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.

ENDEAVOR STIFF and AGGRESSIVE

Lyra, STIFFandAGGRESSIVE

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.

MZ_TCPro_861

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!

LOTUS STIFF and FLEXABLE

LASPORTIVA SOLUTIONS

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.

Stronghold

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.
Addict

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!

 

 

1-63ba3f0390

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!!!

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.

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?

My First Quickdraws

By: Sheila Estaniel

I remember the day I got my first set of quickdraws: a pack of six Black Diamond PosiWires, courtesy of my annual REI dividend.

quickddraws

I just did my first outdoor lead climb, and I couldn’t wait to progress with my climbing adventures. After my purchase, I went home, put on my harness, hung each of those bad boys on the side loops, and watched myself in the mirror as I swayed my hips back and forth to create the most beautiful sound of metal softly hitting metal. I felt so official!

I used them for the first time at Holcomb Valley Pinnacles near Big Bear. There are not many feelings as exciting as breaking in your new gear. I had the biggest smile on my face as I clipped each shiny draw on the bolts of this slabby route on Motherlode:

firstdraws

Now that I’m not such a noob anymore, I realize the 1.6 lbs of extra weight might be a bit heavier than I’d prefer.  For my first set, though, I was pretty happy with the quality and price of Black Diamond’s quickdraws.