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Climb Everest, with a mouse

Mountainzone.com Free

September 16, 2003|Joe Robinson

You'd never know it from the sports pages, but there are fields of play that aren't in arenas, don't use inflatable spheres, but do have balls. Mountain sports have been chronically missing in action from flatland coverage, but things are looking up on the Web. At www. mountainzone.com you can follow daily dispatches and voice clips from climbers wheezing up Everest, or catch mountain bike competitions at Mammoth, or follow the latest from the blistered front lines of adventure racing. It also tracks the snowboarding, hiking and skiing scenes.

I like Mountainzone's mix of competitive action -- skiing to trail races -- and personal expedition narratives, providing news and motivational fuel for indoor engines in idle. The design is pretty basic, as are the headlines (someone should stick the bylines at the top of the narratives, so we know who's falling into the crevasses), but that's OK, because content is king here -- not just stories, but photo galleries and video clips. The climbing section offers trip accounts from Nepal to Bolivia to Mt. Hood, interviews with luminaries from Ed Viesturs to bad boy Mark Twight, climbing movie clips and links to local trails. Get on virtually up.

-- Joe Robinson

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