The Outside Blog

Dispatches : May 2012

A Climbing Wall for the Chic Home

For those that have always wanted a climbing wall in their living room, but worried it would look a little too dirtbag, now there's the Nova. This stylish new bouldering wall offers a variety of lit, color-specific routes when it's on, and a soft glow that provides a calm ambience when it's off. Lunar, the company that makes the wall, says the Nova "shifts the paradigm of training at home, making it a celebrated activity." We're not sure about all of that, but somebody did spend a lot of time designing this thing.

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Giro d'Italia Favorites and Predictions

Contador won the 2011 Giro but his results were scratchedWith Contador banned, the 2012 Giro is wide open. Photo: Petit Brun/Flickr

The Giro d'Italia starts in Herning, Denmark, tomorrow, and it promises to be one of the most interesting and wide-open races in years. With last year's winner, Alberto Contador, stripped of his title and sitting out a suspension for his clenbuterol positive in the 2010 Tour de France, there's no clear favorite for the win. That means a host of teams will be angling for their leaders, the margins are likely to be tight, and there should be great drama all the way down to the mountainous penultimate stage, which includes both the Mortirolo and the Stelvio. The whole race could even come down to the final finish line at the concluding time trial in Milan.

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Cory Richards Will Not Return to Everest

Cory Richards, the award-winning photographer and climber for the North Face, will not return to Mount Everest after suffering respiratory distress that forced his evacuation from 23,000 feet on Saturday. Doctors in Kathmandu cleared Richards to return to the mountain after finding no evidence of altitude-related illness, but team leaders at Base Camp remain concerned for Richards' health and have pulled him from the expedition. "Though I'm deeply disappointed in the decision not to let me return, I understand completely the team's collective concerns regarding my health and well-being, and honor and respect them," Richards wrote in an email on Wednesday. He is now in Kathmandu and will return to his home in Boulder, Colorado. Richards' climbing partner, Conrad Anker, has not yet decided whether to continue up the West Ridge, though he says he is looking for a suitable partner.

Read more at The North Face

--Nick Davidson
@nickgdavidson

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The Six-Month Test: Focus FSL 1.0

This German race machine is plenty fast and light but still left us wanting.

The Focus  FSL 1.0
It's not often that a brand new suspension design shows up, so as soon as we saw the Focus FSL, we knew we had to ride it. The German bike manufacturer showed a prototype of this 100mm, 26-inch-wheeled model at Interbike 2010, but because of production and stock issues we didn't get our tester until nearly a year later. The bike was officially on the market in 2011 but pretty hard to find, meaning that 2012 is the first time that consumers will have easy access to the FSL.

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