The Evolution of Dreams

As many of you know, when Head Chick Kim Reynolds takes off her helmet, harness and crampons, she is a Certified Life Coach.  She recently wrote the below article which started my wheels turning, so I thought you all would enjoy as well.

prayer flagsThe information highway is ever-expanding and there seems to be no limit to the material available on the internet.  My friends and family often send me links to articles they think will pique my interest, and I even still get an occasional newspaper article in the mail from my dad. Recently, I received a blog post called “10 Habits of People Who Follow Their Dreams,” and since I want to be intentional about this next phase of my life, I decided to review the column in hopes of insight and inspiration.

I read the 10 statements and it was easy to agree with all of them. However, I noticed the scale was tipped toward the twenty- to thirty-year-old perspective. It is clear that as I evolve, so do my dreams and my approach to them. This particular article is anchored in personal achievements and getting somewhere, that lively conquer-the-world kind of spirit. I appreciate this type of tenacity, yet I am simply observing that I just don’t have that same edge anymore. Over time my edge has softened and my approach to the world has naturally morphed into something new. I don’t want to conquer anything or anyone, anymore.

I’d like to play with a few examples from the list to illustrate how my viewpoints and approach to following my dreams has matured:

Article: They (who follow their dreams) create their own rules instead of fitting into society’s norms. They make decisions from a place of what they want to have instead of what they think they can have.

Kim: I think there is a natural period of disobedience when following rules, and norms just aren’t very appealing. This comes earlier in life when we are seeking individuality and putting our unique stamp on the world. Some of us hold onto this longer than others. It’s out of respect and going with the flow of life that we learn to do the right thing by operating within the guidelines of the structure that has been created for us. If we didn’t have regulations, we’d have chaos. Simply put, most humans just aren’t disciplined enough to stay in alignment with what is right and what is wrong.

I also see a form of entitlement with this generation around the things they want – setting themselves up for instant success instead of having to work towards a goal. There is a deeper sense of appreciation when we put in the mileage to slowly progress up the ladder of life. I think the digital world has offered an illusion that everything is at our fingertips and we can access it quickly, right now.

Article: They (who follow their dreams) see life as a game. Having this vision of life opens up space for playfulness and creativity instead of limitation. This also cultivates qualities of resilience, problem solving and confidence that helps them take risks to get to the next big place.

Kim: Life can hold a wonderful sense of fun and innocence that naturally begins to dim as we age and occasionally get ‘run over’ by life experiences. It is a sacred space to be in and appreciate; we are meant to be filled with joy and a sense of unlimited possibility. This is always available to us and yet we have to learn to navigate the unexpected bumps in the road with this being the true place of creativity, resilience and problem solving.

We gain confidence through our successes and learn profound lessons from our mistakes. There also comes a time when life circumstances become more immediate and we are faced with our changing bodies, aging parents, a shift in energy, interests and even finances. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t feel like a “game” anymore. It feels like I have really had to step up and be the best I have ever been as I get older and honestly, this is not easy and I want to approach this with as much humility and grace I can muster.

Article: They (who follow their dreams) have teachers, mentors and role models. Having teachers increases their awareness. Having role models and mentors helps them quickly identify where they’re stuck so that they can immediately change their results.

Kim: It can be a pivotal experience in life to have someone we respect and admire point us in the direction we want to travel. A role model can inspire and give us new tools, they inherently hold us accountable for what we want. The shift for me is wanting to mentor and encourage people to shine and be their best. To live my life with the integrity and inspiration that will pave the way for others to go beyond. That, to me, is true evolution.

In closing, it feels important to me to honor change and look at it directly instead of trying to skirt around it. Avoiding the inevitable usually backfires, hardens us and causes resentment. Acceptance and creating new dreams is a place of peace, self-actualization and learning – it is the act of following the water that is flowing downstream.

Kim Reynolds is a Certified Life Coach living in Ridgway Colorado. To learn more about coaching, call 970-623-2442. Read more on her website.

November Gossip Report No. 3!

Happy Holidays! We hope you had a great Thanksgiving break and spent it with a belly full of laughter. 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 (or two, thanks to the holiday!) at Chicks Climbing.

The big announcement we have is that THIS IS THE LAST WEEK to submit your application for the Eddie Bauer First Ascent-sponsored scholarship to “The Quickie” Feb. 1-3, 2013. We want to strongly encourage any eligible ladies to apply, it’s such a great opportunity to get introduced to our Chicks with Picks program. AND, if you are selected, you will not only earn a tuition waiver, but will also get up to $1,000 in First Ascent outfitting! Yeah, that’s right, check it ALL OUT here.

We also recently posted two new trip reports from Chicks alumnae! The first is from Jeannette who wrote about her trip to Red Rock for Chicks Rock! in October. She gave a thorough recap of her entire first Chicks experience here.

The second is a trip report from alumna Almine Barton, who took her first trip to the Moab desert for some splitter crack climbing this fall. She shares all the details of her trip to the desert in this post here.

Did you know we are looking for some companies to support our Chicks Climbing Scholarship program? It is a great opportunity to not only get a deserving woman out to a Chicks clinic who could not otherwise afford it, but also provides lots of promotional benefits for companies that take advantage. Here is where you can check out all the details and contact us at info(at) if you’re interested! We are super psyched that First Ascent is going to be sponsoring one gal to come out to “The Quickie” in February and hope to get a couple more!

Do you want to stay more up-to-date on the climbing news during the week? We talk about most all of these on our Twitter feed here, but also post many on Pinterest, a select few on Facebook as well as Google+. We love connecting with Chicks online, so let us know who you are – and where – and we will make sure to find you!

Did we miss any cool stuff this week in our Gossip Report?  Let us know in the comments section if you’ve got a link to some climbing-related goodies so we can share with everyone else!

– Super psyched to see Jen Olson so focused on training for World Cup 2013, Olympics 2014! 
– Wow, congrats to Heather Robinson! “Eye of the Tiger & Climbing” …
– Awesome video of Ashima: Return of the Warrior Princess: 
–  Sterling Rope & Adidas Outdoor team member Mayan Smith-Gobat getting it done! 
– Enjoyed this read on “Rock Therapy”  for the positive affects climbing can have on people’s lives.
– Female Footage Fridays (11.16.12): 2 Girls in Hueco. Featuring Jackie Hueftle and Vanessa Compton. 
– From the American Alpine Institute: “The Piton and how to use it”: 

– Climbing news roundup from AAI: 

– New review of the Mammut Refine Climbing Skort from Katie (@themorningfresh   Would you wear one?

– Very detailed training post up at Climb On, Sister! (@ClimbOnSister) by Galina Parfenov on how to train for climbing 
– Some fun & playful climbing training ideas from @1girlontherocks: 

– There is a nice little feature on the Head Chick here! 

Trip Reports
– Red River Gorge Autumn 2012 Sport Climbing Season (3) – a wrap-up from Alli Rainey: 
– Need some Monday morning daydreaming? Great photos of a gorgeous route we climbed in Zion Ntl Park this month: …

Fun Stuff
– The New (Not-Quite-So-Masculine) Mountain Man: 
– Jen Vennon got a fun climbing proposal from @eveningsends – check it out on the @Prana blog:  (and congratulations!)

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!

Chicks Rock: Red Rock Fall Clinic 2012

We want to give a huge thanks to Jeannette who came out to climb with us at Red Rock and wrote this awesome trip report which she shared with us!  

I started rock climbing April 2012 with a few people from a local Meet Up group here in Northern California. I discovered that I have a passion for climbing. I went out just about every weekend to build the skill sets in sports climbing. I did my first lead climb after one month of climbing. It was a 5.8 sport climb and I then knew that I wanted to build skills and be safe while doing this awesome sport. I looked up online for some rock climbing clinics and found Chicks Rock. They had a clinic for Red Rock in Nevada in October 2012. I decided to register and attend. My husband Ryan said, “I am proud of you for wanting to chase your dream in doing something you found that you love.”

When October 17, 2012 came, I drove to Bakersfield after work and stayed the night at the La Quinta Inn. I woke up about 8 am on October 18, 2012 and headed out for Nevada to the house that was rented by the Chicks Rock program. I arrived there around 1:30 pm and drove around the city. I showed up at the house about 3:30 pm where Kim and Annie were there to greet me. Kim was busy trying to put the groceries away and settle in. I conversed with her and Annie for a while, wanting to get to know them.

I then settled myself in one of the rooms. I was excited as I had a roommate. Her name is Erin, she arrived a little while after I did. Dawn and Kitty arrived,(girly guides). The other women started trickling in. We all met each other and started to get to know each other. Erica (one of the girly guides) arrived, she was stuck in traffic. We ate and then we started orientation. It was very informative because Kim started off introducing herself and what Chicks Rock is about with the awesome history of the girly guides. Dawn, Erica, and Kitty introduced themselves and what Chicks Rock meant to them. Each of the women that attended introduced themselves and told why they were here at this clinic. I met Jane, Christy, Roseann, Annie, and Erin that night. Dawn closed the orientation with what and how to pack our backpacks. We were assigned our groups and guide and then given instructions of where to go to start our first day. The night came to a close and we all went to our rooms to get some shut eye. Erin and I chatted for a bit, getting to know each other.

Footwork demo!

Day 1
We woke up…had some delicious quiche that Kim made, and prepared some lunch stuff to have tor our day. Erin drove us to the Red Rock area where we all met in the visitor center parking area. We met Roseann and Christy who were camping and Amy who stayed at a hotel. Erica gathered us up. We all followed each other and arrived at the Willow Springs pullout area where we met Kitty and Dawn, they set up the routes.

Erica had my group (Erin, Amy, and I) gather and she went over the basics with us. I was nervous at first because I was the least experienced out of all the 9 women that were there. At the same time I was excited because I knew it was the beginning of information overload in learning differently then what was shown. I learned how to use a Grigri to belay, I previously used a Reverso ATC. All three of the guides recommended that gloves be used for belaying because it does help with the grip. I found that to be helpful.

Erica gave us some beta to start out with our first climb. I watched Amy breeze up this first climb, and she just had a hip replacement 18 months ago. She is an amazing woman. I found that the first climb was a great warm up. Erin, Amy, and me then moved over to the second route which was pretty similar. We switched over to the next area. These routes involved a crack and the other one with some serious smearing…and I was the first one to try it in my group. I even made everyone laugh…including myself. I was doing the Scooby Skate…which became the Scooby Slap! Erica decided to climb so that she can give us beta. When she started climbing, she even said, “Oh yeah, you really have to go fast to get up there.” I tried the crack climbing route that was set up next to this smearing route. It was fun and I learned to do hand jams and feet jams. My toes felt some pain and my foot got stuck a few times. Erin and Amy had already climbed this crack and they took their turn up this smearing route. So then…I take my second shot at this…I figured since I watch everyone else climb, I should be able to move my feet faster. I found that if I mentally told myself I could do it and pushed myself to do it…that it would happen. I listened to Erica’s beta and slapped my feet on that rock and kicked butt smearing that wall. Once past that crux, it was a very fun climb! So glad I gave it another try.

Kim came up to visit and see how we were doing. We moved over to a route called ragged edges…I was brave enough to give it a try after watching Dawn’s group (Jane, Susanne, and Susan) kick butt up those routes. Erin went first and she got up half way before she ran out of gas…I was thinking to myself…”Crap I don’t think I will be able to do this climb.” Here I go…and so I went. I got up about a quarter of this route before I couldn’t go anymore. I kept telling myself….”Come on legs, move up there!” But nothing would move. So I came down and called it a day.

After all we only did six climbs. The guides pulled the ropes and cleaned the gear. All us chicks gathered our gear and hiked out to the parking lot and headed back to our homesteads. Those of us who were staying at the house arrived there and took showers. We met Neema, as she had to come a day later. We all met at the table around 6:30 for dinner. Kim prepared this tasty curry soup and salad. It was fun to hear life experiences from Kitty, Dawn, Erica, and Kim and even from the chicks. There was plenty of laughter. We hit the hay about 10:00 pm.

Making it look easy

Day 2
We woke up and had breakfast before heading out to the rocks. Packed some goodies for lunch and snacks. It was my turn to drive. Erin and I met everyone at the visitor parking and once Kitty got the group together we met at the Sandstone Quarry pullout. Kitty directed us towards where Dawn and Erica set up some routes as she took her group back over to the Willow Springs area. Erica gathered my group as we started on a route to warm up. It was very fun with a lot of smearing and stemming. I finally moved on to the routes on the far end.

Kim showed up and asked us how our day went. This route on the far end was very challenging for me as there weren’t very many hand holds, but Dawn encouraged me to keep moving. Erin wouldn’t lower me. Dawn said to me”I know you can do it, there just isn’t any hand holds until you move your feet up and then they will appear.” I took a minute and said to myself, “Self! You aren’t going to be lowered until you reach the top so you need to move your feet now!!” At that moment, I looked down and saw a little foot hold, I stood on it and there they were…those hand holds Dawn was talking about! I was lowered and then it was time to wrap up…again, we did six climbs.

Dawn gathered us up and we had an instructional piece on knots and anchor systems. I took what notes I could as it was a very informative lesson. We gathered up our gear and ropes and head back to the house. We all got showers done and for dinner we had buffalo meatloaf and veggie enchiladas with a salad. We exchanged more stories while learning about each other. We had Apple Crisp for dessert. Kim brought the movie “I AM” that we watched it then headed to bed about 10 pm.

Learning systems

Day 3
We woke up and had breakfast, prepared our lunches and snacks. Erin drove us to the visitor center where we met all the chicks. Kitty gathered us up and we drove to Calico Basin area to climb. There were six ropes up for us nine girls. We rotated through the routes.

It seemed as though these routes were harder then the others. Most of them were cracks and chimneys.  The chimneys I learned to love since they gave me great struggle.  I bruised my knee and ankle when I became one with the chimney. There was also one where you had to start with a heel hook and a dyno if you were short like me. Susan who is 60+ did it gracefully like a superstar!! She is a sassy one and very fun. I reached 4 climbs as I saved the heel hook one for last.

We all gathered our things and headed up on top to learn about anchors and rappelling. Dawn and Erica gave a good lesson and demo. Kim came up and sat in while we learned about anchors and rappelling. After the lesson we all gathered upon a rock area where we completed our evaluations and the guides gave us feedback as well as us returning feedback. I learned sooo much in the three days that my mind was blown away. The girly guides were amazing, inspiring, and knowledgeable.

I had Erica as my guide and all I can say is she is a kind person who takes the time to explain to you the process and critique you so that you can improve. Her climbing style is very technical to make it easier on using all of your energy.

I had the pleasure of Dawn coaching me through some of the routes and she is very encouraging. Make it looks so effortless when you watch her

I also had spent some time watching Kitty climb. She is very methodical and detailed. She shows the passion of climbing.

And I saved the best for last: Kim who put this program together  by gathering women who like to climb. She was an awesome cook. She is a very compassionate being!

Erin, Jeannette & Erica summit!

Day 4 (multi-pitch)
My multi-pitch day was amazing!! I had Erica as my guide and my roomie, Erin as my teammate. I will say I was nervous since I have only been climbing for 6 months. Erica told us we were going to climb Olive Oil over to the Rose Tower and that it was a moderate climb of about a 5.7.

Erica explained to Erin and I the process on our way their and on our hike to the approach. I enjoyed the conversations we had on our way up. The weather was a little windy but I think that to me made it more curious and a challenge of the unknown. I never had the experience of a multi-pitch with another person simultaneously. As we would ascend from one pitch to the other, Erica would check on us and always explain what she was doing. Erin was the awesome “cleaner” as she was assigned the duty to clean the gear on her way up.

While at each belay station, I was able to learn about the anchor systems that were explained to us in the previous days. My favorite pitch was the last pitch that was about 200 m. It had a chimney which in the previous days were my challenges. When we reached the summit (Rose Tower) it got really windy…but I was so amazed at the view and that fact that “I” and “we” made it!! We all took some photos and enjoyed the view  while we had a snack and some water. Then, the climb/hike down…it was very interesting to me as I have not really hiked like this before. I really enjoyed it because this whole experience was new to me. I had to go slower than Erin and Erica but I made it. It was a little steep and  scrambling in there…but I am glad I did it.

This trip was the best thing I did for myself in a long time…or should I say ever in my life!Link of the photos taken on this trip:

I would recommend this to all of my chick friends that love to climb!!!

Thank you Jeanette for writing such a fantastic recap of our event. We hope to see you again! 🙂

ROCKtober Gossip Report No. 3!

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. This weekend we wrapped up the 2012 Chicks Climbing season with our Chicks Rock! clinic at Red Rock. It was a great weekend of climbing despite some windy conditions on the last day! We have started a photo album of the event on Facebook here and Google+ here. Send us your photos ladies! We know the Head Chick was busy in the kitchen and couldn’t get any 😉

So of course that means that it is time to seriously start making your plans for ice season. We have four different clinics this winter on offer, and hope to see lots of you out in Ouray! Check out the full schedule here: and contact us at info(at) to sign up!

Last week I posted my fall Indian Creek trip report (bottom line: it was awesome). You can read all about the fun that I had (including how much I improved from my trip there with Chicks this spring) here.

There’s a new thread in the partner’s section of the “Chicks Chat” forum, started by Beth who is going to be taking a climb trip through Moab and up into Ouray this fall & winter. She is looking for partners to climb with – check out her itinerary and how to contact her here!

Did you know we are looking for some companies to support our Chicks Climbing Scholarship program? It is a great opportunity to not only get a deserving woman out to a Chicks clinic who could not otherwise afford it, but also provides lots of promotional benefits for companies that take advantage. Here is where you can check out all the details and contact us at info(at) if you’re interested! We are super psyched that First Ascent is going to be sponsoring one gal to come out to “The Quickie” in February and hope to get a couple more!

Do you want to stay more up-to-date on the climbing news during the week? We talk about most all of these on our Twitter feed here, but also post many on Pinterest, a select few on Facebook as well as Google+. We love connecting with Chicks online, so let us know who you are – and where – and we will make sure to find you!

Did we miss any cool stuff this week in our Gossip Report?  Let us know in the comments section if you’ve got a link to some climbing-related goodies so we can share with everyone else!

– So psyched for Tomoko Ogawa who is the first woman to climb V14! It wasn’t easy, but after a three-year effort Tomoko sent “Catharsis” in Shiobara.
– Yowza! Ashima Shirashi sent two 5.14a’s down in the Red! 
– Lovely post from Jeline of Climb On, Sister! about adjusting her climbing goals now that she is pregnant: 
– 1 Girl on the Rocks took a scary fall that caused her to take a few weeks off blogging about climbing until today – see why: 
– North East Ice getting it started with some early season ice in Katahdin!!… 
– Sarah Hueniken traveled to Newfoundland with Will Gadd to climb sea stacks & wowza! Their feature starts at 7:53: 
– Here is Sarah Hueniken’s personal trip report from her sea stack slaying adventure with Will Gadd: 
– More on what Sarah Hueniken & Will Gadd were up to in Newfoundland: 
– ‘We are climbers first, disabled second,’ says Craig DeMartino. ‘If you’re a climber, you want to climb El Cap.’ (video) 
– Anyone else intrigued about the climbing here? Photo from Kate Rutherford (@RutherfordKate): “arrived in Armenia at 3:30am. Squeezed in a few pitches on supe @ Garnie Gorge, Armenia” 
– New on Climb On, Sister!, an introduction to climber Ann Raber, ClimbTech athlete and all around rad chica! 
– Be diligent about checking fixed gear. A bad draw proves fatal: 
–  5.14d First Ascents for Ondra and Sharma 
– Support the Access Fund (@accessfund) in the acquisition of the Holy Boulders! 
– What is your favorite climbing move asks Splitter Choss (@splitterchoss) in “All the Right Moves” 
– Some good advice from Steph Davis (@highsteph) on taking your pup on the road with you for a climbing trip: 
– Are you interested in being an ambassador for evolv? 
– How do you celebrate? Climberism’s (@climberism) five ways to celebrate a send: 

– 7 Living Legends + You = Night to Remember. 

– 14 things climbers like to put on their hands: 
– Wool insulated puffy jacket? I’m officially intrigued 
– So anxious to see this in action, Patagonia gets its own water repellent down: 
– The Gear Junkie put Sierra Designs’ new water-resistant down puffy into an artificial storm. 
– Jill of GearGals reviews the Millet Heel Lift Jacket 

– Nice “Training Tuesday” post on Climb On, Sister! (@climbonsister) with climber Ann Raber talking about how pilates has helped her train for climbing: 

Trip Reports
– A story of three women who wanted to climb…and some rain. 
– The Red is proving to be an addictive climbing destination for Alli Rainey (@allirainey): 

Fun Stuff
– Another winner from Brendan of @semi_rad who put some nice words together on good climbing friends & mentors: 
– Great read, @semi_rad answers pressing questions like, “What is the dirtiest thing you’ve ever done in the woods?” 
– Fun! Justin of @thestonemind published part 1 in a fictional climb story series about a climber w/sudden super-human strength: 

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!

Indian Creek trip report!

This is my Indian Creek trip report from my personal blog (so you get to read my “real” voice!). It was super fun to climb in the Creek again, including on three lines I did during Chicks Rock! but was SO MUCH BETTER AT this time around, which goes to show how much you get out of a Chicks clinic! I am super psyched to go back to the Creek again this spring with Chicks Rock! Will I see you there?

Since I still haven’t fully written my trip report for the Bugaboos, I decided to work on one from Indian Creek because that only makes sense, right?

I was super psyched to take a trip to the Creek this Fall, since climbing there this Spring made me fall in love with rock climbing.

Wait, that’s a bit too bold of a statement.

It actually made me *want* to go rock climbing more than I previously did, which was not very much (for a variety of reasons, but the primary two being: there is nowhere to rock climb within 4 hours of where I live (so the motivation has to be high), and I kinda suck at rock climbing which makes it not as fun).

BUT. I learned at Chicks Rock! in Indian Creek this April that I suck a lot less at crack climbing than I do at face climbing. Hooray! So that is why I started to want to rock climb more, and agreed to take rock climbing vacations twice this year! (Generally, I only vacation to ice climb, so it was a big deal for the boy to get me out on two rock climbing trips with him.)

The view from our campsite.

Alas, I digress. So, for those of you with little patience let me put it out there that the Creek in early October is AMAZING. It was not too crowded with pretty warm days (we were chasing the shade for sure) and perfectly cool nights that had you snuggling into that sleeping bag. The landscape was also surprisingly green, much more so than this spring when the washes were full of water, which was very surprising to me!

Indian Creek is stunning in the Fall! View from Supercrack Buttress.

Our goal was to climb for two days, take a day off to “rest” and then climb for three more days and we hired Danika Gilbert to guide us. I have climbed with Danika many times on ice – she took me on my first multi-pitch climbs in fact, and has really been an inspiration for me to go out and gain the skills I need to be independent enough to climb backcountry ice.

Lucky for us Danika has also been climbing in Indian Creek for more than 20 years. The funny part is she *just* bought a guide book for this trip. She generally operates on the ‘let’s drive over to this wall and walk around and see what looks fun’ methodology, which I think is totally awesome to be at that skill level and ability!

We were looking to crag most days so that we could get direct instruction and advice from Danika on the ground. While multi-pitching is suuuuuuuper fun (especially on a desert tower), it isn’t the best way to get BETTER at crack climbing, which is what we were hoping to do on this trip. It was especially important for the boy who had never climbed in the Creek before or had any real formal instruction on crack climbing technique.

We flew into Grand Junction and rented a car there then picked up some supplies and headed to Moab for a few more things before heading into the Creek and the Bridger Jack’s Campground. We turned in at Beef Basin and the road was totally sketch (for me, anyways) with our little car. I would say the road to the campground is definitely best suited to a vehicle with high clearance! Danika later told us that it was in much worse condition than it had been earlier in the spring, but it was a really, really lovely place to camp at. The sites were large and not very close to the neighbors. I had been expecting a total s*it show like I have experienced while camping on other climbing trips, so I was pleasantly surprised with the accommodations, even if it came down to pooping in a bag.

Morning at camp site No. 3 at Bridger Jacks.

So, about that. As many of you may (or may not know) you can’t really bury poop in the desert very well. Not like you can in the forests of North Carolina, for example. Within Indian Creek (which is on BLM land) there are just a handful of pit toilets, but they may be several miles away from your campsite (and down a heinous road best suited for 4WD vehicles, for example). It is actually really nice because most of the camping in the Creek is primitive and free! In order to manage human waste the Friends of Indian Creek provide Restop bags (aka “wag bags”) at several dispensers (suggested donation is $2/bag). Here is a video made by Friends of Indian Creek about the importance of using these!


Needless to say, we donated quite a bit of $$ for these precious bags. Which, of course, I thought was totally fun, especially because when we would go by a pit toilet it was like heaven to actually sit down behind closed doors and all. It’s all about perspective, people, now let’s go climbing!

Day 1: Danika was driving in to meet us at our campsite, having spent an extra day at home because she had been kicked by a horse the day before (!) and had some major swelling in her shin/calf and hand. Not an awesome thing to happen before going crack climbing! But, Danika is a super trooper and we headed up to Donnelly Canyon for the boy to get his first taste of Indian Creek crack. We started out on Chocolate Corner, which was a pretty nice hand size for me, but felt like thin hands for the boy. I’m glad we went here day 1 because thin hands on day 1 would potentially turn into uber-thin hands or even fingers once the Creek swelling sets in. We taped up with a different method than I’ve used in the past, which resulted in the tape bunching up and instant gobies on my first climb. SWEET. These little b*tches would subsequently open up and bleed under my tape gloves for the next four days of climbing.

Chocolate Corner, first crack of our fall Creek trip!

Anyways, Chocolate Corner was a super fun climb, and we each ran two laps on it. My second was heads & tails different than my first. For some reason I was feeling really anxious at the start of the day – maybe it was too much coffee? By the time I settled down I was able to really get into a good groove though. After Chocolate Corner we opted to do Elephant Man, after a nice couple from the Yosemite Valley area came over and climbed it. We again did two laps on this route – there were a lot more face features for feet, so we didn’t smash them up too bad. Binou’s Crack was also on the docket for the day, but we decided that four laps on the day was enough – we didn’t want to go buck wild and kill ourselves on day 1 so we headed back to camp.

Day 2: After studying the guide book, talking about what crack sizes we would like to work on, and considering it was a Saturday, we decided to go to the Way Rambo wall, which I was pretty excited about because that is the site of where I did my very first three Indian Creek climbs this past April with Chicks Climbing. I thought it would be fun to try to get on a few of them again to see how much I had improved – and boy have I ever!

We started out on Rochambeau, which was my first climb at Chicks this Spring, but this time I climbed it cleanly. I was so psyched (and under pressure) because this was the “perfect” hand size for the boy so he was going to have an easier time all day. I can’t even imagine what a difference my climbs must have looked from April to October since I’m sure this past Spring I hung on the rope a gazillion times while figuring out how to jam.

Thankful to have long enough legs for this awesome rest stance on Fuzz.

We then decided to put up Fuzz, which is a LONG (115 foot) rope-stretcher of a climb that gets increasingly steep – but with (my) perfect hands towards the top. At Chicks I had flailed and failed on Fuzz, but this go around and despite some intense feelings of FREAK OUT with the boulder-y start, I didn’t fall until I was a lot higher, and now that I am more comfortable with jamming, it wasn’t long before I was at the chains. I was so psyched after cruising the upper part (which I hadn’t even made it to this past Spring) to find some perfect sizes that I could really make work!

Now we are into *perfect* jams on Fuzz!

Our third climb was again a climb I had done at Chicks called Blue Sun. I had actually wanted to do this climb first on the day since I knew that by the end of the day sore hands and feet tend to get the better of me. Again, this was a climb I had not made it to the top of during Chicks, but I sure did this go around! I fell a few times towards the top mainly because I am a sissy and my feet were HURTING. It is a great size for super secure feet, but the twisting and torquing on feet that aren’t used to it can get pretty painful fast. That night I actually saw that I had really bruised the tops of my feet pretty solidly! Ah, the joys of crack climbing – the most physical kind there is (for me, at least!).

Blue Sun, definitely one of my favorite climbs in the Creek!

The boy on Blue Sun (right) while some fun kids from the Boulder area climb an offwidth to the left. They were smart enough to bring beer with them!

Day 3: We scheduled Sunday to be a rest day, and drove up to Arches National Park to do some hiking. We knew we were taking a risk heading into prime tourist territory, but figured it would be worth it to see some of those amazingly sculpted pieces of rock. And it was, sort of. I mean we often don’t go to places that are super touristy, and every time we do I remember why. People are dumb. And annoying.

Balancing Rock. I think. I just threw away all the park literature LAST NIGHT. Oooops.

The road that goes through Arches NP is not very long – maybe 22 miles or so? (I just threw away all the literature literally last night! (doh!!)). There are a gazillion turn offs for scenic vantage points & small little highly groomed trails. We were most interested in making the hike out to Delicate Arch, even though we had been told that Hell’s Kitchen would be better for “us” (i.e. less people). But, we felt that if this arch is important enough to be on the Utah license plate, we should probably go see it.

OMG. I got a picture of Delicate Arch without the mullet dude in it!

The trail to Delicate Arch is pretty easy and well traveled. It is also marked by a gazillion cairns in case you are worried about getting lost. Once we got to the arch it was full on supidity with people lolling around under the arch forever to get their photos taken, or eat lunch, or to basically ensure no-one else could take a picture of the arch without their dumb ass in it. This one dude with a mullet parked himself underneath it to drink some water and then make ridiculous gang sign poses for his equally idiotic hiking buddy to take photos of. I’m sure now that they are on Facebook somewhere that guy is totally getting all the ladieeeeeessss, thanks to those sexed up pics, oh yeah!

Did lightening strike? Second photo with NO people.

When I saw the arch had been vacated for a while so everyone waiting for a picture of just the arch (without all the white trash America – I mean, there were literally ASS CRACKS hanging out in that arch!!!) I ran down for the boy to get a quick photo of me underneath it so my mom could get a sense of the scale. We ate some lunch snacks here and then quickly bailed to go to Hell’s Kitchen.

Me, being an asshole under the arch. For 2 seconds, I swear!

We stopped by some other arch that had a short hike into a slot canyon before getting to the full-on insanity that is the parking lot at Hell’s Kitchen. At this point we are not psyched on the gaggles of people but bust a move and make it a little ways past Landscape Arch before calling it a day and heading back to Moab for a shower (which felt AMAZING) and dinner at the Moab Brewery.

I so wanted to climb up this squeeze and grab the rock to do a pull-up so the boy could take a picture for me to submit to the CrossFit mainsite. Alas, it didn’t happen. It was soooo slippery. He even tried it and it was just too much. Another time!

At the brewery we had an EPIC Chicks Sighting as I saw Cheryl & Kate walking into the restaurant at the same time as us. Literally two minutes previously I had opened up FB on my iPhone and seen a photo Kate had posted of the two of them in Moab and I said to the boy “huh, how random, I have friends in Moab right now.” So it was even more random to see them! I screamed Cheryl’s name from across the parking lot which totally alarmed her, and then ran up to give Kate a hug telling her “I’m Maija!” like ‘duh, aren’t you excited to see me?!?!’ It was great since we have heard so much about each other, but never *really* formally met (and Kate is like 1000x more awesome than I even imagined!). So, the boy and I were lucky enough to eat dinner with these two gals, who I will be climbing with in Bozeman in just a few weeks! And later again in Canada next March (so.freaking.psyched.for.that.trip to the GHOST!!!).

Chicks sighting! You never know when & where it’s going to happen!!!

On our way out I got some dairy-free gelato, which was amazing. But, I was so focused on getting a dairy-free treat (since dairy can make my guts feel yuck) that I ordered it in a waffle cone, chock full of gluten, which I didn’t think of until the whole thing was down the gullet. When I mentioned it to the boy he said “yeah, I was surprised you ordered the cone.” Sometimes I need help, people, serious help! I felt like total dog poo the next morning too thanks to that gluten, when we headed up to the Battle of the Bulge.

Day 4: So until the last climb of the day I was all, “damn, did we LOSE the Battle of the Bulge?” because it seriously was feeling like I did until about 5:30 p.m. (FYI: The Allied Forces did WIN the Battle of the Bulge.) This day of climbing was going to be all about yucky sizes for me, including off-widths. Yeah! Not so much. The boy loves that ish and I am not as much of a fan. We started out on The Warm-Up which was a fine enough climb, but had a few FAT hands (i.e. cupped hands for me). At the base there was a flake we could practice our chimney climbing technique, so we did that and continued working the pitch hoping one of the other climbs we had been planning to do would open up. They didn’t because there was some kind of a splitter camp going on which involved major climb hoggage (more on that later).

We ended up going to Elbow Vices which was a climb that had everything from hands to fingers AND a squeeze chimney. While Danika and the boy climbed the route with their left side facing out, I was completely unable to move in the squeeze chimney in that direction. So, I turned around and faced out right and then grunted, wiggled, swore and wedged my way up the chimney. It felt like HOURS of work. After the chimney the rest of the climb was actually pretty fun. But it was hot and I was grumpy when we were done. By this point we were fully entrenched with this splitter camp who promised we could totally “use our ropes!” for a few other climbs in the same corner. Lucky for the boy he got to climb Pigs in Space which looked like a super fun climb with MY perfect hands. But, these a-holes in the splitter camps didn’t really mean for us to use the ropes, they actually thought we should belay for them. At one point all 3 of us were belaying. WTF was happening? I was so mad. I just wanted to get out of there and go climb something as it was already getting late in the day. The boy belayed this older lady (who had seemingly learned nothing in the camp about how to climb cracks) for what had to have been at least an hour trying to climb Pigs in Space. I kept waiting for her to tell him to lower her as she fell dozens (literally!) of times out of the crack. But kudos for her to making it to the chains!

Finally we pulled our rope and bailed and left that train wreck behind. Speaking of trains, we went to climb Railroad Tracks which was WAY harder than it looked. The start looked nasty for sure, but past a small roof there were twin cracks, which tend to usually be very awesome! They were not. The start was as heinous as it looked with tight fingers and no ‘real’ feet; I had to try it about three times before getting off the ground, and then move past the thin fingers to thin hands. The twin cracks were actually awkwardly spaced and the sizes flared dramatically. I made it to the chains and then lowered two more times to work on different approaches to the parallel cracks. Laybacking the majority of the upper section actually worked the best.

Finally, we put up a line on Unnamed in the corner just near Railroad Tracks where I finally had a good, fun climb. It is always super fun to climb a line cleanly in the Creek, and that I did on Unnamed. Actually, come to think of it the majority of routes I climb cleanly in the Creek are all “Unnamed.” Random. Or, it could be just because there are like 100 of them. So I didn’t lose entirely at the Battle of the Bulge. Had I not been an idiot and eaten gluten the night before maybe I would have cruised the squeeze chimney. Hahaha. So not likely, but I can just tell myself that.

Day 5: This was the day of classics for the boy. He gets really psyched on climbing lines that have some historic significance, whereas I could care less. I just want to climb routes that are fun, I have no interest or investment in climbing lines that are “classic” for reasons X, Y or Z. So, Supercrack Buttress it was!

There she is, Supercrack. Also known as the arm eater!

We actually were the first party to make it to Supercrack that day, which was amazing. Supercrack (aka Super Crack of the Desert, Luxury Liner) was the first crack put up in Indian Creek. It has a most ridiculous bouldery start that I fell on at the top at least three times before figuring it out, and finally I got to the splitter. Make no mistake, this is a pure splitter crack that just goes straight up. Until the small lip/roof it was a reasonable hand size for me, but past that point until the chains it was DEEP. I was reaching in to my elbows to get a cupped hand jam. I was in so deep that it was more secure to shuffle my hands than pull them out to move, which meant each meter of movement took more and more skin off my forearms. I was very aware of this happening but what could I do? I wasn’t going to bail on Supercrack! When I came down the two guys waiting, Nick & Psyched Will, were like “oh yeah, you should’ve totally worn a long-sleeved shirt.” Really helpful stuff there.

It’s always badass to get scraped up, right? The best part is how horrified everyone in public is that sees these things as they heal. Of course at my CrossFit gym no-one thinks it is out of the ordinary at all. I bleed often there, too.

We then went over to the Incredible Hand Crack and got behind a party of two guys. The leader had just climbed it in about two minutes and his partner, who has not done very much crack climbing, was anxious about us having to wait on him to climb. I assured him it was no problem, my forearms were (literally) oozing and I could use a rest since the boy was having elbow pain I was on extra belay duty for him. Plus, I like watching other people climb hard stuff. So Ronnie (the guy who was wearing ouchie-tight sport shoes on a hand crack) really struggled to get past the roof and despite the (perfect) beta his partner Jack had, he just was too frustrated to continue working on it. I felt bad since I think it was partly due to the increasing number of folks waiting to get on the line, but that’s just a part of climbing. Sometimes you have to wait for these classic lines and so if you are climbing you need to just do your thing and not worry about anyone else. But, it was his choice.

At the cruxy part!

When it was our turn I used Jack’s beta and it was awesome. It was such a fun size. The roof was definitely awkward, but I made it past that faster than I thought I would. After the crux it is truly just an AMAZING hand crack with the added bonus of having feet features on the wall, a rarity in the Creek and oh, my toes couldn’t have been happier!

Almost to the FUN part. For a “classic” this is a pretty fun one, no doubt.

We then went a few climbs to the left to 3 AM Crack. It again had some pretty big hands at the top – so big I couldn’t even get a fist! But it was pretty fun to compare my lap to the boy’s because where he had trouble with the crack I cruised, and vice versa. Funny since his hands don’t really seem that much bigger than mine, but the certainly are when it comes to jamming! We were pretty worked by this point and opted to work on a new technique for cleaning anchors that doesn’t require me to untie from the rope (holy hell, I’m so glad I learned this!) and practiced placing gear before heading back to camp.

3 AM Crack butt shot.

Day 6: This was to be our desert tower day. Danika thought Sunflower Tower on the Bridger Jacks would be a good option for us, but the idea of climbing a hard multi-pitch route on Day 6 was not sounding like fun. So, I proposed a trip to the South Six Shooter, which both Danika & the boy were also keen on. It is a much “easier” route although it involves a lot more walking. I wanted us to end the trip on a good note, not a frustrating one!

Danika’s truck saved us hours of walking this creek bed!

Danika’s truck was able to drive super far into the approach, literally saving us hours of walking up the dusty creek bed. We then hiked up the plateau, and then the cone to the three pitch climb, which we took a funky variation on the second pitch, having to completely step over the void to a separate pillar (which really didn’t have any hands or feet). I convinced my shoes to get extra sticky for the move, and they wisely complied. The top out on the climb involves a full-on pull-up after having done a belly mantle, so it isn’t necessarily the most graceful. But, it is fun to be on top of a desert tower.

Hrmmmm, how do I want to step from this to that when there are no hands or feet per se…

OMFG I am doing it.

So funny how our time climbing in the Bugaboos has made us so ‘relaxed’ towards exposure now!

We were glad to have done the South Six Shooter and end the trip on such a high note. I know the boy is anxious to get back to the Creek in the spring. I really love that the people in the Creek aren’t all douchey like they seem to be at so many other climbing areas. Everyone we hung out with during the trip was super cool and just out to have a good time (except for this one girl who was the epitome of MISERABLE! It was too funny. She just hid behind her sun glasses and hat cried and complained about how she wanted to go back to the front range and go sport climbing on credit card crimpers. Apparently she isn’t used to hang dogging and was getting spanked trying to follow the lines her boyfriend was putting up. It was maybe even funnier that he was pretty much ignoring her, and wouldn’t lower her until she really through a fit and then promised he’d get her tacos if she would stay longer. I am pretty sure they left.). But everyone else was again, super nice and helpful. They loan and retrieve gear for other people and share lines (for the most part).

There is no doubt that it is physically tough to climb in the Creek! I am taking a “recovery” week from rowing to all my flared up old injuries calm the F down. I’m really hoping that by next week I am back to my old self, because I have some training to do! Ice season is just a few weeks away!!! Oh and my Level 1 CrossFit cert is this weekend. Lots going on!!!

I tried really hard to get these pants to stand up on their own for a photo, but I guess they were not yet *that* dirty. They are pretty grubby though. Six days of straight wear in the desert will do that (and I LOVE IT!)

ROCKtober Gossip Report No. 1

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. Just a head’s up that there will be NO Gossip Report next week since this Chickadee is heading out to the Creek for a crack fix, so with limited service out there I don’t expect to be able to keep up on all the happenings. But, I will do my best to catch up upon my return.

What a fun time we had at our New River Gorge Girly Gathering!

Also coming up this weekend is our Keene Valley Girly Gathering, which will also feature a showing of Reel Rock 7 on Saturday night. We have seen some amazing pictures from the Adirondacks the past few days, and are so psyched to head up and ROCK out!

After that, we just have one more climbing clinic – our annual fall pilgrimage to Red Rock! We will be climbing there Oct. 18-21 (with an optional multi-pitch day Oct. 22) and still have space available if you are interested in joining us! Also at Red Rock this go-around, we are introducing the option to stay at the Chicks Chalet – a house we are renting that also comes with a cook! Check out all the details on that new lodging option here. If you are interested in joining us please contact us ASAP with any questions! (info(at)

Did you get the September newsletter in your e-mail this weekend? If not, check it out here and then GO to the Chicks website and sign up for the newsletter so you never miss one again 🙂

Last week on the blog I finally started my Bugaboos trip report with a recap of our first day climbing up the Kain Route on Bugaboo Spire. If you missed it, check it out (and all the pretty granite pictures) here!

Did you know we are looking for some companies to support our Chicks Climbing Scholarship program? It is a great opportunity to not only get a deserving woman out to a Chicks clinic who could not otherwise afford it, but also provides lots of promotional benefits for companies that take advantage. Here is where you can check out all the details and contact us at info(at) if you’re interested!

And, for those of you who are already in an ice climbing state of mind (and who isn’t?!?!), please check out the schedule for our 2013 Chicks with Picks clinics! It’s never too soon to get it on your calendar!

Do you want to stay more up-to-date on the climbing news during the week? We talk about most all of these on our Twitter feed here, but also post many on Pinterest, a select few on Facebook as well as Google+. We love connecting with Chicks online, so let us know who you are – and where – and we will make sure to find you!

Did we miss any cool stuff this week in our Gossip Report?  Let us know in the comments section if you’ve got a link to some climbing-related goodies so we can share with everyone else!

– Hey, Creek lovers, Friends of Indian Creek is now on Twitter! @F_o_IndianCreek
– Great “Sending Sisters” profile on Climb On, Sister! (@ClimbOnSister) featuring Jenny Paul who will be competing at 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell 
– Ines Papert writes a trip report from a short, quick climb in Baffin Island:
– NEW female Nose record set by Chantel & Mayan when doing the Nose+HD linkup. It’s now 7:26 …
– More on Mayan & Chantel: Mayan Smith-Gobat and Chantel Astorga have thrashed the female speed record… 
– Awesome interview with new Nose Speed record holder, Mayan Smith-Gobat. 
– New climbing routes (including a 5.13d!) put up in the arctic on the gorgeous Baffin Island: 
– Josh Muller does it again! …
–  New hard line added to Smugglers Notch Elephant Head Buttress. 
– Interesting question from Katie (@themorningfresh) “Is it your responsibility to educate climbers you see at the crag?” 
– Spot the Climber! Nine ways to identify a climber when he/she is not actually climbing: 
– A lot of work goes into putting up new lines which Joey Kinder captures in this Climb Tech video 
– Fun blog from Blake Herrington on how to live a life of luxury in a backcountry alpine camp: 
– Congratulations to Colette McInerney who is now a Sterling Rope (@SterlingRope) athlete! 
– Dave Macleod is one of the most competent climbers I know. Good lesson: 
– What do you think? Is competition the largest remaining evolution in the future of climbing? 
– Excellent post from Erica (@CragMama) on Toddlers and Helmets – From Bike to Crag…  …

– Needles closed until October 2nd for Clean-up  …
– The latest info. on climbing conditions from AAI (@AlpineInstitute) 
– The IFSC will pursue neither bouldering nor speed climbing for the first Olympics with modern climbing: 

– Gray is new to the world of ice climbing & wants advice on boots & tools:  what are your recommendations?

Want some structure for your bouldering workout? Check out these tips from Alli Rainey (@allirainey):
– Do you have a training plan like 1 Girl On the Rocks? “Training Dreams!”

– Love the idea of creating the “ultimate” playground from Steve (@SteveWWeiss):  what would your picks be?

Trip Reports
– Great trip report from Erica (@cragmama) who, along with her crew, hopped on the SENDtember train at the New: 
–  Here is it, hot off the presses! Bomber Mountain summit day report from Rochelle (@clymberchick ) 

Fun Stuff
– Here is Dean Potter and Whisper getting in some pitches. 
– The Adventure Journal List: The Top 10 Reasons for Bailing. 
– If you’ve ever been sandbagged, you will love this new blog from Brendan (@semi_rad): Don’t Sandbag Me, Bro: 

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!

Bugaboos! Part 1: Kain Route

This trip report from the Bugaboos is long overdue. And in all honesty, it is kind of only getting done now because I have another trip coming up to the CREEK which I AM THIS EXCITED ABOUT. Why? CRACK, CRACK, CRACK, CRACK, CRACK…I am sure I will come back looking like I was shoved head first into a food processor. Ahhh, the good life 🙂 there is no question this year is going down as the best climbing year EVER for me. I’m trying to cram it in because I know the opportunities in 2013 will be much different.

We are ready to go! Once we put these packs on, of course.

OK, the Bugs. This summer we took a trip to the Bugaboos. This trip made me fall in love with Canada even more, which I didn’t think was possible. It was actually my first trip to Canada in the summer. Even as a kid we only went to Canada in the winter to play hockey (or ringette as it were, which is a huge sport in parts of Canada). Anyways. The boy had been talking about the Bugaboos for a few years now, and it was just one of those destinations I always heard him yammering about, but didn’t really listen to until some of my girlfriends also told me about their experiences in the Bugaboos. That’s when my interest piqued in the Bugs as a climbing destination. To top if off Jen Olson, who has guided me all over the Canadian Rockies in the winter, plays in the Bugs during the summer as often as she can – essentially it is her backyard. I knew that with her knowledge of the area we’d be sure to have  a solid trip, which we totally did.

Jen is super rad. And happened to know EVERYONE at Appleby, of course.

However, I can’t write about the WHOLE trip here or I will bore you to tears. So, I will be breaking it up into sections which will allow me to tease you with all the eye candy of the beautiful alpine granite we climbed in the Bugs.

Look at all of that GRANITE!

So, let’s begin! We flew into Calgary to approach by way of Canmore  for two reasons: 1) Jen was going to be driving for us and 2) if the weather was looking bad in the Bugs, we would still likely have lots of options for climbing in the Canmore/Bow Valley area instead. It was good advice I got from my friend Cheryl, and we actually ended up taking advantage of this routing when we got weathered out a couple of days early, and came back to climb in the Bow Valley.

Snowpatch and Bugaboo spire from Appleby campsite.

We had the earliest start ever for a day of hiking in to camp up at Appleby, which was primarily because it was going to be a H-O-T day. And it was. Egads. It is also a very steep hike, and with a 50+ lb pack, it made my grind-y, ol’ arthritic knees hurt so bad I literally felt on the verge of tears by the end of the day. They HURT like they haven’t, pretty much ever. That was partly because I had not taken my prescription medication for my knees in a few days (traveling makes me tend to forget to do stuff like that) so I was in way worse shape than usual. But, we made it in and set up camp (with an extra trip back down to the Kain Hut to grab gear we had paid porters to carry. Yes, we had THAT much stuff – I mean our essentials like fresh fruit, veggies and meat for alpine camping and of course our wine & vodka!).

Even with achy knees you can’t deny the beauty of this hike.

Getting our stuff organized & into the tent.

The setting at Appleby is just absolutely AMAZING. There is a valley the camp looks over to the South and is surrounded by Snowpatch Spire, Bugaboo Spire and East Post Spire. Once you climb up higher you can see there are actually several lakes very close to camp. But, there was still a LOT of ice in the lakes and when I was so hot I’d be tempted to jump in, I was usually nowhere actually *near* those gorgeous lakes! There are two lovely pit toilets at Appleby, that have awesome views of  Snowpatch and Bugaboo Spires. The most shocking thing about the toilets though, were that some people camped right above them. I know the views were probably great, but dang! They still are pit toilets and therefore smell not awesome. But whatever, I guess it was worth it for them.

Room with a view

View from the pot.

There was a lot of talk about weather, and so on day 1 we decided to go for a longer day since the weather was actually looking really good. The objective was the climb up the Kain Route on Bugaboo Spire. This necessitated an alpine start out of camp before 5 a.m., after we wrassled down some oatmeal, and by some I mean like a pound of oatmeal each, or at least that is what it feels like at 4 a.m. As we made our way up the South Col, between Snowpatch and Bugaboo,  the sun started to rise and it was just amazing – the most brilliant sunrise that totally makes alpine starts worth it!

This photo doesn’t even capture 1/100th of the amazing-ness of this sunrise!

Even I can look nice bathed in a beautiful pink light!

But, I don’t look as nice as Pigeon Spire in the pretty pink light!

We roped up to travel up the Col with Jen in front, me in the middle, and the boy in the back. This is pretty much the way we traveled everywhere over the next week on glaciers and on a lot of the climbing, which on some routes – like the Kain Route – consisted of scrambling for a long ways with a few “real” climbing pitches towards the top. Traveling like that is actually kind of an interesting experiment in relationships and patience. You really have to pay attention to keep yourself the right distance from the person in front of you. If you are too slow you pull the rope; too fast and you create slack that can easily get tangled in crampon-covered boots. I was pretty darn proud of how well the boy & I tolerated each other in this configuration, even after 12 years of marriage!

Near the top of the Col where the snow runs out.

At the top of the Col we took a quick break to stuff some more food down and then started to scramble, and scramble, and scramble. We were un-roped scrambling for quite some time. Now, I am a pretty coordinated person as far as throwing and catching footballs, baseballs, and the like – or ice skating, skiing – more “traditional” sports go. However, I am not a natural at scampering up or down rocks; I do not have not enough experience to know where the best place is to step on a rock so that it doesn’t roll over onto my ankle, for example. So as we walk up I have my head down, which is why I have no idea how Jen could even “see” the route at all. But we scrambled away and then roped up for a few short pitches of climbing with our mountain boots on. This was the first time I have ever climbed rock in mountain boots.

The boy and I climbing together.

I was not a fan.

I think I could literally feel my climbing shoes burning a hole in my pack right now.

There were ample cracks for jamming, but the boot just doesn’t want to jam. (stupid boot!) The boot instead wants to edge (and is awesome at that) which is something Maija doesn’t like to do. We short-roped pitch after pitch, with the boy and I climbing together so we had to be very communicative with each other to keep things moving smoothly. We did great at this! We actually climbed so much in our mountain boots that I whispered to the boy as Jen climbed up another short pitch “does she *know* I have my climbing shoes right here in my pack?!?!”

Views from the Kain route

Eventually we got to the point where it is time to actually really climb. And we put on our climbing shoes for what amounts to about three-four pitches of climbing. As we put on our shoes a couple was rapping down – too early in the day to be doing so (as in they obviously didn’t climb up and come back down already) Jen started talking to them and it turns out they had spent the night on Bugaboo Spire having underestimated the time it would take to climb the NW Ridge route. Ooopsies. The dude got beta from Jen about the descent while the girl looked thrilled (not really). If it was me, I probably would have been crying. Maybe. It sounded like a nightmare, but they were safe and moving slowly and carefully.

We have our CLIMBING shoes on now!!!

Super fun exposure!

So fun!

So the real climbing begins and it is just some fun granite cracks. And pretty much I think there is NOTHING better to climb than granite cracks. It was totally FUN climbing (as in easy, no stress I’m going to fall climbing) and in no time we made it to the Gendarme which was the false summit. From there it was a fun couple pitches, including one long slabby reach, up to the top where I ate a can of tuna, having wisely decided to save my chocolate Lara bar & almond butter for the way down.

Jen leads the first “proper” climbing pitch on the Kain route.

I had such a blast on this climb. Super fun through-and-through!

The boy enjoying some tasty alpine granite.

The Kain Route

The “Gendarme” (sp?) aka the false summit of Bugaboo Spire.

At the top we met a pair of guys who had made their way over from their climb up the NW Ridge. We rapped with them for a couple of pitches before they sprinted down ahead. Now, I am terribly slow going down, which was probably really annoying for everyone else, but I didn’t feel like breaking my neck on the first day, and after you’ve been going for 14 hours I tend to get sloppy and tired anyways. And my knees hurt. And I needed to use the toilet. And I just wanted some GD almond butter and on and on and on. Soooo, I did get a little pissy with the boy on the way down since he insisted on walking a million miles ahead of me instead of WITH me, which I let him know about when he stopped to wait for me one time. [Side note: we have this way of communicating with each other that to most people probably sounds like we are fighting – but it is seriously just how we are, we actually never fight, but that’s probably because we never hold anything in, it gets hashed out right away! I have a new friend who is like this too with her husband, and I take great joy in knowing we are not alone in how we communicate. So I think the overall effect was bad since it made it sound like we were ending the day on a low note, but in all actuality I just wanted him to WAIT for me, which he totally did once I asked.] The trip down the Col sucked, and I’m pretty sure at some point I ended up falling on my ass and sliding down, which happened on every snow descent we did (this was after we took crampons off you safety freaks so obviously it was relatively low angle!).

And we rap…does anyone else get tired of rappelling?

Long days mean lots of calories. Re-fueling with a delightful combo of Lara Bar & almond butter.

We rolled back into camp and quickly got to work on making dinner which we scarfed down with a mug of wine before falling into bed before it was even dark. The next day was going to be a lot shorter, as we were headed over to The Crescent Towers to climb The Lion’s Way.

Summit shot on top of Bugaboo Spire

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!

Rocking into August!

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.  We had a great time with our Chicks at Devil’s Lake, thank you all for the wonderful hospitality! You can check out photos from the clinic on our Facebook page and Google+ page along with some *amazing* shots of the gals the folks at Skillet Creek Media shot and uploaded to Flickr here, and our resident pro photog Dawn Glanc’s album here on her Facebook page.

We had a lot of thank-you’s to give out to our sponsors and supporters of Chicks Rock! Devil’s Lake 2012 which we did our best to capture in a blog post here.

Finally, we also were excited to show off the latest innovation from our sponsors at Sterling Rope in their new tag lines. Learn all about them here!

For those of you psyched to climb with Chicks this rock season we still have THREE more clinics you can join us at:
Chicks Rock! Girly Gathering New River Gorge, Sept. 21-23 (2 days climbing)
Chicks Rock! Girly Gathering Keene Valley (Adirondacks), Oct. 5-8 (3 days climbing)
– Chicks Rock! Red Rock, Nevada Oct. 18-21 (with optional multi-pitch day Oct. 22)

Please don’t delay in signing up! The earlier you do the easier it is for us to line up our kick ass Girly Guides! After October we will be sharpening our ice tools and crampons for our 2013 Chicks with Picks clinics! So start looking at your calendar and make plans to climb with us!

Do you want to stay more up-to-date on the climbing news during the week? We talk about most all of these on our Twitter feed here, but also post many on Pinterest, a select few on Facebook as well as Google+. We love connecting with Chicks online, so let us know who you are – and where – and we will make sure to find you!

Did we miss any cool stuff this week in our Gossip Report?  Let us know in the comments section if you’ve got a link to some climbing-related goodies so we can share with everyone else!

– Ashima Shiraishi gets 2nd ascent of Steady Plums Direct (V13): 
– How cool is this “Crack Machine” that Sonnie Trotter built? Great way to teach crack climbing! 
– Great interview with the amazing Stephanie Ko Pound from Climb On, Sister! 
– Some climb training tips from Jeline at @ClimbOnSister: Training Tuesdays (Week 7): let’s work on our core and legs! 
– A GREAT off-width primer from Randy Leavitt. 
– A really thought-provoking TNB this week. What do you think??? Will $$$ change climbing? Born to Climb or Spiral of Death? 
– Fun read from Andrew (@eveningsends) on surviving the ‘jungle’ that is the climbing gym: 
– Rapelling safety tips that are a good reminder for everyone  more great stuff from the AAI (@alpineinstitute)!
– Carnet d’adresse – Nina Caprez …
–  The newest rage with American mountain guides is using a fixed point to belay a leader. Good blog from the AAI: 
–  Asana team member Nina Williams sent The Hatchling (V11) in Rocklands, which is her 1st of the grade. Congrats Nina!

–  Mt. Rainier’s Camp Muir may be in for some changes. Make your voice heard: 
– Another sad loss for the NC climbing community. RIP Lloyd Ramsey. 
– A great roundup of climbing and outdoor news this week from AAI (@alpineinstitute): 

– Simple and Elegant Rope Bag from Arc’teryx: 
– Very first maternity climbing harness is being unveiled by Expect Adventure (@expectadventure) at the OR show: 
– Looking for new gear? Check out the American Alpine Institute’s 2012 Guides’ Choice Awards for gear that has been tested: …
– Look like some good climbing from Stonewear Designs “The Rockin’ Pant” 

– Interesting & different approach for a “Better” Daily Pull-Up Challenge – …
– Recovering from an injury? If done wisely, it can be a great way to improve your fitness: 

Trip Reports
– Trip report from Lauren (@laurenschaad) who just got back from climbing Mount Elbrus: 
– Great Snake Dike trip report from Eileen (@rockgrrl) & beautiful photos! 
– Awesome trip report from Erica (@Cragmama) from her recent trek out west to climb. Here are the first 2 days in Spearfish Canyon! 
– Jillian (@JillianLaura) makes a great point in her weekend climbing trip report here: “Not all trip reports document epic awesomeness and success, and I think that’s alright”: 

– There is one more Chicks with Nuts event this season – out at Seneca Sept. 14-16: 

Fun Stuff
– We say this isn’t too weird. Climber Majka Burhardt is moving and a new pair of crampons ended up on the stove. 
–  When climbing and art merge: 

– Really enjoyed this read from Justin (@TheStoneMind) Hey, what are friends for? No, seriously. I’m askin’! How has the nature of friendship changed for you?: 
– We all knew Teri (@rockmaven56) was badass, but not the high degree of badass you’ll see here:  (We’re psyched to finally meet her at Indian Creek Chicks Rock! next spring!!!)
– Words to live by: “Never sleep in on Saturdays instead of doing something you love”: 
– You know we love our Thursday Semi-Rad blog read. This was another great one:  What Is ‘Trail Magic’? 

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!

New Sterling Rope Tag lines!

Happy Friday! We wanted to take the time today to introduce you to the tag lines our sponsors at Sterling Rope have recently started selling. These ropes are NOT to be used for lead climbing, or in place of a dynamic rope. But, what they are super awesome for is carrying along on a climb that will have multiple long rappels. The tag line (also sometimes called a pull cord or rap line) is then the second rope you can use to make full length rappels, but weighs a LOT less than carrying an actual rope along.

These small, lightweight tag lines are available in three different sizes: 6, 7 and 8 mm. Each diameter is available in 65 and 75 meter lengths. So what is the reason for the 5 meter difference in traditional rope lengths I wondered? The Sterling Rope Director of Marketing John Branagan explained that the stretch in the tag line will compensate for the length difference with a 60m dynamic rope to help you get a full-length rappel. Cool huh? Also, if you ever need to cut the rope material, it’s nice to have those extra few meters available.

Obviously the 8mm is going to be the ‘biggest’ of these tag lines, but it is still significantly lighter than carrying a second rope. Since it’s a static rope, the 8mm also presents a nice option for jugging if needed (saving the wear from your dynamic rope).

We encourage you to check these new products out, but again reiterate that using tag lines is a technique for advanced climbers. As Sterling Rope says “it takes proper training on safely how to use them.” They should never be used for lead climbing, nor in place of a dynamic rope!

Here are some more specs on the different sized tag lines:
Name                         6mm TRC      7mm TAG     8mm TAG
Diameter                     6mm              7mm             8mm
MBS lbs.                     3,484             2,788            3,934
MBS kN                       15.4               12.4              17.5
Elongation                  5.4%               3.5%             2.3%
Weight (lbs/100ft)      27.6               32.3              42.7
DISCLAIMER: Rope choices are a matter of personal experience, application, technical rappelling ability, and/or resources.

Here are links to where you can get more information about these new Sterling Rope tag lines:
– 6mm TRC
– 7mm tag line
– 8mm tag line

WARNING! Mountaineering and technical rope work are potentially hazardous activities and cannot be made safe. Any person using Sterling Rope equipment in any manner is personally responsible for learning the proper techniques involved, and assumes all risks and accepts full and complete responsibility for any and all damages or injuries of any kind, including death, which may result from misuse of any Sterling Rope product.

Oh, and be sure to check out our two Sterling Rope products in the Chicks “Go Shopping” section!