Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall Foliage: Last Licks?

Vic Benes at the top of p.2 of Easy Overhang
Vic Benes at the top of p.2 of Easy Overhang

It snowed last week, was really sunny and warm this week, and it's torrentially raining out there today. Welcome to late October in the Hudson Valley. A friend called last week to let me know he'd climbed Pinnacle Gully already and that I should come up to ice climb. Now why would I do a thing like that? There's dry, warm rock in the Gunks for at least another month.

I was out yesterday. The forecast was calling for a chance of rain and cold and windy conditions. Great for climbing. I had the chance to do a few routes with Vic Benes, of Millburn, NJ who's been climbing in the Gunks since the mid-60's. More than a full decade longer than I've been alive. It was a pleasure and we were able to do some classic routes that I haven't done in a while. I can only hope that I'm as mobile as he is when I'm his age.

I have posted a picture, and you can see the foliage is definitely past peak, but it's still very beautfiul outside. The yellow-orange color of the hillsides is unique to a few days of the year during the fall. Our climbing season here doesn't really end for another month or more, but it looks like today's rain and wind may actually bring many of the leaves down.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

AMGA SPI Course 10/09/2009

I just finished teaching my fourth AMGA SPI Course on my own just a few days ago. The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Course (aargh, all those silly acronyms!) is a 3 day course geared towards new instructors who want the requisite skills to work in a single pitch climbing environment. It is great for people who guide occasionally, work only in a single pitch environment, or work for a camp/outdoor program where climbing isn't the only focus. It also happens to be a great course for people who are looking to solidify their anchor building, belaying and basic rescue skills. For this reason I suggest it to anyone who feels like they may someday teach friends/loved ones how to climb.

My most recent course included a diverse group of individuals with varied levels of experience. I took lots of pictures during the course and have a selected a few of them for this post. They clearly show many of the concepts introduced throughout the course.

Here is the link to the photo album.

Below is a video demonstrating a good load transfer to remove an object that is jammed in a rappel device: