A group of climbers completed El Cap the night before and are returning to pick up their bags. More details here. Look at all the gear they needed for a few days on the wall.
Friday, September 30, 2011
He uses a tumpline. When Yvon Chouinard – founder of Black Diamond (actually he founded the company that Black Diamond replaced) as well as the founder of Patagonia, carries heavy loads up hills, he uses a tumpline. On a recent visit to a trade show, where he was shown the latest in pack technology, he explains why.:
“We spent twenty full minutes going over its sophisticated load distribution features and anatomically S-curved frame, welded with tungsten/inert gas and its wonderful bag made of 420-denier Super-K-coated eight-ounce parapack nylon held together with 18 stitches per inch of cotton-wrapped Dacron thread. Finally, after reaching a fever pitch of enthusiasm and exhausting every aerospace term he knew, he stepped back beaming proudly. As his eyes gradually returned to their respective sockets he asked, ‘Well Mr. Chouinard, how do you like it?’ I shrugged…. ‘I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. I carry all my loads with a tump line now. And with one of those it doesn’t matter what you have on your back – a fearsome astro loader like this or a sack of potatoes’.”
This might be a new trend – trad climbing previous sport routes. Watching this guy climb this bolted 5.14 limestone route (it’s bolted because the previous climbers couldn’t find places to put trad gear) makes my hands sweat. It’s not the same as free soloing, but it’s quite exciting.
At one point, he puts a sling thru an eyelet in the rock and says “Here is a real gift from nature.” He climbs 45-50 feet between pieces of gear. And tells his belayer to run downhill if he falls. In order to lighten his harness, he carries only 1/2 of the gear he needs. At the halfway mark, he pulls up a 2nd rope with the rest of the gear. It’s quite a display of climbing prowess. Of course, he’s French. (That’s for you, Fabrice.)
Here’s Dave MacLeod doing the first free ascent of a big wall in Norway. I was struck by how precise his footwork is. He appears, in this short video, to pay more attention to his footwork than his hand placements.
Here’s the story of this climb. I liked this quote:
“After 20 metres, she shouted that she had decided to make a belay on a slab. A good belay? She shouted yes, and then as I arrived admitted it was two old peckers from an aid ascent plus a poor cam and didn’t want to tell me before. We excavated a welcome backup cam placement and I headed around the corner and up endless cracks, now bathed in the lovely late evening sun.”
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Here’s Alex Honnold free soloing a route in Yosemite a couple of days ago.
“Several days ago a few friends and I went up to climb Heaven; a stunning 12d roof crack way up on glacier point. Heaven sits perched atop 3000 feet of slab, overlooking Vernal and Nevada falls, as well as Liberty Cap, Half Dome, Mt. Watkins, Washington Column, and the Royal Arches. Its a nice view.”
Another article on the wonders of Ten Sleep climbing.
This is part of a review of the climbing guide for the area":
“Plus, in what other climbing area will common crag talk include questions like “Hey, Frank, you want to try the sexy lady 11b or the kid with a bazooka 11c next?” (Sexy lady means four stars and kid with bazooka denotes five.)”
Here’s a photo from the “24 Hours of Hell” climbing competition at the Horseshoe Ranch in Arkansas. A report from two of the women contestants is here. I like this quote:
“A women’s team called The Cannibals climbed beside us for awhile, complete with crazy teased feather adorned hairdos, large and elaborate tatoos on their bare arms and legs and glow sticks taped to their quickdraws. They were scary. But not as scary as the huge Copperhead that was curled up on the trail, which was in turn not as scary as the dude I saw deliberately raise a watermelon sized rock over his head and drop it on the Copperhead, killing it instantly.”
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
From the Adventure Blog:
“If you ask any climber on the South Side of Everest what the scariest part of the mountain is, most will invariably say that it is the Khumbu Icefall. Ironically enough, this portion of the climb is actually located at relatively low altitude, sitting just above Base Camp.”
Do you have “steely determination and massive amounts of reserves?” If so, you can join a team to travel to the center of the Arctic Ocean with this group. Besides the steely determination, I think you’ll need to like the cold and pony up some dough.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Two women just broke the female speed climbing record on “The Nose” route on El Cap – 10 hours, 40 minutes. (I’m sure they could’ve gone faster if they wanted to. But they wanted to protect the ego of the men’s record-holders whose time is 2 hours, 36 minutes.)
Especially by yourself in the desert. Here’s the story of a man who fell 10 feet while hiking and then crawled for four days until he was rescued. (I was down in The Maze in Utah many years ago. It is quite spectacular. But we drove there. Why hike when you can drive?)
I talked to Pat today at VE and he just got back from a month-long climbing trip including several areas in Montana. He loved Blackleaf Canyon. He called it the “Potrero Chico of the US.” Many multi-pitch sport routes. Several miles of yet undeveloped cliffs. At Mountain Project, there are only a few climbs listed.
Stop drinking so much water! (Or more accurately, overhydrate and underperform). Read this report.
“The critical takeaway: We all drink way too much water (and sports drinks), putting ourselves at risk of worse, not better athletic performance….mild dehydration, which is completely normal during exercise, corresponds to faster marathon event times across ages and skill sets…that if you drink when you’re thirsty rather than before, you’ll maintain perfectly adequate hydration. In fact, more experienced, and often faster runners in the study did just that and suffered much lower incidents of GI and other distress.”
This idea of “hydrate or die” sells a lot of bottled drinks and water bottles and bottle carriers and… but it is not necessary to have that much water/fluid.
Monday, September 26, 2011
A series of “portraits” (interviews) with climbers on Denali from a man who spent a month on the mountain this summer with the National Park Service patrol. Read his interviews here.
“Mountaineering is a weird sport that can be both thrilling and ridiculous. We spent twenty-five days walking and waiting to get to a summit that we stood on for three minutes. Then we
walked back down. That sort of elected suffering incorporates many things: patience, determination, ego, grit, money, time, gear, self-reliance, self-absorption, and an anti-stir-crazy serum (in our case, Hearts and Bananagrams).”
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Who would’ve guessed that? Fabrice, is that you?
French team on the Boot, Salathe Wall, El Cap.
And on the same page, look at this “killer” 200 foot off-width called “Monster.” (It’s rated 5.11a. The standard route to the right, is rated A1 or 5.13c.)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
This is a compilation of videos from 3 different movies. The first guy is way too excited about his fall. (There is a lot of spicy language in this video. If you don’t like spicy, better not watch.)
“A compilation of Trad, Aid and extreme Climbing Clips from the movies:
- The Sharp End (Clip 1 and 3)
- E11 (Clip 2)
- Committed Vol.1 (Clip 4)”
I got a tour today of the new VE in Minneapolis. It’s gonna be very popular:
- Top-out bouldering walls with the finish 15’ above on a mezzanine
- 58’ foot lead walls
- 48’ crack climbs
- Lots of bars and restaurants nearby. (Including a restaurant/bar in the same building.)
Here’s a photo from one of the mezzanines - a bouldering area is underneath this mezzanine - showing a 48’ climbing wall in the background. (I think these numbers are right. They are at least close. Don’t quote me on the exact heights.)
This is a 48’ crack – one of two. (You can see a black line on the wall in the back left-hand side of the photo. The lightning was tough.)
The gray wall behind the lift, is part of the tallest – 58’ – wall. It’s possible they will have lead climbs that will originate in the space at the bottom right – a bouldering cave –and then continue around and up this tallest wall to the top. You can’t quite see the ceiling in this photo. The top of the wall overhangs 10 feet from the bottom.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
According to recent research, it could be because:
“Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for."
(The way they tested people who say they are lucky and those who think they’re unlucky, was very clever.)
Saturday, September 17, 2011
So says Alex Honnold as he climbs near St George, Utah.
Black Diamond athlete Alex Honnold hooked up with us down at the Phalanx of Will, a unique sport climbing tower/crag in the Arizona Strip, just outside of Saint George, Utah. Besides bagging a bunch of pitches, Honnold sat down with us and discussed a bevy of topics, including stalkers at restaurants and the joys of clipping fixed quickdraws.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
At the end of this article, there’s an allegedly true story of someone who didn’t pay attention to where his helmet was when he attended to his – ahem! – business while climbing. You will also discover what the paper target below is for.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
This is the first woman to climb every 8,000 meter peak without oxygen. She just finished summiting on K2 which is the first time it’s been summited in three years. The interview below is in German but there are English captions. Her husband decided to descend early because he thought the avalanche danger was too high. She continued with three others and made the summit.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
According to this research, some people are born with more willpower than others. But, we can all learn how to strengthen our willpower by working out as we would to strengthen a muscle. (I hope someone is paying a lot of money for this conclusion. Doesn’t’ every parent already know “practice makes perfect?”)
“...discovered that the will, like a muscle, can be fatigued. Immediately after students engage in a task that requires them to control their impulses — resisting cookies while hungry, tracking a boring display while ignoring a comedy video, writing down their thoughts without thinking about a polar bear or suppressing their emotions while watching the scene in "Terms of Endearment" in which a dying Debra Winger says goodbye to her children — they show lapses in a subsequent task that also requires an exercise of willpower, like solving difficult puzzles, squeezing a handgrip, stifling sexual or violent thoughts and keeping their payment for participating in the study rather than immediately blowing it on Doritos…
Baumeister then pushed the muscle metaphor even further by showing that a depleted ego can be invigorated by a sugary pick-me-up... And he showed that self-control, though almost certainly heritable in part, can be toned up by exercising it.”.
“But it is nature. And it can be dangerous.” That quote is from a ranger at Yosemite when asked about the 18 deaths they’ve had this year. But, on average, the parks are safe.
“Jeffrey Olson, a spokesman for the Park Service, said there had actually been fewer deaths at national parks so far this year — 113 through last week — than in the same period last year. And that is out of some 280 million annual visitors to the national parks.”
By my calculations, that’s about 1.5 persons/100,000 visitors. The U.S. average accidental death rate is 37.7/100,000 people So you’re safer in a National Park than you are just about anywhere else.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Most of us are used to multimodal trips – we drive to the climbing area and then hike to the climbs, for example. But I like these slightly more ambitious types of trips: rafting, biking and hiking. Full description here.At about the 3:30 point in the video, they mention that it was hot. (Since they were at Indian Creek, they could’ve added climbing to their trip too.)