November 29, 2009

December Hiatus and Winter Training

Last year at this time, I wrote something about how much reading and writing I had left to do before yet another semester of grad school is under my belt. This year is much the same, but somehow I am managing to remain more focused and balanced despite the increased workload, though there have been some notable exceptions. As a person driven by poignancy, it can be at times difficult to maintain balance. Last year school wrecked my body through too many hours sitting hunched over my computer doing work. This year it has been easier to maintain my core fitness, because I can get serious workouts in at home in a decreased amount of time; I got a bunch of weights this summer so that I could powerlift in the backyard. When it hit zero for the first time this year the weights came inside. An old yoga mat protects the floor, and the dogs look on from their beds wondering what all the grunting is about! I also got a v10 hangboard from Nicros so that I can do more climbing specific training and core. The bigger challenge is finding time for cardio since my lungs are sensitive to the cold. Soon, I hope to have a respirator so that it is more feasible for me to get out running and skiing when it is colder than -10 F as I did last year.

A goal for my winter training is to come out of the gate in the springtime more prepared to free climb (mixed as well as rock) well on the alpine routes that I am planning to attempt in various locales around Alaska. Winter break is coming up again, and I am also hoping to get out skiing and climbing (the prime activity depending on the temperatures, snow, and ice conditions). It should be a good time, and I will update with any extra cool adventures that occur.

November 15, 2009

Controversial Figure in Alpinism Dies in Nepal

One of the most controversial figures in modern alpinism, Tomaz Humar, passed away recently on the South face of Langtang Lirung (7227m), Langtang Himal, Nepal. Known for his courageous solos and dramatic rescues, his tactics called into question the very definition of modern alpinism. He was a commercial alpinist, an iconoclast within the small world of individuals pursuing hard alpine climbs worldwide. He controverted the long held maxims of self-sufficiency and judicious decision making, two of the central tenets of alpinism held by climbers who wish to push their limits in alpine for a lifetime. Here is Climbing Magazine's account of Humar's climbing life with all excitement included, by Dougald MacDonald. For yet more historical context, please see this National Geographic link: "Tomaz Humar: Incredible Rescue, Angry Backlash on Pakistan's Nanga Parbat" written in the wake of Mr. Humar's 2005 rescue from the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. This article contains thoughtful comments on the importance of self-sufficiency and factors in the decision-making process in alpine endeavors from alpine luminaries such as Kelly Cordes, Michael Kennedy, Marko Prezelj, and Mark Twight.