Sunday, December 29, 2013

Team Marianna In Red Rocks

Paul, Joey, Richie and Marianna are out at Red Rocks climbing now. I know they've done several routes, including "Cat in the Hat", "Great Red Book," and "Crimson Chrysalis." Here they are on "Great Red Book." Look at those big, strong, muscular men. I'm sure Marianna guided them to the top.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ice Monkey Dyno

Yesterday, at Franklin Bridge, Peter invented the "Ice Monkey Dyno." Here is a short version of him demonstrating.

Here is a longer version of us climbing yesterday including a failed "Ice Monkey Death Dyno."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Climbing At Franklin

Peter & I went climbing today at Franklin. Ice is a little thin, but there's a great icicle. Here's Peter rapping down on our new bolts.

 Here's Peter rainbowing up the back of the icicle.

And here's what happens when a chuck of ice hits your face.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chamois Outrunning An Avalanche

It's tough enough being a goat in the mountains, what with the bad weather and steep cliffs. (Plus, these goats need to know French.) Then along comes an avalanche. Some of these goats don't run away quickly enough and are caught in the avalanche. But....just watch.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Some New Bolts

Today we added 4 new bolts at Franklin bridge. Two in the middle of the span and two over to the left. There is also a 3rd set over on the right, on the concrete ledge of the bridge. The one we added in the middle, is up above the creek so it should never be covered in snow or ice. The one we added on the left, will probably be covered by snow but shouldn't get iced over.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Our Trad Climbing Clinic

This was probably the last clinic I'll teach this year on rock. There were 3 climbers last week at Taylors and we had a blast. It was so slow at Taylors, that I let Buddy off the leash and he did his own independent tour of the potholes. What a good dog!

(You know, I realized today I now have enough trad gear so 3 people can set anchors and do leads using my gear simultaneously. And I just ordered some more gear. Can't have enough gear.)

Climbing Yosemite Royal Arches With An 11-Year-Old

The kid was mostly taken up the route by the Smileys, but still, it's kinda fun to watch.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Making Some New Routes

Ron, Peter and I went to Arcola today to bolt some new routes. We only got one route finished; on a bridge pier right on the river. It's been top roped, not done on lead yet. 5.9ish? Some photos below.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"The Pain Closet"

A trip report of the Smileys climbing the Steck-Salathe route on Sentinel Rock in Yosemite. Here's a photo of him trying to get through the "Narrows." This is the section of the climb they called "the pain closet." He didn't make it on his own; his wife used a 3:1 pulley system to help get him through the tightest spot.

Here's a description of this spot on mountainproject:

"One must drop one's feet and figure out some way to make upwards progress in a squeeze chimney using only body parts from the hips up. I managed this by using the back of my head on the back wall to pull my body upwards while simultaneously exhaling, then taking a deep breath to hold that position while I groped for a higher purchase with the back of my head. Hey, it worked. Gear for inside The Narrows really isn't necessary, but a fist-size cam (#3.5 Camalot/#4 C4) works well to protect the initial moves. For most of this you feel pretty alone with only the sound of your own gasping, and the tinkling sound of the hangers on the old aid bolts blowing freely in the wind on the outside of the slot, for company. Perhaps you'll wish you were out there hanging from those bolts, but persevere -- eventually things will start going a little more quickly."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Biking In Sedona

Why would anyone want to climb here, when you can bike? The town is overrun with mountain bikers. They've built tunnels under the highway so the mountain bikers don't have to cross the road. It's quite something. Oh, and there's climbing around here too.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What You Can Do With A Rope & Some Mechanical Advantage

We had our first early morning clinic at VEM on Saturday. Here I am raising Liz and Marianna with a 9:1 pulley system.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mountain Goats In The Black Hills

They recently released 22 mountain goats in Custer State Park in the Black Hills. There are lots of photos of them here.

This photo was taken right at the parking area for the Needles Eye. The trailer is parked right at the start of the hike up to Moonlight Ridge.

Friday, October 25, 2013

We Made Some More New Routes

Testing for trad gear placements 
Me watching Ron 
Today, Ron and I went to Red Wing to find some new routes we could bolt We bolted two routes; both really short and unremarkable but, for us, super fun. One is a perfect gear-eating trad route that has one bolt near the top to get you over to the anchors. The other one is a face climb - 5.9ish? - with a route right next to it, that's probably 5.12ish. (That one isn't bolted yet, but it could share anchors with the one we put up.) Just as I started to lead our 5.9, a police car stopped to look. The climbs are right off the parking lot. So we named the climb "PoPo." I wanted to test the bolts, so I took a leader fall on them. They worked! Amazing.

Drillin' the anchors

Falling on "PoPo"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Our First Bolted Route

Peter named it "Something from Nothing." It's an itty bitty route along the river near Stillwater. Talk to Peter for exact location. It's maybe 5.9.

Heading down

The crux

Armed and dangerous

Clipping the 1st bolt

Grinnin' & drillin'

Testing the rock

Bottom bolt

Bolt beating

1,296,000 Calories For Two People

A short video about packing for 110 days skiing across Antarctica. For two people, they are bringing 1,296,000 calories. More here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rappelling Mt Rushmore

Rangers working on Mt Rushmore faces. Great views of the faces.

Rangers Rappel Rushmore: National Parks Epic Challenge from National Park Foundation on Vimeo.

A Bio-Optical Knowledge and Recording System for Navigation

A navigation system that requires no batteries, is easily transportable and can't be hacked.

Bad Weather On Mt Fairweather

The Smiley's climbed Mt Fairweather in Alaska this last June. One of the "50 Classic Routes of North America." Mt Fairweather is a mountain John and I climbed a long time ago.

The route they climbed is 11,000 feet from their base camp. (The route we climbed started at sea level so was 15.000 feet high.)

They waited at base camp for 11 days for the weather to clear. Which seems boring. But they had lots of technology with them:

"For 11 days we sat in our tents, killing time. Many people ask what we do to pass the time while tent bound. I think it's probably similar to being in a nursing home. You have to turn the small everyday activities into individual major events. Things you normally do while multi-tasking (eating, pooping, grooming, etc). That, and try to sleep as much as your body will allow. For me, that is 13 hours/day. We also had an ipad, two computers, lots of movies, angry birds, some shooting game that I mastered..."

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Training For Big Wall Climbing

An interview with Mark Hudon, who at 56 is still climbing El Cap. He stresses training for endurance over power. He says the mental game is 99% of climbing. I like this quote:

"I don’t let my emotions take over at all. To me it’s physics. You can stand on a little hold five feet away from a piece of gear and so why can’t you stand on that same little hold 25 feet away from gear."

Here's his warmup for sport climbing: 

"When I was out sport climbing there were always warm-up routes. My sport climbing warm up was to lead climb a 5.11, then downclimb it, taking my draws with me. I might do this for one or two routes."

What Is Recreating In A National Park?

An interview with two climbers staying in Yosemite Park throughout the shutdown. Right now, they are not allowed to recreate in a National Park. But they can still boulder and do single pitch climbing, because that's not "recreating."

As usual to people who live and work in parks, they don't like the fact that so many people visit the Park and make it less convenient for them.So they're enjoying the Park being closed.

Again, I'll say, stay indoors folks, park visitors don't want to see YOU.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What We Think Is Dangerous, Probably Isn't

A journalist in South Africa makes the case that exaggerated dangers, hurt poor people. Also, eat fewer bananas and more MSG.

Night Time On El Cap

Here's a shot taken last week after the park's shutdown of climbers' bivys at night high on El Cap. Details here. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Two Fun Guys

Oops, make that one fun guy and one fungus. This is a huge mushroom in the woods near our house which is as big as Buddy's head.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Eagle Cam

The eagle point-of-view videos are the:
"...the creation of one Jacques Olivier Travers, operator of a raptor center and theme park in Haute-Savoie, France, that nurtures injured birds back to health and reintroduces them to the wild. A certified falconer in his early 20s, Travers is the youngest person in France ever to be certified to keep raptors in captivity.
To help the birds learn to fly again, Travers has taken to paragliding alongside them in the air, a method he thinks is more effective than traditional means of reintroduction."
More on the story here. 

On The Wall Or At The Gym?

Yosemite Park is closing down. All of the climbers on El Cap will be allowed to finish. At least, that's according to the "ElCap Report." The weather's perfect so the wall is full. Here's a shot on the "Nose" showing some of the parties that are climbing simultaneously. Sort of like the gym.

There was a new male/female speed record of 3:30 set on October1st. Those climbers had to pass 11 other teams.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Women's Speed Record On El Cap

On Sept 29th, after several days of practice, two women set a new speed record for climbing El Cap -  5 hours 39 minutes.  

Here's one photo of Mayan Smith-Gobat on the climb. Several more photos of them here

The previous record for women was 7 hours 26 minutes, set just last Fall. That story is here

"Short And Relatively Easy"

On a trail described as "short and relatively easy," five hikers killed by a rockslide. Who knew that hiking was so dangerous? Stay indoors, folks.

Monday, September 30, 2013

How To Climb A Mast

I taught a couple who owns a 36' sailboat on Madeline Island how to climb their 50' high mast using a set of etriers and a GriGri. They had really struggled to climb it in the past because of their boat's setup. This new system worked slick for them. Here he is on the top.

Friday, September 27, 2013

80 Years Of Climbing

Fred Beckey has more first ascents on North American mountains than anyone else. At 89, he's a first-time climber in the Dolomites of Italy. Two things occur to me watching him struggle up an easy climb:

  • He uses a bowline to tie in
  • It's great for him to keep climbing at 89
  • If there's somewhere you want to go, go now.Don't wait until you're 89.

Here's his new book called "Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs." Might be a heckuva goal for some younger climbers to do all of these climbs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Why Smile For The Camera?

I always thought people didn't used to smile for photos because a photo was an important event. It was a serious, rare and expensive proposition. This article makes the case that people didn't smile for photos - or even for portraits - because only goofballs smiled. They said it more elegantly than I just did:

 “it was a well-established fact that the only people who smiled broadly, in life and in art, were the poor, the lewd, the drunk, the innocent, and the entertainment.”

After all, as one French writer says, Nature gives us lips to conceal our teeth.

So remember that the next time somebody says "Cheese." A smile used to mean you were drunk.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Canyoneering In Utah

We had planned on 3 days of canyoneering around the Escalante, Utah area. But all the lower canyons were flooded and the roads to get to the higher canyons were washed out. Like this.

So we went to Zion and hiked The Narrows, Angels' Landing and then to Vegas to do some water boarding. BTW, water boarding is Fuuuun.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Forest In A Cave

The world's biggest cave? "The Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is the biggest cave in the world. It's over 5.5 miles long, has a jungle and river, and could fit a 40-story skyscraper within its walls."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

C.S.I. - Climbing Scene Investigation

What caused a year-old Black Diamond climbing harness to fall apart? According to the owner, it had only been used about 70 times indoors and had been stored carefully. So when the threads holding the buckle fell apart, it was quite a mystery.

The harness had abnormally pinkish threads. The QC crew at Black Diamond set out to find which chemicals change the color of nylon threads.

Here are some of the products they tested to see which ones affect nylon. Most of these have little if any effect on nylon. Which is reassuring. They determined it was some sort of acid. So if you have any pink on your nylon climbing gear, it's probably a sign of exposure to acid.

To find out what they learned, go here.

When Should You Cut The Rope To Save Yourself?

A moral dilemma leavened with some humor. I think I would cut the Panda. But that's me.

Thank Your Lucky Stars You Don't Live Here

This planet would be a tough place to do anything outdoors:

"On this turbulent alien world, the daytime temperature is nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and it possibly rains glass — sideways — in howling, 4,500-mph winds."

Remember that the next time you complain about hot weather - you could be facing molten- glass-rain. Boy, we've got it easy here on Earth. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thrill Seekers Less Adventurous Than In The Past?

Is it true that men are less adventurous now than they were in their father's generation?

"According to Nick Collins, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, research conducted in 1978 reported men were 48 percent more likely than women to express interest in “thrill and adventure seeking” activities.....
These days, males are only 28 percent more likely than females to participate in challenging, adrenaline-fueled activities like mountain climbing or skydiving. Dr. Cross’s team believes the change indicates a decline in men’s appetite for these extreme activities, and not an increase in women’s desire to participate in them."
Who needs outdoor activities when you can get a rush playing a game on Wii? Of course, if more women were interested in them, I think more men would show up. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How To Resole Climbing Shoes

Considering all of the steps, it's amazingly inexpensive to get shoes resoled. (I love the leather apron. I might have to get one of those.)

Resoling Climbing Shoes from LineCam Systems LLC on Vimeo.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Analysis Of Climbing Dangers

Stay indoors, people, it's much safer than being outside. Here is an analysis of 21 years of climbing accidents in Yosemite. This report offers many ways to prevent problems while climbing.

Several facts caught my eye:

  • "The NPS keeps no statistics on how many climbers use the park, but 25,000 to 50,000 climber-days annually is a fair estimate. With this in mind, 2.5 deaths and a few serious injuries per year may seem a pretty low rate.
  • "Most Yosemite victims are experienced climbers, 60% have been climbing for three years or more, lead at least 5.10, are in good condition, and climb frequently. Short climbs and big walls, easy routes and desperate ones – all get their share of the accidents."
  • "Not surprisingly, most injuries occurred during leader falls and involved feet, ankles, or lower legs; for many, these are the accepted risks of climbing. However, leader falls accounted for only 25% of the fatal and near-fatal traumatic injuries; roughly 10% were from rockfall, 25% from being deliberately unroped, and 40% from simple mistakes with gear."