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Join the Adventure: The North Face Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series

The North Face presents harrowing stories of adventure, adversity and pure fortitude told by seven of the world’s top athletes

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SAN LEANDRO, California—Sept. 1, 2011— The North Face, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, today announced that its top athletes will visit cities all over the country as part of the 2011 Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series. The live nationwide 29-city tour invites adventure fans from across the country to share in the incredible tales of seven top athletes from The North Face Team.

The North Face Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series, presented by GORE-Tex and sponsored by Primaloft, is taking place from Sept.15 through Nov.10. Here is a sample of some of the incredible moments that will come to life on the tour starting this month:

•Dean Karnazes has been described as “Superhuman” after running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days in 60 days. Dubbed “The Ultramarathon Man” and ranked among TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Dean’s message to the world is, “Get off the couch, get healthy, hit the trails, and go the extra mile.” With that mantra in mind, and with a physiology adapted for endless running, he’s run 350 miles – nonstop—and completed ultramarathons across the world’s five great deserts: the Atacama, Gobi, Death Valley, Sahara, and Antarctic. In 2011, Dean brought fitness home to millions with his 3000-mile, 75-day, coast-to-coast Run Across America, televised on Live! with Regis and Kelly.

•Cory Richards is a rising star of alpinism, and a skilled photographer and videographer who has shot for National Geographic, and on The North Face Speaker Series tour he will detail the daunting winter summit of Himalayan peak Gasherbrum II. In Gasherbrum II: The Hardest Way – 8000 Meters in Winter, Richards will offer an inspirational look at the world of an extreme alpinist and share his amazing journeys. Successfully climbing a Himalayan peak is a long shot even on a good day. So when Cory Richards set out last winter to summit Pakistan’s 8035-meter Gasherbrum II, the odds were against him. Cold and blizzards amplified his suffering, yet summit he did, making the peak’s first-ever winter ascent and surviving an avalanche while descending.

•Karina Hollekim was living her dream as one of the most naturally talented and fearless athletes in her high-adrenalin field of BASE jumping and extreme skiing. In 2006, her life was changed forever when a leg-shattering aerial accident forced her to confront the darker side of adventure. Since that fateful day, Hollekim has endured twenty surgeries and has had to relearn to walk. Today she is skiing again, training hard, writing her autobiography, and living life to the fullest. Her incredible adventures, her story of agony and recovery, and her indomitable spirit make an inspiring tale.

•Diane Van Deren spent ten years racked by epilepsy, but radical brain surgery gifted her with a seizure-free life and a super-human endurance for ultrarunning that has driven her to win grueling events like the 2009 Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 430 mile foot race across a frozen wilderness. In 2010 she turned to mountaineering and climbed South America’s tallest peak, Aconcagua. On this expedition, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester affixed wires to her and monitored her movements to see what sets her apart from other athletes. Medical science is intrigued by Diane Van Deren: a survivor, a peak performer, and a wife and mother of three.

•Ingrid Backstrom is one of professional freeskiing’s most consistent competitors, winning or placing high whenever she competes. She has starred in ski films like the acclaimed 2007 movie Steep, and she was the sole female on Powder Magazine’s list of Future Big Mountain Heroes. Her quest to ski has taken her around the globe, and she’s tried adventure sports from climbing to BASE jumping. But those who know her agree that the stand-out feature of this talented athlete isn’t just her ability to ski as hard as the guys; it’s her natural humility, and the sharp-focused twinkle in her eyes that says she’s going to give a run everything she’s got.

•Kit DesLauriers had a dream: to be the first person to climb and ski all of the Seven Summits, the highest peak on each continent. After attaining her goal with her ascent and descent of Everest, and after becoming a mother of two, DesLauriers turned to explore North America’s greatest wilderness, the eight million acre Arctic Refuge. DesLauriers’ presentation will take her audience along as she skis the mountains of the Brooks Range, towing sleds across frozen tundra where caribou roam and polar bear prowl. It’s a journey through wilderness, for the sake of wilderness, and a celebration of a landscape that could be lost if the region is opened to oil drilling.

•Mark Synnott will share his incredible story about climbing the world’s most remote cliffs. In Life on the Vertical, Synnott will offer an inspirational look at the world of a rock climber and share his amazing journeys. For Synnott, the journey is as important as the climb, and his quest has taken him to the Arctic, Asia’s Karakoram Mountains and Amazonian jungles. Exploring seldom-seen places is his specialty: most recently he discovered the Ennedi desert of Chad in North Africa, where he and his team of top-notch climbers made first ascents of surreal and other-worldly rock spires and arches. Synnott is a skilled raconteur who tempers his tales of high adrenalin with droll humor.

The North Face Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series has designated 50 percent of the theatre seats as free on a first-come first-served basis and tickets must be secured on-line in advance at Guaranteed seating tickets for the event may be purchased for $8.00 and VIP Reception tickets, which include preferred seating, a meet and greet with the athlete, beer, wine and light food, are available for $20.00. All proceeds from the VIP tickets purchased goes to a local nonprofit organization. Following the presentation, there will be an interactive question-and-answer session.

To find out more information about additional tour dates and athlete appearances, please visit

About The North Face®
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains. For more information, go to