Archive for the ‘rock climbing’ Category

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We’re moving to our new domain!!!

July 9, 2009

So exciting, we have finally matured from a blog to a website! I feel so grown-up! Please don’t desert us, follow this link and we’ll continue where we left off…

www.xtremesport4u.com

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In praise of Chris Sharma – one of climbing’s most extreme talents

July 6, 2009

“I’m still a bit confused over the grade. It’s definitely harder than Papichulo and all the other F9a+ routes I’ve done in Spain but I’m not sure if it’s F9b… the resistant style of climbing on the route isn’t quite the best style for me and I can imagine other people being better suited… For now I’d say it’s hard F9a+”

Chris Sharma

Chris Sharma climbing Pachamama F9a+, 195 kb

I love rock climbing, and I love writing about it. Today I thought I’d draw your attention to, if you don’t already know, a really extreme rock climber – CHRIS SHARMA.

Here’s a weird upside-down video of a veritable spiderman redpointing La Rambla, brought to us by ezsraism

Sharma started rock climbing when he was 12 years old. At age 14 he won the Bouldering nationals. A year later, he completed a 5.14c climb, which was the highest-rated climb in the American rating system at the time.  He has since established or completed a few routes thought to be 5.15, including La Rambla and Es Pontas (a deep water soloing project in Mallorca). In 2008 Sharma climbed the 250 ft line, Jumbo Love, at Clark Mountain in California, claiming 5.15b for the grade. He has just completed a new 9a+/5.15a project in Oliana, Spain called Pachamama.

Picking projects at your physical and mental limits means constant exposure to the reality of failure. But failure is a word that has no place in Sharma’s vocabulary.

In professional climbing talent burns hot and fast and a decade is a long time. The physical damage to the body can be huge – ankles snap, shoulders pop from sockets and fingers calcify. And if nagging injuries weren’t enough, climbers often falter beneath the mental pressure. But not Chris Sharma.

At 26, he is an athlete endowed with unparalleled physical strength and mental tenacity, dominating world sport climbing and bouldering for the last dozen years.

In his own words, Chris Sharma about himself (bigupproductions)

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From one extreme to another in the rock climbing world…

July 4, 2009

Funny video this from SaasssLove, though my heart goes out to poor Steve!

And from one extreme to another:

If you can’t be out there doing it this weekend, dream of going to Tuscany to climb and indulge yourself in watching this video from robiclimb1. No need to shout “move that right foot Steve!”

Have a good weekend …

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Another rock climbing mecca – Clark Mountain near Vegas

July 3, 2009

I’m on a roll…

Here’s another climbing site admirably suited to our extreme sports blog, Clark Mountain, 40 miles south of Las Vegas and 235 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The climbing here is about 300-500 feet high and about a mile long.

Clark Mountain is the high point of Mojave National Preserve and is a refreshing climb out of the desert. It is sport climbing in an alpine environment.

Geologically speaking, Clark is part of a long chain of limestone outcroppings that stretch through the Great Basin from Nevada and Utah into Wyoming and Montana.

Third tier...AMAZING....

This is Third Tier – “the most amazing wall in the USA” says Joey Kinder. Sheer white limestone for hundreds of feet, but it is hardly developed. Third Tier, also known as The Monastery,  has 34 routes including Jumbo Pumping Hate and Tusk. It is some of the best limestone in the country.

Randy Leavitt originally opened up this area having scoped it for years from the highway. It took him, with help from Jorge Vissar, Ed Worsman, and Glen Svenson, 4 years to establish over 80 routes in the four areas of Clark Mountain all the while keeping their activities quiet so they could enjoy the solitude and the magnificent climbs before others moved in.

Jumbo Pumping Hate, a Randy Leavitt route, is a 5.14a climb. It’s  long, involved and really exposed with juggy sequences and dynos.

Chris Sharma on Jumbo Love F9b, 97 kb
Chris Sharma on Jumbo Pumping Love F9b
UKC Articles, Dec 2008
© Boone Speed / Aurora Photos

As Randy Leavitt says: The finest limestone on the planet can be found here. You’ll have to work to get to it though.” However, he continues, “the quality of rock more than repays your effort. Expect your legs to gain muscle weight from the hike in, but get ready for the most spectacular sport climbing this side of the Mississippi.”

The rock quality is exceptional. Features are not limited to one type. You’ll find it all — pockets, edges, slopers, pinches, underclings, and cracks. The climbing is always interesting. Each route is distinctive. The climbing doesn’t get repetitive or boring. But be careful – help is a long way away.

The climbing of Clark Mountain began in 1992 and Hole In The Wall was the first route established on the First Tier. Read My Lips was the first route on the 2nd Tier and Religious Man on the Third Tier or The Monastery.

Randy Leavitt and Mike Booth on Jumbo Pumping Hate 5.13d (8b) at the Monastery., 67 kbRandy Leavitt and Mike Booth on Jumbo Pumping Hate 5.13d (8b) at the Monastery.
UKC News
© Jorge Visser

The climbing area is 9 miles off Interstate 15 and 5 miles south of the Nevada border.

Most of the climbing is on the East Face of Clark Mountain. There is also one developed crag on the South Face known as the Baily Road Crag.

This is sport climbing bar none…

clark local, 72 kb

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Maple Canyon – a unique rock climbing area in Utah

July 2, 2009

Summer is well and truly here, so if you’re a rock climber and looking for somewhere to go, we highly recommend Maple Canyon in Central Utah. It is one of the nation’s most unique rock climbing areas and offers some truly spectacular, and spectacularly extreme, rock climbing.

Maple Canyon Entrance

With 140 bolted routes, this is a climber’s mecca. The routes are easily accessed from the road or various hiking trails, and range between 5.4 – 5.14c (Yosemite decimal system) in degree of difficulty.  A 60 m rope and 16 draws will be plenty for the area. A guide book is available though sometimes difficult to find.

The walls range from less then ten feet high to hundreds of feet, and for those more advanced climbers there are several large over hangs. Something for everyone.

This canyon is rated one of the top locations in the world for rock climbing.

You always know that a place must be pretty special when climbers from around the world come to test their skills there. But it’s not only the best of the best who climb at Maple Canyon… on any given weekend climbers of all abilities, ranging from novice to expert, can be seen testing their skills.

The rock in Maple Canyon is unique. The cliffs are embedded with thousands of  cobblestones, or rounded rocks,  ranging from the size of a pingpong ball to that of a watermelon. Every cobble will be a different hold and you never know whether it’ll be a crimp, a sloper or a sinker jug. The choice with every move is vast and you will have to feel several cobbles before making your decision. You will require endurance.

If you’re confused about my description of the canyon walls, watch this video from toddhambone, which couldn’t give you a more clear idea of the uniqueness of this rock.

And if you’ve had your fill of climbing for the day, you can always do some bushwacking,  but be careful, these mountains are also filled with Mountain Lion – and remember this is their territory not yours!

The US Forest Service operates a small campground within the canyon. The amenities are basic and include pit toilets, picnic tables and campfire rings. There are 13 sites for tents or small trailers (no pull-through sites) and they fill up quickly on the weekends in the summer months. The sites are generally well shaded and against the canyon walls. All sites are within walking distance to the climbing areas.

For all you rock climbers who fancy something a little different and a little extreme, this is the place…

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Nissan Outdoor Extreme Games 2009

June 30, 2009

We normally keep a close eye on the Nissan Extreme Games, but were obviously so busy writing on other things that Interlaken 2009 slipped by with no comment from us for which we apologise. However, it’s never too late to make up for past omissions and  show you the high quality of both competitors and film producers… following this teaser from  OutdoorGamesTV.

Nissan have been innovative in the extreme sports world and were the first to realise that an original event concept was needed in this growing sector of the market.

Because extreme sports have become more and more fashionable over the past few years, the event organisers came up with a concept like no other – 5 teams, 5 sports and a 5-minute film.

The task for the five teams is challenging: to produce a five-minute short film in seven days including five outdoor sports in the Interlaken region.

Rather than pushing the limits in outdoor sports, the Nissan Outdoor Games again reveals that certain subjects can be addressed within a sports film. The themes represented in the 2009 films go from the meaning of life and death, profound feelings as well as harmony with nature.

Extreme sports challenges have been taking place in Interlaken now for 5 years. The Games are an important event for adventure sports and film making. For a week, the best kayakers, mountain-bikers, climbers, paragliders and base jumpers combine with film makers and photographers to share their adventure in the mountains and to battle  it out for prize money of Swiss Francs 70,000.

Jean-Pierre Diernaz, General Manager of Nissan’s Marketing Communications in Europe, says The Nissan Outdoor Games allow athletes to express themselves in the most awe-inspiring way, whilst thrilling the public by capturing their exploits in a five minute film. Nissan is once again proud to be supporting the Outdoor Games and together we are working to increase participation in an active outdoor lifestyle and a sustainable engagement with the natural environment.

Enjoy these incredible hang gliding sequences filmed by Austrian film team ‘Argon’ (orleyflo)

Marvel at Anthony Green’s 10-second death defying  misting by the falls (acrotwinz).

Enjoy Swiss Team, NBFlyer’s, film for which they received the Jury’s Special Award as well as the Best Sports Sequence for its climbing scene with Cyril Albasini. (OutdoorGamesTV)

And we end with the winning film from Team Golgoht of Finland who received the Golden Peak Award.

The Finn, Petri Kovalainen from the Golgoht team, won the Best Photographer award as well as the Game of Light Award by Julbo.

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Adventure Racing and its dangers

June 23, 2009

Adventure Racing is one of the extreme sports that we blog about regularly, and it is best to remember that it is an extreme sport – witness the tragic death of 3 participants in the Raid du Mercantour last weekend, 21st June.

Adventure Racing is an example of how the mixture of terrain and weather conditions can catch out even the most experienced of runners and trekkers.

When I first started writing about Adventure Racing, the first thing that crossed my mind was that, whilst physically and mentally challenging, a long hike through difficult and varying terrain was a bit ‘tame’.

I apologise profusely to all Adventure Racers – and hasten to add that that thought lasted less than 10 minutes as my research broadened.

Since then I have been impressed and amazed at the antics that the sportsmen (and women) get up to, and think that, as an extreme sport, it is probably one of the best.

Don’t shoot me down in flames if you don’t agree… but Adventure Racing is quite something.

For those of you who are not too sure what Adventure Racing is all about, it’s a combination of two or more disciplines, including orienteering  (if an orienting map is used) and/or navigation (when non-orienteering maps are used), cross-country running, mountain biking, paddling and climbing and related rope skills. An expedition event can span ten days or more while sprints can be completed in a matter of hours. There is typically no dark period  during races, irrespective of length; competitors must choose if or when to rest.

You need to be superfit. You need to have a team you know well and trust. You need to have mental and physical stamina. And you need to know how to do all the above disciplines … and more.

It’s many sports all rolled into one…

The first official Adventure Race was “The Raid Gauloises”, held in New Zealand in 1989, and consisted of 400 miles of mountaineering, horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing and rafting over a two week period. The first U.S. race was the Eco Challenge, held in Utah in 1995.

Adventure Racing has become so popular that it has even had a TV series made in its honour – the Odyssey series (trainingsept ):

So why do it? Well, it has been said that Adventure Racing is one’s own personal road to self-discovery as it allows an individual to find his or her limits and push through them because the ‘Race’ often takes participants out of their comfort zone by challenging them with unfamiliar surroundings, often while sleep deprived and physically exhausted.

Anyone can become an Adventure Racer. It’s  an easy crossover for cyclist, runners and water sport enthusiasts. Many former tri-athletes, marathon and ultra-marathon competitors looking to add more spice to their chosen fields have taken it up.  Some sportsmen found themselves suffering recurring injuries in their sport and so turned to Adventure Racing as an alternative. Aging athletes, on the other hand, discovered that while they can no longer keep up with 20-somethings in a foot race, in a 24+ hour races, they have some competitive advantages!

As with ALL sports, accidents and tragedies DO happen.

This is the  RAID season in France and there are many keen participants.

“I’m used to hiking in mountains since I’m a kid, doing a lot of alpinism, skiing, climbing…I’ve discovered adventure racing about 10 years ago and I love it!” says Carine Porret.

“I like adventure racing because I’m a racer, I like the spirit and the race parties!….” says Franck Salgues

“I’m Brasilian living in Miramas,France,in a beautiful winery,I travelled the world for the past 7 years to compete in diferents AR,” says Karina Bacha.

I could give you hundreds of quotes.

“I was born with a compass in the hand! I participate in a lots of orienteering competitions with all my family…my three daughters and my wife are like me: addicted to!….” says Michel Denaix.

But I won’t!

As I said above, this is the Grand Raid season in France, but on Sunday in the Grand Raid du Mercantour in the South of France about 80kms north of Nice, the region suffered adverse weather conditions and three runners died under tragic circumstances.  It was the ‘running stage’ of the race and had already been reduced from 100kms to 80 because of the abundance of snow still around. The alarm was raised as a number of competitors had not returned by the 6pm cut-off time, and emergency services were scrambled in an attempt to locate the missing people. All 3 were in their 50’s and it is suspected that they died of  hypothermia and hypoglycaemia. Our sympathies go out to their families.

This is not an extreme sport for nothing…