Forum Posts

Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
May 16, 2022
In NAC Adventure Weekly Archive
Each day, thousands of people head off into the woods, up the mountains, or across a desert. Where you are going, what you'll be doing, and how long you will be there will dictate how you should pack for the trip. But, in the name of safety and preparedness, there are some essentials you should never leave home without. Today we will look at the "Ten Essentials", the basics which can make or break your trip; to put it mildly. Wondering what to bring hiking? Even if you’re only planning to be out for a few hours on a day hike, it’s important to pack some essential items. Weather can change quickly outdoors, and something as simple as a rolled ankle might mean you’re out longer than expected. The essentials for hiking and camping (or any activity in the backcountry) are often called “The 10 Essentials.” The 10 essentials list below is adapted from Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, which groups the essentials into systems. Before You Start Packing Look at the large selection of packs in any outdoor store and you’ll see there are dozens of styles to choose from. Some are designed for specific activities like mountain biking or trail running, some are more versatile and will adapt to different adventures. Think of how you’ll use the pack most often, and if you’ll need it to function for one activity or many. The 10 Essentials (Plus 1): 1. Navigation Bring a topographic map and a compass. If you also carry a GPS, it’s still important that you know how to navigate by map and compass. An altimeter is optional but useful, since it gives your approximate elevation to help you figure out your location on the map. Make sure maps are in a waterproof case. 2. Nutrition Ever get hangry? It’s not fun – especially if you’re delayed or are dealing with an outdoor emergency. Bring extra food, like high-energy bars and dry food that could get you through one extra day. (And if someone forgets their lunch, you’ll be the food hero.) 3. Hydration Carry water and additional water (about 1–2L more as a general guideline, though this varies greatly depending on weather and scenario) to cover you for extra time outside. Some people bring water bottles while others prefer a hydration bladder. A way to treat water – like tablets or filters – is also a good idea. Electrolyte drink crystals are highly recommended. 4. Sun Protection Sunscreen is a good start – also remember sunglasses, lip balm, a hat with a nice wide brim, and clothing that provides protection from the sun’s rays. Even if there’s snow on the ground, you can still get sunburned. 5. Insulation Even if it seems warm at the trailhead, you should always carry extra clothing. Weather can change quickly and unpredictably, especially in the mountains or if you end up out longer than planned. Dry clothes can be the difference between a few laughs and hypothermia. Think: jacket, gloves, hat, extra socks and waterproof outer layers. Tip: Learn about clothing layers for being active outside. 6. Illumination Each person in your group should have their own LED headlamp (or flashlight), along with spare batteries. Even on a day hike, a delay might keep you out until sunset and beyond. Note: the flashlight on your smartphone is not an acceptable substitute – plus it uses precious battery life in an emergency. 7. First Aid Supplies The size of the first-aid kit you bring depends on the number of people, length of the trip, how far you’re going, and the level of risk for your trip. Before you go, make sure you’ve restocked all items and that nothing has expired. Items to always include in your first-aid kit are: protective gloves, bandage, scissors, blister dressings, pocket mask and SAM splint. Bug spray is also recommended. 8. Fire Starter Matches (waterproof or in a waterproof container) or a lighter along with a commercial fire starter and/or a candle. A small folding saw is invaluable for fire and shelter building situations. 9. Repair Kit and Tools Bring items like a multi-tool, scissors, knife, duct tape, cable ties, screwdriver, pliers and little shovel/trowel. Yes, you can use tools to slice apples for lunch, but they’re also handy for first-aid, minor repairs, building fires and shelters, and other random things that come up. 10. Emergency Shelter If you’re on an overnight trip, you likely already have a tent and sleeping bag. But even if you’re on a day hike, it’s still important to bring something for emergencies. You can use a large orange plastic bag combined with an emergency blanket or use a pre-made emergency bivy bag. Crawl inside to stay warm and dry; the orange colour attracts attention and is highly visible. 11. Communication Device Finally, bring your fully-charged phone and keep it turned off in a waterproof case or bag to save batteries. Also carry a whistle – if you need to call out, it lasts longer than your voice. For remote terrain beyond cell phone coverage, you may also want to carry satellite communication devices that allow you to send messages or summon help in an emergency. Originally posted on MEC Learn N.A.C. News (Sunday, May 15, 2022) Good Morning, Unfortunately, today's hike had to be cancelled, but it has been rescheduled for Sunday, June 5th. Next week's hike, the BV Waterfalls Hike will take us to the tip of the Beaver Valley and then we will turn back North to start up along the West side of the valley. During that trip, we will pass Eugenia Falls and Hoggs Falls, two of Ontario's prettiest waterfalls. The last ever, Defy Gravity: Learn to Climb, event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 28th at 6:30pm at Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario. This will be the very last time NAC can host this event. We have 16 participants registered and fully paid, but there are still 4 vacant spots. I will extend the registration deadline to May 21st in hopes to fill the 4 remaining spots. If you would like to register, please do so quickly! And lastly, our 2022 Expedition will be a trip to Manitoulin Island. There, we will set up our base camp in a great little AirBnB in Little Current, Ontario. After settling in, we will take a day to complete the Cup & Saucer Trail, a very well known Ontario trail that was closed for many years do to land access problems. With a minor reroute, the trail has been re-opened and ready for us to explore. After that, we will head North to complete one of Ontario's most challenging trails, The Heaven's Gate Trail. It will take us 4 days and we will camp in Northern Ontario's wilderness for 3 nights. The area we will be trekking through is one of Canada's Dark Sky Preserves and so, with clear skies, we will be able to view amazing star clusters and even the Northern Lights. There are 3 out of 10 spots remaining for this trip, so get your spot now! That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club
Volume 102: The 10 Essentials for Hiking and Camping content media
0
0
3
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
May 16, 2022
In NAC Adventure Weekly Archive
Last week, you learned how to organize your gear and get it all in your pack to make it bearable to carry. But what kind of pack should you stuff all that gear into. This week, let's take a look at what you need to know when shopping for a pack and get you ready to make that big purchase. When choosing a pack, the first thing to consider is how much capacity you want. Carrying a pack that’s bigger than you need means you’ll be carrying extra weight. Ideally your pack should be big enough to fit all your gear inside except for the items you intentionally choose to attach to the exterior. Types of Packs Look at the large selection of packs in any outdoor store and you’ll see there are dozens of styles to choose from. Some are designed for specific activities like mountain biking or trail running, some are more versatile and will adapt to different adventures. Think of how you’ll use the pack most often, and if you’ll need it to function for one activity or many. Daypacks These little workhorse packs are designed for your everyday carry or for hikes and activities that last a few hours, but less than a day. Unless they’re an ultralight model designed to stash in a pocket or inside another pack, they usually have a lightly padded backpanel, and no rigid internal frame. They are best for carrying loads less than 10kg, as the weight is supported by your shoulders rather than your hips. Look for: Mesh or venting channels down the back to help keep you cool Waist strap to prevent the pack from bouncing or shifting, for this size it won’t need to bear weight Hydration sleeves and ports if you plan to use a hydration system 10–25L capacity Backpacking and Expedition Sized for multi-day adventures, these packs are designed to carry heavy loads comfortably. A side zipper or a separate compartment for a sleeping bag is handy, so you don’t have to unpack all your stuff to find just one item. Some packs come with detachable side pockets or a removable top lid you can leave at home if you don’t need the extra capacity for a trip. Substantial internal frame to support weight Well-padded, adjustable hipbelt, shoulder straps, and back panel An exterior pocket to store wet gear Top, side and bottom access Straps on the outside for attaching gear 55–70L for backpacking and up to 100L for expeditions Travel Packs For destinations where wheeled luggage won’t work, a travel pack might be perfect. Built like a backpack, they usually have a cover or zippered panel to tuck away the straps, belts and buckles so they don’t get snagged in a luggage carousel or broken during transit. A detachable daypack is often a feature. It gives you a small pack to use for day trips, to use as your carry-on bag and provides some extra capacity to bring home souvenirs. Internal frame to support weight Padded hipbelt, shoulder straps and back Detachable daypack or lid Pocket or panel to cover shoulder straps and hipbelt Main pack or detachable pack is sized to meet carry-on restrictions Internal organizers to keep clothing and shoes arranged 45–75L capacity Climbing or Cragging Most climbing packs have some padding to support the weight of ropes and gear you carry on the approach to a route. Those made to carry while you climb are usually designed to sit high on your back so they don’t get in the way when you’re clipping gear on the rear loops of your harness. They ride close to your spine to keep the weight centered and balanced. The designs are usually minimal, without external features that could snag on rock features as you climb. For climbing, tough fabric, few external pockets, and gear loops on the hipbelt for fast racking For cragging, padded backpanel, shoulder straps, and hipbelt Mesh or venting channels down the back Large main compartment to hold lots of gear Straps to carry a coiled rope on the outside or under the lid Loops for ice axes, helmet or extra gear 30–50L capacity Mountain Biking and Riding Biking packs are usually daypack-sized, but have special compartments to stash your tools, helmet and armour. Look for a pack that stays close to your body when you’re in the ride position. The hipbelt shouldn’t move upward so it digs into your gut. And you should be able to adjust the pack so it doesn’t shift or bounce when you ride uneven terrain. Some packs include a hydration reservoir. If you plan to use your own reservoir, make sure it fits in the sleeve and that the openings and ports are compatible. Waist strap and sternum strap to keep the pack balanced Lightly padded shoulder straps and backpanel Hydration sleeves and ports Dedicated tool pocket Straps to lash helmet and armour 10–25L capacity Ski Touring, Snowboarding and Snowshoeing For winter conditions and for carrying safety gear, a touring pack should have a supportive frame, a system to give you fast access to your shovel and probe, plus plenty of room for your warm layers. If you expect to carry your skis or board on the outside of your pack, it’s useful to have some options. An A-frame style carry for skis keeps your pack balanced, but the extra height can be annoying if you’re under low-clearance trees or rocks. On steep terrain, the tails of your skis can drag in the snow, and it might be a better option to rig them diagonally. Internal frame with padded hip belt, shoulder straps and backpanel External straps to carry skis, snowboard or snowhoes Fast access to your avalanche gear Pockets or straps for shovel handle and poles A place to stash wet skins Side access for convenience and to keep shoulder straps off the snow 35–55L capacity How to Fit a Backpack Most large-capacity packs come in different sizes to suit different body shapes. Look for a “back length” or “torso length” measurement when you’re shopping for a pack. It’s a better indication of how the pack will fit than your overall height. No matter how large the pack, if it’s correctly sized and adjusted, it should feel like an extension of your own body. Measure Your Back Length Find the most prominent vertebrae in your neck, at about the same level as the top of your shoulders. Find the top of your hipbones and trace a line around to the middle of your back. Measure the distance between these two points, this is your back length. Put about 8–10kg of stuff in the pack and loosen all of the straps. Remember to loosen the stabilizer straps at the top of the shoulder straps too. Adjust and Fit the Pack The hipbelt should entirely cover your hipbones. Some packs allow you to raise or lower the placement of the belt. Tighten the hipbelt so it’s snug but doesn’t restrict your breathing. Make sure it doesn’t shift up or drop below your hipbones. Pull down on the shoulder strap adjustments until they are comfortably snug. The straps should lie flat without bunching. They should lie flat against your shoulders, without touching your neck and without a large gap between the top of your shoulder and the strap. Slowly snug the top stabilizer straps. Pull them until you start to feel a hint of weight on your shoulders. Fasten the sternum strap that connects the shoulder straps and adjust it so your chest can expand naturally. If there are stabilizer straps on the hipbelt, snug those for comfort. Walk around and lean forward and back to see if the weight feels balanced. Try to adjust any points that are causing pressure or are rubbing against your skin. Care and Repair Repairing and storing your pack properly will go a long way to making it last. Make sure it’s dry before you put it away and keep it out of direct sunlight. You can use an old toothbrush to clean dirt out of the zippers before you put it away. If the zippers feel sticky and are not sliding smoothly, try rubbing a candle over the teeth and sliders to lubricate them. Buckles are easy to replace. Consider getting some spares and carrying one with you when hiking or skiing. A functioning buckle is crucial for a comfortable trip. Originally posted on MEC Learn N.A.C. News (Sunday, May 8, 2022) Good Morning, Happy Mother's Day! Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women out there who took care of us, and kept us alive long enough to become the adults we are now. It's the world's toughest and most thankless job. And for those of us that are adventurers, it made Mom's job that much harder! So thank you Mom's of the world, for all that you did and all that you continue to do to take care of your babies. Defy Gravity: Learn to Climb is coming up soon and two spots have just opened up! If you'd like to participate in this event, you have until May 14th to register, so don't wait too long! Our Annual Expedition will take place in the final weeks of September. Eight adventurous people will be able to join Niagara Adventure Club on an exciting and very difficult hike in Northern Ontario. The Expedition will be based on Manitoulin Island and we will venture four days on a very difficult but incredible trail called Heaven't Gate Trail. Full details can be found below. Hiker's Haven in Mississauga, Ontario will be closing. The owner, Lisa, has decided it is time to retire and so with that, she will be closing the store on July 31, 2022. Over the next 3 months, everything must go, so get down to the store for great savings on all your outdoor equipment needs. That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club
Volume 101: How to Choose and Fit a Backpack content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
May 02, 2022
In NAC Adventure Weekly Archive
Last week, we looked at a very helpful article with the basic information for new hikers. In part of the article, you learned about all the items you should be carrying with you on your hike. And of course, you will need to carry those items in a backpack, unless you plan of practicing your juggling along the trail. So today, let's take a closer look at that backpack and how you should go about packing one! The way a pack is loaded will have a big effect on how it feels on your back. If you just cram everything in without thinking about it, you might feel uncomfortable and unbalanced – plus you could end up unloading your entire pack in the rain to get to a jacket you somehow stuffed at the bottom. Before you start packing, spread everything you plan to take on the floor in front of you. Leave behind the things you may not really need, and remember to include the essentials. Check out this article from Niagara Adventure Club on The 10 Essentials. Make sure your backpack fits you well, it should feel like an extension of your own body. If you have any questions, stop by your local outdoor store for help. Outdoors Oriented, Hiker's Haven, MEC and SAIL are great places to visit for help with fitting a backpack. Video: How to Pack a Backpack Whether you need to pack your backpack for hiking, camping, travelling, climbing or ski touring, the main principles are the same. Imagine that your pack is made up of three zones: Zone 1: Put light items, like your sleeping bag, at the bottom. It gives structure to the bottom of the backpack and is a solid base for other items above it. A compression sack can help reduce the size of your sleeping bag. Zone 2: Pack your heaviest items, such as your tent, food for meals, water or climbing gear closest to your back. If you’re using a bear canister to store scented items, this is the zone to put it in. Zone 3: Place medium-weight or bulkier items toward the top or down the front of the pack. This will likely be things like extra clothing layers, your water treatment system or your first-aid kit. Your objective is to avoid having a top-heavy pack, which will pull you backwards, or a bottom-heavy pack, which will make you feel like you are being dragged down. Packing heavier items close to your centre of gravity (middle of your back) will keep you balanced and make the load feel more natural. Tips for Packing Your Backpack Before you leave the house, weigh your pack. As a general rule, your pack weight shouldn’t be more than a quarter to one third of your body weight. Some more tips: Use your compression straps to bring the load closer to your body and keep everything in place. Distribute the weight evenly between left and right sides. Make sure to spread the load across your hiking group (you can divide up your tent into the body, fly and poles so each person can take one part of the tent). Place frequently used items such as your GPS, map, camera, water bottle, sunscreen or snacks in an easy-to-access place, like side pockets or the top pocket. When you’re hiking on easy terrain, pack heavy items a little higher for better posture. On harder terrain, putting heavy items lower down helps give you better balance. Stuff sacks allow you to quickly pack and unpack your gear and find what you need. Super organized people put each category of items (first aid, kitchen, etc.) in different coloured bags to make them easy to spot. Try not to stuff the sacks full, as a little play makes them easier to squeeze into gaps. Use your pots as hard metal stuff sacks to protect delicate items. Make sure all items that can’t get wet are waterproofed (plastic garbage bags are an easy option), and that all liquids are very well-sealed. Pack your food above your fuel bottle. Many people will lash on trekking poles or their sleeping pad to the outside of their pack, but don’t go overboard, a well-loaded pack should have minimal items hanging off of it. Originally posted on MEC Learn N.A.C. NEWS (Sunday, May 1, 2022) Good Morning, Welcome to the 100th Edition of Adventure Weekly! The very first edition was published on June 7th, 2020, a few months into the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic. The first edition was sent to 328 subscribers and viewed 417 times. Origionally started to keep everyone up to date with club news and events, it hasn't changed much. Today, we now have over 745 subscribers, and the list continues to grow each day. I truly hope that everyone finds these newsletters entertaining and educational while keeping you up to date with all the latest Niagara Adventure Club news and events. I know I won't be able to keep operating this club forever, but even when I can no longer hike, climb or kayak, I plan to continue on with the newsletter. Each week, publishing new educational articles that may help many more get out on many adventures safely and responsibly. Today we are out on The Pinnacle Hike, the next section of the Beaver Valley on The Bruce Trail. The Beaver Valley is exceptionally beautiful and offers a few beautiful waterfalls, prestien forests and more. If you haven't registered for one of the Beaver Valley Hikes yet, what are you waiting for? That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club
Volume 100: How to Pack a Backpack content media
0
0
2
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 29, 2022
In Primitive (Free) Campsites
Location: N 44.506883, W -80.646763 Map: Bruce Trail Maps (Map 28) Number of Tents: There are about 5 areas for tents. Water Source: Shallow, quick flowing stream 3 meters north of camp. Filter or Chemical Treat the water. Bathroom Facilities: Cathole System, approximately 8 meters behind shanty. Food Storage: Bear Hang. Many trees to choose from in the area. Fire: There is a fire pit immediately in front of the Shanty. Notes: This camp is a short walk off the Bruce Trail down the Ambrose Camp Side Trail. After 150 meters down the hill you will find a Shanty (small building). Inside are two benches and it offers full coverage from weather. However, do not store anything in the shanty as there is a family of mice that will get into everything. A small fire pit in front of the Shanty door will help keep you warm and give you light. To the North is a small quick flowing stream that will provide you with plenty of water. Tent sites are scattered, and few are flat. Behind the Shanty, about 5 to 8 meters, you will find a small clearing amongst some pines, it seems that is where everyone digs their cat holes. I have only used this camp once, but it was a very stormy day, so the roof was much appreciated.
Bruce Trail: Ambrose Camp content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 26, 2022
In Rock Climbing
It is important to note, that accessory cord is not rated for Dynamic falls. It is a Static product only, and as such, the numbers below are listed in Lbs and Kgs. I will post a KN rating in brackets, but this is to only aid in building anchors, as the masterpoint of a proper climbing anchor should always be at least 22kN. These rating are based on Sterling Accessory Cord, as this is the product that Niagara Adventure Club uses. However, all brands meant for climbing will have a similiar rating. (MBS = Minimum Breaking Strength) PRODUCT MBS RATING Sterling Mini Cord 1.5mm 118Lbs / 53.5kg (0.5kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 2mm 225Lbs / 102.0kg (1.0kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 2.75mm 270Lbs / 122.5kg (1.2kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 3mm 472Lbs / 214.0kg (2.1kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 4mm 876Lbs / 397.3kg (3.9kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 5mm 1169Lbs / 530.2kg (5.2kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 6mm 1978Lbs / 897.2kg (8.8kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 7mm 2788Lbs / 1264.6kg (12.4kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 8mm 3506Lbs / 1590.3kg (15.6kN) Sterling Accessory Cord 9mm 3102Lbs / 1407.0kg (13.8kN) Source: www.sterlingrope.com
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 26, 2022
In Rock Climbing
Rope burns are classified as a friction burn, since they involve abrasion of the top layer of skin and thermal burning due to the friction and heat produced by the speed and pressure of the rope rubbing the skin. By assessing the depth and size of a burn, keeping the wound clean and treating it quickly, rope burns can be dealt with properly. Since anything, including rope, which abrades the skin can contain the tetanus bacteria, it is vital to keep up with tetanus vaccinations if your activities could involve friction burns. Difficulty: Moderate Things You’ll Need: i) Clean water ii) Antibiotic cream or salve iii) Clean gauze or gauze bandage Instructions: Step 1 Assess the wound for size and depth. A first degree burn with abrasion is most common and will cover a small area and only damage surface skin. Deeper wounds will be second degree burns with some abrasion and will damage skin to the depth of the sweat gland and hair follicle. For burns larger than three inches in diameter or deeper than the upper layers of skin and hair, emergency attention is recommended. If an emergency is warranted, clean and cover the wound and get care as soon as possible. Step 2 Clean the rope burn by running clean water over it. Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended, but rinsing is essential to remove bacteria and any bits of rope, dirt or clothing from the wound. If the abrasion is superficial and not painfully deep, squirting water with slight pressure can help clean it. Step 3 Apply a topical antibiotic cream or lotion to the surface of the rope burn, and if needed, give the injured person acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and inflammation. Silver sulfadiazine, which is available with a doctor's prescription, is a very effective treatment for topical burns. Step 4 Cover the wound with clean gauze or a gauze bandage. Air circulation is important for burn healing, but some moisture must be maintained. If nothing else is available, a cloth bandage made from a clean tee-shirt or sock can provide coverage. Step 5 Keep the wound clean and dry as much as possible, and refrain from stressing the tissue further with pressure. If showering or bathing, re-dress the wound with clean bandages afterward. Tips & Warnings: Keep a first aid kit in the car, or in your backpack or daypack. Make sure you have antibiotic cream or salve, gauze and bandages, and some form of pain/inflammation medication. Keep a small plastic bottle of sterile water on hand, that can be used for wound and eye irrigation, and is separate from drinking water. Do not use river or lake water, or water from a container someone has been drinking from unless absolutely necessary, as this can infect the wound. Avoid rope burn by wearing gloves and long sleeves and pants where possible. When handling rope avoid becoming tangled in it by keeping the loops away from feet. Do not grab a rope that is being pulled away by a vehicle, watercraft, or person unless your life depends on it. Resources Mayo Clinic: Burns - First Aid Red Cross: Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
How to Treat Rope Burn content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 26, 2022
In NAC Adventure Weekly Archive
Warmer weather is upon us, and with this comes a huge influx of new and old hikers heading out to the trails. Many new people take up the hobby of hiking each year, but nothing is more detrimental to the trails and surrounding eco-systems than the unprepared hiker. So this week, we will take a look at a great article by MEC for those journeying out into the world of hiking. When it comes to getting outside, nothing beats a hiking daytrip. Walking along forested trails or setting out to see a nearby waterfall doesn’t need to be a major undertaking, but to beginner hikers, it might appear deceptively simple (especially with all the hiking pics shared online). Some hikes can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other and following a well-marked trail. But other hikes involve a lot more navigation skills and challenging terrain. Before you set out for a day hike, here’s how to start: Choose your hiking buddies Do some pre-trip planning Bring the hiking essentials Learn more hiking skills Choose your hiking buddies If you’re new to hiking, the best way to start is to find other experienced hikers you can join. Check with any hiking friends or family members if you can set out on a beginner-friendly trail with them, or search for local hiking groups or clubs in your area. (www.NiagaraAdventure.ca) If you’re thinking of joining a group on a hike, take a look at the route they have planned to make sure it matches your fitness and experience level. Not sure if it’s right for you? Reach out to the hike organizer to ask questions before you show up at the trailhead. Do some pre-trip planning If you’re a beginner hiker, choose a route that’s right for your level of fitness and outdoor experience. A short out-and-back route not far from home can be a great option. Elevation, the time of year, and the length of the hike are all things to consider. Know the trail before you go The biggest challenge for any hiker can be making the correct turns at each trail junction and keeping your bearing. Carefully examine a topographic map or guidebook before you set off. You should familiarize yourself with where your route goes, and try to anticipate the conditions you’ll find. For example, in spring, many trails will be muddy or possibly snow-covered. By late summer, water sources may have dried up. Pay attention to things like stream crossings, elevation changes, and other trails that intersect your route. Share this information with each person in your party, so that everyone has an idea of landmarks in the surrounding terrain. And when you’re on the trail, look behind you after you pass key landmarks or intersections so you know what to look for on your return route home. Estimate how long a hike will take The amount of time a hiking route takes depends on a few main factors: Total distance Elevation gain Type of terrain Fitness level and size of your group On flat ground, a hiking speed of 4–6km per hour is average to speedy. For every 300m of elevation gain, add an extra half-hour. Hiking times will vary a lot depending on the terrain. Smooth, dry trails are easier going (and faster) than rough, wet trails, or ones that involve loose rock or bits of bush. A trail with many ups and downs will not only slow you down but also make you more tired. “For longer hikes, water bladders are more convenient to hydrate frequently, rather than stopping to pull out your water bottle.” - MEC staffer Brittany M. The number of people in your group and the fitness level of each person are also important things to think about when estimating time. Be prepared to move at the speed of your slowest member and to turn back if necessary. Don’t forget to build in time for lunch and bathroom breaks. The easiest way to increase the amount of daylight hiking hours is to start early in the morning. If in doubt, be conservative and choose destinations that are closer to a half day than a full day for your first few trips. Before you go Check the trail conditions and weather forecast in advance, as well as the morning of your hike. You might need to adjust your plans or what you bring as a result. Know that mountain weather can change rapidly and without warning. Always tell someone you trust where you’re going and when to expect you back. Leave a note or a trip planning form that explains exactly where you are going, the names of the people in your group, and your intended route (both to and from). Remember to contact this person when you’re done – many search and rescue operations have been launched for people who were never actually lost. Finally, check out these 7 tips for hiking responsibly so you can leave the trail as wild as when you started. What to wear and bring hiking Part of what makes hiking such an easy way to enjoy the outdoors is that you don’t need a ton of gear to get into it. Start with a comfortable backpack. For day hikes, a 20–30L pack is usually the right size for what you need to carry. Bring the 10 essentials for hiking (next weeks article), even if you’re only planning a short day hike. The purpose of the 10 essentials is to help you deal with an accident or emergency, which could happen on any trail. Wear sturdy footwear (leave the flip-flops at home). For flat, smooth trails and dry conditions, a pair of trail running shoes can do the trick if you don’t have hiking footwear. If you’re tackling more technical routes, longer trails or rough weather, hiking shoes or hiking boots help support your ankles and your feet. Ditch the cotton socks. Blisters can ruin a day hike – wear synthetic or wool/wool-blend hiking socks to keep your feet dry and happy. Wear quick-drying layers. You’ll heat up on the uphills and cool down when you stop for lunch, so layers are key. Learn about what to look for in clothing layers, and always bring extra clothing as part of your 10 essentials. “Bring a bandana that you can dip in streams or lakes and wrap around your neck for some instant cooling in hot weather.” – MEC staffer Kim B. Originally posted on MEC Learn N.A.C. News (Sunday, April 24, 2022) Good Morning , The Defy Gravity: Learn to Climb event is coming up fast, and there isn't much space left. As of today, we have 6 spaces left, and I need to fill at least 3 of those to run the event. This will be the last time I am able to host this event, as the Climbing Gym will no longer be available after hours in the future. I have held this event 7 time is the past, and introduced more than 100 people to the amazing sport of Indoor Rock Climbing. It truly is an awesome excercise, and the accomplishment felt at the crux of a climb is like no other. If you ever wanted to try rock climbing, this is your chance, so Register Now! Today we are out on our first Beaver Valley hike. The Beaver Valley is about 160kms long, and we will spend the next 5 or 6 Sundays completing the entire valley. It will prove to be challenging as this section of trail has some very tough terrain and lots of elevation change. But it also offers some of the most picturesque views of The Bruce Trail, including caves and waterfalls. You're going to want to register for some of these. That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club
Volume 99: Day Hiking for Beginners content media
0
0
2
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Rock Climbing
Is there a correct way to thread the rope through your harness? Should you tie in bottoms-up or top-down? That's the question? We explore the different methods of threading a rope through your harness and attempt to discover if one way is safer than the other. Tying in with a rope is the most sacred act of climbing. Period. The holy matrimony of all climbers and belayers relies solely on that simple act of threading the rope through your climbing harness and tying the knot. As a climber, your life depends on it. So, surely, with such high importance weighing heavily on that single sacred moment, there should be an ultimate standard when it comes to threading the rope through your harness, right? Well, not exactly. A few months ago, BD’s Climbing Category Director and gear guru Kolin “Canuck” Powick arrived at work in disbelief. His perpetually buggy eyes were now wide with concern as he relayed what he’d seen during his morning gym session. “I saw a climber thread the rope from the top down!” he exclaimed. Meaning he’d seen a climber tie in by threading the rope starting with the top tie-in point of his harness. For KP, this was bizarre. For over 25 years he’s been threading bottoms-up on every pitch he’s ever climbed. Surely everyone knows to go from the bottom up, right? We decided to explore KP’s question of how climbers tie in—specifically how they thread the rope through the tie-in points of their harness. Is there a “standard” way? Should there be? And more importantly: is one method better than the other? First, we wanted to confirm KP’s suspicions and get a pulse for how the majority of climbers are tying in. On our list of climbers to ask was the female U.S. National Champion in both lead and speed climbing: BD Athlete Claire Buhrfeind. We chatted with Claire about her tie-in technique, and interestingly, she’s never really thought about how she ties in. Of course, she knows her knot. That’s a given. But as far as threading the rope through her harness, that bit of info is on auto-pilot for her. “I've actually never thought about this, but I tie in the same way every time,” she explained. “I always thread the rope through the bottom. I think it's just ingrained in my routine. When I learned to tie a bowline, I copied exactly what my coach showed me, and I've never tried to do it any other way. At least I know I'm not making any mistakes!” OK, so the best female lead climber in the U.S. goes bottoms-up, every time. And, just a side-note, she ties in with a bowline. But what about the best male lead climber in America? U.S. National Champion and BD Athlete Sean Bailey was quick and to the point: “I come up through the bottom,” said Bailey. “No reason why, it's just how I was taught. It would feel weird to do it any other way.” With both U.S. National Champions going bottoms-up, we began to wonder if what KP had seen was a fluke. Or maybe he didn’t even see it at all? Was he crazy? The famed Basque climber, BD Athlete Patxi Usobiaga, didn’t help KP’s case when he said he always threads the rope “bottoms-up.” Patxi made history when he became the first person to onsight 5.14c, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about tying in. Patxi, who now coaches none-other than Adam Ondra, was methodical in his explanation for tying in “bottoms-up.” “When you tie in from the bottom, you have all the figure-eight knot in front of you,” he said. Patxi’s point is that when tying in with a figure-eight, if you thread from the bottom up, the eight is easy to check visually and trace properly. But what about Ondra? We’ve heard from his coach—a staunch “bottoms-up” guy. How does the pupil-turned best climber in the world tie in??? KP caught up with Ondra during the Innsbruck World Champs, and asked him the fateful question: bottoms-up or top-down? “Depends on which knot,” he replied, eyes twinkling as if he’d known all along he would shatter KP’s fragile reality. “With the bowline I go top down,” explained Ondra. “With the eight I go bottoms-up.” Ah ha! There it was, shining like a golden #2 stuck in an Indian Creek splitter: Ondra ties in both ways. “But …” he added, “I really hate the eight, so I never use it.” Fair enough. We’re not going to dive into the bowline vs. eight debate here. But to be honest, we were relieved to find that KP wasn’t crazy after all. And the more we dug, the more we found that the crusty Canuck was on to something. Susanne Pfrengle—BD’s Marketing and E-Commerce Manager in Europe—put another point on the board for the “top-down” team. “I do a double bowline, and go top down, and it’s easier to measure,” she said. “I measure to where my knee is, and then I don’t have a lot of extra rope after the knot.” For Susanne, she threads the rope through both tie-in loops of her harness starting from the top down. And when the tip of the rope reaches her knee, she knows that’s the right length to tie her knot. Makes sense. Moritz Brack, BD’s Strategic Accounts salesman in Europe, was also adamant that top down was the only way to go. “There are certain things in life that you do just because you do them. You never question them,” said Moritz. “For me it’s more intuitive and the natural way of tying in.” Moritz also ties in with a bowline, and he feels that it’s easier to tie the bowline above the harness—which you’re set up to do if you start top down. “I’ve never heard that there’s a safety issue with tying in this way, from the top down,” added Moritz. Now we’re on to something. If climbers around the world tie in both ways, top-down and bottoms-up, regardless of which knot is used, the question is: are both methods safe? CONCLUSION We decided to ask the man who started this journey in the first place. And considering KP ran the QC Lab at BD for 11 years and has dedicated the majority of his life to engineering, analyzing and breaking climbing gear, we knew he’d at least have a strong opinion. “Bottoms-UP all day long!!!!” said our in-house gear guru. For KP, there are clear benefits to threading the rope bottoms-up. He broke it down into two reasons and provides a concise argument for tying in bottoms-up. “When you tie in from the bottom up, you can easily see while threading the rope through the leg loop tie-in point, and the waist tie-in point,” explained KP. “Visually it’s easy to see that you’ve threaded both. If you tie in top-down, then your hand is in the way and it’s hard to see if you’re threading the rope through both tie-in points correctly ... especially the lower (or leg loop) tie-in point.” But how crucial is it to have the rope threaded through both tie-in points, we wondered? Would this also build a case for the bottoms-up method of tying in? “In lab testing, it is shown that the leg loops take 70 to 80 percent of the load in a fall,” said KP. “So, if you were to only hit one tie-in point, the leg loop is the one that takes the majority of the load.” We can see his point. If you were to start by threading the rope through the bottom loop first, you’re more likely to at least get the rope through that tie-in point, which statistically takes most of the load in a fall. However, there’s a catch, pun intended, to that argument. “If you only tied into the leg loop tie-in point, then yes, it takes most of the load, but you’re also way more likely to flip upside down and potentially fall out of your harness ... so perhaps making sure you tie in to the waist belt tie in point is ‘safer.’ After all, back in the day folks tied into a swami at the waist and never had much issue.” When it’s all said and done, we settled on this fact: tying in, whether you’re threading bottoms-up, or top-down, is the single most important part of your climbing day. There’s no room for distractions. So whatever method you’re comfortable with, and are going to nail 100% every time, then that’s the “safest” method. “I have a friend who walks to the base of the wall and puts her head on the wall while she’s tying in,” added KP. “That signifies to others to leave her alone and not talk to her because she’s doing something important!” The bottom line according to KP? “You always want to ensure you tie in to both the leg loop AND waist belt tie-in points.” So, there you have it. Both methods suffice, as long as you’re hitting both tie-in points. However, it’s worth noting that the style of knot also seems to influence whether you’re a “bottoms-up” or “top-down” kind of climber. Like Ondra, all climbers we interviewed preferred tying in “bottoms-up” while using a figure eight. And we found climbers using both methods with the bowline. What we didn’t find was a climber who prefers the top-down method while tying in with a figure eight. PUBLISHEDON: Black Diamond Website - October 24, 2018 Article: Chris Parker Photos: Andy Earl, Will Saunders, Colette McInerney
Tie In: Bottoms-Up or Top-Down content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Rock Climbing
Ascending a cliff, boulder or even an indoor rock wall requires a large amount of physical strength and endurance. Some conquer climbs through nutritious meals and campus board pull-ups. Meanwhile, for some diehard climbers, that endurance was historically powered by canned beans and a wide variety of snacks from the Tioga Gas Mart outside of Yosemite. But with or without the gas station nibbles, there's no doubt that climbers know a thing or two about a healthy lifestyle. Here's how rock climbing helps you lead a happier, healthier life. Rock climbing builds muscle and endurance. Contrary to what many beginners may believe, climbing requires much more than upper-body strength. The success of sending -- or completing -- a route relies heavily on a long list of physical factors, including intricate footwork, lower body strength and lean muscle mass. Although not often thought of as a common form of cardio, ascending walls is a sure way to get your heart pumping, similar to the way climbing stairs or jogging does. A one-hour climb session can burn well over 700 calories. Plus, tricky maneuvers and lengthy reaches often require developing flexibility that wasn't there before. To increase bendability, more and more rock gyms are incorporating yoga studios into their facilities. Climbing boosts brain function. In addition to building up muscle and helping you get that cardio, climbing involves problem-solving skills -- which explains why bouldering (a type of climbing that is generally done unroped, at lower heights on literal boulders) routes are actually called "problems." But whether athletes are scaling cliffs or conquering long traverses in their local bouldering cave, time on the rocks is anything but mindless. "I think the mental side of climbing is often overlooked," Alex Johnson, team climber with The North Face -- with many first-female ascents under her belt, tells The Huffington Post. "The movement in climbing up a route often demands body awareness and problem-solving. More often than not, the way to the top is not as direct as you might assume, and it takes laser focus to work through which holds to grab and where exactly to place your foot before shifting your body weight." All of those hours logged outdoors also don't hurt. Research shows that time spent outside may decrease symptoms of ADHD, improve memory, boost creativity and even wake your brain up with the same effect as drinking a cup of coffee. Rock climbing reduces stress. Exercise itself has been shown to reduce stress by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps balance our brains' response to stress. Some researchers suggest exercise be used to help treat a variety of mental illnesses, including addiction, depression and anorexia. But climbing itself has an extra trick up its sleeve: Climbers who totally lose themselves in the flow of the activity enter a mindset that can create a sense of euphoria and even block pain, according to Indiana University. And climbing outdoors could carry extra benefits: Time spent outdoors has been linked with lower stress levels, making a solid argument in favor of outdoor climbing trips. It teaches valuable life skills. For many, rock climbing is about much more than getting a good workout and releasing stress. "From a physical standpoint it's incredible exercise, but some of the best tidings I get from climbing are what I would define as spiritual," Cedar Wright, team climber with The North Face, writer and filmmaker, tells The Huffington Post. "From a mental standpoint, climbing is an amazing teacher, instilling focus, balance, determination and a whole ... host of valuable life skills." In fact, a small study in the journal Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly explored the benefits of indoor rock climbing by children with special needs. The research showed that after six weeks of climbing, the kids' self-efficacy and their belayers' ratings of the children's efficacy improved dramatically. No climber is a stranger to overcoming challenges, and there's a good reason rock climbers appear on all of those motivational posters. "I think the mental benefits of climbing are a bit more subtle [than the physical ones], and I'm sure they're different for everyone. But I think it’s a very empowering sport," professional climber Alex Honnold, known for his record-breaking speed up big-wall climbs and his occasional ropeless ascents, tells The Huffington Post. "The process of overcoming your own fear all the time helps put life’s other challenges into perspective." If you are interested in learning how to Rock Climb, Niagara Adventure Club offers Lessons and Club Events in Rock Climbing. This exert is a partial article origionally posted in"The Huffington Post" on Aug.30,2014
How Rock Climbing Does Your Mind, And Body, Good content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Rock Climbing
If you're new to rock climbing, learning a few basic techniques can dramatically improve your performance. Building the strength, flexibility and balance necessary for advanced rock climbing will take time, but don't be discouraged. Climbing is a sport where you can see measurable improvement even if you go to the climbing gym just once or twice a week. Stay Close to the Wall Many beginning climbers approach the wall straight-on as if they were climbing a ladder. While this may work for some lower-graded routes, greater technique is required for more difficult climbs. Watch seasoned climbers at the gym: you'll notice that they turn their hips into the wall, often shifting from one side to the other as they move upward. Keeping your hips turned in helps keep your center of gravity towards the wall. If you pull your hips or your bottom away from the wall to raise your foot, you pull your weight away from the wall, which could cause you to fall. Also, try moving your arms up in a sweeping motion away from your body. Moving your arms straight up in front of your torso can create space between your body and the wall, which can also throw you off balance. Extend Your Reach Turning your hips into the wall can also give you more reach. If you're facing the wall and aiming for a hold that is slightly out of reach, turning the side of your body into the wall can give you that little extra length that you need. Make sure that you are reaching with the same side of your body that is turned into the wall. Use the Edges of Your Feet As you climb, pay attention to your foot placement. Try to use just the edge of your foot on the holds. As you begin climbing more difficult routes, you'll notice that some of the foot holds are too small to step on squarely with the middle of your foot. Climbing shoes are designed to make it easy to balance on the edges of your feet. As you move up the wall, you will use both the inner and outer edges of your toebox. Use Your Legs for Power Many beginning climbers will try to pull themselves up to the next hold with their arms. If you're new to climbing, you may notice that your arms wear out faster than anything else on your body, except maybe your hands. All of your power should come from your legs. Always place your foot securely and then push up with your legs, while using your arms mainly for balance. With prolonged climbing you will build your upper-body strength, but don't rely on your arms for upward mobility. Keep Your Arms Straight If you are climbing on any sort of an overhang, try to keep your arms straight as much as possible. This may feel awkward, especially if you are keeping your hips close to the wall: you'll find that your lower body is close to the wall but your upper body may be leaning back. This will help conserve your arm strength. Using your arms to hold yourself into the wall will wear your arms out quickly. Article By: Karen Eisenbraun Karen Eisenbraun has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Knox College and has been writing professionally since 2004. She is the editor of a weight-loss surgery support website and is currently studying to become a certified holistic nutrition consultant.
Basic Climbing Tips content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Backpacking
If you intend to go solo tent camping on your own, make sure you let someone know where you are setting up camp, when you are leaving, and when you should be back. If your plans change after you leave, let someone know. Going camping on your own can be an effective way to commune with nature, get away from the stress of the modern world or just enjoy some time alone, but remember that it can also be potentially dangerous. Emergency Fanny Pack Kit In addition to the gear you pack for the camping trip in your backpack, a solo camper should keep an emergency fanny pack kit at all times. This kit should include matches kept in a waterproof baggie, a whistle, compass, water purification tablets, bandages, a small flashlight, a snakebite kit, mirror and a multi-tool knife. Don't forget to toss in a spare cell phone that has been fully charged and kept turned off until you need it. Practice Before you head out on your solo camping trip for the first time, do a run-through of the set-up in your backyard or inside your apartment. Educate yourself on problems that you may face. Learn the intricacies of lighting your stove and purifying your water. It's much better to learn from mistakes in the comfort of your home than alone in the wilderness. Keep Informed Bring a battery operated radio so that you can become aware of sudden changes in the weather. If you remain uninformed of what is happening in the world outside, you may find yourself heading back home directly into the path of a tornado or on bridges weakened by an earthquake or through low areas made into lakes by flooding. Learn Signs of Health Problems Take the time to learn the signs of health problems associated with outdoor activities. Not knowing the signs of such things as dehydration, heat stroke and hypothermia can quickly lead to a potentially fatal condition. No Alcohol Do not bring any alcohol with you on your solo camping trip. Alcohol is dangerous enough when you've got others around you, but the way in which it impairs thinking can be fatal if yours is the only brain at work. Activities Always be aware that you are alone before you decide to engage in outdoor activity. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, climbing and all other outdoor activities may be second nature to you, but the situation changes significantly when you are by yourself. A fall from a rock that strains your ankle when no one else is there to help you can become as much a burden as actually breaking your ankle when you have a partner. Article By: Timothy Sexton Timothy Sexton is an award-winning author who started writing in 1994. He has written on topics ranging from politics and golf to nutrition and travel, and his work appears online for Zappos.com, Disaboom and MOJO, among others. He has also done work for "Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Backpacking
What’s the difference between a backpacking water filter and water purifier? Simply put, the main difference lies in the level of protection they provide. Generally speaking, a water filter is designed to remove waterborne protozoa and bacteria, but not viruses. A water purifier is designed to combat all three classes of microbes, including viruses. Why the two treatment device options? The main reason is, viruses are just too small for filters to catch. Far smaller than protozoa or bacteria, viruses slip through the technologies used in backpacking filters. Traditionally, UV light, chemical purification treatments or boiling were required to deactivate viruses by scrambling their DNA or killing them. Today, new advancements in mechanical pump purifiers provide a convenient option to physically remove viruses quickly and easily. When should I use a filter? If you’re traveling in the backcountries of the U.S. and Canada, a water filter, or more accurately a “microfilter,” is considered sufficient protection. In these pristine landscapes, where human traffic is relatively low, protozoa (like cryptosporidium and giardia), and bacteria (like E. coli and salmonella) are considered the main threats. Waterborne viruses that are harmful to humans are transferred primarily through human waste. Therefore, where human traffic is lower, we assume the risk of viruses to be lower as well. It’s important to ensure that your microfilter is built to handle backcountry water qualities. Some filters on the market are designed to remove only unpleasant tastes from tap water. Backcountry-grade microfilters remove contaminants down to 0.2 microns and should meet the U.S. EPA’s Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Purifiers (for removal of bacteria and protozoa) or the NSF protocol p231. Learn more about filter testing standards here. When should I use a purifier? If you’re traveling to less-developed countries, where water treatment and sanitation infrastructure is poor and/or people don’t practice good hygiene near water supplies, a water purifier is the safer option. A microfilter plus a purifying agent, like chemical tablets, is also a robust option. Common viruses to be aware of include norovirus and hepatitis A. It’s important to remember that while chemical treatments, UV light and boiling will deactivate the microbes, they won’t rid the water of particles. Particulate in the water can impede the effectiveness of UV light and to a lesser degree, chemicals. Mechanical pump purifiers offer a big advantage in this way, because they aren’t hindered by dirt or sediment in the water. Mechanical pump purifiers should physically remove contaminants down to 0.02 microns. And all purifiers should meet the same testing standards listed above but for all three classes of microbes. Three scenarios to consider: Backpacking in Washington’s North Cascades National Park: You’ll be collecting water from subalpine streams and lakes along established hiking trails during the summer. Any pathogenic risks in the water will come from humans and animals, but are usually light in concentration. Here, bacteria and protozoa are the primary threats; the likelihood of encountering viruses is very low. The water may also contain particulate like dirt or sediment, which will need to be removed. Treatment choice: A microfilter — with one note of caution from MSR microbiologist Zac Gleason: “As more and more people get out with less and less education or regard for others, viruses will become more of an issue. Lakes where people swim are already resulting in more and more norovirus outbreaks.” Camping on a holiday weekend at very popular lowland lake: You’ll be collecting water from the lake, the shores of which are packed with campers. The higher concentration of humans leads to a higher risk of viruses. The water also contains particulates, which you’ll want to remove. Treatment choice: A mechanical pump purifier, or microfilter plus purifying agent Hotel stay in Huaraz, Peru, before hiking into the Cordillera Blanca Mountains. At the hotel, you’ll be collecting water from the tap. Potential pathogens will come from humans and animals, carried to your faucet through a suspect water treatment system. Here, bacteria, protozoa and viruses are all of concern. However, the water is completely clear, free of particulates. Treatment choice: A pump purifier, UV light or a chemical treatment Originally Published May 8th, 2017 on MSRGear.com
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Backpacking
When backpacking or camping, you often will be faced with the challenge of hanging a bear bag. In wilderness areas where bears are prevalent or even possible, you should always hang a bear bag before you go to bed. Bear bags keep two things safe: you (since bears will not be attracted to food in your tent) and your food (especially important for long backpacking trips when you could be a few days walk from civilization). The steps to hang a bear bag are fairly simple, but you can face challenges along the way. Things You’ll Need: Rope (about 100-feet long) Bear bag (stuff sack) Carabiner Rock Two trees PREPARING TO HANG YOUR BEAR BAG Step 1 Pick your location. Long before you will hang your bag, and long before dark, you should have your bear bag preparation complete. Find two trees about 20 feet apart. These trees should have branches large enough to support the weight of your bear bag (remember it will contain all your food and toiletries). The branches should be at least 15 feet high but not so high that you cannot hang your rope on it. Step 2 Hang your rope on the first tree branch. To do this, tie one end of your rope to a heavy rock and the other end to the tree trunk of the first tree. Throw the rock (with the rope attached) over the branch of the tree. This might take several tries to accomplish. Step 3 Once you have hung the rope over the first tree branch, throw the rock (with the rope still attached) over the second tree branch. Be sure to leave enough slack between the two branches. Again, it might take several tries to hang the rope over the branch. Be patient and keep trying. Step 4 After your rope is hung over both branches, and before you pull out the slack in the rope, tie a loop into the rope halfway between the two trees. You will use this loop to hang your bear bag on. Make sure it is far enough away from both trees, which it should be if the two trees are 20 feet apart. HANGING YOUR BEAR BAG Step 1 After you have finished dinner and gotten ready to sleep, place all your food and toiletries in your bear bag (you can use a stuff sack or another designated bear bag). All food and toiletries with any scent should be placed in your bear bag, even toothpaste and deodorant. Step 2 Use a carabiner to attach your bear bag to the loop you tied in the middle of your rope. Step 3 Hoist the bear bag up by taking the slack out of the rope. Step 4 Anchor your bear bag by winding the end of the rope to the base of the second tree and tying a knot in the rope. TIPS AND WARNINGS Prepare your bear bag before night. It can take longer to hang your bag than you expect, and the task will be much more difficult in the dark. Be sure no limbs extend near your bear bag. Remember to put all items with a scent into your bear bag. Bears are attracted by scents, and you don't want them coming into your tent to investigate a smell. Article By: Jessica Linnell Jessica Linnell is a published author, blogger and freelance writer in the Atlanta area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and has been writing for 10 years. She has been published in Atlanta magazine, Cherokee Living, and North Fulton Living, as well as on numerous websites.
How to Hang a Bear Bag content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Backpacking
Being comfortable in the hills and mountains of the UK can be a bit of a dark art. As your work rate and the weather vary during the day, your body and clothing will often struggle to keep you comfortable. A basic understanding of what to wear and how it’s designed to work can help a lot, but only if you put principles into practice. This means thinking about what you’re wearing throughout the day and sticking to some wise outdoor mantras like “can’t be bothered, better had” and “be bold, start cold”. Spring and climbing - two challenges for the clothing department. Spring weather is notoriously fickle, and when we add this on top of the UK’s already famously changeable climate, a spring day in the hills can pose real difficulties. Temperatures can fluctuate wildly, the sun beats down, the wind whips about, and it’s not uncommon to experience all the delightful genres of precipitation in a single day! Couple this with the varying levels of physical work you’ll be undertaking as a climber and the end result is that we can easily be asking too much of any single outfit to work perfectly all day long. This is where layering comes into play. Multiple layers allow you to add and remove from your system as appropriate, but its important to get the balance right, aiming to pack only what you need to stay safe and comfortable. Today we are lucky to have such a technical array of outdoor clothing at our disposal. Everything from baselayers to fleeces, to waterproofs have been carefully designed and tailored to keep us comfortable in the hills. At the end of the day though, the kit available is only as good as the person using it, you. Before you pack for the hill, internalise a reliable weather forecast - this should help with deciding which essential items to take and, importantly, which to risk leaving behind. A layering system’s strength lies in its versatility, and its ability to keep you warm and dry across a wide variety of conditions, so consider taking layers that can perform multiple functions rather than those that only work in one very specific set of circumstances. For example, an insulating layer with a good DWR will shed light rain, eliminating the need for a more serious, bulky waterproof. Baselayer Any good clothing system starts with a solid baselayer. Even the snazziest mid-layer in the world will only be effective if your baselayer breathes and wicks well. For cooler weather, an insulating baselayer can help reduce your need for additional insulation and materials like Merino wool breathe and wick extremely well while also keeping you warm. In warmer weather, synthetic baselayers are generally better for helping to manage temperature and always a better alternative to cotton which, as the old saying goes, “kills in the hills”. Mid-layer When you hear the term mid-layer, it’s probably a classic pile fleece that immediately springs to mind, but I rarely wear a traditional fleece these days. It’s a personal choice, but I find that a light synthetic jacket with a healthy amount of wind resistance and a snuggly hood (that works well with your helmet on) is perfect for my needs. It’s also a faster drying option for those occasions when you are caught out by the rain. On cold days, my mid-layer will sit under my harness, so I try to use mid-layers that have a reasonably long cut, as this makes them less likely to ride or bunch up annoyingly around the harness. This helps to avoid those exposed little patches of skin that not only look uncool, but open you up to the worst of the wind. Outer Shell If there is any chance of proper rain or if I’m going to a more remote crag, I’ll pack a decent waterproof shell. Forming the outermost layer of my clothing system, I prioritise shells made with a material that’s been engineered to allow at least some of the moisture I create to move through it to the outside, ensuring I stay as dry as possible underneath. However, if the weather is supposed to be just windy and cold with only the possibility of an odd shower, then a softshell jacket is a my go-to choice because their breathability is almost always superior to that of a waterproof. It’s always tricky deciding when to put on a shell and often it’ll be left in your pack at the bottom of the crag when you need it most. The best solution to avoiding this is to use as breathable a shell layer as possible, whether this is a softshell or a highly breathable waterproof like Rab’s Kinetic Plus. Belay Jacket One decent oversized synthetic or water resistant down belay jacket between a climbing pair is usually enough for cold spring climbing days on long routes. You can swap it over on stances to keep you warm while the leader inches up the next pitch. Just be sure you know who’s supposed to be bringing the jacket so you don’t both end up carrying one! An ultra-light Jacket available for quick draw It’s not a bad idea to climb with an ultralight windproof clipped to your harness or in the crag bag, especially in spring. At about the same weight or less than a quickdraw it’s no extra hassle and can make a real difference. While it won’t keep you dry in much more than a half respectable drizzle, the psychological value of having one on while watching your partner suffer in their cotton tee is profound and, on a more serious note, they do make a big difference when belaying in the wind at the top of the crag. The bottom half Climbing-specific trousers are fantastic these days. A light to mid-weight softshell (depending on the weather forecast) as stretchy as you can find will often do the job perfectly for most spring days. Ideally, I like them to have a low bulk waistband for comfort and zippered pockets that are easily accessible when you’re wearing a harness. Condition-dependent I’ll also often risk not taking waterproof bottoms. If a light shower is all you’re forecast, most modern softshells will dry out fast enough that you’ll hardly notice you were wet in the first place, so all the faff of waterproof trousers seems rather unnecessary. Be bold, start cold Even when you’ve perfected your layers, the only way they’ll work is if you apply the right mix in the right context. One of the most common mistakes people make is to leave layers on for too long. If you’re about to take on the crux pitch of a route or start an uphill slog to the crag your work rate is going to increase. Pre-empt the oncoming perspiration by being bold and starting cold! Shed a layer before it’s too late and you’re committed to sweating your way up a pitch with a warm jacket on your back! Take it from someone who’s been there, it’s a horrible state to get yourself into and it won’t do your climbing any favours. And remember, if you find yourself thinking that you can’t be bothered to strip down a layer, it means you really better had. In a nutshell Layering systems for spring rock climbing can be summarised briefly with: “be bold start cold”, “can’t be bothered better had” and “cotton kills in the hills”. Much of the rest is personal preference and judgement on the day. These last factors can only be perfected through experience and the only solution to that is to get outside and climb as much as possible! Article By: Sam Farnsworth Sam Farnsworth has been instructing for fifteen years. His climbing career began in native Devon, and once he'd escaped the cream teas, has taken him all over; from Yosemite, to Venezuela and throughout the UK. Sam runs North Wales-based Gaia Adventures, delivering climbing and summer mountaineering courses, as well as overnight portaledge adventures and sport climbing trips to Spain
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Backpacking
How exactly to make a map of your trip depends on the purpose of your map. A handmade memento of your journey requires a different kind and level of detail than a map you intend to simply use to get from point A to point B. In all cases, simplicity beats complexity. By the same token, detail isn't as important as direction. A good handmade map tells you how to get there without distracting you with what's on the ground. Have fun with your map and keep it as a souvenir after your trip. Difficulty: Moderately Easy Things You’ll Need: Guidebook, atlas or Internet access Paper Pencil Pen Art supplies (optional) Instructions: Step 1 Make a list of your start and finish points. Step 2 Research your route. Make a list of turns, landmarks and stops. Examples might include "bear right at the Cascade Trailhead," "take Exit 231 for Memphis," "stop for the night at the giant sequoia grove," or "continue past the amusement park." Step 3 Take a fresh sheet of paper. Draw a flowchart of circles and arrows, with one circle each for your start point, turns, stops and end point. Step 4 In each circle, label the start, stop, turn or end with enough information for you to navigate later. For example, you might label one circle "Turn right on 1st street: the corner with the Art Museum" or "continue past the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail." Step 5 For each arrow, list the exact distance between the two circle points. Step 6 Make a final copy of your trip map using a pen. If appropriate, arrange the circles to approximate your actual journey. Don't worry about making distance to scale, but blocking out their relative locations can be very helpful. Step 7 Decorate your map if it seems appropriate. Tips & Warnings Keep a good, professionally done map on hand even after you've completed your trip map. Although usually too large and detailed to be helpful when you're on route, these can really help if you get off track or need to make a side trip. Article By: Jason Brick Jason Brick has written professionally since 1994, publishing fiction and nonfiction in a variety of venues. He has completed hundreds of technical and business articles. Brick received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Oregon.
How to Make a Map of a Trip content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Backpacking
My favorite section of any outdoor gear store is the area with all the kitchen gadgets. It is constantly changing, and anytime I'm shopping, I'll always stop by to see the latest new item. Over the years, I've found a few gadgets to be extra-helpful (and worth their weight in my pack), so I thought I'd share them with you! Here goes! Pot Scraper The only drawback of this small, lightweight object is I'm afraid of losing it! This tiny piece of plastic is designed to scrape against your pots and bowls to clean up any extra food. Whether you choose to pack it out or lick it clean, it reduces food particles in your dish water, and makes clean-up a breeze! Wire Mesh Strainer This is my second defense against leaving a trace with my dishwater. I'll pour my dishwater through this screen to catch any additional food particles I missed with my scraper, and pack them out, keeping a clean camp (which is great in bear territory!). For an even lighter option, just cut a piece of screening. MSR Alpine Strainer A spatula, cheese grater, and strainer all in one, a meal hardly ever passes by when I don't need it. It's great for straining pasta, and I can pack my cheese in a solid block (more compact and less likely to spoil), shredding it in the field. And of course, it's my go-to spatula for flippin' pancakes. Leatherman It's always by my side in the kitchen, ready to chop ingredients, open a can, or grab a hot pot off the stove. Also handy for field repairs, it's within an arm's reach on any hiking or rafting trip. Hand Sanitizer When it comes down to it, the ultimate backcountry kitchen tool is my hands, and it's important to keep those as clean as possible. Small 2-3 oz bottles of hand sanitizer can be refilled at home from larger jugs, and should be the first kitchen item unpacked and used. Use it liberally and often out there folks. So check these out the next time you're in the local gear shop, and maybe give one a try on your next adventure! Article By: Sarah Ebright Guide at St. Elias Alpine Guides
Tech Tip: Backcountry Kitchen Gadgets content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 24, 2022
In Backpacking
If you’ve spent any time in the woods, you’ve probably made some epic backcountry blunders. I certainly have. In fact, the only reason I’m able to give any “clever” hiking advice is because of all the laughably bad mistakes I’ve made over the years. At one point or another I’ve fallen victim to every one of the blunders listed below (and then some!). I’ve made every backpacking mistake in the books, but I’ve learned my lessons and I keep coming back for more. Because no matter how bad the slip-ups have been, the good trail times always outweigh the bad. 1. Cooking In Your Tent Cooking dinner in your tent might seem like a cozy idea, especially if it’s wet and cold outside. But there are serious consequences to consider before lighting up a stove in an enclosed area. The obvious danger is that you could burn down your tent, which would suck. The less-obvious danger is that the carbon monoxide fumes from your stove are poisonous and they could kill you, which would suck more. There may be scenarios where you need shelter to cook a meal - like winter camping on a mountain in a snowstorm. So if you MUST, cook in the vestibule of your tent (not inside your tent) and make sure to have lots of ventilation. If you can’t do those things, don’t cook at all. 2. Soaking Your Sleeping Bag Here’s a surprising pro tip: Sleeping in a wet sleeping bag is the pits. Shocking insight, right? Still, this blunder seems to be a rite of passage for new backpackers. It’s hard to really drill the point home until you’ve actually been forced to climb inside a soggy sleeping bag. That’s when the wisdom really sinks in. Develop an obsession for keeping your sleeping bag dry. At the first sign of rain, pack your sleeping bag in a waterproof container inside your backpack. Heavy-duty trash bags work great for this. Even if your backpack claims to be waterproof (few actually are), the extra protection is worth it for such a critical piece of gear. 3. Filleting Your Feet Few things can ruin a backpacking trip as quickly as bad blisters. When you’re traveling by foot and every step hurts, it’s pretty tough to enjoy your surroundings. Blisters are caused by friction - wearing footwear that is too tight, too rigid, or rubs against a particular area of skin. They can develop easily when your feet are clammy and soft. That’s one of the reasons I prefer to pack light and wear trail running shoes instead of boots. They keep my feet ventilated, comfortable, and blister free no matter how far I want to hike. If you do plan to wear hiking boots, take lots of time to break them in well before your hike. Also, whatever footwear you choose, always stop immediately if you feel a hotspot and address it. Hiking through initial blister pain is easy, but you’re doing damage that will be much more painful over the following days. 4. Packing Too Much Crap There are around 2,200 steps in every mile and nature is rarely flat. Remember that while you’re testing the weight of your pack in the comfort of your home. It won’t take very long for a heavy pack to feel uncomfortable once you get it on the trail. Cutting weight is a skill that comes from experience and the confidence gained after years on the trail. The more you get out there, the more you’ll see what you need, what you don’t, and what items you can upgrade. Common pitfalls include bringing too much clothing, too much food, and unnecessary extras like camping chairs, camp shoes, and excess cooking equipment. When it comes to cutting gear weight, start with "The Big 3" – your shelter, backpack, and sleeping bag. Lightweight gear has come a long way in the past few years. For example, my backpack, 2-person tent, and sleeping bag weigh just over 4 pounds combined. Packing light will make your hike much more enjoyable. 5. Swamping Your Shelter When setting up your tent, always ask yourself this question: When it rains, where will the water go?Flat areas always seem like appetizing spots to pitch a shelter, but they’re also the places where the water will pool. If it starts to rain in the night, you could easily wake up with a few inches of standing water in your tent, and that’s never fun. When you're setting up your shelter, look for proper water drainage and never choose a location that looks like it was previously a puddle. Choose established campsites to minimize your impact, camp at least 200 feet from water sources, and avoid low spots in valleys to reduce condensation and cold temperatures. 6. Giving Animals Easy Meals It’s shocking to me how rarely I see backcountry travelers storing their food properly. And yes, proper food storage is a big deal - not just for you, for the wildlife. Feeding wild animals changes their foraging habits and teaches them to associate humans with food. For example, when bears learn to associate humans with food they often need to be trapped, relocated, and sometimes killed. Poor food storage is the equivalent of feeding wild animals by hand, so don't be that guy. It’s not hard to do and it's worth it to keep our wildlife wild. You have many options for proper food storage. Bear canisters, Ursacks, and properly hung bear bags are all solid options. Check out the video below to see what will work best for you. 7. Bringing Untested Gear Testing gear is an essential step to pre-trip planning. Never bring an item you haven’t tested into the backcountry because something is bound to go wrong. You might pack the wrong type of stove fuel, bring a headlamp with depleted batteries, or find yourself struggling to set up a new tent when it’s dark and raining. Avoid these mistakes and many more by testing your gear before you get on the trail. Also, use a lightweight checklist before every trip to make sure you aren’t forgetting critical items. 8. Having A Lax Water Plan Clean water is one of the most important factors for your survival in the wilderness. Water is also one of the heaviest items you’ll carry in your pack. So it’s important to strike the right balance between hydration and weight reduction on your treks. Always know where your next water source is and hydrate while you’re filling up. That way you won’t have to pack as much out. For example, filling up a 3-liter hydration bladder will add close to 7 pounds to your pack. That’s an absolute no-brainer if you’re hiking in the desert, but an unnecessary burden if you’re hiking by clean rivers all day. 9. Skimping On Planning Trip planning takes time and it isn’t always fun, but it is extremely important, especially for beginners. Trip planning will help you to avoid countless blunders that will completely derail your trip.During the trip planning phase you’ll find the right maps, get permits, learn about current conditions (snow, fires, bugs, etc.), learn about trail closures or fire bans, and a whole lot more. Not knowing any one of those things could easily ruin your trip or keep you off the trail altogether. Winging it always seems like a good idea until you get lost on your way to the trailhead, realize you don't have the right permit, and find out a bear canister is required for food storage. 10. Ignoring The Weather Weather in the wilderness is inherently unpredictable. Temperatures in the mountains can quickly drop and conditions can go from pleasant to treacherous faster than you might think. Being exposed to bad weather without the proper equipment is one of the most dangerous scenarios for any hiker, so don’t put yourself in that spot. Even if the forecast calls for sun, bring a lightweight rain jacket. Evenings and mornings are almost always chilly in the woods, so pack a warm jacket, hat, and gloves on every trip. If you’re not prepared for wet and cold weather, you shouldn’t be in the woods. Period. 11. Dodging Navigation Skills Do you know how to use a map and compass? Do you know what to do if you get lost in the wilderness? Do you know how to signal for helpand how to maximize your chances of finding other people? If not, you're putting yourself in a really terrible position. Every backpacker should know basic navigation skills. If you don't, you really shouldn't be out in the backcountry. Never put yourself in a position to experience what it feels like to be truly lost in the wilderness. The consequences can be devastating. 12. Leaving A Trace Leave no trace (LNT) backpacking skills aren’t sexy, but they are critical. The more we travel to wild areas the more impact we make on the plants and animals living in those places. If we don't do our part to minimize impact, we will ruin our most pristine wild areas. Here are some simple tips: Don't use biodegradable soap in or near water sources. Pack out all your trash. Actually dig a hole to bury your poop. Follow fire regulations. Store your food properly. Don't feed animals. Know the rules for the area you're traveling in and follow them. Those are simple details, but you'd be surprised how many backcountry travelers don't know or follow them. So please do your part to help keep our wild areas as wild as possible. Wrap up No matter how hard you try, chances are good that you'll make some epic backcountry blunders over the years. When mistakes do happen, learn from them, make the proper adjustments, and get back out there. After all, the fun times you have on the trail will always beat out the times you get stuck in the mud.
Top 12 Beginner Backpacking Blunders content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 19, 2022
In NAC Adventure Weekly Archive
This is our sixth, and final article on Rock Climbing. In this final article we will discuss the best practices while climbing. These practices are sure to aid in keeping climbing areas open to the public and many future generations. The Leave No Trace ethics of climbing could arguably be the most important topic when it comes to rock climbing, so take a few minutes to read and understand today's important article... Climbing ethics are important because climbers are visitors and guests on someone else's land. Whether on public or private land, climbing areas are shared with fellow climbers and often by other types of users. The continued access to climbing areas is a fragile thing. Know Climbing Issues Each and every climber represents the climbing community. You need to know and follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles (© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org) plus any rules specific to your favorite climbing areas. If one climber does things that are outside the parameters of common courteous practices, we all start losing our rights to use these areas. The biggest issues in the climbing world today include: Bolting practices. Climbing area maintenance. Climber relations with other users in shared-use areas. Climber relations with land managers. Continued access to public venues. Talk to your fellow climbers about what's going on. Do some research online. And get involved. Know Your Climbing Area Some of the questions you should be asking: Where is the access? Is there a designated trail to the climbing area? Is it on public or private land? Where can I park my car? Get information from online sources, guidebooks, the local climbing shops or your climbing buddies. What is the color of the rock? Climbers are just one user of an area, so consider your visual impact. The color of the area's rock will influence what color chalk you use, as unsightly chalk marks detract from the visual experience of the next user. Rock color will also influence the color of your clothing and even your rope. What is the site's climbing ethic? Research whether or not there are site-specific guidelines about climbing free, using removable protection or leaving marks on rocks. Are there seasonal wildlife closures? Some climbing areas are closed periodically to protect nesting birds or other local wildlife. Find this out before you drive to the site. What about vegetation? Climbing has an impact on the plants and soils at the bottom and top of a climb, as well as on cliff-dwelling plants. The Access Fund identifies 6 zones impacted by a typical climb (see illustration below). Please minimize your impact on vegetation at all times but be aware of site-specific issues as well. Reduce Your Impact Leave No Trace is a philosophy that encourages you to make as little impact as possible while enjoying your outdoor activities. A common saying is, "Take only photos, leave only footprints." However, even footprints should be minimized. The Access Fund's 6 zones of a climbing area: The approach Staging area The climb Summit The descent Camping or bivouac Always practice the Leave No Trace Seven Principles so you can minimize erosion to the land, reduce damage to vegetation, avoid negative impacts to wildlife and help to preserve the solitude (noise is pollution, too). Zone 1: The Approach This is where you park your vehicle, grab your gear and start walking to the climb's staging area. Leave No Trace actions: Carpool to the trail to save both fuel and parking spaces. Avoid use during peak times. Keep the group size small. Walk single file. Use existing trails and don't trample vegetation. Do not cut switchbacks. Walk lightly. Stay away from sensitive areas. Walk through mud, not around it, to avoid widening the path. Volunteer to do trail improvements, use wood chips, soil or gravel to help minimize damage to large sites. Zone 2: Staging Area This is where you put on your climbing gear and get ready to climb, have something to eat, discuss the route, look at strategies and take a potty break before starting. The easier the access, the more a staging area gets used, but even more remote areas are impacted, too. Leave No Trace actions: Make sure the staging area is large enough for everyone. Do not trample vegetation. Keep the noise down. Walk lightly. Pick up all lunch scraps. Properly take care of human waste. Zone 3: The Climb This is why you are here—the ascent. Rocks are hard and durable, but they do naturally erode. With climbers scampering over them, pieces will break off and erode even faster, especially soft rocks such as sandstone. While on the route, climbers can dislodge organic matter from cracks. Climbing shoes, ropes and your hands can damage plants, too. Leave No Trace actions: Avoid cliff edges, cracks and ledges that are prone to erosion. Use a chalk bag and keep it close to you to prevent spills. Use as little chalk as possible, and use a color that is compatible with the rocks. If some chalk does spill, try to clean it up. If possible, avoid using trees for anchors. When using a tree is necessary, avoid harming the tree's bark by using a sling and carabiner to run the rope through, instead of wrapping a rope around a tree. Be careful where you place your hands to avoid wildlife. Bird nests can be in cliff faces, and other animals use them for shelter, too. If taking a new route, try not to leave a noticeable path. Avoid vegetation and areas that need "cleaning." Use earth-toned webbing. Place bolts or pitons properly for a less impacted route. Use removable protection whenever possible. Zone 4: The Summit This is the goal—reaching the top. Vegetation at the summit can be especially fragile because of its exposure and thin soil. Leave No Trace actions: Leave behind what you find there; don't take any souvenirs except pictures. Take what you brought with you, including human waste. Walk lightly. Zone 5: The Descent Descents include walking, down-climbing, rappelling or any combination thereof. Leave No Trace actions: Make sure the staging area is large enough for everyone. Leave behind what you find; don't take any souvenirs except pictures. Take what you brought with you, including human waste. Walk lightly. Tip: If vegetation is fragile on the cliff edge, consider fixing anchors below the summit. The anchors let climbers rappel down instead of going over the cliff edge for the descent path. Zone 6: Camping or Bivouac If you have to travel a bit to reach your favorite climbing areas, it's likely you will be camping before and/or after the climb. Leave No Trace actions: Use designated camping areas—don't make new ones. Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams. Be careful not to spill food during preparation. Pick it up if you do. Don't bury uneaten food; animals will dig it up. Pack it out. Store food securely when away from camp. Pack out all garbage. Avoid building fires. Use a backpacking stove instead. Cook on rock, gravel or snow instead of on vegetated areas. Pick up what others may have left behind. Tip: Take part in the Access Fund's Adopt-a-Crag day held each September. This program brings climbers together with local land managers and landowners for conservation and stewardship. See the Access Fund website for details. Cleaning the Route A new climbing route will most likely require some "cleaning." Cleaning a route means clearing loose rocks and removing moss, lichen or debris from foot and handholds to make the climb safer. While necessary for climbing safety, cleaning should be kept to a minimum. Where there are no records of a climb, there is likely to be more impact from climbers making their own routes. So whenever possible, be sure to input your data into new-route logs to help other climbers and to reduce the impact. Tip: Before cleaning a new route, consider if the route will be used again and the cleaning is justifiable. Practice Good Hygiene You may think of this as a personal thing, but we all need to consider our bathroom etiquette. Human waste is a problem in popular camping and climbing areas, especially on multi-pitch and big-wall climbs. For camp or staging areas, check beforehand for site-specific information. If there is an established toilet at the camp or staging area, use it—especially before you start your climb. In most places it is acceptable to pee on the ground, but go 200 feet away from water sources, the trail and campsites. Try to go on mineral soil or rock so vegetation is not harmed. There is salt in urine, and the salt can attract animals that could damage the vegetation more. One rule applies everywhere: Don't pee in cracks. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's better to pee out on the open faces on rock. Your pee dries faster out on a rock face. Consider, too, that rainwater rarely gets into cracks to wash it out. This can lead to real stinky climbs. And who would want to stick their hands in those cracks, anyway? When nature calls for a "No. 2," you can use a cathole (dug hole) 6-8 inches deep, and cover it with dirt when finished. Put a rock on top to deter animals from digging it up. When on the climb or in snow, pack it out. Some climbing areas have waste bags available. Otherwise you can buy waste bags and containers or bring your own. Some waste bags have zip-style closures in a double-bag system with a special blend of polymers to break the waste down and turn it into a deodorized gel. This also makes it carrying easier. The bags are safe for landfills and can be dropped in the trash. Any toilet paper and hygiene products should be placed in a sealable bag and packed out. IF you are in an area where fire is permitted, toilet paper can be burned. But be very careful, don't start any forest fires! Make sure all embers are thoroughly extinguished. On climbs that can take several days, some climbers use a sealed, plastic container, clip it on with a carabiner and carry it behind them. Tip: When on snow, let the waste freeze first and then bag it. Get Involved Founded in 1991, the Access Fund has become the most influential advocacy group for climbers nationwide. They are one of the pioneers for what is happening in climbing and maintaining the ethics of climbing. If you're serious about climbing, consider joining this or other grassroots climbing organizations. To learn more about leaving no trace or getting involved, go to the Leave No Trace website or the Leave No Trace Canada website. Another popular resource is the American Alpine Club Web site or the Alpine Club of Canada. Here in Ontario you can visit the OAC (Ontario Alliance of Climbers) to help with funding, volunteer work and more. FAQs on Climbing Ethics Q: Isn't it better to use colorful gear and wear bright clothing so I can be seen? A: If you are alone in the wilderness, it is usually a good idea to be seen. Climbers, however, are usually not alone. If an accident were to happen, your climbing partners would be there to help. So, strive to blend in more. Q: What is "removable pro?" A: This is short for removable climbing protection, such as Friends, cams, nuts and stoppers. A piece of pro is wedged or placed into the rock, and it is usually easy to retrieve. Q: What is the difference between a piton and a bolt? A: A piton is a small metal spike that is hammered into a crack and left for subsequent climbers to use. Once the only form of climbing protection available, it should be used these days only when no other form of protection is available. A bolt is a small metal anchor that is drilled into a wall where there are no cracks or other types of protection. It is also a fixed anchor for use by many climbers. The use of drills to place new bolts is no longer permitted in many climbing areas. Q: Why is it better to use a removable pro versus a piton? A: Removable pro leaves little or no trace of usage. It is less likely to damage rocks. Pitons and bolts generally offer greater safety and convenience to climbers, but their permanence and, in some areas, their density have negative effects on scenic and aesthetic values. Originally posted on REI Expert Advice N.A.C. NEWS (Sunday, April 17, 2022) Happy Easter! I hope everyone gets to spend time with their friends, family and all their loved ones. I will be spending my Sunday with my family in Milton, sharing a lovely Easter dinner and having some fun with my nephew. Next week we will begin our Beaver Valley hikes. In case you missed the news, the next 5 or 6 hikes will take place on the Bruce Trail through the Beaver Valley area. I wish to complete the entire Beaver Valley Section so I can collect full GPS logs of ther Bruce Trail in that area. The Beaver Valley is a beautiful area, so you won't want to miss these hikes. Also, it's a great chance to get in your End to End of the Beaver Valley Section if you've been trying to complete full sections of the trail. The Defy Gravity - Learn to Climb event is fast approaching. Unfortunately, this will be the last time NAC can host this event as we will no longer have after hours access to the climbing gym. Learning to Rock Climb is great fun and great excercise, and builds great character. This event is for first timer's and provides a safe and judgement free place to get into climbing. There are only 7 spots left, so get yours fast! I hope to see you there! That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club
Volume 98: Leave No Trace Climbing Ethics content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 12, 2022
In NAC Adventure Weekly Archive
This week will be our fifth article on Rock Climbing with one more article to come. We will look at how to take all the skills you have learned and move to an outdoor setting safely. Finding a guide, obtaining gear, the different types of outdoor climbing and proper etiquette are all important topics when it comes to outdoor climbing, so let's dive in! Though some gym climbers never venture beyond their climate-controlled world, for most of us, our outdoor spirit inevitably longs for its place in the sun. If you’ve made the decision to try “real” rock climbing, a little preparation is in order.The outdoor world requires similar skills and knowledge to gym climbing, but it also presents additional challenges. You need to do more preparation, have the right gear and master new skills. Find a Guide Your first move in transitioning to outdoor climbing is to find a certified guide to take you to a nearby crag, or find a qualified instructor with experience teaching beginning outdoor climbers. A good instructor can help you understand how to climb in the elements, and will be able to teach you more advanced skills like setting and cleaning your own anchors. Because many facilities offer classes to help you transition, your gym is a good place to start. If they do not offer classes, they most likely will have information to get you to an outdoor instructor in the area. Gear for Outdoor Climbing Borrowing Gear: While it’s tempting to borrow gear initially to save money, do so with caution. Never borrow any hardware or other key safety gear if you don’t know its full history in detail. Hardware might have hidden damage (microcracks) and nylon components (like harnesses, slings and ropes) can degrade from abrasion, UV rays or even liquids. That doesn’t leave many borrowing options except clothing, rock shoes and chalk. A notable exception to the “what not to borrow” rules is gear provided by your certified guide or instructor. These pros are required to do extensive safety checks, and to keep a detailed safety log for all key pieces of gear. Buying Gear: Your guide or instructor should provide a list of all the gear you need to purchase before your outing or class. To learn more about gear that’s likely to be on those lists, see the article in Adventure Weekly Volume 94: Getting Started Rock Climbing. Clothing Needs: Your sleek, stretchy gym wear is fine when the sun is shining on the crag and the temperatures are mild. But you also want appropriate layers in case the weather gets cool or wet. At a minimum, it's nice to have a warm jacket to wear when you're waiting your turn on the route. For more info, check out Adventure Weekly Volume 28: Layering Basics. Outdoor Climbing Options for Beginners Different styles of outdoor climbing require different levels of experience. The best options for those venturing outside for the first time are listed below. Bouldering Bouldering is outdoor climbing done on rock faces, boulders and other surfaces close to the ground. No ropes or harnesses are needed, so you don't need a lot of climbing gear to try it. It's extremely popular with beginning climbers because being closer to the ground makes fear less of a factor. And bouldering is a great activity to learn new techniques. If you try your hand at bouldering, you can look for an introductory class or outing. Or you can go with experienced climbers who can act as spotters while you climb. Although you're relatively close to the ground, the risk of injury is still present. Top-Rope Climbing Top-rope climbing outdoors will be similar to your gym experience. You climb toward an anchor at the top of your route while your guide or instructor belays you. The primary difference outdoors is that you have to use unmarked natural hand- and footholds as you progress. Because of this, your instructor will likely put you on routes with a lower difficulty rating than you typically do indoors. More Advanced Types of Climbing Sport Climbing Outdoor sport climbing routes typically have bolts drilled into the rock and you must carry quickdraws that you use to clip in. Initially, when you sport climb, you do something called “mock lead climbing.” That requires both the rope you clip in with and a top rope. This technique lets you practice clipping in to bolts without having to fall as far when you make a mistake. When you progress to lead climbing, you no longer rely on a top rope attached to a top anchor to hold a fall. Instead you rely on each bolt you clip into as you ascend. The net effect is that you fall farther if you slip on a lead climb. For a further discussion about different types of climbing, see Adventure Weekly Volume 94: Getting Started Rock Climbing. Climbing Etiquette in the Outdoors Like any outdoor activity, climbing has a code of conduct. This extension of Leave No Trace principles, though, is critically important because huge numbers of gym climbers are making the move into a very limited number of outdoor climbing areas. The Access Fund, which advocates for climbers worldwide, reports that one in five areas are closed because of perceived liability issues or climbers no longer being welcome. Reading and following The Pact, a special pledge developed by the Access Fund, is a great place to start: Respect other users. Dispose of human waste properly. Park and camp in designated areas. Stay on established trails. Place gear and pads on durable surfaces. Clean up chalk and tick marks. Keep a low profile, minimizing group size and noise. Pack out all trash, crash pads, and gear. Respect closures. Be an upstander, not a bystander. To learn more, watch for next weeks Adventure Weekly article, Climbing Ethics: Leave No Trace. N.A.C. NOTE: In Ontario we have the O.A.C. (Ontario Alliance of Climbers), an organization of climbers that works with government and local land owners to keep climbing areas open and available by working to develop rules and guidelines that will ensure the longevity of climbing areas. Please take a moment to visit their web page and consider making a donation to support their efforts. Safety is your responsibility. No article or video can replace proper instruction and experience. Make sure you practice proper techniques and safety guidelines before you climb. Originally posted on REI Expert Advice N.A.C. NEWS (Sunday, April 10, 2022) Good Morning, In 2016, Niagara Adventure Club spent 25 weekends hiking and completing the Grand Valley Trail from Dunville, ON to Alton, ON. When we reached the end of the trail, we were disappointed to learn that the Side Trail that used to connect the Grand Valley Trail to the Bruce Trail no longer existed. Today, we are once again hiking the Grand Valley Trail. Unfortunately I had to make some last minute changes to the planned hike, as I just learned that another 35kms of the trail have been removed at the end, and the trail now ends in Belwood, ON instead of Acton.I am glad to know that we hiked it when it was at full length, and I am disappointed that so much of the trail has been lost. On the bright side, the trail now ends at Belwood General Store, which has the most incredible bakery and butter tarts. On Sunday, April 24th, we will head North and begin hiking the Bruce Trail and begin to hike towards, and into the Beaver Valley. Although I have hiked much of the Beaver Valley over the years, we have never done the entire trail through that area as a group, and I do not have full GPS records of that section. We will spend the next five or six weekends completing the entire trail through the Beaver Valley and obtaining the GPS logs. This area is absolutely gorgeous with some incredible terrain, so you will not want to miss the upcoming hikes. As you may have noticed, the past few Adventure Weekly articles have pertained to Rock Climbing. The O.A.C. (Ontario Alliance of Climbers), is an organization of climbers that works with government and local land owners to keep climbing areas open by working to develop rules and guidelines that will ensure the longevity of climbing areas. Please take a moment to visit their web page and consider making a donation to support their efforts. That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club
Volume 97 - Gym to Crag: Learning to Climb Outdoors content media
0
0
1
Lenny Burch
Intense Paddler
Intense Paddler
Apr 04, 2022
In NAC Adventure Weekly Archive
This will be week four of our Climbing Series. You now have a basic understanding of climbing knots, climbing equipment and belaying. So this week we will continue the climbing theme with some basic techniques for staying on the wall! Safety is your responsibility. No article or video can replace proper instruction and experience. Make sure you practice proper techniques and safety guidelines before you climb. Great climbers don’t power their way up a wall, they “technique” their way to the top using a set of moves designed to help them attack specific problems. If you want to become a better climber, hone your technique and movement. And the best way to do that is by climbing every chance you get. Improving technique involves learning principles of movement and balance. Then you can concentrate on nailing the nuances of individual moves. Climbing Techniques It’s hard to overstate the importance of good technique. When you focus on technique, moves start to click into place and you find yourself floating up routes that used to be too difficult. This section covers some key concepts: Ways to use your feet Ways to maintain balance Ways to be more efficient Video: Climbing Techniques Climbing Techniques: Using Your Feet Feet are the foundation of climbing. Lots of beginners try to pull themselves up the wall and quickly tire out. Think about climbing a ladder—you don’t pull yourself up, you step up, and use your arms and hands for balance. It’s the same in climbing. Basic techniques for using your feet are edging and smearing: Edging is exactly what it sounds like: You step on a hold with the rubber on the edge of your shoe. You can use the inside edge, where your big toe offers stability on smaller holds, or you can use the outside edge. Your choice depends on the direction you need to move in order to get on or off the hold. Smearing happens when you don’t have an actual foothold, so you rely on your shoe’s rubber for friction against the rock. Smearing is useful in slab climbing, when you’re on low-angle rock without many defined footholds. When you smear, look for small depressions or protrusions that will give a little extra friction. You can also flatten out the angle for slightly better purchase. Keep the following footwork tactics in mind when climbing: Try to keep your feet directly below you. Keep an eye out for footholds in good positions, so you can maintain better balance. Look for foot placements even more than for handholds. Once you set your foot, keep it still. You’ll have a better chance of staying on the hold as you make your next move. Keep your heel low so you have plenty of contact with the wall. With a high heel less rubber is on the rock, reducing friction and increasing the odds that you’ll lever your foot off the wall when you make your next move. Climbing Techniques: Maintaining Balance When you’re lucky enough to have a line of jugs leading straight up the wall, climbing is pretty intuitive. When you’re on a route where you have to move and pull in different directions, though, you have to use your body to maintain balance. When you have to use a hold that’s out to the side, you can’t pull straight down. So you need to find a way to counter the force of that side pull, so you don’t lose balance and barn-door off the wall. Balancing tactics: Press your foot in the opposite direction of the pull to create counter pressure. Pull in the opposite direction with your other hand or a hooked foot. Lean over hard and use your body weight as a counter balance. Climbing Techniques: Climbing Efficiently Learn how to use less energy and how to give your muscles a break as you climb: Straight arms are happy arms. Straightening your arm allows your skeleton to take most of the weight, not your muscles. Even a slight bend in your elbow means your muscles are working to hold it there. Focus on your hips. Beginners often keep hips squared to the wall, which can feel very stable, but it pushes your weight away from the wall and stresses your muscles. Try to keep one hip pushed up against the wall. That helps keep your weight over your feet and lets you lean back with straight arms. Having a hip close to the wall brings your shoulder closer. Your weight is over your feet, decreasing your chances of peeling off. A close shoulder also changes the angle of pull on handholds, making them easier to grip. Good climbers climb with their eyes. Keep your eyes on the wall to look for holds that let you take a quick rest. Don’t just focus on the chalk marks. When you find a good rest, use it. Allow your pulse to slow down and shake out your arms so they don’t get pumped later. Climbing Moves Having a good arsenal of climbing moves helps you solve problems and tackle more challenging routes. Each of these moves employs principles covered in the technique section, above. Video: Climbing Moves Back Step A back step is the opposite of a normal step. Instead of stepping on a hold with your big toe and your hips squared to the wall, you turn your hip to the side and step with the outside edge (little-toe side) of your shoe. Back stepping helps get your hip close to wall, making it easier to straighten your arms and take a rest. It can also provide enough extension to reach an elusive hold. Back steps are especially useful for saving energy on steep and overhanging routes. Drop Knee A drop knee is a more extreme back step. It works best when you have a foothold near hip level. Step onto it with the tip of your toe; then roll your knee in until the outside of your shoe rests on the hold and your knee actually points down.Just like a back step, a drop knee gets your hip close to the wall. It’s great for a rest, but it’s especially great when you need extra reach on a steep or overhanging wall. Stemming Stemming is pushing against two opposing surfaces. This could be in a chimney, in a corner, or on an otherwise flat wall that has a big, protruding feature. You can stem using any combination of hands and feet, but the key is to use counter pressure to stay in balance. Stemming relies on your big leg muscles, so it’s an extremely efficient way to climb, and can give you some great rests. Flagging Flagging is counter balancing by using a limb to shift your weight. The goal is to keep from swinging away from the rock. Flagging is advantageous any time you’re using holds that are all on the same side of your body. Because that also stacks all your weight to one side, you simply swing that leg out to the other side of your body to keep yourself in balance. Lay-backing Lay-backing is when you pull and lean off one side of a flake or a crack and push your feet against the other side. When you have good footholds, laybacks are very efficient because your arms are straight and your feet do the hard work. When lack of good footholds requires you to smear, keep your heels low to maximize the amount of rubber against the rock. You can use a lay-back any time you’re in a crack and jamming isn’t an option, or you’ve got an opposing wall to push off against, like in a dihedral crack. Mantle A mantle is when you push down on a hold and bring feet up to meet hands. A classic example of mantling is at the top of a climb when you need to pull yourself onto the ledge. To mantle, push down on a hold to get your weight above it, then move your foot up to take the place of your hand. Mantles are necessary when you top out, but are also useful mid-climb when you have a big handhold and you need to get your feet high. Undercling Like the name implies, an undercling is when you use the underside of a hold. Using underclings may feel counter-intuitive at first, because instead of pulling down on the hold, you’re pulling up. One key to a good undercling is to find good, high footholds so you can maintain body tension by pushing with your feet as you pull on the hold. Keeping your feet high puts the hold around waist level and lets you keep your arms straighter. When done right, a good undercling gets you in a solid position to reach up for some extra elevation. Side Pull A side pull is any hold that’s oriented for a sideways pull. The key to a well-executed side pull is to balance out that sideways pull by shifting your body weight or by applying a counter force. Like underclings, side pulls can feel awkward because you have to adapt the direction of your pull to the orientation of the hold. But once that feeling clicks, suddenly you can use holds all around you, not just those straight above. Gaston A gaston is the inverse of side pull. In a side pull, the hold is oriented so that you pull in, toward yourself. A gaston is also oriented for a sideways force, but instead of a pull in, it requires a push out. The position is kind of like if you were trying to open an elevator door; your elbow is bent and pointing out to the side with your fingers pointing in toward you. Gastons may feel unstable because all the force comes from your shoulder. But adding this move to your repertoire really opens up the wall. Palming Palming is the hand version of smearing: You push against the rock with an open palm. Palming can help you maintain balance while you reposition your feet. It comes in handy if no good handholds are available. Palming is also useful when stemming because it allows you to apply counter pressure to a blank face. And on slab climbs, fingers-down palming is especially helpful. Originally posted on REI Expert Advice N.A.C. News (Sunday, April 3, 2022) Good Morning, I have two awesome announcements this week! First, we have a new NAC Partner that will be offering discounts on some very awesome trip packages. I don't want to say too much now, just waiting for the company to get back from their current expedition to hash out final details. Once all the details are completed, an email will be sent to all Season Pass Holders, and the details will be posted on the web site. Secondly, after cancelling the Iceland trip for this year, I have been scurrying around to find put together a plan for a 2022 trip. Unfortunately, every trip I tried to plan was either already booked full, or permits were already sold out. But, luckily this week, I made a very serendipitous connection with a lovely person up near Manitoulin Island who owns a large, beautiful, fully equipped AirBnB. I will be planning a one week adventure, using the Home as a base camp and having daily adventures from there. An example would be, the Cup and Saucer Trail, one of Ontario's most beautiful day hikes. More information will be cominf soon, and it will be posted to the web site as soon as an itinerary is completed. As for current information, we have 3 upcoming hikes planned, and the Learn to Climb event scheduled for May 28th still has 7 spaces left! This will be the last time NAC hosts an Indoor Learn to Climb as we will no longer be able to rent the climbing gym after hours. Make sure you get a spot, it's an awesome experience! That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club
Volume 96 - Climbing Techniques and Moves content media
0
0
3
 
Lenny Burch
Admin
Intense Paddler
Awesome Hiker
Intense Hiker
Extreme Hiker
Awesome Climber
Intense Climber
Extreme Climber
The Loyal
The Devoted
Trail Warrior 2019
Trail Warrior 2020
Trail Warror 2021
+4
More actions