Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Baja Travesia

Now I getting pumped. We have all been training hard. Below is a copy of the most recent racer update. I included only the canyoneering section. i think that this is going to be the crux of the race. This section will most likely determine the winner.

6. Ropes/Canyoneering – All ropes gear MUST be in good condition and MUST be UIAA approved. Gear that is in poor condition will NOT be approved and we will not hesitate to forbid a team from starting the race with bad gear. The Ropes/Canyoneering course at this year’s race is serious business. You must be prepared to rappel and use your ropes gear in many challenging and potentially dangerous situations. Do not come to the Baja Travesia with less than 20 rappels under your belt (not just gym rappels). You must know your gear and your teammate’s gear. You must have used the gear before you arrive – no tags on your gear at the check-in please. The Ropes Skills and Gear Check will be very strict. Any team that shows any doubt in the use of their gear or the demonstration of ropes skills will NOT be allowed to race. Do not take this information lightly, we cannot and will not let any team start the race who gives us any reason to doubt that they are 100% prepared for the ropes section you will encounter. Now all that being said, if you take the time to prepare and come with ropes experience you will enjoy the ropes and canyon like no other race you’ve ever seen. The canyon will test every team’s ability to work together and problem solve. If you are all prepared to help each other you will have the absolute time of your life. We made the first descent of this canyon and it was absolutely incredible. You will be some of the first human beings ever to descend this canyon, an opportunity you won’t want to miss.

If you are uncomfortable swimming we offer you the option of bringing a PFD in the canyon section. There will be some swimming sections that are unavoidable. A thin neoprene top is recommended for night time swimming in the canyon. Teams need to be prepared for the swimming sections. Though they are all quite short there are some things you must consider:
How to keep your gear dry
How to warm your team mates who get cold from the water
How to avoid a heavy pack when you get it wet
We have made it very clear in the race description that Canyoneering will be a major element of this race. This section will take from 20 to 30 hours and the good news is that water is abundant throughout. Most teams will opt for a sleep during this section and there are many, many nice camping options (nice is of course relative).
As we have mentioned this is completely unspoiled, virgin terrain that will require the utmost care in low impact and haul out your waste ethics. The only piece of trash we found in this canyon was the remains of a helium balloon. We want to find it that way following the race.
A secondary back up headlamp has been added to the gear list for the Canyoneering section. Every athlete must have a backup light. Shoes for this section should have good traction in wet and dry conditions. Your altimeter will be a very, very important tool in this section. A back up altimeter is required and a third is highly recommended. Sturdy gloves are also very highly recommended for the canyon section. The rocks are rough and eventually wear down your hands. The best gloves we found were the blue plastic coated gloves that you can find at Home Depot or your local hardware store. These gloves are good for rappelling and give you some added
traction on the rocks. You will likely spend a good deal of time sliding on your butt in the canyon section to scramble down some of the slick rocks. We recommend you get your team mates to wear some sturdy shorts or face looking at their bare butt during this long section.
The climate in the canyon ranges from open air alpine breezy conditions that can be near freezing to shaded, wet canyons to sweltering dry hot, exposed to the sun. You will definitely want to wear long sleeves, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect you from the sun. The heat and glare off the granite walls can be extremely intense.

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