Rock Climbing Basics

Rock climbing is an exhilarating sport and one that is growing in popularity. Today, people of all ages are taking up this fun but physically demanding activity. Many aspects of rock climbing appeal to those partaking in this sport, but one thing which stands out most is that this is an activity that can be done both indoors and out.

Man-made rock climbing walls are perfect for training and for when the weather conditions outside are less than desirable. Indoor rock climbing walls are a great way to learn the various rock climbing techniques while being under the careful watch of more experienced rock climbing professionals. Because they’re made to resemble the characteristics you’d find in a natural rock environment, many rock climbers never even venture outdoors. But for those who do, the outdoors experience is truly unique and awe-inspiring.

Countless rock climbing opportunities await those who do venture outdoors. Not all rocks though are optimum for the rock climber. First in importance is whether the rock face can be traversed horizontally or vertically. Equally important is that the rocks chosen for rock climbing must be solid rocks and they must be stable. Also look for locations where the weather is predictable, and where trails already exist.

Although this is a relatively safe activity if undertaken using the proper rock climbing equipment [http://www.climbinghub.com/rockclimbingequipment.html], rock climbing can be a dangerous sport, especially for those who venture far off the ground and away from more densely populated areas. It’s one thing to want to climb in an uncrowded area, but should an emergency situation develop, being close to others could mean the difference between getting timely help and not getting the help the injured party needs to survive.

Many people mistakenly believe that the majority of rock climbing injuries result from falling. This belief might simply result from the fact that rock climbers who fall get more attention from local authorities, rescue squads and even the media. However, most rock climbing injuries occur to the hands, tendons, elbows and shoulders and are caused by straining and overuse. Although these types of injuries are not preventable, their occurrence can be reduced by taking time to properly warm up and stretch out these body parts. Using the right rock climbing equipment for the journey ahead is also advisable.

Rock climbing shoes are a must and help ensure a proper grip on the sometimes slippery surfaces. Helmets, which unfortunately aren’t worn by many climbers, are a good way to prevent serious head injury. A rock climbing harness that is in excellent condition with no frayed or worn out parts, climbing ropes, webbing, karabiners and belay devices are other essential pieces of rock climbing gear.

Keep the above rock climbing basics in mind before venturing out on your next rock climbing adventure and you’ll hopefully keep rock climbing accidents to a minimum.

BASE Jumping Basics

BASE jumping is an extreme sport and has many followers. BASE is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth, where building refers to man-made structures; antenna refers to uninhabited structures like oil wells and antenna masts; spans refers to structures that span a distance like bridges; and Earth refers to natural structures like ridges and cliffs. In BASE jumping, jumpers jump from any of these spots with just a parachute.

BASE jumping has been around for a long time. The earliest recorded jump was in 1912 when Frederick Law jumped off the Statue of Liberty. During that time, BASE jumping was more the stunt aspect than competition. However, in the late 1970s things changed and BASE jumping was termed by Carl Boenish, who died during BASE jumping in 1984.

BASE jumping can be extremely dangerous considering the fact that the parachute can malfunction or human error can cause serious injuries or instantaneous death. However, BASE jumping enthusiasts make sure that they check their gear thoroughly and follow the basic rules.

It is important to check the parachute before attempting BASE jumping. The jumps are usually executed from low altitudes and that is why parachutes designed to open quickly should be used. In addition, falling speed is low so the parachute should also be designed to open and deploy at low speeds. There are special BASE jumping parachutes available and you should use only those.

You should also be conversant with how to use a parachute. You should know how to deploy a parachute, when to deploy it and how to land with a parachute safely. For this you would have to practice and many experts suggest trying skydiving to master the art of handling parachutes.

BASE jumping is fun and exciting sport if you have the nerves. However, make sure you learn all the nitty-gritties of the sport before attempting a jump.

How to Build Dirt Bike Jumps

Are you sick of not being able to clear the jumps at your local tracks? Do other riders not like you because you’re always in their way? A simple way to fix this is to build your own jumps in your yard. Although building a jump might not be easy without good equipment, it will be worth it once you make a jump or two because you will learn how to clear these obstacles in no time.

Where?

The first thing you want to do is find an area where to put the jump. You probably don’t want to build it next to trees or big pits until you are more experienced. The ground does not have to be flat though. In fact, a little slant or elevation change will make it a easier to build a jump because you can dig into ground for the take-off. Once you found a good spot for your dirt bike jump you should have some other thoughts in mind, such as: what type of jump you want, how big the jump will be, and what kind of dirt you will use.

What?

If you want a motocross style jump that gives you more distance, a good estimation to go by is the 3-to-1 ratio. It basically means that if you have a jump 3 feet long then the height of the jump should be 1 foot. So if your jump is 9 feet long then a good height will be about 3 feet. So far you should have figured out where you are going to put a dirt bike jump and how big it is going to be.

On the other hand, if you want a supercross style jump it will be a little bit different. Motocross jumps are more gradual, while supercross jumps generally have a greater angle and give you more height. The main difference in building a supercross jump is that you want a steeper angle, so instead of a 3:1 ratio it might be 2 1/2: or even 2:1.

How Big?

A couple more things to think about while building the actual jumps is to make sure it’s gradual take-off and not abrupt, or else you will be getting bucked around and have a high chance of flipping the bike in the air. Also, you want to make sure the take-off/base of the jump is longer than the length of the dirt bikes wheelbase. If the take-off is not long enough then it’s not going to be a smooth jump.

Got Dirt?

Once you figure out what kind of jump you want and how big it’s going to be then you have to decide what to do about dirt. A well made jump should have a good amount of clay in it, so if you’re lucky enough to have clay or a mixture of clay for soil then use it. If you have sand but don’t want to rebuild the jump every time you use it then you can always bring in some clay. Clay itself is fairly cheap, but if you have to get it hauled in by someone else then it’s going to take a chunk out of your wallet. This is not to say that you shouldn’t make sand jumps for dirt biking, because it’s a easy and will last longer if you pack it down and water it often.

Build It!

Now to the actual building of the dirt bike jump… If you have heavy duty equipment, such as a skid-loader, then great! But for those that are using a tractor, four-wheeler with attachments, or even just shovels, don’t lose your confidence. It’s still possible to make a good jump, it will just take more effort. Plus, you will build some muscle if you do the work yourself! To cut the building time down to almost half, at the start you can put logs, bricks, or any objects to make the base, then just pile dirt on top. If you’re making a jump on a hill or if the ground is slanted (having the jump go uphill is easiest) simply dig dirt out below the jump and pile it up on the base of the jump. Remember to keep it smooth and fill in any holes or drops, even if they are small. The wider the jump is the better, especially when it’s packed down. For one, it’s wider so you can have more than one line, and it will last longer. If you’re bringing in enough dirt then there’s no need to dig prior to the jump, unless you want more air.

Remember…

Just keep putting more and more dirt on the jump until you think there’s plenty, then add a little more. It may seem like a lot, but it’s better than fixing it or repeatedly adding more dirt. As soon as you’re done building the jump you scan it over a couple more times and get rid of any bumps or divots that might affect riding. Another key to having a good jump is making a good lip. The lip of the jump is the edge where the bike takes off. If this is not made right then you will not stay as stable in the air. To make a good lip just smooth of the top and make sure it flows with the rest of the jump. You can look at from the side to see if the angle is gradual or not.

I’m not done!

To put the finishing touches you should water the jump and let it sit for a day or two so it hardens…. I think that pretty much covers the basics of how to make dirt bike jumps. Just be sure to build the jumps safe, and that you are making them on your own property. Good luck, and have fun!

Base Jump Thailand

Tim Emmett – Base Jumper
“Not another one” said Tim into his mobile, “that’s five so far this year. How did he die?”

Tim is a professional rock climber and base jumper. In order to attract sponsorship and patronage, he must always push the limits of what is safe and sensible – on second thoughts, please cancel the word ‘sensible’, because what Tim does for a living can in no way be classified as sensible. No life insurance company in the world would touch Tim. I just hope he at least makes it till middle age, because as well as being an adrenaline junkie par excellence Tim is also a very nice guy. This is because he’s a very happy man. His appeal is enhanced by the fact that he always seems so deliriously jolly.

He’s so nice that those of us who are not as happy as he is can maybe forgive him for being so. No doubt he’s so happy because he’s always having such a huge amount of fun, living completely in the moment and not worrying about unimportant things like living past thirty. Maybe fatherhood would make him be more careful with his life, it certainly made me much more conscious of my own mortality. His perfect build, good looks and fit physique lead one to expect a deep macho voice, so it’s a bit of a surprise when you first hear Tim open his mouth, as an incongruous contralto emerges. Most odd, like the Gods had played a joke on him when handing out the testosterone “How about this, Zeus” suggested Dionysus, “we’ll make this one as masculine as they come, but give him a squeaky voice, then watch people snigger when they meet him.” Sorry Tim, I just couldn’t resist that one.

I first met Tim in 2005, on a small ledge halfway up the sea-cliffs of Pembrokeshire in Wales. He immediately asked me if I’d like to go deep water soloing with him and his mates. They were about to traverse around the cliff until they were over deep water, then solo climb up, using the depth of the water below as a safety net for when they fell off. I had heard a bit about this sport and really fancied a go, but I’d also heard that for safety you should really do it at high tide, whereas at the time the tide was receding. I pointed this out to Tim, who shrugged and said that he reckoned that we ought to “have at it.”

It didn’t take me very long at all to decline, citing a prior appointment which both of us knew really amounted to a lack of bottle. I came away with the impression that Tim had (in an extremely friendly fashion) invited me along to do something that was really rather dangerous. The next time I saw him was when I paid for him to visit Koh Lao Liang in Thailand when, after I had bandaged him up after a climbing accident, he invited me to do something which seemed to me equally certifiable – deep-diving at night. I explained that, whilst I’d love to, I was only qualified to ‘open water’ certification level by PADI, so hadn’t been trained to go so deep or to dive at night. Tim’s response was that neither had he, but he reckoned we ought to “have at it.”

The next thing I heard about Tim was that he had climbed to the top of the climbing wall on Tonsai, Thailand and had been preparing to base jump off. Our friend Trevor Massiah was at the base of the cliff, updating him via mobile phone about the wind strength. It was really important that the wind didn’t blow too strongly onto the cliff face, as otherwise Tim might be smashed against the rocks and would then surely be killed. An English base jumper had died attempting the same jump the previous year- he had fallen while solo-climbing the ascent prior to his jump. The wind refused to die and Tim was in a quandary. He could either jump or he could solo-descend the face, which is even more dangerous than solo-ascending it, especially as it was by now getting dark. He really only had two choices – either jump or wait till morning to descend. But bottling out just isn’t on Tim’s agenda.

Trevor, however, kept on telling Tim that the wind was too strong. The subsequent conversation went something like this:

Trevor: “It’s still too strong.”

Tim: “You sure?”

Trevor: “Yes”

Tim: “Has it slackened at all?”

Trevor: “Yes, but only a tiny bit, it’s still not safe”

Tim: “Did you say the wind had died?”

Trevor: “NO, I DIDN’T”

But it was too late. With a cry of “have at iiiiitttttt” Tim launched himself into the growing gloom. Mercifully he landed safe and sound on the beach the right interval later (very soon, but not strawberry-jam soon).

Back to the first line of this article. Tim and I were at the time sitting in a pub in Bristol, England, nursing a pint of Pedigree each. He explained that five of his friends had died in extreme sports accidents over the previous year. One had died while deep-water soloing. Deep-water soloing can be, literally, safer than golf if you want it to be. You climb out of a kayak directly up a rock face and then fall or jump into water that you know is deep enough, with the kayak waiting to pick you up. But some people don’t want it to be really safe – Tim’s friend had drowned, in front of his wife.

Another friend had decided that normal’ base jumping wasn’t thrilling enough. He had ascended a very high rock face and jumped off.

Most base jumpers, after jumping, will do everything humanly possible to get as far from the rock face as quickly as possible, as it represents such a hazard to their safety. But when the thrill of doing this grows stale, some die-hards decide to don a suit with webbing between the arms and torso and to use this to stay as close as possible to a very large rock-face while plummeting
earthwards. The idea is to almost hit all the ledges on the way down, but not quite. Tim’s friend had been hugging the face during his descent and had misjudged the size of a ledge hurtling up towards him. He died instantly but then, upsetting for Tim, landed at Tim’s feet.

Essential Rock Climbing Equipment For Climbers at Every Level

Rock Climbing Equipment – Just like any other sporting gear

Rock Climbing is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in the world, and this is largely due to the advances in technology of rock climbing equipment. Over the last twenty years, further research in bolting technique and the creating of Cams has made climbing a largely accessible sport, taking you to places that you ordinarily wouldn’t attempt to travel.

Rock Climbing Equipment can be divided into several different types. Based on what type of climbing you’re doing, it will vary – whether you’re going to stay in the gym, get outdoors and sports climb, or participate in trad climbing.

Rock Climbing Equipment that you’ll need for each type of climbing is as follows:

  • Indoor Top-Rope Climbing: Harness, Climbing Shoes, Chalk Bag (optional).

  • Sports Climbing: Harness, Climbing Shoes, Chalk Bag, Dynamic Climbing Rope, Belay Device, Helmet, Sling with attached Carabiner (personal protection), Quickdraws, and 4 carabiners with long slings to set up a top-rope anchor.

  • Trad Climbing: As per the Sport Climbing rack, although you will also need pieces of protection to set in the rock, which include Nuts (Wires), SLCDs (Spring-Loaded Camming Devices) a.k.a Cams, and Hexes, if you so wish.

I’ll try to keep things as simple as I can and only give a brief summary about each component of rock climbing equipment.

  • Harness: Comes in a variety of different forms but basically acts to hold your torso upright and provide an attachment point for the ropes.

  • Rock Climbing Shoes: On any moderately difficult route you’ll need climbing shoes in order to use the smaller foot-holds on the rock.

  • Chalk Bag: To store chalk, which will keep your hands dry when you’re climbing and stop you from slipping.

  • Dynamic Climbing Rope: Obviously to provide some form of protection when you’re climbing. The rope needs to be dynamic climbing rope in order to absorb the force from the fall.

  • Belay Device: A device used to provide a large amount of friction to arrest a fall from the climber.

  • Helmet: to protect your skull from loose rock or dropped gear!

  • Slings: Either made of nylon or dyneema, these are very strong and are basically used in all parts of climbing, especially for setting protection. Note they are static and cannot absorb force, so you cannot climb with a static rope for protection.

  • Quickdraws: Pre-rigged carabiners which allow you to clip rope as you climb

  • Nuts/Hexes: Passive pieces of protection which you physically set into the rock

  • SLCDs: Uses outward mechanical force to arrest falls.

This is not an exhaustive list of every single piece of equipment – there is plenty more that you can learn about climbing gear, which will also help you climb with more confidence. However, having rock climbing equipment is a wonderful part of the sport as it allows you to use fantastic technology to keep yourself safe.

Please note that rock climbing equipment can be dangerous if used incorrectly and you should only use it if you have been shown the proper method and application of the gear.

Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor Climbing is a derivative of Rock Climbing in which people scale artificial Climbing walls. These are manmade walls that climbing holds are attached to in order to mimic actual mountain walls. Ultimately, Indoor Climbing imitates the feel of real Rock Climbing, but in a controlled environment. The techniques, equipment, and guiding principles are comparable to those of Rock Climbing. The sport’s concept is simple: Climbing walls are bolted with holds and are located under a roof so as to be considered as a venue for Indoor Climbing.

Indoor Climbing had started to become widely known during the 80s when Indoor Rock Climbing gyms played an important role in introducing many people to Climbing. The gyms provided a safe, comfortable environment which accommodated to beginners and advanced climbers. Indoor Climbing’s popularity increased even more when people started to offer lessons to those who are interested in it. There are other reasons why some people choose to do Indoor Climbing. Some areas either don’t have a good natural wall to scale or it is just to dangerous to climb them because of bad weather or loose and falling rocks. Also, gyms are more accessible than normal Climbing locations.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

It is common for people who wish to take up Climbing to wonder which of the two styles would better suit them.

Here are a few of the differences between Indoor Rock Climbing and Outdoor Rock Climbing:

*Indoor Climbing is ideal for enthusiasts who are in need of constant practice before they try out the real thing, or for climbers who want to train all year round.

*Surfaces in Indoor Climbing can be easily seen, as distinguished by holds on the artificial wall. With natural walls, holds are usually not apparent, making the climb more challenging.

*It is easier to focus in indoor climbs because distractions are considerably minimized not like in Outdoor Rock Climbing where the environment itself can be a distraction; wind conditions, weather, and bugs.

*Indoor Rock Climbing has different levels which climbers can try out and master. Outdoor Climbing routes are diversified since mountain holds are not predetermined. Every slope and crack may serve as hand and foot hold for the climber.

*Indoor Climbing promotes competition since some walls are tailor-made for competitive climbers. Outdoor Climbing focuses on the act of climbing itself, pushing the climbers to the limit.

Although Indoor Rock Climbing comes close to Outdoor Rock Climbing to a point, there are some things that Indoor Climbing can never give you such as the breathtaking view of the landscape below and that feeling of accomplishment as you reach the summit of a difficult mountain wall.

Why Go Indoor Climbing?

Here are some reasons to try Indoor Rock Climbing:

*It’s not your typical recreational activity. Indoor Climbing has benefits such as improving your physical fitness, as well as your self-confidence and sense of achievement.

*It builds better social relations since Indoor Climbing requires communication with other experienced climbers to learn and develop your skills.

*Indoor Climbing is ideal for team building, improving trust, and friendship as some sessions require more than one person in order to complete the climb.

How to Rock Climb Indoors is a Great Place to Start

As with any sport or activity we need a starting point. The same applies when one would like to learn how to rock climb. Old wisdom would say that, if you wanted to learn a particular skill, seek the community that is engaging in that skill, and go join them.

So taking some “old wisdom” advice, the options are, find the nearest outdoor rock climbing club and join up, or find the nearest indoor rock climbing gym and pay it a visit.

I find the latter option, visiting an indoor rock climbing gym, to be a more subtle and smooth introduction when learning how to rock climb. It has the added benefit of meeting and socialising with others whom share the same enthusiasm as you, for this wonderful sport.

What to expect on your first visit to the indoor rock climbing gym?

The well trained, experienced and friendly staff will go through with you the most important aspect of learning how to rock climb… SAFETY. The introduction to safety covers, each piece of the equipment, its purpose, how to use the equipment, and how to belay your climbing partner.

The key pieces of equipment covered for indoor climbing are, the harness, the belay device, the carabiner, and rock climbing shoes.

The skills taught during this introduction are, how to setup to belay a rock climber, tieing a figure-8 knot to attach to the harness, how to use a carabiner, and how to feed and “lock-off” the rope correctly. These basic skills are essential for the everybody’s safety.

At this point, you may be thinking, what is belaying?

To belay your climbing partner, means as the belayer, you are the anchoring point, and are in control of the rope feed, and the “locking-off” of the rope, in a smooth and succinct fashion. The idea is to provide the climber with just enough slack for them to climb freely, and continually “locking-off” the rope, so in the event of a fall by the climber, the rope is locked, free fall distance is minimal.

After displaying your understanding and proper performance of the safety skills, you are then left to your own devices, and those of your belaying partner, to start scaling the various climbing walls, the indoor climbing gym has to offer.

At first glance, all walls looks the same. However, from wall to wall, the rock climbing holds, there placement, and configuration, are purposely designed for different difficulty level, also know as the climbing grades. This allows a novice climber to move from an easier grade to a more difficult grade as their skills improve.

Although rock climbing is not regarded a team sport, it is typically not an individual sport either, but rather a communal sport that is done in pairs or with a few people.

Its time to have some fun, so grab a friend, or go solo to your nearest indoor rock climbing gym, find a partner, and start scaling the walls.

Base Jumping For Beginners Principles of Successful Remote Team Leadership

Introduction

This article looks at the basic considerations for any team leader/manager implementing the switch to flexible/remote working teams.

Staff Suitability

Teams which tend to fit easily into the remote worker/team mould have the following common characteristics

– They are either knowledge workers or back office admin staff

– They approach their work in a mature, disciplined and self motivated way.

– Their work is task/project focused in nature. This is important so that you as a manager can you measure actual against expected performance reliably.

The thing you need to be aware of is that not everyone is capable of adapting to
remote working. Where commercial constraints require a retail focus or a client side sales focus home working can be used as a staging point/temporary base for admin purposes – but cannot be even considered as a full time place of employment for staff.

Remember: Providing the wrong facilities to employees can be very costly to your business. Staff resources are, and will continue to be your most important and most expensive asset – use them wisely.

Here are several team organisational structures which we have found to be particularly successful:

o Where a collaboration framework is institutionalised within the business process – for example a group of sales staff accessing the same central CRM data, or a team of claims processors accessing a knowledge base of historical claims information, or a team of customer representatives working a call centre operation. In these environments – each remote worker becomes responsible for the carrying out of specific actions relating to individual ‘incidents’ that occur in real time – following a known and clearly documented process.

o Where each member of the team has an array of specialist skills and team objectives are geared so as to assemble teams to do individual projects which are then disassembled and rebuild for the next project. This approach can be considered ‘themes not teams’ in organisational composition and lends itself to groups who do not focus on a specific recurring business process, but instead on support of innovation centred work.

Organising the work

For a remote team to be effective needs all the key components which make successful team working environments in traditional offices – but getting them in place and then subsequently supporting them does require more effort from you – the team leader…

From our experience, these boil down to the following

Communication

Members of the team need to be able to contact each other and communicate freely with their peer throughout the day. This aspect is available without effort in a traditional office based environment but requires technology investment and infrastructure expertise to get right in a remote team setting. With the advent of VOIP (internet based phone services), the cost to the company of providing these services to remote workers is reduced to as little as providing an internet connection to them.

Human beings are – by their very nature, sociable pack animals, requiring social contact in order to remain motivated and creative. Physical contact between team members should take a high priority in the way that the team is organised. As well as addressing these basic needs, regular focused meetings are key to the growth of an inter-dependent, supportive team. From experience – meeting as a team once a month provides a successful convention and at least a day a week should be set aside for impromptu of official meetings between team members as/when they are required.

Collaboration

It is key for performance in a remote team to place emphasis on team work and make as many of the information based resources used by the team at their disposal in a collaborative environment. I would urge that companies adopt centralised document management – collaborative white-boarding and networked CRM solutions and endeavour to provide training to staff in these tools and encourage adoption.

Control

As team manager, you need to be able to track progress of ongoing work against both the expectations of your superiors regarding your team and also in terms of progress on assigned work on a task by task basis.

Unless, as a remote team manager you want to be swamped with information continuously (what we call email-blindness), delegation of low level task detail to individual resources is a necessity. I would also urge that a project planning tool is deployed by you and the team members are given a chance to buy-in and determine action plans with you. As well as making your workload as team leader more manageable – this technique also empowers team members – promoting the growth of skills and fusing the team with mutual appreciation of other team member’s strengths and abilities.

In reality you are running with two views of the project plan at all times – a strategic plan used by you for medium/long term planning and to provide high level information on progress vs. a more tactical task oriented view which has been drawn up in conjunction with team members and which – to a large extent you have given them responsibility for managing)

In Summary:

Much research has been placed recently into demonstrating the clear improvements in team efficiency and productivity which can be achieved through effective use of remote team working practices, and our organisation – running in this way very successfully since its start in this manner is a great example. However the decision to provide flexible and remote working facilities to staff should not be taken lightly and the operational changes require careful planning and operational commitment in order to be successful.