At last the waiting is over and the Harrogate Climbing Wall is now open.
Get yourselves down here and get climbing.
Harrogate Climbing Centre (HCC) offers both indoor climbing and bouldering, as well indoor and outdoor climbing courses and qualifications. On offer are taster courses for people new to climbing, beginners courses and courses for climbers to develop their skills and even leader courses.
HCC's 14 meter multi-angled climbing wall.
The main indoor climbing wall is a whopping 14 meter multi-angled wall, designed by Entre-Prises. Climbing grades range from 3+ to 8a. There is also a bouldering section which features problems from V0 – V8, as well as a Fr7b stamina circuit.
Climber and owner of the Harrogate Climbing wall, John Dunne, told the BMC:
I wanted to bring Yorkshire’s premier climbing centre to the heart of Yorkshire’s best climbing; so when I found the perfect building just south of Harrogate town centre, I jumped at the chance of turning it into a modern climbing facility.
Only ten minutes’ drive from Almscliffe on a rainy weekend, the focus of Harrogate Climbing Centre is to provide for climbers and boulderers of all levels. We have applied all the lessons we have learnt from our experience at the Manchester centre, and used them to develop a climbing wall you’d have to travel a long way to beat!
Climbing for Everyone!
Everyone is welcome to come and climb. Climbing is available for corporate groups as well as kids, schools and youth groups. Life membership only costs £10 and entitles members to concessions on entry and the option to purchase discount packages. If you do not have your own climbing gear, you can hire it for a small fee.
Under construction. HCC's new climbing wall.
Harrogate Climbing Centre
Hornbeam Park Avenue
They are usually made from lightweight, waterproof, ripstop fabric and are secured around your rucksack with elasticated drawcord. When not in use they can be packed away into their own little stuff sack.
Trekmates Backpack Covers are available in small, medium and large to fit different sizes of rucksacks. Small fits 20-45 litre rucksacks, medium fits 45-65 litre rucksacks and large fits 65+ litre rucksacks.
Do I Need a Rucksack Cover?
The purpose of rucksack / Backpack covers is to protect your rucksack from the rain, but are they really necessary?
A wet rucksack is heavier than a dry rucksack, so the rain cover will help keep your rucksack lightweight. It will keep most of your backpack bone dry, although it does not cover the shoulder straps or hip belt. If you have been out all day hiking in the rain, bringing a soaking wet rucksack into your tent can make the rest of your outdoor gear damp. If you are staying at a hotel or guest house, or simply going home you will still need to dry out your rucksack if it is soaking wet. The rain cover will dry out much faster than a rucksack.
When packing a rucksack most people would use a rucksack liner, Mountain Equipment Wet & Dry Stuffsack or plastic bags to keep their outdoor gear dry. Therefore the rucksack protector is normally unlikely to keep your kit much drier than it would otherwise be. However, water does have a knack of finding its way into places, so if you are on a long hike and unfortunate to be in constant bad weather, the rain cover might be the difference between damp or dry camping gear. Camping can be bad enough in the rain, without having a soggy sleeping bag!
One thing to watch out for is that since the cover does not form a watertight seal, water can get inside the rain cover where it collects in a puddle at the bottom.
Rucksack covers do not only protect your rucksack from rain. If you are cycling with a rucksack, the cover will provide protection from mud on splattered up from your bike’s rear wheel.
If your rucksack has garish colour that is just too bright, then a black rain cover can be used to keep your back pack looking more sombre.
One of the cons of using a rucksack protector is that they are a hindrance if you want to carry things on outside of rucksack. Items like sleeping mats do not fit easily underneath rain covers.
In high winds the rucksack cover can get blown off. Therefore, after putting the cover over your rucksack and pulling the drawcord tight, it is worth tying the drawcord to the rucksack’s grab handle. Then if the wind blows the cover off, at least your cover won’t blow away down the mountainside.
In my experience, using a rucksack protector is worthwhile, but they are not everybody’s cup of tea.
Rucksacks with Built-In Covers
Some rucksacks have the covers built into them, for example, some Lowe Alpine and Berghaus rucksacks have built in rain covers. The raincover is normally zipped away in a pocket. When it starts to rain the cover can be pulled over the rucksack and is normally held in place with elastic. These covers are a much better fit that the generic rucksack covers since they are designed to fit a specific rucksack. They also have the benefit that they will not get blown off your rucksack in high winds.
Rucksack Covers for Travelling
If you are travelling a Life Venture Combi Transporter Rucksack Cover would be useful. This type of cover is not only a rain cover but also a transporter cover. It keeps all of your rucksack’s straps tidied away, preventing them from getting snagged and broken during flights or train travel.
Another worthwhile product if you are going travelling with a rucksack is a Pacsafe Luggage Protector. This is a wire mesh which prevents thieves gain access to your rucksack by slashing it open with a knife.
Review a Rucksack Rain Cover!
What is your opinion of rucksack rain covers? Are the worth the bother or are they your kit’s saviour from the rain? Let us know, click on comments below!
On the 14th of January I wrote about Hayley Shephard’s solo kayaking trip around South Georgia. She is taking on this adventure to raise awareness of the plight of the Albatross. An enormous threat to this magnificent sea bird is due to long-line fishing practices. Fortunately, simple changes can be implemented which dramatically reduce Albatross fatalities. The RSPB and BirdLife International are working with the international fishing industry to bring about these changes. This is taking time but the results so far are encouraging.
Camping, Walking and Climbing on Midway Atoll
Almost straying off topic from camping, walking and climbing, but keeping on the subject of the Albatross, I accidentally discovered a photo through a Google image search. The photo was taken on the remote Pacific Ocean of Midway Atoll.
Midway Atoll, also known as the Midway Islands, are located approximately 1450 miles to the north west of Honolulu, Hawaii. (See Google Map below.) Until 1993 The Midway Atoll was home to a United States Naval Facility. It has since become the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is possible to visit Midway Atoll providing that you obtain a permit. However the three islands that make up Midway Atoll are tiny, flat as a pancake and covered with nesting birds. So there are no opportunities for climbing, walking or camping. As I said, this post almost strays off topic – but not quite!
The Albatross and Plastic Waste
There are 18 species of seabirds including the Short-Tailed Albatross, Black-Footed Albatross and the Laysan Albatross. There is a large coral reef and marine life is plentiful, with Monk Seals, Green Sea Turtles and Spinner Dolphins swimming in the Pacific lagoon.
With its highest point at only 13 m above sea-level, rising sea levels are going to be a threat to the Midway Atoll nature reserve over the course of this century. However, as can be seen from this photo, there is another immediate threat to the sea birds: waste plastic.
This Albatross has died as a result of eating plastic. Source: Chris Jordan http://www.chrisjordan.com
The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking. Chris Jordan.
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
You might well wonder where all of this plastic has come from, given that Midway Atoll is located in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. The answer is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Bottle tops and other plastic litter dropped into the sea and rivers, or blown by the wind from our streets end up in the ocean. Vast amounts of small plastic items, degraded plastic and other debris float just underneath the ocean surface. They are trapped in an ocean gyre, which is an enormous circulating current that swirls around, in this case, in the whole of the north Pacific Ocean. The problem of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is being investigated by Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) which is…
Seeking the Science of the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch.
Seaplex want to find out how much plastic is out there, how it is accumulating and distributed, as well as the effect that it is having on marine life. Hopefully from the information that they obtain it will be possible to formulate an effective method of collecting and removing the plastic rubbish. The solution will not be easy because, for example, using fishing nets is not possible since the plastic pieces are so small that they would just pass through the net.
Plastic Waste in the Atlantic
Not just the Pacific…for the past 20 years the Sea Education Association have been studying an accumulation of plastic debris in the North Atlantic Ocean. Whilst the existence of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is relatively well known about, plastic rubbish in the Atlantic Ocean has generally been overlooked.
Once a collection system is devised, it would be great if all the plastic could recycled. Perhaps it could be made into recycled fleeces and tents.
Lead Poisoning and Droopwing
In addition to death caused by eating waste plastic, 10,000 Laysan albatross chicks die each year from lead poisoning due to toxic, lead-based paint that was used on the Midway Atoll Naval Base. The chicks are unable to hold up their wings, which drag on the ground and become vulnerable to open sores and fractures. This form of nervous-system damage is called “droopwing.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have spent $1.5 million since 2005 to clean up 24 of 95 buildings that contain lead-based paint.
On April 10, 2010, Triangle Rock Club will host the Carolina Crush climbing competition, a stop on the Sport Climbing Series of USA Climbing. The Crush will be redpoint format with routes from 5.5 to 5.13. We expect over one hundred competitors. The Crush is the 2nd in TRC’s line up of high profile comps. We’re looking forward to another great event. Come on down for the Carolina Crush.
Advance registration is $35 for USAC members and $40.00 for non-USAC member. Registration on the day of the event is $50.00 day for all. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the Crushing begins at 11:00am and ends at 3:00pm. Check out www.trianglerockclub.com for more information and to register online.
The Triangle Rock Club is the Raleigh area’s premiere indoor rock climbing center and gym. The new, state-of-the-art facility offers both lead and top rope climbing, bouldering and a comprehensive strength and aerobic fitness center.
For more information, go to www.trianglerockclub.com or email info@TriangleRockClub.com
At 1,344 m, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and the UK. As such it is a very popular mountain for people to climb. It is often attempted by inexperienced hikers who have no idea of the scale of the task or of the potential dangers involved. Many people attempt the summit of Ben Nevis without taking proper outdoor gear.
Ben Nevis Escape Route
If you are planning to walk up to the top of Ben Nevis the first thing you need to know is the escape route from the summit. Regardless of the weather in the valley or on the mountain tops when you start your hike, by the time you reach the summit the weather may have closed in, resulting in near zero visibility. This has happened to me.
There are two dangerous gullies which must be avoided. Falling down them is likely to result in fatal injuries. They are Gardyloo Gully and Five Finger Gully. To avoid these gullies, from the summit trig point follow a bearing of 233 degrees for 150 metres (roughly 100 double steps), and then a bearing of 284 degrees. These are magnetic bearings that should be followed directly from your compass alone.
The route that most people take up Ben Nevis starts in the valley of Glen Nevis, near the campsite. The footpath is well maintained. It runs along the side of Meall an t-Stuidhe, up towards the Lochan. At 640 m there is a T-junction where you turn right and head south across Red Burn, before the path zig-zags up a boulder field on the side of Ben Nevis. The final approach to the summit is a more or less a straight run up a gently undulating plateau. The route back down is simply the reverse. This tourist route is known as the Pony Track or the Motorway, due to the number of walkers on it! As a rough guide it takes about 9 hours to walk up and back down the mountain.
The first half of the Ben Nevis ascent is green and pleasant, the second rocky and mountainous. Source: Flickr by coda.
The walk up the from Glen Nevis valley to Lochan Meall an t-Stuidhe is green and pleasant. Once you get further up and into the boulder field the terrain becomes mountainous and rugged. The lower gradient of the plateau is welcome after the rocky ascent, but there are several false summits which can be frustrating when you are exhausted! If you make it to the summit and are lucky enough to be under the cloud base, the views are stunning. You can see right across the Scottish Highlands: mountains from horizon to horizon. Spectacular!
There are also scrambling, mountaineering and climbing routes to the summit, such as Carn Mor Dearg Arete.
Ben Nevis Best Hiking Gear
It is shocking to see what some people wear on Ben Nevis. On the two occasions that I have hiked up to the summit there were lots of people wearing jeans, t-shirt and trainers. Whilst the valley was lovely and warm with late April sunshine, the summit was cold. There was a thick covering of snow over the top 200 m of the summit. The visibility from summit was clear the first time that I there, but the second time that it started to snow and there was a white out. Visibility was down to a couple metres. This experience demonstrates the importance of being prepared for all weather conditions when hiking up Ben Nevis, or indeed any other mountain, such as Scafell Pike in the Lake District.
Kit list for Ben Nevis
Essential Gear and Clothing:
Rucksack, 30 – 50 litres capacity should be sufficient
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 392: Ben Nevis & Fort William
Emergency Survival Equipment:
First Aid Kit
Spare Laces for your Boots
Scarf – provides a lot of extra warmth for its weight
Spare fleece top
Sun Glasses – the snow gets bright when its sunny
Sun Tan Cream / Sun Block
Terra Nova Bothy Bag
Victorinox Swiss Army Penknife
It is quite a list, but all this outdoor gear should ensure that you keep comfortable, warm, dry and blister free. Hopefully you will not need any of the survival kit, but its always best to take it.
Crampons and Ice Axe
Is it necessary to take crampons and an ice axe? In winter conditions, yes it is, and it is also necessary to know how to make a self arrest using an ice axe. The YouTube video below, from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, shows various techniques and is well worth watching.
In late April / early May when I walked up the summit was covered in snow. Providing you keep well away from the edge, the plateau is relatively flat and walking in the snow is easy enough without crampons. There were a few places further down the path which were covered in icy snow patches, several metres in length. At the time I did not have crampons and they would have been useful for these short sections.
It is important to be aware of cornices, where the snow overhangs the edge of mountain cliffs. These can give way under your weight, leading you to fall to your death. As mentioned above, keep well away from the edge when there is snow!
During the summer months, Scotland is famous for its midges. Fear not, there are plenty of ways to avoid getting midge bites.
And don’t forget to take with you a Model T Ford car, a bed, a wheel barrow, a piano and barrel of beer. All these items have been taken up the top of Ben Nevis for either publicity stunts or just for a laugh. What bizarre item(s) would you take up a mountain? Let us know, click on “comments” below!
Volunteer Open House at the Blue Ball Barn<br>
Do you like working outdoors? Do you want to help keep our parks
Volunteer opportunities include:<br>
Rockford Tower Hosts <br>
Invasive Species Removal <br>
Flower Bed Maintenance <br>
Graffiti Clean-up <br>
Rock Wall Clean-up<br>
Tuesday, February 23 @ 7:00 - 8:30 PM<br>
Wilmington State Parks is in need of volunteers like you who are willing to perform service work in a variety of capacities.
Join us during this open house to learn more about our current volunteers and discover ways that you can help out! There are many volunteer positions to choose from and all are vital to our success. Park staff provides all necessary training and support for all volunteer activities.<br>
Volunteers must be 18 or older.<br>
For more info contact: Tim Spies Volunteer Coordinator Wilmington State Parks (302) 577-7020<br>
The Blue Ball Barn is conveniently located off I-95 at Rt 202, just minutes from downtown Wilmington.<br>
1914 West Park Drive Wilmington, DE 19803 (302) 577-1164<br> To download the flyer visit http://declimbers.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/volunteer-open-house.pdf
The Fusion 2 back system is comfortable and well ventilated.
The Berghaus Arete Tour 40 Extrem rucksack is a high end pack suitable for climbing, scrambling, mountaineering, ski mountaineering and ski touring. It is made from durable fabric, has a solid construction and is packed with features.
It has a Fusion 2back system, which comprises of non-absorbent thermo-moulded back panels with a large air gap in the middle. It is surprisingly comfortable and the air gap provides ventilation, helping to stop you getting too hot and sweaty.
Both the shoulder and chest straps are height adjustable. The shoulder straps are not uncomfortable, but could do with a little more padding. However it is worth bearing in mind that too much padding on rucksack shoulder straps could restrict your arm movement. The length of the hip belt is adjustable from both sides so that the buckle remains in the middle.
The Berghaus Arete opens up like a suitcase.
The feature that struck me as being different for a rucksack of this size is that it is entirely “unzippable” allowing you to open it up like a small suitcase, for quick and easy access to all your equipment. This feature is typical of rucksacks designed for ski touring. However, being able to get to any piece of your gear without having to empty the entire content of your rucksack is a benefit on any walk, climb or expedition. Let’s face it, no matter how well you pack your rucksack there will always be something that you’ll need in a hurry and you can guarantee that it will have found its way to the bottom of your rucksack!
Inside the rucksack, underneath the lid there is a bivi draw cord to seal in all your outdoor gear and a Y-shaped rope compression strap for securely storing climbing rope. The lid is fastened down with a single buckle, although personally I prefer rucksacks to have two buckle attachments on the lid. The buckle is mounted on an adjustable strap so that it can be used to compress your gear, increasing the stability of your pack. It also has side compression straps to help stop your gear moving around sideways.
Opening the lid reveals more features: bivi draw cord, rope compression strap, mesh pocket and safety instructions.
A very versatile rucksack big enough for hut to hut routes, designed for cragging and rock routes where you plan to be out for the day. Berghaus
The Berghaus Arete Tour 40 Extrem rucksack has more pockets than you can shake your walking pole at, which is great for organising your gear. There are large external pockets both on the lid and at the bottom of the pack, ideal for getting quick access to your waterproofs. The hip belt (waist belt) has small pockets on both sides and there are elasticated pockets at the bottom on either side on the rucksack. Inside the rucksack there are also many pockets and compartments: a large internal pocket, a mesh pocket on the lid and two elasticated pouches, one of which is for holding a hydration pack. There are also two long thin internal pockets which are “shovel and probe storage solutions”. If you’re not going out in the snow you won’t need your avalanche probe, in which case these pockets are ideal for stowing sticks of seaside rock.
The large outer pocket has two zips fasteners. One is red and one is grey, which I assume is to help stop you from accidentally moving both zip fasteners at once, thus opening and closing the pocket in one movement.
Berghaus Arete Tour 40 Extrem Mountaineering Rucksack
Outside the rucksack
On the outside of the rucksack there is a grab handle at the top and there are plenty of straps to hold gear, such as walking poles and ice axes. On each side of the rucksack there are straps designed to hold your skis which have removable, anti-slip pads. The only outer feature that it does not have is an elastic bungy that can be used for holding a climbing helmet or wet clothing.
There are built in safety features such as a small whistle in the chest strap, reflective lettering and safety instructions inside the lid. The whistle is not very loud so it would be best to take along a proper whistle, especially if you are skiing or mountaineering.
The Berghaus Arete Tour 40 Extrem has a capacity of 40 litres, its dimensions are approximately 65cm (H) x 32cm (W) x 25cm (D) and its weight is 1.41 kg.
Arete Tour 40 Extrem
The Berghaus Arete Tour 40 Extrem is a solidly constructed, well thought out rucksack. It is comfortable, adjustable and offers easy access to your gear. With plenty of pockets you can stay organised. It is highly suitable for climbing and mountaineering and, in particular, for ski mountaineering and ski touring. Definitely recommended!
Have you got a Berghaus Arete Tour 40 Extrem or similar rucksack? What do you think of it? Click on “comments” and let us know!
Have you ever been climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, skateboarding and found a great new place for some exciting action? Perhaps you’ve found a place that’s not the best but its close to home and offers the opportunity to get a bit of practice in, just to help keep your skills up to speed? Or maybe you’re going somewhere new and looking for the best place for some extreme sport action? If you want to share your favourite places or find something new then one place to look is Extreme Sports Map!
Climb, Mountain Bike, Kayak, Skateboard
Using Google Maps, Extreme Sports Maps, enables you to place your best location for extreme sporting on a map of the UK. You can zoom right in to give an accurate location and provide a description of your favourite trail, climb, river, spot or track. You don’t have to log in either, although they do like to have your e-mail address to send you updates.
Extreme Sports Map (ESM), The definative visual guide to Skateparks, Skateboarding Spots, Surf Breaks, Dirt Jumps, Mountain Bike Trails and almost every extreme sport spot you could shake a stick at.
Finding the best UK locations is easy. Each spot has a cross marked on the map with the type of extreme sport written next to it. There are literally hundreds of best locations in the UK, so you can filter the one you want. You can choose from Skate Park, Surf Break, Wake Boarding, BMX Track, Snowboarding/Ski, Wind Surf, Paddle (Canoe/Kayak), Street Spot, Downhill Trail, Kite Surf, Dirt Jumping, Climbing/Abseiling, Motor-X and Mountain Biking. The owners apologise if your extreme sport is not in the list, but invite recommendations by e-mail. Anyone know the best place for Extreme Ironing?
Zooming in on the map makes it easier to view different places in a particular area. You can also search for best places by postcode or place name. So whether you are looking for the best place to climb or the best place to mountain bike, using Extreme Sports Map will bring up a good place!
Best Place Map
As well as adding your favourite locations to the map you can also add to photos and YouTube videos to any of the the best places that are already on the map. And its not just the UK, you can find or add a spot anywhere in the world.
It all started after a long visit to South Africa where information about skate spots in particular was incredibly hard to get hold of, and then actually finding these places was near impossible. So Extreme Sports Map was born as a way of locating various parks and street spots, but now that idea has grown into being a visual guide to extreme spots everywhere.
Find or add best places to climb, ride, kayak, jump on Extreme Sports Map.
Extreme Sports Maps is not the only application for Google Maps. It has also been used by fillthathole.org.uk for cyclists to report pot holes in the road. There are many mapping tools available for general navigation, you may be interested in our review of on-line mapping tools.
If you want to share a great location you can also share it here on the CheapTents.com blog. Just click on “comments” below or send us an e-mail: email@example.com.