Having a dog is awesome

This isn’t really climbing or adventure related (or maybe it is, kind of?) but I am bored of studying, wish I was playing outside, and am really just procrastinating by reflecting on how awesome my dog is.

On second thought, having a dog really is an adventure:

It’s waking up at 4am when they are puppies, so you can take them for walks in -20 degree snow storms. It’s getting out to the electronics store  regularly, because they’ve chewed yet another computer cord. Or the endless hours running back and forth between wherever you are, and your dog, just to attend to their needs.

Having a dog will have you wanting to rip your hair out when your perfect puppy suddenly decides that “come” is no longer an applicable command; because squirrels and bikes are far more interesting than you are. At the same time though, you’ll be ecstatic when they pick up a new trick (even if they sometimes still run away).

Having a dog is the heartache you get when you realize that your puppy is sick and needs you, but you can’t be home 24/7. It’s the joy you get before you even open the door, because you know your dog will be right there to greet you.  Or the comfort of having her snuggle up to you while you’re caught up in an endless writing regime.

Freedom and I snuggling up on a study break. We're also training her to associate the Thundershirt to positive situations in hopes of getting over some anxiousness issues.
Freedom and I snuggling up on a study break. We’re also training her to associate the Thundershirt to positive situations in hopes of getting over some anxiousness issues.

Really, puppy life isn’t so different from rock climbing or adventuring. Or so different from life in general….

Having a puppy is about troubleshooting the problem, just as you would when you’re stuck in a particular spot on a climb; it’s understanding that techniques one person uses, won’t always work for you.

And it’s the joy you get when you make even the tiniest progressions (Six months ago, I couldn’t walk Freedom on garbage day because she was terrified of the bins -she’s still a nervous nelly, but it’s like night and day difference).

That’s also how I feel about this boulder problem I’ve been working on- getting stoked on making one more move, even though there are 13 to link together. Yet, a couple months ago I sucked balls at dynamic moves and V5 seemed years beyond me…  I also feel that way about this exam tomorrow. Intro to Genetics should be called: Instant Geneticist instead, then maybe we’d all realize what we’re getting ourselves into.

We be chillin' in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. I swear it was a 5.5 slab climb to get up here, so yah, my dog is  a rock climber too.
We be chillin’ in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. I swear it was a 5.5 slab climb to get up here, so yah, my dog is a rock climber too.

Raising a dog is hard work; it requires diligence, patience, and maintaining a calm attitude even when things are going totally wrong. It’s a nuisance to fit into your life, and people will always balk at the way you’re handling the situation. You’ll turn down a lot of jobs and social gatherings for your dog too; because your dog becomes your life.

Funny thing: all of that kind of sounds identical to my climbing life.

But, having someone who will always come hiking with me, no matter what the weather is like or how crazy a destination seems, is awesome. Knowing that I have to stay calm while climbing- because my dog can sense my fear, and I’d rather not put her through that- is super helpful. And the places I find, the people I meet, and the lessons I am constantly learning, are all pretty rad too.

This is my dog's reaction when I take a 25ft whipper, and stop a foot above the ground. So scary.
This is my dog’s reaction when I take a 25ft whipper, and stop a foot above the ground. So scary.

Having a dog is a big responsibility. But that responsibility is yourself and your best friend. Which really, is quite an awesome life to invest in if you ask me. And really, so is any life that you truly love and are honestly passionate for.

Sometimes my free-spirited, happy-sided self, can drive people mental. My only secret is doing what I love no matter what people tell me (like not getting a dog, or going to school instead of learning to rock climb first). I might make it seem easy, but it’s not easy in the slightest bit. Believe me.

Living the life I love is simply worth the pain and frustration. And that’s because I am honest with myself and what makes me happy. 

THAT’s why I can stay happy all the time.  And THAT’s why things seem easier than I make them appear. Because I love what I do- even school, even when it’s bogging me down from my adventurous life, is pretty awesome.

Having a dog is awesome because you get a new perspective for life, and you learn that challenges, are either met and overcome, or the situation only worsens; avoidance only works for so long, but smiling always helps, and your dog will be your bestest friend no matter what!

Anyways, this has been fun, but back to studying she goes. MUST ACE THIS EXAM (very unlikely, but one can dream and hope and try her best).

I am not a feminisit

I wrote this a while ago and got too shy to post it. In light of the latest blog, regarding women in climbing, that is floating around the community, I thought I’d giver a go anyway…

Here’s the thing: I believe that guys are better at some things than girls, and vice versa. I believe that if you want equal rights then you need to prove why it is that you deserve those rights.

Of course I understand that there are quite unfortunate issues in the world where women are suppressed to great lengths. And no, I don’t agree with it. But I don’t believe that you can change society or political structure unless you are willing to change yourself first.

This is where I want to encourage all the ladies to work towards becoming strong individuals without sacrificing who you are as a woman either. You shouldn’t need to act tough around the clock to prove you are a good police officer (for example). You just need to have the heart to prove that you CAN be that person, when you need to be. And you need to be willing to have patience through the bullcrap until you’ve proved what you are capable of.

My issue with the feminist movement is that people seem to expect things to change over night. They expect to state their opinion, for people to listen, and suddenly the world will become a better place. No. If you want to change things then you need to BE that change. You need to show it and represent it with your entirety. It’s not going to be easy, and you are going to have to stay strong through some tough moments. Sorry to break it to you, making a difference just isn’t a walk in the park.

Me taking a wee little 15 footer while a group of boys sat behind me contemplating the situation.
Me taking a wee little 15 footer while a group of boys sat behind me contemplating the situation.

When it comes to climbing, yah, we do get degraded often. As the latest blog post at Touch Stone Climbing mentions,  guys do make assumptions of our climbing abilities, they do discourage us from certain routes and problems based on stereotype, and their ego often supercedes our desire to try certain things. But putting all the negative set aside, when we ladies take the initiative to step out of our shell and show them boys what we can do,  suddenly both parties gain a very valuable relationship.

I know the climbing stereotypes will be killed, and men and women will play on equal terms, eventually. I know this because it happens every time I shake one of the boys awake to the fact that I am a girl who can handle my own grounds. However, I also happen to know that there are still many circumstances where it takes me being adamant about taking the first lead, to prove what I am capable of.

The whole equality thing is still new and under transformation. Until men and women find the balance,  we ladies will have to step out of our shells without the support of our burly man friends. We’ll have to continue to fight to be the girls that we want to be until the change in perspective has been finalized.


The Beginning

So let’s be clear, none of us girls are claiming to be professionals. Nor are we trying to convince you that we are crazy good at the things we do. In fact: We are at the beginning of our outdoor careers and only average in our skill levels.


Our desire to explore our true potential is strong enough that each of us is willing to put “real life” on hold. We are willing to jump in, take a risk, and toss everything we’ve been taught out the door in order to see who we can become. On our own accord, we are setting out to develop our own standards of success.

Entering Spring 2014:

– All 5.10 sport climbers, V1/V2 boulderers, and one 5.8 trad climber
– One intermediate rider and two who have been biking only a handful of times
– One skydiver with just over 25 jumps and two who have only done a tandem
– One skiier, one snowboarder, and one tobogganer

At the beginning of 2015 we aim to hit the road to adventure (somewhere) and do a whack ton of awesome things. Thing is, we are a stubborn group of girls, the kind you will often find trying things way above their skill level for no other reason than, “because it’s there”. You can’t deny a beautiful piece of rock, an awesome looking trail, or the chance to try a new parachute (Holly!)

But, if we are going to survive with all our limbs in tact, we are most definitely going to have to amp up our skill level by a long run.


In order to be successful, we are going to have to be confident enough to push the boundaries and be comfortable with change. We must be adamant about where our limits lie, and clear with the direction we wish to take our athletic pursuits (to ourselves anyway). Furthermore, we must stick to the belief that we are the only ones who can determine our potential.

We’re each individuals with a different direction of where we want to take our sports. All three of us however, aspire to exceed average and surpass our own personal goals, multiple times over, while maintaining respect for the world around us.

Skydive girls

So here’s the jist…

This all started out with what was intended to be a typical annual climbing trip down at Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. Thanks to a good friend of ours (Johnny, another wild child with a zest for life) we ended up skydiving, mountain biking, indoor surfing, and general exploring for the week. Basically, we had an unreal adventure in a man’s dominated world. And you know what! We flippin’ rocked it! That week the girls and I also realized how few women fully engage in the extreme sports and how much we wanted that to change. When we are working stuff, we want to be inspired by other women, and rooted on by other girls who understand our passion.
Most of the inspiration to work hard came from a route that started with a dyno. For you non-climbers, that’s basically jumping off of a cliff to reach your next hold. We worked for hours learning to do it. Turns out the dyno really wasn’t that difficult and we were probably just overly stoked, stopped thinking, and missed the beta (a matter of using the right hand instead of the left.) Point being, we WANTED that dyno. Just like we WANTED to get our own rope up there, with ABSOLUTE refusal to let any of the boys run our line for us. As a climber, when it takes you an hour and a half to move 10 feet off the ground, you usually walk away. At least for the time being anyway. Us girls though, we were sold on our commitment to beat that rock. 

Although we do think that it would be pretty freakin’ awesome to see more ladies out pushing the boundaries with us, we understand that that stuff isn’t for everyone. So here isn’t to suggest following exactly in our footsteps and start jumping out of planes or zooming down mountains at dangerous speeds on your bike; what we are suggesting is that you find your own passion and you work your butt off to become the best that you can be at whatever it is you are working at. This means trying new things, stepping past your comfort zone and working harder than you ever have before. Even when your muscles are aching and your mind is telling you you’ve had enough, keep on pushing, you can do it. Whatever you truly want, you can have.
Much of the next little while this site will be focused on women. Mostly this is because that is what I am. I am also pretty tired of being “one of the guys” as soon as I enter the guy dominated community of extreme sports- I am a girl. I wear flowers in my hair, I like pretty dresses, cute shoes, and putting on make up from time to time. But that doesn’t drown out my passion for real adventure either.