Climbing and I have a complicated relationship. Sometimes my connection with climbing is tenuous at best, and though it may always appear bright from our shiny Instagram-filtered worlds, only I am aware of its lackluster days. It is for these reasons that climbing has been my greatest mirror, and best metaphor for personal relationships.
It is the longest relationship I have had (outside of familial ones), and like all meaningful relationships, we find ourselves feeling accomplished, worthy, truly loved, happy, free and (literally) on top of the world at times, but it is not without its challenges. In fact, it is this constant struggle that I have with climbing to continue to grow my physical strength and technique and emotional capacity to deal with failure and unforeseen situations that makes it a truly special relationship.
We all know the aforementioned positive emotions well – how freeing it can feel to be on top – whether it’s the first overhanging v0 we sent after repeat visits to the 45 degree wall, or the first rays of light we reach at the the summit after days of climbing up steep alpine terrain with unforgiving mountain conditions. These feelings fuel our very being, give us life and light and hope. But we speak less of the lackluster days – we know those well, too. The ones where, despite days/weeks/months of projecting project X, we still can’t seem to nail that crux move, or we had to back away from the summit bid due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. we simply ran out of time). Or maybe it’s just that we had a bad climbing day – our heart wasn’t in it, we felt uninspired, and we simply didn’t want it badly enough. Climbing can feel treacherous like that – one day we’re BFFs, and the next it’s like ‘hey, I thought we were friends, man – what’s up?’. And we want to run. Far away. From the flappers, shoulder tendinitis, badly chipped manicures, toe spurs, callouses, crooked bulging fingers, and lingering lower back pain. But we can’t. Because it hurts so good.
Am I advocating masochism here? Surely not. The pain to which I refer is the pain of growth – of becoming. And I think that all meaningful relationships to our personhood are like that – they’re rocky and beautiful, tense and intense and all-around awesome all at the same time, within the same hour of the same day. They envelope us in their womb of loving kindness and shape us in ways we could not even imagine. They stretch us to become the kind of person that we used to only read about in magazines and see in social feeds and never believed we could truly be. Until we do.
And so yes, it’s been a rocky relationship, and I celebrate your rugged edges, Climbing.
Happy New Year.
This edition of Gear Talk – girls talking gear and all things awesome – features one of our badass BFFs FrictionLabs, a high-end purveyor of climbing chalk who uses science to engineer the best chalk for rock climbing success to help climbers #climbyourimpossible
We caught up with FrictionLabs founders Kevin and Keah to chat about chalk matters.
In Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder. Her secret? Meditation, Mindfulness, Unplugging, and Giving.
Self-care is like that. Thriving in climbing is staying injury-free, but self-care is often an afterthought. Admittedly, our own cultivation of a self-care practice has emerged out of treating rather than preventing injuries over the past few years, and we’ve been working to remedy this.
We’ve observed a strong correlation between self-care and injury prevention, and are super stoked to share some of our self-care best practices below and celebrate many more injury-free years to accompany our climbing!
Alyse had been climbing for 15 years before she fell off a cliff during her first month of college and was paralyzed from the waist down for 6 months. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, she defied her doctors and re-learned to walk, and then to climb.
She sent her first 5.13b a year later after intensive training and rehabilitation. Now she has sent more 5.13s and has taken up trad climbing with her boyfriend, Tim.
‘Climbing is everything to us, and we plan on doing it as much as possible while inspiring others to push their boundaries to do what they love. ‘
Join us this Saturday, August 22nd from 7:30-9pm @ Rock Spot Climbing for a female-focused climbing clinic for all our Providence-based lady crushers!
You’ll learn to climb safely and confidently, and confront your fear of heights, falling, and exposure. Jeanne loves bouldering with female-focused hip movements, strong core work, and delicate balancey footwork to create fluidity with the wall, so there will be some of that. She hates injuries, so there will be none of that.
WHO: The Ladies of Rock Spot Climbing!
WHAT: Bouldering Babes Climbing Clinic
WHERE: Rock Spot Climbing @ 100 Higginson Ave in Lincoln, RI
WHEN: Saturday, August 22nd | 7:30 PM – 9 PM
WHY: Climbing Girls Run the World!
RSVP REQUIRED | SPACE IS LIMITED
Two nights ago, we sprained our left ankle after slipping and falling on uneven pavement while crossing the streets of New York City.
We immediately knew that our ankle was no bueno for climbing after feeling that all-too-familiar sharp shooting foot pain, and our acupuncturist doctor confirmed our fear the following day. She prescribed R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), and no climbing/hiking/biking/yoga/any dynamic activity that could further exacerbate the tendon tears in our poor bruised, swollen ankle.
One of the toughest things to do as an avid rock climber is to rest. Fortunately, we’ve had a lot of experience with climbing injuries, and learned over the years that in addition to occupational or physical therapy, one of the best things you can do for your body is to rest.
‘Ok, great, but then how does one keep sane once one’s happy place has been compromised?’, you might ask.
Join us this Sunday, August 16th from 6-7pm @ Brooklyn Boulders Chicago for a female-focused bouldering clinic for all of our Chicago-based lady crushers!
You’ll learn to climb safely and confidently, and confront your fear of heights, falling, and exposure. Jeanne loves bouldering with female-focused hip movements, strong core work, and delicate, balancey footwork to create fluidity with the wall, so there will be some of that. She hates injuries, so there will be none of that.
We promise … you won’t want to miss this event!
— WHO: YOU! The ladies of BKB Chicago! WHAT: Bouldering Babes Climbing Clinic WHERE: Brooklyn Boulders Chicago! WHEN: Sunday, August 16th | 6 PM – 7 PM WHY: Girl climbers rule —