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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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Indiana ladies triumph in collegiate division of air race

July 1, 2009

Indiana State University pilots Jessica Campbell and Victoria Dunbar returned to campus victorious after capturing top collegiate honors in the annual Air Race Classic, a transcontinental air race for women.

The pair of pilots competed against 34 teams, winning first place in the collegiate category and finishing second overall. The race across the mid-section of the U.S. covered 2,715 miles, starting June 23 at Centennial Airport near Denver and ending June 26 in Atlantic, Iowa. The ISU aviators flew in a Diamond DA40 plane, owned by Dixie Chopper Air based at Putnam County Airport.

“Our goal going into this was to take home the collegiate trophy, so to win second place is just icing on the cake,” Campbell said.

Strategy was a major factor throughout the race. Each plane was assigned a handicap speed, with the goal to have the actual ground speed as far over the handicap speed as possible. That meant judging weather patterns, wind speeds and other elements in order to make the most of each day’s flight.

Two students in Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology also competed in the 33rd annual all-female Air Race Classic. Juliana Lindner, a senior from Hanover Park, Ill., was captain of the team, and Lauren Steele, a junior from Lapel, Ind., was co-pilot.  Purdue University presented this video of their hopes and aspirations.

It was without doubt a great race presenting many different challenges to all the competitors.

“The biggest challenge was figuring out when to fly and when not to fly,” Dunbar said, “The altitude starting out in Denver was different from anything I was used to,” she said. “That’s something they teach you in class, but something I have a lot more respect for now that I’ve experienced it.”

Women’s air racing starting in 1929 with the first Women’s Air Derby. Since then the race has served as a way to for women in the aviation industry to connect with one another and expand their skill sets.

There is no doubt that all the participants learnt a great deal from their experience.

Below: Jessica Campbell (left) and Victoria Dunbar stand next to the Diamond DA40 airplane with their trophy after winning top honors in the collegiate division of the Air Race Classic

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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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The longest kite buggy journey ever attempted … 2,500km

June 29, 2009
“The definition of adventure is outcome unknown, says Steve Gurney.

And that is what Mad Way South is all about.

This wind powered odyssey began casually when Geoff Wilson challenged a Kiwi friend to a buggy race. The Mad Way South race was born and four mad and extreme wind driven men set to start racing from Northern Morocco on August 3rd 2009.

They will attempt the first ever journey across the Sahara desert on kite buggies this summer.

There’s a twofold reason for this race. One is an effort to help promote green travel and the second is to raise money for charity.

The race will cover 2,500 km of the worlds toughest terrain in just 30 days. They aim to claim the rights to be the first to have ever crossed this desert by wind power alone from Agadir in Morocco, through Western Sahara, Mauritania, and end in Dakar, Senegal.

This will be man and machine pitted against the harshest environment in the world at the end of the Saharan Summer.

30 days is the aim… but since this is unchartered terrain and has never been attempted before, the time-scale will be flexible.

The team consists of 2 Kiwis and 2 Aussies.

One of the Kiwis is a recycled Zimbabwean, Craig Hansen. He has been flying kites since he was 10 years of age and has a passion for kite traction and wind assisted travel – specifically as a means for journeying. He is co-owner of Peter Lynn Kites based in New Zealand, and he and Peter have designed the “Big Foot” buggy and its Saharan adaptations for the Mad Way South.

Geoff Wilson, the team leader, is an African born Aussie, veterinarian come adventurer – who is obsessed with all things wind driven. He has already completed a year long, 25,000km odyssey on a yacht, and crossed the Egyptian Sahara by bicycle.

Garth Freeman, another Australian, is the youngest member of the team.  Despite this he brings many man hours flying kites and considerable expertise to the mix. He is a professional kite instructor and one of his pre-race conditions is to ensure that Geoff has all the kite flying skills he needs to survive the journey!

The fourth member is Steve Gurney – Kiwi born and bred. He is an ex-professional Adventure Racing athlete who was at the top of his game for 16 years, with 9 Coast to Coast wins, numerous Adventure race team wins, and twice represented NZ at the world Mountain-biking Champs. He is also a well known motivational speaker.  He no longer competes, but is taking part in this race in a bid to seek “green” and sustainable adventure options.

These 4 will be backed up by a highly efficient and knowledgeable support team.

Asked why they were doing it, Dr Wilson said: “The idea is to road-test these vehicles in one of the world’s most rugged environments and also promote eco-friendly travel. As for why the Sahara Desert was chosen as the battleground – it’s simply because no one else has been stupid enough to try it.”

The challenge will be staged as a rally, with several timed stages, and will also be filmed as an international television documentary.

The purpose for the Mad Way South Sahara Challenge is to raise awareness of the plight of women and children who have been forced into commercial sexual exploitation in Cambodia. They are hoping to raise $100,000 for the “SHE Rescue Home – Cambodia”.

kitebuggy by Adam Head

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Wingsuit flying – why not!

June 27, 2009

This looks just amazing. Fabulous video and for once too short! Thank you imexkorea for sharing it with us:

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Extreme manufacturing from VW in Germany

June 26, 2009

This extraordinary video from CristianS75 was brought to our attention by a friend – now we understand this is not excactly an extreme sport but the technology, robotics and concept for the VW car manufacturing plant in Dresden, Germany certainly is extreme and we think it will have you catching flies as your jaw drops open with amazement.

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What to do today … extreme kayaking perhaps?

June 25, 2009

https://i1.wp.com/thepirata.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/extreme_kayaking04.jpg

It was this picture that set me off…

Isn’t it fantastically extreme?  WOW – what more can you say…

Extreme kayaking seems to be all about making the biggest drop and beating your compatriots to finding the next big drop.

Ben Stookesberry, a 30-year old professional kayaker,  seeks out big drops all over the world. He has made 51 first descents in 11 countries so far.

Pedro Oliva and Tyler Bradt have both set world record drops this year. Oliva first made headlines when he went over a 127 foot water fall in Brazil, and just weeks later Bradt shattered that record by dropping 186 feet over Palouse Falls in Washington State.

It is these sort of antics that has brought extreme kayaking to our attention.

Technology continues to evolve, offering better, more stable, boats, paddles, and other gear, which is allowing the top kayakers to challenge some impressive runs, such as the Rio Santo Domingo in Chiapas in Mexico, which drops 480 feet in just an eighth of a mile and has two waterfalls of 90 feet or more. It is just one of several extreme runs that Stookesberry is hoping to conquer in the months ahead.

Interesting little video this one from solesupfront :

And here’s Tyler Bradt’s record breaking drop (Fauxlaf ).

Bradt, Stookesberry and Oliva are one of about half a dozen professional kayakers who tackle waterfalls above 100 feet.

A little over a decade ago, a 50- or 60-foot waterfall was thought to be the biggest drop a kayaker could survive. But sturdier boats and new techniques have allowed daredevils to push the outer limits of the sport.

It’s not all about being the one to do the biggest drop, it also allows the extreme kayakers to venture into unexplored river gorges and uncharted rapids that were previously deemed out of reach, sealed off by fortress-like waterfalls where portaging is impossible.

They are becoming the equivalent of 19th century explorers risking their lives to claim a “first descent” of a waterfall or a long, treacherous stretch of river!

The most extreme kayakers have also developed new techniques to control their descents over massive falls. Boaters tuck forward like high divers, laying flat across the bow and angling their boats nose first, which reduces the surface area hitting the water and softens the impact. Some even attach fins to the back of the boats so that they drop straight down, like a dart. The most common injury, kayakers say, is a broken nose.

“Approaching the lip, there’s this feeling of being completely out of control, completely in the hands of the river,” Ben Stookesberry says. “You lose all that fear and all that anticipation, because there’s no turning back.”

Rather them than me, tho’ I have to admire their courage.