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.
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”.
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!
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.