What is the Climbers Pact?

the climbers pact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As climbers, we have a personal stake in the health of our outdoor landscapes—without them, we have no place to climb. But as our sport continues to grow in popularity, we are loving our climbing areas to death. Join Chicks and The Access Fund in making a few minor adjustments to your climbing practice that will protect our outdoor landscapes and the climbing experience we love. Commit to the climbers pact, the future of our sport depends on it.

SIGN THE CLIMBERS PACT

Commit to the Climbers Pact:

  • Be considerate of other users
  • Park and camp in designated areas
  • Dispose of human waste properly
  • Stay on trails whenever possible
  • Place gear and pads on durable surfaces
  • Respect wildlife, sensitive plants, soils, and cultural resources
  • Clean up chalk and tick marks
  • Minimize group size and noise
  • Pack out all trash, crash pads, and gear
  • Learn the local ethics for the places you climb
  • Respect regulations and closures
  • Use, install, and replace bolts and fixed anchors responsibly
  • Be an upstander, not a bystander

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

Chick Pick: Petzl’s New GriGri +

Petzl Gri Gri PlusIf you haven’t heard the buzz about PETZL’s new GriGri + here’s the skinny. PETZL has upped the ante on innovation again with improvements to the coveted GriGri that make it a more user-friendly and safer device across the board for beginners and experts. The new “anti-panic” handle on the GriGri+ completely eliminates the possibility for user error in descent mode that has caused numerous accidents with earlier models by belayers holding the handle wide open and not holding the brake strand properly.  Those days are gone, moving the GriGri+ into the #1 assisted braking device on the market. This doesn’t mean you can forfeit good belaying technique which is required for proper use, but it does mean the learning curve is safer for beginners and the belay and lower are more secure across the board.

Another upgrade is the ability to put the device into either Lead or Top Rope mode. Top Rope mode facilitates taking up slack and overall makes for easier operation whereas Lead mode provides the same ease of paying out rope with the additional security of knowing the lower will be glitch-free. A simple knob on the back of the device below the handle makes the switch easy prior to belaying. It is possible to belay either a lead or top rope in either position, so you can’t go wrong but using the correct switch does optimize it’s performance.

Petzl Gri Gri

The lockable belay mode selector and the anti-panic function of the new Petzl GRIGRI + adds an extra level of security when belaying both in lead and top roping mode. The steel wear plates and expanded rope range also increases the devices lifespan and application.

Compared to the GriGri 2, the GriGri+ is overall a better suited device for all users across the board.  As an expert who climbs with beginners frequently it has quickly become my assisted braking device of choice after only a week and a half of use. It’s weight of 200g compared to the 170g of the GriGri 2 is insignificant for the improvements in security.

With a MSRP of $149.95, it’s a no brainer investment to add more security to your climbing. As with any belay device, proper instruction and use of the device is required.  

Learn more in our article on How to Lead Belay with a GriGri.

4-Minute Tape Glove – Step By Step Guide

Sometimes you need hardy a tape glove that last day after day jammed in cracks, but sometimes you arrive at the crag and a crack route just calls to you. No sweat, bust out that roll of tape that’s been bumping around in your pack for the last few months and create this quick and easy tape glove for sending success.

Think it’s impossible?  Think again!

1) Lay vertical tape strips across the back of your hand

2) Create a finger cuff for your pointer and your ring finger

3) Secure the finger cuffs with 2-3 wraps around the palm

4) Secure the bottom of the vertical tape strips with 3-4 wrist wraps

Watch Dawn do it in less than 4 minutes in our latest video.

climbing tape glove

Choosing The Perfect Climbing Shoe

choosing climbing shoeFirst, let’s talk features because that affects the fit of the shoe so much.  Shoes can be divided up into three categories:

Specialized Performance Shoes: These shoes tend to be more for extreme sport climbing.

Performance Shoes: These tend to be for sport climbing as well as technical face climbing.
All-Day Performance Shoes: These are for multi-pitch climbs as well as for crack climbing.

The major features you need to think about are:

  • Rand
  • Stiffness
  • Symmetry
  • Heel-to-toe Profile
The rand is the tensioning system in a shoe, so in a high-performing shoe, like an extreme sport shoe, the rand is going to pull from the forefoot to the heel in such a way that it distributes the power throughout the entire foot.  In a performance shoe, its going to tend to focus the power over the big toe. In the all-day performance shoe, there is little active randing.The stiffness  varies according to personal preference, though you tend to choose a stiffer shoe for technical face climbing.Symmetry has to do with how curved the shoe is.  It is either asymmetrical, symmetric or somewhere in between. So the more asymmetrical it is, the more that shoe is an extreme sport climbing shoe verses the symmetrical shoe, which is the all-day performance shoe and crack climbing shoe.Heel-to-toe profile generally comes in hooked, curved, or flat.  So again the hooked shoe is the most aggressive sport climbing shoe; the flat is the all day performance and crack climbing shoe.

Now let’s talk fit.  A lot of these shoes have a toe box and that is so you can fit the shoe really tight and your toes are crammed up in there.  For crack climbing, you want a thin toe profile so that your toes aren’t jammed up in there.  You can’t always just look at a shoe and tell if it has a thin toe profile or not.  A lot of times you have to try it on ad see if there is a toe box with extra material up there where your toes would be bunched up.The thinner the toe profile the thinner the crack you can jam your foot in to.  This allows you to climb a wider variety of cracks – what you would do is turn your pinky toe down, dig your foot at deep in the crack as you can, and bring your knee up over the toe so that it cams your foot in the crack.
Happy shoe hunting!

Chicks Training Tip: Correct Your Imbalances

Winter has been humming along for a number of months now, we are well past the shortest day of the year, the tease of some sunny longer days is happening, we are beginning to dream of sunny pitches, days in the desert, trips, projects, and scratching that climbing itch!  Now it’s time to talk about correcting our imbalances.

Before I blast forward take a moment to look back at the subject matter of the last 10 training installments. There is an enormous amount of great information in these “Training Tips”, every installment builds toward the next. Enjoy!

Chicks Newsletter #9 –Intermediate Rock Climbing. Training Program

Chicks Newsletter #10 – Basic Rock Climbing Training Program

Chicks Newsletter #11 – The “Process” projecting and climbing harder routes

Chicks Newsletter #12 – “Let’s get serious”, Strength training for women

Chicks Newsletter #13 – “Alpine Days” – how to train for long alpine routes for mortals

Chicks Newsletter #14 – “Alpine Legs” – leg specific training for alpine climbing

Chicks Newsletter #15 – “Ski Legs” – additional training specific for skiing

Chicks Newsletter #16 – Solid Shoulders – injury prevention

Chicks Newsletter #17 – Finger Board Training – maintain finger strength in the winter months.

Now on to the meat of the matter of correcting imbalances…

It’s time to start seriously thinking about climbing season. Depending on where you live, your job, trips you’ve planned, your outdoor season will begin in the next month or two. Hopefully you’ve implemented the tips for shoulder injury prevention, Chicks Newsletter #16 Solid Shoulders – injury prevention, through the winter and possibly added some finger board training where appropriate, Chicks Newsletter #17 Finger Board Training – maintain finger strength, in the winter months.

 

This training tip will cover fixes for climbing imbalances. Remember, climbing is fun, training for climbing is fun, however we are only as strong as our weakest link, that weak link is also our greatest potential injury site. So let’s get rid of those imbalances, you’ll be stronger and more proficient at the sport for the work.

 

If you’ve been climbing and training for a long time you will have complex muscular imbalances, you fall in the category of “Too Much Of A Good Thing”. Basically what climbing does for our mind and soul is not always 100% beneficial for our bodies long term. If you are new to climbing, let’s ingrain some good practices into your training program to keep you balanced and injury free through your climbing career.

 

I train dozens of climbers female and male, who climb anywhere from 5.9 to 5.14. The top imbalances that I see in all climbers are:

 

  • Postural – rounded shoulders, dropped sternum, kyphotic head position
  • Mobility Issues – loss of overhead mobility, tight hamstrings, tight chest
  • Muscular imbalances – weak rhomboids, mid and low traps, over developed upper traps, weak pushing muscles

 

I could list more, however these are the ones I see “most” often. Beyond these, people should seek one on one professional evaluation, especially if you are dealing with a current injury.

 

To begin to fix your imbalances:

Before you climb and ideally everyday:

 

  • Laying on your back on a foam roller, head to sacrum, keep your core tight. Begin with your arms straight fingers toward the ceiling, then let your hands fall toward the floor, overhead. Upper arm by your ears, stretch your shoulders but do not let your back arch at all. Try and get the back of your hands to the floor.

Overhead climbing stretch

  • Then: the same start potion, bend your arms at 90 degrees, and let them fall to the side. Stretch your chest again do not let your back arch. Try and get the back of the forearm to the floor.

Correcting imbalances - climbing

  • Next: Laying on your back with your legs up the wall, extend your legs up as straight as you can with out smashing your low back into the floor, try and maintain a natural lumbar curve. You’ll look like an “L” from the side.

correcting imbalances - Climber L stretch

  • In that same position, open the hips by letting the legs fall into a “V” position.

correcting imbalances - v stretch

  • Lastly make a “4’ with your legs by placing the ankle of one foot just above the knee of the opposite leg and stretch the hip of the bent leg, repeat on the other leg.

correcting imbalances - climber 4 stretch 

Hold each stretch or 30 – 60 secs, repeat a few times, if time repeat after climbing and on rest days!
Then:
2 x 10 shoulder openers
3 x 5 cuban press
3 x 5 wall squats

 

These three movements were covered in our First Chicks Training Tip. Pay particular attention to your shoulders blades. In both of these movements you want to squeeze your shoulder blades together like you are pinching a pencil (mid trap), and keep them drawn down your spine (low trap) and try to NOT shrug them up (upper trap taking over), through the entire movement. Shoulder Openers – that means the entire circle the PVC is making shoulder blades are stable, together and down. Cuban press – that means they are stable start to finish until the arms are directly overhead and back down by your side, this is difficult for most. Wall Squat – pay particular attention to stable shoulder blades and lumbar spine through the entire movement.

 

On days you climb, before you climb add these two movements in addition to the above.
  • 3 x 10 push ups – this movement was covered in Chicks Training Tip #2Pay particular attention to not shrugging your shoulders, allowing them to lift toward your ears as you push. Keep your shoulder blades stable squeezed together and down as you push. This is harder that it sounds.
  • 3 x 8 Bent Over Row or Body Row – these movements were covered in Chicks Training Tip #5

 

Chicks make this a two part movement for each repetition. Begin this movement by first squeezing your shoulder blades into a stable position then pulling (rowing) with the arms. Once the thumbs have hit the armpits at a full range of motion focus on keeping the shoulder blades stable as you lower the weight or your body depending on the movement your are doing then lastly releasing your shoulder blades. Begin the next rep by squeezing the shoulder blades together and stabilizing before pulling with the arms.
Add all of these tips to your already established climbing training regimen as you begin to prep of the season.

If you are advanced you likely have a plan or work directly with a coach. For Intermediate and Beginning Climbers see Chicks Newsletter with Training Tips:

Intermediate Rock Climbing Training Program
Basic Rock Climbing Training Program
As always, if you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me via email.
Carolyn Parker

Chick Beta: Quad Anchor

The Quad Anchor is a versatile method to equalize any anchor, but in this tech tip, we will focus on how to apply in a 2 point anchor scenario. You will most commonly use this when you have a 2 bolt anchor and the advantages to using a Quad Anchor are many:

  • It’s redundant
  • Self equalizes
  • Quick to tie
  • Easy to double check

What you will need to build a quad anchor:

  • 1 Cordelette (6mm Sterling Power Cord or 7mm nylon cord, at least 15 foot in length). Join the two ends with double fishermans or other knot of your choice.
  • 4 locking carabiners. I recommend 2 smaller locking carabiners like the Petzl Spirit Locking carabiner, and 2 pear shaped shaped locking carabiners like the Petzl Attache.

Sterling Cord

 

Steps:

  1. Double your cordelette over so you have 4 even strands of the cordelette. Position the knot that joins the two ends at one side of your loops. 

Quad anchor2. Tie an overhand knot on either end of the cordelette.  You should now be looking at 4 strands in the middle and two loops on either end. Keep them a little loose so you and slide the closer together or further apart depending on how much lateral movement you are going for. 

quad anchor

 

quad anchor
3. Clip your SMALL locking carabiners to the loops on either end of the cordelette. You will clip this to each of the two bolts.

quad anchor 2-point
4. Clip your LARGE locking carabiners to 3 out of the 4 strands in the middle. For best practice, make sure you opposite and oppose them. The reason why you clip only 3 out of 4 strands is because if one bolt fails, the carabiners will be trapped inside the 4 strands and not fall of the end. Another option is to clip one larger locker to 2 of the strands in the middle, and your other large locking carabiner to the other 2 strands.

quad anchor

 

quad anchor5. Voila, you now have a perfectly constructed self equalizing quad anchor rig that you can set up your top rope with.

Want more?

Check our Angela Hawse’s recent blog post on Building Climbing Anchors (video included)

 

Chick Pick: Patagonia M10 Jacket

Patagonia M10 Jacket

Chick guides Kitty Calhoun and Karen Bockel along with Chicks Alumni Diane Mielcarz love their M10 jackets

The Patagonia M10 is our choice jacket for fast and light objectives or for mixed and ice climbing in wet conditions. The M10 is a 3 layer hardshell jacket made out of Patagonia’s patented H2No fabric. Despite this jacket being a waterproof hardshell, it is by far the most breathable jacket in this category.

Its minimalist design is perfect because it has everything you need and nothing that you don’t. It has an athletic cut that fits well under a harness and stays put due to it’s generous length at the torso. As climbers and guides we appreciate this as it makes racking gear and seeing your feet a much easier task.

They’ve added zippered hand pockets to this seasons version and the sleeves have a hook and loop closure so you can tighten the cuffs around your wrists. The hood on the Patagonia M10 accommodates a helmet with ease and is equipped with a single point adjust toggle located in the back.

Lastly, another of the Patagonia M10’s special features is that the whole jacket zips into the Napolean chest pocket. Inside of this pocket there is a sewn loop that you can use to clip the jacket to the back of your harness when you’re on the move.

Patagonia M10 compact designFor the rock, alpine, ice or snow, you can’t go wrong with the M10 jacket. It’s the one to rule them all.

What we Love:

  • Waterproof & Breathable
  • Minimalist & Compact Design
  • Versatile
  • Great color!

How to Choose the Best Rock Climbing Clinic For You

CityClimbWebAt Chicks, we have climbing clinics in all disciplines from rock to alpine climbing. Choosing which one depends on what type of skills you’d like to learn, the climbing clinic style you like and the place you want to travel to do it all. If you’re new to climbing, looking to refresh your skills or want to learn more advanced skills, we have a clinic that makes it all possible.

Keep in mind that we offer 4 different levels that you can choose when you sign up for one of our trips. That way we can pair you up with others who have similar experience and your individual goals can be met in a low ratio group setting in each climbing clinic. As you advance your skills and knowledge you will move up through the four different instructional levels until you are at the point that you feel ready to fly the coop and cast out on your own.

Your guides are all certified by the AMGA and are some of the most highly trained female guides in the country. They do a great job at creating a positive environment and will teach you the “what and the why” so you walk away with knowledge and deep understanding of climbing systems.

Here is a breakdown on some of the skills you will learn on each of our programs:


rock climbing red rocks

Photo by: Irene Yee

Red Rock, NV: March 30-April 4

Great for never-evers and those who want to work on their lead climbing skills. The sandstone is super user friendly and there are climbs of all grades. Las Vegas is an affordable destination for everyone and this is a great stay-cation learning experience.

  • Single and Multi-Pitch
  • Sport and Trad
  • All Levels

Get more info


Indian Creek, UT: April 6-10

IMG_7737 Some previous experience is required for this one, as learning the art of jamming can be challenging enough as it is. You’ll learn how to place and assess trad gear placements and the art of jamming on a wide range of crack sizes. You’ll be on your way to becoming a crack climbing machine by the end of the weekend.

  • Crack Climbing
  • Levels 2-4

Get more info


Kalymnos, Greece: April 23-May 1

Previous experience is required and this climbing clinic is best suited to aspiring lead climbers and those who can top rope 5.8 and up. It’s the perfect place to test your skill against the 3D limestone features. This is a bucket list trip of a lifetime and what could be better than the beach and climbing all in one place?

  • Limestone Sport Climbing in the Mediterranean
  • Levels 2-4

Get more info


City of Rocks, ID: June 21-24

The City of Rocks is a great destination to practice your friction climbing on the wild formations in a high desert setting. There is something for everyone here, even for first timers. You will hone your technical on technical face climbs and learn about anchor building and self rescue.

  • Single Pitch and Multi-Pitch
  • Sport and Trad
  • All Levels

Get more info


Tetons, Wyoming: Alpine Rock. June 29-July 2 

Do you aspire to climb bigger mountain objectives? If you have some rock or ice climbing experience and want to learn how to take your rock/ice skills into the mountains. Learn about traveling on steep snow and ice, cramponing technique, ice axe use and self arrest on the shoulders of the Grand Teton.

  • Alpine Rock
  • Levels 2-4

Get more info


Red River Gorge, KY: September 1-4

The Red is one of the most popular destinations in the country because climbers love the pocketed sandstone. There are thin face climbs and juggy overhangs that will inspire and challenge you. It’s so user friendly which makes it the best place to transfer your indoor climbing skills to the outdoors.

Get more info


rock climbing clinicRifle, CO: August 18-20

Rifle is all about compression climbing, meaning you will squeeze and use opposition to ascend the walls lining this narrow gorge. The approaches are about 5 minutes max and the canyon receives equal parts shade and sun during the day. We will focus on sport climbing strategies like stick clipping, leading, cleaning anchors and projecting skills.

  • Steep Sport Climbing
  • Levels 2-4

Get more info

Real Life Chick – Louise Kuhn

We get to meet the amazing women we call Chicks every day and would be remiss if we didn’t get to share some of their stories with you.  Real life Chicks are CEO’s, dirtbags, moms, grandma’s, sisters, friends, athletes, and partners – just like you.  This week, meet Louise Kuhn who just finished the Iceland Ice Climbing Clinic.
Louise Kuhn Where are you from?
The long or short version? New York City via South Africa.
What programs have you done with Chicks?
Two ice climbing clinics in Ouray and one clinic in the Adirondacks.
Who were your guides?
The first ice clinic was with Dawn Glanc, second with Anna Keeling and the Dacks was with Emilie Drinkwater.
How long have you been climbing?
15 years
What types of climbing has this consisted of?
A varied and diverse mix of climbing.  There is a fair bit of trad, a diverse mix of mountain and alpine, and a good bit of ice.  I resisted the gym until recently because I thought it was boring.   But now New York has some good gyms and I have friends who go, so now I go for the sociability. I know I should try harder while there, but I prefer to go and have fun.
Why Chicks?
I liked the idea of all women’s program – I heard the guides were excellent teachers and I wanted the best instructors.
What do you like about Chicks programs?
I like the full immersive climbing experience. In addition, I also like to hang out and spend time with like-minded folks
Sum up adventure to you.
It’s a “glimmery dream” that moves you towards something exciting. Adventure is the balance between fun and fear, uncertainty and hope. It’s the challenge of the unsure.
What’s important about adventure in your life?
Stepping outside your comfort zone allows for personal growth.  It inspires and motivates to achieve things outside your wildest dreams – further than you thought was possible.
Tell me the story about your first experience with crampons.
(she knowingly laughs with that leading question because it’s such a great story!)
I thought winter was for staying indoors until I discovered crampons. I strapped them on and stepped outside on the ice. And the ice went ‘kjieee kjieee kjieee’.
(I asked for her spelling of that sound: it’s the sound of the ice not the crampons because “ice has different sounds”)
It’s a gutteral sound. I realized I could run across the ice.
What expectations did you have about the Iceland trip?
I was deliberately careful to be open to what was here… to see and discover what was here.
What surprised you?
I’ve been surprised since I stepped off the airplane.  It’s weird, wild and wonderful!
To which we said, “good alliteration” 
So Louise responded:
I expected a wonderful group of women, but I didn’t expect them to be as weird, wild and wonderful as they were.
What’s your next climbing goal?
After a moment, without hesitation or wavering conviction, Louise responds:
I’m going to stop backing off the overhangs at the gym….(Perhaps she was considering our last pitch of steep ice she contemplated not climbing but did)
Where would you like to see climbing take you?
I would like climbing to make me more level-headed, more grounded. But also to feel more fulfilled and happy.
Do you have an expectation of that or is expectation the wrong word?
Wrong word: it’s a positive process: working thru fears, insecurities and self-doubt. Examining thoughts and feelings allows growth  to be on that path is a positive process.
What else would you like to say about this Iceland trip or reflections on Chicks, climbing, etc:
The wonderful things about climbing are … independence and self-reliance, which some times you cannot get with a guided trip. With Chicks, there’s a deep sense of equality within the group.
(Just on a side note, as a guide, her last statement really struck a chord with me. That identified so much in our culture regarding climbing and hiring a guide and the deeper meaning behind personal pursuits, adventure and our seeking more meaning in our lives … the choices we make for personal fulfillment.)