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Risk of Yosemite Bowline Knot

Yosemite Bowline knot is one of the most popular variant of Bowline knots used by climbers, notably for the harness tying-in point. However, there is a significant risk for the knot. Basically, a tiny bit of mistying, or even just a bit of wiggle during a course of a day, could cause a serious weakening of the strength of the knot. Here is my video to demonstrate the point — risk of Yosemite Bowline.

Here is the detailed background, followed by some …

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What happened in the high-school group's avalanche accident in Nasu

On 27 March 2017, a group of high-school students in Japan lead by teachers encountered an avalanche near the Nasu ski-resort, and 8 people (7 students and 1 teacher) died, and 40 were injured. Here I discuss what happened and how from a viewpoint of the winter mountain activity.

Although there are still many things yet to be known or reported, the overall picture has been established fairly well by the time of writing. I here present and discuss the facts which are certain and which are deduced to be likely, separately.

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Tips for safer scrambling

Scrambling is an activity that is often regarded as exciting, yet not as serious as proper climbing, and as a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoor.
But is it really safe, or safer than climbing?
Here I give a list of safety tips for scramblers, from beginners to experienced.

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Static ropes for climbing

Climbers in general are, unlike dynamic ropes, not main users of static ropes. The predominant use of static ropes is industrial use, such as, in a work environment of tall buildings, towers (oil-rigging etc) and for ships and tree-climbing. Within sports, apart from marine sports like sailing, it is heavily used in caving and canyoning.

After all, to climb something ground-up, which is arguably what climbing is all about, climbers vitally need dynamic ropes to absorb a shock in potential falls. Even though there is some use for static ropes in climbing as summarised in the text, its use is somewhat limited, though you really want one when you do.

For that reason, the knowledge about static ropes by climbers, as well as stocks of them in climbing shops, tends to be limited, whereas a large number and variety of static ropes are available in the market, which can be confusing. Here is my attempt to summarise what is the feature to look for, and what sort of models are available as of 2016 in the market.

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Cross-loading on knots

Image of Bowline knot and standard and cross-loads

Cross-loading — this word may give a chill in the spine of climbers. It is a real terror, be it with a karabiner or knot. In the industry they adopt the simple and very straightforward solution for this. Just use super-strong metal links, a.k.a., absolute bombproof steel maillon rapides, wherever in suspect.

In climbing, whereas the same approach is indeed recommended in some cases like a group activity of abseiling or bottom-roping, the weight, bulkiness and awkwardness in use of steel maillons put off most, understandably and justifiably in many cases. Instead, climbers usually use either a climbing-rated (aluminium) karabiner or knot to bear with cross-loading. We climbers know it is not ideal, but we are also somehow confident they are strong enough for our purposes.

But how confident are you?

I have a look at this issue in this post, along with a recently created video.

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How to keep the hands warm in winter-climbing

Image:Gloves for winter activity

Extremities or fingers sometimes get cold during winter climbing. The inevitable requirement in winter-climbing of dexterity with hands does not go well with your wish to keep them warm. Winter climbers somehow must find a solution, which works for you, keeping a good balance in between.

Here I am explaining the principle and theory behind it and the practical tips I have found over the years, which have been either deduced from or backed up with the theory. Have functional hands even in cold, and enjoy glorious winter-climbing!

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Invitation to rock climbing in Scotland

Scottish winter climbing is world-famous like Ben Nevis North Face. Then how about (summer) rock climbing?

I had very little idea about that before I moved to Scotland, except for a few stories like Old Man of Hoy and Cuillin. Having experienced (some of) them now, I have to say I am mightily impressed. This post is meant to be an introduction for Scottish rock for southeners to get an idea!

I guess a guy's comment in the UKC-forum discussion about the best xxx routes in the country summarised it well…

Unleash the Beast

A sharp end at am I. The terrain is continuously overhanging, and so is energy sapping. I must move quickly, shutting out the fear for the unpredictability.

With a little momentum I reach for a rounded little bulge above, expecting it to be decent enough at the back to hold. No, it's not! It is too rounded.

Take!

… I investigate what went wrong and what to do as a climber, which may make climbing a little safer as a bonus.

Review of "Make or Break: Don't Let Climbing Injuries Dictate Your Success" by Dave MacLeod

Photo of the front cover of 'Make or Break'

Review of the recently published book by Dave MacLeod: "Make or Break". It is specialised on the injuries commonly seen among climbers — what they are like, how to prevent, treat, mitigate, and rehabilitate.

Is climbing a sport?

It used to be not in the old days. It wasn't sophisticated like modern sports. Climbing is at its heart an adventure. Training? What's that? Men just go out climbing as often as they can! What else would you need?

Things have changed since. Or at least, if you want to be good at climbing, that is not the case any more. Why? Because…

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