Archive for climbing

“old” vs. “new” sports

Posted in Kids, pictures, Running with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2021 by xi'an

The Paris 2024 Olympics Committee has removed the 50km men race walk competition from the program, towards a mixed competition, possibly another walk. The argument is bringing more parity to the game (even though 50km women race walks are taking place, as seen above at the 2019 World championship, which was run under hugely inappropriate temperatures) while reducing the number of athletes. While I do realise this is not a very popular sport, I remain impressed by the athletes (who manage to walk over 20km  almost faster than I ran my best ½ marathon times!). Other new mixed competitions will include skeet shooting, two extreme canoe slalom events, three mixed events in sailing, and a new women’s weight class in boxing will replace a men’s class. (In my opinion, boxing should be banned altogether, given its demonstrated and devastating impact on athletes’ brains.) Other new sports include skateboarding, sport climbing (bouldering+lead climbing being separate from speed climbing) and surfing as well as break-dancing, grouped as “youth-focused events”, the last item creating a wee bit of controversy for being one of many forms of athletic dancing, and furthermore proving hard to judge in an objective way, while barring sports like squash from entering the list. Given that the list of Olympic sports is finite (and shrinking) there will obviously be more losers than winners, with some incomprehensibly over-represented disciplines (like, e.g., 18 wrestling competitions!), but it is somewhat annoying to see a rise in spectator sports that are more enjoyable to watch but harder to rank. (Although I do not particularly care for the Olympics and hope to stay away from Paris at the time! Like, attending JSM 2021 in Portland, Oregon.)

climbing encounters

Posted in Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2020 by xi'an

A nice if easy climbing morn on Éperon de Bouchier (à ne pas confondre avec Crochet de Boucher!) a week ago with a local guide, François, who happened to be a formidable character (even conditioning on him being guide). He left school at 14 to become a car mechanic, join the French Navy at 16, caught tuberculosis on a Navy basis, was sent to the Alps for recovery, caught a fatal and definite mountain attraction while there, got training supported by the Navy for an higher mechanic degree, took qualification courses to become a French mountain guide, started being interested in learning techniques and abilities through his training ski schools, experimented new teaching methods with kids from the Marseille suburbs,  eventually joined a Master in biomechanics and ergonomy at Orsay and ended up with a thesis on the topic, worked with French ski federation and a French ski brand, and is still guiding, training and researching despite having passed the retirement age! A wonderful chance encounter, with the facility of the route making chatting not an issue. (Except that some puritan ayatollah had recently removed most of the bolts, which did not make things harder in the end but exhibited an absurd degree of self-righteousness on a route that easy…)

And then an even more rewarding climb today with another local guide, Cathy, who gave me a great and profitable climbing lesson for over three hours, allowing me to reach a higher climbing level than I had previously achieved on an outside route. With a high degree of pedagogy and support. I ended up fairly tired, but exhilaratedly so!

terrific coincidence!

Posted in Mountains, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2020 by xi'an

As it happens I am staying for vacations this year at the right place and the right time since the finals of the climbing World cup. In Briançon, southern French Alps, on the French-Italian border. All other events of the World cup have been cancelled and this will be the only competition of the year (which should have seen climbing becoming an Olympic sport, although sadly in a one-fit-all-skills competition). The competition here remains centred on the hardness of the route, with Adam Ondra one of the advertised competitors. I hope we can be part of the 5000 happy few authorised to enter the competition arena tomorrow, for pandemic reasons…!

first 8000

Posted in Mountains with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2020 by xi'an

off to SimStat2019, Salzburg

Posted in Mountains, Running, Statistics, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2019 by xi'an

Today, I am off to Salzburg for the SimStat 2019 workshop, or more formally the 10th International Workshop on Simulation and Statistics, where I give a talk on ABC. The program of the workshop is quite diverse and rich and so I do not think I will have time to take advantage of the Hohe Tauern or the Berchtesgaden Alps to go climbing. Especially since I am also discussing papers in an ABC session.