December 11, 2018

Cold Weather Rock Climbing Tricks

It doesn't matter what kind of rock climbing you're into, at some point you're probably going to find yourself climbing in chilly weather. From boulderers waiting for perfect "sending temps" for their project, to alpine climbers on a rock route in the mountains and everyone in between, being out in the cold is a fact of life.

It's fairly straightforward to keep most of our body parts warm, except for our feet when they're in rock shoes. Snug fitting rock shoes offer pretty much no insulation, and also slightly reduce circulation by their tight fit. While I will occasionally wear a thin pair of socks in my rock shoes this is a sacrifice in performance. Besides, many of my shoes are too tight to wear with a sock.

One simple (and free!) solution I've come upon is to tuck the shoes into my layers when I'm not wearing them. At the boulders or at the crag, this means putting them in my jacket before I start climbing and in between laps. In an alpine setting, tucking them into my layers is the first step of the transition from hiking to climbing at the base of the route. Puffy jackets with internal "drop-in" style pockets are perfect for this. To get them even closer to the warmth coming off your torso, tuck them into the layers which are themselves tucked into your harness.

Kevin getting ready to boot up at the base of the Northeast Ridge of Bugaboo Spire.

While assisting Arc'teryx athlete Leslie Timms with a clinic on a cool spring day a few years ago we discussed this technique. She referred to it as "shoe-boob" because of the way it looks when your layers are zipped up with your shoes in there. I think that's a great name.

April 9, 2018

How To Write A Public Comment

Over the last year and a half I've been receiving a lot of emails from non-profits about public lands. Many of these emails have been about what's going on with public land in southern Utah, a place I love to climb.

Some of the time I delete the emails after briefly scanning them. Sometimes I read the email and take the most minimal action I can on the issue. I am not proud of either of those responses. Increasingly I've been thinking that the amount of time it takes to dig into the issue enough to understand and respond productively is pretty small given the amount of time I spend enjoying myself in these places. In less time than it would take for most readers of this blog to earn the money for a lift ticket at a major ski area, I can do something lot more effective than clicking on a box to send a form letter.

Sometimes the emails are just news, but sometimes they're calls for public comments. In two days the public comment period for the management plan for the new Indian Creek monument (in place of Bears Ears) ends. McKenzie Long recently wrote a great how-to guide to writing a public comment. Read it here. It's aimed at what's going on with Bears Ears right now, but some of the beta could certainly be applied to public comments generally.