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February 18, 1999 - Image 12

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-18

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4B - The ichigan Daily - Weeken etc. M

yAebruarv 18. 1999

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Enthusiasts
flock north
for climbing
festivities
By Chris Dorie
For The Daily
MUNISING, Mich. - The snow and
ice of Ann Arbor winters disappear and
reappear in patterns mysterious to all but
the trained eye, like white rabbits pulled
from the top hats ofTV weathermen. But
after numerous soaked socks and slips on
the sidewalk, the lure of the old magic can
turn to annoyance and even spite, signal-
ing it is time to give Jack Frost his due.
But, unbeknownst to most of the X-
Game-indifferent public, northern
Michigan, offers some of the best ice-
climbing opportunities in the nation. The
waterfalls that normally shower the shores
of the Black River and Pictured Rocks in
summer freeze in winter, building walls
of ice ideal for any aspiring Edmund
Hillaiy
Without the solid handholds familiar to
rock climbing, mounting these slick faces
requires more than mere ropes and carib-
iners. Ice climbers enlist the aid of addi-
tional tools to place nature under heel,
using rigid titanium ice-axes to notch their
grips and stainless steel crampons to
secure every footstep. This extra gear
gives them a rather foreboding appear-
ance, akin more to a medieval barbarian
than their true-life persona of teacher,

n Daily - *eekend, etc. Mag
Top 10 Albums
(The nation's top-selling albums
for the week)
1. Britney Spears,U...BabyC
More Time"
2. Lauryn Hill, "The
Miseducation of Lauryn Hill'
3. Offspring, "Americana"
4. Foxy Brown, "China Doll"
5. 'N Sync, "'N Sync"
6. Dixie Chicks, "Wide Open
Spaces"
7. Silkk The Shocker, "Made
8. 2Pac, "Greatest Hits"
9. DMX, "Flesh of My Flesh, I
of My Blood"
10. Everlast, "Whitey Ford Sir
the Blues"
Source:Biliboar
Top 10 Books
(The week's best-selling hard-cover fic
1. "The Testament," John Gri
2. "Southern Cross," Patricia
3. "A Man in Full," Tom Wolf
4. "The Poisonwood Bible," E
5. "Billy Straight," Jonathan
6. "In Danger's Path," W.E.B.
7. "The Cat Who Saw Stars,"
8. "Ransom," Julie Garwood
9. "Seize the Night," Dean K
10. "The Simple Truth," Davi

Honda's Prelude SH Is one of the most understated, but desirable front-wheel drive coupes In today's market.
THE PRELUDE SH: EVERYTHING
YOU WANT IN .A COUPE

CHRIS DORE/Special to the Daily
Ithi anna Mlchigui ke Cllnbki Festival attracftd both novce and veteran c Mbes

banker, or Web-designer.
Since the majority of their conquests
take them far into the woods, climbers
enjoy their sport in relative seclusion.
They are separated from the city and,
more often than not, from the charming
company of other ice enthusiasts.
The exception to this fact occurs the
first weekend of February every year,
when climbers come from across the
notoriously flat Midwest to join in the

Michigan Ice Climbing Festival.
The event is a casual mix of ice climb-
ing demonstrations and instruction during
the day and slide shows and raffles at
night - spiced with the exchange of
waterfall war stories and frigid anecdotes.
This year, the festivities began on
Friday night on the second floor of what
must be one of the upper peninsulas only
Australian establishment, Sydney's Bar
See ICE CLIMBING, Page 68

E Spring Break at
YcI

There is a point in one's automotive
life when a sports coupe becomes desir-
able. These thoughts usually corre-
spond with a passion for Nakamichi
audio equipment, moderately-priced
Swiss watches and other materialistic
hallmarks of quality that are symbols of
the fashionably subtle.
Front-wheel drive coupes are usually
the most stoic (think Acura Integra),
calmly priced and not outwardly showing
their sex appeal like their the rear-wheel
drive, wallet-busting brethren (think
Acura NSX).
The Honda Prelude SH is probably
the best example of the former, remain-
ing reasonably priced and underappre-
ciated by the Beetle-gawking American
public. This is a good thing for coupe-
philes - in theory
they can ham
around in their:
coupes, breaking
all kinds of laws
and turning their3
noses at the red
Corvettes pulled
over by the man,
while existing in a
consequence-free
environment for REILLY
bargain-basement BRENNAN
costs. In some HAY Dwv
ways this logic is
true, but experience shows that driving
like an idiot in any car makes you look
like an idiot.
The Prelude SH has a few idiot-protec-
tion systems that even make me look like
a good driver. The most important of
these is the car's Active Torque Transfer
System (ATS), a technology that helps
solve the one problem of front-wheel
drive handling: understeer.
What sounds like a game of inverted
leap-frog involving farm animals,
understeer is the action of a car mov-
ing towards the outside of the turn
while cornering. This is transferred to
the driver at the steering wheel, as the
vehicle seems as if it cannot turn
enough. Understeer's appropriately
named evil twin brother, oversteer, is

the opposite effect -the car's rear end
wants to turn ahead of the front of the
car, sometimes resulting in the car's
spinning out of control.
The Prelude SH's ATTS calms under-
steer by transferring power of the front-
drive wheels to the outside wheel more
than the inside. This makes handling feel
more balanced and allows experienced
drivers to corner with greater speed.
The tester that I drove was a classic
white example, with the understated rear
spoiler and leather wrapped shift knob
that are standard on the SH.
But the real reason for wanting this
coupe is the engine. Honda's venerable
VTEC engine is more than just a four pot
- it's an institution, used in many differ-
ent cars throughout the past few years.
The beauty of the VTEC can be-felt by
the driver somewhere around 5500 rpm,
when the exhaust note gets noticeably
rude and all of a sudden, there's a won-
derful little feeling underneath your foot
that is akin to that of a turbo-equipped
engine. Variable-valve timing and lift
electronic control are the tricks that pro-
duce all this magic, making total horse-
power soar to 195 horsepower at 7000
rpm.
This becomes almost a drug-like expe-
rience for the driver. Last week I found
myself searching for open stretches of
road on which I could exploit the car -
in any gear - just to hear that precious
whine. I was possessed by that sound, at
one point deducting that the Honda engi-
neers were using sonic mind control to
bring about the downfall of the American
economy. Whatever the case, I love that
sound, and it makes driving the SH a sen-
sual experience.
One of the main gripes I have with
modern sports coupes of today is the low
seat position that the driver must suffer, a
characteristic that seems more dangerous
than cool. This is something I associate
with drivers of '80's Firebirds and
Camaros, along with wife-beaters and
death metal.
This obviously means that I'm a dork,
which is entirely true. I like my car seat to
be very high, high enough so I can see

1999 Honda delude SHl
/ Base Price: $25,950
/ Price as Tested: $26,454
/ Engine: 16-valve DOHC VTEC four
/ Power: 195 hp @ 7000 rpm
/Performance: 0-60 in 8.1 sec
/ Torque: 156 lb-ft @ 5250 rpm
/ EPA City driving: 22 mi/gal
(manual)
everything around me; I want my head to
nearly graze the headliner -there must
be a truck driver in my blood.
In any event, the Prelude's seats are so
cleverly placed that the driver's sight is
never compromised. The seats are low -
getting in and out of the car is definitely
not the same as a sedan - but somehow
the dashboard is lower and view from the
seat is exceptional.
Connected to the driver's view, the car's
front end is like a pointed wedge. In turns,
the car's superb handling characteristics
make that front end feel like a laser scope,
a veritable road scalpel that highlights that
fact that this car is happy as to point-and-
shoot.
For $26,454, the Prelude SH might not
be exactly reasonable, but one must con-
sider all the extras that are thrown in.
However, an argument can be made for
the less-expensive base Prelude, which
still includes the great 2.2 liter DOHC
VTEC engine and Honda's Progressive
Valve (HPV) shocks. But to some, the
ATTS is a feature that cannot be over-
looked, as it undoubtedly improves han-
dling.
Besides the annoyingly small horn
buttons and radio controls- that can't
accommodate my sausage-sized fingers,
this car is nearly faultless. Honda has
done a great job putting the package
together. And of course, Honda's build
quality is never an issue - J.D. Power
named the Prelude Best Sporty Car in
Initial Quality.
- Rielly Brennan can be reached via
e-mail at brennanr@umich.edu

FEB. 18-19
BOOKSTORE 1 :OOam -
JHE

4:OOpm

ERFFJONESa

1119 S. University
(734) 747-8272

. m o 3qa f#f4F o AlsY t ± ±#u' p t Fz v'ss &'a r' a ca $ 31

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