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There's No Better Time to Climb: Why you should start rock climbing in 2018.

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This is your year to become freer, happier, more motivated, and more connected to your heart, dreams and passions. Might I suggest rock climbing as the vehicle to get there. Where are we going? I believe we are going for the best version of ourselves, to be happy, to be content, yet hungry for more.

Rock climbers have a disease I like to say... It's called GSD - “Get Shit Done". Once you start rock climbing, you find yourself wanting more of it. It changes you. Here's how I would describe that process in 5 steps. For best results, be consistent for 6 months. 

1. Embrace the Suck. The first 2 weeks will be challenging. You will be using muscles that you never knew existed. The skin on your fingers will hurt. Your pride will need crutches because you're not as awesome as you thought. Rest easy and remember... this too shall pass.

2. Challenge Yourself. If your not falling, then you are not challenging yourself. Embrace vulnerability. This place of vulnerability (aka failing) creates strength. For example, a body builder knows that it takes resistance to build muscle. This could be the one sport where falling down is encouraged. The best athletes in the world get this, which is why they are the best. They grow to love the uncomfortable.

3. You're Not Alone. Rock climbing is a community sport. Everyone is a beginner at some point. When we realize that we all have this in common, there is greater freedom to be present. The rock climbing culture is very welcoming, encouraging and positive. Which is why the sport has exploded in the last 5 years. 

4. Show Up. We celebrate effort not performance. Effort looks like showing up. There will be good days, there will be bad days, and there will be average days. The bad days and the average days are victories when you show up. This might be a new mindset for some people. When you show up, you win- regardless of the results. 

5. Oh the Place You Will Go. Dr. Suess is right. Rock climbing takes you to beautiful places. Think about our local surroundings- Castle Crags, Mount Shasta, Lassen National Park, Humboldt County and the Trinity Alps. We are surrounded by beauty. Not to mention even bigger areas within a day's drive like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park or Smith Rock, Oregon. One could spend a lifetime exploring California, not to mention the world.  

“Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” - Paulo Coelho

Health Interview with Fitness Trainer Tasha Price

In today's culture, fitness is everywhere. From 10 minute abs, 21 day this to a month of that, there certainly exists a highly saturated world of fitness. What has intrigued me about this subculture is the immense variety. There is a regime out there for anyone and everyone.

Tasha Price has been a personal trainer for nearly 10 years and leads the Shasta Rock Club fitness classes. Recently, we caught up to chat about her passion for people, fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. One of the most thought-provoking elements of our conversation revolved around people's relationship with “working out.” Her insights on physical activity were curiously liberating and even caused me to reflect on how I define working out. Check out some of our conversation:

Q. Why do you workout?

A. I focus on immediate benefits and long term benefits. The immediate benefits of working out are increased energy, confidence and peace. It gives me an outlet to clear my mind, which allows room for creative ideas and simply feeling more connected to myself.

Our body is worth investing in. It is the vehicle that takes us through our day and different seasons of life. When we take a few moments each day to walk, move, jump and get our heart rate up, not only does it kickstart the day, but also provides momentum for tomorrow.

Q. What does “working out” mean to you?

A. Working out can mean so many different things. It's not just going to the gym and doing so many reps or rounds of a movement. Although that style is great, working out can mean just purposed movement in your day. Riding a bike, walking the dog, playing frisbee or even just doing intentional stretching after dinner. Physical activity is meant to be fun! Often times people have a poor relationship with “working out” because they associate it with a negative experience. Pain or punishment are common thoughts surrounding physical activity, whether from a sport in high school to trying to lose weight.

This is huge. Redefining what it means to “work out” is a big step in taking the pressure off of ourselves. It is essential we have a healthy relationship with how we view physical activity. What if we were successful each day in our attempt to work out, simply by looking through a different lens?

Q. What do you do to motivate yourself when you don't feel like working out?

A. First of all, I have a good relationship with physical exercise. I give myself permission to stop after 5 minutes if I am just not feeling it. Fitness isn't punishment and you shouldn't feel slave to it. I focus on the immediate benefits. Feeling great, clear and peaceful are at the forefront of my mind, instead of dwelling on the negatives.

Permission to quit after 5 minutes?! This was a foreign concept to me. Wouldn't you just stop every day after 5 minutes? What about pushing through the pain and enduring no matter the cost? But the more I talked to Tasha, the more I realized she genuinely loved physical activity. Especially when it involved other people.

Q. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to someone who is going after a fitness goal?

A. Feeling unmotivated, facing obstacles, and asking “is this even worth it?,” is completely normal! It is easy to identify what is challenging, and often times difficult to focus on the positives. Embrace the good of the journey. The change that takes place while going after a goal is just as important as the end result. Also, keep it light and fun! Invite a friend, get plugged into a community and don't take yourself too seriously.

The process of moving toward a goal is transforming. It's not just about standing atop your fitness goal mountain and waiving the flag of victory, but all of the smaller victories preceding that moment. Keep your eyes on the step in front of you, and before you know it, the top will be near.

Q. Speaking of goals, what have you been able to achieve due to living a healthy and fit lifestyle?

A. I actually had the opportunity to run a marathon in place of a cross country coach who had cancer, which was an incredible experience! When I was in the Air Force Boot Camp, I received the “Top Athlete” award out of men and women which was a huge honor. Prioritizing my health and physical fitness has allowed me to seize a variety of opportunities. When I started rock climbing, I quickly realized many movements from my training background translated really well to being on the wall.

Tasha mentioned something that struck a chord in me. Through these endeavors, she learned perseverance. By engaging physically with the world around us, an inner muscle also gets strengthened, giving us the courage to face our daily obstacles.

Q. So I've got to ask, what is your least favorite type of working out?

A. Iso-metric movements!! Planking or anything of that nature I just don't enjoy!

Okay cool, she is human.

Q. What can people expect from SRC's fitness classes?

A. Lots of variety! Our goal is to create an upbeat and positive atmosphere that incorporates many styles of fitness. Working out should be fun, and it's even better when you are doing it with a community of people who care. The programming is diverse and aims to help people improve their rock climbing, but also for anyone just wanting to develop their overall fitness level. From strength and endurance, to power and game-style workouts, the classes will have something for everyone.

Why is Climbing beneficial for Kids?

When I began climbing I often found myself wondering whether I was wasting my time. What on earth was climbing good for anyway? At the time I didn’t see all the benefits; all I knew was that a new part of me came alive every time I approached the wall. As a climbing coach and river guide I have often asked myself how these activities benefit myself and my students. Through the years I have found the benefits to be both diverse and numerous.  

On one level climbing is a fantastic mental and physical challenge. It is a puzzle to be solved with both the mind and body. Climbing problems are unique because climbers of different heights and overall body types have to climb the same route.  It helps you to develop an understanding of patterns and unique sense of spacial awareness. Furthermore, it provides a distinct type of physical fitness. First, climbing increases muscle and bone density; it strengthens the muscle rather than simply expanding muscle mass. It is a full body exercise, requiring more lower body strength and control than initially anticipated. It likewise requires great control and helps develop controlled movement and flexibility.  

On a whole other level, beyond these initial benefits, climbing offers what one of my previous instructors refers to as a “microcosm for life.”  It is an environment where kids not only develop mental and physical strength and endurance, but have the opportunity to develop character traits that will impact their entire lives.  Climbers, young and old alike, are forced to overcome obstacles.  Whether these obstacles are the physical challenge of a new climbing problem or a fear of heights, climbers are constantly faced with a new challenge to overcome. Overcoming different challenges requires decision making and helps students to develop self-confidence. Rock Climbing becomes the practice field for life; students can learn how to make decisions and overcome obstacles before they enter into marriage or the work force, helping them be better equipped and adjusted.

At Shasta Rock Club we seek to incorporate each of these areas into our programming, but even more so we have found that climbing can be an avenue through which kids learn to accept themselves. It becomes a “love language.” Kids learn that while they might not be able to climb a problem the same as someone else, they can still climb it their way.  It is a mental and physical exercise tailored to challenge students without crushing them.  At Shasta Rock Club students learn how to be distinct individuals with their own unique climbing style in the context of a larger team and community. It is a privilege serving our students and helping them to grow into their true and full identities.

For more information on our Kid’s programs, please check out the programs tab on our website. We hope to see you and children at Shasta Rock Club here soon!

by: Hillary Kline, the newest addition to the SRC team

Bouldering

Bouldering is rock climbing in its simplest form. I love that it is accessible and available for anyone motivated to learn. It requires the least amount of gear: rock climbing shoes, chalk bag and a crash pad. No rope or harness required for this style of climbing. You can go bouldering anywhere outdoors where there is solid rock and at most indoor rock climbing facilities like Shasta Rock Club. 

Bouldering focuses on linking difficult movements together that create a "boulder problem", a defined route, up the rock face. These movements can be very dynamic and athletic at times, or very delicate and balanced. To be well rounded at this sport, one must learn to be both physical and mentally sharp at problem solving. It's great practice for learning technique and movement on the rock while building strength and endurance for other types of climbing.

This type of rock climbing has often been misunderstood, as it differs in scope compared to climbing tall 30 to 1,000 ft cliffs. But therein lies the beauty- bouldering is both intense and challenging, precise and nuanced, which equips climbers with the necessary strength and confidence to climb bigger rock faces & mountains. 

In my experience, the quintessential attraction to bouldering is the shared experience of problem solving and friendly competition that results as a group of climbers attempt a boulder problem. The reasons for its popularity are clear: its an affordable, accessible, community-oriented activity that promotes health and fitness. 

If you are new to climbing, bouldering is a great way to get started. Climb on!

Photo: V4 Patio Arete - Boone, North Carolina circa 2003. 

Success on Mt. Shasta

"Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he never dreamed of when he first made the decision." - The Alchemist - Pablo Coelho

What is success? Who gets to define success? How do I become successful?

I recently posted the question, "Who wants to climb Mt. Shasta this year?" Many people responded with a "YES, I'm in". This enthusiasm caused me to reflect, and stirred my curiosity, wondering how others will experience their adventure. 

On June 16, 2014, I summited Mt. Shasta for the first time. For me, success looked like setting one goal, saying many "yes's" along the way, and letting the journey unfold.

Over the course of five months, my training included ice climbing & back country skiing in Montana, backpacking in the Trinity Alps, snowshoeing in Lassen National Park, many long bike rides, hikes, & runs around Redding. In retrospect, my decision to climb Mt. Shasta attracted opportunities that I didn't anticipate or know would present themselves. I just kept saying "yes". 

The success of my larger goal began in those moments of preparation. Not to mention how many unforgettable memories were created in the process with friends in the outdoors. Success became about simply showing up. Getting out of bed earlier than before. Choosing to make time for a solid run. Meeting friends in other states to charge it for a few days. Knowing I was training my body and mind for greater endurance. 

During the climb (15 total hours), I experienced the benefits of being mentally and physically prepared. I have vivid memories of how present I felt as I ascended, joyfully present, in fact. It took my full focus and energy, but I didn't feel strained. I realized my sense of success in summiting that day was the sum of hundreds of small decisions made along the way. 

Maybe for some, the commitment to attempt a massive challenge is motivation enough. But what I discovered was that commitment grows by consistently saying "yes" to what's in front of you each day. As you begin planning your climb up Mt. Shasta or another peak, consider afresh what "success" really means to you - I believe it will boost your sense of adventure and thankfulness in the process, not just your satisfaction with the climb itself. The summit will be icing on the cake. 

 

Mt. Shasta is a serious mountain - Please get educated and prepare before attempting any climb up Shasta. For more info on routes, weather and avalanche conditions visit these sites:

Shasta Guides

Shasta Avalanche Center

Mountain Project