Climbing in a Time of Coronavirus, vol. 7

Howdy, climber friends!

As we’re sure you know, Arizona’s closure order has been extended until May 15. And most indications are that we are still weeks away from safe mixing and mingling.

But don’t be sad. We’ve found lots of fun stuff to keep you climbing—at least in spirit.

Let’s start with this good-news story from Croatia, where home-bound climbers and cavers dusted off their harnesses and pulled on masks to help clean up after an earthquake struck Zabgreb last month.

And here’s an anniversary to note: 35 years ago this weekend, U.S. businessman Richard Bass became the first person to reach the top of all of the “Seven Summits.”

Mentors and role models are incredibly important in outdoor sports. But artist and mountain biker Brooklyn Bell didn’t see anyone who looked like her out on the trails. So she drew her own superhero—and then she became that superhero. Patagonia’s short film Becoming Ruby chronicles her experience.

For another excellent short film about diversity in the outdoors, Gimp Monkeys follows a team of disabled climbers as they climb “Zodiac” on El Cap. (5 days and 1,800 vertical feet!)

British climber Jim Pope has used this time off the wall to finally work through all the climbing videos he’s shot over the past three years. Big Balls & Ground Falls is a 45-minute compilation of climbs in the Peak District. Well, climbs and falls. A lot of falls.

Nick Bullock, another British climber, has made a name for himself with bold winter ascents, including a solo trip up “The Orion Direct” on Scotland’s Ben Nevis, which he chronicled in a recently published story for Mountain Equipment. You know how some climbing days just leave you wanting more? This day… wasn’t like that.

And if you need some inspiration to persevere with your home workouts—or to persevere in anything, really—watch Kaddi Lehmann project (and send!) the V15 bouldering route “Kryptos.”

In fact, whatever problem you’re facing (maybe right now it’s social distancing?), climbing can probably offer a useful lesson. In this podcast interview, Canadian (!) Mountain Guide Margot Talbot talks how climbing helped her overcome challenges with addiction and depression.

Or perhaps your current challenge is just a lack of distance. Are you quarantining with a partner? Need some relationship advice? Author and adventurer Caroline Van Hemert shares what she learned during a six-month, 4,000 mile human-powered journey with her husband. Sharing one small tent.

With vacation travel shut down, movie theaters closed, and pro sports on hold, bike sales have been way up during the coronavirus lockdown. Will other outdoor sports also see an influx of new participants?

Of course, you already love the outdoors. And outdoor gear. So, in the ongoing spirit of Earth Day, here are some thoughts about how to reduce the environmental impact of that gear.

Speaking of gear, perhaps the lockdown has finally convinced you to build a backyard bouldering wall. Here you go. Plans and all.

If you’ve already built—or are getting ready to build—a roof crack machine, Kevin Corrigan has some tips for effective training.

Maybe a full-on crack machine is too much, but you still want to work on your hand-jams. Here’s a simple and inexpensive way to build crack trainers.

More concerned about your crimps than your jams? Power Company Climbing has tips for building finger strength at home—with minimal equipment.

For full-body workouts, longtime climbing trainer and author Eric Hörst has been sharing his new “Training Cafe” videos to help climbers maintain and build strength during lockdown.

But, really, any time (or place) can be a good time to train for climbing.

Oh, what’s that? You’re saying that you don’t have time to train? Kris Hampton doesn’t want to hear it.

If the pandemic has made you desperate enough to turn to running as an outdoor activity [Note from Andrea: Nope. Not that desperate.], Flagstaff-based Katoolah, makers of the KTS crampon and other gear, have announced a virtual run to raise money for the Havasupai Tribe COVID-19 Relief Fund. Registration is open through May 8 and the on-your-honor run can be completed between May 1 and 10, with 5K and 8-mile options and prizes awarded for categories including fastest, slowest, most elevation gain, and best costume. Pics or it didn’t happen!

However, even if your sole lockdown exercise is walking, it turns out you’re doing your brain a lot of good.

And on the topic of walking, we have some updates from the Department of Going Outside…

Even though some states are lifting closure orders, the Pacific Crest Trail Association has extended their request that hikers stay off the PCT until at least June 1.

As a consolation prize, here’s a video that lets you “hike” the PCT in three minutes.

If you’re still climbing, Access Fund has some suggestions for how to do it safely.

And the Arizona Office of Tourism offers a guide for how to recreate responsibly. It includes links to local land agencies, so you can check closures and current regulations before you go.

For instance, should you be heading out for some physically-distant camping, you’ll want to know that campfires have been banned from all National Forests in the Southwest until June 30 due to increased risk to emergency personnel.

If you’re sticking to your own backyard, why not use this time to get better acquainted with the avian world? Birds! They’re so interesting!

There are also plenty of ways for you to #adventureinplace, including creative new options for travel photography.

But if you’re craving some, shall we say… real travel photos, here’s a pretty spectacular timelapse from the Grand Canyon.

And we leave you with the question of the week: What adventure book would be YOUR lockdown memoir? Andrea’s pick is up top.

Isolate on!
Ann and Andrea

Author: Andrea Galyean

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