Friday, August 31, 2012

From 180 To 620 Pull-ups By Cooling Your Hand

New testing reveals using a cooling glove greatly increases physical performance.

"But the glove’s effects on athletic performance didn’t become apparent until the researchers began using the glove to cool a member of the lab – the confessed 'gym rat' and frequent coauthor Vinh Cao – between sets of pull-ups. The glove seemed to nearly erase his muscle fatigue; after multiple rounds, cooling allowed him to do just as many pull-ups as he did the first time around. So the researchers started cooling him after every other set of pull-ups.
'Then in the next six weeks he went from doing 180 pull-ups total to over 620,' said Heller. 'That was a rate of physical performance improvement that was just unprecedented.'"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How To Find Yourself

This sounds like a very workable way to find yourself:

  • A person is reported missing in a remote canyon of Iceland
  • A police search is started
  • You help out in the search
  • After a day of searching, you realize they are looking for you
  • Voila! You find yourself at long last

Glacial Dust Bunnies Full Of Life

Glacial "mice" are the dust bunnies of glaciers. They also contain a variety of life.

"Now balls of moss on glaciers are joining this strange list. The clumps, known as glacier mice, have been found to contain miniature ecosystems. And even in freezing temperatures, scientists found, the inhabitants manage to thrive."

Monday, August 27, 2012

How To Train

If you're a professional climber, here's how you might train.

Battle Of The Ceiling

Today we had both Killer and Liz up on the ceiling. As it says in this trailer: "Killer lived in the fast lane." And "Liz was at the top of her game."

Smileys On Denali

After they climbed Mt. Huntington this summer, they popped over to Denali to do two more of the Fify Classic Classic Climbs. I liked this quote of a typical day on Denali:

"9:00AM: Bladder screams you awake. Answer the call, using the brimming pee bottle. Still below freezing, so it's back in the sleeping bag.
10:45: Cold water droplets hit face every 30 to 60 seconds, caused by the melting hoarfrost that built up on the inside of the tent.
10:50: Get fed up from the Chinese water torture. Put on a flock of down, go outside.
11:15: Breakfast time: Hot cocoa, pancakes (“bootied” from a group descending), bacon. All cooking done in the kitchen tent, which then becomes the hang out tent. 
11:50: Poop in a plastic lined 12-inch tall green plastic can, hoping that a ground blizzard doesn’t pick up and freeze your bareness while squatting over it.
12:00: Hang out in the cook tent, shooting the bull with new friends, talking about the weather, other climbs around the world, and playing the game called, 'have you seen that youtube video where…'
2:30PM: Go for a ski tour just outside of camp, sometimes with climbing gear, sometimes without.
5:00: Lunch time: Cheesy Quesadilla, with salami and mustard…add guacamole on special days.
5:30: Walk around camp, meeting those that just arrived.
8:00: Card games in the neighbor's cook tent.
10:00: Dinner time: you name it, we ate it.
12:30AM: Feet are now too cold to have fun anymore. Crawl in the tent and watch 2-3 episodes of The Office on the ipad until the screen frosts over.
1:45AM: Still not dark outside, but go to sleep cause that’s what you were supposed to do hours ago."

West Buttress of Denali: A Ski Descent from Mark Smiley on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Causes Of Accidents

A study of climbing rescues in Boulder County, CO from 1998 to 2011 has these conclusions:

  • Anchors rarely fail (2.5% of total), and when they do it is because of inexperience in setup.
  • 20% of all accidents could have been prevented by better belay practices such as tying a knot in the end of the rope, or wearing belay gloves.
  • Rock fall causes a small number of accidents (4.5% of total), and may be correlated to the freeze thaw cycles of spring and climber use patterns. In early spring climbing checking the rock you're about to climb on for security is a prudent preventative measure.
  • Prior knowledge of climb rappel anchors and walk offs, and taking a headlamp, will prevent a lot of rescues (up to 45% of total).
  • The common injuries sustained are to the legs/ankles (30%) and to the head and spine (30%). Knowledge of how to improvise splinting and how to assess spinal injuries might be a great addition to a climbers toolkit.

Greatest Bathroom Ever?

High in the Bugaboos, this climber finds relief in what he calls the "greatest bathroom ever." Quite a cheeky view.

This is their vehicle protected from the chewing porcupines by chicken wire.

Anchors Aweigh

Some great photos of anchor set-ups on multi-pitch routes from cluttered to clean.

Get Up The Mountain Fast

Why take your time walking up a mountain when you can run? The 29-year-old record of speed climbing the Grand Teton was recently broken. It used to be 3 hours, 6 minutes. It's now 2:54. Here's a video of the two climbers who set the record in 1983. I guess I can understand why they wouldn't stop to smell the roses - there aren't any roses up there.

Running Grand Teton trailer from Teton Movie on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

70-Year Old Man Rescued From Crevasse After 6 Days

First of all, as I tell everyone I climb with, wear red clothing. He was wearing faded purple so he waited 6 days inside a crevasse to be rescued. Notice that his rescuers are wearing red.

(Really, first of all, don't fall into a crevasse.)

Things Are Looking Down

The best part of buying goods made in China, is that it allows them to spend money building glass walkways in their mountains so that they can look down on things. I wish we could do it here!

We got the Grand Canyon glass skyway, but that's it.

Canyon Running

Running the largest canyon in Africa:

 "Ryan Sandes, a South African Ultra-Runner, as he returns to the Fish River Canyon to run the 5 day, 84km, Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail in the fastest time possible. He completed the run, self-supported, in amazing time of 6h57min!"

The best running part starts at 3:20 into the video.

The Beauty of the Irrational from The African Attachment on Vimeo.

If You're Trapped After Falling

And you have a video camera. And you broke your ankle. And you're waiting for help. You might make a video like this one by a woman who fell while "climbing with her friend in the Vedauwoo Mountains, a popular climbing area in southeastern Wyoming, when she tumbled 8 feet down a dark trench after she tried to jump across it."

Climbing In Mallorca

A few months ago, Levi - Lisa's son - went climbing all over the world. At least to this part of the world. Here is one of his videos. His other videos are here.

Virgins are only humans 6a+ from Levi Ender on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Even Chamonix Has Limits

Chamonix - probably the adventure capital of the world - has instituted a ban on wingsuit flying.

This is a quote from the mayor:
"'For us, adventure doesn't mean extreme risk,' said Chamonix mayor Eric Fournier. 'We have to ask questions of responsibility and respect for other sports.'"

Which is a little ironic considering:

...Last month, nine experienced climbers died in an avalanche on the French side of the mountain. And there have been increasing concerns that the area is becoming just too crowded."

90% Of Climbers Never Go Outdoors?

This mountaineer writes about the future of climbing and predicts that " 10 years, 90 percent of the climbing population might never climb outdoors. Which I think is just a tragedy."

I don't think it's a tragedy that most people may not want to climb outdoors. The outdoors is less accessible, it's messier, it's more dangerous. Let people stay inside. Then this guy - and me - can have the outdoors more to ourselves.

His main complaint seems to be that mountaineering isn't sexy anymore. That the media wants action shots of people wearing very little clothing. Duh!

It's easier to get action shots of beautiful people doing outdoor activities if the road is very close to where they are activating. Mountains are harder to get to than the seashore.

And this quote intriques me: "Because it seems like it’s just a handful of people, predominantly men, doing something that’s increasingly less relevant, year by year. But that doesn’t mean I love it any less."

When was climbing ever relevant? Maybe it was relevant for the first people to climb into the mountains to look for game or to find new pastures for their herd animals. Or, to find a pass to get over the mountains to more productive and/or safer ground on the other side. Or, to pick up some stone tablets with about 10 rules on them.

Why should anyone else be interested in climbing? Why should it be covered in the media? If you like doing it, do it. If you like climbing outdoors with all the hazards, thrills and feelings of accomplishment, do it. If you like climbing indoors, do that.

(H.T. to Lisa)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Essentials For Mountain Travel

Here is what Will Gadd carries at the minimum whenever he goes into the mountains:

"Below is my 'minimalist' mandatory gear; yes, fire starters and many other things are nice, but this is what I think I need to survive and/or start a rescue in almost any mountain range around the world. Also note that the pack itself has to be light; if your pack is over two pounds 'naked' then it needs to go on a diet; all of the below weighs less than three pounds total, so when I grab my pack for the day off the wall it should weigh less than 5 pounds before food, water, etc."

He also reviews a new product from Sterling called the Hollow Block.

Invisible Helmet

Would you bike with a wide collar that turns into a helmet when you fall? I don't think I'd pay the money just to prevent my hairdo from being mashed down.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Fairly Lovely Place To Visit

An article about hiking and climbing in the Dolomites of Italy. Looks fairly nice. I liked this quote:

"The region’s mountain refuges are also reachable without hiking for miles as lots of them have cable cars which take you close by."

Plus, she meets James Bond's stunt double.

Friday, August 10, 2012

It’s A Jungle In The Climbing Gym

An accurate - if slightly exaggerated – description of a climbing gym. I liked this quote:

The climbing gym is the watering hole: a place where all the little creatures of our climbing kingdom come to frolic, play, swagger, sashay, find mates and throw feces. It’s a meat market. A dojo. Occasionally, a dance club. A training ground. A proving ground. A one-upping ground.”

And this one:

“I always feel funny taking the Belay Test…. I hate it when people watch me do anything, especially something that I could do in my sleep …

Meanwhile, a designated gym employee monitors you, absolutely basking in this rare moment of power like he’s the cop, and you are the illegal immigrant with a pocket full of llello.

If you try to do something ‘weird’, like tie in with a double bowline or belay left-handed, it throws the tester into a fit that won’t stop until you do something that looks familiar to him. And you just have to do what he says because it’s easier than arguing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tip the balance of power by screwing with the tester.”

Living In A.N.W.R.

This movie describes the life of a family who lives in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge north of the Arctic Circle.

Grillin' At VE

Thanks to Jeff N. at VES, we had a grillin' today. Here's a photo of the actual grilling:

Here are Killer and Eric comparing their Vegas climbing souvenirs:

Rappelling Advice

Here's lots of good advice from Will Gadd on how to rappel safely. I liked this quote:

"I suspect that the reason so many climbers view rappelling as dangerous is that so many climbers rappel dangerously. In caving very few people die rappelling down into the cave;"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

When To Use Lightweight 'Biners

Black Diamond discusses the differences in 'biners and when to use lightweight 'biners vs regular weight ones. For example,

"It's true the Oz is a super-light biner at one ounce (hence the name), but is it the right choice for your sport climbing draws?  Sure, if you're doing a multipitch sport route in the Canadian Rockies, or going for a hard, 22-draw onsight, go for it.  But for a workhorse sport climbing carabiner, it's probably not the best choice. Why? In order to get the weight out of these lightweight biners, manufacturers are removing material, and though ultimately all carabiners are strong and meet all CE requirements, less material can mean a few things.  The smaller size makes is slightly harder to clip. There can be less material in the spine, which makes it more susceptible to bending if loaded over an edge, and there oftentimes is less material on the rope-bearing surface, which means whippers are harder on your rope."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fire Rainbows

I have never seen a "fire rainbow" - more properly called iridescent clouds - but they sure are purty. More info here. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

The More You Travel, The Less You See

After 23 years and 500,000 miles of travel, Gunther Holtorf says, "The more you have traveled, the more you realize how little you have seen." More info here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

“Monkey With Hair”

Yesterday I was climbing the arch at VE St. Paul, and a little girl said, “He looks like a monkey with hair.” I probably looked like this to her.

Me as monkey

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Kloofing A Gorge

A variation of canyoneering, kloofing is jumping into pools of water instead of rappelling.

"Trail description:

This route is more of a swim than a hike. The main attractions include spectacular canyon scenery and lovely waterfalls. The highest jump on this route is 14m. It's for the brave, as daring leaps of seven or eight metres down waterfalls are compulsory. You must be willing to swim in cold water and not be afraid of heights. Remember, once in, the only way you're going to get out of this section of the Riviersonderend mountains is via some gravity-defying jumps and scrambles."

I Am A Fan Of Red Bull

I don't drink the stuff, but I do buy it and then throw it away so they will continue to sponsor activities like this.