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

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

headlamp

  • 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

harness

  • 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.

blue-kazoo-ASKA_42F_hero

  • 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.

thermarest

  • 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.
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Echo Cliffs in August: An Evolv Cruizers Review

I decided to finally get myself a pair of approach shoes (I am considering it a late birthday present to myself)! The Evolv Cruizers are probably the flimsiest approach shoe you can get, however, they are light weight, extremely comfortable AND (most importantly) aesthetically appealing (I’m seriously considering wearing them to work, as any REAL badass climber chick would). Now, I had never worn an approach shoe before, so I had no sense of how AWESOME the first approach in them would be. Here’s an idea:

Me: Erik, I need help, this is too steep, I am going to slip, put out your haaaand!!!!!!!

Erik: Dude, you are wearing approach shoes (keeps hands at side).

Me: (slowly creeping down the questionable rock) Woah!!! I’m not slipping!!!! I’m like a lizard!!!!

I then proceeded to clean an EZ route on Easy Street while wearing the Cruizer’s, and enjoyed the least painful climb of my life.

Evolv Cruiser's in Slate

Evolv Cruiser’s in Slate (Click on the pic for a link to the website)

So, all in all, approach shoes are pretty awesome and the Cruizer’s are comfy and cute. What else could a badass climber chick ask for?

Technical Love

If you are a new climber, you have gotten all kinds of questionable bodily configurations yelled at you from the ground. Often times you don’t listen (you really don’t) and keep struggling to get the move with your own clumsy beta. That was me once. Now, I beg my climbing friends for technical beta. I love technique. I love learning a new technique that I never even thought to try before. At first it feels awkward and I don’t know how to use my body to accomplish the move, but, as time goes on it makes more sense it and I incorporate it into my climbing without even realizing it. When think back to the basics like backstepping and flagging, I can’t believe how far I have come because those movements come to me so naturally now. The climbing techniques  on this menu appear along with their definitions, examples of where you might use them, and a video demonstration.

Flag (ex. The Crack at Stoney Point).

Flagging is used purely for balance. You are flagging when you stick your foot and leg out in one direction or another but don’t put it on anything. Think of it like a pendulum. If you need to go out left, flag your left foot to the right and visa versa. Flagging is often used when there are no good foot holds for one foot or if something is overhung or reachey.

Watch how I get my left foot up high and flag my right foot  to the left when I go for that reachy move with my right hand at the beginning.

You know you are a bad ass climber chick if:

  • you don’t mind the look of chipped nail polish  and you won’t let the lady at the nail salon touch your calluses

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  • there is spilled chalk that you haven’t had the chance to clean up in some area of your home or car
  • all of your leggings have holes in the butt
  • your friends ask you why your car smells like feet
  • you spend more money on Patagonia, La Sportiva and Prana than you do on C&C California, Michael Kors, or Prada.

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  • people wonder what kind of relationship you are in because of the bruises all over your legs and cuts on your hands
  • you aren’t shy when it comes to talking about poop
  • it’s hard find a guy because you “only date climbers”
  • you don’t have to watch what you eat, carbs = power
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Nom face on Cat in the Hat in Red Rocks, Nevada

  • people introduce you as a “professional” rock climber (even though you only climb V3, shhhhh, they don’t know what that means)
  • if you run out of toilet paper or tampons at home you always have extra in your climbing pack
  • you have seriously considered wearing hiking pants, sports bras, approach shoes, etc. to work
  • you have to size up your tops, jackets and dresses because otherwise you can’t get them over your shoulders without them ripping

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  • your sister thinks you are “granola”
  • you don’t care if he has a job as long as he can climb V8 or ascend 13s. The girl version of beer goggles!
  • Taking two trips to carry groceries from your car is not an option. You hang a bag from each finger and consider it training
  • you are planning on naming your future child or pet: Grigri, Crimp, Beta, Sharma, Sierra Nevada, Purcell Prusik, Buttermilk, Whitney Portal, or some other insane climbing term or destination

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  • your life evolves around your next climbing trip

Birthday and Meteors at Holcomb Valley Pinnacles

By: Jaclyn Hope Ferber

On Friday, August 9, 2013, Sheila, Kanani, Erik and I loaded up my car full of gear and headed into Holcomb Valley for my birthday weekend.

carholcomb

L to R: Me, Sheila, Kanani, Erik

We stopped for pizza along the way and talked about real meaningful shit, love and life, with Erik leading the conversation (a rarity). When we arrived, Ben, Dave, Amelia, Gabi and Nick were already there, and Jan was asleep in the car. We took about an hour to set up the “hotel,” the ginormous tent that my parents let me borrow, with Erik leading us once again, being the brilliant engineer that he is. We tried to look at the stars for a bit, but it was very cold and late, so we all snuggled up together and went to sleep in the “hotel.”

The next morning I nearly sliced my thumb off with Nick’s “pocket” knife while cutting mushrooms for the breakfast scramble and had some fun dripping blood all over myself. Jan cut the rest of the mushrooms for me. We ate, packed up what we needed for the day and headed over to Motherlode where we met up with Justin Kenderes, who brought Erin, and Justin Menestrina, who brought Harold. We literally claimed the whole west face with our group, there were so many people.

Amelia, Nick, and Kanani on the west face of Motherlode.

Justin M. talked me into leading a 3 star 10c called Mighty Quinn as my first route of the day. I got it clean but the top was pumpy and overhung. Ben and I went to go get Laurie and Adam, who had never climbed before and were waiting at the campsite. On the way there, I decided it would be a good idea to practice my off-roading driving skills and got my car stuck on a rock. Luckily, Ben knew what to do and put a rock underneath my tire that was spinning freely and was able to get my car to go forward by slamming on the gas.

Amelia and I TR’d Long Arm of the Law, an awesome 11a with a huge heel hook throwy move!!!

longarmofthelaw

Me on Long Arm of the Law.

Jan and I took Laurie and Adam to try their first route, and Amelia led it for us. I was super proud of Laurie, who was saying the whole time, “I’m not doing that!!” She got to the top with the most technical skill and grace I have pretty much ever seen in a first time climber!! I hope she comes climbing with me again!

Laurie on a 5.6 chimney route.

We then went over to Lost Orbit where we found Ben, Amelia, Gabi and Harold. I led a really balancey and scary route with a really high first bolt (10b or c I believe) and Gabi led the 12 to the left of it which Harold, Ben and I top roped. It was overhung and crimpy and I didn’t bother to try the top which looked slopy and balancey.

That night we got back to the campsite and had the greatest camping potluck of all time! Chicken, sausage, pasta, even quesadillas. Laurie brought me a chocolate cream cake she had made for my birthday and everyone sang happy birthday and we roasted marshmallows stuffed with Rolo’s over the campfire and had some (okay, maybe a lot of) whiskey and wine.

People began to grab sleeping pads and blankets and head out into the field to watch the meteor shower. It wasn’t the best one I’d ever seen, but I did see a few good shooting stars! The next day we packed up (breaking down the “hotel” took much less time than it had taken to set up) and went back to Lost Orbit to get a few warm up climbs in.

Lost Orbit

I have been wanting to lead Pistol Pete (10a) for a while and finally got the chance to. It was a much harder lead than I could have imagined. I had top roped it clean so many times I thought I would be fine leading it, but it is a loooong route and a lot of the bolts are just out of reach. After that, I managed to talk Erik into leading Coyote in the Hen House (10d on mountain project, but I think its an 11a) for the last route of the day, and we weren’t even surprised at all when he got it clean. 🙂 I followed it and had quite a bit of trouble with the start because it (for me at least) requires a backwards thumb undercling which I couldn’t do properly due to slicing the corner of my thumb the morning before. I got creative and used the other edge of my thumb (painfully and awkwardly) and got past the beginning, getting the rest of the route nice and clean!

claimjumper

We said bye to Ben and Jan and headed down the mountain with only minor bouts of car sickness. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and a perfect way to celebrate my birthday! Thanks to everyone who made it awesome!