The Rest Step

Click on the video above to watch Kitty Calhoun explain and demonstrate the rest step while carrying a heavy Indian Creek climbing backpack.

Use the Rest Step to conserve energy when hiking in the mountains and approaching rock climbs. You can also use the Rest Step while backcountry skiing.

Learn more about climbing and skiing from Kitty on a number of different Chicks Programs.

Learn more than the rest step. Kitty teaches Spring 2019 Chicks Indian Creek participants how to tape up before climbing

Kitty teaching Spring 2019 Chicks Indian Creek participants how to tape up before climbing.

Fun

fun in the present moment watching sun-shadow line on approach to chandelle du tacul, chamonix, france

Fun in the present moment — watching the drama of the sun-shadow line play out on the approach to Chandelle du Tacul, Chamonix, France. ©Kitty Calhoun

“It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun.”

—Mark Twight, alpinist extraordinaire

When it comes to alpine climbing and mountaineering-style climbing objectives, one of the things you’ll learn about yourself is how much you can endure.

Tough conditions

like post-holing to your waist, sleep deprivation (check out Kitty’s Unplanned Bivouac story), heavy packs, and suboptimal weather will all test you.

When you go alpine climbing or mountaineering, you’ll find yourself immersed in the wild, miles away from the trailhead without a choice but to soldier on.

Ladies, you’ve got to put one foot in front of the other and keep marching!

Sound like fun?

To some, it’s not fun while they’re doing it. It only gets fun once they look back on the experience and realize how much they stretched themselves. Fun comes from having gone beyond perceived personal limits. Only in retrospect can some appreciate the amount of personal growth they’ve gained through a climb.

However, in my personal experience even more fun is possible by focusing on being in the moment. Trying to escape my current situation by wishing I were somewhere else, or complaining, just prolongs my personal suffer-fest.

I’ve found a better approach

is to focus on what the present offers: beautiful views, fresh mountain air, and the camaraderie of a shared experience with friends. Sometimes, it also helps to think of all the skills I’m learning that will take me on to bigger goals.

If you’re a rock climber or a blossoming mountaineer and you’re looking for the next step in your personal progression as a climber, consider joining our Mt Baker, Washington trip. Mount Baker is a great introduction to climbing glaciated mountain summits. You’ll also learn the skills you need to camp, climb, and travel on snow.

If you’re more of a multi-pitch rock climber at heart, kick things up a notch on our Chamonix trip. The alpine rock routes in the French Alps are fantastic. Alpine climbing in Chamonix is world class with lift-based access to some of the highest peaks in Europe. Quaint French villages, delicious food and wine every evening and all under the wing of experienced and fully certified AMGA Chick Guides.

Now that sounds like fun!

Elaina

Unplanned Bivouac, West Face – Grand Teton, 1984

morning after unplanned bivouac. Kitty Calhoun traversing on the west face of the grand teton, 1984

Kitty Calhoun, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, traversing back on route the morning after a forced bivouac on the West Face of the Grand Teton, 1984 ©Kitty Calhoun Collection

There is nothing like an unplanned bivouac to make me swear:

“I will never make that mistake again.”

When I first began doing winter alpine ascents, almost 40 years ago, what I feared most was getting benighted.

Yet, as these things go, in January 1984 I found myself near the top of the West Face of the Grand Teton, in the dark. There I sat, bumping my head against my partner, Bobby Knight. The head bumping was my way of forcing us to stay awake to keep wiggling our toes. I was terrified that if we dozed off our feet would freeze.

It turns out we were off-route. Bobby and I were supposed to be on the Black Ice Couloir. But, instead we were in a nearby dihedral. The dihedral had suckered us with endless, blissful mixed climbing. However, hours of joyful climbing soon turned to concern, as it grew dark. Using night vision and our weak, circa 1984 headlamp, we were able to keep climbing. But when the dihedral ended at the base of a dark, blank-looking face we were stuck. There was nothing to do but sit on a ledge, bump heads and wait for daylight.  It’s a good thing I have a hard head!

Eventually morning came, finding us sleepy but unfrozen.

In the daylight we traversed out right onto the Black Ice Couloir and continued to the summit.

Looking back, I’m certain that if we’d had a modern, Black Diamond Icon Headlamp with 125 feet of 500 lumens we could have kept going and avoided that frightening unplanned bivouac.

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp

Black Diamond’s Icon headlamp shines as one of my top six most appreciated technological advances in alpine climbing gear over the last couple of decades because it prevents against unplanned bivouacs.

With a range of 125 meters—the furthest of any BD headlamp—and 500 lumens, the Icon allows for route finding in the dark. What this really means is that with an Icon strapped to my head, I can keep climbing even when the day ends. This ability to climb in the dark is an essential preventative against the dreaded unplanned bivouac!

As if avoiding a forced bivy isn’t enough, the Black Diamond Icon Headlamp has even more loveable features:

  • Red, green, and blue light modes to help protect your night vision.
  • Removable battery pack—put it in your pocket to help keep it warm and preserve battery life.
  • Three-level power meter allows you to keep track of how much power you have left.
  • Settings that allow you to toggle between range and power.
  • Brightness Memory—turn it on at a chosen brightness rather than toggling back through the settings.
  • Max burn time is 70 hours on high and 175 hours on low.

Thank you, Black Diamond, for your ingenuity in creating solutions so that I can go farther into the mountains with fewer bivouacs!

Save Room on Your Gear Loops

save room on your gear loops with the waterfall method

Save room on your harness with the “waterfall method.” ©Elaina Arenz

Save room on your gear loops with the waterfall method.

If you like to rack up on your harness like me, you’ll find that you quickly run out of gear-loop space if you’re carrying multiple sets.

The waterfall racking method saves a ton of room and helps you keep organized.

First, clip a cam to your gear loop as usual.
Then, clip a second cam to the racking carabiner of the first one.

You can see that I’ve already doubled up the purples and greens.
And then I’m clipping the second red cam to the red carabineer of the first red cam.

The waterfall method will help you save room on your gear loops. It will also help you keep better track of how many of each size you’ve already placed.

Osprey Mutant 22 Backpack – 5 Reasons Why I Love my Mutant 22

Lindsey Hamm sharpening her ice climbing tools next to her Osprey Mutant 22

Chicks guide, Lindsey Hamm, sharpens her ice climbing tools next to her loaded Osprey Mutant 22 backpack.

Osprey’s Mutant 22 is my go-to multi-pitch and alpine-climbing backpack.

The smallest of the Osprey Mutant Climbing Backpack series, I use my Mutant 22 when I need an on-route backpack.

Five Reasons why I love my Mutant 22

  1. Not too many straps and pockets. The problem with too many straps and pockets is that they can get confusing. Think, “Where did I stash my Gu?” Or, “Whoops, wrong strap.” Pack confusion is not a problem here.

  2. Perfect size. I can carry a single rack, extra clothing layers, water, and snacks.

  3. Easy to carry while climbing because it sits high on my hips. Combine this with the fact that the Mutant 22 does not have a padded hip belt and my climbing-harness gear loops stay free and accessible.

  4. Sternum Strap. Snugs the weight firmly onto my shoulders

  5. Compression Strap. Keeps everything from moving around while I’m climbing.

6 Other lovable Features:

  1. Padded with snowshed fabric–great for rock climbing and perfect for ice and alpine climbing!

  2. Removable sheet frame. Want to go fast and light? Remove the “frame” to shed weight. Need a little cushion? Sit on it at an alpine belay.

  3. Internal Hydration Pocket. It’s easier to stay hydrated when you sip. Our experience is that if you stay hydrated, you need less water.

  4. Big Buckles–all the more easy to open with gloves on!

  5. Easy Rope Attachment. Carry your climbing rope on the outside. Drape it over the top/opening lid. Cinch it down so it doesn’t flop around (or off!) as you approach. Easy!

  6. Top Lid Top-Zip Opening. Don’t worry about your things falling out when you access your stuff. But remember, you still have to be careful not to drop stuff on multi-pitch climbs!

Gigantic – Step from Skiing to Climbing

Where skiing meets climbing. A view of the Matterhorn from the Haute Route.

Where skiing meets climbing. A view of the Matterhorn from the Haute Route.

Hello everyone, it’s Karen here checking in about the gigantic step from skiing to climbing.

This year I’m spending the spring in the Alps guiding the Haute Route. The Haute Route is a week-long, high-alpine ski tour that starts in Chamonix, France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. Along the way, we spend the night in mountain huts and traverse across big glaciers and high peaks all day.

On Friday, my friend and co-guide, Caro North and I finished a Haute Route tour late in the evening. The next day we drove back from Zermatt towards Chamonix to start another Haute Route tour. Along the way we stopped at a local climbing crag.

I felt like a beginner.

Basking in the spring sun, warm rock under my fingertips, I felt happy.

I also felt like a beginner climber again.

Slowly and carefully, I explored the rock features. The footholds were so small and hard to see! Yet piecing the sequences together exhilarated me.

After our climbing session (which did not take very long to get to!), we continued to Chamonix.

Changing seasons can be painful.

Driving along, I got to thinking that changing seasons can be painful. I think it has to do with change being hard in general. Change often requires pushing yourself to take a step. It might be a different step, a next step, or a huge step. In this case, it is the step from one activity to another, the step from skiing to climbing.

For me, stepping into rock shoes instead of ski boots always feels like a gigantic step.

And every spring, I try to figure out ways to make that step feel smaller and more manageable.

This time I had an advantage because I had Caro.

Not only did I have a good friend to hang out with. In Caro, I had a super strong rope gun.

Watching Caro lead up the climbs helped me figure out the moves when it was my turn to climb. Somehow mirroring Caro was part of the exhilaration I felt when I finally did the moves for myself, and it made me realize how important it is to have good partners.

So, if stepping from ski boots to rock shoes feels gigantic for you too, then here are my top tips to help this change feel less huge for you this season:

Easy Transition from Skiing to Rock Climbing

  1. Climb with fun partners that you can trust and emulate.
  2. Stick to the easier routes. Seriously! Only do easy routes.
  3. Stop before your arms turn to spaghetti.
  4. Don’t set your expectations too high.
  5. Don’t define success by how hard you climbed.
  6. Define success instead by feelings of fun and exhilaration.

The first day of rock climbing season should leave you with a smile on your face as you crack open the door to rock climbing season just a tiny bit.

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard | Book Review

Cover of "let my people go surfing" by Yvon Chouinard

Book Cover of Yvon Choiunard’s “let my people go surfing.”

Book Review by Angela Hawse

Yvon Chouinard is the author of “let my people go surfing.”

And, Yvon Chouinard is also the founder of Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and gear company.

For forty years, Yvon Chounaird has led Patagonia with his vision and passion. He is the driving force that keeps Patagonia true to its core values. As a result, Patagonia is a sustainable business practices leader.

Recently, Patagonia changed its mission statement.

It’s new mission statement is “We’re in business to save our planet.

This bold, focused, and purposeful mission statement is true to Chouinard’s core values. Patagonia is using its resources to get political about environmental threats and taking action in the fight to address our climate crisis.

Let my people go surfing  by Yvon Chounaird tells the story of Patagonia.

It’s Chouinard’s story of building a business with heart and soul. It’s his story of challenging conventional wisdom. And, it’s his story of leading a simpler, more purposeful existence.

Let my people go surfing is a great read for all who love the outdoors. It’s also a must read for entrepreneurs and forward thinkers.

In conclusion, let my people go surfing by Yvon Chouinard provides a fresh outlook on finding opportunity in change, having a positive impact and making a difference one step at a time.

To  purchase and check out the video click let my people go surfing.

Climbing Training Program | Take Your Climbing to the Next Level

Carolyn Parker putting her climbing training program to use climbing in Indian Creek, Utah

Carolyn Parker, Founder Ripple Effect Training, AMGA Rock Guide, puts her Climbing Training Program to use. Indian Creek, Utah ©Carolyn Parker collection.

It’s time to rock!

Get on the climbing training program.

One of our most commonly asked questions is “How do I take my climbing to the next level?”

This is especially true for intermediate to advanced climbers. It’s common for intermediate to advanced climbers to feel stuck and unable to make progress.

Here’s the straight scoop.

In order to take your climbing to the next level, you need to train.

Your fitness level is one of the most significant factors affecting your ability to progress.

Adding to this, it’s been a long winter.

I don’t know about you but I’m jones’ing for some sun and warm rock climbing.

The transition back to climbing after the winter can be especially difficult. Fingers and other joints have lost their conditioning and avoiding injury is just as important as getting fit and strong.

The following climbing training program will help you build strength and stamina safely this spring. And, it will provide you with a fitness base from which you can rocket to new climbing levels over the course of the season.

Climbing Training Program

The total length of this program is 8-Weeks.

(It assumes training inside during this time of year.)

The schedule is adaptable to fit your specific schedule.

However, your climbing training program should incorporate the following:

  1. One general climbing strength, stamina, and mobility workout/week
  2. Two short climbing sessions/week
  3. Having fun on the weekend
  4. Ideally, a rest day between climbing sessions
  5. Aerobic work and/or yoga anytime

Schedule Example:

Climbing session on Monday, strength workout on Tuesday or Wednesday, climbing session again on Thursday or Friday. Go outside and have fun on the weekend.

Climbing Sessions

Start with a “reasonable” volume and on a “reasonable” grade.

  • Reasonable volume is about half of what you can do when you’re really fit.
  • A reasonable grade is what you know you can climb confidently.

Boulder, or do routes. If bouldering, down-climb for extra volume.

Now, for my special tip:

Count your hand movements to track your progress and volume.

I’ve learned that for me, 100 hand movements is a reasonable place to start after months of not climbing.

However, 100 hand movements may be too much for you.

Scale the number of hand movements that you do to your own ability.

Maybe, you will do only 50 hand movements to begin with. And, rather than increasing by 50 each week, you will increase by 25 each week instead.

When I’m on the climbing training program, my goal is 300 hand movements during a single session by the end of the 8thweek. Once I hit 300 hand movements, I find I can warm up to a difficultly that pushes me technically. Yet, I still have the stamina to work on projects.

Your goal might be 200 hand movements in a single session by Week 8.

Climbing Sessions

Progression Example:

Week One– 100 hand movements on easy routes.

Week Two– 150 hand movements. Increase route grade for 50 of the movements.

Week Three– 200 hand movements. Decrease or drop out easiest routes. Just focus on more volume rather than increasing difficulty.

Week Four– 200-250 hand movements. Increase difficulty and volume.

*This climbing training program suggests that you do two climbing sessions and one general climbing strength, stamina, and mobility workout each week.

General Climbing Strength, Stamina, and Mobility Workouts

Warm Up

Start with a few minutes of light aerobic exercise. Light aerobic exercise gets your body warmed up. Run, bike, row, etc.

And then:

Do 3 rounds of

8 x Shoulder Openers

5 x Cuban Press

5 x Wall Squats or Air Squats

If you want to add more chest opening exercises to your warm-up, check out More Tips for Bombproof Shoulders and Shoulder Strength. It is very important for climbers to keep their shoulders healthy.

Take a few minutes to stretch your calves, quads, hips, and hamstrings.

Workout One

Do 3-5 rounds, depending on your fitness level:

5 x Single-Arm Body Row or Double-Arm Body Row

5 x KB Bosu Chest Press (You can also do this on a bench.)

10 x Floor Wiper

Rest as necessary

And then:

Do 3-5 Rounds of:

5 x Strict Press

30 sec Ring Support

Workout Two

Warm-up (same as for Workout One)

Depending on your fitness level

Do 3-5 rounds of the following:

3-5 x Pull Ups

8-10 x Anchored Leg Lower

And then:

3 – 5 Rounds

5 x Bent-Over Row with Lock-Off In Three Positions

10 x Archers (5 per arm)

10 x Hanging Windshield Wiper (5 per side). Keep your legs straight and your hips high.

Week Five

Recovery Week. Take a week off of climbing. You can still do a general strength workout, some light aerobic training, and/or yoga. Make sure you rest.

Week Six through Eight

You should feel ready to push difficulty and increase volume after a month of consistent build-up and a week of recovery.

Incorporate harder climbing and a cool down on easier terrain each week.

Remember to do one of the general climbing strength workouts every week too!

Week Six

250 hand movements

Week Seven

250-275 hand movements

Week Eight

275-300 hand movements

Week NineRecovery week ( :

Now you’re ready to rock on your projects!! Inside or outside ( :

Carolyn Parker
Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 work cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Coach for Uphill Athlete

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

POW | Uniting Climbers to Protect 0ur Winters

POW poster of Angela Hawse climbing a 5.10 crack climb in Indian Creek, utah

Jamming with POW! Angela Hawse, Co-Owner Chicks, on just another 5.10 crack climb. Indian Creek, Utah. ©Ace Kvale

Last week I joined POW.

The purpose of POW is to unite the climbing community on climate advocacy. POW has a vision of a carbon-neutral future and is building a platform for climbers to have a voice on climate change.

As the seasons change, so does our dance with gravity from skiing to climbing. The wondrous transition of the seasons always reminds me of our precious planet Earth.

Planet Earth is something we can’t take for granted anymore. Each year I strive to live more consciously and take more responsibility for my carbon footprint.

In 2016, 7.7 million people in the U.S. participated in some form of climbing. As a community, we have the potential to move mountains. Together we can make positive change for future generations to enjoy the outdoors.

POW! Let’s do this! Let’s tie-in and talk about how we can step up our game.

Our Indian Creek Climbing Clinic

is just weeks away and as we’ll be sinking our jams into Indian Creek’s perfect sandstone splitters, we salute the fight for Bears Ears National Monument.

Indian Creek is one of our favorite climbing places because it’s the splitter crack capital of the world. If you want to take your crack climbing and trad climbing skills to a new level, Indian Creek is the place. But the best part of climbing in Indian Creek is its scenic beauty and remoteness.

Spring and rock climbing provide the amplified nature fix that Kitty talked about in her recent Doldrums post. We all need nature to reboot our outlook on life.

Fighting our way up a perfect crack climb gives us untold POWer that translates into everything we do.

So, hurry up already!

Join Chicks for all-women camaraderie, campfires under the stars and learn how to take your crack climbing technique to the next level.

Sign up now because there are only a few spots left on our Indian Creek Climbing Clinic.

Come jam with us and let’s get down to getting fired up!