Climbing Shoe Flow Chart

Climbing Shoe Flow Chart

The Endeavor is a great shoe for face climbing. It is pretty stiff and moderately aggressive, but not overly downturned, allowing you to use fine edges and stick your toes into divots and holes. Another great shoe for face climbing that is a little more aggressive, is the Mad Rock Lyra.



The ultra-classic La Sportiva TC Pro’s are generally considered the “ultimate technical climbing shoe” for crack or slab climbing. Another great shoe is my all time favorite, Evolv Rockstar. Either of these shoes are pretty comfortable and can be worn on long multi-pitch routes.


Rockstars at Stoney

Mad Rock has a new shoe called the Lotus that is a super aggressive shoe, specific for bouldering, especially for overhung routes. This shoe is very downturned and pretty flexible, allowing you to balance on ridiculously small holds and literally hook your foot onto holds. If you are looking for something with a little bit harder rubber, the La Sportiva Solutions are pretty popular and are great for heel hooking!




There are a lot of “unspoken” rules to climbing, some of which are so subtle that they take years to learn. Because of these non-overt rules there is this kind of “mean girl” humor about newb’s amongst climbers. I know we are all guilty of doing this at some point. I always feel bad though when I see a climber, who is clearly new to the sport, doing something really silly or obnoxious. Maybe its because I was a newb once too, or because I was nerdy in middle school and people made fun of me, or maybe its because I am a social worker and have a genuine concern for the well being of others. Regardless, I think, as bad ass climber chicks, we need to take it upon ourselves to help teach new climbers the things they need to know, rather than making fun of them behind their backs because they don’t know better. Oh, and by the way, here is some information on the “official” difference between noob and newb:

The top 10 things you should know if you are a new climber, aka: “newb”

1. Don’t boulder with your harness on. Also, you don’t need to load your harness up with gear to go climb at the gym. You don’t need a full rack of trad gear on your harness to sport climb a 5.9.

newb style, she looks strong though

bouldering newb style, she’s got some muscle though

2. Distracted belaying is dangerous belaying. Don’t interrupt someone who is belaying. Saying “hi” to your long lost sorority sister can wait until their climbing partner is safely on the ground.

3. Don’t ask people how hard they can climb, watch them and if they are climbing around your grade, join them.

4. Don’t brag and don’t give beta (the way to do the problem), unless someone specifically asks for help or you are climbing together. You can say “Want beta?”

5. The first thing you should buy is your own climbing shoes…nothing yells NEWB like wearing a pair of gym shoes with socks Oh, and please DO NOT dare wearing Vibram Five Fingers to climb in.


newb bouldering in a harness and Five Fingers

icky gym shoes

icky gym shoes with socks

6. Don’t think you know everything, actually don’t think you know anything. Just because you took a belay class at the gym last week doesn’t mean you know jack shit about climbing. Learning about climbing takes time, open mindedness, practice and responsibility.

7. If you don’t know something, ask, you are responsible for your safety. nothing makes you look stupider than falling 40 feet because you clipped the auto belay into your chalk bag

8. LISTEN to the Enormocast (or other climbing podcasts), READ climbing blogs, WATCH climbing videos, GET ON Mountain Project.

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9. Wear appropriate climbing attire…if you are not sure what that means, click on the picture below.

10. Be open minded to the suggestions of other climbers and do not take it negatively if someone offers you advice…it could save your life.

Have fun and don’t forget to finish your 8 knot!!

Shvitzing and Sending at Stronghold’s Grand Opening

When it comes to gear…don’t ask me. I am not your usual  gear obsessed climber. My decision making skills are usually based on the price, the safety and the aesthetic. Safety always comes first, then price, then the color/design. Functionality is taken into consideration too. Usually I am pretty motivated by bright, girly colors or things that look like they could have been owned by a Stonemaster. Have you seen the new Butora Libra’s? I fell in love with the design because they look psychedelic. And as for my hot pink Evolv Rockstar’s, I haven’t climbed in my Shaman’s since I got them! Once I find something I like, I tend to use it until it is completely destroyed, duct tape and all. Has anyone seen my harness…yeah I know, that I should probably replace.

So when presented with the opportunity  to try on, AND climb in new shoes without having to buy them at the Stronghold grand opening, I had to take it.


Evolv Addict’s

I was sooo very excited about these shoes and even more excited to get to climb in them. As a huge Evolv fan, I was so happy that they made some comfy looking slippers. I had thought about getting slippers before I got my Rockstar’s and had tried on the 5.10 Anasazi MoccAsym’s, but I hated the way they fit. I guess I had high expectations for the Addict’s, but I was somewhat disappointed. First off, the rubber didn’t seem as sticky as I would have liked and I just didn’t feel like they fit my feet very well. They felt too big in some places and too tight in others. The top, elastic part of the shoe kind of dug into my foot/ankle during certain movements, and was pretty uncomfortable. I think part of the issue is that they are men’s shoes and it was wickedly hot in the gym, so I have to attribute some of the dissatisfaction to the gym conditions.

Shaman LV’s

Ok. These shooooes. I have always wanted them. I have the men’s Shaman’s and I bought them because they were discounted at the outlet and because the rubber felt thicker so I figured they would last me longer (yeah, I’m a cheap ass), even though I was much more interested in the LV’s. Once I started wearing my Rockstar’s though, I just kind of forgot about the existence of aggressive shoes. The LV’s feel like what I imagine a ballet slipper must feel like to a ballerina. They are painful but, the, ‘hurts so good’, kind of pain; manageable, and worth it. The three velcro straps make them easy to adjust, as well as, easy to get on and off. Ultimately, they are great shoes with sticky rubber, they fit like a glove (with the exception of some awkward farting noises coming from the heel on the right foot), and they actually make heel hooks fun.

Shaman LV

Butora Endeavor

I think I was one of the few people that got to demo the Butora’s, as they are a brand new line. Xan got a couple pairs at Sender One during Nationals. He has been primarily climbing in them since, and is thoroughly enjoying the new brand. I was having a rough day climbing, I had worked all morning and it was probably 95 degrees in the gym by the time I got there. I warmed up in the Addict’s and then moved on to the LV’s. I was climbing terribly, slipping off of V2’s and shaking on V3’s. I took a break and decided to at least try on the new line of shoes. I put them on and was initially put off by the high arch support and pressure on the sides of my feet. They were TIGHHHHHT! I awkwardly stumbled over to the bouldering area with them on and watched Xan send a somewhat overhung V5 with pink tape…I decided I wanted to try it, mostly because of the pink tape, but also because of the small crimpy holds. The rubber of the shoes seemed a little harder than the Evolv’s and I didn’t think I would get very far on the problem due to the heat, but…I flashed it! I topped out and my toes literally went numb while I waited for a newb to figure out how to down climb the rock ladder. Moral of the story; tight, uncomfortable, aggressive shoes can help you send hard shit and overcome climbing barriers. While I really like being able to tell people that I sent a project in my comfy Rockstar’s; the next time I am projecting a V13, I will remember to put on my most circulation inhibiting shoes.

The Endeavor!

The Endeavor!

At some point during the event, I had gone over to talk to the Mad Rock rep, and the fancyshmancy, wonderfully light and sleek, Hulk HMS biner caught my eye. I was playing with its smooth screw gate while Marcy told me about the new women’s shoes (the Lotus and the Lyra) that are coming out in June.

Sexy and sleek!

Sexy and sleek!




Madrock’s fancy new women’s shoes!

I told her that I had never climbed in Mad Rock’s, but that I had always been intrigued by the Concave Sole, and that I was the absolute worst when it comes to knowledge about gear. She was super friendly and gave me her card, a Mad Rock 2014 catalog, and a run down about the Trigger Wire biners (that will be perfect for projecting 12’s outside🙂 ).

For your next project!

For your next project!

Guess who won the free Mad Rock shoes in the raffle…ME! I can’t wait until June so I can get my hands on some of those badass new Mad Rock shoes! Thanks Stronghold and Mad Rock!!!

On being injured…

Wow…this sucks. I just started this blog and now I have no cool experiences to write about because I didn’t listen to my body and I strained my flexor tendon my left hand. This past few weeks have been rough. Labor Day weekend I had big plans to go up to Yosemite and spend the night on dinner ledge and do some trad climbing with Taleen (I even got new trad shoes, which I was super excited about writing a review for).

Breaking in my new trad shoes at Stoney Point

Breaking in my new trad shoes at Stoney Point

T and her friend Annie stuffing their faces on dinner ledge in Yosemite

T and her friend Annie stuffing their faces on dinner ledge in Yosemite

The Rim Fire was slowly being contained and we were going to risk it and go but, Justin got a cold and we decided not to go. We got lucky because just a few hours later, the smoke from the fire blew into the valley and Taleen ended up going to Fresno for the weekend because the air quality was so bad (and now she has a lovely hacking cough).

rim fire

Taleen’s own shot of the smoke from the Yosemite Rim Fire

Anyway, everywhere else was humid and disgustingly hot, so Justin and I decided to go up to Black Mountain with Nicole and Morgan for some bouldering, with plans of conquering Traitor Horn in Tahquitz the next day. On our first bouldering problem, Justin hurt his finger and swore off climbing for the rest of the weekend. I pushed myself, but not too hard, hoping Justin’s finger would feel better and we would still go to Tahquitz.

Morgan, Nicole and Justin as the sun sets on the boulders of Black Mountain

Morgan, Nicole and Justin as the sun sets on the boulders of Black Mountain

When we woke up in the morning, his finger was still hurting and it was probably better we didn’t go to Tahquitz because thunderstorms rolled in. When we left Black Mountain, my left hand was hurting; but my ring finger has kind of been in a general state of dull pain ever since jamming it last year while hosting basketball club for the kids I work with; so I didn’t think too much of.

On Beethoven Wall at Stoney

On Beethoven Wall at Stoney

I had a really busy week at work the following week (ughhhhh…work), so I kind of took it easy except for throwing in a quick 11a and 12b without warming up while at the gym with my cousins. Not a good idea, but my hand felt fine.

Climbing Cousins (Me with Gracie, Blythie and Teddi)

Climbing Cousins (Me with Gracie, Blythie and Teddi)

While at work on Monday, I noticed that if I pinched my thumb and pointer finger together I felt a kind of soreness in my hand extending from my ring finger. I was overly excited to climb though, since I had basically taken a week off and they had just set some new bouldering problems at the gym, so, I decided to climb anyway. I sent a V1, V2, V3, and got on a tricky 4 without beta and misused a finger pocket with my left ring and pinky fingers. I fell off and noticed a slight pain in my hand but I moved on to another couple of problems, after which, my hand started to hurt pretty badly and began to swell up a little bit. I was devastated, thinking in the moment, how badly I wanted to keep climbing and send all the new routes that had just been put up. And as the week wore on and the swelling slowly went down, I became more and more depressed…thinking awful thoughts to myself like: I’ll never climb again, I’ll have to make new friends, I’ll lose too much strength and will only be able to climb V0 for the rest of my life if I ever do climb again, what am I going to do with all this free time? Ben can attest to all of this.

Well, for now I am just going to let my hand heal and once it feels better I will slowly start climbing again…I just have to remind myself that people recover from much worse injuries all the time and that my climbing friends will still like me and my other friends will be happy to spend time with me. I am hiking all this weekend and I have plans to go backpacking next weekend…so all is not lost…maybe I will even pick up yoga🙂

Thank you Arielle (most awesome sister ever) for scoring me these!!!!

Thank you Arielle (most awesome sister ever) for scoring me these!!!!

The Official Jewish New Year Post


“The Bong” at Joshua Tree

By: Emily Weinstein

L’shanah tovah, fellow Bad Ass Climber Chicks! The sun has just set on what 99.8% of the world knows as September 4, 2013, but what Jewish people know as the first moment of the year 5774.

I personally did not know any of those numerical facts without Googling them, for though my last name is Weinstein, which is essentially a synonym for “Jew,” and though my blood is 100% Jewish, if you’re into that sort of thing–i.e., “racial purity,” which, I am always quick to point out, a guy named Hitler also was.

The Jews are sometimes referred to as “the tribe. ” I am not that deeply immersed in what is sometimes called “the tribe.” In fact, it wasn’t until I started climbing–while literally wandering the desert, which Jews have been known to do–that I found what I truly believe is my one true tribe. I speak not of the Jews, whom I expect comprise slightly more than 0.02% of this Facebook group, but of the climbers, who comprise 100% of this Facebook group.
We are some of the women of that tribe. Our numbers are comparatively small, though not as small as the Jews’. And our tribe, the climbing tribe, has much in common with the tribe whose New Year dawns, paradoxically, at sunset.

We are a tribal people. We are nomadic. We gather around fires. We observe rituals. We know one another by common dress and language. When we want to lay with someone, we invite them to our cave, or cave-shaped tent, or car. Or literally, a cave. We know of caves. This thing is primitive.

Both tribes have a history of being chased by people in uniform, and we have both spent time in the desert. That’s about where the similarities end.

Being a Jewish climber can be hard, because Jewish parents worry even more than other kinds of parents. This is because Jews worry even more than other kinds of people. But climbing can help with that, because climbing helps with worrying. Maybe not your parents’ worrying, but your own.

I met the woman who assigned me to write this post during the New Year of the solar calendar. She climbs much harder than I do. She photographed my very first lead. Now that I think of it, I have pulled all the roofs I have attempted in her presence, because she pulls all roofs. Now that I think of it, we have spent, in total, just a few days together in life. We have known one another, in total, for less than a year. But I expect to see her for many years to come, in places near and far, and I trust her with my life. Such is the nature of tribalism, of both the Jews and the climbers.

As fall begins, as the year 5774 begins, let us take this opportunity to make another set of New Year’s resolutions for the rest of the 2013 climbing season, or the start of the 5774 climbing season. I will start:

I resolve not to back down from trad leads I can cruise on a toprope, because cruising something on a toprope does not provide the same hormonal high as leading it, and as John Long says, “toproping is great practice for climbing.” I resolve not to forget my headlamp. I resolve to bring calorically adequate snacks for climbing buddies who may be larger than I. I resolve not to approach in Chacos. I resolve to hangdog less when toproping, and lower off. I resolve not to tell my mother when I’m going climbing, so she does not text me anxiously to see if I am still alive when my phone is dead and I am drunk in a national park.

Is there something women-specific to be said in this women-specific forum? If so, it is this: I have found a very good sports bra, and I am not a woman who tolerates sports bras, though once, I was a woman without a tribe. Here is the sports bra:

If you are a Jewish woman with stereotypically large boobs, this bra may be too small. But if you have been climbing a lot and used to have bigger boobs but have now become strangely rangy, then you will take a large. And if you are not sure what size you are, just call the company. A very nice man in Boulder, Colorado will discuss the size of your breasts and how exactly  you like them to be cupped or compressed with you in a non-creepy way, and guide you to the right size, though being a Bad Ass Climber Chick, you could of course get there on your own.

I will close with the words of my non-Jewish friend’s very non-Jewish grandmother, spoken at her 95th birthday, to her progeny, shortly before she died: “You all seem like very attractive people. As far as I know, none of you has ever been arrested. I am proud to be associated with you.”

I lied. I will close with the words of my own 92-year-old Jewish grandmother, spoken from the bed where she lays dying, or living, hard to tell which. “Be careful, Emily zys, (sweet Emily), don’t hurt your beautiful self.” But when she was young, she also said, “I wasn’t born just to die.” Between these grandiose, Jewish statements, we live, and we climb.

L’chaim, Bad Ass Climber Chicks! It is a New Year! To life!
I am proud to be associated with you.

Things you need to be a badass climber chick:

The Very Basics

  • You will need a pair of climbing shoes. Some popular beginner shoes are:

Evolv Electra


La Sportiva Mythos (these are so cute I would seriously consider wearing them as a regular shoe)

mythosJust know that the cheaper the shoe, typically, the faster it wears out. Just to compare these two brands, Evolv has some AMAZING shoes that are priced very reasonably, however, because of softer rubber and synthetic materials, they tend to wear out pretty quickly (and get really smelly). La Sportiva on the other hand, uses much harder rubber and leather, so they can last for a long time, but you will find yourself spending much more.

RUBBER: a soft rubber (like TRAX, used on Evolv) will be stickier on the rock but will wear down faster and a harder rubber (like Vibram, used on La Sportiva) will last longer but not give you as much friction on the rock.

SIZING: sizing is very important and there is a bit to consider when choosing the right size. You want your shoes to be tight but you don’t want them to crush your toes and you should be able to walk around in them for a few minutes without excruciating pain. (Once you are climbing a little harder you will be ready with choosing a shoe with a little more pain, and therefore a little more gain in grade). CONSIDER: a synthetic shoe (Evolv) will not stretch much, but a leather shoe (La Sportiva) will likely stretch more than you would guess. So, for leather shoes size down a bit more. If you want to buy a shoe online, my advice would be to try it on in a store first or make sure you can return it for another size.

  • You do NOT need a chalk bag and chalk. My advice: don’t use chalk because you think you have to because everyone else uses it. If your hands aren’t sweaty when you climb then you don’t need to use chalk. The more you use it, the more you depend on it, kinda like crack. I didn’t start using chalk until I was climbing 10b/c
  • GET a head lamp. You never know when you might get stuck on a climb that you started at dusk and have to clean and rap down in pitch black. Better to be safe than sorry


  • Have some type of day pack or backpack to carry your shoes/gear/food/water/warm clothes.

If you want to rope climb you need:

  • A harness, typically Black Diamond is a good place to start and they make female harnesses


  • A belay device and a locking carabiner: An ATC from Black Diamond is a good start. They are simple to use, cheap and can be used to rappel when cleaning routes. If you think you might get into multi pitch climbing you might want to consider spending more to get a guide ATC which will allow you to use it as an auto locking belay device from an anchor. If you have lots of money to spend get a GriGri. I am kind of against them because I think they can potentially minimize an opportunity to learn how to use an ATC properly (which is a much needed skill in climbing), however, they are very safe(as long as you use them properly) and can save your climbers life in the event that something happens to the belayer.
click to buy

gri gri

guide atc

guide atc

  • GET a friend with rope, draws, cams, anchor building shit. If you are just beginning, wait to purchase this type of gear until you are familiar with it and know what your preferences are.

If you want to boulder you need:

  • A friend with a crash pad/or a crash pad of your own. You can really get any kind to start with. Often times you can get a MadRock pad for $50 at an REI gear sale or on Craigslist. Usually, the cheaper the pad, the heavier, smaller or less shock absorbing it is. If you want to spend more money, you can get a nice big pad, or one with cool add on’s like zippered pouches for guide books and stuff.

crash pad

If you are camping at the crag you need:

  • A backpacking sleeping bag, or at least something warmer than a “girl scout” bag. I have The North Face 15 degree down Blue Kazoo bag that I got at a REI gear sale for $80 (thanks Kevin Wong) and I❤ it! I prefer a down bag over synthetic but that’s a whole nother debate.


  • A sleeping pad. I used to have a fancy one that you blow air into. It was kind of bulky and heavy and I was always worried about using it directly on the ground because I didn’t want it to pop or get muddy. It started leaking air and then I lost it wandering around Wonderland in Joshua Tree on New Years so I got a cheap foam thermarest (the cheapest one you can get) so I wouldn’t have to worry about it popping or leaking air. It is very light and I don’t have an issue with it being uncomfortable, it actually keeps me warmer than the nicer one I had.


  • A friend with a tent/or your own. I prefer a light weight two person tent. That way you can use it for backpacking, it is small and compact and easy to set up. Also smaller tents are much warmer.

Other things you might want to consider getting but you don’t NEED:

  • some type of camping/backpacking stove if you want hot food or water
  • a camping chair/you can also use a crash pad for this
  • tape or you can always steal some from your friends
  • a light weight down jacket that you can stuff in your backpack and bring everywhere with you.