Chicks Take On ‘Yosemite of the Northeast’ – Keene Valley

Keene Valley Group

Keene Valley Group – 2015

Keene Valley Recap
By Chicks Co-Owner and Guide Karen Bockel

We just wrapped up the Chicks Rock! Clinic in Keene Valley, NY.  The event ran in the famed and remote Adirondack Park, home to the beautiful High Peaks and an amazing array of rock walls, which felt like a “Yosemite of the Northeast”.  Cloudsplitter Mountain Guide Emilie Drinkwater put together this clinic for the sixth year running, and once again, it was a huge success.  We had a really great group of six women, several of which were Chicks Alumnae, quite an international crowd, and a range from seasoned sport climber to brand-new beginner.  We were able to enjoy great weather (lucky for us, as the forecast had been less promising) and visited a number of excellent cliffs within a short drive of Keene.

Rapping in on Day 1!

Rapping in on Day 1!


Day 1 found us at the King Phillip Cliff.  The fall foliage was in full swing, making for stunning scenery while we got busy working on rock movement skills, slab climbing, belay technique, and anchor building.  It was a fun day at the crag, and we spent the evening enjoying a delicious catered dinner, rehashing the day, getting to each other better, and telling lots of stories.  On day 2, which was Sunday, we headed to the Beer Walls, a long rock cliff with many high quality routes.  The clinic participants set up the ropes this time under our supervision, and then we rappelled to the bottom with all our gear.  We climbed lots, laughed, learned and sent some really good climbs, including a nice technical crack climb called “Rockoholic”.

Chicks enjoying several high-quality routes in Keene Valley.

Chicks enjoying several high-quality routes in Keene Valley.

A good part of the day was spent learning about traditional gear like wired stoppers and cams.  We practiced placing and cleaning gear.  After another excellent dinner, we got to hear about Emilie’s recent trip to Afghanistan with Ascend Athletics.  She showed a slide show with beautiful photos of which many she had secretly shot from the hip, and told the story of taking a big group of Afghani women into the mountains to climb for the first time, an immensely inspiring story.  Our final day 3 was the highlight of the climbing with one group working on mock leading, multi-pitch transition and difficult climbing, and the other group heading out on a classic multi-pitch adventure, the 775’ high Chapel Pond Slabs.  It was a great way to put all the skills and practice together. When we finished, no one wanted the day to end…the sign of a true Chicks clinic!

Taking in the great weather in the Dacks.

Taking in the great weather in the Dacks.


The camaraderie and positive group energy really stood out to me.   And, Emilie and I had sore cheeks from laughing so much.   We all had tons of fun, learned some solid skills, crushed on some beautiful climbing, found new friends, and gotten a great taste of Adirondack Park.

Thanks to Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides who we partnered with for this event.

Smiling Ear to Ear at Red River Gorge

Written by: Dawn Glanc

Ladies from all over the eastern United States came together on Labor Day weekend in 2016 to climb on some of the best sandstone in the country in Red River Gorge, KY. The sold out event was full of women who wanted to become stronger more efficient climbers.

The guide team of Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone and Laura Sabourin helped each woman meet their goals. Each guide was able to work with the ladies individually to be sure their personal climbing goals for the clinic were met. Some women touched the rock for the first time ever and others learned to lead climb and place trad gear.

It was awesome to watch the progress of each participant throughout the weekend. After two hot and humid days of climbing, everybody was exhausted but smiling ear to ear.

We’re headed to the Red River Gorge again on September 28-30, 2018–join us!  Photos by Dawn Glanc.

Elaina getting warmed up at Red River Gorge

Elaina getting warmed up at Red River Gorge

Thanks to Petzl For the Demo Gear. The ladies loved the helmets!

Thanks to Petzl For the Demo Gear. The ladies loved the helmets!

Thanks to Krieg Chalk bags and Friction Labs for making climbing possible in the humidity

Thanks to Krieg Chalk bags and Friction Labs for making climbing possible in the humidity

Judy was smiling after 4 days in the Red River Gorge

Judy was smiling after 4 days in the Red River Gorge

Red River Gorge 2015

Red River Gorge 2015

RRG Guides Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone & Laura Sabourin

RRG Guides Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone & Laura Sabourin

Chicks guides & owners, Elaina & Dawn, thank everyone for joining us in RRG!

Chicks guides & owners, Elaina & Dawn, thank everyone for joining us in RRG!

Chicks Gear Review: Scarpa Instinct

Written by: Angela Hawse

It’s ‘Sendtember’, and we are on fire with our Chicks Rocks clinics nearly full to capacity.  The send train is on and we are stoked to be climbing with a bunch of keen women at the Red River Gorge, Keene Valley, Red Rocks and Rifle for the next two months.   When the rubber meets the road what you put on your feet for your vertical endeavors makes all the difference in the world.

SCARPA’s INSTINCT rock shoe is a solid performer that comes in three styles to suit yours.  The INSTINCT VS has been my go to shoe for three seasons.  If I had to choose one pair of rock shoes for the rest of my life, this would be the one.  I’ve crammed my feet into many other models, but always return to this trusted and solid friend.  Like most performance shoes out of the box it’s a bit hateful, but it molds fairly quickly to the shape of your foot and you are soon one with the shoe.  It will perform as aggressively as you want it to, on steep, edgy or overhanging test pieces as well as finger cracks.

Unlike many performance class rock shoes, the SCARPA INSTINCT VS can be your best friend on long routes if you don’t size them too small.  I fit one pair a full size up from my approach shoe and they are perfect for full days.  I never have issues with slippage, rotation or sloppy heels.  The other pair I fit the same as my approach shoe and they are machines.  That being said, I don’t wear uber tight rock shoes, it distracts from my focus too much.  If this resonates with you for an all day fit, the Instinct VS should feel tight when you try them on in your favorite climbing shop, but your toes shouldn’t be bent uncomfortably.  They will mold to your foot after a week of climbing and be perfect.

SCARPA has really made something for everyone with this shoe in three different styles.  A unique feature that they all share is SCARPA’s patent pending Bi-Tension rand.  This innovative use of the rand acts like a reverse slingshot, pulling power from the toes rather than jamming them forward.  The rand anchors under the toe box, giving focused power and a surprising amount of comfort.  Another plus they all share is a minimal amount of rubber compared to many rock shoes, making them quite light.  Asymmetrical toe boxes make these bad boys edging machines and a slightly downturned toe gives them power for pulling.  Below are some of the features that set them apart.


INSTINCT:  This is the classic, traditional lace up version with an all-suede upper.  There will always be something that sets a real leather shoe and laces apart from the rest.  Precision tightening adds torsional rigidity and the support you expect from a lace up.  This is the beefiest and overall most versatile of the three.  The Vibram®XS Edge 4mm sole is super durable, yet sensitive enough for endurance edging, providing unrivaled support for reducing fatigue.  This is Kitty’s go to shoe for sport climbing.


INSTINCT VS:  This slipper-style shoe is just a tad softer than the lace up, with a microsuede upper that has minimal stretch.  Add the single velcro closure over the top to pull it into place and you’ve got a unique combination that does it all with a very light weight and low profile.  The Vibram®XS Edge 3mm rubber sole is sensitive, super sticky and has excellent durability.  As said above, it’s my go to shoe for just about everything.  Micro edges feel like significant features with the B-Tension rand system and they have enough support to reduce fatigue for all day climbing.  The look and feel of this well crafted shoe inspires confidence just putting them on.



INSTINCT S:  This is SCARPA’s softest shoe, with Vibram®XS Grip2 rubber giving them quite a bit more sensitivity than the other two.  The beefy Bi-Tension rubber rand gives this slipper plenty of support, even for small feet.  Like the VS, they have a microsuede upper and fit like a glove with minimal stretch, molding to your foot perfectly after a bit of use.  If you are a slipper fan, you should give this shoe a try.

Google the INSTINCT and you’ll find raving reviews.  Still run and operated by the Parisotto family that started the SCARPA tradition, this is quality Italian footwear from a brand that is unrivaled in mountain footwear.

Angela Hawse has been a Chicks Guide for 16 years and is a new owner of this stoked Sisterhood.  Shes an AMGA/IFMGA licensed Mountain Guide and an Instructor Team Lead for the AMGA.  She proudly represents Marmot, Sterling Rope, SCARPA, Julbo and Metolius Climbing.

Post-turkey Gossip!

Here on the Chicks Climbing Gossip Report you can catch up on all of the great gossip (articles, videos, and other assorted cool stuff) we talked about over the past week at Chicks Climbing. As we approach the crushing madness that is the holiday season, remember that the gift of a Chicks clinic is definitely one that will continue to give for years to come! So think about signing up your sister, mom, aunt, cousin, girlfriend – whoever it is that’s special to you – for a life-changing experience at Chicks with Picks!

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend with friends and family. We are excited for a couple of new posts we’ve got ready for the Chicks blog this week including a trip report from Chicks Girly Guide Dannika Gilbert who’s been getting on some early season ice in the Ouray area along with a Chicks sighting to report as well! So stay tuned 🙂

All of the other articles we linked to this past week through either the Chicks Climbing Twitter account, or on the Chicks Climbing Facebook fan page (and some on both!). We provide this wrap-up because we come across a TON of great resources each week, but understand that not everyone is online all the time, or even on both (or either) of these social media platforms. So you can check here each and every week for the latest and greatest in Chicks Climbing resources.

However, we know WE may have also missed some cool stuff this week, so if there is something of interest we missed that you came across this week please, let us know so we can share with everyone else!

– Tips for (& good reasons to) make the switch to leashless climbing of the ice and mixed variety:
– Emily Harrington & the figure four:
– See powerful video of ice climbing accident & self-rescue, along with thoughtful analysis from Will Gadd:
– Some good tips for proper gear to wear when rock climbing during this shoulder season to stay warm!
– Sarah (@cdnrockiesgirl) shares what it’s like to be a first-time route setter at the climbing gym:
– Our friend Paul-Baptiste Baca (@paukku) was recently given a kickass birthday gift, which he named Koskenkorva Martini (5.10a)
– Q&A with badass climber Chick Angie Payne:
– Check out the latest, most updated clinic schedule for Ice Fest 2012!!
– Congrats to Sonnie Trotter for the only 2nd ascent of The Prophet (5.13d R) on El Cap.
– Ready to climb out of fall into winter? Check out a preview of upcoming 2011-2012 ice festivals:
– Nice profile on @SterlingRope climber Leslie Timms:
– Whoa! 5.15 in the Red?
– The Smiley’s have 8 climbs planned for 2012 as they continue their 50 Classics ticklist – but they need your help:
– Tommy Caldwell steps away from the Dawn Wall project…until next year:
– Jenn Flemming’s “Fraid Line” 5.13R with a PINK Sterling Rope (@SterlingRope) Nano 9.2:
– Big City Mountaineers (@bigcitymtneers) just announced a Mount Shasta all-women’s climb!
– Check out the French Alpine club excellence team climbing free on some serious big walls in Yosemite

– The Petzl (@Petzl) Lynx Crampons are on this Chick’s wish list! See what else is on The Gear Caster’s (@thegearcaster) gift guide for climbers:
– Chicks gear tester Sara B. liked this piece from our sponsors at Columbia Sportswear (@Columbia1938) so much that she wore it 3 days in a row in Zion:
– Staying connected is critical for Krysia (@ventrsomekrysia) who reviews The North Face (@thenorthface) eTip gloves:

– You can’t help but smile watching these young Chicks crushing!

Training & Nutrition
– Art or food? Or both?? Paul-Baptiste Baca’s (@Paukku) Holiday Harvest Loaf
– Great tips from Elizabeth (@eliz_rocks) on staying healthy mentally & physically when schedules get crazy (i.e. the holidays?!)
– Rock climbing one of the Top 5 Sports for a full body workout 

Trip Reports
– New trip report from Erica (@cragmama) who also demonstrates an awesome SEND at Dixon:

Fun Stuff
– Citibank commercial featuring Katie Brown & Alex Honnold!

If you have a blog entry that you think would be of interest to the women of Chicks Climbing please let us know! We love getting contributed content from other women – anything from trip reports, nutrition and training tips, to videos. We want to share your resources with the community – much like we do with the Gossip Report and are more than happy to re-publish and share links on behalf of the women’s climbing community!

This week’s Gossip Report is brought to you by our sponsors at Columbia Sportswear!

Go Camping with Marmot!


Go camping with Marmot!  Marmot and Chicks is having a contest. The winner will win the following gear.
Eiger 35 (or we can make it a Diva 35 if you’d like)

Limelight 2P Tent

Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag

Entries will be received in Twitter format.  Details to follow.

Update! Congratulations to Carrie Thompson who was the winner in our Go Camping With Marmot contest!

Here is her winning entry: “Gravity pulls Babies from my womb, wrinkles my eyes, breasts from youth.Yet my spirit rises, smile emerges,legs step higher in spite of you.”