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Archive for the ‘Rock Climbing’ Category

Petzl Helmet Giveaway: Comment to Win!

October 10, 2011 65 comments

I never used to wear a helmet rock climbing. I usually climb at the Red River Gorge, and many people that climb there don’t. My thought was if there was if there was a lot of overhang on the route, or when I start leading trad, then I would. But then something happened that changed my mind.

I took a trip out to Lander WY to climb at Wild Iris and The Sinks Canyon. It was my first time climbing out there and the varieties of rock amazed me. We were at Wild Iris, warming up on a 5.7. Warming up, I may not be the most skilled climber, but I have onsited, on lead, 5.9s and flashed 5.10s on top-rope outside. This was supposed to get my blood flowing.

Well, it certainly did that.

I took an unexpected fall at the second bolt. It scared the hell out of me, my belayer, and my kids, who were watching. Luckily I was fine, scraped my arms and legs up a bit (and it doesn’t appear that my kids are scarred for life.) Yet, it could’ve been much worse. After that, I picked up a helmet I had with me all along (for my kids) and proceeded to send, on lead, the 5.8 route next to the 5.7 just fine.

The moral?

You just don’t know.  I mean seriously, I displaced my ankle in 5 places coming off of a V1 bouldering problem in the gym. I didn’t slip, or fall. I jumped down, landed just fine, but my ankle buckled from underneath me. Things happen, why take the risk?

What is your opinion and experience with climbing with helmets? Do you wear one or not? Leave a comment below stating why and the awesome peeps at PEMBAserves will enter you into a drawing to win either a Petzl Elio or Elia helmet.  (And, if you already entered last week with Cragmama, you are still eligible to win this week!) The drawing will be Friday, October 14, 2011.

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Enter to Win a $50 Gift Card to REI

September 16, 2011 36 comments

Calling all rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts!  I am hosting my first contest.  All you have to do to be eligible is to “Like” my Facebook fan page.  You can either click here, or click on my “Like” box in the right hand column of this page. I will send 1 lucky winner a $50 gift card to REI and donate $35 on their behalf to the Access Fund.  I chose the Access Fund because preserving open spaces to climb is something very important to me.

After you “Like” my Facebook page, it is very important that you come back here and leave a comment stating your first and last name (how it appears on Facebook) in the comment section of my Blog so I can keep track of all participants.  If you have liked my page in the past, no worries, you are still eligible, just be sure to leave a comment so I know you want to be entered.

I use my Facebook page to spread some of the latest news in the climbing community.  I also add links to new posts I have published.

I will run the contest until September 30, 2011.  After that day, I will write down everyone’s name on a slip of paper, place them into a hat and have one of my children choose a name. Very old school, I know, but believe me they will get a kick out of it.

Good luck, and thanks for playing 🙂

****The fine print**** This contest is not affiliated with or sponsored by REI or The Access Fund.

An unexpected pause

August 25, 2011 9 comments

An unexpected pause, it is different than a pregnant pause.  Or maybe it isn’t in this case.

I recently dislocated my ankle in five places.  It was not broken, thankfully (I attribute that to my diligent consumption of calcium) but it was so badly dislocated after resetting it the doctor had to place metal screws and pins to keep it from shifting back.  I am now on crutches, cannot put any weight on it, and have to keep it elevated for about six weeks.  After that I will have to wear a cast.

The strangest thing to me is how it happened.  I was bouldering, which I am not very good at, and don’t often do.  However, I was climbing pretty good that day.  I was one move away from sending it.  It was a move where I was horizontal to the ground and had to reach back for the last move.  I didn’t think I could do it, so I decided to jump down and try again in a few minutes.  I jumped down, and landed perfectly on my feet, my knees slightly bending to absorb the shock, when suddenly, in my head I felt searing pain and felt my ankle buckle under in a really not-natural kind of way.  I then dropped to the floor and then sat up.  My friends asked if I was ok and very quietly I said no, that I wasn’t ok and I was pretty sure I needed to go to the hospital.

My boyfriend sat behind me while preparations were being made to transport me there.  For a minute, the pain was so bad I didn’t know how I would cope, I thought I might pass out.  But I didn’t.  I didn’ t scream, I didn’t cry, I didn’t get bossy or mean.  In crisis I tend to get really focused and calm.

As soon as we got to the hospital the attendant that helped wheel me in told the nurses at the receiving desk we needed a room right away; that there wasn’t time to admit me.  The bone had not poked through my skin, but it was wanting to something fierce.  The skin above it was white and transparent.

After taking some x-rays the team of doctors decided to put me under anesthesia and do the procedure right away even though I hadn’t been fasting.

So fast forward to me, here, on my living room couch, living as an invalid for the next few weeks.

But the whole thing is so weird to me because it was such a random thing.  I honestly, 100%, think my descent was spot on.  So was my landing, yet my ankle says Fail.  Another weird thing that happened the same day, was a person I had been dying to do a guest post for emailed that day and asked me if I was interested.  Yes please! I can’t help but think this is the calm before some storm.  Like the universe is forcing me to relax because change is in the wind and it’s gonna get crazy.  I feel like everything I have been working toward is culminating.

I don’t know, maybe it is just me that is crazy (probably).  All that I know is that I am maximizing every minute I have off of work to write, read, goal-set, visualize and connect.

Dirtbag climbing: Family style

July 23, 2011 8 comments

Mt Rushmore

Taking my kids on their first road trip out West may have left me broke, but it was so worth it. Not only was it their first time west, but also their first time outdoor climbing and first time dirtbagging it.  We took I-90 out to Lander Wyoming and hit all of the attractions like Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Wall Drug then rounded it out with a (too short of a stint) through the Tetons and Yellowstone.

Being a single mom who doesn’t make a whole lot of money, I knew deciding to take them on a trip like that would be a stretch.  My plan? Do it as cheaply as possible!  Which meant choices like: cereal with milk on the back of the tailgate in the mornings in parking lots for breakfast.  The first morning of this my 12 year old showed her disdain by rolling her eyes and scrunching up her nose, “Really mom?”  Yes, really, my little diva!  We also lived on Nutella, PBJ, and other simple foods.

My son eating breakfast

Other dirtbagging tricks were on the way out sleeping in my truck.  My son was short enough to lie down in the backseat and my daughter and I reclined the front seats.  It was really pretty comfortable.  When we arrived to our destination, the International Climber’s Festival, we opted for the free camping, took $2 showers at NOLS, and I volunteered to offset the cost of my admission.

By the middle of the trip they pretty much embraced our hippie ways.  One of the funniest things was when we stopped at a truck stop in Rapid City for a shower.  My daughter was like, we can’t stop here, it is full of “burly men!”  I told her to trust me, it was perfectly legit.  My days from following the Dead taught me many tricks of living on the road.  She calmed down when she saw it was in fact clean and not at all sketch.  This trip reminded me of how much fun I used to have in the summers living like a hippie, I fully embraced it and had a great time, my attitude wore off on them and they started to relax and have fun with it too.

My daughter crushin' it at the Ok Corral

Road tripping out West is the quintessential American experience.  I am really grateful I was able to do this trip with my kids.  It is something they will always remember.  I giggle when I think of them at my age talking about it to each other, saying something like, “Remember when our crazy mom took us out West when we were kids and we lived like dirtbags?  That was so cool!”

Don’t miss my guest post on PembaServes detailing the International Climber’s Festival.


								

Falling

June 16, 2011 4 comments

A few weeks ago I went to West Virginia to rock climb, but instead spent the day falling.  On purpose.  I went to the New River Rendezvous Climber’s Festival and took a clinic with author/climbing guide Arno Ilgner.  For those unfamiliar, he wrote two books on mental training and climbing, The Rock Warrior’s Way and Espresso Lessons.  He links the mindfulness of climbing to the work of earlier authors and mystic like Carlos Castaneda and Dan Millman.

The clinic was incredibly eyeopening for me.  Ever since my whipper outside, I thought I was pretty comfortable with falling.  Arno asked us in the beginning of the clinic what we hoped to gain with this clinic and we had any fear.  I brazenly said I wasn’t really afraid, I just wanted to learn proper technique and learn the “right way” to fall.  Yet, I also know I am less willing to go for it when there are consequences (not on top-rope).  Arno told us several things to work on while falling.  We should take three breaths and on the third exhale, fall while breathing out, relax our arms and legs, look down and quietly let our feet brace the rock face.

After the first fall, I was shocked.  I actually grabbed for the rope.  I never knew I did that.  I was completely unaware. This told me I was more afraid than I thought; your body doesn’t lie.  It took me several tries to break this habit before I could successfully implement the other steps.  The point of practicing is that you will create new habits so when you do fall unexpectedly, your body will remember what to do.

I definitely recommend this clinic to all climbers.  Arno is quiet and gentle in his teaching, which is very effective in rock climbing.  The mindfulness needed in climbing is one of my favorite aspects of climbing, which is why I love Arno’s work.  It was such an honor to meet, climb and learn from him.

How Stella can cure a girl’s blues

Tacoma

Girls and trucks

I have secretly wanted an International Scout or a beat up old Ford pick-up truck ever since I can remember. But, seeing as how these vehicles aren’t very practical, I have been driving around in my mid-sized car and making it somewhat of a habit to date guys with badass, sexy trucks to get my fix; my favorites being of the Toyota family.

Now I know this will sound very stereotypical, but it seems to me that the quintessential outdoor vehicle for chicks is a Jeep, and for dudes, it is a truck. So for a long time it never really occurred to me to have my own truck. I was content to date guys that had trucks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t exactly criteria, but it definitely helped their case.

I was also content to use other people’s rope and quickdraws when sport climbing. I told myself, naw, I don’t need to buy my own, I’ll just date guys that have all of the gear I’ll need.
So you see my flaw. I had made myself dependant on other people, usually men, to: 1. Climb anywhere outside. 2. Access remote climbing areas. I’ll admit, I may be slow at times, but I usually come around to reason and I now see that this is totally wack.

I pride myself on my independence. I love having my own place and am not eager to jump into a relationship just because a hot guy looks my way. Oh no, I am really picky and if the earth doesn’t move, it’s not worth it to me. So this behavior just did not fit me at all. I have been told by guys that I am intimidating. I don’t try to be. I am just me and know what I want. If they can’t keep up, or are insecure, it’s not my problem. So what was my problem? Why was I acting like Climber-Chick-Cinderella waiting for her knight to ride up in his Shining-Toyota-Armor to escort her to the crag? Ick. Things had to change and fast.

Rest assured this botched up fairy tale does have a happy ending. I am now the proud owner of a Petzl Nomad rope, half a dozen Black Diamond Hotwire draws, and, my pride and joy, Stella Blue. That’s right; I bought a 2008 Toyota Tacoma, who is so sexy and badass! But, most importantly: Mine. All, mine.

Redemption

April 7, 2011 4 comments

Miranda RayneClimbing is 85%-90% mental.  I realize that is a pretty bold statement, but I stand behind it.  And I can I prove it.

Last weekend I redeemed myself on a climb I took a whipper on last fall at the RRG (see Instant Karma).  It was at The Shire on Pee-Wee (5.7) which is a straight up easy 7 until you get to the chains where it gets a little creative, and, where I fell last year.  I was determined to send it this time.  The day before I was leading 5.9+ routes without a problem so this should be no big deal, right?

Wrong.  I was fine until I got to the spot where I fell and I started to shake and noticed I was holding my breath instead of breathing.  I called to my belayer to give me a take.  I shook out my hands, took some deep breaths, told myself I was being crazy, that I was fine.  I had this…I must have taken three takes before I convinced myself to just move on it.  And I got it, I clipped into the chains and clipped in my rope.  Giant sigh of relief.  Big smile. Cheering ensues.  The two people I was with were me last year too, including my belayer.  We came full-circle.

Now for proof that it is a mental game.  Right after that climb I went on to redpoint Audie (5.8) and a really nice four-star, 5.9, Miranda Rayne.  I was completely calm, focused and breathing.  I didn’t feel nervous or uncertain on any of the moves.  There is no reason why I should have taken so long or had been so scared on Pee-Wee, except for head telling me to be.

It is our thoughts that create our reality, but we are not our thoughts.  We are more.  This is true in all areas of our life, including relationships, read this insightful piece by eliz_climbs, it’s the same thing.  It’s all a mental game.