Author: Gina

Reflecting on Death in the Mountains

Imagine the perfect day. Under bluebird skies, you’re scurrying across a knife-edge ridge. Jagged peaks sprawl out before you as far as the eye can see. The easy terrain allows you and your partner to move quickly. But then, a large block comes loose and you’re falling… if you were given the chance would you take it all back? Would you give up the summit for 60 more years of adventures? Or would one day of perfect climbing make it all worth it? Accidents are a part of life. They are inevitable, unpredictable, and are never easy to reconcile. The outdoor community has lost a number of incredible people to some terrible accidents over the decades. The stark truth of mortality shines bright in these moments and the age-old question of “is it worth it?” resurfaces. There’s no doubt that being in the mountains fills our lives with a sense of richness that is hard to find elsewhere. The integration of physical and mental challenges required while climbing teaches us how to be self-critical and mindful. We …

Pushing Through New Dimensions

“Regardless of our actual level of fitness, if we feel strong, agile, and adventurous, then we climb better than if we feel weak, clumsy, and meek. Climbing hard involves making moves that feel improbable, and continuing when the situation seems nearly hopeless.” – Arno Ilgner I jammed my hand into the crack, lifted my feet off the ground, and then jammed my feet into the crack. My muscles felt fatigued. As I climbed higher I placed two, three, four cams into the crack. Every move upward felt dense and heavy. Every move took effort. As I reached a small ledge, the top of the first pitch, I set up an anchor, pulled up the rope, and began belaying Andrea. The past week had been filled with some amazing climbing. In fact, the previous day, Andrea and I had an incredible time pushing hard – she redpointed her project and I onsighted my hardest route to date. But clearly all the challenging climbing was catching up to me and my endurance was wavering. It was the …

A Road Warrior’s Guide to Joshua Tree, CA

From the Dr. Seuss trees to the piles of rocks that scatter the landscape – Joshua Tree National Park is truly a unique and other worldly destination. For climbers, it’s the perfect escape when winter blankets most of the country. Here’s some beta to get you through a weekend, month, or season in JTree: Camping Campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park *Camping Limit: There is a 30 day camping limit each year. (Only 14 of these nights may take place from October – May.) Black Rock Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: water, flush toilets, dump station, reservations available October – May Indian Cove Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: water at the Indian Cove Ranger Station, pit toilets, reservations available October – May Group Sites: $35-50/night (depending on site capacity, reservations required) Hidden Valley Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets  Ryan Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Sheep Pass Group Campground Cost: $35-50/night (depending on site capacity, reservations required) Amenities: pit toilets Jumbo Rocks Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Belle Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets White Tank Campground Cost: $15/night Amenities: pit toilets Cottonwood Campground Cost: $20/night Amenities: flush toilets, water, dump station Group …

Goodbye Old Man Winter

Adam and I are celebrating – celebrating the beginning of February, which means that the worst of winter is behind us (hopefully). This winter in the van has been particularly challenging. From enduring the biting cold of 10 degree nights in Bishop, to a week straight of snow and rain in Red Rock, to a weekend of 50 mph winds and flooding in Joshua Tree, we just couldn’t seem to escape the frosty clutch of winter. Ice covered windshields and snow covered landscapes followed us from one desert to the next. Every day tasks -cooking, getting dressed, going to the bathroom – were a struggle. I wore the same pair of long johns under all my layers for over a week because it was solely too cold to even consider exposing my bare skin to the raw air. The constant cold numbed us. My motivation to climb dwindled. My motivation to run disappeared. I found no pleasure being outside. I simply wanted to feel warm again. And then, the other morning, Adam and I woke up to …

Recovery Meal: Pineapple Fried Rice

  We all know the importance of consuming a healthy recovery meal after a hard day of climbing/training. Directly following this activity our bodies are in a heightened state, and can use the food we consume to aid in the recovery of damaged muscles. It’s important to act quickly and thoughtfully however, as this metabolic window is only open for roughly 45 minutes and not all nutrients are created equal when it comes to recovery. While the window of opportunity and ideal ratio of carbs and proteins are highly debated among nutritionists, Adam and I tend to aim for carbohydrates and proteins in a 4:1 ratio. If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious recovery meal, look no further! This Pineapple Fried Rice I recently made has a good mixture of carbs and proteins and contains ginger, which is a natural anti-inflammatory (helps with post work-out soreness). Make it ahead of time so it’s ready to eat after a day of climbing, or cut the veggies and pre-cook the rice so all you have to do is sauté the veggies and mix in the …