Why Rest Days Matter

The ache in my toes was subtle at first. I came off of a multi-pitch climb in California, unlaced my shoes and noticed a new tenderness in my joints. But I was rock climbing. Didn’t something always hurt while I was rock climbing? Cramming my feet into narrow blocks of rubber was just part of the process. Over the following weeks, I alternated between taking rest days and partaking in light activity to give my feet the chance to recover from their ailment. But it wasn’t long before I was back on the wall, exploring the limits of my body. Early on in my life, I learned that if you just put your head down and move forward through the pain, things usually get better. In my experience, doctor’s visits…

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Great Climbs & Worthy Causes: Rock Climbing in Eastern Europe

Nina and Jeremy’s Big Idea Summer, 2020 Beranger, Savoie, France The choice of vehicle wasn’t simple. It had to be more than a camper van—reliable off-road and in remote parts of the world, and tough enough to transport a climbing wall (yes, you read that right), all of our rock-climbing gear, photography equipment, and oh yeah, also be a small apartment. Through a bit of luck, a lot of networking and some big decisions, on September 1st, 2020 our very own 1991 Unimog, which we immediately named Andrea, made it home to our village in France. For the last two years, my partner and I had not traveled abroad, for obvious reasons. As an outdoor photographer and a professional climber, Jeremy and I had shaped our lives around our travels…

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Eat More to Do More: Common Misconceptions in Climbing Nutrition

There is no way around it for climbers—training can only get you so far. The other half of the equation is climbing nutrition. Amity Warme is an accomplished big wall climber who holds a Master’s degree in sports nutrition and is on her way to becoming a registered dietitian. Warme is the fifth woman to free climb Yosemite’s famous El Capitan in a day, and her tick-list includes heavy-hitters like Golden Gate 5.13a, Freerider 5.13a, and The Dream Team 5.13a. During her most recent season in Yosemite, Warme and her partner Will Sharp sent El Corazon 5.13b in a monstrous, ground-up effort. We sat down with her to chat about a bigger and more intimidating topic than big walls: a climber’s diet. Warme describes herself as an “active and energetic”…

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Trip Report: Climbing in Pakistan’s Karakoram Range

Travel Chaos Our Pakistan expedition started out with high stress levels, to say the least. Our bags were painstakingly packed—gear organized, packed, organized again, double-checked, and repacked. As we celebrated our last night in the US with some friends in Denver, Colorado before catching our morning flight, Allen received a terrible email—our flight was canceled! When we had started planning our expeditions to Pakistan’s Karakoram range, we figured it’d be a long shot in light of ever-changing COVID restrictions and complications. We kept a hawk-eye on climbers that we saw were getting into Pakistan and bombarded them with questions. Countless hours were spent trying to communicate with officials in Pakistan and researching any info we could find online. Months prior we had booked our flights and now tickets were thousands…

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Exploratory Mountaineering – The Tien Shan Mountains

16 Days and 8 First Ascents in China’s Tien Shan Mountains The Tien Shan range in China is ideal for exploratory mountaineering expeditions. There are hundreds of valleys, each with handfuls of unclimbed peaks and each mountain with plenty of route options. A lot of the routes can be simple mountaineering, but you can choose a line more demanding and direct. Although a lot of these peaks can be easily climbed it’s important not to underestimate the experience needed to safely climb in the mountains, as well as having the correct mountain equipment. I had never experienced exploratory mountaineering before—it had always been daunting. I wanted to make sure I had enough experience to make the most of any unclimbed mountains before an opportunity arose. It had taken me years…

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Bolting Climbs: The Ethics of First Ascents

Evaluating the ethics behind first ascents begged the question of whether or not we’re creating safer climbs by “conquering routes”. Were we providing positive accessibility by bolting walls? Or just flaunting our abilities?

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Paring it Down to the Essentials: A Guide’s Gear for a Three-Day Mountaineering Trip

As a guide with the American Alpine Institute on Mt. Baker, I often end up working with clients who try to bring all the appropriate gear but end up bringing just a tad more than necessary. In this post, I will talk about the gear I bring with me on a 3-Day Baker Skills and Climb trip and how I pared it down to its current amount. I hope this will help you on your fast-and-light adventures! 58 Mountaineering Essentials To start out, here’s a standard list of what I bring on a Baker 3-Day… Climbing gear: Crampons Harness Ice axe 1 ice screw 4 locking carabiners 6 non-locking carabiners 20-foot cordelette 2 double-length slings 2 pickets 1 rope Waist and foot prusiks Helmet Clothes: 1 pair soft shell pants…

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