Rappelled Off End of Rope in Storm

California, Yosemite National Park, Matthes Crest

My climbing partner and I were attempting to climb Tenaya Peak, Matthes Crest, and Cathedral Peak—three long but moderate routes in the Tuolumne Meadows area—in a day . Because of the sheer amount of climbing and distance we would need to travel, we packed light, opting not to carry any warm or waterproof layers.  We left our car at 6 a.m. and summited Tenaya at roughly 9:30 a.m., then hiked 3.5 miles over to Matthes Crest and began climbing around noon. About 2 p.m. we noticed what looked like thunderstorms far in the distance, but the clouds seemed to be moving away from us, so we continued. At 3 p.m., as we were nearing the south summit, we noticed clouds forming directly above us, so decided to bail and began searching for a descent. We found a gully on the west side, just before the south summit, that had slings around various trees in it. We scrambled down around 30 feet to the first tree anchor and began flaking our 60-meter rope.  Almost immediately, it began hailing and a lighting storm started directly on top of us. In such an exposed position, we were shaken and began rushing. Rather than properly flaking the rope out and finding the midpoint (our rope did not have a middle marker), I tied knots in both ends and sent my partner down the rappel immediately, figuring we needed to get below the top. Before reaching the next rappel tree (only about 40 feet below), he had to stop and untangle the rope and reposition the rope ends, which took some time.  Eventually, he made it to the next tree anchor and I quickly descended to join him. Dime-size hail was falling, and lightning was all around us. In my haste, I didn’t move the rappel lines out of the constricted gully we were rappelling and onto the face. When we went to pull the rope, it became stuck. Luckily, I also had brought a 65-meter static tag line. So, while my partner continued to try to free the stuck rope, I began uncoiling the thin tag line. It almost immediately tangled. Again, opting for speed over thoroughness, I eyeballed what I thought was the midpoint and tossed the ends down. In my haste, I only tied a stopper knot in one end.  As I began to rappel, I had to stop multiple times to pull the loose ends of the rope out of the waterfall-filled gully. After about 25 meters, I reached the base of the vertical wall and was standing on a 45-degree slab. Feeling confident that I had made it down to scrambling terrain, I began scouting for a good stance to go off rappel. As I descended a few more feet, the unknotted end of the rope slipped through my ATC and my autoblock and I began tumbling. I rolled 50 feet down a tiered rock slab before finally coming to a stop.  Miraculously, I survived relatively unscathed. My helmet was dented, and I had large gashes in my left knee and right arm, but no concussion, broken bones, or other serious injuries. Also, I had not pulled the tag line down with me when I fell, so my partner was able to reset the rappel (properly this time) and rappel down to me.  We had no cell phone service, no warm or dry gear, and were about six miles from the closest trailhead. We had a bivy sack with us, but decided it would be better to keep moving rather than wait out the storm. Leaving the ropes behind, we started hiking. Six hours later, at 9:30 p.m., we reached the trailhead and someone offered us a ride back to our car at Tenaya Lake, from which we drove to the closest ER.   ANALYSIS   I am acutely aware that rappelling accidents typically don’t end this well. One conclusion you might take away from this account is that people should recommit to perfect rappelling practices: Always tie stopper knots, always make sure the midpoint of the rope is at the anchor, always use a backup, etc. I agree wholehearted with these practices, but in a crisis even well-trained people are prone to making mistakes. The real lessons for me are how to avoid a crisis situation in the first place.  To that end, I think there are several takeaways. First, we were in the high-country, far from any road, and it was utterly irresponsible not to have more warm clothing and raincoats. While the lightning was dangerous, I believe it was the cold and wet that ultimately caused me to take shortcuts while rappelling.  Second, we should have begun descending the moment we saw signs of storms in the distance. A desire not to leave gear was part of the issue, and our desire to finish the trifecta of climbs we had started also probably led us to make a bad decision. The fear of lightning then led me to rush the rappel setups. Given all the tangles and the stuck rope, I don’t believe rushing this way saved us any time at all.  Finally, and this is a minor point, a rope with a midpoint marker makes it a lot easier to set up a good rappel.  (Source: Anonymous report from the climber, male, age 29.)

My climbing partner and I were attempting to climb Tenaya Peak, Matthes Crest, and Cathedral Peak—three long but moderate routes in the Tuolumne Meadows area—in a day. Because of the sheer amount of climbing and distance we would need to travel, we packed light, opting not to carry any warm or waterproof layers.

We left our car at 6 a.m. and summited Tenaya at roughly 9:30 a.m., then hiked 3.5 miles over to Matthes Crest and began climbing around noon. About 2 p.m. we noticed what looked like thunderstorms far in the distance, but the clouds seemed to be moving away from us, so we continued. At 3 p.m., as we were nearing the south summit, we noticed clouds forming directly above us, so decided to bail and began searching for a descent. We found a gully on the west side, just before the south summit, that had slings around various trees in it. We scrambled down around 30 feet to the first tree anchor and began flaking our 60-meter rope.

Almost immediately, it began hailing and a lighting storm started directly on top of us. In such an exposed position, we were shaken and began rushing. Rather than properly flaking the rope out and finding the midpoint (our rope did not have a middle marker), I tied knots in both ends and sent my partner down the rappel immediately, figuring we needed to get below the top. Before reaching the next rappel tree (only about 40 feet below), he had to stop and untangle the rope and reposition the rope ends, which took some time.

Eventually, he made it to the next tree anchor and I quickly descended to join him. Dime-size hail was falling, and lightning was all around us. In my haste, I didn’t move the rappel lines out of the constricted gully we were rappelling and onto the face. When we went to pull the rope, it became stuck. Luckily, I also had brought a 65-meter static tag line. So, while my partner continued to try to free the stuck rope, I began uncoiling the thin tag line. It almost immediately tangled. Again, opting for speed over thoroughness, I eyeballed what I thought was the midpoint and tossed the ends down. In my haste, I only tied a stopper knot in one end.

As I began to rappel, I had to stop multiple times to pull the loose ends of the rope out of the waterfall-filled gully. After about 25 meters, I reached the base of the vertical wall and was standing on a 45-degree slab. Feeling confident that I had made it down to scrambling terrain, I began scouting for a good stance to go off rappel. As I descended a few more feet, the unknotted end of the rope slipped through my ATC and my autoblock and I began tumbling. I rolled 50 feet down a tiered rock slab before finally coming to a stop.

Miraculously, I survived relatively unscathed. My helmet was dented, and I had large gashes in my left knee and right arm, but no concussion, broken bones, or other serious injuries. Also, I had not pulled the tag line down with me when I fell, so my partner was able to reset the rappel (properly this time) and rappel down to me.

We had no cell phone service, no warm or dry gear, and were about six miles from the closest trailhead. We had a bivy sack with us, but decided it would be better to keep moving rather than wait out the storm. Leaving the ropes behind, we started hiking. Six hours later, at 9:30 p.m., we reached the trailhead and someone offered us a ride back to our car at Tenaya Lake, from which we drove to the closest ER.

ANALYSIS

I am acutely aware that rappelling accidents typically don’t end this well. One conclusion you might take away from this account is that people should recommit to perfect rappelling practices: Always tie stopper knots, always make sure the midpoint of the rope is at the anchor, always use a backup, etc. I agree wholehearted with these practices, but in a crisis even well-trained people are prone to making mistakes. The real lessons for me are how to avoid a crisis situation in the first place.

To that end, I think there are several takeaways. First, we were in the high-country, far from any road, and it was utterly irresponsible not to have more warm clothing and raincoats. While the lightning was dangerous, I believe it was the cold and wet that ultimately caused me to take shortcuts while rappelling.

Second, we should have begun descending the moment we saw signs of storms in the distance. A desire not to leave gear was part of the issue, and our desire to finish the trifecta of climbs we had started also probably led us to make a bad decision. The fear of lightning then led me to rush the rappel setups. Given all the tangles and the stuck rope, I don’t believe rushing this way saved us any time at all.

Finally, and this is a minor point, a rope with a midpoint marker makes it a lot easier to set up a good rappel. (Source: Anonymous report from the climber, male, age 29.)

Hair Caught in Rappel Device

It was a beautiful morning on Memorial Day weekend. We had the best spot to camp for the Lemon Reservoir crag. One party already had passed our camp, head- ing into the canyon to the routes. Our group was just finishing scarfing down our bacon and eggs when we heard a female cry of sheer pain. We immediately took off in a dead sprint to the bottom of the routes.

Upon getting to the routes, we could see a girl (mid-20s) dangling from her hair in her ATC (she was rappelling a route). I sprinted back to camp to grab another rope and my harness. When I got to the top of the cliff, her partner had already rigged a rappel and lowered to assist. He put a prusik above her ATC and attached a sling. The woman was able to stand in the sling, releasing her hair from the ATC. Her helmet was dangling from her harness the whole time. When we returned to our camp, we could think of nothing more than the fact that if the helmet had been worn the hair could have been contained to the back of the head and out of the way. This may not be a brain buster, but helmets matter! (Source: Dillon Parker.)

ANALYSIS

While a helmet may have helped keep the hair away from the device in this case, it does not ensure the hair is contained, especially for climbers with long hair. Keeping hair secured in a braid or bun, at the back of the head, is the best way to reduce the risk of it being pulled into the device by the rope while belaying or rappelling. Fortunately for this woman, the top of the route was accessible by foot and several climbers at the crag were proficient in rescue techniques. (Source: The Editors.)

Rappel Rigging Error

California, Yosemite Valley, Serenity Crack

On May 7, Brian Ellis (31) and Japhy Dhungana (25), his frequent climbing partner of several years, climbed Serenity Crack (three pitches, 5. lOd) and Sons of Yesterday (five pitches, 5.10a), which starts at the top of Serenity. They began rappelling the routes using the Reepschnur method shown in the illustration, page 25. The climbing rope is passed through one or more rappel rings and knotted to a thin “retrieval” cord. The rappeller descends the single rope, supported by the knot jammed against the rings, while leaving the cord unloaded. In case the knot slips through the rings, a figure-of-eight loop is tied in the cord just below the rings and clipped to the rope on the rappeller’s side of the rings with a locking carabiner, thus securing the system. After the rappel, the rope is retrieved by pulling the cord. Advantages of this method include the ability to use single-rope descent devices and the reduced weight of the second rope for full-length rappels.

Ellis used the Reepschnur method because he favored rappelling with his Trango Cinch, an auto-locking, single-rope belay device. He typically joined the rope and cord with a flat overhand bend—in which the rope ends point in the same direction—backed up by a secondary overhand. (Again, see illustration.) Usually Ellis would go first, and then Dhungana would rappel with both the rope and the cord rigged through his ATC. Since he was no longer dependent on the security of the knot-jam, Dhungana would first disconnect the carabiner and untie the figure-of-eight loop to minimize the risk of the rope hanging up when they retrieved it. On this they were using a 10.2-mm rope and a 6-mm cord.

At the top of pitch 3 of Serenity Crack, Ellis rigged the next rappel through two rappel rings while Dhungana organized the 6-mm cord and chatted with a climber leading the pitch below. Dhungana checked Ellis’s rigging and then Ellis rappelled, carrying a bundle of the cord in his hand to keep it from tangling. After 20-30 feet, he stopped to photograph the climber as he led the crux section. He stayed there for about ten minutes, moved left and right for different photo angles, and then resumed his descent. Almost immediately he began to fall. Dhungana described it in an Internet post, “This is when I heard a pop and the sound of the rope whizzing. I tried to grab the [cord] with my bare hands and held on tightly as long as I could. My instinct even tried to wrap it around my waist for an emergency brake, but the [cord] just burned through my hand.” The cord tangled and then jammed at the ring and the impact broke the cord. Ellis fell 300–400 feet to the ground. Dhungana called 911 and a medical team arrived within nine minutes but Ellis died at the scene.

Analysis

It turned out that both overhand knots had slipped through the rappel rings. The figure-of-eight and carabiner backup should have prevented farther slippage, but Ellis had completely overlooked rigging the backup, so there was no figure-of-eight or carabiner in the system. (See illustration facing page.) When Ellis fell there was probably nothing Dhungana could have done to stop him. In Dhungana’s post on the Internet he wrote, “When Brian set up this system and tied the knots (I was coiling the ropes in the meantime preparing for tossing), he forgot to tie the backup knot. When I checked the system for him, I too, committed the same mistake and only observed the main knot. [Brian] checked it a THIRD time, and made the same oversight.

“The only explanation I have for this oversight is distraction and complacency. Brian MAY not have been 100% focused on the task (there were several things going on: party coming behind us and he was excited to take photos of the leader below; a few moments earlier on the last pitch, we were rudely and inconsiderately passed up by a speeding simul-climbing party, and this bothered both of us considerably). I am equally guilty of the same distraction and complacency for not having noticed the absence of the backup.

“During every [single-rope] rappel that Brian and I have done together with this system, we have tied the backup knot. The principle overhand knot had NEVER passed through the rings before. However, the one time [the backup figure-of-eight] was forgotten, sadly, was when it was most critical.”

When examined after the accident, the primary overhand bend was compressed so much that it passed through the rings with room to spare. Much of the compression was probably due to the subsequent impact of the cord jamming, but Ellis’s body weight plus his movements as he took pictures was enough to pull both knots through the rings, even with several strands of cord and webbing from the anchor competing for space. (The illustrations show the actual number of anchor strands, to scale.) These rings were the rolled aluminum type with 1½-inch interior diameter (ID). The ID on some welded stainless steel rings common on modern fixed anchors is smaller, but only by ? inch—hardly enough insurance for a compressible/ deformable material like a single knotted rope.

Several variations of the Reepschnur exist, with different characteristics and some with bigger knots, e.g., tying the figure-of-eight on a bight in the end of the rope rather than in the cord. If you’re considering the Reepschnur, evaluate all the options and remember that you won’t always find suitable anchor hardware in the mountains. If the second rappeller will use a two-rope descent device—which poses its own risks due to different strand sizes and friction— consider simply tying the single rope to the anchor for the first rappeller.

You might think it unlikely that two intelligent and experienced climbers working together could make the fatal mistakes described here. But ANAM is full of other cases, so before you put down this booklet and turn your attention elsewhere, remember that you have no way to distinguish Ellis or Dhungana from yourself until you retire from climbing and can say that it didn’t happen to you. (Source: John Dill, NPS Ranger. Illustrations by Rick Weber. Special thanks to Japhy Dhungana for quickly posting his report to the climbing community.)

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10 Tips for Wilderness Survival

Sometimes we forget how easy we have it. Amid our crazy life schedules we tend to take for granted that purified bottle of water when thirsty, or the push of a button to light a fire. But it’s important to remember that in the blink of an eye, it can all be gone. The unexpected happens, you get in an accident or lose your way; now, it’s just you and the wilderness with no ties to civilization. Here are ten basic survival tips to get you prepared- just in case.   Communication is Key  Please please please tell someone where you are going before you set off for a trip. No matter where you go, even if you end up stranded unexpectedly, you started from somewhere in civilization. Tell close friends and family where you are going and if you have a specific route or amount of time you will be gone.   Keep Your Head On  Now is the time to be calm and think positive. It doesn’t sound like much, but optimism goes a long way, and in a survival situation, it starts with you, your attitude and your will no matter how scared and alone you may feel. First, keep a realistic outlook and diligently plan to keep yourself in the best possible physical and mental state. If something isn’t working out, like building a fire or shelter, don’t rush, because that can lead to panic. Stop, breathe and think about what you need, observe your surroundings and organize a new plan.   Take Inventory  Keep everything you’ve got, because the second plans go south, these items will become your most prized possessions and could save your life. Don’t underestimate the worthiness of even the smallest knick knack-inn Gary Paulson’s classic,   The Hatchet  , Brian Robeson used his shoe lace to make a nifty bow and arrow for survival!   Build a Shelter  It’s time to get creative. Familiarize yourself with how to build a  lean-to ; there are various types of shelters you can build and each has different pros and cons. Obviously you want overhead covering for warmth at night and protection from the elements. If you are in rocky, mountainous terrain, look for overhangs. Otherwise, use limbs and leaves or anything that can provide insulation. Pine needles usually blanket the ground in thick batches, excellent for bedding.   Agua Por Favor  Your body will not last more than three days without water. If you are lucky enough to be near a body of freshwater — good for you, just make sure to boil before quenching your thirst. No water in sight? Continue your search and construct a rain catcher or water still.   Keep that Belly Happy  Things can get frustrating when it comes to finding adequate sources of food when you are in survival mode, especially since malnutrition will work you mentally and physically, making you feel weak, cranky and delirious. It’s a good idea to get familiar with edible wild berries and plants for future reference when out in the wild. Also, it’s time to grow up and banish the word “picky” from your vocabulary. When it comes to survival, embrace anything and everything (carefully) including bugs, eggs, fruit, leaves. Learn to build some simple traps to catch small animals and don’t rely on just one single food source. Protein is important for strength; know what various nutrients your body needs for prime sustainability.   Light that Fire  Those glowing red flames provide light, cooked food, warmth and protection from predators and pesky bugs. Here are a few tried and true techniques for conjuring that mighty blaze:   Fire Plow    Bow and Drill    Lens Method    Fire from Ice    Soda Can and Chocolate    Battery method    One Word: Tool  Keep a  pocket knife , or  multi-tool  with you at all times, because you never know when you will need it- and when you do need it, you will rejoice that you have something to cut, protect and prepare food- even if all you have is a crappy, little knife. Now just learn how to  sharpen it  like MacGuyver.   H‑E-L‑P  Survival is your first priority, but don’t forget- you need to get rescued as well. Come up with an action plan in case a plane flies overhead or there are are search parties nearby. You’ve seen it in the movies — prepare a giant, easily visible fire pit out in the open or lay out stones in the pattern of HELP or S.O.S. You can also use any shiny, metallic object for reflection purposes.   Navigation  It’s a good idea to have a  compass  with you at all times, but if not then what? Get old school and  use the stars - it’s a lot easier than you think. Also, keep note of rivers, paths or mountains- following these can lead to roads and civilization.

Sometimes we forget how easy we have it. Amid our crazy life schedules we tend to take for granted that purified bottle of water when thirsty, or the push of a button to light a fire. But it’s important to remember that in the blink of an eye, it can all be gone. The unexpected happens, you get in an accident or lose your way; now, it’s just you and the wilderness with no ties to civilization. Here are ten basic survival tips to get you prepared- just in case.

Communication is Key
Please please please tell someone where you are going before you set off for a trip. No matter where you go, even if you end up stranded unexpectedly, you started from somewhere in civilization. Tell close friends and family where you are going and if you have a specific route or amount of time you will be gone.

Keep Your Head On
Now is the time to be calm and think positive. It doesn’t sound like much, but optimism goes a long way, and in a survival situation, it starts with you, your attitude and your will no matter how scared and alone you may feel. First, keep a realistic outlook and diligently plan to keep yourself in the best possible physical and mental state. If something isn’t working out, like building a fire or shelter, don’t rush, because that can lead to panic. Stop, breathe and think about what you need, observe your surroundings and organize a new plan.

Take Inventory
Keep everything you’ve got, because the second plans go south, these items will become your most prized possessions and could save your life. Don’t underestimate the worthiness of even the smallest knick knack-inn Gary Paulson’s classic, The Hatchet, Brian Robeson used his shoe lace to make a nifty bow and arrow for survival!

Build a Shelter
It’s time to get creative. Familiarize yourself with how to build a lean-to; there are various types of shelters you can build and each has different pros and cons. Obviously you want overhead covering for warmth at night and protection from the elements. If you are in rocky, mountainous terrain, look for overhangs. Otherwise, use limbs and leaves or anything that can provide insulation. Pine needles usually blanket the ground in thick batches, excellent for bedding.

Agua Por Favor
Your body will not last more than three days without water. If you are lucky enough to be near a body of freshwater — good for you, just make sure to boil before quenching your thirst. No water in sight? Continue your search and construct a rain catcher or water still.

Keep that Belly Happy
Things can get frustrating when it comes to finding adequate sources of food when you are in survival mode, especially since malnutrition will work you mentally and physically, making you feel weak, cranky and delirious. It’s a good idea to get familiar with edible wild berries and plants for future reference when out in the wild. Also, it’s time to grow up and banish the word “picky” from your vocabulary. When it comes to survival, embrace anything and everything (carefully) including bugs, eggs, fruit, leaves. Learn to build some simple traps to catch small animals and don’t rely on just one single food source. Protein is important for strength; know what various nutrients your body needs for prime sustainability.

Light that Fire
Those glowing red flames provide light, cooked food, warmth and protection from predators and pesky bugs. Here are a few tried and true techniques for conjuring that mighty blaze:

Fire Plow

Bow and Drill

Lens Method

Fire from Ice

Soda Can and Chocolate

Battery method

One Word: Tool
Keep a pocket knife, or multi-tool with you at all times, because you never know when you will need it- and when you do need it, you will rejoice that you have something to cut, protect and prepare food- even if all you have is a crappy, little knife. Now just learn how to sharpen it like MacGuyver.

H‑E-L‑P
Survival is your first priority, but don’t forget- you need to get rescued as well. Come up with an action plan in case a plane flies overhead or there are are search parties nearby. You’ve seen it in the movies — prepare a giant, easily visible fire pit out in the open or lay out stones in the pattern of HELP or S.O.S. You can also use any shiny, metallic object for reflection purposes.

Navigation
It’s a good idea to have a compass with you at all times, but if not then what? Get old school and use the stars- it’s a lot easier than you think. Also, keep note of rivers, paths or mountains- following these can lead to roads and civilization.

15 Nutrition Tips for Performance Athletes

Besides practicing endlessly there is periodization, competition planning, managing recovery and rest, technical considerations, and of course, diet. When a low performance diet meets a high performance athlete results inevitably plummet.

There is nothing worse than putting in the effort, sacrificing all the hours, and then sputtering along because you are running on low grade fuel. The reality is that trying to outwork a crappy diet means you have to work harder to improve (and why would anyone wanna do that?).

Here are 15 fast and proven tips from some of the top dietitians who work specifically with athletes to get your nutrition game strong.

1. Mind your greens.

For athletes the focus is almost always on carbs and protein. One provides the fuel, and the other provides the restorative power to heal our muscles and keep us training at a high level.

Which means that forgetting about our veggies can happen to even the most attuned athlete.

“We often forget that our body can’t properly use protein and carbohydrates without the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) found in veggies,” says Cameron Noerr, a sports nutritionist who also formulates supplements for AthletEssence.

Protein and carbs are important, but so are the mineral and vitamins the facilitate their delivery and help to process them.

“You can do this by eating vegetables at every major meal, and try layering your vegetables. Have two or three different veggies at a time,” adds Noerr.

2. Crush some berries to boost recovery.

Want an easy and proven way to reduce soreness? Accelerate your recovery efforts between sessions in the gym by crushing some blueberries.

Research has shown that when athletes consume berries around their workout they have better inflammation and immune responses to the workout compared to not eating the berries (this means better recovery and less chance that illness will put us out of training for a period of time), adds Noerr.

How much of em should you be stuffing in your face in order to see some of this good old recovery action take place?

“Eat 1-2 cups of berries a day to take advantage of these benefits.”

3. Use protein as the anchor for your meals.

As an athlete you already know the importance of crushing a fair amount of protein in order to keep your muscles recovering and prepared for battle.

“Use 20-30g of a lean protein as the anchor for each of your meals,” suggests Nate Dunn, M.S., USAC Level 1 and Certified Sports Nutritionist of Data Driven Athlete.

The lists of benefits of getting your protein in are substantial and are a bedrock part of the high performance athlete’s diet.

“Adequate protein intake maintains muscle, improves recovery, might improve cognition and sleep, and may keep you from getting sick,” adds Dunn.

4. Make it easier on yourself to succeed by cleaning up your environment.

The simplest way to make better food choices is by cleaning up your kitchen. Environment has been shown to be exceptionally powerful both in habit formation and in influencing our food choices, so why tempt yourself unnecessarily?

This could mean throwing out the crap food in your cupboards instead of having to drain yourself of willpower every time you open them.

It could also mean leaving out more of the foods you should be eating but currently aren’t (what you see is what you eat–science!).

“Set yourself up to not fail,” advises Jason Martuscello.

See Also: 12 Nutrition Tips for College Athletes

“Where you live largely determines what you eat. More than 75% of food you eat is within 3 miles of your home,” he adds. “Your eating habits are direct reflection of your 3 closest friends.  Hang around with high-performing eaters.”

5. Take advantage of sleep to increase recovery.

If you’ve hung around these parts you know that sleep is a crazy powerful weapon in your training arsenal. Not only do you recover faster for the next bout of workouts, but adequate sleep also means you are not a crabby jerk-face. (See: 15 Sleep Strategies for High Performance Athletes.)

“The biggest missed anabolic opportunity athletes miss is while sleeping,” notes Martuscello.

Instead of using your sleepy time for solely catching up on your Z’s, you can help charge the recovery process overnight by consuming some pre-bed, slow digesting protein.

“These protein sources before bed will turn what is an otherwise  catabolic 8 hours into productive recovery, repair and growth. If you want to take it to the next level, plan a meal in the middle of the night.”

6. Get some creatine in ya.

Creatine has long been touted and recognized as one of the safest and most effective supplements on the market.

“Even the ladies should be supplementing with it,” says Cara Axelrod RD, LD/N, CISSN.

“Creatine is found naturally in the human body and is important for the transport of energy within cells,” she adds. If you want to train a little bit harder, for a little bit longer and with less recovery time, than creatine is a no-brainer.

So how much should you be taking for peak effectiveness?

“Three to five grams of creatine monohydrate daily is best; take it before or after training,” adds Axelrod.

7. Avoid the hype around the low carb diets.

Michelle Adams, a strength coach, certified sports nutritionist and former figure competitor notes that it is important that athletes understand that they are eating for performance, and not for weight loss.

This means avoiding the low carb, high fat diets that are going around right now.

“Carbohydrates won’t kill you, but they can and will improve your performance –especially if your sport is high intensity or if it requires maximal or near max efforts,” says Adams.

Avoiding carbs can have the decimating effect of leaving you struggling to maintain peak performance in the gym, on the field, and in the pool.

“Consuming carbohydrates in and around your training will keep you performing at your best. Throw in some carbs after training to help boost your immune system and speed your recovery so you’ll be prepared for your next session,” she notes.

8. Battle inflammation au naturel.

As a high performance athlete you understand that between workouts is a race to reduce inflammation so that you can come back at peak strength to dominate the next workout.

“Every time we exercise we induce physiological stress that causes inflammation. The quicker the inflammation goes down, the quicker our recovery time,” says Emily Parsons, a sports nutritionist who works out of Orlando’s Spectrum Sports Performance Center.

Emily’s favorite breakfast to battle inflammatories? This simple little bad boy:

Southwest Scramble: 2 eggs, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 cup chorizo, 2 tbs salsa, 1/2 avocado

9. Optimize your blood sugar levels for better performance.

If you are ready to take your nutrition to the next level, than start paying more attention to how you combo-up your meals so that you can maximize how you are performing and how you are sleeping.

“Did you know that eating certain foods can optimize your blood sugar and improve athletic performance markers?” rhetorically asks Bob Seebohar, CSCS, sports nutritionist, and holder of more titles than I can literally fit into this post.

(Here just a few: Sports dietitian for the US Olympic committee, former Director of Sports Nutrition for the University of Florida, dietitian on the 2008 US Olympic team, personal sports dietitian for the Olympic Triathlon team, among a host of others).

“Specifically, combining sources of protein, fat and fiber at almost every feeding will optimize blood sugar. This allows the body to use fat as energy and preserve valuable carbohydrate stores,” adds Seebohar, who is also the owner/founder of eNRG Performance.

But the benefits don’t stop there, as optimizing your blood sugar can also help you sleep better, which in turn further helps increase recovery during hard bouts of training and competition.

“The next time you eat, think protein + fat + fiber. Aim for good sources of protein such as eggs, beef or chicken. Fat is usually found in protein rich foods but can also be added through foods like avocados and olives and the use of coconut and olive oil. Fiber can be any vegetable, fruit or whole grain,” says Seebohar.

10. Eat to train.

Athletes don’t eat to look good necessarily, but rather, they eat so that they can kick a metric ton of butt-butt when they step out to train or compete.

For many young athletes who fall into the social media compare-a-thon they can lose touch with what they are trying to accomplish when they sit down to eat and instead start thinking about eating to lose weight.

“Never fall into the trap of starving yourself to lose weight,” says Josh Mathe, CSCS, CISSN, PES, author and ultra-endurance athlete.

This means that you need to view your food choices as tactical decisions, and not as something where you want to be cutting corners on in order to achieve an aesthetic look.

“As an athlete you are asking your body to perform and in order to do so, your furnace needs fuel.  If you don’t consume enough calories to maintain basic body functions and hit the training hard, you won’t progress as an athlete,” he adds.

11. Don’t be so weary of salt. 

Because of the very real risks of hyper-tension or super processed diets the general population is taught to avoid foods that are high in salt content.

The dietary demands of high performance athletes–particularly those in warmer climates and for those who emerge from the gym looking like they went for a dip–means they need to be mindful of their sodium and electrolyte intake.

The reason being? (It’s a good one…)

To help avoid cramps and decreases in performance.

You can combat this in a few different ways, my sweaty-sweaty little friend:

“Electrolytes, such as magnesium and potassium, are abundant in green leafy vegetables and fruits,” notes personal trainer and yoga instructor Carrie Hogan, who is also a graduate of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Athletes (should) already know the importance of staying hydrated, but “adding a pinch of unrefined sea salt to each 1L of water can help prevent excess loss of salts from sweating,” notes Hogan.

You can also take the salt battle to the dinner table.

“Seasoning your meals is also a simple go-to! If you suffer from cramps, adding more unrefined sea salt to your diet can be a delicious, quick fix.”

12. Rest and digest!

We live in a fast pace world. We have a limited amount of time each day to work, play, and train our butts off.

As a result, many of us power through our meals as though they owe us money, leaving us feeling not so hot in the digestive parts.

“How you are eating is just as important as what you are eating,” says Keri Gaul, CISSN and owner of The Ripple Effect LLC. “Not properly digesting food and supplements may prevent absorption of key nutrients and leave you with gas, bloating, cramps or other more serious digestive issues over time.”

Athletes tend to lean towards eating ravenously; 2-3 hour-long workouts tend to create this state, so it’s understandable that they’ll dive face first into that massive bowl of pasta after a massive workout.

Take a breath. And chew, advises Gaul.

“Chew each bite 25-50x’s so it mixes with your saliva and kick-starts your digestive process.  Consider a quality digestive enzyme and probiotic to help maintain healthy digestion,” she adds.

13. Prep your meals.

High performance athletes understand that periodization and preparation is everything when it comes to training. This kind of planning and evaluation should extend to the way you are fueling yourself.

Do this by having your meals ready to rock before you stumble in the door after a day of crushing workouts.

See Also: The Ridiculous Power of Meal Prep

Planning and prepping your meals ahead of time insures that you are making better choices. After a long day of up to 6 hours in the pool and the gym the last thing I wanted to do was prepare a meal. And so what happened? The convenience of the less healthy options almost always won out.

Have the humility and self-awareness to understand that–to quote Snickers–you aren’t yourself when you are hungry.

Combine that hunger with fatigue and you, my high performing friend, are not to be trusted in the fridge.

Have your dinners planned out and prepped ahead of time so that the convenient option becomes the healthy option.

14. Stay consistent on game day.

On the morning of game day is not the time to start playing around with your nutrition. The last thing you need when you are stepping out onto the court, onto the field or behind the blocks and having your tummy do a double-pike somersault.

Of course, there are always going to be the games and competitions where you are away from the comfortable confines of your refrigerator. Some simple planning can ward this off, and keep you and your tummy game ready.

15. Track and monitor your nutrition.

The easiest way to really stay on top of your nutrition is to keep a food journal.

Yes, it might sound tedious, or like “homework”, and it is just one more thing to remember to do in a long list, but it will give you a very accurate overview of how you are actually eating, while also helping you connect the dots between periods in your training where you feel particularly lethargic or weak.

Why Get Stronger When You Can Get Better?

Being good at rock climbing  is all about learning proper technique and then ingraining it so it becomes second nature. In the long run, technique will take you much further than a strong back and a vice grip. Yet most climbers are hyper-focused on trying to get stronger oftentimes at the expense of learning good technique.  Emily Harrington, who has climbed multiple 5.14’s in various stages of personal fitness, recognizes the superlative of proper technique. Emily has been climbing for 13 years, putting in well over the requisite 10,000 hours one supposedly needs to master any craft. As a result, she believes that no matter what shape she’s in, she will always be able to climb at a baseline of 5.12a throughout life.  If you know how to move your body, you should be able to climb 5.12a, Emily says, no matter how strong you are.  This may seem surprising to the climbers out there for whom 5.12a is a lifetime goal, yet the point is not that 5.12 is easy, but rather that proper technique honed over many hours of practice is more enduring than one’s momentary form strength and fitness. The problem is, it’s easier to get stronger than it is to get better.  Anyone can go to the gym and rip off a bunch of reps or climb a bunch of boulder problems and feel as though they have accomplished something. Training with the goal of improving technique is more cerebral, requiring a certain degree of consciousness about what you’re doing. This is because good technique is all about ingraining movements, coordinating the upper and lower body and maintaining awareness of how much effort you’re expending to the point that it becomes second nature. Great climbers aren’t thinking about what they need to do — they just do the exact right thing. This is the art of free climbing.  Improvements in one’s technique are much less tangible—harder to measure or gauge. Thus, it can be difficult to know how to approach the gym with the goal of becoming a better free climber. Here are a few tips that you may find useful:   First, be good:  Many beginner and intermediate climbers have approached me wanting to know how to get strong, but I’ve never heard anyone ask how to get good. The two are undoubtedly related. But instead of jumping on the hardest route or boulder problem you think you can do, focus on making perfect ascents of easier routes and problems. Try to be good before you try to be strong. How perfectly can you climb something?   Bad feet:  Problems in the gym typically get harder as the hand holds become worse and farther apart, while usually the foot jibs remain pretty good. But if you have the ability to help set some problems wherever you climb indoors, I recommend setting decent hand holds and the worst, most polished, difficult-to-stand-on footholds you can find. You want them to be bad, but not so bad that you just force a campus move. You want the focus to be on using your feet properly—the first and most lastingly important step in becoming good. As a double benefit, nothing will get you stronger than climbing problems with bad feet.   Master the back-step:  One of the most useful maneuvers in climbing is the back-step, where you stand on the outside edge of your right foot and rotate your lower body so that your right hip is against the wall (or vice versa). Most people climb straight on, with their hands and feet set as if they were climbing up a ladder. If you watch great climbers, they are rarely so squared up; one hip or another is always twisted toward the wall, with a foot back-stepping. Also, focus on getting into back-steps quicker. Many climbers put, say, their left foot on a hold, then match their right foot on the hold in the back-step position. Instead of messing around with matching feet, many times it’s better to cross the right leg over and get into the back-step right away.   Stand Up:  You’ve undoubtedly heard the advice, Keep your arms straight! But, of course, if your arms were straight the whole time, you wouldn’t be able to flex them to pull yourself upward. When you’re hanging on holds, indeed, it’s a good idea to keep your arms straight. But the second part of this advice that’s left out is how to begin initiating your upward movement. Typically, beginners will initiate the move with their arms: pulling themselves up, locking off like on a pull-up bar, with their feet way low. Instead, try to always initiate your upward movement with your legs. Keep your arms straight and lever yourself upward by pressing with your feet. Eventually, you’ll have to flex your arms, but try to do so only after you’ve initiated the upward movement with the legs–even if it’s just a little bit. Teach yourself what this feels like by climbing easy (5.6) routes in the gym. Hang from straight arms and try to drive yourself upward as far as you can by high-stepping your feet and using only your leg muscles to stand up on every hold.   Wear better shoes:  Beginners typically choose loose-fitting comfortable shoes. But no matter what grade you climb, I recommend you get a high-end pair of shoes that are snug (not tight!). Higher end shoes give you much more precision, and do a better job of allowing you to use all parts of your foot. This is the one and only piece of gear that can actually make a difference in your climbing! Get the best fitting pair of high-end shoes you can find.   Develop your own style:  Something that often gets lost when “experts” try to teach beginners how to climb/what to do is that there is no such thing as one perfect way to climb a route or problem. There are no hard and fast rules. For some climbers, the best solution to a problem will be to climb fast and very dynamically—it’s possible that this will be more efficient for them. Others may find it works better for them to climb at a slower pace, more statically and with greater control. This is where free climbing becomes an art of self-expression. Cherish this. For example, in his clinics, Dave Graham spends a lot of time helping people develop their own styles by having a group of people figure out two or three different beta sequences that work on a given problem. Try to climb a problem two or three different ways. See what works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Perhaps it’s easiest to just dyno! Ultimately, the best style is the one that gets you to the top most efficiently.   Avoid finger injuries:  Have you ever noticed that climbers typically blow a tendon within their first three years of climbing? Beginner climbers tend to race through the grades relying on rapid strength gains, not technique, which creates a false sense of ability that encourages them to get on hard, crimpy routes before their tendons are ready for them. While the musculature may be there, building up the tendon resilience to withstand the stress of hanging from small holds takes a long time—sometimes three years or more. Avoid finger injuries by using the open-hand grip indoors whenever you can. Also, STOP crimping  before  your fingers feel sore! Admittedly, this is easier said than done.   Build a base:  Dani Andrada, one of the best climbers in the world, was rumored to have redpointed 50 5.13b’s before he even considered getting on a 5.13c. While those grades are admittedly elite, the lesson still applies: Take the time needed to master the easier grades before moving on. Did you redpoint 50 5.11d’s before even trying a 5.12a?   Make climbing a practice:  We try to perform our best every single time we enter the gym or a crag. Instead, start thinking of your climbing sessions as a practice. If you climb two or three times per week—don’t worry, the strength will come. But for right now, focus on mastering good technique.

Being good at rock climbing is all about learning proper technique and then ingraining it so it becomes second nature. In the long run, technique will take you much further than a strong back and a vice grip. Yet most climbers are hyper-focused on trying to get stronger oftentimes at the expense of learning good technique.

Emily Harrington, who has climbed multiple 5.14’s in various stages of personal fitness, recognizes the superlative of proper technique. Emily has been climbing for 13 years, putting in well over the requisite 10,000 hours one supposedly needs to master any craft. As a result, she believes that no matter what shape she’s in, she will always be able to climb at a baseline of 5.12a throughout life.

If you know how to move your body, you should be able to climb 5.12a, Emily says, no matter how strong you are.

This may seem surprising to the climbers out there for whom 5.12a is a lifetime goal, yet the point is not that 5.12 is easy, but rather that proper technique honed over many hours of practice is more enduring than one’s momentary form strength and fitness. The problem is, it’s easier to get stronger than it is to get better.

Anyone can go to the gym and rip off a bunch of reps or climb a bunch of boulder problems and feel as though they have accomplished something. Training with the goal of improving technique is more cerebral, requiring a certain degree of consciousness about what you’re doing. This is because good technique is all about ingraining movements, coordinating the upper and lower body and maintaining awareness of how much effort you’re expending to the point that it becomes second nature. Great climbers aren’t thinking about what they need to do — they just do the exact right thing. This is the art of free climbing.

Improvements in one’s technique are much less tangible—harder to measure or gauge. Thus, it can be difficult to know how to approach the gym with the goal of becoming a better free climber. Here are a few tips that you may find useful:

First, be good: Many beginner and intermediate climbers have approached me wanting to know how to get strong, but I’ve never heard anyone ask how to get good. The two are undoubtedly related. But instead of jumping on the hardest route or boulder problem you think you can do, focus on making perfect ascents of easier routes and problems. Try to be good before you try to be strong. How perfectly can you climb something?

Bad feet: Problems in the gym typically get harder as the hand holds become worse and farther apart, while usually the foot jibs remain pretty good. But if you have the ability to help set some problems wherever you climb indoors, I recommend setting decent hand holds and the worst, most polished, difficult-to-stand-on footholds you can find. You want them to be bad, but not so bad that you just force a campus move. You want the focus to be on using your feet properly—the first and most lastingly important step in becoming good. As a double benefit, nothing will get you stronger than climbing problems with bad feet.

Master the back-step: One of the most useful maneuvers in climbing is the back-step, where you stand on the outside edge of your right foot and rotate your lower body so that your right hip is against the wall (or vice versa). Most people climb straight on, with their hands and feet set as if they were climbing up a ladder. If you watch great climbers, they are rarely so squared up; one hip or another is always twisted toward the wall, with a foot back-stepping. Also, focus on getting into back-steps quicker. Many climbers put, say, their left foot on a hold, then match their right foot on the hold in the back-step position. Instead of messing around with matching feet, many times it’s better to cross the right leg over and get into the back-step right away.

Stand Up: You’ve undoubtedly heard the advice, Keep your arms straight! But, of course, if your arms were straight the whole time, you wouldn’t be able to flex them to pull yourself upward. When you’re hanging on holds, indeed, it’s a good idea to keep your arms straight. But the second part of this advice that’s left out is how to begin initiating your upward movement. Typically, beginners will initiate the move with their arms: pulling themselves up, locking off like on a pull-up bar, with their feet way low. Instead, try to always initiate your upward movement with your legs. Keep your arms straight and lever yourself upward by pressing with your feet. Eventually, you’ll have to flex your arms, but try to do so only after you’ve initiated the upward movement with the legs–even if it’s just a little bit. Teach yourself what this feels like by climbing easy (5.6) routes in the gym. Hang from straight arms and try to drive yourself upward as far as you can by high-stepping your feet and using only your leg muscles to stand up on every hold.

Wear better shoes: Beginners typically choose loose-fitting comfortable shoes. But no matter what grade you climb, I recommend you get a high-end pair of shoes that are snug (not tight!). Higher end shoes give you much more precision, and do a better job of allowing you to use all parts of your foot. This is the one and only piece of gear that can actually make a difference in your climbing! Get the best fitting pair of high-end shoes you can find.

Develop your own style: Something that often gets lost when “experts” try to teach beginners how to climb/what to do is that there is no such thing as one perfect way to climb a route or problem. There are no hard and fast rules. For some climbers, the best solution to a problem will be to climb fast and very dynamically—it’s possible that this will be more efficient for them. Others may find it works better for them to climb at a slower pace, more statically and with greater control. This is where free climbing becomes an art of self-expression. Cherish this. For example, in his clinics, Dave Graham spends a lot of time helping people develop their own styles by having a group of people figure out two or three different beta sequences that work on a given problem. Try to climb a problem two or three different ways. See what works for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Perhaps it’s easiest to just dyno! Ultimately, the best style is the one that gets you to the top most efficiently.

Avoid finger injuries: Have you ever noticed that climbers typically blow a tendon within their first three years of climbing? Beginner climbers tend to race through the grades relying on rapid strength gains, not technique, which creates a false sense of ability that encourages them to get on hard, crimpy routes before their tendons are ready for them. While the musculature may be there, building up the tendon resilience to withstand the stress of hanging from small holds takes a long time—sometimes three years or more. Avoid finger injuries by using the open-hand grip indoors whenever you can. Also, STOP crimping before your fingers feel sore! Admittedly, this is easier said than done.

Build a base: Dani Andrada, one of the best climbers in the world, was rumored to have redpointed 50 5.13b’s before he even considered getting on a 5.13c. While those grades are admittedly elite, the lesson still applies: Take the time needed to master the easier grades before moving on. Did you redpoint 50 5.11d’s before even trying a 5.12a?

Make climbing a practice: We try to perform our best every single time we enter the gym or a crag. Instead, start thinking of your climbing sessions as a practice. If you climb two or three times per week—don’t worry, the strength will come. But for right now, focus on mastering good technique.

SALOME (THE JUG) AZ RENDEZVOUS 2019

SALOME (THE JUG) AZ RENDEZVOUS 2019

Awesome run through the Jug with some great people during the AZ Canyon Rendezvous! Good flow, nice temps, and an overall great time!

Canyoneering Hydrology Basics

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Canyoneering Hydrology: The study of water movement and its behavior relating to the topography, which allows us to properly assess dangerous water hazards that can exist in Canyoneering.

The most common terms you will hear are swift water, whitewater or class 3 canyons. These types of canyons are located all around the world and are considerably different from dry canyons which require a separate skill set to navigate the hazards.

Swift water canyons can be extremely dangerous and as with all aspects of Canyoneering, instruction, practice and training cannot be substituted for this information.

Basics

Water behaves differently according to the volume, shape of the river bottom and types of obstructions which can then effect and produce different movements. Canyoneering Hydrology needs to be learnt to reduce the risk of injury, mishap or even death.

Three points that cover moving water especially in a Canyoneering environment are:

Powerful

Swift moving water exerts a force on any object it encounters, whether it is a rock, bridge or person in the water. This force is dependent upon the speed of the water. As the speed of the current increases, so does the power.

Continuous

Moving water will always exert a continuous force on an object or person. It never stops, unlike an ocean wave which has a cycle of breaking and receding.

Predictable

Water may sometimes look as if it is moving randomly, but to the trained person it is moving in an orderly and predictable way. Surface features can be “read” and used to predict what is happening under the water.

Characteristics

The nature of rivers in a canyon are variable and are determined by five main factors. Understanding how moving water behaves, you can use the canyon river to ascertain a level of risk management and avoid unnecessary or unacceptable levels of danger.

Topography

Topography is generally consistent over time. Increased flow, as during a flood or high rainfall season can make permanent changes to the streambed by displacing rocks and boulders, by deposition of dirt, sand or stones or by creating new channels for flowing water.

Gradient

The gradient of a river is the rate at which it loses elevation along its course. This loss determines the river’s slope, and to a large extent its rate of flow. Shallow gradients produce gentle, slow rivers while steep gradients are associated with more forceful flows.

Constrictions

Constrictions can form a water hazard where the river’s flow is forced into a narrower channel. This pressure causes the water to flow more rapidly and to react differently to the river bed.

Obstructions

A boulder or ledge in the middle of a river or near the side can obstruct the flow of the river, and can also create a “pillow”, when water flows backwards upstream of the obstruction, or a “pour over” (over the boulder), and “hydraulics” or “holes” where the river flows back on itself—perhaps back under the drop,often with fearful results for those caught in its grasp.

Water Flow


Measuring water flow is an important aspect for canyoners. A marked increase or decrease in flow can create a hazard or make safe passage through previously navigated rapids more difficult or impossible. Flow rate is measured in either Cubic Meters per Second (m³/s) or Cubic Feet per Second (cfs)

ICE CUBE (THE MAZE), NV

ICE CUBE (THE MAZE), NV

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Location: Nevada, Red Rock
Rating: 4B-IV
Longest Rappel: 190'

Ice Cube Canyon is located in the Red Rock area of Nevada and is a excellent trip through an outstanding canyon. A shuttle is set up as shown on the map/gps track or as always you could simply hike in from the exit as needed. Once at the upper trail/parking location, you will find a well defined trail that will quickly have you gaining most of the days elevation and shortly after have you standing at the technical drop in point. Throughout the approach you will have great views overlooking the red rock scenery and the strip off in the distance. Once geared up at the technical section, be prepared for a day of up to nearly 2 dozen rappels depending on your groups approach. Plenty of webbing are rings are recommended to refresh any drops as needed. Shortly after the first few rappels, a great section of narrows are encountered that get you warmed for the many drops to come. A few drops throughout the canyon have been know to stick ropes in the past and from our view these were fairly obvious when encountered. A quick observation, a few well place items, a well laid out rope, was rewarded with a smooth pull and made light work of any concern. Soon after this first section of narrows, the canyon opens up to a great spot to relax and enjoy lunch before pressing on. Working down canyon towards the next section of narrows is quite wide and no raps are encountered for a bit. Eventually this level ground cliffs out as the canyon once again begins to tighten up. Moving forward, the canyon and its remaining drops will have your group throwing rope consistently for the rest of the day. In addition to the 200' rope required for the larger drops, our group also brought along several 100' ropes to keep pushing and speed things up in an effort to avoid the bottle neck of people waiting to get on rope at each station. Lots of great scenery are encountered throughout the canyon and after many rappels and short swims you will soon find yourself staring down the last drop of around 190' with a view of the vehicle in the distance. Make your way down to the open rocky section below and remove gear. From here it is a short rock hop down the remaining canyon to the wash, where soon a trail leading out can be found on the left. Once on trail, it is smooth sailing back to the vehicle where you can unpack, get your second vehicle, and make your way out of the park. 

Hypothermia

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of hypothermia is usually apparent based on a person's physical signs and the conditions in which the person with hypothermia became ill or was found. Blood tests also can help confirm hypothermia and its severity.

A diagnosis may not be readily apparent, however, if the symptoms are mild, as when an older person who is indoors has symptoms of confusion, lack of coordination and speech problems.

Treatment

Seek immediate medical attention for anyone who appears to have hypothermia. Until medical help is available, follow these first-aid guidelines for hypothermia.

First-aid

  • Be gentle. When you're helping a person with hypothermia, handle him or her gently. Limit movements to only those that are necessary. Don't massage or rub the person. Excessive, vigorous or jarring movements may trigger cardiac arrest.
  • Move the person out of the cold. Move the person to a warm, dry location if possible. If you're unable to move the person out of the cold, shield him or her from the cold and wind as much as possible. Keep him or her in a horizontal position if possible.
  • Remove wet clothing. If the person is wearing wet clothing, remove it. Cut away clothing if necessary to avoid excessive movement.
  • Cover the person with blankets. Use layers of dry blankets or coats to warm the person. Cover the person's head, leaving only the face exposed.
  • Insulate the person's body from the cold ground. If you're outside, lay the person on his or her back on a blanket or other warm surface.
  • Monitor breathing. A person with severe hypothermia may appear unconscious, with no apparent signs of a pulse or breathing. If the person's breathing has stopped or appears dangerously low or shallow, begin CPR immediately if you're trained.
  • Provide warm beverages. If the affected person is alert and able to swallow, provide a warm, sweet, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated beverage to help warm the body.
  • Use warm, dry compresses. Use a first-aid warm compress (a plastic fluid-filled bag that warms up when squeezed) or a makeshift compress of warm water in a plastic bottle or a dryer-warmed towel. Apply a compress only to the neck, chest wall or groin.

    Don't apply a warm compress to the arms or legs. Heat applied to the arms and legs forces cold blood back toward the heart, lungs and brain, causing the core body temperature to drop. This can be fatal.

  • Don't apply direct heat. Don't use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp to warm the person. The extreme heat can damage the skin or, even worse, cause irregular heartbeats so severe that they can cause the heart to stop.

Medical treatment

Depending on the severity of hypothermia, emergency medical care for hypothermia may include one of the following interventions to raise the body temperature:

  • Passive rewarming. For someone with mild hypothermia, it is enough to cover them with heated blankets and offer warm fluids to drink.
  • Blood rewarming. Blood may be drawn, warmed and recirculated in the body. A common method of warming blood is the use of a hemodialysis machine, which is normally used to filter blood in people with poor kidney function. Heart bypass machines also may need to be used.
  • Warm intravenous fluids. A warmed intravenous solution of salt water may be put into a vein to help warm the blood.
  • Airway rewarming. The use of humidified oxygen administered with a mask or nasal tube can warm the airways and help raise the temperature of the body.
  • Irrigation. A warm saltwater solution may be used to warm certain areas of the body, such as the area around the lungs (pleura) or the abdominal cavity (peritoneal cavity). The warm liquid is introduced into the affected area with catheters.

𝐑𝐀𝐏𝐏𝐄𝐋 𝐄𝐑𝐑𝐎𝐑 | 𝐈𝐧𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐀𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐫 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐭

35810624_944770189065301_7679107453132210176_n.jpg

𝐑𝐀𝐏𝐏𝐄𝐋 𝐄𝐑𝐑𝐎𝐑 | 𝐈𝐧𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐀𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐫 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐭
AAC - Accidents in North America Climbing 2017

In early January, two Colorado ice climbers began their third first ascent of the day in the Dark Canyon, 25 miles south of Redstone in the Raggeds Wilderness. Duane Raleigh (age 56, with 43 years of experience) was leading the first pitch of the WI3+ M4 route. Due to thin ice, the only protection he placed on the 230-foot pitch was a stubby screw at approximately 75 feet. Raleigh reached the end of the rope without finding an anchor, so he asked his partner (40 years of experience) to take him off belay, so he could continue climbing and searching for an anchor.

Raleigh spotted a precarious stack of granite that he thought might be secure enough to sling for a rappel anchor. He tested the pile by hitting it with a tool and then pulling on it. Although apprehensive about the anchor’s stability, he had no better option, so he wrapped a 10-foot 6mm cord around the rocks and tied the ends together with a flat figure-8 knot, visually checking and tugging the knot to test it. He then clipped his rope to the cord with a carabiner, planning to downclimb most of the route to minimize weighting the anchor.

Due to the steepness of the first 10 feet of this descent, Raleigh leaned back and weighted the rope. He ended up in a free fall and landed 15 feet below, upside down, in a small
patch of soft snow in a dihedral. He was uninjured except for two crampon punctures in his thigh. Raleigh climbed back up, expecting that the anchor rocks had failed. Instead, he found an untied 6mm cord. He retied the cord with a retraced figure-8 bend (Flemish bend) and successfully downclimbed and lowered to the good screw he’d placed at 75 feet. He pulled the rope and then lowered to the ground from the screw.

(Sources: Rock and Ice magazine and Duane Raleigh.)

𝐀𝐍𝐀𝐋𝐘𝐒𝐈𝐒
Although not verifiable by the climber, it is possible that the flat figure-8 may have capsized under load, flipping and rolling down the cord until the knot reached the ends of the cord and untied. Both the flat figure-8 and the flat overhand knot have been used to join two rappel ropes, and both can capsize under heavy loads. However, a well-tied flat overhand is much less likely to do so and is strongly recommended over the flat figure-8, which accounts for most reported failures of this
general category of rappel knot.

When tying the flat overhand to join two rappel ropes, always tie a well-dressed knot and leave long tails (15 to 18 inches). Individually tighten all four strands of rope entering the knot. If using ropes of different diameters, age, or condition, or icy or wet ropes, consider tying a second overhand immediately adjacent to the first as a backup, though this will increase the bulk of the knot. Or, if there are no concerns about the knot snagging when the rappel ropes are pulled, consider the double fisherman’s knot or Flemish bend, which are very reliable, albeit more difficult to untie after loading.

Do not use the flat overhand to join ropes permanently (e.g., tying a cordelette or tying a rope around a tree for an anchor). The double fisherman’s knot is preferred for these purposes. Also, do not use the flat overhand for tying slings or webbing. Use a water knot for slings that may be retied and a double fisherman’s for permanent knots. Again, dress all knots carefully and tighten every strand.

(Sources: Rock and Ice magazine and the Editors.)

ANCHORING ACRONYMS

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ANCHORING ACRONYMS

𝗦𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗘 
Solid, Redundant, Equalized, No Extension....Great for learning to build anchors on bolts with only one kind of material

𝗦𝗘𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗘 
Solid, Efficient, Redundant, Equalized, No Extension....Great for learning to build SRENE anchors when there are lots of options in the rigging materials

𝗘𝗥𝗡𝗘𝗦𝗧 
Equalized, Redundant, No Extension, Solid, Timely.... Same as SERENE

𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗡𝗘𝗦𝗧 
Equalized, Angles, Redundant, No Extension,Solid, Timely....Ideal for anchors where the components might be farther apart

𝗡𝗘𝗥𝗗𝗦𝗦 
No Extension, Redundant, Distributes Load, Solid, Simple....Same as SRENE, plus great for understanding how load distribution can be manipulated

𝗟𝗘𝗔𝗗𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗥 
Limit Extension, Angles, Direction, Solid, Timely, Equalized, Redundant Same as SERENE

Heat Related Illness

What Are Heat-Related Illnesses?

Prolonged or intense exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke (also known as sun stroke). As your body works to cool itself under extreme or prolonged heat, blood rushes to the surface of your skin. As a result, less blood reaches your brain, muscles, and other organs. This can interfere with both your physical strength and your mental capacity, leading, in some cases, to serious danger.

By reducing excessive exposure to high temperatures and taking other precautionary steps, most heat-related illnesses can be avoided. Those who work in hot or humid environments — such as manufacturing plants, bakeries, or construction sites during summer months — are most at risk. However, even long, hot afternoons at the beach can pose problems if warning signs are ignored.

With prompt treatment, most people recover completely from heat-related illness. However, heat stroke can be deadly if not properly managed.

What Causes Heat-Related Illnesses?

Heat-related illness can strike anyone. But chronic alcoholics, the elderly, the young, the obese, and individuals whose immune systems may be compromised are at greater risk, as are individuals taking certain drugs, such as antihistamines, antipsychotic medications, and cocaine. High humidity also increases the risk of heat illness because it interferes with the evaporation of sweat, your body’s way of cooling itself.

Heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke all occur when your body cannot cool itself adequately. But each is slightly different.

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses large amounts of water and salt through excessive sweating, particularly through hard physical labor or exercise. This loss of essential fluids can disturb circulation and interfere with brain function. Individuals who have heart, lung, or kidney problems or are on low-sodium diets may be particularly susceptible to heat exhaustion.

As in heat exhaustion, heat cramps can strike when the body loses excessive amounts of fluids and salt. This deficiency, accompanied by the loss of other essential nutrients such as potassium and magnesium, typically occurs during heavy exertion.

Heat stroke, the most serious of the heat-related illnesses, occurs when the body suffers from long, intense exposure to heat and loses its ability to cool itself. In prolonged, extreme heat, the part of the brain that normally regulates body temperature malfunctions. This decreases the body’s ability to sweat and, therefore, cool down. Those who have certain medical conditions that decrease the body’s ability to sweat — such as scleroderma or cystic fibrosis — may be at greater risk of developing heat stroke.

 

Water Flow

Measuring water flow is an important aspect for canyoners. A marked increase or decrease in flow can create a hazard or make safe passage through previously navigated rapids more difficult or impossible. Flow rate is measured in either Cubic Meters per Second (m³/s) or Cubic Feet per Second (cfs) depending on the country. By knowing the measurements of the river at a given spot, it is possible to calculate its flow volume at any point between confluences.

Depth x Width x Speed = Volume

Canyon & River Orientation

The orientation of the canyon is determined relative to the flow of the water, not the viewer’s perspective. The sides of a canyon are named either Canyon Left or Canyon Right. You also have both Upstream and Downstream. There will be sometimes an exception to this rule where the river can flow in reverse depending on tidal flow. These types of exceptions are usually only found in canyons connected to oceans.

U Upstream – The direction from which water is flowing from.
D Downstream – The direction in which (or to which) water is flowing.
CL Canyon Left – The left side of the channel when looking downstream.
CR Canyon Right – The right side of the channel when looking downstream.

Note: It’s always important thing to remember is that “canyon left” and “canyon right” are always from the direction of flow.

Floating Anchor

A Floating Anchor is an advanced technique similar to a guided rappel. There are a couple of different methods of making a Floating Anchor providing that the force and flow of the water will allow us to use it. When using a Floating Anchor it is important to travel along the rappel line as quickly as possible by not introducing a vector and pulling the anchor away from the waterfall lip.

To make a floating anchor, attach a rope to the either to the top handle of a rope bag / back pack with the mouth of the bag open. Throw the bag to the waterfall lip, or let the bag be dragged to he waterfall lip. Once at the lip, allow the bag to be constantly be filled with the water from the waterfall. It is important to allow approximately 1 metre of extra length over the waterfall lip before tying off the rappel line. This extra length will help compensate when someone is on the rappel line.

The second method is to use a double floating anchor. A double floating anchor involves using a smaller bag to throw over the waterfall lip to help drag a larger bag that will be used for the anchor. This technique is quite useful when you have a wide distance to play with and the larger bag cannot be thrown efficiently. The same principle applies as a standard Floating Anchor.

Tow Anchor

Tow Anchor

Tow Anchor

A Tow Anchor is a helpful tool to help you out of a hazard by floating a bag down the flow to help pull you out. The best way to do this is to attach a bag to your harness using a Munter Mule. Do not directly tie into the rope using a Clove Hitch or Figure 8. In case there is problems you can release the Munter Mule and launch the rope bag into the flow which can then help pull you out.

Hammer Hoodoo Canyon - Sedona, AZ

Hammer Hoodoo Canyon is a recently explored canyon in Sedona, AZ. The canyon is dry and offers great views throughout the day. Overall, a great short day with roughly 9-11 rappels depending on how you approach the challenges. Check out the beta using the link below or directly at OnRopeCanyoneering.com

ACA Workshop Weekend

Ran a series of workshops over a 3 day period ranging from very basic core canyoneering concepts to advanced rigging and rescue material. Participants had a TON of information thrown at them in a short period and it was amazing to see how much was retained over the course of the classes. Pics are from a few of the days where topics ranged from Intro to canyoneering, Anchors and Rigging,  Core rope work, Rigging and Rescue, Leadership and Group Dynamics, In Canyon Training, along with some after hours Discussions and Demos. Those interested in learning check out the calendar of events for any scheduled training sessions or feel free to get in contact at anytime to set up a course that fits your current needs. We have classes for those who have never touched a rope all the way to advanced canyon rescue and will cater a perfect fit for your requirements.

Spanish balancier

This counterweight system allows the victim to be raised when lowering is impossible.

This system is possible when the rope is not attached at the bottom.

1. The rescuer installs a progress capture pulley and tensions the system with his body weight

2. He engages the counterbalance system by pulling on the victim's side of the rope

3. He installs the ASCENSION handled rope clamp and the CROLL ventral rope clamp to ascend with the victim