Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SPI - Day 1

Ron and Dan
Day 1 is done! I have some homework to do so this will be a short post.

Today we covered professionalism as climbing instructors, fun factoids with the equipment we use, knots & hitches, belaying, and protection & anchoring. Tomorrow we will get out and build on our skills, new and old.

I haven't heard anything new from Derek, but I'm sure they are having a good time.

Time to get some reading in before dinner, then I'm off to repack my bag for tomorrow. We're heading out to the Chimneys of Linville Gorge!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

News from the Field

Derek and Chris had a pretty good hike up the Symmetry Couloir yesterday. I'm sure Derek will want to write all about it when they get back.

I spent yesterday and the day before out climbing in preparation for my AMGA SPI course, which starts tomorrow. Here's a photo from yesterday's climb - working at Outward Bound has helped me find many awesome climbing partners! 

I led Rat's Ass on the South Side of Looking Glass Rock. For climber's info on the route, check out the listing on Mountain Project. I did the climb in two pitches instead of three, and had a lot of fun with it. 

Time to finish getting ready!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grand Teton Kit

In quite a few catalogs for various outdoor gear and clothing companies, you can see examples of various outdoor athletes' "kits," or their collection of equipment for a number of outdoor pursuits.  For some time, a friend has been encouraging me to post my preferred kit, so, in honor of an upcoming climb together, here is my kit for an ascent of the Upper Exum Ridge on the Grand Teton.

Clothing and footwear:
Patagonia Men's Capilene 1 Boxer's
Smartwool PhD Medium Crew Socks
Patagonia Men's Capilene 1 Silkweight Stretch T-Shirt
Mountain Hardwear Chockstone Pant
Patagonia R1 Regulator Fleece Hoody
Patagonia Guide Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Hooded Compressor Jacket
Black Diamond Pilot Glove
Five Ten Exum Guide Approach Shoe
And my old Billabong beanie from Australia that I've worn since about age 14 (this is the closest thing I could find)
Courtesy of Five Ten
Climbing gear:
Mammut 9.8mm Tusk 60m Bi-pattern Rope
Black Diamond Aspect Harness
Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet
1 each  Black Diamond Camalots, sizes 0.4 to #2
1 set Black Diamond Stoppers, sizes 4 to 13
8 Black Diamond 60cm Dynex Runners
2 Black Diamond 120cm Dynex Runners
Black Diamond ATC-Guide Belay/Rappel Device
A handful of Black Diamond VaporLock Screwgate Carabiners
Plenty of Black Diamond Neutrino Carabiners
Courtesy of Black Diamond
Pack, hydration, and miscellaneous:
Black Diamond Speed 30 Pack
MSR 4L Dromedary Bag with hose
Suunto Vector Wrist-top Computer
Petzl Tikka XP2 Headlamp
A couple Clif Bars
A few Clif Shot Bloks
Courtesy of Petzl

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Headed to the Tetons

In three days time I will be headed to the Tetons with my friend and business partner, Chris Latham.  The plan is to summit the Grand Teton via the Upper Exum Ridge (III 5.5).  It has been a life-long goal for Chris to summit the Grand Teton before he turns 40, and this is probably our last shot to make it happen.  The pressure has been cranked up a little as well, as Chris was awarded a "Live Your Dream" grant from the American Alpine Club for our climb.

Courtesy of
We've been preparing for this climb for a couple months now, both training diligently and climbing together to get our systems dialed.  Naturally, just to keep things interesting, I developed pharyngitis yesterday.  A brief stint in urgent care this morning rewarded me with Azithromycin and an order to rest and hydrate.  That's exactly what I'll be doing, because one way or another I'll be getting on a plane on Sunday and heading up the mountain on Tuesday.  I am definitely psyched.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New Year Resolution - Check In

Oh yes, I'm checking in with my 2012 New Year's Resolutions. I didn't forget them. With the upcoming life transitions, I thought that this would be a good time to review.

Here's how I've done so far:

1. Do 10 Pull Ups: I'm up to 8!

Peyote Cracks: Middle (5.9), and Right (5.8)
2. Lead a 5.9 Trad Route: DONE!!! I lead a short 5.9 finger/hand crack in Joshua Tree, CA. A huge thanks to Sam Latone for belaying me and supporting my goals while we were out there. He is an awesome climbing partner!

3. Lead of 5.10 Sport Route: Haven't even tried.

4. Quit Caffeine: Failing so hard. Ugh.

5. Visit My Grandparents: DONE!!! It was so wonderful to get to visit with them, even if the trip was way too short.

6. Write a Book: Progress - I found a friend to write with. But I haven't actually written... this one needs work. A lot of work.

How about you guys?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Cuernos del Paine from Lake PehoƩ
 Derek is going to Patagonia!

It's official now - he is signed up for the Instructor Training at the start of the Patagonia season and will be in the instructor pool for courses there. He is also going to attempt something super cool while he's down there, but I'll let him tell you all about that when he's ready (a hint for my climber friends, it involves doing an "FA").

I know a few of our readers are big endurance race junkies - so, would any of you like to test yourselves with an backpacking expedition in our southern hemisphere? There are multiple trips with varying lengths and activities. And you'd get to hang out with Derek!

Here is a link to the NCOBS course listing for Patagonia: NCOBS Patagonia

If you are interested, or have a friend who may be interested then call or email Outward Bound at 888-756-2627 or I'd also be happy to respond to any questions through the comments section of our blog.

Cavalli Al Pascolo Ai Piedi Del Massiccio Del Fitz Roy, Patagonia

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Feeling the fall

The past few mornings in the mountains have been crisp and breezy. Autumn is nearly here. Folks are going back to school, returning to their off-season jobs, or just going home. I’m at a bit of a loss right now, because I still have no plan. I always have a plan… So far, Derek and I haven’t been able to solidify any off-season work or housing. Derek did get some extra courses for September and October, but I will officially be done on August 31st

This is the risky part of following your dreams I guess. Derek and I set off for the road last January knowing that things may or may not work in our favor. We spent months living off of our savings so we could travel together across the US. I turned down a salaried job at ETSU to keep working at $50 a day for NCOBS. I do not regret these decisions. But I have to admit that it’s pretty hard to sleep at night right now.

Despite all my nightmare-inducing-doubts, there are plenty of possibilities.

I just learned that I got bumped off the wait-list and can now officially enroll in a WFR course for next month. Once I’ve got that and my SPI course under my belt, I can start as a part-time guide with Derek’s company, Peregrine ClimbingGuides. It’s exciting and intimidating at the same time. I am NOT an awesome climber, but I feel this obligation to represent the ladies as a female climbing guide. I need to train, and train hard not to let myself down.

I’m also hoping to start writing a book with a friend. More on that later, when I know if it’s really going to happen or not. But my heart hurts with hope that it WILL happen.

So, here’s to hoping that things will all work out. For now, I’m off to apply for more work, look for someplace to live, rock out a going-away party for a bunch of my coworkers & friends, and train my body until exhaustion lets me sleep.

Dream big. 

Photo of Looking Glass Rock by Rob Travis Photography