Tag: Outdoor recreation

Wait! Are you rock climbing this summer? Here’s what you need to know:

The sun is finally out here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. People are taking full advantage of the vitamin D and exploring new adventures outside. Rock climbing can be a really unique and challenge way to experience the Cascades as long as you are prepared. Before you tackle some vertical rock face, here is some helpful information regarding rock climbing both indoors and out!

Rock climbing has been around for hundreds of years. Traditional alpine mountaineers used the skill to scale impossible mountain faces that otherwise could not be traversed. What started as a need-based skill quickly evolved into more of a sport in England in the late 1880s and only grew from there. Several different types of rock climbing exist today, ranging from indoor, traditional to outdoor, big wall extreme! Listed below are just a few possibilities:

Big Wall- Think El Capitan in Yosemite. Or Half Dome also in Yosemite Big Wall climbing is exactly what it sounds like: climbing a huge wall, over 1,500 ft. Climbers spend multiple days camping in portaledges that can be attached to the side of the cliff and slept in like a hammock.

Bouldering- This is a style of rock climbing most people can get their hands on. If you are afraid of heights and don’t like the idea of dealing with a lot of gear, bouldering may be the best solution. These routes are normally small and closer to the ground with a crash pad or ‘bouldering mat’ beneath the climber. They normally consist of climbs 3 to 5 meters high to reduce risk of injury from falls. Bouldering requires more powerful, dynamic movements in short bursts, whereas sport climbing or traditional climbing usually requires more endurance. Bouldering is typically graded on a scale of V0 to V16 increasing in difficulty as the number climbs.

Crack- Crack climbing involves the climber ascending long, technical cracks in the rock face using specific techniques. The cracks vary greatly in size and accessibility. Some climbers choose to wear gloves to allow for more friction and less injury to the hand.

Free/Speed- For the more advanced climbers, free climbing is a way to test their skills. Free climbing is performed without the assistance of climbing equipment such as ropes. Speed climbing has been associated with free climber where the climber attempts to scale the wall as quickly as possible. This challenges the climber to make quick decisions and has been described as ‘dancing’ up the wall. Bouldering is a more common form of free climbing.

Indoor Climbing- Indoor climbing has made rock climbing more accessible to the general population. Climbing gyms rent equipment that would otherwise be expensive to buy, and set up designated routes for climbers to solve. Both sport climbing and bouldering can be found at indoor climbing gyms. Sport climbing will require one person to belay which is a system for lowering the person climbing and catching them when they fall. Climbs are graded on a scale of: 5.5-5.14d, although each gym and route is rated slightly different.

Climbers of all levels will often use chalk to gain more friction and help to absorb the sweat as they climb. For most forms of climbing, participants will wear a harness and climbing shoes which are designed to be form fitting and assist with protecting the feet. Specific queues and rope knots must be known before someone can effectively belay a partner during indoor or sport climbing. Once these are mastered, you’ll be scaling walls in no time!

If you are interested in learning more about rock climbing contact Outdoor Recreation Coach Thomas Eagen at teagen@sacdt.com.

What to do when Summer is over? Don’t get bored in Winter!

Perhaps it’s all a matter of knowing “what” is out there in the world of winter, snow and ice. Many of us love to cycle, run, swim, play tennis, garden, go boating and do a million things outdoors when it’s summer sunshine and warmth… but once the days get shorter and colder we sometimes feel at loss with what to do. Here are some tips to keep you motivated and encourage you to try something new!

Where to start…
Like anything in life, the more prepared we are for trying something new or unfamiliar, the more successful we will be. So get into SAC for one of our Winter Sports Prep and Play classes, a series of fun and kick-butt circuits designed to get you strong and coordinated for the snow and ice. OR sign up for a personal training session with one of our awesome trainers. OR email Outdoor Rec Coach Brandyn (broark@sacdt.com) and she will get you motivated, moving, and mastering whatever skill you want to learn for the winter months!

What is out there…
There are a myriad of adventures waiting for you in the winter world. And YES you can stay warm while doing it! Don’t let the cold keep you from playing. Some Outdoor Adventures:

  • Snowshoeing
  • Snowboarding
  • Alpine (Resort) Skiing at Crystal Mountain (SAC’s “home” mountain)
  • Back Country Skiing and snowboarding
  • Heli Skiing and
  • snow boarding Ski Touring
  • Ice Climbing Sledding
  • Snow Ball Wars

If you are interested in ANY of these activities, Brandyn is here to help coordinate, plan or even take you out there herself to learn or dial in your skills! If you need help planning a ski vacation or want to know where to go and why…use Brandyn; she has skied all over the US, Canada and Europe and knows where to send you!

Need Gear?
Contact Brandyn, she will hook you up with great outdoor gear companies and teach you what you will need for your adventure or activity. She will find you a local supply and also share some secrets to SAC discounts for you!

It’s good to “mix it up” for the body. Have you done the same thing for years in the gym? The body gets bored when we don’t change it up and our ability to adapt and continually get stronger is limited if we don’t challenge the body in new ways. New movements, new levels of intensity, new muscles, new brain focus…these keep us YOUNG and healthy….and honestly….it’s WAY more FUN! Most of the reasoning behind why humans don’t change it up is due to “fear of the unknown”. So, this winter don’t let that fear or unknown keep you from a new experience in life. Be inspired. Get out there and change up the “same ol’ thing” for something new and exciting! We forget as adults to have fun… we often get caught up in the race of life and forget to play… try “playing” this winter. And if you need help remembering how to play, the Seattle Athletic Club will get you started…and most likely follow you along your way.

Indoor Adventures that may be new to you:

  • Rock Climbing (classes, group or 1:1 sessions with PFT Will or Brandyn) at SAC and Vertical World Try one new class a week at SAC…something you have never done!
  • Drop into Winter Sports Prep and Play with Thomas and Brandyn
  • Swimming… learn the “right” technique so you can have fun in the pool from any of our instructors or Outdoor Rec Coach Brandyn who is also a USA Swimming Coach

There are also tons of 5K and 10K walk/run and family activity days around the city through the winter… sign up for one!

Most exciting… but you have to get STARTED EARLY!!

  • Mountaineering Prep: summer 2012 we will be launching our SAC Ascents … the opportunity to climb one of our local mountains, Rainier or Adams. Instead of being “hauled” up the mountain by a guide with a random group of people, SAC will be organizing and facilitating our OWN ascents with a professional guide! Imagine a climbing adventure filled with education and prep work designed for you to have an experience of a lifetime. It’s more about the journey when you are in the mountains…not the end result. And Outdoor Rec Coach, Brandyn wants to give SAC’s members the best experience possible while in the mountains!

Take the opportunity to learn skills and get strong and stable for the ascent with Outdoor Rec Coach Brandyn through the winter. You can get started now and connect with her (broark@sacdt.com) OR Look for details in January on climbs for next summer starting in June. If you are interested in SAC Ascents contact Brandyn now so she can put you on the start list for further details!

Whatever it is, wherever you go, just GET STARTED. Don’t wait another year to try something new. Live now, play hard, scream into the finish line of life tired exhausted knowing you got it all in!!

Are you inspired yet? Still bored and don’t know what to do this summer…. talk with Brandyn then….she’ll get you going. There are no excuses. You don’t need to “get to a certain weight, strength, ability, level, etc”…that’s an EXCUSE… just GET STARTED NOW with where you are in your life…GO!