Entries by Kitty Calhoun

GU Chews | Gear We Use | Rock Climbing

It was the hardest sport route I had ever attempted to redpoint. I couldn’t rub the sweat out of my eyes, nor could I see clearly, as I reached for and held a tiny cobble in order to set up for the crux deadpoint. My stomach grumbled. “Now or never!” I said to myself. Then […]

Your Hips Are Your Power Center

“Do the Elvis!” Two young men, whom I barely knew but had eagerly suggested we go sport climbing together, yelled up at me. “What?” I yelled back, trying to maintain composure. What the hell were they talking about? I was struggling at the crux of a moderate sport route and when I looked down both […]

How Do You Know When You Know Enough?

Many years ago I climbed Denali’s Cassin Ridge. I decided to climb the Cassin even though I had never climbed in Alaska before. And, although my partner had some Alaskan experience—he had climbed Denali’s West Rib— we were generally equal in climbing experience and ability. Undertaking the Cassin was daunting. Yet, I knew that if I didn’t challenge […]

Patagonia Fleur Tank Top – Gear We Use | Rock Climbing

My favorite top for summer climbing is a Patagonia Fleur Tank Top. For summer climbing, I want something that is light, dries quickly (from sweat or rain), has a feminine cut, and is fun to wear. Patagonia’s Fleur Tank Top stands out from other synthetic tops because it fits my favorite-summer-climbing-top bill perfectly. Not only […]

Outdoor Climbing | Tips for Outdoor Rock Climbing

One day I was climbing outdoors with a partner who was less experienced but physically very strong. I climbed first, putting up the draws and figuring out the moves. Then, when it was my partner’s turn to lead she decided to start further right than I had. Even though the rock was more overhanging, the […]

Focus On Your Strengths

“Focus on your strengths.” I write these words with a heavy heart. There have been several deaths in our community this year due to avalanche fatalities – most recently with the passing of my friend’s son, Jess Roskelley, along with his climbing partners, David Lama and Hansjörg Auer. The shock of this monumental loss weighs […]

The Rest Step

Click on the video above to watch Kitty Calhoun explain and demonstrate the rest step while carrying a heavy Indian Creek climbing backpack. Use the Rest Step to conserve energy when hiking in the mountains and approaching rock climbs. You can also use the Rest Step while backcountry skiing. Learn more about climbing and skiing from […]

Unplanned Bivouac, West Face – Grand Teton, 1984

There is nothing like an unplanned bivouac to make me swear: “I will never make that mistake again.” When I first began doing winter alpine ascents, almost 40 years ago, what I feared most was getting benighted. Yet, as these things go, in January 1984 I found myself near the top of the West Face […]

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

Black Diamond’s Icon headlamp shines as one of my top six most appreciated technological advances in alpine climbing gear over the last couple of decades because it prevents against unplanned bivouacs. With a range of 125 meters—the furthest of any BD headlamp—and 500 lumens, the Icon allows for route finding in the dark. What this […]


For days, I was in the Doldrums For no particular reason, I felt listless. Everything was a chore. I had to force myself to stay on task and be productive. Yoga and the climbing gym helped, a bit, but I had no motivation to work on the computer. I wasn’t even excited to go skiing […]