This Week’s Gossip – Sept 18

Leslie Timms completed the first ascent of an incredible-looking new route at Lion’s Head, Canada. Check it out!

Osprey has updated their famous Ariel women’s pack.  Get details.

REEL ROCK 8 has its world premiere tomorrow! This year’s movies include The Sensei, with Daniel Woods and Yuji Hirayama; High Tension, with Ueli Steck and the clashes on Mt. Everest; Spice Girl, with Hazel Findlay and Emily Harrington; and The Stonemasters.

Say what??  A climber was shot September 16 at Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming.  Rock and Ice Magazine spoke with Juliana Garcia, a friend of the climber, who reported that he is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

Beyond Costal offers 20% off all sunscreen for Chicks fans.  Use code Chicks13 on their website.  (PS – if you haven’t heard of this awesome company based out of SLC, check ’em out.  They use only clean, healthy ingredients)


New River Gorge, This weekend!  Stay tuned for amazing pics
Keene Valley, NY (Dacks) – Oct 4-7Sterling Rope sponsors Chicks Girly Gatherings
NRG and Keene Valley are sponsored by our amazing friends at Sterling Rope.  They also support Leslie Timms – it’s been an amazing fall for them!

Red Rocks, NV – Oct 24-27 (Now accepting applications for scholarship)

ICE IS ON ITS WAY (all activities in Ouray, CO):
The Graduate Jan. 4-7

The Complete Jan. 15-19

The Sampler Jan. 25-28

The Quickie Jan. 31-Feb. 2

Fem Fest, Women’s Ice Climbing Festival, Feb 21-23

Colorado Weather


Ouray this fall.  Photo taken by our friends at the Victorian Inn.

Ouray this fall. Photo taken by our friends at the Victorian Inn.

Over the last few days, we have received e-mails from friends all over the world checking in on us in Colorado.  Thank you for all of your concern and the thoughts you are sending to our friends along the Front Range who are battling extreme flood conditions.  We have many Chicks alum in that area and ask you keep them in your thoughts as it will be a long recovery for the region.  You can find updates on Boulder and the surrounding area in their local news, The Daily Camera (this site also has info for volunteering).  For other areas in Colorado, there are a variety of choices including

The next question we receive is what this weather means for the ice climbing season in Ouray, Colorado.  Ouray and the Western Slope are not getting the amount of precipitation that the Front Range is seeing, but they have been getting a moderate amount.  I checked in with Dawn Glanc, Girly Guide and Ouray resident with a close eye on the weather for climbing conditions, to get an update on our upcoming ice season.  “Ouray is now reporting that water/precipitation levels are up to normal for the year.  The wet summer has helped make up for a below average winter and spring.  The continued moisture they are forecasting will only help raise water levels,” explains Dawn.  “This moisture will definitely help with the winter ice season in this region.  If this amount of moisture keeps up, we could see a banner ice year.  A continued wet autumn will mean that the seeps and waterfalls will flow when the temperature starts to freeze.  Then, let it be frigid so everything freezes.” 

Again, thank you all for your concern and please continue to keep Colorado in your thoughts.



This Week’s Gossip

Sasha giving thumbs up after competition win

Sasha DiGiulian at Competition. Photo from

The Gossip:

Sasha DiGiulian and Jimmy Webb crowned winners at the Psicobloc Masters Series in Park City, Utah—the first Deep Water Soloing Competition in the U.S.  50-foot falls into 10-feet of water. Check out Rock and Ice for video.

American Alpine Institute announces the 2013 Guide’s Choice Award Winners at the Outdoor Retailer Show.

Fun video that doesn’t just inspire climbing moms.  Question:  If their climbing apparel is only a bikini, where are they storing the chalk?  Desert Flight: A Climbing Mom’s Vacation 

Mark your calendars:

Chicks Girly Gathering at New River Gorge, West Virginia, September 20-22.  Thank you Sterling Ropes for sponsoring this event!

Dates have been set for the 2014 Fem Fest, a women’s ice climbing festival. We will see all the lady ice climbers February 22- 24 in Ouray Colorado. Gather your friends and come on down, it will be a PARTY!!  Like Fem Fest on Facebook for updates.

Reflections of a Jack of All – Kitty Calhoun

Diverse Movement Skills Needed For Diverse Rock
by Girly Guide and master mountaineer Kitty Calhoun

Kitty Calhoun on crack at Indian Creek

Kitty exploring the rock at Indian Creek. Photo by Kelsey McMaster

I was leaning back off a hanging belay 200 feet up the North Face of Castleton and watching as my partner, Jen Olsen, maneuvered her way up a steep, wide sandstone crack with all the precision of a Swiss watch.  As the jam gave way to an undercling, she placed a cam and then reached around the overhang and moved into a layback.  Nice!  It would soon be my lead and I would have a pitch that required some route finding on the face above to find the easiest, most protectable line, and then the next set of fixed anchors.  Neither of us had done this multi-pitch trad route before, so it was an adventure that required multiple skills that I had not been using much recently.  Sure, I had been rock climbing all spring, but it had been single-pitch sport climbing – which is different.

You might think that with all the single-pitch rock climbing I had done in the two weeks prior, that I would be sending some hard routes.  But no.  The fact is I had been climbing in a different area, on a different type of rock, almost every time I went out.  It had become obvious to me that each type of rock has different features that are predominant and these features require a different type of movement skill.  So, if you think you are going to walk to a cliff and climb at the same level you do on your home turf, think again.  The brain engrams need time to remember the body positions most effective given the arrangement of the rock features.  For example, we have a secret area near my home that is face climbing on vertical sandstone.  Many of the moves require you to reach high with both hands, run your feet up vertical, smooth rock until you can turn one hand into a mantel.  The other hand searches for a layback hold so you can bring a foot up onto the ledge and pull your weight over it.

Manteling, however, does not work so well on overhanging limestone.  Limestone tends to have solution pockets and often times you work your feet up high and reach into an undercling.  Once you have the hold and stand up on your high feet, the hold becomes useful – and you get to use different muscles (pulling up rather than pulling down).

movement skills on quartzite

Kitty showing movement skills on quartzite at Devil’s Lake.

Then there is quartzite.  Often quartzite is smooth with downward sloping holds and sharp vertical edges.  So what engrams to use for this?  You guessed it – lots of body tension.  You use a lot of side-pulls and turn sideways so you can lay-away.  At the same time, if you do not keep pressure on your foot that you are pushing with, it will skate off the rock.

Have any of you tried cobblestone?  These holds tend to be more open-grip.  Most people are used to crimpers and the thought of grasping tennis-ball holds feels insecure.  I

try to remember not to rush the moves and that subtle shifts in balance will make the tennis ball feel good enough if I stay focused and trust.

Alas, all I was missing that couple of weeks was a jaunt on granite.  I still remember the run-outs on low-angle slabs.  You have to trust your feet, but the rock usually has really good texture.  The problem is… you have to trust your feet.  Maybe that’s why the saying, “friends don’t let friends climb slabs”.  Fortunately, not all granite is slabbish.

Then I hear Jen yell, “off belay”.  That was quick.  Now there is a girl who is truly a Master of All.  You go girl.

Why Climbers “Cut Their Teeth” at Devil’s Lake

By: Anne Hughes – Devil’s Lake Guru

Happy Summer Solstice!  The long days of summer quickly become a climbers best friend and it’s when many of us midwesterners head to Devil’s Lake.  With 500-foot, pink and purple cliffs rising above a pristine spring fed lake, Devil’s Lake State Park is not only the center piece of the Wisconsin park system but it is also one of the premier rock climbing areas in the nation.  Mike Ferris, author of The Falcon Guide to Rock Climbing in Wisconsin and Minnesota, says: “Devil’s Lake is the best known climbing area in the midwest… there are over 1,700 recorded routes to choose from, access is easy and it’s close to Chicago — no wonder it’s popular.  The Lake has the highest concentration of hard routes in the Upper Midwest… The layout of the cliffs does permit easy socializing and there is certainly more of a climbing scene here than at any other area in this guide.

It is amazing and beautiful, but “The Lake” is also one of the best places to cut your teeth as a rock climber, or to hone your technique and/or your lead climbing skills.  Climbers have been visiting these stunning cliffs for fun and adventure for more than 80 years.  Famous climbers through the decades have put their technique to the test at The Lake, pushing the climbing envelope on this unique rock.  The redish-purple quartzite is very solid but doesn’t have much friction.  It has great cracks for leading and jamming, as well as climbing features on the faces which tend to be edges.  These characteristics cause Devil’s Lake climbers to refine their climbing technique more quickly than climbers whose back yard crags feature rock with a high friction factor.  All this combined makes it a perfect place for Chicks! rock climbing clinics.

Chicks! clinics are held at the famous East Bluff, where there are so many quality climbs, so close together.  At the end of a fun day pulling down hard, The Lake also offers one of the best post-climbing activities…a refreshing swim in the Lake! In addition, camping is made easy at this state park as restroom and shower facilities are provided, however, you don’t have to be an expert camper to join Chicks! clinic, we have loaner gear including Marmot tents!

Devil’s Lake is only an hour drive from the Madison Wisconsin airport and four hours from Chicago or Minneapolis.  What are you waiting for — Chicks clinics provide comprehensive quality instruction and personal inspiration.  Join Chicks! in Devil’s Lake!

Anne Hughes rockin' Devil's Lake, Wisconsin

Anne Hughes Rockin’ Devil’s Lake

Chicks Rock! Spring desert trip discounts!

We are offering a spring buddy deal through March for our desert clinics in Red Rocks and Indian Creek. Bring a friend and get a discount. Easy, right?

If you sign up for either Chicks Rock! at Red Rock or Indian Creek with a friend BEFORE March 31, you will each get $75 discounted from the cost of the clinic. Sign up online and we will refund this amount in the mail.

For individual enrollment: if you sign up for ether Chicks Rock! at Red Rock or Indian Creek before March 31,  you will get a $50 discount. Sign up online and we will refund this amount in the mail.

2013 Women’s Rock Climbing Clinics

Beginner to Advanced Climbers Welcome!
Spring Desert Trips
– Red Rock Canyon (Nevada) spring clinic: April 11-14 (3 days climbing) $930, optional multi-pitch April 15 (4 days climbing) $1,280
– Indian Creek May 1-4 (3 days climbing) $975, optional tower climb May 5 (4 days climbing) $1,350

Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin
– Women’s Intensive Clinic, July 26-29 (3 days climbing) full package: $975, daytime package: $795

Girly Gatherings
Sponsored by Sterling Rope
– The New River Gorge, West Virginia, Sept. 27-29 (2 days climbing) $375
– Keene Valley, Adirondacks New York, Oct. 4-7 (3 days climbing) $650

Fall Desert Trip
– Red Rock Canyon (Nevada) fall clinic Oct. 24-27 (3 days climbing) $930 with optional multi-pitch day Oct. 28 (4 days climbing) $1,280

Red Rock – revised!

While Red Rock has been an awesome Chicks Rock! clinic for the past four years, the camping scene was NOT. Since we started this clinic, we have been basing our Chicks HQ at the individual campground. This is pretty barren territory with no trees, no showers and a lot of WIND. A couple years ago 70 mph winds crushed the tents and bent the poles. This spring in Indian Creek I heard hilarious (yet not, since our Chicks’ sleep suffered) of a couple that well, couldn’t quite get enough of each other one night, and the next morning…and didn’t seem to realize that tent walls contain NO noise whatsoever!

A few of our Fall 2011 Chicks Rock! Red Rock ladies 🙂

Anyways, many of our Red Rock Chicks that have camped with us once, have since started to rent hotel rooms, which isn’t super cheap and leaves us feeling a bit spread out. Additionally, because of permit issues, at this clinic all our gals have always been responsible for all of their own meals as well.

Luckily we’ve got some smart Chicks! Girly Guide Dawn Glanc recently came up with the brilliant idea to rent a house for the Red Rock clinic so we could stay together and hire a cook that will get our gals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having a base camp manager (the fabulous Julie Angle!) at Indian Creek was a great experience and it’s just more our style. So, new to Red Rock this fall (Oct. 18-21 with an optional multi-pitch day Oct. 22) you can sign up to join us at the Blue Diamond Ranch in the “Chicks Chalet!”

If you want in, you need to sign up BY SEPTEMBER 18TH and PLEASE NOTE, IT’S FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED on the limited space for sleeping.

Please note that this information is NOT on the registration form as an option, it is something we are offering as women sign up. To do this, you will have to send us a check and you are IN.

So, what is it going to cost?
Price for housing and food:
Housing = $35 a night x 5 nights = $175
Food -three meals per day = $45 x 4 days = $180
TOTAL = $355 You can’t beat this in town!

If you want to still camp at the individual campground, or rent a hotel room on your own you certainly can, we will coordinate for everyone to meet up in the morning and nothing about the climbing days will actually change. Here is a link to that information. We simply wanted to provide a better option sleeping and food option to our Chicks who can now experience the “full package” affair at Red Rock.

Check out all the Red Rock Chicks Rock! clinic details here. We also have two east coast clinics left on the calendar this year, which we are still accepting registrations for! First up is a Sept. 21-23 “Girly Gathering” at the New, followed by a three-day “Girly Gathering” Oct. 5-8 in the Keene Valley of the Adirondacks. We hope to see you on the rock!

Caring for that sleeping bag!

Considering I just posted about sleeping bags on the Chicks blog – specifically those made by our sponsors at Marmot – earlier this week, I thought this “how-to” video tutorial from Sierra Trading Post on caring for sleeping bags was pretty appropriate.

As I mentioned I’ve had my Marmot sleeping bag for more than 10 years and it has gotten mighty dirty and always recovers well from the type of laundering as described in this video. (I also use Nikwax as they mention here too). So, since my sleeping bag will be getting some good use in the Bugaboos in the next few weeks and as lots of my friends and fellow Chicks are out climbing around the world right now I wanted to share 🙂

Do you have any other tips for maintaining a sleeping bag?

Today only! Celebrate the purchase of the Hueco Rock Ranch with the AAC!

In celebration of the purchase of Hueco Rock Ranch, the American Alpine Club is hosting a one day membership drive today, July 26, where any new member that signs up, or current member that renews their membership, will get a free limited edition (available today only!) AAC Hueco Rock Ranch T-shirt! Please help spread the word and get online to sign-up or re-up! Here are all the details:

JOIN THE AAC in celebrating the Hueco Rock Ranch purchase—the latest in a flurry of big pushes that America’s climbing club is making to help us all get out and up.

TODAY, the American Alpine Club is launching an unprecedented all-hands-on-deck recruitment that is aimed at celebrating these big advances… and sharing them by signing up new climbers as AAC members EVERYWHERE. Become a member or renew your membership during our one-day Member Drive. You’ll get access to dozens of AAC benefits AND you’ll score the raddest, baddest Rock Ranch T-shirt this side of the Alamo. This limited-edition T-shirt can be had ONLY by joining or renewing today, July 26. Go here to renew:  or call (303) 384-0110. Don’t miss out on this chance to score a T-shirt AND support the organization that protects and supports us as climbers!!! 

These are the codes to enter for the size T-shirt you want when you re-new or sign up for your AAC membership HERE.

 726XS — extra small t-shirt
726S — small t-shirt
 726M — medium t-shirt
 726L — large t-shirt
 726XL— extra large t-shirt
 726XXL — XXL t-shirt


“THE HUECO ROCK RANCH, outside of El Paso, Texas! That’s what. Earlier this month, the American Alpine Club bought the Ranch on behalf of climbers everywhere. For more than a decade, the Ranch has been the international gathering place for visitors to America’s best bouldering area, Hueco Tanks.

We at the AAC are beyond psyched to play a role in the history of this center of camping and guiding by becoming the steward of this lodging landmark. Our on-site presence will provide a comfortable camping scene just outside the park gates, while strengthening the relationship with the State Park to create the best possible future for climbers and climbing at Hueco Tanks.

We’re also devoting more than $15,000 this year to renovate the Hueco Rock Ranch before opening for the 2012–2013 winter season. But we need your help TODAY!

It is AAC member dues that have made this purchase possible, and only support from more AAC members will continue to sustain this important gathering place. Please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Alpine Club to make the future for the Hueco Rock Ranch even more legendary.

The American Alpine Club has renewed its commitment to providing critical lodging at U.S. climbing destinations. The Club has run the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch for over 40 years, and in 2012 will open the Hueco Rock Ranch and a climbers’ campground in West Virginia’s New River Gorge.”

Off-width climber Pamela Pack to give slide show at CWP!

We are SO excited to announce that off-width climber Pamela Shanti Pack is going to give a slide show at our Jan. 18, 2013 Chicks with Picks auction & fundraiser!

Pamela is an unbelievably talented – and committed – off-width climber. Check out this feature Outside Television just put together of her. Impressive doesn’t even begin to describe it!

Pamela may even be joining us during the day in the ice park so stay tuned & start making plans to join us in our FOURTEENTH year of Chicks with Picks! (Yes, that’s the link to our 2013 clinic dates, check it out!) 🙂

Funny story: when I posted this blog I wrote Pamela’s name as Pamela Stack. Who’s got off widths on the brain?! Apologies to Pamela, but I think it’s a pretty cool nickname, like Pamela “Stack” Pack maybe 😉