Climbing in a Time of Coronavirus, vol. 8

They’re distant. But not socially-distanced.
Photo by Ann Revill taken back when people clambered about on rocks together.

Hello AMCers!

We hope you’re staying cool, keeping connected, and maybe even appreciating that the pandemic is keeping us indoors and out of the heat! [There’s Ann trying to find that silver lining.]

If the warmer temps have you dreaming of future trips to (much) higher elevations, check out this interesting piece from the UIAA on pre-acclimatisation.

Speaking of higher elevations, have you ever seen watermelon snow? No, it’s not a yummy summer snack, but it is a fascinating alpine phenomenon and one that’s curiously tied up with global warming.

If you want to go really high, this 10-minute video is jam packed with advice on how to plan, pack, and prepare for success on Mount Everest.

Or perhaps you’re not daydreaming at all but are aiming to head out for some rock climbing IRL. The American Alpine Club has some guidance on how to get back on the rock.

On a related note, the most recent episode of The Sharp End podcast features Denali climbing ranger Dave Weber with advice about how COVID-19 affects outdoor climbing.

Meanwhile, as states including Arizona begin to reverse their closure orders, we’ll likely see climbing gyms start to reopen. The International Federation of Sport Climbing has created a working group to develop safety guidelines and recommendations for climbers, climbing gyms, and upcoming competitions.

But if you’ve been wondering what our local gyms have been doing during the closure, wonder no more:

Phoenix Rock Gym has frozen all memberships until reopening and the gym itself is getting an artistic new paint job—whenever Marty isn’t playing on the slackline, that is.

Ape Index is extending/prorating memberships and has kept the staff busy re-texturing walls and setting new routes.

AZ on the Rocks has multiple options for current members to manage their packages and their staff has a message for members.

Black Rock has frozen all current memberships and is also offering a special deal on pre-paid memberships that will be activated whenever the gym reopens.

Focus is stripping and cleaning all the holds for a full reset and also has a variety of options for members regarding freezing their memberships.

And the new Alta Climbing, currently under construction in Gilbert, is… still under construction. But you can sign up on their website for updates!

Many of us who are going without any kind of climbing have temporarily turned to hiking or biking instead. Outside Magazine has tips on how to hit the trails responsibly.

Or, you could get your nature fix from a video game. No really.

While video games may be able to simulate the great outdoors, there’s still nothing like curling up into your sleeping bag to make you feel like you’re on an adventure. Accordingly, REI offers a guide to indoor camping. You can leave your windows open if you’d like to add a few bugs for authenticity.

The advantage of indoor camping (if you’ve done it right!) is that you don’t have to worry about critters trying to break into your cooler. But have you ever wondered how “bear resistant” gear gets that rating?

If you’re tempted to go for full-time camping and just ride out the pandemic in your RV… maybe read this first.

Whether indoors or out, we’re sure that you’re keeping yourself active, but if you know anyone who is sitting more than usual, you might pass on this tip: short bursts of high-energy activity can combat many of the negative health effects of a sedentary day.

Or embrace your inner MacGyver and bump up your training with these great hacks for creating workout gear out of whatever you’ve got lying around your house. Including the dog. [In lieu of a dog, Andrea can recommend a large cat. But not the crabby one.]

If you’ve been doing some climbing-specific training during this time and you’re ready to kick it up, guide Carolyn Parker has shared her advanced at-home climbing workouts and they’re goooooood. Her beginner and intermediate workouts are linked at the same spot.

If you want still more, then we offer these, um, training ideas from this classic Unsent article.

Perhaps you need some motivation to keep that training going? Watch the first ascent of Cryptophotography, which goes at 15.5b, and may be the hardest slab climb in the world.

Or perhaps you’re working on developing some key skills. Like knots, for instance. So how about you let the rootin-tootin chaps-wearing Canadian (of course) guide Mike Barter teach you the finer points of the bowline. We hope you learn faster than the green hand he had to teach the other day.

Want to use the lockdown to level up your camera skills? Nikon has made their online photography classes available at no cost.

But still photography is nothing to AMC member Rebeca Rodriguez, who channeled her quarantine energy into a stop-motion animation. Yes, she did.

You’ve already heard that the coronavirus closures have had the unintended benefit of temporarily reducing air pollution around the world, but there are other recent victories on the environmental front, including this story of how small trickles of water are restoring the Colorado River Delta.

If your pandemic patience is wearing thin [Editors’ Note: we’re just guessing here.], take a few minutes to consider the early polar explorers who survived months of isolation without so much as an iPad.

And Sesame Street’s Grover offers social distancing advice for the whole family.

While Black Diamond’s new video salutes those who keep going despite the challenges.

Finally, you can challenge your knowledge of mountaineering history with this quiz. Let us know how you do in the comments below!

Isolate On!

Ann and Andrea

Author: Andrea Galyean

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