Monday, March 19, 2007

Diving in Kota Kimbalu

Kota Kimbalu is located in Southeast Asia, next to Mountain Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in the region. This area’s water is crystal clear and offers a beautiful environment not only for divers but for those who enjoy sea related activities in general as well. If you enjoy outdoors activities and being in touch with the nature, Kota Kimbalu would be a good choice for your vacations.

The main Kota Kimbalu attraction is the wide range of outdoors activities which visitors can practice while being in it. These activities include not only diving and sea related sports but several other ones which might be sport related as well as a wide range of entertainments in general.

One of the main outdoor activities which visitors can practice in Kota Kimbalu is mountain climbing. This area is famous for the practice of this activity and constantly receives visitors from many different points of the world who come with the purpose to practice it. Mountain Kinabalu is very famous among mountain climbers of the entire world and therefore there is an important amount of visitors who approach this area attracted by this mountain and the challenge of climbing it.

Besides rock climbing, there are several other outdoor activities available for tourists of all ages and preferences. Among these activities we can name, for example, biking, bird watching, swimming, water rafting, snorkeling and diving among many other sea related sports.

Kota Kimbalu's waters are crystal clear and usually warm. This way, this area's waters are very inviting for practicing a variety of sports and water related activities, among which some of the most requested ones we can name are diving and swimming. Those who enjoy spending time on the beach and relaxing while enjoying a beautiful landscape can find in this area a great place where to fulfill their wishes.

Diving in Kota Kimbalu is a very interesting experience due to the uniqueness of the environment which surrounds the area. Divers can view mountains while being on the water surface as well as enjoy an amazing underwater world full of colors and beautiful creatures.

About the Author
Jakob Jelling

Adding Climbing Roses to Your Landscape

What is more beautiful than seeing a home or building with an arch of climbing roses in the landscaping? Climbing roses are one of many plants that branch out and intertwine themselves among arches, trellises, or even buildings and railings. They can add a great landscape element to any foundation.

Would you like more information about climbing roses? It is easy to learn about this great beauty. First of all, there are many types of climbing roses. They range in color, texture, and look. They also range in hardiness as well. Of course, you need to know what you are looking of in your climbing rose. Most important is knowing your hardiness level. This tells you what will grow in your area. Also as important is to pick varieties that will grow in the element you are placing them. What type of soil will you use? Will the area have full sun, partial sun, or will it be in shade.

Before getting discouraged, though, realize that there are many varieties of climbing roses to choose from and more then likely, you will find something to meet your needs. To find variety, forget about choosing your local hardware store, discount department store, or even the local gardening outlet. While these places often have a good selection, they don't have the most. Use the internet to find some great climbing roses of the most beautiful variety. Often you can have a catalog sent to you with many choices, or you can find and buy online. You will be able to find just what you are looking for, or maybe even something you never imagined.

Climbing roses can add a lot to any landscape. Take the time to choose climbing roses that fit your area and landscape design. Also, grab a book or do a little research online about the care the type of climbing rose you chose will need. Taking this time to do these things will give you the best climbing rose you can get.

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Adding Climbing Roses to Your Landscape

What is more beautiful than seeing a home or building with an arch of climbing roses in the landscaping? Climbing roses are one of many plants that branch out and intertwine themselves among arches, trellises, or even buildings and railings. They can add a great landscape element to any foundation.

Would you like more information about climbing roses? It is easy to learn about this great beauty. First of all, there are many types of climbing roses. They range in color, texture, and look. They also range in hardiness as well. Of course, you need to know what you are looking of in your climbing rose. Most important is knowing your hardiness level. This tells you what will grow in your area. Also as important is to pick varieties that will grow in the element you are placing them. What type of soil will you use? Will the area have full sun, partial sun, or will it be in shade.

Before getting discouraged, though, realize that there are many varieties of climbing roses to choose from and more then likely, you will find something to meet your needs. To find variety, forget about choosing your local hardware store, discount department store, or even the local gardening outlet. While these places often have a good selection, they don't have the most. Use the internet to find some great climbing roses of the most beautiful variety. Often you can have a catalog sent to you with many choices, or you can find and buy online. You will be able to find just what you are looking for, or maybe even something you never imagined.

Climbing roses can add a lot to any landscape. Take the time to choose climbing roses that fit your area and landscape design. Also, grab a book or do a little research online about the care the type of climbing rose you chose will need. Taking this time to do these things will give you the best climbing rose you can get.

About the Author

Ken Austin

You Too Can Ski Down Mount Everest

Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory. - David Breashears-

Extreme Skier Maegan Carney

Extreme skier Maegan Carney had made a bid to be the first woman, and second person to ski down the world's tallest mountain.

Because of the high winds of Mount Everest at that time, Maegan Carney abandoned her first summit attempt.

To find more information about Maegan's quest, go to

the website.

Preparation Is The Secret:

Before you climb a mountain, you need some major preparations:

You definitely need to be physically and emotionally fit.

You should have people in the group who know first aid and of coarse you have a first aid kit.

Make sure you have a schedule set up, because of the dangers involved.

The mountain you're climbing, how long it should take, how many and who are going, and where will you start your assention.

Bring a camera for breath taking views and to record your trip. A cell phone for emergencies and to call someone to share your excitement when you make it to the top.

If you have the proper climbing gear with you, there's no worries about staying the night if you get lost.

Also you know you'll get rescued by morning because the proper people have been notified.
Some Guidelines For Climbing

It's not a good idea to be flown or driven to altitudes higher than 3000 metres. Begin your walk at below that.

Once over the 3000 metre altitude, travel up in 300 metre increments each day, thats it, no more than that.
Climb up high during the day and sleep at lower altitudes at night.

If high altitude symptoms start to affect you, stop climbing higher. If symptoms worsen, go down right away.

You will need to drink plenty of fluids, hiking dehydrates your body very fast when climbing at high altitudes and this increases as the temperature does.
Do the climb at a slow pace and you'll enjoy your climb more.

Stay away from alcohol, tobacco and other vices that will play havoc with your body and mind at these high altitudes.

A high-carbohydrate diet will really benefit you here.

In the USA there are many resorts above the 3,000 metre level, meaning you will need to keep a watch out for mountain sickness.
Some Mount Everest Facts:

Historic Mountain Climbing Deaths:

George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on June 6 1924, made an attempt on the summit from which they never returned.

An eyewitness claimed he saw the group reach the summit.
A total of 808 climbers have reached and stood on the summit,

764 men and 44 women. There were 161 that died, 36 on the descent.

More About Mountain Climbing Deaths

In 1965, was the best year for climbing, nine climbers summitted and there were no deaths.

In 1996, the worst single year for deaths, 15 climbers died.

About Mount Everest Itself

The Highest Peak: At 29,035' (8850m), thats about five miles up, the highest summit in the world, and is close to the cruising altitude of a jet, or it is 23 times the height of the Empire State building.
Above 26,000, the body gets a third of the oxygen available at sea level.

Even after getting acclimated, the body starts to shut down, and if someone stays at that height long enough, they will die.

A lot of the climbers use oxygen here for climbing and sleeping.
The weather on Everest allows for climbing only in May and October between winter snows (December-March) and summer monsoons (June-September).
As you can tell, this article is just giving you the basics of what information you'll need to find your way to the top of the world's highest peaks. has a great source of books on this subject.

About the Author
Val and Robin Shortt are experienced campers and own three outdoor websites For more tips like these and to register for their Free newsletter visit:Good Night Camping Equipment

Climbing a mountain of ice in nine weeks

Have you aver seen the documentaries of mountaineers and ice climbers well that's me! I have climbed some of the biggest mountains around the world and climbed some of the steepest ice of frozen water falls and glaciers.

Why do I do it?

Well, I get asked this all question the time and I always give the same, reply “because it is there”
This however my not be the real truth, it is something about the challenge and being away from the crowds, being on the front of a 300 meter cliff with only a pair of crampons and ice axes between you and the ground, putting all your skills and strengths as an ice climber against the odds.
It makes me feel alive, and to be honest when I am ice climbing, I am me! Me Ashley Barnard the ice climber, free from the rest of the world, nothing hidden, not pretending to be a better or worse person but just pure human spirit.

Ice Climbing is not for the fait hearted, it takes practice and courage to climb this fragile substance. After all it is only water.
If you fancy taking up the sport but do not know where to start then keep reading.

The best way to start ice climbing is to go out into the hills with an experienced climber or hill walker, and start walking the hills in winter, the whole process can be done in one season so I shall break it down into sections for you.

Buy your self a pair of crampons and a pair of ice axes; these can be bought at any good outdoor retailer. But before going out to buy just any old gear, remember that these are the tools of the ice climber and they are the only items that will be holding you to the ice so if you can not afford to buy the best then wait and save your money until you can, you will be great full of this later on.

Right let’s start:

Week 1-2: Walk the hills with your crampons and hard snow this will give you feel for them and how to walk with spikes on your feet. (Believe me the first time you do this you do not want to be wearing an expansive pair of pants)

Week 3-4: Start walking on steeper ground, look for shallow gullies where you will now be needing the use of one axe to keep you balanced, and to stop a fall. (For how to stop your self when sliding down a mountain I shall cover this in part two later on this year)

Week 5-6: go out with your more experienced climbing partner as now you will be needing to use a rope for safety. Look around your hills and mountains for steeper gullies around 45 degrees to 65 degrees and climb this in pitches (stages) stopping when ever you come across a safe place to rest or stand. You should by now also be using ice protection that you have been introduced to by your climbing partner. Unfortunately it is to complex and difficult to explain how to use ice screws, dead men and snow stakes in an article, so ask for assistance regarding placing ice protection form your friend or an instructor.

Week 7-9: you should by now have some confidence in moving on steep ground using both ice axes to progress. So now during these next three weeks you are going turn form a winter hill climber into an ice climber. Go out to where you know there was a stream or small water fall running in the summer, and with any luck it will be now cold enough so as to be frozen into a nice ice climb. Please note do not go out to some massive ice fall that you know of, and try to climb it. Not only will you probably not succeed but you run the risk of killing your self and possibly others by you lack of experience.

So did you enjoy your self? If not then this type of recreation is probably not for you, but if you did then this is the begging of the rest of your life, there is a whole world out there for you to climb just climb safely but most of be free and enjoy your self.

About the Author
Ashley Barnard makes it sounds easy to ice climb but the truth is it takes time and practice now in his fithteen year of ice climbing he is now writing articles on this subjct to give you an idea on how to make your winter exciting

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Climbing the Listening Ladder

I wrote in my book " Embracing the Mystery " that there was nothing as flattering or as rare as the undivided attention of another. The fact is that people just don't listen well. I think it was Mark Twain who wrote that a bore is someone who wants to talk about himself when I want to talk about myself. How many times have you experienced someone asking you a question, not out of a genuine concern for what you have to say, but rather as an opportunity for them to flood you with their thoughts and opinions on an issue?

People have a hunger to be listened to- to have someone care enough to suspend their own agenda in the interest of another's. Sadly, such unselfish, attentive people are few..

I once had a man at a party come up to me and say that my wife, Carol was a terrific conversationalist. On the way home that same evening I told Carol what he had said and asked her what she did to give him that impression. She thought for a moment and said, " All I did was ask him questions about his life and listen to his answers. From his answers I asked more questions." Therein lies the secret to good conversation ...LISTENING WELL.

From Carol's insight I have developed what I call the listening ladder. Climb the listening ladder and you will be on your way to improved social interaction.


L. Look at the person speaking to you.. This alone sends out the message that you are focussed and involved.

A. Ask additional questions flowing from answers given to your original starting questions. Remember that you learn what to say by listening to what has been said.

D. Don't interrupt. The only time an interruption is acceptable is when you require clarification.

D. Don't change the subject. The speaker will indicate when they are finished their story.

E. Empathize with the speaker. Short phrases such as, " How interesting." How exciting." " You must be so proud." Send the speaker the message that you are an empathic, caring listener.

R. Respond to what is said verbally and non-verbally. A simple nod or leaning slightly toward the speaker indicates interest and attention. Add to this such phrases as, " I see." "Really?" " Is that right?" and you enrich your response.

In conclusion I want to make something clear. Conversation is a two way affair. Most conversations are monologues conducted in the presence of an observer. If, after a reasonable period of time, the one speaking isn't willing to ask you a question and become a listener then conclude the interaction and move on. I usually give the one speaking ten minutes. If, after that time, they haven't asked me a question or my opinion I say something like, " It was nice chatting with you. Conversation MUST be reciprocal.

I like the story of the self-possessed Hollywood star who was heard saying to an admirer, "Enough about me talking about me. I'd like to hear you talk about me for awhile." There is a great deal of truth in this little story.

Good luck climbing the Listening ladder. The view from the top is fantastic.

Mike Moore is an international speaker on the role of humor in human relations. Mike's articles and cartoons have appeared in publications throughout the world. For more on what Mike can do for your organization visit

Buyers Guide To Climbing Gear

There are only two directions where the climber can go when scaling a mountain. This is either up or down. This hobby is certainly not for those who are afraid of heights and can only be done with the right training and equipment.

Climbing gear can be found in the department store but if the customer wants a wide array of goods, the best is still the specialty store. Some of the well known brands are Black Diamond, Petzl, Nike and Merrel.

The person should like at the following things to be sure these will work when climbing or descending.

1. Shoes and boots are one of the most important things needed when climbing. This will allow enable the climber to get a foothold on the surface before going any further. The fit shouldnt be too lose or too tight since this will be very uncomfortable in the field.

The right size can be by being familiar with the sizing of a particular brand then walking with this in the selling area before taking it home.

There are three types of climbing shoes in the market. These are unlined, lined leather and synthetic. It is advisable to avoid purchasing the unlined one since this will stretch by a centimeter or so after frequent use.

2. The person should never leave home without a climbing harness. There are versions for men, women and children that are designed to handle different body types. The most important thing to remember is that this should go well according to the shape of the climbers body.

The best indicator is if this goes well in the waist right above the hip bones and around the legs. It will be a good idea to wear this with the proper clothing before the climb to know this is right gear before the climb.

3. When the individual is not free climbing, some rope will be needed. There are two types namely single or double. The person should ask the sales clerk if this can handle the customers weight and gear to be sure this will work.

It will be a good idea to buy more than the required length in case it is needed. Some stores give discounts after a few feet that can save the trip of going back to the store before going on another trip.

4. Climbing in a group, there are instances that debris from above might hit those in the group below. It is advisable then to buy a sturdy helmet for protection. Some of these products have brochures showing the strength that can also be explained by the sales clerk. One brand should be compared with another before paying this at the counter.

5. A good bag should be able to hold all the gear for the duration of the trip. The person should check if this has a lot of pockets to hold small stuff, if this is waterproof and if it is easy to put on.

The best bag should the kind that can easily be clipped onto the harness that makes it easy to put on or take off after traveling a certain distance.

6. What goes up must come down. Belay devices should be purchased to control the movement of the rope. Some rope can be tested with this to make sure it is smooth and will not cut especially when carrying a climber or equipment.

7. Rocky surfaces need something sharp such as a camming device for those in the group to move further. This should be sharp and difficult to take out so that it locks into place preventing accidents from happening for those below.

8. Carabiners are also another essential for climbers. The person should check if this can be locked or unlocked easily making it easy to attach rope for others in the group to follow.

9. Climbing holds provide the climber a better grip on the surface before going any further. Some shops have a make shift rock that can be tested there to make sure it can handle the pressure.

10. Lastly, the individual should always have some nuts that is another thing that can be inserted in small spaces in between the rocks. There should a lot just in case the camming device cannot work.

Climbing is considered to be a breath taking sport because of the physical and mental challenges it offers to people. Having the right gear is the first step in making the trip to the top successful.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thrill Packed Vacation Adventures

Sports such as skiing, rock climbing, paragliding, snowboarding, etc. are the best ways to get your adrenaline flowing and are also a great way to meet new people. Outdoor adventures don't require you to travel all over the world or spend lots of money. Most of these can probably be taken up with minimum investment and can be found in close proximity to one's own home.

Outdoor adventures are possibly the most fun way to spend a vacation. There are dozens of activities to choose from that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The best part is they don't cost as much as one might think. So if you need a break and want to try something new and exciting, there is a world of adventure just waiting for you to find it.

Sports such as skiing, rock climbing, paragliding, snowboarding, etc are the best ways to get your adrenaline flowing and are also a great way to meet new people. Outdoor adventures don't require you to travel all over the world or spend lots of money. Most of these can probably be taken up with minimum investment and can be found in close proximity to one's own home.

Activities such as hiking and camping make you appreciate your surroundings and rejuvenate you more than any fancy spa or health resort. There are plenty of fantastic outdoor adventures you can take up in your vicinity. With some minimum research and expense, you too could be blazing new trails with your back pack and a trusty compass or scaling new heights with a rock-climbing group. Survival camps, trout fishing, nature trails, bird watching, cross country biking and running are to be found all over in the summer. Keen insect and butterfly aficionados can combine their hobby with the great outdoors, because that's exactly where you'll find them.

Travel guides can help you narrow your search and provide you with easy, cost effective solutions to all your outdoor adventure travel needs. The Internet is another fantastic source for such information. You can book your next outdoor adventure with the simple click of the mouse. Another great thing about outdoor travel is that it needn't be limited to any particular place or season. Places that used to offer only skiing in the winter now also provide you with trekking and mountain climbing in the summer.

The sea is an unending source of adventure. Deep sea diving, snorkeling, whale watching and fishing are just a few things one can do while exploring the ocean. Water sports like surfing and wakeboarding also provide plenty of thrills for outdoor adventure seekers.

Senior citizens and the physically impaired need not be deprived of their share of adventure. Specially arranged and chaperoned tours are available. On the other side of the spectrum are those who are very fit and enjoy extreme adventures like white water rafting, bungee jumping and sky diving. Here, too, the great thing is that you get together with like-minded people and so many lifelong friendships are formed because of this.

However there are some basic requirements if you wish to travel outdoors. Skills such as first aid are a must. If you're not sure, take a quick course so you are prepared. A person would also be required to have sufficient stamina, resistance to varying temperatures and a certain amount of physical fitness to enjoy these activities to the fullest.

Whatever your tastes may be, whether on land, in the sky, or in the water, just getting to the outdoors means there is an outdoor adventure waiting for you.

Is Building A Successful Online Business As Difficult As Climbing A 10,302-Foot Peak In Antarctica

Which do you think is more difficult - building a successful business or climbing a mountain? What if that mountain is over 10,000 feet tall and located in the freezing cold of Antarctica? What if the climber is 89 years old?

If daring to dream big can carry an 89-year-old man to the top of an ice-capped peak at the bottom of the world ... don't you think it can carry you to the profitable heights of online marketing? After all, building a successful business calls for you to dream ... and to dream big will take you further.

= Dream Big - Dare To Fail =

In 1994, Norman Vaughan decided to climb to the top of Mount Vaughan - named in his honour 65 years earlier. Vaughan was determined to celebrate his 89th birthday on the peak of this 10,302-foot mountain. He wasn't going to let his age - nor an artificial knee, nor a fused ankle, not even two feet that were numb from an earlier frostbite injury - stop him from pursuing his dream.

Norman Vaughan's motto had always been, "Dream big - dare to fail." While violent gusts of wind whipped off the icefields, dropping the windchill to minus seventy, Vaughan and a three-person team step-lock-waited their way up the mountain. On December 16, they stood on the summit, poked 89 sparklers into a birthday cake, and sang "Happy Birthday."

= Be Tenacious In Your Business =

Standing on top of that icy mountain, amongst the blasts of freezing air, Norman Vaughan read a message he'd written in his tent two days before. He made the climb a tribute to Admiral Byrd, but also to the tenacious spirit of the Antarctic sled dogs ... who never give up. Vaughan named them his inspiration.

In your business, you'd do well to use the tenacious spirit of Norman Vaughan as your inspiration. Remember his motto - "Dream big - dare to fail" - and use it as your motto. Never let anything get in your way. Never let anything stop you from reaching your dream.

= No excuses =

It is easy to make excuses for failing to reach goals in your business. "I don't have the right education." "I don't have the financial support." "It's too difficult for me." "It's too hard!"

Norman Vaughan could easily have stayed in his comfortable home, talking about the mountain of his youth, full of good excuses for not climbing it now. For one thing, even most healthy, young men would be excused for not attempting to climb such a daunting mountain.

If Vaughan had let his age or artificial knee or fused ankle or frost-damaged feet halt him from following his dream, he would never have reached greatness. Excuses would have kept him from success.

It's the same with your business. If you let excuses get between you and your dreams, you will be giving away the success that could be yours. Excuses can rob you of greatness ... they can keep you from taking your business to the pinnacle.

Dream big! Don't let any excuses stop you.

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How To Keep Your Rambling And Climbing Roses From Getting Out Of Control

Climbing or rambling roses are popular around the world with men and women of all ages. They are found in different varieties of texture and color everywhere but the few basic rules of their maintenance and care remain universal.

For those who love the gorgeousness of flora around them have definite favorites in special roses that bloom and make their environment rich and pleasurable. Climbing or rambling roses are popular around the world with men and women of all ages. They are found in different varieties of texture and color everywhere but the few basic rules of their maintenance and care remain universal. Of course one has to take into account the idiosyncrasies of different regions, but their overall upkeep remains the same.

Before embarking on this gardening route you should be well versed with the history of the Climbing and rambling roses. They have two kinds of shoots, the main cane which is center of the structure and the flowering shoots which grow from the canes. plan well how you can space them best and regulate their growth before plantation.

Rambling roses are taller and flexible enough to be planted anywhere while climbing roses need to be tied and kept in place due to their weight. Before planting, decide on what you want more with your roses, a once a year bloom during the four to six weeks of spring as with rambling roses or blooming and rioting colors throughout the year of your climbing roses.

There is a lot of dedication and time devotion related to growing roses. The soil needs to be nourished with manure and fertilizers and checked thoroughly for holding ample water and nutrients for growth.

To give a particular direction to your roses' growth, tie them up as soon as they start growing. Climbing roses are heavy and need a definite path to grow. You can add really style to your garden by using climbing roses to accent and add height.

If you want your roses to grow well and healthy make sure to prune them good and often. Spending a little time with your roses throughout the season will help keep them looking beautiful.

The interim weather of harsh and cruel winters can totally destroy precious roses. Protect them by wrapping them into bundles and covering them with straws mulch for warmth and prevent frost from settling.

If you want to add to the beauty of your garden with rambling and climbing roses, make sure you have made the necessary preparations and research to maintain and grow them well. You can choose the proper structure and appropriate direction of their growth with some advanced planning. You cannot simply plant precious roses and forget all about them. If you do not have time care for them, or if you travel a lot make sure that you hire adequate help to look after your roses in your absence.

Like a Spider

As I ventured towards the Illinois Athletic Center for a new experience, or what I would call it as an experiment of the mind. You see, a friend of mine gave me a free pass to go for an orientation on indoor wall-climbing.

My question was this...would I overcome a problem of mine dealing with a fear of heights or would I give into the fear that ruled me through my life?

I accepted the challenge hoping to overcome this fear facing me, and to prove to myself that, in this world, if I set my mind to a task, I could do anything I wanted to no matter how great the fear or obstacle that stood in my way.

So I entered the building, and readied my reserves for my new task at hand, and making a fantasy come true.

After going through an extensive training in learning to tie a double figure-8 knot, John, my instructor, was running through the climbing commands, safety procedures and other things about climbing that should seem important, but instead the thing that lurks in the back of my mind is an intimidating sight of a 350 foot vertical floor turned sideways 90 degrees, this gargantuan wall that stands in front of me and says “Don't even think of beating me. You can't do it.”

I have now forgotten everything, the teachings, the time, my friends and family have all disappeared, and as I look at the bottom of this wall the only thing that comes to mind is that I'm thinking......thinking......thinking.....WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING OF IN THE FIRST PLACE! This is CRAZY!!!!!

Then John came up to me and said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

“Who told you about that?” I asked quizzically.

“You said that, remember?”

And then I faintly remember myself telling him why I was going through this, in which, I wanted to live out my fantasy.

For one brief moment, I wanted to become Spider-Man.

And I then remembered Spider-Man's motto which reinforced his way to help mankind, to do right, and to be a better person was to remember that with the power that you have in your life to help others and to help yourself, within that comes a great responsibility to others around you as well. Even if I didn't have super-human powers, the power I did have in this world was to help myself and others, and that was the great responsibility that I'd taken on for myself.

With great power comes great responsibility.

And suddenly, I felt my fear somehow drained away, and for a while nothing else in the world mattered except me and the wall, and in that time, I had the power to conquer my fear and become a stronger person from it. For a small moment in time, everything became right.

I climbed the vertical surface, pulling myself upward and over the outstretching cliff hangings, passing this green mark, later this yellow mark, and slowly working my way to this red mark when I found myself thinking.....thinking.....thinking.....,

How high up am I right now?

In one of the not-so-bright ideas I ventured on, I turned my head over my shoulder and looked.....down.

Then I heard something that my instructor John screamed up to me, which was one of the smartest things I heard him say at the time. One of those important instructions which I forgot him tell me, while I was in fear of the wall, was a number two priority---Don't Look Down.

The incredible height I was at caused myself to become sick, with the incredible urge to puke out my Corn Pops cereal, two pieces of sausage, one scrambled egg, and my morning coffee and orange juice. Not suprisingly, I felt the wave of nausea hit my throat, but with a all the will I could muster, I held it back.

Unfortunately, it also sapped my strength to keep me on the wall.

And then John said another one of his brilliant instructions I again forgot to remember, which was the number one priority---Don't Let Go Of The Wall.

Mental note: Must not forget to remember very important instructions.

My grip slipped away from the wall for a moment, and I could feel myself move away from the wall, millimeter by millimeter.

My reality snapped back to place and with all my reflexes and agility my body could give, my arms stretched back to the wall, and grabbed hold onto the fingertip crevasses once more as my body held on for dear life. I was literally holding onto the wall by my fingertips, as I struggled to regain the footing beneath me against the wall.

“No wonder they call you Spider-Man.” I could hear John faintly say, but it sounded so distant, that it felt light-year's away. I continued climbing, pushing myself farther...closer to the red line above me, as the crevasses got smaller, harder to hold onto that it made the accent increasingly difficult.

As I pulled myself past the red line, I slipped again, as my footing vanished beneath me, and my arms were to weak to hold to the tiny crevasse that supported me. My slip was fatal, and I could feel myself pull farther away from the wall.

I panicked, and prayed God would protect me.

Falling ten feet felt like an eternity, but my miracle came to shape. The safety ropes caught...and held.

“Do you want to continue on, or do you wanna come down?”, I heard John yell up to me. I gave him the thumbs down, and was slowly lowered to the safety of Mother Earth, where I kissed the ground, and as I stood up once more, I got some things I didn't expect.

The first was applause.

“What's this for?”, I asked with as to wonder what I did to deserve fifty people clapping for me as I had a puzzled look on my face.

John looked at me and said, “You're the new newbie record holder of this complex. For your first attempt ever, you climbed higher than anyone ever did on this wall for their first time, and for an amateur, you made it up the wall three-fourths of the way up. And for this being an Advanced wall, you beat the last record by 33 feet !”

Couple of guys shook my hand, and one woman came up to me and hugged me.

Incredible, I thought.

To this day, I really don't know if the record is still in place or if it even exists, but for at least that day, I beat the demon that plagued me, a demon called Doubt, and sent it howling back into the night.

I walked out of the complex, and felt good, and everything for that time in the world with me was......right.

So when I get depressed or down on life, I look back to the day I felt I could beat the odds.

You should have seen me, because for one day in my life.....I was the Spider.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Climbing the Great Wall of China

So much has been written and published about the Great Wall of China but one thing is certain, if you travel to China without visiting this world renowned landmark, then your trip is incomplete. The history of the great wall is one which is difficult to comprehend, although it is said the construction of the wall began in the warring states period in the early seventh century BC.

The Great Wall of China is the one the artificial wonders of the world which symbolizes the greatness of China. With a functionality of over a thousand years, the great wall was built to protect the villages from the invasion of the northern tribes providing a stable life, culture and government. The history of this wall is what contributed to the growth of China in terms of political, economy, culture and tourism.

The length of the Great wall extends approximately 6700 kilometers across deserts, and plateaus from the border of China to the Hun territories in the north. The beauty of the great wall is such that you cannot appreciate its beauty except you climb it step by step. It is better seen from an aerial perspective if you are on the plane or a helicopter. In the ancient times, it was called the Wall of ten thousand li (a li is one third of a mile) and its construction started as earth works built for the protection of the different kingdoms. Each kingdom had its own section of wall; like in the east, the wall was built out of stones and bricks, while the section on the western part of China was built with less durable materials. The individual sections of the wall was later renovated and connected to one another during the time of the Qin dynasty (221 – 206 BC) when Emperor Qin recruited peasants, soldiers and farmers to work on the wall. This tradition continued for centuries until each dynasty added to the height, length and design of the wall through forced labor. The wall has now become a major landmark for tourists visiting China.

The Great Wall of China can be climbed from different sections all of which serve different purposes. The four main sections best suited for climbing and sightseeing are the Badaling section, Mutianyu section, Simatai section and the Shixiaguan section.
The great wall at Badaling became a strategic point of the wall since the Warring states period when it was built.

Being the very first section of the wall to be opened to tourists, it has recorded a statistics of about 140 million visitors who have climbed successively. This section was built with huge bar stones which weighed hundreds of kilograms with watch towers at every distance. These watch towers were used as the deployment points for the military during the olden days. This section of the wall is very crowded being that it is the most visited section.

The Simatai Great Wall is located in the northeast of Beijing. Its construction started in the Ming dynasty and measures around 5.4 kilometers with 35 watch towers. This section of the wall retained its original feature and has earned the reputation of being the most beautiful section of the wall. Unlike the other sections, Simatai section of the great wall is very quiet and remote and this has challenged many hikers to climb this section in quest of adventure.
The Mutianyu section of the great wall is the most preserved section of the great wall which is very important in Chinese military history. This section has cable cars installed allowing tourists to move from end to the other. It is slightly rugged and full of green plans making it the greenest part of the wall. The Mutianyu section is noted as the essence of the great wall because of the distinct style and construction of this part.

Shixiaguan Great Wall is the most part of the great wall to be opened to visitors and still shows the ruins of some of the old construction from the ancient times.

In conclusion, the great of china is definitely a must see on your next trip to china. In order for you to enjoy your tour around the wall, it is advisable to consult the services of a tour operator in China to assist you with the itinerary.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Exploring The Udzungwa Mountains – The Mwanihana Trail

When you mention the Udzungwas to the vast majority of people, the first question they ask is ‘Where’s that?’ which is closely followed by ‘what is there to do there?’

The Udzungwas are part of the Eastern Arc Mountain Range. The forests that cover these mountains are the remnants of the great forest that used to cover the country. The climate changed, this combined with pressure from people and elephants pushed the forest back until it fragmented. These forest islands have been dubbed the ‘Galapagos of Africa’ due to their divergent evolution and consequent high degree of endemism. The importance of the Eastern Arc is not limited to its high biodiversity; the catchments provide the majority of the country’s fresh water and hydroelectric power. Having spent some time working as a biodiversity scientist in the East Usambara Mountains that start the Eastern Arc in Tanzania I was very keen to visit the Udzungwas.

My first visit to the Udzungwas started in Dar es Salaam where I boarded the 10.00 am TAZARA train with a group of friends. Our compartment had 4 bunk beds and we settled in as city gave way to shamba and then the vast wilderness of the Selous Game Reserve (where there was a brief halt due to elephants on the tracks!). We were well fed on the train and took advantage of the bar’s cold drinks. At about 8.00 pm we arrived at Mangula station where we were met by Furaha, our guide. We made a short transfer by safari Landrover to our campsite on the edge of the forest. The fire was burning and there was hot water for a much needed shower before dinner. After a superb meal we drifted off to the sound of bushbabies in the trees above.

I woke early with the dawn chorus and was greeted with fresh coffee and a full breakfast. Our guide explained our program and the safety aspects of hiking in the forest. We picked up an armed ranger from the park headquarters and made the short drive to the Sonjo Waterfall, the beginning of the Mwanihana trail. We left the road and shouldered our day-sacks, the heavier gear was gathered by a cheerful team of porters. The ranger led the way, then the guide, us and the porters bringing up the rear. It felt as though I was part of one of Stanley’s expeditions. We walked in silence to have the best chance of seeing animals. Our efforts were soon rewarded when we were treated to and excellent view of a Red Duiker in the miombo woodland that borders the road.

On fording a picturesque river, the miombo gave way to forest, the temperature dropped and the air filled with butterflies. Giant trees with buttress roots and hanging lianas towered above us. The Vervet monkeys that had chattered over us in the miombo were replaced by elusive glimpses of black and white Colobus and the endemic Iringa Red Colobus. These beautiful primates sometimes form mixed troupes for mutual defence, as they do not compete for food. It seems strange the name ‘Colobus’ comes from the Greek ‘Colobe’ meaning ‘cripple’ when these monkeys are so agile. They are so named because the fingers are fused into a hook shape perfectly adapted to their arboreal existence.

Suddenly there was a booming alarm call and the Colobus descended to an unusually low level in this leopard-stalked forest. As we entered a clearing we saw the reason for this strange behaviour, a Martial Eagle glided above. Our guide explained that eagles take baby Colobus and drop them from a great height before consuming them. As we voraciously consumed our packed lunches, he went on to add that there was on incident where a heroic adult male Pied Colobus had actually jumped from a huge tree onto an eagle that was making off with a baby, plunging them both to their deaths (apparently the baby lived!). The eagle in question is stuffed in the Udzungwa Mountains Park office.

We continued to walk through the forest for a further 10km, with occasional halts when the ranger checked the way was clear of buffalo. The guide showed us a variety of animal tracks and signs, explaining how to tell how recent they were and which way the animal was heading. We saw stunning birdlife including Turacos and colourful Orioles. We also had a close encounter with a large column of army ants that were wreaking a trail of destruction across the forest floor. These are the only insects that consider humans prey, they will kill a tethered goad and have left many a chicken coup containing only bones and feathers. Apparently the jaws of the soldier ant can be used as a surgical staple should the need arise. Our guide explained that villagers welcome them into their houses as they remove all unwanted insects as well as rats and mice. Needless to say we fled before them.

We emerged from the forest into a clearing with a spectacular view of Mwanihana Peak. We had arrived at Njia Ya Panda campsite (the ‘climbing path’). Camp was quickly pitched as we had tea and biscuits. We were again treated to a hot shower before dinner. This time however, Furaha had rigged it up with one side open and a view of Mwanihana peak. Whilst we dined the ranger and guide positioned watch fires and lanterns round the camp explaining that there were many elephants and buffalo in the area. During the night we heard some distant crashing and trumpeting, on sticking my head out of my tent I saw that the ranger had stoked up the fire considerably, he smiled and said ‘Tembo’, I listened for a while and retired once more.

The next morning we were awakened early and, after a swift breakfast, began to climb the Udzungwas’ second highest peak, Mwanihana at 2150m. The ranger told us to move silently and to stay a little back so that he could scout ahead. The lowland forest of the valley floor gave way to moss clad suhmontane forest. Curious Pied Colobus watched us from above as we filled our water bottles from an idyllic waterfall. The beauty of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park is the diversity and pristine nature of the forest. Because of the range of altitude it is possible to walk from miombo fire sustained sub-climax woodland through lowland forest to submontane and montane forest in just one day.

As we left the submontane forest and entered bamboo groves we could see signs of extensive elephant damage. Further up we came upon a strange site, the earth was churned and terraced in 6 distinct areas, each about the size of a car. Fruaha explained that this was where the elephants had slept and that they had terraced the ground as they do not like to sleep on a slope. On looking more closely we could see the tusk marks. When we left the bamboo we paused to rest in a grassy area and were treated with a view over the entire valley. We ate oranges and looked at the cascading ridgelines. Over each ran a spider’s web of criss-crossing elephant trails. In the distance we briefly glimpsed 6 grey shapes dropping into the next valley.

Invigorated by our good fortune we continued up the steep slope towards the summit. Here we entered a montane world of stunted trees, giant heathers and wispy lichens. The climb was hard but short and we were pleased to reach the top where celebrated with chocolate and drinking coconuts. The view was spectacular in all directions, with forested hills, jagged outcrops, patches of grassland and Luhombero, the highest peak in the Udzungwas, looming in the distance.

We descended quickly and had a substantial cooked lunch back at the Njia Ya Panda campsite whilst the guide and the porters broke camp. We walked about 6 km through the forest until we came to Kima campsite. This campsite was first used by researchers studying the relatively recently discovered and endemic Sanje Mangeby, which we really hoped to see. Unfortunately the noise of our arrival at camp meant the trees were bare. Camp was quickly set up and we showered, ate and retired in short order, exhausted from our day’s climb.

I was awoken shortly after dawn by the quiet yet insistent voice of our guide. ‘Wake up, come look!’ On emerging our tents we were treated to the site of about 20 Sanje Mangebys literally festooning the trees all around our campsite. It was incredible to think that this many of such a rare primate had just decided to come and hang around our camp. Once we had got over our surprise we breakfasted watching these peculiar mid-canopy, rather fluffy monkeys go about their morning grooming. Mischievous youngsters hanging from each other and unpicking the grip of the one holding on to the tree, falling squawking before catching a lower branch. All watched by a disapproving wizened old male and an anxious batch of mothers.

We regretfully packed up camp and walked the remaining few kilometres out of the forest. We were joined first by |Sykes monkeys near the river and then a large troupe of Yellow Baboons in the Miombo. When we exited the forest we had walked a total of 35km, seen 5 species of primate, including 2 endemic to the Udzungwa Mountains, in just 3 days. Our safari car was waiting to transfer us to Mikumi where planned to enjoy some game drives, hoped to find tree climbing lions and have a relaxing stay in a comfortable lodge.

Article Source:

Roy J. Hinde is currently a director of Wild Things Safaris ltd. He previously worked as a biodiversity research scientist in Tanzania and completed his M.Sc. in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment during that time. For information on visiting the Udzungwa Mountains contact or Wild Things Tanzania Safaris also has some superb safari gallery pictures.

Guidelines To Purchase Adequate Climbing Equipment

Rock and mountain climbing is one of the most popular of the extreme sports. One of the things about rock climbing is the equipment which can cost a pretty penny but you do want to make sure that you are buying only the best because you want to be safe no matter what the cost. If you choose to use the equipment that is not of the highest quality you are allowing yourself to be put into danger because the equipment may fail when you are on the side of a mountain. This can be very dangerous to say the least.

The first and probably most important piece of rocking climbing equipment that you are going to buy is the rope. Most often people think that rope is rope but that is anything but true. Standard rope can not withstand the friction and pressure that is required for rock climbing. The standard for rock climbing rope is the type that is millions of strands of high tolerance fiber that are woven together and then fused with other woven bands of fiber. Once all is woven together you get the tinsel strength that is very important. The best thing about this type of rope is the way that it will stretch and accept the weight of the person that is being suspended.

A rope bag is another important piece of rock climbing equipment. An important part of rock climbing safety is to be sure that all of the equipment is keeping it all clean and dry. The rope is very important when it comes to keep clean. If you get the rope dirty with oil or what have you there is a very good chance that it can fail when it is being used. The rope bag is very good for helping to keep it clean and dry. The rope is fed into the bag and then it is pulled out once it is needed while climbing. This is also in place to make sure that the rope does not get tangled or knotted during the climb which can spell disaster for the climber.

Rock climbing shoes are also important. The shoes that should be worn for rock climbing are specifically designed for such things with soles that help the climber grip the rocks with their feet. In most cases they would recommend that the novice wear a lace up shoe. This is due to the fact that when you are new to the sport you do not want any kind of slippage. The lace up shoes also have a thicker sole which allows for more comfort and less pain on the rock. The experienced climber will most likely go with the slipper style of shoe which has an ultra thin sole. The thin sole allows the climber to feel the rocks with the feet as there are climbing, adding an extra bit of safety.

Carabiners come close to the top as far as importance goes with rock climbing equipment. The carabiner is a quick release anti-fail device that allows the climber to move the rope and also go up and down without a lot of hassle. The carabiners that are sold these days are fairly simple to use and the best ones are made out of high temperature steel. A cheap carabiner will most likely break and this can cause a fall from the side of the mountain.

Follow these guidelines, gear up for rock climbing, and you will surely have a great, fun and safe outdoor experience.

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Climbing Plants - Your Complete Gardening Resource

A wonderful addition to the outdoor decoration of almost any space in plant life. Although trees and shrubs are always an important part of any landscape design, climbing plants can add an extra touch. When you are considering the purchase of any outdoor plants it’s a good idea to visit a local expert. Almost every community has a gardening store which employs people who have a vast knowledge in the area of climbing plants. They will be able to suggest which varieties will work well in the space that you have and can also confirm whether or not what you want will actually work for you.

If you need one that will do well growing against a wall there are many choices including clematis, wisteria, climbing hydrangea, golden hop and star jasmine. Clematis is a variety that produces purple/blue bell shaped flowers and fern like plant life. Wisteria is a hardy climbing plant that boasts lilac colored flowers that grow in the shape of beans. My personal favorite climbing plants are the star jasmine, which produces leather like, dark green leaves and beautiful white blooms that have an unmatched, abundant perfume.

Flowers can add a perfumed as well as visual aspect to your outdoor area. You may choose climbing plants that flower each year. These will take several years to reach their full potential but once they do they will create climbing plants of color on a gazebo, a fence or even up the side of a house. If you are looking for a variety that will provide lots of color, try the blue trumpet vine. This climbing plant blooms from autumn through summer and has bright blue flowers on a twining stem.

Another species of this plant are also available that produce white flowers. Another colorful climbing plant is the Mandeville. It produces flowers of pink, yellow and rose, and puts out quite a lovely smell. Taking care of any type of living thing requires special care and that includes plants whether they are found indoors or outdoors. Climbing plants will require regular watering as well as fertilization from time to time. Again you’ll want to consult with a gardening specialist concerning what fertilizer is best.

If you are an avid gardener, try giving one a bit of space in your garden. You may be surprised at how well climbing plants grow and are able to adapt to their environments. Some climbing plants require a stable base from which to flourish, while others can adapt quite well growing up against a wall or fence. See what climbing plants have to offer by giving one a home in your yard today.

Article Source:

Linda E. Joy provides readers with up-to-date commentaries, articles, and reviews for gardening, home as well as related information.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Follow Her Lead

While climbing gyms, courses, and of course, sportswear, seem to be gaining in popularity, few books have appeared that satisfy a new climber's quest to learn more about lead climbing. So Heidi Pesterfield, a long-time climber, decided to do something about it. Wilderness Press has just published the climber's new book, Traditional Lead Climbing: Surviving the Learning years.

These days, many new climbers have started their ascent in rock gyms. Moving these skills to the less-controlled environment of the rock throws up a new set of obstacles for novice climbers. This book can help make readers aware of the problems the rock presents.

In addition, sport climbing has become more popular in recent decades. The basic difference between sport and traditional climbing is that sport climbing routes have permanent protection already placed on the routes, while traditional climbing routes have removable protection placed by each climbing team. Traditional lead climbers not only have to work their way up the rock, they also have to know how to set up the protection, or “pro,” that will keep them safe.

Climbing magazine ( is a good resource for learning more about different approaches to the sport.

Pesterfield is a rock climbing guide for Alpine Skills International (, based in the rock-rich Donner Pass near Truckee, CA. She’s written for magazines like Climbing, Rock and Ice, and CitySports. In her first book, she chronicles some of her own pitfalls and successes in learning how to lead traditional routes around the world.

But this book is more than one person’s account of their climbing. Traditional Lead Climbing covers the ins and outs of everything from choosing a rope to setting protection to rating routes. The book is filled with pictures of climbers stretching out on the rock, many of which are used to illustrate the tips Pesterfield gives. In addition, a series of cartoons runs through the book, which seems to be a good way to point out safety issues and techniques without seeming too pedantic.

One of my favorite sections of the book covers the human side of climbing. While it is possible for a climber to play by herself, whether bouldering, freeclimbing, or using ascent-assisting tools, most climbers team up to work the rock. And choosing people to surround yourself with is one of the key elements to successful climbing, according to Pesterfield. The person at the other end of the rope holds the key to a safe climb or a dangerous fall. And if that person is a partner in your personal life, working with them on the rock can prove even more challenging. While this is something I’ve talked about with my friends – who’ve survived relationships after heated discussions on the ski slopes and in the waves – it was great to see this problem discussed in print.

2007 BMW M5 - The Ultimate Sport Sedan

The 2007 BMW M5, if it is going to be based on the regular sedan 5 series, is an equipment with a 5 liter V10 that gives out a 500 horse power of 7,750 revolutions per minute (RPM) and a torque of 383 pound / feet at 6100 RPM. The BMW engine takes the vehicle from 0 to around 60 in about 4.8 seconds. Likewise, available are two transmissions.

A sequential shifting automated gearbox (or SMG) that is a seven-speeder provides 11 varieties of settings that govern speed, shift point and clutch slip. There is a new option of a six-speed manual for this year; an exclusive to vehicles that are imported to the North American region. This can be availed for free by BMW drivers who seek the traditional school thrills and excitement that only a manual transmission can provide.

The chassis of the 2007 BMW M5 puts heavy emphasis on the car’s performance, but do not expect high technology aids such as the run-flat tire and active steering found in other 5 Series vehicles. Instead, the set-up is with a finely-tuned and all-aluminum suspension and gigantic breaks of 14.7 inches of discs. With the BMW M5, you can also get the Electronic Damping Control, the purpose of which is to allow you to select any of the suspension settings – the Normal, Comfort and Sport settings. The ride you will experience, even when in Comfort settings, is very much well-controlled. On the other hand, the Normal mode provides you an aggressive ride while the Sport setting is perfectly useful on a smooth-as-a-glass racetrack. The current ring tax vehicle which is utilized to provide passengers an exciting taste of high-speed thrills at the Nürburgring of Germany is a BMW M5.

The standard safety equipment of a BMW M5 includes an active front head restraint, a tire pressure monitor, a head protection feature and side impact airbags for the vehicle’s front seats. Optional are side impact airbags for passengers at the back of the car. The system on stability control which is programmed to enjoy performance driving is also a regular feature, as are the gargantuan four-wheel brakes with electronic brake cornering, stability and proportioning enhancements. The BMW M5 received an impressive Good rating, the highest possible rating to be received in IIHS crash testing.

The 2007 BMW M5 effortlessly outshines the rest of the competition in terms of over-all performance. The 2007 BMW M5 is a leader when we speak of slalom speed, quarter-mile times and braking distance. Just as important is the M5’s V10 that requires more involvement of the driver than the V8 features present on its rivals, the Cadillac STS-V and Mercedes Benz E63. The newest Audi S6 is able to match the BMW M5’s cylinder count, but still is less impressive in torque and horsepower, and definitely weighs more. While Mercedes, Cadillac and Audi are all impressive cars in their own right, the 2007 BMW M5 is undeniably the ultimate in sport sedans.

Climbing to new heights: Marine's confidence soars after Mountain Leaders Course

Hiking 5.2 miles of mountainous terrain with a 63-pound pack and a rifle in 85 minutes or less earned Sgt. David L. Walter a spot at the Summer Mountain Leaders Course at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif.

But the spark kindled by that course burns long after he left Bridgeport. Walter has immersed himself into the sport of rock climbing and now persuades others to do the same.

Walter, the training noncommissioned officer and administration clerk for Service Company, has embarked on a trek to free himself from the stresses of the Marine Corps, at least for a moment's time, when he's contorting his 5-foot-11-inch lanky body around a boulder or cliff to reach the summit, or "top out."

"You're scared to death, but once you make it, it's a great sense of accomplishment and a rush," he said.

Perched on a boulder 30 feet off the ground, with nothing but countless hours of climbing techniques, rubber soled shoes, a chalk pouch and a strong grip, Walter doesn't spend time being scared of heights--not anymore at least.

"I used to climb trees when I was a kid. I wasn't super scared, but I used to freeze up," he said.

Freezing up was not an option when he was 200 feet up a cliff, roped in with another climber, leap-frogging to the top.

The Mountain Leaders Course helped Walter overcome his fear of heights.

"It takes such focus and all you're thinking about is the rock and that next move," Walter said.

Walter tries to get Marines involved in rock climbing and he leads a group at a local rock gym.

"He's a very good teacher," said Lance Cpl. Jared M. Padula, combat photographer, Combat Visual Information Center. "Without his instruction, I would not have made it very far, and I think I'm in good shape. Seeing him contort his body like that makes it look feasible. He has a rhythm when going up the rock."

Walter tries to climb three to four times a week, either in the gym or outdoors, but he admits it's difficult to squeeze in the time between his other hobbies--singing, songwriting, and scuba diving.

"I'm just having fun with it and I'm enjoying meeting new people as well as keeping up with my abilities for training," he said.

Walter says he wants to return to Bridgeport as an assault climber instructor or transfer to an infantry unit and deploy to Afghanistan to become an advisor.

"I'm a challenge-oriented person and rock climbing is the perfect sport," he said. "It just clicks with me."

Sgt. Len Langston

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing a Rock Climbing School

The first step of course is getting down the basics, not only for safety because rock climbing can be a dangerous sport, but also to ease frustration and to make the climbing experiences more enjoyable.

Where to begin?

There are of course a host of sources for information on climbing, from websites to books. From knots to lingo, the beginner should be able to find out as much information on climbing as they can absorb and retain.

Climbing School?

Many climbing gyms offer classes on basic climbing skills and it can be a safe and supportive environment to learn in. Additionally, depending on where you live, climbing schools are becoming more popular. A climbing school is usually part of a guiding business and is simply a separate guided excursion for beginners. Guides will often spend an hour or two going over the basics before the group heads to the outdoor destination.

The benefits of the climbing school are great. One, you’re outdoors and climbing on real rock, what could be better? Two, you’re in a supportive and guided environment where questions and learning are encouraged.

How To Find And Choose A Climbing School

Depending on where you live, there may be a wide variety of schools to choose from or there may be very few. Check out the mountain guides association for a list of guides in your area and their accreditation.

The American Mountain Guides offers a list of certified guides and accredited schools at their website.

Likewise the British Mountain Guides Association, and the Canadian Mountain Guides Association, both provide similar information. All affiliated countries association websites can be found at the International Federation Of Mountain Guides.

In addition to schools that are accredited, look for schools that offer small class sizes and a good instructor to student ratio.

The more one-one-one instruction time you can get the better. Some schools also offer classes by age, gender, or special needs. Call the school to find out what is available.

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Aspen nightlife – aspen recreation center

While the Aspen Recreation Center closes just before 9pm, there is quite a bit of enjoyment to be had here after a day on the slopes. If you get there right after leaving the slopes, and eat a late dinner – after the center closes – you will have plenty of time to enjoy what the ARC has to offer.

The climbing walls at the center are the biggest attraction. The ARC features approximately 3100 feet of climbing walls for your enjoyment. There is also a 3-D climbing tower with more than 25 routes and four auto belays.

Another nice feature at the Aspen Recreation Center is the pool area. The James E. Moore Pool area features two pools. One pool is 25 yards in length and features six lanes, while the other pool is for recreation and has a two story slide, a lazy river, and spray features. You will also find a dry sauna, a steam room, and hot tubs in the pool area.

The Lewis Ice Arena is also located at the Aspen Recreation Center. Completed in the Spring of 2003, the arena features an NHL regulation size skating surface, grandstand seating for 450, a skate shop, locker rooms, and shower rooms. Public skating, skating lessons, figure skating, youth and adult hockey, and skating shows are available. You can also host private parties at the arena. High altitude training is also offered here.

You will also find cardio and weight rooms at the center, and many fitness classes are also offered. The Aspen Recreation Center hosts many off-site activities in the Aspen area as well, such as golf, tennis, climbing, aquatics, sailing, skateboarding, ceramics classes, baseball, softball, soccer, hockey, and various camps.

Babysitting services are available at the center as well. This place is a great way to wrap up a day of activity and wind down before your evening meal. Again, the Aspen Recreation Center closes just before 9pm, so make sure you head there right after leaving the slopes for the day.

Admission for guests is $13 for youths and $15 for adults. Admission includes access to the climbing towers, swimming pool area, ice skating rink, weight room, cardio room, adult fitness classes, water aerobics, climbing wall and playhouse, and tennis courts. The Aspen Recreation Center is a great place for every member of the family. Call ahead to find out about any planned events that are going on for even more entertainment options.

John Ugoshowa. For more information about Aspen Travel see the Aspen section of The Free Ad Forum at:

Indoor climbing walls

Adventurous task, yes a name that could excite any layman. Everyone in his life likes to play some adventurous trick if he gets the chance but unable to do it may be due to some fear or other problem. One of these task is rock climbing, which is not only entertaining but exciting also. But many people do not get chance or are afraid of height and thus are not able to enjoy it. For them the climbing walls are available now. These are the artificial man made walls that gives the same experience as that of the real ones. U.K. was the first to construct these walls in 1964.

Among these the experience of waterfall climbing wall is totally a unique one. It’s a rock wall containing such walls from the edges of which, water falls and wet the climber. This gives a pleasant feeling of getting wet while climbing the rock. There are holds present in these walls that supports a climber to have a grip over the wall. These holds are present for both hand and feet grip. They give an appearance of real granite corps due to the color, shades, shape and formation. In some these are made of brick or wood also. These walls are made of non-toxic material, which is harmless and safe. Along with this a cable safety system is also present in it, if in case anyone wants to come down at any point of climbing. In that case this system helps him to get lower down to the ground slowly and safely. So, if anyone is afraid of the height, he might try it with the view of practicing.
These are designed by keeping in mind the various sites like water parks, amusement parks, family entertainment centers etc. Thus this source could fully benefit one in pleasure giving purpose. Besides this it also comes out to be profitable for the person who is affected by Hydrophobia. This could help him to get rid of this fear because climbing is such an amusement that makes a person to forget all other things. Although all the facility and safety is provided in these walls and no pre-training is required to use it but then also it is better to gain a little knowledge about it before its use. By doing this one could feel free from the fear of any unexpected danger which in actual is not present in these walls.

The waterfall-climbing wall is a great amusement in the hot climate also. It provides coldness in that period which is great relief giving and makes the mind fresh to restore the energy to move forward. It does not mean that it can’t be used in cold climate. When cold climate arrives, the water in these walls is turned off and thus it could be used as dry rock climbing wall.

Thus a waterfall-climbing wall serves as a great resource of satisfying one’s excitement as well as the desire of doing something different. It helps a person to get a feeling of some thrill in his life. Above all it is a good resource which could be used anywhere nearby and one does not have to search for a particular location for doing the climbing activity.

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The Art Of Being An Airsoft Sniper Part I

As the sport of Airsoft continues its surge in worldwide popularity, the number of Airsoft teams and clubs continue to climb as well. These dedicated groups gather as weekend warriors at outdoor venues to participate in sophisticated war games. Dressed in military like fatigues, and armed with replica Airsoft guns, these teams engage in simulated military battles commonly referred to as the Mil-Sim (military simulation).

Of all the role players one can choose to be in these weekend battles, perhaps the most popular of all is the “Sniper”. The Airsoft Sniper is often referred to as the Lone Wolf or Rouge of Airsoft. This is the gamer that wants to place himself in the perfect hidden location in order to eliminate the opposing players in a deadly ambush. Although a popular identity among Airsoft warriors, few players have mastered the skill of becoming a feared and effective “Super Sniper”.

The first step in becoming a successful Super Sniper begins with having the right equipment! This begins by choosing the Sniper’s most important accessory-the sniper rifle. The goal of the Sniper is to be able to shoot the enemy from long distances, therefore his rifle does not need to be fully automatic or even semi-automatic. A well built spring–action rifle is usually the choice. The spring sniper rifle must be one of the more powerful models in order to shoot from long distances with great accuracy. It is also important to keep in mind that the most powerful weapon the Sniper has is his stealth or the ability to stay hidden. The spring action sniper rifles are much quieter than the electric automatic rifles.

One of the most recommended spring sniper rifles is the Super 9 Bolt Action Airsoft sniper rifle. This great Airsoft gun is made by UHC, which is widely recognized as one of the premier manufacturers of spring guns.

Perhaps the next most important piece of equipment for the secretive Super Sniper is his riflescope. The ability to see long distances with accuracy is critical to his success. Often the original equipment scope does not fulfill this requirement and an upgrade is needed. A minimum 4x32 power scope is the desired measure.

The successful Sniper has also mastered the art of military camouflage. Without proper clothing the Sniper is doomed to failure. It is essential for him to be undetected by the opposing teams. Investing in a “ghillie” or camouflage suit is critical to maximum concealment from enemy patrols and other snipers. This suit is made from a central binding layer and loose strips of material designed to break up the shape of the human body. Super Snipers typically customize their suits by adding plant-matter or rolling in the dirt or mud in order to deaden color contrasts. With the potential for wearing this suit a long time during battles, comfort is a premium.

One of the great mistakes of the amateur sniper is running out of ammunition. As simple as this may seem, this is a common mishap due to the underestimated length of many Airsoft skirmishes. Many a sniper meets his demise as he emerges prematurely from his secret hideout at the most inopportune time in order to retrieve more pellets. You will always find the wise Super Sniper well stocked with plenty of ammo!

Understanding the role and choosing the right equipment will help the Airsoft warrior to be well on his way to becoming a Super Sniper.

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Strong leg muscles really can make a world of difference.

Apart from the weight machines, some of the most effective machines in a gym are the walking, running and climbing machines. Walking and running machines include steppers and treadmills, while climbing machines have pedals that you push with your feet, making it feel like you are climbing stairs.

The reason these machines are important is that they exercise our leg muscles, which are some of the most useful muscles in our body, but at the same time some of the weakest. After all, we are descended from apes, who didn't walk upright � in evolutionary terms, we've only just started walking, and our legs aren't all that great at it yet. Building good muscles in your legs will help you stay on your feet and go for long walks, hikes or runs without feeling tired quickly, like so many people do in this age of the car. Once you get started, you might even want to take up walking as a hobby, and the more you walk, the better your leg muscles will get.

But in that case, why not just go for a real walk, or climb up and down real stairs? Well, you could do that, but you'd be leaving yourself open to the weather on the walk, making it difficult to have a regular walking routine, and while you could just walk up and down some stairs for half an hour each day, people would probably look at you a little oddly.

Within a few weeks of using walking and climbing machines, you should start to feel more energetic � it is surprising how much of how much energy we feel we have comes from the strength of our legs. Even if we don't realise it, we are on our feet for a lot of time every day � yes, even if you work in an office and drive to work � so strong leg muscles really can make a world of difference.


When Looking For Good Climbing Shoes

The type of climbing shoes you want depend greatly on your purpose for acquiring them, because there are several variants of this shoe. There is nothing more important to a rock climber than acquiring proper climbing shoes. Therefore, it is vital to exercise great caution in the selection of the right type of footwear for your intended trip.

Normally, accomplished climbers have many pairs of climbing shoes, such as hiking boots, and climbing spikes for vertical climbs which are the most difficult ones to do. Novice climbers should consult experts who can recommend at least one pair of correct shoe to purchase.

The tradition multi-purpose climbing shoes are not quite different from hiking footwear. These climbing shoes have features like tough treads and somewhat solid soles which sometimes make them unsuitable for extended walks, but only fit for uphill hiking and vertical climbing.

Purchasing these variant of climbing shoes is usually a matter of choosing a middle way between two extremes, so you need to be careful when selecting them. Generally, the harder ones offer more support for difficult hiking and climbing, but they won't be suitable for prolonged hiking and normal trekking, this explains why climbers tend to acquire more shoes.

Cramptons are spikes that are attached to different boots for special climbing’s, like ice climbing’s. Most climbers do not give much attention to this type of climbing shoes but rather concentrate on those with more fundamental applications. Let's face it, people really don't need any sharp object on their climbing shoes unless it is necessary, as such can be a source of injuries.

And if such thing like vertical scaling of rock faces is not your scene, but you only do some steep trails that occasionally requires surmounting boulders, then there is no need for you to acquire specialized climbing shoes.

Hiking boots are suitable and will do just fine. These come in varying types, but as long as they are convenient, and well made, will do for day hiking over reasonable safe trails. Using them for long trips however can make things more difficult.

Focus When Rappelling

As you progress in your climbing, you are going to be reaching higher and higher heights. To get down from your successful climb, you are going to have to rappel.

Rappelling is simply the act of lowering yourself back down to earth after blissfully completing a climb. When doing the climb, gravity was you enemy. With rappelling, it is your friend as long as you go about it correctly. Gravity never gives up, so you have to be careful.

Let’s face it, a good climb is an adrenaline rush. You can get so caught up in it that you lose track of everything else. Whether you are pushing your limits or just enjoying a familiar climb, all of your focus in on completing the route. Once you finish the climb, there is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Unfortunately, many climbers also tend to relax and slack on their focus when rappelling back down. This often results in more injuries and accidents than you might imagine are possible.

To avoid injuries, you need to focus when rappelling and go through the basics. Make sure your anchors are solid. Check your knots to make sure everything is solid. Take the time to make sure your rappel brake and harness are properly adjusted. If you have long hair, make sure it is clear of the ropes and brake or you could soon have a very painful haircut. If the length of the rope may not be enough for the cliff, make sure to tie it off with a large knot so you don’t find out the hard way when you get to the bottom.

Yes, all of this is common sense. Rappelling safely, however, requires a common sense attention to details. If you fail to get the details right, a glorious day of climbing can end very badly. Nobody wants that.

Rick Chapo is with - makers of rock climbing journals.

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Stay Fit During Winter With Snowshoes

Snowshoes as the name implies are footwears for walking over snow. Snowshoes distribute the weight of a person over a larger area so that the person's foot does not sink completely into the snow.

Traditional snowshoes are made of heavy hardwood frame with leather lacings. Modern high-tech snowshoes are made of light metal such as aluminum and alloy, or even of plastic. These modern snowshoes are raised at the toe for maneuverability and are generally smaller than the traditional snowshoes. Racing snowshoes and gliding snowshoes are just some examples of modern snowshoes used for movement in deep snow.

Snowshoes were used some 6,000 years ago as an earliest form of transportation. But presently they are generally used for recreational sports. Snowshoes are divided into three types: aerobic, recreational and mountaineering. Backpacking or hiking snowshoes, recreational snowshoes, and running or aerobic fitness snowshoes are the more popular snowshoes available on the market. Snowshoe size is specified by the body weight and the type of activities one plans to do.

The Outdoor Industry Foundation reported that in 2004 nearly 4.7 million Americans went snowshoeing. Snowshoeing at present is acknowledged as one of the fastest growing winter recreational sports next to skiing, so snowboarding snowshoe sale has doubled in recent year. The sales of snowshoes is up because people are putting greater emphasis on fitness, outdoor cross training and family recreation. The popularity of back country sporting in recent years, like skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing, is also helping to promote strong snowshoe sales.

Snowshoes for sale vary from shorter, wider shoes to longer, narrow shoes. Materials of these snowshoes are generally lightweight aluminum, rubber and durable plastic. Women's snowshoes and kids snowshoes are of varied shapes. For example, beaver tail snowshoes are shaped like a tennis racket and bear paw snowshoes are oval shaped. These shapes enable the snowshoer to lift up the shoes’ weight easily. Cleats are the teeth present at the bottom of the shoes that provide traction and allow for more confident stepping. Kids snowshoes are not limited just to kids; they can be used by anyone weighing less than 80 pounds and of shorter height. Kids snowshoes can also be used by children for off trail hiking, on golf courses, in packed trails, etc.

A low impact workout with a pair of snowshoes provides many health benefits. Snowshoes can be used by folks of all ages who enjoy a winter snowfall while walking, running, jumping, or climbing. Snowshoes are great fun to use in any type of snow conditions.

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For more on Snowshoes visit Susan's sites Shop For Snowshoes and Kid Snowshoes, and also at Shopping and Society.

Ice Climbing - Preserve Your Experiences

Ice climbing is a great way to escape the rat race and live on the edge. Alas, your ice climbing experiences can fade with time. The best way to prevent this is to keep a ice climbing journal for your adventures.

Ice Climbing Journals

Take a minute to give some consideration to your most recent ice climbing experience. What sticks out in your mind besides the fact it was cold? Did you climb a waterfall? Now think about the first time you ever went ice climbing. Undoubtedly, you remember few things about the geography, people you went with, particular ice climbing routes and spectacular views. The experiences you’ve forgotten are lost to time. If you keep an ice climbing journal, this won’t be the case.

There are famous instances of people keeping journals throughout time. Of course, Anne Frank’s Diary is the best example. In her diary, Anne kept a running commentary of the two years her family spent hiding from the Nazis. While your ice climbing experiences better be more lighthearted, keeping a journal will let you remember them as the years pass.

A good ice climbing journal combines a number of characteristics. First, it should be compact so you don’t have to take up unnecessary space for other things. Second, it should have a case to protect it from the elements and so on. Third, the journal should contain blank areas to write your notes. Fourth, the journal should contain cue spaces to remind you to keep notes on specific things. Cues should include:

1. Who you went ice climbing with,

2. The nature and quality of the ice,

3. Who you met and contact information for them,

4. The geographic and weather conditions, and

5. Any unique things that occurred while ice climbing.

6. The routes you took up the ice and alternatives.

7. Any inside information provided by experienced locals.

At the end of the ice climbing trip, you should be able to get the following from your journal:

1. Contact information for other climbers you met,

2. Enough detail to provide you or a friend with a guide if you climb the location a second time.

3. Memories to reflect upon years later, and

4. Something to pass on to your friends, children and grandchildren.

To get the most out of your ice climbing journal, you should write in it just before you climb, as you summit and when you return. Doing so will give you an accurate picture of your thoughts throughout the climb.

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Rick Chapo is with - makers of journals. Visit us to read more about the great outdoors.

Intro to Rock Climbing, Part 2

There are many challenging extreme sports but nothing will challenge you physically and mentally as much as rock climbing. Rock climbing is a test of stamina, patience, skill, and willpower. Your hands will feel like giving up right into the middle of the climb on a vertical rock face but you can’t stop. You just have to get the strength from somewhere and move on. The moment you lose focus, it could very well mean the end of it all. This is how and when accidents happen.

Rock Climbing is a sport that entails climbing up a vertical rock face or a steep rock face. Most of the climbers generally use gear and safety equipment, which have been specifically designed to suit this purpose. You need to be physically and mentally in top condition and also have the necessary knowledge of different climbing techniques. This knowledge will be useful when you start the climb. There are some people who might not carry ropes with them but it is something you can’t try on your own especially if you are a beginner. You need to be a real pro to try it and sometimes even real pros have accidents.

Over the years, rock climbing has become a challenging extreme sport although it still is a niche area. A variety of grading systems have been introduced in the recent past to compare the various difficulty levels in climbs. The climbing techniques have improved considerably over the years and so has the equipment. Those who have a passion for rock climbing live it as a part of their lifestyle and not as a sport. The challenge of beating all the odds to reach the top is the prize itself.

In rock climbing most climbers go up in pairs. One of the climbers has to lead and the other follows and is known as the belayer. The belayer’s job is to feed the rope to the lead climber with the help of a belay device. Once the lead climber reaches a certain point in the climb, he/she places protection and climbs higher and again places protection all the way up to the top. if the leader falls, the belayer has the option of locking off the rope.

The lead climber and the belayer will have to attach rope to their climbing harness, and this is done by tying it in a double bowline knot or a figure-of-eight knot. The lead climber can place a permanent or a temporary protection on the rock. The protection uses spring-loaded camming devices, which can be set into the cracks visible in the rock face. In the case of sport climbing, protection used is in the form of a metal loop also known as a hanger. These hangers can be secured to the rock with the help of expanding masonry bolts or by using glue-in bolt systems.

The lead climber will connect the rope to the protection with the help of carabineers. Due to any reason if the leader falls, then he will fall twice the length of the rope from the last protection point. If the belayer is unable to lock the belay device immediately then the fall can be longer. During the fall, the belayer can arrest the rope because the rope has to run through sharp curves in the belay device that create enough friction to stop the rope.

There are basically two types of rock climbing – free climbing and aid climbing. In free climbing, you will have no support whatsoever like ropes, harnesses, belays etc. In aid climbing, which is considered safer than free climbing, you can use safety equipments to climb.

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JB is an outdoor sports enthusiast and the site owner of 1 site, 7 shops, 1000's of discounts