A Love Letter to My Scarpa Phantom Techs

So sexy! Scarpa's Phantom Tech Ice Climbing Boot

So sexy! Scarpa’s Phantom Tech Ice Climbing Boot

Dear Scarpa Phantom Techs,

It’s that time of year again when I have more time for you and we can pick up where we left off last season on some of our favorite frozen waterfalls. Although I have terribly cold toes 365 days a year (poor circulation), you manage to keep me warm out on the ice where suffering used to be the norm.

What I love most about you is your svelt, tech look and feel. Not only do I look good with you on my feet, I climb better than ever. It’s remarkable what your lightweight nature has done to make all that fancy footwork a breeze.

Your integrated gator is super sexy and super functional and as we all know, the old days of gators have come to an end in the world of fashion and function.

I also appreciate how comfy you are on the approach and descent. Just loosening you up a bit makes a world of difference when we’re walking. Yet, even with gloves on, you’re quick and easy to tighten at the base of a cold climb. And you keep my heel locked in place exactly where I need it.

I promise to bring you in out of the cold, warm you up when we’re done, and take good care of you again this season, just like you do for me. 

 Thank you,


New, Easy, Lightweight, Assisted Belay Device!  Black Diamond’s ATC Pilot

The BD Pilot in action ©Kitty Calhoun

The BD Pilot in action ©Kitty Calhoun

New, easy, lightweight, assisted belay device!

Wait! What?

Sounds like an oxymoron, right?

Assisted braking brings to mind devices like the Grigri, Click-up, and Mega-jul. While all these are really great options (Don’t get me wrong, I use a Grigri all the time!), they’re either on the heavy side or can be difficult to use.

Now, Black Diamond is on the scene with a really cool, light and simple device.

The ATC Pilot is aimed at single-pitch gym or crag climbing. It’s an easy to use, lightweight (86g) assisted belay device.

Belaying is tiring particularly when the climber is working a route or projecting. A projecting climber often takes repeated falls and spends lots of time hanging on the rope.

With standard belay devices, the belayer has to grip the brake strand tightly to hold the climber.

With the Pilot the brake strand still needs to be controlled, but the device pinches the rope against the locking carabiner. This pinching action makes both holding the rope and catching falls more secure.

Better yet, use of the Pilot is quite intuitive.

The rope pays out smoothly when belaying. This is a bonus for your projecting partner! Just hook your brake thumb underneath the lip of the device to keep it from catching as you pull the rope thru with your non-brake hand.

Lowering takes a little practice, but adjusting the lowering speed and keeping your climber descending smoothly is easily accomplished by rotating the device towards you as you slide the rope through your brake hand.

Overall, the Pilot gets my thumbs-up for single-pitch climbing. Whether in the gym or outside, I most like it for belaying my climbing partner on her “proj,” or for those just learning to climb.

Bonus Tip:

Always remember friends: No matter what belay device you are using, don’t ever let go of the brake strand when belaying.

The new Osprey Mutant 38

Sleek black Osprey Mutant waits patiently for its owner. ©Karen Bockel

In the recent months I’ve observed a few of my friends sporting a new Osprey Mutant backpack out in the hills. I could recognize it from afar: trademark Osprey style with a tight package, slim design, a few attachment options, but no frills and no oversized hip belt. Hmm, I thought, that would be a nice upgrade to my well-loved original Mutant 38L which is starting to show signs of wear after many adventures in the crags and the high alpine the past few years.

So, I called up Sam Mix at Osprey and talked him into sending me the coveted new Mutant (thanks, Sam!). Straight out of the box, I took it to our Chicks Mount Baker clinic, a 4-day alpine backcountry trip with technical and overnight gear, meaning tents, sleeping bags, ropes, and more. I’ll give you an actual list below of everything that I crammed into the backpack.

I had asked for a S/M size, which fits great for a shorter torso, even when using a harness for climbing.  With the smaller size, I never catch the back of my climbing helmet on the backpack lid, which is key whether you’re looking up to scout the route ahead or leading an ice route and looking for the next swing. The smaller size does have a reduced volume, though.

My original S/M Mutant 38 had a pretty voluminous body despite its sleek appearance. The new version’s shape seems a little narrower, which caught me by surprise when it came time to pack my overnight gear for Mount Baker. On a good note, though, there are a few simple attachment points on the outside to carry extra gear.

Most importantly, the new Osprey Mutant has two separate side straps, simplifying the old zigzag system that was a bit cumbersome to use. Now you can simply unclip the buckles, tuck in your tent poles, snow pickets, or butterfly rope coils, reclip the buckle and you’re good to go. The straps can also be used to compress the pack when you’ve dropped your extra gear at the base of the route.

On the outside panel, there are two Toollocks with bungee tie-offs, convenient and easy to use ice axe storage. The lid of the pack is removable for when you’re really trying to go light.

There are a few more noteworthy features such as a helmet carry and an internal hydration sleeve– I don’t typically use them, but both can be very practical.

Overall, this pack stays true to Osprey’s mission of providing well-designed, functional packs. This new Mutant is definitely my new go-to for 1-day alpine missions, cragging, and other medium-sized adventures. And now that I know that the Mutant 38 has a bigger sister, the Mutant 52, I might choose that for my overnight climbing trips 😉

Mount Baker Gear:

Tent Poles (my co-guide Lindsey Hamm carried the body and fly)

Lightweight sleeping pad

Superlight sleeping bag

60 m rope


Snow picket

Crevasse rescue kit and climbing hardware

Ice axe

Lunch and snacks for 4 days

Long underwear, extra socks, hat and gloves

Compressible water bottle

Emergency locator device

Map, Compass and notebook

Sunscreen and phone


Yep, I had all that. Thanks, Osprey!


Zim’s Crack Creme – Cured My Hobbit Feet!

A box of Zim's Crack Creme

Just the thing for rock-worn hands, Zim’s Crack Creme

Zim’s Crack Creme is just what the doctor ordered.

Rock climbing takes its toll on your skin, especially your hands and feet. It’s a constant battle between keeping them dry when climbing and hydrated when not. It’s a fine line that is made more complicated by living in the desert. I basically can’t hydrate my skin enough and I’m prone to cracked heels and sensitive cuticles as it is.

Enter Zim’s.

The texture is light, it’s more of a liquid than a cream, which allows your skin to suck it up like a sponge. Every evening I apply it to my torn cuticles and to the cracks on my heels but you can use it on any troubled skin areas.

The combination of aloe vera and arnica ingredients helps to alleviate the pain of damaged skin. The scent is of a spicy clove-like mixture but it isn’t too overpowering.

It’s widely available at most major grocery stores and pharmacies so it’s easy to find and sample.


Got Hobbit Feet? Get Zim’s Crack Creme!

Creme…sounds soothing, doesn’t it?

Well, I can attest that Zim’s Crack Creme most certainly is soothing.

If your hands, cuticles, and feet look like Frodo Baggins’ when he finally arrives in Mordor, then you’re probably in need of a little TLC.

May I suggest Zim’s Crack Creme. It’s an herbal moisturizer with Arnica flower extract that soothes wrecked hands, torn cuticles, and cracked feet. It’s disappearing formula allows quick absorption that leaves dry skin feeling soothed without a greasy-feeling residue.

Your skin will feel revitalized and the vanishing clove scent won’t overpower your sense of smell as it fades as soon as it’s absorbed into your dry skin.

If you’re serious about skincare, don’t want a greasy residue on your hands, and want to moisturize quickly, then get Zim’s!.

Petzl Sarken Review – Quiver-of-One Crampons

I use the Petzl Sarken for all that involves slippery surfaces.

I used to have a quiver of crampons. I had different crampons for different kinds of climbing and conditions.

Today, I mostly rely on my Sarken crampons for almost all snow and ice climbing.

Climbing around Chamonix all summer, I did quite a few mountaineering classics. As the epi-center of alpine climbing, the routes around Chamonix have all the good ingredients of alpine climbing.

The Sarken is made of slim but robust steel. And, with 12, sharp points, it crosses glaciers, then climbs rock ridges, ice-choked gullies and bergschrunds with ease.

The 2 front points combine a flat and a vertical serrated style, in effect forming a T-shape – good for every demand.

Thanks to good penetration, they work great for kicking steps into ice and they also march along with solid purchase on snow.

Karen Bockel climbing in Chamonix with her petzl sarken crampons

Karen’s Petzl Sarken crampons marching up the ultra-classic Cosmiques Arete on the Aiguille de Midi, up above Chamonix, France. Photo credit Mary White

The Petzl Sarken Leverlock system is part of what makes them so user friendly:

You can switch out both the heel and the toe bindings. This allows you to match them up to any style of mountaineering boot (climbing or skiing). I often use the semi-automatic version with a welt-compatible heel piece and a toe strap. This system is great for boots like the Scarpa Ribelle or the La Sportiva Trango.

It’s really important that crampons fit well. Especially rocky sections of climbing can put a lot of abuse on crampon attachment systems. Tweaking your front points onto small edges or into cracks will show you in a heartbeat whether your crampons have a tight fit, or not. . . I am always happy having the Sarken on my boot with their solid connection from boot to steel to rock.

In addition to great performance, the weight of the Sarken also fits the bill. At 870 g, they are light enough to go for an easy ride in the backpack when I’m climbing rock walls with glacier approaches.

Yay for the Sarken: a ‘quiverkiller’ of crampons that comes along on all my big alpine adventures. But don’t just hear it just from me: Try a pair of Petzl Sarkens in any of our mountaineering programs.

Inspiration at 80

Rocking it out 80s style with Chicks Alumna Kris Machnick

by Elaina Arenz

One of the best things about Chicks is getting to know the women who attend our clinics. They represent a wide range of ages from teenagers to septuagenarians. There’s one woman in particular who has been a constant inspiration for me and who falls in the upper end of that age scale. While my own mom isn’t the adventurous type, Kris Machnick is the exact opposite. Kris isn’t afraid to get out and try new things, she pushes herself to her physical limit on the end of the climbing rope and in her life.

She immigrated to the United States from Norway, earned an MBA, and went to work as the Director of Finance for the City of Santa Clara. She’s married to a Lockheed scientist from the Czech Republic, has a daughter, a granddaughter with whom she is very involved, does crossfit on the regular and enjoys hiking the stairs with Balder her standard poodle. Not only that, but Kris has also kicked breast cancer in its teeth not once, but multiple times.

Kris is the definition of badass and there is no slowing her down.

So how does a woman like Kris choose to celebrate her upcoming 80th birthday? Well, she decides that she is going to do the #8for80 challenge. That’s right. Her plan is to climb 8 major climbs (rock, ice and alpine) and raise $100,000 for Parkinsons and Alzheimers research while she does it.

It’s a cause near and dear to her heart. Over the past few years Kris has lost several good friends plus a brother to these diseases. She is bound and determined to help fund research and discover preventative measures to stave off the onset of these lethal brain diseases. She believes that the key to mental health is physical fitness and having fun doing it.

So I sit here in the Lofoten Islands of Norway, Kris’s motherland,  awaiting her arrival to take on the next few climbs on her birthday ticklist. She’s also enlisted the partnership of another Chicks alumna, Diane Mielcarz, whose strength, wit, and wry sense of humor will no doubt contribute to the fun factor.

Please consider supporting Kris’ cause and donate if you are in a position to do so. Every little bit helps and this mountain is one to be climbed with a little help from our friends.


One of Norway’s blue lagoons. @Elaina Arentz

Scarpa Geckos | #No Place Too Far

Angela Hawse dances up the approach trail in her Scarpa Geckos

Angela Hawse dances up the approach trail in her Scarpa Geckos

Dear Scarpa Geckos,

Over the past three decades, I’ve worn through many an approach shoe relationship. None come close to making me as happy as you.

You are my fun-times go-to.

Your fine edge complements my rough edges. I look so good with you on my feet.

Whenever I feel insecure, you help me get a grip.

Your turquoise body and coral-toned trim is beautiful. Your sole is so stable and inspiring—true to your purpose. I believe there’s #noplacetoofar. Wearing a shoe of your stature, I always take one step further.

But what amazes me most is the quality of your full-leather body. You take all the abuse approach shoes get without a peep.

Geckos you’re burly and you’re sassy and girly. You’re a rare shoe that shines in the mountains and on the dance floor to boot.

You are my one and only.


Belay Gloves: From Fashion Faux Pas to Fashion Forward

Belay Gloves

“Save yourself from a lifetime of climbing goo exposure by wearing belay gloves.“ 
Dawn Glanc, co-owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, avid glove-wearer, member of the fashion police.

Be smart, be hip, be cool! Protect your hands by wearing belay gloves

I started climbing in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1996. Back then, “the Hills” were not particularly known as fashion forward. However, we had our standards. For example, if you wore belay gloves, you got the suspicious side-eye.

Work gloves signalled, “rookie.” They meant that the person could not belay. And, this fashion faux pas was considered common knowledge.

Perhaps it was the movie Cliffhanger that made leather, half-finger gloves cool for climbing and rope work.

I’m not sure how it happened. But somewhere, somehow, something changed and a few companies like Black Diamond began making leather gloves with a keeper-loop. This loop, a small hole in the Velcro cuff, allowed climbers to store the gloves on their harness by clipping them on with a carabiner.

This caribiner keeper-loop was a game-changer for the reputation of gloves.

Today, gloves are the sign of a competent and knowledgeable belayer.

I wear gloves when I belay (both indoors and outdoors) because I find that when my hands are protected, I can control the rope more smoothly. I also wear gloves every time I rappel and coil the ropes.

I’m a big fan of Black Diamond’s Transition Gloves, preferring the full finger version to the half-finger one.

  • Full finger gloves protect my hands as well as my fingers.
  • Full finger gloves add warmth on cold days, which further improves the performance of my belay.
  • And, I especially prefer full finger gloves when I’m using a gri gri.


I fit my belay gloves to be worn over tape gloves. If you never wear tape gloves you can fit them a bit smaller.

However, tape gloves are standard issue for crack climbing, especially desert crack climbing.

Sandstone is as abrasive as sandpaper. To get purchase you need to jam the backs of your hands against the rock. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, but it sounds fun, check out one of our Indian Creek clinics.

In the desert, ropes get particularly trashed. There’s coarse dirt, cactus spikes and other prickly things that want stick to it. This is especially true when pulling and coiling the rope.

Wearing gloves protects my hands from the environment and the climbing goo.

If I don’t wear gloves, my hands turn black with a mix of pulverized sand and ground aluminium. I call this black substance climbing goo. When I wear gloves this goo ends up in my gloves instead of my skin.

Over a lifetime of climbing, nasty goo embedded into our hands cannot be good for anyone’s health!

So, be smart, be hip, be cool, and goo-free. Protect your hands by wearing belay gloves!

Trip Report: Subaru Adventure Team Women’s Ice Climbing Clinic Contest

Doing the Crampon Dance. Kelly Clarke, third from left, won the 2017 Subaru Adventure Team Women's Ice Climbing Scholarship @Elaina Arenz

Doing the Crampon Dance with an extraordinary group of women. Kelly Clarke, third from left, won the 2017 Subaru Adventure Team Women’s Ice Climbing Scholarship @Elaina Arenz

Chicks is an extraordinary group of women. Not just the amazing guides and leaders, but everyone that participates in a Chicks clinic has wisdom to impart, strengths to share and courage to elevate themselves and those around them. I recently had the opportunity to participate in the life changing experience of a Chicks with Picks ice climbing clinic through a generous scholarship from the Subaru Adventure Team.


Itseems a bit dramatic to use the term ‘life-changing,’ but with the Chicks program focused on giving you all around mountaineering, climbing and ice focused skills (or backcountry skiing and avy training in other cases), it’s assured you won’t approach your next outdoor trip the same. Since the clinic, I even hike differently.


This trip still seems quite unreal. I had gone ice climbing for the first time recently with a friend that I had met through a networking group for women climbers in Colorado Springs, belayHER. It was so much fun, but I knew nothing. I wanted to get gear to ice climb, but I had no idea where to start. I wanted to have more confidence, and an understanding of the basic skills, but it seemed like an insurmountable task. I am forever grateful to my friend for being a solid climber that I trusted as a leader. But often with adventure sports you can’t just trust your one friend’s opinion when looking to get to a place where you’re building knowledge and working to gain independence in that sport.


I had heard about the Subaru Adventure Team because they sponsor an event at my climbing gym. Just when I had been bitten hard by the bug to want to ice climb, they announced a contest giving away a women’s ice climbing scholarship. I dropped everything and submitted an entry right away. The premise was that you uploaded a picture and then asked your friends to vote for it. So I did that. Some of the other entries had an insane amount of votes right away, and I had resigned myself to thinking that while it looked like an amazing opportunity, it would not be for me. My sister saw it differently. She thought the contest was awesome, and really wanted me to have this opportunity to pursue ice climbing. She sent the link out to everyone in the company she works for. “Vote for my sister!” Then my friends started sharing the link on social media. Then friends of friends, people I have never met, started sharing the link. My campaign to solicit votes grew beyond anything I thought was remotely possible. And somehow I won.


I still didn’t really believe that I had won, even as I drove from Colorado Springs to Ouray. I was fully prepared to turn around and head home when I arrived, because there would have been a misunderstanding or it just wasn’t real. Not so. I arrived at the Secret Garden B&B, the main meeting spot for the weekend, and was welcomed with warmth, kindness and stoke for the weekend ahead.


We discussed our goals for the weekend and Dawn Glanc explained what to expect, how to dress and how to plan for the days ahead. I was awarded the prize package that was a part of the contest – an awesome Osprey backpack that I will now use year round for all different types of adventures, and coveted Black Diamond crampons and Black Diamond ice tools!! It still didn’t feel real, because it was just too good to be true.


After the intros, we got set up with demo gear. This was one of the invaluable parts of the weekend (Really, all aspects were invaluable). Gear is expensive, and it’s hard to know what you want with no baseline. For example, I’ve wanted to get a Patagonia puffy, but wasn’t sure what style would meet my needs so I never got one. Well, after getting to try one in an active outdoor situation, I now know exactly what I want. I was able to use a pair of Scarpa boots all weekend, and now I am sure of what size I want to get so that I have solid kicks and warm feet. My feet are always cold, and those boots kept them toasty all weekend. They were surprisingly light and didn’t feel awkward to hike in at all. And I was definitely swayed to get a particular pair of Outdoor Research gloves. I could go on. But it was great to leave at the end of the weekend having a clearer idea and general confidence for what I want to purchase as I become the self-sufficient climber that Chicks with Picks taught me to be.


Post gear grab, we had the most amazing meal. But then Sarah Sharpe at The Secret Garden continued to outdo herself each meal thereafter. Every detail is well thought out, and the entire weekend you feel like you’re getting nothing but the best that Ouray has to offer.


After dinner, we headed back to our accomodations at the Victorian Inn. There I thought about the tips we reviewed earlier and worked on smartly packing my Osprey pack with everything I would need for the next day. Grabber warmers? Thank you, and check! Extra layers packed in plastic bags in case things got wet (including five additional pairs of gloves). Check! A week’s worth of snacks that weren’t needed, because delicious lunches from Artisan Bakery in town were provided. Check! I packed much lighter on Sunday. I watched some YouTube videos on how to attach ice axes to an Osprey pack. Then I went through the generous sponsor bag with items from Petzl, Gu, Rock and Ice, ect. Things I will use and all from brands that I love! There was even a Sterling sling that will pair nicely with my favorite climbing accessory, the Sterling HollowBlock. Seriously, we haven’t even started and this has already been the coolest weekend.


Day One – South Park


For the first climbing day, we all met in The Vic’s parking lot and headed to the park. It was ridiculously close to where we were staying. Elaina Arenz was my guide for the weekend, but our group joined forces with Anna Keeling’s group, and it worked extremely well to combine forces. It made for more climbing opportunities, more belay buddies and learning from two experts! We headed to South Park in Ouray Ice Park for our first climbs, and on the way Anna talked about hiking strategies and how good footwork translates across to climbing. It always amazes me when people who are among the best at what they do are able to break things down to teach people with minimal experience. Both Anna and Elaina are great at this.


When we got to the trailhead for the South Park area, we reviewed the art of securing crampons. I still need to work on this, but I am also glad Elaina went over the process with me the night before. We worked on walking in crampons, up and down slopes. Again, Anna broke down the form in a way that gave us small aspects to think about and practice. While that was going on, Elaina was setting up routes for us. Before we headed down to the canyon, we took a short hike along the anchors and talked about ‘good, better, and best’ practices for setting anchors. Elaina was using full Sterling ropes with a simple yet redundant system. Some people were using thin cordlette that made me nervous to step over in crampons and over-complicated systems. Elaina obviously had the most rock solid anchors, but it was really helpful to break down the different variations we saw.


In the canyon, Anna and Elaina demonstrated the basics for what we would be doing. We practiced swinging ice axes and kicking in crampons on ground level. My form still needs a lot of work, but practicing this before climbing helps a ton, because when you get on a wall of ice it’s harder to think about good form. After a bit of practice, it was time to get to climbing!


We started with some less steep routes and then worked on steeper routes towards the end of the day. Sarah Moore, Amanda Hankinson and Jo Coulter adapted quickly and were even trying mixed routes by the end of the day. With the mention of Jo, I have to say that she had the coolest helmet in South Park that day – the Grivel Stealth. Amy Swanson seemed to pick up the techniques right away. Jamie Lin had only been to a climbing gym a couple of times and absolutely slayed the first day out ice climbing.


I had trouble keeping my heels down on climbs, but I got a lot of tips that I will continue to work on. It was great to get some experience on the ice, but it was also great to be able to watch other people climb. It was really cool to watch Anna and Elaina each climb a route. And after getting instruction from Anna and Elaina, it was easy to pick up on what other climbers in the canyon were doing wrong. On the whole, our group looked pretty great in comparison.


At the end of the day we headed back down the icy canyon. Both Amy and I took the ice slide down one steep portion, on accident. No one was hurt. We both laughed at ourselves and then remembered to keep in mind the tips Anna had bestowed earlier.


We met at The Secret Garden for another incredible home cooked meal by Sarah, a recap of the day and a breakdown of all the different gear options in ice climbing by the legendary Kitty Calhoun. This was another invaluable addition to the weekend. We learned the pros and cons of different ice tools, crampons, boots, clothes, nutrition, ect. Inevitably I decided my next pair of crampons would be Black Diamond Sabretooths and I was definitely going to get a bunch of Gu Summit Tea for later outings. Also, I am lusting after a set of Grivel ice axes for when I start delving into mixed climbing.


Day Two – Scottish Gullies


On the second day we walked up Box Canyon Road from The Vic to climb in the Lower Bridge/Scottish Gullies area. Again, we combined groups and Elaina set up the ropes while Anna coached us on the short but steep approach, but not without an adorable facetime between Amy and her daughter first. “Mama, don’t get hurt!” Quick aside: I love seeing moms doing adventurous things to better themselves and I love kids seeing their moms doing rad things. Go Amy!


This canyon had a river running through it and planks set up to get to the belay spots and climbs. It was gorgeous. I may have found these planks more daunting than the climbs to start, but by the end of the day I was traversing them with no problem, thanks to Anna’s attention and coaching.


The climbs in this canyon were a little taller and a little more advanced than the previous day. Sue Browning had a stellar day. She took a fall at one point and impressed me with how she overcame that challenge and kept climbing. Sue hadn’t been climbing in something like ten years, but you would never know it by how she climbed over the weekend. Sarah Rickel had a complete breakthrough day. All her past Chicks clinics came together and she found a new confidence in her climbing. It was awesome to see. It was also great to belay her on a few of these climbs!


By the end of the day, Jo, S’Moore and Amanda were trying more technical mixed climbs. Rickel, Jamie and I were practicing climbing with no axes or just one axe to work on better footwork.


Some had to leave early, but after the day of climbing we headed back to The Secret Garden for more delightful food, and to recap the weekend. We had a round table where we discussed our biggest take-away, then our guide would say what they thought we got out of the clinic. For me, I was really excited to learn the foundations for good form in ice climbing. I’ve by no means perfected it, but I know what to think about and what to work on every time I head out. It was really cool to hear about the other, more advanced groups that Dawn Glanc and Lindsay Hamm took out. Aimee, Diane, Gina, Nicole, Mary and Victoria worked on more advanced skills and even had their first lead climbs! I aspire to be like Diane some day, who has taken pretty much every clinic Chicks has offered in the past year and has transformed into a really confident and independent climber in a short amount of time.


It was great to meet everyone that participated in the 2018 Jiffy clinic. I look forward to coming back to another clinic when I am ready to take my ice climbing to the next level. I want to extend a huge thank you to Chicks Climbing and Skiing, The Subaru Adventure Team, Osprey and Black Diamond for letting me have such an unreal experience – and for supporting each other in a way that raises the climbing community. I’ve already been able to take my new skills and gear out on some climbs closer to home in Cheyenne Canyon and Hully Gully, and I can’t wait to get back to Ouray. Hope to see you all out on the ice soon!



A Love Letter to Grabber Warmer’s Zim’s Max Freeze

Zim's Max Freeze

Zim’s Max Freeze

Muscle love

It may come as a shock to many, but as a guide, I get very little time to climb.

Yes, I’m outside all day. BUT most of my time is spent standing and belaying so that my guests get maximum climbing time.

This schedule means that when it’s MY TIME to climb or train, I go overboard.

During the busy season, I’m not quite a weekend warrior as I only get one or two days off a month; I’m more of a month-end or once-a-month warrior. As a result, I take on an amplified warrior mentality and pursue objectives that I should have trained for, but did not.

Straight off the belaying-and-standing-around-all-month couch I find the pump sets in and stays for longer periods of time. Then, over-activity on the back of under-activity lingers as desperate muscle soreness.

This is where Zim’s Max Freeze comes in. I’ve been using this topical muscle cream from Grabber as a go-to to support MY CLIMBING TIME this winter.

Thinking about it, Grabber is a particularly intimate partner. All day, Grabber Warmers cosy up in my pockets and keep me warm. All night, Zim’s roll-on soothes my aches and pains and helps prevent muscle cramps after long, hard days.

From freeze to thaw, from night to day, Grabber is there.

Thank you Grabber! For years and years, you’ve helped thousands of women get into ice climbing and over their FOC (Fear of Cold).

Now, when Chicks work really hard on the ice and rock and snow, then suffer from TMF (Too Much Fun), you freeze our muscle pains away. You’re the best!

Big hugs from all of us at Chicks.