The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Mar 2011

Video: Inside the Khumbu Climbing Center

Nepal 2011, Namaste, Khumbu Climbing Center from Cedar Wright on Vimeo.

Here's a quick short from Cedar Wright that captures the essence of the Khumbu Climbing Center. The school aims to train Nepali climbers and high altitude workers in order to reduce their risk to injury and sickness. The climbers learn equipment inspection, knots, belaying, rope management, protection, wilderness first aid, risk avoidance and camp hygiene on ice and rock routes. The first school began in 2004 and has continued in the winters during the climbing low season.

In his post about the video on the Never Stop Exploring blog, Wright said:

To give you an idea of how important it is to provide climbing education to the Sherpas, this year we had a five time everest Summiter who didn't know how to tie a figure eight, the basic climbing knot for tying into a harness.

To learn more about the Khumbu Climbing School, go to alexlowe.org.

--Joe Spring
@joespring

 

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Video: Xavier de Le Rue's Italian Job

 


Snowboarding freeride champ Xavier de Le Rue spent two days carving some pretty ambitious lines in northern Italy's Le Dolomiti for the latest video dispatch from Timeline on Vimeo. Le Rue has attempted a series of bold descents captured on film over the last year. Timeline recently put out The Italian Job (above) and Slush and Ice.

The 31-year-old French snowboarder has a stacked resume, from competing in snowboard cross in the Olympics to being named Big Mountain Rider of the Year by Snowboarder. In recent video dispatches, he is shown taking plenty of risks. Some have given him kudos for his unique lines. Others have called him out for a lack of caution.

Via: The Adventure Journal, Backcountry.com

--Whitney Dreier

 

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Space Shuttle Discovery Completes Final Mission

 

The space shuttle Discovery touched down at Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 11:57 a.m. EST today, marking the end of a 27-year career for NASA's most-traveled spaceship, Reuters reports. On it's last trip to space, Discovery brought cargo to and helped with construction on the International Space Station.

Over the course of 39 missions, Discovery racked up 365 days in orbit and more than 148 million miles. Discovery's final trip will be to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Two more space shuttles, Endeavour and Atlantis, remain in service with scheduled final missions in April and June, respectively. Space shuttles Challenger and Columbia were lost in accidents in 1986 and 2003, taking with them a total of 14 astronauts. Since then, Discovery has been the fleet's de facto leader.

"Houston, Discovery. For the final time, wheels stop," Commander Steven Lindsey radioed to Mission Control in Houston, after Discovery rolled to a stop.

"Great job by you and your crew," replied astronaut Charlie Hobaugh from Mission Control. "That was an awesome mission that you all had. You were able to take Discovery up to a full 365 days of actual time on orbit. I think that you'd call that a fleet leader, and a leader of any manned vehicle for time in orbit. So, job well done," Hobaugh said.

--Michael Webster

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The Trial of Mike Vandeman

Guest blogger Peter Frick Wright is a writer and mountain biker who has been blogging about a unique case involving Mike Vandeman, a man accused of attacking mountain bikers with a saw on trails near the UC Berkeley campus.

There's always been a subtle tension between hikers and bikers when passing each other on forest trails, but this week, in Oakland, that tension gets a whole lot less subtle.

Anti mountain bike advocate Mike Vandeman is on trial for assault, battery and vandalism. There are six counts stemming from altercations with four victims over nearly a year. In the most recent incident, which lead to his arrest, he's accused of hitting a rider in the chest with a pruning saw as the biker went by.

Vandeman has long been a scourge on mountain biking forums—he has a Ph.D. in psychology and is particularly good at eliciting responses—but in the past he engaged only through comments and academic papers that he posted on his website.

Now it seems, his crusade is no longer strictly virtual.

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Excessive Exercise Linked to Heart Damage

Marathon
Mumbai Marathon by through my eyes only on flickr

A study published recently by British researchers suggests that engaging in years of strenuous physical activity—such as marathons or ultramarathons—is associated with a greater likelihood of heart damage, The New York Times reports.

Researchers observed a group of men aged 50 and above who had been part of the British national or Olympic distance running and rowing teams, as well as members of the 100 Marathon Club (runners that have completed 100 marathons). Magnetic resonance images of these men's hearts were compared to those from two other groups—similarly aged non-endurance athletes and younger athletes—to determine any difference in fibrosis, or scarring of the heart's muscle tissue. The men who had engaged in years of endurance activity were associated with a greater likelihood of heart damage.

For most recreational athletes, however, the news should not be daunting.

“How many people are going to join the 100 Marathon club?” asked Dr. Paul Thompson, the chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and an expert on sports cardiology, in the New York Times article. “Not many. Too much exercise has not been a big problem in America. Most people just run to stay in shape, and for them, the evidence is quite strong that endurance exercise is good” for the heart, he said.

While it remains impossible to say at what point endurance exercise could begin to cause heart damage, absent the presence of heart arrhythmias or other signs of heart trouble, “I think it’s safe to say that you should keep it up,” Dr. Thompson said.

--Michael Webster

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