Climbing in a Time of Coronavirus, vol. 6

gear closet

Someday, friends. Someday.


Hello Fellow AMCers:

Welcome back!

Oh, you haven’t gone anywhere? What a coincidence: Neither have we!

We hope that you’re doing well from your couch, patio, home-office chair, or wherever you’re spending your time right now. We miss you!

As we reach the “lost-track-of-the-weeks” point of the lockdown, we know a lot of people are getting a bit stir crazy. Then again, stir-craziness may be the least of the things that you’re struggling with right now. We can’t fix everything, but we’ve found a few things that might help just a little.

For starters, if you’re still struggling with the whole “social distancing” concept, High Country News offers a few lessons from the animal kingdom.

Or take a tip from the Icelandic Forestry Service and hug a tree. No, literally.

For even more strategic mental health resilience, AMGA has assembled a really excellent “Psychological First Aid Kit.” It was intended for guides to use right now, but it can be beneficial for everyone who’s feeling stressed by the current situation.

Did you catch that one of the key strategies is helping others?

So, maybe take a few minutes and help out the American Alpine Club with their annual survey. (Not-totally-selfless bonus: You’ll be entered to win a $250 gift certificate to REI.)

Speaking of surveys, the Leave No Trace Center has been conducting one about land-use patterns during the COVID-19 outbreak and they have some interesting early findings to share.

Or perhaps you’d rather spend some time daydreaming about the adventures you can have when this is over. (Psychological First Aid tip #7: Cultivate Hope.)

If you’re thinking big (and why not think big?), how about a 200+ mile hike/scramble/climb through the Grand Canyon? These folks have tips.

Once your backcountry adventures move from daydreams into reality (And they will! We believe it!), navigation will be key. And no, Google Maps will not cut it. So why not use some of your current indoor time to learn—really learn—how to read a topographic map? You’ll be amazed by how much information you can glean from those squiggly lines. So let’s take a trip… to Knuckle Mountain!

Or perhaps climbing sea stacks is on your list of future adventures? If not, maybe it will be after watching this video. [Editor’s note from Ann: shhh… don’t tell Andrea, but Will Gadd’s Canadian, too!]

For more inspiration, Black Diamond put together a top ten list of great climbing videos.

And Banff Film Fest has added even more outdoor films to their website. (We know we keep saying that, but that’s because they keep adding more. Canadians! So generous!)

Do you want to use some of your screen time to learn more about crack climbing technique? Of course you do! Britain’s Wide Boyz break down the moves in their free Crack School series on You Tube. They also demonstrate some, um… practical applications of climbing skills in the special challenges they put together for their Crack Fest 2020 held in Sheffield, England back in pre-COVID days.

Need something with more immediate relevance? If you already practice yoga, then you know it’s easy to do at home. But if you’re curious about how to use yoga to boost your climbing, Climbing Tech Tips has put together a collection of videos to help.

If you’ve been doing home workouts—of any kind—during the lockdown, but are worried that you’re losing climbing endurance anyway, Training Beta says: Yes, you are. But it’s okay.

They also have some great tips about how to help your body learn new exercises—safely.

Then again, climbing isn’t just about muscles. You can also strengthen your climbing vocabulary with REI’s handy glossary of climbing terms. Abseiling, anyone?

If you’re more of a gear junkie (or want to be), here is the lowdown on climbing shoes.

Or if you’ve just completed that home climbing wall (if so, send PICTURES!), you’ll probably need some crash pads. Well, you’re in luck. Flashed has just announced a swanky new option: gym-grade pads in home-friendly sizes that can even be customized to match your decor.

Once we get back to our big adventures—which might or might not involve abseiling—we’ll need to think about who leads the trip and who gets to make decisions. Andrew Bisharat has a thoughtful observation that letting the weakest member of the team lead may be the best choice —and what that means beyond climbing.

Of course, even with excellent planning and the best of intentions, adventures do occasionally go awry. When that happens on the Matternhorn, Air Zermatt is there for the rescue. And, luckily for us, RedBull TV is there to film it.

At the moment, however, the Matterhorn is being used to share messages of global solidarity and hope (at least until April 26).

Even when we don’t have a pandemic to bring us all together (and we would rather not have a pandemic, thank you all the same), April is a good month to think about the planet we all share. So we hope you celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in some suitably eco-friendly manner.

Perhaps you restricted your travel to help decrease air pollution and greenhouse gases? Good job!

If you’ve been enjoying the cleaner skies we’ve had thanks lately, and you’re wondering how to help them stay that way, Patagonia has some suggestions for home-based environmental activism.

Is there something that you’d like to change about the world? Luke Nelson (who currently holds the FKT on the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup) says that what we learn about pushing our comfort limits in outdoors pursuits can be put towards societal challenges, too.

We’re pretty sure it’s just a coincidence, but this month also marks the 50th anniversary of Climbing magazine and, to celebrate, they’ve made issue No. 1 available for free download. If you haven’t already seen it, we highly recommend that you take a look. It includes a feature on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Bill Forrest on Shiprock, a time capsule’s worth of ads, and some SERIOUS socks.

Back on the topic of Earth Day: we got a postcard from a distant friend this week.

Okay, so maybe things are getting a little goofy in lockdown land—but goofy isn’t always bad! Sometimes it can win you prizes. Gym Climber magazine has announced a Dress to Impress challenge. The concept? Film yourself getting dressed…while hanging from a hangboard. Two separate contest categories will be scored by speed or style—and we expect great things from the AMC contingent.

If you enter any contests this week—or do anything, really, the bar is low these days—we definitely want to hear about it.

Isolate on!
Ann and Andrea

Author: Andrea Galyean

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