Gear Review: Osprey Transporter and Snowkit Organizational Duffels

Osprey TransporterNew in Osprey’s line up this year are the Transporter and Gearkit Duffel Series, with a bomb-proof bunch of options.  I had the chance to test two of them out on a circuitous trip to the Andes last month and I’m stoked on these duffels.  I managed to get my rock climbing kit for two weeks of climbing in New Hampshire and ski gear for a week of heli-skiing in Chile inside two of these bags which both weathered a lot of travel well.

 

I used the Transporter 95 for the brunt of my stuff in a checked bag which seemed to have endless room for everything I needed.  Features I appreciated that make this a go-to bag include:  incredibly durable and highly water-resistant construction, wide grab handles in all the right places, a burly U-zipper and opening flap that is unique and different than most duffels making packing easier and attached shoulder straps that stow out of the way inside the U-flap and are easy to deploy.  Little extras like a window for your business card and flaps to protect the few Fastex buckles from luggage conveyers, mules or whatever your means of schlepping may be are also well designed.  Although this duffel will stow far more than I like to carry on my back, it actually carries well as a backpack which is an added bonus for short hauls.  I chose the Sub Lime color which stood out in airport baggage claims and was a bright and cheery part of my kit.  I received lots of complements on it wherever I went.  MSRP: $160

 

Osprey DuffelThe other bag, which I used for carry-on was Osprey’s new Snowkit Organizational Duffel.  This little beauty is a 45L well thought out bag with creative organizing pockets that are uber practical.  It doubles as a backpack and carries comfortably making it super versatile.  I was skeptical of bells and whistles but everything had a purpose with a clean design and super stealth profile.  I wanted to check the Snowkit out specifically for a ski boot bag, plus some.

 

Now granted, I wear a size 23.5 ski boot which isn’t large, there was ample extra room and they stowed easily (with a lot of socks, transceiver, Delorme device, etc shoved in them).  This boot compartment is accessed on the end with a large burly zipper opening and a sleeve of light material isolating it from the main compartment.  This part of the kit is also ventilated so when you put your steamy boots back in at the end of the day they won’t get everything else wet.  There was plenty of room around the boots to stuff clothing and other to fill up the space for flights.  Amazingly there was ample space left in the main compartment to stow even more.

 

The Snowkit has all the features I like on the Transporter Duffel and then some.  The main flap is heavily padded which makes it comfortable to carry as a backpack and it protects the contents inside.  It has a well padded, scratch proof goggle and sunglasses compartment that easily accommodates both with some room to spare.  The side pocket fits a water bottle which if the zip is left open is easily accessible while boot packing.  There are also webbing straps on the same side stowed in the pocket that you could strap a pair of skis on.  There’s a low profile tuck away helmet carry and a padded side handle that makes it easy to tote around in airports or just huck in the back of a truck.  This is a great duffel and will be my go to boot bag, carry on luggage for many an adventure.  Check out the features on Osprey’s video here. MSRP:  $130

How to Build Strength For Those Ski Legs

Here in northern Colorado the leaves are changing and snow is beginning to blanket the high country. Winter will be upon us in no time, which means…Ski season is upon us! 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. This is training tip #25 which includes focusing on building strength in your ski legs! It’s incredibly beneficial for “the Chicks” to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training.

Maybe you’re stoked to get into backcountry skiing this season so you’ve registered for one of our many new Intro to Backcountry Skiing courses or Avalanche Rescue Courses with Chicks and the Silverton Avalanche School. Or perhaps you’re a more advanced skier it’s off to La Grave to ski the steeps of the French Alps.

Whatever the case may be, we need to build a good base of aerobic stamina and ski leg power into the mix for uphill travel, carving turns, dropping in for epic fluffy pillowy powder for days and 5,000 vertical days, so here we go! If backcountry is your game you’ll need uphill stamina and enough strength left for the downhill you earned.

Uphill is dramatically different that just going on a run around the neighborhood. If you live in an area where hills are available let’s log some vertical outside. If not, get on a step mill or find a tall building with a stairwell, run or speed hike up that stairwell. We’ve got 8 weeks to prep, then we’ll want to start fine tuning your skills on the slopes in December. Whoop!

Week 1- 4:
2 days a week set a goal of a minimum of 60min uphill effort, whether outside or inside, use that iPhone, Suunto GPS, or whatever the machine you’re using tells you is the vertical you are accomplishing. Numbers are fantastic motivators. For 4 weeks build a base and try to push yourself to accomplish a little more each week. For example, week one in 60min you manage 1000 vert feet gained understanding there is an up and a down element if outside. By week four maybe you’ve improved to 1250 vert.

 

Week 5 – 8:

Let’s push a little now that you have a base. Let’s try one slightly longer session a week 90 -120 minutes of sustained uphill for vertical gain. Maybe this is 2000 vertical feet maybe more. For our second day of the week we’re going to push our threshold a bit, warm up for 10 minutes then go hard for 10 minutes uphill, recover for 5 minutes, repeat this cycle three times and cool down.

Once the snow flies and you are skinning and skiing for days you’ll be so stoked that you took the time to prep your legs and lungs!

Now that we’ve started to fine tune your legs and lungs for the stamina for the uphill we need to build a reserve of strength and power for the down hill. Here are a few example works for gym training, all workouts can be accomplished in an hour, with a few minutes extra for cool down. All the movements in these workouts have been covered in past training tips aside from two movements with videos at the end.

Check out the training section of our YouTube Channel.

 

WO#1 for ski legs
Warm up 10:00 row, run, ski erg.
2 x 8 Shoulder openers
2 x 5 Cuban press
3 x 5 Wall squat
2 x 8 Goblet squat
2 x 5 Squat jumpThen:

Work up to 3RM Front Squat

Then:

3x FS + 8x Box Jump @ 18 – 24”

6 rounds reciting as necessary keep all movements quality. if no box available you can substitute jump with a heavy KB swing.

Then:

60 sec wall sit with a weight in your lap, medicine balls or slam ball work well followed by
30 secs split jumps and
20x Good morning or back extensions.

x 5 rounds

Then:

10x push up
10x leg lower
5 rounds
Cool Down

 

WO#2 for ski legs
Warm up 10:00 row, run, ski erg.
2 x 8 Shoulder openers
2 x 5 Cuban press
3 x 5 Wall squat
2 x 8 Goblet squat

2 x 5 Squat jump

Then:

Dynamic-Isometric Back Squat with 5-sec pause in each position, 4 stops (Hold at top, three stops to bottom, after last hold jump out of bottom of squat, complete six rounds of these efforts. Followed immediately by 8 burpees + rest 60 secs.
5 total rounds.
Use a reasonable weight on your back squat so you can actually jump and you can finish all six reps per round without reduced quality on hold and jump.
Then:
30 sec box jump
30 sec jump on and off a bosu ball on the floor, laterally round side up.
30 secs squat hold
30 secs rest

x 5

Finish with:

10x KTE
5x Pull Up
x 5
Cool Down

 

WO#3 for ski legs
Warm up 10:00 row, run, ski erg.
2 x 8 Shoulder openers
2 x 5 Cuban press
3 x 5 Wall squat
2 x 8 Goblet squat

2 x 5 Squat jump

Then:

10x Headcutter with KB
10x Back extension
10x Split jump
60 secs rest

5 rounds

Then:

1 – 10

Squat Ladder with partner. Begin reps from the bottom of the squat, each partner holds a squat while the other works.

Player one does one squat then holds at the bottom. Player two then does their first squat. Player One then performs two squats while player two is holding. Then player two does two squats while player one holds at the bottom of the squat. Players alternate reps and holds up to 10. Challenge yourself and try to go back down the ladder.

Finish with:
60 secs mtn climbers + 60 secs sit ups + 30 sec ring support or plank if no rings available.
5 rounds

Cool Down

There are videos of all movements in previous Chicks Newsletters on our YouTube Channel, and I’ve added videos of movements that are new in the above workouts:

Headcounters

Back Extensions

As always if you are unsure how to perform any of these movements get professional instruction.

If you need information on building your ski leg strength for a specific trip of any nature you can contact me via email.

Carolyn Parker

The Dawns do Iceland

Many years ago I met another Dawn. Her name is Dawn Rathburn, but she became known as Other Dawn soon after showing up to the first Chicks Rock clinic at Red Rocks in 2009. At this clinic I taught Other Dawn to tie her figure 8 and other rock climbing basics. I then talked Other Dawn into taking a Chicks Ice Clinic in Ouray where I taught her how to ice climb. Over the years Other Dawn has been to many Chicks clinic. I love to climb with Other Dawn. During our Chicks Clinics I always try to have her in my group.


In February 2017 Chicks Climbing and Skiing offered a trip to Bildudalur, Iceland to climb remote and wild backcountry ice climbs. This description was enough for Other Dawn to register for the trip. Seeing her name on the registration, my already high level of excited peaked. I knew we would be in for a great adventure together.

 

Kitty and I landed in Iceland, already fighting off the jetlag. We took a taxi over to the small domestic airport where we met Other Dawn at the only gate there. She had been in Iceland for a few days getting over jet lag with her husband. Other Dawn was alert and stoked, which quickly infected Kitty and I. Soon we were heading to Bildudalur to scout ice climbs and rendezvous with the rest of the Chicks participants.

Once in Iceland The game was on. The other Chicks participants arrived and we broke into 3 smaller groups for 5 days of climbing. Naturally I picked Dawn as my partner. I knew she would have the skill and the attitude needed to push hard and get some climbing done. Other Dawn is as stubborn and tenacious as I am, and this proved to be key to our success each day.

Climbing in Iceland is unique. There are no guide books, trailheads, or maps, just photocopied pictures taken from the road years ago. To figure out what and where you will climb, each  has to go and scout the area. The day before we climb, we drive around looking, scouting, for ice. Once we find something we try to gauge how hard it is and how far away it is. The next morning the team arrives back to the place the ice was last seen. We park on a random spot in the road, and start walking toward the climbing. Finding quickly that we have no sense of scale or how hard things will really be.

One morning we faced our most difficult and challenging approach of our trip. It was steep talus with a shallow dusting of snow. It was hell. At the top of the hill, Dawn and I put down our packs to discuss the climb in front of us. The climb was nothing more than a bunch of pencil sized icicles over wet rock. It was a no go and I was bummed. Even though Other Dawn was challenged by the hike, she never lost her fire. Other Dawn turned to me and said, “If you had told me 8 years ago that I would be here in Iceland  with you I would never have believed it. Look at us!”

In a matter of seconds Other Dawn validated every hardship we had faced that day and every other day on the trip. This statement filled me so much joy, I wanted to cry. Through Chicks she had progressed from zero to sixty, and I was a part of that progression. I was so moved. We then shared a Snickers bar and tackled another heinous approach to a climb in marginal conditions.

Traveling around the world to ice climb is a gamble. It takes an adventurous soul to want to take on an objective like ice climbing. Not every moment traveling or climbing in the mountains is perfect. Typically we only remember and boast about the good times. I will proudly remember all the awful post-holing and vertical talus slopes. I will gladly tell about the overhanging detached ice we climbed. Inside Of me, I will smile with glee because I am proud to have given Other Dawn a few small tools needed to become the climber she is today. This trip was as perfect as can be for me because of the opportunity to climb with my friend, Other Dawn.

Chicks will be offering the Iceland trip again this year. Join us in February of 2018 to climb the wild ice climbs of Iceland. We hope you can join us this February when we return to Bildudalur for Ice Climbing in Iceland Trip.

 

Forging Self-Reliance

One cold, windy day many years ago Jay Smith, Doug Hall, and I eagerly donned our packs and began post-holing up a gully to do a first ascent of an ice route that rarely comes in.  The new snow was not particularly deep, but the gully was steep so we took turns breaking trail.  We were nearing the base of the climb and the wind had begun to howl overhead. My partners had stopped to pull out the 7ml tag line and were looking for an anchor.  “What’s up?” I asked, knowing full well that they were roping up because they were afraid of the avalanche danger and hoped a belay would save their lives should an avalanche drop down on us from above.  “If it’s that bad, I am going down!” I exclaimed.  After a lengthy discussion, Jay and Doug packed up the rope and followed me down the gully.  Because of my taking a stand, we did not make the first ascent.  The slope above never avalanched, but we will never know if the gully would have slid with our weight on it.

Still, I wanted to know more.  Was I being too conservative?  Was my tolerance for risk below those of my partners?  Perhaps the rope and anchor (a scrawny tree) would have held in an avalanche.  I consulted with a local avalanche expert and he stated that if he were in my shoes, he would have expressed the same concerns as I and retreated.  I realized that both Jay and Doug had listened to my arguments intently that day and had not treated me any differently because I had a lower testosterone level.  Any thoughts of personal doubts were ones that I brought on myself.

When Kim Reynolds started Chicks Climbing and Skiing nineteen years ago, she noticed plenty of women, in the Ouray Ice Park, climbing with men.  What bothered her was the fact that they were not leading or setting up anchors. They relied on their more experienced partners. 

Since 1999, Chicks has been working to increase the skill and knowledge base in women in rock, ice, and alpine climbing and most recently – backcountry skiing.  Recently, my four Chicks partners and I were discussing our purpose.  We had to narrow it down to two words.  We settled upon Forging Self-Reliance.  Brilliant!

Iceland Sailboat Skiing

iceland sailboat skiingI’ll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on the Aurora Arktika, Captain’s Siggi’s beautiful, modern but historic merchant Dutch style sailboat, anchored in the harbor of Isafjordur.  It’s two masts swayed gently above the wooden deck and the red and black painted hull.  Two small hatch doors were open to the area under deck and up came Captain Siggi to greet us and load our skis and gear onboard. 

We started by sailing across the waters to the Hornstandir Natural Reserve, a beautiful, remote mountain area where snow covered slopes lead directly to the fjords below.   Yearning to explore, we set anchor in a small fjord, caught a ride in the zodiac to shore and began to skin up perfect spring snow into the mountains.  We headed for a high pass that would connect to the basin on the far side, planning to meet the ship after Siggi would sail around the rugged coast to meet us.  Clouds had formed at that moment, and Siggi called us on the radio to make sure we were up for the adventure.  Of course we were, unable to resist the curiosity of wanting to see the other side of the mountains.  We gained the pass after a couple hours of skinning uphill, climbing over a few rocks near the top, and were greeted with stunning scenery and a long, winding ski run down a large alpine basin, carving turns past waterfalls and cliff bands.  Far below in the fjord, we could see the Aurora anchored.  Siggi picked us up from shore and once back on the sailboat we dug into a big dinner of fresh fish and stew.  Content and happy, we relaxed in the cozy dining area below deck.  The Aurora felt so welcoming and comfortable, that it did not take long to call the boat our home. 

For the next six days, we skied.  We explored anything from big open slopes to enticing couloirs, climbed up to high peaks and passes, and anchored in a different fjord each night.  Even during a couple days of mediocre weather, we were able to get out and enjoy good snow.  We took sea kayaks and paddle boards out on the water to watch seals play, we hunted for mussels, and we sat on deck with a glass of wine enjoying the purple midnight sky of the long Nordic spring days.  We felt like pioneers.  Sailboat skiing in Iceland was an unforgettable experience.

Silverton Avalanche School

Earning backcountry turns at the Red Mountain Pass area of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Photo Credit: Louis Arevalo

New Partnership with the Silverton Avalanche Schoolchicks with stix logo

Chicks is delighted to announce our new Partnership with the Silverton Avalanche School. Working with SAS allows us to expand our ski and splitboard offerings closer to home and add avalanche education with certification to our all-women’s backcountry courses.  Since we launched into backcountry ski offerings two years ago we’ve shared turns with many of you on Red Mountain Pass and the Opus Hut area, we’ve heli-skied with Telluride Helitrax and ran our first avalanche course with AAI in Jackson. We’ve gone international to Japan and La Grave, France and now we’re really going to get this party started with the Silverton Avalanche School.  We hope you’ll join us for our first season together. 

The Silverton Avalanche School is a non-profit organization that has been in operation since 1962 and educated over 4000 students from beginners to top-level professionals.  They’ve been industry leaders in avalanche education, teaching folks how to recognize avalanche hazards, determine snow stability, organize and carry out rescue operations and become competent backcountry travelers for 55 years. 

Located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains at 9,318 feet in Silverton, Colorado there is no better classroom to learn about avalanches.  The San Juan Mountains have some of the most accessible, active and well-known avalanche paths anywhere with a snowpack world-famous for it’s dynamic qualities.  SAS courses are taught by nationally recognized members of the American Avalanche Association, AIARE and the Canadian Avalanche Association with instructors widely known for their expertise and passion for snow safety and backcountry fun. 

“We are excited to partner up with Chicks Climbing and Skiing to offer women’s specific avalanche and backcountry ski training. This partnership fills a gap that we have seen in avalanche education.  Chicks Climbing and Skiing brings a wealth of guiding and training experience that goes unmatched.  Empowering women to go into the backcountry and avalanche terrain is close to our heart and we are honored to work with Chicks to make this happen.”
Jim Donovan, Director Silverton Avalanche School

It’s a match made on a mountaintop and we can’t wait to take your backcountry skills to the next level with our new partnership. SAS’s female instructors are some of the most experienced, passionate avalanche educators in the country. Combined with our certified IFMGA / AMGA Ski Guides we have the most qualified women in the industry to make your backcountry experience unique, world-class and unforgettable.  As the first and most successful all-women’s climbing program in the country with an 18-year track record, it’s only natural that we expand our mountain sport offerings to include backcountry skiing with a focus on safety and avalanche education. 

Why choose Chicks and the Silverton Avalanche School?

Because we do women’s programs better than anyone else and partnering with the Silverton Avalanche School and their 55-year track record gives you the confidence to know you’re in the best hands, you’ll get top shelf world-class instruction and it’s definitely going to be fun.

Dates for our winter line up of ski, splitboard and avalanche education events will be announced in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned for more details including dates, course descriptions, pricing, and registration.  Visit www.avyschool.com to check out the Silverton Avalanche School.

Chicks Legacy

chicks legacyAs we look forward to winter, we take a look back at the Chicks legacy and it’s roots with Chicks founder Kim Reynolds

Its not long now before the temperatures will be falling, mountains will be receiving the first snowfall of the year, and water running over rock will be freezing at night. At Chick’s world headquarters, we are excitedly lining up new winter programs. At the same time, we are mindful of the traditions and accomplishments of Chicks that began with Kim Reynolds 18 years ago. With that in mind, I recently interviewed our founder.

Kitty: Why did you start Chicks?

Kim: I started ice climbing in 1982 and there weren’t many women ice climbers then – maybe just you and I and a handful of others. Then the Ouray Ice Park opened around 1997 and I noticed that there were more women climbers but they didn’t seem to be leading or setting up their own anchors. Instead, they were relying on their more experienced counterparts. So I started Chicks.

Kitty: Why do you like ice climbing?

Kim: I fell in love with ice climbing when my boyfriend took me out to climb in the Ice Park (it wasn’t open then but there was still ice) and to climb Bear Creek Falls. I fell in love with the winter magic and the beauty and obscure places. I appreciated the fact that not many people did it. It felt adventurous.

chicks legacyKitty: Why do you like skiing?

Kim: It is just pure fun. They are my favorite days. I like walking up hill. There is nothing like getting to the top, taking in the view, and making fresh tracks downhill.

Kitty: What do you miss most about Chicks?

Kim: I miss the participants and an amazing community of women. I love the friendships. Do you remember the time we had a clinic where 22 of 24 women were Alumni? It is a sisterhood. Chicks became a life of its own. I also miss the giving back. Women faced fears during the clinics but energy also grew from giving back and the community got involved too and became a part of Chicks.

Kitty: What is your most memorable moment at Chicks?

Kim: There are many. There was the 22 out of 24 participants returning as Alumni, as I mentioned. The night at our fundraiser when the money raised over the years hit $100,000 for the local women’s shelter – that was a significant contribution. The day Mark Miller looked over at some of our Alumni climbing and asked it they had been to Chicks. I said yes and asked why. He said because they are good climbers. Then I knew we had arrived.

chicks legacyKitty: What are you taking away from Chicks that you are using in your new profession?

Kim: When I left Chicks, I had become an administrator. I had gotten away from what I am good at – which is working with others. From Chicks, I learned how to take a unique idea and make it happen. When I sold the business, I made a commitment to take my skills to the next level. So I I got a second coaching certificate and more leadership training. Now I work for think2perform where I grow leaders and teams through focusing on the human side of business. It helps leaders make better decisions under pressure like we do in climbing.

Kim added, “I loved the creativity part of the Chicks business and trying to do something different every year.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. In honor of our roots and Kim’s vision for Chicks, we are continually looking at ways to serve you better. That’s why we are super excited to share our new ice climbing, skiing, and avalanche courses with you this winter.

The key to getting stronger and avoiding injury

key to getting strongerWhat is the key to getting stronger and avoiding injury?

The answer may surprise you, but before we give up the secret, let’s do a quick check-in. rock climbing season is in full swing and if you’ve been following the newsletter training tips, training and climbing hard, it’s time to stop and assess things.

Recently I had a young strong athlete come in to the gym for a training session, I always check with my athletes before we start our session to make sure they aren’t working around pain or discomfort. I do this because athletes are notorious for just pushing through rather than listening. She sheepishly said that her shoulder was flared up again and was irritated like her old injury was coming back. She admitted tripling up on strength training, a finger board workout and rock climbing. She had just “sent” her first 5.12 and was pushing hard. I sent her home, told her to take a week off, get a massage and to begin to learn to “listen” to what her body was telling her so she could continue to improve. She did. And we are back on track pain free.
It’s fun getting stronger, progressing, and climbing well. However, our bodies will start to send us messages we like to ignore when it’s time to rest and recover. If you haven’t taken appropriate rest, gotten a massage, spent time on deeper recovery now is the time. Schedule some you time and attend to any ache or pain that’s been hanging around just under the surface.

Maintain Balance

Even if you’ve been following the programming I’ve given you over the course of weeks and months, you will still develop imbalances due to the nature of climbing. We pull so much in the world of climbing we can develop major strength imbalances, so these exercises work your pushing muscles. It’s time to add in oppositional movements to your training program. Each time you climb or on a recovery day,  add in the following pushing exercises to your  routine to help keep your body in balance.
    • 20 push ups toes or knees between routes at the gym.
    • Practice handstands at home against a wall is fine, work up to holding them for a minute. Rest some between and try a few rounds.
    • Do Assisted dips on the rings. 4 sets of 8 – 10.

    • My favorite movement of all time the Turkish Get Up, (TGU). It incorporates core strength, overhead strength and single leg strength.

Ready to step it up?
If you want to try handstand push ups, here’s a simple way to learn the movement and gain strength with an assist from a strap or against a wall

Lastly, remember the key to getting stronger and avoiding injury is intelligent training and adequate rest and recovery. You’ll see more progression and have more fun if you take the time to check in and create balance where needed.
Until the next newsletter.
All my best,
Carolyn 
Contact me for further training information and programming @
Carolyn Parker
970-773-3317
Carolyn Parker
Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Petzl Sirocco Helmet

petzl sirocco helmetThe Petzl Sirocco Helmet has been updated and is better than ever. It features top, side and rear impact zone protection which makes it the go to helmet for rock, alpine and general mountaineering.

It covers more of your head, has a lower profile than it’s predecessor and weighs 170 grams, which is slightly more than the weight of your smartphone. In fact it’s so light you may forget that you are wearing a helmet at all.

Read more about why this is going to be your new go to helmet for all your mountain adventures.

 

What it takes to be an IFMGA Mountain Guide

mountain guideMeet IFMGA Mountain Guide & Chicks Co-Owner Angela Hawse

Outside Magazine recently interviewed Angela Hawse about her path towards becoming the sixth American Woman to become a IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide. This is a huge accomplishment and it doesn’t come easily.

Aspirants spend years honing their skills in the mountains and must past a series of grueling courses and exams in three mountain disciplines: Rock, Alpine & Ski. To hold a certification in all three disciplines like Angela has, is the equivalent of having your PHD in Guiding.

She is in the small circle of elite few who can call themselves an American Mountain Guide. We are so proud of Chicks Co-Owner Angela Hawse and the folks at Outside Magazine were pretty impressed with her too. Read more