Deep Water Soloing

Deep Water Soloing

DATE: JULY 13TH-14TH 2019

LOCATION: BANKS LAKE, WA

AUTHOR: WENDY

TRAINING STAGE: SUMMER

CLIMBING TYPE: DEEP WATER SOLOING

Banks Lake Photo

This was my second weekend trip with NSM and my first time deep water soloing and it did not disappoint! We were a group of 10, including Toni coming out all the way from the Bay Area. The group was a mix of skill levels and interests, from beginners just learning the ropes of climbing outside to a couple of sport pros to some badass boulderers. Although it was a blazingly hot 90+ degrees during the day, the waters of Banks Lake kept us cool through a weekend of sends.

We all arrived Friday night to our campsite on a peninsula on Banks Lake. Saturday, we started off with sport climbing at Roadside Rock. Although we didn’t have the official guidebook, I was able to figure out a nice slabby 5.9 to set up called Carrot Top. Meanwhile, Carlie and Toni tag teamed setting up Even Better Than the Real Thing, a fiesty 5.9 dihedral in to a satisfying hand crack. We spent the morning swapping climbs and mid-way through, I decided to go after Red Arete, a mixed 5.9 with some beautiful moves. I lost confidence at the second to last bolt and had Carlie lower me. But no worries, Maria jumped in and sent the next move, allowing me to go back and finish the climb! By that point is was too dang hot, so we finished the day off with some ice cream in Electric City and a swim in Banks Lake.

After a windy evening listening to our not-so-quiet neighbors’ party, we picked up the boat and headed out for some deep water soloing! Kayla was our trusty captain, navigating us through the high waters. We found a gorgeous boulder with lots of first ascents. Josephine kicked it off, topping out on what might have been a V0 but a V-Fun jump off the top! We searched for routes on the rock after that using some very key donut inner-tubes to rest on. Overall, we made 3 dirty, spidery, and yet satisfying first ascents. Each lady pushed the routes in different ways to link up some really creative climbing!

After that, we wandered around the lake, exploring new routes along the walls. The highlight from the afternoon was a beautiful blocky feature that Josephine, Toni, Brita, and Kayla projected. I’m pretty sure Jo is still dreaming about that route! Finally, we dropped off our boat, said our goodbyes, and headed home to Seattle. It was a great weekend full of lots of great climbing and some amazing slaydies!

Trad is Rad

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Trad is Rad

DATE: JUNE 15TH-16TH 2019

LOCATION: TIETON, WA

AUTHOR: ADRIENNE

TRAINING STAGE: SUMMER

CLIMBING TYPE: TRAD

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What another great NSM trip! A group of 9 NSM ladies met up Saturday morning in Tieton to do some trad and crack climbing. About half of the group had experience with trad climbing and the other half not so much, but were happy to follow and practice gear placements! It’s always great to have a mix of skill levels so we can learn from each other and support each other.

The first day we climbed at Royal Columns, which offered us some good beginner climbs from 5.3-5.7. Despite the scorching sun and 85-degree weather, we managed to climb from morning to late afternoon! Completely exhausted from the heat after that, we rewarded ourselves with a dip in the river below the crag. We then went to our campsite, which was next to a small river and a dreamy waterfall, then we headed to a brewery nearby for some food and refreshments.

On Sunday we went to a different crag, Bend, so that we could avoid being in the sun. Bend offered some great crack climbs and we all had a blast. It was fun to practice crack climbing and try out different crack climbing techniques. After a couple of exciting rattlesnake sightings, we managed to make it back to our cars in the afternoon to head our separate ways.

While I wasn’t one of the trad climbers this weekend, I am definitely more inspired to get into it! I had a great time practicing gear placements while mock leading and loved watching the other ladies lead the climbs. I initially wasn’t going to go on this trip because I find trad climbing pretty intimidating, but I’m definitely glad I decided to go! Big thank you to our trip leader Stephanie, who did a great job coordinating us all. I hope to go on this trip again in the fall.

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Boulder Hopping

Boulder Hopping

DATE: MAY 5TH 2019

LOCATION: GOLD BAR, WA

AUTHOR: LINDSEY

TRAINING STAGE: PERFORMANCE

CLIMBING TYPE: BOULDERING

Gold Bar Trip Report Photo

It was a small group of 3, Caroline, Eve and Lindsey (and Caroline's dog Cosmo!), lead by Sarah.  For Caroline, Eve and Lindsey, it was their first time bouldering outside!  The weather couldn't have been more perfect.  Everyone enjoyed the cool morning air, and the clear views on the hike into the bouldering area out in Gold Bar (which we had to ourselves almost the whole time!). 

Sarah did a great job showing the basics of setting up mats, how to spot other climbers, and how to find routes from the guide book.  She took everyone to warm up on a V0, and all 3 of us were surprised at how much harder it was compared to bouldering in a gym!  But as the day went on, we all felt a little more confident and were trying V2's and V3's to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. 

Eve and Lindsey each had their "bouldering moment" and were able to top out some of their most challenging routes!  Caroline's dog Cosmo proved to be a great crag dog, he was content chewing sticks, digging up dirt, and watching Caroline challenge herself on different routes.  Sarah ended her day working on her project, and showing us a fun V3 that we are all determined to get next time.  All in all it was a great day.  :)

Climbing on Some Nubbins

Climbing on Some Nubbins

DATE: MAY 4TH-6TH 2019

LOCATION: SMITH ROCK STATE PARK, OR

AUTHOR: JOSEPHINE

TRAINING STAGE: PERFORMANCE

CLIMBING TYPE: TOP ROPING / SPORT CLIMBING / TRAD CLIMBING

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What a weekend for some great climbing! We pulled in on a Friday night and set up camp near the other NSM tents. Clear, starry skies provided a nice back-light for the rock formations surrounding us. It was exhilarating to set up my tent between the monoliths. The weekend itself proved to be choice for sunny weather, mid-70s throughout.

On Saturday morning we hiked out to the Dihedrals. The large ocher rock formations were gorgeous in the morning sun. Skilled climbers got busy setting up routes. As a climber getting back into the outdoors after a too-long break, I felt grateful to be shown the ropes by knowledgeable experts. Everyone was welcoming and more than happy to share their skills with me. On the routes, the tuff/basalt rock was sturdy and gave my fresh hands a reintroduction to the outdoors.

Throughout the day the members of our community with varying skill levels lead routes, cleaned, set up anchors, climbed outdoors for the first time, and shared encouragement and snacks. There were plenty of routes to climb and plenty of smiles to go around. Saturday evening, we trekked back to camp, ate our dinners, and gorged ourselves on Pam’s famous guacamole.

Sunday, we got an early start to the day and hiked out to the Marsupials. We spent the warm day climbing, lounging, laughing, eating, and cheering each other on. I was so grateful for this trip and to be included in this group of tough slaydies. I was a bit nervous before leaving because it was my first experience with NSM outdoors, but I’m so glad I went. Thanks to Meagan and all the other members who helped on this trip!

Climbing in the Rain

Climbing in the Rain

DATE: APRIL 6TH-7TH, 2019

LOCATION: MOUNT ERIE IN ANACORTES, WA

AUTHOR: ELISE

TRAINING STAGE: POWER ENDURANCE

CLIMBING TYPE: TOP ROPING / SPORT CLIMBING / TRAD CLIMBING

Mount Erie Photo

Rain was in forecast but that didn’t stop us. Being that this was my first outdoor climbing experience, I was looking forward to the trip. We met at Ray Auld parking lot. Some ladies already decided to leave due to the wet conditions.

Nastassia and Tiffany, the trip leaders, planned for us to climb up the Main Wall West, accessed by climbing a 5.7 called Zig Zag. The hike to the approach was a bit of a scramble through some brush. It hadn’t rain yet, so we were feeling hopeful. As we got to the approach, Megan took one look at the crack among the rock and lit up. It was contagious. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I was excited. All of us standing on the ledge a spectacular view of Lake Erie and Lake Campbell right in front of us. Then the weather started to look grim. Clouds came rolling in and it started to rain. We were left with no choice but to turn around. 

The group decided to make the best of our time and learn about anchors systems. Then we were taught on different ways to rappel down with an anchor or without. Some of us camped out at Deception Pass Park that night while most of group headed home. The few of us were hopeful for better conditions in the morning. Unfortunately, the next day was still cloudy and wet. We spent the day learning more about trad climbing. We went over crack systems and gear placements. Then set up anchors.

Although we did not have the chance to climb, I was excited I got to meet the Never Stop Moving community. The more I learned, the more eager I got to get some hands-on experience. Its enriching to learn how to climb by women. It’s completely supportive, and it doesn’t matter what level you are at, all you need is the will to try. We shared some laughs, drank some wine, and ate up some scrumptious muffins from Mt. Erie grocery store - highly recommend. The most memorable were the ticks - I think all of us slept with a twitch all night- but funny enough it brought us closer together.

Winter Sport Climbing in Vantage

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Winter Sport Climbing in Vantage

DATE: MARCH 9TH, 2019

LOCATION: VANTAGE, WA

AUTHOR: DENISE

TRAINING STAGE: STRENGTH

CLIMBING TYPE: SPORT CLIMBING

Denise Trip Report

I never thought I’d rock climb in 30 degree weather. It has been a long winter and I was craving to get back outside and climb. This was my second trip to Vantage and the weather reports were looking fairly grim; temperatures in the low 30s with cloudy skies in the morning and sun in the afternoon. Our group dwindled (understandably) as the weekend approached but a small group of us decided to give it a try and see what we could climb.

Driving into the recreational area was a big shock. The hills and rock were covered in snow and the air was crisp. We were the second car in the parking lot but we saw no one around us. We decided to explore the Feathers since the South Side crags looked dry. There was about a foot of snow on the ground as we walked through the campgrounds which made hiking a little more challenging than we anticipated, but we made it to the crags and felt excited to climb. 

I led three routes during our time there and they were a lot of fun. I had to take small breaks halfway up the wall as my fingers froze touching the frozen rock. We took turns climbing the routes and towards the end, we had some redemption with the sun coming out. Overall this trip was a lot of fun. We had the whole place to ourselves and the Feathers were fun to climb. I wasn’t able to try harder routes due to the extreme temperatures, but it was still fun leading in a new area of Vantage. I enjoyed climbing with such a small group of wonderful ladies and taking in the gorgeous winter wonderland around us!

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Sport in Vantage

Sport in Vantage

Date: October 12th - 13th, 2018

Location: Vantage, WA

Author: Claire

Training Stage: Power

Climbing Type: Sport Climbing

Claire looking awesome posing in front of the tall walls at Vantage, WA!

Claire looking awesome posing in front of the tall walls at Vantage, WA!

Vantage is a place that comes up in conversation frequently, at least in Washington. “Oh you climb, have you been to Vantage?” But until last weekend, I had never made it out there. As it was the last climbing trip of the season, Megan allowed anyone that wanted to join, to come. So Saturday morning, bright and early there were about 20 women, backpacks full of gear and snacks, ready to go.

The first wall we went to was ZigZag Wall. A less trafficked wall, maybe because it is shaded until mid afternoon, but with climb options between 5.8 and 5.10, it was a good place to start. Stephanie belayed Jum as she led one climb and Megan belayed Maria as she led another. In total, the group put up 6 different climbs. It was a bit chilly so whilst we weren’t climbing, we huddled in the patch of sun in the field below.

Next we moved over to the Kotick Memorial Wall. Here we set up another 4 climbs and whilst we weren’t climbing, basked in the sun. Something I noticed was the encouragement and trust of this group of people I had mostly never met before. Everyone was willing to help, to learn a little more about climbing outside, and open to challenging themselves.

After a night of camping, we woke on Sunday and headed to the Sunshine Wall. I understand why it has its name, feeling the warm sun on my back all day in October was beautiful! There were a couple other groups near us but we still managed to get 5 climbs up including Vantage Point. We spent until about 2:00pm climbing and enjoying the blue sky and sunshine. At that point, I headed out but the group continued on to Memorial Wall before calling it a weekend, and a great one at that.

Some notable achievements of the weekend:

Kristin led her first outdoor climb.

Melissa got stuck on the wall, thanks to Megan and Alex for getting her down.

Stephanie led a trad route.

Amanda climbed outside for the first time.

Megan got to complete her first necessary weighted belay escape.

Orion and Baker (the dogs) made it through the chute.

A whole group of inspired, recharged, excited womxn climbers.



Trad in Tieton

Trad in Tieton

DATE: SEPTEMBER 15TH - 16TH 2018

LOCATION: TIETON, WA

AUTHOR: CARLIE SULPIZIO

TRAINING STAGE: BASE

CLIMBING TYPE: TRAD

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I had the opportunity to go on my first NSM trip to Tieton and it was an overwhelming empowering experience. We lucked out with great weather that set the stage for every lady from first time climbing outdoors to years of experience to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in a trad setting. For me, this trip allowed me to not only meet amazing lady crushers but also get back on the sharp end and place some gear!

The weekend started off with everyone learning about and getting comfortable with trad gear as well as practicing placing cams and nuts into the rock and going over ideal gear placements. The idea was for everyone, even if they were not leading, to feel that trad climbing is accessible and can diversify our climbing opportunities. We began to climb and talk through our trad concerns and fears and learn from one another’s bomber (or not so bomber!) gear placements. We ticked off climb after climb and spoke about crack systems. It was empowering to be with a group of people who were so excited to learn new skills and test them on the rock. It was amazing to see one another push through those fears and improve their climbing techniques. Throughout the day, we went from climb to climb enjoying each other’s company, views of the Tieton River and the fact that the rain had held off. I was able to see that everyone was becoming more comfortable with trad climbing and were excited to place gear of their own. The idea of placing gear was becoming less and less scary and becoming more and more of a reality.

By the end of the trip, you could feel the increase in confidence and excitement for trad climbing. The encouragement and support of the group directly impacted the success of the trip and provided a safe space for each woman to express her climbing goals and surpass them. This was my first experience with NSM and as a relatively new Seattlite, I have struggled to find my place here but as I continued to climb and share with these women, I began to feel a part of this community. I look forward to many more trips in the future!

Crack Climbing in Squamish

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Crack Climbing in Squamish

DATE: AUGUST 18TH - 20TH, 2018

LOCATION: SQUAMISH, BC

AUTHOR: ROBIN SMITH

STAGE: SUMMER CLIMBING TRIPS

CLIMBING TYPE: TRAD CLIMBING / SPORT CLIMBING / BOULDERING

Robin Smith belaying for another climbing in Squamish during our sport climbing day!

Robin Smith belaying for another climbing in Squamish during our sport climbing day!

NSM’s trip to Squamish was filled with firsts! Ten awesome belaydies and our fearless leader, Megan, collectively achieved first sport leads and rappels, first trad leads, first fall on trad gear, first 5.8 trad lead, first multi-pitch, first crack climb, and first cam permanently stuck in a crack!  

Some of us spent the first day sport climbing at Cheakamus while others went off to boulder. Those who did sport climbed Small is Beautiful (5.8), Kingfishers Catch Fire (5.8), and Instant Classic (5.10), and Festivus (5.10a). Later, several women also climbed Master of My Domain (Pitch 1: 5.7, Pitch 2: 5.9).

In the evening, covered in dust and dirt, we went out for some well-deserved pizza and beer (and took paper towel baths in the brewery’s bathroom sink…).

The next day we went all out for some beginning trad at Murrin Park. We had fun practicing placements, setting anchors, learning to clean trad gear. Several women led their first trad routes, and one led her first 5.8 trad. Together we climbed The Mechanic (5.7), Flat Battery (5.4), Magnet (5.4), Jump Start (5.6), Little Spark (5.4), Holiday in Cambodia (5.8), and Howe Boy Meets Girl (5.9).

It was quite smokey our final day, but we still tried our hand (literally) crack climbing at Smoke Bluffs -- Fairy Ring (5.6) and Turkey Dinner (5.7).  The smoke became a bit too much, and so bruised, bloody, sore, and coughing, we celebrated the end of an amazing trip with iced coffee in the luxury of an air-conditioned Starbucks. It was perfect.

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Jumping Off Rocks in Banks Lake, WA!

Jumping Off Rocks in Banks Lake, WA!

Felecia hanging over a deep water soloing route in Banks Lake Washington!

DATE: JULY 7TH - 9TH, 2018

LOCATION: BANKS LAKE, WA

AUTHOR: SARAH HAENSLY

STAGE: SUMMER CLIMBING TRIPS

CLIMBING TYPE: DEEP WATER SOLOING / SPORT CLIMBING

This past weekend spent in Banks Lake was my first outdoor climbing trip in Washington. I’d have to give it a 10/10. The weather was beautiful, the group was great, and I was introduced to a new part of Washington that I probably would not have had the chance to visit otherwise. 

Saturday morning we all met at Banks Lake, where we rented a pontoon boat for the day. We took the boat out to go explore unknown territory, and to find new climbs. Without any book guiding us, we managed to find some awesome boulders. While it’s a little freaky to be climbing over water, it was a new experience for all of us, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. When we weren’t climbing we were eating cheetos and veggies & hummus. Regardless of if the time was spent in the boat or climbing boulders, it was a great opportunity to get to know some female climbers and to celebrate the start of a sunny Washington summer. 

The following day we went out to do some sport climbing right next to the lake. This has to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever climbed. The routes were fun, and I learned plenty of new tips regarding anchors and safety. I would definitely love to go back to explore some more climbs in the area, as I found the routes really enjoyable. 

I’m excited to check out more NSM trips in the future!

Welcome to Mazama

Welcome to Mazama

The ladies bringing it together after an awesome day climbing at Fun Rock at Mazama, WA!

The ladies bringing it together after an awesome day climbing at Fun Rock at Mazama, WA!

DATE: JUNE 23RD, 2018

LOCATION: MAZAMA, WA

AUTHOR: GAYA HELSBY

STAGE: SUMMER CLIMBING TRIPS

CLIMBING TYPE: SPORT CLIMBING / TOP ROPING

No better way to welcome the summer solstice than a combination of climbing, sunshine, river bathing, and sisterhood! We knew prior to the trip that the weather in Mazama would be in the high 70's/ low 80's, so I packed a gallon jug of water and my river clothes to stay cool and hydrated. 

Following the 5 hour drive filled with laughs and deep talks from Seattle to Mazama, my carpool reached the campsite after dark. We pitched our tents and set up camp by the river, aided with the luminescence of our headlamps. One of our members, Raechel, who lives in the area graciously made sure navigation and directions were clear for all the carpools to follow and make it there safely. Reliable Raechel :)

The next morning we packed for the day and headed out to the crag, Fun Rock. And what an appropriate name this was, as the approach was less than 5 minutes with little to no elevation gain. If you're looking for no-funny business and just to hop on some routes directly, Fun Rock is your Mazama go-to.

This trip was a milestone for me--in that I had taken one of my biggest lead falls on a 10.b at Fun Rock. I never did get to finish leading that route, but the fall felt like an accomplishment in itself. Even more of a delight was earning a huge sense of trust and respect to my belayer, for giving me a soft-catch to such a big fall. Kudos to Siserra!!

Speaking of Kudos, huge thanks to Megan for refreshing us on anchor building, knots and double triple quadruple checking that we were all safe out there. She spent the majority of her time mentoring those who were curious in sharpening their skills.

We ended the day with a dip in the frigid river to wash off all of the muck we accumulated from a day of sweat, chalk, and dirt followed by an impromptu dinner at the Mazama Store. The sun was shining and didn't set until about 10pm. Upon the return back to the camp site, we reflected on our highs, lows, and climbing goals of the day-- with the common theme of feeling supported, accomplished, and hungry to learn more. I love the encouragement and ambition that the members of this group exude. I love the wisdom and sense of good stewardship that Megan passes on. I love everything about this weekend. 

First Outdoor Climbing Trip - 2018

First Outdoor Climbing Trip - 2018

All the ladies posing at the top of the access to Sunshine Wall after an awesome long day of climbing!

All the ladies posing at the top of the access to Sunshine Wall after an awesome long day of climbing!

DATE: MARCH 10TH, 2018

LOCATION: VANTAGE, WA

AUTHOR: ELIZABETH STENSRUD

TRAINING STAGE: POWER

CLIMBING TYPE: SPORT CLIMBING / TOP ROPING

It's difficult to write a trip report that isn't just one long thank you, because gratitude was the overwhelming emotion I felt after my trip to Vantage with Never Stop Moving. It was a day of firsts for many of us; for my part, it was my first time at Vantage, first time climbing outdoors, and my first time sport climbing since learning to belay a week earlier. 

Considering this, I probably should have been a little nervous and intimidated when I woke up that morning, but after the last few months I spent training with the NSM team, it didn't occur to me that the day would consist of anything but fun and learning. My instincts were right! The more experienced climbers in our group were beyond generous with their expertise, explanations, and gear. As I attempted my first climbs, I felt encouraged and excited, thanks to the patience of my belayer and the advice shouted from below. 

It was a stunningly beautiful day and the Sunshine Wall was crowded, but everyone was perfectly content to enjoy the weather, views, and each others company. All in all, I came away from Vantage feeling thankful for the NSM community and inspired to train harder for future trips!

Women's Beginner Lead Climbing Clinic

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Women's Beginner Lead Climbing Clinic

The ladies practicing taking lead falls on an overhanging wall at Exit 38. 

The ladies practicing taking lead falls on an overhanging wall at Exit 38. 

Date: June 24th, 2017

Location: Exit 38, North Bend, WA

Author: Janessa Zucchetto

Clinic Host: Audrey Sniezek, Professional Rock Climbing

Climbing Type: Sport / Lead Climbing

Last month I was privileged to attend a NSM lead clinic at Exit 38 hosted by Audrey Sniezek. The clinic began with a short lesson on gearing up, instruction on clipping, and some critical details about lead belaying. Following our introduction, we completed two warm up climbs where we practiced leading from the safety of a top rope belay (each climber tied into two ropes). After an informative lunch break, we put our bravery to the test on a nice 5.9 that had a small but distinct roof about seven clips up. The mission: lead the first seven clips then take some falls. First a small fall—with the clip at your waist, then progressively larger falls. All the ladies challenged themselves to take falls a little bigger than they were confident to take, and worked to accomplish their individual goals. Throughout the clinic, Audrey answered our questions in detail—she shared with us her own preferences and philosophy on various aspects of climbing. For me, the clinic accomplished two things: 1) I took my first lead falls outside—this has made lead climbing significantly less scary for me. And 2) I acquired knowledge that allows me to belay with much more skill and confidence (something that I did not expect to get out of the clinic). I appreciated that Audrey was responsive to our concerns, and was patient in helping us work through fears of leading and falling. Audrey is extremely knowledgeable and puts a great emphasis safety. I would not hesitate to attend another one of her clinics!

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Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park

Hannah leading up a pitch with grace and confidence!

Hannah leading up a pitch with grace and confidence!

Date: May 27-29th, 2017

Location: Smith Rock State Park, Terrebone, OR

Author: Katy Chekouras

Training Stage: Performance

Climbing Type: Sport Climbing

The place simply has gravitas, red rock shifting up out of the ground to frame Mt. Hood, with the river winding through the valley, a hawk circling and the peaks calling.   

"You can't fall if you don't climb. But there's no joy in living your whole life on the ground." 

And so we went exploring, a pack of women ready to support each other from sharing gear and beta to belaying and encouraging.  The group shifted from day to day as people helped each other with different goals from first multi-pitch ascents, to lead climbing or a day off down the lazy river.   Overall an amazing experience and a wonderful way to get out with a community started in the gym and then grown outdoors.

Spring is Upon Us - Mount Erie

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Spring is Upon Us - Mount Erie

The ladies of the trip getting together before calling it a day!

The ladies of the trip getting together before calling it a day!

Date: May 6th, 2017

Location: Mount Erie, Anacortes, WA

Author: Wendy Israel

Training Stage: Performance

Climbing Type: Sport Climbing

What a day for climbing! With clear skies and a projected high in the 70s, the NSM crew met at the Mt. Erie parking lot bright and early on a Saturday morning. We were not the only ones taking advantage of the great weather, while waiting for everyone to arrive, we talked to a Search and Rescue training group, a Young Life group and heard rumors of a huge group of Boy Scouts also in the area. But after short, but steep hike down to the Powerline Wall, we only shared the area with a few other small groups of climbers. The views from this crag are stunning!!

We had all levels of climbers on the trip and after introductions everyone self-sorted themselves into group based on what routes they wanted to climb. We had groups working on top-roping 5.8s - 5.9s and others crushing 5.10s on lead. Everyone I climbed with was super focused on climbing safe, answering each other's questions and providing support and encouragement. It seemed like everyone had a great time climbing at their own level but with just the right amount of encouragement to push past their comfort zones just  a little.

This was my first outdoor trip with NSM and I was incredibly impressed with every aspect of it and I can't wait for the next trip!!

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First Outdoor Climbing Trip - 2017

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First Outdoor Climbing Trip - 2017

Ladies of NSM top roping at The Feathers

Ladies of NSM top roping at The Feathers

Date: March 18th, 2017

Location: Vantage, WA

Author: Gaya Rakhim

Training Stage: Base

Climbing Type: Sport Climbing

Vantage never ceases to amaze—from its diverse routes to its remote picturesque-ness, Feathers showed a welcoming time for the ladies of NSM who were experienced, novice, and everything in between. I always had a bit of stage fright while climbing, especially since this trip was my first outdoor lead. For a number of us women on the trip, Vantage would be where we crushed our first outdoor leads. 

We started off the morning on one side of the Feathers, climbing pitches where we lead, set and cleaned routes for practice until the first-time leaders got comfortable. It was great being in the presence of diversity in climbing skill levels, while at the same time having such a supportive and helpful environment all around. Having just taken a sport-climbing series course, the NSM Vantage trip was the perfect introduction for my gym to crag learning experience. As fellow climbers passed on their knowledge and introduced us to gear and proper equipment handling, each piece of gear gave me a larger take-away of what is pertinent in climbing—for instance one of the ladies our group brought a beta clip, where its functional use is to clip in the first quickdraw without having to free climb to the first bolt and run the risk of decking and experiencing a fall without being clipped in. This showed me the humility that even experienced climbers in our group have in safety and respect for outdoor elements. 

Throughout the day, we went from pitch to pitch, sending routes and enjoying the sunny views over the cliffs and canyons. I could see the improvements in everyone’s climbing technique—including my own. By the end of the trip, I can attest to the increase in confidence and love for the sport that climbing with such a strong and supportive group of women gave me. This was my first time with NSM and it left such a great impression on me. I look forward to many more awesome times to come!

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Climb Smart - Joshua Tree, CA

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Climb Smart - Joshua Tree, CA

Stefanie and Kristin posing at the Dino's Egg Boulder

Stefanie and Kristin posing at the Dino's Egg Boulder

Date: October 14th-16th, 2016

Author: Stefanie Hindmarch

Training Stage: Strength

Climbing Type: Bouldering, Clinics

It was finally time to embark on the trip we had been waiting for: Joshua Tree. For months, we had been burying our heads in climbing books, finding flights and preparing for the sunny weather and warm rock of Southern California. From SeaTac airport, we flew to Los Angeles and after some swift service at the car rental (just kidding, it took 2 hours, don’t rent with FOX) we were on the road. After a few hours of driving and a gourmet dinner at In-N-Out, we arrived at the campsite. We pitched our tents at record speed at 2 am and fell asleep almost instantly for a blissful 5 hours.

Friday morning, we completed registration and were debriefed on the Climb Smart festival clinics. Driving into Joshua Tree National Park, the group’s excitement rose quickly despite our lack of sleep. The desert landscape, covered with amazing rock formations and joshua trees, felt like another planet compared to the wet and green of Washington.

We spent the first morning at an anchors clinic, where we learned some cool knots and anchor techniques, as well as the importance of being ERNEST (equalized, redundant, no extension, strong and timely). The clinic was definitely worth attending, but we were all eager to climb so skipped afternoon clinics and went to open climbing instead. The sharp crystals combined with cool cracks made the first few attempts challenging but so much fun.

Saturday and Sunday we wanted to climb as much as possible, so we went off bouldering on our own for the most part. We got to play with a really fun traverse and some unique boulders. A few of us also went to a slab and crack climbing clinic, which was a great way for us to improve our technique. Climbing in Joshua Tree was definitely hard, but, at least for me, made me want to work harder and really improve my climbing skills.

In the evenings, we had dinner and checked out all the awesome gear booths at the festival. Lots of free goodies and chances to win kept spirits high. We also got to see presentations from accomplished climbers, which inspired us to climb and train even harder. On Saturday night, we were lucky enough to experience an astronomy show with a supermoon, which we enjoyed thoroughly.

Overall, it was an awesome trip and Joshua Tree is such a cool place to climb. I hope that we get to go back in the future (hopefully armed with trad skills and equipment!) and I look forward to more trips with NSM.

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Bouldering at Leavenworth, WA

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Bouldering at Leavenworth, WA

Anna N. on Sunny and Steep

Anna N. on Sunny and Steep

DATE: April 15TH, 2015

AUTHOR: Anna n.

TRAINING STAGE: performance

CLIMBING TYPE: BOULDERING

For the second outdoor trip of the season, a group of five from Never Stop Moving (NSM) made their way up the Icicle Canyon. Unlike the first trip to Vantage, the focus of the trip to Leavenworth was to boulder, for some people it was to boulder for the first time!

The day began early, leaving Seattle at 6am to make it to Eight Mile Campground at 8:30. The first stop for the group were some warm up problems on the Egg Boulders. After everyone had flashed the warmup route, we moved around the corner to a slabby V2. The granite was sticky, perfect for everyone to try a harder route. Everyone in the group tried, pushing through tricky balance moves and jumpy nerves from trying something new. I was incredibly impressed to see the confidence in everyone's climbing. After everyone had tried the slab, we moved one route to the right, up a fun arete. Again, everyone tried and everyone topped out! Shortly after we moved down the road to the Sword Boulder area. We all got to try some crack climbing and more slab with fun finish crimps on the Underwear Rock. To end our day, we headed to the Forest Lands to try one of my current favorite problems in Leavenworth; Sunny and Steep. It was so much fun to watch everyone work on the problem in a different way. I think everyone also surprised themselves on how far they got. To finish the day, we drove back into Leavenworth for a well- deserved local beer before heading back to Seattle.

The trip was a testament to how much everyone has improved since January. In addition to the visible increase in skill and strength, the increase in confidence was very apparent. In my opinion confidence is simultaneously one of the most important and most challenging skill to cultivate in any situation. Since climbing with other women and NSM, I feel like my confidence in my own climbing has improved so much, and, judging from everyone's climbing in Leavenworth, I think others feel the same. The way I think about confidence is summed up perfectly by this quote from Sheldon Kerr, professional skier and mountain guide and all-around badass woman:

"Think of confidence as a practice, like yoga or forgiveness or taking the stairs. Some days its is hard, and some days it is easy and that's OK, but you still have to do it"*

NSM have given me an opportunity to practice my confidence along with technical skills to make me a better climber. I know the trips to come will be just as awesome and I can't wait!

*This quote is from the article “Closing the Confidence Gap with Sheldon Kerr” that appeared in Outdoor Reaserch's Verticulture blog, definitely worth a read!

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