Posts Tagged ‘Climbing’

The Pursuit of Happiness

12/12/2013
Read 10 practices to a happier you

Read 10 practices to a happier you

This recent Outside Magazine article shows what many of us already have known, but is confirmed here again – That not only living a healthy lifestyle contributes to happiness, one can literally create new neuro-pathways in the brain, (and you can actually change your DNA) by practice uplifting behavior and exercises.

Launch the new year with these simple, life-improving strategies.
From Outside Magazine,  January 2014
The tendency to be happy or not is an inherited trait, but the good news is that this is less than half the story. According to a 2012 study of identical and fraternal twins conducted by a team of scientists from top universities around the world, only about a third of our happiness level is determined by genes. The rest is up to us.

Destination: Your center

Destination: Your center

Looking for drivers of well-being, the researchers zeroed in on a gene that aids in the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin. In the biochemistry of mood, serotonin plays a role much like the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, bringing brightness and cheer, and regulates stress levels, sleep, and pain, among other things. The study found that those who’d inherited longer variations of -the gene had a slight increase in overall happiness, but surveys of the twins suggested that genes get only a minority vote when it comes to mood.

Other research indicates that how happy you are can influence the ways your genes are expressed. In a 2013 study, researchers at UCLA and the University of North Carolina reported that happiness levels have powerful effects on genes and our health. But there was a catch: the specific kind of happiness mattered a lot. The unselfishly happy, whose feelings of well-being involved a deep sense of purpose in life, had a strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.

Happy hedonists, meanwhile, wrapped up in materialistic pleasures, had weaker immune systems, resulting in inflammation that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. “Even pleasures that seem virtuous, like looking at a sunset, can be hedonistic, because they involve one’s own emotional gratification,” explains UCLA professor of medicine Steven Cole, the senior author of the study. “The real distinction is whether your happiness is tied into purpose and meaning outside yourself.”

Bottom line: like so many things, how happy you are comes down to how you choose to live your life. We’ve rounded up the latest beta on how to show your DNA who’s boss.

1. Rise with the Sun
Most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Less than that and we’re crankier, dumber, sicker, and even fatter. But that’s no excuse to sleep in.
Read the rest of this story…

One of the best resources I’ve used over the years is the audio presentation by C.W. Metcalf, Lighten Up, available at Nightengale-Conant

Ken Wylie Named to MSI Board

24/03/2012

Mountain Spirit Institute names Ken Wylie to Board of Directors

Ken Wylie

Ken Wylie, a veteran certified mountain guide from Cochrane Alberta, Canada with years as an experiential educator and program manager at Canadian universities as well as Outward Bound Canada and the Outward Bound USA, has recently been named to the board of directors at Mountain Spirit Institute based in the U.S. and New Zealand.  In addition to helping guide the U.S. organization, Wylie has plans to launch a  Mountain Spirit Institute Canada where he will create mountain programs based on the mission statement. Mr. Wylie and founder Randall Richards along with fellow board members are in discussions about also collaborating on mountain programs in the U.S,  New Zealand and possibly the Alps.

Says Wylie, “I am drawn to Mountain Spirit Institute because of the organization’s vision. MSI has the vision for the 21st century in my estimation, and is what I have been searching for in my career.” Adds Wylie, “The mountains are an experience that can change people’s lives, but are more often than not just another consumable, another peak to check off the list. What people need now more than ever,  is to connect and MSI helps them do that.” (more…)

Black Diamond’s New Online Catalog

02/03/2012

It saves trees and the presentation is amazing, and great images. I’m quite impressed with Black Diamond’s reach-out with their new online catalog. Check it out.

A Panorama from the new Black Diamond online catalog. Hmm..worth the price of admission.

Climbing Films – Reel Rock Tour

18/10/2011

This will get your attention - Click on the picture to play the trailer

A Guide’s Pack: Backcountry Mountaineering

15/08/2011

By Kurt Hicks

A backcountry mountaineering pack

Backcountry mountaineering, you say?  How is that different from traditional mountaineering?  Well, it’s in the approach distance.  Most mountaineering trips in the Cascades require a few hours of hiking to get from the car to a high camp, usually on well-maintained trails and easy sub-alpine terrain.  This isn’t the case for my upcoming objective; I’m headed into the most remote volcano in the Cascades this week–Glacier Peak–and have a 20 mile one-way distance car-to-summit to contend with.

So how does my strategy change for backcountry mountaineering?  Initially, I wasn’t thinking that there would be much of a difference, but there must be given the amount of time I’ve spent with my gear today.  My main concern, as usual, is weight. Read the rest of Kurt’s post…

Editor’s Note: The American Mountain Guides Association recommended Kurt’s blog last month, and I’ve ended up subscribing to it for good reason- Tons of good info and perspective, and well written stuff by a nice guy. If you get a moment, check out his blog. You’ll see a few more lead-ins to his posts on our blog because we like what he’s up to!

A History of the Carabiner

02/07/2011

Linking History...

From: Alpinist
Working his bare-feet up the face, the climber takes a knotted sling from his shoulder and places it around a stone horn. He takes a second sling, deftly unknots it and feeds the cord carefully around his hempen lead rope and the slung rock. With the rope now connected to his natural protection he ties the second cord back into a sling and climbs on….

Before Otto “Rambo” Herzog first conceived using carabiners, climbers had only two options for connecting their ropes to protection: tie the rope and protection together, or untie and run the rope directly through the gear. Neither option was quick or especially safe.
In Alpinist 35 we examine the history of the carabiner; why Otto “Rambo” Herzog first thought of using the device, how it was modified over the last century and how the carabiner got its name.

Rambo Herzog

Rambo
Otto “Rambo” Herzog earned his nickname seventy years before the Sylvester Stallone movies. “Ramponieren” in German means “to batter” or “to bash,” and Herzog got his nickname, “Rambo,” not for flailing up climbs but for the hours he spent ramponieren specific problems. Today, Herzog is remembered for introducing the carabiner and breaking Hans Dülfer’s grading system. In 1913, he climbed the south wall of the Schüsselkarspitze (2537m) with Hans Fiechtl, a route that reached the limit of grade V (5.8/9), the highest grade in Dülfer’s I-V scale. In 1921, Herzog, together with Gustav Haber, climbed the “Ha-He Verschneidung” on the Dreizinkenspitze (2306m). Today rated 5.10, Herzog and Haber’s climb was so difficult that grade VI had to be added onto the I-V grading scale.

Today all climbing carabiners are made from solid metal. But in the 1970s SALEWA introduced a hollow design, that weighed only forty grams. This model was not only revolutionary because of its form but also because of the safety testing done on every unit. For the first time, each carabiner was individually tested before hitting the market. The slight indent on the curve of the pictured ‘biner, is the mark left by the 1000kg test. Many climbers will look at the empty interior and imagine that hollow carabiners were unsafe. However, in a recent interview with Alpinist, SALEWA’s former General Manager Hermann Huber said the hollow designs were abandoned because of breakthroughs in cold forging that allowed for lighter and stronger designs from solid aluminum.  Read the rest of this story…

Don’t Buy It

17/06/2011

Selling Success Thru Consuming

A recent full page ad on the inside front cover of New Zealand Alpine Club‘s The Climber* Magazine shows a truly burly shot of climber Alex Honnold in Borneo, doing a dyno move on what looks like a long potential fall on a big wall. Granted the sequence is impressive, (let’s be clear, I can’t do that), but the ad states, “ALEX IS DRY, His Meru Goretex Paclite Jacket allows him to focus on the next move.”

OK, ok, stop the music. Does this make we want to rush right out and buy a Meru Paclite Jacket? Not. But if  the Meru Paclite jacket allows him to focus on that dyno, maybe it will allow ME to focus on my next move too, just like the ad in the picture.  My criticism is albeit a cliche, nevertheless, I don’t buy it.

Kiwis are known for being a self-depreciating, humble bunch. They seem to buy used whenever possible, plus it blends into the backcountry better. Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t go climbing with someone who has new gear?”  This doesn’t mean to avoid climbing and teaching new to the sport, but more it means watching out for a poser.

The Kiwi quietude is making me, in my conditioned Americanism,  feel downright goofy. I feel I may be tooting my own horn without even knowing . Mind you, I consider myself on the humble side, but New Zealanders make me look like Donald Trump.   I wonder however, how many climbers reading that magazine are taken by the ad. I would suspect a few more of my fellow Yankees stateside might be taken in. What do you think? Comment below.

Don’t buy it – buy used. Even though I’m able to buy on pro-purchase programs, I just bought a pair of Karhu BC skis on Craigslist, and it feels good. Did I even need them in the first place, yes. Maybe a step further, and a pair from the Salvation Army here in Queenstown for $40 would have sufficed. We can always improve.

Buying this Book? Share it.

Nope, I wouldn’t buy a used rope, or even cams,  but buying  most other stuff used just helps the planet, and you look better in a used jacket anyway. It’s another dirtbag move for the planet. Madison Avenue and the big corps who now own The North Face, (and now Karhu) don’t like guys like us. We’re terrible consumers – Have you joined the crowd?

According to a new book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, What’s Mine is Yours, The rise of Collaborative Consumption, the trend is huge – to buy less, buy used and share. I’ll write more about this book after I finish it. So far it’s fascinating.

*This is no way meant to be a slam on The Climber advertising policies, in fact the author encourages readers to support the magazine by supporting its advertisers, appropriately. A tricky one, eh?

By the way, nice move Alex.

Inspiration, Alaskan Style

09/06/2010

This is a slideshow featuring pictures from the Alaska Range, found on the Facebook page from the good folks of Talkeetna Air Taxi. Click on the image to go to there.

Shots from Alaska

The Gift of Time Well Spent

27/12/2009

Nice Job Mr. Manzer.

I found myself at a store called Eastern Mountain Sports the other day here on the east coast, of the U.S., and at the front door, the following letter was predominantly posted on a display board at the stores entrance for all customers to see. It was written by the chain’s president and shows that this corporation has the intention of not only making a profit but  also to remind its customers what’s really important in the end.

The Gift of Time Well Spent
The holiday  season always involves a tremendous amount of planning, coordination, and giving of one’s time and effort. With so much to do and so little time to do it, it’s easy to get stressed out.

My wish for you and your family is that after all the parties are over and all the presents are unwrapped, you take some time to unplug from the madness and enjoy each other’s company. Get outside, take in the new season, and appreciate the greatest gift of all – a healthy life:

Crash through a pile of dry leaves on your mountain bike.
Breath deeply on the first day below [-5 Celsius].
Feel the burn of a cold-weather trail run.
Watch the first ice form on the banks of a fast-moving stream.
Grab a handful of snow with your gloves off.
Watch the first winter sunrise from the top of a mountain.
Most important[ly], appreciate the outdoors and take good care of it.

From all of us at EMS – Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,
Will Manzer,
President & CEO
Eastern Mountain Sports

Kudos goes to E.M.S.  I bought my first 60/40 mountaineering  jacket there for our Proctor Academy winter mountaineering course. It must have been in 1975.  For a while the store struggled but these days, not only is its president’s writing good letters like the one above, but the store seems to be on track environmentally as well as with its education and customer service focus.  Well done E.M.S. –  keep it up.
Editor’s note: This letter was given to me by one of the employees at EMS when I explained I’d like to reprint it on our blog. Edits are in brackets.

Nose to Nose with Mr. Marmot

08/06/2009

An Unexpected Encounter While Bouldering in Lech, Austria

Marmot scrambling up a boulder

Marmot scrambling up a boulder

Bouldering on the Madloch trail just west of Lech Austria, I had quite a startling experience one afternoon.  I had walked up the summer  trail after working at Strolz Boots one day. During the winter,  this area high above Lech, sees skiers flying by after having taken the lifts up from Zurs.  They then ski around the backside of the Madloch mountain, and take the long trail headed for Lech. But this spring day was quiet, and no hikers in sight. I had found a nice slabby boulder to climb, with small nubbin holds, requiring delicate footwork. I monkeyed around on block for about a ten minutes near the bottom of the face. I decided to go for the top of the boulder, working delicately. The only activity was a small breeze which blew on the cloudless blue sky day.  I reached for the final moves on the boulders ridge line, and pulled up slowly.

Marmot's whistle at point-blank

Marmot's whistle at point-blank

As my face cleared the boulder’s ridgetop, a marmot that had been climbing up the other side, also made his final move for the ridge from his side. We met  nose to nose. For a second, I stared at him, and he stared at me. Second number two- He let out his marmot’s alarm, a shrill whistle at point-blank range.  Without thinking I reached for my ears, covering them, which set me rolling back down the boulder. I assume the marmot didn’t stick around either, and ran back down his side. I saw, (more importantly heard) no sign of him.  I picked myself up, inspected my few minor bruises and continued on the trail for a great afternoon of being in the Austrian Arlberg’s Lechtal.  Aside from the ringing in the ears I had a nice scramble. But I’d had enough bouldering for the day.