Intro To Ice Climbing


For those of you who just can?t get enough of the rush of outdoor extreme sports, ice climbing is something that you may want to look into. It is among the most adventurous and physically taxing of the many extreme sports. If you have any experience with rock climbing, you will be at ease a little bit ahead of the game when it comes to getting started with ice climbing. The same basic principles apply, though the equipment is a little different.

Most ice climbing sessions are planned out long in advance, and taken as a day-long tour. There are many different possibilities for climbing surfaces ? basically, anything frozen and non-horizontal is fair game. Some of the most popular include frozen waterfalls, rock surfaces with frozen water flow, or even icebergs. Some of these are very dangerous, and should only be attempted by the most experienced of ice climbers or professionals.

Ice climbing is a little less accessible due to the fact that most of you won?t be able to simply walk outside and find a giant wall of ice to climb. If you are going somewhere up North on vacation, you will definitely find a local ice climbing spot. Usually there are several well-known spots. If you have never climbed ice before, you should be with a guide or an expert as well as your friends.

Most rock climbing takes place in the mountains, since they provide the two necessary components: coldness and steepness. The Rocky Mountains are home to some of the most popular ice climbing areas, with difficulties ranging from beginner to expert. That area is your best bet in the USA, but ice climbing can be done in the Himalayas, the Alps and other mountain ranges all over the world, from Scotland to Nepal.

Safety equipment may seem like a drag, but it is necessary and can be the much needed life savior. Modern ice climbing equipment has been tweaked to the point where it is almost completely unnoticeable while you are climbing. This helps add to the illusion of danger, which is what makes the sport such a rush.

Depending on the surface, you may or may not use tools such as axes and picks. If you are new to the sport, you can start by simply climbing the ice as though it was a rock. Using gloves and stiff boots, you can search around for strategic hand or foot-holds. You will have to strategically plan your ascent so that you don?t get stuck hanging from a handhold or you get stuck in a place from where you can?t go up or come down.

Once you graduate to vertical climbs, your climb will take much longer. You will have to use your ice pick and axe to pull yourself up. You can bury your pick just a half of an inch into the ice, and that will provide enough strength for you to pull yourself up. You will also have to wear a special kind of footwear known as ?crampons?, which adds spikes to your boots. A swift kick into the ice wall, and you have a custom-made foothold.

Ice climbing can be a long and grueling experience. It requires plenty of physical exertion as you pull your body weight all the way up the side of the ice or glacial cliff. But when you reach the top, nothing can compare to the sense of joy at your accomplishment. So if you have the opportunity to go ice climbing in the future, don?t be apprehensive. It may be difficult to get used to, and it may be cold, but it sure is amazing once you reach the top.

Gearing Up For Snowboarding


So, you have decided that you want to take up snowboarding as a sport. You have seen snowboarders gracefully carving down the mountain, doing 360's over jumps effortlessly. And you want to look that cool. But where, as a snowboarding newbie, do you start? There is a ton of things you are going to need to get before you actually hit the slopes for the first time.

Getting Your Gear

The first thing you need to do before you get up on the mountain is prepare yourself with the proper snowboarding gear. The best place to start is an outdoor sports specialty store. If you are a true snowboarding newbie looking to get all the gear you are going to need, Sports Authority has a great sale every season called "Sni-a-grab" with great discounts. So, what exactly are you going to need to get started on the mountains? Let's start from the bottom and work our way up. Obviously, you are going to need a snowboard. Choosing a snowboard is going to set the stage for your entire snowboarding career. You want to keep in mind what type of snowboarding you are going to be doing - if you are planning on specializing in tricks, you will want to buy a different board than if you want to race as fast as possible down the mountain. Once you decide what type of board is going to best suit your needs, then you are going to have to find the right fit for you - any snowboarding shop you go to will be able to tell you the proper size board depending on your size. Once you have your board picked out, you are going to need to get the rest of your gear. Boots and bindings are the next, and possibly most important, step in assembling your snowboarding arsenal. When trying on boots, keep in mind that the temperature on the mountains is going to be freezing and you are going to want to wear more than one pair of socks. Your boots should be snug, but loose enough to accomodate extra layers. Your bindings should also fit comfortably around your boot and be easy to adjust - if you are having trouble adjusting them in the store, it's not going to get any better when you are in four feet of snow on the top of the mountain.

So now on to the true aesthetics - your actual snowboarding outfit. You can wear whatever you want underneath the essentials (I usually rock flannels, sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a hoodie), but you are absolutely going to need a jacket and snow pants. There are countless options, from different colors to fabrics to textures, for you to choose from, and as long as they are from a reputable brand and you are comfortable then they should be fine. Make sure that you buy that jacket and pants large enough to fit enought layers underneath to stay warm!

All you need now are your accessories: gloves, a hat, goggles, and you are ready to hit the mountain!

Keep in Mind

You may look the part, but you need to realize that snowboarding a sport, and just like any other sport requires training, patience, hard work, and time. Don't be discouraged if all you do is the fall the first, second, or even third time you try it out.

Extreme Jumping Stilts In The Snow


Jumping on stilts is just way too much fun to put them away for five months of the year. If you want to use them in the snow , first you have to be a lot more careful on them , second you have to dress really warm and third you have to take care of your jumping stilts a lot better . I will address these issues in this article.
Here in canada we have a long winter with lots of snow and ice for five months of the year this can take away from your jumping stilt time. This winter I decided to get them out and use my jumping stilts on the days that were nice enough . You have to be much more careful in the winter and try and pick places that have been cleaned and sanded so it is not to slippery . Once you get more comfortable in the cold you can try other places like ponds and fields depending on the amount of snow. Make sure you are comfortable with your surroundings and that your are wearing a helmet , knee and elbow pads ,wrist guards and any other safety equiptment you might need for jumping on your stilts . I don?t recommend this for small children however as long as you arent doing tricks its no worse than snow boarding ,skiing or playing hockey, Canadas other winter past times.

Canada has very cold temperatures some days of the year so I recommend wearing a snow suite or a big coat with snow pants a hat , scarf and a good pair of gloves. When you get too hot jumping around, and having fun you can always remove clothing but you can't put it on if you don?t take enough with you. Jumping in the snow can be really fun , this year we had 6-10 foot drifts along the road sides and huge piles of snow in the parking lots where the plows piled the snow.I had a lot of fun running across the parking lots and jumping high into the air and into the drifts and piles of snow. I had never thought of using my jumping stilts in the winter before, but I was really looking forward to the spring and just couldn?t wait that long and once I got out there the possibilties of winter fun were endless.

When you decide to go out in your jumping stilts in the winter I would recommend a little bit of greese on the mayjor joints of your jumping stilts and you can get a can of siliscone spray to take care of most of the rest of them.I am sure you will wear them faster in the winter than using them in the summer but I will tell you extreme guys and girls out there. It was just to much fun. I will be posting pictures and some video later , just remember to be aware of where you are and be careful jumping on your stilts in the winter. MARK KELLY