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    Breathing and Energy Flow

    by Lynn Hill

    Over the last several years, many forms of yoga and eastern practices have been adopted into our culture. There is much more awareness about the benefits of meditation, maintaining good posture, and conscious breathing in our practice. Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. Conscious attention to breathing is common in many forms of meditation, specifically, Anapana, which focuses on the "mindfulness of breathing." The purpose of this practice is to concentrate on bodily phenomena as both a mental discipline, and as a prerequisite to developing liberating insight. Practicing this form of meditation is part of the Eight-Fold Path that leads to the removal of all defilements and finally toward the attainment of nirvana or enlightenment.

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    Petzl Roctrip

    by Lynn Hill

    Roctripscene The Petzl RocTrip event in the Red River Gorge this past weekend was certainly "eventful". This year Petzl joined forces with the RRGCC (Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition) annual fundraiser called, Roctober Fest to help raise money to buy a large section of cliffs in the Red River Gorge area. With contributions from Petzl, generous private donations, as well as many smaller contributions from the climbing community, the RRGCC raised a significant chunk of money toward this land purchase.

    As per the usual Petzl RocTrip format, many top climbers from Europe and the U.S. came together to climb some of the most challenging routes in the Red. In order to raise additional funds, several climbers, including myself, offered clinics on Friday to the first fifteen people that signed up. One-hundred-percent of the proceeds went toward the RRGCC land trust fund.

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    Outside Magazine Cover Shot

    by Lynn Hill

    Cover_oct2007_toc The other day while having coffee at Vics, the neighborhood café, a few people came up to me and said they liked the cover shot of Outside Magazine this month. This month's gate-cover photo shows Lance Armstrong, Ben Harper, Amanda Beard, and Kelly Slater on the front page, and on the foldout page you see Ed Viesturs, Laird Hamilton, Jake Burton, Scott Lindgren, and myself.

    It was certainly an interesting experience to meet this cast of characters. I was curious to read what was written about each of us. The article starts out with Lance of course and the title is: "Heavyweights: Nine all-stars tell it like it is." As it turned out, the journalists captured whatever we felt like talking about in our brief telephone conversation.

    [Photo: Christian Witkin]

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    How I Train Pt. 2 – Physical Elements of Endurance

    by Lynn Hill

    My last post addressed the mental aspect of endurance training. The following post will address the basics elements of the physical side of endurance training.

    Free climbing involves a combination of both power and endurance. Some people are better suited to one type of climbing or the other. I like all types of climbing but I do best on routes that require more endurance than power. This may be because I have a higher percentage of slow-to-fast twitch muscle fibers. Each person is born with a certain proportion of slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers provide short bursts of power and are fueled by an energy system called glycolysis. A person can develop more endurance through training but, apparently, the ration of fast-to-slow-twitch fibers cannot be increased.

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    How I Train Pt. 1 – Mental Endurance

    by Lynn Hill

    Ambass_hill [Editor's note: Welcome to The Cleanest Lynn. Besides being one of the most accomplished climbers on the planet Lynn Hill is also one heck of a blogger. So we've updated the masthead and handed over the keys to Lynn for a week's worth of her insight. Enjoy.]

    Many people ask me how I train for climbing. My first answer is, by climbing of course! When I'm interested in preparing for a particular climb, I choose the appropriate kind of climbing as training for my objective. On rare occasions I will do supplemental forms of training when climbing alone is not sufficient. For example, when I free climbed the Nose on El Capitan, I needed to train for a high level of endurance because the Nose route is nearly 3,000 feet long and the most difficult sections of the climb are located over 2,000 feet off the ground.

    In order to train for this ascent, I not only climbed as many pitches per day as I could, but I ran at a relatively high level of intensity for at least an hour or an hour-and-a-half daily. I needed to have a lot of stamina, as well as a reasonably high degree of power to be able to free climb the most difficult sections of the climb. Consequently, I needed to combine endurance training with strength training, which can sometimes be a bit tricky since research shows that endurance training can get in the way of strength training. But above all, the most important element of endurance training for any sport or activity has to do with the mental aspect. For today's post, I will address the mental aspect of endurance training that I have learned throughout my years as an athlete. Tomorrow, I will address the physical elements.

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    Girls Gone Back to Italy

    by Lynn Hill

    Lynnclimbingavalon The last few days with my Italian friends have been fun! Yesterday I drove them to the airport and they are probably about to land on their home turf as I write these words. One lives in Rome where I lived for a year and a half, and the other lives in Arco, the historic place where I first came to Italy and competed in the Sport Roccia competition (now called the Rock Master). With Owen in daycare, we took advantage of our last chance to climb together before their return to Italy. Since it is still scorching hot in the sun, we chose to climb in Boulder Canyon at a shady area called Avalon. Though the weather looked dodgy, some young guys climbing next to us said that the weather forecast predicted only a 30% chance of rain.

    [Lynn climbs Avalon. All photos courtesy of Lynn Hill]

    After climbing the second pitch, the rain began to fall. My friend Antonella said, "Should I go up and get the gear?" I said, "Si, vai!" But by the time she came around the overhanging bulge onto the upper face above, the sky cut loose and drenched everything. I was laughing so hard I could barely stop -- especially when she came down and ripped off her top in front of two young guys. The look on their faces was hilarious! In her mind, the comfort of changing into a dry top was a much higher priority than any sense of modesty. I love that aspect of the European temperament.

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    Bouldering Excursion to Redcliff

    by Lynn Hill

    Jay_ready_tp_spring_2 Despite intermittent rain, the bouldering excursion to Redcliff was fun and well worth the trip. This collection of boulders is located about twenty-minutes west of Vail in a fairy-tale like setting amongst pine and aspen trees.

    I went with my friend, Jay Droeger, and his Hungarian friend, Lorent. About ten years ago, Jay discovered this area with his friend and guidebook writer, Philip Beningfield. While on their way to climb in Rifle, they happened to stop for lunch in the town of Minturn. One of the locals asked them what they were doing in the area and when they said they were rock climbers, the local told them that he had seen someone climbing on some boulders just behind the town of Redcliff.

    [Jay gets ready to spring for a hold. Photo: Lynn Hill]

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    Big Wall Trash a Big Problem in Yosemite

    by Lynn Hill

    After speaking with my friends, Mike Lechlinski and Mari Gingery about their experiences in Yosemite and climbing on El Capitan this summer, I learned that many climbers are not doing their part in keeping the big walls clean. Apparently many people "accidentally" or even intentionally drop their garbage and poop off El Capitan and don't even go back to the base after their ascent to clean up their mess. I believe that, as a way of showing respect for the beauty of this magnificent place, we all need to make the effort to clean up any trash we come across. In fact, I believe that everyone who ascends a big wall route should hike back to the base with a large trash bag and clean everything in sight after his or her ascent. There's not a lot to be done about the smell of urine on the rock since the rain will take care of that problem. But the idea that some people just throw their trash and poop bags off the wall because they don't want to deal with it anymore is completely unacceptable!

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    Precarious Predicament for Pollinators?

    by Lynn Hill

    Bee_6 I've been reading and hearing a lot of talk recently about the ominous phenomenon of bees dying all over the world. Most of what I've read on the subject points to pesticides as a possible reason why the bees are dying. Apparently, many farmers are spraying pesticides on their crops at the wrong times, despite the fact that spraying at these critical times can have a profoundly negative effect on the bee population and consequently, the production yield of various fruits and vegetables. Obviously our society's current over-use of pesticides reflects a short-sided viewpoint on the natural life cycle since bees and other pollinating animals are responsible for 80% of the world's crop production.

    Pollinators, mostly insects, are indispensable partners for an estimated one-out-of-every-three mouthfuls of all the food, spices, or condiments we consume. This is an estimated twenty-billion dollar industry in the U.S. and pollinators are threatened by a variety of factors besides pesticide misuse. The loss of their natural habitat in dead trees or fence posts on ever-decreasing farmlands across the country has also contributed to the decline of bee populations.

    [Photo: Márcia Grilo]

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    Is Osteoarthritis a Danger to Rock Climbers?

    by Lynn Hill

    [Editor's note: We're honored to bring Patagonia ambassador Lynn Hill on-board as a contributor to The Cleanest Line. Lynn is no stranger to blogging. For a glimpse into the past 2+ years of her life jump on over to Lynn Hill Blogs.]

    Lynn_hill2 I was a bit surprised to read the following article about osteoarthritis in rock climbers since I expected the study to show a higher risk in climbers. I've seen many climbers' hands over the years and it seems that the people who climb a lot at a high level of intensity have either really thick fingers and/or damage around the finger joints. Considering the fact that I have climbed for thirty-two years, I feel fortunate that my fingers are in great shape. I think the fact that I am relatively light compared to the average climber is an advantage since I don't stress my tendons and ligaments so much. I also listen to my body and if I feel pain, I usually stop. It was also beneficial to have had a solid base of climbing experience on slabs and crack climbs in my formative years as a climber. The routes that I climbed in those days helped strengthen my tendons and ligaments as opposed to injuring them on the physically demanding sport routes of today.

    [Photo: Screen grab from video by Lynn Hill, Brad Lynch, Jim Hurst and Patagonia]

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