Actually — I think stoke will save us


Actually — I think stoke will save us

Passion for place matters, and outdoor recreationists

are taking action every day.


Presented by High Country News May 29, 2018

By Louis Geltman

High Country News recently published an essay by Ethan Linck, “Your Stoke Won’t Save Us,” questioning the efficacy of outdoor recreationists and the outdoor industry as advocates for conservation. In a sense, Linck is right, stoke alone won’t save us, and the most unimpeachable personal conservation ethic won’t either.

Meaningful conservation is driven by action — not sentiment; not vaguely defined “environmental concern,” as measured by some researchers more than 40 years ago; not even education. It’s organizing to deliver political pressure and make change that make the difference, and by that measure, outdoor recreationists and the outdoor industry are delivering. And stoke — genuine enthusiasm derived from visceral experience — is the fuel that’s driving action.

Linck hangs a lot on one particular quotation from Edward Abbey:

“Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am—a reluctant enthusiast ... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.”

To read Abbey as saying that getting rad has the same efficacy for saving the earth as, you know, actually doing something, is a misreading. It’s much more an expression of both Abbey’s fundamental pessimism and his humanity: Enjoy it while you can. Regardless, though, a better Abbey-ism for 2018 is this: “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”

That Abbey aphorism is one that the outdoor recreation community is taking to heart. Last year, Outdoor Alliance, the organization for which I am the policy director, helped people write and call their lawmakers more than 100,000 times about public lands conservation issues. Grasstops advocates —local leaders in the recreation community — turned out for hundreds of meetings with land managers and elected officials. The Outdoor Industry Association, which Linck casually dismisses, undertook heroic efforts to move the industry’s marquee tradeshow in a few short months in order to stand up for its values. The association has also developed economic research that’s leveraged by public lands advocates across the conservation movement, and it was instrumental in the recent push to finally secure a fix for fire suppression budgeting.

Conservation biology might be the gold standard for how land management should look, but conservation biologists shouldn't be the only people invited to speak up in defense of our public lands. We are all in trouble if we impose purity tests on what motivations or ideological standards are acceptable in those willing to defend them. Similarly, dividing recreationists into “appreciative” and “consumptive” and then hand-wringing over what activities are genteel enough to qualify as the former seems manifestly counterproductive. It also needlessly slights the work being done by conservation-minded hunting and angling groups, as well as participants in more adventurous modes of recreation. Science should always be the north star guiding conservation, but dismissing advocates because their motivations might reflect some modicum of self-interest is basically the exact opposite of what conservationists need to be doing in order to build a broad-based political coalition in defense of public lands and the environment.

To support the idea that recreationists’ single-minded focus on their own interests is harming the conservation movement, Linck contrasts the high-profile campaign to save Bears Ears National Monument — home to world-renowned climbing areas, among other invaluable attributes — with the less energetic response generated by threatened reductions to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwest Oregon. Rather than upbraiding the recreation community for its focus, though, there’s a better interpretation to the events around the Trump administration’s monument reductions: The outdoor recreation community focused on a place closely connected to people’s own experiences. In the process, we educated our community about a core conservation law and generated hundreds of thousands of comments and a massive community mobilization. That effort featured Bears Ears most prominently but also encompassed other monuments under threat. And although the fight to protect national monuments and the Antiquities Act is continuing, the outdoor recreation community has attached a political cost to the monument reductions that has staved off additional attacks on places like Cascade-Siskiyou.

The idea that outdoor recreationists don’t display “environmental concern” at a higher rate than the general population certainly doesn’t comport with my own experience. I grew up in Washington, D.C., but whitewater kayaking was my passion from a very young age. The opportunity to experience wild places — as well as to see places suffer from development — shaped my life. Eventually I went to law school to become a more effective advocate for conservation. I built a career working to help the outdoor recreation community become better advocates for its values. Along the way, being a part of a community of like-minded people, passionate about experiencing the outdoors, as well as our responsibilities as stewards, has been a source of a lot of happiness in my life. I wake up every day, honored by the opportunity to work with the exceptional people at Outdoor Alliance, our member organizations, and our partners who spend their weeks working to make the world a better place and their days off paddling, climbing, riding bikes, skiing, or hiking in each of their respective humble-badass styles. At home in the Columbia River Gorge, I’m proud to see a young community of athletes growing into advocates and stewards, working to make our community and our environment better.

What interested me most when I started my career was policy, but a big part of what I’ve learned over the years is that coming up with good ideas is the easy part. The challenge is in building a constituency to turn those ideas into reality, and that’s where the outdoor recreation community has a leg up. I don’t believe that we display “environmental concern” at the same or a lower rate than the population at large. But even if that’s true, if the half of us who are ready to stand up and fight do, I’ll take it. After all, it’s not sentiment but action that counts, and the outdoor recreation community is taking action every day. Maybe that’s because those of us who actually get out and enjoy wild places tend to view ourselves as a community. Those within our sports who share a stewardship ethic are more primed and ready to engage in concerted action. Or maybe it’s because our experiences make us fired up and motivated to act. Stoked.

Linck begins his essay with a modern definition of “stoke” — enthusiasm for a thrilling experience, especially in the outdoors. But I’d like to get out my “shreddog” Oxford English Dictionary and dust off an older definition: raising up a fire. That’s what the outdoor recreation community is doing right now. We’re taking our experiences, our passion, our community and building a fire to drive change. Stoke is what drives climbers to show up for public meeting on Bears Ears in Blanding, Utah, in triple-digit temperatures. Stoke is what motivates paddlers to spend their careers advocating for dam removals. Stoke is what inspires thousands of adventurists to write their congresspeople in defense of the Arctic, a place most of them will never visit. Community and passion for place: these things matter.

I think stoke is going to save us.



Chicks Climbing & Skiing: Hangboard Workouts

Written by: Carolyn Parker

Presented by Chicks Climbing & Skiing:


A KEY part of rock climbing is finger strength.

Fingerboards, also known as hangboards, are both inexpensive and a great way to develop finger strength.

Hangboards are particularly efficient if you are too busy to get to the climbing gym.

The first rule of training on a hangboard is to err on the side of caution. Build up to smaller and smaller holds, especially if you’re new to it or haven’t been rock climbing in a while.

You can place a fingerboard over most doorways, out in the garage, or some other convenient spot. This allows you to get a super productive workout, in a short period of time, all in your own home!

Get some recommendations on purchasing a fingerboard here:

Three Great Fingerboard Workouts




30 sec push ups / 30 sec rest

Rest 2 min



5 pull-ups / 60 sec rest

Rest 2 min


Choose 5 fingerboard grips that you can hang onto for 10 sec (e.g. jug, pinch, crimp, sloper, three finger pocket)

For each grip complete 4 rounds of:

10 sec hang / 5 sec rest

Between grip hang rounds, take 2 min to complete one of the following 4 core exercises:

1) 20 x sit-up

2) 60 sec v-sit

3) 60 sec plank (on feet)

4) 60 sec flutter kick

(Rotate through core exercises until each grip-hang round is done.)



30 sec push ups / 30sec rest



30 sec push ups / 30 sec plank

Rest 2 min


10 – 1 Pull-Up Ladder:

10 pull-ups / rest 30 sec, 9 pull-ups / rest 30 sec . . . continue down to 1 pull-up. (

Use assistance like a chair under your feet or a band if necessary.)

Rest 2 min


Choose 4 hangboard grips that you can hang onto for 8 seconds (e.g. jug, pinch, crimp open hold, three finger pocket).

For each grip, complete 3 rounds of:

8 sec hang / 5 sec rest.

Between grip hang rounds, take two min to complete one of the following exercises:

1) 20 x sit up

2) 60 sec v-seat

3) 60 sec flutter kick

(Rotate through core exercises until each grip hang round is done.)


Pick 5 handboard holds (e.g. jugs, pinches, crimps, open, three finger pocket).

On each hold type do 3 rounds of:

10 sec hang during which time you complete a pull-up while hanging /

30 sec rest

Rest 3 min between hold pull-up groupings


8 x 20 sec work / 10 sec rest of the following movements with 1 – 2 min rest in between:

1) Sit Ups

2) Push Ups

3) Flutter kicks


Final Tips

If you’re new to Chicks Training, I encourage you to take a few minutes. Read the previous Chicks Training Posts. Training is incredibly beneficial and there’s a lot of great information there to get you started.

If you are looking for some motivation, consider that implementing new movements and concepts into a regular workout pattern in almost any fashion will create positive change.

And, if you’d like to discuss training for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at:

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones Certified

AMGA Rock Guide

Uphill Athlete Coach


Salathé: The climb of the century at thirty


Salathé: The climb of the century at thirty


Wyofile: June 15, 2018

Paul Piana heard the grinding of granite on granite before he saw the boulder begin to move. He watched as his climbing partner and friend, Todd Skinner, disappear over the edge. Piana felt a crushing pain in his leg as the rock then squeegeed him over the edge behind Skinner. When Piana stopped spinning, he hung from his climbing rope in the air, waiting for the inevitable pull that would drag him after Skinner and to their death thousands of feet below.

Instead he heard a raspy command: “Get the rope.”

The day before, June 15, 1988, Piana and Skinner had sprinted up the last rope lengths — known as pitches —  of the Salathé Wall, completing the first free-ascent of the climb on Yosemite’s El Capitan after more than 30 days of effort.

They’d savored the moment only briefly before descending to their last cliffside camp, and their gear, a few pitches below, before it became dark.

They celebrated the ascent, which many had believed to be impossible, by drinking extra water.  

“It was done,” Piana said. “We’d done it. Our dream had come true.”

They’d free-climbed what was considered at the time one of the hardest rock climbing routes in the world.

The next day they climbed to the top again to haul up their gear. They tethered their ropes to the massive rock climbers always used at the top as an anchor. Piana supplemented the natural bulwark with a Friend — a camming device inserted into a crack in the stone monolith — and in a spasm of extra caution also tied off to an old piton — a metal spike hammered into the stone.

Upon Skinner’s arrival at the top, Piana removed the Friend. That’s when all Hell broke loose. The stone anchor slowly slid toward Skinner who didn’t have room to move out of its way. It knocked him wildly over the edge and crushed Piana’s leg before he, too, tumbled behind Skinner. It was the end, Piana thought. Then the breathy command from the abyss.

Piana painfully pulled himself up and watched as a bloody hand on a crushed mechanical rope ascender slid up the dangling line and into view. Skinner had broken his ribs and his pelvis. Piana’s leg was broken in five places.

Luck saved them, Piana said. Skinner’s ascender had prevented the rock from cutting his rope when it rolled over it. And the old piton Piana had clipped them to held fast.

From there the descent, which normally takes less than two hours, took them seven. They had only one rope. Piana couldn’t walk on his own, or even crawl, so he crab-walked with his broken leg extended in front of his body.

Thirty years after Piana and Skinner’s first free ascent of the Salathé, people talk about the significance of the climb.

It was the “grandest climbing in the universe,” Paul Piana said of the Salathé (©Bill Hatcher)
©Bill Hatcher 2015

Outside magazine said in a 2016 article that Skinner and Piana “redefined what was possible on Yosemite’s biggest walls” and that before the two tackled it, “no one had climbed such mind-boggling difficulty in such an outrageous position.”

When Piana, thinks about it, he marvels that the two climbers survived the accident at the top.

June 15 marks the 30th anniversary of the climb that many credit with ushering in a new era of free-climbing on Yosemite’s big walls. The route is now a target for speed records. Some high-end climbers complete it in mere hours. Even recreational climbers claim free ascents on the wall on weekends.

“It’s just a nice, long, hard climb now,” Piana said.

But in 1988 Piana and Skinner were on the edge of a frontier.

Free climbing involves ropes that save climbers if they fall. But the sport doesn’t use equipment to aid in the actual climbing. Skinner and Piana were always free climbers, Piana said. He grew up in Newcastle and learned to climb in the nearby Black Hills, which didn’t lend themselves to pitons or other aid devices that climbers might use to pull or stand on. When he and Skinner became climbing partners while at the University of Wyoming they both adopted an affinity for free climbing and notching first ascents.

Piana doesn’t remember when they set their eyes on the Salathé. The route up Yosemite’s famous El Capitan, a rock monolith that rises almost 3,000-feet from the valley floor, was something they’d talked about for years.

Royal Robbins, Chuck Pratt and Tom Frost first climbed the Salathé Wall in 1961. Frost’s black-and-white images showed soaring cracks, silver-toned dihedrals and an overhanging wall. Trees below the wall looked like miniature plants from above. And then there was the single crack threading the headwall.

“The headwall crack is what makes the Salathé,” Piana said. “It was magic. It looked like such a great adventure.”

They listened to the skeptics who said it would never go; that at least a few of the pitches were impossible to free climb. They watched other climbers attempt free ascents with varying degrees of success. Skinner even made attempts, planned too late for Piana to join.

Max Jones and Mark Hudon came the closest to a free ascent in the 1970s. They made breakthroughs on the climb and eventually freed all but a few hundred feet. If they’d spent more time on it, Piana thinks they would have claimed the first free ascent.

Instead they paved the way for Skinner and Piana.

Piana and Skinner arrived in Yosemite in May of 1988. They guessed it would take them about two weeks to conquer the wall. Ultimately they required more than 30 days to complete their 35-pitch route. Much of the time was spent on reconnaissance, studying the route and practicing moves on short trips on the wall.

They cached extra water and cans of beans at critical spots. When they ran out of food they held a yard sale in a parking lot, auctioning any item not critical to the climb. They sold enough to buy Pop Tarts, Snickers and cans of tuna. They weren’t going to leave until they finished.

The first pitches weren’t too bad, Piana said. Climbing difficulty is rated using the Yosemite Decimal System. The easiest climbs are rated 5.0 and today, go up to 5.15, a level of difficulty that didn’t yet exist in the 1980s. The first pitches of the Salathe required 5.10 and 5.11 climbing, considered hard at the time, but nothing beyond what Skinner and Piana had climbed before. But then the climbing grew more challenging. They’d go onto sections with 5.12 and 5.13 climbing — unimaginable for many in that era.  

At times, it looked “improbable,” Piana said, even now refusing to say, or think, impossible.

They climbed sections where their hand-jams in the cracks, were so tenuous that Piana said he had to look to make sure they were actually solid. He wrote later in his book “Big Walls,” that “even a change in the blood pressure in Todd’s hand would see The Salathé flick him off and send him screaming far below the roof until the force of the fall would crash onto my belay anchors.”

There were nights when one or both of the climbers battled bouts of wavering confidence. They worried about injuries and the weather.

They read Louis L’Amour books to pass the time and doctored their hands. Day after day of climbing bludgeoned their forefingers. Their knuckles swelled. Sometimes, at the end of a day, their hands would be so tired they couldn’t close them to make a fist. Jamming their hands into small cracks and openings in the rock peeled back their cuticles. At night they’d superglue the skin back to the fingernail to keep it in place.

After weeks of scouting, caching, probing, experimenting and learning, the final push took nine days.

It was the hardest climbing Piana had ever experienced. It was also the “grandest climbing in the universe,” he said. “The beautiful, inspiring crack system splitting the sweep of the golden wall at the top of El Capitan — it’s one of the most overwhelming experiences a rock climber can have.”

Skinner and Piana went on to other important big climbs. They notched first free ascents around the world — from the Wind River Mountains to Greenland  — until Skinner’s death in 2006 of a climbing accident in Yosemite.

Piana continues to climb and still finds new routes and challenges in the Black Hills near his home in Newcastle.

But in their storied careers, the free Salathé defines their legacy. It was “door-opening,” Piana said.

People began to look at El Capitan and other big walls and suddenly they could see the possibilities.



Your stoke won’t save us

High Country News shares a blog post on the nexus of conservation and a love for the outdoors. 

The idea that outdoor recreation leads to meaningful conservation rests on a big ‘if.’

I’ve spent a lot of my adult life in search of stoke, and like a lot of recreationists, I have implicitly linked my passion for skiing, climbing and running with a passion for conservation and environmental stewardship. But after accepting this premise for most of a decade, I am no longer so sure. Can outdoor recreation really support conservation for the long-term health of the land, not just human access? In the face of the daunting planetary environmental challenges ahead, can stoke really save us? I suspect the answer is a hollow no.

Interested? Subscribe or get two free issues at or 800-905-1155.



#WornWear Wagon!!!!



Just in case you haven't looked too closely at the schedule we wanted to remind you that @patagonia is not hosting the clothing swap at this years Trade Fair. BUT, they are bringing the #WornWear Wagon! Check out what they have to say about it: 


We are getting in the #WornWear spirit! Check out the stories ripped and stained into Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll’s clothing. 



Stay Clean At ICF

Joshua Tree Skin Care was started on the edge of the outdoor Mecca of Joshua Tree National Park, in California and has grown into a small and active team of dedicated climbers, cyclists and all around outdoor enthusiasts who work out of Southeastern Michigan, Chicago, Arizona, and Colorado. We started with a focus specifically on the climbing community, by coming up with a solution for tears, flappers, and the major problem of skin that can’t keep up with the demands of climbing rocks. Since then we have expanded to provide products for just about every type of active lifestyle.




Our newest product, Camp Soap, is a great solution for two major problems of spending time outdoors; dirt and bugs. Camp Soap comes in a convenient 2 oz, squeeze tube and is perfect for everything at camp!

- Use it on your dog before he snuggles up in your sleeping bag.

- Clean up your dishes & gear

- Clean your stinky self.

All while helping keep the bugs away; It is loaded with essential oils, such as citronella, to fend them off while doing dishes, and long after using it!

Check out and use promo code “ICF” for 30% off.  Give our camp soap, or any of our other great natural and organic products a try to keep your skin feeling great while doing the things you love!

Just because you live the active lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to smell like it!



Dru Mack on Rhino Skin Solutions

Dru Mack is on the rise. Know for his constant psych and his ever increasing climbing prowis Dru is a boon to the climbing community.

When your home crag is the Red River Gorge, you regularly experience rainforest climates. Sometimes the humidity surpasses the temperature, leaving you sweating and wishing you were swimming in a lake rather than wading through the thick Kentucky air. For a long time I dealt with these poor conditions with extreme try hard and loads of chalk, like a block a day…

I first started using Rhino Skin Solutions while trying my hardest route ‘Southern Smoke’ 14c. The 70 foot route is pure power endurance, endless running on decent holds. I found it almost impossible to stop and shake anywhere, which also means my sweaty hands would go many moves without getting any chalk on them. Friends of mine told me about Rhino Skin and I quickly got some, using the Dry Spray and Performance cream religiously to dry out my skin. It helped, my hands were drier I could climb the route more efficiently and chalk up less, saving me valuable time on the wall. Since then I have been a huge fan of Rhino Skin Products.


My normal routine is:

Dry Spray -Two good sprays on both hands, two nights in a row before a big climbing day. I find that using this two nights in a row dries out my hands way more than just one night, but I try to not use it all the time because I don't want my skin to get too dry and crack.


Performance Cream- This is definitely my favorite product. I use this every almost every night before bed. I might skip a night or two every once in awhile depending how dry my hands are and how much climbing I am doing.


Repair Cream-I use the repair cream after a day of climbing. Wash the chalk off your hands and lather some on. This helps the skin grow back without having that feeling that you can’t touch anything. I like to have some waiting in the car for me.






Belay Optics Is A Baby Birthed In A Basement

Belay Optics is a baby being birthed in a basement in Firestone Colorado.  The company is the brainchild of Elyn Lytton a researcher, Mom, quilter, and climber.  She wears prescription eyeglasses and was frustrated that belay glasses, presently on the market, were “focused” on a limited user population that couldn’t wear sunglasses or prescription eyewear while belaying.  Her sons and daughter-in-law also climb and wear glasses, so, to say this idea did not have a slight self-serving component would be untrue.  Going into her home climbing gym (Boulder Rock Club) in Boulder Colorado or any other popular climbing venue revealed a stark reality…..  There are tons of climbers that wear glasses and would be psyched to find an adjustable clip-on solution.  Several years of development, sourcing suppliers, evaluating materials, and obtaining a patent ensued.  The result is a highly adjustable, optically crisp, innovative design that eliminates the need to wear two pairs of glasses while belaying. 

So, Elyn did this all on her own, Right?  Not!!!  Her entire family has been involved including her Husband Jim, sons Alan and Seth and daughter-in-law Neely Quinn.  Long days and late nights have been spent on e-mails to suppliers and customers, assembling glasses by hand, thermal testing in cars and freezers, packaging, shipping, social media, accounting, business planning and development, networking, doing shows, creating collateral materials, learning about graphic design, deciding on swag to give away and still maintaining a balance with life, family, jobs, and fitness. Yeah, did we mention that this is all being done around working a full time job at a biodiagnostics firm in Boulder Colorado.  Ah, the life of the budding entrepreneur!  Gotta love it!  

Okay, enough about the tough stuff.  Let’s talk about how Elyn’s invention has helped her customers. Many Belay Optics customers said they couldn’t use fixed prism glasses without getting nauseous or dizzy and the adjustable aspect of the Belay Optics system eliminated their problem.  As with most belay glasses, the common malady known as “ belayers neck” is relieved and users find the overall comfort of the glasses exceptional.  The gang at Belay Optics are open to new concepts and design ideas that are submitted by the climbing community and other users that find the need to see above their heads.  Input from electricians, window washers, and painters has also been appreciated as these are just a few of the trades that have benefitted from Belay Optics' products.  

Most importantly, Belay Optics is grounded in a core principle of giving back to the community.  As the company grows it will be donating time, resources, and money to promote causes that focus on the climbing community and our natural resources.  At the 2017 International Climbing Festival in Lander Wyoming, Belay Optics is looking forward to raising money for a non-profit that supports the climbing community and environment. Stay tuned for more details on the “B.O. Slogan Contest” debuting at the festival.  If you have a great slogan for us please share it now

We believe you the climbers will be our best resource for feedback. Please, let us know what you think of our present products and share your pain points, wants, and needs so we can bring you the designs and features that deliver the greatest benefits to enhance your belaying experience.  We have begun reaching out to local US based suppliers and designers so we can begin developing our NextGen products so if you have crazy wild ass ideas we want to hear about them so we can bring you more innovative solutions that are functional, affordable, durable, and just plain awesome.  

Come and join us at the July 12-16, 2017 International Climbers’ Festival in Lander Wyoming!  Be suret to drop by our booth at the Art Crawl and Trade fair and ask us for your complementary Belay Optics sticker. Oh yeah, and if your name is drawn from our “B.O. Slogan” contest winner bucket, you may score some awesome swag and even a free set of our Belay Optics fully adjustable clip on belay glasses!!!  See you at the festival and be sure to come by the Belay Optics booth, say “Hi”, try a pair on for size,  and give us your opinion!  

If you live within driving distance to Firestone Colorado, we’d love to meet with you and just get to know you better.  We are all about developing relationships!  Are you connected to an outfitter, climbing gym, pro-climber, or media representative that is looking for a rags to riches story in the making, please help us out by providing us with their complete contact information including phone, e-mail, and a personal introduction would really be awesome!  

Our ultimate goal is to see that you are blown away by Belay Optics in every aspect of the customer experience!  If you love us, please go to and leave your luv for us.  We also encourage you to share, like, comment, and #tag us on Facebook  and Instagram . 

Thanks from the gang at Belay Optics!

Written by Jim Lytton



Used with permission by LaSportiva, repost from:



We asked a few athletes what their favorite climbing shoe is, why they like it, and where they use it

- - -

Do you have a pair of Sportivas in your quiver that you turn to religiously? We asked a handful of La Sportiva athletes what their favorite La Sportiva climbing shoe is, why they like it, and where they use it.




What is your go-to shoe?

My go-to shoe is without question the TESTAROSSA.

Why do you like it over other models?

The Testarossa fits my foot really well. I love the support and the adaptability of a lace-up, plus how sensitive this shoe is - which is mainly why I switched from the SOLUTION, which was my go-to for many years. The heel cup is soft and conforms to small edges or big features really well. And lastly, they look awesome.

What is your favorite place to use it?

My favorite place to use this shoe is on overhanging terrain, which is the majority of my climbing. When I need a powerful edge, I grab a very new pair of TESTAROSSAS and lace them tight; when my project has more smearing I intentionally use a little more broken-in pair. Really the only times when I use a different shoe is when toe hooking is mandatory (laces are not good at this - SOLUTION or GENIUS is best) or on lower angle terrain or extreme edging, then I reach for the MUIRA VS or the TC PRO.

Describe your foot.

My foot is not super wide at 4.25 inches at the ball of my foot. My heel is relatively big at 2.5 inches wide. My toes are on the shorter side and I have a well defined arch. I wear size 42 in Sportiva approach shoes and size 38.5 in all of my climbing shoes.



“I’m going to answer this twice, since I love 2 kinds of shoes:”

What is your go-to shoe? 


Why do you like it over other models?

It's the ultimate trad climbing shoe. Amazingly stiff for slab climbing and comfortable in cracks.

What is your favorite place to use it?

Yosemite. The TC PRO was designed for Yosemite and it definitely shows when you use it. Everything just feels easier. You can stand on the smallest edges yet still wear them all day.

Describe your foot.

No idea. Average form, well shaped toes. I've been told I have pretty feet for a climber.

What is your go-to shoe?


Why do you like it over other models?

I like the downturned toe and the high performance fit. And they're amazing for heel/toe hooking - it's rare that a shoe is great at both.

What is your favorite place to use it?

Steep sport climbing of any kind. Limestone especially, but really I use them for pretty much anything other than trad climbing.



What is your go-to shoe? 

TC PRO for trad, SOLUTION for bouldering and steep sport climbing.

Why do you like it over other models?

The TC PRO is a clear stand out as the best trad shoe ever made (in my biased opinion). It performs well when sized for comfort. It also edges better than any other shoe I have worn. The SOLUTION is versatile and comfortable.

What is your favorite place to use it? 

TC PRO... any Trad or multi-pitch area. Yosemite, Patagonia. RMNP alpine. Wendenstock Switzerland. Solution... all indoor training, Ceuse, all bouldering anywhere.

Describe your foot.

A little wide, Giant big toe, lots of fungus.



What is your go-to shoe?


Why do you like it over other models?

They’re versatile. I can edge really well with it, on the gnarliest slabs with invisible holds. Or, I can have a great time climbing overhanging sport routes with them because I still feel like I have the power to pull hard with my toes.

What is your favorite place to use it?

Yosemite granite: they’re perfect for the hard slab climbing, those bouldery sport pitches, and can handle themselves in the cracks as well.

Describe your foot.

Narrow foot, small heels, big bunions on the big toes.



What is your go-to shoe?

I can't say I've found a shoe that is best for everything. But I can say that after starting to use the no-edge shoes I've grown to become a big fan of the FUTURA.

Why do you like it over other models?

They're incredibly sensitive and I find the rubber to be surreally sticky. I tried them for the first time on a trip to Mallorca. I was climbing on a variety of angled limestone with pockets, edges and tufas. My jaw dropped and I started laughing out loud because I felt like I had put on some sort of Spiderman grip -- no joke! After trying them out on different rock, I'm surprised how well I can stand on tiny edges, and I also found that the no edge leaves room for a little less footwork precision during onsight climbing.

What is your favorite place to use it?

Kalymnos is my favorite place to use them so far. The FUTURA rocks on overhanging limestone routes with small pockets, edges and for smearing on tufas.

Describe your foot.

My feet are medium wide, asymmetric with a quite high arches.




What is your go-to shoe? 


Why do you like it over other models?

The TC PRO is the ultimate offwidth shoe - it' one of the only mid-height shoes on the market which is crucial for protecting your ankles on wide cracks. While there other shoes on the market that are great for inverting or for vertical wide crack climbing, the TC PRO excels for both styles as well as other types of climbing which may come up on wide pitches. The flat and chiseled toe profile is ideal for the most technical wide cracks and it's comfortable!

What is your favorite place to use it?

The TC PRO excels in the offwidth mecca of Veduawoo, WY where I often need a combination of technical edging on the outside foot and an interior heel/toe in the wide crack. The mid-height is indispensable for protecting your ankles on offwidths from the sharp granite crystals. The shoe also performs exceptionally well for the inverted style of climbing - stiff enough to hang from your feet, yet flexible enough to remove from the inverted position preventing the dreaded foot-stuck-over-your-head. It's also an excellent shoe for sandstone towers in the Creek and Zion where pitches may switch up from offwidth, to thin crack, to face climbing - this shoe excels at all styles. The padding in the ankle and above the toes is helpful in reducing the pain component of offwidth. Also, it's important when buying an offwidth shoe to have that flat fit in the toes for the optimal heel-toe as well as inverted position.

Describe your foot.

My feet are a bit on the narrow side, but other than that nothing too unusual.

Photos (in order of appearance): © BearCam Media, © Chris Noble Photography Inc,. © Brett Lowell/Big Up Productions/Aurora Photos, © Jon Glassberg/Louder Than 11, © Nathan Welton, © Jason Gebauer


Take The Global City Balance Challenge!

Gibbon Slacklines has loaned us some of their Slack Racks so the ICF and Lander Wyoming can participate in this Global contest!

Often Slacklining is still perceived as an activity for gifted people. The Global City Balance Challenge is an initiative with as simple plan: To prove that balance can be achieved by anyone! “It´s pretty much like learning to ride a bike” With the right approach it is achievable in a very short time and it is very rewarding plus it helps to find one´s core stability in avoiding injuries in everyday life. And once you gain the skill you don´t lose it!

The challenge for the city is to get as many people as possible to balance for 10sec on a Slackrack (10ft long and 30cm high, free standing slackline structure) in one day. By today New York, Tokyo, Munich, Lausanne, Wellington plus many more have already participated. Check out GIBBON´s website for more details: city-balance-challenge- 2017-2/

Head to the WyoClimbers booth in Lander City Park on July 14th to hop on the line and help us get just  a little closer to getting the most people on a slack line in a single day in 2017.

To learn how to slackline GIBBON has developed a free App with video tutorials on learning how to balance on a slackline, gaining skills and tricks and how to use Slacklines to stay fit. Available on Android and IOS:


5 tips to improve your outdoor photography (climbing edition)


5 tips to improve your outdoor photography (climbing edition)

Guess what? Ticket holders get a free Buff this year! 

Heres a nifty post about climbing photography from the staff at Buff. Maybe it will inspire you to sign up for Climbing Magazines Photo clinic!

BUFF® Staff / 3-11-2017

change your perspective.

Let’s be honest, no one really likes to look at your butt shots. There is just nothing interesting about them. We have all belayed someone before, we all know what looking up at a climber looks like so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out images from that same vantage point don’t strike a chord with a viewer. Getting a unique perspective is a key element in creating an eye-catching climbing image. 
There are two easy ways to do this. Get above the climber, or get to the side. Which technique you decide on will be determined by the surrounding terrain, composition goal and most importantly, your comfort level and ability. 
Getting to the side of the climber will often be the easiest most straightforward approach to changing your perspective. Often times there will be some sort of a natural feature like a boulder, easy start to a climb or simply a change in angle along the cliff. 
The next and most versatile option is to place yourself above your subject. If you are lucky enough to have access to a climbing area with easily accessible top anchors you are already at an advantage. Depending on the specifics of the composition you have in mind, getting an eye-catching image can be as simple as creating an anchor, attaching yourself securely and leaning over the edge. When doing this, it is your natural instinct to want to be directly above the climber. While this is great and is certainly my go to when photographing climbing, try to explore your options and see what results being one route to either side gives you. You may be surprised. 
More often than not you will find yourself in an area where you do not have easy access to the top of your climbing area. This is where you are going to need some creativity, knowledge and a lot of patience. It is crucial that you become proficient in rope ascending techniques and general climbing systems before attempting to add a camera. I recommend hiring an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) certified or trained guide to teach you these skills. 
The most important thing is to get a system established that is separate from the main climbing system. Avoid the temptation to climb to the anchor and attach yourself and pull the rope. Although unlikely, you run the risk of your climber not being able to finish their climb, leaving you stuck on an anchor with no means of descent. 
The safest method is to have either yourself or another trusted climber climb the route first and have them build an anchor (not just two quickdraws) and attach a separate single line to the master point of that anchor and return to the ground. Now you are free to choose your own vantage point from which to photograph. 
If this is something outside of your ability and comfort level, consider climbing an adjacent route on top rope and asking your belayer to take. Depending on the area, the closest route could only be a couple of feet way and will put you in a similar position you would be if you were to ascend a fixed rope. 

know it all

Knowing the area well before you set out to take pictures can be the difference between coming back with gold and hitting delete. If you are new to the area you may want to consider arriving at the location the day before and spend some time walking around taking notes on what the light is doing at different times. Maybe the light only hits the particular climbing you want to photograph for 30 minutes out of the entire day. Knowing when that 30 minutes is a critical piece of information you will want to have. 
Maybe the climbing area faces west. If that’s the case you may not be photograph first thing in the morning when it’s in the shade. You are likely going to wait until the late afternoon when it is in the sun, yet the light is still soft enough to not give your subject harsh shadows. 

Knowing the area can go beyond lighting. Becoming familiar with the terrain also gives you the opportunity to get a better idea of how and where you are going to position yourself to photograph. 
I once did a shoot in the Sandia Mountains outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico and spent 9 hours the day before setting up various rope systems to figure out what positioning gave me the best vantage point. I knew exactly what composition I wanted, I just did not know that best way to get into that position with terrain available to me. 
In the end I had 3 separate rope system I used to put me in the spot I needed to be. 

make it pop! 

Making your subject stand out goes a long way. More than you realize. 
Having your subject stand out and have contrast against the earth-tone rock face can probably do more for an image that anything else. 
We all know that your eye is immediately drawn to the brightest part of an image. Well that same principle holds true for color. You want the viewers eye to be immediately directed to the most important part your image, the climber. 
Be careful what color you choose in what area. If you are photographing in an area with a red rock you may want to consider clothing that is not red. 
If you can, try to coordinate with your subject the day before and ask him or her to wear a brightly colored shirt. Try to avoid any white or neon colors as this will wreak havoc on your camera’s metering system and result in an over exposed shirt. 
If you aren’t able to touch base with your subject ahead of time, plan ahead and pack your own shirt that you know will work well. Every time I head out to photograph I always carry 3 pieces of emergency clothing items with me: A shirt, a beanie and a Buff. Now, in case my subject forgot to do his laundry and didn’t bring the correct shirt, I have one for him. At the very least I can ask them to put the Buff around their neck or wear it as a headband. 

balancing act

One of the most beautiful parts of climbing is that it takes us to magnificent locations. Places that most people will never see. So why not show them? 
It is so easy to get caught up in making sure we get the subject in that perfect body position, struggling through the hard moves that we forget to show the beautiful landscape behind them. 
One option is to achieve this is with a telephoto lens. By simply zooming out and increasing your aperture and your depth of field more of the background will be in focus. However, the best option is utilizing a wide-angle lens (less than 30mm.) This will show the landscape while simultaneously creating an interesting effect and will you to get closer to your subject while still being able to show the surrounding area.



zoom out

One mistake I see any sports photographer making is they frame their shot in camera exactly how they want the final image to look. Be careful doing this. 
Body positions change quickly in any sport. Climbing included. Your perfectly positioned climber can look great through your viewfinder but before you know it their foot is stretched out wide, and out of your frame. 
When shooting with at a telephoto lens I will often back off my focal length just enough to compensate for those quick body position changes. I would much rather spend extra time in Photoshop than to have an image ruined but a limb being out of frame. 


kerr adams bio:

Kerr was born in Torquay, a small fishing and tourism town in Devon, England in 1989. At the age of 6 Kerr and his family relocated to the United States. During high school, Kerr found himself pursuing tournament paintball, traveling the country to compete in the Paintball Sports Promotions (PSP) and National Professional Paintball League (NPPL.) After high school Kerr moved to Albuquerque to find a new adventure. Kerr began instructing and guiding in 2011 and has since guided rock, ice, alpine climbing, and high altitude mountaineering. Kerr has worked throughout the United States in California, Colorado and New Mexico and internationally in Pakistan and Ecuador. Kerr has a B.F.A in studio art with a concentration in photography and digital arts from the University of New Mexico and is pursuing international Mountain Guide certification with the American Mountain Guide's Association (AMGA), which includes certification in rock, alpine, and ski disciplines.  

Get in touch:

Instagram: @kerr_adams 


Small Town WY

Small Town WY

Former CB&T Bank president and longtime Lander resident, Carl Huhnke sings high praise for the International Climbers Festival, Todd Skinner, NOLS, and the value of community.


 “It’s just the quality of people”, was Carl’s go-to phrase when I interviewed him about the Climber’s Fest in Lander.  It's a totally inclusive event that the whole town gets excited for, and people come from all over to be a part of.  

 Todd Skinner came to CB&T for a donation to run the first ICF back in 1993, and after a few minutes of talking to Todd and hearing about the community of people involved, Carl “just felt blessed to be a part of it”.  

 “If you look up and down Main street”, you will see many businesses started or run by past climbers and NOLS instructors.  “These people are leaders”, said Carl about the folks that came to Lander to climb and then stayed.

 The Climber’s Festival is now in its 24th year, and though Todd Skinner is no longer with us, the original spirit of adventure and community-oriented fun is alive and well in Lander!

 For more info about the history of the climber’s festival:

Thanks to Nick Knoke for this interview and video! @nickknoke for more photo and video

A Casual Climber And Proud Of It.

A Casual Climber And Proud Of It.

Today, some thoughts from a "Woman who climbs." (Climber?) Can you spend 10+ years going on climbing trips without becoming a "Climb-er?"

I don't expect us all to agree. I can say for myself, in moments of frustration when I am starting to wonder why I even participate in this stupid sport, start comparing myself to others, think about selling all my climbing gear because "What. Is. The. Point?" Im glad that there are a few people at the crag not experiencing a high or low simply related to performance or achievement. A few people talking about something other than how I can get through the crux and miming every move at me. A few people who think it sounds fun to brew up some coffee on top of a tower with a view, or take a minute to lay on a flat rock and watch the clouds. To tell me who they are outside of climbing. What defines a "climber," anyway?

Measuring a persons worth based on how hard they climb, or are willing to push themselves in an arbitrary activity that I happen to value, would lead me to missed opportunities and fewer friends. Levity is often hard to find when I AM the serious matter. Friends who can pull me out of that head space without helping me make excuses (because they see no excuses needing to be made) is invaluable to me. 

Photo Credit: Jessica Fuller @vanleeuwen727

Photo Credit: Jessica Fuller @vanleeuwen727

Jessica Fuller                                                                                                                                 Outdoor and Indoor Educator

As a person working in the outdoor industry, I am often asked if I am “a climber.” My response is always the same: “I have gone climbing, but I wouldn’t consider myself ‘a climber.’" But of late, I have wondered what if anything, I have to do different or special to earn that “-er” at the end of my title.

It’s a joke among my girlfriends that I have organized more climbing trips than many people who actually regularly climb (i.e. “climbers”) I have found that the promise of some sweet sunsets and painful hand jams is enough enticement to get my vagabond friends to pencil in their calendars, pack the car or buy the plane ticket. I don’t own a rope or a rack, but I like to contribute to the vision, so I volunteer to bring snacks. While others sit around sifting through their #2s and plan their routes, I sift through various cracker options and prepare the cheese-itizers.

I am happy to spend time with them at the bottom of cliffs, or meet them in the campground while they pursue a goal harder than my ability or interest. I like to watch people climb and see how they dance their way through a physical math problem, even though I know that my preference of watching rather than doing can be a puzzle in itself to others at the crag. I usually do a few top rope routes, or some straightforward lead climbs. When I get tired and spent, I ask to be lowered. Many times I’ve heard, “You can’t end on that!” a good natured cheer, pushing me to give it one more go, gain one more inch. And my response is always the same: “Yes I can!”

And to the amazement of many, I do.

You see, the message I often hear about climbing is to “get after it,” “crush,” “send,” and so on and so forth. I’m happy at the level I climb. I don’t like pushing myself on, "the sharp end,” where I get nervous or scared. I have enough of that intensity and pressure in other parts of my life. My way of going about enjoying the sport of climbing – being outside, taking in the beautiful views, listening to the sounds of my friends grunting in the background – may be different than the high octane photo spreads in “Rock and Ice,” and that’s okay. No title necessary.


Do I Actually Need to Buy a Ticket...?

Do I Actually Need to Buy a Ticket...?

New Comps. Bigger Prizes. Helping Kids. Ensuring the Future of Lander Climbing. Why we think you should purchase an ICF ticket and where the money goes.