Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Rear.........!

....... here's wishing everyone plenty of smiles and laughter as we head into 2008 :0)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Believe me, the secret of the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is: To live dangerously! Build your cities under Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas!

- Nietzsche -

Monday, December 17, 2007

Words of Wisdom

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference

- The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, 1999 -

Monday, December 10, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Life does not consist mainly,
or even largely, of facts and happenings.
It consists mainly of the storm of thought
that is forever flowing through one's head

- Mark Twain -

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Backcountry Skiing vs. Ski Mountaineering

Backcountry skiing" is a term that is familiar to almost every skier, yet "ski mountaineering" remains a bit of a mystery to many. Simply stated, ski mountaineering is the use of skis for ascending and descending mountains. The "skis" used could be either specialised ski mountaineering gear (alpine touring / randonee), standard downhill skiing gear, telemark gear (free-heel nordic), very-short figle skis, or even snowboards. In the purest form of ski mountaineering, both the ascent and descent of a peak are made entirely on skis, using climbing skins and perhaps ski crampons for traction on the ascent, and then descending a continuous ski route back down to the base. At times a complete ski ascent is not possible due to snow conditions, route selection, or equipment choice, thus requiring some climbing on foot, perhaps using crampons or snowshoes. In other cases, a continuous ski descent may be dangerous or impossible, requiring downclimbing or abseiling past the areas of difficulty. The goal of ski mountaineering is to use skis to enhance the overall mountaineering experience by increasing speed, efficiency, and (most of all) enjoyment in the mountains.

In contrast, backcountry skiing usually refers to skiing for its own sake, trying to find the best ski conditions and terrain regardless of the particular mountains where it occurs. Although the ascent and descent techniques are the same, the goals of ski mountaineering trips and backcountry skiing trips are usually different. Backcountry ski trips typically involve yo-yoing a single slope several times in one day once the good snow has been found, while ski mountaineering trips typically consist of a single focused ascent or traverse each day. Most ski mountaineers do either style of trip depending on which is appropriate for the conditions and the season.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe

- Mark Victor Hansen -

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Live Fast ....

This is a video clip of Dan Osman climbing 400 feet in 4 minutes, 25 seconds. An impressive achievement.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Words of Wisdom

I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once.
I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.
When I have eliminated the ways that will not work,
I will find the way that will work.

- Thomas Edison -

Friday, November 23, 2007


Conflict exists whenever incompatible activities occur (Deutsch, 1973). An activity that is incompatible with another is one that prevents, blocks, or interferes with the occurrence or effectiveness of the second activity. A conflict can be as small as a disagreement or as large as a war. It can originate in one person, between two or more people, or between two or more groups (Johnson & Johnson, 1995a). However, an individual can learn to deal with conflict through communication and negotiation so that it does not create further problems or issues.

Part of dealing with conflict is about understanding what people are thinking and feeling. You may not agree with them, but the first step is to try and understand. It is also important to clearly explain your views and feelings so they can understand you.

Ways people deal with conflict:

The turtle represents people who withdraw from conflict – they think it is easier to avoid the people and the situations that have caused the conflict. They usually do not address the problem and hope that it goes away.

The shark represents people who try to use their force to get what they want in conflict. All they care about is winning. They are very focused on their own needs and do not think about the other person.

The teddy bear represents people who will give in to others in order to save their relationship with them. They want people to like them and fear that conflict may end their relationship with that person.

The fox represents people who may give up some of their goal (compromise) in order to resolve the conflict. They are happy to meet half way and are focused on resolving the conflict quickly.

Owls are people to try to make sure that both people can meet their goals without compromise. They look for different options and are focused on a win-win outcome. They care about the other person's goals as much as their own.

You will find that you can relate to these different strategies for dealing with conflict in different situations. If you were involved in conflict with an aggressive person, it may be best to be the turtle and walk away – avoid the conflict. However, in most situations, it is important to aim for a win-win outcome – the owl. Both your goals and the other person's goals are important and through good communication you may reach an outcome that meets both your needs.

Conflicts have considerable value when they are managed constructively. The issue is not whether conflicts occur, but rather how they are managed. Desirable outcomes of constructively managed conflict include (Deutsch, 1973; Johnson, 1970; Johnson & F. Johnson, 1994; Johnson & Johnson, 1995a): Greater quantity and quality of achievement, complex reasoning, and creative problem solving; higher quality decision making; healthier cognitive, social, and psychological development by being better able to deal with stress and cope with unforeseen adversities; increased motivation and energy to take action; higher quality relationships with friends, co-workers, and family members; a greater sense of caring, commitment, joint identity, and cohesiveness with an emphasis on increased liking, respect, and trust; heightened awareness that a problem exists that needs to be solved; and an increased incentive to change.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Facing Challenge

Challenge |ˈ ch alənj| - A test of one's abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking

Life becomes real only when we begin to face and solve our own problems. Until then we only swim in circles in a large fantasy world which tends to make us very tired of living.

Don't waste energy! Face life now!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Al MacKinnon

Clocks, calendars, schedules, meetings, phone calls, emails, snail mail, that very important lunch, the cr@p on TV, cable, five hundred channels of whatever, trips to the mall, the bar, the supermarket, that place, the other, the one where they sell stuff, thingamabobs and other detritus. Or not. There's always a choice, sometimes it's just hard to remember that.

- Steven Kotler -

Scottish rites in the jade temple. Klaus Howse ensconced in the north.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Time for Tiderace..........

........ and the outlook is favourable

Footage courtesy of

Here are some pictures of the Xplore on the water at the recent WCA Coach Update forum as modelled by Guto Wynn

You can learn more about the boats at the TideRace Sea Kayaks homepage

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Alfredo Escobar

When I lived in Japan, I studied many spiritual practices - Zazen, Aikido, Kendo, reciting Okyo or the Lotus Sutra, and chanting sutras under a cold waterfall. Each brought a kind of meditative calm, but I realized, as the Obo-san explained about the dynamics of waterfall meditation, the infusion of Ki energy from the cascading water and the benefits of the negative ions, that we, as surfers, already participate in this form of meditation. It's all in one's attitude. Our experience, as surfers, provides all the challenges to our character that the powerful sea has to offer, but the well of healing is just as deep.

- Mark Gray -

Waves like the foothills of the Andes - Chile size and thunder in the afternoon. The biggest day of the year in Punta de Lobos. Ramon Navarro on the wave, Cristian Merelo on the ski - just two surfers out and 100 surfers on land

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Be Careful ...

... of how you dispose of equipment!

A ship's distress signal has been traced to a mountain of scrapped fridges and TVs in Belfast.

A team from broadcasting regulator Ofcom found the beacon after the mayday was picked up by Civil Aviation Authority Receivers on the Isle of Man.

Normally a rescue helicopter is scrambled when a distress signal is picked up, but RAF Kinloss could tell the signal was on dry land.

The beacon activated after it had been dismantled from a vessel.

It was tracked by satellite from a scrap-metal yard in north Belfast last week as it was moved by lorry to one in Queen's Island in the docks area.

The beacon was found in the middle of a 20ft pile of old electrical equipment.

Philip Morgan, Spectrum Manager for Ofcom Northern Ireland, said the device had to be found and turned off because it interferes with the CAA's radio system.

The beacon - pic Ofcom
The beacon was found in a mountain of scrap

"It was a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but using our radio tracking equipment, and with the help of the scrapyard's crane, we were able to find the beacon very quickly and disable it - within a couple of hours of it going off."

Ofcom Northern Ireland investigates about half a dozen cases every year of distress beacons from ships or planes being activated accidentally.

Mr Morgan said the devices, which can go on for a considerable length of time, had to be disposed of responsibly.

"Otherwise they can cause a false-alarm which wastes the rescue services' time and could divert them from a genuine emergency," he said.

Ofcom is responsible for monitoring all radio broadcasts and for investigating cases of interference.

Article by By Arthur Strain, BBC News

Monday, November 05, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Climber: Lucy Creamer

Adventure isn't hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain.
Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life, facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities,
testing our resources against the unknown and in the process,
discovering our own unique potential.

- John Amatt -

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Climbing Every Mountain ...

.... for charity

Mountaineers, Mark S Lewis and Ian Blessley started their daunting 855 rock faces climbing challenge at 10.00am on Monday 3rd September at Morlais Quarry in Merthyr Tydfil and in the last 8 days have climbed over a 1500mtrs, done live interviews with BBC and had several articles in the newspapers. The pair, both experienced mountaineers, are taking on the VS challenge; climbing 855 rock faces, that’s 100,000mts of rock faces, by two climbers in a bid to raise £100,000 for Tenovus, Wales’ Cancer Charity and the WISCM Trust. They have completed over 1000mtrs of climbing so far and it is all blogged on Mark's website -

Mark, who runs his own Mountaineering company and is sponsored by Zero G Climbing, explains more about their amazing challenge ... “We are about to take on one of the most extreme mountain challenges ever attempted in the UK and will be rock climbing full-time for about six months, weather dependent, until we have completed the 855 rock faces challenge.”

The intrepid pair will be climbing throughout South and West Wales; on Gower, in the Bridgend area, on Inland Limestone and Sandstone rock faces. Mark and Ian are inviting people to join them in their quest along the way, “Each climb is weather dependent, so we will be choosing our daily location dependent on weather forecasts. Each week we hope to complete 6 climbs per day for 5 days in a row.

Mark concluded, “I have climbed on Mount Everest a few times but this rock face challenge is going to be every bit as gruelling, even without the snow!”

Tenovus, Wales’ cancer charity is full of praise for Mark and Ian, Kylie Parfitt, National Project development officer for Tenovus said, “This fundraising challenge has high hopes of raising £50,000 for Tenovus to help us support cancer patients and their families at a time they need us most.”
She added, “If you would like to help the boys reach their target over the next six months please donate on line at Just Giving or you can send cheques or postal orders made payable to Tenovus to The VS Challenge, Tenovus, 43 The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AB.”

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Jason Murray

Don't waste your time standing on the beach of life, trying to decide whether or not to surf. Just go. The waves always look better once you're in the water.

- Mark Anders -

Greg Long performs his morning duties inside a beautifully-designed Moroccan temple.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Objects of Desire

When it comes to cool travel gadgets, the SteriPen is without doubt as seeringly cool as it's possible to get. Not just because of the remarkable thing that it does, but also because it looks just so darn hot! Before we get into tech details, suffice to say that within a matter of seconds, this SteriPen will mean you never again have to worry about 'Don't drink the water' signs ever again. Flip off the lid and dip the end of the pen into your glass of water, turn it on, and the cool UV light will glow bright blue, and in no time it will kill off a whole heap of potential nasties. It's the only patented, handheld water purifier that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy waterborne microbes. Ultra-violet light has been used for 90 years in large-scale systems including hospitals, city water systems and bottling plants to purify water. Independently tested by four universities, the SteriPen has been shown to destroy in excess of 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses and 99.9% of protozoa.

To date SteriPEN has been tested against: E. coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Poliovirus, Rotavirus, Klebsiella terrigena, Streptococcus faecalis, Bacillus subtilis (vegitative and spore), common yeast, Coliphage MS2, Giardia and Cryptosporidum. We don't know what most of those are, but we're pretty sure we don't want to inadvertently drink any of them, that's for sure. Effective against the waterborne microbes that cause giardia, polio, diarrhea, hepatitis, typhoid fever, botulism, dysentery and cholera (just to name a few), we can't imagine travelling anywhere without this compact and invaluable little gadget. Complete peace of mind in a pen, don't you just love the 21st Century!

Testing shows that SteriPEN meets the standard as set forth in the U.S. EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Photograher: Sara Schloo

All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest.

- Arthur C. Clarke -

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Perkins, Jay & Tishman (1993a) consider good thinking can be characterised by seven broad dispositions. Each disposition has three elements: inclination (a person’s felt tendency towards a particular behaviour), sensitivity (a person’s alertness towards a particular occasion), and capability (the ability of a person to follow through with a particular behaviour). A good leader may be disposed towards all of the thinking behaviours and appropriately exhibit one or more of them depending on the situation. The theory of good thinking is based on logical argument (Tishman & Perkins, 1995; Tishman, 2001) and growing empirical evidence for the importance of dispositions (Facione, Facione & Giancarlo, 2000). Perkins et al. (1993a) contend that it raises provocative questions about existing models of thinking, casts new light on controversial issues in the field, connects in interesting ways to findings in other promising areas of cognitive research, and has important implications for the education of good thinking.

Any divergence between a leader’s ability to think critically and their tendency to invest fully in an opportunity can be thought of as a ‘dispositions gap’ (Perkins et al., 2000) where a disposition exists as the complex relationship between an intention, the sensitivity to an opportunity or demands of a particular context and the capability to respond. Perceptual sensitivity and capability to respond are two logically separable but functionally co-dependent elements. However, Tishman, Jay & Perkins (1993) maintain that sensitivity to context and capability in respect to thinking are insufficient to understand what people do without some consideration about aspects of motivation. Their inclusion of intention as a component creates a sufficient set of elements in what they call a dispositional framework. Adaptive expertise logically requires positive dispositions and a goal for ‘good leadership’ development should be to minimise the dispositions gap as much as possible (Tozer et al., 2007