Redding

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

Cold Weather Climbing Tips

Photo: Benjamin Goodpasture // Climber: Christian Lablanc // Red River Gorge // BOHICA 5.13b

Photo: Benjamin Goodpasture // Climber: Christian Lablanc // Red River Gorge // BOHICA 5.13b

Cold Weather Climbing Tips


It happened too fast for me. The temperatures raced straight pass comfortable to frigid, my down jackets are draped over armchairs around the house, and I'm suddenly craving cookies and chocolate by the fire. These are all ominous signs that Winter is coming. While some precipitation is good for the rest of the state, we poor climbers are left with our hands in mittens waiting for the next opportunity to climb. Fear not my friends! Although this weather makes it much more difficult to climb, the adventurous among us will still find rocks to pull on. I have made a few excursions out into this unkind weather, and I have learned a few things to make the climbing manageable.

Here are my 6 cold weather climbing tips:

1. Layer the Belayer
Dressing warmly enough can't be stressed enough on a cold weather climbing mission. The constant struggle you will face is keeping your fingers and toe warm. For climbers, this is the worst adaptation of our body during cold weather. It becomes a challenge getting through the next crux when you are shoving meaty finger popcicles onto ledges, praying that they are doing what your brain is telling them to do. Neither will you be able to stand on that small foot jib because you will get no feedback from your frost-bitten toes.

Wear TWO pairs of gloves and socks. I wear a thin pair of base gloves and my snowboarding gloves over them when I am belaying or hiking. The mistake I often make is wearing thin cotton socks when I hike up, and my toes are numb before I even put on my frozen climbing shoes. Lastly, wear a beanie under your helmet. There are a number of arteries and veins along your brow to your ears that will dissipate a lot of heat if not covered up. Furthermore, having a good wool base layer under your climbing pants will keep the rest of your body warm more than you realize. 

When climbing a multi-pitch, make sure to bring everything you need up the climb: clip gloves to your harness, wear your jacket, and shove socks in your jacket pocket if need be. 

2. Blow into your shoes
You are full of more hot air than significant other has told you. Putting on a warm pair of climbing shoes is a magical experience in cold weather. Huff and puff, like the big bad wolf, straight into the toes before putting your shoes on. The extra few degrees of heat feels profound after your toes have been flailing around in the elements. 

3. Get down with down
Not only is down the warmest insulator, but the most compressible. You can shove it into the empty space of your pack before leaving just in case things are bit colder than you anticipated. I have worn two down jackets and looked more puffed up than Ralphie from A Christmas Story, and I felt no remorse about it. The only caveat: try to keep down dry. It does not perform as well when wet, so bring a hardshell if you expect precipitation. 

4. South facing is essential
During these cold days you must chase the sun. A 60 degree sunny day can feel like a Summer day in Redding or a Winter day at the North Pole. The direct exposure to the sun can make a 50 degree day a climbable one. Not only is the south face important for sunshine, but it dries the rock more quickly. A south facing crag can be dry 1-2 days after a rain (depending on wind) if the exposure to the sun is adequate. Most topographical maps are oriented Northerly, so find the walls that have climbing on the south side, unencumbered by tall trees or shadows.  

5. Think twice about chalk. 
For most people, chalking up before a climb is more of a psychological crutch than friction aid. Studies have shown that hand friction is actually better WITHOUT chalk. However, chalk makes a substantial different when your hands are sweaty. This is why we chalk up: to dry out our hands. For cold weather climbing, sweating isn't really a concern. At a certain temperature, our hands no longer sweat, so our friction co-efficient is at its highest. This is why climbers like Daniel Woods attempt their projects at night with million lumen lamps illuminating the rock: they want sending temps! If you need to chalk up to climb...just because, go for it; just remember that you will lose some friction.

Another good point to keep in mind is that your shoes will be less sticky than you are used to. Shoes are designed to work optimally at the temperature your hands stop sweating. This means the rubber is going to be more firm. This firmness should help performance, but you may need to apply more pressure to your toe to get the same stick you are accustomed to.  

6. Windy day stay away
An often over-looked weather prediction is wind speed. A sunny day in 65 degree weather may be unbearable if you have cold winds in an alpine environment. One of my favorite websites is www.weatherunderground.com. Although wind speed is a very unreliable factor, you can generally anticipate more wind on low pressure days. Bring a shell to throw over your jacket and eliminate the precipitating heat loss from wind trying to sneak into your britches.

If you can manage to stay warm, and stay psyched, cold weather is really the time to see optimal performance. Get out there and send my friends!

Written by: Kyle Sherby, a long time Shasta Rock Club member and current team member who helps with route setting and outdoor climbing events. 

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