basically everything.

And it comes in countless designs and colors.

Merry Christmas!


This video shows countless ways to wear your buff!


Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters:

REI PRICE: $75.00

Gaiters have become the most indispensable piece of gear that myself or anyone that goes with me carries.

I even keep spare older pairs to lend to those without.

The ground vegetation is so thick in Glacier, that I wouldn’t have legs if it wasn’t for these gems.

For me, they function as shin protectors when I’m off trail.

But, they keep out snow, rain, rocks, and the dew that collects on morning vegetation.


Gear 10


When its not TOO COLD, but its raining, you can use them in combo with non-cotton shorts.

You won’t sweat like if you had rain pants on.

The combo will keep you dry where it matters and warm enough.

Just keep hiking and you’re gold.

And when you stop hiking, the bottom of your convertible pants are still dry and waiting to be zipped on for warmth.


Gear 16


The best reason, is still, that they make you look like a mountaineering Bad Ass.



Black Diamond Elliptic Trekking Poles:

REI PRICE:   Normally $129.95  On Sale Now $94.93

I am a dyed in the wool trekking pole user.

My roommate lent me a pair years ago and I’ve been a convert ever since.

They’ll save your knees and make you much more secure during varied terrain, off trail travel.

All the while making hiking a full body exercise!

Four legs good – Two legs bad!


Gear 2

Trekking poles have always had one Achilles Heel in my opinion.

Even the best brands have always used a spinning lock system which wears out at exactly the wrong moment.

This might not matter to folks on casual hikes in which they never adjust the pole length.

But, at that point you could use some old $20 ski poles.


gear 3


If you care that your poles collapse, adjust up and down, and in the end still re-tighten when it matters, then…

The only direction to go is Black Diamonds clip locking design.

They make multiple models and my wife has thinner, lighter ones that she loves.

But, I’m a big guy who depends on them to take a beating and ALWAYS work!

My go to model are the Black Diamond Elliptic Poles.

The shaft is an oval which supports much more stress and weight.

I’ve put these things through their paces,… and they have performed flawlessly.



Osprey Kestrel 48 Backpack

REI PRICE: $169.00


I need my backpack to be a day pack and an overnight pack all wrapped up in one.

Countless lakes on my list are accessed only by hiking a very full day and then setting up a base camp for a few nights.

My pack has to be large enough to carry my tent, sleeping bag, pad, clothes, food, stove, water filter, camera, tripod….and then there is ALL THE SWIMMING GEAR!

Ok, that is just a pair of shorts and sandals…

But, you get the point.


Numai Lake Post (47 of 53)


The pack also has to be agile and streamlined enough, so it’s not be a burden off trail.

The huge layover day is all off trail, and the bushwhack to the remote lake would be brutal with a large pack.

The Kestrel 48 works great for me because it’s durable and has lots of separations for organization.

The attachment points on the outside help me haul gear in inventive ways.

The stretchy back panel is more durable than it looks, I’ve tried it out.

It’s big enough to haul, but it is small enough to be drug up a steep cliffy hillside choked with alder.



Asolo 510 Goretex Hiking Boots

REI PRICE: $289.00

What can I say, they are durable, waterproof and came out of the box broke in.

What more can you ask for in a hiking boot.


Gear 5



Petzl Tikka Plus 2 Headlamp

REI PRICE: $39.95

Always, always, always carry your headlamp, and be sure the thing has good batteries in it.


It will save your life and get you out of the woods some day!




My Petzl has three options, a bright, a dim and a red light.

The dim light saves battery life and more importantly doesn’t blind your friends while chatting in camp.

The red light doesn’t kill your night vision.

Sometimes you still need to grab something out of your pack while watching shooting stars.


Gear 6


And, most importantly.

There is a flashing light mode which comes in handy when attending a campfire rave party.

Petzl you have always done me well.



Patagonia Capilene T-Shirts and Thermals

PATAGONIA PRICES:  Depends on what you are looking for.  $30.00 to $80.00

Good things are expensive, but not all expensive things are good.

And most expensive things, aren’t good for the environment…as a generalization.

Patagonia puts out some the outdoor industries best products.

They also proactively try to be a role model for sustainable business practices and help fund environmental causes all over the world.

And it’s not marketing lip service, they are in the trenches.



Their Capilene undergarments are the answer to a chilly day and are basically a standard among my peers.

They come in four different weights depending on how warm you want them to be.

They also take old soda bottles, unusable second quality fabrics and worn out garments, turn them into polyester fibers and create some of the best outdoor clothing on earth.

Thanks for the effort Patagonia!



Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket


Pullover $169.00 ; Hooded $249.00

And then there was the lightest, warmest, squishiest piece of clothing I’ve ever put on.

It is the Nano Puff, but in my friend circles its a Puff Ball.

Because that is what it feels like.

A ball of puff!


Highly compressible PrimaLoft insulation is packed into a wind proof and water resistant, 100% recycled, rip stop polyester shell.

It’s like you are wearing a sleeping bag as a shirt.


Gear 18


Puffs break down much lighter and smaller than any fleece I’ve ever carried.

When slipped on, all is well with the world.

Even as long days get later, it breaks the chill of those high altitude, late day winds.

I’ve actually taken to carrying a lighter sleeping bag and wearing the puff jacket to sleep at night.

It’s wonderful!




Katadyn Hiker Water Filter:

REI PRICE: $69.95

So, I know a water filter isn’t as sexy of a Christmas present as slippers or an X Box.

But, if you have the right gear geek partner, I’m sure it would blow their socks off.


gear 20

This is not my photo, but this guy looks like a success story.

The ability to clean drinking water on the go is an absolute necessity.

These days there are lighter weight options, but for me a good manual filter is the way to go.

And the Katadyn Hiker is the best filter I’ve ever used.

It’s durable and churns out water way faster than any filter I’ve had in the past.

Hydrate, Folks!!!



Butt Pad:

Ah, my finest invention.

It gives you a warm spot to sit when it cold, a dry spot to sit when its wet and a comfortable spot to sit when its lumpy.

It gives you a great place to stand while changing clothes on the fly so you don’t get you socks wet.

At the moment in which you want to separate your butt from its surroundings.

It is there. Its also durable and basically free.

Just find a pad of closed cell foam and cut off a piece a foot or so wide.

The Glacier Explorer in your life will love it, or their butt will at least.


Gear 9


If you have gotten all the way to the end of this post…

I want to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

To Life,

Marc Ankenbauer

The Thanks I’m Giving: A four part series



Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I’ve had some good years in my life and have been thankful for each and every one.


This one…

This year…

Has been a bit absurd.


I spent last Thanksgiving at the South Pole, for Pete Sake!


Then, in September I finished what will assuredly be the most extensive life adventure I’ll ever undertake.


But, more than anything…

I’m so unbelievably thankful to the dedicated and adventurous souls that battled by my side over the last ten years.

A fella doesn’t have a shot in hell at a good quest without determined, burly and soulful partners.


So, this blog post is for you.

Fisher 1

I assume that most of you wouldn’t mind if you were named online.

But, just in case, only first names will be used.


I’m sure that you all have had your moments of groaning and waiting on me to take my 300th picture of the day.

I’m a shutterbug, to an annoying extent sometimes.

I accept that.

Luckily, so do most of you.


But, you will all be happy one day that I have a bunch of awesome pictures of your mugs.

In a way, this whole project has essentially been a photography portfolio of the unique characters in my life.

Most often, my camera takes pictures of all of you.

My friends and family have been the same ones to sweat and bleed with me as we attacked an arbitrary list of lakes over the last decade.

That list of lakes demanded more of me than i had.

It dominated my life…

IN A GOOD WAY!…mostly…

I couldn’t have accomplished this without the support from all of you and the Glacier National Park community.


So here goes.


I won’t be able to put any logic to this order.

Everyone on this list accompanied me to a lake and waited out the mosquitoes until I was done.

Some of you have gone to dozens.

Others of you spent one, special and probably pretty frantic day in the mountains with me.

Some of you went on a pleasant hike, to a lovely little lake in Glacier National Park and we had a dandy time.

Others of you have spent some of the most arduous, exasperating and endurance demanding days of your lives doing battle with alder thickets and a dwindling clock.

Either way, you all played well larger rolls.

Emotional support, donations, IT help, logistics, beer, dinner, advice, transportation, love and twenty other forms of assistance that I can’t even think of right now.  .

I couldn’t (honestly!) have done it with out each and every one of you.


Scroll to find yourself.


Today is the first installment of (probably about) four posts that highlight the amazing faces that have helped me along the journey.

If you are not featured on this post you are sure to follow.


My amazing wife Jessi. 

Thanks jess 2


Lakes accompanied: McDonald, Pray, Otakomi, Avalanche, Cosley, Glenns, Cracker, Medicine Grizzly, Bowman, Kintla, Ellen Wilson, Waterton Lake, Aurice, Cobalt, Helen, Elizabeth, Atsina, Sue, Stoney, Kootenai, Ole, Windmaker, Snyder,  Thunderbird Pond, Janet, Hidden, Mary Baker, Feather Woman, Akaiyan, Slide, Natahki, Beaver Woman, Buffalo Woman, Snow Moon, Falling Leaf, Kennedy, Red Eagle, Bertha CAN, Upper Kintla, Loon CAN, Goat CAN, Pocket, Buffalo Lake, Beaver Pond 1 CAN, Beaver Pond 2 CAN, Lonesome CAN, Gem, Bullhead and Fishercap Lakes

You have been by my side the whole time, from the day I thought this whole silly thing up.  

That certainly is a long list of lakes by your name.  

You lived and breathed this project more than anyone else…and you supported me the whole way.  

Thank you so much… I Love you 


thanks jess




Thanks pat 2


Lakes Accompanied: Arrow, Trout, Rogers, Whitecrow, Carcajou, Wahseeja, Johns, Lower Quartz, Young Man, Boy, Harrison, Striped Elk, Goat, Numa, Bench, Ipasha, Margaret, Nyack 1, Nyack 2, Gem, Lilly, Evangeline, Ruger, Fishercap Lakes


Pat, although I often try, I can’t tell you how important you have been.  

Simply said, this project would not be finished without you.  

There was a point, when I needed someone better than me to accompany me through the worst Glacier National Park could offer.  

And along came Pat and his bizarre interest in alder thickets and enormous days.  

Dude, you are the man.


thanks pat




Thanks Anna 2


Lakes Accompanied: Logging, Cracker, Ellen Wilson, Governors Pond, Stump Pond, Josephine, Swiftcurrent, Atsina, Sue, Stoney Indian, Kootenai  Windmaker, Slide, Otatso, Halfmoon, Bullhead Young Man, Boy, Harrison, Medicine Owl Lakes


Anna, there are a few people that have been there since the beginning.  

Then there is you, who I actually went to the first purposeful lake with (Logging).  

You, who has debated logistics late into the night more than anyone.  

You, who rallied the worst blisters I’ve ever seen to finish up Medicine Owl with me.  

You my lady deserve one huge Thank You!  


thanks anna




Thanks Wub 2


Lakes Accompanied: Avalanche, Katoya, Morning Star, Pitamakin, 7 Winds, Upper Two Medicine, Iceburg, Two Medicine Lakes


Wub, I wouldn’t even think hiking was a good idea if it wasn’t for you.  

I mean, really.  

The fact that I do what I do is a direct correlation to our friendship.  

Plus, you taught me that it’s alright to leave the trail.  

Thanks for everything brother.  


thanks wub




Thanks Dave


Lakes Accompanied: Hidden, Mary Baker, Feather Woman, Akaiyan , Bullhead, Poia, Swiftcurrent Ridge, Lone Lake CAN, Pecks Basin CAN, Carthew Pond

Dave, you have provided me some of the most insightful hiking outings of my life.  

I respect and admire you; and am proud to call you my friend.    

Thanks for all the support through the years.  


Thanks Dave 2

Nice legs, Dave!



Lakes Accompanied: Bullhead and Fishercap Lakes; but emotionally so much more.

You are a glorious human being and I’m just lucky to have bumped into you and Dave in 03.

Thanks for everything.




Laura or Lala…

Thanks Lala


Lakes Accompanied: Governors Pond, Stump Lake, Josephine, Swiftcurrent, Natahki, Beaver Woman, Buffalo Woman, Jackstraw, Sky Lakes

Lala, you are the best.  

I’m sure that you were there the night this whole thing was plotted.  

It’s been ten years!  Good Golly!  

Thanks for great hiking days, all the Spanish lessons and always making me smile…

and laugh…  

Some times uncontrollably.  



Thanks Laura 2




Thanks Brad


Lakes Accompanied:  Goat Haunt, Gyrfalcon, Redhorn, Nahsukin, Fishercap Lakes

Brad, it was my pleasure.  

You signed up for the original endless bushwack.  

That trip is still probably the most epic of my life.  

Thanks for everything.  

Any interest in going to find that trekking pole in the alders at Nahsukin?  


Thanks Brad 2




Thanks Clay


Lakes Accompanied: Howe 1, Howe 2, Grace, Logging, Fishercap Lakes

You have swam in one lake with me and accompanied me to five.  

But, the logistics, advice and late night pondering sessions were as big a contribution as anyone.

Your knowledge and advice has been enormous.  

Oh, and thanks for making me know that I wasn’t getting any younger and I needed to start knocking off the nasty ones.  

You’re The Man.  


Thanks Clay 2


My Mom:


Thanks Mom


Lakes Accompanied: Indian Springs in Canada

Technically, that is the only new lake we ever went to together.

But we have hiked some serious miles in the park and you’ve even jumped in a couple lakes with me.  

None of this would have been possible with out your love and support…well before I even knew where Glacier National Park was.  

Thanks for everything.   


Thanks mom 2


This year, I’m giving thanks to each and every one of you.

I’ll be publishing the other posts with the rest of your lovely faces on them in the following weeks.

Keep a look out.


To Life,

Marc Ankenbauer

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival 2013 – Dirtbag Style

Now, sit right down there and let me tell you about the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

The festival is “The Event” for mountain culture authors, film makers and the adventurers that create the stories.

It’s the venue that artists, athletes  and researchers dream of having a book or film in.

And, it happens each fall in Banff, Alberta.


If a meeting of the mountain elite wasn’t enough, the location is world class!

Banff the town is inside of Banff the National Park, and both are known for some of earths most jaw dropping mountain scenery.

So, it’s a class situation, all the way around. 🙂


Banff 1


But, November in the Rockies isn’t the nicest weather month.

It is perfect movie weather, if you get my drift.

This year it dumped 6 inches over the festival weekend,…in early November.

And, I know I read something about a low of 8 degrees at night.

This presents little dilemma to anyone, but me.

I sleep in my car.

Mom,…Not always, just during this event.


banff 9

Hotel de la Missoula


The hotels are WAY out of my price range, so I rely on my mobile hotel room

A mobile hotel room that is covered in snow and filled with three sleeping bags and cooler of food.

It’s nice to have my home just down the road from the festival.

It certainly makes having lunch easier.

So, welcome to the Banff Film festival.

I go dirtbag style.

But, I go.

And it’s awesome!




I volunteer to be specific.

Its fun to be a part of the festival, even in such a basic way.

I also figured it couldn’t hurt to talk with people that sell books, if you are looking to make one.

Ya Dig?


Banff 10

Right down the street from my house.


Friday and Saturday nights, I ushered at the main theater.

Norwegian Aleksander Gomme and Jonesy  of the Austrailian duo Cas and Joney spoke on Friday.

Cecilie Skog, a Norwegian mountaineer and polar skier spoke on Saturday.

Both evenings were human firsts.

Both large scale, unsupported crossings of Antarctica.


Alright, now don’t fret, the festival is coming to city near you soon.

And you don’t even have to sleep in a car!

Sweet deal!

Banff picks many of the years best films and sends them out into the world on a 13 month traveling film festival.

It is shown on all seven continents, in countless countries and in almost all U.S. States.

Would you believe I watched it in McMurdo Station in Antarctica, last year?

I was obviously jacked!


So, check the calendar for a showing near you..


NOTE: It’s coming to Montana first.  

This coming weekend!  

November 10th in Missoula, November 12th in Kalispell.  

Click here to check your state or country.  


I always leave the film festival inspired.

So many stories of human beings, just blowing open the perimeters of possibility.

The options are limitless and the festival tells the taleas.



Here’s a couple highlight presenters and movies from the festival.


GommeJonesy – First time on stage together! Friday Nov 1st, 2013

The festival brings at least one thing to your attention.

That there are way more people than you think, throwing down epic global odysseys every year.

Blasting open the boundaries of human possibility and world exploration.


How about going from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole and return but completely unaided?

Skiing 1400 miles across the worlds highest, coldest, driest and windiest continent.

89 days hauling a 350lb sled across an otherworldly, frozen expanse.

Alexander Gomme did it solo.

It is also a very historic, human first.


This video shows how excited a man can get when he gets to a cache of food and finds Cheesy Poofs. 



But there’s a catch.

At the same time, there was randomly an Australian duo that go by Cas and Jonesy that were trying for the same record.


A Norweigain against two guys from the British Commenwealth.

A bit Amundson/Scott, now isn’t it?

The three had become friends over the length of the trip.

Gommes had led the whole time, and it was his to win at this point.

Then, like the cool guy he is, Gomme stops and waits for them so they can finish together.

That my friends…

That is a classy move.


Last Ice Merchant

This film is about a 67 year old Ecuadorian man who is the last of a long, proud profession.

For generations, men would climb up to the glacial ice high up on Mt. Chimborazo.

They would pry off huge chunks, wrap them in grass and carry them down to the town on mules.

This ancient profession is dying out since the area got electricity and an ice machine.

That doesn’t stop him from going up for his daily haul, but the profession is dead.

Oh, how things change in a generation.

Side Note:

Chimborazo is a behemoth volcano on the equator which is famous for being the mountain that is closest to the sun or furthest from the center of the earth.

Some think of it as the largest mountain on earth and not Everest.




If the snowfall didn’t get the attendees excited for ski season, the newest production from Sweetgrass Films sewed the winter vibe.

Valhalla is the best ski movie I’ve ever seen.



I recognize that is a big statement.

But, most good “ski porn” is just that; amazing footage of professional athletes.

OK, AWESOME FOOTAGE, of VERY TALENTED professional skiers and boarders, but…

They often lack a plot or much emotional connection other than getting you excited to ski.

Valhalla tells the fictional story of a man headed north to find something.

He’s seeking that freedom and pure, impressionable awe of his childhood.

Along the way, he finds a Valhalla.

Plus it has the first real naked ski scene I’ve ever seen…and it’s Classy.

But naked…




This is my favorite film of the festival and it’s only a few minutes long.

It captures the ideology of capturing the moments of your life

Carpe Diem at its greatest.


35 hard rock climbs in honor of professional climber Derek Craig’s 35th birthday.

This movie packs more wisdom than it’s 5 minutes can hold.

Plus I’m a huge fan of Fitz Cahall and his Dirt Bag Diary’s Podcast.

35 is the first short film I’ve seen from his new production company “Duct Tape Then Beer”.  



One last note.

I mentioned on Facebook that I was hoping to meet and hike with Conrad Anker…

And it happened!

On a terrible morning.

I woke in a frosted up car that was covered in three inches of new snow/rain/slush/stuff.


banff 4

6:50am…going for a hike, huh?


Conrad was meeting people and stating a hike to the top of Tunnel Mountain, at 7:30am, outside the festival building.

It would have been so much easier to just role over and go back to bed in a warm sleeping bag, and surrounded by a very cold, wet world.

But, I forced my eyes open and met the group.

It was nice to meet him.

W chatted about Montana.

He lives in Bozeman when he is not out scaling the highest, scariest, most remote mountains on earth.  .

He is a nice, approachable guy for a mountaineering god.

Way to be Conrad and thanks for the hike.


 banff 6

Conrad Anker and I on Tunnel Mountain. Which has a trail to the top, just to be clear.

Thanks, Banff Film Festival for another spectacular experience.

And thanks to Steve and Rachael for letting me crash at their place on the second night.

Great french toast.

Does anyone have any good experiences going to the Banff Film Festival shows in their areas?

Leave it in the comments.




And Happy November!

To Life,

Marc Ankenbauer

Fishercap, a moose and some really great friends! #168

Good Morning,

I’m still working through the events of the last 48 hours.

It was a whirlwind.

The Fishecap Lake dip went better than I could have ever expected.

I woke in the morning to a pounding September rain storm.

But, when I opened my front blinds, there was the most vibrant rainbow that I have ever seen.

Glacier Park was telling me it was going to all be ALRIGHT!

Thanks for the reassurance old friend.


Fisher 1


Then, the driving rain continued all morning.

It would have officially been the worst weather that I had ever jumped into a lake in…easily.

Then it all came together.

It was still overcast and misting, but the rain stopped.

Friend after friend parked their cars in Swiftcurrent Parking Lot.

My buddy Clay grabbed my cooler “Dave Michi” which was filled with tasty micro brews.


Fisher 2


He and Dave fell in line with the pack train of friendly faces as we walked the 10 minute soggy stroll to Fishercap Lake.

My mom, Jess my lovely wife, thirty awesome friends and a couple people I’ve never seen before gathered around the rocky shore.

I stumbled through a tear filled thank you speech.

This is the culmination of a powerful time period of my life filled with amazing friends, life growth and obviously experiences never to be recreated.

There wasn’t a chance I wasn’t going to cry.


It was absolutely amazing!

And to top it off, a neighborhood moose came to swim with us.


Fisher 3


Chris Peterson from the Hungry Horse News waded out into the mucky lake bottom with camera in hand.

Chris is easily one of the most avid reporters currently covering Glacier National Park.

Thanks for making it a priority to be there and document the event for me.


Fisher 4


Three seconds after I hopped in, along came Mom, Jess, Laura, Pat, Clay, Ed, Eric and Monica right after me.

Thank you all for that, as I was dealing with some pretty serious stage fright.

This has been a project that while publicly supported, has been executed in quiet remoteness.

Normally, with one or two friends in tow in the middle of nowhere.

To have such a large, supportive turnout was spectacular!


Fisher 5


We then enjoyed Dave Michi’s contents along with a bottle of Champagne (thanks Wilsons)!

And  you know, while we were all standing in a misty, cool September day drenched in glacier lake water…for that moment somehow I wasn’t that cold.

I was just caught, directly in the moment and the love of friends and family.

Thank you all!

For those who came out, for those who couldn’t but would have, to those who have just always been supportive of this nutty endeavor.

Thank you for all the donations and helping me make this about more than a guy and some lakes.

Thank You All!


Fisher 6


I’ll get more written about Fishercap and the trips leading up to this moment.

I just wanted to tell everyone how Sunday went.

It went great!


Fisher 7


Keep an eye out for what I’m sure will be a great article by Chris Peterson at the Hungry Horse News.

Also, a couple other news outlets are starting to be in contact.

I’ll keep you informed as they come out.

To Life and the Future!


Fishercap Lake here we come! #168 The Last Lake



So… Sunday or “Fishercap Day”, is right around the corner.

I’ve been waiting for this day for ten years.

Ten Years…

Good Golly!




On August 22nd, Leah and Anna accompanied me to Medicine Owl Lake.

Lake #167 was celebrated in the middle of nowhere, but with good friends on a warm day.




Fishercap Lake (#168) on the other hand is ten minutes from a parking lot.

It will still with spent with great friends.


September 8th, at 1pm, I’ll more or less “lay down” in Fishercap.

It’s not very deep, especially at this time of year.

But, boy is it a lovely spot.

It’s a meer 10 minutes from the end of the Many Glacier Road on the Swiftcurrent Valley Trail.

I’m hoping for some good weather, but it might very well be a bit cooler than I would hope.

Only time will tell.

Either way I’ll be there to play my part.

Any of you stopping by, thanks ahead of time.

Afterward, I’m thinking about hitting up Many Glacier Hotel for a drink and some fellowship.


If you feel like accompanying me, then Awesome!

If you can’t, no biggies.

It’s just a silly lake anyways…


Thanks always for everyone’s support, donations and interest through the years.

It’s been an honor to have the opportunity to spend the last decade in this park and with you all as friends and colleagues.

To Life,





P.S.  I still have the stories of the Evangeline(#164), Ruger(#165), Miche Waben(#166) and Medicine Owl Lakes (#167), along with past outings to write about.

I’m a bit overwhelmed at this moment and plan to simply focus on the Fishercap dip on Sunday.

But, the stories will be written in time…fear not.

Oh, and to  you football fans, I’m sorry I planned Fishercap on the first day of the season.

Stay tuned.


Pre Fishercap1