The Snowpack, Where We are Now...
(Photo Above: Mid January at Alta's Peruvian Lodge. Dude! Where's my car?) This season the snow has piled up in the Cottonwood Canyons. It's looking very white up there at the moment! We had a cool and dry (overall) start to the season in October and November, which created weak, sugary snow near the ground and an impetus for avalanche activity. Since Christmas, however, we have had a series of large storms, which have really piled up! Avalanche hazard rose significantly duri
Learn From the Mistakes of Others
Regardless of how fun climbing is, for climbers just ending the day safe and unharmed is the ultimate goal. All else is a bonus. With routine climbing practices it is easy to cut corners in the order of ease or out of impatience but as many veteran climbers can attest to, safety in the long run comes from routine safe practices. Although much of the time extra steps or formalized motions may seem excessive they certainly can help ensure safety through the years. Belay command
What's Different about Trad Climbing?
Traditional climbing has a reputation for scaring climbers new to it. Suddenly it is up to the climber to find the way now, no bolts lead the way anymore and it's important to stay on route, as climbing off route is a journey into the unknown. Trad climbers must place appropriate protection themselves, while the possibilities for protection may not always be good. Difficulty ratings are notoriously stiff (on historic trad routes) and climbs can be long to the point where just
Start Trad Climbing Early
Increasingly, new climbers are entering the sport of climbing by starting off indoors or at a local sport climbing crags. Usually climbers first climb on a top-rope then over time they may have the courage and skill to try their hands at leading a pitch. The vast and ever-growing availability of these types of climbing venues is terrific for the growth and recognition of the sport as a whole but it seems many climbers are left unprepared for a transition to traditional climbi
Sport Climbing Anchor Transition Woes
In my observation one common stumbling point for climbers of a surprisingly wide base of experience is that of safely and efficiently setting and cleaning sport-climbs. In theory the process is easy but the reality of the situation is that many climbers unintentionally expose themselves or their partners to large degrees of unnecessary risk, time after time, without realizing the magnitude of the risk they are exposing themselves to. I will not go into the nitty-gritty of a