Climbing Wall Association announces new training certification

Indoor climbing wall

Climb on. And on.

Indoor climbing is huge. In fact, it’s quite common to find gym members who have held cards for years and never been on belay on real rock. And that’s fine. It’s a great sport and gets a lot of people off of the couch.

Because of the intense growth and success of indoor climbing gyms around the country, the Climbing Wall Association has announced a new certification program to formally educate aspiring gym managers and instructors. The press release says this:

“The goal of the certification program is to establish to a voluntary set of standards for technical skills and instruction and to train instructors worldwide. The certification standards represent a consensus view of the minimum qualifications necessary for climbing wall instructors. In the hope of providing access to the greatest number of instructors possible, the program will not require certificants to maintain individual memberships in the trade association. The program was designed to be integrated into existing staff training programs and is cost effective.”

Read the rest of it here.

Umstead Ultra runners face pollen fog, rolling hills in classic east coast competition

Umstead Ultra

100 Miles of steeps, pollen and food. Oh the foods.

The Umstead Ultra 100 has been traipsing over the trails at Raleigh’s Umstead State Park for 17 years. It is one of the oldest and finally, most respected 100-mile running competitions in the country. It may not have the flair or terrain of the Western States 100 or other western big runs, but it’s a damn fine race that sold out in eight minutes and started long before ultras became the endurance milestones they are today.

Most contestants will joke that it’s one of the only runs of this sort after which you will weigh more than you did when the gun sounded at 6:00 a.m. Credit goes to an unreal amount of home-cooked grub at two well-served aid stations. There is plenty of the stuff that comes packaged and in plastic but the real difference is the buffet of home-made soups, right-off-the-grill burgers, oven-baked mac & cheese, banana pudding (this is the South after all) and plenty of other secret recipe sweets.

This time of year, Carolina’s loblolly pines disperse with their stuff in epic fashion, coating cars, homes, patios, streets and ultra runners with a dense blanket of reproductive yellow powder. Come sundown, headlamps will bounce down the trails firing yellow beams throughout the forest. But hey, ultras are often about coping with nature and it’s rarely reason enough to not be involved.

Umstead 100 Mile run race headquarters

Come one, come all.

The race started this morning, 4/2/11, at 6:00 a.m. For the third year, I’m heading out as a pacer this evening to run alongside my buddy Ryan (and occasional hcsr contributor) on his last 12.5 mile loop. At 23, he and two others are the youngest runners in the event. This is his first 100 miler; he plans on finishing before midnight. I hope I can help him get there.