Dawn Glanc to give Montenegro slide show presentation at Boulders Climbing Gym July 26 at 8 p.m.!

In October 2010, Chicks Girly Guide Dawn Glanc along with Patrick Ormond and Jeremiah Watt travelled to Montenegro, a small country in Southeastern Europe to climb. The name Montenegro literally translates to “black mountain” which is very descriptive of the country that is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the southwest, but has only a very narrow coastal plain (only one to four miles wide!) before hitting the various ranges, considered to be some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. Dawn, Pat & Jeremiah were the first American party to climb in Montenegro and were accompanied by a local team of eight climbers. The local climbers’ knowledge and experience helped the American team put up multiple first ascents. Dawn will be giving a slide show presentation that tells the story of this expedition between two cultures that was made successful through a genuine shared love of rock climbing.

Cool! So when & where might you be lucky enough to hear more about this? Here are the details:

Dawn Glanc Montenegro slide show
Thursday, July 26 at 8 p.m.
Boulders Climbing Gym
3964 Commercial Ave
Madison, WI 53714
Cost: Donations will be accepted at the door

And for those who aren’t familiar with our Girly Guide Dawn, here’s a short bio.:
Dawn is an AMGA certified rock and alpine guide as well as a sponsored rock and ice climber. She guides for Chicks Climbing: Chicks with Picks & Chicks Rock! as well as San Juan Mountain Guides. She likes to travel the world adventuring and putting up first ascents. Her sponsors include: Mountain Hardwear, Julbo, Black Diamond, La Sportiva & BlueWater Ropes.

Want to know more about this *amazing* climber? Get all the details of her climbing story here on her Chicks bio. page.

We hope to see you at Boulders! This is going to be a great presentation 🙂

P.S. There is still room (& time) to sign up for our Chicks Rock! Devil’s Lake 3-day intensive climbing clinic, which is why Dawn will be up in Madison! Learn more about the clinic here and contact us at info[at] if you have any questions or want to sign up! We can’t wait to go 🙂

Stay protected with Omega Pacific ‘draws

This week our “Awesome Sponsor” spotlight is on our friends at Omega Pacific.

If you aren’t familiar with Omega Pacific you should maybe take a look at your rack – chances are there is some piece of Omega Pacific gear on there – a biner, a draw, or maybe a piece of pro! We are proud to have them as a sponsor because they are a company that is truly dedicated to the climbers, rescuers and workers who depend on Omega Pacific gear with their lives.

As you can see from this statement on their website, the folks at Omega Pacific are committed to making the best gear on the market: “We show up for work every day convinced that doing it better than anyone else is just part of the job. As a result, we’ve led the way and introduced dozens of industry firsts in features and technologies.”

So today we are going to introduce you to the different quickdraw options they’ve got going on, because every climber (well, except boulderers I guess!) will have some quickdraws as part of their rack, and Omega Pacific makes an awesome range of options.

Omega Pacific has manufactured quickdraws in a variety of styles, lengths and with varying types of carabiners on either end of the draw. In general, the Omega Pacific longer draws are better for wandering face climbs (tripled shoulder slings like their Alpine Draws are the best to reduce rope drag) or traditional crack climbs. However, for short routes that are primarily protected by bolts, you’re better off with Omega Pacific’s shorter quickdraws.

Omega Pacific even has a series of draws tailored for us ice climbers; one of the Five-O series draws which is specialized for its ease-of-use with gloves.

Best yet, for those on a budget there is even the low-cost Dirtbag Draw series. In fact, as of this writing June 29, 2013, the Dirtbag Draw Rackpack (6 draws) is ON SALE for $59.95!

You may have noticed in the photos that Omega Pacific orients its carabiners on all the standard quickdraws with the gates facing opposite each other. Here’s an explanation of WHY they do that: “We feel that this is the safest method to minimize the possibility of simultaneously loading both carabiners in a gate-open position while leading routes which may wander above and to the left or right of your last placement. Under certain circumstances, it is possible for both gates to open during a fall as the ‘draw is scraped along the rock while it orients itself below the point of protection. By opposing the carabiners on a draw, we reduce the possibility of simultaneous gate-opening in this manner.”

For those of you coming out to one of our FOUR remaining Chicks Rock! events this summer & fall, you will get your own free Omega Pacific quickdraw in your goodie bag (shhh…don’t tell anyone!). So make sure you check out our sponsors at Omega Pacific and thank them for supporting our Chicks Climbing programs going strong so that women can come out and climb with women for women! 🙂

P.S. Here are the rest of our Chicks Rock! dates for 2012:
Chicks Rock! Devil’s Lake, Wisc. July 27-30
Chicks Rock! Girly Gathering at the New River Gorge, Sept. 21-23
Chicks Rock! Girly Gathering in the Keene Valley, Adirondacks, NY, Oct. 5-8
Chicks Rock! Red Rock Canyon, Oct. 18-21, optional multi-pitch day Oct. 22


Off-width climber Pamela Pack to give slide show at CWP!

We are SO excited to announce that off-width climber Pamela Shanti Pack is going to give a slide show at our Jan. 18, 2013 Chicks with Picks auction & fundraiser!

Pamela is an unbelievably talented – and committed – off-width climber. Check out this feature Outside Television just put together of her. Impressive doesn’t even begin to describe it!

Pamela may even be joining us during the day in the ice park so stay tuned & start making plans to join us in our FOURTEENTH year of Chicks with Picks! (Yes, that’s the link to our 2013 clinic dates, check it out!) 🙂

Funny story: when I posted this blog I wrote Pamela’s name as Pamela Stack. Who’s got off widths on the brain?! Apologies to Pamela, but I think it’s a pretty cool nickname, like Pamela “Stack” Pack maybe 😉

Sending “Black Angel”, a Chicks’ first 5.10 trad route

Rock Chicks is a South African website dedicated to all the women and girls in South Africa who are climbing alongside the men and boys. They say “We may be a minority at present in the sport of rock climbing but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t climb up and get noticed (or have a website dedicated to just us). After all, everyone knows girls just look better climbing than guys do.”

Chicks alumna Almine Barton has a special connection to the South African climbing scene not just through her family but with her ongoing pursuit of empowering women & girls to climb. Almine writes “Delaney [of Rock Chicks] & I have spoken several times, and we both have the same dream: to heal racial differences, and to empower young South African girls through climbing. My dream is to work with her in the future, via a non-profit I’m working on spear-heading to get gear (harnesses, shoes, etc.) to underprivileged girls in South Africa. Delaney & I are both of the belief that climbing can be a neutral “playing field” for racial issues. When you have a black girl belaying a white girl, there is an automatic friendship & bond that becomes established between climber & belayer. This relationship can prove beneficial, with far-reaching implications. This is where climbing can become bigger than all of us. Nature is the neutral playing field. It does not see race or income. Climbing will be the way Delaney & I make a difference together in Africa. ♥”

Rock Chicks recently interviewed Almine on her first 5.10a trad route lead of “Black Angel” in Smith Rock. Check it out below to see how Almine mentally HTFU to lead this project that last fall she took a major whipper on (bloody picture below!).

“I began moving away from sport to trad climbing about six months back,” Almine begins. “The last time I was able to jump on Black Angel due to the weather (it’s been snowing until recently here) was last year. So, I’ve been a bit “stuck” with it. I had that big fall on it, wanted to get back on it immediately, but couldn’t, because it started to snow several days after, until recently. Outdoor climbing season has now arrived here, so I could work the route again.”

Fortunately it was a fair-weather day, being about 60 degrees and along for support were Liz Coleman, Stewart Mills and Julie Ziedman.

So, what was the hardest part of the route? “The route itself isn’t extremely difficult,” Almine tells us, “Except for the roof section. It’s a lie-back (or you could stem it, but then you’re face-climbing it more than crack climbing). It’s where I took my big fall on it last year. It was my first time trying to lead it and I fell off the roof. It’s a very thin section, that’s a finger-crack sized ‘crux’. It’s a bit tricky to place small gear in this section, because the crack is irregular (the rock is volcanic tuft) and very small.”

And did Black Angel do you an injury? “Really just bled a lot when I fell on it last year. ‘Cheese-grated’ all the way down, almost to the bottom of the route (volcanic tuft is very sharp) from the top of the ‘crux’. Knocked the ‘wind’ out of myself a bit. It was a ‘decent’ fall!”

We can only imagine how Almine must have felt after sending her ‘nemesis’ but we are wrong. Almine admits to feeling: “Just ‘okay’. I didn’t send it as smoothly as I would’ve liked the first time I lead it. I hung out at the ‘crux’, paralyzed with fear, to be honest. I had to wrestle with a lot of ‘mental demons’ at the roof section. I was doing everything I could to calm my breathing and mind, but all I could think about was my fall from the year prior. It was one of my more scary leads. And it wasn’t the difficulty rating of the route, per say, just the psychological ‘story’ in my head about how I fell, the sound of my body against the rock, the blood that stained the rock (that I could see out of the corner of my eye), etc. I would like to lead it with more finesse, less fear, more elegance. That will happen this climbing season. I feel like my first lead on Black Angel was a bit ‘choppy’ due to how mentally strenuous it was for me.”

Nevertheless, Almine sees the best in nearly everything and her send of Black Angel was no exception. “I like the challenge of a ‘worthy opponent’,” Almine says. “This route has everything I like in a route. Wide sections (for perfect ‘fist-jams’), lie-backing, a nice roof section, stemming at the beginning of the route. It’s all there.”

Well done for facing your ‘demons’ and conquering “Black Angel.”

We at Chicks also want to congratulate Almine for sending “Black Angel”!!!! 🙂

Almine Barton is a licensed acupuncturist and certified personal trainer and “CrossFit” coach. She runs two sports medicine clinics in Bend, OR., and Portland, OR.  She works closely with climbers, olympians, and competing “CrossFit” athletes in her practice, and enjoys seeing her patients achieve their fitness and wellness goals. Almine lives near “Smith Rock,” thoroughly enjoying the immense climbing opportunities that Central OR. has to offer. She is an avid sport and trad climber, “CrossFitter,” mountain biker, trail-runner and Adventure Racer. She has two Malamutes named Tallon and Anok, who keep her running trails all winter long. Learn more about Almine at her new website

The Life I Found

It’s about 6:45pm on a beautiful Tuesday evening. We are driving down a dirt road that has seen better days, and I know like the back of my hand. Which has also, seen better days. Dust, dirt and rocks are trying to slow us down as we wrap around yet another corner. I yell out, “climber!”, like it’s a deer in the middle of the road. We give each other a respectful nod of the head as we drive past. This is the perfect moment. I am not driving so I can enjoy the beautiful mountains around us, the way the sun reflects off the volcanic rocks and the slowly setting sun.

Sublime (& what I still think is Charlie Tuna Fish) is playing on the radio and even my hair is dancing around my body to a happy tune.

There is nothing better than this moment.

I am not saying that this climbing day was the best I have ever had, but it is up there. There wasn’t any particularly stellar move, or hard rated climb that I crushed, it was just perfect. Why? Because I climbed and any day that I can do that, is perfect.

My climbing buddy and I decided to head up to Upper Park and do a quick climb at Devil’s Kitchen. This is not a great spot to climb because there are only a couple of routes there but it’s 15 minutes up the dirt road and a perfect excuse to push-off studying for finals. Just for another hour or two…. No one was up there, so we set up, rapelled down and found that the base of the climb was filled with flies. Like, apocalyptic flies. At first, we couldn’t figure out why but then we realized that there were a number of dead mice.


Then there were the mosquitos.

Also, sweet.

This one climb, (which has been rated a number of things so, who knows or cares?) goes directly up the middle of the rock. It’s basalt, so it’s super crimpy, slick, deceiving… kind of like an ex-boyfriend of mine…. Regardless, almost every hold you expect to be stellar, sucks. Besides these facts, I love the place. It’s a fun area to just bang a couple quick climbs out and call it a day.

I was up first and just banged it out. Did I send it? F- no! The first part of the climb is this crazy sequence that I finally figured out last summer and then of course… forgot it. Once I got past the start of the climb, it was fine. Even though I was tired from being out of shape, I felt amazing. Like, drug induced amazing! I was breathless at how beautiful it all felt. Thank (insert name here) for my ability to still climb.

Once school is done, before summer school starts, there will be a lot more moments where I am feeling the same way but for now… I will not take this for granted.

Lauren Azevedo-Henderson is a climber and foodie with a degree in Art History. Lauren has been cooking all her life and has been seriously climbing for just over 2 years. While living in her ex-boyfriend’s van (only for long weekends or a week at a time) she started cooking what you would call “gourmet” food on a camp stone in the van. She now spends most of her time in Red Rock, NV and started writing her food/climbing blog “The Climbing Chef” just last year.

Cranky couples climbing

I saw the video below this morning and was reminded of a time when I behaved like that while climbing too – but I would only have that sort of temper tantrum when I was climbing with just my husband. The presence of one other person would completely prevent me from being cranky, mouthy, bitchy what have you. Why is that? I often wonder why I thought it was acceptable to be so grumpy with the ONE person in this world who has my back 100% of the time.

Luckily these days I have a much better attitude towards climbing and life in general, but wow that brought back memories! I’m sure the boy will get a laugh out of watching this video, too.

Have you ever had a temper tantrum as a result of climbing? Who do you feel ‘safe’ enough to do this around?

Your Monday gossip – get ‘er while it’s hot!

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 have officially wrapped up our 2012 Chicks with Picks clinics, which means we are ALREADY getting ready to rock! First up is a return to our regular stomping ground of Red Rock, Nevada for a 3-day intensive clinic March 22 – 25, with an optional multi-pitch day: March 26th. Then we have a VERY special treat for our Chicks alumnae – an Indian Creek alumnae invitational which includes three days of intensive crack climbing clinics April 27-30, with an optional multi-pitch day May 1. More details on the Indian Creek invitational will be coming out VERY soon – in just a few days, actually so stay tuned! Check out everything for our Red Rock spring trip here.

We had a very inspiring blog to share this week from Girly Guide Caroline George, who just *hours* ago welcomed baby Olivia to the world (Congratulations!!!). In her blog, Caroline reflected on her active pregnancy and how she can’t wait to share a life of adventure with her daughter – you can check it out here.

We also published a gear review of some Columbia Sportswear base layers (the midweight long-sleeved striped top and bottom) along with the Hybrid Down Jacket that Piper tested out as part of her ice climbing system at the Ouray Ice Park a few weeks ago. Find out which piece she especially did NOT want to give back in her review here.

Finally, we posted a really heartfelt and inspirational piece from alpinist Nicky Messner who returned to Aconcagua this past December – the site of her first major expedition and summit – where this year she realized she’s truly come full circle. Check it out here, along with details on Nicky’s upcoming expedition to Kilimanjaro (where you can join her!)

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

P.S. We are just wondering – do you hang out on Google+ ??? We do! Find us here so we can get you in our circle and stay up-to-date on another platform with all the latest and greatest from Chicks.

– Totally badass! Ines Papert & Lisi Steurer nab the FFA of Illuminati – a burly M11+ WI6+
– Girly Guides Dawn Glanc and Kitty Calhoun take a trip to Cody, Wyoming in search of some fresh ice to climb: (part 1)
– Check out Ines Papert climbing ice of a totally different kind in Harbin:
– Alex Johnson Climbs Lethal Design (V12)
– More on Alex Johnson’s send of the V12 Lethal Design – an interview with Climbing Magazine:
– Will Gadd on why we need to stop telling ourselves lies about the risks of mountain sports:
– Kelly Cordes writes a nice piece on the Cerro Torre conflict on the Patagonia “The Cleanest Line” blog:
– Rock and Ice talks with David Lama on his thoughts on freeing the Compressor Route.
– Did you see this WI5 climbed while wearing DOWN BOOTIES?!?! Impressive!
– Splitter Choss on how ice climbing can be a real adventure:
– Good blog from AAI (@AlpineInstitute) on why carrying a knife while climbing can be very handy:
– Another great piece from AAI on using your rope in a climbing anchor:
– Ice climbing in Alaska? How could you not! How cool that a Chicks alumna – Jayme Mack – is an organizer of the upcoming ice fest:
– Really inspiring video – and some impressive crack climbing for a first 5.13!
– Mayan Smith-Gobat climbing the Salathe headwall – awesome video (and no-hands rest at 6:00!):
– Canadian Selena Wong crushing in Bishop:
– Hey AAC (@americanalpine) members, vote on your Board of Directors: (must be logged in to vote).
– Alpine Mentors – A unique opportunity for young alpinists to train under Steve House:
– Want to be a sponsored climber? Trango opens applications to its athlete program:
– Some great tips from Katie (@AdvInspired) on how to make sure you get the most out of your next climbing trip:
– Sarah Garlick and Majka Burhardt ice climbing – or rather mixed climbing – or just rock climbing with crampons…last week in New Hampshire:

– Climbers Trail Clean-Up in Las Vegas:
– Less than a month left to apply for the totally awesome Copp-Dash Inspire Award from the AAC:
– Great news from Red Rock!!!
– A great roundup of this week’s climbing, skiing and general outdoor news from AAI (@AlpineInstitute):
– Genetic screening susses out susceptibility to altitude sickness:

Training & Nutrition
– Some beginner hangboard workout tips from Gif (@rockclimberlife) “My hangboard workout”:
– Steph Davis (@highsteph) explains how endurance comes with more climbing:
– What does training look like for a world champion ice climber? You will be amazed!

– Nice video from Petzl (@Petzl on) how to properly sharpen your ice screws:

Trip Reports
– The AAC Great Lakes Section folks had a great weekend at the Michigan Ice Fest:
– A climbing trip where you can’t climb thanks to the weather – what to do? Hazel Findlay on her trip to Newfoundland:

– A multimedia take on seven of North America’s best adventure destinations from Outdoor Research:

Fun Stuff
– While ice climbing in the Adirondacks, George (@privong) spotted our poster at The Mountaineer in Keene Valley!/PrivonG/status/166377009000357888/photo/1
– Handmade climbing hold earrings, rope bracelets, hemp chalkbags some gift ideas for Valentine’s from Climb on Sister (@ClimbOnSister):
– Ha, these climbing themed valentines from Eastern Mountain Sports (@EASTERNMNTN) are cute!
– The ultimate Valentine’s Day gift for climbers:

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! Thank you, Columbia for your support of our programs!

Save Red Rock Canyon – vote “NO” to both waivers!

Red Rock is a place Chicks love! Photo by Dawn Glanc

As many of you know, Red Rock Canyon is a wonderful climbing mecca just outside of Las Vegas. This haven has been under the threat of development for a long time, and an important vote is coming up this Wednesday, Feb. 8 when seven county commissioners will decide the fate of the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Byway. So, we are re-posting a message from the SRR Coalition which you can see in full here.

Vote No to both waivers!
*waiver 1) would create construction traffic route on Red Rock Scenic Byway
*waiver 2) would remove requirement for prior BLM approval
*official county waiver requests at bottom of article.
Click here to have your vote sent to the commission chair and/or go to the county commission meeting at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the super successful Red Rock Rally!  The canyon received overwhelming support that day, both at LIFETIME Fitness and throughout the canyon as runners and riders rode for Red Rock on the scenic byway in question.  This Wednesday’s vote is what it’s all about.  You can go to the meeting at the county building or you can e-mail your vote (click below).  Attendance was high and supportive at both the rally and community input meeting in which Commission Chair, Susan Brager, committed to denying both waivers, but we still need a majority vote among commissioners, so you can come to the meeting on Wednesday or do the QUICK ONE CLICK method:
Click here to have your vote sent to the commission chair and/or Go to the county commission meeting at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 9:00 a.m.

More info:
On February 8, 2012, seven county commissioners will decide the fate of the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Byway. Will it become the next construction traffic highway for Southern Nevada?  Will the mess and debris of commercial construction trucks penetrate our sacred canyon, and clog it up with debris, noise, dust, and pollution?  *And for the second waiver, will commissioners grant this developer a special favor by helping him with his BLM processes to expedite the process and save him millions in land use fees and rents?

The good news is, several of the commissioners are against waiving these two protections for Red Rock.  Commissioner Brager created the conditions and stands behind them.  But the developer’s lawyers are still at it.  Rhodes’ lawyer Chris Kempfer agreed to these conditions at the last hearing so he could get the votes he wanted, and now he is asking Commissioners to waive them!  Commissioner Brager said she knows that these two conditions she added to protect Red Rock were fair.  She held a public comment meeting for everyone to voice their concerns.  Hundreds of concerned citizens attended that meeting and hundreds more came to the Rally to Save Red Rock.  Susan Brager said that although anyone is welcome to come to the county commission meeting, her position is firm, so not to worry.  They would rather not sit through another 6 hours of passionate testimony because they already know how everyone feels.  They’ll just try to keep the meeting short.  If you can’t make it to the meeting, Emails are another way to voice your opinion. We hope most of the Commissioners will stand up for Red Rock this time and vote no on both waivers.  To those commissioners, we say, thank you! and to the rest, we ask to, VOTE NO ON BOTH WAIVERS!

*Sample letter and official waiver request:

Dear Commissioner,

Red Rock Canyon was not made to accommodate construction traffic and the impacts of urban density development.  The legal land use is rural with no construction traffic access on the scenic byway. Please do not change this. Please VOTE NO ON BOTH WAIVERS:







MP-0313-11 (WC-0099-11) – GYPSUM RESOURCES, LLC:HOLDOVER WAIVER OF CONDITIONS of a Concept Plan requiring the following: 1) no access onto Highway 159; and 2) right-of-way approval from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for primary access is required prior to approval of Specific Plan in conjunction with a mixed use comprehensive planned community on approximately 2,016.0 acres in an R-U (Rural Open Land) Zone. Generally located on the north side of State Highway 159, approximately 1.5 miles west of the intersection of State Highway 160 (Blue Diamond Road) and State Highway 159 within Red Rock. SB/rk/ed (For possible action)

The Resurrection

This blog started because I was wondering. In life, love, work, everything… I found myself, cooking awesome food on a camp stove inside a van. This van was my home for periods of time while climbing with my ex boyfriend. To this day, he is the voice inside my head when I climb… he is what pushes me harder, and what makes me want to climb harder than “the boys”.

Cooking has always been some what easy for me. I love doing it, and it just makes sense for me. When I started cooking meals on this stove, located inside a van, that was located in a desert in NV, I never thought it was anything special. My dad informed me otherwise, and it’s because of him that I even started this blog. He, by the way, is the one who named me, The Climbing Chef.

Before I was a preschool teacher in San Francisco, who during breaks (or whenever) would fly out to see her (then) boyfriend at wherever he was climbing. He, the ex, was an amazing architect who decided to take a break and live out of a van, tour the country and climb like an ape. I still admire him for doing this, even if things between us didn’t end up with a “Happily Ever After” attached it this story. But… like I was saying… before all of this…. I worked for UCSF on their rock climbing wall. I had climbed before but never outside… I was 100% a gym rat. A leisurely, gym rat at that. I liked to climb but it had not taken over my life…. yet.

One fateful afternoon, I met an amazing woman who invited me to join her and her friends on my first outdoor climbing experience. Going out of my comfort zone, I accepted and have been hooked to the same group of climbing friends ever since. Some more than others, I have remained close to but I credit them for most, if not all, of my climbing knowledge and passion.

If we fast forward this story to April 2011, you would have found me in Red Rock Canyon, NV for my third climbing trip there. The previous two times before that, was with my ex and was when I spent time “living” in his van. This trip was amazing and I finally felt like I was thriving within my climbing. That trip, I was able to climb an 11.a and an 11.b… neither of them I climbed clean, but I was still capable of those problems. IT WAS AMAZING!

Sadly, right after that (literally on that trip), I started getting sick. Really sick. Thank goodness for one of my best friends, who was able to get me out of the canyon and into a hotel room, because I would not have been able to do it alone.

My climbing pretty much ended for the season right then and there. I was able to do a few more day trips here and there, and an occasional gym climb… but I was really hurting at that point. Come end of May and I wasn’t able to climb at all…

That means that I was without my drug of choice, climbing, for almost 8 months. My heart was broken.

Finally, it was time for what I am calling: The Resurrection

Last weekend I headed up to Grizzley Dome and tried my hardest to climb something…. anything. I had no idea how much strength I had lost and mainly, how much of my “mental” was still there. The goal? To climb laps on whatever I could do.

Soooo, the day started when we reached the rocks at just before 10:00am. I figured it was a good sign that I was giddy and not just nervous. We unloaded the car, racked up, and my friend took off to lead a pretty decent 5.8 sport route. This route has always been weird for me… there is this one move that even back before April, stumped me. Regardless, she lead it like a pro and I lowered her.

My turn…

The first run at it was hard. Not physically but mentally. To be honest, I haven’t lost too much strength. Sure, I have lost some but not a lot… mainly in my feet and ankles. They started getting tired a lot quicker and my stamina wasn’t there. But, like I said, it was mostly my head… I felt like a total newbie! After the first run, I took a quick break, had a snack and did it again…

And again….

Then I hopped on a 5.7 and cruised up it like a pro. Yea yea yea, it’s a 5.7, I know… but at least it is something 🙂

Thankfully, I can say that this Climbing Chef is back in action! For as long as I can, I will not take any climbing trips, adventures, climbs and/or experiences for granted. I’d much rather be climbing something “easy” than not climbing at all.

To top it all off, these Goo Balls (thanks Rach for the name change) have been a huge hit. All of my friends and loved ones can’t stop eating them. Thanks Evan 🙂

Goo Balls:

(original recipe here.. not mine at all… but I love them)

Ingredients(Makes about 18 balls):

1 1/2 cups pitted dates

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

3 T chia seeds

In a food processor, combine the dates and raisins until they make a dough like ball. Once this happens, add in the peanut butter and chia seeds. Continue mixing until completely combined. Take out of the food processor and finish mixing by hand. Finally (yea, like it’s been forever… it takes all of 5 minutes… jez), pinch off small amounts of the mixture and roll into balls. I like mine the size of large gum balls or small golf balls but make them how you wish. Also, I doubled the recipe because I knew I would LOVE them. I suggest doing the same!

These have been saving my butt at work since I made them, because I can eat them quickly and they give me a lot of energy. They also rock for climbing!

Haha, get it?! Rock…

Lauren Azevedo-Henderson is a climber and foodie with a degree in Art History. Lauren has been cooking all her life and has been seriously climbing for just over 2 years. While living in her ex-boyfriend’s van (only for long weekends or a week at a time) she started cooking what you would call “gourmet” food on a camp stone in the van. She now spends most of her time in Red Rock, NV and started writing her food/climbing blog “The Climbing Chef” just last year.

A Day…in which I milk the goat

Thank you to Lisa V., a chick in her second ice climbing season that headed out to the Bozeman Ice Fest last month. She sent us her trip report which was full of photos and tips from her experience at the fest. You can check out her blog here.

Not literally. I have no idea how to milk a goat. That’s a Montana skill to be learned another day. Or never. What I did do was take another ice climbing clinic. Milking the goat refers to getting the most from your strength and endurance in order to climb more efficiently.

You might not know this (I sure didn’t before moving here), but Hyalite Canyon outside of Bozeman has over 225 pitches of naturally-forming ice. This is the most concentrated area in North America for ice climbing. This year marks the 40th year of climbing in the canyon. And it marks the 15th year of the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival. And it marks the beginning of my second season climbing as well as my second women’s clinic at the Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival.

Reasons why climbing clinics are amazing:
1. You get to demo all kinds of high-end gear that you probably can’t afford on your own.
2. You get to learn from some of the top climbers in the world. Kitty Calhoun was my instructor.
3. You get to meet amazing people from around the country.
4. You learn that your body is capable of more than you ever dreamed it would be.
5. You get to hang out all day in a place that is breathtakingly gorgeous.
6. I’d list more, but let’s just let pictures tell the story.

So excited to start! Before lap 1 and before the burning arms.

Pro photo. Copyright Ari Novak.

Lap 2! More successful than lap 1.

Lap 4. Not as successful. That nonsense was hard.

Swing, kick kick. Triangle!

Not the kind of swinging I wanted to be doing…

Karen (in the gray) and Kitty (in the blue) try to unstick  a frozen rope.

In all, I did 5 laps (although I only made it to the top of 3). I got home around 4:00 with 8 hours of climbing under my belt and with muscles aching that I didn’t even know I had. So, what I’m saying is, Friday was a great day!

So, in summation, here’s my official review of the 2011 Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival:
1. Demo gear checkout- much smoother than 2010. Gear was back at the Emerson on time from the day’s clinics, we were able to get in on time at 5:00, and the staff had the process dialed in. (Or maybe they were volunteers. Whoever they were, they were great!). I loved the opportunity to try all kinds of gear that I haven’t tried before. Here is a quick round-up of what I demo’ed and my (newbie) opinion:

Me in all my demo glory.

    • – La Sportive Nepal EVO GTX boots = amazing. I’ve also tried Scarpa and Kayland boots, and for me the La Sportivas are the first boots I’ve tried that have accommodated the width of my feet. I even had some extra room for a heat pack if I wanted. My feet aren’t really that wide, they’re quite average, but apparently with mountaineering socks they become wide, and the Nepals are the first and only boot I’ve tried that doesn’t squish my poor toes together. As a result, I could actually feel my feet all day. And now I own a pair of them.
    • – Black Diamond mono-point Cyborg crampons = good. These felt nice and lightweight, I didn’t really notice them at all. I have only climbed in mono-points once before, but I think I like them better than a dual-points. At first, it was hard to trust only have one point, but once I overcame that mental block I appreciated having the more targeted, deeper penetrating mono-point. Apparently they’re also more flexible for mixed climbing, but I have not yet dared to venture into that world.
    • – Black Diamond Viper axes = definitely not my favorite. On the plus side, the grip was comfortable in my hand, meaning it was small enough for my tiny girly hands. For me, the way the weight was distributed made the axes feel really heavy, especially as the day went on. By the top of each climb I was exhausted. I was definitely happy to try out some Grivel tools at the end of the day.
    • – Rab Neutrino Endurance down jacket = super warm. The Pertex shell material felt strong and held up to a day of me tossing it around on ice, tree stumps, etc. without any escaping feathers. The double zipper is also nice for belaying, as you can just part the jacket around your belay device without having to bunch anything up or unzip your whole jacket. The Neutrino Endurance is also a longer length, which I prefer because it helps block any chilly breezes from finding their way up my back.
    • – Rab Latok gloves = super sticky grippy palms, but wetted out after a few hours. To be fair, it was a wet day on the ice and for the conditions, I thought these held up very well. A word of warning, my boyfriend has the men’s version of these, and the sticky palm decals are peeling.

This is the best photo I could get of the peeling.

    • – OR Extravert gloves = not as sticky as the Latoks, but still comfortable and I didn’t notice any slipping. I only climbed in them once or twice, so I can’t give much more of an opinion.

2. Travel up to Hyalite- the plow job was top notch. Probably helped by the fact that we haven’t really had much snow. But well done Hyalite plowing!
3. Check in on clinic morning- also more efficient than 2010. Free hot drinks and pastries in the morning and a very clear check-in point, as well as a volunteer who directed us to our clinic meeting areas.
4. Instruction- My clinic was led by one of the top female climbers in the country, if not the world. She was very inspiring to watch, although I think I learned a lot more from my instructors last year. This could be because I was a never-ever last year, but I think it was because in 2010 we spent a good hour to an hour and a half working on fundamentals as a group. This year we had about a 10-15 minute talk, a quick demo by the instructor, and then we were set loose. That’s not to say that I didn’t learn anything or that Kitty was neglecting the class. She was very good about calling up to us with tips while we were on the ice, and I did pick up some good tips over the course of the day, specifically about picking muscle movements to focus on and also some good stuff about reducing fatigue and neck pain while belaying.
5. Mini-clinics- We were supposed to break into a couple mini-clinics in the afternoon, but the anchor clinic never materialized. That was kind of a bummer, I’d really like to get some experience with setting up anchors.
6. Gear return- Super simple. And a volunteer was waiting for us with hot chocolate and optional peppermint schnapps. And there were more pastries. Pastries make me happy.
7. Evening events- fun and informative, as always! Great gear giveaways, engaging speakers, interesting films and slideshows.

Going up!

If you’re in Bozeman and haven’t tried ice climbing, you should attend this festival. If you’re not in Bozeman, you should visit and attend this festival. They let you demo all the gear you need, you get a full day of climbing with amazing people, and you feel so empowered that you think you can rule the world. No joke. The sense of accomplishment I get from ice climbing makes the runner’s high feel like nothing. For all of you out-of-towners, we’ve got a futon, an extra bed, and plenty of floor space. I expect to see you next December.