This blog started because I was wondering. In life, love, work, everything… I found myself, cooking awesome food on a camp stove inside a van. This van was my home for periods of time while climbing with my ex boyfriend. To this day, he is the voice inside my head when I climb… he is what pushes me harder, and what makes me want to climb harder than “the boys”.
Cooking has always been some what easy for me. I love doing it, and it just makes sense for me. When I started cooking meals on this stove, located inside a van, that was located in a desert in NV, I never thought it was anything special. My dad informed me otherwise, and it’s because of him that I even started this blog. He, by the way, is the one who named me, The Climbing Chef.
Before I was a preschool teacher in San Francisco, who during breaks (or whenever) would fly out to see her (then) boyfriend at wherever he was climbing. He, the ex, was an amazing architect who decided to take a break and live out of a van, tour the country and climb like an ape. I still admire him for doing this, even if things between us didn’t end up with a “Happily Ever After” attached it this story. But… like I was saying… before all of this…. I worked for UCSF on their rock climbing wall. I had climbed before but never outside… I was 100% a gym rat. A leisurely, gym rat at that. I liked to climb but it had not taken over my life…. yet.
One fateful afternoon, I met an amazing woman who invited me to join her and her friends on my first outdoor climbing experience. Going out of my comfort zone, I accepted and have been hooked to the same group of climbing friends ever since. Some more than others, I have remained close to but I credit them for most, if not all, of my climbing knowledge and passion.
If we fast forward this story to April 2011, you would have found me in Red Rock Canyon, NV for my third climbing trip there. The previous two times before that, was with my ex and was when I spent time “living” in his van. This trip was amazing and I finally felt like I was thriving within my climbing. That trip, I was able to climb an 11.a and an 11.b… neither of them I climbed clean, but I was still capable of those problems. IT WAS AMAZING!
Sadly, right after that (literally on that trip), I started getting sick. Really sick. Thank goodness for one of my best friends, who was able to get me out of the canyon and into a hotel room, because I would not have been able to do it alone.
My climbing pretty much ended for the season right then and there. I was able to do a few more day trips here and there, and an occasional gym climb… but I was really hurting at that point. Come end of May and I wasn’t able to climb at all…
That means that I was without my drug of choice, climbing, for almost 8 months. My heart was broken.
Finally, it was time for what I am calling: The Resurrection
Last weekend I headed up to Grizzley Dome and tried my hardest to climb something…. anything. I had no idea how much strength I had lost and mainly, how much of my “mental” was still there. The goal? To climb laps on whatever I could do.
Soooo, the day started when we reached the rocks at just before 10:00am. I figured it was a good sign that I was giddy and not just nervous. We unloaded the car, racked up, and my friend took off to lead a pretty decent 5.8 sport route. This route has always been weird for me… there is this one move that even back before April, stumped me. Regardless, she lead it like a pro and I lowered her.
The first run at it was hard. Not physically but mentally. To be honest, I haven’t lost too much strength. Sure, I have lost some but not a lot… mainly in my feet and ankles. They started getting tired a lot quicker and my stamina wasn’t there. But, like I said, it was mostly my head… I felt like a total newbie! After the first run, I took a quick break, had a snack and did it again…
Then I hopped on a 5.7 and cruised up it like a pro. Yea yea yea, it’s a 5.7, I know… but at least it is something 🙂
Thankfully, I can say that this Climbing Chef is back in action! For as long as I can, I will not take any climbing trips, adventures, climbs and/or experiences for granted. I’d much rather be climbing something “easy” than not climbing at all.
To top it all off, these Goo Balls (thanks Rach for the name change) have been a huge hit. All of my friends and loved ones can’t stop eating them. Thanks Evan 🙂
(original recipe here.. not mine at all… but I love them)
Ingredients(Makes about 18 balls):
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 T chia seeds
In a food processor, combine the dates and raisins until they make a dough like ball. Once this happens, add in the peanut butter and chia seeds. Continue mixing until completely combined. Take out of the food processor and finish mixing by hand. Finally (yea, like it’s been forever… it takes all of 5 minutes… jez), pinch off small amounts of the mixture and roll into balls. I like mine the size of large gum balls or small golf balls but make them how you wish. Also, I doubled the recipe because I knew I would LOVE them. I suggest doing the same!
These have been saving my butt at work since I made them, because I can eat them quickly and they give me a lot of energy. They also rock for climbing!
Haha, get it?! Rock…
Lauren Azevedo-Henderson is a climber and foodie with a degree in Art History. Lauren has been cooking all her life and has been seriously climbing for just over 2 years. While living in her ex-boyfriend’s van (only for long weekends or a week at a time) she started cooking what you would call “gourmet” food on a camp stone in the van. She now spends most of her time in Red Rock, NV and started writing her food/climbing blog “The Climbing Chef” just last year.