Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I think the last report was from our tour of the Snake Farm outside Arusha. That was last Monday, 9/22. After that, from Tuesday thru Friday we "worked" at the school. Here's our schedule for each day:
Breakfast at the Guest House – instant coffee, jelly, peanut butter. Driven to the school where we sat and waited for something to do. Lunch. Waited. Drove back to the Guest House. Waited for it to get late enough so we wouldn't be embarrassed about our bed times. Went to sleep. Repeat.
Saturday morning we were picked up for our safari. We drove to a very nice hotel called the Farm House.
where we stayed the night. Early the next morning we drove down into the Ngorongoro crater. We drove down with about 150 others. We saw lots of animals – almost all of them close to the road. It was hot, dusty and very rough driving.
(I took hundreds of photos. And I realized the best thing to do for anyone who wants to see what it's like, is to watch National Geographic channel. Or get a big book from the library. Or rent that great BBC show "Planet Earth." I think they spent hours watching a specific animal. I might've spent a coupla minutes.)
Highlight of that trip for me, was walking around the hotel grounds with the security guard Isayah and his four dogs. He chases away the animals that come onto the grounds at night to eat the food. Elephants come in to get the bananas. Jackals come in to get the house cats. And hyenas (of whom, lions are afraid because the hyenas eat lions. According to him. Who knew?) So he's got a great job: walking around in the dark for 12 hours carrying a wooden stick and chasing away whatever animals his dogs are barking at. I'm sure he earns top dollar for this.
Next day, we drove to Tarangire National Park. (In that article, they say it's the least visited park. OK, that could be. But just like in Yellowstone, here's how you spot the big game: look for a bunch of vehicles stopped in the road. It's one of the Big 5"; lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo, elephant.) We were 25 feet from two lions mating – along with 50 other people. Some people were yelling at other vehicles to "move off the road and give us a turn." That's a lion who knows what he wants.
We also visited Manyara Park and saw three of their famous tree-sleeping lions. No one seems to know why. (I do. They're harder to spot from the road and therefore aren't bothered as much by the traffic jams.)
We stayed at a tented camp site right near the park. The Zebras were a few feet from where we were swimming in the pool. And they told us to wear long sleeves for dinner at night and spray ourselves with bug juice so the malaria mosquitoes don't bite. Must admit, it put me off my feed a bit. (Still put the feed bag on, though.)
This morning – Tuesday - we left that camp, drove a few hours and then flew into Zanzibar. Where we are now. And a dhow just sailed past our hotel room which is right on the Indian Ocean. (Here's a dhow photo.) Tomorrow we leave for the north coast of Zanzibar. For another 3 days. Then back home.
Monday, September 29, 2008
He was very helpful in showing Tamara the ropes. She is learning to belay. Since she mostly climbs with me, I would like her to be good at it. She will be, as she is a sharp cookie.
Oh and we saw Flash! He is recovering from shoulder surgery so he was riding the stationary bike. He wasn't too pleased with the whole deal, but he is doing his best to make a good recovery.
Ron of Red Wing and John plan to go to Red Wing on Friday, 10ish they say.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Dai Koyamada’s Wheel of LifeStory by Dai Koyamada
Originally in Gripped Vol.6 Iss.6 Dec 2004/Jan 2005
I manage to grab a hold with my pumped right arm. A few swings of my other hand and I’m on to my next move. Two more moves to go and a long rest. With my left hand, which hasn’t fully recovered, I hold a three-finger flake and reach for a little incut flake. Now I set my body in motion and dyno. The next moment I hit it with my right hand. Now I enter into the long, long rest.
Both of my feet are hooked high up, my thighs and calves are cramping and so are my abdominal muscles. I’ve already come 60 moves and my forearms are burning. I should rest longer to get rid of the cramps but even the rest drains my strength. I have to move on. The crux is yet to come. My mind and body must be fresh if I am to finish the climb. I remember, I was more tired at my previous attempts.
I nearly missed the harsh gaston move at the crux. With intensity and determination, I desperately reached out my left hand and battled through the crux.Then the moment came. I completed the problem that had taken my whole climbing experience to complete. On May 12, 2004, I gave meaning to the incredible line, “The Wheel of Life.”
On August 23, 1976, I was born in Kagoshima, in the west end of Japan. In the quiet countryside surrounded by mountains and rivers I enjoyed playing around outdoors. Then, a picture in a book caught my attention. It was of an aid climber in the Alps. I was fascinated by the way he exposed himself to the altitude and the space of such grand scenery. I wanted to try climbing, but I had no access to information and there were no crags close by, but I wanted to climb. One day I found a mountaineering magazine at a bookstore. There was a report about an artificial-wall climbing competition in Europe. I found the name of a Japanese climber, Yuji Hirayama. Already known to the world by then, he became my inspiration. I wanted to be like him. I racked my brains for a way to start climbing. I decided to build a private wall in my garage. A decade ago, there were few climbing walls even in the Tokyo area. I didn’t know what holds were made from or how small or big they were supposed to be. The first climbing holds that I made were from concrete and they were tiny. It took a while to complete my wall, but once completed I did, I climbed like crazy day after day. I also wanted to become stronger, but, quite simply, I was addicted to the act of climbing itself.I found an accessible small crag with a slab. I met some people who were willing to take me to crags far from home. But for the most part, I spent a lot of time in my garage. I was obsessed with climbing. Upon graduation from high school, I was pressed for a decision. There were three options. Should I continue to climb while working part-time without having a steady job? Get a regular job and climb for fun? Or, do Itry to become a professional climber? The only thing I wanted to do was climb. With Yuji being the only professional climber in Japan at that time, I had little confidence, but I made up my mind to be a professional. After graduation, I flew to Europe with the money I had saved by working part-time and climbed there for a half year. When I came back to Japan, I heard about the Japan Championship in Ariake, Tokyo. Before the comp, I didn’t have a clue of what was going to happen to me. This event turned out to be the turning point in my life.In the summer of 1996, I told my parents that I would be back in a couple of days and headed for Ariake, Tokyo. I won the competition. But it turned out to be no ordinary comp. I also earned the title of becoming the first Japanese climber to beat Yuji Hirayama. Yuji had had his finger injured and was not in the best condition to compete. Yet, the fact that I won the comp was sensational. A youngster from the middle of nowhere walked away with the victory… It was also a memorable event for me because I met the person who had inspired me most since I started climbing. A month passed and I was in southern France. The prize money brought me there to climb. During the three months, I nailed Bronx 5.14c on my 7th try in two days, which was the shortest record for the route at the time. I also sent Connection 5.14c, for its second ascent and one 5.14b and a 5.14a. I returned to Tokyo, found myself sponsors, and started to make a living by climbing. I became a professional climber. My dream came true.Two years have passed since I left my hometown to compete in Tokyo.For the next four years, my climbing centred around competitions. Together with Yuji I competed at various places overseas, becoming a regular finalist. But I felt that I did not belong there. What I wanted from climbing was not in the competitions. Even when working the hardest climbing, I love the moment I gaze at beautiful scenery out there, unintentionally forgetting that I am there to climb. I love the time when I wait for the rain to stop under an overhanging rock. Above all, I admire the beauty of a climber on natural rock.In 2000 I left competitions. I started to focus on repeating hard routes and establishing new ones. Since then I have climbed over 60 routes graded over 5.14. I can recall each of them. They are all wonderful.The Wheel of Life was completed. Under the clear blue sky, the cool dry air eases my burning muscles; the feeling of joy beyond description, that which I appreciated time and again in the past. I am content with this moment, but this cannot be the end, because one achievement is only a starting point for another. My climbing will go on.
Dai Koyamada of Japan has repeated some of the hardest routes in the world, and put up some of his own.
Article reproduced from Gripped Magazine.©Gripped Magazine all rights reserved
Tuesday, Jake bought a VE membership so we should be seeing him around more. Eric is in Estes Park, so we see him less.
Wednesday, Mel-lo and Sunbeam recruited a new member of the WR team. Tamara doesn't know about the blog and related responsibilties yet. She is a natural athlete and I think she'll get good, fast.
Thursday, I climbed with Aaron and he pushed me, like he does until I was exhausted. He was burning up all the leads out of the pit. When I said, "enough. I want to climb the long 5.7" he said, "fine, do it with your eyes shut". I did. It was very fun and I learned a lot! First of all, you can very clearly follow a 5.7 with your eyes closed. You know how they feel. Secondly, I could tell when I got near the ceiling because the whole room sounded different. It was pretty cool. I recommend trying it!
As summer is gone and fall is the long downhill slide to bad climbing weather. We will need to think up ways to keep the indoor interesting. One arm dynos can be fun too. Here is a link to other fun climbing exercises but it's not winter yet. If you want to go to RW tomorow Johnny Mac was talking about it. Call me if you need his number.
Friday, September 26, 2008
When last heard from, our plucky travelers were racing back to town from their hike up Mt Longido on Sunday. We arrived in town before the dreaded "children vomit" filled the car. A note to parents: if you don't feed or water your children and work them hard, they cannot vomit while driving. This saves money and time spent cleaning your car. Karibu (you're welcome.)
Monday the school arranged a tour guide to take us to some of the hot spots around town. At $40, it sounded like a bargain. We started at the Masai Market, which is equivalent to the State Fair without any of the animals or Mini-Donuts or foods on sticks. It's packed with dozens of small stalls all selling the same things. Barb kept saying, "Diversify your merchandise. We don't need 50 booths with the same items." I bought a T shirt that read "I'm a Tourist, Rip Me Off." (Just kidding. But it certainly fits in with my never-yet-profitable-but fun-to-think-of-clothing line. With slogans such as: "I Stay Up Past 9PM," Vomit Free Car," and "Shush, Wild Elephants Nearby.")
While I'm thinking of it, a note about the roads here. In downtown Arusha, there are several paved roads. One goes past the UN building. One goes past the main government building. One goes from Arusha to Nairobi. (You know, as I write that, I believe that is the same paved road.) Then the other roads are dirt. Which require driving about 10-15 mph. Unless you want to vomit.
After lunch, we drove out of town to the "Snake Farm." Which is like the State Fair without any people, Mini Donuts or stick food. There are fenced-in areas with Crocodiles and cages of snakes. Dozens of snakes. All of which are indigenous to Tanzania and all of which are poisonous. Wait, I take that back. There was one species of snake which isn't poisonous. According to our Snake Farm Guide, it only causes paralysis or tissue damage to the area which is bitten. Which can lead to amputation or death. Mr Familiar With Snakes of East Africa, said "These aren't snakes that would hang out where we were hiking yesterday." Then we read the signs attached to each cage. "Found in grasslands of Tanzania." Or, "Found in forests of Tanzania." OK, those were the areas we were hiking.
"Good thing we didn't go to this Farm before we went hiking," Barb remarked, "or I wouldn't have left the car." Barb noticed there were several newspaper articles about men eaten whole by snakes. Along with photos. All of the people swallowed by the snakes had fallen asleep on the ground. So, a word to the wise: don't sleep on the ground. Hadn't we just done that two nights ago? But we had been protected by the super tough 2-3mm nylon walls of the REI tent. Which is a proven snake deterrent.
Another part of the Farm was the Masai Museum which had life-sized displays of Masai villages. The scenes of the coming-of-age rituals were a little tough to view. Ouch! After the village displays we were whisked out to a series of small shops selling the exact same stuff we'd seen in town. Then we walked over to the cattle auction taking place behind the museum.
When told of the traditional of buying wives with cows, Barb was afraid she might be sold. Although, considering her unwillingness to sleep in a dung hut, she probably wouldn't fetch many.
When in Tokyo I climb at 2 different locations
Pump has a number of different locations in Tokyo area and throughout Japan. Including some B-Pump gyms which are bouldering only. When I first started traveling to Japan I found Pump 2 first. It always had excellent bouldering. It was closed for a while during construction in the area and moved across the street to a facility build specifically for a climbing gym. It is world class! Huge roped area with arches and steep walls. All very tall and 90% lead!!! The boulder area is excellent. Many different wall angles and caves. Huge selection of problems from V0 through V10 (Japan has its own rating system for bouldering). The also have several route problems from 5.9 to 5.12+. These are typically 25 to 40 move problems. Enough said, I’ll make a 1.5 hour trek on 4 different trains plus some walking to visit.
T-Wall also has several gyms in Tokyo. I’ve been to two of these but typically go to the one near Kinshicho station. These gyms are not as fancy as Pump 2 but provide excellent training. T-Wall Kinshicho is in a long narrow warehouse type building. One evening I was bouldering next to Dai Koyamada. He was CRUSHING. When he was on the wall everyone else stopped to watch!
This gym can be as close as a 5min walk from my hotel. However, on weekends it had been worth the trek to Pump2. Lately I’d been staying half way between T-Wall and Pump2 so I always went to Pump2. This trip I was at the hotel 5 minutes away. Given that I just traveled 20 hrs from Europe I walked to T-wall after checking into hotel. Big surprise they added an upper mezzanine to double the amount of bouldering. The new walls have super cool features. Steeps, slabs, verts and caves….. I’ll start requesting the hotel near T-wall and spend a lot more time here.
General thoughts on Japan gyms.
Lead climbing dominates roped climbing. At least 80% if not more of routes are lead only.
The taping is immaculate. Each piece is perfect and exactly where it belongs. They probably spend more time taping than setting!
I never feel like a piece of tape is missing.
The boulder problems are extremely high quality and professionally set. I can not comment on roped climbs since I only boulder. Communication is a challenge….
T-wall and Pump 2 have huge numbers of problems at each level. I’d estimate 10 minimum and up to 20 problems for each grade (V0, V1, V2, ….. V10)
They pick a color for a boulder problem level of difficulty and then have different shapes of tape for different problems and/or number them.
Like traditional Japan, you remove your shoes at the door and wear slippers or go barefoot between climbs.
Here is the link to Pump2. It is a cool Website.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
When we last left you, we had just returned from our climb up Mt Longido. This is a summary of what happened on that trip and then an update of what we've been doing since then.
We left the school outside Arusha last Saturday about 7AM. Drove north and east – almost to the Kenya border – for about 2.5 hours with the school driver and our school staff member. Arrived in the small town of Longido in plenty of time to hike up about half way and then set up our camp for the night. Only we couldn't find the guide we'd reserved. (Most of the info to follow is confusing because we were confused by the whole process. For us, it's similar to being about 4 years old – we're curious about what is happening and ask a lot of questions. But, like a 4 year old, we don't understand any of the answers.) So we waited.
And we waited. Then waited some more. And watched the Masai in traditional garb interact in this small town. Untouched by modern stressful tools like cell phones. No rude ringing of a cell phone while talking to friends. Just quiet, uninterrupted conversations. Oops, is that a cell phone ringing? Yep. Where is it? Oh it's under the robes of the Masai warrior standing next to us. The one with the great sandals made out of truck tires. And the bottom of his elongated ear lobes hooked over the top of his ears. That traditional guy.
Let's wait here for awhile. Nah, this is a better spot to wait since the sun's moved over this far. OK, here's our guide. Nope. Just another guy with a suggestion on how we should climb the mountain. This mountain is 2690 meters – approx. 9000 feet. So it's not famous or – obviously – climbed very frequently by tourists.
Finally Christian and Enoch – our school staff – decided to hire a guy who said he knew the way. So they did. And then the original guide showed up (I think.) Since it was so late – 1PM or so – they decided to drive to the other side of the mountain, make our camp there and then hike up to the summit the next day. This would be easier since the standard route was very steep and would be exposed to the sun this late in the day.
This seemed like a good option to us because it was a shorter way to climb. And we wouldn't have to carry all of our gear up to the top. We thought.
We headed off on a dirt road which turned into a cattle path within about a mile of the highway. And then followed a dry wash most of the rest of the way - when it wasn't climbing steeply over rocky ledges. Before going too far, however, we had to stop at a Masai gated community. (They use thorn bushes to fence out the wild animals. Same as we do.) To do…what? I wasn't sure.
We were a big hit with the families living within the compound. Mostly with the kids. Mostly 'cuz we scared the bejeebers out of them. They would walk up close to me, then I would take a step toward them, and off they'd run yelling. I guess I'm just a scary guy.
Back in the car for another 40 minutes on the cattle path. And lots of jostling. Although, because we now had 6 adults and 8 kids in a vehicle designed for about 8, you really couldn't jostle too much. Finally, our camp site. OK, this is great. Car camping with a little hike the next day. We can handle that. And then the driver told us he would see us the next afternoon on the other side of the mountain. And Barb said to me, "It's going to take all of my courage to leave this vehicle." The driver took a group photo before he left, and, as the shutter clicked, Barb said, "And that's the last time they were seen alive."
And we left the vehicle. And the vehicle left us.
We set up the dome tents in the middle of a field next to a Masai Boma house. (Which looks a lot like a dome tent only it's made out of sticks and grass. And it's not imported from China.) The kids had never seen a tent before let alone slept in one. So that was fun watching them learn how to put a tent up.
And then they unloaded all of the stuff they'd brought to make their camping experience more comfortable. They took out the blanket they had to sleep under and …that's it. Doesn't take long to set up a base camp when all you have is the clothes on your back and one blanket. (Oh, yeah, they also had a deck of cards. At least it was a full sized deck of cards – not the lighter weight model designed specifically for backpacking.)
It was a little embarrassing for us because we had so much stuff ; I had two blankets – one to sleep under and one to sleep on top of – and Barb had a blanket and an air mattress. And two extra jackets, a hat, gloves, toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, sunglasses, bug juice, flashlight, and a clean pair of socks. I had about the same. And the kids had a deck of cards.
Just before dinner, two Masai guards showed up. The ones we'd stopped in the gated community to find. They were here to guard us from the animals during the night. With what? A stick and a spear.
For dinner, we had a one pot meal of rice, baked beans and hot dogs. It really was quite delicious. And then at 6:30 it was dark and we're in the tents, lying on the ground. The hard ground. But the blanket folded up beneath me has its sleep number set for maximum comfort. And the kids had…nothing. But all we had to do is to wait a mere 11 hours. Then we can get off the ground. And hike.
About 2AM and then at 3AM we heard a lot of barking. To say it woke us up would be an exaggeration. Who was sleeping? What with the comfort adjustments I was making on my Sleep Number Blanket, who had time to sleep?
"Those are the dogs we saw with the Masai earlier. Probably just barking at an animal," Mr. Familiar With Animals of East Africa said.
The sun rose and so did our butts. "Hey, where are your dogs?" I asked the Masai. "Those were not dogs. You heard baboons barking to chase away the leopard that was hunting them. We can't leave our dogs out at night or the animals would eat them. That's why we have the gated communities."
We had hot instant milk for breakfast and started hiking. I didn't think we had enough bottled water so wanted to boil some more from a little stream. But we had been told the kids didn't drink much water so 12 liters of water should be enough for 11 of us for 6 hours of hiking in the mountains. And why carry extra water when it will only slow you down?
Our guide – Lead Guide One – told us it would take 4 hours to get to the top. Lead Guide Two didn't say much. By the way, why was Guide Two even going with us? We had been told the night before he wasn't going to hike to the top. He was going home a shorter way. But then something changed for some reason. Won't ever know.
I started off with the pack that contained two tents, stove and blankets and luxury items – such as camera, sunglasses, warm clothes, pans and some water. But, after a few minutes, one of the bigger boys – 14 to 15 years old – took the pack because I was moving so slowly. But isn't that what we were told – "Move poully, poully, slow, slow." Well, yes, slow is good but fast is better. Hey, it was fine with me to hike with a light day pack. And feel like I was one of the boys.
At first, we hiked across open grasslands. As we gained altitude, we entered a forest. After about two hours, we started to find a lot of elephant dung in the trees. "Isn't it a good idea to make some noise so we don't surprise any elephants?" I (AKA Mr. Familiar With Animals of East Africa) asked. "No. Better to travel quietly and surprise them." Who knew?
There was an obvious trail until there wasn't. "Aren't we off the trail and onto a trail made by elephants just crashing through the brush?" Mr FWAOEA asked. "No, this trail has been made by Cape Buffalo crashing through the brush." Oh, well that's different then.
Four and a half hours later, we scrambled up some rocks and reached the summit. Views were great – we could see all the way to Africa. Now we had time to eat something. Which was a piece of bread for almost everyone. Luckily we had some water to wash it…no, that's gone.
Well Guide Number One said we'd take a shortcut down and would be back to the town and the vehicle in 1 ½ hours. Easy, all downhill. Piece of cake.
We started down and walked past several deep pits in the dirt where the elephants and other animals roll around to scratch themselves. Or something. Mr FWOEA wasn't sure but the guides were. They were sure these were depressions in the dirt. Probably caused by something.
It was steep going down. Sliding, slipping, running, falling. Did I say slipping? And falling? But who can't handle that for an hour and a half?
And now an hour and a half is up. Let's stop for a rest. "15 minutes more to the bottom."
Mr. Familiar With Mountain Hiking says, "Looks like more than that. 20-30 minutes at least." Another hour later, we stop for a 2nd rest. "15 more minutes now, for sure."
Three hours from leaving the summit, we arrive at the truck. Our six hour hike expanded to more than 9 hours. But at least now that we're in town we can get something to eat for everyone. That was the plan; a late lunch in the town. Then back to the school. It's past 4PM and we got up at 5:30, had some milk, then some bread at the summit. So it's a good time to eat.
"If the children eat now, they will vomit." OK, I'm familiar with animals and mountain hiking but I've never heard that one. But apparently Mr. Familiar With Childhood Vomiting has been hiking with us. Who knew?
We raced back to the school. I think it's fair to call it racing when you drive off the paved road onto the dirt shoulder so you can get past cars and potholes. (Barb told me later her eyes were closed many times on the drive back) The good news is we drove so fast no children could vomit. And knocked an hour off our drive time the previous day. Which had taken 2 ½ hours.
The title refers to the fact that over here, we are called Mama & Papa. I hope this is a sign of respect – probably just age.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
All of us got the the top. The weather was perfect. We were only lost for a short time following an elephant trail. The students are very strong. The climb was more work than we expected - took twice as long as we were told. It involved hiring two guides and two Masai guards. We heard a leopard attacking baboons twice during the night - which is why we had the guards. Sleeping on the ground is getting tougher each year. (Our original plan was to climb a mountain that required us to camp out for 3 nights; we're very glad we didn't do that one.)
3 photos - I hope they come thru
The first one shows our 3 dome tents next to a traditonal Masai Boma house. This was were the guides slept overnight
The 2nd one is a shot of the mountain we climbed Mt Longido
The 3rd one shows our Masai guard.
Rock and Ice Intern
Rock and Ice and Trail Runner magazines offer intern opportunities. Now is your chance to roll up your sleeves and get dirty in print and online!Info:Both magazines offer internships throughout the year. Interns aren't paid, but typically receive college credit and are published in the magazine and on line, earning valuable experience and an add-on to their resumes. Dates and hours are flexible, but interns should plan on working at least 20hours a week. Internships are in Carbondale, Colorado. Additional payingwork in the area is usually not difficult to find, but housing can be anissue. Look for housing ahead of time!Please bring a laptop, if possible, and be prepared to write and edit.Duties:Internship duties vary depending on experience, expertise and willingness tolearn, but typically include: * Writing magazine pieces * Writing website pieces, especially news (we'd like to see at least onenews item posted every day) * Researching stories and fact checking * Copy editing * Brainstorming for article and marketing * Photo assitantWe ask each intern to arrive with at least three article ideas.Requirements:Interns must be motivated and self-sufficient, and expect to work on theirown. Interns need to seek out ideas, subjects and projects and followthrough.Good candidates will demonstrate a willingness to learn, havewriting/editing experience and climbing or trail running experience, anddetailed knowledge of the magazine.Perks: * Get the inside scoop on how magazines really work * Hang with an office of fun, outdoorsy folks who want to make you partof the team * Experience the world-class climbing and running on Colorado's WesternSlope * Break into the magazine field * Go bouldering every Tuesday night Contact:If interested, please send resume, cover letter and writing clips (collegepubs are OK).
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Position: Zipline Canopy Tour DirectorSalary: +/- $37,000 based on experience Description: Responsible for the direct management and initialimplementation of the NEW Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods Ski Area. This year round tour consists of a series of ziplines, sky bridges and hiking pathsdescended over 1100 feet. Successful candidates will have a college degree,5+ yrs supervisory experience, excellent communication, organizational andleadership skills. Seeking experience in outdoor education, recreationmanagement, high angle ropes course, guiding, and/or interpretiveprogramming.Full-time, year-round position with full Resort benefits.Contact: Alexa BernotaviczContact Phone: 603-278-4420Contact Email: http://mailcenter2.comcast.net/wmc/v/wm/48D856150007F3D90000476F221353965301900A0B0E090197?cmd=ComposeTo&adr=abernotavicz%40mountwashingtonresort%2Ecom&sid=c0 Location: Bretton Woods, NH -
Monday, September 22, 2008
"heard it on a video with Dave Graham as he described the route “Girl Talk” that he FAed in Rifle. The videos at: http://www.momentumvm.com/ super cool site with high end videos"
It IS a super cool site.
I’ve heard Aller Aller Aller before (silent r's) it means go! go! go!
In Japan they yell “Gamba Gamba Gamba“ which can also mean go go go or do it or stick it or fight fight fight….
on the video the speaker is not sure if ther is an english would for it but this is what my spouse and I came up with, after MUCH research:
it means "go to narrow" does that make sense? Maybe "go tight" Watch the video, tell me what you think. Anyone know French? Em?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
-Directions-Detailed overview maps showing the areas-How to get to each area and all the boulders in each area-A picture of every boulder, and problems-Small area maps for quick orientation-A list of every boulder and its GPS location
go to goprocamera.com
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wow, this looks like a very exciting film! I was willing to take you all to see it but it seems like they don't know about all the climbing fanatics that live here in Minnesota. The nearest venue I can find is REI in Brookfield, Wisconsin. If only we knew someone at the REI here, maybe we could having a showing in Minneapolis (see! I am even willing to cross the river!) As Richard would say, Que Lastima!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tomorrow is our day to hike up a mountain with a group of students. We don't know what to expect - should be quite an adventure.
In the meantime, here are some photos of the school.
And the school bathrooms:
You can seeing that "taking aim" has a whole new meaning.
This evening, after class, we went to the Coffee Lodge Hotel which is a 10 minute walk from where we’re staying in the Catholic Guest House. It’s on a large coffee plantation, is super fancy and has a free wireless connection. (In fact, it’s so fancy it doesn’t even have a sign. Being a little tired of this guest house, we asked about the rates. Lowest rate is $450/night. Maybe next week.) So while we had a beer and ordered some food, I uploaded some photos to yesterday’s posting. And then the computer ran out of juice and I didn’t have the right kind of 220v adapter with me. C’est la vie as Lisa would say. Basically, I get about 30-45 minutes a day to check emails and post.
Speaking of beer, reminds me of the experience at this Catholic Guest House trying to buy beer. (OK, why I thought Nuns would sell me beer is too long to explain.) The first evening we’re here, Barb & I think it would be great to sit outside in the cooling breeze and drink a toast to our trip. We had been told it’s a long walk to the store and not safe after dark. So I search out a Nun or Novitiate (I think that’s the right word for a beginning Nun.) The 1st one leads me all over to locate a 2nd more senior one. She leads me to another building to explain my problem to a 3rd. Who takes me to another room where a 4th one says “Maybe the Sister will get you beer.” OK, I’m done. No beer for us tonight. A habit I should break anyway. A major sin, probably. Ten minutes later there’s a knock on our door and two beers are handed to us. Later, a school staff member who’s lived in this Guest House for two months told us “You can’t get beer in here.” (Well the Good Lord provided to us.)
Just finished the 2nd day of classes showing Word and Excel to the teachers. I told them the two main rules about computers and software, “It’s complicated and it always changes.” There are 9 of them and they are at such different levels of expertise, it’s a struggle to make progress. Plus, half of them are using 2003 software and half are using 2007. So every screen looks different. Tomorrow we’ve prepared a test for them and then we’re done teaching. For awhile. We are still scheduled to teach compass and navigation and then First Aid. (Holy Cow, Sisters, keep the beer flowing.)
This afternoon was the first time we saw one of the two big mountains here - Mt. Meru (about 15,000 feet high.) It’s been so hazy, only the first 1-2000 feet of any mountain are visible. Some teachers told me Mt. Kilimanjaro is the “Shy Mountain” because you can so rarely see the summit. Can’t wait to see it pop out of the clouds.
For breakfast, we eat at the Guest House. Which is instant coffee, PBJ and half an orange. Lunch has been at the school and that’s rice, beef stew, bananas, cooked greens and fried plantains. And soda pop. The first night’s dinner at the Guest House was the same as lunch at the school. But the 2nd day, at the fancy hotel, we had great pizza and burritos (I know, an African staple). And two beers and a bottle of water. And great bathrooms. And good wireless connection. And the whole bill was $20.
After our classes end Friday, we’re preparing for our excursion into the mountains on Saturday. Barb and I are taking about 8 students on an overnight hike. There is one school staff member going with us. This will be something to see. Apparently the students will carry all of our stuff on their heads – (Headpacking is much more popular worldwide than Backpacking. And it’s way cheaper than buying some fancy-shmancy pack. Which you have to fit, just so. And then the straps dig into your shoulders. And then you have to load it properly. Just get a big bucket, wrap a cloth around your head, set the bucket on top, put stuff in it and you’re participating in the exciting sport of Headpacking.)
La la salama (good night.)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Jambo, from Tanzania.
We're staying in a Catholic guest home a few miles outside Arusha and about a 10 minute drive from the school.
Before we got here, we were concerned about the modern conveniences we'd have at the guest home. But our prayers have been answered. As you can see from the photos, all of the conveniences are here:
There's a modern flush toilet with flushing action when you pour the bucket of water into the bowl rather quickly.
The shower head is quite convenient for hanging the plastic bag that has a hose so you can dribble water on yourself and get fairly wet.
We have lights at night – notice the photo – provided by the convenient candles.
(Later in the evening, the electricity came back on. And, much of the time, the water runs. Usually, very noisily as it slowly fills the toilet. Prayerfully, we wait for tomorrow.)
We landed Tuesday night in Arusha at the Kilimanjaro airport about 8PM – almost exactly 24 hours from when we left our house.
The plane was full of two groups of people: volunteers on missions or EarthWatch types. Earthwatchers are apparently concerned about the environment and so they fly halfway across the world to drive around on the African plains and bother the wild animals. (We’ll be doing that next week too. And I’ll be watching the earth for big rocks and large bumps.)
The first night we stayed at a hotel just off the runway. In the morning, we could see across the Tanzanian plains for miles. There were several mountains – couldn't see “Kili” (as we locals call it) but many others in the 2-3000 foot range. And we could spot the runway.
We heard our first bottle birds at breakfast – take a big bottle of water empty it into a sink, and that's the sound they make. It's hard to imagine how evolution prepared them to be mistaken for a 2 liter bottle of Coke. But, que sera,sera.
The 30 mile drive into Arusha took us through very dry, flat landscape – sort of like eastern Colorado – up 2,000 feet or so past banana and coffee plantations and rice paddies. On the plains, mostly cattle herders and/or goat herders. Masai or a related tribe called Meru.
We continued over the USA river. Past the USA Post Office. (Another program of our government? I asked why it was named after America. “No, it's Usa, not USA.” Might be fun to send a postcard from USA, Tanzania.)
We stopped in town to pick up some essentials – Diet Coke, bottled water – and reached our guest house at about 10:30AM. A short ride to the school and then we're done traveling. For a few days.
On Wednesday afternoon we met 9 teachers and conducted a 3 hour course in how to use Word. Mostly they know Google and like to search the Internet. We're trying to get them proficient enough in Word so they can write up their own tests instead of relying on a secretary. (Although, I'd take it as a demotion if I had to do my own typing instead of giving it to someone else. Of course, I’m typing this by myself, so there you go.)
We feel safe here; partly because of the steel bars on our windows and partly because of the armed guard at the locked entrance gate.. Since we're close to town, we figured we'd walk. “Don't walk at night,” we were told. Barb asked, “When is it night?” “When it gets dark,” she was told. OK, a fair definition of night.
And night falls like a lead balloon. It's day and then it's night. We're close to the equator, so it's light at 6:30 and dark at 6:30. One of the staff members told us, “I sleep a lot while I'm here. It's great.” So I went to bed at about 8PM and got up at 11, 1, 3, and 5. In between those times, I got a lot of sleep.
A fashion note. The first morning at breakfast, I saw a strapping young male professional safari guide wearing Capri pants. What would Ernest Hemmingway do? If he had to wear Capri pants on safari, I think he’d shoot himself. (Oh, that’s right, he did. You don’t suppose? Nah, he had a different problem.)
In the next post, I’ll tell you about our experience trying to buy beer from the nuns that run our guest house.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It is a passive or active device consisting of a shaped aluminium piece attached to a length of webbing tape or wire cable. The device is designed to be inserted into a crack so that pulling on the tape or wire makes the piece cam outward against the sides of the crack, gripping the rock tighter. This camming action is achieved by the position of the pointed fulcrum of the piece relative to the attachment of the tape or wire. As the webbing or wire is pulled, the downward force is pivoted onto the point, which can bite into soft rock or ice and increases the holding power of the tricam.
Tricams are generally not as easy to place or remove as spring-loaded camming devices (SLCDs) but are much cheaper, lighter, and have some of the highest kN ratings out of all rock climbing protection devices. Unlike SLCDs they are less likely to fail in the alpine environment as they have no moving parts to freeze, making them an excellent choice for a mountaineer's rack. They typically work best on sandstone or limestone as the fulcrum is more likely to bite into the soft rock.
They can also be used passively as nuts.
Placing a tricam is relatively simple but takes practice to achieve proficiency. Care must be taken so that the tricam does not loosen while climbing above its placement due to rope drag. Typically, this additional safety is provided by clipping a longer sling to the tricam. In addition to this weakness tricams can also exhibit welding characteristics after being subjected to a hard fall making them harder to clean and more likely to be left behind.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Lowe reflects, "I used to think that my business mirrored my climbing—if I wasn't failing at something, I just wasn't trying anything hard enough.
Climb now, Climb hard.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The Wednesdays Rock Women's Climbing Team (We need a better name than that. Especially if it makes a good acronym.) were next to some climbers in the Cathedral Spires who were doing an enchainment of a few spires.
So, on Friday at Red Wing, we saw 2 guys climbing up "Too Low For Zero" traversing to "Rock-a-holics," and then down climbing. Next they climbed back up "Rock" and over to "Too Low" and down. Lisa said, "Oh, an enchainment." We thought it was a great idea to practice. Any thoughts?
Here's a "weekend warrior's" enchainment of 3 ice climbs.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Nora pointed out "Tiny Houses" already exist. And these seem to be way more useful as portable base camps (OK, maybe the horse drawn gypsy wagon below is not that useful - unless you've got a yak.)
And this one is actually called "BaseCamp." And it's "a springboard for outdoor adventures, not a living room on wheels"
As per the post below about how playing sports, builds stronger language skills, Mike suggests trying a foreign language to name that doohickey with the two metal clips hanging from a nylon dealie that you use to attach to a metal thingie that's bolted into the rock.
So, in French it's "attirer rapide." In German it's "quick ziehen." In Espanol it's "sacar rápido." And in Russian it's "Быстрый обратить." (That's my personal favorite.)
Of course, the original really looks like this:
Friday, September 12, 2008
- The "slap the monkey" route...
The green 8+ day from hell...
- specialty - the double belay set-up (not to be confused with the double climber set-up)
- Getting VE staff to just say "yes!"...
- Coupon mania...
- Redefining "Haulin ass" (not to be confused with Hall and Oats)
- Becoming friends with the Dr. Seuss lady!..
- Running around sooooo happy at ice climbing (with toe warmers)...
- Running around sooooo happy at the gym for that matter...
- First lead out of the pit
- First leads at Red Wing
- Setting top ropes in 38 degrees at Taylor's, forgetting the rope ( Thanks Eric)
- Seeing a piglet on the freeway and calling 911
- tip toeing past the Buffalo
- Getting my first speeding ticket
- sitting on a spire without crying
Oh, and the epic SD trip, one never to forget!
As a way to bring adventures home. But SCUBA is their number 1 recommendation.
"Now it is time to go home. The journey has ended. And thus begins the part that perplexes many an adventurous one. For we all relish the trail, but what of our "real" lives, stuck as they are in the mundaneness of day-to-day routine? How can we experience adventure, relive past journeys, dream of future endeavors...at home? Indeed, what might be done to feed the flame of adventure burning within, despite the fact that one is working a nine to five, paying bills, and arriving home exhausted evening after evening?"
I guess I'm stuck in the mundaneness of routine. And having regular meals and a climate-controlled home. But I have lots of options.
To talk about this research finding:
"The results show that playing sports, or even just watching, builds a stronger understanding of language."
What do you call that doohickey with the two metal clips hanging from a nylon dealie that you use to attach to a metal thingie that's bolted into the rock?
"Having clean-shaven legs — thighs flexing, contoured muscles sparkling in the sun — immediately identifies one as core."
Nah, too much work. Plus, there is not enough sun indoors at VE for me to sparkle. And I'd have to borrow some legs with that whole contoured thing.
"About 10 to 15 minutes by local motorized banca from the main town is an island mainly made of limestone karst cliffs; often this island is mistaken for nothing but "rocks". What others don't know is that, a paradise lies concealed between the large cliffs of this island."
Or this one with more than "... 31 acres of olive groves, forests, hills and rocky cliffs." (A little pricier than the first one.)
It started out chilly and just dry enough to climb. Ron, Sunbeam, John, Nora and I were there as the sun came out and then it got hot. But lots of climbs were done.
This is for Nora. The name of those great old classic movies with Nick & Nora Charles is "The Thin Man." They are fun to watch - especially with a big martini in your hand.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
This article reports on a study using chalk and:
"It’s hard to believe, but the University of Birmingham, UK, did a pretty thorough study (Use of Chalk in Rock Climbing: Sine Qua Non or Myth) of the factors involved in 2001 and came to the conclusion that chalk lowered the coefficient of friction by about 18%"
Be sure to read some of the comments on that page.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Moved to Sylvan Lake Campgroud in the morning and climbed Sylvan Lake area Friday. Saturday we went to Moonlight Ridge. Sunday was Rushmore (South Seas). There was enough rain Sunday night that we packed up camp, ate with the rest of the crew and started the drive home at 10:30pm. Home at 9:00am Monday.
Things I learned in the Black Hills
1) A straw in the Nalgene is the best no drip way to drink from a Nalgene
2) A spit shine on the shoes helps you send
3) Chocolate milk is the best recovery fuel after climbing
4) Hangin with Liz and Ward on a climbing trip ROCKS!
5) When traveling to the Black Hills be on the look out for 4 crazy ladies in a PT Cruiser. No further comment necessary:)
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Here's a bike race where the first place prize is a tattoo.
"Rachel Lloyd, the first woman to complete the race, stopped and dismounted her bike before the finish line, reluctant to earn the same reward. But then, with fans urging her on, she had a change of heart, crossed the line and later received her tattoo."
(See especially the slide show with the winner's bike outfit.)
Summit in the Cathedral Spires.
This is how a rap group gets started.