The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Oct 2010

The Gear Junkie Scoop: IceHoldz

IceHoldz Climber By Stephen Regenold

The manufacture and sale of artificial rock-climbing holds is a small industry and one of those esoteric tiny areas of dedicated people and passionate companies that makes the outdoors world so neat. An even tinier niche focuses on artificial holds and bolt-on-the-wall mediums to simulate frozen-waterfall ice climbing.

This year, Off-Belay LLC of Woodbridge, Calif., made another go at the unlikely product category with its IceHoldz line of permeable plastic holds. You can swing an ice ax into the holds or step and kick in with crampon spikes.

The holds work with a proprietary composite plastic shell that's filled with a rubbery material. The plastic shell is about 1/4-inch thick, meaning you need to penetrate the smooth medium and get your ax pick or crampon front-point inside to stick.

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Marathon Diaries: My Top Five Training Accessories

The Nike for Women marathon is in three days. Six months ago I made a plea to my three-mile-jogger self that I was going to run my first marathon. I've built up my lactic acid threshold, I've tapered, and, now, here I am, having completed my last training run (a whopping two-miler), ready to take on the whole shebang.

Throughout my training, I wore a variety of apparel--shorts, capris, tank tops, t-shirts--but there were five things that stayed the same on every run: my watch, sunglasses, shoes, water bottle, and nutrition supplements. 

Watch: Garmin Forerunner 110, $200

There's something about knowing the exact distance I'd gone that pushed me to go further. This GPS-enabled watch ticks off the miles for you down to two-tenths of a mile. I credit the watch for reinvigoration mid-run: the little beep that signaled I'd gone yet another mile was like a reward for my efforts. It tracked my pace more accurately than, say, a pedometer, and let me upload it all online so I could look back at my runs. The only downfall: the heart rate moniter was too big even when adjusted to its smallest settings. And putting it under a sport's bra band isn't comfortable for 20 long miles.

Costa Sunglasses: Costa Del Mar Isabela, $149

Two parts style, one part tech-y, these sunglasses let me feel a little more feminine out there on the road. And not at the sake of quality. These bad boys are polarized and have grippy rubber in strategic places so they don't slide around when you sweat. Nylon composite frames keep these subtly-oversize shades lightweight and the plastic lens option means you can take these mountain biking too. Also available with glass lenses. Rx-able.

Picture 1 Shoes: Nike LunarEclipse+,$130

The first words out of my mouth after trying these were: "I have to gush about these." A protruding panel under the forefoot promoted forefoot running (something I hadn't really made an effort to work on), which ultimately made me faster. My speed was also helped by the dense foam around the heel bed--it let me spring right into the next step without wasting time in the back seat. The airflow is breezy, the look is stylish, and I can't wait to run the full 26.2 in these babies.

Camelbak Water Bottle: CamelBak Insulated Podium ChillJacket Bottle, $20

A lot of people don't like to run with things in their hands. I'm not one of those people. Dog leashes, water pottles, iPods, keys, I can happily jaunt along holding all of the above (not all at once). The insulation in the Podium bottle kept my water fairly cool out on the trail, while the "jacket" held ChapStick, a car key, and a GU (all at once). My ID fit in there, barely, which was a little annoying, but otherwise, the strap kept the bottle glued to my hand without requiring a white-knuckle grip. And, I could even change my grip up if my hand started to get sore.

Nutrition Supplements: GU and Nuun

Because this is only my first marathon, I wasn't that versed in nutrition. Like, I didn't know that I needed an electrolyte supplement in my water or I could get very ill. Or that eating 30 grams of carbs every five or so miles is what your body needs to keep going full-steam ahead. GU's flavors are palateable: mint chocolate, triple berry, vanilla bean. The only ones I couldn't eat without grimacing were the coffee-flavored gels. Nuun hydration tablets kept me from getting super-salty when I was out there for hours. Favorite flavors? Cola and Lemon Lime. I never tried the Banana, though.

What are you favorite training accessories?


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Eric Larsen Moves to Camp 4

Map Courtesy of Save the Poles

It's a good thing my mom isn't here watching me climb. This is definitely not the safest thing I have ever done.
-- Eric Larsen, Day 44, Camp 4

Explorer Eric Larsen moved with his team up to Camp 4 just hours ago, inching closer to the summit of Everest. Larsen and crew are the last team on the mountain, according to a recent report from Explorers Web.

The quest is the last installment of Larsen's Save the Poles expedition. Starting last November, he set off to visit the South Pole, the North Pole, and the peak of Everest within 365 days. By documenting change in the world's last great frozen places, he hopes to raise awareness of climate change.

You can follow the climbing expedition on his site, where he updates readers with blogs, videos, facebook updates, podcasts, and a map of his route. A pretty impressive list of media to put out while climbing the world's highest peak.

--Joe Spring

Map image courtesy of

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Kelly Slater Wins Rip Curl Pro Portugal


Kelly Slater edged out Jordy Smith in the finals of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal in Peniche. Watch the heat in the video above. The victory pushes Slater closer to a 10th world title.

If you didn't get your fix during the event, all heats—including the finals—are posted on

--Joe Spring

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Adventure Reality TV Goes Underground

Spike TV just ordered "Coal", a mining reality show from the creators of Deadliest Catch, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Thom Beers and Original Productions will follow a West Virginian mining company with 40 employees.

It's not the first mention of a coal-related series. News of Coal as a Discovery Channel show appeared in March of 2008. News of the show for Spike came during the rescue of 33 Chilean miners—who appeared above ground for the first time yesterday after spending two months trapped underground.

“We’ve tapped into something that people are passionate about; this is a topic the world is interested in,” Levy said in The Hollywood Reporter. “Everybody is afraid of being buried alive. These people risk their lives every day to make the world move, yet most of us never really think about how we get [our energy] ... this series is going to shine a light on the brave men and women and their families who endure the rigors of this arduous profession.”

For more on Beers and his shows, check out Manly-man TV from the LA Times.

--Joe Spring


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