What’s the buzz? Last week’s gossip report!

Here’s a quick rundown on some of the great gossip and  resources we came across this past week at Chicks Climbing!

All of these are articles we linked to through either the Chicks Climbing Twitter account, or on the Chicks Climbing Facebook fan page (and some on both!).

We hope this wrap-up is helpful to you since we come across climbing articles and other useful resources rather sporadically and know everyone isn’t online all the time, or even on both (or either) of these social media platforms. So to make sure everyone gets access we will be linking to our resources here on the Chicks Climbing blog each week.

Is there something we missed that you came across this week? Please, let us know so we can share with everyone else!

Gear Reviews

Climbing & Fear

Women doing cool stuff

  • – Cool report on Black Diamond athlete Barbara “Babsi” Zangerl cranking out sport crags in Austria this Spring: http://ow.ly/1S3hb
  • – “Women With Altitude” a film about women breaking the cycle of domestic violence by climbing in the Bolivian Andes: http://ow.ly/1R7FS

First Ascents

  • – American Alpine Journal report on Majka Burhardt’s first ascent of Southern Crossing, a V 5.11+ on the Orabeskopf Face of Brandberg, Namibia last summer http://ow.ly/1S3ra

Fun stuff

  • – The most effective ways to bring along booze in the backcountry: http://ow.ly/1Rege
  • – The AAC is hiring – are you up to the task?: http://ow.ly/1QmmX
  • – Great opportunity for kids to take part in Outdoor Youth Summit June 19-20 in NYC; limited travel scholarships available: http://ow.ly/1PIlX
  • – HERA Climb for Life Colorado coming up June 11-12:http://ow.ly/1OcP2

What did we miss? Please let us know in the comments section below and we will make sure to share it!

Making a book purchase? Support the AAC in the process!

The American Alpine Club is a group Chicks Climbing supports as a community of climbers – from boulderers to alpinists – who support the climbing way of life, work to protect climbing locales and their environments, and watch out for one another.
Right now, the AAC has a promotion going on right now with Barnes and Noble that is benefiting the AAC library and museum (the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum) through every purchase you make when you use this code: 10135614 at the checkout!
This promotion is happening online now through May 28! So when making a purchase of ANY book you will see a prompt on the payment page “Is this a Book fair order?” Click on it and enter the book fair ID number 10135614 for Barnes and Noble to donate 10% of the purchase price to the AAC library and museum.

As an added incentive, the AAC is giving away a North Face Spire 40 climbing day pack for those who support the promotion!

To enter you need to forward your online receipt by May 28th to info@mountaineeringmuseum.org with “I got beta!” in the subject line to be entered in the drawing to win!

So, if you plan on making any book purchases within the next few days, please do so through Barnes and Noble so that you can support this great organization and especially its resources for climbers through the AAC library and museum.

Greetings from new social media Chick!

Whorehouse hoses with Danika
Hey there Chicks, my name is Maija (Maijaliisa Burkert) and I have just taken on the role of heading up the charge for Chicks Climbing’s social media!

Kim and I are super psyched to really get to know more of you, and together through our collective knowledge and skills, create the true epicenter of all things women climbing! Our goal is to make the Chicks blog the go-to resource for women climbers – for everything from nutrition tips, to trip reports and gear reviews, we want to be the primary source for women climbers!  We have big plans for the Chicks Climbing blog, which will have a completely new look along with the Chicks Climbing Web site in just a couple of weeks.

As for me, I work in marketing and social media for a couple of different companies, and have been a “weekend warrior” rock climber for the past several years. Until recently it was all sport climbing, but I have just begun exploring the fun world of trad! So unlike the world-famous girly guides Chicks has the honor of working with, I am just an average climber who, like many of you, undoubtedly yearns for more time at the crag to work on getting better!

This past November I did my first alpine ascent in Torres del Paine which made me crave more experience and skills in managing systems and rope work. Shortly after that trip I was then formally introduced to ice climbing and will freely admit that I am already a complete addict! I’ve seriously thought about how I could travel between the northern and southern hemispheres in pursuit of a perpetual winter. I am already dreaming of several weeks in Ouray this winter 🙂

I had my first Chicks experience this past winter and am really hoping to make the Red Rocks trip in the fall. I came to the clinic in January expecting just to pick up some technical tips and was amazed at what I learned about not just climbing – but MYSELF – in those three short days. The experience inspired me in so many ways that I am truly honored to be filling this role for the program.

I’ve been married almost 10 years (next week!) to a wonderful husband who introduced me to the sport and has been encouraging me to take it further and gain more independence and knowledge apart from his at the Chicks clinics. We are an Army family (us and our 3 cats) and just moved from Tennessee (where there was tons of climbing) to beautiful Savannah, Ga., where we don’t have the luxury of 160+ sport routes in our backyard.

Right now at Chicks we are fully up and running on several different social media outlets, so feel free to contact us on Facebook, through Twitter, or on the blog at any time! I will be keeping up with all these moving pieces regularly so if you have a question, something to share, or just want to chat, feel free to hit me up.

But please let me know what YOU want to see from Chicks on this blog. I know what I personally think would be beneficial but want to hear what other chicks want to see, feel, touch, taste, and or even smell more of from Chicks!

Go Camping with Marmot!

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Go camping with Marmot!  Marmot and Chicks is having a contest. The winner will win the following gear.
Eiger 35 (or we can make it a Diva 35 if you’d like)

Limelight 2P Tent

Trestles 30 Sleeping Bag

Entries will be received in Twitter format.  Details to follow.

Update! Congratulations to Carrie Thompson who was the winner in our Go Camping With Marmot contest!

Here is her winning entry: “Gravity pulls Babies from my womb, wrinkles my eyes, breasts from youth.Yet my spirit rises, smile emerges,legs step higher in spite of you.”

A Fine Balance

DSCN7720by Lisa Nelson
It’s late afternoon when Jason and I arrive at the crag. Looks like rain, but we have decided to hike up the sleep slope to get a few pitches in before dinner anyway We’re exploring a new area in our home state of Colorado, and Zane, or 14 year old son, doesn’t want to leave the van. Arguing seems futile. The weather looks like shit and the hike looks like work, enforcing my decision to let him stay. Besides, our van is “home” many weeks out of the year and he is able to entertain himself quite well. Lately, getting him excited about climbing and spending generous time in the outdoors has become more and more difficult. When he was small, I looked forward to a time when he could “keep up with me”. Now that he is physically able to do just that he wants nothing to do with climbing. Last weekend he stayed home from a weekend trip for the first time. All went well. I climbed without distraction for two whole days and Zane got to hang out with friends. This has been a summer of letting go and realizing he is his own person.

It seems my life has always been about balancing climbing with motherhood. Although I know there was a time when Zane was not with me, I just can’t remember it anymore. I love being Zane’s mom and have no desire to trade lives with the 20- something climber living out of the back of a truck. But I love to climb, and I want to climb well. In my journey of balancing climbing with being a mom, I just wish I had met more women like me. How great it would be to have another family to go to Indian Creek with and trade off kids so the moms could rock those towers! Zane is not new to travel. He’s probably clocked more time in Indian Creek than most adult climbers, traveled all over the Western US as well as Peru, Thailand, Spain, Australia and Mexico. We usually spend several weeks, if not months, roaming the country in our van. Spending time together this way, without material distractions makes us a strong family and gives Zane a different perspective on life. We have been home schooling for the last three years, which allows us endless flexibility.

Climbing in SpainToday at the crag, Jason and I talked about going to Lotus Flower Tower next summer, one of many places I have dreamt about for years. Already I am thinking about how I can make this possible. My immediate family is busy and hard to pin down for childcare, so perhaps a camp. He will be 15 so there are lots of options. Better start planning and saving now, though.

Each summer Jason and I try to do one big trip together, but this takes lots of planning and coordination. Although I feel very lucky to be able to have those adventures to look forward to each summer, I often go into them feeling totally under prepared, both physically and mentally. I find it hard to train for big days like Half Dome when I usually need to leave the crag early to cook dinner or to entertain Zane. Finding both partners and time is always a challenge. My lead heads a continual roller coaster. Parenting often leaves me so completely spent mentally I couldn’t imagine getting it together to lead a hard climb. But I’m realizing motivation will go a long ways, even if I haven’t been able to properly train, and in the end determination plays a bigger part than preparation in the success of my big of adventures.

Zane on 5.11 at Indian Creek (before his hands got to big)Over the years we’ve managed to experience many wonderful places; Elephants Perch, La Esfinge in Peru, Big Walls in Yosemite and Zion, The Incredible Hulk in the Sierras, several peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park, The Black Canyon. Yet even when I am in the backcountry or on a big wall, I’m concerned about being unreachable – a constant reminder that I’m first and for most, Mom.

I feel so blessed to be living this life. I relish the adventures I have had because I have worked so hard to get them. The memories of those trips put a smile on my face and fill my heart when I’m frustrated with parenting and everyday life. I meet many women who have given up climbing to be a mom and when I hear them talk about how they used to be a climber it makes me sad. While their husbands are off on climbing trips, they are content to stay home with the kids, finding other physical and emotional outlets. I guess my life would be easier if going to the gym and scrapbooking filled my bucket. My big adventures are why I can’t stop being a climber and I listen longingly when other women talk about first ascents in far away countries.

I’m happy we choose to live our life a bit differently and want that to be an example for Zane. Even more than teaching him Math and Language Arts, I hope to teach him honesty, responsibility, and how to be happy in life. I want him to know the satisfaction and joy of working hard and digging deep to achieve a goal. I know he sometimes misses his friends in Ouray and part of him longs for “normal” life, complete with TV sitcoms and Kentucky Fried Chicken. He is doing great, however, learning and growing like me. When I watch him socialize with the other climbers and hear their comments about what a great kid he is, I’m proud of him and proud of me. I’m doing it, and doing it well. I’m happy and raising a great kid, balancing the two things I love most; being a mom and a climber.

Tips, tricks, and ideas to make it easier:

*Pick areas that are kid friendly. This will be age dependent, of course.
Western areas include:
Rifle
Shelf Road
Indian Creek
Joshua Tree
Ten Sleep Canyon
Bishop
Vedavoo
Red Rocks (single pitch stuff)
Pennitente

International places include:
Rai Lay Beach in Thailand
El Potrero in Mexico (single pitch stuff)
Grampians and Arapoles in Australia
Gandia and Sella in Spain

*Go easy on yourself. Do your best, but don’t beat yourself up if you’re having a bad day. I continually remind myself that I climb because I love it, not because of a grade.

*Don’t give up if you have a bad climbing outing involving children. The great thing about kids is that they change. What seems impossible (like taking a 2 year old to Indian Creek) will be fine down the road. At every age there will be both easy and hard times.

*Don’t push the climbing – gradually build on it. I would be psyched if Zane loved climbing like I do, but we have never “forced” him to climb. Bribed? Yes. The first time he climbed the Flat Irons we hid skittles in the cracks! Get creative and try to incorporate favorite games into this great learning experience.

*Climb in a party of three whenever possible. This will make it incredibly easier on everyone. Since you’re either belaying or climbing with a pair, three people allows a nice break when needed. This way I can enjoy time with Zane, reading or playing.

*Bring lots of entertainment to the Crag. Zane has a bag FULL of goodies…books, art supplies, hula hoops, juggling rings, juggling rings, poi, throwing knives, even those evil handheld devices. We recently added a unicycle and a mountain board to his bag of tricks.

*A two way radio has been a great investment. If Zane wants to wander down to the van early, I can still connect with him. In Thailand, we took one up on a multi-pitch. He thought it was a blast to talk to us while we were up there.

*Own a van. We own a campervan and although it’s not a cheap vehicle it has been our most treasured investment. I would sell my house first! This one thing has been the biggest reason we are able to live the life we do. Our life would just not work with a tent.

*Get out with the gals. Make sure you have time to yourself, away from the husband and kids. It’s great for me to be on the sharp end with no distractions.

*Have time alone with your significant other. We plan one trip together each year and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

*Be OK with a bored or grumpy kiddo. They are not going to be happy 100% of the time regardless of where you are. I would rather Zane be bored in a beautiful place than sitting at home in front of the TV. Downtime leads to creativity.

*Lastly, relish the time you have with your children in these spectacular places. Some of my best memories are of hanging out in the van at camp with Zane at Indian Creek or Joshua Tree. There is no house to clean, no laundry to do, we are just spending time together. As he grows up, I cherish the memories we share and look forward to making more.

Which Crampons are right for you?

by Kitty Calhoun

Recently, I’ve been doing some thinking about crampon configurations and have asked some tech-queenie guys their opinions as well.  The choices between crampon configurations are: duo-point vs mono-point and horizontal points vs vertical points.  I wondered if  one crampon worked better for mixed, if one crampon was better for longer routes, if one was better for brittle ice (or soft).

I asked three of the most techy guys I know: Mark Miller, Will Gadd, and Bill Belcourt  (tech guy at Black Diamond).  Each had a different opinion.  Mark liked his mono-points for everything – mixed and ice and does not believe that a mono-point gives any less support on long routes than dou-points.  He does not think that a mono-point is any more likely to shear in hollow ice or fracture brittle ice than a duo-point , whether horizontal or vertical.

Will Gadd likes his horizontal points for mixed and ice routes.  He finds duo-points more stable than mono-points.  Furthermore, he says that horizontal points allow you to climb ice more like you climb on rock because when you raise your heels, they are less likely than vertical points to break the ice and shear out.  There were only a few unique places and conditions where he thought any other configuration out-performed horizontal points.

Bill Belcourt said that everyone has their own theory as to which configuration is best but none are verifiable by science.  He does not like mono-points in less than vertical terrain because he feels it is more work to stand on your feet and keep your balance.  The Black Diamond vertical duo-points (Cyborgs) have front-points with serrations on the teeth so they feel more secure when standing on mushrooms.  They are heavier than the horizontal points, but you can change out the front points to mono-points or replace the points when they become worn out so the crampons last longer.

I would love to write more about choosing crampons, but space does not allow.  I think that it is best to demo all types of crampons to find out what you like best. Personally I like the new BD crampons.  Stainless is lighter, does not dull as easily, does not rust and has no toxic coatings on on them.   In the meantime, it is fun to play with different configurations because it tends to focus your attention on your feet, which in itself would cause you to climb better!

Chicks Slide Show by Caroline George

Carolinesm1Monday January 25, 7:00 PM
Live Auction & Slide show
Ouray Community Center $5
New Belgium will be there pouring beer. Bring your ID!

Presenter: Chicks Guide Caroline George Presents:

ICEFALL BROOKE: a journey into the Canadian wilderness with four women putting up new routes in the unexplored Icefall Brooke canyon.

In March 2006, Caroline George flew into the remote Icefall Brooke Cirque with fellow ice climber-esses Ines Papert, Audrey Gariepy and Jen Olsen and photographer Jon Walsh. Throughout the ten days spent in this pristine valley 90kms north of Golden, BC, the team put up 10 new routes, all rated between WI5 and M12! Each day, they would set out to climb line after line of hard ice, only to return late at night to the comfort of their winter shelter. Ever wondered what could motivate a team of girls to go rough it in the heart of the cold winter? What is the point in doing first ascents? Come and find out!

Betty Ice Ball – Schedule of events

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THE BETTY ICE BALL – a woman’s festival of ice

The public is welcome!

Friday January 29, 7:00 PM

Live Auction & Slide show

Ouray Community Center $5

New Belgium will be there pouring beer. Bring your ID!

Presenter: Zoe Hart
STORIES OF AN ALPINE PRINCESS

Experience the stories of an Alpine Princess through the eyes of professional climber and Patagonia ambassador, Zoe Hart. She will take us on a photographic odyssey across the globe going from one storied alpine climb to another, often in the harshest of conditions, through the most colorful of cultures and landscapes.

Based in Chamonix, France, Zoe Hart takes advantage of conditions as they present themselves – ski mountaineering, alpine climbing, or rock climbing – when she’s not working as a mountain guide. Zoe is labeled as a perpetual transient – she hasn’t lived in the same place for more than three months over the past eight years – finding the call to travel and explore the mountains of the world too alluring to stand still. Hart is also the fourth American woman to earn her IFMGA, or International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, status. This is the highest level of credential available to a professional mountain guide anywhere in the world and is recognized in over 20 IFMGA member countries.

Saturday, January 30, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Love Your Chicks Garage Sale
Ouray Community Center

Bring your used outdoor gear to sell and donate (at least) 50% of your profits to Chicks with Picks. Make a little money and support the Chicks. Open to the public and everyone who wants to empty their closets and support a local organization.  If you need more details call 626-4424.

Saturday, January 30, 8:00 PM
Ouray Community Center $10

Dance to live music…To Be  Announced in next weeks paper. Stay tuned.
New Belgium will be there pouring beer. Bring your ID!

Girls just want to have fun pins!

Ilene Greene has been working as an artist for 25 years and resides in Ridgway, CO.  She works in pastels and watercolors as well as silver and collage jewelry.  She has created these one of a kind embellished pendents just for Chicks.  To purchase, just click on the link below.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun pins

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How to choose a rope

by Kitty Calhoun

The first thing to decide is how you will most often be using the rope.  Do you need a dry rope? Will you be mostly top-roping? Will you be doing multi-pitch routes or long approaches in the mountains?  Each of these factors affects your decision as to diameter, length and dry treatment of your rope.  So let’s look at your choices:

  • Single ropes (9.4mm – 11mm). The larger the diameter, generally, the longer the rope will last. The larger diameter ropes are harder to feed through belay devices and are, of course, heavier.  Conversely, the smaller diameter ropes are lighter, but do not last as long.  I would choose a 10.2mm for top-roping and on big walls where I have to do a lot of jumaring. I would use a 9.4mm for alpine routes, and a 9.9mm for most of my climbing.
  • Half ropes (8mm – 9mm). These are two ropes used together in such a way that you clip one line of pro with one rope and another line of pro with the other to reduce rope drag, or simply alternate clips. If you clip both strands into the same piece of pro, the impact force goes up on the pro and on you (not good).  The advantage of this system is that it reduces rope drag on wandering routes and you have two ropes in case one gets chopped. Also, you have two ropes to rappel. The disadvantage is that it takes extra time and is more awkward to manage the ropes while belaying on a hanging or semi-hanging belay.
  • Twin ropes (7mm-9mm). Another two-rope system, but with twins, you have to clip both ropes in each piece of gear so there will be  more rope drag than with half ropes. Like half-ropes, you have two ropes to rappel but have the disadvantage of dealing with the extra time and awkwardness of managing the ropes while belaying on hanging or semi-hanging belays.
  • Other factors. The most common lengths are 60m and 70m.  You can normally get away with a 60m rope (and this saves weight and money) except on some long single pitch routes.  As for dry treated ropes – the water-resistant coatings are often applied to the sheath and to the core fibers as well.  This makes the rope more water-resistant, stonger, and it lasts longer.

Additional things to consider would be fall rating and impact force rating of each rope you’re considering as well as the care instructions for each type of rope. Ropes do have a shelf life and at most, a rope is only good for 4-5 years.  I get a 70m 9.9mm dry rope at the beginning of every ice season and try to make it last a year.  I also carry a 70m 7mm dry cord (static) with me on multi-pitch routes for rappelling.

I have been using PMI ropes for 20 years and would highly recommend them.  Chicks with Picks proudly uses them as well.