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The first day of the rest of
my life. The first day of the rest of my life.  by PAROFES

This is the story of how it began my life as a mountaineer.

The events that shaped me into a mountaineer took place back in jan 2007, at bolivian soil. I’ve been a backpacker since my 18th birthday, after my mom passed away (she suffered a medical mistake, was considered dead and buried alive in 1996, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – long story, huge process, psychian charged for stealing patient profile records – my mom's of course – with the intention of hide proof against the hospital...long and sad story), a week after that I had an alcoholic coma and I was officially dead for 50 seconds, woke up with cardiac massage...Yeah, I know, not good. But at least I never touched drugs (besides drinking, which I stoped 3 years ago), and after all that mess I decided to change my life. So, I became a backpacker. My first trip was to Iguazu Falls and as usual I slept in the street and got myself a ride back home in a couple days more.

In Praise
of Bushwhacking In Praise of Bushwhacking  by vancouver islander

From the perspective of the true outdoor enthusiast, “wilderness development” is an oxymoron. Development implies progress and how exactly can encroaching urbanisation, mechanisation, bijou wilderness lodges and the like and even signed trails properly be regarded as development when applied to real wilderness? Nothing truly belongs in the alpine environment except the mountain and its natural bastions of forest, river, cliff and glacier. Can anyone claim to have truly climbed a mountain who has used a gondola or an aircraft as a significant part of his or her approach strategy?

Much has been written on SP and elsewhere about the need to protect the planet’s ever diminishing wilderness resources from the evils of civilisation. And yet many of the same authors who advocate protection of the wilderness seem to have no problems about the inclusion of man-made trails in their own wilderness experiences. Let’s be honest. Once that first trace of the presence of man appears it’s thin-end-of-the-wedge time. A use-trail becomes an engineered trail and leads to the accelerated presence of more and more human visitors. Soon alternate routes appear and, in no time at all, the appellation “wilderness” becomes moot.

It’s There: Another Look Because It’s There: Another Look  by jacobsmith

“Because It’s There” is the over-quoted and oft maligned quip of Everest climbing legend George Mallory in response to the question of why he wanted to climb the highest peak in the world. It is at once ridiculous and ingenious, for although it fails utterly to convey the breadth of the experience that brings us to the mountains, it captures something at the very core of climbing: imagination.

Mallory’s comment can be compared to Kennedy’s justification for sending US astronauts to the moon, I paraphrase, “we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard.” As Randall Munroe has pointed out, this justification works equally well for “blowing up the moon, sending cloned dinosaurs into space, or constructing a towering penis-shaped obelisk on Mars,” and the same criticism can be leveled at Mallory.

Mountain Lion Mountain Lion  by FlatheadNative

The Mountain Lion, also known as the Cougar, Puma, Painter, Panther and Catamount is the most widely distributed cat in the Americas. Mountain lions require a lot of room—only a few cats can survive in a 30-square-mile (78-square-kilometer) range. They are solitary and shy animals, seldom seen by humans.

Thus far I have been privileged to see two Mountain Lions in the Rocky Mountains. It is an eerie feeling to walk in an area where Mountain Lion tracks are plentiful and the scat piles are fresh. It will certainly raise the hair on the back of your neck. The scream of a Mountain Lion is certainly unforgettable once heard it will remain in your memory forever.

So You Want to Sharpen Your
Tools eh! So You Want to Sharpen Your Tools eh!  by JScoles

Ever wonder how a guy or gal does M11+?

Are they just stronger and more talented than me?

Most likely, yes, but they also have the special knowledge, that only an initiate of the 7th circle of the great sun sphere has. I know I will be cursed and spat upon by the likes of Will Gadd and Petra Müller for giving away trade secrets so read on and find out how to sharpen your tools so at least you no longer have that excuse.

First a few basics, I am going to show you how to remake your pick for mixed climbing. If you plan to stay on ice only don’t bother to read further. Just skip to the last paragraph or else you will turn your good ice pick into a mediocre ice pick.

Abalakov in history and in
ice Abalakov in history and in ice  by Liba Kopeckova

The Abalakov thread, or V-thread is ice protection named after Soviet climber Vitaly Abalakov. To know how to make a proper Abalakov (=v-thread) should be a requirement for anyone climbing multi-pitch ice routes. It is easy to create, it doesn’t require leaving expensive gear behind, e.g. rappeling on an ice screw, and it is very safe. I have used abalakov’s in anchors, even as an protection when running out of screws, and mostly it is used for rappel.

V-Threads are ultralight, and many times more convenient for rapid rappels descents than any other anchors, including rock anchors on alpine routes. And you don't need much equipment to build it - all you need is one ice screw (at least 17 cm in length, or longer), and something to thread with (threader, one technique even describes using a small nut).

It is great mountain safety invention. Thank you Mr. Abalakov...

Letter to an Old Friend Letter to an Old Friend  by Bob Sihler

There you were, bold against the snow in the Lamar Valley, ears erect, snout down, ready to pounce, listening for the self-betraying movement of your prey in its dug-out tunnels a few inches below.

You paid not a bit of attention to me. In one sense, I was glad; it's not worth getting the perfect picture of an animal if doing so means disrupting it, and such disruptions can be harmful or even fatal to the animal. But in another sense, I was a little saddened not to be acknowledged; some part of me, the part that thrives on feeling like a part of the pulse of the wilderness, craved your notice and subsequent acceptance-- not friendship but not fear, either-- just acceptance.

Pioneering Ship Rock Pioneering Ship Rock  by Brian C

This is a short piece I worked on about the history of climbing on Ship Rock. It was considered to be the last great challenge in North America and has a very vibrant history.

This is not meant to be exhaustive and should only serve as a brief introduction. I am by no means attempting to encourage climbing of any route on Ship Rock. At this moment the rock has been off-limits to climbers and has been closed for about 40 years. Please take this for what it is and nothing more. I hope you enjoy it.

Backing Off Backing Off  by Isaiah

I've pushed on uphill above treeline when it's pretty cloudy out, I've taken a 20 foot pendulum fall and then went on to finish the route in five more pitches, and I've summitted at 5PM more than I care to admit.

My attempt is to try and explain what goes into backing off a route. I'm also going to try and try and glorify retreating off routes because untold numbers are alive that made the right choice to head down before it was too late.

My most recent failure in the mountains was a failure to solo a grade one ice climb that I soloed the day before. I was just before the crux and I was looking at it and so many things were different. I had two ice axes instead of two ice tools like the day before. My axes weren't exactly sharp. My crampons weren't exactly sharp either.

The Science of Warmth The Science of Warmth  by Scott Dusek

There's a multitude of theories and personal preferences when it comes to staying warm. Possibly the only uniting factor amongst these hypotheses is that they share the same goal - fighting off the cold.

This article will explain the basic principles of what creates and maintains warmth.

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