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!!


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.