Hiking

Parents-Take-child-to-Climb-the-10.000ft-Mountain-Range

Parents Take Son, Three, and Daughter to Climb the 10,000ft Mountain Range – A three year old became the youngest toddler to reach the summit of a 10,000ft mountain, thanks to his adventurous family. The little boy, named Jackson Houlding, was joined by his seven year old sister Freya Houlding and their parents Leo Houlding, 40, and Jessica Houlding, 41, on the treck up Piz Badile – which is on the border of Switzerland and Italy.

Leo is a professional climber, having trecked up some of the most dangerous peaks on Earth.

And it seems his kids are set to follow in his footsteps, as thanks to their latest pursuit, Freya has now become the youngest person to climb the mountain unaided, while little Jackson is the youngest person to get to the top – 153 years to the day since the peak was first climbed.

As a reward for being so brave, Jackson was given some Haribo to enjoy at the end.

Speaking from Bregaglia, Switzerland, Leo said: “It’s a super classic route, the best of it’s grade in the world.

“What was exceptional was we did it with our seven year-old-daughter Freya and our three-year-old son Jackson.

“My daughter climbed it all by herself, all the way, including all the hiking and everything – it was very impressive. She only just turned seven last week.

“My wife Jess carried Jackson on her back who weighs about 15kg, I carried all the camping equipment and food which weighed a bit more.”

He added: “We’ve done quite a bit of stuff in the UK and Europe in previous years, but every summer the kids are bigger and more capable than the past year.

“We did Triglav in Slovenia, but this was a league above that in terms of grandeur and difficulty.

“If I was on my own, I could have run up it really quickly. I would do it in my hiking shoes without a rope, but for a normal team the guidebook time is about 8hrs on the climb, a two day round trip.

“Having your own children there, I was conscious that we were on a big adventure together but I never felt that we were in an unacceptable position and I never thought we were out of our depth.

“We paced it out because it’s a long walk up on the first day, and it’s a really beautiful place.”

Piz Badile is a mountain in the Bregaglia range and stands at 10,853ft (3,308m) and it’s north face is considered one of the six great faces of the Alps.

The first ascent was completed by W. A. ​​B. Coolidge with guides François Devouassoud and Henri Devouassoud on July 27, 1867.

It might sound tricky to many, but to Leo it was a walk in the park, given that just last year he became the first Brit to climb the world’s remotest mountain, Specter, which is so isolated only ten people have ever seen it.

Specter is a jagged mountain peak in Antarctica, 450km south of the South Pole, and he battled Antarctic conditions for more than 2,000km to make the climb.

Leo began the family trip up Piz Badile at 39-years-old and ended it at 40, celebrating his 40th birthday on the summit of the mountain with his loved ones.

The Houlding family set off on July 25th and took their time completing the route – spending one night in an alpine hut and another two in bivouacs.

“We started down in the valley and it takes about five hours to get up to a beautiful mountain hut on the Swiss side,” Leo explained.

“They’re kind of like hotels, they provide you with a bed and food – it’s a nice one, called the Sasc Fuca. We spent the night there.

“With an adult team you would normally go from there to the top of the mountain then down on to the Italian side, but because we were with the kids we had a short day from there to a bivouac site.

“We camped on a shoulder right below the start of the difficult climbing. It was a magnificent site. Then we did the big climb on the third day.

“Then right on the summit we stayed in a bivouac hut – it’s a tiny metal shed, it was a spectacular spot with a huge drop 1m from the front door.

“On the fourth day we woke up in that hut and it was my 40th birthday, we descended the other side.

“It took six abseils, then a long five hour walk through beautiful scenery to San Martino valley in Italy. Then we got a taxi back round to the camper van in Bregaglia.”

The super-fit dad, who is an ambassador for Berghaus, said he never worried about his children’s safety on the treck, given his experience with mountaineering.

“It’s a proper rock climb, not a walk up a mountain, and one of the finest climbs of it’s standard in the world. It’s a 1,000m long knife edge ridge and you’re using your hands the whole way, it’s a really long rock climb, “he said.

“There’s always danger in the mountains, there’s hazards of fall, hazards of weather, hazards of rockfall. The benefits of being on a ridge is that the threat of rock fall is much lower, if you’re on the face it’s worse.

“These days mountain weather forecasts are so accurate you can mitigate that risk too. For falling, it’s the person who goes first at risk – so I led the whole climb. I’m a professional climber, the most experienced person goes first.

Discussing his impressive feat at the end, little Jackson said: “It was really good, I enjoyed the bit I climbed on my own and the Haribo sweets.”

Jessica adde: “It was great, we keep upping the level each year. It’s a huge achievement, especially for my daughter.

Meanwhile, Freya reflected: “I found it really fun and really scary. I’m very proud.”

What an impressive achievement to have under your belt at such a young age!

Hiking-Is-Better-On-Mountain-Bikes-And-Extended-Ascent

Hiking Is Better On Mountain Bikes And Extended Ascent – Climbing on a mountain bike is hard for everyone. Your bike is heavy, your suspension and squishy tires steal power from your legs and your wide handlebars are better suited to working the front end through corners and over rocks than going uphill.

The key to climbing better on your mountain bike, no matter your fitness level or your body type, is practice. If you always try to blast uphill as fast as you can, you may improve your speed somewhat, but to develop good climbing technique, you will need to back off and go a pace you can sustain. Speed will come later.

And, think positive. Most long climbs end with a fun descent!

Long, sustained climbs are usually not very technical and take place on fire roads, paved roads or single track trails. Grades may be from barely noticeable to a difficult 12 percent or more for at least a quarter mile. In mountainous areas, it’s not uncommon to find grinders over 3 miles long at 6-14 percent, with sections much steeper.

Climbing long, sustained hills on a mountain bike isn’t much different than on a road bike except the road may be bumpier. Relaxing, finding your rhythm, pacing yourself and preparing yourself mentally will help you not only climb faster, but might even allow you to enjoy the experience.

Accept the climb. You’re outside and on a mountain bike. You are hopefully already having a good day! Embrace the climb. Hating climbing won’t help, and will actually make you slower. Avoid being the one in your group complaining about the hills.

Some mountain bikes are much better suited to climbing than others. Generally, hardtails and trail bikes with short travel full suspensions climb better than long-travel bikes regardless of wheel size. If you have bike with 6” of travel or more, long hills will probably require some extra patience, but you will more than make up for it on the way down!

Breathe and relax. If you’re stiff, you’ll burn more energy than you need to, and you won’t react well to sudden changes such as bumps or holes. Start from the top of your forehead and work down. Make sure you’re not frowning, relax your eyebrows and your jaw by exhaling. Relax your neck, your shoulders, your elbows, wrists and fingers. Wiggle your fingers a little to symbolize releasing the tension.

Your actual breathing should be deep and rhythmic with full exhalations. This will help you relax as well as lower your heart rate.

Body position: stay seated. If you have one, raise your dropper post to the high setting. Lock out your suspension if you can. Your body position should be neutral and comfortable, with your shoulders wide and chest open for easier breathing. Keep your head up, eyes looking where you want to go, relax your shoulders and bend your elbows slightly. Your wrists should be flat, to be in line with your forearms. Your grip should be loose. If the trail or road is not bumpy, rest your thumb on top of the grip to save a little more energy.

Stay seated to conserve energy as much as you can. Keep your upper body quiet and relaxed. As the pitch steepens or you lose traction, you may need to lean forward to put more weight over the front wheel. For a quick steep rise with plenty of traction, stand and pedal hard to give yourself a little power. For a technical rise or where traction is poor, you may need to “hover” slightly over your saddle while leaning forward. Otherwise you may spin out your rear tire if you apply too much power. Pulling back on the bars with each pedal stroke increases traction even a little more.

If it’s a very long climb you may need to give your rear a break from the saddle and vary the muscles you’re using. It’s OK to pedal standing up for a while on a very steep part. Or shift gears one or two harder and stand. Stay smooth and keep your momentum and lower your cadence to keep your heart rate down. Standing uses more energy than riding seated, so keep the standing breaks short.

Find your rhythm for efficiency. You may think that mashing a big gear at a cadence of 40 to 50 will make you go faster. Really it will only wear you out. Pick an easy gear and spin as high a cadence as you can with smoothness and power. Aim for 70 rpm or higher, ideally 90, as long as you can pedal smoothly. If you’re bouncing on your saddle or on the suspension, you’ll be wasting energy you’d rather see converted into forward motion.

Pace yourself. Your pace during a fun ride with friends will probably be different than if you’re racing, but either way you should feel not completely spent at the top. Plan to go slower early on in the climb, and in an easy gear. If you’re fresh as a daisy at the top, go a little harder next time, or push your pace as you get closer to the crest. Conversely, if you’re completely toast halfway up, go easier at the start next time. Use your breathing or heart rate to help you judge your effort.

On a road or trail you’re familiar with, choose some markers such as rock formations, tree stumps, signs or whatever at regular intervals to help you tick off progress. Roadies often use mile markers. On a MTB, you get to be creative. For a three mile climb, as an example, you may want to break it down into six roughly half mile segments.

A good mental exercise is to think of pedaling circles, and imagine a winch at the front of your bike. Toss the imaginary hook and cable uphill to a tree or post, and visualize the winch pulling you up. When you get close to that tree, imagine tossing the hook to another tree.

If you’re out for a leisurely ride or are working on improving your fitness, feel free to stop at the top or at a particularly scenic place on the way up to enjoy the view. Otherwise, try to maintain your pace to get your body accustomed to longer duration efforts.

Eat and drink! A long, sustained hill may be a good opportunity to refuel yourself, since your hands are less busy. Catch up on plain water especially if it’s hot out. If you’re racing, grab some food in small bites. Liquid nutrition or chews that you can let dissolve in your mouth may be best for climbs, since these are less likely to interfere with breathing and make your heart rate spike. Don’t overdo the food, however. Eating too much at once (more than 100 calories at a time, or more than 200-300 calories per hour, depending on the person) may cause stomach issues just as it would during any intense activity.

In summary, do the best you can. Hills are difficult on any bike. Eventually, with training and practice, you’ll go faster up long, sustained hills on your mountain bike. It will always be hard, your speed will just be faster. Enjoy your improvements and these hills may even become a fun way to get to the downhill part.