Climbing the Nuns, Castle Valley, Utah
Posted by sibylle in utah (Tuesday March 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm)

Back to climbing!
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Olek leading pitch 1, North Face Right, Nuns

Last summer, we climbed a few routes I haven’t yet posted, including a route variously named either “The Flying Nun“  or North Face Right in Desert Rock III.

This climb ascends the sharp, calcite-crusted crack directly right of Holier Than Thou.

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Olek at belay, P1, Flying Nun or Holier Than Thou

On the photo above, you can see the calcite, like dripping candle wax, on the face to both sides of the crack.
We chose the easier start because I didn’t feel up to 5.11c face climbing. Olek, a 25-year old 5.12 sport climber from Belgium, could as easily have waltzed up either pitch - but we had two more pitches to go and I already had my big scare of the day.

I hiked up early in the morning, while it’s cool, while Andrew, Olek, and Niko went to town for more food.  As I walked along the  base of the Priest and Nuns, looking for the start of our climb -  Aaaack — there I found a big rattle snake.

This snake was sunning itself, bottom on the ground and upper part vertical — upright, against the warm cliff and sun.

I hastily retreated, away from the cliff, and  back to the trail. that snake was much closer to Holier Than Thou - another reason to climb the easier route.

Pitch one, the crack, was quite enjoyable, with a bigger crack near the start followed by a short thin section. Edging on the calcite is possible - and none broke off.

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Holier Than Thou , pitch 2

Pitch two continues up and left on good face climbing around the corner to a good ledge.

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Belay, pitch 2

Note the calcite-covered face climbing below.

I found the final left-leaning hand crack on the last pitch surprisingly strenuous. It leans way left, and feels very steep especially since there aren’t any feet in the hard part. After this grunty section, the climb eases off to the summit.

We chose a climb in the shade since it was a warm day in May, which gave us perfect temperatures. Aside form the rattle snake, I really enjoyed this route.

Our friends Niko and Andrew climbed Honeymoon Chimney, so we each had pictures of the other group on their climb ( and on top).  We also had great views (and photos) of Niko leading the crux on Honeymoon Chimney, which I’ll post next.

I’m heading to  Moab end of the week and excited to return to the beautiful red desert!

Riesch wins World Cup title over Vonn after FIS cancels final two races
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Switzerland, Europe, Colorado (Saturday March 19, 2011 at 11:54 am)

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Riesch wins WC title, narrowly beating Vonn

Getty images
Germany’s Maria Riesch won the skiing overall World Cup title, beating Lindsey Vonn,  after the FIS canceled the final two  races that were to be held in Lenzerheide, Switzerland at the “World Cup Final”.

Vonn won the WC overall title the past three years and was within three points of Riesch. Vonn said she felt devastated at not being able to defend her WC title when the  two races were canceled.

Officials canceled both the men’s and women’s giant slalom and super-G races due to weather: rain and warm weather had eroded most of the base on the race course.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) had packed four men’s and women’s races plus a one day team event into only five days, making it likely that one day of poor weather would result in cancellation of more than one race.

US head coach Alex Hoedelmoser said that the FIS should not have called off the race in the morning, but made more effort to put on a race.

Vonn said that the FIS should allow races to be rescheduled in bad weather.

I agree with Vonn, that the FIS could allow one extra days at each venue to make up any race postponed due to weather.

Ted Ligety won gold in the Beaver Creek WC  GS in December 2010, but the downhill race was canceled on Friday before the GS.
The super-G in Lenzerheide  starts at 6,852 feet and ends at 4,957 feet, lower than Denver, Colorado and much, much lower than ski areas in the Rockies. The base elevation of Keystone, where I teach skiing, lies at 9,300 feet, with the top at 12,200 feet.

Beaver Creek, site of World Cup races in December,  goes from 7, 400 feet to 11,440 feet.

Vail and Beaver Creek will host the alpine skiing World Championships  in  2015; let’s hope all the races will be run!

Riesch and Vonn battling for World Cup Title
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Switzerland, Europe (Friday March 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm)

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Tina Maze at Lenzerheide slalom

Universal sports photo

In the closest women’s battle for the overall World Cup title since 2005, Maria Riesch now leads Lindsey Vonn by three points.

Tina Maze won her first World Cup slalom on slushy snow.  Riesch placed  4th, gaining her 50 points for a total of 1,728 points,  and Vonn came in 13th, which gave her 20 points to place her at 1,725 points for the overall title.

The overall title will be decided in Saturday’s Giant Slalom, after rainy weather forced cancellation of both the women’s Super-G and men’s GS, due to be run on Thursday.

 Vonn earlier won the super-G title, and was disappointed when Thursday’s super-G was canceled, as she had high hopes to gaining points in the race.
Vonn won

Julia Mancuso wins WC Downhill race
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Europe (Wednesday March 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm)

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Mancuso skis Downhill in Lenzerheide, Switzerland

AP photo
Mancuso skied an aggressive run and earned her first World Cup gold since 2007, finishing in 1 minute, 27.50 seconds, 0.81 seconds ahead of Lara Gut of Switzerland with World champion Elisabeth Goergl of Austria in third place.

Mancuso’s victory moved her into  third in the final downhill standings, behind Vonn and Riesch.

Mancuso won two silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but hasn’t won a gold in four years.

She pledged half of her winner’s purse,  $18,200, to help tsunami victims in Japan.

The video of her winning run is here.

She skied an amazing run in the tough light and poor conditions.

Lindsey Vonn wins 3 world Cup titles!
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Europe (Friday March 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm)

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Vonn in women’s Super Combined

Photo: Agence Zoom
Vonn’s recent winning streak shows that she has recovered from her earlier concussion plus more!

In the past week, she placed second in  the Super-Combined in Tarvisio to win the World Cup  Super-Combined Title.

This video shows her first run in Tarvisio, Italy.

the next day, Vonn clinched the World Cup Downhill title by placing second in the Downhill in Tarvisio, which gave her 600 points over Riesch’s 457 in the downhill standings.

The video of her run  is particularly interesting in that it discusses how she must be more subtle in her skiing, and how once she makes a mistake by getting her wight on the inside ski. Sweden’s Anja Paerson won the Downhill, with World Champion Elisabeth Goergl in third place.

On day three, Vonn  won the World Cup Super-G in Tarvisio to clinch the World Cup Super-G Title - three titles in three days!

Julia Mancuso placed second, and Maria Riesch came in third.
The video of this race shows her turns particularly well - note how she jumps onto her new edges in one turn, how early the edge changes occur, and also watch the discussion of tactics and line.

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Vonn in the Super-G - note the edge angle at the beginning of the turn
Photo: Agence Zoom

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