Holiday Gift Guide for the Performance-Oriented Climber

The holidays are upon us, and you don’t want to end up with a pile of socks and ties again. Chances are somebody is nagging you for a wish list, but you’re too focused on training to put one together. Fear not Rock Prodigies, we have assembled the perfect list of stocking stuffers to help…
,

The International Climber’s Festival

This week’s article introduces a new author to our team; Mike’s wife, Janelle Anderson. Janelle has been climbing alongside Mike for 15 years now. She consistently climbs in the 5.12+ range, and occasionally 5.13-, despite often generously sacrificing her goals to give Mike the best chances on his projects. Janelle will be a regular contributor,…

First Cumbre in Patagonia!

Espera.

Waiting.

Guillaumet in center of photo
I just hoped to climb some granite splitters in this dreamland.

I am not the only one with this wish.

....and this is how it is now.

Waiting!!!

Clay Kennedy and I packed for our second session in the mountains.  A"window" had finally come.

Window has become a joke around these parts....8-20 hours of medium-okay pressure with cold temps and sometimes climbable winds (considering your aspect and tolerance!)

following near top of the Amy Coullior

Waiting in the notch, hiding from the winds


Guillaumet via any route sans congo-line became the objective.  HA!  A snow or ice route was the best option.
Rock climbing?  Not gonna happen for awhile!

We left ourselves open to the Amy or the Guillo, and decided a little later start would be just fine...minimize the waiting at the base or on route.

Luckily, snow conditions stayed great for our later than sunrise start and our plan worked perfectly.

With snow fresh we followed a mild set of boot packed tracks up Paso Guillaumet from our camp at Piedra Negra.  The Amy Coullior was free and clear of people.  Crazy...it wasn´t THAT late!

The bergshrund was a 3 foot step up, maybe 2 feet wide.
No problem!
We continued up the snow a little further up, until Clay reached a set of slings and a piton on the right, here we pulled out the rope and simul-climbed to the lip.
The snow ramp leading up to the notch was in dreamy alpine conditions, "one hitter, quitters!" as Clay called it.  A boulder problem exit over iced in blocks mantled us up onto the ridge.
From there, the wind was ever present.  Climbing on the east side was calm and warm.  Climbing on the west side was screaming barfy nuking winds.

From the notch, the route joins another route via mixed rock, snow and ice climbing on 5.9 or easier terrain.
Still no sign of people.
The cracks were snowy and climbing in mountain boots makes me feel like I have two left feet.  Clumsy and insecure.

I led a pitch to a false summit, first with crampons on, but because it is still a fairly unfamiliar style, I finally took them off and just jammed the snowy crack with my boots.
Thankfully, my belay was protected from the wind.  When Clay arrived, I headed off again, down climbing into another notch.
Here we ran into the first signs of life, a party of 5 from Ecuador and many other voices above and below.
Cumbre, Fitz Roy in the background!
I glanced down the notch to the east, 2 parties of 2 were rappelling.
Around the corner the party of 5 was crawling, fully spread out.

Another party of three was just beginning their descent as well.  Rainbow, Ann, and Jared from the states.  They had summited and cheering us on as we continued our ascent!  Clay, tired of waiting, blasted through the sketchy jumaring antics of the Ecuadorian party (one jumar, not tied into the end of the rope, nothing else attaching to the rope!!!!! YIKES!)



Clay skillfully weaved through the party, catching the leader at the base of the snow slope that leads to the summit.  These last two pitches faced west.  It was quite brutal.  I climbed the snow filled 5.8 layback crack in my mittens.
Upon meeting up with Clay, I passed and headed up the 40 degree snow slope (seems steeper).
We simul-climbed to the top!
Cumbre to ourselves!!!!!!!  Did a little boogie, soaked in the view of Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, some of the ice cap beyond it all!

A wonderful adventure, amazing views, and just happy to have realized a dream!

Climbing in Patagonia, what a DREAM!!!!!!
,

Holiday Crankin’ at Rocky Face Park – 30 Weeks Pregnant

It’s not every day that our family gets to try explore a new climbing area within a day’s drive.  Our original plan for a midweek holiday climbing escape involved local rock at Crowders Mountain.  But when my friend Tonya, (who happens to be 32 weeks pregnant herself), suggested a day trip to a “new” area that’s been getting a fair amount of buzz recently, our ears perked up.  When we saw that it was just under an hour and a half away and that the approach time was literally ZERO, it was music to our preggo ears!  Much more enticing…Read the rest of this entry →
, ,

Rock Climbing and Pregnancy: What Changes to Expect

A lot of folks assume that rock climbing and pregnancy go together about as good as ants and a picnic.  However, with one pregnancy under my belt, and well on my way to completing a second, I can honestly say that climbing can be a healthy and enjoyable prenatal activity.  That being said, just as not all women should attempt to run/bike/yoga during pregnancy, climbing is not for everyone.  But if rock climbing is an activity that you engaged in on a regular basis before becoming pregnant, it’s an activity that is perfectly acceptable to continue for most women.  (Disclaimer:…Read the rest of this entry →
,

Our Family’s 15 Minutes of (Local) Fame!

 Some of you may recall a Cragmama facebook post a few weeks ago that mentioned our family being interviewed by our local NBC TV station at our climbing gym, Inner Peaks.  The producer’s idea was to create a hopefully endearing story about how climbing has been a family affair for us – first as a couple, then as a family of 3, and now as a soon-to-be family of 4.   The shoot took a little over an hour on a weekday morning, and entailed us all being interviewed individually (including a chat with C as he was tying in…Read the rest of this entry →
, ,

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 19-26

Today marks 27 weeks of pregnancy, aka the 3rd (and final!) trimester.  Although I certainly hope she stays cooking in there for at least another 2 months or so, if my little girl were to be born now, she’d have a 90%  chance of survival – wild, huh?!?  Anyway, here’s a look back at the last 8 weeks of my 2nd trimester, from an activity/training perspective… Week 19 - I found myself partner-less at the gym this week, and since I’m past the stage where I feel comfortable bouldering, I had to get creative on the auto-belays in order to get…Read the rest of this entry →
,

New River Gorge Climbing – 24 Weeks Pregnant

For the past few weeks we’ve had our eye on our schedules and the weather, with fingers crossed that the stars would align and we’d get one last chance to hit up the New River Gorge once more before cold weather, holidays, and new baby prep begin to overwhelm.  Towards the end of last week we finally saw a weather window that looked promising, so we made tentative plans, solidifying them on Friday just a few hours before we left (not recommended, as the mad dash to pack was a bit hectic…) Despite the fair skies advertised for Saturday, it…Read the rest of this entry →
,

Another Round of Pilot Mountain – 22 Weeks Pregnant

Another beautiful fall weekend, another day trip to Pilot Mountain.  Only this time the leaves were in spectacular color, making for a gorgeous backdrop the entire day.  While I didn’t accomplish anything noteworthy, I certainly enjoyed myself.  I got to try out several new pieces of gear, including the latest Phase Quickdraws and Cord Trapper Rope Tarp from Trango. I was even able to get on a few newer routes that were recently bolted.   Pole Dancing (5.7) – A great new addition to the cliff, and a much better option for a beginning leader than other nearby routes at similar grades.…Read the rest of this entry →