The Outside Blog

Adventure : Jan 2012

Salazar Says Ritz Is Done with the Marathon

Photo by eviltomthai/Flickr

After finishing ninth in the 2008 Olympic marathon, Dathan Ritzenhein was fourth, and first man out, in Saturday's Olympic marathon trials in Houston. It was his seventh career marathon, all seven of which have been mild disappointments: excellent races for an American, but underwhelming given Ritzenhein's talent and performances at shorter distances. (He won a bronze medal at the 2009 world half marathon championships and has bests of 12:56 for 5,000 meters and 27:22 for 10,000 meters; both are internationally competitive times.) Ritzenhein narrowly PR'd on Saturday in 2:09:55, but that time is still more than six minutes slower than Patrick Makau's world marathon record of 2:03:38.

I spoke with Ritzenhein's coach Alberto Salazar earlier this week. Neither seem sure why Ritzenhein continues to under-perform, but they don't plan to expend any more energy finding out. He'll next try to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team at 10,000 meters.

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Climbing the Compressor Route by "Fair Means"

4303643908_78c96a7cf4_bPhoto: Geoff Livingston/Flickr

Jason Kruk and Hayden Kennedy nabbed one of Patagonia's most sought-after objectives on Monday when they made the first "fair means" ascent of Cerro Torre's infamous southeast ridge, bypassing the bolt ladders placed by first acensionist Cesare Maestri. Alpinist and photographer Colin Haley, who watched the ascent through a zoom lens from a nearby camp, said the pair took just 13 hours to ascend the peak from a bivouac on the mountain's shoulder, "which is amazingly fast considering the terrain."

"The speed with which they navigated virgin ground on the upper headwall is certainly testament to Hayden's great skills on rock," Haley wrote.

Known as the Compressor Route, Cerro Torre's southeast ridge has perhaps the most checkered history of any climb in Patagonia. Maestri claimed to have made the first ascent of Cerro Torre in 1959 via its northeast ridge after a weeklong push, during which his partner, Austrian Toni Egger, was killed in an avalanche. Many climbers have since questioned his account, noting the lack of fixed ropes, bolts, or pitons at the top of the mountain and the general difficulty of the route (it was not repeated until 2005). In 1970, Maestri returned to climb the southeast ridge, using a gas-powered compressor to drill more than 400 bolts in order to bypass a blank stretch of rock. The result was an enormous bolt ladder that took little skill to ascend, drawing harsh criticism from climbers, including Reinhold Messner.

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Petzl's New Headlamp Adjusts on Its Own

Petzl_NAO Headlamp_PGDo you ever get tired of fiddling with your headlamp in an attempt to get just the right amount of light? You need more, but not so much that you drain your battery before your adventure is over? Now your headlamp can do that for you. Petzl, the company that invented headlamps, has raised the bar again with its new NAO headlamp.

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Bike Testing 2012: Road Highlights

Jj_tus120111_6142Gates Pass, trip number seven. Photo by Jen Judge.

The 2012 Outside Bike Test ended on Saturday, and thank goodness. After seven days of straight riding, I needed a rest day. But we had plenty of fun. Between a total of 57 testers, we racked up 1,700 miles and over 157,000 feet of climbing on 58 bicycles.

We spent the last three days of the test spinning road bikes around McCain's Loop, a 12-mile lasso from the hairpin pull-out on Gates Pass, on Tucson's western outskirts. But the laps never ended there. As is so often the case when you get a bunch of strong riders together, testosterone trumped good sense, and nearly every test loop ended at the top of the pass three-quarters of a mile beyond—after a three-minute uphill sprint. Even the coast back to the truck became a contest to see who's bike descended best. I thought of protesting once or twice but then realized just how good a test it was for the bikes.

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Best in Show: Klean Kanteen's New Stainless Steel Baby Bottle

K05BABY_cart_previewOutdoor Retailer Winter Market kicks off today in Salt Lake City, and we'll be prowling the aisles—virtually—for the best new adventure gear, apparel, gadgets and goodies for active kiddos. (Cue the drooling.) Today’s pick: the first ever stainless steel baby bottle from Klean Kanteen. 

Breast may be best, but when it comes to feeding active babies on the go, there are plenty of occasions when it’s smart to bring a bottle as back up (ski tours, climbing trips, river running, any and all daddy outings). Until now the choice was plastic or breakable glass, but thanks to Klean Kanteen, backcountry babies can now sip from durable, 18/8 food-grade stainless steel that’s free of BPA, phalates, lead, and other toxins, doesn't retain food flavors, and is and sturdy enough to withstand repeated flingings (why do they think that’s so funny?).

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