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Mixed Climbing – Quick Tips – How to Climb Smoothly

Chicks Mixed Climbing Clinic, Camp Bird Road, Ouray, Colorado. ©Kitty Calhoun 

Chicks Mixed Climbing Clinic, Camp Bird Road, Ouray, Colorado. ©Kitty Calhoun

So Smooth, Just Like Butter on a Muffin!

My seven-year-old son, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with hair slicked back, glided across the room as if he was riding a surfboard. He sang out, “So smooth, just like butter on a muffin.” This line soon became the mantra at my mixed and ice climbing clinics.

So, how do you move fluidly?  How do you climb so smooth, just like butter on a muffin?

You learn to climb in balance with precision and purpose.

What the heck does that mean?

Join us for our Mixed Climbing Clinic where we’ll take deep dive into understanding climbing in balance with precision and purpose.

In the meantime, keep reading to get an idea.

Precision

Mixed climbing is an aspect of climbing that especially demands precision because the holds tend to be smaller. However, smaller does not necessarily mean harder. If you’re in balance, then smaller holds can be more useful than larger holds that put you out of balance.

Balance

My Pilates instructor once told me, “Use stability to provide mobility.” It is the same in mixed climbing. You must learn to keep your core and all of your limbs perfectly still. This all-body-stillness supports the stability and balance you’ll need to move your next tool or foot up. Then the trick is to shift your balance and stabilize under your newly placed tool or over your newly placed foot.

Purpose

Watch a graceful climber and you’ll notice that she’ll slow down and study the next sequence of moves from a relative rest position. Then, once she begins to move again, she’ll commit without hesitation to each move. It’s as if she has glue on her front points and picks. She does not stop and “shop around” for holds.

Never Underestimate the Powerful Tools of Visualization and Breath

Visualizing in small detail is as effective in terms of building brain engrams as doing the actual movement itself.  Yet visualization takes discipline. It takes practice to slow down and focus on running a play-by-play movie in your mind of you climbing like a super star.

Breath connects mind to body. Use your breath as a tool to keep yourself calm and performing efficiently.  Start by simply reminding yourself to breathe. It is very common to hold your breath when the going gets tough. Then you can work your way into more specific techniques. Try inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose combined with a pursed-lip out-breath.

Soon, you too, will be climbing as smooth as butter on a muffin!

Mixing Up The New Year – Women’s Mixed Climbing

Chicks Climbing and Skiing wrapped up the 2016 climbing season in Ouray. The inaugural Chicks Mixed Climbing clinic was the perfect way to end an amazing year of climbing. The weather was great and the stoke was high.


Womens Mixed Climbing

Each morning we were shuttled to the trailhead by Andy at Western Slope Riders. It felt like valet service as we never had to worry about driving the snowy mountain road or finding parking. Plus each day we got into a warm van to ride home. It was deluxe.

Western Slope Riders

Seven out of the eight women who attended the clinic were Chicks Alumni. We knew we had some very talented climbers in the group.  As guides, it is awesome to watch the ladies use all the movement skills from rock climbing and translate it to mixed climbing. Grades were no obstacle for the ladies. No one turned down the opportunity to climb a route even if it looked challenging.

Womens Mixed Climbing

The last day, half of the group went to the Hall Of Justice, a dry tool cave above Ouray with some of the hardest lines in town. Kitty took three ladies to the Ouray Ice Park. This day was amazing to see how far each woman had come in just three days. It was a beautiful process to watch and be a part of.

Mixing It Up

If you missed your chance to attend the Chicks Mixed Climbing clinic, don’t worry. We have added another clinic the weekend of March 3-5. Our guides will be looking forward to the opportunity to climb with you.

Mixing It Up

Build Lock-Off Strength

Weather is changing and it’s time to start thinking about training for two of our favorite winter sports, mixed and ice climbing!  One key strength area to focus on is our arms and shoulders specifically for locking off.  This gives you the power and ability to pull yourself in and reach for the next hold.  Chicks guide and owner, Dawn Glanc, shows us two simple moves getting started building your lock-off strength!

lockoff-training-video

 

Chicks Gear Review: Petzl Nomic

Petzl NomicRock climbing is my first love, but now that I’m a Chicks owner, I’m doing my damnedest to transform myself into a bad ass ice climber. What I’ve learned is that gear really matters. It’s an investment in my personal security and I want the best gear I can get my hands on. After doing a quick poll of my peers, male and female alike, what tool came out on top? The Petzl Nomic was the hands down winner.

Why is this the first tool of choice of so many ice climbers? It’s the one tool that can climb ice, rock and hard packed snow, so no matter what your  medium of choice is, this tool will be able to handle the job. If you’re new to the whole ice climbing thing like me and you’re not sure, then you can’t go wrong with the Nomic.

The Nomics are thoughtfully designed and it’s the details that set it apart from other ice tools on the market. First you’ll notice the aggressively curved shaft. This allows the tool to clear bulges in vertical ice/rock easily and puts your body into a restful stance so you can conserve energy and hold on all the way to the top.

Speaking of holding on, this tool rests in the palm of your hand with the ergonomically molded handles. This allows you to grab the handle in a variety of positions, so you can match hands, swap tools from one hand to the other, and never worry about dropping the tool. You’ll look like a pro when you shoulder it, match hands on the second position and reach again for your next placement.

The picks are tapered down to perfection, so they penetrate the ice easier and hook on the smallest dime edges with security. The weight of the Nomic is light enough for dry tooling and mixed climbing, but if you need to add a little heft to your swing, you can add weights to the heads to take your dainty swing into burl-mode without expending any extra energy.

There are so many ice climbing tools on the market and deciding on which one to buy is about as tough as choosing what dress to wear on Saturday night. The Nomic is the equivalent of that little black dress that is perfect for every occasion. Do yourself a favor and choose the one tool that does it all. I have a personal philosophy that if you’re going to buy something, buy the top of line and you won’t regret it. One swing of the Nomic and I promise you will have no regrets and that’s what life is all about.

Dawn Glanc in the Teva Winter Games Mixed Climbing Competition

Cool video of Girly Guide Dawn Glanc talking about and competing in the Teva Winter Games Mixed Climbing competition (which she took first place in for the women!).

Nice work, Dawn and congratulations! 🙂