Osprey Sylva 12 Women’s Hydration Pack

sylva 12 front pockets

Osprey’s Sylva 12 Women’s Mountain Biking Hydration Pack. ©Elaina Arenz.

As the world hunkers down in the wake of the pandemic and we practice “social distancing”, including no climbing at popular crags, I’m finding new ways to enjoy the great outdoors. To breathe a little fresh air, my go-to form of socially distanced recreation has been to hop on my bike and hit the trails.

On my rides, my Osprey Sylva 12 Women’s Mountain Biking Hydration pack has been a trusty companion.

The Hydrapak water bladder holds 2.5 liters of liquid refreshment which keeps me hydrated while I rest at the top of the uphill slogs. 

But what I love most about the Osprey Sylva 12 is its super ventilated back panel. Osprey’s Airspeed technology keeps air flowing down my back so I don’t get swamped in my own sweat. 

Winged shoulder straps made of breathable mesh distribute the weight evenly so the Slylva doesn’t shift around as I navigate through obstacles.

Sometimes I forget where I stashed my GU, or my extra set of gloves, because there are so many storage pockets. Or, maybe I’m disorganized? 

The women’s specific Sylva 12 has 3 large zipper compartments. One compartment for the hydration bladder. One compartment large enough for my Houdini, buff and gloves. And a third compartment with organizational, mesh pockets for tools, trail snacks and a bike pump. 

The Sylva 12 is loaded with all kinds of other features too:Osprey sylva 12 inner pockets

  • An integrated rain cover tucks away into its own compartment 
  • Mesh outer pockets allow for quick and easy access 
  • A stretchable, mesh sleeve adds an ability to stow an extra layer, 
  • There’s a clip-in point for a Blinkie light 
  • Compression straps keep everything in place.

Lastly, I love the color of my Sylva 12. It’s not black for starters. Black cooks the contents on a hot, sunny day. Rather, my Sylva 12 is a nice, light gray shade with subtle aqua accents. 

Thanks Osprey for all your attention to detail on this women’s specific hydration pack, a perfect companion for my solo, mountain biking adventures.

Isolation Workouts – Exercise At Home

Isolation Workouts 

Across our nation and across the globe we’re all being impacted by the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Many are under “shelter at home” restrictions, juggling life with kids at home too. Many are far worse off. Some will not get sick, some will. I send my best to all of those who have lost a family member, or who are caring for someone who is seriously ill. It takes its toll.

In times like these, it’s difficult to take care of ourselves.

We’re thrown out of routine without a way to get outside or go to a gym. But it’s important to try and stay healthy so you can help those around you! 

Remember that physical and mental health are inseparable. Exercise has an important, positive impact on mental health. We need to keep exercising even when we are sheltering at home.

You can do one of these workouts, or two of them or all of them in a day.

Next week, I’ll send out a second set of Isolation Workouts that build on this week’s workouts.  So stay tuned!

If you’re further committed to training and need additional support, or you need more video instruction, you can email me at carolyn@rippleffectraining.com and I’ll send you an access code to Ripple Effect’s private, training-video database.

All my best to you!


Isolation Workouts − Warm Up

10 min of walking, light jog, heavy house work like vacuuming, wrestling with kids, zumba video! You get the idea! Get your heart rate up and get warm.

2 x 8 shoulder opener, with belt, ski pole, yoga strap, jump rope, towel.

2 x 5 push up, counter top, knees or toes.

3 x 5 air squats or sit to stands – imagine that wall is in front of you.

Also check out Fitness – Build a Solid Fitness Foundation.

Isolation Workout 1 – Strength

Warm-up (see above)


5 x sit up 

5 x leg raises/lifts

10 x windshield wiper (5 per side) 

Rest 60 secs

4 Rounds


5 x push ups 

10 x door-frame body row (Grab door, pull body forward and release body away to make a body row movement.)

10 x lunges 

rest 60 secs

4 rounds


Cool Down – with some light mobility

Isolation Workout 2  Aerobic

Warm-up (see above)


10 x Jumping Jack

10 x Air Squat

10 x Mtn climber per leg

10 x Lunges in place – 5 per leg

10 x Side plank – hip lower and lift (that’s what you are counting 5 per side)

10 x Squat Jumps

10 x Burpees

2 times through all – rest as necessary 


Cool Down – with some light mobility

Isolation Workout 3 – Anaerobic

Warm-up (see above)


3 x 30 sec work/30 sec rest – Push Ups – 3 min total

Then 1:00 rest

3 x 30 sec work/30 sec rest – Air Squats – 3 min total

Then 1:00 rest

3 x 30 sec work/30 sec rest – Sit Ups – 3 min total

Then 1:00 rest

3 x 30 sec work/30sec rest – Windshield Wiper – 3 min total

Then 1:00 rest

3 x 30 sec work/30sec rest – Lunge in Place – 3 min total

Then 1:00 rest

3 x 30 sec work/30 sec rest – Floor Bicycles – 3 min total


Cool down with light aerobic work or stretching 10min.

Confined to Dream – Isolation in Chamonix, France

Confined to Dream, Karen Bockel, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, armchair mountaineering during Covid Isolation in Chamonix, France. ©Karen Bockel Collection.

Confined to Dream, Karen Bockel, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, armchair mountaineering during Covid Isolation in Chamonix, France. ©Karen Bockel Collection.

Hello Friends,

I’ve been in Chamonix, France since the beginning of March and strictly confined for a week now. Strict confinement means no excursions beyond the grocery store and the occasional neighborhood sport walk. No mountain activity is allowed: no skiing, no climbing, no trail running, no biking.

These are tough rules but ones I support to help protect the vulnerable and the front-line health care professionals. Those who can, work from home. Those who can’t, try to occupy themselves (and their families) with indoor projects, home exercise programs, yard work and the like. The financial impact is only beginning. Most of us have never experienced such a time of uncertainty.

As I sit here, underneath granite and glacier behemoths, having lost my entire spring season of ski guiding work and possibly that of the summer as well, my longing for the mountains, I am now not allowed to visit, remains. Yet I’m at peace.

While mountain guides aren’t used to being confined, we’re used to uncertainty.

Guiding includes a near constant stream of uncertainties: Is this itinerary appropriate? Is everyone healthy and prepared? Are the conditions as expected? Will the weather hold? When do we need to turn around? Do I have the right gear? What’s my margin for error? What if we have to bail? What if we get lost or get hurt?

In the valley, I have a garden. I have a comfortable little studio. And, most of all, I have beauty to behold. I don’t even have to lift my eyes to see my beloved peaks. Tiny flowers are blooming. The grass is a shade greener every day. The neighbors little cat comes to visit.

I built a slack line with an old rope and a block-and-tackle tensioning system.

I’m reading a mountain literature classic: Lionel Terray’s Conquistadors of the Useless. As I read, I stop and look up the route descriptions for all the incredible routes Terray climbed.

And I dream, endlessly inspired to go climbing again when the time comes. Until then, take good care of yourselves and those around you!


Isolation Photos and Stories – What Are You Doing?

Karen Bockel Isolation photo of slackening in backyard

Karen Bockel, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, isolation photo – slacklining under strict confinement in Chamonix, France. ©Karen Bockel Collection.

Do you have isolation photos and stories?

We’re living in crazy, unprecedented times: told not to climb or backcountry ski, not do anything risky, to take precaution to a whole new level, to stay home while businesses shutter their doors for the unforeseeable future. 

For most of us spring is a season when we’d otherwise be shooting down couloirs in prime conditions or scurrying to the desert as winter turns to summer.

Instead, we’ve canceled or rescheduled our plans with a big, fat TBD.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially for those who find respite, calm and mental stillness in our planet’s most wild places.

At Chicks, we’re taking moments to slow down and virtually connect.

Like Angela said in her recent What Inspires You Now? post, “As we self-isolate and social distance from each other, I’m reminded how Chicks serves as a foundation of treasured relationships and shared experiences.”

We’d love to know what you’re doing in this strange time. What are your self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing stories? We’d love to see photos. Are you training? Any good books or games? How do you feel?

To be honest, we’re feeling pretty low. We’re missing connection.

Can we share your photos and stories with our community on Instagram, Facebook and our website?

We’re all in this together. Even though we’re apart, it’s important to know that we’re not alone. And, when all of this is over we’ll be stronger and more psyched than ever.

Please email us at chicksclimbing@gmail.com with isolation photos and post stories for us here!

A huge Thank You in advance from all of us here at Chicks.

What Inspires You Now? | Chicks Climbing & Skiing – Angela Hawse

What Inspires You? Angela Hawse, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing working on the Grand Teton, Grant Teton National Park, WY. ©Angela Hawse Collection

What Inspires You? Angela Hawse, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing working on the Grand Teton, Grant Teton National Park, WY. ©Angela Hawse Collection.

Given the gravity and chaos in the world all around us right now, I turn to inspiration. And I wonder, “What inspires you?”

We are all experiencing loss, struggle, uncertainty and fear of the unknown on many levels. Many have it far worse than being asked to hole up and not go on trips. Schools are closing and people are suddenly working from home. I’m cancelling upcoming trips to Iceland and Svalbard.  Many guides, and I’m sure many of you, are out of work into the foreseeable future.

As we self-isolate and social distance from each other, I’m reminded how Chicks serves as a foundation of treasured relationships and shared experiences. I think about the skills I’ve learned from climbing and skiing like managing stress under adversity, problem-solving, will power and thinking on my feet.

Our goal at Chicks is to inspire and support emerging, female climbing and skiing leaders. And, in the spirit of service, we hope the lessons of climbing carry over to support women as leaders in their communities at large.

In these difficult times does it help to ask, “What Inspires Me?” Can you focus on inspiration and motivation instead of fear? Can you adopt a spirit of service to help others in need if you’re able?

Climbing has taught me many healthy exercises.

It’s taught me to go inside to find my own passion instead of looking outward at streaming distractions of media-sensationalized narratives of super-climbing heroines. Comparing myself with my heroines only belittled my efforts and obscured my inner drive and motivation. Focusing inward taught me that I have the ability to shape my experiences into a fulfilling and meaningful journey that is my own.

It doesn’t matter if you’re striving for a redpoint or simply caught up in the moment of moving over rock, what matters is unplugging and tapping into what makes your heart sing. This exercise helps, not just in climbing, but in everything.

We all have an “Everest.” Currently, a novel coronavirus is our collective Everest. Try to remember in these difficult times that climbing has taught us, no matter how high, how far or how difficult the mountain, it’s ultimately the journey that matters.

Wherever you’re holed up, isolated or socially distanced, you have the ability to tap into the presence you’ve learned from climbing. Focus and try not to get distracted by fear, sucked up in following the news every hour or anxious with uncertainty.

Take this opportunity to focus, just like you do on every pitch and be present. That will create a ripple effect that positively influences everyone around you.  It’s living in the moment that inspires me, whether on the rock, a high mountain or in line at a grocery store behind someone hoarding toilet paper.  It’s the energy we bring to every moment that determines its outcome.

What inspires you?

Stay healthy and strong!


Stuck Cam – How to Remove a Stuck Cam? | Chicks Climbing

Kitty calhoun explains how to remove a stuck cam

Kitty Calhoun answers How to Remove a Stuck Cam?

Have you ever struggled to remove a stuck cam?

When trying to remove a stuck came it helps to know how it got stuck in the first place.

Most of the time a cam gets stuck when a leader gets pumped and scared. In a rush, the leader pulls the trigger bars back and rams the cam into the crack. And even if it is too big, they are too sketched to replace it with the proper size. Instead they clip and keep climbing.

It’s also common for cams to get stuck when they walk back into the crack. This can happen when the leader used a short sling. A short sling can encourage the rope to jiggle the cam. The jiggling causes the cam to walk back. Flaring cracks are particularly prone for this. The problem with a cam walking back is that you can no longer reach the trigger bars in order to release it.

Tips to Remove a Stuck Cam:

1. Look to see how the cam was placed. Was it placed from below, above or straight in horizontally? Try to remove it the same way it went in.

2. Use a nut tool to

  • Pry against the groove and get movement in the cam leg that is most wedged.
  • Pull the cam out horizontally if appropriate.
  • Hook the trigger bar to pull down while pushing up on the stem. You can also use a sling for this technique. See video –


Patagonia Sports Bra – Gear We Use | Rock Climbing

Kitty Calhoun, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing showing her Patagonia Sports Bra and Indian Creek scar on her right shoulder. ©Kitty Calhoun Collection.

Kitty Calhoun, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing, showing her Patagonia Sports Bra and Indian Creek scar on her right shoulder. ©Kitty Calhoun Collection.

For years, I climbed cracks in Indian Creek in just a Patagonia Sports Bra. Or, for wide cracks and off-widths, I wore just a Patagonia Sports Bra covered with a long-sleeved shirt to protect my skin from being abraded.

I love climbing in a Patagonia Sports Bra!

  • They don’t bind—binding Sports Bras are horrible for climbing.
  • They have cute patterns and flattering designs.
  • They are made from recycled polyester, which helps to reduce our dependence on petroleum products.
  • And, the soft, next-to-skin, moisture-wicking, odor-controlled fabric dries quickly.

Anyway, one day, after years of Indian Creek climbing in just a sports bra, I found myself at the start of a perfect, splitter hand crack. Or, so I thought. I looked up from the bottom and couldn’t see any corner or wide parts. So, I started up in my usual Sports Bra outfit—leaving my long-sleeve shirt in the dirt.

Unfortunately, from the bottom of the climb, I couldn’t see that there was a slot at the top of the climb. Worse, the slot required a shoulder scum. However, I was so focused on my effort that I didn’t even feel the fine grit sandstone rub all the skin off my shoulder. That is until I got down and my husband poked my shoulder and said, “What’s that?”


Now my Indian Creek wardrobe is still a Patagonia Sport Bra, but always under a t-shirt. I make sure my shoulders are covered even if it’s just a splitter, hand-sized crack with no visible pods.

Take it from me, reduce scars by always wearing a t-shirt over your Patagonia sports bra when you go climbing in Indian Creek!

Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 – Soft Backpack Cooler | Gear We Use

Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 soft cooler packed and ready for adventure

Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 Soft Backpack Cooler ready for an adventure. ©Kitty Calhoun.

I have a Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 backpack cooler but my husband is always borrowing it.

Yeti is one of Chicks Climbing and Skiing’s newest sponsors. A company who in their own words values experiences, restlessness, playfulness, durability and togetherness, Yeti makes a great partner! And now, you’ll have the opportunity to demo Yeti products on our courses – from coolers, mugs, stackable pints and basecamp chairs.

As I said, my husband’s favorite Yeti product is my Hopper 24 Soft Cooler. With its backpack carrying system, he easily carries the Hopper with him on adventures that are away from the car.

Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 Soft Cooler Features:

  • High-density fabric that is waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures and UV rays
  • Cold-cell, rubber foam insulation that is far superior in performance to ordinary soft coolers
  • A Hydrolock zipper that is the toughest, highest performing waterproof and leak-proof cooler zipper in the world
  • A weight that is only 5.3 lbs. Yet, the Hopper is big enough, so they say, to carry 20 cans of beer!

My husband gave me the Hopper for a present, but because it’s so easy to carry, it became his “go-to” cooler.

Truthfully, the Hopper BackFlip looks really nice and one day soon we may own two!

Play – Summer Solstice in the City of Rocks

chicks city of rocks participants enjoying dinner together after a day of play, learning to climb

Chicks City of Rocks Climbing clinic participants enjoying a summer dinner with the telling of heroic climbing deeds ©Kitty Calhoun.

Ah the benevolence of God to provide mortal climbers with such a place to play as the City of Rocks!

One of my favorite things to do is climb during summer solstice in a landscape littered with giant, granite domes and towers! Lucky for me, that is exactly what I’ll be doing this summer solstice in City of Rocks, Idaho at our City of Rocks Climbing clinic.

It’s just March, but last week, during a brief warm-spell, I caught myself thinking about summer. Especially the part about wearing nothing but a long-sleeve shirt and shorts. Summer evenings––gathered with fellow climbers to laugh and tell stories of heroic deeds, both real and imagined––are the best. Then, I was brought back to winter as the wind picked up, temperatures plummeted and it started to snow.

You may not think of a rock climbing Mecca like City of Rocks as a playground. You may not think play is important.

But, think again… Play is a “voluntary, intrinsically motivated activity normally associated with recreational pleasure.” And, according to Play, Creativity, and Lifelong Learning, there are many benefits to playing:

“Play is a doorway to learning. It stimulates our imaginations, helping us adapt and solve problems. Play arouses curiosity, which leads to discovery and creativity.  The components of play – curiosity, discovery, novelty, risk- taking, trial and error… are the same as the components of learning.”

Not only does City of Rocks fit the description of a climber’s playground. With over 1000 traditional and sport-climbing routes, the City of Rocks is endowed with tons of high-quality granite climbing classics. Renowned for solution pockets and chicken-heads, good footwork and balance are key climbing skills at the City. Meanwhile patience rewards you as you learn to play the fine-granite long game, figuring out sequences and learning to trust small holds.

It’s a pity that for most, “play” connotes triviality because it’s just as important for adults as it is for children. Remember, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” said George Bernard Shaw.

So, stop growing old! Come and play with Chicks at our City of Rocks Climbing – Idaho Rock Climbing Clinic over summer solstice.

Grivel G Zero Mountaineering Axe

Grivel G Zero Mountainneering axe available in 5 great colours! ©Grivel

Grivel G Zero mountaineering axe available in 5 great colours! ©Grivel

The Grivel G Zero mountaineering axe stands in a long, illustrious line of climbing equipment dating back to when climbing equipment was first manufactured. The climbing equipment manufacturing company, Grivel, is over 200 years old!

The G Zero is an awesome lightweight classic mountaineering axe, designed and manufactured at the foot of Mont Blanc, the home of alpine climbing.

It’s time to start planning for summer mountaineering adventures! As occasional warm spells arrive with more frequency, spring is soon approaching. 

Mountaineering axes stands out as the symbol of mountaineering itself.  

A good mountaineering axe is both climbing equipment and protection–as in self-arrest and snow anchor.

We recommend the elegantly-designed Grivel G Zero as a great choice for our Easton Glacier – Intro to Mountaineering Course.

At 425g the 58cm G Zero is light and Light is Right!

Here are some of the features of a classic mountaineering axe:

Longer Length. You use a classic mountaineering axe primarily in your uphill hand as a slope traversing tool. We recommend at least 60-70 cm. You can also use a mountaineering axe as a snow anchor.  

Straight Shaft. The straight shaft of a mountaineering axe provides more leverage should you need to self-arrest.

Classic Curve Pick. It is easier to engage a classically curved pick in a self-arrest.

Spike. The pointed metal at the end of the shaft gives you support and balance.

Go to Chicks Easton Glacier – Intro to Mountaineering Course to learn more about mountaineering.