STABILicers Original

This was my first pair of mini-crampons. They have a full Vibram sole with replaceable steel cleats. These perform best in icy, hard conditions because of the full sole. The Velcro hook and loop strap system works well but seems to fray after serious use. They work well on slippery rocks when fly fishing too. Retail: $49.99

Kahtoola Microspikes

Kahtoola means “directly” in Tibetan. These mini-crampons are the most aggressive of any I have used to date. They have 3/8″ stainless steel spikes with a steel flex chain anchored by tough elastomer webbing. A toe bar keeps footwear securely in place. This product is comfortable and works well in all conditions, but I would not want to walk around town with them. Retail: $59.99

Yaktrax Pro

This product is made of 1.4 mm steel coils and heavy duty rubber. The Yaktrax are quite flexible and conform well to your boot or shoe. They also utilize a Velcro strap system and are the lightest of the three discussed here. These work well in packed powder conditions and around town. Retail: $30.00

Climbing With Better Climbers

Obviously Steve had climbed well within his physical ability for two decades. Quite simply, he had no idea he could climb harder. More importantly, he’d never even tried to climb harder. For instance, he’d never gone out and put a top-rope on something and just played around on it.

So, all along, Steve was capable of far harder things. His breakthrough was instigated by the sheer embarrassment of not feeling able to ‘own up’ to his normal grade. I also suspect that Dave’s easy-going personality helped. A capable climber, Dave is also a very relaxed guy who does not come over as a rock-jock. Instead, he’s endlessly supportive.

Steve continued to climb to E4. He never became a bold climber but, if a route is well protected, he’ll get on it and, very often, he’ll do it. He still enjoys Severes. But he also enjoys climbing E4’s – six grades harder – and every grade in between.

There’s a lesson there – for all of us. Climbing with other people who are a lot better can help us to ‘drag our grades up’. Obviously the better climber must be supportive. And, equally, one must not be put off by the grade difference. Just let go of your ego. I used to climb with a guy called Ian Vincent, who was climbing F8b (5.13d) when I was only on about F6b+ (5.11a). We still had great days climbing together.

Seeing a better climber on routes that seem too hard for you demystifies them and makes them so much more accessible. You pick up tips, techniques and, best of all, a different mind-set. The better climber probably knows, much better than you, what you’re capable of. If they say, “You can do it,” then, chances are, you can.

I’ve a confession to make: every significant grade breakthrough I’ve ever made has been on my down. Conversely, I’ve helped dozens of climbers to make grade breakthroughs. There’s a hard way to get better (mine!) and an easy way (climbing with better people). So my advice is this: choose the easy way and climb with better people!

Hiking and Gear For Sleeping


In my experience there are 3 major factors to consider when you purchase a tent for hiking.

Firstly there is the weight to consider. You need to consider how big the tent needs to be depending on the size of your group and how much you want to carry. So really the weight is a “trade off” and needs to be considered carefully. A 2 or 3 man tent is great for the right hiking and gear for one person to carry.

Secondly you need to consider how your tent packs into your rucksack. Is the tent packing volume the right size for your rucksack? Will it fit OK?

Thirdly, how easy is it to set up? After a long day of great, but maybe tiring, hiking you will want to ensure that the tent was easy to put up without too many complications.

Sleeping bag

Sleeping bags are also important as part of your hiking and gear for sleeping. For hiking I would buy a tapered or mummy type bag that tends to be thinner at the foot end. This will ensure extra warmth because your body does not have to work so hard to keep warm. Also ensure that the sleeping bag has a hood (due to the amount of heat that is generated from your head).

The other important thing about sleeping bags as part of your hiking and gear is the stitching. Cheaper bags are stitched through the actual bag creating big pockets. Manufacturers then fill these pockets with insulation. As the stitching is through the actual sleeping bag there are pockets of cold spots all over the sleeping bag. So avoid these sleeping bags. Instead go for the sleeping bag that has offset stitching. This where the stitching is in the middle of the insulation so that there are no cold spots.

Climbing Tips to Improve Skills

The first thing we’ll look at is the mental aspect of this sport. You should already know that rock climbing isn’t exactly the safest sport. There is definitely a real risk of seriously injuring yourself if you make the wrong mistake. There is this fear that might run through your mind as you prepare to climb your route and during your climb as well. This fear can hold you back from reaching your fullest potential. One way to overcome this is to visualize your climb as well as progressively improve so that you will have greater confidence in your climbing abilities. Of course, trusting your spotters and equipment will help as well.

With many rock climbers, it’s all about getting stronger. Specifically, it’s all about getting stronger fingers and forearms. If you think about the routes that you failed to complete, chances are, you failed because of a hold that you couldn’t hold onto or a move you didn’t have enough strength to do. So how do you get stronger for climbing? One thing you can do is to simply climb with the focus of doing hard moves. This might mean skipping your projects and just doing moves that forces you to get stronger. You can also work on doing pull ups as well as use a campus board to train your fingers. Adding weight such as using a weight vest will do wonders as well.

One of the best ways to increase your climbing ability is to focus on your technique. Many beginner climbers focus solely on strength and have very sloppy technique. With the right technique, you can do many moves effortlessly while people who use only strength burn out on. Watch the more advanced climbers climb and notice how they do certain moves that may seem a bit tough for you. Knowing different techniques such as knee drops, flagging, Gastons, heel hooks, etc., will make doing certain moves seem almost effortless. It should be your goal to figure out the easiest, most efficient way to send a route instead of trying to muscle your way through the problem like so many beginners do.

Camelback Mountain

There are too many areas where an individual can test his climbing skills. Too many beautiful places which will truly make him appreciate nature and all of its exquisite views. It really takes a lot of determination in order for an individual to reach the summit of whatever he is aiming to climb for.

Arizona is a state having spectacular sites for mountain climbing. It has a wide open space for different types of climbing from big walls up to bouldering spots. The people in Arizona are so friendly that is why you would not have a hard time at all from interacting with them and asking them a few questions or information. Most of Arizona’s animals are docile but this does not mean you should not protect yourself. It is best that you carry a self defense tool like the famous cell phone stun gun which is very easy and light to carry.

One of the most prominent mountains in Arizona is found in Phoenix and it is better known as the Camelback Mountain. Phoenix has been a popular tourist destination because it has the best urban hiking in Arizona. One can find a few parks and preserves that can be hiked all of which has an elevation of approximately 1,400 feet. You will always find a great time when you visit the spectacular place of Arizona.

Camelback Mountain is considered as the highest mountain in the Phoenix Mountains. People hike the mountain up to almost every day because it is such a beauty. The trails are short but are very busy. It has a height of approximately 1,25 miles going to the top. The trails are steep but good thing though that there are handrails to help you pull yourself up. This makes the climbing very challenging. There are also rocks that you can use but just make sure you get a tight grip on to the rocks.

The best time of the day to climb Camelback Mountain is during sunrise. It has a breathtaking view of the sun as it slowly rises and shines. The months of October through April are the best month to take a trek at Camelback Mountain. Climbing during the summer is really very hot.

When planning to climb this mountain, never forget to bring lots of water. You need for rehydration purposes. If you have plans in climbing the mountain during summer, best time of the day to start climbing is about 4am up to 5am. Start climbing the mountain as early as possible to avoid being baked by the heat of the sun as well as the crowd. Always remember to prioritize your safety whenever you climb. A self defense tool like the cheetah stun gun will protect you from possible attacks of animals and humans.

Climbing Camelback Mountain is fun and filled with challenges. You can really be able to contemplate on life when you visit this place.

Benefits of Rock Climbing

The first and foremost advantage that one receives from rock climbing is that your physical strength and stamina are boosted like never before. Rock climbing provides an excellent workout that targets all muscle groups and body parts. When you take up rock climbing as a regular sport you stand to gain in the following areas of physical strength and endurance-

  • overall body coordination
  • balance control
  • muscle strength
  • stamina and endurance levels
  • agility

Physical benefits are the primary advantages of taking up rock climbing as a sport. In order to be able to dedicate yourself to the sport you need to be physically strong. As you go along from one level to another you will gain more and more physical power and strength, especially when it comes to the upper body. To be able to make the most of the sport and take pleasure in all that it has to offer, you will have to take the utmost care of your body. Hence superlative physical strength is just one of the byproducts of the sport.

When you become involved in climbing you stand to gain on psychological counts as well. Rock climbing is a popular sport that is also thrilling and challenging in nature. As you compete with other rock climbers and as you push yourself to achieve newer heights you will find yourself putting on qualities like team spirit, confidence and self-assurance. The ability to be able to conquer difficult terrains and inspiring heights fills climbers with a sense of accomplishment that augments all other facets of life.

Being a community sport, this for of sport allows you a chance to interact with others and compete in a healthy and fun-filled atmosphere. It helps to build team spirit, mutual trust and cooperation and a sense of camaraderie amongst climbers.

Rock Climbing Apparel

Most outdoor apparel sites kind of just throw information about a particular product at you when you have no understanding about the subject, during my search on the internet I came across a particular site that was new and broke down information for me on rock climbing harnesses. This was very helpful for me and this site saved me precious time, so for those of you who participate in outdoor climbing or indoor climbing and you’re new to the extreme sport, I’m going to tell you what to look for in a good informative rock climbing apparel website.

How to look for a rock climbing apparel site that’s convenient and provides you quality information

  • Look for a site that provides you on up to date analysis and helps you find the best offers on the top climbing gear.
  • The site should provide the latest reviews and posts each week pertaining to rock climbing gear as well as other equipment.
  • Make sure that the site is simple, versatile, and easy to work with so you can get the information you need directly.
  • If possible find a site that provides you a monthly newsletter, that way you will receive the latest info on rock climbing gear and outdoor apparel.
  • Last but not least always make sure that the website has a contact page, that way if you have any questions they can help you out, which again saves you valuable time.

The climbing industry is growing, people are getting more involved with the sport and I must admit your adrenaline does start to pump when you climb those very intense routes for the first time. At one time the major outdoor apparel sites were the only ones that could provide you with quality information on equipment, but now there are various blog and review sites that can help you out with all sorts of questions and provide you quality information. This is great for everyone that participates in rock climbing because you get the information that you need right away, I hope this was informative and I hope that you find what you’re looking for.

Hiking Clothes

If you are hiking on a regular basis then you should not limit yourself to just one outfit, the weather should play a key influence on what style of clothing you should wear. A great tip for all hikers would be to wear layered clothing, which is essentially layers of clothing, this way you can always change clothes quickly and simply, which in turn allows for maximum comfort. If you want to avoid feeling sticky and moist through perspiration, then wearing polyester micro fiber as your base layer is advised.

Another key component in your decision of hiking clothes should be the length. You do not want to leave any part of the skin showing (apart from you face) as this could lead to burning, scratched, bitten or grazed skin. Therefore, if the day is hot, wear something long which has breathable materials, so you can stay safe but cool.

Water-resistant clothes are also extremely handy to have on you, even if you do not wear them to start. My recommendation would be a waterproof cagoule, which are lightweight, easy to carry and easy to put equip yet they also do an effective job at braving off the rain.

Let us not forget about the footwear! To decide on the best footwear, you need to answer the question, where am I going? If you are off walking across rocky terrain then durable footwear should be your number one concern, however, if you are trailing through the woods then you can opt for something lighter. Make sure your footwear is always comfortable regardless of the surroundings, due to the amount of time you will be hiking for. Socks are also extremely valuable, there are hiking socks, which reduce friction, however, wearing two pairs of socks can be just as equally effective.

As for headgear, it is always a smart idea to wear some hat to fend off sunburn, or to act as protection from the rain. It is also a smart idea to wear high protection UV sunglasses, as the sun can be a pest when trying to navigate through harder terrains.

If you hike in the snow, then your clothing should be much different to this. Polyester clothing is essential as it will not hold perspiration, which in cold conditions can chill up and become dangerous. Your clothing should also be windproof and water resistant. However, layered clothing is essential as you do not know how cold it is going to be, therefore, wearing too many clothes is much better than not enough.

Tree Climbing Harnesses

Importance of tree climbing harnesses

Tree climbing harnesses are extremely important. In fact, they’re as important as your climbing rope. If either fails, you could be in serious trouble. Your TCH (Tree Climbing Harnesses) will support your body while climbing-both your upper and lower body.

Picking the right tree climbing harnesses for you

Knowing how important TCH are, you should take great care when purchasing one. Here are a few pointers to help you make an adequate selection:

  • Make sure it fits-Sometimes people get so hung up on the safety aspect of a harness that they fail to check for comfort. The safest TCH in the world do you little good if you can’t stand to wear them. If a harness doesn’t fit you right, return it and get one that does.
  • Look for a quality brand-Brand names are important when it comes to tree climbing gear such as harnesses. Why? Because when you see a quality brand name you know you can rely on the product. Sure you may have to pay a bit more for a good brand name, but isn’t it worth it when the product keeps you safe?
  • Certified equipment-All tree climbing harnesses, as well as any other tree gear you purchase, should be ANSI and OSHA certified. Why should you care? Well these organizations symbolize safe arborist practices and products they certify meet all their stringent safety standards.

Remember, check for quality. If you have to pay a little more to make sure you get high quality equipment, so be it. Safety should always come first.

Shopping for tree climbing harnesses online

In today’s technological age you can practically do all your shopping without ever leaving your home. Such is the case with TCH and other tree gear. By going to Google or a similar search engine, you can type in the necessary keywords and find a plethora of suppliers with ease. The difficult part is deciding who to purchase from. Use a systematic approach and you’ll come across the right supplier.

First of all, look for a site that is easy to navigate. Online shopping is supposed to make your life easier-not induce stress. If the site is difficult to order from, move on to the next.

As stated above, you always want certified equipment. Pick a supplier that advertises their equipment certification. This should be noted by a badge on their homepage. This is the mark of a company that truly puts safety first.

Also, do business with a company that takes your private information seriously. That means they have a plainly stated privacy policy on their site, as well as a badge that indicates a secure, authentic site for purchasing purposes.

Finally, make sure they list a customer service phone number for you to get a hold of an actual person. Even though you’re ordering online, there are times when it will be necessary to speak to a live representative. It’s important that this option be available.


It should not happen though. Hypothermia is a killer of the unprepared and the careless. If you are properly clothed, well fed and not over-tired you should be in no danger. You must use your equipment when it is needed, of course. People have died with warm clothing and bivvy bags in their rucksacks. You should never leave essential gear behind either, even in the middle of a heat wave. During the long, hot summer of 1995 a walker died in the English Lake District after he became lost because he did not have adequate clothing when a cool, damp evening mist caused a rapid drop in temperature. Most hypothermia occurs in temperatures well above freezing, probably because people go out with minimal equipment due to warm weather when they set off. Winter walkers expect cold weather and are usually well prepared.

If someone in your party shows signs of hypothermia take immediate action. If you can, the first thing is to seek nearby shelter such as a large boulder. Do not spend time searching for shelter, though, as the sufferer could be deteriorating rapidly. The aim is to minimize further heat loss and start re-warming immediately. The casualty should be put in a bivvy bag as soon as possible, with some form of insulation such as sitmats and rucksacks underneath them. If they are conscious, they should be given hot drinks and food. Ideally, wet clothing should be removed and replaced with dry warm items. Unless you have a tent or group shelter this probably cannot be done without further heat loss, which must be avoided. In that case just the wet outer layer should be taken off then dry clothing put on over the damp inner garments. The only exception I would make to this is if the casualty is wearing cotton next to the skin, which they should not be doing. Because lots of body heat is needed to dry out wet cotton I would remove this garment and replace it with wool, silk or synthetic top even at the risk of losing some heat in the process. Putting the casualty in a sleeping bag, if you have one, will also help. Because the casualty may not be able to produce enough heat themselves it is better if someone else gets in it and warms it up first. If there is room someone could also get in the bivvy or sleeping bag with the casualty for extra warmth. While doing all this keep reassuring the casualty that all will be well. In a group everyone can huddle round the casualty for added warmth.

What you should never do is rub the casualty to warm them up as this speeds up the circulation, which slows down in hypothermia so that the core of the body containing crucial organs like the heart and lungs stays as warm as possible. Once a person starts to become seriously hypothermic circulation becomes very slow and blood near the surface of the body becomes very cold. If the circulation is speeded up this cold blood returns to the heart where it can cause serious problems. This can also happen with re-warming by skin to skin contact so having someone naked get into the bivvy bag or sleeping bag with the hypothermia victim, a standard recommendation until very recently, is not a good idea. Alcohol has the same effect too so forget the St Bernard and the brandy and save the contents of your hip flask for when you get back down and are inside in the warm.

If the casualty shows signs of recovery descend by the quickest safe route. Further exercise will help the warming process once it has begun as long as the casualty stays warm and dry. Do not make someone try to walk if they do not recover fully as this means the hypothermia is more severe and you have a serious situation. Whether you move on or stay put send someone for help and make sure that the rest of the party keep warm.