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Ar Pa e Br tri its ck lo Th sin orn g t e i heir nv se est ns iga e o tes f ad 05 ve nt ur e?





ISSUE 01 | SEPT 2011


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Welcome to Vertical Drop, our exciting news magazine for everyone interested in adventure sport... road cycling... mountain biking... hill running... climbing... or whitewater kayaking... rafting... or canoeing – in short, all the mainstream summer action sports in the UK or abroad. We’ll be aiming to report on all ability levels from novice to pro, single obsessive to families trying something for the first time. Our cover story highlights the fact that while most of us want to get active, the reality is that recreational activities such as online gambling, social networking and watching reality TV shows are providing the biggest buzzes to more people than standing up, moving about and getting active. Of course, whilst lots of people are still running, biking, boarding and boating, a significant majority of the population are getting out less and less. Even amusement arcade operators are complaining they’re going out of business, as the growth in ever more sophisticated home computer game systems mean people don’t even walk to their nearest arcade to pay to play. That’s not just rather depressing, but fairly alarming for our national health spending if the trend continues, as seems likely. So hopefully you’re reading our first issue of Vertical Drop as you shop around for gear you need for your outdoor sports adventure, and if you’re reading it online perhaps you’re using a mobile device enroute to doing something active. And for those reading this mag whilst sitting on the sofa, there’s a wealth of inspiring ideas within to get active. So don’t just put the it aside and pick up your iPad or Nintendo 3DS, or worse still start online gambling; there are better ways to spend your money, improve your health, and really feel what the weather’s doing outside, not just glimpse it through a window when you look away from the screen!

DO YOU FEEL THE RUSH? in-a-lifetime’ experiences in their lives, and 41% say they have already had at least one. Most people think these experiences are, in general, easier to come by than they used to be (44%). Travel tops the list of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, more than a quarter of people (26%) dream of travelling the world, with an adventure holiday such as swimming with dolphins sought by 11% of people. A fourth survey, carried out on behalf of tour operator Kuoni, seems to confirm the thrust of the other three by reporting that 32% of Brits are having more sex on their holidays, with 66% of men demanding sex in unusual places (compared with 58% of women). The survey also found that once away on holiday, 17% of men were also trying extreme sports. “A once-in-a-lifetime experience is something to aim for and can be very motivating. For me, winning my Olympic medal was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It goes to show we can achieve our dreams, if we’re willing to commit enough time and effort” said Roger Black MBE, Scottish Widows ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It’s quite disheartening that so many of us can’t recall the last time we experienced real excitement in our lives

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© COPYRIGHT 2011 No part of this publication may be copied, photocopied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in anyway or means, either by recording or otherwise, without permission of the publishers in writing.







ISSUE 01 | SEPT 2011

Ar Pa e Br tri its ck lo Th sin orn g t e i heir nv se est ns iga e o tes f ad 05 ve nt ur e?

Vertical Drop has found that the combined results of four new surveys show that Brits may be slowly losing their sense of adventure … but not for lack of trying. Two of these new independent surveys found that nearly a quarter of Brits don’t even remember when they last felt a rush of excitement or thrill. An example, a YouGov survey commissioned by leading adventure brand Go Ape, revealed that excitement doesn’t feature regularly in our day-to-day lives, with around a fifth of Brits saying it’s more than a month since they last experienced a thrill. Over one in ten say it was more than 6 months ago for them. Perhaps more worrying still, responses revealed that increasingly those surveyed generated their feelings of excitement through passive methods, such as watching the X Factor final (over 2%), playing a games console, or gambling (3%), rather than engaging in exciting physical activity themselves. Of those questioned 1% said their last big thrill was while social networking on Facebook, and only 2% said their thrills came from enjoying an extreme sport or outdoor activity. “It’s quite disheartening that so many of us can’t recall the last time we experienced real excitement in our lives,” said Will Blair, Head of Marketing at Go Ape. “I don’t believe that it’s simply because people aren’t bothered about having fun anymore. I think it’s more likely that we live in a busy world full of routine and it can be very hard to break-free

from the constraints of work and family-life.” Women are more likely to struggle to remember their last rush of excitement than men (26% vs 21%), but more men than women were found to have experienced their last rush of excitement during sex (28% vs 24%) – the most popular activity for excitement overall. Attending a big sports or music event came second (17%), and eating chocolate made the top 10 with 1%. But the news isn’t all bad, a third survey, of 2042 UK adults, carried out on behalf of Scottish Widows, has found that 86% of Brits harbour fantasies of a once-in-alifetime experience, of which almost half (45%) are willing to stretch their finances as far as they can possibly afford, and a further 13% are willing to spend as much it takes to fulfil their dreams. The majority of people (54%) believe a once-in-a-lifetime experience should fulfil a dream, or is something you only get to do once (50%), but sadly almost two-thirds (65%) of people admit that they are very unlikely to achieve their goal, mostly because they think they can’t afford to. On the upside most aspirational Brits still believe they will have two different ‘once-



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OLYMPICS 2012: RIDE THE EXHILARATING RAPIDS Jungfrau 200 Year Anniversary

Switzerland is currently celebrating 200 years since the 4158m high Jungfrau was conquered, or as the locals prefer to remember it, “the deflowering of the Jungfrau” (the name means young girl). On 3 August 1811, two brothers Johann-Rudolf and Hieronymus Meyer from Aarau, and the chamois hunters Joseph Bortis and Alois Volker from the Valais, made history when they became the first men to summit a Swiss mountain over 4000m high. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the climb had to be repeated the following summer, as nobody believed the Meyer brothers, since the flag they hoisted on the summit couldn’t be seen from the valley.


The Olympic sites, venues and stadium remain one of the few secrets of the 2012 Games. Yes, there has been the odd photograph, and stacks of computer-generated imagery released to the press, but on the whole, the exact architecture is very much under wraps. I visited the site of the Games in June, but the insight into the ”sporting event of the decade” was seldom more than an explanation of the ”legacy” of the event. All in all, I didn’t see much. However, there is just one

brand new London 2012 venue that not only can you go and visit ahead of the Games, but that you can actually experience, first hand – the Lee Valley White Water Centre. The opening of the world-class venue was a major milestone in the London 2012 programme, and allows visitors to raft the very same white-water rapids that the world’s best athletes will tackle in 2012, when the centre hosts 5 days of thrilling canoe slalom competition. Unlike many of the 2012 venues the centre will undergo very few changes after the Olympics, highlighting the extent to which

the centre was built with legacy in mind. The centre has two separate courses – a 300m Olympic Standard Competition Course with a 5.5m descent, and a 160m Legacy Loop with a 1.6m descent, perfect for training and developing the next generation of champions. As well as honing the skills of

future GB athletes, the centre will also open up white-water rafting and canoeing to a huge number of people in East London and beyond. The venue will also be used for school trips, especially those located in East London, allowing some of the UK’s most deprived children an experience that will stay with them for much longer than any school lesson. Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee said “Seeing the Lee Valley White Water Centre open to the public is a great example of an early legacy for London 2012. This venue provides the opportunity for a new generation of water sports enthusiasts to get active and engaged in fun and challenging sports as well as providing us with a world class Olympic venue for Canoe Slalom.” The centre remains open to the public until 16 October 2011, when it will close to allow for 2012 preparations to begin. The venue will re-open to the public after the completion of the Summer Olympics.

The opening of this world-class venue was a major milestone in the London 2012 programme


WWW.MONTANE.CO.UK Sack hauling, Tower Couloir, Ruth Gorge Alaska. Photography by Oliver Metherall







Tignes ( is already one of Europe’s top ski destinations, but the European Winter X Games venue gets ever bigger as a downhill biking mecca. There are now seven downhill runs, and an “enduro” trail accessible for free via the Tovière aeroski and the Palafour ski lift (plus four more easy runs on

Palafour). The Tovière runs range from the 5.5km Gunpowder blue run, the easiest with 12 banked bends, to tough blacks like the all new Moustache, which drops 250 vertical metres over its 1km length, or the new 1.8km long experts-only Kamasu trail, which includes a specialist freeride zone with wall ride, big jumps, step up, river gap and road gap.

Surf Courses Up By 400%


A company that teaches surfing instructors say that the Learn to Surf industry has grown by over 400% in the past 8 years, and is now a significant contributor to the UK economy. “Ten years ago it was hard to find a company to learn to surf with, but now you can take your pick from surf schools, offering camps, courses, lessons, and surf holidays” commented Will Hayler Director of Ticket to Ride ( The gap year sector is doing especially well, with students facing the dilemma of rising tuition fees choosing instead to travel the world whilst learning to surf, getting involved in community projects, and travelling to locations including South

Africa, Mozambique and Costa Rica. “Ticket to Ride graduates who return home with international surf coaching qualifications can take their pick of which beach to work on. Working as a surf coach pays well, looks good on your CV and also help subsidise tuition fees” said Linley Lewis, Ticket to Ride co-founder.

Bristol's Bike Film Festival Following on from its hugely successful first year, Cyclescreen, Bristol's first dedicated bike film festival returned to the city in August. With an exciting new line-up showcasing the most distinctive films, revealing documentaries, and engaging speakers from cycling culture, the event was a real celebration of the diverse pleasures that are to be found on a bike.


Racing The World’s Longest Ultra-Trail

Paraponting Death In Alps


A 38-year-old Frenchman has died paraponting in the Alps. The man had only been flying for 15 minutes when turbulence in the air caused the chute to stall, and the man plummeted to his death. The accident happened in the Valais region of Switzerland. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Paraponting expert, Thierry Guigonnet told Vertical Drop, “it’s a very common sport in the Alps and accidents are very rare.”

A race around the feet of the five giant mountains of the Alps returns next month for its

second annual staging. The Tor Des Géants (www.tordesgeants. it) will see 500 competitors compete over a 330km course with 24,000m of elevation gain in

Head West & Cycle The Pacific Highway Famous as a destination for motorbikers and open-top cars to cruise, the California’s Pacific highway, USA, is now open to cyclists, with a network of 5794km

of roads that provide ”great cycling” according to the Adventure Cycling Association (www.adventurecycling. org), America’s biggest bike membership group. The organisation


Photo Credit: Philippe Gatta

north-west Italy’s Aosta Valley. The second Tor des Géants will run from 11–18 September, with a route unwinding at the feet of Mont Blanc (4810 m), Rutor (3486

m), Gran Paradiso (4061 m), Monte Rosa (4634 m) and the Matterhorn (4478 m). In all, it takes in 25 passes that are over 2000m high. The Tor des Géants, in the heart of the Italian Alps, is the world’s longest ultra-trail (in terms of both elevation gain and kilometres), crossing the entire Aosta Valley in a single stage. Subscriptions to take part in the endurance race, which is limited to 500 entrants, were full within 4 days of it opening for registration last January. More than 200 people are on a waiting list and there are participants from four different continents (Europe, Asia, Africa and America) and 22 countries. Last year’s winner, Ulrich Gross from Italy, completed the race in 80 hours 27 minutes.

has a vast quantity of routes and maps online, and many other useful services, including a “Companions Wanted” section for cyclists seeking fellow riders to travel with.

“September and October offer some of the best cycling weather with less traffic when you're riding California's most scenic coastal routes.”




Ride The Radmarathon


One of the world’s toughest bike marathons took place in Sölden, Austria, in August. The Ötztaler Radmarathon (www.oetztaler-radmarathon. com) on 28 August is one of the toughest road bike races in the world, with approximately 4000 participants. The race covered 238km across Italy and the Austrian Tirol, and over 5500 vertical metres altitude. Austrian Stefan Kirchmair won the men’s race, and Edith van Den Brande the women’s.

It’s 6km long, it descends 600 vertical metres, with 200 banked bends, jumps and waves. The Gotschna freeride piste to Klosters is the 2011 attraction in the Swiss

mountain bike paradise open for all freeriders. A new bike park has also opened at neighbouring Davos (, after a referendum in both communities voted in favour of the projects. Earth-moving machines were

taken up the mountain in autumn last year, to prepare the terrain, before Davos-Klosters mountain rail and cableways built the actual freeride piste this spring. It boasts a relatively moderate pitch containing more than 30 tables

(flattened-out mounds of earth with steep approaches), plus high jumps, tough waves and even vertical curves, and is strictly for experienced freeriders only. The park can be used free-of-charge. The new park is the result of 3 years planning by Marcel Kunert, who used the legendary Whistler A-Line on Canada’s Whistler Mountain as the model for the piste in Klosters. “Initial feedback shows that we’ve succeeded in creating a piste with extremely good flow and great biking to suit all levels” he said. Davos-Klosters now rates itself as THE bike destination of the Alps, with over 600km of trails and 11 signposted tours for all degrees of difficulty, and all six mountain rail and lift companies transporting bikes in summer.

Cycling Tour Of Britain Back This September The eight stage Tour of Britain returns to the UK’s roads on 11 September, where 16 of the best pro road-cycling teams will battle

it out across England, Wales and Scotland. The total distance of the 2011 Tour is approximately

1235km, and covers six new locations: Welshpool, Caerphilly, Exeter, Exmouth, Wells and Sandringham. All eyes will be on

the Brits during this year’s Tour, as no British rider has won a jersey since 2007.

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White Water Season Delayed By El Niño BEN CLATWORTHY

The El Niño weather system, which brought record snowfall and delight to skiers and boarders in western North America right up to July this year, has been less welcome for mountain bikers who found their trails still metres deep in snow by mid-summer. The snow also led to a long delay in this summer’s rafting season starting with lingering snowpack, keeping downstream flows above the government regulated minimums of water that can be let out of Lake Tahoe in California. But the dam gates finally opened a week ago and the river is flowing, and rafting along North Lake

Tahoe's scenic Truckee River from Tahoe City to River Ranch is now open. The Tahoe City-based Truckee River Rafting Company ( is now offering self-guided, 8km floats down the Truckee River. Most trips are leisurely and take 2–3 hours to complete, with patrons exiting at River Ranch Lodge near Alpine Meadows Road, along Highway 89. Guests can park in Tahoe City and take free shuttles back to their vehicles after the float, anytime before 6pm. Hours of operation are 8.30am to 3.30pm daily (weather permitting), and footwear is mandatory. Trips include parking, shuttle, paddles, life jackets, and commercial rafts for 2–20 people. Group rates are available.

The Summer Snow Report reports that ten ski areas in the northern hemisphere are open to the end of August, with about half of them staying open into September. The first of Europe’s glacier resorts will begin opening for ”winter” 2011–12 from mid-September. Snowfalls of up to 50cm in late July gave great conditions on open ski slopes in the Alps, where snow depths are currently between 40cm and 4m. Open resorts include SaasFee and Zermatt in Switzerland; Cervinia, Passo dello Stelvio and Val Senales in Italy; Tux and Mölltal in Austria, Tignes and Les Deux Alpes (to 28 August) in France; and Timberline in Oregon, USA. In the southern hemisphere the

best of New Zealand’s ski areas now have snow depths approaching 2m after a slow start to winter 2011 there; Australian resorts have had a banner year since May, with average snow depths around the metre mark;

while the fortunes of ski areas in Argentina and Chile have been mixed – the largest centre on the continent, Catedral in Argentina, suffering from its proximity to an erupting volcano depositing toxic ash on the slopes.

New Triathlete Team World Record Thomas Reader, Stu Baker, Edmund Salt, Robert Baird, Luke Swain and Dave Grigg have been celebrating after becoming the new world record holders of the gruelling Enduroman Arch to Arc triathlon, beating the previous record by an impressive 1 hour 22 minutes, completing the challenge in 35 hours 53 minutes. The most challenging triathlon in the world, the Enduroman Arch to Arc consists of an 140km run from London to Dover, a swim across the English Channel, and finally a 291km ride from Calais to Paris crossing the finish line at the Arc de Triomphe. Making sure they had explosive energy, Team Urban Fitness GB also set a new record for the swim leg using USN Anabolic Nitro (



Come Fly With Me!


Over the years I’ve seen a lot of crazy sports videos, a simple search on YouTube can leave you watching for hours, but nothing compares with Jeb Corliss. Wearing just a wingsuit Corliss jumps off mountains and flies like a bird, reaching speeds of 193km/h. The palms of my hands became sweaty watching him fly past the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, but his latest stunt in the mountainous region of Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland introduced a whole new level of danger. Corliss became the first man to fly through a waterfall wearing a wingsuit.


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Travelling at 137km/h, he narrowly misses a 610m cliff face, and battles turbulence from the water to complete the historic flight. The next challenge for the 35-year-old is to fly through a hole in a 1300m-high cliff on Tianmen Mountain in China. Corliss will jump from a helicopter 600m above the hole and fly towards it. The opening is 131m high, 57m wide and 60m deep. He will attempt to glide through it at a speed of more than 120km/h; ABC News describes the flight as "threading the needle or dying". "This is the single most difficult thing I've tried to do, ever" says the Californian, who started training at 16 to realise his childhood dream of flying.

After the announcement that cycling giants HTC-Highroad have had their trailblazing days in the professional peloton come to an end, there has been a frantic rush by other teams to secure ex-HTC riders for next season.

The team, whose squad includes Britain's Mark Cavendish and Australian Matt Goss, had been looking for a new naming sponsor willing to invest €10m annually in a multipleyear deal, but failed to secure one. "After an exhaustive search to secure long term sponsorship we have concluded that it's time to release our team members to pursue other options" said team owner Bob Stapleton. Riders were told they are allowed to announce their new signings in September, although Mark Renshaw went against team orders announcing his move earlier. It is expected that many of the HTC riders will announce new signings in the coming weeks.

Cycling On Gozo This Winter If you’re looking for somewhere warm to cycle this autumn or winter, why not consider a holiday to Gozo, Malta's tiny sister island in the southern Mediterranean, located 90km south of Sicily and 300km from the Tunisian desert. Headwater’s ( packages see you move on between luxury hotels, all with pools, every 2 days with your bags transported separately. When not cycling you can visit ancient archaeological treasures, hidden hilltop hamlets and colourful fishing villages, or spend the day in one of the beautiful bays with stunning turquoise seas. Holidays cost from £827 and are available

for 5–7 days, with cycle rides on relatively gentle terrain of approximately 15km every other day.


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Following his recent win of the GORE TransWales 2011, and finishing fourth in the Ischgl Ironbike, Vertical Drop’s Ben Clatworthy talks to Wiggle athlete Matt Page about enduro bike races, winning, and of course, the future. You’ve had an incredible few months and some brilliant results, in several major mountain bike (MTB) enduro races; which one of these means the most to you? MP: In May I won the UK and European 24-hour Solo Championships, which was my main focus for the year. I trained hard and raced hard, putting everything into it. Coming out on top was a great feeling, and I am very proud to have won such a big race. This year was the first time I have ever entered a stage race, so it was great to do so well in both of them. Winning TransWales against some really hard competition, especially as I am Welsh was fantastic, but strange as it sounds finishing fourth at Ironbike means more

than anything else. Ironbike is said to be the hardest MTB race in the world, and I would certainly agree with that. What’s your key to coping with seven or more days of riding? MP: I think there are two major factors to overcome; the first is the mental side of things. There may be times when you don’t feel like riding or feel you can’t continue. In my experience this always happens before actually riding. Once you can get on the bike and get going, everything starts to fall into place. The other major problem is making sure you balance your energy expenditure. At Ironbike for example, riding for over 8 hours a day I was using 4000+ calories per day, so I had to make sure I was eating enough of the right foods to keep going. How does a stage race, such as the Ironbike or TransWales, compare with a 24-hour solo race? MP: Both are different and both are

hard work, with different challenges to overcome. In a 24-hour solo race the biggest challenge is to keep moving and avoid stopping at all. Trying to do everything on the bike, such as eating and drinking can be hard to manage. Because a 24-hour race is on a set course you can almost switch off at times, which is where a stage race differs. At Ironbike or TransWales, everywhere you ride you are seeing for the first time, so you need to concentrate on what is ahead. Waking up with tired legs, knowing you have another big day to ride can also be really hard to overcome, especially at Ironbike where each day was absolutely epic! At TransWales you compete alongside weekend warriors, as well as other pro riders; what is the atmosphere like? MP: I think the atmosphere at TransWales is fantastic, and what makes the event really

special. Because of the way the timing works the majority of the riding is untimed, so you can kick back and chat to people along the way, regardless of whether they are looking for a top spot or not. At the start of the week I only knew a handful of people, but left feeling like I knew everyone. What are you plans in the near future? MP: I’ve decided to end the season earlier than previous years. I’ve had several big races recently, so I’m looking forward to having a bit of a break in the autumn. My next race is the Tour of the Himalayas, in Pakistan, which should be a brilliant experience. It is a 3-day stage race, at altitudes up to 4500m. I’m not sure how I will cope with the high altitude, I’ve never ridden that high, and not been up that high since I was 13-years-old and walked Mt Kenya.


Jonas Buud Wins Ultramarathon For the fifth time in a row, Jonas Buud overwhelmingly won the highly contested 26th Swissalpine marathon in Davos, Switzerland – the world's biggest mountain ultramarathon. The Swede ran the 79.1km, with a difference in altitude of 2370m, in 6:11:02 hours, and beat the competition by more than a quarter of an hour. Second came Britain's Huw Lobb (17:38 minutes behind), who won the K42 race from Bergün to Davos last year. Japan's Kaburaki Kaburagi, who took to the starting blocks in Davos for the first time, came third (30:10 minutes behind). The ladies were led by another Brit, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Hawker, who ran a lonely race at the front winning in 7:16:17 hours.

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Britain Gets Back On Its Bike A ”Gross Cycling Product” report from the London School of Economics has shown an 11% increase in the number of cyclists in the last year, which equates to 13 million Brits saddling up for a ride. In 2010, 208 million cycle journeys were made in the UK. The increasing levels of participation mean more money with new cyclists contributing £685 million to the UK economy through the purchase of biking equiptment.

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This event, which took over London’s Spitalfields Market in August, saw some of the world’s best skateboarders battle it out, all aiming to get their hands on the £50,000 prize money. Twelve of the best skate teams from across Europe also took to their boards at the event, wowing the crowd with their amazing tricks and stunts. Urban sports enthusiasts were saddened by the fact skateboarding was missed out of the 2012 Olympic programme so the Vans event was very much welcomed.


millions of routes


If you’re looking for a weekend of outdoor fun, then the Big Shakeout (www.alpkit. com/bigshakeout) is set to be the UK’s most exciting adventure festival this year. Taking place 14–16 October in the heart of the Peak District, the event is set to combine adventure, music and entertainment, as well as a range of activities. Tickets on sale 16 September.

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Have you triumphed over the Tough Guy or handled the HellRunner with ease? Extreme trail races with added mud, water and obstacles have become massively popular, but, although a lot of fun, they can sometimes feel slightly contrived, and the

self-responsibility, freedom, and a good pie and pint at the finish. With the majority of races taking place in the summer, often tagged onto village fêtes or sheepdog trials, race entries will typically be as little as £2–4. You can usually enter on the day, and the atmosphere is always friendly, relaxed and informal. It isn’t necessary to be super fit to take part, nor should you worry that you be able to run the whole course. Yes, there will be some superfast mountain goats, but they’ll be a very small minority and even some of them will walk the steepest climbs. Although traditionally a northern pastime, mainly because that’s where the hills are, there are recognised “fell races” in the Midlands, the Southwest, and even just outside London on Box Hill in Surrey. For a genuine fell race experience though, head to the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North Wales or, the sport’s true spiritual home, the Lake District. Pick one of the traditional short blast, straight up and down races attached to a lakeland show, and you’ll have a running experience like no other. You’ll get up and down in a pair of trail shoes, but to make the most of the kamikaze descents get yourself a pair of fell shoes. Think slippers with 4x4 capabilities. They’ve got super aggressive outsoles for maximum grip, and shun excessive cushioning to keep your foot low slung and close to the ground. This maximises trail feedback, and the increased stability helps to prevent twisted ankles. Get some mates together, find a few races, make a road-trip of it and discover a truly British adventure sport. Brace yourself for the killer climbs but, once at the top, switch off your brain, engage your legs and let rip for the run of your life! For full listings of fell races go to

Make the most of the kamikaze descents and get yourself a pair of fell shoes... Think slippers with 4x4 capabilities entry fees can leave quite a dent in your bank balance. For a real off-road running experience, try a fell race. Blissfully simple, a hill, fell or mountain is found and you just race up and down it. Sometimes a series of climbs are linked together for longer races, but you will still always experience the same combination of hellish lung-busting climbs and exhilarating leg-sapping descents. Roads are avoided at all costs, and footpaths are only used if strictly necessary. In a single race you may have to deal with rocks, mud, heather, peat bogs, grass, and even streams. Routes usually aren’t waymarked, the taking of shortcuts is encouraged and local knowledge is a distinct advantage. Suffering from an unfair image problem of gnarled old men in very short shorts, fell running is the anarchic, slightly eccentric cousin of the running family. Sticking two fingers up at ridiculous health and safety mandates it puts the imperative on

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Crystal Summer 2012 0871 230 8180 Featuring over 90 destinations in us 12 countries, holidays with vario water and ntain mou ding inclu , ities activ ities, sports, cultural attractions, spa facil escorted and independent tours. to 10 Packages to Kitzbühel depart up pp, September 2011 and cost from £321 the in based on two sharing half-board 3« Hotel Hofer including flights from London Gatwick.

Pre-Bookable Activities: River rafting incl. BBQ: adults £50, children 6–11 years £39 White-water rafting: £64 adults £72, children 12–16 years Hornpark treetop adventure: adults £30, children 6–16 years £22 Beginner canoeing (12 years+): Canyoning (12 years+): £58 Tandem paragliding (12 years+):




When you think "summer lakes and mountain holidays" your first thought may be of a brochure with a picture postcard image of the Alps on the cover, the type that gets stuck on a biscuit tin or made into a 1000 piece jigsaw. Then you might think of coachloads of genial silverhaired folk being transported from pretty village to village, admiring snowy peaks and cascading waterfalls, followed by a quick bite of apple strudel before moving on. But the world has moved on, or perhaps gone full circle. The era when resorts could rely on their winter ski business has gone, and summer adventure sports are flavour of the month – just as they were a century ago in the case of the famous 19th century pioneers. There is just a little more variation on offer. Several factors have helped the boom. Firstly, more resorts are investing in yearround infrastructure to offer diversified activities for both winter and summer, to make them more appealing . And the same global warming that’s threatening the snow cover in winter at ski resorts, is leading to record-numbers of people taking summer mountain breaks to escape overheated cities and overcrowded beaches. The good news for those who like the idea of adventure sports, but think the popular images of what is usually the elite end of each sport – climbing, mountain biking, white-water rafting – all look a bit extreme, is that the resorts offer these sports at all standards. In fact, it may be a lot easier to get into downhill biking or white-water kayaking when you’re on holiday in a low pressure, fun environment, than trying to get started on a cold October day at a club closer to home. Better to go there when you already have some idea of what you’re doing.

Lake Schwarzsee. There are rock faces to climb, waterfalls to abseil down, a high ropes course, trails to ride, peaks to launch off, and many mountain streams and gullies to explore by white-water kayak or raft. The good news for "regular" people, "average" families, and anyone who has never tried rafting, ropes courses, paragliding or canoeing, is that it’s all set up for all ages and all abilities, making Kitzbühel a great choice for your first summer adventure sports break. River rafting is a particularly popular activity, and safe for children as young as 6 years to enjoy. Collected from your hotel you’re taken by minibus to the Tiroler Ache river a few miles from the town where you’re kitted out in a wetsuit, helmet and life vest. It’s then aboard the large raft to begin your downstream drift, where an instructor (probably Aussie or Canadian) will happily dunk each one of you in the water in turn, until you find you’re quite happy to float along in the shallow stream outside the boat for a while, and perhaps do a bit of jumping in from the sides where he/she tells you it’s safe to do so. If you want things a little more active, and you’re at least 12-yearsold, the grade three rapids of the Saalach river are a steeper option. Canoeing is another multi-ability option, ranging from easy-paddle canoes for a calm ride with the current taking in the lovely views, to racing down grade one and two rapids, attempting to beat friends to the bottom. Another version of going downhill fast is canyoning (for age 12 years plus), an adrenalinepumping mix of abseiling, swimming, sliding down natural water chutes, and jumping into plunge pools. Mountain biking is big here too with no less than 800km of tracks available, again for all ability levels, and you can also try tandem

Crystal, the leading winter sports company in the UK, has an active summer programme. “However adventurous you may or may not feel, from a leisurely game of golf to climbing Mont Blanc, we offer land and water based activities in all the countries we feature” says Managing Director Simon Cross. “We offer anyone – young or old, active or laid-back – who is looking to experience a different kind of holiday, a new feeling of revitalisation and relaxation from their time away.” One of the company’s most popular destinations is the famed Austrian Tyrolean resort of Kitzbühel, with over 1000km of well-marked hiking trails, ranging from an energetic climb to the top of the Kitzbüheler Horn, to a gentler amble to

paragliding to get a unique view of the Kitzbüheler Alps from 1700m up. Again you can opt to cruise gently through the clouds or ask your pilot to perform some acrobatics. Children as young as 6-years-old are again welcome to try the Hornpark treetop adventure, but you’ll need a head for heights, whatever your age, to be able to tackle some of the highest ropes courses in Europe, up to 15m above the ground. There are seven zip lines and 60 stations, and loads of exhilarating activities including a 120m flying fox ride over the lake. Overall Kitzbühel has it all in summer, just as it does in winter. Whatever your ability, whatever your group type, almost every kind of adventure sport is just a few minutes away from your hotel.



Hydrospeeding In Austria Zell am See-Kaprun ( is one of Austria’s leading ski areas, but in summer it’s also a leading water sports destination, thanks to Lake Zell and the surrounding white water courses. The four water sports schools at the resort offer rafting, kayaking and canoe experiences, including the chance to try “hydrospeeding” in which you can glide down through the white water on your belly in a thermoplastic bobsleigh. The hydrospeed course offered by the resort’s Kajak Center ( costs €29 and includes the hire of a Neoprene suit with shoes, life jacket & helmet. The guides also provide safety training & transfers as part of the service.

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The world’s first indooroutdoor ski area is scheduled to be officially opened in the Baltic state of Lithuania on 26 August. Unlike most of the world’s 60 indoor snow centres currently operating, the new €14.5m SNORAS Snow Arena, which has one of the world’s five longest indoor slopes to date at 460m, is in a rural location that’s cold enough for an outdoor ski run to operate in winter too, so a 600m-long run loops out from the indoor slope.

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A new company for boardriders is offering the chance to offset their rides by planting a tree for every board they own, to recognise that manufacturing boards uses wood. "Youth and rebellion are great, but they don't exclude responsibility for the environment" says Maxim Popov of Ride For Earth (www. "Seeing our sticker on the board will demonstrate commitment and remind people that supporting sustainability by planting a tree is a very cool thing" said Philip Kunte, wakeboard team rider.

Ironman For Ireland Ireland will see its first Ironman 70.3 event on Sunday 4 September in and around Galway, with a spectacular finish in the scenic city’s Eyre Square. The inaugural race will deliver 35 qualifying slots for the 2012 Ironman World Championship. The race includes a 1.9km swim in the crystal clear waters of Galway Bay, then a 90km bike course, leading them through beautiful countryside with views of Connemara, and concludes with a spectatorfriendly 21.1km run through downtown Galway.

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New Wine And Cycling Tour of Spain Pure Adventures (, the self-guided cycling holiday specialists, has launched a new ”Catalonia Wine and Wheels” package to Spain. The seven night, 8 day tour costs from €1385pp, based on half-board double occupancy in quality accommodation, with luggage transfer between overnight stops, and runs until the end of November. The cycling terrain is classified as ”moderate” with flat to rolling countryside, with a fair amount of unpaved, quiet routes. The first part focuses on the magnificent area of Baix Empordà, also known as the Catalan Tuscany for its beautiful countryside between the sea and the mountains. In the second part of the tour, riders have the opportunity to discover the northern county Alt Empordà with its long sandy beach next to the Greek-Roman ruins of Empúries.

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They provide worldwide shipping, so whether you’re just down the road from them or on the other side of the world, they aim to deliver your products to the highest standard in the shortest time. Added to that, they have a huge range of the best brands in the world, covering every cycling discipline. Along with a specialist team of buyers constantly sourcing the very latest kit and the best deals, there’s plenty to choose from whatever you need. A no-qualms returns policy is offered, and they are happy to accept returned items for a refund or exchange if they don’t fit, you’ve ordered the wrong things, the items are damaged or faulty upon receipt, or you simply don’t like what you’ve ordered. Buying your cycling kit online has never been easier! Head to their website now where they’ve got thousands of bikes, components, accessories, clothing, tools, and much more – all at unbeatable prices.


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Renshaw Joins Dutch Team

The man who has helped pro road racing cyclist Mark Cavendish achieve many of his recent successes, the Australian Mark Renshaw, has confirmed that he will be racing for Rabobank during the 2012 season. The move will give Renshaw more chances to pick up stage wins for himself, an option less available to him at Team HTC-Highroad, who were reluctant to let their riders release details of signings to new teams, but both Rabobank and Renshaw confirmed the move in August.

Canadian company Arc’teryx ( has launched a new fitness specific range this autumn, Endorphin and Trail, designed for performance and comfort across a wide range of high-output activities, like running, climbing and trail hiking. The sport-specific designs bring cutting edge designs that mimic the body in motion – greatly improving comfort and flexibility. Made with lightweight, airpermeable textiles that wick moisture to dry perspiration quickly, Arc’teryx continues its tradition of using different fabric panels to offer both stability and freedom of movement where needed. The Celeris Jacket weighs in at next to nothing (121g to be precise), whilst the articulated patterning of this trim fitting jacket allows complete freedom

of movement. Team this super lightweight windshell with the Motus Crew for the ultimate autumn training outfit. For those colder winter days try the Visio Comp Jacket. This protective hardshell windproof features air permeable stretch sides to allow constant air flow, and the 360° reflectivity ensures low light safety. The drop back laminated hem cinches tight with an adjustable draw-cord, and the collar is fleece-lined for extra comfort. The products incorporate Arc’teryx’s ground-breaking Phasic technology in the Motus Crew, utilising the lightest Phasic SL base layer fabric to rapidly transport perspiration during the active phase, disperse this moisture across the garment in the recovery phase, and dry out quickly while at rest.







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Montane Lakeland Race Takes On Legendary Status


Every race has its pivotal year; a year where it matures and becomes an established formidable event. A year where logistics, weather, team spirit and participants mesh together to form a legendary race. That’s what happened with the Montane Lakeland 100 and 50 mile events this year, its fourth staging, over the last weekend of July. A record 469 racers started the Lakeland 50 mile race, with 404 crossing the finish line at Coniston. In the 100 mile event, 224 competitors started and 116 finished the course. The event has shown huge growth since the inaugural event in 2008, when only 10 competitors finished the 161km event. In the 100 mile race Terry Conway became the first runner to crack the 22-hour barrier, setting a new course record of 21 hours

58 minutes. Gaynor Prior became the first female runner to crack 30 hours completing in 28 hours 24 minutes and taking 15th place overall. In the 50 mile race Craig Stewart was male winner in 8 hours 18 minutes; Poppy Lenton fastest female in 11 hours 4 minutes. The checkpoints worked hard with one serving over 600 bowls of pasta, and gallons of fruit smoothie. “I’ve never made so many smoothies” commented Jo Allen of Montane, “I don’t want to see another blueberry or strawberry for a very long time!” Montane Marketing Director Paul Cosgrove said “having been here from the start in 2008, it’s amazing to see the growth and to be a part of it. This truly is the highlight of our year and we are so proud to be involved in what must be one of the greatest races in the UK. We are already looking forward to next year’s race!”

What Would You Do With Your 8th Day? 8th Day Adventure is a UK membershipbased sport, adventure and social club, with the aim of bringing like-minded outdoor enthusiasts together arranging events and adventures. Already well established in London, and more recently Bristol, the club organises hundreds of get-togethers during the week and at weekends. They arrange all manner of adventures, including climbing, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, surfing, mountain biking, jousting, karting, horse-riding and coasteering. For 2012 the club is re-launching with new cities, a new website, and a new function allowing members to add their own events, meaning there'll be more on offer than ever and something to suit everyone.

Ross Williams, one of the company’s directors told Vertical Drop, ”With the new setup, if there’s nothing in the calendar you fancy then you can just add it yourself and know there'll be others up for joining you, making all the things you enjoy a lot more sociable too!” Membership is £14 per month, and more details can be found at

Full Moon Rafting in Canada For a different take on the white-water rafting experience, head to Ontario, Canada, where Horizon X (www.horizonx. ca) is now offering full moon rafting trips on the Ottawa River, complete with class two rapids. Two-night trips, with camping required to maximise the window of opportunity, are available 9–14 September, and cost Canadian $130pp including wetsuit hire and breakfast.



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Heavy showers last week made the prospect of riding without mudguards less than appealing, so I thought I’d better check over the winter bike. Unfortunately, a heavy layer of dust coated the frame and a mass of cobwebs interlaced the spokes – a graphic reminder of a long dry spring and summer. Although it’d been out on the road two or three times a week, I’d scarcely needed the mudguards since March. Looking back over previous summers it hardly seems credible. But yes, this must’ve been the best

Taking a short, sharp plunge down to traverse under the long petrified wave of rocks that is Stanage Edge


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rocks of Bamford Edge, before taking a short, sharp plunge down to traverse under the long petrified wave of rocks that is Stanage Edge. With not a single streetlight, this would all be darkness but for that full moon. As your eyes adapt to the low light level, your senses seem more attuned to what’s around you, and alone at night it’s easy to feel a connection with all those who’ve travelled these roads over hundreds of years. A last, steep pull brings the col between Stanage and Higgar Tor, before the descent from Burbage Bridge and the lights of Sheffield suddenly burst into view below. All this is in contrast to the rest of my summer, most of which has been tucked low over the aerobars of a bright pink, carbon-fibre, time trial bike, arse in the air and eyes on my heart monitor and cadence meter, flogging myself through intervals on the flat road from Hathersage to Castleton, or hill sets up the A57. Despite a puncture and my first ever “did not finish” in one race, its been a great triathlon season with more additions to the silverware, including an Age-Group Silver in June’s European Championships in Spain. At publication, I’ll be heading to Beijing for the World Championships. After finishing second in my first World Championships, the last two have been less lucky – acute hypothermia in Vancouver saw me drop from a prospective silver to fourth in the last 500m and a collapse over the finishing line, then last year saw a crash and disqualification in Budapest. Perhaps this will be the year.

year for cycling for decades – up here in the Peak District anyway. Here’s some of my summer highlights. Riding home from Hathersage at midnight last week, a full moon meant that I only needed to flick on my front light as the occasional car approached. Pedalling slowly alongside the dark waters of Ladybower I was able to watch the fractured moonlight washing over the dark waters of the reservoir, the only sound, the tethered fishing dinghies knocking softly against their moorings. The Ladybower Reservoirs have swallowed the valley of the upper Derwent between Win Hill and the moors of Kinder, and the gritstone escarpments above Sheffield. On the 6km ride home, I pass through a dark tunnel of sycamores and under the jagged, silhouetted


Climb The Big Rock


Interested in working out and keeping fit, but bored of the monotony of the gym? Indoor climbing offers an alternative all-weather sporting activity, which is exhilarating, challenging and motivating. For anyone wanting to keep in shape, climbing provides a full body workout in a highly sociable atmosphere, concentrating on body dynamics, suppleness and athletic movement. Climbing also provides a technical challenge, which requires concentration and problem-solving abilities, combined with mental tenacity to succeed. Keep fit, tone up your muscles, meet new friends, exercise your brain … it’s the perfect antidote to boring gym regimes! The difficulty of ascending a climb (and hence the intensity of your climbing workout) is dictated by the grade of the climb. Every climb is graded according to difficulty, allowing you to

easily choose a climb that falls within your current ability, and can be climbed quickly and easily, or to challenge yourself by choosing a particularly difficult climb that may require many attempts over hours, days or even weeks, before success is achieved! The construction of many new indoor climbing centres throughout the UK in recent years is a testament to the rapidly-increasing popularity of the sport, and the acceptance of indoor climbing as a mainstream activity. The state-ofthe-art Big Rock Climbing Centre in Milton Keynes offers a prime example of this, having successfully established a substantial climbing community within a year of first opening its doors. Milton Keynes may not historically be associated with climbing, but Big Rock has firmly placed the town on the indoor climbing scene, providing a premier facility, which has successfully introduced thousands of newcomers to the sport.

While providing excellent climbing facilities is top of the agenda for any indoor climbing centre, Big Rock aims to offer an enhanced experience to anyone visiting the centre, whether as a climber, or as a spectator attending with friends and family. The large open-plan design offers a huge expanse of climbing, suitable for all levels of experience, with full equipment hire options. There is also a climbing equipment shop, which stocks a full range of the latest kit from the leading brands. Extensive seating overlooks the climbing areas, and an excellent café offers a superb selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and meals for post-workout indulgence! In addition to the provision of exceptional climbing facilities, the success of Big Rock can also be attributed to the provision of comprehensive instructional classes, and the use of highly-trained and experienced staff. The Big Rock ethos is very much on inclusion for all, and the huge range of instructional options are available to all ages, at all levels of ability from complete beginner to highly-experienced climber. Tuition and sociable climbing clubs are available for adults and children aged from 3 years upwards, and specially tailored climbing sessions are available for schools, youth and group organisations, stag, hen and birthday parties, and corporate events. Experienced climbers can use Big Rock unsupervised, and can take advantage of the extensive bouldering, top rope climbing and lead climbing facilities. Special events are held throughout the year including climbing competitions, film evenings and outdoor climbing trips. Big Rock Climbing Centre is situated on Mandeville Drive, Kingston, Milton Keynes, MK10 0AG. Anyone interested in visiting Big Rock can contact the Centre on 01908 583128 or email info@bigrockclimbing. Alternatively, visit www. Opening hours are 11am until 10pm weekdays, and 10am until 7pm at the weekend.


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A World Of Choice With Zenith Zenith Holidays (www.zenithholidays. offer a range of vacations to suit Vertical Drop readers down to a tee. Their summer holiday packages include all of the activities we’ve featured in this issue, which should gratify the needs of all those readers who crave adventure. Zenith offer surfing, via ferrata, white-water rafting, cycling and mountain biking holidays, as well as newly-fashionable sports, such as blokarting, in the Alps and the UK. What’s more they really do aim to cover all age ranges, from young children to the young at heart,

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Nailbiting End To British Elite Circuit Race Series


One of the most popular and eagerly anticipated cycle races reached its thrilling finale in Preston, as the fifth and final round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Race Series took to the streets of the city centre. Ian Wilkinson won the final race of the series, with Dean Downing celebrating victory as the overall winner of the series. During each race competitors sprint around the 1km circuits at speeds of up to 64km/h for 40km. The action-packed Elite Circuit Race Series is one of the most challenging and exhilarating race series in the UK season, and this year has seen Britain’s best riders

go head-to-head with strong local competition ahead of the London 2012 Olympics. The races were staged in five UK locations this year, including Abergavenny in Wales and Otley in Yorkshire. Each of the events counted towards the final result of the series, which was announced in Preston. British Cycling’s cycle sport and membership director Jonny Clay says “Cycling is growing in popularity in the UK and the Elite Circuit Race Series aims to raise the standard of competition amongst top level British cyclists. We put together a calendar of closed road circuit races in towns across the country and hope these really acted as a showcase for cycling, introducing the sport to new audiences.”

8 Peak Challenge At 80

A Scottish man from Cumbernauld is to attempt eight climbs in 8 days in the

Italian Dolomites to raise money for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Lorne Brown intends to ascent the dramatic mountains using via ferrata (also known as ”iron paths”) on 2 September, just 3 days after his 80th birthday. Lorne has allowed himself just 8 days to climb the eight peaks, naming it the ”8x8 Via Ferrata Challenge”. He hopes to raise £8888 for the charity, which is also celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Brown chose the charity as his daughter’s partner is blind.

He told Vertical Drop, “By taking my aged body up via ferratas by using pitons, steel cables, staples and metal ladders to climb spires and towers and teeter along ledges of mountains will, hopefully, inspire donations from those aware of the personal effect it would have to become blind.” Each day Lorne will climb to approximately 1000m before starting the via ferrata to the top of the mountain. You can donate to Lorne’s challenge at www.justgiving. com/Lorne-brown.

Hammerhead Sledges at Sno!zone SNO!zone, the UK’s network of three indoor snow centres at Milton Keynes, Castleford and Glasgow, is renting out the latest in sledge technology to summer visitors. The Hammerhead sledge, which has featured on Channel 5’s Gadget Show, change the game for sledging. With a patented G-Steering System, front polycarbonate and rear highdensity polyethylene skis, state-of-the-art materials and precision engineering, it delivers muscular performance and bomb-proof reliability.

The G-Steering System with stainless steel leaf springs in the Pro Series, and lightweight Nylon Steering System in the Sport Series, allows minute adjustments for perfect S-turns. “We’re really looking forward to turning the perception of skiing and snowboarding as a winter sport on its head this summer, encouraging lots of new customers to come in, chill out and treat themselves to what they have been missing” said Ian Stenson, SNO!zone’s Operations Director.


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Did you know the UK is one of the few countries lucky enough to have white-water kayaking all year round? Our temperate climate means there is rarely a time when the natural rivers are all frozen, and we have some of the world’s best artificial courses, such as the Olympic course in North London and others in Nottingham, Cardiff, Teesside and north Wales. This all means it’s a pretty awesome place to learn; as our recent domination at the Kayak Freestyle World Championships and consistent success in slalom shows. If you like adrenaline, adventure and excitement – or simply enjoy getting outside doing a fun activity with your mates, then you really ought to give kayaking a go! So how can you get involved in this exciting sport? Can you just get the gear and give it a bash? Well, not really. Where would you go? Would you know of any rapids, weirs or other hazards? How do you know how difficult or dangerous a rapid is? What happens if you capsize? Could you rescue yourself and your gear safely? Joining a club and/or getting formal instruction will equip you with this vital knowledge, and allow you to get out on the water with experienced paddlers – and hopefully give you people to go paddling with in the future, as paddling alone is not recommended! So, follow these tips, grab a paddle and go have fun on a river near you!

Join a club Clubs provide a fantastic opportunity to try out the sport, usually at very cheap rates without the need to buy any gear, while also being great socially! The UK has thousands of canoe and kayak clubs [NB “canoeing” is often used generically in reference to the use of both kayaks in which you sit and use a double-bladed paddle, and open canoes in which you use a single-blade paddle]. Every club is different: some will be family focused, some adult-only, some are all about white water, while

others do a bit of everything. Some clubs provide formal coaching, many others are more about friends getting together to enjoy a sport. British Canoe Union (BCU)-affiliated clubs are listed online. In England go to, in Wales aspx, in Scotland www.canoescotland. org/clubs/ClubsandProviders.aspx, and in Northern Ireland directory/, or you could just try Google!

If your Mother asks, tell her you went bowling

Go along to a couple of sessions to see if the club suits you – if not, try another!

Go on a course There are loads of centres and coaching providers out there offering all sorts of courses, from formal courses with a certificate awarded at the end, to kayaking trips and holidays where you learn by doing. A course worth considering is the BCU White Water Safety and Rescue, which will give you the skills required to help others on the river and to be useful in rescuing yourself! Here’s a few operators we recommend:

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GARMIN FORERUNNER 610 £359.99 Garmin have pushed the technology to offer a complete training package in the form of a svelte GPS-enabled touchscreen sports watch. The Forerunner 610 not only tracks your progress, but pushes you to beat your personal best.

NECTAR FUEL SYSTEMS £22.50 From the makers of For Goodness Shakes! recovery drinks. Nectar offers an energy system that gives the perfect balance of hydrationto-performance fuel. Different measurements deliver hypotonic, isotonic, or a more intense hypertonic energy supplement.

OAKLEY SPLIT JACKET £210.00 Eye protection at its finest. Oakley sunglasses are brand new to Wiggle and offer the highest degree of lens quality. The Split Jacket polarised lenses offer glare-free, crisp vision, in a package that is robust and will resist steaming up.

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17th Film Festival At St Anton HANNES MAIR ALPSOLUT FILM

"Mountains, People, Adventures” was the motto of the 17th Film Festival in St. Anton am Arlberg. From 23–27 August, around 30 international contributors from the alpine sports scene, ranging from climbing and free riding to the latest slack line craze, demonstrated their breathtaking prowess to the interested public. Special guests included the Himalayan legend Wolfgang Nairz, and the German extreme climber Robert Jasper. All protagonists and film makers taking part gave interviews on their perception of challenge, fear and ambition. For the very first time this summer, the “Cinema Club” also screened films, on a three evening programme. www.

UK's Highest Climbing Wall

Kendal’s Lakeland Climbing Centre ( indoor wall is now Britain’s highest, following a £400,000 upgrading spend. The wall is now 25m high, 150cm higher than closest rival, Liverpool’s Awesome Walls. The recent investment has also seen the centre benefit from improved bouldering walls on the centre’s top floor for new or improving climbers.

The Perfect Sports Sock?

Photo: hermann erber • Agency: Arts of sAles gmbH

A new range of socks that promise both exceptional comfort and improved performance have been launched by Incrediwear, modestly titled Incredisocks! The company say they’re the answer to sore feet from exercising, caused by wearing socks that are too tight or thin. Made from bamboo charcoal, Incredisocks improve circulation around the body and promote the uptake of oxygen by the tissue in the feet. They’re extremely comfortable due to their 3D weave design, and are also antimicrobial absorbing odourcausing bacteria.

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Ireland's Canoe Race Postponed The annual "Liffey Descent”, due to have been staged in early September, has been postponed due to low water levels. The water shortage issue relates to reservoirs from which water is released to create a ”surge”, which helps make the race so exciting. "Running the race in the absence of the excitement generated by a flood would detract from its value as the premier Irish canoeing event" said a statement from the Irish Canoeing Union. The race, which was first staged in 1950 and attracts canoeists from around the globe, will now be staged on 8 October.

THe MarMoT Mica JackeT The perfect solution for every wet day on the Trail and available in more colours than green!

21.04.10 17:38


You can never be too prepared for the outdoors; the weather is unpredictable and the landscape varied, that’s why we’ve put together a selection of the hottest products on the market, all aimed at making your adventure one to remember.



ARC’TERYX R-320 £89.99

Capture your adventures on

One of the most high-tech

The powermonkey-eXtreme is the

the world’s first true 1080p HD

harnesses on the planet. Light

A great trek and travel shoe, which

more powerful and rugged big broth-

wearable camera. Protected by

enough for steep sport routes

is comfy from the word go thanks to

er to the very successful and highly

a tough, waterproof housing, it

or mountaineering duty, yet

Keen’s technologies that cradle and

regarded powermonkey-eXplorer.

records at 30 and 60 frames per

incredibly strong via Warp

protect the foot. It’s waterproof but

With a massive 900mAh capacity

second, and has a built in SD card

Strength technology, no other

breathable, lightweight and versatile.

Lithium Polymer battery and IPX7

port supporting up to a 32GB card.

harness matches it for perfection

This low-cut version is a great trek

rated – meaning it is waterproof for 30

You can also shoot hands-free, 5

of design. Supple stretch woven

and travel shoe that’s comfy from

minutes up to 1 meter – the rugged

megapixel photos automatically

face fabric and breathable spacer

the word go, whether you’re climb-

powermonkey-eXtreme is perfect for

at intervals, or set it to single shot,

mesh give day-long comfort.

ing mountains or just out for a stroll.

outdoor enthusiasts and adventure

triple shot, or self timer.

travellers. With both USB and DC port outputs it can charge the Apple iPad and other tablet computers as well as 5V devices. The powermonkey-eXtreme can be charged in three ways: via the universal mains charger, via the solar charger or via USB. This really is the perfect product for any outdoor enthusiast who’s forever worried their favorite gadget is going to run out of power mid-adventure.

PETZL METEOR III+ £71.99 A very versatile helmet that sets the benchmark for super-light mountaineering and climbing helmets, but also meets the European standards for cycling and white-water sports. The expanded polystyrene shell provides ventilation through numerous slots and features 4 headlamp clips, padded foam interior and fully adjustable headband that is retractable for transporting.





ation with i c so as For more information visit Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports has 23 shops nationwide; go online to request a free catalogue featuring the UK’s biggest range of mountain and snowsports clothing, equipment and accessories.




This minimalist pack with its super


A streamlined, super packable

The DropZone is a high volume,

lightweight construction features

Produced to celebrate Suunto’s

jacket, which offers storm protection

displacement-hulled creek boat

Osprey’s Bio-stretch harness and

75th anniversary, this limited

and all the essential backcountry

that, as the name suggests is

hipbelt for optimum comfort. Made

edition Suunto Core combines

features, including a helmet-

ideal for gnarly descents and

from high tenacity fabrics, it has

a unique new design with the

compatible hood, watertight zippers,

tight, steep lines. Also great

reflective detailing, stretch mesh

standard Core’s award-winning

laminated pit zippers for fast venting,

for those trips further afield

pockets, a zippered hipbelt pocket,

feature line-up, including altimeter,

and low bulk velcro cuff adjusters.

that often require gear to be

and is fully hydration compatible.

barometer, compass, depth meter

Gore-Tex allows the jacket to help

carried, its displacement hull

The bag weighs just 0.59kg and has

of course, watch functions.

fully regulate your temperature,

ensures that even when laden,

a 32L capacity making it perfect for

keeping you warm when you’re cold

performance is maintained and

anyone traveling or trekking.

and cool when you’re hot.

handling remains predictable.

HEIMPLANET THE CAVE £549.99 The Cave is intended to be a portable home away from home, allowing new challenges and experiences to be easily sought. Speedy pitching provides owners with more time to do what they love, and the solid structure provides shelter in the most isolated environments. It takes just 1 minute to unroll and inflate this highly innovative tent and not much more to put away.


erdmannpeisker / Robert Bösch

Ski, Bike And Chill

Ski in the morning, mountain bike in the afternoon, relax on the terrace of a bar in the late afternoon sun, and then get your dancing shoes on when night falls. Les Deux Alpes really does offer it all. Even those who don’t ski can enjoy the glacier and visit the ice-cave at 3400m.

Live And Breathe Extreme


Hardwear Expert Circle. On a sheer rock face, every detail needs to be just right. Mammut dealers from all over the world came together in Ticino, Switzerland, to test the design, ergonomics and quality of the new Mammut hardwear. The experts’ all agreed: exceptional functionality, thanks to a clear focus on the essentials. To find your new hardwear, visit:

Togir Light

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Les Deux Alpes lives and breathes extreme sports, be it mountain biking, climbing, paragliding, road cycling, white-water rafting, and many, many more. For kids, the luge (six descents included with a summer lift pass) in the centre of the village is a must; and with two tracks they can even race mum or dad!

Party The Night Away

Once the sun goes down Les Deux Alpes party’s après-ski style. The town centre offers a sea of bars and nightclubs to keep you partying well into the early hours.

Mountain Air Relaxation

You don’t need sun and sand to relax and get away from the pressures of everyday life. Why not take a walk in the mountain air, before heading to the resort’s outdoor swimming pool, where many choose to chill out whilst topping up their tan. Finally, if you’re looking for ultimate pampering, why not head to one of Les Deux Alpes’ many spas and wellness centres.

Stress-Free Travel

Grenoble airport is just 120km from Les Deux Alpes, with both easyJet and Ryanair flying from the UK. Lyon airport is a 160km drive from the resort with a wider selection of flights to and from the UK. The road leading to the resort has fantastic views and makes the drive a relaxing experience.

Ellis Brigham Opens New Shop Alongside 2012 Olympic Site

In these gloom and doom days, it’s great to hear of some encouraging news on the retail front. Ellis Brigham, one of the UK’s leading mountain sports retailers, on the CD is Rules continuing itsManual expansion; following on from its success Westfield London it is The logo should bein shown against a blackabackground now opening store in Europe’s biggest shopping centre, Westfield Stratford City. Logo: Adjacent grösse 15 to - 40the mmsite of the 2012 Olympic For sizes Ellis 15 – 40 mm Games, Brigham, along with The North Face, will occupy an area of 557m2, and will sit alongside some of the biggest


12.07.2011 08:29:48

names in high street retail. So what’s the key to their success in the face of hard times? Mark Brigham, grandson of the founder, puts it down to the quality and range of the goods stocked and services offered, the expertise and enthusiasm of the staff, and the dedication of the customers to their outdoor pursuits. ”We also try to offer a bit extra” says Brigham. ”We have ice climbing walls in our Manchester and London stores, climbing walls in Leeds and Milton Keynes, and, from September, we will become the first store in the UK to offer an Altitude Pre-aclimatisation On Demand (POD). The POD allows you to test yourself at altitude or prepare for an adventure such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s also a good training tool for athletes, including cyclists and footballers, as it enhances performance, improves recovery, supports general health, weight loss and wellbeing.”



Sheffield played host to the Bouldering World Cup at the Cliffhanger 2011 championships at the beginning of July. The event, which is billed as the ”UK’s biggest outdoor event”, was attended by 20,000 people over the weekend, up 5000 on previous years. The field for the Bouldering World Cup was stronger than ever, with competitors from over 81 countries battling it out to be crowned champion. Organisers said it was the biggest single span artificial bouldering wall ever built, wowing both spectators and competitors alike. The men’s Guinness World Dyno record

was broken for the fifth year running on the Saturday, by visiting American Skyler Weeks who had come to the UK especially for the competition. The women’s record was also broken during the weekend by UK climber Lilly Fitz-Gibbon. Festival Director Matt Heason said “A huge thank you to everyone who came along to Cliffhanger this year. We’re delighted that 98% of visitors said they’d come again and recommend it to a friend.” “The atmosphere was amazing. It was a real pleasure to see so many families with young children having a go at everything from scuba diving, climbing and slack-lining to gentler pursuits like duck racing and wicker-work.”



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Sheffield Cliffhanger The Bouldering World Cup

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Cavendish Wins Test Event

Mark Cavendish, Tour de France green jersey winner, won the London 2012 test event in style on 14 August, when he raced down the Mall to beat Italy’s Sacha Modolo and Samuel Dumoulin of France in a small select group of about 15 riders. Organisers were surprised at just how challenging the zigzag hill

climb was for the riders when racing at full pace. The cyclists rode the women’s Olympic course of 142km in the test event, which was said to be a great success. Next year, the men will be riding a 249km course, which includes nine circuits of Box Hill in Surrey. This style of course will very much suit the classics riders – Philippe Gilbert, Fabian Cancellara et al. – as well as the sprinters. Mark Cavendish told the press, “It was a massive turn out today and this was just the test event early on a Sunday morning. It shows that cycling isn’t just a growing sport in Britain anymore, it’s here already. It’s arrived.” The British Olympic Association said over 200,000 people attended the event.

Going Barefoot Is Better It’s a sight you rarely see in economicallydeveloped counties, but running barefoot is said to be better for your feet and your posture, allowing your legs to absorb the natural shock of jogging. Vivobarefoot, specialists in barefoot running say, “With 200,000 nerve endings, 33 major muscles, 28 bones, 19 ligaments, the human foot is a biomechanical masterpiece and perfect for running. However, in the last 40 years we have been led by a common misconception that cushioned, padded sneakers are better for our bodies. Despite all the advances in sports shoe technology, an estimated 60–85% of people give up running because of injury.”

Studies shows that compared with running barefoot, running in conventional running shoes increases stress on the knee joints up to 38%, although whether this leads to a higher rate of heel injuries is still not clear. Many runners switch to barefoot running to heal from injuries

NO NEED TO PHONE Anyone with an outdoor adventure passion knows the need to have a mobile, but what about when you’re so remote all your phone says is, ‘No Signal’. It can cause a panic especially if you’re separated or delayed when out climbing, trekking or biking with friends. However, with the Cobra there’s no need to ever loose contact with those you’re with. Equipped with eight channels and a 12km range, Cobra is the perfect outdoor environment walkie-talkie. Other features include VOX (Voice Activated Transmission), Call Alert, Roger Bleep Tone, Battery Power Saver and many more. The unit weighs just 120g and requires just four AAA batteries to power the device. Cobra walkie-talkies also come with a desktop charging device, making repowering easier and faster at home. Experienced French mountain guide Marina Hudry told Vertical Drop, “people depend far too much on mobile phones to contact one another and the outside world when trekking and participating in outdoor sports, but this isn’t failsafe by a long way and a device like

Cobra protects them against loosing signal. The mountains are dangerous places and phone signal isn’t guaranteed by any means, yet people expect it to be there at the moment they need it.” So next time you’re going to explore the outdoors don’t get stuck with no signal, take a Cobra Walkie-Talkie!




La Sportiva Crosslite mountain running shoe is recommended for runners who like to feel the fell underfoot, and want a minimal shoe with great traction. The Crosslite offers runners a unique blend of lightweight responsiveness, cushioning, and an aggressive outsole, making it the perfect competition shoe on damp and muddy terrain.

INOV-8 MUDCLAW 333 £75 (RRP £85)

INOV-8 MUDCLAW 272 £80 (RRP £90)

(Free INOV-8 IROC Shoe Bag)

(Free INOV-8 IROC Shoe Bag)

Extremely durable and aggressively outsoled shoe, with a sticky rubber outsole, for fell/hill/mountain walking or orienteering. Synthetic upper has dual layer mesh for comfort and protection. Ideal for ascending, descending and contouring on steep, wet mixed terrain, especially grass and mud.

The Mudclaw 272 redefined the level of grip expected by runners when racing in the toughest of conditions. The aggressively studded Mudclaw sole is designed specifically to cope with steep mixed terrain when ascending, descending and contouring, and is especially good on wet grass and in deep mud.


INOV-8 X-TALON 212 £80 (RRP £90)

The latest version of this popular lightweight trail/off-road running shoe includes Smoothride technology which provides a cushioned responsive ride whilst the wet traction outsole ensures grip and performance. The forefoot flexibility combined with a very aggressive outsole provides great traction to keep you going whatever the terrain.

(Free Pete Bland PB Race Socks)

The Mountain of Hell BEN CLATWORTHY

The annual ”Mountain of Hell” downhill mountain bike race at Les Deux Alpes, France, is one of the biggest and toughest downhill bike races in the world. It was staged for the 12th time last month. Open to everyone, amateurs and professionals alike, it’s a genuine mountain bike derby, beginning on the resort’s glacier, descending some 2000m over snow, ice, rocks, scree and slopes. ”Riders face devilish demands and divine delights, causing rushes of fear and pleasure that explain why this is called … the Mountain of Hell” said a Les Deux Alpes spokesperson.

A Treetop Adventure Go Ape (, the adventure brand, is the UK’s leading treetop adventure company with 27 giant outdoor courses nationwide. Visitors can experience a liberating sense of freedom as they swing through the forest on zip wires, cross wooden walkways and bridges, and climb treetop ladders, safely attached to a harness. Instructors are on hand to help, and all participants are given a thorough safety briefing before embarking on an adventure in the forest canopy. Courses are suitable for all, so long as visitors are 10-years-old and over, are at least 1.4m tall and weigh less than 130kg. Visits cost £30 for adults and £20

Pete Bland Sports // 34-36 Kirkland // Kendal // Cumbria // LA9 5AD

for children aged 10–17 years. Visitors range from young and old, families wishing to spend quality time together, adults on hen or stag events, businesses participating in a team-building exercise, or people who simply want to do an activity that will take them out of their comfort zone.

Land's End To John O'Groats

The X-Talon 212 concept is about combining minimal weight with superb traction, and high levels of proprioception. In keeping with all Inov-8 off-trail shoes, the X-Talon 212 features a stable low profile foot position, sticky rubber studded sole, and durable and breathable uppers.


A total of 486 participants took part in the race this year including 12 female competitors, with 2000 fans in attendance also treated to a spectacular freestyle motocross show. To add to the always challenging conditions, riders, including British pro racer Marc Beaumont, had to contend with a 100km/h wind, but 30 minutes after the start the first riders arrived at Mont de Lans village, a decent of 2000m. It was a really tight race. ”A very cool track, very demanding physically, but really fun” said the winner, Jérôme Clementz. Pauline Dieffenthaler won for the women (89th overall). Sign up now for next year’s race from 14–16 July 2012.

The leading specialist in cycling challenges worldwide for charitable fundraising, Discover Adventure (www.discoveradventure. com), is looking for participants for a 1609km, 13-day, Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle trip.

Setting off from Land’s End in England’s far Southwest, pedalling through Cornwall, over Dartmoor and North Devon, and along the Welsh border, participants will then meander through the Lake District into Scotland, weaving through lochs and dramatic mountains to reach the north coast and John O’Groats. The trip includes 12 nights accommodation, most meals and the services of experienced Discover Adventure leaders, drivers and mechanics. Payment options for 2012 departures: fundraising target of £3050pp or self-funded cost of £1220pp (£299 registration fee applies).





+41 (0)27 966 7171

+44 (0)20 3432 8446






Chamonix – Mont Blanc

The Hotel Alex is perfectly situated in the centre of Zermatt just off on a hidden back street, giving you the busyness of beautiful Zermatt right on your doorstep, but the peace and quiet you would expect from an escape to the mountains. The warm and friendly welcome is simply hard to beat.

The Clubhouse is a boutique chalet-hotel, bar and restaurant which sits inside a magnificent 1920s Art Deco mansion. The building has undergone major refurbishment to create seven ultra modern rooms with accommodation for up to 20 guests. The range of rooms (from the sumptuous Myla Suite to the comfortable bunk rooms) boast his-and-hers, teakdecked, power showers, Frette linen and fat duvets.

+41 (0)27 9667070

+33 (0)450 984 220

Val d’Isère Chalet de la Cloche is in the heart of Les Brevieres, Espace Killy, considered to be one of the greatest ski areas in the world.The Ski-Base team have created a wonderful chalet described by ‘Harpers Bazaar’ as a “haven of sensual indulgence”. It is one of Conde Naste Travellers top 10 chalets in the Alps.


There’s an immediate WOW factor at the Omnia Mountain Lodge which perches on a cliff in the centre of Zermatt. The Omnia builds on its great location with exquisite interior design, based on a contemporary interpretation of the classic American Mountain Lodge, fine cuisine, a wonderful wellness centre and seamless service, to createba harmonious guest experience. There are 30 rooms, a dozen of them suites all equipped with the latest technology and many with balconies and Matterhorn views. The Omnia’s lobby has a library and fireplace, restaurant, bar, boardroom, cavern and two sun decks high above the roofs of Zermatt and the intimate restaurant is a place you’ll want to spend the night










Lenk, Simmental

Stunning mountain views in every direction, The Cambrian offers the kind of location that desk huggers the world over spend their days dreaming about. Located in the leading resort of Adelboden in the Bernese Oberland, the hotel provides authentic local colour, cosmopolitan comfort and inspiring cuisine backed up by superb service.

Mountain heaven is family owned and run, independent holiday company specialising in great value, high quality holiday accommodation in catered chalets and self catered chalet apartments. For your peace of mind your holidays are fully bonded by ABTOT and we have a no hidden extras policy so there are no annoying extra charges or supplements!

There’s only one five star hotel in the village and it’s the Lemkerhof. This is one of the most modern, unconventional luxury hotels in Europe. You will find everything you need for a highly enjoyable time to rest, relax and regenerate. The ‘7sources’ spa offers an indoor sports pool, outdoor sulphur pool, seven saunas and much more.

+41 (0)33 673 83 83

+44 (0)151 625 1921

+41 (0)33 736 3636



Alistair Brownlee

Vertical Drop’s Ben Clatworthy spent 10 minutes with GB Olympian and reigning, back-to-back, European Triathlon Union champion Alistair Brownlee to talk 2012 and fitness. Reading your list of achievements makes me gulp, now surely all that’s left is a gold medal in 2012; is this an aspiration or something you feel you can make happen? AB: I really hope so, but obviously it’s still a year away and that’s a long time in anyone’s life, but it certainly feels like it’s getting closer everyday. My focus will very much turn to that one race, and everything in the run up will be in preparation; however, my daily training routine will remain the same. From all that you’ve achieved on the triathlon, duathlon and cross-country circuits what is your career highlight so far? AB: It has to be winning the World Triathlon Championships in 2009. I’ll

hopefully have a chance to do it again in 2011, if everything goes to plan. Sadly last year, with my injury, I didn’t race enough to get that far. It’s amazing what a difference 1 year can make, and your results this season show just how far you’ve come; how much of a struggle was it? AB: Being young really helped, although the difference between age 21 and 22 is big in the world of sport. I’m more mature and experience pays dividends, whilst knowing how to train with consistency makes a real difference in the build-up to races. Does competing alongside your brother, Jonathan, intensify your drive to achieve, and does such a competitive environment change your relationship? AB: Not at all. It’s very good for both of us, and we are really able spur one another on in training. In fact, we get on better now than ever before. When we’re racing our relationship is a bonus

as we can work together, technically and tactically, as a team, helping one another to succeed. We work very well together and this is undoubtedly helpful in competitive situations. There are many youngsters progressing up the ranks in triathlon who aspire to compete alongside you, and at the World Championship level; what advice would you give them? AB: Enjoy it. That’s the most important thing. Make your training varied and different, and work at a level that is suitable for you and your ability. Work out how many hours a week you can commit to training and then stick to it consistently. There’s no point doing 10 hours training one week and then none the next. What does your winter training routine consist of during the off-season? AB: I train for 30 hours a week, 7 days a week. At the weekends, in the morning I go for a bike ride, which varies between 1 and 4 hours, and then

in the afternoon I go for a run. If you have one tip on how to keep fit what would it be? AB: Variation is key. You don’t need to go to the gym everyday in order to keep fit. You can walk one day in the park, swim the next, go for a bike ride, and of course go jogging. There’s no need to always exercise indoors, and let the weather guide you. Get out in the sun sometimes and use the gym when it’s cold and raining. Are there any other tools people can use to keep fit, and anything you recommend? AB: The Garmin Forerunner is a great tool for anyone, at any fitness level. Not only does it measure your heart rate, but also the distance, speed and time of your run. It’s a really good product and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Alistair Brownlee is a Garmin ambassador. For more information, go to



A year ago Danny Hart was an unknown rookie. Now he’s a World Cup podium contender. Only 19, Danny is conquering the world’s toughest terrain on his Giant Glory—and he’s doing it with unmistakable style. Glory’s super-stiff, quick-handling ALUXX SL frame gives Danny confidence. Maestro Suspension gives him control. Are you ready to step up too? To learn more about Danny and his Giant Glory, follow the QR code, go to or visit us today at RIDE LIFE. RIDE GIANT.





Vertical Drop Issue 1 - September 2011