Entries by Karen Bockel

A is for Alpine

Alpine Climbing is Awesome! Pre-dawn starts, a bit (or a lot) of suffering, an adventure in a high and wild place. Can I Go?  These three words changed my life forever. Southern Germany, 1992. I was 17. I’d never been to the mountains, or done as much as a hike in the hills. I was […]

“It Makes More Sense to Live in the Present Tense.”

Green grass, blue skies, 60°F on the rock, tank tops, camping, climbing and focus. The nearest springtime rock-climbing destination for me is Lander, Wyoming. Pale-orange walls, greasy and reachy warm-ups, sharp pockets, throes of weekend warriors sending their projects, families with dogs and babies, “crushers” climbing the big routes around the corner, waking yellow-jackets, and […]

Thin Skin Thick Skin

I just got back from my first rock-climbing trip of the year. It was great to feel the warm, dry rock, even though it was ROUGH on my skin. This is normal. The first climbing outing of the year always feels particularly hard. It takes some climbing time for my skin to toughen up, for […]

A Love Letter to My Osprey Variant

The one pack to rule them all. Ok, I’ll admit it: I have about ten backpacks. They hang neatly on hooks in the garage. Or, I should say, the gearage! Some of my packs are highly specific to certain activities. For example my Osprey Kamber 40 ABS airbag is for skiing. My Osprey Mutant 28 […]

Tracks Less Travelled; First Steps to Backcountry Skiing

Walking on skis through snow-covered woods is my favorite winter exercise. As much as I love carving up a sleeping powder bowl with perfect turns, skiing in avalanche terrain requires more preparation, planning, and partners. Backcountry skiing is as much about skiing the steep and deep as it is about getting into the peace and […]

Patagonia DAS Parka Review

Let me tell you about one of my favorite pieces of outdoor clothing: The DAS parka made by Patagonia. There is no better jacket made for cold winter days! It keeps you warm, whether you’re hanging at the belay on a climb or tagging a summit on a big ski day. I got my first version […]

How to do an Avalanche Beacon Check in Three Steps

Heading out into the backcountry with friends?  Remember to do your beacon check at the trailhead. There are three things you want to check: Battery life, as well as Transmit and Receive functions of the device. Follow these three steps to accomplish this quickly and efficiently: Step 1: First, pick a leader to run the […]

The Journey to IFMGA Certification

Do you sometimes wonder which fork in the road led you down this wild and precious path you’re on? When I was a kid, I wanted to become either a Nobel-Prize winning Physicist working at CERN in Geneva or a Certifed Mountain Guide. The latter seemed so far-fetched and impossible – my only connection to […]