The Outside Blog

Running : Jan 2011

Outdoor Retailer Gear: Touchscreen Gloves

You know the problem: Your boss calls your smartphone on the chairlift. Your iPod player starts cranking late-issue Rod Stewart way too loudly. You need to operate your touchscreen immediately. On a cold day, that usually means taking off your gloves. Unless you have one of Outdoor Research’s forthcoming (you guessed it) touchscreen-friendly leather gloves—the Sensor (a mid-weight softshell glove) and the Ambit (a warm, waterproof ski glove). OR has partnered with a company called Touch Tec [touchtec.net] that makes a leather that works on touchscreens—no more little metal tabs on the fingertips, and no more freezing your hands off while you try to scroll through your iPod playlists. It’s a cool idea—especially since it looks and probably performs just like any other OR glove.

--Justin Nyberg
@justinnyberg

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Atacama Extreme: Running Solo

Untitled from Outside Magazine on Vimeo.

Ray and I received some very disheartening news the day before leaving for Chile. Kevin Vallely, Ray’s expedition brother—from the expedition to the South Pole in 2009 and the journey across Lake Baikal in 2010—informed us he wouldn’t be able to make the trip due to recent developments with his father’s health.  Ray and I, along with the entire i2P community, want Kevin and his family to know that he is in our thoughts and we are all hopeful that things will turn for the better over the next few days and weeks.

Upon receiving the news Ray and I were forced to analyze the situation in front of us. We were one day away from a 600-700 mile running expedition across the driest desert on the planet and our options were few. Ray's water bottles..                                                     Ray's Water Bottles

One option, maybe our only option, is that Ray is going to have to do it solo. My role shifts a bit from logistics, school communications, and desert traveler (via truck!) to logistics, school communications, and part-time runner to keep him company every once in a while.  I will not be carrying all of my supplies—sleeping bag, stove, tent, food, sat phone, etc..—as Ray is doing. I will be carrying exactly enough Gatorade hydration and nutrition to get me through the day.

The start!                                                     The start!
After all the training, logistics meetings with our Chilean team members, coordinating scouting missions so we don’t get hopelessly lost in the desert, scouring topography maps and Google earth, working with our corporate expedition partners like Gatorade, Canada Goose, Stratos Global and a host of others, packing and re-packing gear, weighing bags, communicating with i2P team members and education coordinators, and all the while working on the upcoming spring 2011 i2P Youth Ambassador Expedition to Jordan the time has arrived. Ray is set to begin Saturday morning.  He is looking forward to sharing the experience and contrasting story of biodiversity in the driest desert on the planet with all of the students that followed along throughout the Youth Ambassador Amazon expedition.  Students will see a much different setting from the landscape seen just a few months ago.

Photos and more blogs to follow!

--Bob Cox and Ray Zahab will be sending daily updates as Ray runs roughly 40 miles a day for 16 days across one of the driest places on earth, the Atacama Desert. For more on their journey, check out atacamaextreme.com.

Impossible2Possible

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Stuff You Should Click On: Week of January 21

The Loneliest Road in America gets a little more lonely, swingliners go big in Utah, an epic bore in Alaska, and tailgating: by the numbers. Here's the stuff you should click on this week.

Not Your Average Backyard Swing Set:

Forget Duran Duran:
Playing Megadeth Song Saves Boy from Wolf Attack (TreeHugger)

Don't Have Music?
New Taser Specially Designed for Use on Wildlife (TreeHugger)

Doesn't Matter:
Fox Shoots Man (Reuters)

SUP With That:

Five-Mile Tidal Bore Ride in Alaska (Wend)

Science, With a Twist:
Who Knew? People Love to Drink at Sporting Events (Wired)

The BBC Chaps, at It Again:

The Passing of an Icon:
R.I.P., Shoe Tree (Patagonia)

--Michael Webster

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Remembering Hendri Coetzee

Kayaker Chris Korbulic returns to Africa to take part in a unique memorial service for his friend and fellow paddler Hendri Coetzee, who was killed by a crocodile in Congo in December 2010.

Itunda Falls, Nile River, Uganda
8 January, 2011

The Pyre, by Chris Korbulic

Hendri had called Itunda Falls the “center of the universe”, and it certainly felt like that on January 8th this year, when hundreds of friends gathered to celebrate and commemorate his extraordinary life. The rapid itself, much like Hendri’s life, is a complex, thrilling ride when on line, but ferocious if pushed just off to either side. The line falls and twists by giant holes and surging waves before ending in a calm pool surrounded by thick jungle; nearly paradise. The banks are lined with trees and flowers and open rock, and on this day, just as the sun set, hundreds of eyes watched and hands waved as Hendri took his final ride down his favorite rapid.

Earlier in the day, a wooden raft had been covered with prayer flags with personal notes, mementos, and anything friends wanted to send with Hendri down the falls. I sat by the boat a little longer, feet in the water, feeling the Nile’s warmth and pulsing flow. I thought about the amazing seven weeks I had with Hendri, and how until the last day, they had been the best seven of my life. They wouldn’t have been possible, and certainly not the best, without Hendri and his excitement, passion, and love for what we were doing. We became fast friends after he first picked us up at the airport, and it only grew on every one of our “best days ever” on the expedition.

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Contest Picks Wildlife Crossing Design

Crossing

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

The nonprofit ARC announced a winner yesterday for it's competition to design a wildlife crossing over I-70, near Vail and Breckenridge ski resorts, The New York Times reports.

The area marks a convergence of highway traffic with a wildlife corridor, where animals are often killed and cars damaged in collisions. Black bears, cougars, bobcats, elk, deer, and the threatened Canada lynx are among the victims.

Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates, a landscape architecture company based in New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts, won a $40,000 prize with their design, proposing a wide bridge made of lightweight precast concrete panels that snap together. The bridge would be covered with foliage to resemble forest, with shrubs and meadows mimicking the animals' natural environment. Fences on either side of the highway would funnel the animals to the bridge.

Colorado state officials have not committed to building the wildlife overpass, but plan to review ideas from contest entries to address the current problem.

--Nick Davidson

 

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