Outdoor Retailer: Day 3 - Women Who Dare

In a quiet meeting room at the Marriott across the street from the high paced energy of the trade show floor, I found myself in the presence of 5 climbing legends. This was not your ordinary gathering of climbing greats, it was better. The 5 athletes sitting in the front of the room represented decades of experience, record breaking ascents, pioneers in the sport, successful examples of leadership, and they were all women.

Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne and Deanne Buck. (L-R)

Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne and Deanne Buck. (L-R)

When planning my schedule for Outdoor Retailer (OR), this event had come on my radar from the Outdoor industries Women's Coalition (OIWC). The event was described as follows:

Join OIWC and a panel of elite female climbers to discuss the qualities of great leaders- both in climbing and in business. You will also have the opportunity to meet Chris Noble, author of 'Women Who Dare.' 

OIWC executive director, Deanne Buck, will moderate with panelists Kate Rutherford, Angie Payne, Brittany Griffith and Kitty Calhoun. [Lynn Hill was on the panel as well]. The panel will discuss Centered Leadership - a theme OIWC has been focused on this year and that is tied in to a McKinsey Report on successful women leaders and the qualities they embody. Their model ties in very well to traits climbers naturally embrace and cultivate. A couple of the themes that might be included in this panel include how successful leaders find meaning in their work or how they manage energy to build to success.

Inspiring athletes, legends in their fields of expertise offering leadership and business advice... aren't opportunities like this one of the main reasons to attend a trade show like OR?

The answer is, yes!

The conversation easily flowed covering leadership, communication, success, failure, fear and courage and how these relate to life, athletics, careers and goals. Each woman drew upon her personal experiences as a climber to provide valuable insights into leadership, pursuing a non-traditional path, the roles of fear and failure in finding success, and the importance of supporting and being supported by those around you. 

Over the past couple of weeks since returning home from OR I often find myself thinking about this conversation, finding inspiration in things they said, remembering lessons from stories told, and sharing these bits of wisdom with women I know.

I am finding the courage to go after the things I really want. Trusting what feels right. Breaking things down into pieces to get to my goal. Remembering to keep trying and working on the project when it doesn't go as I planned... both at the crag and at my desk.

A big thanks to Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne for being Women Who Dare and OIWC for putting the event together.

Book signing of  'Women Who Dare'

Book signing of 'Women Who Dare'

The women of  'Women Who Dare'

The women of 'Women Who Dare'

3 Rules for Creating a Perfect Weekend

We have 3 days! Where should we go? What should we do? As Memorial Day weekend was approaching I was heading into planning mode. We needed to take advantage of the long weekend... should we head to Joshua Tree? Maybe the Sierra? Road trip down to San Diego, how about up to Santa Barbara? Should we go backpacking or car camp? Hike, climb or both? Dogs coming or dogs staying?

The Best Indoor Climbing Gym in Los Angeles is Now Open

The Best Indoor Climbing Gym in Los Angeles is Now Open

Last Wednesday LA's climbing community came together to check out Stronghold Climbing Gym, the highly anticipated new indoor climbing gym at the Brewery in downtown Los Angeles. Built by climbers for climbers, the new facility boasts 42' climbing walls, bouldering, a full gym, and daily yoga classes all within the walls of the historic Edison Company's #3 Steam Power Plant built in 1904.

Remembering Our Last Holiday Getaway as We Prep for the Next

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="1059,1051,1050,1060,1048,1049,1058,1057,1056,1055,1054,1053,1047,1052"] Over the 4th of July weekend Saveria and I traveled up to Bishop with a car load of our regular adventure mates to another of our good friends' house. The weekend was filled with most of our favorite things: we did a little climbing at a cool spot our host had found, we headed to higher elevation for some hiking,  we managed to find time for some serious relaxing and we all had a great time joined by some new friends and Norman, our bulldog, who did a little bouldering himself.

In the evenings we ate really well, drank some and laughed a lot, we even saw some fireworks on the horizon on the 4th.

Friday we braved the heat and heading to find some a climbing spot. We found a beautiful spot, but triple digit heat made it hard to stay out too long.

On Saturday we decided to go for a quick hike around Rock Creek Lake. After getting some pie at the Pie in the Sky Cafe we hit out on the trail with Norman in tow and we set out around the lake. It was nice and cool at that altitude which was a nice break from the 100 degree weather down in Bishop. We didn't have a plan or a map so our simple little hike turned into a fun mini-adventure. We ended UP above the lake and have to work our way down. Norman worked on his bouldering skills and did a great job.

The next day we set up the slackline for everyone to try and it was a hit. The best part was the group energy of everyone encouraging others to give it a go.

The weekend was great fun and we got to spend time with some of our favorite people and meet some cool new ones. We can't believe that Labor Day is basically here... where has the summer gone???

Confessions of a Beginner Slackliner

So a little while back climbing out at Stoney Point my climbing mentor, Bob and I were bouldering, just having some fun and someone, not I, had a little accident. We no longer climb at Boulder 1 at Stoney because when Bob was a young man he broke his ankle there also. This time it was not as serious, but it was his wrist so climbing was off for a little. Bob being the eternal optimist called me the next week and said we can't climb but have you tried slacklining? I had not and honestly had 2 views of it 1) the insane high work of guys like Dean Potter, which I was amazed by but never thought would interest me and 2) the silly tricks that people do like with Madonna at the Super Bowl, which I had little interest in any way. Well Bob assured me it was fun and took me to a park that had a rope course with a short slack line, perfect for a beginner like me. I was hooked. It took me over an hour to walk across the short line and then I went home and we ordered  one online.

It is relaxing and fun and helps with movement and weight transfer for climbing, I quickly understood why it is so popular. I got a Gibbon's Classic it takes about 5 minutes to set up by myself.  The trees in our backyard are perfect for this new past timeBeginner "Slacker". We have two that are closer together making them good for beginners and two that provide more of a challenge due to the distance. I now take it to work with me and if I can find 2 trees I'm in business.

So what I'm saying is this, it is fun and is a great workout, training tool, or end in itself. There are 100's of YouTube videos on rigging advice if you just want to use carabiners and webbing, make sure they are not your climbing gear though. And as long as the line doesn't touch the ground you can put it as low as you like. So get out there, its a blast.

New Years at Joshua Tree

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="182,183,184,178,185,202,186,187,201,188,189,190,191,180,181,195,177,179,196,197,199,200,198,192,194,193"] Saveria and I had been planning New Year's starting six months ago when Saveria booked our favorite camp site at Joshua Tree National Park, in Indian Cove Campground. I'm leaving out the camp site numbers, because we don't want to give away everything. We invited our friends and the trip was set. We talked about it about once a week till the date finally arrived.

Saveria, her brother Sebastian and I went up early to set up and our great friend Bob joined us. The next morning we were joined by more of our friends and some new friends too. We woke to a beautiful day with a brilliant blue sky and set up some fun climbing routes. After doing a few climbs, we are in the desert just to remind everyone, it started to SNOW, only for a little but real flakes and the rock got pretty slippery not to mention we were freezing. We returned to our camp, built a giant fire and our friend Ian cooked us some spectacular chili.

The next day we set up some great routes near our site and everyone had a great time and did really well. The best part was that we had people of all experience levels and everyone was able to successfully climb a route or two proving that anyone can be AdventurUs!

After a long day of climbing I was tired and was deciding to celebrate east coast New Year's, but this was not allowed and I reluctantly stayed up till midnight. It was very cool because despite the strict noise code we could hear all the camp sites around the desert celebrate when the clock struck midnight. We even had neighbors come and serenade us with a ukulele and a song. One of the coolest things about Joshua tree is night-time with a full or mostly full moon. The way the light hits the rocks making them glow brightly and the sound the sand makes crunching under your feet all under the moonlight makes you feel like you are in a snowy winter wonderland.

This was Sebastian's first time at Joshua Tree NP, so we took the scenic route home and traveled through the main part of the park. We bought an annual National Park Pass good at all parks. I like to think of it as a challenge to visit enough National Parks this year to make it worth it!

It was great to be out in the desert, under the stars, with our friends having fun and laughing, I could not imagine a better end or start to the any year.

Oh...and Norman was with us too. Another great family adventure for The AdventurUs!