Posts Tagged ‘Rock Climbing’

Rosie’s Toesies Review

November 9th, 2011 2 comments

Rosie's Toesies great for climbers!I have a weakness for body care products, especially high quality ones; I am my mother’s daughter in this respect! I recently had the chance to try an amazing product that I think a lot of readers who climb would like to know about. It’s made by Riveting Skincare and it’s called Rosie’s Toesies. I think it is probably the best foot creme I have ever tried.

My feet get pretty calloused from jamming them into my climbing shoes and then playing on rocks, but after injuring my ankle and not be able to even get my foot wet for 6 weeks, the amount of dry skin and callouses accumulated was, well, disgusting!

I started using Rosie’s Toesies twice a day, beginning the first day I received the ok from my doctor to resume my normal hygienic routine. The first thing I noticed about it was that it was not greasy or sticky when applied. It also smelled amazing, I am a sucker for products scented with essential oils, Peppermint and Rosemary are the primary oils in this product which both have anti-fungal properties. However, these two attributes alone would mean nothing if the product didn’t perform, but it did!

After using it for 1 week, I saw great improvement and by 2 weeks my feet were soft and smooth and callous free! This is because Rosie’s Toesies has fruit acids in it which help exfoliate dead skin. I usually use Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme, which is a thick nighttime balm, but I have never gotten results as quickly with it.

Another cool thing about the company is it is owned by a police officer, Sarah Mackesey. Sarah found there were few choices for hard working women, who at the end of the day, still wanted to look feminine. Wearing heavy police boots everyday put her feet through the paces; I think outdoorsy women go through the same thing in pursuit of of our passions!

So whether it is your career, hobby, or just life that toughens your feet, Rosie’s Toesies is just the TLC they need!

Petzl Helmet Giveaway: Comment to Win!

October 10th, 2011 70 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?

An unexpected pause

August 25th, 2011 8 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 23rd, 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.



June 16th, 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


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.


April 7th, 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.

Getting my lead on

March 20th, 2011 4 comments

I am finally certified to lead climb at my gym.  I have been lead climbing outside, but 5.8s and 5.9s; when I went to test at my gym last summer, I had just begun climbing 5.10s and I didn’t pass.  I didn’t pass because all of the lead routes at my gym are juggy, overhanging 5.10-12s and I couldn’t flash a 10 as a warm-up back then, so I failed.

It took me until now to get my nerve up to try again.  I am a solid 10 climber.  I can onsite 5.10bs (sometimes) but I like slabby, technical climbs more than the overhanging ones, and I am better at them.  Plus, I was not at all bored with top-roping at my gym; they change the routes frequently enough that I always have projects to work and feel-good fun climbs to send.  But, I have to admit it was a issue with my pride.  I wanted to be legit just for my own sake.

So I tried again.  I chose a route that also had a top-rope and top-roped it first.  No problem.  So I grabbed my buddy Travis to belay me and my friend Chris to watch/certify me.  I clipped into the first three clips, so far so good.  Then I got to the fourth and had to commit to a move that was a bit sketch and it put me well above my last draw, so there were consequences if I fell.

I climbed to the point where I had to go for it and chickened out.  I down-climbed to more a secure footing, shook out my hands, stretched my forearms and took several breaths.  I went for it again and, again wigged out, afraid to commit.  My forearms started to get pumpy so I yelled for a take.  Travis said no.  “Well,” I said “then I’m going to…Falling”.  And I fell.  But I fell with a smile.  I wasn’t scared.  I knew he had me and I have taken a bad fall outside, so this didn’t phase me.

I hung there for a moment, got my head together and then started climbing again.  This time when I got to the move, I just committed to it and went for it.  I got it.  Clipped.  And then moved on to finish the route.

When I was back on the ground I felt that rush I forgot about.  It is such an adrenaline rush to lead.  To take that chance and know you can take a decent fall is exhilarating.   Top-roping is great for dialing in technique, but you don’t have that fear or that rush. I am counting the days until I can lead outside again.  And in case you are wondering, it is 12 days.

Categories: Rock Climbing Tags:

Cheerleaders need not apply

February 20th, 2011 17 comments

I climb best when it is just me and the rock.  I mean, yes, my belayer is holding my rope, and I have full trust in them, but I climb best when it is just me and my inner dialogue.  Having a cheering section just throws me off and is not my style.

It seems to work  for some, the encouragement, but for me, it’s the quickest way for me to fail.  If I am going for a hard move and fully concentrating on my body position  and how I am reaching, when I hear “Yeah!  You got it!” It’s pretty much the kiss of death.  When 2 seconds earlier I think maybe I may get it, hearing the cheering fully distracts me and I don’t get it, 9 out of 10 times.  I really would not be good in a competition because of this.

I should just block this out, Dylan Barks, my friend and climbing idol is able to keep his focus and block out he crowd when he competes.  I need to learn this skill.

I don’t mind a gentle “Nice job” after working through a tough move, but please don’t shout at me at the peak of my concentration.  To me climbing is a form of meditation, it is me and the rock (or rock wall, whatever the case may be).  I strive to be fully present and in the moment.  Hearing cheers brings me back to the ground and out of body.

I mean seriously, I have enough external factors that threaten to break my concentration like an ex with his flavors of the week and such.   I just want to get to my happy place and crush it, that’s all.  I love the fact that you are trying to support me, but support to me comes in a quieter, on the DL, kind of way.   Just sayin’.

Categories: Life as I know it Tags:

Mama needs a new…prAna tank

February 15th, 2011 6 comments

Valentine’s Day has about an hour and half left in my part of the world until it fades away into the cold, dark night.  I’ve never been very fond of it myself, even when I was married or in a relationship.  It’s like it’s trying too hard or something, it just seems hollow.

My Valentines

After reading one of The Climber Girl’s (Sara Lingafelter)  blog posts about being her own Valentine, it made me think of how I spent today and my weekend.  I spent it with people I like being with doing things I really like to do.  Those people were my kids and my girlfriends.  The activities were climbing, snowshoeing (being outside), dinner/dessert/wine, and just being together.

I had a talk with one of my friends over the weekend about guys.  We both agreed we didn’t really have the desire to give up what was important in our lives – our free time to climb, to be in a relationship.  For me, my kids are #1, my job/career #2, climbing and friends #3 (sorry y’all, I’ve got kids to feed!).  If I was involved with someone that didn’t climb I’d have to sacrifice my precious climbing time to build our relationship.  I’m just not willing to do that right now.  I gave up so much of myself in a past relationship, I am just not willing to do that again.  And, if it is not right with someone, I know right away.  I have honed that skill!

Maybe that is selfish, but so be it.  I feel like I deserve to live on my own terms, not answer to anyone.  I’m sure someday I will be ready to make the compromises that are needed to have a healthy, strong relationship.  But not right now.  Or maybe I just haven’t met “him” yet.  Either way, I’m good and I think I will go on doing some special things just for me, like spending most of Sunday at the climbing gym and maybe even buy myself a new little prAna tank to wear and not feel the least bit guilty… Thanks Sara!