Archive for the ‘climbing’ Category

Pre race pump up.

Jo jo

This past fall, I worked for the title sponsor (Grand Dynamics International) of the Ultimate Towner obstacle course race to build and run two of their races on the East Coast. One in Lake Placid up in the Adirondack Mountains, and one in Syracuse, New York. This was a blast.  Basically the race is 4 miles over varying terrain with 25 obstacles (mud pits, walls, more walls, tires, sand bag carries, balance beams, etc) that add up to one challenging course. There are two heats: a fast class (where you are timed and must complete every obstacle) and a fun class (which is as the name implies, for fun.)

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The main thing that distinguishes the Ultimate Towner from say, Tough Mudder, or Warrior Dash, is that they hold the races primarily in small towns, focus on overcoming obstacles through teamwork and passion, get the community involved, and a part of the profits go to a local charity. It is a super fun and inspirational event. Tim Walther (pictured in white, above), president of Grand Dynamics, starts off the race with a large group pump up/ dance/ aerobic work out craziness and it goes on from there. The race is open to all ages, and I think we had a two year old on the course at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid.

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So yeah. Lot’s of fun. Great people. Hard race. What more do you want. Oh yeah, also, cheaper than the other races too. So register for one near you. Or travel to it. The one in Jackson, WY is awesome. Be sure to check out the links up top for more info on races near you. Here’s some more pics from the New York races:

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Tuffy Slacklining at Whiteface Mt.

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The Over Under Through walls, in the beautiful Adirondacks

 

Teton traverse wall

Teton traverse wall

 

At mile 3, that's a tough climb!

At mile 3, that’s a tough climb!

The "Love Life" wall

The “Love Life” wall

 

Overcome your Obstacles

Overcome your Obstacles

 

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Potato sack race obstacle

Racers get a fun spray down from a young spectator!

Racers get a fun spray down from a young spectator!

I’m finally switching pocketknives, from an old Colt to a brand new CRKT M21-14. Courtesy of my cousin who got it for me for Christmas. In return for a sharp pointy metal thing, I got him the same: a Black diamond express ice screw. For our ice climbing adventures. For the last few years, I’ve taken to wearing my Leatherman Wave on my hip at all times. But sometimes I’m just in the mood to carry a straight-up knife. And this is quite a knife.

Break-in

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My garage was broken into last night. Whoever did it had vehicular support because they stole my lawnmower, my 80 lb. truck jack, and saddest of all, my bike. Now I can’t ride around the neighborhood with my son on the back in his child carrier. (one of my favorite pastimes). They did my nextdoor neighbor’s garage too and got their mower as well. The garage door was padlocked, and the two side windows were boarded up, but they stood on a trash can and broke in the rear window, taking it entirely out of the frame.

If you have ever had a break-in, you know how it feels. Awful. You feel violated. You feel watched, like they might just come back the minute your back is turned. You feel regret at the things you lost. You feel apprehension at having to report all this to the police and your homeowners insurance. You feel stupid for having a $1,000 deductible. You feel ineffective at keeping your home and family safe. So what do I do now?

I made a list of things missing and their replacement cost. $2,090. I boarded up the back window, and changed the padlock around so that someone from the outside can’t access the screws. What else? Reassess security.

Please do this now before it’s too late for you. Go outside. Now look at your house/ garage/ property with a burglar’s eyes. Where would you break in? What looks like the easiest way or the weakest area? What is stored where? Thankfully all my expensive rock/ice climbing equipment was left untouched, due to the thief’s ignorance. But you may not be so fortunate. Go out to your garage and write down the serial numbers of the most expensive things there. I did not do this to my bike, much to my frustration. Keep this list in a safe place. Realize that if someone really wants to get in, they will, but do not make it easy for them. A single-pane window held in by rusty nails ended up being the weak link in my garage. Make sure you know yours, and then do something about it so that this does not happen to you.

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A few nights ago, I heard the sound that new parents fear in the middle of the night. A big bump, and then crying. Andrew climbed out of his crib in the middle of the night. I threw the covers off and ran in to find him lying on the floor, crying and shaken, but no worse for wear, at least as far as I could tell. Just about a month ago, I lowered the mattress to it’s lowest setting so climbing out would be harder for him. Obviously, it didn’t take him long to find a way to power up and over the railing. I mean, the top of the rail is still at chest height on him. I thought that would be enough. It wasn’t.

So we made the decision that we would rather deal with a new crib set-up and an altered bedtime routine (again) than have him fall out of the crib for a second time. I measured where the new rail would be, and Lydia got the old bumper rail that went on her bunk beds from her parents. I think it turned out rather well. I just need to stain it to match the color. Andrew can climb in and out and there are cushions there if he falls out. The bad part is that now he can climb out of bed and walk into our room.

We just got him used to falling asleep on his own by using the progressive waiting method. (one of the best thing we have done, by the way) Now, his routine is changed, but he won’t be falling four feet down onto hardwood floors anymore either.

img_1684For any home owner who lives where it’s cold, this is not a good sight. I don’t know if you can tell scale from the picture but that ice dam is about one foot thick at least. So I finally borrowed a ladder from my Dad and climbed up there and chopped it off.

The best tool to use is an ice tool (ice axe used for ice climbing) mountaineering ice axes work pretty well, but a tool specifically designed for vertical ice climbing is prime. These things rock. Where I might be able to shatter a few inches off with a sledge hammer, or wood axe, I can break off chunks several feet wide and deep with my ice tools. And now we don’t need to worry about leaks.

Here is a picture of my tools in the backside of a waterfall:

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I believe I can finally say I found the solution to my cameras doing badly on my various adventures.img_14961

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This is my new Pelican Case! I now have a waterproof, moisture-proof, crush-proof place to store my video camera. There are also spots for: an extra battery, my phone, an extra tape, and my Canon Elph as well. I got this because my video camera has seen some rough times over the years documenting my various adventures. Whether it was filming surfing on the beach during a hurricane (wind, salt water, sand) to filming ice climbing in the high peaks (wind, snow, freezing temps) to snowboarding (sudden falls, being buried in snow) to whitewater kayaking (water, snow, river slime). Hopefully this precaution will prevent some of the extensive maintenance I have had to do with this camera. The lens has frozen shut twice and the zoom was stuck from a combination of salt and moisture.

The Presidentials 5-4-04

Snow sifted down through the screen mesh in the tent. Outside, the wind howled past the rock we were huddled against. There isn’t much forgiveness for being slow in the mountains. As we lay shivering in our sleeping bags, I contemplated on what brought me here in there first place. (more…)