Walking-pole manipulation and quest for ideal poles

Thumbnail of image of Various walking poles

In this article I overview how walking poles are and should be used, categorising their manipulations into four modes and grip types into three, and summarise the various characteristics of walking poles. Then I discuss what sort of pole is best for what purposes.



この1月、86歳の三浦雄一郎氏が、南米最高峰のアコンカグア山(6961m)に登頂を目指していました。 結局、高度6000m付近の前進キャンプでドクターストップがかかって断念して下山してきたと報道されました。 それだけならば、残念でした、または無事下山されて何よりでした、で終わりそうなのですが……、その前後の「登山」スタイルを聞いて、大いに引っかかりました。登山と倫理について論じます。


Don't take it or don't leave it – rubbish and tissue in the mountain

Can we leave "bio-degradable" rubbish in the mountain? How about used tissue?
My short answer is no. Here I am looking at the issue and argue why.
If you love outdoors (I presume you do like I do, as you are reading this!), please think of respecting the environment, leaving it as rubbish-free and unpolluted as you would like to find and enjoy!


Review of 40-50L rucksacks for alpine climbing 2018

Rucksacks are in a way the most troubling gear to choose, not because there are so few to choose from, unlike most other climbing gear, but because there are so many! Yet not a single one would be perfect. It is partly because the use varies so much, and different sort of activities demand different types of rucksacks, and partly because some demands are inherently contradictory, such as durability and (light-)weight.

After all a rucksack is just a bag on your back, and so you may argue you could manage whatever you have, as long as its volume is adequate for your use. It is true to some extent, but it is the same as claiming top climbers could climb an E1 with wellies. Yes, they could, but will they if they have a choice? No. Can they climb an E8 with wellies? No.

Rucksacks are arguably the second most important gear after boots or shoes in (alpine) climbing or mountaineering, as you use one all the time on your back often for hours continuously. That means the difference in rucksacks determines whether you can enjoy every moment or you suffer every second. Given you do climbing for fun ultimately (if type-II) and not for the sake of pain, to get a right sack is very important.

Also, with a wrong rucksack, your climbing ability and hence safety in mountains are marginalised, too, compared with otherwise.

Let’s get it right.


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 …



2017年3月下旬、那須のスキー場近くで、教員に引率された7校の高校生山岳部のグループが雪崩にあい、8人(生徒7人、教師1人)が死亡し、40人が重軽傷を負う事故があった。 以下、雪山登山の観点からその論点をまとめる。



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.


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.


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.


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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