Entries by Karen Bockel


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? […]

A Love Letter to My Black Diamond Magnetron Gridlock Carabiner

  My dear Magnetron Gridlock, You hold my heart (and my life). Despite the pain—we’ve had a tough relationship at times—I want you to know that you are so important to me. Many of my climbing partners and guests, mostly those who haven’t met you before, don’t like you at first. They get frustrated 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 […]

Gigantic – Step from Skiing to Climbing

Hello everyone, it’s Karen here checking in about the gigantic step from skiing to climbing. This year I’m spending the spring in the Alps guiding the Haute Route. The Haute Route is a week-long, high-alpine ski tour that starts in Chamonix, France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. Along the way, we spend the night in mountain […]

Thank Grabber for Toe Warmers

Grabber Toe Warmers just got me (and my toes!) through a deep arctic front. I was teaching an avalanche course for the American Avalanche Institute—a Pro 1 course for ski patrollers at A-Basin and Breckenridge. A storm had recently left the region. This left room for an arctic air mass to descend onto Colorado, dropping […]

Safe Belay Technique for Top Rope Ice Climbing

Chicks’ home venue is the Ouray Ice Park—the best place to learn ice climbing from beginners to experts alike, hands down. The Uncompahgre Gorge narrows down to the tight Box Canyon, which transforms into a beautiful Mecca of icy walls begging to be climbed. In the Ice Park, one of the first things we teach […]