Training Tips for Chicks – Basic Rock Climbing Training Program

Basic Rock Climbing Training Program – Installment #10
By: Carolyn Parker 

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there! Click here to start at the beginning or simply visit the Chicks blog and click “Training and Nutrition” from the category menu.It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first nine installments to get a look at all the great movement VIDEOS that have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all – so please enjoy!  Below this review, please find a great eight week training program perfect for beginner climbers.

Newsletter #1:

Shoulder Openers
Cuban Press
Wall Squat

Newsletter #2:

Goblet Squat
Leg Lower and Raise
L seats
Knee Raise
Static holds: FLR, ring support

Newsletter #4:

Walking Push Ups
Ring Push Ups
DB Push Press
Plate OH Hold
Handstand Hold
Bench dip / ring dip

Newsletter #5:

Pull Up
Body Row
Bent Over Row
High Pull
Pull Over
Walking Lunge, OH Walking Lunge
Front Raise
Lateral Raise Standing
Reverse Fly
Y’s with Bands
Low Trap Flys with bands
Front Squat

Newsletter #9

Bear Crawl
Box jump
KB Swings,
Front Squat Push Press Combo

Last installment was for climbers who already had some climbing experience and were looking to push to a new level. How about those of you who are just getting started and look around you at climbers who seem to do the impossible?

Here’s a place for the new climber to start.

Over the years I’ve taught hundreds of women to climb for the first time. One of the most common “fears” or concerns I hear voiced is: oh I’m not strong enough to climb…The truth is no climber you see was strong when they started to climb. Climbing makes you strong and truthfully it’s often an advantage to not be a thug when beginning this sport because you are forced to learn good technique. Technique gets you further than strength any day. So practice and get some good coaching to learn great technique first, then if you add some strength to that (here’s where I come in) you’ll be off to a fantastic start.

Basic Rock Climbing Training Program, 8 weeks:

Monday – Yoga or active recovery 30-60min
Tuesday – Climbing 90min
Wednesday  – Strength Training 60min and 30min Cardio
Thursday Climbing 90min
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Climbing outside if possible and yoga
Sunday – Strength training 60 min and cardio 60 min

Climb 2 – 3 days a week at first. Most of my gals also need work with flexibility, if you don’t great! If you do, try to squeeze in a yoga class once a week and do a little on your own. Initially I don’t have new climbers climb on back to back days. Eventually this may be productive and if you need to due to schedule then by all means. The above schedule is “ideal” move days around as you need for the “reality” of life.

Try to keep to this schedule for 8 weeks. Along the way make notes of how many routes you climb, what difficulty, etc. You won’t be able to remember where you started and as we often tend to do when starting a training program we loose track of our progress because there are always others better than us.

Monday: Yoga or an easy walk, jog, bike ride 30 – 60 min, let your muscles recover from the busy weekend.

Tuesday: Climbing – begin with a warm up route at whatever grade you warm up. This is a route that is easy for you and you don’t get terribly pumped doing. Let’s say that’s 5.7. Then try this grouping:

1x  5.7
2x  5.8
2x 5.9
1x 5.10 (more than one try if you fall and have the energy to get back on the route)
1x 5.9
1x 5.7

So that is eight routes peaking at a difficulty that you have to hang to figure it out. Pick routes that are your style at first and go back to the harder route 5.9 – 5.10 each session until you can complete them. Do not just move on because you couldn’t do the route first try, instead use the route as a teacher. Try to remember the moves, work all the moves out, then complete the route. This may take more than one gym session but you are building the strength to climb at this grade. Once you complete the 5.9/5.10 pick a new group of routes to accomplish. You can also start at a harder grade than 5.7 and put in whatever route difficulties are appropriate, easier or harder. Your goal over the next 8 weeks is to complete as many routes 5.9/5.10 that are hard for you and then begin building the number of attempts you make on routes off that difficulty, so by the end of 8 weeks maybe your gym session looks like this:

1x 5.8
1x 5.9
2x 5.10
1x 5.10+
1x 5.10-
1x 5.9
1x 5.8

Wednesday: Strength training. In the previous chicks newsletters I’ve gone into detail about how to get strong without getting big.  Once the athlete understands the lift, the movement, the skill to be performed and the athlete is properly warmed up. We want to focus on a total rep count for that movement of (12 – 25 reps) this can be done in sets and reps as such: 5 x 5, 5 x 3, 8 x 3, 6 x 2. The goal is to find a body weight movement, and external object movement or lift that requires a high muscle output from the athlete where finishing this low number of reps causes near failure (but not failure) on the last rep or two. Failure is that of strength or form, do not let your form go!!


For your strength workouts pick four movements to focus on, for example:
Pull Up
Pull Over
Push Up
4 supplemental movements:
Leg Lowers
Weighted Sit ups
Push Press
Mtn Climbers

The first four movements are the focus of your workout, you want to gain strength in these movements, the second set of four are supplemental movements that will help with core strength and stamina and be an oppositional movement for climbing muscles. Helping injury proof the athlete.

Then you put a workout together:

Warm up 10:00 light cardio to warm the body in temperature
2 x 8 shoulder openers
2 x 5 cuban press
3 x 5 wall squats
2 x 6 goblet squats
5x Pull Up make then difficult!, use as little assistance as necessary an break up the reps to single if you need to.
5x Deadlift warm up to a weight that is reasonable for you, do not loose form! Then use that weight for your workout.
Complete 5 rounds of this with 1:00 rest between sets. and a short rest between movements.
10x Leg Lowers (and Raise)
30 – 60 secs Mtn climbers
60 sec rest
Complete 4 rounds
Cool down for 10:00 minutes easy cardio again, foam roller, stretching.

Now you have a framework for your workouts, use the information in previous newsletters to structure your workouts beyond this example. As well, all movements aside from Mtn Climbers, and Weighted Sit Ups which are included here, have been reviewed in previous newsletters.

Mountain Climber
Mountain Climber

Weighted Sit Ups

Weighted Sit Up

Thursday: Climbing, similar structure as Tuesday.

Friday: Rest, yes…do it. Actually rest!

Saturday: If weather permits head outside!! Nothing beats a day outdoors to practice your new sport with friends. Top rope or leading, get as many pitches in as you can and have a huge smile on your face!

Sunday: Head to the gym for your second strength session of the week, formulate it like Wednesday’s session however use different movements. Then get out again, cross training day, hike, ride, run, what ever you love to do with friends, family, your pooch.

Now you’ve got a plan and a program, again keep track of your workouts, pitches climbed, difficulty, so you can track your improvement. This is a huge motivator and most athletes loose track. I keep track for them when they train in my gym and they are always shocked and amazed by the progress they’ve made in such a short period of time.

Happy Climbing!

Carolyn Parker

Training Tips for Chicks: 8 Week Rock Climbing Training Program

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!
Its incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 6 installments to get a look at all these great movements. Videos have been included!

IMG_3288Rock Climbing Training Program, 8 Weeks

I’m going to start with an intermediate rock climbing training program, this applies to the climber who leads and is comfortable top roping up to 5.10 or 5.11. Here we go, lots to explain but I’ll try to keep it simple and out of the weeds. Your week will look like this:
Monday – Yoga or active recovery
Tuesday – Strength session gym and power climbing
Wednesday  – Strength session gym and strength endurance for climbing
Thursday – PE session gym/Cardio vascular output
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Climb
Sunday – Climb or rest if overly tired, listen to your body this is a lot of volume
Climb  2 – 4 days a week to the best of your ability.
Week 1 – 3: Hard weeks push yourself.
Week 4: Easy week- take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
Week 5 – 7: Hard weeks push yourself again.
Week 8: Easy week – take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.

Days in Detail

Monday – self explanatory
Tuesday – If possible climb first: warm up on easy routes or boulder problems, this is a hard bouldering workout for climbing power, try things you fall off after a move or two, try and do all moves and project the same problems for three weeks you will make progress every week. In your session once warmed up complete: 3xVO 2xV1 2xV2 1xV3 –
Then once the skin is done head to the regular gym area and do a supplemental strength workout.
Wednesday(You may have to skip this workout at first depending how sore  you are from Tuesday till you build the capacity to recover from this amount of work. Thats ok, listen to your body. If you do then do active recovery,  yoga, recovery endurance, etc.) 
Start with climbing, now it’s routes of difficulty. warm up on two moderate pitches then. TR or Lead with no hangs or very short hangs if you fall, i.e. get back on the wall.
Three routes at or close to your limit back to back with no rest. for example 5.10, 5.11, 5.9 you should be blowing off the last route due to pump and fatigue both mental and physical. Climb routes you know so you can be super efficient and try to finish them once you fall you are done, no hang dogging. do 3- 4 groups of three pitches. Vary difficulty so you are always falling on last pitch or close. As the weeks progress make the pitches more difficult: 5.10, 5.11, 5.11. Find a partner psyched on this as well, they belay you, then you belay them!
Then once the skin is done head to the regular gym area and do a supplemental strength workout.
Thursday – This is a cardio vascular output WO, this is for heart rate capacity or VO2Max and your ability to recover when under duress. Very important while leading difficult routes you’ve got to be able to recover quickly at rests, and that’s not just forearm recovery, heart rate management is key.
You’ll do WO provided below under the Power Endurance category (IWT) and the like. If you are super sore from Tuesday’ WO and can’t climb Wed, then shift your climbing to Thursday and do routes + PE WO and rest Wednesday. Or do Yoga.
Friday –  Rest, or active rest go on a walk, easy ride. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to be disciplined enough and work hard at training. Give your body and brain a down day.
Sat and Sun – go outside I want you to try and climb both days, or get Endurance greater than 90min on one of the days. Saturday – Push Hard climbing you should feel good coming off a recovery day.
Sunday –  go easy, fun indoor climbing or nice long ski or ride. Or rest if necessary.
Repeat the week above, move things around as life demands. And get a friend to train with you so much more fun!
If you’d like specific Strength WOs to try so you don’t have to build your own. Email me
 and mention the Chicks Newsletter and I’ll send you workouts based on what has been listed in the newsletters so far. There is a fee involved, which will be discussed at the time.
Power Endurance WO are below. We haven’t spent much time discussing this type of workout in the newsletters so here are a couple of examples.
Power Endurance #1
Warm up 10:00 Row, 5:00 minutes of the 10:00 sound be 30 secs hard, 30 sec easy to open up the pipes a bit.
wall squats 3 x5
goblet squats 2 x 10
shoulder openers 2 x 10
warm up to your deadlift weight
5x Deadlift+ 90 Sec Row, 2:00min rest
Three Rounds.
5min rest
5x Front Squat + 90sec Airdyne (indoor bike) 2:00min rest
Three Rounds
5:00min rest
7 x 15m KB Bear Crawl 2 @ 30 –  55# DBs or KBs
Power Endurance #2
Warm up:10min C2 or Airdyne
wall squats 3 x5
goblet squats 2 x 10
oh walking lunges 2 x 10
2:00 KB Swings + 500m Row + 20x Box Jump 18″ + 20x Front Squat/Push Press with DBs + 2:00 Airdyne (Indoor Bike) Go Hard! + 2:00 KB Swings rest 2:00
x 2
8 – 1 Push Up Ladder

Chicks Training Videos:

View our complete list of videos on the Chicks Climbing YouTube Channel.
New videos this week:


Chicks Training Tips: Creating Regular Workouts

Written by: Carolyn Parker
GSquatIt’s incredibly beneficial for all adventurers to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first six installments to get a look at all these great movements (with detailed videos):
  • Shoulder Openers – Shoulder flexibility and ROM
  • Modified Cuban Press – Rotator Cuff strengthening and posture correction, with scapular area strengthening, and overhead ROM
  • Wall Squat

Installment #2:

  • Goblet squat
  •  Push ups

Installment #3 (part 1):

  • Leg lower and raise
  • KTE
  • L seats
  • Knee raise
  • Static holds
  • FLR
  • Ring support

Installment #3 (part 2):

  • Push ups
  • Walking push ups
  • Ring push ups
  • Archers
Installment #3 (part 3):
  • Pull up
  • Body row
  • Bent over row
  • High pull
  • Pull over
  • Walking lunge
  • OH walking lunge
  • BSSU

Installment #4:

  • Front raise
  • Lateral raise
  • Reverse fly
  • Y’s with bands
  •  Low trap flys with bands
  • Deadlift
  • Front squat
  • DB push press
  • Plate OH hold
  • Handstand hold
  • Bench dip / ring dip
Eventually the athlete will have built a good, broad foundation from which to launch their fitness to the next level. But how exactly is this done? Imagine being in an oar boat paddling to a destination, your goal.  If you just barely dig the paddle in a gently pull you may eventually get there but the current may pull you off course long before you arrive at your goal. Instead now it’s time to dig the paddle in deep, pull hard and set a course to confidently arrive at your destination and achieve your goals.
For our next installment I’ll begin the discussion of what a workout might look like when you start putting the movements together and structuring the sets and reps and load for strength gains. Remember we participate in a strength to weight ratio sport, all mountain sports are. We want to remain light and get strong! So here we go!
Without getting deep in the weeds we have a simple structure to workouts:
Part I) warm up – 10:00 of activity or movement to actually “warm” the body. Light jog, rowing machine, stationary bike, jumping rope all are great.
1a)Then a specific warm up is needed to not only for alignment but physical preparation for what is to come in the workout. If you spend 10 extra minutes warming up properly the return you get from your workout will be ten fold.
Part II) The core of the workout, this is the focus of the workout. Is it strength based, strength endurance, power endurance.
Part III) Usually we want to add a “supplemental” piece to the end of a training session. Often this targets either an area of identified weakness in the athlete or some part of the machine that has yet to be trained that day.
The following four workouts are examples of this idea of constructing a training session comprised of three parts. Remember we are just scratching the surface of strength training. If you have any questions, seek an education and coaching from a professional who can work with you directly.
Workout 1
Warm up 10:00 bike
Shoulder openers 2 x 8
Cuban Press 2 x 5
Y’s with Band 2 x 8
Wall squats  3 x 5
OH Walking Lunge 30m
Work up to heavy BSSU
5 x 3 (per leg) BSSU@_____
On rings
10x Archers + 10x Feet to Hands 5
rest 3:00
FLR 3 x 60 sec work/ 60 sec rest
Workout 2
Shoulder openers 2 x 8
Cuban Press 2 x 5
DB PP 2 x 8
Wall squats  3 x 5
Walking Lunge 30m
Work up to heavy SLSLDL
5 x 2 SLSLDL@ _____
In between sets:
Work up to heavy weighted pull up, 2 RM (Rep Max) hang weight from a harness at waist. If you are still working on pull ups this is the time to walk away from assistance and try jumping into a locked off pull up and slowly lower controlling the movement as a negative, these should feel hard! (5 x 2)
10x weighted leg lowers + 5x KB Bosu chest press
Rest as necessary
5 rounds
Workout 3

Warm up 10:00 Row, 5:00 minutes of the 10:00 sound be 30 secs hard, 30 sec easy to open up the pipes a bit.


wall squats 3 x5

goblet squats 2 x 10

shoulder openers 2 x 10

warm up to your deadlift weight



5x Deadlift+ 90 Sec Row, 2:00min rest

Three Rounds.

5 min rest


5x Front Squat + 90sec Airdyne 2:00min rest

Three Rounds

5:00min rest


7 x 15m KB Bear Crawl 2 @ 30 –  55# DBs or KBs

Workout 4
Warm up: 10 min row
Wall squats 3×5
Goblet squats 2x 10
Shoulder openers 2x 10
Work up to heavy DL
Then 5 x 3 DL @ ______
rest 2-3 min between sets
(If the athlete is well conditioned a round of 5x Push up + 5x Pull up can be done between sets of Deadlifts.)
Finish with
1:00 Sit Ups
1:00 Mtn Climbers
1:00 Ring Support
1:00 rest
x 3
There are many, many elements to cover: frequency of workouts, what type of workout to do when, strength vs. power, what is power endurance. I will continue to cover these topics in the Chicks training newsletters and for more detailed information regarding programming of this nature you can contact me at or [email protected]

Training Tips for Chicks: Pulling Strength & Ski Legs

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous posts, there’s a lot of great information in there.

Winter is on its way! For some of you snow has already fallen, puffy jackets, hats and gloves are out and skis are being dusted off with excitement for the winter! And if skiing isn’t your number one, I know ice climbing must be, so sharpen those tools and lace up those boots the ice is forming!

This installment will round off a few pulling strength movements for climbers the last of a three part series for climbing. Even though rock season is ending, ice is just around the corner. In addition, we will begin to introduce leg/ski specific training for winter fun – back or front country!

Once again gals, all the techniques and movements discussed in Chicks Training Tips are beneficial for all mountain athletes of all ages. The number one goal for fun is outdoor play, let’s enhance that fun, injury proof you and keep you stronger longer!

Let’s talk pulling!
We can pull in quite a few ranges of motion:

  • The Pull Up
  • The Row
  • The High Pull
  • The Pull Over

If you remember from previous newsletters we want to target, more sets x fewer more demanding reps. If you can easily perform 10 reps of any of these exercises it’s time to make it harder gals! 5 x 5, 5 x 3, 6 x 2. Review the Stronger Not Bigger post for more information.

Pull Ups
Rings or Bar, If you can’t yet do pull ups on your own grab a band (jumpstretch) for assistance and avoid machines that push on your feet or knees. Your body needs to learn and master stabilizing itself through the range of motion (ROM) of the pull up.

Try to pull from full extension, leading with the chest/sternum raised to completion of elbows back and looking over the bar. Let’s say you can do a ton of pull ups already…try adding weight to your body to make it harder, you can hang a kettle ball (KB) from your harness.

Body Row or Bent Over Row
The Body Row is done using a bar in a squat rack and a bench. The movement must be performed in the full ROM for full benefit. This means chest to the bar for each rep. Begin with the easiest movement with both feet on the ground, advance to one foot on the ground and one on the bench and then both heels on the bench. Stabilize the body, activate the glutes and core and pull your chest up rather than thrusting the hips.

The Bent Over Row is another great movement that also establishes good connection with the posterior chain: glutes, low back, hamstrings. Tools you can are DBs, KBs, or a barbell the movement is the same. Begin standing, creating a slight bend in the knees then activate hamstrings and glutes. Hinge forward, keeping the back flat and spine neutral. Stabilize and protect the low back. Once leaning forward to a point where the torso is almost parallel with the floor, pull or row the hands toward the chest. Drive the elbows back and remember to stop the movement for a second once hands reach your chest before lowering and repeating!

High Pull
I do this movement with a lighter barbell, DBs or KBs just to keep the movement and the strength balanced in the shoulders.

Pull Over
I usually use KBs for this movement, you can use a barbell as well. Laying on the floor, place the weight above your head only far enough away that you can grab the KB with bent elbows, do not try this with straight arms! The spine should be neutral and the core stabilized. Raise the KB off the floor till just above the chest then lower to the ground and repeat. As you lower the KB it is critical that you stabilize your spine and do not let the low back arch.

Ok gals! Previous posts have given a host of core and upper body strength movements for climbing and all mountain sports, let’s get strong!

And now to check in with the foundation of leg strength. The first thing I check with all incoming athletes is single leg movements.

In your warm up add the Walking Lunge and OH walking Lunge to prepare the body neuro-muscularly. The stride should be such that the legs end up at 90 degree angles, your torso should stay erect and the head, shoulder, hip, knee (posterior) should remain in alignment through out the movement. Stride should be a hip width stance, do not walk as though you are on a balance beam, take at least 10 steps forward then reverse the movement, going backward is quite hard. Then add weight (light) in one hand overhead, try forward and backward with each arm. 10 steps.

Now you are ready to begin testing both the SLSLDL – Single Leg Straight Leg Dead Lift and the BSSU – Back Squat Step Up. Try these two movements on different days. It can take a bit of time to work through both. You will likely discover that you have an imbalance between your legs. It may be minimal or profound. All sports, skiing, climbing, trail running, cycling utilize our legs in a single leg fashion. We are limited by our weaker limb so let’s train that leg to be stronger!

Single Leg Straight Leg Dead Lift
Single leg movements take a great deal of focus and attention to do properly, continue to practice and pay attention to the details.

Squat down and pick up the barbell or KB you are going to use with proper form. Begin in an upright position, take a single step forward and activate that leg. Retract the shoulder blades, engage the entire posterior chain, keep your hips and shoulders square and level through out the movement then raise the non-standing leg to initiate the movement. Keep both glutes active, hinge forward till BB or KB touches the floor stand back up, re-stabilize and repeat.

Back Squat Step Up
On a 14 – 18” box, depending on your height. Begin by placing a PVC or broom stick, or light bar on the back as if in back squat position. Place one leg on the box as if you are going to do a step up, come up on your tip toe on the foot on the floor then press with the leg on the box to step up, do not push off the floor. This is a difficult movement to master, we usually want to push off the floor but try and activate the working leg and isolate it.

Ok gals! Test out your leg strength, see which leg is stronger, start using more weight for both movements.

If you remember from previous newsletters we want to target, more sets x fewer more demanding reps. If you can easily perform 10 reps of any of these exercises it’s time to make it harder gals! 5 x 5, 5 x 3, 6 x 2. Review the Stronger Not Bigger post for more information.

Balance the body but remember do not train the stronger leg more than the weaker, catch the weak leg up.

Next few installments we will visit two leg strength movements, stabilize our shoulders, talk about power production and more advanced core stability! We are just scratching the surface of strength training. There are many many elements to cover, frequency of workouts, what type of workout to do when, strength vs. power, what is power endurance.

We will continue to cover these topics in the Chicks Blog or you can have them delivered to your inbox by signing up for the Chicks Newsletter.  For more detailed information regarding programming of this nature you can contact me at or via e-mail.

Signing off for now,
Carolyn Parker

Best Belay Ever

As many climbers know, a good belayer is hard to come by. Sure, most climbers know how to belay, but few actually do it right. Most of the time the climber just assumes that their partner has the skills to keep them off of the ground. No one wants to look down while climbing a crux sequence close to an obstacle to see the belayer daydreaming and not paying attention. Here are a few tips to help you be a better belayer.

Stack the rope
Start at one end of the rope and flake it onto a rope tarp. This will help keep your belay area neat and orderly, and allow you to pay out slack smoothly. By flaking the rope, you take the time to eliminate knots and kinks in the rope. Using a ground cloth of some sort will keep the rope from catching on roots or around rocks.

Stand up and stand close
When belaying, most of the time you should remain standing. If your stance is precarious, perhaps a seated stance or using an anchor point would be more acceptable. Be sure you stand in a balanced athletic position to allow for taking and giving slack smoothly. By standing close to the route you can avoid being slammed into the wall if the climber falls. Oftentimes, standing below the first bolt will also help keep the climber from hitting the ground.

What not to do while belaying.

What not to do while belaying.

This is a photo of what NOT to do. This woman is standing way too far away from the route. She will get pulled forward very quickly when the climber falls. Also, she needs to keep her hand in the brake position when the climber is not moving.

Pay attention and watch the climber
When belaying, limit your talking to others and ask others to limit talking to you. Too much chatting can be distracting and you may miss communications with the climber. Stay focused on the task of belaying. This is not the time to be reading guide books or checking your phone. If you cannot see the climber, you may try a pair of belay glasses to help. When you give your full attention to the climber, confidence is provided to make the scary moves.

Give them some slack
Belaying is a give and take relationship. You must be on your game when you have another person’s life in your hands. Avoid giving huge loops of slack. The “sport” loop is not always acceptable. Keep enough slack so that the climber can move freely without being tugged on. However, adjust your slack if the climber is close to the ground or a ledge. Keeping the climber close, or with little slack, will keep them from hitting the obstacle. If the climber is moving over a ledge or is on a very overhanging route, more slack is needed to keep the climber from slamming into the roof or overhang in the case of a fall. You must constantly adjust the loop of slack for the terrain the climber faces.

Use the right tools for the job
When belaying, use the tools available to help make your job more efficient. Wearing gloves will protect your hands and reduces the friction you feel as the rope slides through the device. Many people complain about neck pain. Belay glasses can be used to help alleviate neck pain and help you see the climber. If sport climbing or top roping, consider using a lock assisted device such as a Petzl GRIGRI or a Mammut Smart. These devices have a lock assisting design to make it much easier to catch and hold falls.

Great belaying technique.

Great belaying technique.

In this photo Dawn demonstrates the proper stance, hand position and provides an adequate loop of slack.

You can learn these and many other techniques at our upcoming Rock Clinics.

Dawn Glanc is a certified guide, sponsored athlete, avid climber, and an awesome belayer.  When not belaying, Dawn likes to send.

Dawn Glanc enjoying sending and not worrying about her belayer.

Dawn Glanc enjoying sending and not worrying about her belayer.

A Renaissance of Return

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.

I have to admit that I’ve had some challenges lately, a few setbacks that have taken the wind out Groupof my sails and shaken my confidence. It is my nature to be upbeat and positive; I have the ability to dig deep and navigate through difficulties, yet this time I’m having trouble picking myself up. Be it mid-life or menopause, there is a natural shift that is occurring, and on some level, I feel fixed in this change.

I am experiencing an inevitable cycle of life that we don’t usually talk about. We ignore it because we are uncomfortable making adjustments to what we become used to. During the recent months I lost touch with my core values, and the ways of life that have always brought me joy. So, I took stock and thought, “I’m ready for something really good to happen, something that will propel me forward.”

Over time I’ve continued to pile on more responsibilities, and am fully accountable for obligations I’ve initiated. Sometimes I just want to run away from it all, but instead, I head into the mountains. This time, it was an opportunity to work for Outward Bound in Marble, Colo., where I instructed my first field course in more than 20 years.  In this course, we put everything we need for a week on our backs and go out into the wilderness. During this time the students learn how to navigate and use a map, cook yummy one-pot dinners and set up shelters in the pouring rain. We crossed a 13,000 foot pass with full packs, got lost and climbed a peak – a natural environment for leadership and team building. I almost forgot how much our students get out of this wilderness experience!

At the start though, I was nervous. I loaded my pack with what I needed and hoped I wouldn’t feel too rusty, I even voiced my concern. Much to my delight, everything I learned over the past 37 years as a leader came flooding back to me, and I felt completely at home. I experienced a profound recollection accompanied by utter joy. I could clearly remember just exactly what it was that had me captivated with this job for so many years.

One night we were camped high in an amazing lightning storm that was much too close for comfort – I feared for our safety but felt the aliveness of the moment, the beauty and fierceness of the passing storm, the light and the calm that followed.  It was a rare opportunity to be fully present, far away from my responsibilities or worries at home. And the realization struck me: these are the moments that define the wild and untamed places, that cause me to fall to my knees with complete humility and awe.

And with the flood of innate joy I felt during this wilderness leadership experience, my confidence was renewed and my sense of purpose restored.

Why is that? Where did it go?

I think I just got caught up in the complexities of life and it was simply time to lighten my load, and reconnect to what is most important. It is indeed a strange luxury to want so much out of life and when I simply return to the purity of nature, I seem to be able to sort things out and my life just makes sense again.

It’s important for me to surround myself with people and places that inspire me to wake up, tap in and thrive. It reminds me of this poem:

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

-David Whyte

What I am describing is a renaissance, a reemergence and reawakening of something fundamental to my life: simplicity, connection, truth, purpose, passion and inspiration. The remembering is coming home and returning to what is most familiar and important to me. It’s my reference point, my compass pointing to true north. It’s important for me to slow down and appreciate the journey thus far. I believe that there are no coincidences – if I ask for what I want and follow the cues – my chance will come, not by chance at all.

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

The Adirondacks: Small Mountains, Big Training Ground

With our Keene Valley, Adirondacks Chicks Rock Climbing Clinic in just a few short months, I caught up with Emilie Drinkwater – friend of Chicks and Co-Owner/Guide for Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides in New York.  Emilie has climbed some of the most amazing routes and peaks, is a professional (sponsored) athlete, and an all around amazing person.  Emilie cut her teeth in the Dacks, so as we all consider signing up for the clinic, I asked her to remind all of us why climbing in the Dacks is so special.


In 2001 I moved to Lake Placid, NY with $30 in my pocket and no idea what to do next.  I’d recently graduated from college with a fancy degree in Anthropology and African Studies but all I wanted to do was rock climb.  Mostly, I dreamed of all the exotic places I could go to climb (you know, Colorado, California, West Virginia).  Ice climbing, alpine climbing, and ski mountaineering never even crossed my mind at that time so neither did places like Alaska, the Himalaya, or the Alps.

If you’ve never been to the Adirondacks, you should know that there’s a lot of climbing to be had.  A lot as in, more than 3,000 routes spread throughout the vast and pristine wilderness of the 6 million acre Adirondack State Park.  And the quality of the rock is, for the most part, excellent.  Geologically, much of the rock we climb is Anorthosite (the same rock type found on the moon!); cracks, slabs, and faces ranging in height from short, single pitch climbs to nearly 1000′, make for a lifetime of climbing in the Adirondacks alone!

Though the park is huge, Keene Valley and the High Peaks region are often considered the epicenter of climbing activity (but if climbing isn’t your thing, there are also lakes, streams, rivers, trails, and historical sites, to name a few).  My first introduction to the area and to outdoor climbing (during those early days of having no money and no life plan) was on the ever-popular Beer Walls crag.  I fell in love with climbing that day, even though by the end of it, my arms were so tired I could barely grasp the steering wheel to drive myself home.

Focus_KeeneValley_EmilieToday, I’m a full time mountain guide, athlete, homesteader, and writer.  My climbing background on the traditional and high quality, technical routes of the Northeastern mountains has led to adventure, exploration, and sometimes even success, in climbing venues, big and small, around the world.  Though I spend a lot of time in other ranges, the Adirondacks will always remain my home base and the place I credit with introducing me to the pleasure and challenge of climbing mountains!

For more information on attending the Chicks Keene Valley Clinic this Fall, click here.

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! :-)