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The Thrill of Indoor Climbing

Indoor climbing is a sport that deals with both the body and mind. It takes a lot of will power to be able to withstand the challenges it gives and the mere determination to reach the goal of reaching the top. Yet, there is a lot to learn with regards to the art of indoor climbing.Indoor climbing is an increasingly famous type of rock climbing that is done by the use of artificial structures that imitate the feeling of climbing a rocky mountain. Yet, this is in a controlled surrounding as compared to the dangerous but adventurous sport of outdoor rock climbing.

The idea of the artificial indoor climbing wall originated in United Kingdom, where Don Robinson, a professor of Physical Education of The Leeds University created DR Climbing Walls in 1964. He made this possible by inserting rocks into a wall on a corridor. It was commercially introduced and constructed in Sheffield which is now considered as the heart of Indoor Climbing.

The first indoor walls were made of bricks, giving a smaller choice of routes. This is since the steepness of the wall and variety of the hand holds was limited. It was later on changed to wooden walls. It was constructed by screwing the resin hand holds which acts as the artificial rocks. The boards vary in steepness and in height where the different sizes of resin holds are attached, making it more like the sport that it was derived from.

The climbing walls are made out of wood or bricks. This is although recently, multiplex boards became the material used. It is thick and safe to climb. Aside from this, it is where resin rocks are attached. Nowadays; aluminum and steel are also used.

These climbing walls have various types and this would include the following: Plywood is one type, which is said to be the simplest type used in the structure of climbing walls. The other forms of climbing walls aside from the ones mentioned above are made of concrete sprayed into a wire mesh, slabs of granite, pre-made fiberglass panels and fiberglass walls. The rocks attached to the climbing walls also vary and may be made out of limestone, granite or artificial rocks. Hence, whatever type of climbing wall or rocks is used, belay ropes should be attached to the climber for protection. Aside from this, it is also used for bouldering and lead climbing.

Indoor climbing has also become popular in areas with rainy climates, where in, it is much safer as compared to outdoor rock climbing. This is due to the fact that this kind of weather makes it very difficult to climb a rocky mountain. It will just make it slippery and dangerous, unlike indoor climbing where anyone could go to the gym despite their busy schedules. This can also be for any season and anytime of the day, giving the climbers the chance to enjoy their sport, even at night.

Moreover, indoor wall climbing is less dangerous for it is within controlled vicinity and it is manmade and created to be environmentally safe. In fact, people can celebrate parties inside a wall climbing area. Aside from being evidently fun, it is also definitely hassle free. It is also easier than outdoor rock climbing. Even so, it is almost the same in such a way that gears and skills that should be combined with analytical thinking are still necessary in this kind of sport. This makes it as difficult as outdoor rock climbing. Plus, it is the reason why indoor climbing is considered as a type of sport, just like outdoor rock climbing.

What are the benefits of Indoor climbing? Aside from the fact that it is safer than outdoor rock climbing, it is also like a training ground for outdoor rock climbing. You can also lose a lot of weight with this sport, without even noticing it. It is simply a fun environment and an amazing outlet to burn fats in the process. This is since it involves intense muscular activity just by climbing up and down the walls, especially if you are carrying the gears as well. Thus, some indoor climbers who have recently tried the sport later found themselves loving it.

Although indoor climbing gears are expensive, beginners of this kind of sport can always rent one in the gym itself. Then, you can save and buy the gears when you get hooked up on the sport. This is better than buying all the pricey equipment and realizing it's not for you. Yet, even if these gears cost a lot, it will keep you protected; prevent you from falling or getting injured.

Here are the gears needed in this kind of sport:

* Rock Climbing shoes - This is an essential climbing gear for a climber. It is chosen depending on the kind of rocks that are being used in climbing walls, as well as the type of climbing walls and climbing typ. This is if you are climbing: for a competition, in a gym, for bouldering, as a sport or for mountaineering practice. Thus, the types of rubber, lacing material and curvature, shape and heel construction should also be considered.

* Belay Devices - These equipments are used for the safety of climbers. Nowadays, manufacturers have been continuously doing everything to improve repelling and belaying equipments.

* Climbing Ropes - Ropes are important to the climbers for it is used to protect them from falling and are tested to meet the standards of the UIAA. The quality of these ropes should be the best so as not to comprise the climber's safety.

* Climbing Harness - A harness is used as a diaper sling attached to the climbing ropes. It is also called a diaper sling because it is worn just like a diaper.

* Climbing Holds -These climbing holds are made of fiberglass, silica sand and epoxy. Climbing holds have various types and this would include handles, slopes, side pulls, edges, jugs, jibs, crimpers and many more.

* Quickdraws - This gear is a newly added gear for climbing. Quickdraws consist of two carabiners that adjoin a runner. It also has a webbing sling attached to a carabiner. It has a measurement of 4 ½ to 10 inches when it comes to the distance. The other carabiner is in a bending position while the other carabiner is straight.

* Crash Pads - This is similar to the gymnastics mats that are used in outdoor bouldering. Aside from this, it is used as a protection from falling. Crash pads have certain features such as: hiking shoulder straps, pockets, like straps, launch pads and many more.

* Fingerboard - This training device can be placed where there is limited space and can be mounted on top of a doorway. It is a training device for finger strength training.

* Child's Harness - An adult's harness is very much different from a child's harness. This is due to the fact that it is smaller as compared to the adults. It also has smaller leg sizes and waists. They are also divided into 2 distinct types which would be the child's waist harness and the full body harness.

* Chalk Bags - A chalk bag is needed and is definitely considered as one of the needed climbing gears a climber must have handy. It serves as a type of protection or prevention against dangerously falling while climbing. This is worn by strapping it around a climber's waist and attaching it to the middle part of the back, particularly the butt part. It is used by both outdoor and indoor climbers, as well as mountaineers and big wall climbers.

* Climbing Helmets - This gear is the most essential part of a climbing gear. It is used in rappelling, mountaineering, caving and outdoor climbing. It protects your head from falling rocks that has a tendency to fall really fast. Due to gravity even the smallest rocks can cause a tremendous blow if you don't wear a helmet. This should go with wearing something for your eyes as well.

* Rope Bags - Ropes are noted to lose it strength when it is mixed with dirt and water. Plus, if it gets exposed to UV light. Thus, this gear can protect your rope gear.

* Extreme Sports Clothes - Climbing clothing is durable and functional at the same time. This extreme sports clothing are flexible and strong unlike other sport clothing that are not as flexible as it is.

An example of a gym that offers Indoor Climbing is: The Banffe Centre, Sally Borden Gym. Their Climbing Gym Equipment Rental is as follows:

* Harness-$5.00
* Carabiner/Belay Device-$2.00
* Shoes-$5.00
* Complete package is $10.00
* Chalk Bag-$2.00
* Climbing Gym Rates for Adults: $10
* Belay Test: $5
* Youth (4 years old up to 15 years old)-$4.00

This Climbing Gym's hours of operation are from Mondays up to Fridays from 4:00 PM up to 11 PM. On weekends, their hours of operation are from Saturdays up to Sundays from 2:00 PM up to 10:00 PM.

Indoor Climbing is fun and it is a good form of exercise, many were reluctant to try this sport but once they have, it de a real difference in their lives.


Choosing the Right Carabiners for Your Climb

Before going on any climb, you'll need to access what kinds of equipment you'll need for your trip and be able to pack your necessary gear accordingly. There are several different types of carabiners that you can choose from that vary according to size, shape and gate size. Having the right carabiners for your trip and understanding how to use them are very important, as your life may be depending on them. Here are some quick tips for choosing the right carabiners for your climb.

Consider Your Needs

Before choosing any kind of carabiner for your trip, you need to consider what you will be using them for. Different styles of carabiners are designed for different tasks, so you'll want to ask yourself what kinds of climbing you'll be doing, as well as the kinds of protections you'll be clipping into. If you're just starting out climbing, you may want to get the assistance of an expert or experienced salesman for some help.

Explore Your Options

Once you know what kinds of carabiners will be best for your trip, take a trip to the store and look at some examples of carabiners they have there. Try to get a feel for how they work, how easy they are to clip into, and how smoothly the gates work. If you're looking at getting some locking carabiners, try to get comfortable with locking and unlocking the gate with one hand. You'll find that different people prefer different models, so choose some that are easy for you to use and operate smoothly.

Does Weight/Size of the Carabiner Matter?

While it's always best to climb light, be sure to consider the weight of your carabiner as well, as light weight carabiners aren't always the way to go. Super light carabiners can result in lower gate-opening strengths and eventually a lower life span for your carabiner. Plus, narrow carabiners can harm your ropes as well. The size of your carabiners should really be based off yoru personal preferences. Larger shaped carabiners can be easier to handle and hold a lot of gear, but take up a lot of space and add extra weight to your gear.

Check Your Carabiners

It's always important to continually monitor your climbing gear to watch out for cracks, sharp edges, corrosion, and other signs of excessive wear and tear. Even a small hairline crack in your carabiner makes them extremely dangerous and should be trashed. If one of your carabiners has a fall greater than 20 feet, it should also not be used.

Climbing is unique from many other sports in that a fall may severely injure or kill the climber. If you have any questions or are unsure about a piece of equipment, be sure to consult with an expert.


Essential Rock Climbing Equipment For The Sportsman On A Budget

More and more people are quickly discovering the thrill and satisfaction of rock climbing as a sport. The exhilarating demands of this passion, coupled with the intoxicating satisfaction of conquering nature's wonders with your sheer will and physical efforts, make rock climbing a truly addictive endeavor. Although it is addictive, care must be practiced.

But people can't simply pack their things in their bags and venture to the great outdoors to embark on rock climbing adventures. It's a little more complicated than that. For starters, proper pre-climb training is necessary, to build your strength and endurance which are both required by the exhausting challenges of the sport, and to prepare your mind to make sound decisions while scaling the sides of cliffs and crags. Also, you'd need the right rock climbing equipment to ensure an enjoyable, and more importantly, a safe experience for yourself.

Here lies the problem that most people who are interested with rock climbing do experience.

Though training can be gained for free through the aid of friends and acquaintances who have amassed the required experience in this discipline, and even community clubs that are devoted to the sport, rock climbing equipment are not as easily procurable. You'd need to spend for the gears and items you will need, and not everyone can afford the amount necessary to purchase them. I myself do not climb rocks!

This, however, should not be a bar to your enjoyment of rock climbing. All you need is to procure the necessary rock climbing equipment which is considered as basic for the sport. What are these? Here is a list of the "must have" supplies for your initial foray into rock climbing:

* Helmet. You need to protect your head from potential bumps or falls. You could get a helmet for as low as $35.
* Harness. A harness will provide the support you need while scaling cliffs and crags. You could get one for as low as $35 as well. Harnesses are quite durable. They'll serve you for many, many years.
* Climbing shoes. These are also called as approach shoes. Their distinctive feature is a clip that has a locking carabineer. You could buy a pair for $80 up.
* Safety carbineer. This is needed to lock into your harness and your rope.
* Rope. An absolute necessity, though if you're climbing with a group, you could most probably share one with the team.

Rock climbing is actually a more affordable discipline than other sports in its category. For as long as you stick with the basic rock climbing equipment, this passion doesn't have to be inaccessibly expensive. Study all of the information you can get on the subject and make your purchases over time or use a web site like Ebay (tm).


An Exotic Location To Holiday

When considering your annual vacation, there are so many possibilities and so many things to take into consideration that it can take the best part of six months to decide, particularly if you are going with a partner or children and their needs and desires have to be considered also.

Much also depends on budget but if you shop around, there are some last minute bargains to be had which could see you jetting off to somewhere much more exotic than you had originally planned, like Brazil, for instance.

Brazil holidays truly are a special experience. You will have the balmy weather that is to be expected south of the equator and a culture that is so diverse across the country that you can experience many different things in one trip. If you are looking for a honeymoon destination, consider a Brazil holiday for that touch of paradise to begin your life together.

A crystal clear ocean to swim in, packed with an abundance of precious corals and vividly coloured fish is the perfect setting for scuba diving or snorkelling. If you wish to simply soak up the rays and perfect that tan, a Brazil holiday will give you the ideal opportunity. White, sandy beaches and palm trees swaying in the breeze with a view of mountain ranges in the distance are all conducive to a truly relaxing break.

Brazil is famous for its colourful festivals and street parties with locals and visitors alike joining in the fun. Carnivals are going on all year round with one thing or another to celebrate, any excuse for a party!

The streets of this beautiful place are packed with places to eat, drink and socialise until the early hours and the properties themselves are a sight to behold.

From rows of pristine white homes with sun-baked terracotta roofs to the more colourful districts with multi-coloured houses painted in vivid, eye catching colours, there will be awe inspiring sights everywhere. The locals are all very friendly and will meet and greet visitors with open arms. The streets are also full of the wonderful sound of children's laughter.

When you choose your Brazil holiday, you will have the choice of built up towns that are more than well equipped to cater for families from top notch hotels to basic amenities that leave you free to come and go as you please. There is also the other side of Brazilian life where you will easily be able to find a little secluded cove where lush greenery wraps itself around small, sandy beaches with lapis blue waters lapping at the shore. Rock pools will keep the children entertained for hours as will a trip inland where you will easily come across an abundance of unusual wildlife that is as colourful as the people of this country.

For those who simply cannot go on holiday without a little shopping expedition, Rio De Janeiro is the place to be. This is a thriving city on a par with London when it comes to the modern, designer shops that line the smart streets. Take time to explore this part of Brazil and you will find, tucked away in little side streets, gift and craft stores where you can buy, for a very reasonable rate, special gifts that say something about the country itself, things that are unique to Brazil itself and that are often lovingly made by hand.

So, it would seem that as long as you like the heat, Brazil is the perfect holiday destination, whether it be a family holiday, exploring holiday or romantic break for two.


How Do I Survive a Lost in the Woods Disaster?

There are several reasons that even the most experienced outdoorsman can find themself stranded in the wilderness. Here are few of the most common scenarios and ways to deal with them.

Plan Before You Leave

Before you embark on any wilderness trip, it is essential that you notify at least one person of where you are going. If possible, provide a map and a detailed itinerary so rescuers know where to look for you. This will significantly lower the amount of time you have to survive should you find yourself stranded. Stay as close to this itinerary as possible; your life may depend on it.

Another way to ensure wilderness survival is to pack a good emergency survival kit with enough supplies to keep you alive for up to three days. It takes surprisingly few things to sustain life and provide for the most common scenarios, so this is an easy way to protect your life.

Physical Injury

This is a common scenario for hikers and hunters: You trek deep into the woods, then sprain an ankle so severely that you cannot walk. How do you hike out of the woods with only one good leg?

Regardless of the type of injury, your first action should be providing good first aid. This will be easy if you have a first aid kit--and you should, because every survival kit includes one. Once you have treated the injury, your next step should be to evaluate your chance of successfully making your way back to civilization. If you can contact help via satellite or radio, this is the best solution. If not, ask yourself whether you can hike out without worsening your wound or endangering yourself. If neither is possible, sit tight and wait for authorities to find you. With a well-packed survival kit, you know you will at least survive.

Lost in the Woods

Just a short meander off the beaten path can leave you hopelessly lost in unfamiliar terrain. Unless you have a landmark to guide you, wandering will only exhaust you and leave you even more disoriented. When deep in the wilderness, the chances of running into a more experienced hiker are next to nil. How do you find your way home?

First, try that cell phone. Contacting authorities and then letting them find you is always the best plan, however embarrassing it might be. If you have no way to call for help, look for a body of water. Rivers usually flow toward towns, so following one will likely take you out of the woods. Experienced outdoorsmen may be able to orient themselves by finding landmarks or by using constellations, but do not attempt to find your own way unless you are confident you can actually do it. Because wandering usually leaves you even more lost, the best plan is to sit tight and wait for authorities.

When Bad Weather Strikes

Even with satellites and radar, the weather experts are often wrong. How do you stay warm and dry while stranded in a cold and wet forest?

In most weather situations, the wisest choice is to make a shelter and stay there. This includes rain, snow, blizzards, thunder storms, and even tornados. The key to a good homemade shelter is to make it on high ground (so water rolls away from it, not into it) and to cover it with a water resistant material such as leaves. If you have that survival kit, you can wrap the whole thing in a plastic garbage bag and huddle in the dry warmth until the weather clears or rescuers find you. Again, the key is to stay warm and dry. Hypothermia and other exposure-related illnesses can set in rapidly if you are cold enough for a long enough period of time.

Running Out of Necessities

You knew you forgot something! And now here you are in the middle of the wilderness without some essential item. What do you do?

This depends on what you are missing. First, consider the nature of the item as well as how far into the woods you happen to be. You may be able to live without socks, but water is a necessity. If you cannot live without the item, your choices are to go back (if you are near enough to do this), call for help, or find an acceptable substitute.

Even in these very different scenarios, the advice is surprisingly similar. Contact authorities if possible; if not, think critically about different means of escape and their odds of success. If finding your way home safely is not probable, wait for authorities to come to you. With appropriate planning and this solid logic, you should be able to successfully navigate any wilderness emergency.


Insect and Wildlife Photography Tips - How to Take Great Pictures

Many times people think they can only take amazing wildlife pictures away from home, but many times, you can get great pictures right in your own backyard.

Photographing Wildlife with Feathers or Fur

Depending upon where you live, there are lots of ways to convert your yard into a wildlife sanctuary for birds, frogs, squirrels and other critters.

If you want to feed wildlife, don't feed them food from your cupboard but instead follow the wildlife attraction and sustainability tips from the National Wildlife Federation so you can be sure you're helping them and not hurting them.

By following the advice from wildlife experts, you will also be creating an environmentally friendly landscape that will be good for the animals and the environment.

Take some time to read up on the species you want to photograph so you can better understand their habits and hopefully take better pictures of them. And you will be better able to avoid attracting potentially dangerous predators into your yard. You might also want to check out the code of ethics posted for professional nature photographers by the North American Nature Photography Association.

Just as with photographing pets, when you take a picture of a furry or feathery wild critter, follow these guidelines:

* Use natural lighting to your advantage
* Fill the frame with the subject
* Focus on the eyes
* Shoot from various angles
* Capture personality

Photographing the World of Insects

Wildlife photography also includes the tiny world of insects. Butterflies, dragonflies, snails, ladybugs, honeybees, bumblebees, spiders are all commonly photographed subjects.

Like animals, photographing insects can be challenging. Here are some tips from the pros to help:

* Like with larger wildlife, it will help to know your subject's patterns of behavior. Watch where the butterflies land and see if they prefer one flowery shrub more than the others. Then stake it out and wait for the subject to come to you. And be ready!

* To get the best shots of small creatures at rest, use macro mode and fill the frame. Your camera's manual will tell you how close your macro mode works. If you stay within the recommended range and hold your camera very steady (using a tripod) you will get some nice sharp shots.

* You should use sports mode or flash to freeze action unless the insect is sitting very still.

* Most insects are very sensitive to carbon dioxide and will run or fly away if you breathe directly on them. So when you lean in to take the photo, make sure to hold your breath! However, there are some insects like beetles that will freeze when you breath on them.

* Keep in mind some insects and spiders pack powerful, even deadly venom, so know your bug before approaching.

* Try to take pictures in early morning or twilight because insects slow down with cooler temperatures and it will make it easier to shoot a picture. Insects can see shadows very well so don't approach from the same direction as the light casts.

Photographs of wildlife can make for beautiful fine art, the type that you'll want to frame and display proudly and give as gifts. You can also use your animal or insect pictures in photo crafts like in calendars or greeting cards. There are simply lots of wonderful things you can do with your beautiful animal and insect pictures so have fun capturing the wonderful world of nature.


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