I didn’t sell out, I bought in… #Omniten

All my Columbia gear from over the years

All my Columbia gear from over the years

It’s February 2012, and I have just opened a twitter account. Unsure why? It seems twitter is just for people who want to follow celebrities and stalked them from afar… Then I discovered #climbchat.

On top of the pinnacle of Angel's Landing in Zion NP

On top of the pinnacle of Angel’s Landing in Zion NP

I didn’t even know what a hashtag was used for. Then one evening I was browsing around the Twittersphere. When I discovered #climbchat. It quickly became apparent to me that this was a whole community of like-minded people who gathered to share dreams, aspirations and memories. And they were talking about climbing. My twitter love had grown 3 sizes that day. I quickly followed all the new faces, and became acquainted with these awesome souls. I had found my people. Even if they were scattered across the country, even the world.

Columbia bandana is my new favorite head wrap

Columbia bandana is my new favorite head wrap

Soon after, I heard about the #omniten program Columbia Sportswear was doing. In fact, 3 of my favorite #climbchaters were on the team. Gina, Steve & little Katie. I was blown away to hear what this company had planned. It seemed like such an ingenious idea. Get real life adventurers to test and review your product, and give real, honest feedback. And in the process, these adventurers would reveal said products to the world. Even indorse them…? It showed immense confidence in their product, and commitment to improve where the adventure community desired it.

Testing the new Columbia Gear given to me by Columbia Sportswear

Testing the new Columbia Gear given to me by Columbia Sportswear

I quickly became obsessed with this grassroots program and wanted to know how I could become a part of it. You see, I’ve always been one to go against the grain. Never following the clicks, or joining the groups of “cool kids”. But the truth is, I never saw a click I could believe in. Until now… “I didn’t sell out, I bought in”.

The morning after hiking BG, accompanied by the sunrise in the Vermillion Cliffs

The morning after hiking BG, accompanied by the sunrise in the Vermillion Cliffs

Soon after all the #omniten hoopla had slowed down, I was browsing the twitter feed when I came across a picture posted by Columbia Sportswear. A good-looking (orange) Omnifreeze Ice shirt.. And the quote went “This is our new color, we call it Bronco. What do you think?” Well immediately the color and the name made me think of Boise state… So I responded “I’d call it safety cone”. Almost immediately I got a DM response saying “Thanks for the laugh, send me your info, I’ll send you a shirt.”- AB. WHAAAAT? I just got a free, kick ass shirt for just poking fun? Awesome. A relationship was born. Columbia followed me. And the truth was, I still didn’t realize that AB was Adam Buchanan aka #omniprime (I feel bad about that Adam).

Omniheat hoodie & Omnifreeze zero neck gaiter. Climbing with fellow Omniten member Steve Weiss

Omniheat hoodie & Omnifreeze zero neck gaiter. Climbing with fellow Omniten member Steve Weiss

After watching the #Omniten tweets, posts, & blogs roll in about the Havasupai trip. I realized I not only needed to become a part of the #omniten, but I also needed to visit Havasupai. And I did one year later…. This last May my friend Miller and I took the 10 mile trek into Havasupai, just the two of us. I remember how accomplished I felt after reached Haulapai Hilltop. Completely exhausted, carrying a 43 lb pack. I just soaked it all in… Knowing 2013 was going to be an awesome year.

Swimming under Havasu Falls... Columbia gear works great in water too

Swimming under Havasu Falls… Columbia gear works great in water too

A new friend in Havasupai

A new friend in Havasupai

Sunset near Canyonlands NP

Sunset near Canyonlands NP

I began #Tryingstuff, first Omni-freeze zero. The shirts are amazing, no better hiking shirt, especially in the desert. And the neck gaiter, doubles as a head scarf. Protecting you from the sun and keeping you cool at the same time. Then I tried Omni-heat. This stuff really works. A single layer is all you need, or I promise you will find yourself stripping layers. As a matter of fact, I slept and stayed warm at the Haulapai Hilltop in the back of Miller’s truck bed the night before the hike into Havasupai. I was sold on the Omni technology.

Hiking out of Blue John... Both arms still intact

Hiking out of Blue John… Both arms still intact

At Nymph Lake in RMNP

At Nymph Lake in RMNP

Not to mention Columbia Sportswear’s amazing customer service. Few companies actually acknowledge your comments, feedback or even compliments on the social media platform. And that was the biggest reason I started believe in Columbia again. Great personal skills. I am proud to say that I am now connected with such an amazing company. That I can give feedback on products, test them and interact with people behind them. As some of you already know, I was asked to join the Columbia #Omniten team for fall/winter 2013-2014. And obviously, I gladly accepted. In January 2014, we will all be flown to what is at this time, an undisclosed location,  and set out to test some awesome products. What more could you ask for..?

#Omniten... GREAT SUCCESS!!

#Omniten… GREAT SUCCESS!!

Columbia Sportswear trekking through The Zion Narrows

 
Columbia Sportswear trekking through The Zion Narrows

Confidence in your product is the first step towards building a quality product and a loyal customer base. Interpersonal relationship, whether it be through social media, sales reps, or over the phone. These are the people the general public reflects on when noticing a company. These are the relationships that build a long-lasting customer base… And Columbia Sportswear has it!

Who knew that poking fun at Boise state would get me this far…

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8 comments on “I didn’t sell out, I bought in… #Omniten

  1. Your story is very similar to mine. Had always been a Columbia Sportswear fan and just so happened to “win” something from them….and that’s when it all started to happen. You already know this, but you’re in for an excellent adventure!

  2. Great post! Cant wait to meet you in January! Love how twitter and Columbia Sportswear have brought us all together! Its going to be an amazing trip regardless of where or what it is! See you in 2 months.

    • Ditto, I’m so stoked to meet everyone from our team. I was happy that my team included all people I haven’t physically met yet. As I love all the people I’ve met through twitter, I was so happy to learn I would be meeting more new people.

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