Confessions of a secret Sport Climbing Addict

sport climbing

I have a confession to make…I may be addicted to sport climbing.

First of all, what exactly is sport climbing?
Sport climbing is a discipline of rock climbing and means that a climb is protected with permanently installed bolts that a climber clips a quickdraw and the rope into for fall protection as she climbs up a cliff. It’s exactly the kind of climbing you would find in an indoor climbing gym, except these sport climbs are outside on a cliff or “crag”. The movement is gymnastic and when you find your flow, sport climbing can be down right addicting.

“I just want to give it one more try”, I said desperately and looked down at my swollen, pumped forearms.  No matter that we had run out of time and that my veins were jammed with lactic acid.  I was not troubled so much by being humbled on a sport climb that I had sent last year, but by the style in which I was climbing.  I truly wanted to be back in the zone, where mind and body work together seamlessly to move gracefully through sequences. Sport climbing allows you to do this. If I did not push myself to reach that state during a day of sport climbing, then I had wasted a precious opportunity.  It was as if there was one voice in my head that would say I was not good enough and another that said I could do anything if I put my mind to it.  The question was, which voice would rule that day.  A rock warrior would say these voices are judgment statements that I should let go of.

Setting the emotional aspect of sport climbing aside, the quickest way to improve our movement skills is to consistently test them in a variety of situations.  Otherwise your body adapts to familiarity quickly and then plateaus.  In the long term, your climbing will improve most when you are exposed to the different movement styles that are required on different different kinds of rock – sandstone, limestone and cobbles.

For example, we have a secret area near my home in Utah that is face climbing on vertical sandstone.  Many of the moves require you to reach high with both hands, run your feet up vertical, smooth rock until you can turn one hand into a mantel.  The other hand searches for a layback hold so you can bring a foot up onto the ledge and pull your weight over it.

Manteling, however, does not work so well on overhanging limestone.  Limestone tends to either have solution pockets or be blocky with sharp edges like the kinds you find in Rifle, CO. Often times you have to move your body into a position so you are pulling and pushing together creating an opposition force so you stick and can stay on. If your body isn’t using the holds in a positive direction of pull, no amount of strength will keep you from skating right off the wall.

Have any of you tried cobblestone sport climbing like at Maple Canyon, UT?  These holds tend to be more open-grip slopers and can range in size from a golf ball to a watermelon.  Most people are used to crimpers and the thought of grasping rounded cobbles the size of a tennis-ball just sounds insecure.  I try to remember not to rush the moves and that subtle shifts in balance will make the tennis ball feel good enough if I stay focused and trust.

Just thinking about it all makes me want to shut down the computer, grab my rope and draws and a climbing partner and “give ‘er”.  Ah, so much fun to be had and so little time.

Cassie Tweed Designs Osprey Packs

Meet Real Chick Cassie Tweed, the Director of Design for Osprey Packs

We thought we’d sit down with Cassie Tweed, Director of Design for Osprey Packs, to chat with her about just what goes into making women’s specific packs and share that with you. With her leading role at Osprey, we also thought it would be interesting to learn what makes Cassie tick to be such a productive, inspiring leader in the industry. This short video is a great start to gain some insight into her work:

Cassie, Osprey has been a leader in pack design for decades and has put a lot of effort into creating women’s specific packs.  Can you tell us a few key concepts or things that go into making a women’s specific fit that may not be obvious? 
It’s all about the shape of the harness and hipbelt in addition to the different torso lengths available, which is a bit more obvious.  The shape of the harness and hipbelt is more subtle.  The hipbelt is curved to create a conical shape which women’s tend to have and the harness is a contoured to fit the curves of a woman’s chest.  The better the fit, the better the load transfers, and the more comfortable the pack ☺

Are there other aspects of design that you put into women’s specific packs that have put Osprey in the lead with such a wide range of offerings that are women specific? 
Other than fit, aesthetics is another high priority.  This means colors and some subtle patterning changes for a softer, less aggressive look where appropriate.  The function and performance of the bag is exactly the same as men’s.  These details are designed for the activity which is not a gender specific issue.

How long have you been with Osprey and what do you love about your work there? 
I’ve been with Osprey since 2010.  I love that I get to design packs and then go use them.  Hiking and traveling the world is part of the job!  I love that designing packs means designing for experiences.  A successful pack means you don’t notice it on your back.  You notice the beauty of the mountain range in front of you.  I love  that I get to work great people in Vietnam and live a wild expat life ☺

Who are your role models, heroines or heroes, and why?
I’ve never really had specific role models or idols.  I am however inspired by all the women before me and around me, fueling an energy that’s a part of me and greater than me.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working? 
Living in Vietnam is a bit different than if I was at home in California.  At home, you could find me on the beach or walking through the local wilderness everyday with weekend trips to the mountains, backpacking, camping or snowboarding.  In Vietnam, I like to take in the culture.  Going on various motorbike trips around town, eating the amazing food and taking photos. I try to get out of the city once a month to some of the bordering countries like Cambodia or Thailand.  Travel is so easy in SE Asia!  And generally, I’m pretty good at relaxing and hanging about by the pool with this 100 degree weather every day!

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t find online? 
That’s a hard one… I’m not sure I know what’s online about me! Hah…  Well, I think maybe that I’m not a hardcore outdoors, sports enthusiast.  I think a lot of women in the outdoor industry that are highlighted usually are doing some crazy things like climbing big walls and summiting big peaks.  I’m not sure if I’m grouped into that category, but I feel there’s a bit of stereotyping (and it’s probably a bit telling that that is what I see…).  Anyways, what’s interesting about me maybe is that I am just like so many other women out there.  I love being outside and connecting with nature.  I also love working my body.  And when those 2 things happen together, its spiritual.

How would you describe yourself in one to three words?
Learner of life.

What are the top three factors that you attribute to your success?
Thinking positively (i.e. knowing I will succeed in some form or another), Listening, and treating every failure as a learning opportunity / all pain as an opportunity for growth.

What were you like when you were in high school?
High School was kind of intimidating to me. I was athletic and played sports, but for the most part, kept to myself and got good grades.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Haha I love this question.  I don’t know, but I know I’ll find out when the time comes.  When I was younger I knew indefinitely that I would to be an artist, an architect, or the first professional female baseball player.  It was good to have a goal but I may have limited myself.  Now I know that there is so much more joy in not knowing and not limiting myself.

Can you tell us what particular Osprey Products you are most excited about in the women’s line and anything new we can expect to see in the line that would be of interest to our technically oriented women who like to get after it in the outdoors?
I really love the Aura AG and Tempest packs.  Both are supper comfortable and conform really nicely to all different shapes of bodies.  As for the more technically oriented women, the Kresta and Dyna are a couple of our high performance products that came out recently.  Kresta is a ski and backcountry sports pack and Dyna is a body hugging trail running hydration vest.

As an inspiration and leader in the movement of women’s specific design can you give our readers any words of wisdom that you’ve learned along the way that have made so successful and productive? 
Follow your heart.  And if you don’t know what that is, that’s Ok, I’ve been in this position so many times.  When I’m not sure, I go outside, be quiet and listen.  Trust what you feel deep down and follow it.

Thanks Cassie, we appreciate your time and can’t wait to see what you’ve got in the works for 2018! 
Thank you ☺

**This is the first in a series of Interviews that Chicks Co-Owner Angela Hawse is doing with women behind the Brands that support Chicks.  Osprey Packs has been a long-time supporter of Chicks Climbing and Skiing and we are a huge fan of their products and people. We know first hand that Osprey makes the best women’s specific packs on the market.  Most of you who have attended a Chicks program have had the opportunity to demo a women’s specific Osprey Packs.

Real Chick: Dede Rosenburg, Subaru Scholarship Winner 2016

Last year I was the lucky winner of one of Subaru Adventure Team’s big prizes: a trip to City of Rock in Idaho to attend a climbing clinic put on by Chicks Climbing. In the spring, a friend of mine told me about the essay contest SAT was having. He thought it would be right up my alley, and it was! I have been an aspiring mountaineer for many years and the one piece I was working hard at (but struggling with in Minnesota!) was rock climbing. I wrote my essay and submitted my photos. For days after, I talked about how amazing it would be to have this opportunity. And as more days went by, it sort of fell off my radar. Like contests do. Much to my surprise, months later, I received an email that I had in fact won. And that I had two weeks to figure everything out for travel, because Idaho was calling! And there was no way I would miss out on such a rare and rad event.

In order to get to Idaho from Minnesota, I had to drive by so many beautiful parts of the country. So naturally this turned into a glorious road trip of National Parks and National Forests. Dirtbagging steadily out west. Surviving on quick oats, tuna packets and instant coffee. It was bliss. Every day that I woke up, I was somewhere new and glorious. And so aware that none of this would have been possible without winning the climbing scholarship.

When I got to City of Rock, I was greeted with some special sights that I didn’t expect at all. Prior to this, I had no clue how lovely and rugged Idaho was. I was dazzled and honestly, quite scared for my car; a 10 year old Chevy Aveo that has seen more wilderness than most of the people I know! The color of this landscape was bright gold, with splashes of green and red. The sky a pop of blue with puffs of white cloud. The air was hot and dry and sensational. Getting to the parking lot, I saw a sign that I recognized directing me towards a campsite about a quarter of a mile in.

My things for the next few days were unloaded and I was left for the weekend. I began to set up my tent and organize my gear as some of the other ladies rolled in and began to do the same. I was struck by how windy our private site was. Putting my sleep system together, everything hit me all at once; how lucky I had been to win this opportunity, how wonderful it was that it all worked out- my job agreed, my car agreed, everything was lining up in a lovely way. When I finished setting up and emerged from the tent, I was pretty surprised to see that most everyone was doing the same. We were asked to come around the fire ring in a few to do intros and get the lay of the next few days. I think this is the part I was most nervous for at the time. I had realized while in my tent, that most of these women seemed to know one another. Through hearing them chit chatting and talking about past climbing adventures. I was a little apprehensive about being the only woman to have won my way there. And about very clearly being the least experienced climber.

During intros, my mind was eased by the friendly nature of everyone there. We all chatted some and were given very fun “gift bags” that were actually just wonderful presents- a bag from Patagonia, a hat from OR, a few Petzl items and many little items for skin care and climbing. Totally unexpected and very appreciated. We had some dinner and retired to our tents for the night. We had a big day ahead of us, with a pretty early start!

The next morning I woke up feeling refreshed and emerged from my tent to a pre-sunrise City of Rock. No one else was awake, so I took to opportunity to take a sunrise stroll down the main roads of the area. It was warm with a cool breeze and the sky was slowly turning into a rainbow of painted colors that reflected vividly off of the rock that surrounded everything. I returned to camp and was greeted by Chick Guides, Angela and Aimee, who were busy starting to get coffee going and arranging the table for breakfast. We had some great conversation and the other ladies began to rise. Breakfast was a lot of coffee and many food choices, served up buffet style. There was something for everyone, including gluten free options. I don’t think anyone ever went hungry during the next few days- between our ample breakfasts and dinners that were provided, most of us brought hearty lunches and many snacks.

Day one of climbing began with some lessons on ropes, knots and basic safety. We went over gear and were able to test out various shoes, helmets and anything else you might need! I enjoyed this part of the day. I have some sports arthritis in my left foot and have difficulty finding climbing shoes that feel okay. I tend to stay loyal to specific brands and being able to try on and use alternative brands was awesome. I particularly liked a pair of Scarpas- not too aggressive and wide enough for my crazy foot. I was most comfortable with gym-climbing at the time and had no idea what slab climbing was. Enter: the slab climbing crash course.

I was so timid about this style of climbing. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever shown such restraint in a new physical pursuit. Between the new kind of exposure and the uncertainty of almost nothing to hold on to, I had some trouble. I took two attempts at two different routes that morning. I found a lot of peace watching the other women climb, noticing the technique they used and paying close attention to where they were putting hands and feet on this seemingly very smooth but sticky rock. Smearing was everything. Using your hands to balance was everything. I took note and rested my foot a bit. I had one more attempt, using some of what I saw the other women doing, and was stunned by the reaction I had to the exposure as I climbed higher. It was enough to call it a day for me- so many new emotions and observations! Angela could tell I was feeling a little uncomfortable and took me aside to practice smearing on a small boulder nearby. “Trust the gear” was something she said a few times. And I realized that was something that I had never been told before and it was not something I had ever done. I understood using gear, but until that point I didn’t understand that to use it properly, you must trust it. This little lesson boosted my confidence and gave me something to really look forward to for the following day.

Later that day, I was given the opportunity to belay a few times. It was a great rest for my tired foot and a fun way to get to know some of the ladies more. We were out on the rock for many hours and when we wrapped it up for the evening, hunger set in. There was a big healthy feast and we all gathered together to discuss our day and our plans for the next day. We decided to go to Castle Rocks State Park, which was very nearby and would hopefully provide much more shade.

When we went to bed that evening, everything from the day caught up with me and I slumbered. Hard. I woke up around sunrise and again, had some great conversation with Angela and Aimee. We had breakfast and hit the road- it was a short drive to the state park and a beautiful walk to the area we would be climbing at. I was shocked to see so many flowers and so many lizards. I also noted the couple rogue cows grazing the field and hanging out near the trail. It all felt a little surreal. We set up our ropes and began climbing. I belayed a bit and learned a lot in doing so. Any time I had a question it was answered and many tips were given to make the task easier and more comfortable. When it was time for me to attempt climbing for the day, the exposure got me good. Only this time I was encouraged from below by everyone and I went a little further than before. I knew what I had to do and how to do it, but my muscles and brain were fighting with one another. My calves gave out before my brain allowed me to get much higher. The sun was hot. I felt overstimulated. It was time for me to sit back, investigate gear, take some photos and have a bite to eat.

Later in the day I sent my first wall. It is still something I am very proud of. I was scared and unsure, but I was determined to complete a route on this trip. Even if it was one route. Going from never slab climbing to jumping right on in; I counted it as a major victory. The wind was so strong, my rope was whipping all over. I couldn’t decide if it was best to look up, down or to either side. Eventually I decided to just keep it simple, with eyes pointing only to where I needed to go. When I topped out, I could just barely hear some friends cheering below. Seemingly just as happy I was for this overcoming of fear and powering through.

It is immensely difficult to be vulnerable and not your best in front of new people. But there was no judgement, only kindness. Praise over and over again. Reminders from everyone that we all start somewhere and usually it’s from a place of complete unknowing. I took all of these encouraging and gentle words and to this day, remember them often.

After climbing, most of the ladies went to the local hot springs. I didn’t come prepared for that and stayed behind at camp. The plan was to read, write and reflect on the past couple days. But that is not how it worked out. In The City, cellphone service is quite hard to come by. As it turned out, friends and family had been trying to get ahold of me for a while. There was a family emergency back in Minnesota and before I was able to comprehend any of it, my boyfriend arrived at our camp to break this news, help me pack up quickly and make the long drive home. An imperfect ending to a life changing few days. I had made connections, achieved goals and learned so much. It felt like a haze to leave in such a rapid and surprising manner.

It’s been a handful of months since my scholarship to City of Rocks. So much has changed in my life. Profound changes that have been difficult, scary and often times like groping around in the dark. And I have thought about my time in Idaho constantly. I learned more in those days about climbing than I could possibly imagine. From technique, to language, to gear. I was able to learn about the outdoor industry in a deeper way. And I was encouraged to chase my dreams; live my life wildly and fully. I felt supported in a group of women. It was a beautiful and inspiring thing. I daydream about how excited I was when I topped out. How shocked and proud I was. It is empowering beyond words to defeat fears so big. I carry that feeling with me whenever I face sticky situations in daily life. Normal struggle seems a hell of a lot easier to handle when you’ve battled your own mind in a dangerous situation. And being supported by these strong and athletic women is empowering in a different way. I find that these days I am a bit more encouraging of others. I trust a little easier and open up a little quicker. I feel a safety with women that I never had before.

I grew leaps and bounds in The City. In many ways, my life began there. Or rather, I evolved into someone else there. Someone I care for and appreciate more. A grown woman who is braver and calmer and unafraid of the unknown. Climbing will always be a large part of my life and through this clinic, I have knowledge, confidence and a higher skill level to propel me further. Prior to this, I didn’t know slab climbing. Since that time, I have used this skill countless times. It is a technique I am proud of. My time spent in Idaho was raw and magical. It is an experience that is constantly teaching me lessons and that I will remember for the rest of my life. I am excited to return some day to conquer more fears, develop further and reminisce on the crazy few days I spent with Chicks Climbing.

Words and photos: Dede Rosenburg

Gym to Crag Tips

I have been working as a climbing guide since 1998. It has only been in the past few years that I meet climbers who have climbed for years, but never outside. This phenomenon is new to me, and it is new to the climbing world. The rise of the gym only climber is due to the popularity of climbing gyms and access to indoor climbing. Today there are gyms in every state in the nation, giving people exposure to climbing even if there is no local crag within 100 miles. The indoor climbing gyms have produced a new generation of climbers that are stronger than ever. However, when gym climbers finally touch real rock, they may find their honed gym skills are not immediately translating into success.

Chicks is here to help you take your indoor climbing skills and apply them outside. The upcoming Maple Canyon, Utah and Rifle, Colorado programs will focus on sport climbing skills, a style of climbing that compliments the gym nicely. No matter what grade you climb inside, we can help you achieve that same grade, or higher, outside. Our all women’s outdoor rock climbing trips will teach you how to transition from the gym to crag with a little help from Chicks. You will learn:

  • Reading the rock type and identifying holds
  • Learn to lead
  • Perfect your belaying both top rope and lead belaying
  • Practice falling
  • Learn to project a route at the edge of your ability
  • Cleaning anchors and equipment retrieval

Each of our Chicks outdoor climbing clinics will give you the skills to make you an independent climber both indoors and out. Be sure to join us this summer to experience two of the best crags mother nature has to offer.

L’Escalade in Lexington, KY.

The climbing gym is a great place to learn climbing movement and basic leading skills. However, you may find you need a little help translating gym climbing to real rock.  At the Chicks Maple and Rifle clinics, our female guides will focus on your goals. Learn to identify holds, route find, and read different rock types in a supportive environment.

Chicks Allum Angela Allen on the sharp end in Rifle, CO.

When a gym allows lead climbing, they set the routes so that the spacing of the lead bolts are close together to be as safe as possible. Run outs and tricky clips are not a typical gym dilemma. Learn how to lead outside and how to properly belay long run outs at any of our sport climbing clinics. At a Chicks clinic you will learn what to do as a climber and a belayer when nature presents obstacles such as ledges, bulges and roofs. 


Each of our Chicks outdoor climbing clinics will give you the skills to make you an independent climber both indoors and out. Be sure to join us this summer to experience two of the best crags mother nature has to offer.

Skills without the Frills

Are you one who would rather forego the cost of a shared house and would prefer to tell stories around a campfire, feel a soft warm breeze blow across your face, and gaze at the stars? Cell service is limited to nonexistent so this is your chance to unplug from your reality and recharge your internal battery. If this sounds like your cup of tea, we have planned a couple of  programs at world-class sport climbing destinations just for you – at City of Rocks, Rifle and Maple Canyon.

All three areas feature a plethora of classic routes at all grades, and you will be grouped with a few others who share similar experience and goals. Expect to improve your climbing skills, and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded women in a safe, fun, and supportive environment. These all women rock climbing trips will focus on the movement skills needed to advance to the next level of climbing; yet they are distinctly different:

City of Rocks, IDAHO:

In City of Rocks, you will find granite domes, with an emphasis on footwork and balance on technical face, slabs and cracks. Friction is the name of the game here and you will practice working on your balance, moving efficiently by shifting your center of gravity and learning how to jam your hands in the cracks. There is also an optional multi-pitch day which is perfect for anyone who would like to experience that for the first time. Either way, you will come away from this weekend moving more fluidly and gracefully. More


Rifle Mountain Park in Western Colorado is a narrow limestone canyon tucked back in the forest. The approach is just minutes from the parking area and the area is filled with blocky features that will teach you how to use opposition forces in your climbing movement. It’s a great area for those learning to lead and practice common sport climbing tactics like stick clipping, projecting skills, cleaning steep routes and taking clean falls. More

Maple Canyon, UTAH:

Maple CanyonIn Maple Canyon, you will find walls composed of cobbles of all sizes which are mortered together to create a 3-D climbing experience. You will find pockets in-between the cobbles, sloping handholds from grapefruit to medicine ball size, crimps and edges on the broken cobbles and almost everything inbetween.

There are vertical faces to climb as well as wildly overhanging routes to practice steep climbing technique like drop knees and back-stepping. Not sure what that means? Well join us and our team of female guides will show you the secrets to successfully climbing this unique rock. More

Chicks partners with REI Outessa

REI Announces 2017 Outessa Retreats Designed To Connect Women with the Outdoors Through Experiences, Inspiration and Adventures

REI, the outdoor co-op and national specialty retailer, announced its 2017 REI Outessa retreats with three immersive, three-day outdoor adventures designed to connect women with the outdoors in a supportive learning environment. Two of Chicks co-owners, Kitty Calhoun and Elaina Arenz, will be attending all three events to lead the instructional climbing clinics with the support of Petzl, our Gold Level Sponsor, as official REI Outessa Ambassadors.

Now in its second year, the REI Outessa getaways are filled with activities and inspiration, offer access to coveted gear and products, serve up great food and wine, and create the environment for making new friends and lasting memories. Registration is now open at
“Whether you are an experienced outdoors person or someone who’s thinking about trying new activities, Outessa is about getting away from it all and reconnecting with the outdoors,” said Susan Viscon, REI senior vice president of merchandising and board member of Camber Outdoors. “We heard some amazing stories from participants last year and we are expanding the retreats in 2017. This fun environment is designed by – and for – a supportive community of women who like adventure.”

2017 REI Outessa events will be held at three breathtaking mountain playgrounds. Destinations were chosen for their inspirational alpine environments, sweeping views, pristine lake, and adventure-ready terrain with miles of trails for running, hiking and mountain biking. Each offer resort hospitality and proximity to major airports, making travel easy for participants. The dates and locations are:

  • July 14-16: Kirkwood Mountain Resort in Kirkwood, California near South Lake Tahoe
  • August 18-20: Mt. Hood Skibowl in Government Camp, Oregon and 12 miles from the Mt. Hood National Forest
  • September 22-24: Waterville Valley Resort in Waterville, New Hampshire in the White Mountain National Forest

Be sure t0 stay up to date on the latest details through the REI Outessa Facebook Page.

Keep the Public in Public Lands


The Department of Interior has been ordered to examine the Antiquities Act and national monuments designated over the last 21 years. This includes a review of the recent designation of Bears Ears National Monument (Indian Creek and much of Southeast Utah) as the first priority, within the first 45 days of this 120-day order. There are 27 National Monuments that are being threatened. The official public comment period ends on July 10. We ask for your help and it will take only a few minutes of your time.

If you enjoy spending time and climbing in these beautiful like Bears Ears National Monument and other places like we do; please take a few moments to submit your comments on the subject so they become a part of the public record. Some talking points are:

  • National Monuments under review have proven economic benefits to the local communities through travel, tourism and outdoor recreation.
  • They provided much needed jobs in these communities, 7.6 million jobs to be exact and a thriving $885 billion dollar outdoor recreation industry.
  • Revisions of current monuments are a direct threat to the local communities whose economies who were built and rely upon their current status.

Part of Chicks mission is to advocate the protection of our climbing areas which is why we support organization like the Access Fund and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. We strongly believe that beautiful places are given protection they deserve and keep access open to all for generations to come.

Take Action Now

Petzl Spirit Express Quickdraw

Petzl Spirit Draw

The Petzl Spirit Express Quickdraw is the Cadillac of all quickdraws. It’s smooth clipping action is unparalleled and I definitely notice a difference of how easy the rope clips into it when I’m on the sharp end. It’s notchless keyhole design sets the standard for all carabiners on the market, because they are way easier to clip and it makes unclipping them a snag free operation. Whether you’re on lead or cleaning them on top rope, you’ll do less fighting with the quickdraw putting them on and taking them off whatever they are clipped to.

The Spirit Express Quickdraw also comes set up with one straight gate carabiner and one bent gate carabiner. Remember the straight gate always gets clipped to the metal hanger on the bolt and the bent gate makes it more ergonomic to clip the rope into it. The webbing (aka dogbone) that connects the two carabiners is nice and beefy, which makes them more durable and easy to grab if you ever feel the urge to French free through a section of a climb. The dogbone is nice and stiff which makes clipping out of reach bolts a touch easier.

The Spirit Express Quickdraws come in two lengths, 12cm and 17cm. I personally prefer the shorter ones but it’s nice to have a longer one or two for good measure to help the rope run in as straight a line as possible on a route. If you’re not sure what length to get, go with a 50/50 split and you’ll be well equipped for any route.
How many do you need? That depends on the area you climb at, how tall the routes are and how many bolts are on the climb. They are sold in single units (as opposed to a pre-packaged set), so you can buy as many as you think you might need. In my experience, 12 quickdraws is usually enough to get me up most sport climbs. And if I need more, I just borrow some from my climbing partner and hope that they too have Spirit Quickdraws too.

For more info on carabiner basics and proper use, including tips on clipping, Petzl’s website is a treasure trove of information. Check it out

Subaru Adventure Team Alpine Rock Scholarship

Subaru Alpine Scholarship

Chicks is proud to announce our Second Annual Scholarship in partnership with Subaru Adventure Team. One lucky winner will earn a spot in our Teton Alpine Climbing Camp in Jackson, WY. All you need to do is share a photo along with a short essay about why you want to attend the clinic, encourage your friends to vote and share on your social channels.

Subaru Adventure Team will swag you out and cover your tuition cost for the Teton Alpine Climbing Program. Not only that but Petzl will also kit you out with a bunch of sweet new gear you’ll need for the trip too.

Enter by May 25th and we will announce a winner on May 29th.


Chicks Training Tip: Advanced Rock Climbing Training

Chicks its rock climbing season! I am so ready for tank tops and basking in the sun. Whether or not you are a weekend warrior who hits the rock gym during the week or someone who has a lifestyle that supports multiple days of climbing each week. We all need to strength train to improve our climbing. Our strength program should be designed to balance the body; improve imbalances created by the sports we love, make us stronger and injury proof.

Many athletes, climbers, runners, cyclists and the like believe that to get better we just need to do our sport more. Initially when beginning a sport that may feel like its true however more is not better, smarter is better, and cross training with strength helps fight off injury which often comes from imbalance and over use, and can help you breakthrough a performance plateau.

In previous newsletters, I’ve discussed basic and intermediate rock climbing strength programs. If this is you stick to the program, don’t stop! If you’ve done the Basic Training Program then try the Intermediate Training Program. Intermediates maybe it’s time step it up to the advanced. Now it’s time to get some training tips out there to keep you moving forward or to target the gals who need a more advanced level of training. So here we go…

Advanced Rock Climbing Training 5.11 or harder grades

What I have found to hold true for 90% of my climbers female or male; Once you climb at a certain level, and have been climbing for 3 – 5 years you have sport specific imbalances that are holding you back, as well as fairly typical strength deficiencies. In this training tip we will cover movements and next month put them into a training program to complement and improve your climbing.

Remember to warm up before all strength sessions and climbing sessions:
Shoulder openers, cuban press, cross over symmetry work Ys, Flys, Row, Pull down, should be done for each session. I covered these is previous training tips.

I’m going to give you a big list of movements, these will be used in your strength workouts. You’re first goal is to learn and/or review all  the movements and practice them one to two times a week. Pick 4 -5 different movements to work on each week. Perform 3 – 5 sets of 4 – 6 reps on all movements. This is prep work so when you’re ready to progress to the more difficult workouts you aren’t so sore that you can’t move. Practice these movements on days you’re not climbing or after climbing.

**Note all of these should be done with focused effort on scapular stabilization. Try to retract or squeeze your shoulder blades together like you’re holding a pencil between them while performing all movements.

Here’s your list: (**covered in previous training tips).

These are your NEW movements. Click on the links for how to videos on each of these movements:
I mean it, practice all these movements, if you go through all of them and build a proper base of quality movement and a knowledge of how much is heavy or what feels hard you’ll be ready by the time the next newsletter comes out which will focus on structured workouts and when to fit them in your training cycle.
As always, I highly encourage you to seek professional help to make sure you have the best form possible on all movements. You can watch my short videos, google and you-tube most of this stuff, however having someone watch you and give you feed back is invaluable.
Please feel free to contact me with training needs at:
Carolyn Parker