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Believe It… Or Not

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4/1/11 – April Fool’s Day is upon us, and while Climbing was busy working to get the May issue out the door today, many other climbing sites made sure the joke wasn’t on them. Below, some links to help you get your fill of climbing-related pranks.

UKC Sponsor Top UK Climbers With Cash: today launches a new initiative, sponsoring top UK climbers with an annual salary. In return for hard cash support, the climbers will develop exciting content for UKC users to read and watch. “… We want hits on the site and everyone knows that hits make money. Controversy and scandal are our currency and apparently nudity goes down well too, plus any way we can mention Princess Diana.”

In other words, “The way internet advertising works is we get paid per ‘hit.’ Franco’s recent video has had over 20,000 hits already. We can roughly work out our revenue at £1 per hit (for a news item) so from that article alone we are 20K up. Hence why we have been able to offer a salary of £20,000 to Franco.”

Summit Air: New system for breathing oxygen high on Mount Everest: With a new climbing season about to begin on Mount Everest, mountaineers who reach the South Col will be able to breathe oxygen from a source other than bottled O2. A Vancouver based company, Summit Air, has developed a system where oxygen will be pumped up the mountain from a camp in the Western Cwm above the icefall.

“Our ultimate goal is to make the mountain safer for climber by ensuring a continuous supply of oxygen for those both on their way to the summit and for the return trip. This should increase the ratio of successful ascents and decrease the rates of death.”

New Names for Old Hills: Today sees the launch of (S)Peakeasy, a national campaign to rename key British mountains. The campaign seeks to highlight the problems faced by visiting hillwalkers, climbers and tourists in areas of strong Welsh and Gaelic-speaking influence. Long term it hopes to build consensus for the idea of straightening out some of the famously tongue twisting hill names that can trip up Anglophone visitors. Supporters claim this could boost the tourist industry in recession-hit rural areas, and might even make it easier for local mountain rescue teams to locate casualties.

“At present you could put in an emergency call for assistance on Triffin, Trurvan or Try Fan and you’d be talking about the same mountain,” explains (S)Peakeasy spokesman Ian Comer. “That ambiguity might cost vital time, so what’s needed is standardisation.”

Clean Ascent Hammer Drill: Safety On Lead: While browsing around murky climbing chat rooms I came across the Alpinist Clean Ascent. Finally a climbing specific hammer-drill light enough to drill on lead. Never again would I have to rely on inadequate natural protection. Now many would argue that a drill is much too heavy to clip to your harness while on the sharp end. But this is no ordinary drill and if you weigh its benefits against a trad rack you would be pleasantly surprised. The average trad rack can easily weigh 3-4 kilos while the new Clean Ascent drill weighs merely 1.5 kilos. Add 20 bolts and hangers and your setup will weigh in at just over 2.5 kilos, fully comparable with a traditional rack. This incredibly low weight is achieved through a titanium chassis, carbon fiber casing, lithium external battery pack and lots of pure mountain spirit.

The drill has served me well for a full active climbing season. It has completely replaced my entire rack. On most of my climbs I now rely completely on the drill for all of my placements.

Pros: Super-safe all round protection in any rock anywhere. Lightest hammer drill on the market. Lighter than a full rack. Protection remains solid for years to come. Cons: Hammer noise disturbs the peace and quite of the mountains. However ear-protection or loud music are an excellent solution.