Thursday, May 31, 2012

“Stop Pretending To Save The World And Just Go”

Will Gadd writes about fund raising by adventure trips. I liked this quote

“The next time some would-be adventurer tells me he’s doing an expedition to raise money for a cause,I’m finally going to say what I’ve been choking back for years: ‘You’re not going on your trip for charity, you’re going because you want to. Stop pretending to save the world and just go.”

I like his rule of thumb for measuring the B.S. scale of an expedition:

Right off the bat this hits Level 3 on the B.S. scale, which measures an expedition by the number of words used to qualify the potential achievement.”

He encourages us to just go on adventures and not feel guilty about them:

“..what we need is less guilt and more pure, for-the-hell-of-it adventure. It’s worth it on its own terms. No feather boa required.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Defense Of Manufacturing Holds On Rock

A professor of philosophy who’s also a strong climber, analyzes why sometimes manufacturing holds on a route is ethical. His conclusion:

Consider this: if you are a serious climber who climbs relatively hard sport routes, there is a good chance that you have done a route with at least a few manufactured holds. Moreover, there is also a good chance that despite the manufacturing, climbing the route was gratifying and rewarding. Now what should the appropriate attitude be toward the route preparer, who spent time, money and energy so you could have that experience? Does it really make sense to view the preparer with condemnation and scorn? That seems unappreciative at best, and at worst incoherent. Or is it instead more sensible to recognize that it is sometimes acceptable for preparers to modify the rock so other climbers can have the sort of experience you had? The latter position, I have come to appreciate, seems far more reasonable and philosophically defensible.”

Steph Davis Climbing In The Desert

A rather long video about her life but great video of her climbing desert towers starting at about the 5:30 mark.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Snug It Up, Buttercup

“Snug it up Buttercup”, is what I tell people in the gym when they put on their harnesses. Here’s an example of can happen to a non-snugger-upper. (BTW, she doesn’t look all that excited about jumping out of the plane in the first place.) More of her story here.

A US woman's 80th birthday nearly ended in tragedy when she slipped out of her harness during a parachute jump. Laverne Everett decided to mark her birthday by fulfilling her longheld ambition to go sky-diving. But once in the plane, above Lodi, California,she found she was no longer so keen to jump. Her instructor, jumping in tandem with her, freed her hands from the doorway and appeared to almost force her out of the plane. But something went terribly wrong. Mrs Everett nearly fell out of the harness, and her partner had to hang on to her for dear life.”

Snug It Up, Buttercup

“Snug it up Buttercup”, is what I tell people in the gym when they put on their harnesses. Here’s an example of can happen to a non-snugger-upper. (BTW, she doesn’t look all that excited about jumping out of the plane in the first place.)

Stronger Hands & Fingers

A hand/finger strength training program by Climbing Magazine. It’s designed for beginners to intermediate climbers and builds slowly in intensity to avoid injuries.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Make Climbing Safer By Banning Ropes

As I read this article about making football safer by banning helmets, it occurred to me that by banning ropes, climbing might be safer. Think about it, LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 17: Football helmet high would you climb if you didn’t have a rope on you?

I liked this quote:

If driver safety is the goal, then it would be wisest to mandate spears on car steering wheels that would impale the driver in the event of an accident.”

Do you think you’d  be talking on your cell phone while driving if there were a spear on your steering wheel?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Super Healthy Foods Only Get You So Far

Ever been really excited about some junk food? You haven’t? Then you have never been really hungry. I quote from this guy’s video description:

This is day 86 on my full return South Pole Expedition 2011/2012. I`m quite hungry and about to pick up my last cache by my second pulk which I left on the way in. As a part of my motivational plan I have on purpose not made notes on what goodies I have left behind in the cache.. and on this last one, I didn't`t expect very much.. Ironically my diet on this expedition was mainly based on superhealthy superfood from Supernature.”

Making Things Safer Leads To More Danger

A story of a sunny day climb in Red Rocks that almost led to disaster. I like this quote:

Solar Slab, which gets at least ten ascents a day, was equipped with a dedicated, 30-meter-at-a-time, bolted rap route. Paradoxically, this route has not done much to reduce epics and accidents. While it is now easier and faster to get off, this same ease and speed means that more less-experienced, slower, weaker etc parties will try the route.”

And here’s a good lesson:

“…if you are on a multi-pitch, you should, always, have a rain-shell, a hat, and a headlamp,”

Slacklining Brings The House Down

If you’re tying your slackline to a column like this, do it at a neighbor’s house.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Taylors Falls

imageI tried out Ron’s newly-designed removal tool today on a cam that was stuck at Taylors. I was able to move the cam around and almost got it out. (It is really stuck!) Last week, with a regularly designed nut tool, I couldn’t even touch the cam. So, Ron, congrats on a better design. And thank you.

The rocks were running with water today. It was full alpine conditions. Most routes were closed. We managed to get in a few climbs and Kyle and Peter O. ever figured out a multi-pitch to do.

Rock Yoga


There was a rare appearance of Lisa and John. Here Lisa is practicing some rock yoga.




Here are Pete O. and Marianna at the top of two different routes. 2012-05-25 13.42.57

Here’s Kyle at his hanging belay.

2012-05-25 13.45.27

Here’s Anna halfway up a climb.

2012-05-25 14.06.18

Because it felt like a big production to me, getting all those people at one spot, I used this music for tthis short video.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quite A Traffic Jam On Everest

In the first minute of this video, you can see hundreds of climbers all in a line going up Everest. And a great shot of headlamps near the summit at the 2:00 minute mark.

BTW, if your guide tells you to turn around, do that.

Climbing Mt. Rushmore

Best not to try to scramble up the talus slope at the base of Mt. Rushmore as this guy did this week.

Patrick Marshall, 53, whose last known address is Chicago, was arrested by park rangers on Monday afternoon as he clambered on loose rock directly below the carvings of four presidents at the monument in western South Dakota.”


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Red Wing Tuesday

IMG_2216A perfect day at the ol’ Wing yesterday. Warm temperature, no bugs. Here’s a photo of Jen leading “Needles and Pins.”

And here’s Liz and Zach on “Goofed.”


“Hey Killer, Get Down From There”

Some photos of Miriam at VES last week climbing up and over and then down the arch. I was terrified and kept yelling at her, “Miriam, get down from there.” But she is determined to do this. Maybe you can talk her out of it.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mountain Project On Your Phone

I subscribed to the Mountain Project app on the iPhone when it first came out and found it very useful. Now, a new version has been released for both the iPhone and Android phones and it is free. You can download any of the areas you want and then use it as a reference when you’re at the climbs. When we were in Red Rocks, we had the most recent printed guidebook with us. But had difficulty finding a route. We looked at a photo of the route on our phone and were able to find it quite easily. Try it and let me know what you think.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mountains Of The Moon

A trip report of climbing Mt Stanley in Uganda in the Rwenzori Mountains which used to be called the Mountains of the Moon,

. Some crazy looking plants and trees. I liked this quote:

Access has been a problem for time to time. During Idi Amin's time many people hid in the ranges. For most of the last ten years things have improved. The Lord's Resistance Army (the ones that kidnap kids as soldiers) are a fair bit to the north, and the Ugandan army has kept a reasonable watch on resistance fighters crossing from the Congo.

Rauben in the silesia forest on the route up to Stahlmann Pass.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Making A Poop Tube

When you’re hanging out on that wall, here’s what you should have with you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Here’s Why They Stopped Using Pitons

These are photos of a popular crack climb in Yosemite taken in 1972. All of those holes are from the removal of pitons.  In the article from 1972, Tom Frost mentions the Devils Lake ethic of removing pitons and how damaging that is.

This is the beginning of the use of hexes and stoppers and the discontinuation of the use of pitons.

VEM Front Desk

Here’s 90 minutes at VEM condensed into a little less than 3 minutes.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Anatomy Of An Accident

Quite a story of a climb last year on Mt McKinley, where a small fall on a minor slope, cascaded into a tragedy.

Highest Point In Alberta

This is a climb of Mt. Columbia I did many years ago.  A nice introductory mountaineering trip. We did it in August so the snow was hard and the crevasses were all open. The photo below is a mountain right off the main highway between Banff and Jasper  which we also did.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Celebrate Herb Conn

The Black Hills Climbing Coalition is having a climb-a-thon at Custer State Park on May 20th to remember and celebrate the life of recently deceased Herb Conn. Their blog is here.

“Its a climb-a-thon at Custer State Park. Whatever that means to you, grab your gear and come out to climb at Custer State Park on DSCF0475May 20. As many of you know, the Great Herb Conn died and we thought that getting together to rock climb in the Outlets would be a fun and good way to honor his passing. Folks will probably start showing up around 9am, and be there until the Barn dance which starts at 7pm at the Custer YMCA. We have talked to Jan Conn and sometime in the early afternoon she will come out with her guitar and probably sing a few of her fun climbing songs. What more could you ask for?”

Sleeping On The Ground Like A Dog

For years, I’ve equated camping to sleeping on the ground like a dog. Boy was I wrong!

Last night I slept outside on the deck. Buddy lay down beside me for a few minutes and then got up, went inside and slept on the bed. So the dog’s smarter about sleeping outside than I am.

2011-11-18 14.06.32

H.I.I.T. Me

Research into High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) shows the benefits to fitness with only 60 minutes of exercise per week. There’s an instructive video at this link. How little exercise can we do and still get maximal health and fitness benefits?

The answer appears to be a lot less than most of us think — provided we’re willing to put in some effort. That’s the secret behind high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, an approach to training that compresses all of your exercise into only a few minutes.”

(I know I’d have more time to exercise if I stopped watching videos on how to get fit.)

Your First Big Wall

This seems like a good primer on how to prepare for climbing your first big wall. I like this quote:

You’ll also need a lot of heart, without which you’ll probably throw in the towel after your


hips are chafed raw from the first haul.”

Thursday, May 10, 2012

OK, I’m An Idiot

Every year, I go fishing with my buddies on the third weekend in May. Based solely on my memory, I scheduled work on Thursday, When I told my friends I couldn’t leave until Friday, they said “You’re an idiot. We leave every year on Thursday.”

So I had to find someone to take my work schedule. And this is what I sent to convince them to help me. And it worked.

Feel free to use it if you need some help convincing others to help you.

Ground’s-Eye View Of Anchor Setting

Here’s a ground-eye view of Liz at TF yesterday, setting up anchors.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TF Wed

OK, who told school children they could litter the rocks on a Wednesday morning at Taylors Falls? DSCN0001Shouldn’t they be studying? We couldn’t use most of the climbs on the MN side because of the kids. So Peter A, Peter G,, Logan, Liz, and I climbed at the Keyhole – where Logan did an amazing lead on Hamburger Crack – and Liz and I practiced setting up anchors.


Crack Climbing School

The Wide Boyz have some tutorials on how to climb cracks. Part one is below. Part two is here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Flying Tigers & Drunken Archers

A travel story about Bhutan.

Black Hills Climbing, Devils Tower, Ten Sleep

Who wants to climb in the Black Hills in early to mid June? I know a few people are going Memorial Day weekend but I’ve found that to be a little cold. But June 8-12 or 14-18 would be good. A couple of people IMG_0545have expressed interest in going to Devils Tower and June is a good time for that too. Or -  Pete will like this - Ten Sleep. (Heck, maybe we should just take the summer off and climb out west.)

Anyway, let me know via email, phone, text, Facebook, telegraph, smoke signals, sign language, Twitter, or in person if you want to go and what dates you’d prefer. Because it’s a 9 hour drive, only 4 days out there is just fine. Because it’s a 9 hour drive, fewer than 4 days is really not that fun.

My favorite climb out there is this one. We can put you up there, but you will have to dance on the summit.

Mamas Don’t Want Their Babies To Grow Up & Be Sherpas

According to this interview with a graduate of the Sherpa Education Fund:

Sherpas don't want their sons to become mountaineers,’ says my guide Tsiring Sherpa, 22, who was tasked with delivering me from the airport in the Himalayan town of Lukla to Everest Base Camp. ‘They want them to be engineers and move out to the Western world."

Tsiring and his family

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Stand Up & Be Healthier

A recent book called “The First 20 Minutes” has information on how to exercise more effectively. A theme imageof the book is that we don’t need to do a lot of exercise nor do we need to exercise hard to be healthier. Some quotes from an interview of the author I like:

The science is really clear that [sitting] is very unhealthy, and that it promotes all sorts of disease. All you have to do to ameliorate that is to stand up. You don’t even have to move.”

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that exercise has to be hard, that exercise means marathon running or riding your bike for three hours or doing something really strenuous. That’s untrue and, I think, discourages a lot of people from exercising. If you walk, your body registers that as motion, and you get all sorts of physiological changes that result in better health.”

The author has changed her approach to fitness, including not stretching before a workout, only drinking when thirsty and eliminating sit-ups. Kinda interesting.

“It validated some of the things I was already doing, like not stretching before a workout, which I always hated doing. I hated sit-ups and found out they were bad for your back. I was pleased to learn that. It has changed how I approach hydration in exercise. Now I drink when I’m thirsty, and it seems to be completely fine.”

Aerobic & Resistance Training

New research shows it’s beneficial to combine aerobic exercise with resistance (weight) training. In fact, they appear to be complementary.

Best of all, Dr. Phillips’s study suggests that you can potentially do less of each form of exercise when you combine them and still gain considerable benefits.”


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bring Your Dog To Everest

A recent video shot with a helmet cam of the hike from Camp 1 to Camp 2. Someone  brought a dog with them. From this video, it sure looks as though a lot of the objective dangers of mountaineering have been removed from Everest. No route finding issues (all crevasses have been wanded), fixed ropes in place, and a very well-trod path. Maybe this article is correct when it states “Mt. Everest is completely irrelevant.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

For The Camper Who Has Everything

You might consider a designer tent. This might be my favorite:

Yosemite Range Of Light

Two years in the making, a gorgeous time lapse of Yosemite. Details here.

Yosemite Range of Light from Shawn Reeder on Vimeo.

“Red Rocks Is For N00bs”

A report on Red Rocks by climbers whose experience outdoors was limited to the Midwest: 

“Well, we’re not completely noobs. We’ve both been climbing for over a year, and have

spent more than several days climbing outdoors in the Black Hills, Devil’s Lake in Baraboo, WI, Barn Bluff in Red Wing, MN, and Taylors Falls, MN. However, we are pretty noobish when it comes to sport climbing outdoors. Barn Bluff is really the only bolted sport crag within driving distance for us. It’s also so heavily used that the sandstone is polished to a fine gloss and on busy days, you may end up waiting for routes.”