Here’s how local guy, the Gear Junkie, is preparing for his upcoming adventure race in Patagonia.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
“It may sound like the kind of incident only a character from a Roadrunner cartoon could survive, but a climber in the Scottish highlands fell over 1,000 feet down a mountain and was then found by rescuers standing up and reading a map.
His climbing team feared the worse when they saw the 35-year-old slip on loose rocks and plummet from the summit of Sgurr Choinnich Mor, five miles east of the famous Ben Nevis mountain in Scotland's Grey Corries Range. Rescuers in a Royal Navy helicopter had expected nothing less than body recovery duty.
Yet when they scanned the craggy slopes they spotted what they at first thought was another climber, as he was standing up and reading a map trying to work out his location.”
You use a metal detector as shown here by Will Gadd. This is the story of their ice climbing from a cave full of icicles onto an overhanging face full of ice thrown up by a nearby waterfall. (I had an earlier post with this article but I didn’t see this photo until today.)
Friday, January 28, 2011
I can think of only two reasons he’s having trouble on this climb:
- He’s forgotten that rock climbing is just like climbing a ladder
- The music is so annoying, it’s distracting him
I’ve had a few requests (from women) that men in the gym adopt a new dress code – high and tight shorts. Like this guy I captured climbing today. So boys, keep that in mind when choosing your outfits to wear to the gym.
(I won’t have any trouble with short shorts. I’ve known for years that I must look good from the back. Whenever I was lecturing people – pointing out how much I knew in contradistinction to their abysmal ignorance – and then left the room, I could hear them muttering “What an ass!” I was so proud of how I must’ve looked leaving the room.)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Will Gadd ice climbing in Canada’s Helmckien Falls area:
“I am sure of little in life, but of this I am sure: The Helmcken Falls spray ice cave is absolutely the wildest, best, most insane ice climbing area I've ever seen.”
Lots of great photos and more of the story at the link. Including how they used a metal detector to find the bolts they installed last year which were under this year’s ice.
Five pitches of ice, and:
“the first 60 feet are only overhanging at about 30 to 45 degrees … but then the climbing goes horizontal in this weird 3D upside down icicle forest for a 150 plus feet. And it all went free, on ice, with only two drytool moves!”
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
What’s this world coming to? I read this in an online advice column and was stunned:
“Last week I was at our local climbing gym, and I saw this really cute girl there. I offered her some beta and started climbing with her so I could get to know her. I’m new to climbing, and she was a pretty good climber, but I figured suggesting some moves and showing her some problems would be a great way to break the ice and get her to talk with me. I asked her if she wanted to join my friends and I for dinner that night, but she turned me down. What gives? “
If you can’t show cute girls (boys too!) some new moves at the climbing gym, what’s the point of even going? (Unfortunately for me, I have shown all of my moves by now and have no new moves left. Drats!)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
For me, It’s tougher to train when I climb with others. It’s so tempting to dump the training routine I planned and just go have fun climbing with someone else. At the “Dream in Vertical” website, she says:
“In the past, I
haven’t really focused on training much, since having fun and staying psyched is higher on my priority list (because training is hard to do when you’re not actually psyched or having fun). Now, however, I am really excited about returning to the Creek,…”
Her solution to this dilemma is to train for a specific type of climbing she’s going to do in a few months’ time. I’ll have to think about that; all I really do is train to get stronger. I don’t have a specific type of climb I’m working on. It might make it easier to focus.
Nah, it’s still too much fun to dump the training and just go climb.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
In response to a question on her blog, she sez:
“I’ve noticed that there are generally two approaches to fear (whether in climbing or any sport)–some people need to get all psyched up and just ‘GO FOR IT (dude)!’. This gets them out the door, and is one way to overcome nerves. For others, just going for it is the opposite of their approach….they prefer to take things bit by bit and work up to the thing that has been intimidating them.
I have tried both. My personal experience, and also my observation of watching others doing it, is that the first approach is generally counterproductive for best performance.”
Read the whole thing here for some practical advice on how to practice falling.
After weeks of cajoling, I have finally obtained the never-before-seen photos of Fabrice the Fabulous Frenchman and his Phenomenal Pal Pete’s trip to Ten Sleep. They were there last September.
I really enjoyed this photo of their campsite. There are so many rocks out there, that what we would consider a boulder problem, they use as a wind break for their fire.
Slideshow below. All photos here.
What will they think of next? Here’s a tool to practice ice climbing and dry tooling indoors on plastic holds.
“Without a doubt this is one of the most important innovations in outdoor equipment for many years. I expect every climbing wall in the country to have them available for hire alongside rock boots, harnesses and helmets in the future."
A long article about a fitness course called “MovNat” here in Outside magazine. A video giving you some idea of what’s involved in the weeklong course is below.
I’m a big fan of this type of workout. And, if you want to try it, I can set up a course right here. He charges $1,700 for the week. If you want to do that type of workout at my house, I will only charge you about 90 bucks. You can climb on my roof and shovel off snow. You can shovel snow out of my yard and carry firewood over to the storage rack. You can split and stack firewood ‘til the cows come home - or until it gets dark. There are a bunch of tall trees you can climb; and while you’re up there, why don’t you cut off a few of the dead branches? I can’t, unfortunately, at this time of year provide you with a place to swim. Come in the summer though, and you can swim all you want in the lake. And you can push a big log around too. In the summer, you can dig holes in dirt, carry landscape timbers around on your shoulder and do other stuff.
PS For your 90 bucks, I’ll throw in a lunch – just like he does. And I’ll probably throw in some compliments free of charge.
I've had many climbers ask me about whitewater kayaking. I teach through Rapids Riders in the spring. We offer one course of a pool session and two weekends out running rivers and camping. If you're interested you can find the link to every kayak instruction in the Midwest on my blogs side panel here. People are signing up right now so get yours in early to ensure a spot.
Some provide the boat and equipment. Rapids Riders does not. You can rent a kayak and gear from Midwest if you choose Rapids Riders. I will have a couple available to paddle.
If you want to get a jump start on spring paddling, Rapids Riders has pool sessions in the winter with open pool, skills and rolling clinics. These are held Sunday nights from 5 to 7pm at the Brooklyn Center Pool. Cost is $10. I do have extra boats available to lend out but you'll have to get hold of me in advance to see if I am coming to that pool session and what's available.
Pool sessions will be coming to the Red Wing YMCA the end of Feb. and through March. Again skill and rolling will be featured.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
At least if you’re a rat and a weight is attached to your tail, you’ll get smarter if you climb a ladder.That’s what new research shows.
“She speculates that resistance training, by strengthening the heart, improves blood flow to the brain generally, which is associated with better cognitive function. Perhaps almost as important, she added, resistance training at first requires an upsurge in brain usage. You have to think about ‘proper form and learning the technique,’ she said, ‘while there generally is less learning involved in aerobic training,’ like running.’
The brain benefits from being used, so that, in a neat circle, resistance training may both demand and create additional brain circuitry. Imagine what someone like Einstein might have accomplished if he had occasionally gone to the gym.”
Boy, if you have to think about proper form while only lifting weights, how about the thinking that goes on while you’re doing a hard climb?
Next time I see you Einsteins at the climbing gym, tell me about any new theories you’ve developed. At least, relatively speaking.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
A new policy has been proposed by the National Park Service for fixed climbing anchors in wilderness areas. (If it’s a wilderness area, why are humans allowed into it?) They haven’t decided yet, but it appears they will still allow anchors to be used on climbs.
“This proposed policy recognizes that the occasional placement of a fixed anchor for belay, rappel, or protection purposes does not necessarily impair wilderness, but it requires prior authorization for the placement of new fixed anchors (replacements or removals may also require park approval).”
Quite a lively discussion in the comments section. I understand why many people object to bolts and anchors. I also have been to many bolted areas where I have had trouble finding the bolts that supposedly ruined the rock.
Here’re two comments from the article linked above, that I liked:
“Anonymous @ 1/14/2011 8:39:38 AM I think hand drilling will deter "first ascents" of pure sport climbs ,which usually takes place on crags within easy walking distance of parking areas.However on more wilderness crags the impact of bolts is well out of sight not only of the general public ,but is often difficult to spot even when a climber is looking for them.Also the noise of hand drilling a bolt can take up to 20 mins ,where a bolt gun takes but a few seconds..I think if a survey was taken VERY few climbers are involved in first ascents of what we now call Trad/Sport climbs, that involve the occasional use of bolts on multi pitch climbs for belays and odd blank sections.”
“I knew that I would need to man up and not show that I am usually afraid in these instances. I knew that I would not have my usual “Guidey Pants” (The Husband), who is used to my fear issues (after 12 years, the poor man). I would be swinging tools and sharing a rope with a new Guidey Pants, and I wanted to live up to the kind of partner that I was thinking he would expect me to be.”
It’s tough to climb with people you don’t know. I know that.
Some specific tests to see if your crampons fit your boots. Most boots aren’t designed to fit crampons properly – or is it vice versa? Anyway, this fellow says:
“What do I mean by "fit"? I mean ZERO movement between boot and crampon when latched and even more importantly when climbing”
The photo below shows what happens if your crampons don’t’ fit. (My crampons have come off numerous times. I now check them before I climb by kicking into ice before I start to climb it. I can tell right away if they’re OK.)
I was in Bozeman last weekend and after I skied Bridger Bowl for $15 (Thank you very much & Happy Birthday Jim Bridger) We snowshoed up to Hyalite Canyon, the site of the Bozeman Ice Festival the second week in December. The climbers were all very friendly, I probably could have gotten a ride but I was with some peeps that were giving me the eye. Family trip you know. Here is a link to more information.
and here is a video
If you go there take a soak in Norris Hot Springs afterwards, ahhhhh.
Monday, January 17, 2011
If it gets too warm on the surface, you can always go ice climbing in Swedish mines where the ice is up to 500 feet underground. The video below shows one route that:
“..started with a double dyno to a mining timber, dry tooling off old steel spikes, and then climbing up ice daggers dripping from a vertical vent shaft. You won’t find that at the Ouray Ice Park.”
More on the climb below here.
“Kloofing” is canyoneering in Afrikaans. A story here on the sport of koofing on the cliffs in South Africa. According to the story, it’s best not to be a “skinny college girl” while kloofing.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
With the exception of putting up with people like me, sounds like it’d be a nice life to be a guide in Moab, UT. At least according to this guy.
“I was the lead climbing guide for Red River and Ancient Art was the route done if you wanted to do a mulit-pitch. This 3 pitch route taks the chimney on the south side and tops out on a spectacular corkscrew summit. Once the clients see the summit however, none want to risk the exposure to climb to the top.”
“During the early season, the Delores River runs high and fast with many intense rapids. Since the put in is 3 hours from Moab (driving time), we take a 30 mintue flight over the desert instead. The flight takes you over Arches National Park, Castelton Valley, and the Fisher Towers. The most amazing flight I have ever taken. The ride was very bumpy and was very glad the flight didnt take longer then it did… or else I would have needed to use a barf bag..”
Of course, this is just for outdoor climbing or until I warm up indoors. What a great idea; I can sleep in these and then get up and walk to the bluffs. I already have the “Snuugie” for those days when I don’t want to leave the couch. But this “Forever Lazy” outfit is just the ticket for climbing. Plus, there’s a - what should we call it? – escape hatch out the back for those days when you’re in a hurry. Or you’re winter camping. I wonder if VE will sell them at a discount.
(ED - Here is the 2nd part of Dan and Netta’s climbing trip report. I haven’t head from them since 1/11 so don’t know how the climbing was in Joshua Tree.)
We climbed a bit of sport in Calico Hills and did another five pitch climb called "Olive Oil." Best route of the trip thus far. Olive Oil moves from easy face climbing, to a perfect hand-crack, to finger locks, more (run-out) face climbing, Offwidth, and a long (195 ft) final pitch of chimeying. It was really good. Netta climbed here first pitch of Trad too! It was the first pitch of the Solar Gully. Rated 5.1 by the book, I found it to be much more insecure, pulling 5.7 moves over ledges. Definitely more dangerous than Birdland. I wouldn't suggest it to first time leaders, but Netta rocked it anyway. The first pitch of Birdland (5.6) was actually much easier, with better pro. I also worked on this V6 boulder problem, Slopey Traverse, at the base of Kraft Mountain. Fell off the last move (the easy part!), but didn't have another go in me.
Twice I played guitar in downtown Vegas, making gas money for the trip to Joshua Tree. We drove through the Mojave Desert at dusk; a sight that will not be replicated in my lifetime, I'm sure. The Joshua Trees are really interesting Yucca plants, which grow at the rate of 1 inch a year. They are incredible, reminding me of those furry, bendy straws people use in crafts a lot. Something from Dr. Seuss. We didn't climb in J Tree yet, just woke up in the "Ryan" campsite amidst a shelter of boulders. We're at the visitor center in J Tree right now, just checking Netta's flight info and my route back to MN. Only five days left before she leaves! It all happens so fast.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
(This report is from the first few days of Dan and Netta’s climbing trip. They left at the end of December and were going to climb in southern Utah, Las Vegas and then Joshua Tree. (I have gotten two reports from them; this is the first one from about a week ago.)
The weather has been.. interesting. Netta and I left on the 28th; 15 hours to Fort Collins, CO. We stayed with an old college friend of mine in a real bed at her house. After a late morning we got on I-70 to head through the mountains, which is where all the fun began. Right around Vail, the snow started falling. I drove (Netta gets a little nervous driving in the snow) late into the night, arriving in Moab a little wet and very tired. The next morning we awoke to find two inches of snow on the tent. Castleton Tower: Bust.
Ancient Art: Bust. Wet wet sandstone= no climb. The new plan became: get to Red Rocks ASAP.
We hiked up to the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. I guess it's cool that we saw it with all that snow. That's not something everyone gets to see, right? We drove through the snow as long as we could handle it and slept at a truck stop somewhere in Utah. The following day (the 31st) we had sun, and drove straight into Vegas.
Las Vegas! We spent New Years Eve with thousands in the streets. I spent a little time playing guitar for tips (gas money) and we did our best to stay out of trouble. The new year brought the first day of climbing! We set up camp in Red Rock Canyon, napped off the previous night, then headed to Calico Hills for an afternoon with sun and sport. The climbing in the hills I have found to be fingery and sustained.
Sunday the 2nd we set our sights on Birdland, a beautiful 5 pitch 5.7+ that gets plenty of sun. The morning looked great, and we took our time getting to the crag. I led the first pitch in sun, but by the time Netta got to the belay ledge we had some cloud cover. The climbing was solid, juggy face climbing with great pro. However, by the time Netta got to the second belay ledge, I was really cold. Shivering pretty hard. We discussed over the lack of sun and the clothing that we brought, and finally decided to bail. We rapped down after the second pitch and hiked out just in time to see snow flakes coming down on the car as we got to the parking lot. Netta and I just nodded at each other. Good call.
The 3rd was a coffee shop day in the snow. Uneventful. A woman there told us she had lived in Vegas for 20 years and had only seen snow three times. Lovely.
On the 4th the rock was still too wet to climb, so we went southeast on a tip about some Arizona Hot Springs. Another good call. We hiked into the White Rock Canyon, a beautiful 3.3 mile trek through a wash surrounded by 500 foot cliffs banded in red and white. There were bolted routes on one of the walls on the hike. The hot springs were too good to be true; Three pools of varying temps: mild, medium, hot. The hottest getting to about 110 degrees. Our muscles and tent-stiff backs simply melted.
Birdland, we're back. The day of the 5th, we made it happen. We and 4 other parties. The climb was sort of a circus of dropped carabiners, broken holds, and machismo. Luckily, none were a result of Netta or I. Amazing 5.7 face climbing throughout, and a fifth pitch that is not to be missed. The crux of the route is right around 500 feet, about ten feet from the final anchor on an ultra exposed slabby face.
Today we took it easy on sport over at the Panty Wall. Lots of moderates. We met a really cool couple (Steve and Charlotte) who talked us into seeing the boulder field by Calico Basin. An amazing number of boulder problems surround the Kraft mountain, but we got there late and only hiked around to check it out.
It's looking good from here on out! The weather is supposed to hold out for the next ten days, so I'll definitely send you some more updates. Pictures will be coming over soon, I promise. The plan for tomorrow is Solar Slab and Johnny Vegas. Netta is going to lead something on Trad for the first time. She's pretty psyched! Hope all is well in the North!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
According to this article, besides going to one the top 5 colleges in the country, you have to prove you’re not boring by doing something like mountain climbing.
And once you've got one of those schools on your resume, you have to prove you aren't "boring," a "tool," or a "bookworm," by climbing a mountain or being a nationally-ranked athlete.”
Wow, now you can get your parents to pay for an elite college and pay for a climbing trip. How neat is that?
Climbing farmed ice in Michigan. I like the iced-over crane linked to the telephone (?) pole. A woman writes about her climb of this structure here. I like this quote:
“I made the trip out to Peabody’s alone because none of my climbing friends were free on my only available evening. And some were just wusses (sorry, you were!).”
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Dan & Netta from VE arrived in Joshua Tree today. They plan to climb there for a few days. They drove to Joshua from Las Vegas where they had a few days of climbing. A brief recap in photos:
They had snow in Vegas on the first day. Then got to climb a few routes including “Birdland.” Here’s Netta on the 2nd pitch.
Here’s the Mojave desert on their drive into Joshua Tree park.
"Mountain climbing? Seriously? You almost died mountain climbing."
"K., I'm not swearing off mountain climbing for the rest of my life. I'll just be more careful next time."
My eyes shot daggers in his direction.
"I'm not going mountain climbing with you," I said firmly.
"Fine. You don't have to. And I don't have to climb on this trip. But I will do it again at some point……"
"K., I could get hit by a car crossing the street. I could choke on a turkey club. I'm not going to not do something because I might get hurt. I don't want to live like that."
I sighed. "Those analogies were really a stretch, but I sort of get where you're coming from. Why don't we shelve this topic until you plan your next climbing trip?"
Well one reason to take chances it that it’s more fun than getting hit by a car. Or slipping on an icy sidewalk.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Lots of tips from our favorite ice climber Will Gadd. He suggests using the same rock climbing skills when ice climbing. Interesting point, because most people when given an ice tool just want to bash it into the ice above them and then hang on it to pull themselves up. But he explains:
“Push on the ice with both your hand on your lower tool and by taking your hand off the tool and pushing on the ice to balance, just like rock. I do this a lot, it's intuitive now, but as I teach and coach I remember it's not obvious until it's learned. The long head of my triceps always gets sore from pushing when climbing ice, along with the lats... If you think about rock climbing you'll probably remember all the pushing you do to move up, not just the pulling. Ice is the same, if one hand is pulling the other is pushing on the lower tool or ice.”
Hampi, India has the biggest boulder field in the world according to this video. Liv Sansoz (vive la France) shows how it’s done. There’s an especially striking boulder called “90° Edge” which has a perfect right angle vertical edge.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
I guess it takes a PhD to analyze why some folks don’t want to go to the gym. So here is that analysis. Here’s what I don’t get, I fit every reason she mentions that people don’t want to exercise. Here they are:
2. Fear of looking stupid .
4. Excessive sweating
5. Belief they will fail.
6. Memories of exercise used as punishment.
7. Being teased, or worse, when failing at a team sport when young.
8. Being labeled clumsy, slow, or uncoordinated when young.
So I will continue to go to the gym even though I have all of the above fears and excuses not to go. But I’ll bet none of you have any of the above fears. I’ll bet you all feel just like the champions you really are.
I talked to Anthony today at VE and he mentioned how important learning the skill of resting is, especially on harder/longer routes.
In this video of a climber doing another super hard boulder problem, the actual climbing wasn’t as interesting to me as watching how long she rests. She rests on extended arms for more than one minute and then makes a hard move.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
She’s 63 and she has won:
I like this part:
“An adventurous sort, she has vaulted against men and even engaged them in the decathlon, in which only men normally compete. At one meet, she entered an alien event, the triple jump, against men after two of them took her by the arms and showed her the technique. At another, she was roped at the last second into the steeplechase, which she had never practiced, to help fill out a small field.”
Climb Strong.defines and describes several different training plans for climbers based on the proven notion of periodization. I like the names of these:
“Conjugate Periodization “
A fairly new climber talks about paying attention to streaming beta instead of what was right in front of her face. Which caused her to take a long leader fall.
“After my belayer and I chilled out after the adrenaline rush we just got, I watched another girl not in our group redpoint the same climb. When she got past the fourth bolt she went straight up. She didn’t go right like I did. I didn’t even consider doing that. I didn’t even look! Which means I wasn’t even present or conscious during my climb. No wonder I fell, I deserved to.”
Read the whole thing here.
I know, the saying – “Hydrate or die.” But people who exercise more seem to drink alcohol more too. At least according to some recent studies.
I wonder if more drinking helps you forget the difficulty of the workout. Or helps you forget that you failed to meet your new exercise goal. Helps you wipe out the pain of failure. Or that’s it’s easier to find friends
to drink with than to exercise with. It’s also quite likely that people just lie about how much exercising they do. I know I have never lied to a phone interviewer. (It is absolutely true I am exercising 24/7. And I would spend more time than that exercising if I could pry the beer can out of my hand.)
Read the article here. I liked this quote:
“Drinking and exercising both preferentially alter activity in ‘the mesocorticolimbic neural circuitry,’ she said, a portion of the brain associated with reward. Brain activity patterns there suggest that, for rats and presumably for people, exercise and drinking are rewarding activities; we enjoy doing them (although, in the case of exercise, it may be that we ‘enjoy having done it,’ Dr. Leasure said, since the exercise itself sometimes feels like drudgery). When the exercising rats were deprived of their running wheels and the accompanying rewards, they may have sought a replacement in booze, which lights up the same brain centers.”
(Now if I had a name like Dr. Leasure, I think I would be studying drinking also.)