Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aaron 2.0 Returns to Oregon, the long way

I chatted with him briefly. His adventures include but are not limited to: Climbing Harney Peak in South Dakota, another high point checked off his list, he made some friends at Sylvan Lake and Climbed Classic Crack 150' and in Utah he hiked Angels Landing. I am sure he will post the detail after a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Corona Arch

Here’s a climb/hike near Moab that’s pretty fun.

Nukes At The Top of the World

Just finished the book “An Eye at the top of the World” which tells about climbers secretly placing a nuclear powered monitoring device on Nanda Devi - name means 'Bliss-Giving Goddess' (hey, who doesn’t like that? ) - in the Indian Himalaya  in the 1960s. Which was promptly avalanched away and never seen again.

Nature Is Dangerous

OK, here’s another reason you should only climb indoors; ants can kill you! This accident was reported in May of ‘07:

“An incident was recently reported in the French Alps, where the authorities had investigated a fatal fall which had occurred whilst abseiling. The investigators found that the abseil anchor sling had failed. The cause was found to be damage to the sling from formic acid. The most likely source of this formic acid was thought to be from ants, which were found to be present in the area during the summer.”

Of course, if you’ve seen the 1977 movie,  shown above, you already knew that ants can be deadly. So look out for wasps,  rattlers, and ants. Stay inside people, it’s dangerous out there. (Best to have your Teddy Bear with you while climbing in case you need a hug.)

Monday, April 27, 2009


I was relieved to find Peter warming the bench when I arrived at VE today. We paired up and wore out a couple of ropes while we planned a bouldering day at Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater. We might have to borrow a couple of kids so we don't arouse suspicion. Yes, this is an actual photo of the back wall of the park. There is a great Mexican place half a block away too. It's called Nacho Mama's

On another note, I talked to Roger and Brett, the white bearded guys from Brainard today. They are climbing the Tower next Tuesday. All interested can meet online for group prayer at 8 am. They said they would appreciate that. If the make it back, I vote we nickname them Bert and Ernie.

Rocks I did this Weekend

Many HUGE snakes :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Communications Package for Your Expedition

This package will allow you to update your Facebook page from the summit of any mountain anywhere in the world. Oh, yeah and bid on that gear you just have to own on ebay. And it’s on sale!

Garage or Basement Ceiling Too Low?

How ‘bout that living room for a climbing gym? Or, Lisa, your church. That’s got a high ceiling.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Snake Thursday

The warm temperatures and sun brought out the snakes at Willow on Thursday. They were swimming in the river under the bridge, but the real treat was the number at the base of the climbs. The first one was spotted at my feet as I lowered Ward. No idea how long it was there as I was being a good belayer (for a change) and watching the climber. Closer inspection of the area indicated that they were sunning themselves in and around all the rocks in the area. No huge ones. All were about 3 to 4 feet in length.

Betsey showed up to climb and was totally into seeing the snakes. She indicated that there is one day each year when they all come out. No good pictures I had a hard time getting close enough to get pictures with my phone. Maybe next year!

Mike, is this what you saw? I got this from the Wisconsin DNR site:

“Brown, or Dekay's, snakes will be on the move with warmer weather. These small, docile snakes that feed on worms, slugs, and snails generally exhibit a major migration from their winter hibernacula in late April.”

(Added by Richard 4/25/09)

Access Fund

They raise funds for purchasing access to climbing areas as well as keep areas open to climbers. Here’s their latest newsletter. They also have a competition to see which team has the most total volunteer hours in environmental stewardship. Fun With Rocks could participate if we were all youths. Shucks. 

Everest Resource

This guy tracks every climber and group on Everest. Here’s his description of all the routes on Everest. Lots of info on other mountains including this report on his trip up the Grand.

New Climb In Borneo

These folks have spent about 3 weeks climbing a new wall in Borneo. This is the summit video; lots of other video of their trip here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wanna See More Photos?

This is more of my Battle of Wounded Knee. Here’s what my knee looks like when it’s shot with magnetic juices.  (Or, maybe it’s a dragonfly eye. Or an alien creature about to eat the Earth. Or?)

knee v2

More Photos From Wed At TF

Here’s a link to more photos.

Running is Inherently Dangerous

As some of you know, a coupla weeks ago I was running with Buddy in the woods near my house. And my knee felt funny. (No, not like a clown, more like an odd pain.) So I walked home and took extremely good care of it for the next two weeks. Except for climbing, mountain biking and walking, I did not use it.

Some of you have been nagging encouraging me to see a doctor (no names, but his initials start with PPM.) So today I went. And here’s an X-ray of my knee. (Did you know you can get your X-rays and MRIs on a CD? I didn’t; I asked as a joke.) I know, my legs look pretty skinny. I do need to pump some more weights.

my knee

It’s my left knee - which is on the right side in the shot above. They said I probably need surgery with knees that bony, but I will find out more next Monday. If I do need surgery to fix that knee, I am asking them to make some slight revisions. I want to get some hinges in my knee so I can be as flexible as Pamela and some springs so I can climb more like Julianne.

So here’s what they will look like when they are done with my suggested modifications. (As long as they are working in there, they might as well improve both knees.)

my knee fixed

Look Kids, No Hands

P1040051High atop the cliffs of Taylors Falls, here’s the latest in climbing wear.




And here’s the latest in cordellette anchoring technique.



And, combining all of the above with Lisa’s auto-block knot on her rappel rope, she is modeling the latest in jackets and techniques. And saying, “Look kids, no hands.”



Re-directed Belays

We did a re-directed belay yesterday on our hanging belay at TF. It is definitely “old school” according to this AMGA guide and this book on climbing. On the website, here’s what they say about re-directing a belay.

Re-directing the belay through the anchor:  Why multiply the falling force?
For some reason, this antiquated method remains a favorite among the crags that I visit regularly and likely this is a result of "old thinking" and maybe a tendency towards stubbornness in climbers as it takes a bit of tenacity to cling to a steep cliff or frozen wall of water - a trait that serves us well in many situations but can prove to be a hindrance in learning and adapting to new environments and discoveries.
The redirected belay describes the method of belaying off of the body, but rather than the rope going directly down the cliff to the second, it is "redirected" through a separate carabiner on some part of the anchor (preferably the master-point). 
When we apply the same equation to the redirected belay method, we see that what seems to be a benign change of direction that reduces some of the force on the belayer (the only advantage), also adds forces to the anchor.
A falling force of "1" is the same on either side of the redirecting carabiner (minus friction) and this "pulley effect" combines to put multiply the falling forces by 1.6 to 1.8 on our anchor, not quite doubling but definitely adding substantially extra force to the anchoring system.
redirected belay off of anchor

The re-directed belay method adds extra force to our belay in a manner that almost doubles the forces applied to each component of our anchor system.   The belayer also works harder to pull rope through the friction of the carabiner.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Taylors Falls

Today we practiced more of our Fun With Rocks “Exposure to Exposure” Program. This included some hanging belays, some more rappels and lots of parallel cascades.




First I picked up Mike in the Short Bus.




Then we picked up our special needs students.  P1040034(Double click to read the signs on the car.)



Then we picked up coffee and some scones.



Then we all watched P1040039Mike set up some top rope anchors. 







This is Buddy protecting the protection.P1040153








Hanging belay. P1040142









Happy climber and her pal.P1040134







Just a pinch farther to go.                                                                                      


Kyle climbing up. P1040237







Peter, Lisa and me .


Thank God ledge


Happy rapeller



(to be cont’d.)

Climb a Boy!

for your perusal...

A fun new magazine with a free digital sample issue. It's got that turning page noise that I really like. Click here for the home page To go directly to the digital issue, click here. There are articles on biking in Iran, canoeing the boreal in Canada and most likely an article about climbing something somewhere.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How To Spell Renee

It’s tough with only 3 people. Could’ve used 5.

VE Monday

Renee, Lisa, Mel, Pamela, Peter and Kyle got high on the (plastic) rocks at VE on Monday.

Training for Altitude

Terry Chiplin is a trainer and coach who runs a residential training and retreat center in Estes Park, Colorado. Numerous times, he has seen the effects on athletes from a variety of different sports, arriving at higher altitudes unprepared: fatigue, dehydration, a pounding headache, and often the simple difficulty of breathing.

From lessons learned working with clients through Active at Altitude , his 8,200-foot-high activity center and training facility in the eastern shadow of Rocky Mountain National Park, Terry has this advice for anyone prepping for the mountains while still breathing denser, lower elevation air:

Start fit Accumulated exercise and training--not a mad fitness cram the week before your trip--will
increase your VO2 max (the fastest speed at which your body can get oxygen from your lungs to your gasping muscles) and leave your cardiovascular system far stronger to cope with the effects of thin air.

Slow Down Many people increase their exercise load before they head to the mountains with the belief that they will arrive fitter but instead arrive physically depleted. I recommend tapering (a reduction of exercise) as a way to stockpile glycogen in your muscles, amp-up the concentration of red blood cells in your veins, build more blood plasma and increase the enzyme activity in your muscles. Two weeks before heading to the high country, knock 40 percent of the time off your standard exercise routine. A week out, reduce your standard physical output by 65 percent

Tank Up Fat soluble vitamins (like A and D) will stay in your system after you arrive at altitude. Take daily amounts of water soluble vitamins (like C and B) to help your body cope with the stress of high altitude exercise. Adequate complete protein intake will ensure that your body has a full compliment of Amino Acids to repair itself at night.
Add carbohydrates to your usual meals - your body will be going through additional stress once you start being active at higher elevations and so you will burn more carbohydrates than usual. As carbohydrate are the primary fuel source for relatively intense exercise, it pays to make sure the tanks are full when you arrive! Add 5% to your carbohydrate intake for 5 days prior to arrival at altitude. That's typically around 75 - 100 calories, or an additional banana or 2 pieces of whole wheat bread per day.

Hydration Your body will be used (hopefully) to being hydrated already. Take the opportunity to prepare your body for the additional load placed when you are at altitude. You will be losing significantly more fluids than at comparable exercise intensity at lower elevations. Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the 2 weeks prior to coming out, and for the duration of your stay. Both are diuretics that cause you to lose additional fluid to process. Drink at least a couple more glasses or 1 x 20oz sports bottle of water additionally per day in the week prior to arriving at altitude. Use slices of fruit in the water if necessary to add taste.

Cirque of the Unclimbables

This is a long trip report of some climbers who, in an effort to save money, rafted (instead of helicoptering)  into Cirque of the Unclimbables. Which is way up near the Yukon and Northwest Territories border, just outside Nahanni National Park. Then they climbed Lotus Flower Tower and rafted out to a road where they hitched back to the nearest town. Below is a photo of Sluicebox rapid and Virginia Falls on the Nahanni.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Rivers, Mountains and Motorcycles

Nora, here’s a trip for you that combines the Himalaya mountains, rivers and motorcycles.

Instructional Info

AMGA – American Mountain Guide Association – has a lot of videos here and a lot of tech tips here.

(You do need to register but it appears to be free. Although they do charge for their more advanced videos.)

Rocks I did on Sunday

They were wet :)

Special Delivery

You might have a climbing baby if the delivery looks something like this.

Blood Falls

Scary name, right? But it’s just glacier melt water in Antarctica flowing over iron deposits. And there are microbes still “living” in these glaciers after millions of years. Microbes that

“..metabolize organic matter in the water by using sulphate to facilitate reduction of iron in the bedrock — the same iron that helps produce the rusty color of Blood Falls when the water from the subglacial pools reaches the snout of the glacier.”

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Please Stay Indoors

I have been noticing a lot of climbers outside now that the weather is nice. Besides bats, wasps and rattlers you might encounter on the rocks, here is a partial list of agents that can carry infectious organisms. Also, remember that rocks let loose occasionally and that it can be wet and cold or hot and humid. So please climb indoors for your safety and comfort (and to allow me more flexibility in my route selections.) Thank you.

§ Assassin bugs

§ Bats

§ Bank voles

§ Birds

§ Cats

§ Cattle

§ Chimpanzees

§ Dogs

§ Fish

§ Fleas

§ Flies

§ Geese

§ Goats

§ Hamsters

§ Horses

§ Humans

§ Lice

§ Mice

§ Monkeys

§ Mosquitos

§ Opossums

§ Pigs

§ Rabbits and hares

§ Raccoons

§ Rats

§ Rodents

§ Sloths

§ Sheep

§ Snails

§ Ticks

Some of the diseases you can catch from the above agents:


§ Anthrax

§ Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

§ Babesiosis

§ Barmah Forest virus

§ Bartonellosis

§ Bilharzia

§ Bolivian hemorrhagic fever

§ Brucellosis

§ Borrelia (Lyme disease and others)

§ Borna virus infection

§ Bovine tuberculosis

§ Campylobacteriosis

§ Chagas disease

§ Chlamydophila psittaci

§ Cholera

§ Cowpox

§ Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD),

a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE)

§ Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever

§ Cryptosporidiosis

§ Cutaneous larva migrans

§ Dengue fever

§ Ebola

§ Echinococcosis

§ Escherichia coli O157:H7

§ Eastern equine encephalitis virus

§ Western equine encephalitis virus

§ Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus

§ Hantavirus

§ Hendra virus

§ Henipavirus

§ Korean hemorrhagic fever

§ Kyasanur forest disease

§ Lábrea fever

§ Lassa fever

§ Leishmaniasis

§ Leptospirosis

§ Listeriosis

§ Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus

§ Malaria

§ Marburg fever

§ Mediterranean spotted fever

§ Monkey B

§ Nipah fever

§ Ocular larva migrans

§ Omsk hemorrhagic fever

§ Ornithosis (psittacosis)

§ Orf (animal disease)

§ Oropouche fever

§ Plague

§ Puumala virus

§ Q-Fever

§ Psittacosis, or "parrot fever"

§ Rabies

§ Rift Valley fever

§ Ringworms (Tinea canis)

§ Salmonellosis

§ Sodoku

§ Streptococcus suis

§ Toxocariasis

§ Toxoplasmosis

§ Trichinosis

§ Tularemia,

§ Typhus of Rickettsiae

§ Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever

§ Visceral larva migrans

§ West Nile virus

§ Yellow fever

Interior Designs meets the gym

Midwest Mountaineering Spring Expo

Outdoor Adventure Expo

April 24 – 26, 2009

There are many presentations, I think Mel and I are going to this one.

Access Fund
Regional Climber's
Forum- Kaija Webster
It's time once again for climbers from all over Minnesota and northern Wisconsin to get together face-to-face and get the news on access, events, issues, new routes and the Minnesota Climbers Association. Join Kaija Webster,Access Fund Regional Coordinator and your climbing peers for this annual event. Come for the latest news and the fun and stay for the prizes! Fri. April 24, 7:45 (after the Denali show) Midwest Mountaineering Expedition Stage.

If You’re Stuck In The City

If you can’t get out on the rocks, here’s a way to add some excitement to your life – Powersliding.

Climbing Rap

This guy raps about only climbing. I find it hilarious. If you go through some of the songs you might find some of them sound familiar because they are just redo covers. haha haha. Listening to it right now and can't get the smile of my face. The redo of "Gold digger" originally by Kanye West called "Gym hoe" by none other than ODUB!

We Bent Over Backwards for Aaron

Bent over backwardsLast night at his going away party, A1, Lisa, Pamela and Jeff bent over backwards trying to convince him to stay here. But he still insisted on going home to Oregon. Can’t imagine why. It’s not like they have rivers, rocks, mountains and the ocean out there, is it? Oh yeah, and Erin too.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Yoga is a system, scientifically proven to boost your climbing ability significantly. Why do you think you always see that Guru figure sitting on the top of the mountain? You think he/she got there by enlightenment ?" — Lg.

Ah, Nature

Two weeks ago, the rocks in the shade at Red Wing were so cold that our fingers got numb climbing. Last week, the wasps were out in force.

Yesterday, we found the first ticks of the season on our legs. Can’t wait until the mosquitoes arrive. I think I miss Winter already.

But here’s a piece of gear to add to your climbing pack that will help with the wasps - a portable bug vacuum.

Friday, April 17, 2009

PPM Climbing Clinics, Inc.

At Taylors Falls today.


Anchoring Seminar

We had an all day top rope anchoring seminar today at Taylors Falls. Mike was the instructor and Lisa was the star pupil. I was kinda the ‘biner boy – whenever they needed another ‘biner, they’d yell, “Boy, Biner, Stat.” And I’d run a ‘biner over to them.

P1030650Here’s a shot of the gear they used to set up the anchors.

It was complicated at first P1030592But Lisa quickly




got the hang of it with some expert supervision.



P1030586Here’s a photo of the completed parallel cascade created to link all of the gear together.







P1030594They rejected my idea of using a #4 Cam as an anchor in a tree. Even though Lisa couldn’t get it out without a fairly weak pull. (I always thought using trees as anchors was a good idea. Oh well.)

We also had time to climb.

And here’s Lisa half way up a climb using one of these incredible P1030622anchors. 


And Mike climbing


Oh yeah, so I caught a few wasps and ate one. Big deal. Who doesn’t?

The Wasp Whisperer

This is a wasp

This is a bee.

Please know the difference. I heard there were a bazillion wasps at the MN strip yesterday, so Richard and Mike and I went to the WI strip. There were only a few there, but Richard took care of them, he has ways. He will also tell you that they are delicious and nutritious.