Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why did my ski instructor tell me to turn with my legs?

Solid skiing involves rotary movements, some of which occur with the legs.
  • "Steering with your feet"
  • "Steering your skis with your legs"
  • "Turning your feet to steer your skis"
These catchphrases all imply turning using your legs. We can loosely describe this as leg rotation.

Ted Ligety Go Pro Slalom from Ted Ligety on Vimeo.

Why is leg rotation important? Why would an instructor or coach emphasize turning with our legs instead of turning with our whole body?

By maintaining a stable upper body while using our legs to steer our skis, we can use our largest muscle groups to manipulate our skis. We can create functional torque and be in the best

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Start with the Simple Solution in Improvised Rescue

What do we truly need to know for Self-Rescue?
  • escaping the belay
  • munter-mule
  • rescue-spider
  • counter-balance rappel
These seldom used techniques are critical in self-rescue. Or are they? Are there self-rescue situations in which we don't need to know these skills? Absolutely. To go a step further, in a stressful self-rescue situation, it may be in our best interest to incorporate skills that we practice regularly. As an additional point, using the simplest of these solutions generally results in the fastest resolution. Extra care needs to be taken, as fewer sets of skills exposes us to additional

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Climb with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides in Boulder, Colorado

Come check out the incredible climbing surrounding Boulder, Colorado with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides! Climb in Eldorado Canyon State Park, the Flatirons, Boulder Canyon, and more. We love introducing people to the sport, and we love working with people who are looking for that next-step. We help people who are seeking to improve their climbing, learn new skills, climb a classic route or a hidden gem, roll up your sleeves for hardcore adventure, or get on that lifetime dream climb. Invest in your climbing future by spending a day with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides!

from Jackson Hole Mountain Guides on Vimeo

Why climb with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides?

  • program accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association
  • operating since 1968 (one of the longest in the country)
  • climb with guides who hold themselves to lofty standards
  • Leave No Trace member/corporate sponsor; owners have been involved in the development of LNT
  • involvement with non-profit organizations and community outreach programs: Big City Mountaineers/Summit for Someone, American Lung Association, International Climbers Festival, Veterans Expeditions, and local involvement

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Longs Peak Workout

On a whim yesterday, I surprised myself with a fairly quick summit of Longs Peak via the Keyhole. I had wanted to do a little acclimatization work since I had two upcoming Grand Teton trips on my guiding schedule. With less than a week remaining, I started to feel a little pressure from the fact that I've been doing nearly all my climbing, guiding, and running in the Boulder Mountain Parks and Eldo. Cat was aware, and she said that she and Blake would have some mother/son time in the afternoon when she got off work so I could get out. I wanted to get in one significant run above 10,000 feet to give my body a wake-up call for the altitude on the Grand. More than one prep day would have been nice, but our summit days on both trips are on day three (not day two), so there is some acclimatization opportunity at our high camp at 11,200 feet for a day and a half.

As I drove out of Boulder, I was thinking of doing the Twin Sisters trail, since it was fairly convenient to pull right into the parking lot, versus some of the headache that comes from the longer rutted roads, pay kiosks, or lower elevation early mileage on many of the Indian Peaks hikes. But on the way up, I saw a break in the weather above Meeker and Longs, so I pulled up to the Longs trailhead, since it was actually closer than Lily Lake.

Although I had even less visibility for developing weather from the standard trail to the keyhole, I figured that I would hold myself to a turn-around time of 2:30, or turn the minute the weather started to go bad, so it wasn't a summit-fever run. I figured 4 hours at altitude would be helpful regardless. I started up a little after 2:30pm, remarking to myself how awesome that this trailhead is just under an hour from our apartment. Since the forecast was leaning towards developing precipitation, but not convection-driven storms, I felt pretty confident that this was a reasonable alternative to the Twin Sisters.

Longs Peak Summit Panorama looking East at 5pm

I didn't need to turn around. The weather remained incredible above Longs, the crowds were very thin given that it was mid-afternoon on a Monday, and I had the entire upper mountain to myself shortly after the keyhole. I hit the summit with a elapsed time of 2:30, and took five minutes to enjoy the early autumn view, by myself on the summit. The benefit of choosing a non-threatening

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is it better to workout with heavy weight / low reps or light weight / high reps?

That depends.

Let's start by looking at low weights and high reps. Occasionally, I come across publications and individuals who are now suggesting that light weight and high repetitions will result in the best muscle gain, or better yet, suggest that this type of workout protocol will actually result in "toning". I think that some reasons for this are due to problems interpreting a recently published study.

Released last year, the following study has been taken out of context and misinterpreted in the media: Burd NA, West DWD, Staples AW, Atherton PJ, Baker JM, et al. (2010) Low-Load High Volume Resistance Exercise Stimulates Muscle Protein Synthesis More Than High-Load Low Volume Resistance Exercise in Young Men. One reason for this post is that I recently came across a reporter looking for additional supporting evidence that this methodology would be a better way to workout.

Take this study at face value. If you read into it too much, there are some problems that come up:

  • The study demonstrates increased muscle protein synthesis. Key point: protein synthesis. Hypertrophy (muscle development) is the result of protein synthesis after protein

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backyard Collective takes on some great projects in Eldorado Canyon

If you have made it to Eldo in the past few days, you may have seen some dramatic improvements. A huge turnout in volunteers from area outdoor companies took on numerous projects in the state park. This was part of an event called Backyard Collective, put on by the Conservation Alliance. The Colorado Mountain Club, a multi-year Grantee, had two volunteer leaders, and assisted with the event. Osprey Packs, American Recreation Products, Inc., Backpackers Pantry, Outdoor Industry Association, La Sportiva, Nite Ize and Scarpa were all sponsors of the 3rd annual Boulder Backyard Collective. Ranger Steve Muehlhauser did an incredible job organizing, directing, and supporting the different groups working in the park.

New Streamside Trail Surface
With over 100 volunteers from these companies as well as Sea to Summit, Leisure Trends, Kelty, and more (I don't have a list), there was a lot accomplished. There was ongoing work with a slope stabilization project up on West Redgarden, just below Darkness til Dawn (essentially stabilizing this platform from rolling down to the creek!). The main picnic area had numerous "Beautification" projects completed, including tree planting. The Fowler, Streamside, and lower parking area trails were all improved and cleaned up. Burdock, an invasive species was cleaned up in many areas. All in all, there were probably over 700 hours of focused work completed - and there are some great results.

Both morning and afternoon, I volunteered to lead groups working on smoothing and resurfacing the Streamside trail, in it's ADA section below the Whale's Tail. I had great turnout, but it may have been because Steve named my group the "crusher", which totally attracts the competitive set in the outdoor industry. In the morning, the entire Backpacker's Pantry team carried most of the crusher fines across the bridge and made huge progress in resurfacing the first two-thirds of the trail. The afternoon had Sea to Summit, La Sportiva,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cool approach to the Fifth Flatiron

A few evenings back, I wanted some fresh air in the Flatirons, so I combined some familiar scrambles and climbing into a nice outing. This is simply one random example of the hundreds of cool outings where we can hit several formations in a row. While I enjoy the standard routes in the Flatirons, the "link-up" days are pretty sweet. There are many areas in the Flatirons where we are able to combine several formations, and actually spend more time on the rock than hiking.

For this workout, I used the Mesa Trail and some old quarry trails to access the East Face of the  Regency. Descending the west side of the Regency puts you at the base of the East Face of the Royal Arch. From the Royal Arch, you are at a logical location to begin the East Face South Side route on the Fifth Flatiron. The combination of the first two formations makes for a really nice scramble approach to the Fifth, and avoids the "out and back" hiking of the Royal Arch Trail. As you can see from the image/gadget, it is nearly a straight line from start to finish.
Looking at the huge amount of rock in the Flatirons gives a good idea of how many possible link-ups are out there. Familiarity with the routes, trails, descent trails, and tricks yields a lifetime of unique scrambles and climbs.
Panorama from Fifth Flatiron summit - looking down to the Third Flatiron and Boulder
The formations and climbs:
The Regency features the 3rd class route, "El Camino". But honestly, as a climber, there is no "logical" route on the Regency. Rather it seems to trend from 3rd class on the right (north)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Discipline and excellence

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; 'these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions'; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: 'the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life... for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy'" -Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers (inner quotations are from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics)*

*this is often misattributed, but succinctly, as Aristotle's own: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Those who truly excel in an activity tend to excel in life. Practice with discipline. Train with discipline. Live with discipline.

simple hard work - Guanacos Route, Aconcagua
Discipline does not mean "showing up for the game". It means showing up for the game and doing what you need to do, not what you want to do. It means that you can correct your own errors. It means that you act with an understanding of the cost and benefit. It means that thought has been put into your actions. It means that we are honest with ourselves on many levels.

Achieving higher levels of discipline can be incredibly easy or it can be painfully difficult. It seems easiest when we have truly identified what we want. Then the behaviors necessary to achieve our goals

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Review of Black Diamond Gridlock

Is it possible to avoid cross-loading a carabiner? I'm not sure, but some people might find success with the BD Gridlock. We didn't find success, and were actually quite disappointed. I haven't really researched other people's experiences, so this is strictly a quick review based on our initial use. I'd rather post positive reviews, but we were so disappointed with the Gridlock's tendency to crossload with a Grigri, that I decided to share my thoughts.

There have been a few innovations in the past that have been improvements over a standard HMS or belay biner. The typical concept is to restrict the ability of the locking belay carabiner to rotate through/around/about the belay loop. With few exceptions, it seems as if cross-loading occurs with short lead falls or top-roping falls. Forces tend to be low in these situations, well within the tolerances of even the most flyweight locking carabiners. I also tend to notice that it occurs slightly more with a Grigri than other belay devices, and in these instances it seems to occur with rounded HMS biners the most, then standard pear HMS. With a Grigri it actually seems rare for it to occur with lightweight modified D carabiners - hence my preference of just using a Petzl Am'D or something similar.

It always seem worthwhile to explore new options on the market. Black Diamond tends to be fairly innovative with their designs, and they produce a few of my favorite products. On the other hand, some of their recent products have been remarkably cheap, flimsy, and unimpressive. I still hold the company in high regard because it's constantly adapting and trying new concepts, as well as addressing issues with some of their rollouts (e.g. early skis). Because of the brand's impressive lifetime reputation, I'm always interested to try out some of their new products, leading to our purchase of a BD Gridlock belay carabiner. There is a simplicity to the Gridlock's design that seems more

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Some Flatirons Closures Lifted - Third Flatiron is Open

Third Flatiron from Royal Arch
Following the opening of the Amphitheater, the Sphynx, Skunk Canyon, and the Sacred Cliffs in May and June, The Third Flatiron and several other formations were opened to all uses on July 25. Boulder Mountain Parks and Open Spaces has lifted some of the seasonal closures as the raptor breeding season comes to a close. Major areas and formations opened on the 25th include: the entire Third Flatiron, its descent trail, the Ironing Boards, the Green Thumb, the Ghetto and Queen Anne's Head, the remaining Shadow Canyon formations (Devil's Thumb Ridge, Towers of the Moon, and Jamcrack Spire), the Goose/Goose Eggs, Nebel Horn Ridge, East Ridge, and Bear Creek Spire.

The only remaining OSMP climbing formations affecting the Flatirons and Eldo climbers are the Mickey Mouse Wall and an area encompassing both the Back Porch and the Box. These closures are still slated to be lifted on July 31. As always, when you are thinking about heading out to some of these formations or even heading out for a trail run, it's worth a check on the OSMP closures page to verify that your destination or trail is indeed open.

Though the 2011 raptor report isn't out yet, the Daily Camera cited city officials saying that there were four peregrine pairs with ten fledglings. No mention of prarie falcons yet. There were four prairie falcon fledglings on Mickey Mouse Wall last year, and I'm guessing that there may be more this year. The Box likely has a successful nest as well, based on the fact this was a new closure listed with the Back Porch, and it remains closed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ueli Steck demonstrates the rest step - NOT

Ueli Steck is making a name for himself. He's pushing faster and faster times on what used to be testpiece alpine routes. He's a visible part of each generation's trend to push beyond perceived barriers. This process is interesting to examine, and attempt to guess the relative weight of physiological versus psychological factors, as well as their interaction.
This isn't a brand new video. While many of the climbing scenes are obviously posed, based on his pace on these formations, it's not that far off. Whether it's posed or not, it's pretty entertaining to watch Steck hustle up these daunting routes. He is most certainly not doing the rest step and he is likely violating the "three points of contact" rule occasionally. A while back, he was in Yosemite. Day one consisted of a "warm-up" run up the Nose. Day two was on the Nose again, to try to pick up speed. I like where he is going with that attitude.

I was reminded of this video after reading a guest feature in Alpinist by Boulder's Peter Beal. Beal touches on author Malcolm Gladwell's explanation of pushing beyond perceived limits

Monday, July 18, 2011

Commitment to a goal

"Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." -David Lloyd George

I feel like I've come across this quote more than a few times recently. Meanwhile, I'm realizing how much I don't like the concept of "everything in moderation".

I know that I sometimes make small changes to slowly work towards a goal. As I've gotten older, I've realized that small changes or small actions don't move me forward very quickly. If we are goal oriented, then our steps need to be significant. "Everything in moderation" can become a cop-out, letting us pretend like we are actually working towards a goal.

Deciding to take big steps is empowering. But most of the time it's not like jumping into the deep end of the pool; it's more subtle, when we just know and act. When we are honest with ourselves about how effective we are moving towards a goal, or how ready we are to tackle it, it's a lot easier to make the necessary changes.
wind-scoured Ingraham Glacier
It also might mean that we are ready for the final step. It might be time to cut out food x or beverage x; it might be time to forget about completing every route in our training pyramid and getting on our goal route; it might be that we have accumulated enough experience to ski that scary shot at the far end of the cirque. Whatever the goal, there comes a time to really commit to attaining or completing it. "Everything in moderation" is not the ticket to get us there.

This leads into my thought for the day: Commitment to a goal means forgetting moderation. Big actions provide big results.

Here's a related quote: "Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess." -Oscar Wilde

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How to improve each and every ski season

I like using the weakest link principle to plan for improvement. In our time-crunched society, focusing attention on the weakest link (or greatest limitation) provides the biggest gains in overall performance. That's simple enough.

Although it could satisfy the ego to spend time working in areas in which we are already strong, this does little to improve our performance in the long-term. In fact, as our weaker areas become weaker, we create a bigger and bigger imbalance, and injuries and dissatisfaction are likely to result. Stroking the ego = downward spiral in long-term performance and health.

I recently reviewed some video movement analysis of skiers I've worked with to identify their weakest links and areas of improvement. I tried to consider overall fitness, health, and conditioning. I saw a wide range of performance and I speculated on the potential for these skiers given their current approach to fitness and their sport. I was able to separate the pack into three groups:
  • Lower quality movement and underpowered. With this group, I am referring to general ability to move in life as well as sport. The skiers in this group were nearing the upper limit of their possible skill level. Watching the videos in slow-motion, it was fairly obvious that they were limited by their strength, stability, and posture. These underpowered and less-

Monday, June 27, 2011

Boulder Photos

Here is a slide show with photos of many of the cool climbing areas around Boulder. JHMG operates in all the areas shown in these photos.
Part of the appeal of Eldo, the Flatirons, and Boulder Canyon is the proximity to the Front Range urban corridor. While climbers have an incredible outdoor setting while playing on the rocks, the presence of a larger population nearby is undeniable. This never seems to detract from the experience, rather it gives me an appreciation for the accessibility of these awesome crags and rock formations. I tried to share some action photos and some landscapes that captured the combination of these elements.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What is that big cage full of rocks by Grandmother's Challenge?

On Friday afternoon, a small group of volunteers worked on a new gabion on the West Redgarden trail. It's just uphill of the staging area for Grandmother's Challenge. Several more are needed to complete the project, and there will be regular volunteer days for this project - fourth Friday of each month. Folks may be meeting in the Streamside lot at 3pm and hiking up shortly thereafter, but check the Boulder Climbing Community website for specific detail.
Come out and fill a big steel cage with rocks, and repeat as necessary. It's actually a refreshing workout, and it's fun to pretend that you are working on a project as big as the slope stabilization of the West Side of the Bastille.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Petzl Grigri 2 recall notice (for replacement)

Photo from Petzl website
Petzl has announced a recall for replacement of a specific batch of grigri 2's. From some unconfirmed sources, it sounds like pulling too hard on the handle can cause a pin in the handle to wedge against the body of the grigri. Petzl reported: "As of June 20, 2011, seven damaged products have been returned to Petzl through our worldwide distribution network. Petzl has no knowledge of any accidents resulting from a damaged GRIGRI 2 handle."

Photo from Petzl website
Rather than wonder about the exact mechanism for failure, simply check your grigri's serial number. If the first five digits fall between 10326 and 11136, Petzl will take care of you. It appears that the replacement can't be initiated through a local retailer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Training Correctly for Rock Climbing

In a discussion with a client recently, I was reminded of a common misperception that one of the best ways to get better at rock climbing is through focused strength training, emphasizing the fingers and arms. Whether it's performance plateaus or higher rates of injuries, these things seem to happen to climbers that think they will have the biggest gains in performance by training on fingerboards, campus boards, or doing pull-ups. Thinking these activities will have the biggest impact on performance couldn't be further from the truth.

The most important factor generally affecting climbing performance, all others being equal,  is climbing technique. The next most important factor is choosing appropriate tactics (pacing, choice of techniques, choice of protection stances, etc.) While strength is obviously a limiting factor for ultimate performance, most climbers are hitting their limit because of the much more trainable factors of technique and tactics. As an example, granddad Stevie Haston recently fired off a 5.14d at 52 years old. We know that our bodies are not nearly as strong at 52 as they are in our early 20's. Yet Haston can climb at the sport's threshold at age 52.
Stevie Haston, age 52, on Descente Lolitta (5.14d)
Taken a little further, strength is only a limiting factor if we can assume that a climber is performing a sequence of moves perfectly, after considering the

Monday, May 30, 2011

Great Video of Peter Croft and Lisa Rands on the Hulk

I recently came across a cool video of Peter Croft and Lisa Rands climbing the Venturi Effect (IV 5.12+) on the Incredible Hulk in the northern Sierra. Croft put this one up with the prolific Dave Nettle in 2004. Impressive route and impressive video. Great footage of Croft flowing up the crux corner, as well as Lisa Rands fighting hard on the upper crux. It was cool to see Lisa Rands doing her best to fight and maintain composure while onsighting 5.12+. While she expresses some self-doubt in this video (pretty crazy since she's done Gaia), it might be an indicator of how intimidating it must be to "partner up" with Croft.
Croft is famous for his amazing solos, unbelievable alpine traverses, and incredible list of First Free Ascents. Examples of some of these include: the Shadow (onsight of the 5.13 crux corner) in Squamish, the first one-day link-up of the El Capitan and Half Dome, and the first free-solo link-up of Astroman and the Rostrum. Rands is famous for winning World Cup Bouldering Comps, being the first female to climb the distressing E8 grade, and incredibly hard and high bouldering, among other accomplishments.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eldorado Canyon State Park raptor closure lifted today

The seasonal raptor closure in effect on Redgarden Wall was lifted today. Feb 1 - July 31 is the normal seasonal closure on Redgarden Wall, between P3 of Naked Edge to Sidetrack. Since 1990, this restriction has been in place to protect nesting and roosting sites of prairie falcons.  It exists as part of the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks mission to balance resource use and preservation, and has been a success (numerous fledged prairie falcons) due to the cooperation of the climbing community. According to park ranger Steve Muehlhauser, it's policy to lift the closure if there isn't any nesting activity observed by mid-May.

Redgarden Wall is completely open!  It's open season on the uber-classic routes Naked Edge (5.11b), Redguard (5.8), and Anthill Direct (5.8+).
Getting ready to descend the East Slab on Redgarden

Monday, May 16, 2011

Comment NOW on City of Rocks Proposals and General Management Plan

Have you climbed at City of Rocks National Reserve? Are you planning a visit? Do you want to be an active citizen and participant in future planning of an element in our National Park System? If you answer yes to any of these questions, please review the recent newsletters concerning the alternatives to the current General Management Plan for City of Rocks, available at:, and comment.
The "Inner City" and Circle Creek viewed from Bath Rock
Public comment is welcome through the end of May. Comments received by June 1 will be considered as part of the draft General Management Plan (GMP).
There are four general alternatives being proposed. These are conceptual in nature, but they will affect park planning for the next 15-20 years. Some important considerations for climbers are how the proposed alternatives affect camping and climbing. Make sure to read the newsletters and understand what some of the suggested alternatives might entail.
There is talk of expanding the park boundary to include the BLM dispersed camping near Smoky Mountain Campground. Incorporating this into the Reserve would likely put an end to the free camping. Seeing the current crowded conditions and reviewing helpful comments from Reserve Superintendent Wallace Keck, it seems like climbers may need to consider alternatives. We have used drop in camping, the reservation system, Smoky Mountain, and the BLM land, and I believe it adds to the flavor of the area to keep the BLM dispersed camping available, or consider something similar (Sunnyside/Camp 4 concept?). In the meantime, it seems critical to keep a very low profile on the BLM land by not building fires, packing out the poo, sharing sites, etc. Demonstrate to the Reserve and to the BLM that the dispersed camping is not at overflow levels.

Climbing is mentioned in the GMP alternatives, and it may be an opportune time to comment on the climbing restrictions on formations in the California Trail Corridor, for example, the Twin Sisters. I believe that responsible climbers do not take away from the appearance (preserving the "cultural landscape" might be the NPS verbiage) of the area any more than the grazing, passenger cars, signage and miles of fencing. Who knows, maybe this would be a step towards acquiring climbing access at the Twin Sisters and the Dolphin in the future...

From the City of Rocks website:
"To receive information on the planning process, including the third newsletter, or to make a comment, email the Reserve Superintendent at, call 208-824-5911."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Climbing during the work week: Dawn Patrol for early risers, or an After Work Ascent

Looking to get outside during the workweek? JHMG is offering group and custom climbs for those who want to fit in climbing on a workday. Cragging, scrambling and longer routes are available with early morning start times, as well as mid-afternoon. Climbing at these times is a great way to beat the crowds on some of the well-known classics in Boulder. Custom climbs and scrambles can be arranged almost any day. Contact the JHMG-Colorado office in Boulder for more info:
Finishing the crux pitch of the Layton Kor classic, "The Bulge" (5.7, 4 pitches), Eldorado Canyon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Send your kids to a JHMG Summer Climbing Camp

JHMG offering Kids Climbing Camps this summer!
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides would love to take your kids rock climbing, develop their appreciation for the outdoors, and promote self-reliance and teamwork. Safety and fun are the key words, and activities stay fresh with options for hiking, games, and swimming. Kids 6-13 are welcome. JHMG has the following schedule, but other weeks are available at the same rates if you have a group interested:

June 13-17
July 5-8 (four day week prorated)
July 25-29

For more information:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reflections on Women's Days

As the ski season comes to a close, I've stepped back to examine what I learned from coaching in the Women's Days Program at Eldora Mountain Resort.

I had the unique opportunity to coach in three of the four sessions offered at Eldora this winter. In two of the three, I worked with the highest-level group of skiers (Ann Battelle worked with the highest group in the other session). I tried to spy on her group as much as possible. For one thing, it was to see Ann totally own a mogul run. I'm sure that Ann is an awesome coach: genuine, frank, dry humor, and the Terminator on skis. Being a four-time Olympian and earning multiple wins and podiums on the World Cup circuit, she definitely knows how to ski. Since Ann and I had groups that were very similar in skills, it was great to bounce ideas off of each other, and to hear about each group's progress. I was honored to be working alongside her.

Eldora has some rowdy terrain, and there are a lot of women who are skiing it or are getting ready to ski it. The transition from black to double-black is significant, and "over-terraining" can be very discouraging, and extremely dangerous. Understanding how to assess students, how to prepare students, how to manage/move students, and having contingencies are all critical to helping students move towards their terrain goals. I thrive on the challenge of balancing this risk management with our learning objectives. On top of that, the Women's program has a legacy to preserve - with high expectations of service and results. Teaching in expert terrain is a cool setting to test my ability to manage all of these items simultaneously.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Petzl updates Grigri technical video

Winter means fewer outdoor climbing opportunities, more gym sessions, and indoor sport climbing.  Looking around Movement in Boulder, for example, you can see quite a few variations on Grigri technique. But it's interesting to note that a large number of climbers are using the current method. I wouldn't have guessed so many would have switched. While concerns about slipping with small diameter ropes are somewhat remedied with the new design, there are too many concerns with using an older method for those of us that often alternate between a locking-assist device like a Grigri/Sum/Cinch and a tube or even munter.

If you haven't updated your grigri technique in the past few years, or don't know what I'm even talking about, check out Petzl's latest video.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review of Ultimate Skiing

I just finished reading Ron LeMaster's Ultimate Skiing. Published last year, this book reworks some of the The Skier's Edge, LeMaster's 1998 book. Ultimate Skiing does a thorough job of clarifying the mechanics of skiing. It breaks down how we balance against the forces that develop in a turn, as well as how those forces are transferred through our equipment. A majority of this book uses racing as the arena in which to explain the mechanics of skiing. This is very effective.  The book would be a complete work if this were the extent of the content. But, LeMaster also explains how these concepts are affected by situational skiing, in addition to explaining how developing skiers may experience skiing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Rocks Photos

I was daydreaming of warmer rock over the past few days here in early February. I was thinking about the Mojave Desert in particular. I've just had so many great days working in the Red Rock. Here are some work photos that I've taken over the past several years, in no particular order.

Friday, January 21, 2011

being smart when dealing with an "itis"

I'm at the point where I can say that I have full control over my elbow pain.

Over the past couple of years, I had debilitating tendinitis. It took some time to develop.  Probably 15 years or more. At first it was barely noticeable, but eventually it grew to sharp pain - during activity and rest.

I was faced with some painful symptoms. But here is a list of what was really going on with me:
1. A tendency to overstress my connective tissue. Early on I had a desire to climb hard, so I climbed and trained as much as I could. Even with a full course load. Even with a full-time work week. Even with another sport.
2. Undisciplined use of my time. If I had time, I would push into deep fatigue finishing a climbing day or workout session. I would emphasize quantity, and I may have overlooked quality.
3. Inability to recognize occupational effects. I was taught to carry a comprehensive pack when guiding (stacked or coiled second rope on long routes, client's gear, practically the