Entries by Elaina Arenz

Sterling PowerCord Cordelette – light, compact, strong

Is a skinny 5.9mm cordelette strong enough? You bet it is! Since a cordelette is almost always on my harness, my cordelette of choice is the Sterling PowerCord, 5.9mm in the 18ft length—the lightest, most compact cordelette that I can get my hands on. I use cordelettes primarily for rigging anchors (both single and multi-pitch). […]

Hollablock Girl  A Shout Out to Sterling’s Hollow Block

Dear Hollow Block, or as I prefer to call you, my “Hollablock.” Gwen Stefani made your name synonymous in my mind with being ultra-useful—you’re the one piece of gear I never take off my harness—and all my friction hitches are going to happen like that! Safe and secure. Your braided aramid fibers are the perfect […]


I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a dirt bike. A few weeks ago, I went out, bought a bike and signed up for lessons! Right? I’m 44. What business do I have? A motorcycle? I’m not strong, like a man. What if I get hurt? I’m not brave. The other night I watched Casselli66, […]

Back Clipping – Climbing Tech Tip | Chicks Climbing

Back clipping is the most common mistake when learning to lead climb. Part of being a safe leader means having the skills to fix a back clip mistake on the fly. What Is Back Clipping? Back clipping is when the rope gets clipped into the bottom gate of the quickdraw, well… backwards. This means that the rope […]

Zim’s Crack Creme – Cured My Hobbit Feet!

Zim’s Crack Creme is just what the doctor ordered. Rock climbing takes its toll on your skin, especially your hands and feet. It’s a constant battle between keeping them dry when climbing and hydrated when not. It’s a fine line that is made more complicated by living in the desert. I basically can’t hydrate my […]

Inspiration at 80

Rocking it out 80s style with Chicks Alumna Kris Machnick by Elaina Arenz One of the best things about Chicks is getting to know the women who attend our clinics. They represent a wide range of ages from teenagers to septuagenarians. There’s one woman in particular who has been a constant inspiration for me and […]

How To Be The World’s Greatest Climbing Partner

Best climbing partner ever! I’m often asked, “How can I get outside and climb more?” Become a climbing asset and you’ll be well on your way to climbing to your heart’s content. The best climbing partner is competent, psyched, and able to perform a wide range of technical skills. The best climbing partner can shoulder […]

How to Buy a Rope?

Buying a rope is one of the more complicated decisions you will make when it comes to climbing gear. To help you decide, I’ve put together my two cents on the top things to consider when it comes to making a rope purchase. 1) What Diameter? For single-pitch climbing I recommend a 9.8mm. A thicker […]

Caution! Wet Rock

Spring showers and summer thunderstorms bring a common dilemma: How soon afterwards is it OK to climb? A few weeks ago, during our Indian Creek Clinic, it rained hard for a couple of hours. The rain began at 8pm and was followed by a strong wind. Climbing the next afternoon remained a possibility. Then it […]

The key to getting stronger and avoiding injury

What is the key to getting stronger and avoiding injury? The answer may surprise you, but before we give up the secret, let’s do a quick check-in. rock climbing season is in full swing and if you’ve been following the newsletter training tips, training and climbing hard, it’s time to stop and assess things. Recently […]