Entries by Karen Bockel

Grabber Toe Warmers – Gear We Use

  It’s early winter and my body hasn’t adjusted to the cold yet. I have to convince myself to get out and do things like ice climbing when my body still remembers warm, sunny rock. So, I grumble and pack lots of layers. But, layers won’t suffice for my feet! I always struggle to keep […]

Bring It! – Ski Season

It’s November and the ski season is chasing us down in big steps— The high mountains glow with their white slopes. I’ve had to scrape my windshield a couple times. And I drove through a snowstorm coming back from my last climbing trip in the desert Southwest. Some ski areas have announced early openings. Bring […]

Osprey Mutant 52 Climbing Pack | Gear We Use

My Osprey Mutant 52 saved me from a kind of panic a few weeks ago when I was getting ready for an overnight trip to the Gore Range in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The Gore Range is remote! I needed a pack that could carry overnight gear (tent, sleeping bag, stove) and some climbing gear (harness, […]


Everyone has to practice. There is no free lunch. Although, I often think there should be, as in, “When am I finally going to get a break? I’ve been working so hard!” The reality is all things take work. I just got back from a long summer of alpine climbing in the Alps. This means […]

5 Questions To Help You Plan And Prepare For Climbing Success

  1. Where? Bring your guidebook (or topos) of your desired route(s). Read and take notes on directions to the trailhead, approaches and route description(s). Use tech resources such as gaia.gps, mountainproject or sumitpost for beta for information. Pro Tip – If the guidebook is too heavy, take photos of all relevant pages. 2. When? […]

Sterling’s Fusion Nano IX – Gear We Use | Alpine Climbing

Sterling’s Fusion Nano IX, 60m, 9mm rope is my most commonly used rope.   because I mostly go Alpine Climbing. Pre-dawn starts, big- heavy packs, hiking, pitches, and pitches of climbing, ridges, and multiple rappels are in order. For alpine climbing efficiency is key. The Sterling Fusion Nano IX is efficient because it’s really light and […]

Small Steps

Small steps can turn big challenges into something quite manageable. “Kleine Schritte, Kleine Schritte!” “Small steps.” In German, I heard someone repeat, “small steps” to the group of Swiss climbers in front of us just as pre-dawn light touched the peaks. My partner, Mary, and I had been climbing by headlamp. Roped together, we’d steadily […]

Flat Overhand Bend | Climbing Knots

Use A Flat Overhand Bend To Tie Two Ropes Together For A Double-Rope Rappel When I got into climbing longer routes during my college years, I started to also encounter lots of long rappels. The endless question of how to tie the ropes together never got a simple answer at that time. I saw people […]

GU Hydration Drink Tabs

Hello Everyone, Karen here, checking in from Smith Rock State Park, Oregon. It’s warm. The days are long and everything is screaming, “Sun’s out, guns out.” My fingertips have been feeling the brunt of all the climbing but the rest of my body isn’t far behind. Being out in the hot, dry desert all day […]