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.