Move in Congress to Open an Oil-and-Gas Industry Tax Break to Solar and Wind Too

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Post:One of the biggest boons for the oil-and-gas sector is the use of a legal entity called a master limited partnership, or MLP, which allows firms to lighten their tax loads and get easier access to investment in pipelines and other projects.Now a group of bipartisan senators wants to let alternative sources of energy use that investment and tax vehicle, too.On Wednesday, Sens. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will introduce a bill designed to allow firms building wind turbines, solar farms and other alternative energy projects to use MLPs.Normally, money made by a publicly traded company is taxed twice — both the corporation and its shareholders pay their own separate tax bills.But an MLP qualifies as what’s known as a “pass through” company — earnings pass through the partnership to the shareholders without being taxed.Since the 1980’s, oil and gas firms create MLPs for individual pipelines, refineries and other energy infrastructure projects. But the current tax code prevents their use in wind, solar hydropower, fuel cell, waste-heat-to-power and energy-efficient building projects — all targets of the Coons-Moran proposal.Unlike other limited partnerships, MLPs can sell off shares in the venture. With access to this particular corporate entity, renewable energy projects could raise capital more easily than they do today.“The United States has the largest and most efficient capital markets in the world,” Moran said in a statement, “yet our renewable energy companies rarely have access to those markets.”Right now, only large institutional investors, such as Google and Goldman Sachs, can make investment plays that take advantage of renewable tax credits. The MLP proposal would, in contrast, “open up to regular people the ability to invest in clean energy,” said Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University who helped craft the Coons-Moran proposal.At the same time, a subsidy may lure more of those big institutional funders. “Just allowing these technologies to access MLPs signals to investors to put money into even earlier-stage projects,” said Kurt Waltzer, managing director of the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental group.If the expanded subsidy became law, it would arrive just as solar and wind tax credits are scheduled to wind down over the next five years. Renewable energy advocates like to note that the subsidies propping up wind and solar are temporary while those for oil and gas, like MLPs, are permanent. So they see two paths to parity in the industry: expanding MLPs to nearly all forms of energy, or getting rid of them for everyone.The oil and gas sector, and its allies in Congress, appear to have erected few, if any, roadblocks in the way of going down the first road. The bill throws the oil and gas sector a few bones by granting firms the ability to use MLPs for technologies the sector is developing, including carbon capture and storage, combined heat and power and algae-based fuels.More: Tax debate opens door for renewables to get same break as fossil fuels Move in Congress to Open an Oil-and-Gas Industry Tax Break to Solar and Wind Toolast_img read more

Australia’s AGL Energy planning to install 1,200MW of battery storage by 2024

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:AGL Energy has set a goal of installing 1,200MW of new battery storage and demand response capacity by 2024, and is tying the bonuses for executives and senior management to hit growth targets for the company’s clean energy and storage portfolio.The new targets were revealed by AGL Energy during the company’s earnings call for the 2019-20 financial year, with the company highlighting its efforts to diversify its energy portfolio into clean energy technologies, as the company reported a lower profit as earnings from its coal generators took a hit.“Although energy prices are lower, we still see an opportunity to invest as the composition of the portfolio shifts away from coal towards the new firmed renewable energy generation the market will need,” AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof said. “AGL’s strategy is to optimise dispatchable generation, support investment in firmed renewables and continue to invest in the accelerating emergence of batteries and other energy storage technologies.”Despite the disruptions being caused by Covid-19, AGL said that it was looking to expand its portfolio of clean energy projects, especially storage capacity, and is targeting up to 850MW of grid scale battery storage, as well as 350MW of distributed storage and demand response capacity by 2024. This represents a massive expansion of AGL’s storage capacity, which currently includes just 30MW of large-scale storage (the Dalrymple battery in South Australia) and 72MW of distributed energy resources (mostly with the South Australia battery initiative), with AGL set to seek proposals from the market for the delivery of the large-scale storage projects.“In fact, we are currently inviting tenders to procure integrated battery systems, which could satisfy the entire grid scale storage target. We believe battery technology is now at a level that allows AGL to lead Australia’s transition to a smarter and more efficient energy future,” Brokhof added.AGL is currently progressing plans to add battery storage capacity to a number of its existing operations, including a 100MW/150MWh battery set to accompany the massive Wandoan solar farm in Queensland, as well as a series of large-scale battery storage totaling 200MW/400MWh, including one battery to be built alongside the delayed Sunraysia solar farm in partnership with Maoneng. A battery for the site of the Liddell coal generator, scheduled for closure by 2023 despite the jaw-boning efforts of the federal government, is also included.[Michael Mazengarb]More: AGL targets 1.2GW of new battery storage by 2024, plans tender Australia’s AGL Energy planning to install 1,200MW of battery storage by 2024last_img read more

Construction under way at South Korea’s largest hybrid wind, solar, storage project

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Chinese solar module manufacturer JA Solar has announced that it will supply its products for one of the world’s largest hybrid solar-wind projects, a 133 MW plant under construction by South Korea’s EPC LS Electric.The panel maker said its modules will be used to build the 93 MW PV section of the facility, which will be deployed on the ground of an existing 40 MW wind farm.“This project uses the spare land of the wind farm for the installation of the photovoltaic power plant to meet the South Korean market’s growing demand for clean energy while effectively raising the utilization of the land,” JA Solar said, adding that the plant would be the country‘s largest mountainous photovoltaic power plant project.According to LS Electric, the project, named Yeongam Solar Power Generation Project, is located in Yeongam county, South Jeolla Province, in the Honam region at the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula, which is seeing blossoming development of small scale renewables projects.The facility, which is planned to be connected to a battery capacity of 242 MWh, is being developed by Korean wind specialist Daemyoung Energy. According to LS Electric, Daemyoung Energy will sell renewable energy certificates from solar power generation to local utility Korea South-East Power Co. under a 20-year contract.The project is scheduled to begin commercial operation by the end of the year.[Emiliano Bellini]More: South Korea’s largest hybrid solar-wind project Construction under way at South Korea’s largest hybrid wind, solar, storage projectlast_img read more

Go Clubbing on the A.T.

first_imgLate fall and early winter are the perfect times for hiking the storied—and in some seasons a little too popular—Appalachian Trail. Crowds are sparse. Temps are still relatively mild. And the thinning trees mean views are expanding. If you need a trail buddy, there are a number of hiking clubs around the region that would be glad to have you tag along as they explore the best of the A.T.Running TurkeysMarylandSouth Mountain State Park • November 5 Get acquainted with the rolling and rocky terrain of the A.T. in Maryland on this 6.4-mile out-and-back hike that will peak with the gorgeous fall views from Black Rock. After the hike with the Sierra Club Potomac Region Outings Program, the group will make an optional visit to nearby orchards in downtown Frederick. sierrapotomac.org Tennessee Trail Maintenance and Weekly Hikes  • Every Tuesday and FridayThe Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club is one of the most active crews in the region, maintaining 134 miles of the Appalachian Trail between Damascus and Spivey Gap, N.C., including epic stretches like the Roan Highlands. The club has A.T. trail maintenance outings every Tuesday morning, as well as organized hikes every Friday. Both start at 8am.tehcc.orgVirginiaLinden to Route 22  • November 19Not a bad way to spend a fall Saturday afternoon. After a moderate 8.2-mile ramble on the A.T. through the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley near Front Royal, the Capital Hiking Club will then head to the nearby Pearmund Cellars winery to sample some local grape.capitalhikingclub.orgNorth CarolinaWallace Gap to Deep Gap • November 25-27Spend the long holiday weekend backpacking with the venerable Carolina Mountain Club. Over three days you’ll cover 21 miles as you hike south on the A.T. through the Southern Nantahala Wilderness Area. It’s a moderate jaunt with a total of 4,640 feet of ascent, including a climb of Standing Indian Mountain. Along the way, you’ll catch sweet views from the ridge above the headwaters basin of the Nantahala River.carolinamountainclub.orgGeorgiaBlood Mountain Summit • December 31There’s no better way to say goodbye to the past year than standing on a mountain summit. The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club will lead a six-mile loop hike on the Appalachian and Freeman Trails that will crest the majestic top of 4,458-foot Blood Mountain, Georgia’s highest peak on the A.T.georgia-atclub.orglast_img read more

Happy Fourth of July From BRO!

first_imgFireworksHooray America!last_img

Clips of the Week: Checkin’ off the BRO Ultimate 100

first_imgClips of the Week: Checkin’ off the BRO Ultimate 100 features people getting out and taking advantage of all the incredible activity along the Blue Ridge Mountains. From kayaking down the Russell Fork Gorge to skiing in the summer at Snowflex, these clips will remind you of why it’s so great to live where we do. If you need a refresher on the Ultimate 100 list, check it out here. Got plans to knock one of these out this weekend? Snap a photo and tag your adventure with #BROUltimate100 on Instagram and we’ll send you some BRO shwag. Ready, set, go!Kayaking the Russell Fork Gorge.Tearing up Cupp Run at Snowshoe.Some guys on a Creature Craft surfing Jaws at Nolichucky River. Yes, it’s an inflatable creature, going down a class III-IV river. Epic.Kellan Baker shredding at Snowflex with no snow!last_img read more

Trail Mix: Sam Lewis & The Hotel Sessions

first_imgThe first time I heard Sam Lewis sing, I knew he was a star in the making. A gifted songsmith blessed with a soulful Southern twang, Sam’s debut record didn’t leave my cd player for weeks. It isn’t hyperbolic to suggest that “I’m A River,” the gospel infused gem from that first record, was my favorite song of 2012.Waiting On You, Sam’s new record, is scheduled to drop in April, but fans old and new are treated with a special release this month. Recorded in a succession of hotel rooms while crisscrossing the U.S. and U.K. on tour, The Hotel Sessions offers listeners solo acoustic renditions of the tunes set to be on the new record in April.The Hotel Sessions is straight forward and simple – Sam, his guitar, and a room. Initially a series of demo recordings designed to acquaint his band with what would be on the new record, the project grew into a full album in its own right. And while Sam often records with some Nashville heavyweights – his first record included Kenny Vaughan on guitar and Dave Jacques on bass, among others – nothing is lost on these stripped down versions. In fact, it could be argued that Sam is at his best in these solo situations. Unencumbered by distraction, his songcraft and passion are masterfully showcased.I recently caught up with Sam to chat about the new record and lots of things hotel-related.BRO – What was the inspiration behind The Hotel Sessions?SL – The idea actually came from my manager’s assistant this past summer. I had just broke ground on a new album, Waiting On You, which will come out in April through Brash Music, a great indie label out of Atlanta. During a production meeting, we got to thinking of some cool ways to bridge the gap for my fans and get them excited about the release in April. Once our release date was announced, we were getting tons of inquiries about the record – folks didn’t want to wait that long to hear it! The demos of the record were nothing more than acoustic versions of me and my guitar captured in different hotels throughout the U.S. and U.K. These songs were still getting penned leading up to the recording sessions and I was still in the middle of a solid summer tour and I was getting them to my producer, Oliver Wood, and my band mates via email. All that being said, we put on our thinking caps, and The Hotel Sessions began to come together.BRO – As compared to playing in a studio, did you hear your songs differently while playing in these hotels? Did any sonic surprises happen?SL – It was interesting, more in hindsight, really. Once I agreed to use the actual demo recordings I had sent to my band mates, some personal insecurities set in. The demos are rough – I mean ROUGH – and I thought I should rerecord them. I did, but the new ones lacked that magic, so that proved to be a waste of time. We went with the original demos in the end. One thing to note is that the hotels are just like the studio; both can be magical environments if you are comfortable. A few of the songs changed completely from the hotel version once we began tracking in the studio, but I love all the versions of these new tunes. And there were some sonic surprises for sure . . . you pick up refrigerators, birds, sirens, trains, toilets, and sometimes you can even hear a couple arguing in the next room.BRO – Did any of the hotels you visited make you think, “Yeah, I could crash here for a while”?SL – A couple did, but I’m not the biggest fan of hotels. I try to stay with friends, family, or bed & breakfasts while I am on the road. Hotels don’t do much for me. I always seem to get stuck in the ones with the running toilet, thin walls, and/or the funky comforters. I may have just described every Super 8 or Days Inn I have ever visited.BRO – We are featuring “Waiting on You” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?SL – Funny enough, I actually started writing this song at precisely the same time an old roommate of mine was moving stuff out of the house, though the inspiration came from another place. I’m honestly not sure where it came from, but it is one of my few non-autobiographical tunes. Most songs I pen, I couldn’t begin to tell you when I started or finished, but this one I always remember starting.BRO – Do you like the sheets tucked or untucked?SL – Man, as long as they are clean, I don’t have a preference. I’ve come across many weird things while on the road, but this one time always sticks out. You know some of those fancier hotels that put chocolate on the pillows? Well, I was in one of those hotels one time and apparently the person that cleaned my room must have had some extras and then forgot to leave the air conditioner on. When I got back to my room on a scorching July afternoon, in dire need of a nap, it took me a minute to realize it was just melted chocolate on those white sheets. I found it more entertaining than the manager on duty.Sam Lewis hits the road again later this month, with a run of dates out in Texas. He returns to the Southeast on January 31st, with a show at The Willow Tree in Johnson City, Tennessee.I am happy to say that the fine folks at The Willow Tree have offered up a pair of tickets to the show. If you are you are interested, just take a second to drop me an email at [email protected] with SAM LEWIS in the subject line. A winner will be chosen from all emails received by 5 P.M. on Friday.Make sure you take a listen to “Waiting On You” on this month’s Trail Mix. For more information on Sam Lewis and how you might go about getting a copy of The Hotel Sessions, surf over to www.samlewistunes.com.last_img read more

Elevate Your Game

first_imgWe’re all guilty of sneaking in a little YouTube session during a lunch break to check out the latest adventure porn. But what you don’t see in those sick skiing videos of Ingrid Backstrom or the unbelievable biking stunts from Danny MacAskill are the countless times they crashed and burned.The road to success for four of our top regional athletes was also chock full of bumps and detours. Here are their hard lessons learned and their advice for taking your training to the next level.FREESTYLE KAYAKINGSTEPHEN WRIGHTVienna, VirginiaImagine showing up to the Oregon Cup, one of the premier freestyle kayaking events in the country, with little more than a Prijon kayak, some gear, one friend, and a silly amount of stoke to simply be kayaking. That’s precisely how Virginia’s Stephen Wright made his entry into the competitive freestyle kayaking scene.The year was 2004, and no one had ever heard of Wright. But that all changed after one of his impressive rides bumped Wright into the top three, second only to Eric Jackson himself.“I learned a lot at that event,” Wright remembers. “Even though I was competing against the top athletes in the sport, I was just blown away by how nice and supportive they were.”Wright left a lasting impression on Eric Jackson, who had just launched his Jackson Kayaks. Later that summer, Wright would join the Jackson Team and train with EJ himself at his home in Rock Island, Tenn.“That was really the beginning for me,” Wright says. “He let me work at the Jackson factory to make a little bit of money, but mostly I just kayaked every day.”Wright grew up on the banks of the Potomac in the Great Falls area. He always loved the outdoors, but as a kid, his interests were more in backpacking, caving, and rock climbing. It wasn’t until he was 19 years old that Wright decided to take the leap and try his hand at kayaking.“A friend of mine knew how to kayak and worked at an outdoor shop,” Wright remembers. “He told me they were going to have a sale and that there was a boat at the shop for $300. He told me if I bought the boat and all the gear, he’d teach me how to kayak.”Wright purchased the boat and all of the gear without ever having sat in a kayak before. His first day on the water, though, Wright knew he’d made a smart decision.“It was the most fun thing I’d ever done in my life,” Wright says. “I learned how to roll in half an hour and since that day, I’ve only swam maybe five times in the last 17 years [of kayaking]. I took like a duck to water.”Wright has since gone on to be a four-time U.S. National Freestyle Champion, a two-time World bronze medalist, and a two-time Teva Mountain Games Freestyle Champion. Wright’s also quite the squirt boater, regularly staking podium finishes at the annual Mystery Championships. He’s paddled around the world, from Canada’s Ottawa River to the Nile in Uganda. It’s obvious—Wright’s happy place is on the water.So how did he take his hobby and make it not only his career but also his way of life? Lucky for you, Wright has a few tips for prospective paddlers.HAVE FRIENDS WHO ARE BETTER THAN YOU.Now this may seem like a bite to your self-esteem levels, but according to Wright, paddling with people who are astronomically better than you will only help you learn more quickly, especially if you’re taking the self-taught approach.EMBRACE THE UNKNOWN.If you want to throw loops in the hole, stop flat spinning. Spend your time practicing the tricks that you’re not good at instead of continuing to do what you already know how to do. This seems like a pretty basic concept, but you’d be surprised how many kayakers cartwheel until they’re too dizzy to roll instead of flailing at their Phonics Monkeys. Failing is good—it means you’re trying hard.GO BACK TO THE BASICS.Each time you get on the water, spend a little time practicing fundamental kayaking and freestyle skills like front strokes, backstrokes, sweeps, and braces. If you do this every time you paddle, you’ll target good habits and develop new skills much faster.GET COMPETITIVE.And not just in competitions. Play competitive games with your friends when you’re paddling. The game HORSE can be applied to most every sport; freestyle kayaking is no exception. You can also set challenges for the group—who can do the most tricks in 30 seconds or who can get the most air.HAVE FUN.While kayaking is Wright’s career, he’s made an effort to separate his self-imposed expectations from his genuine love for paddling. “One pitfall of aspiring competitive kayakers is thinking that they’re going to make a lot of money kayaking, which just doesn’t happen to anybody, even the few of us who get paid by sponsors,” Wright says. “We live very inexpensive lives and we do it because we love it.”“Feeling as though your competitive results are a measure of your self-worth as a kayaker is dangerous,” he adds. “The people who last in this sport are people who are able to enjoy learning and accomplishing personal goals rather than worrying about where they place in competition.”Regional RodeosMaryland Chute OutWashington, D.C., Aug. 2015For the past 17 years, the MD Chute Out has attracted some of the most talented up-and-coming playboaters in the region, a number of whom have gone on to compete on the U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team.Tri-Cities Nolichucky Hometown ThrowdownErwin, Tenn., Summer 2015Pending water levels, the Tri-Cities HTTD is held at either the Jaws rapid or at Big Rock and goes throughout the summer. This is where Pyranha paddler Mike Patterson cut his teeth, so don’t be surprised if there’s someone in a Jed showing everyone up—it’s probably Patterson.World Kayak Hometown ThrowdownPigeon River, Tenn.—June 2015Fun and free and open to everyone, this HTTD event is aimed at getting more people on the water trying their hand at playboating and boater cross.ROAD CYCLINGallystacher2_FIXALLY STACHERHorse Shoe, North CarolinaThere are few people in this world who would stick with a sport that, upon the first time trying it, ended their day with a trip to the hospital and a broken ankle. Ally Stacher, though, is one of those few people. A competitive wrestler throughout high school and most of college, Stacher is used to a little struggle, a little pain. Perhaps it’s those fundamental characteristics that have earned her a reputation for being one of the best domestiques in the women’s professional cycling circuit today.“Cycling has taught me to work hard,” Stacher says of her rather short career in professional cycling. “That and how to be a part of a team. When one person wins, we all win.”In the spring of 2009, Stacher joined the U.S. National Team. Though she’d spent the majority of her college career wrestling, she had started cycling regularly on her trainer after breaking her elbow at a match. She eventually made the switch to cycling full-time midway through college and was offered a scholarship to Lees McRae to be part of their up-and-coming cycling team, an opportunity she jumped at. Despite a couple years’ experience of racing, when she joined the National Team, she was still a rookie at best. Stacher didn’t let that stop her, but she will be the first to admit the learning curve was, and continues to be, a steep one.“During my first trip to Europe on the National Team, one of the girls told me, ‘if you quit a race, you get sent home,’” Stacher says. “I was so scared of dropping out or quitting a race that I decided I’d never do that. But, then I got dropped in the first 10K of the race.”Once she got dropped, Stacher says she tried in vain to find the finish line and spent the entire day and evening riding the labyrinth of streets, desperately riding to make it to the finish before the race was over. Finally, well after the race was over, two-time world champion and the winner of the day’s race Kristen Armstrong drove around and found Stacher aimlessly wandering on her bike.Though no doubt a humiliating first experience, Stacher didn’t retreat from the challenge. She trained harder, rode faster, and interpreted everything as a learning opportunity, even when she made a wrong turn once during a criterium race and clotheslined herself off the bike. Her grit and dedication didn’t go unnoticed, though. In 2010, she joined the Webbcor Professional Cycling Team, her first official contract, and just a year later, Stacher signed with the elite HTC-Highroad team.“You either sink or swim in competitive cycling,” Stacher says, “so I put on some floaties and learned how to swim in deep water.”Though HTC-Highroad eventually dissolved as the largest men and women’s cycling team in the world, Stacher stayed with the same crew of 10 women. Together, these ladies now form Team Specialized-Lululemon, the fastest women’s team in the industry today. In the team’s first year on the road in 2012 they won over 60 races and finished the season as World Team Time Trial Champions.Stacher’s well on her way to becoming a reputable domestique like the famous George Hincappie, Lance Armstrong’s right-hand-man and the only rider to assist Armstrong in his seven now-null Tour de France victories. Stacher has helped her team take the gold at La Flèche Wallonne, a prestige classic in Belgium, as well as other races around the world like the China World Cup and La Route de France Internationale Féminine.Stacher’s competed in over 14 different countries, from Slovakia to Canada, and has even held her own as a competitive mountain biker. Just this past year, Stacher joined the Queen of Pain herself, six-time World Champion and four-time Leadville 100 Champion Rebecca Rusch, to win two of the seven stages in the 2014 Brasil Ride.“You learn to suffer even more when you get that fire in your belly,” Stacher says. Here are five ways to stoke the fire.DO GROUP RIDES.Whether it’s mountain biking or road riding, learning to ride around people is going to introduce you to people who can help get you where you need to be. From learning how to train efficiently or how to fuel properly or even what to wear, riding your bike around other people is, according to Stacher, “super valuable.”EAT ALLY’S BARS.Stacher’s a little biased on this one – not only is she a professional cyclist but she also happens to be an entrepreneur. Her company, Ally’s Bars, produces energy bars based from sweet potatoes and other wholesome, natural ingredients. She says fueling right is key for putting in long miles.“If you don’t eat while you race, you might as well consider your race over,” Stacher says.MOTIVATION IS KEY.Athletes require a notable amount of internal motivation and dedication to turn their passions into a lifestyle and a career. It’s not easy, and requires a lot of dedication, but wherever you find motivation, use it, harness it, and you’ll only be successful.DON’T QUIT.Don’t quit a race. Don’t quit a training session. Don’t quit eating well. Just don’t quit. Ever. According to Stacher, “if you drop out for health issues or an injury, that’s one thing, but if you quit because it’s too hard, I don’t feel bad for you. Once you learn how to quit, it’s easy to keep quitting.”GET A COACH.Stacher works with Colin Izzard of Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) in Brevard, N.C. She says it’s important for athletes to have someone they can bounce ideas off of when it comes to their training load, work load, even daily life stress load.“Every top rider has a coach and their coach is their everything,” Stacher says. “If you want to excel in a sport, find a coach that’s going to train you to meet your goals.”STACHER’S FAVORITE CYCLING EVENTSParx Casino Philly Cycling ClassicPhiladelphia, Penn., June 2015A one-day, USA Cycling professional race, this might not necessarily be for everyone but it’s sure to draw the world’s most elite riders to the eastern corner of Pennsylvania.Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National ChampionshipsChattanooga, Tenn., May 23-25, 2015For the third straight year, the National Championships return to the Scenic City to test the top athletes in the country. The course winds through downtown and over Lookout Mountain, an icon of the city.North Carolina Grand PrixHendersonville, NC, December 2015As the first Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctioned cyclocross race ever held south of the nation’s capitol, the Grand Prix is just one example of North Carolina’s rapidly growing cyclocross community.[nextpage title=”Page 2″]CLIMBINGEric_Horst_MapleCanyon_FIX_earlyERIC HÖRSTLancaster, PennsylvaniaThe Hörst family name is legendary among rock climbers in the Mid-Atlantic. If aspiring 5.12 climbers aren’t sleeping with Eric Hörst’s training bible, “How to Climb 5.12,” they’re staring up in awe at his two sons, Cameron and Jonathan, both of whom have already made a name for themselves in the climbing world. Just last year, Jonathan became the youngest climber in the world to redpoint (free-climb a route sans falls, after any amount of rehearsal) a 5.14a. He was just 10 years old at the time.“Seeing Cam and Jon do what they do has been a little bit of a reawakening for me,” Hörst said in an interview with EPIC-TV last year. “I feel like I’m chasing them now.”But Hörst, now almost 50 years old, has certainly not shown any signs of slowing down. He still regularly climbs 5.13 routes, and has been climbing at that level for over two decades. Where the climbing community today now has access to Hörst’s seven books on training and climbing in the Mid-Atlantic, Hörst grew up during a time when climbing beta came by word-of-mouth or hardly existed at all.“Back in those days it was trad climbing,” Hörst says. “There were no sport routes yet, so leading 5.11 trad on marginal gear at Seneca, the Gunks, and in Colorado was pretty rad for a 16 year old.”By the time Hörst was in his early 20s, he was regularly putting up first ascents of 5.12 and 5.13 sport routes (some of which were the first sport routes ever) throughout the Mid-Atlantic. During his time at Pennsylvania State University, Hörst became obsessed with not just climbing but also the exploration of climbing. He started visiting Bellefonte Quarry near campus and putting up new routes like Power Windows, a 5.12d sport route, and SDI Crack, a 5.12c trad climb.Hörst is regionally known for being one of the early pioneers of climbing in the New River Gorge. With his friend and equally renown climbing partner Rick Thompson, Hörst helped to establish the Bubba City crags which now rank among the most popular in the gorge. In total, Hörst established close to 200 routes at the New, among those Diamond Life (5.13a),  West Virginia’s first 5.13 climb, and Just Send It (5.13b) at Endless Wall.“I think most athletes want to train and progress in their sport—as a youngster that was my MO as a baseball player, gymnast, and cross country runner,” Hörst says, “so as I got into climbing during my high school years, it was natural for me to train and push myself to climb as hard as I could.”As Hörst got older, he wanted to harness that passion for improvement and share his knowledge with other climbers. His books include Training for Climbing: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Performance and Maximum Climbing: Mental Training for Peak Performance and Optimal Experience. From footwork technique to fingerboard exercises and mental approach, Hörst has formulaically broken down the sport of climbing in hopes that his nearly four decades of climbing experience can help others step up their game.Though oftentimes a season that sees more couch time than crag time, winter can be a great excuse to get back to the gym and focus on strength and technique. Hörst gets physical with his tips for peak performance—practice these six tips three days a week and Hörst says, “I guarantee you will be climbing harder in the spring.”DOWNCLIMB.Try to downclimb as much of the route as possible rather than simply lowering off. Why? Initially, you’ll find downclimbing to be difficult, awkward, and very pumpy. As your hold recognition improves, you’ll find downclimbing a route often feels easier than ascending it in the first place. This is because your eccentric (lowering) strength is greater than your concentric (pulling) strength, and due to the fact that by leading with the feet (while downclimbing), you learn to maximally weight them and conserve energy.MAKE IT RANDOM.Set out to climb a series of widely varying route types in rapid succession. A commercial gym with many different angles, a few cracks, and a roof or two is ideal. Team with a partner and toprope ten to fifteen routes of different character over the course of an hour. The first route might be a vertical face, the next a slab, the third a fingercrack, the fourth an overhanging pumpfest, the fifth a handcrack, the sixth a roof route, etc. This rapid recall of a wide range of techniques is skill training at its best.GO FAST.Climbing quickly is primarily a function of skill, not strength or power. It’s best to engage in speed training on a moderate route or some climb that you’ve got wired. Send the route several times with each ascent slightly faster than the previous. As an estimate, strive to climb about 10 percent faster on each successive ascent, but back off at the first sign your technique is suffering.WEIGHT YOUR PULL-UPS.Hypergravity training is a powerful strategy for boosting pull-muscle strength. Wear a weight belt (or hang weights from the belay loop of your harness, enough to limit you to just 5 to 8 reps) while doing two to four sets of pull-ups.LEVER-UP.Climb up (or jump or get boosted) to a large jug hold on the roof of a bouldering cave. Beginning from a straight-armed hang, pull up half way (elbows at 90 degrees) then forcefully drop your head and shoulders back and lift your feet upward to latch one foot onto a roof hold as far as possible. Match feet on the hold and then relax your core as much as you can without losing the foothold. Now release your feet and return to the straight-armed starting position. Do 6 to 10 repetitions.BEEF YOUR CRIMP STRENGTH.Using a fingerboard edge, do three 7- to 10-second hangs each followed by just 50 to 53 seconds of rest (each hang-rest rep is exactly one minute). Do three sets of three hangs with a three-minute rest between each set.Test your strength at these top climbing events in the Southeast:Triple Crown Bouldering SeriesHorse Pens 40, Ala., Stone Fort, Tenn., Hound Ears, N.C., and Rumbling Bald, N.C., Oct. thru Dec. 2015With the added Rumbling Bald location, this bouldering competition series really hits the best spots in the Southeast. Climb hard, meet cool cats, and support the Carolina Climbers’ Coalition!Dyno CompetitionNew River Gorge, W.Va., Sept. 2015As part of the Craggin’ Classic, this dyno comp is held at night on the American Alpine Club’s (AAC) new campground outside of Fayetteville. Fuel up beforehand with some community-made grub and meet New River Gorge climbing legends Gene and Maura Kistler and Kenny Parker.The Chatt Town Throw Down – Redpoint Bouldering CompetitionChattanooga, Tenn., Aug. and Sept. 2015Rock/Creek and Element Climbing partner to host this redpoint bouldering competition, a two-part series held at the end of summer.TRAIL RUNNINGAaron Saft_FIXAARON SAFTAsheville, North CarolinaLongtime runner and owner of the Asheville-based running store Foot Rx, Aaron Saft originally began his foot-hoofing career as a 14-year-old kid playing soccer in Middletown, N.Y.“I realized in soccer I was actually a better runner than I was a soccer player,” Saft says, laughing.The kid had a knack for running—there was no question about that. Saft topped out his high school running career with a 2nd in the two-mile as part of the All-American Indoors track and field division. Saft continued to run throughout college for North Carolina State University, joining the Wolfpack team for six track and field Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) titles and five cross country ACC titles. He’s known regionally for setting a course record at the DuPont Forest Trail Marathon in 2007, the site for the men’s U.S. Track & Field national trail championship. He’s also represented the United States at the North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) mountain running championships in Mexico, the world long-distance mountain running championships in England, and in various races all over the country from Oregon to New Hampshire.“Running has taught me that there’s always more potential out there,” Saft says. “There’s potential for growth, potential for improvement, and what’s awesome is that you can pursue a career out of your passion and make a life out of something you enjoy.”Saft has certainly carved out a lifestyle for himself that centers around all things running. Around 2006, Saft opened up his running shop Foot Rx in Asheville to serve the growing population of runners in town. From “$5 5Ks” to longer races like the Daniel Boone Be Prepared 15K and the DuPont 25K, Saft organizes a wide variety of races every year with the goal of raising money for local charities and giving back both to the region and to the sport that has so positively shaped his life. He also runs a youth running program in an effort to get kids introduced to running earlier in life.“I spent seven years of my life as a coach working with youth specifically,” Saft says. “I love engaging with young people and working with them and seeing them try to reach their potentials.”For up-and-coming runners, reaching that potential isn’t necessarily an easy task. Often, despite feeling at the peak of their physical fitness, runners can actually reverse their progress if they’re not careful. Saft offers the following five tips for runners who are looking not only to up their game but to also sustain a healthy running career.BE FLEXIBLE.Have a well-rounded program and incorporate not only running but also strength and flexibility in order to truly progress in your running. Make it part of your weekly training program and stick to it.TAKE A BREAK.Every runner needs rest. Let the body recuperate. The rule of thumb? Whatever distance your race is, give yourself a day per mile. So, for example, if you do a marathon, take approximately three weeks of rest. That doesn’t mean you can’t run but don’t do things that require exertive effort, unless you’re trying to put your body out of commission, which is exactly what Saft did after winning the national trail championship at DuPont State Forest.“I ran at the infamous Shut-In Ridge Run three weeks after that marathon,” Saft says. “I actually felt great for Shut-In, had a great race, had the third fastest time in Shut-In history, but after that my body was just shot. I couldn’t recover because I had two major efforts within two weeks and it was simply too much. Let that body recover.”FUEL PROPERLY.Make sure you’re getting good calories back in your body. Everything in moderation, especially junk food. Try to avoid artificial or processed foods. The night before a race, try not to overdo the carbs—it can make you feel bloated. Even more important? Don’t try anything new the day before or the day of your race—Saft says he learned this one the hard way.“Two weeks before I ran the Mount Washington road race, I had throat surgery and my diet was restricted to liquids, which, obviously, I’m not used to,” Saft remembers. “Race day came and I needed to get calories into my system, so I had a smoothie that morning, which I never do. The first four miles of the race my stomach was absolutely killing me but I finally let out a burp that allowed me to feel good enough to keep running.”RESPECT THE THRESHOLD.Once you start to gain fitness, there’s a delicate balance between just enough and too much. Keep a log of how you’re feeling, how much you’re running, and how you’re recovering from major efforts to help mitigate crossing into the red zone.GO MOUNTAIN BIKING.For Saft, who lives just three miles from Pisgah National Forest, mountain biking provides the perfect way to cross train. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that cross training gives your body a break from the repetitive motions of running.”SAFT’S FAV RACESTsali Frosty FootRobbinsville, N.C., Jan. 17, 2015Part of the Yeti or Not Winter Trail Series, this no-frills race takes place the Tsali Recreation Area trail system with 30K and 50K options.Springmaid Splash 5K/10KSpruce Pine, N.C., Aug. 22, 2015Located on the scenic grounds of the Springmaid Mountain Resort, this course is challenging, wet (you cross the river four times), and a heck of a lot of fun and a great way to end the summer.Eastern Divide 50KPembroke, Va., June 20, 2015Beginning at the Cascades and ending at Mountain Lake, this 50K is burly. •last_img read more

BRO Athletes: Winter Climbing in the New River Gorge

first_imgIt’s 6 a.m., and bells are chiming. My eyes peel apart from four hours of unconsciousness, a few hours too early after a few beers too many. I slap around for my phone to turn my alarm clock off, cursing the late night game of high stakes trivia that got me into this predicament.But it’s not my phone making the noise. Maybe it’s the alarm clock? Nope. Sounds like a doorbell? What doorbell? My doorbell! Growing tired of waiting at our normal meeting place, my climbing partner David decided to trek down to the source. A common rule among the crew is that anyone that doesn’t make it to the meet-up is considered dead or immobile, but will be given the opportunity to correct their actions at the price of paying for breakfast. Since I was both of those things a few minutes earlier, ham biscuits would be on me. After a shotgun packing job I was in a car and bound for West Virginia.The New River Gorge in West Virginia was not our original destination, having just the night before made the call to scrub plans to go to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky due to a little snow. In this case “a little snow” was 20” of a traffic jamming, ice forming, road ruining weather system known as Thor.Days of pouring over guidebooks, watching videos, and dreaming of rice bowls at Miguel’s fizzled before our eyes as news came in that Lexington, a town 45 minutes away from the Red, was reporting the most snow since 1943. Luckily for the trip, the New only got around ten inches, so we closed one guidebook and opened another. After a cold winter of training in gyms, sneaking outside only to freeze stiff, and staring at pictures of Lynn Hill on Quinsana Plus, I was pretty excited to get back to the New and get on the nuttal sandstone cliffs that pepper the side of the valley.David and I rolled into the parking lot at the New to find we were alone save some tire tracks in the deep snow. The tracks told a story of attempts at parking, spinning, pushing, and retreat. A bit of a concerning start to the day, hopefully the hike to the other side of the hill would be a bit better. We unpacked and repacked our climbing gear as the last member of our crew sauntered in. The sun was beaming and it was already in the high 40’s. The temperatures would turn the friction up to 11, ideal conditions, so long as we could find some South facing, sunny rock that had already shivered off the thick layers of ice that could be seen from the bridge. Luckily we had just the place in mind.The Cirque: an amphitheater of brightly colored, bullet-hard sandstone, it is the crescendo of the 4.5 mile stretch of Endless Wall. Containing some of the hardest, most technical routes in the area, it’s not uncommon to pass a few broken dreams when walking the base of the cliff. Due to its concave shape, lack of tree shade, and South facing orientation, the Cirque is an ideal winter climbing location. Today it was host to a chaotic symphony of shattering glass. A hundred feet above us, giant icicles were warming up, losing their footing, and cascading to the floor below. The steep overhang of the wall kept us safe from the icefall, but every time a refrigerator size chunk of ice dislodged from the top and came roaring down I felt the need to duck and cover.Climbing at the Cirque is nothing less than perfect, albeit on the difficult side. We warmed up on a route aptly named “The Warmup”, where a less than easy start leads into a steep roof that burns the forearms and wakes up the brain cells. After a few laps on the climb we were ready to head to our respective projects for the day. Ricky (our tardy third member) was first on the rotation. A winter of living on homemade cheesecakes had apparently not hindered his superhuman pulling power as he danced up “Trebuchet Jr.”, a technical thinker of a route. Making it past the crux, a botched hand sequence sent Ricky down to the tight end of the rope. A quick rest and he was back on the wall and at the top. “one hanging” a project, where a climber only falls once during their attempt, is considered the last step before actually sending a route. It was Ricky’s first run of the day so he was off to a solid start.Next up was David, my partner for the next 3 days of climbing and sleeping in the slushy mud. David is an odd cat, full of try-hard, physics equations, and grape nuts cereal. David and I had our sights set on a route called “Hasta La Vista” located at the end of the massive wall. Just to the right of the route was a beautiful waterfall, spraying bits of ice and water from the melt above. Chandeliers of ice bordered the spray, making for a beautiful setting for the climber but a nervous belay down near the drop zone. David styled his way through the route and after a few attempts he had the thing mostly dialed.It wasn’t until I was standing below the route tying in that I had the old familiar feeling of dread that comes from not climbing outside for a while. As a personal confession, heights terrify. that might seem weird in a sport where the very name of the game is heights, but in practice it rarely affects me. It’s only when I’ve been away for a while that the fear creeps in. Luckily I have learned to manage away this fear by assuring myself that nothing will break, my belayer is competent, and that as long as I take care to remember the fundamentals I shouldn’t end up like all that ice tumbling down around me.With fear pushed to the back of my mind I tied in and got ready to throw myself outside of the comfort zone once again. I had spent most of my winter training and I was excited to check and see where my fitness was after being away from real rock so long. On my first attempt I fell at the second hard throw, making it a bit further than I had expected for a first attempt. The fall had reassured my mind that falling is a normal part of climbing and my anxiety quieted down. After a few attempts I made it through the throw and up to the anchors. I managed to get on the route a few more times that day but was never able to put it all together. With the light fading, we all hopped on a few more routes, took some pictures of the ice, and discussed what to do next.The day ended like most of our trips to the New, at Secret Sandwich Society talking about how amazing the day was. The secret to climbing with a full tank of stoke is that every climbing day is the best climbing day you’ve ever had. This leads to a lot of enthusiasm and odd looks from non-climbers a table over as you pantomime your favorite moves of the day with a mouth full of french-fries and an IPA sloshing about the table. Ricky was heading back to Roanoke to do some sort of lumberjack woodworking project; as for David and I, we were about to drive into the dark of night, through the back roads West Virginia and into Kentucky. We had heard that temps were on the rise and most of the snow was gone at the Red. It was a bit of a foolish gamble for us to leave dry routes and cozy tents to head into questionable weather. But as soon as we pulled into Miguel’s campground at 1am and saw the fire blazing and tents strewn across the field I knew we made the right decision. That night we were so pooped that I slept in the passenger seat of my truck and kicked David to the bed of the truck with a sleeping pad and a guidebook. As the driver, I had first dibs on car sleeping spots. The next morning with a hunched back, soggy from sleeping in a steamy cab I asked David how he fared in the bed, he said had slept great with a perfect view of the Kentucky sky. Chalk that up to karma and all that gibberish.We rounded out our trip with a few more equally amazing days of climbing. Heading into Muir Valley the first day there and getting on some of the classic routes in the Solarium, “Air Ride Equipped” “Manifest Destiny” and my personal favorite “Super Best Friends”. The second day we finished off the trip by venturing into the Motherload. After spending a good bit of time staring in awe at the Madness Cave, we headed over to Buckeye Buttress to hop on a few more routes before packing it in. We finished off our trip with a few Ale 8’s and a 5-hour drive filled with conversations on climbing, the importance of pi, and how bad we smell.The beginning of spring is always a kick-start for the psych. With a crew of motivated friends, a rope, and a half a dozen routes bouncing around my head, I’m ready to soak in all the good things that spring has to offer. The ice is thawing, bluebird skies are becoming more and more common, and the stoke couldn’t be any higher.last_img read more

Getting Neighborly with Deschutes Brewery

first_imgDeschutes Brewery announced it would build its East Coast brewery last March, sending fans of the Oregon-based brewery (read: me) on a multi-year vigil while we wait for the damn thing to be built and beer to start pouring from its tanks. To help ease the wait, Deschutes brought its super fun, pop up street pub to Roanoke in late August, setting up a bar in the streets with more than 50 taps to slake our thirst for fresh Deschutes. I’m taking the street pub as a sign that Deschutes is going to be a good neighbor once they get up and running. And because I like to be neighborly too, I thought it would be nice to take some time and fawn over some of Deschutes’ beers, because even though Deschutes isn’t brewing in Virginia yet, they do distribute in the state, as well as West Virginia and D.C.Here are four beers from Deschutes you need to drink now.Black Butte Porter This is as good of a porter as you can get just about anywhere, and it’s Deschutes’ flagship beer. It’s malty and smooth with substantial notes of chocolate and roasted coffee…exactly what you want a porter to be. This is the kind of beer that helps define the style; the kind of beer a lot of other breweries work really hard to imitate but often fall short.Mirror Pond Pale AlePales should be easy drinking and Mirror Pond follows suit. The bitterness is light, as are the floral and citrus notes from the hops, all of which are balanced by a subtle, almost ethereal caramel base. This is the sort of beer that’s perfect for hot weather and subtle enough to compliment any meal that’s on the table.Jubelale Festive Winter AleJubelale is Duschutes’ winter seasonal, full of chocolate and toffee notes balanced by a roasted, coffee-like bitterness on the backend. It’s not as sweet as a lot of winter seasonals, which is refreshing; with all of the gingerbread fruitcake beers that hit the market this time of year, I feel like I get diabetes just by browsing in the beer store. There’s a faint bit of cinnamon that let’s you know it’s in season, but for the most part, it’s a well-balanced dark ale.Hop Trip Fresh Pale Ale This is one you have to find and drink right now. The idea behind these fresh hopped beers is that the brewers harvest the hops and rush them to the brewery immediately to use in a pale or IPA. The result is hops on steroids. This particular pale ale delivers with a citrusy nose and juicy palate with big notes of grapefruit. It’s zesty and crisp and yeah, fresh. Mirror Pond is a fine pale ale, but this is the sort of beer you look forward to every fall during the hop harvest.last_img read more