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Adventure tours: An oxymoron

This post is triggered by a promotional email I recently received titled 'Some XYZ Adventure Tours'. The term 'adventure tour' is an oxymoron. Rather, it is a marketing bullshit trying to capitalize on the mass needs of doing something 'cool' that is 'share-worthy' in social circles, digital or otherwise.

The feeling of adventure should be discovered, not planned. Adventure includes an element of chance occurrence, and we wish that our adventures turns out to be a positive one. However, there is a likelihood that it could also turnout to be a painstaking one. And it is precisely this uncertainty, this element of chance that makes it worthy of being called as an 'adventure'.

We strive hard to make our undertakings a successful one. And it is in this bid of ours that we indulge in the process of detailed planning. We heavily tilt the probability of our undertaking being serendipitous and not a painstaking epic with type II fun.

Now, don't get…

Seneca rocks, Franklin gorge and Earth Treks Crystal City

The month of June was a mixed bag of beans for me as far as climbing is concerned. I logged good training hours in the gym and has a good indoor bouldering spree. I bouldered more than I did routes, but did well to stick to the planned training schedule.



Then came the urge to climb outside and I responded. I went to my friends place and crashed for a week as he is just a couple of hours from Seneca. Boom! Out went training and regular sessions. I did climb at Earth Treks Crystal City and found that I onsighted much harder grades there (V7/5.12) than I do in my home gym. I also hand-dogged my way up a 5.13b (almost clip to clip). But I realized that none of the moves were really harder than a V6/7 on the route and with enough power endurance (PE) training I could readpoint routes of similar nature. That was an encouraging discovery.

While I float these grades around, I am perfectly aware that the Fish hook arete climb on Mt. Russell, which is less than a month away now, is going to ki…

Most important training principle: Simplicity

I followed a very typical climbing curve so far. That is, if I were one of the statistic from a sample population of climbers, I will live on the regression line and not be an outlier.

Like any typical climber, I progressed rapidly at first, then plateaued for a small time, then progressed with some harder climbing efforts, got injured, plateaued and stayed on the plateau for long. Then I started paying attention to my climbing methods, dabbling in some self-made training regimen, taking a critical view of my nutrition and rest periods. And again saw marginal improvements, which is still steadily increasing. All these phases have taken around 4 years, with 3 years climbing and a year of time off in between.

Like any climber who wants to improve, I have been reading a lot of training material, listening to podcasts, buying books and reading blogs. Here are a few important things that I have learnt.

Keep it simple and realisticShowing up every single time and doing something is more imp…

Putting it down matters as much as sending

I always loved to write, be it on sticky notes or the last page of your notebook, I always loved it. Then I started blogging. Initially, I wrote about things, things that affected me, inspired me, disheartened me -- all that was external to me. Then I started about myself, my thoughts, my process, my failures and accomplishments. I enjoyed this subtle transitions in my writing. This was well before I started to climb.

Then climbing came to me in 2013. Well, it came earlier than that, but I really never climbed in a focussed and committed way till 2013. Like every new climber, the quick initial progression from V1 to V4 made me feel great. I blogged about grades and climbing process and the routes I sent. The suddenly the strange feeling of 'tooting your own horns' came to me that said stop blogging/bragging about your accomplishments.

I don't know why it came or what triggered that feeling, but it came for sure and hit me hard. I deleted a lot of my old climbing posts and…

Serendipitous climbing experience at T-Wall

I am an aspiring trad climber for long now. I do not get to do a lot of real rock climbing being in Florida; and hence trad climbing as a discipline, which is honed after a lot of vertical mileage, has always been an elusive skill for a guy like me used to plastic pumping indoors. I should say that this is even more true in the niche of crack climbing.



I have done a few 5.8 trad climbs at Lost Wall, where I could avoid the crack and use features on the face. I have done a couple of long alpine routes in the High Sierras, which were more of ridge climbs rather than 'real cracks'. I had never yet attempted a 5.9 trad climb, leave alone crack climbs. And unless I really did a few decent cracks, calling myself a trad climber seemed a far fetched epithet.

Well, this trip to T-Wall changed it a bit, except for the fact that I still don't hesitate to consider myself a gumbie, or a beginner at the best in terms of crack climbing. I simply need to have more mileage on dihedrals an…

My training regimen for alpine climbing - Part 1

I have always been an active outdoor person since I was a child. Besides active sports, I have been an avid hiker and have logged many miles with relatively heavy backpacks (30+ pounds) through all these years, irrespective of my body weights.

Please understand that carrying inordinate amount of weight on your backpack (more than 20% of your body weight) over an extended period of time isn't always the best thing to do. I realized it the hard way with a bothersome knee in my twenties, however, all was not lost and I could recover and repair the damage done by taking necessary corrective measures.

Anyway, so the purpose of this background information is to establish the fact that I have always had a solid aerobic base for long hours of moderate intensity hikes. However, those ascents were not fast by any means. But, those hours definitely helped me have a solid foundation for what it takes to do bigger peaks in light and fast manner, or at least pave the way for it.

I have never b…

Outdoor activities in the year 2016

So, it's been a long time coming. Almost a year now since I wrote anything about my outdoor escapades. Well, I haven't had much in the first half of the year 2016, but the second half has been amazing.

After the Rudra climb however, I did one more traditional-style rock climb on the wall of Prabalgad. It was a virgin route over a vertical face of approx 200+ feet of crumbling rocks. The crack was shallow and difficult to protect in the upper sections. I stopped around 50 feet short of the summit due to extremely loose rocks and fading light. Had to cut a around 15 feet of rope to sling a chockstone and rap back to the highest anchor point before wrapping up the attempt.

The Prabalgad wall was my second virgin climb in 2 months. First one was a few weeks back near Tryamabeskhwar. That one was successfully completed without any bolts or aid moves. The Prabalgad climb was significantly more challenging than the other one on two accounts - the moves and poor rock quality.



On the …