Sunday, April 29, 2012

Warming Up

Here’s an article on warming up before climbing which is something I do not like doing. I didn’t come to the climbing area to warm up – I came to climb. But this is good advice:

“…the first route you do should be so easy that as soon as you lower off, you can take a TR lap on it right away, correcting any mistakes you made the first time up, and putting yourself in the proper mind set and flow for the day. If the first route is too hard to do a second lap on without taking a rest in between, then it’s not a proper warm up.

…you should start on a route that is 2 to 4 number grades below your redpoint goal for the day. So if you are aiming for 12a, that might mean your first route is a 5.8 or 5.9. Andrew Bisharat says your last warm up should be about a number grade below your project level, his recommend progression for someone working 12b would be something like 10a, 10d, 11b.”

But this is impossible for me to do:

And then comes a crucial part, take some rest! I usually wait about twenty to thirty minutes after warming up before getting on anything harder.”

A 30 minute wait! That is a long time. But I guess I could climb while I am waiting to recover. So it won’t seem so long.

P.S. I like this comment:

Does a lion warm up before he tackles a gazelle? No.”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Swim To An Iceberg And Climb It

Sounds like these two Canadian have invented a new sport.. Here’s an interview with them about swimming to icebergs in a Newfoundland bay, climbing them and then swimming back.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Lake, A Bike, And A Ramp

Buddy and I were walking by the lake yesterday and we noticed some guys on bikes with a ramp. Here’s what we saw. Looks like fun. Except the water was so cold, the biker didn’t even say anything until he got out of the water.

Finals Of VEM Competition

Quite a combination of moves at the business end of the finals. It’s a swing off a chain after a bat hang. The best part starts at the 2:30 minute mark.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Blades Aren’t Great, They Are…

Just watch the video to see how great these razor blades are.

Evaluating Anchors

Chauvin Mountain Guides has lots of good info on anchors and on escaping the belay here. I like the way he charts out a way to evaluate different anchoring methods as shown below.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

0 To 12 In 2:45

From birth to 12 years of age, a father takes a video of his daughter every week for 12 years.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Celestial Lights

Shot in Norway, Finland and Sweden over the last few months, this is quitea stunning time lapse of Aurora Borealis.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Liz At Joshua Tree

Here’s a photo of Liz and Seth at Johsua Tree with a report of their trip. (At least, he’s wearing red.)



They’re filming a movie about climbing in Verdon for Arc’Teryx. Some great photos and details here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Don’t Skip This Activity

Watch as “The Skipper” explains the new craze sweeping the nation. (Sometimes I lose faith in humanity. And then I see someone like this, who believes so much in what he’s doing, that he doesn’t mind looking weird, and my faith is restored.)

He does need some marketing help to make this popular. He needs a shoe designed for skipping and some skipping socks. Then specially designed skipping shorts/pants and a skipping soft shell jacket.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dispatch From Nepal On The Way To Everest

A video report from a North Face climber on his flight into Nepal and start of the trek into Everest.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Home Of The Redpoint

Guten Ostern (Happy Easter), Wei╬▓enstein - Frankenjura, Deutschland

A trip report from the home of the “redpoint” in Germany. Here’s how they mark the route – just paint it on the rocks. Could you imagine the horrified people if they tried that here in the US? Mountainproject link here.

Wei╬▓enstein - Frankenjura, Deutschland





It’s no wonder that this crag is one of the most popular. You can almost belay from the car.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“Much To The Horror Of My Sport Climbing Mates”

He’s using trad gear on an overhanging sport route. And his sport climbing mates are horrified to see some of his gear pop out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Living Alone In A Shipwrecked House

This fellow's been living alone in the Patagonian wilderness since 1965. His house is built from shipwrecks. There’s a four part video series here. Below is a trailer.

He’s got some cool looing glasses.






Monday, April 16, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

32 Days On The Wall

This woman climbed a new route by herself in Patagonia.

Vidal spent close to two months alone during the entirety of her expedition. Of the total thirty-two days she spent on the wall, sixteen were spent in the portaledge, when bad weather made climbing impossible.”

Sometimes Buddy’s Wishes Come True

But when you’ve got lazy owners, they don’t come true nearly enough.

The Lazy Dog Owners from rgsletten on Vimeo.

Belaying With Aloha Chair

A new “clip it and flip it” belay chair is used by Trotter and Caldwell on a first ascent in the Canadian Rockies.

Extreme Hot Tubbing

I don’t know why this is not more popular. It combines all the right elements of risk, relaxation, eye-popping scenery and swim suits.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ice Climbing In A Glacial Cave

At the end of this video, he is climbing overhanging crystal clear ice in a glacial cave.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Happens If You Push This Button?

Would you have the nerve to walk up to a big red button in the middle of a town square and push it? I don’t think I would do it. Watch what happens when it is pushed. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Flights By Steph

Steph Davis flying in Italy, Switzerland and Moab. I love watching the shadows of her moving over the landscape.


Oh, No Regular People Are Climbing Now!

This is a 1972 quote by Yvion Chouinard (the multi-millionaire founder of Black Diamond and Patagonia):

The climbing scene has become a fad and the common man is bringing the Art down to his own level of values and competence.”

If you started climbing after 1972 and you are not one of the elite world-class climbers, he is talking about YOU.

You will destroy the “Art” of climbing by taking up space on cliffs and climbing with your low level of competence. Climbing should be reserved for the very few experts. For the very few who travel the world looking for new rocks and routes. And then telling us about places we can’t afford to do. YOU, you on the other hand, just enjoy climbing and want to get better at it.

Now since I am one of those very few experts (in my case, a self-proclaimed expert), I would agree with him. I’d state it more bluntly: “Get off the climbs, you’re ruining then for me.”

What a crock! Basically what he’s saying is: “I got here first, Nah, nah, nah, nah nah,”

This is the type of discussion I’ve been hearing for years. “Climbing/kayaking/back packing/travel to exotic places/airline travel has been ruined because so many people do it.” Yeah, you’re right. You’re not that special. Lots of people like what you like. Big deal. Suck it up Buttercup!

The article I got the above quote from, links to several other recent web discussions about how climbing has “sold out” because it has become commercialized. So what does that mean?

Chouinard commercialized climbing back in the 60s when he made pitons. Which allowed other people to climb without as much risk.  And then he made harnesses, stoppers, etc. to allow more people to climb safely. And then he started a company to make clothing that allowed people to be more comfortable when they were outdoors. And other business people saw the interest in climbing and made new kinds of removable protection because ol’ Chouinard’s pitons were ruining the rocks. And then safer ropes were designed and sold. And better shoes. And guidebooks were written.

And then YOU came along and ruined it for the previous climbers. Because you saw that climbing was fun, and exciting and still had elements of risk. Tsk, Tsk. What were you thinking? You should have left climbing to the rest of us. And not ruined it.

At the end of the article, linked above, he quotes Chouinard again – who might be the biggest elitist of the bunch – as saying:

“..climbing can advance into a new era where we rely more and more on equipment and render the mountains to a low ‘democratic, mean,’ or that we will shift more to a state of  ‘spiritual climbing’ where we tackle the mountains with less equipment and more courage.

YOU are the low democratic mean that he is talking about. What a pompous jerk he is. 

BTW, I calculated the 2012 price for a rope I bought in 1976 for $150. In today’s dollars that would cost about $600. That would discourage you little people from buying a rope. And that’s the beauty of commercialization; even the little people can now afford to buy ropes. And that’s the horror of it.

I am OK that so many of you lowly people have brought climbing down to such a democratic level; just stay out of my way as I swan past you with my very expensive Pata-Gucci clothing.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Natster In Glacier Glasses

I recently found my first pair of glacier googles that I purchased back in ‘73(?). The Natster modeled them for me 2012-04-08%2B09.58.25[1]at VE the other day.


And that reminded me of this photo of the first Americans on Everest. And lo and behold, she was there too.


Nat with sunglasses

TP From Poop?

Yep, here’s a new technique to get cellulose from sewage and make it into paper. Now that’s taking a lemon and turning into lemonade. Or, something like that.

Climbing At 87

This guy is a good role model for me. He is only two years older than I am and is still climbing. But he started climbing a few years after I did. He talks about the “Dulfersitz” rappel. Which is shown here. Which I have done only once – on a long rappel on the Grand Teton when my partner dropped his rappel device. It is very painful technique. Don’t do it.

Dulfersitz illustration

Alpine Climbing - Classics In The Bugaboos

When first climbed in the 60s, the Bugaboos in Canada were remote and adventurous. They still are.


“The Lads Will Show Us How Its Done”–Rock Climbing In 1938

Natalie told me about this movie featuring Sierra Club members rock climbing around 1938. They tie into their waists with a simple bowline, do hip belays, and rappel with the rope around their shoulders. It is fun to watch. And a very surprising ending. And great quotes too. Such as:

The lads will show us how its done.”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I Am Still A Beginner

Ali Rainey describes how her technique is still developing even after 20 years of climbing. I liked this quote:

I don’t look for giant high steps and really hard one-arm pulls on crappy slopers followed by foot-cutting dynos as my go-to solution to powerful cruxes, generally speaking.”

Friday, April 6, 2012

Climb Like A Girl

Sometimes when I have trouble with a climb, my climbing friends will say I “climbed like a girl” (Peter. Ron.) I knew they were right when I  found this old clip of me climbing like a girl.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dark Side of Everest

A trailer from a movie about the dark side of Mt Everest. More on the film maker’s story here. I liked this quote from her:

People are paying thousands of dollars to come and camp in a garbage dump and morgue, essentially."

Sad News For Seals

A recent count of polar bears in northern Canada shows their population is increasing. That means more seals are endangered because they are the main food of the bears. I was kinda pulling for the poor, defenseless seals. But looks like the mean polar bears are living high off the blubber.

The debate over the polar-bear population has been raging for years, frequently pitting scientists against Inuit. - The debate over the polar-bear population has been raging for years, frequently pitting scientists against Inuit. | Reuters

Coolest Camper Ever?

This is a great idea for a active outdoor person. And there is a contest to give one of these away. Details here.

“So, what is the Coolest. Camper. Ever. Adventure Contest? Let’s say you were able to use a GO camper for up to 3 months and were given a slew of really sweet gear. In 250 words or less, describe what you would do. The top 3 entries will then have the opportunity to fulfill their adventure. To finish it all off, 1 of the 3 finalists will then be chosen as the Grand Prize winner, getting to keep their GO camper and getting even more cool gear.
Speaking of gear, the amount of gear being given away is pretty staggering. The contest runs from April 1 – May 31, 2012.”


Now, I think this little camper is even cooler than the one above.






Of course,after a hard day in the wilderness, nothing beats sleeping out under the stars like this:


Good Fear vs Bad Fear

Is there such a thing as good fear and bad fear?  Steph Davis talks about her fears and how they can limit you. (The interviewer has the kind of voice and gentle tone that make my teeth hurt. But it’s fun watching her jump off desert towers.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Self-Driving Car User #0000000001

OK, this is cool. I can see – at least for now - why blind people would like this. Think of sitting back and letting the car drive itself.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Crack Climbing

Lots of good advice from Steph Davis on crack climbing.


Figure One

Practice Falling

I have been reviewing recommendations for falling on trad gear. So far, it’s just what I’ve always thought:

  1. Practice on a loose top rope so when you fall, the gear catches you first.
  2. Place gear on a bolted route so that if the gear blows, the bolts catch you.
  3. Place gear on aid so you gain confidence in your placements.
  4. Put in lots of pieces you trust and then fall

Dave MacLeod has always recommended practicing falling. He is talking here about falling on bolted routes. He says:

“But I want to make another point about falling practice. Most climbers vastly underestimate how many practice falls will be ‘enough’ to beat their fear and learn to be relaxed and confident in their leading.

Because those with a fear of falling problem find falling practice so unpleasant, this tendency is even further amplified by the constant temptation to feel like you’ve done enough. If you have to ask, you almost certainly haven’t

So just as it takes hundreds of sessions of pulling on small holds to go from novice to strong fingered advanced climber, it takes many hundreds of leader falls to go from falling averse nervous leader to confident relaxed leader...

Try a controlled and safe fall from the end of every single route you do at the climbing wall for 5 sessions in a row. Routes vertical or steeper, and a trustworthy belayer are among the pre-requisites for this being a good idea. Not one or two, every single one. So hopefully that will be between 25 and 100 falls with the bolt well below your feet”

Rig, Rap, Repeat

A time-saving way to set up your slings to do multiple raps. He uses a 48” sling here but I think you could use a PAS just as easily (Attach the half of your PAS that’s closest to your harness to the rap tool and use the end of the PAS to attach to the next anchor.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Escaping The Belay

The skill to escaping a belay is a little contrived because it is unusual these days to belay directly from your harness. (That’s the way I was taught to belay on a multi-pitch. But that was years ago.)

Above is the best graphic I’ve seen about how to do it.This is the most clear video demo I’ve seen. (At the end of the video, her baby cries and she has to go rescue it. Which is kind of cute.) Fox Mountain Guides (which is the company Russell wants to work for)  has a video showing how to do this also, but the details aren’t quite as clear as the video below.

If you want to geek out on this stuff, go here.

Fear & Anxiety

Brain research into what causes fear and how fear is different than anxiety. I liked this quote:

Folk wisdom tells us to take a deep breath when feeling anxious. It turns out that this is scientifically sound advice.”

The problem is remembering to take a breath when you’re fearful.