Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Three Things Thursday. Issue #19

The entire Perumal family. City of Rocks. September 30, 2016
  • The growing Perumal family pictured above climbs more pitches with a baby in tow than your average simple climbing partnership. How do they do it? With creaky joints and a recent baby delivery, respectively, it can't necessarily be credited to incredible physical fitness (though they're no slouches in that department, and I mean no disparagement...). They also make sure to apply modern, conservative safety systems. So their accomplishments aren't due to reckless boldness. No, it's quite simply a combination of three basic principles: 
    • First, they have professional-level training. They've each taken a number of formal climbing courses, over years now. 
    • Next, they climb together a lot. They share a common vocabulary (born of their respective formalized training) and common goals and objectives for the day and for their climbing careers. 
    • Finally, they are together and individually motivated. They each climb for their own reasons, but they have that burning desire. They like climbing individually, and they like climbing together. It's not rocket science, but these three principles are remarkably lacking, and people's performance suffers. 

Cube Point, Grand Teton National Park. October 4, 2016
  • Shifting to the alpine... It's supposed to be rock climbing season. But I have quite the fascination with alpine climbing. I'm not tough, I'm not strong, I'm just fascinated. I get cold, I get scared, but I dig it. Speaking of getting cold, my feet are a wreck. When others are in flip flops, I feel like I should be in insulated boots. In lots of "three season" alpine climbing conditions many people get away with uninsulated mountaineering boots. Shoes like the Garmont Tower LX GTX are the most popular category of mountaineering boots on the market. They walk well, they rock climb well, and they take crampons for snow and basic ice climbing. Catch is, they're uninsulated. The next step up, in most manufacturers' boot lines, are insulated, but rigid, ice climbing boots. These can be pressed into duty for colder three season use, but they aren't ideal. Thankfully, my business partner Garmont makes just the ticket for those of us with cold feet. The Tower Extreme is basically an insulated version of your typical three season mountaineering boot. The rubber is sticky, the toe is low profile, and the sole is flexible for walking. I just guided a very autumnal (read, "snowy") ascent of Grand Teton National Park's Cube Point in the Tower Extreme. My feet stayed largely warm, and surely dry. In lighter boots, I would have been uncomfortably cold. 
Targhee. October 5, 2016.
  • Rock, alpine, let's wrap with something skiing related. I skied this morning! Earliest start to a ski season ever for me. And it was very good skiing!  As you look ahead to the ski season, its time to look ahead to whatever's next in your avalanche education. And what is next for you (and something should be next... we all can always keep learning) is likely informed by a bit of a "sea change" in the business. Partner Backcountry Access has published a summary of the coming change. It's a good change, and IFMGA Mountain Guide Rob Coppolillo spells it out very well. Here. 

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