Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rope Soloing instruction of the week: Continuous loop

The continuous loop method of solo climbing is not continuous but it might involve a loop depending on how you set it up. No pictures but I'll summarize it. 

1. Fix the rope at the bottom like for any typical lead soloing.
2. Tie the other end of the rope to a haul/rappel rope, and tie the end of that rope to the anchor or attach it to a haul bag.
3. Attach your leading device to the lead rope like you would to lead any pitch.
4. Stack the rope so that the rope goes from the anchor, to your harness, to the stacked rope, to the end of the haul/rappel rope.
5. Lead the pitch like any solo lead. At the beginning the weight will be very low but at the end of the pitch you will have the entire weight of the second rope on your harness as well. 
6. Rappel the haul/rappel rope to the first anchor.
7. Second the pitch however it is you second pitches. The advantage of this for free climbing is that you can set up a system for seconding similar to what is described in the Silent Partner manual using the lead rope as your main belay rope with your SP, minitraxion, whatever and the other rope you can tie into the end of leaving some weight on the lead rope so your self belay device will feed easier. Of course if you have bolts at the belay you can set up a fixed line by passing the tied together ropes through the bolts as long as both ends at tied at the above anchor. When you finish seconding the pitch pull the rope through like a rappel. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm in a meeting right now and the other six people are speaking Chinese. Six on one. If you are American and you want to go to grad school in the US it should be possible.

Abaqus: Create Animations

So you spend half an hour loading Abaqus and getting it started to watch the movie of the simulation you ran last night and it was a good simulation so you need to make a movie so you can show your boss or professor or whoever. Here is how to make an .avi, Quicktime, or VRML movie. 
1. Select the Visualization module if it isn't already selected. 
2. Select the Result drop down menu and select the desired result to view. In this example I selected Field History > NT11.
3. Select Animate > Time History ( you can select other options but this is what is most commonly used)

4. Select Animate > Save As...
5. Complete the Save Image Animation box. Be sure to make a unique name and select the file type that you want (.mov in this example because I've had lots of problems with .avi files). Select the Capture: Current Viewport or All Viewports option if you have multiple viewports. You can select the Capture Viewport Decorations and Capture Viewport Compass so that each frame has more information and you can tell what step you are in at any given time. Finally select a very low frames per second rate. I usually do one or two frames per minute because I spend hours working on a simulation that I want other people to watch it for 30 seconds and not 3 seconds. This of course depends on your output rate but for any simulation with many steps your output rate will be low to conserve gigabites so make
 your frames go slowly. An art major once told me that it takes at least 15 seconds of looking at a picture to take in what is happening. 

6. Watch your movie!

Monday, April 27, 2009


" I am disappointed!"

Newest moment in a long line of motivating statements to me. How about theses: "Do all the of the homework and hand it in to pass the class but you will not get a grade for any of it." That's for both of my classes. "I don't know why we've spent so much time on X when we should be working on Y."

I know I can't make everyone happy; can I make anyone happy?

Sunday, April 26, 2009


One of my friends, Amanda, (dare I say menuga) is about nine months pregnant and Tuesday they are going to induce her and have the baby. This deserves some back story because I'm really happy for her but it's kind of funny. 

When I first started going to the church in Massachusetts I go to I went with a navy family. So I sat with them and didn't really talk to many other people. At the time there happened to be this girl in the choir. We didn't really talk the first year but for whatever reason we started to talk more and her mom has had me over to her house probably half a dozen times for dinners and such. While she's a year and half younger than me we are pretty much the only two in our age range at the church. There is the high school and younger group and there is the 40+ group with a few upper 20s or 30s but as far as college age that's about it. 

When I talked to her the first few times she opened up with a few bold statements about wanting to have kids and get married and stuff. Not too many high schoolers talk about it like she did. It was a little scary because little kids scare me. They are so needy and fragile. Anyway, she graduated high school and went to beauty school so she could cut hair (and she's really good at it apparently). After that she worked in a beauty shop and she began to change. After working with young single moms and other experiences she was considering college for the first time and didn't want to have kids. As far as I know that's what was up as of about a year ago. 

So I go away to Wisconsin and Colorado for the summer and come back in August and the first Sunday back I take my usual spot at the end of the pew only to be greeted by a very smiling face: "guess what I did this summer?"

"I have no idea, what?" I replied.

"I got married!" 

You should have seen my face. In fact my whole body kind of drew back and I grabbed the pew. She had married her high school boyfriend who was/is a marine and was going to Iraq. In fact, he just got back last week and is scheduled to get out of the marines in the next few months. There had been a time crunch because he wanted to get married before he went over for his second tour.

About two weeks later in the beginning of September she did the guess what thing again. It was easy to guess pregnant that time. 

Even though I only see her about a hour once a week and we only get a few minutes of talking in it has been very interesting to see her change. At first it was exciting for her because you couldn't tell she was pregnant. Then it changed to a tempered excitement as she grew and had to adjust her habits because pregnant women can't do anything but eat random foods. Finally about six weeks ago it changed to an aura of fear. With a pregnancy comes 18+ years of commitment to another human being. That's a lot of responsibility. Moral of the story: Thank you parents because there had to have been plenty of gross, sleepless, time consuming hours spent trying to do it right. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

NEWMAC 10k I finished in 35:49. 9th place (out of the points) 5k splits of about 16:45 and 19:05. Burnout? It's my slowest 10k ever by about a minute. Oh the injury comeback is so hard. I just want to run 100 mile weeks and run really fast...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Writing a Book about Rope Soloing

Occasionally I get frustrated with everything productive I'm trying to do and work on my rope soloing book. As of today it's 30 pages of single spaced 8.5 x 11 with no pictures. I've made some drawings and taken some pictures of anchors but I really have not spent the time to put any of them into the document. In part because I'm using Google Documents to write my guide. I've used it in the past and it is very good for large amounts of text because you can edit it anywhere there is internet (baring my iPhone) and if there are multiple contributors they can edit it and everyone else can see their edits in seconds. 

So why am I writing a book about rope soloing? The problem with rope soloing is that it is almost entirely trial and error. Jared Ogden tried to describe rope soling in his book (featured on the right) but devotes only six pages to the subject. Hans Florine ups the ante with an entire chapter devoted to the subject but it is a relatively short chapter and he talks about free soloing which really requires little in the way of technical rope skills. My Silent Partner manual has a few more pointers in it. There is also forum posts and $200 per day instruction, but besides that there is really not much else out there. So I'm writing the book. Am I qualified? Yes, I've done more rope soloing (as far as I know) than anyone else I know (that includes full time sponsored athletes and guides). Am I the most qualified? Probably not, but then I can always come out with a second edition and incorporate anything I may have missed. But seriously, I was writing about rope solo seconding hard (no free hands) free climbing traverses with and without fixed anchors earlier this week, so I'm not too worried about missing anything.
Publishing to the world from my phone. Happy 21st century!

Easy Finite Element Modeling

It doesn't exist. For anyone that thinks that setting up a computer simulation is something to do in an hour and then let it run for four hours and look at the pretty pictures you are misinformed. I spent five hours this morning running Jominy end quench blocks in Abaqus using different quenching recipes. It is one thing to create a part or a mesh or several steps or interactions but getting them all to work together and give you the same results that hundreds of scientific papers have proven is a little more challenging. If your elastic modulus is off by one order of magnitude because you missed a centimeter to millimeter conversion it could take you hours to figure out why the wing doesn't flex. 

Modeling isn't easy or fast. Although, I can run a Jominy end quench test in only two minutes after changing the heat transfer coefficients compared to the three hours of actual time to complete a test in real life. 

While my blog has no theme except the challenges I face or stories from my life as a 22 year old in 2009, I post about Abaqus because I spent hundreds of hours figuring things out the hard way so if I can give people a few tips and save them ten hours this world just may be a better place.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rope Soloing instruction of the week: Screamers

Belaying in roped solo climbing is very static. Wether you are using clove hitches or a Silent Partner the stop is very sudden. Many people use load limiting runners at the belay stations so that if they take a fall the force on the anchor will be reduced. For multipitch climbing It is very convenient to have two of them so that there is one at the lower belay and one at the higher belay. That way when you are setting up the anchor you can clip the Screamer (Yates brand load limiting runner) into the anchor and rappel directly off of that. A typical rappel will not generate enough force to tear a Screamer (unless you are using Scream Aids). The only disadvantage is that a screamer with a carabiner on each end is fairly long on the harness. I clip one of the carabiners directly to my harness to save the extra three inches.

Abaqus: Modules

I started to get a few hits of people looking for basic Abaqus information so I'm going to post several posts about the basics. First, Modules. There are ten modules in Abaqus (version 6.7 at least): Part, Property, Assembly, Step, Interaction, Load, Mesh, Job, Visualization, and Sketch. It is important to be in the right module when you do certain things like when you use the Tools drop down menu. Below you can see where the module drop down menu is so that you can change the module as needed.

A short description of each module:
  • Part: Used to create the geometry of the part. It is basically a simple CAD tool. You can import more complicated models from ProE and Solidworks from File > Import > Part.
  • Property: Used to create the material properties that you will use in the simulation. Be sure to create a section (with your material) and assign the section to the part.
  • Assembly: Used to instance the part meaning if you have several parts you can put them in the same assembly but if you have one part it still has to be in an assembly. You can then either mesh on the part or the assembly.
  • Step: Create the simulation steps required for your simulation. 
  • Interaction: Used to create interactions between parts or between a property and a part. I use this in heat treating to describe the property of the heating and quenching fluids. 
  • Load: Used to create loads, boundary conditions, and predefined fields (like initial temperature).
  • Mesh: This module is for creating finite element meshes.
  • Job: Simply go to Job > Create then (I prefer to go to) Job > Write Input and then you can do the rest of the editing using kwrite and going through the input file (.inp file). 
  • Visualization: Used after your analysis to see distortion and whatever else you are looking for.
  • Sketch: It is like the Part module but for sketching. I don't use it.
Leave a comment if there is something specific you want me to write about.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Abaqus: Deciphering .dat files

Understanding .dat files is the first step to understanding why your simulation didn't work. First you will know the simulation didn't work because there is an .0db_f file or you look at the .odb file and the simulation ends before it gets to the end of the last time step. Second open the .dat file and scroll to the bottom and it will tell you the total number of errors. Just because it says you have 15 errors doesn't mean you have 15 problems. Most of the time one error in the program will show up multiple times. Third scroll through the .dat file finding where it lists the errors and try to correct them with the .inp file open at the same time. Use kwrite instead of kedit to view and edit multiple large files at one time. In case of a very large file you might have to open it with a text editor.

For example if you define the element type to be C3D8 instead of DC3D8 for a heat transfer analysis you will end up with perhaps eight errors on the .dat file. Often the problems are created by editing the input file and not copying and pasting the correct value. 

For example if you want to apply a load to PickedSet12 in one of the steps be careful to make sure if is _PickedSet12 or just PickedSet12 by looking into the Assembly section and noting the number of underscores that precede the set name. If there are two underscores in the Assembly section then you need one underscore in the Step section. Similarly one underscore in Assembly means no underscore in Step. It is important to make sure that what you reference in each step is the same thing that the program reads  from the Assembly information. 

Another common problem can be not defining hourglass stiffness. Solve that problem by deleting an R at the end of the element type. For example C3D8R becomes C3D8.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Train, Train, and Train Some More

There is a Charter commercial where the younger brother is working on the internet talking about learning and doing homework and the two older brothers are lifting weights in the same room and they are all talking and it's really positive. The little brother is talking about learning more and the older one says "You look smarter." It's very positive from both sides. There is no mental/physical rivalry. I like that. I like the fact that there is a balance between the mental and the physical.

I run. I climb. I spend time smiling in cold windy conditions. I also engineer stuff. I make simulations that are not half bad. I design stuff that no one else has ever thought of. I also try to balance my perfect life. 

As I move ahead in life and approach the time where I don't have classes or the ability to take out more student loans it becomes more important to prioritize my life and fine that perfect balance. That is hard because at this point in my life my physical capabilities are on the upswing and I want to spend lots of time and energy focused on them so that I can run really fast and climb really hard and high. I am also an engineer and I measure my success by production. When I finish a simulation or a prototype I have something to show. I also like to be credited for what I produce. Which means that I want to make my living (and pay off my student loans) by producing something. So while I could try and do the professional athlete thing and eventually be successful I can't do it because I wouldn't really produce anything. I like telling people I ran a 32:58 10k but I also like telling them I created and built an ice axe from scratch.

The title of this post does not only relate to physical training but also the mental effort in life. To perform at a high level in anything you have to practice that activity many times. There are many failures, miscalculations, sore quads, invalid simulations, late nights, mistakes, and lapses of concentration on the way to the top. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I ran a 5000 meter track race today. It did not go well. I went out with the lead pack like always through the 1600 in 5:04 doing fine, through the 32 in 10:15 about the same as last week then I hit the wall hard. and ended with a 5:50 mile. 5:50. Actually 6:33 for the 1800 but you get the idea. That's slower than my tempo pace. I did about the same splits last week the first two miles and ran a 5:20 last mile. I did everything the same this week. I don't know what went wrong. All I can think of is the workouts this week put my legs into a place where they were heavy. We did 300s Tuesday, 200s Thursday, and 100s Friday. I can't remember the last time I did repeat miles, my favorite workout. Several of my teammates were in the same race and PR'd. I was planning on running with them but I just had nothing left the last mile. I didn't give up, it was all I had. 

So what good can I take out of this. Coach Brian saw me after and said that bad races happen and this was not an important race at all so it's no problem and basically nothing's wrong. I saw Kevin and he had this little grin on his face that kind of said 'welcome to the club' and I couldn't help but be cheered up. It's hard to really appreciate running until you can't run. It gives you a different perspective. I remember those times when I wondered if this was it and I'd never race again. I remember how happy I was just to run a few miles. I was so happy in indoor to run 9:44 cause it means I could race. Today I did like 9:35 through 3k close still on pace. There are a lot of places that I've been were the people say "A bad day here is better than any day someplace else." It's true I'm still racing and probably the fastest runner climbing on BP this summer. 

Losing makes the winning that much greater. It takes one good race to make a season or even a career but it takes lots of bad races to ruin a season. Besides  we've been doing so many short repeats that I think the long drawn out pain I had for 6-7 minutes today will really help with the 10k. It's like a workout. It is a workout. It isn't the end of the world. The sun will rise again. Besides I PR'd in the 100m yesterday with a 13.6.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Abaqus: Selecting Inside Surfaces

If you need to select an interior plane or surface but you are having trouble there is a way. First select the options button on the bottom of the screen between the drop-down box for how you select surfaces and the Done button. 

Second, select the surface type box within the Options box. The left option is all surfaces possible, the middle box is only interior surfaces, and the right box is exterior surfaces.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I was talking with several friends about friendship and how the English language is severely lacking in terms of words for relationships. So the moral of the story is that we came up with a new word. More specifically Jodi came up with it. Menuga (Men-ooh-ga) is English for a friend that you are close to that isn't a best friend. So in order (for me at least) the order is basically: significant other, best friend(s), menugas, friends, acquaintances, people, animals, trees, rocks. This is in terms of the connection that you have with each other. I did not include family because they run the gamut from people to best friends. 

A menuga is someone that you share stories with that you don't tell everyone. A person that you feel very comfortable around, someone you hold no grudges against, and someone you really trust. However, there are boundaries both physical and mental that not everything in your life is open to your menugas. Introverts have a greater percentage of menugas as friends than extroverts. 

How are menugas, friends, and acquaintances different you might ask? Acquaintances are people you know by name or reputation or their face but after maybe 30 seconds of talking there is an awkward silence. Friends are those people you spend time with and share stories with but you don't want them to see you cry and you don't tell them all of your exploits. Menugas are people you tell personal things to. They are people who have your best interests at heart. These people you share your failures with as well as your successes and they care about both. 

We have a Carabiner!

No pictures because I just finished putting the gate on it and I'll probably try for a patent but it's sitting here in front of me. The first ever (to my knowledge) keylock or notchless wire gate! Seeing as how it's made of out plastic I would guess the strength rating is about .1 kN (22.5 lbs) maybe even .05 kN. Also the geometry doesn't match up perfectly so the CAD file will need to be cleaned up and modified. 

The point is: carabiner manufacturers beware! I'm going to rock your world. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Production Animals

Read this if you haven't already. Paul Graham talks about how to start a company. I've probably read it five times over the last two or three years before I was anywhere near actually starting anything. Scroll down to the part about people. I did this to one specific friend of mine (Jeff), well actually I've since tried to picture a bunch of people as animals since then, but I thought of my friend this way and he fit the bill. Fast forward to today. I was going through the campus center here at WPI and I see him on his laptop. I walk up and guess what he was working on... the ice axe! Are you kidding me?! School work and classes everywhere and he's working on the ice axe. How am I so fortunate to have such great people around me?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why planes always pull up right before they crash (in the movies)

Actually it's very simple. You just have to sit through several fluid dynamics classes to have someone point it out. So planes fly because of the vacuum above their wings. There is lower pressure above the wing because the air has to travel farther to meet the air that went on the bottom of the wing and went strait. Air that moves faster has less pressure. Wow, I just summarized three fluid dynamics classes in a paragraph. So when you get to the end of the wing at the tip you have low pressure on top and high pressure below and fluids like to move from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure so the air below the wing moves up to the area above the wing in a circular manner (that's not as easy to explain) but it explains why planes like the F4 and many commercial airplanes have the vertical wing tips. You lose a lot of lift to the wing tip vortexes. Anyway, when you are very close to the ground there is not enough air below the wings to vortex around so there are no wing tip vortexes and you get a lot more lift. A lot more lift = the ability to go up.

Here  is a picture from UKPPG Specialistsm ( 

Carabiner, Kalenian Award

I started working on the carabiner last night. I'm going to have Russ do a rapid prototype of it instead of trying to machine it because clamping it down would be rather difficult. It's not done yet but close. 

Why am I doing this? I mean I'm behind in my class work and my research is not going as fast as planned. There are several theories floating around that people have told me about why I'm working on this but I don't know. I just feel like I'm wasting time. Of course I'm having a lot of fun wasting this time and it's very rewarding. I'm learning about manufacturing and business.

Yes, we (I, whatever) are trying for the Kalenian Award. The winner gets $25,000 over 18 months and $5,000 in free legal services (about one patent). 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rope Soloing instruction of the week: Anchors

When building an anchor for rope soloing, specifically a natural anchor (chocks, cams, nuts, hexs whatever) you have a lot of freedom. The anchor has to, in general, be able to hold a rappel or downward pull as you second the pitch but it also has to be able to hold an upward pull as you climb the pitch above. Opposing pieces can be very effective however if they are directional it is important to make sure they are not pulled in the wrong direction. Pulling a chock backwards will most likely take it out of the rock and then you could get hurt. 

To ensure that your anchor is stable in the direction it is pulled use clove hitches to keep tension between two or more pieces, use load limiting runners to reduce the force on a piece or in a direction of pull, use a haul bag as a damping weight against a leader fall, or use multidirectional pieces such as bolts or natural gear (cams mostly) in horizontal cracks. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Abaqus: Bottom-up mesh example

So swept meshing and structured meshing have failed or aren't available but bottom-up meshing is complicated and hard right? Not as much as you might think. Here is a sample of how I meshed a region of a part using bottom-up meshing technique. This is using Abaqus version 6.7 and I'm skipping the parts about seeding, partitioning, and element type that you have to do to make a mesh. Be sure you seed the region before you mesh it or it will not mesh.

Step 1: Select Mesh > Controls... > Hex (in this case it could be something else but hex looks the most professional) > Bottom-up. Then you select the region (partition, cell) of the part you wish to mesh with bottom-up technique.

Step 2: Click on Mesh > Create Bottom-Up Mesh... Then select the cell (region, partition) that you just gave mesh controls to. The "Create Bottom-Up Mesh" box will appear.

Step 3: Select the Source side. Click "Done" when you have selected the source side. This is the side where the mesh will be created in two dimensions, essentially the bottom of the part, so that the mesh can be swept through the volume.
Step 4: Then select at least one connecting side in this example I choose five connecting sides. The more sides you have the more structured the mesh will be. When you have selected the side(s) click "Done". In some cases you have have to specify a Target side but in general is is not necessary.

Step 5: Click "Apply" in the "Create Bottom-Up Mesh" box and you are done! So that you know the details this mesh had 2304 elements, with 0 analysis errors and 48 analysis warnings. (That means it's pretty good.)

If you have any questions just ask, although I might not respond quickly.

Organizing my thoughts and my future: part three (athletics)

Here are my athletic goals:

  • Sub 30 in the 10,000 meter on a track not on a downhill road coarse.
  • Olympic marathon trials
  • Team USA member (be it mountain running or 100k I want the USA jersey)
  • Move up past category 5 in bicycling
  • Set speed records for rock climbs and/or mountains
  • Run Boston, Leadville 100, Badwater, maybe Berlin
  • Bike 200 miles in a day at least once
  • Compete in Kona Ironman
I've still got 20 decent years to do them all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Broad Peak

So Field Touring Alpine just told me that they had five people back out of the Gasherbrum 2 expeditions (bad economy most likely) and so they are switching us over to Broad Peak. Stu said that he could find a way to get me on a G2 expedition with a different organizer but I'm really attracted to FTA and the best part would be the climb team on BP. The benefits:
  1. Base Camp (BC) is 1.5 miles from K2 base camp. How cool is that?
  2. Of the 11 members 10 have been on 8000 meter expeditions, the other has been on Aconcagua and other 6000 meter things. I would totally be the noobie. 
  3. Three of the members are doing the k2 double. More experience.
  4. Lots of people get to the fore summit of just over 8000 meters on BP. I could be happy with that.
So, yeah, no Gasherbrum 2.

Organizing my thoughts and my future: part two (career)

Things I would like to accomplish in my professional career:

  • Go to Mars, although I could handle just the moon I want to do something new and different
  • Start an aerospace company that helps save the world
  • make enough money to pay for my kids and grandkids educations even if that includes a few med schools
  • make enough money to have a log cabin in the woods on the side of a mountain
  • be published, although I'll probably have lots of publications before I quit
That's about it. I would like to do other stuff but that other stuff is more technical like be an ace at Abaqus and DANTE.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Abaqus: loads

When selecting surfaces for loads it is possible to select multiple surfaces at once by selecting the "by angle" option on the drop down list at the bottom of the screen.  At the bottom of the screen it says: Select surfaces for the load (drop down box). First select the by angle option and then an angle (default is 20 degrees). Then select a surface and all adjoining surfaces within 20 degrees of the plane you chose will be selected. When you have a slow computer or internet connection this really helps speed things up. 

When specifying fluxes be sure that the flux you specify is in the correct units (like kg/mm^2/s for a surface flux instead of something like g/cm^2/s). Units in Abaqus can drive people crazy because Abaqus doesn't care if the numbers are logical or not.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Organizing my thoughts and my future: part one (mountains)

Just getting stuff out is a good thing. It helps people realize what they want. So here is my "this would be cool" to do list of mountains (not quite in any order):

  • Gasherbrum IV
  • Mt. Everest
  • K2 (maybe)
  • Denali
  • Aconcagua
  • Bugaboos (anything)
  • Wind River Range (anything maybe first ascent)
  • Grand Teton
  • The Diamond on Longs Peak 20 more times
  • El Pico de Orizaba
  • El Cap, The Nose
  • Halfdome (anything on the face)
  • Mt. Saint Elias
  • Rainier, Liberty Ridge
  • Kaytadn, something hard, in winter
  • Crestone Peak, something hard
  • Some multipitch dessert towers requiring at least 3 double rope rappels
  • Devil's Tower
  • Cirque of the Unclimables or those Bat spires near there, anything
That's about it. I like summits more than the top of walls. I know there's a lot of cool stuff out there but these stick out in my head as being particularly survivable and still challenging. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finding the right people

I just read on Google News the state of the economy in the US. 663,000 job losses in March. Read the article here. It did not mention total unemployment. But it said one in four were long term unemployed and gave 3.2 million for that number, so I'm guessing around 12 million total unemployed. 

In other news at the Strage Innovation Awards the multimillionaires were talking about the economy and one had a daughter at Duke MBA school and said that the number of recent graduates that couldn't find a job was 58% which was the highest total for new graduates ever. The previous high had been 8%. 

Another statistic: in 2007 about 2.1 million people in the US did traditional/ice/alpine climbing, which is what I do. So I'm hoping that I can find someone of the 2.1 million that is one of those people skilled in what I am not like selling and business stuff and finding start-up funding. I don't know that there is any "free" money to be had now from investors like during a good economy but I'm sure there are banks willing to lend at good rates now. In the case of taking out a loan it means that I would be able to retain a much larger share of ownership, but I would also have to succeed. I haven't started looking for a business partner outside of friends yet and I probably won't until I defend my thesis and graduate and write a business plan, but in this economy I'm confident that I will be able to find someone with the right blend of skills.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Strage Innovation Award

Yesterday was the presentation part of the Strage Innovation awards. Basically I spent five hours writing a presentation and power point and half of an hour giving a presentation and answering questions as best I could and I won! You can get an idea of the competition from the website here. I presented Fitzroy Mountaineering and my ice axe, carabiner, harness, and book as marketable things. Anyway they are all older and experienced judges and if they like it that gives me even more motivation to start a company. They are offering to help with my business plan and other such start up company problems. This could be a big help because it would get me in contact with people that have experience and can handle situations much more efficiently than I. 

One thing I learned that they mentioned twice was that I would probably qualify as a lifestyle company. So I learned more about lifestyle companies and investing on Don Dodge's blog here. I'm not sure how I feel as a company that they wouldn't expect to grow much. Of course their definition of growth and mine are probably a bit different. If there were ten employees and sales over a million dollars a year I would consider that the big time from where I sit.