Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feburary and March Climbing Events

-- February and March (ongoing) -- Various Locations -- North Face Movie Premier



-- February 6 -- Bellingham, WA -- Western Washington University: Veni. Vidi. Ascendi.


-- February 9 -- Bellingham, WA -- REI Ski Wild

-- February 12 -- Cody WY -- Wyoming Waterfall Ice Fest


-- February 19 -- Rancho Cordova CA -- Granite Arch Climbing Friday Flash Fest


-- February 20 -- Eugene OR -- University of Oregon Vertical Circus Climbing Competition


-- February 22 -- Evansville IN -- Vertical eXcape Climbing Center "Boulder Bash"


-- February 27 -- Seattle WA -- Stone Gardens Sport Climbing Series Comp


-- March 5 -- Dayton OH -- Wright University Adventure Summit


-- March 6 -- Warrenville IL -- Vertical Endeavors No Hold Barred


-- March 13 -- Fairfax, VA -- HERA Foundation Climb4Life


-- March 18 – Las Vegas, NV -- Banff Mountain Film Festival Tour


-- March 19-21 -- Red Rocks NV -- Red Rock Rendezvous

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Warrior - Videos to get you stoked

So lately in the office I've heard mention of aid climbing, or aiding past pitches on long routes. It has me somewhat interested in the techniques and systems involved in such endeavors. When I get interested in stuff, I generally turn to youtube to watch some videos of the activity in action. I was lead to this compilation video, which begins with an aid climber moving up a wall, and then unexpectedly coming right back down. I would've titled this post as "Videos to freak you out," but this guy seems absolutely stoked to take a fall. I can only hope to have this attitude about falling.



While I wrap my head around "enjoying" a fall, there are people out there actually ice climbing! Unlike the majority of the pacific northwest, there appears to be ice forming in the world, and people are climbing it. I'm willing to travel far for ice, but Italy seems a little far right now. Regardless, check out this video of some guys "warming up" on a WI5.

Dry tooling and Ice climbing in Gressoney, Aosta valley, Italy from s├ębastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Offwidths Series, Part One



OFFWIDTH PART 1.

Offwidth bouldering. “Why would you want to do that?” Dyan asked me. “Well, its fun. Kind of…” I answered, but inside I knew that answer was far from sufficient. Many rock climbers loathe offwidths, the dreaded spectrum of crack climbing too wide for fist jamming, but too small to get in and chimney. They can be painful, tedious, and quite frustrating, especially to a generation of climbers bred on face climbing and splitter cracks.

For me, this recent fascination with the wide has come from a goal of being a well-rounded climber. My first encounter with hard offwidths came in 2004, where a co-worker on an Outward Bound rock course in Vedauwoo, WY offered to belay me an a 5.11a. Since I was climbing 12a sport routes and 11 cracks in Indian Creek, I thought I had a chance. I was wrong. After aiding the 30 feet to get to the anchor and set up a toprope, several of us worked on the crack for an hour or so, much to the amusement of our students. It was an experience in pain and frustration, of not even remotely knowing how to climb it. Needlesss to say, offwidths got put on the back burner.

As Shunryu Suzuki writes in his book Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s, there are few.” Fast-forward to September 2008, Vedauwoo. I was ready to begin the learning process. After seeing several articles and lots of pictures of climbers like Bob Scarpelli, Pamela Pack, and Justin Edl offwidth bouldering in the ‘Voo, a friend and I decided to head there and try our hand at the “Dark Arts”, as he called it. We thought learning techniques a few feet off the ground would be safer, lacking the time and commitment of being on a rope. Two weeks, several rolls of tape, and one pair of Carhartts later, we felt like we had opened a whole new door of knowledge. We were rank beginners, despite our collective 25 years of climbing experience, and that may have been one of the most powerful experiences of my climbing career. Frustrating? Absolutely - but incredibly rewarding. It was just the beginning.

Winter 2009, Red Rock Canyon. I’m far from Vedauwoo, in the face-climbing mecca of Red Rock, but the desire to learn is still there. While there are a handful of offwidth routes here, it is still difficult to find partners for them, so I’ve back looking at the boulders. Between the excessively chalked-up, over-hyped crimp ladders, I’m seeing lines. Some new, some old. Maybe Joe Herbst, 70’s Red Rock pioneer and offwidth Jedi Master, played on them at some time. Maybe not. Most are new-school offwidths, overhanging cracks and roof cracks, that use Leavittation, (a hand-stacking/leg-locking technique developed by CA climbers Randy Leavitt and Tony Yaniro) to ascend them. In any case, they provide more great learning opportunities – a place to be a beginner once again.

The following pictures are from the problem Born to Bleed (5.10+ V2), Red Rock Canyon. FA – Scott Massey, 12/09. In the Vedauwoo tradition, crack boulder problems are given a YDS grade and a V-grade, so I decided to stick with that. The name is a reference to a song I was listening to at the time I was working it, as well as the result of two days of trying this roof crack without tape gloves. The rock is somewhat abrasive (90 grit or so…), and hanging off hand-fist stacks will test anyone’s pain tolerance. I finally unlocked the crux sequence on my sixth day of working it. The movement is actually quite fun, and very cerebral. All photos by AAI guide Viren Perumal. I hope you enjoy them!

Scott Massey
AAI Lead Guide, Red Rock Program



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Alaska Range from the Air - Black and White Photos of Alaska's Biggest Mountain Range

Since 1999 I have been to the Alaska Range five times. Over those five trips I have taken numerous photo flights over the range. I am currently putting together a slide show with my photos from Alaska trips, this group of photos will be my next art show. This group of photos show the Alaska Range from the air and some of the planes that I have now spent quite a bit of time photographing from. None of these photos would have been possible without K2 Aviation so if you are looking to do a flight to the Alaska Range give them a call.

The Aircraft...
A Beaver sits on the tarmac in Talkeetna in the rain. No flights on this day.


An Otter on the Kahiltna Glacier.

A Otter makes a late flight into Kahiltna base camp

A Beaver Engine
Not all of the flying in the Alaska goes as planned.
The Alaska Range...


The Glaciers...

The glaciers really make some of the best subjects when flying in the Alaska Range. Even when the clouds are hiding the peaks there are always interesting glacier patterns to photograph.









The Climbers...

One thing that always adds interest to the glaciers are the added patterns of human presence. From the huge runway in the snow next to the busy camp of the Kahiltna Base, to a solitary track weaving through crevasses, these added patterns make some of my favorite photos.





The Mountains...

The mountains of the range make up some of the steepest, largest and most beautiful mountains in the world.

Mount Hunters north face

The Moose's ToothMount Foraker

Mt. Foraker as the early morning moisture dissipates.
Mount Hunter.

A ridge somewhere between the Kahiltna and Ruth Glaciers.
An unknown peak somewhere in the range.
Denali from the south.

Gold Creek drainage.
Small peaks at the base of the range.
Peaks in the lower Ruth Gorge
The summit of Mt. Hunter pokes through the clouds.
The Cassin Ridge on Denali

Mount Hunter's summit


--Alasdair Turner, AAI Instructor and Guide

Monday, January 25, 2010

Urban Dictionary Definition - MountainSexual

Yep, the urban dictionary has defined us...

MountainSexual


Similar to metrosexual, but one who lives in the mountains or otherwise pursues the outdoors adventure lifestyle. Kind of a cleaned-up granola, a woodsy GQ kinda' guy with a splash of bohemian. Knows that he doesn't have to look or smell like a dirtbag to enjoy climbing, hiking, cycling, skiing, (all forms), snowshoeing, etc. Progably reads Men's Journal, Outside, and Alpinist. Brands: Patagonia, Keen, Kuhl, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Mountain Khakis. Stong environmental ethic. Drives a well-maintained truck, performance SUV, or cross-over when absolutely necessary but walks or rides a bicycle whenever possible. Works out at the gym, but primarily to be in shape for outdoor pursuits. Shuns chain stores and shops.


"For such an outdoorsy guy, that dude sure has great style."

"Yeah, he's a veritable MountainSexual!"


It's funny because it's true...

--Jason D. Martin

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January and February Climbing Events

--January 23 -- San Luis Obispo, CA -- Bishop Peak Adopt-a-Crag

--January 23 -- Superior, WI -- Rock On

--January 26 -- Walla Walla, WA -- Banff Film Festival

--January 29 -- Jeffersonville, VT -- Smuggs Ice Bash

--January 30 -- Boston, MA -- Heart of Steel Bouldering Comp

-- Feburary 5 -- Marquette MI -- Michigan Ice Festival

-- February 5 -- Canmore AB, Canada -- Glitter Girls on Ice

-- February 6 -- Mechanicsburg PA -- Climbnasium's "Frost Bite" Competition

-- February 7 -- Akron OH --University of Akron Bouldering Competition

-- February 12 -- Cody WY --Wyoming Waterfall Ice Fest

-- February 19 -- Rancho Cordova CA -- Granite Arch Climbing Center "Friday Flash Fest #3"

-- February 20 -- Eugene OR -- University of Oregon Vertical Circus Climbing Competition

-- February 22 -- Evansville IN -- Vertical eXcape Climbing Center "Boulder Bash"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Warrior - Videos to get you stoked

Here at the institute, we are all about reaching personal goals, whatever that may be. For some that may mean sending their latest project, for others it may be putting up a first ascent in the Himalayas. Personally, I'm just happy if I can get out and touch some rock every day. That's why I found this video inspiring, as it is of a guy who's happy to be "living the dream," and filming it quite artistically.

My Day "Living the Dream" from renan ozturk on Vimeo.

There are some people out there though, that see working a project as "cheating techniques." To these individuals, living them dream means living for the onsight. There is a thrill that is undeniable about getting on a route you've never been on before and shooting for the clean send. These guys are really pushing themselves to the point of falling.



Friday, January 22, 2010

Cascades Sunset





These images of sunset on the Cascades tonight are from AAI friend and great photographer Keith Gunnar.  These are taken from Keith's home on Whidbey Island, just a little south of Bellingham and Mt. Erie.

DG


How to Build a V-Thread Ice Anchor


You've just completed a spectacular ice climb. Everything went smoothly the entire way. But now you're three pitches off the deck and you don't want to leave anything behind on your descent. There is a way to do this and it is surprisingly simple.

The V-thread -- also known as the Abalakov anchor -- is a simple technique wherein one simply links two holes bored in the ice together and then threads a cord through, the cord is then tied-off and used as an anchor.

Following is a short video on how to do this with a single ice screw:



It's not a bad idea to back-up an ice anchor before rappelling. This article provides some tips as to how one might back-up a V-thread.

It's a good idea to practice this on the ground before employing it in a descent. Though this is conceptually simple, it can be difficult to line up the bore holes. This is definitely not something that you want to use for the first time in a raging snowstorm as it's starting to get dark.

--Jason D. Martin

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nine Lessons from Rock Climbing

Recently this video has been making its rounds on the web. The piece is from a motivational speaking conference sponsored by TED -- a motivational speaker agency -- and features Matthew Childs, a former climbing guide.

Matthew Childs is a specialist in digital branding and interactive services. According to his biography, Childs seeks out new trends in competitive markets. As an advertising lead at Razorfish, he draws from extensive experience in the marketing world, having led Nike's global internal communications department. Before that, he was a writer and editor for Outside Magazine and Playboy.

In this video, the speaker relates nine lessons learned in rock climbing to the "real world." Though the video was created for non-climbers, Childs uses enough climbing lingo that it's likely that climbers will get the most out of his insights.



--Jason D. Martin

Monday, January 18, 2010

Basic Rock Technique

The Mountaineers Club has put together a very nice little video that provides some tips and techniques for the beginning level climber. The following video does a pretty good job with its description of:
  • Face Climbing
  • Edging and Smearing
  • Downclimbing
  • Steep Terrain
  • The Mantle Technique
  • The Bear Hug Technique
  • Opposing Forces
  • Stemming
  • The Lieback Technique
  • Use of a Backstep
  • The Undercling Technique
  • The Heelhook
  • Friction Climbing
  • Hand Traverse
In seven and a half minutes, the video quickly demonstrates each of the techniques. And while they don't go into depth on any one technique, the do present a nice overview for those who are just starting out.



--Jason D. Martin

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January and February Climbing Events

--January 14-17 -- Crested Butte, CO -- High Adventure: Ice and Ski

--January 16 -- Bloomington, IL -- 15th Annual Hangdog Jamboree

--January 16-17 -- Saas Grund, Switzerland -- UIAA European Ice Climbing Youth Championship

-- January 16 -- Everett MA-- Metro Rock Hosts ABS Regionals - Newburyport

--January 16-17 -- Val Daone, Italy -- UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing

--Janyary 22-23 -- Saas Fee, Switzerland -- UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing

--January 23 -- San Luis Obispo, CA -- Bishop Peak Adopt-a-Crag

--January 23 -- Superior, WI -- Rock On

--January 26 -- Walla Walla, WA -- Banff Film Festival

--January 29 -- Jeffersonville, VT -- Smuggs Ice Bash

--January 30 -- Boston, MA -- Heart of Steel Bouldering Comp


-- Feburary 5 -- Marquette MI -- Michigan Ice Festival


-- February 5 -- Canmore AB, Canada -- Glitter Girls on Ice


-- February 6 -- Mechanicsburg PA -- Climbnasium's "Frost Bite" Competition


-- February 7 -- Akron OH --University of Akron Bouldering Competition


-- February 12 -- Cody WY --Wyoming Waterfall Ice Fest


-- February 19 -- Rancho Cordova CA -- Granite Arch Climbing Center "Friday Flash Fest #3"


-- February 20 -- Eugene OR -- University of Oregon Vertical Circus Climbing Competition


-- February 22 -- Evansville IN -- Vertical eXcape Climbing Center "Boulder Bash"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Warrior - Videos to get you scared

So ski season is in full session here in the North Cascades. Many of you may be seeking the thrill of skiing in the back country. With that however, comes the ever present danger of avalanches. Many skiers head out without a proper understanding of the dangers of avalanches, and how sudden they happen. We thought we would share a video of some back country users who found themselves in the unfortunate situation of being overcome by an avalanche. Luckily for us, the cameras were rolling and we can try and learn from their mistakes.



There are a few ways to mitigate the dangers of avalanches. One way includes using the proper gear while skiing in the back country. This may include using a pack like the Black Diamond Avalung. The skier in the video below uses one, and it aides in his rescue. Another method may be to take an AIARE Avalanche Level 1 course with us, here at the American Alpine Institute.

Avalanche Burial with Black Diamond AvaLung from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Dangers of a Hot Rappel Device on a Rope

While researching a topic for the blog, I found this very interesting video. A couple of guides go to the Sterling Rope Factory to test how heat on belay/rappel devices impact ropes...

A little bit disconcerting...



The dangerous situation that the guide in the video describes is very unlikely. It is extremely unlikely that each climber's device will stop at the exact same point. However, knowing that this is an issue is a good thing. While the situation is unlikely, that doesn't mean it's impossible. Being aware of the potential problem could help keep it from becoming reality.

--Jason D. Martin

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Winter Gear Sale at AAI!

Hey there skiers and snowshoers! Here at AAI we want to do everything we can to get you out there in the backcountry! If you lack that certain piece of gear, you are always welcome to rent it from us. Why rent it though, when you pick up some new schwag from our Winter Gear Sale! We have items ranging from 20%-30% off which will get you out in the snow faster than an avalanche will sweep you off your feet!I don't know about you, but I could use new pair of snow shoes!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Red Rock Rendezvous UClimb with AAI

2010 RED ROCK RENDEZVOUS OFFERS “INTRO TO CLIMBING: UCLIMB”

Red Rock Canyon Climbing Event Gives Opportunity to Beginning Climbers

Las Vegas, Nev. – The seventh annual “Mountain Gear Presents: Red Rock Rendezvous” (RRR) rock climbing festival will again offer a special “Intro to Climbing: UClimb” day designed for less experienced climbers and those who have never attempted the difficulty levels of the Red Rock Canyon. The intro day will be held on Friday, March 19 and will be hosted by UClimb, an organization designed to teach all ages how to rock climb in comfortable, small-group settings with other amateur climbers. The full-day introduction clinics will teach climbing fundamentals to succeed at the Red Rocks and other outdoor settings.

The introductory clinics will take place in an intimate clinic setting by professional guides from the American Alpine Institute who are also some of the world’s most accomplished climbers. “Intro” participants will then be able to enjoy one full day and one half day throughout the weekend. There will also be an optional gear package that will include harness, helmet, shoes, belay device, carabineer, chalk bag and a membership to the Access Fund. The gear package with the “Intro” day and the weekend climbing clinics is $349.

RRR will take place at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas on March 19-21 to benefit The Access Fund, a climbing and environmentally focus organization, and other local and national non-profit organizations. This year’s event is limited to the first 1,000 registrants and early registration is recommended. To register, visit www.RedRockRendezvous.com <http://www.RedRockRendezvous.com/> .

For the first time, RRR will also offer an intro to mountain biking clinic on Friday, March 19 that will teach basic biking skills and how to read off road trails. This Friday clinic along with the Saturday and Sunday climbing clinics will be $159 and will include the rental of a mountain bike provided by Specialized Bikes. Red Rock Rendezvous will also offer beginner, intermediate and advanced mountain biking clinics as part of the Saturday and Sunday clinic schedule.

The festival will also offer clinics for advanced and intermediate climbers on Saturday and Sunday. Registration is $99 per person for the Saturday and Sunday events, and $179 per person for the Friday “Intro to Climbing: UClimb” day and Saturday and Sunday clinic combo (without the gear package). Registration includes the Friday night opening celebration, a dinner buffet on Saturday night, demos, comps and mini-seminars by event sponsors, slideshow and movie on Friday night, a blow-out party on Saturday night, pancake breakfast Sunday morning and service projects to assist in the environmental conservation of the Red Rock Canyon and Spring Mountain.

All of the festival activities, outside of the climbing clinics, will take place at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park located approximately 10 minutes from the entrance to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This year’s Red Rock Rendezvous participant camping will be at Bonnie Springs, one mile south of Spring Mountain Ranch. The festival will be running a shuttle bus between the campground and the festival locations throughout the event.

Event proceeds will benefit The Access Fund, a national non-profit organization dedicated to keeping climbing areas open and conserving the climbing environment. Other benefiting organizations include the American Safe Climbing Association, the American Alpine Club, Friends of Red Rocks and the Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council.

For additional information, call 800.829.2009 or visit www.RedRockRendezvous.com <http://www.RedRockRendezvous.com/> .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crampon Technique for Ice Climbing

It is said again and again in rock climbing, "use your feet." Unsuprisingly, it is also said over and over again in ice climbing. Good foot technique is the core to overall good climbing technique.

Ice climbers don't have as many options as rock climbers. When an ice climber is on a frozen waterfall, there are only a few things that she can do to use her feet. She can frontpoint (the German technique), she can use the American technique or she can use the French technique.

Following is a simple breakdown of these techniques as they pertain to ice climbing.

Frontpointing

In mountaineering, we try to avoid frontpointing as much as possible. This is because it wears out the calves quickly. In waterfall ice climbing, it is incredibly difficult to avoid this technique. Indeed, most of the climbing that one will do on steep and vertical ice will require frontpointing.

In this photo, the climber's feet are splayed out and he is frontpointing on steep ice.
Photo by Kurt Hicks


Proper frontpointing requires that not only the front two spikes are engaged, but that the second set of teeth are also engaged. To do this, a climber must drop her heels. This allows the secondary spikes to bite into the ice.

In this frontpointing photo, it is possible to see that the climber has dropped his heels.
Photo by Kurt Hicks


Ice climbing requires a tremendous amount of calf strength. One of the best things that you can do to prepare for an ice trip is to train your calf muscles for extended periods of use. You could also do your best to limit the amount of time you spend on your frontpoints...

American Technique

The American Technique is a great way to rest your calves while ice climbing. It is quite common for people to get fixated on frontpointing and not to take rests. The American technique allows for rests.

American Technique Demonstrated on Glacier Ice
Photo by Jason Martin


This technique, also referred to as Pied Troisieme, requires one foot to be placed with the frontpoints engaged while the other food is flat in a French position. French technique is essentially a technique wherein the spikes on the bottom of the crampons are fully engaged on the ice.

French Technique

Fully engaged crampons do not work the legs anywhere near as hard as techniques that require frontpoints to be engaged. As stated above, French technique is a way to avoid overuse of your calves.

The simplest way to explain French Technique is that the feet stay flat. All points are in the ice. If you can do this on steepish terrain, then this will really allow you to rest. Indeed, areas where you can employ this technique are also some of the best for placing ice screws. Never ignore an opportunity to rest if it allows you to get gear, this can be scarce on ice climbs sometimes...

A few months ago, we did an entire article on French Technique and the use of the Cross-Over Step. To read that article, click here.

Whenever you ice climb, think about your feet. But don't just think about them as cold lumps that might help you through the climb, but instead as a dynamic part of your body. If you always think of them as dynamic, it is far more likely that you will be able to use them in an effective way.

--Jason D. Martin

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dawn Glanc Takes Third in Ouray!

AAI guide Dawn Glanc took third in the Ouray Ice Festival over the weekend. Following is an article by Chuck Slothower about the event from the Durango Herald. To see the original article, click here.


OURAY - Dawn Glanc was hoping to repeat. The Ouray resident, who was 2009 Ouray Ice Festival women's champion, was gearing up for her climb.

Did Glanc, an experienced ice climber, perhaps have some butterflies?


“Yes," she said. “Lots of them."


Glanc was one of 24 competitors at the 15th annual Ouray Ice Festival. Climbers descend into deep ravines and slowly climb up, using ice axes and crampons.


Every competitor climbs the same route, about 100 feet up a wall of ice. Climbers have 20 minutes to advance as far as they can.


“The goal is to get to the top," Glanc said. “Not everybody does."


As the climbers methodically worked their way up masses of icicles in Ouray's Box Canyon, fans watching from bridges cheered them on.


Besides the competitions, the ice festival hosted children's and adult ice-climbing clinics, 50 vendors' tents and an estimated 5,000 spectators. Live music, a film and a superhero party were scheduled for Saturday night.


Jeff Lowe, a renowned mountaineer, started the Ouray Ice Festival 15 years ago.


“People just showed up and climbed," said director Erin Eddy.


Since then, the ice festival “has become an international type of event," Eddy said.


But it is the competition, bringing climbers from around the world, that is the festival's centerpiece.


“This is the biggest and best ice festival that's held in the United States," said Glanc. “All the other ice festivals try to be like this one."


The crowds of novices far outnumbered the competitors.


Mike Young of Abilene, Texas, arrived at the ice festival by happenstance.


“We were on a road trip through Arizona and Utah, and we heard about it in Flagstaff and thought we would check it out," Young said. “We're trying the Easy Ice clinic."


Young was impressed by the atmosphere.


“I might just have to move here," he said.


Another novice climber, Sheldon Kerr, was trying out her new gear.


“I'm a new kid on the ice scene," she said. “I've been climbing for a total of about 10 days."


Kerr recently moved from Haines, Alaska, to Silverton, where she works as a Silverton Mountain ski guide.


“I bought myself a set-up, made some friends and now I climb three days a week," she said.


Eddy said the festival is particularly proud of the kids clinics that each year teach about 200 children the rudiments of ice climbing.


“That's really developed over the years," he said.


Josh Wharton of Rifle repeated Saturday as men's champion. Ines Papert of Germany won the women's division.


As for Glanc, she did not repeat as champion but finished in third place in the women's competition.


“That's pretty darn good," she said. “I'm pretty happy with that."


The Bowline

The Canadian Guide Mike Barter is getting funnier and more creative with every video he makes. In one of his most recent videos, he covered the bowline and the bowline on a bite. And he did it all dressed like a cowboy...

Perhaps the best line of this video is when he says that a bowline is "strong enough to pull a snowboarder off his sister."



There are a couple of things that I'd like to add to this excellent video.

In addition to what Mike demonstrated, we are now teaching the double-bowline in the curriculum for the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor course. This knot is quite a bit stronger than a single bowline and not as easily untied due to cyclic loading.

Mike repeatedly states that he doesn't want to see people tie-in with a bowline. You may be aware that there is a trend in the sport climbing community wherein people tie in with a double-bowline. There are two big problems with this. The first is that many climbers don't use this technique to tie-in and will not be able to check their partner adequately. And second, if there is a problem in the knot, it is far more likely to fail than a figure-eight follow-through.

There have been a few high-profile accidents with people using a double-bowline for their tie-in. These accidents could have been avoided if the individuals simply used the industry standard figure-eight and checked each other out...

The bowline is a very important knot. And as Mike said in the video, it could even be considered a king of the knots. But when all is said and done, it really should only be used for anchoring to boulders and trees.

--Jason D. Martin

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January and February Climbing Events

--January 7-9 -- Kirov, Russia -- UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing

--January 7-10 -- Ouray, CO -- Ouray Ice Festival

--January 8 -- Carbondale, CO -- ABS Competition

--January 9 -- Cranbrook, BC -- Banff Film Festival

--January 10 -- Invermere, BC -- Banff Film Festival

--January 14-17 -- Crested Butte, CO -- High Adventure: Ice and Ski

--January 16 -- Bloomington, IL -- 15th Annual Hangdog Jamboree

--January 16-17 -- Saas Grund, Switzerland -- UIAA European Ice Climbing Youth Championship

-- January 16 -- Everett MA-- Metro Rock Hosts ABS Regionals - Newburyport

--January 16-17 -- Val Daone, Italy -- UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing

--Janyary 22-23 -- Saas Fee, Switzerland -- UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing

--January 23 -- San Luis Obispo, CA -- Bishop Peak Adopt-a-Crag

--January 23 -- Superior, WI -- Rock On

--January 26 -- Walla Walla, WA -- Banff Film Festival

--January 29 -- Jeffersonville, VT -- Smuggs Ice Bash

--January 30 -- Boston, MA -- Heart of Steel Bouldering Comp

-- Feburary 5 -- Marquette MI -- Michigan Ice Festival


-- February 5 -- Canmore AB, Canada -- Glitter Girls on Ice


-- February 6 -- Mechanicsburg PA -- Climbnasium's "Frost Bite" Competition


-- February 7 -- Akron OH --University of Akron Bouldering Competition


-- February 12 -- Cody WY --Wyoming Waterfall Ice Fest


-- February 19 -- Rancho Cordova CA -- Granite Arch Climbing Center "Friday Flash Fest #3"


-- February 20 -- Eugene OR -- University of Oregon Vertical Circus Climbing Competition


-- February 22 -- Evansville IN -- Vertical eXcape Climbing Center "Boulder Bash"

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekend Warrior - Videos to get you stoked

So I know its snowing out there and there is skiing to be done, which is exactly my plan, but if you dont ski and are looking forward towards getting out and climbing as soon as it warms up then I bet you will enjoy this video trailer from Black Diamond.

Crackoholic trailer (English text) from Jonas Paulsson on Vimeo.


Also this weekend is the 2010 Ouray Ice Festival. Last year AAI guide Dawn Glanc won the womens side of the competition. Below is a video from last year that gives ya'll an idea of what the festival and competition is all about.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Avalanche Awarness - Proper Probing Technique

The following video is the second in a three-part series put together by backcountry access.

Once again, I'd like to state the importance of having proper avalanche training before traveling into the winter backcountry. And proper training doesn't come from a two-minute video.



--Jason D. Martin

Monday, January 4, 2010

Avalanche Awareness - Beacon Search

The guys at Backcountry Access have put together a small series of videos on travel in avalanche terrain. This week we will present each of their videos to you.

It is important to realize that videos such as this only graze the surface of avalanche preparedness. Every winter backcountry traveler should take an avalanche class and then spend time practicing what they learned in the class...



--Jason Martin

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Weekend Warrior -- Videos to get you stoked!

Happy New Year! Everyone from AAI hopes that these videos get the stoke started for 2010.
Adios 2009, you've been a good year.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Ice Tool Placement

Happy New Year! I suspect that most of you reading this are doing so late in the afternoon while trying to shake the remnants of last night's party out of your head.

And what better way to kill a hangover than to go ice climbing. Now that you all have those snazzy new ice tools that you got for Christmas, it's time to learn how to use them!

The following video is a great tutorial for both novice and intermediate ice climbers alike. There is nothing more important than a good stick for a climber on steep terrain. Every stick should be considered a hold and must support your bodyweight.



The one thing that should be added to this video is one's need to trust the leash on the tool. If you have a leash on your ice tool then you should allow it to support your weight as much as possible. If you don't do this, then your forearms will flame out much more quickly on steep terrain.

--Jason D. Martin