Challenge accepted!

Not sure how many people saw this post from Gripped, Canada’s Climbing Magazine: “Canadian Climber’s Blogs to Follow in 2015”, but tucked away in there was this….

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I had to chuckle because seriously- have you seen my blog- I’m pretty bad at updating it. I’m not one for making new years resolutions (I kind of do the reflecting / resolution / goal setting stuff on my birthday) however, I accept this challenge!!!! I will do my best to post about my climbing, training and travels.

For my first post, I’d like to steal a blog from Jelisa Dunbar. She recently wrote a great piece on some Canadian climbers who have inspired her over the last year. I had the pleasure of working with Jelisa on this project and I’m very proud of her work here. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on my own year and what has inspired me.

Show and Tell. 10 highlights of Canadian climbing in 2014

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Looking back at 2014, for myself in climbing, I had a breakthrough year. I nailed my training, I took several amazing trips for outdoor climbing and I attempted to climb (focussed on) my first 5.14. I’m really psyched on what I’ve been able to accomplish- juggling three disciplines (indoor competition, outdoor bouldering and outdoor sport) is hard sometimes because there are moments (big chunks of time) where you can have no big successes (personal best sends); and I suppose it’s because the focus is spread out. Don’t get me wrong, everyday out (or indoors) climbing is a success. And even when there are no sends, there are small victories in learning movement or getting 1mm closer to the hold. These victories are what keep me coming back for more.

Since my focus is spread between three ‘disciplines’ I try to be very realistic with my goal setting. My 2014 goals were this:

Boulder outdoors: Send at least one V8

Sport climbing: Project and send Ojas, 5.14a

Competition climbing: Finish in the overall top 10 females in the open category

I changed up my training for 2014 by 1. making it more personalized to me and 2. incorporating functional strength / movement into my program, this with the help from Morgan Alexander of Revolution Human Performance here in Calgary. With a more strength based program I was psyched to have completed 2/3 goals in 2014- Ojas will have to wait until next summer :)

The last year in Canadian climbing has seriously ramped up! I was especially inspired by Marieta Akalski who put Canadian females on the international map after sending several sport climbs in the 5.14 grade. The Canadian youth who are dominating up here and in the PanAm circuit. The efforts of the country to push the sport of climbing forward by organizing provincial governing bodies and making the competition scene in Canada that much closer to being recognized officially by the government. The local Calgary crew for working on creating a culture of climbing and training for advancement in both competition and outdoor climbing. The list goes on…

Looking forward to a happy and healthy 2015! Keep in touch everyone and all the best!

I’m Back!

Where did I go… School and it sucked the life out of me- almost literally- drained me to the core and back- there were no creative juices left. The only thing good that came out of it was, well, the degree of course, my third a bachelor of education and the fact that Josh learned how to take care of grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry and basically everything else it takes to keep a household together. But now that school is over, I feel it’s time to come back to some things I have neglected. For starters my blog.

Some updates:


It wasn’t all bad- although coming from a science background I found it hard to endlessly share my feelings. I went into the program thinking it would be a cakewalk (easy), I had done a masters degree so how hard could this be? It wasn’t so much that it was hard; it was just extremely time consuming and as I found out over my teaching practicums so is teaching. I thought I could juggle teaching and climbing but as it turns out I can’t. I’ve made the decision to spend some time working for the Calgary Board of Education this summer and will likely sub this coming fall/ winter, but full time teaching- nope I’m not ready and I’m also not worthy!!! Props to all the teachers out there who work twice as much as most others but only get paid to work one full time job.


I’ve started to travel- and if you are wondering if it’s only related to climbing the answer is no! My family took a trip to Portugal the summer of 2012- and it was the catalyst to a thirst for traveling and consuming culture and knowledge.

Paine Family in Portugal

Paine Family in Portugal

The following summer (2013) we took a guided tour of western Turkey and the Greek Islands- totally amazing, we learned a ton about the history and culture and people.

Mothers Day in Mykonos

Mothers Day in Mykonos

Regan, Wendy and Ryan in Greece

Regan, Wendy and Ryan in Greece

Regan and Ryan in Turkey

Regan and Ryan in Turkey

Then this past may (2014) my mother and I took a tour of Morocco- incredible! I have always had this romantic idea of Morocco and I have always wanted to see the Sahara so when my mom said she would take me on a trip anywhere I wanted to go I didn’t even hesitate- Morocco it was. And off we went- 8 day tour visiting costal and desert cities / towns. We traveld with an excellent tour guide and a great group of people. Now before anyone judges me, yes you read correctly, I have been taking guide tours- I know I know I should be going on these adventures on my own, planning them on my own but I really like the simplicity of the trip being planned for me, never waiting in lines, seeing everything there is to see and more and getting a lot of insider knowledge from the tour guide about the culture and the people. As we take long drives the tour guide chats away on the microphone explaining all things (insert country here) and the guests are able to ask any questions freely. Josh and I have now both traveled to Turkey and Morocco, him on his own and me with tours and for the most part we had very different trips- he got to experience the culture more naturally than I did but I learned a lot more and saw a lot more than he did- to each their own :) Josh spent years traveling with his brother and other friends- so the destinations he doesn’t want to return to are perfect spots for me to hit up ‘on tour’.

Ladies in Morocco

Ladies in Morocco

Doors of Morocco

Doors of Morocco

Our driver out to the Sahara

Our driver out to the Sahara

The Sahara

The Sahara

Watching the sunset in the Sahara

Watching the sunset in the Sahara

Desert Towns

Desert Towns

Tannery in the Medina of Fez

Tannery in the Medina of Fez

Hassan II Mosque

Hassan II Mosque

Climbing (climbing travels)

Well everyone knows that Josh and I were on the road for a year previous to going to school, so we weren’t hard up for a road trip the last two years (but of course that didn’t stop us). We started out the fall of 2012 climbing on the CCC competitive team. That year team was to be organized with a coach and regularly scheduled practices. This was an interesting year for me and what I like to call ‘my discovery year’. Now, nothing against team AT ALL however the structure of it and the planed workouts just didn’t work for me- by the time nationals rolled around I was out of shape and unable to climb a damn thing- at that competition I turned to my friend Kelly and I said ‘what happened in February that made me go downhill so abruptly’ and her answer was ‘we started training power’ – aha!! The wheels started turning and as I started doing the mental arithmetic (as buck would say) that was it- I stopped strength training and I started power training. Silly me- I know myself- I need to be strong and for me power is a function of strength so why oh why did I stop strength training. A new plan of action would be in the works for the following comp season but first I had to head off to SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!!!!! (ok I’m gonna skip this for its own post, but for now, it was amazing and I wish I could live there and or go back every summer- check out this vid Nate Gerhardt, Josh and I put together thanks to Outdoor Research:


Click on photo to view video

Click on photo to view video

After our Africa trip we came back to an altered Bow Valley- the floods in June devastated residential properties, towns, businesses, roads and yes- even the cliffs or at least the hikes up to the cliffs were destroyed and most of the climbing area were closed when we got home. So, summer of 2013 I visited some cliffs I had never been to: grotto, ravens, lookout – to get my sport climbing legs back. Once Acephale opened I had a one track mind- ‘each one teach one’ – a route I had briefly tried the summer before that I really wanted to nab this summer! So it began, the approximately 4 week period of working ‘each one’. Most of the time was spent working one single crux move. Once I finally figured it out I sent within a couple of days!!! My first 13c and an FFA for that route!!!! It was an awesome summer projecting that thing and hitting up some new spots in the valley :)

"working the moves" or "getting worked" on each one...

“working the moves” or “getting worked” on each one…


Moving up each one

Fall 2013

My last year of school. I was determined to be even more organized this year than the last year to ensure I kept up with my climbing and still did well at school. After a lot of deliberation Josh and I chose not to join the CCC team this season for two reasons: 1) We realized we needed our own training plan to get strong and say strong for comps / travel and 2) we knew we wouldn’t be able to commit the the team training schedule a) because they were training in the early mornings and b) because our schedules (especially mine with two big teaching practicums) were going to be erratic. A group of us formed the ‘pm-team’ (as opposed to the CCC team that trained in the am’s- we nick-named them the ‘am-team’). We trained together a couple nights a week and once on weekends- we did strength and finer training and some power stuff – never forgetting the strength for me. I have to say that even though I was very busy at school I feel like the training schedule worked well for me and in competitions I climbed well and was a consistently competitive climber all year- my goal was to make top 10 (Canadian national team) and I finished the year in 10th!!!!! Psyched!! I not only trained in the climbing gym, I was also under the eye of Morgan Alexander from Revolution Human Performance.

This year I had my ‘dream team’.1) The group at the gym, or the ‘pm-team’, 2) Morgan, and 3) My chiro Jason fox at Mission Chiropractic.

A little on Morgan: Morgan is the head trainer at Revolution Human Performance here in Calgary. Ex Olympian he is insanely knowledgeable and an educated individual with a focus on strength and functional movement. I heard of him through my friend Pete Woods who had trained with him previously so I thought I give it a try! Writing this blog now I can honestly say that a lot of my climbing improvements and competitive consistencies can be attributed to the work I have been doing with Morgan. He creates 4-week programs that focus on your goals and weaknesses related to your sport- as a side note….

The scene at the gym is incredible as he trains word class athletes of multiple disciplines, we are all there working hard and we are all there doing something different as it relates to our sport- I’m always in awe at the other athletes in there and not to be conceded but they are in awe of me too sometimes as our strengths are often times polar opposites!

At first I hated the 4-week rotation- I like consistency and knowing what to do and being good at what I’m doing, but Morgan did not give in! It took about 6 months before I could actually do anything right and now I’m starting to have strengths is areas I never thoughts possible (like my legs) – I even did my first muscle up recently!! I see Morgan with Josh, Pete, Sue, Lea and Bonar and it’s always a great time and well worth the effort!

Shooting a video with Revolution Human Performance

Shooting a video with Revolution Human Performance

Shooting a video with Revolution Human Performance

Shooting a video with Revolution Human Performance

So with my dream team assembled I had an incredible year (busy as hell with school but thanks to josh and getting fired from the wild rose I managed to pull it off)!!! Speaking of school- I had my final two placements / practicums at Western Canada high school- I feel so lucky to have gone there and most importantly I had an amazing partner teacher. I got to teach biol 30 and science 10 while I was there. All my students turned out to be pretty rad, I had an awesome time there!

School ended is late April and I laid low for a month before I re-entered the world into my current HR position. I have big plans for this summer and have kept up my training. I’m a weekend warrior now, so I will keep up with Morgan and the gym at least once a week while I’m working- but come the weekend I’m off!!

Well, that’s the two year recap- now that I’m caught up I will have more shorter blogs coming up.

Thanks for the support;

Josh muller & Family

Outdoor research

Evolv sports

Flashed climbing

Mission chiropractic

Revolution human performance


Thanks for reading- more updates coming soon!



Please don’t ruin it for the rest of us …

Does every climbing community have that group of people that just want to indirectly “ruin it for the rest of us”?

In my recent travels and in my current location i have been exposed to such groups of people, somehow they see that their way is the best way and use the term “ethics” to disguise what’s really going on … that there is some distain for people that don’t necessarily fit into “their groups”.

A little vague, I know, but without naming names and areas I feel like I have something to say. I haven’t been climbing long, but what I feel about the sport is that we are all connected. Plastic climbers, boulderers, sport climbers, trad climbers, alpine climbers, mixed climbers, ice climbers etc… We all share a love / passion / dedication to the sport in our sub-disciplines.  And, you know what, I have no beef’s with climbers in sub-disciplines that I don’t partake in. I truly think it’ll take the entire community to move the sport forward and that we all work together to contribute to that happening.

I’ve seen a tremendous coming-together in Canada over the sport of climbing, there are lots of events, there are competitive teams, and there are awards and scholarships given out to outstanding individuals who have the dedication to make their climbing dreams come to life. This is a whole community. No one group should be able to take it upon themselves to stop others from doing the sport they love


As our season is coming in, all the best to those excited to get out and climb some rock!!

Hueco part II

Or should i say, Yuma, San Diego and Mexico!!

I took 10 days away from Hueco, to spend Christmas with my Mom in Yuma, do some shopping in San Diego and visit some old friends in Mexico.

My friends Geoff and Deanna Bray recently had their frst baby and i was super excited to meet him!!

Meet Eddie, the cutest baby around!!


Edmund Bray, the happiest baby around!


Papa (Geoff) and Eddie

Sadly i don’t have any pics of Mamma and Eddie :( 

My mom and i traveled to Mexico to spend a couple days relaxing on the ranch visiting with Geoff and Dee, it was super nice to see them and meet Eddie …. we planned their next climbing trip to Bishop to come meet us in the new year!!!

Mom and i spent some time shopping in San Diego and chilling in Yuma before we both drove back to El Paso. Mom was going to spend two days there with us (Josh, Alex and myself) .. one day we would all go to Carlsbad caverns and the next she would come climbing (watching) with us. We soon realized that there would be no way in hell she would get into North so we ditch part two of our plan …

Here’s a couple pics from Carlsbad caverns! Very cool rest day activity!!


Mom (Wendy Kennedy), Alex and me. About to head into the caverns ...



The kids, i mean boys, i mean men ;)

Jan 1 2012 in the evening we picked up the first of two guests joining us in Hueco, Zak McGurk!!

This leads to part III of Hueco ….

More climbing!!!!!

Hueco Tanks!



On our way to Hueco

Since my last blog post I read a comment posted by a good friend that went something like “ please bloggers rather than outlining your daily itinerary please post something useful and insightful in your blogs”. So, I will take this advice and start this post off with a section I’m going to call “logistics”. So if you are familiar with Hueco logistics just skip this section :)

It’s actually fitting to describe some of the logistics surrounding our time in hueco, and I hope it can shed some light for those who plan to go.

Hueco: Logistics

El Paso

El paso is a relatively large city, no I take that back, it’s a huge city with relatively little to do … no hard feelings I hope ;) It’s got everything you need, coffee (starbucks), Walmart and groceries. Actually, the Vista Mercado grocery store is pretty badass, you can get fresh tortillas, pastries and a total random assortment of good food (I say random because for 4 months I had been endlessly searching for Spitz brand pumpkin seeds and I found them at the Vista!). You can grab a pretty good burger and pint at Torro Burger on Zaragoza (warning: service is slow here, but beer selection is good and so is the food so it’s worth it). If you need something closer you can grab some burritos at the local confectionary / restaurant behind the Vista. It’s cheap and they have cane sugar coke!

But if you are a total hard-core, you really don’t have to go into town if you don’t want to. There is internet available at the park and the vista is just out of town (close to the park).


We stayed at the Hueco Tanks state park campground, which I highly recommend. The sites are huge and the picnic tables are covered. There was shelter from the wind with the big rocks around, and the best part, the washrooms are super-heated and the shower is amazing!! Some logistics about this place …


Our campsite

You will like buy a year park pass which was ~$80.00. It gets you into the park daily to climbing for free and it also gets you some discounts on nights of camping. Each night was $16.00 but that got us water and electricity and since there were four of us staying there is really broke down to be pretty cheap. Another logistic is the curfew. You have to be back in the park by 6pm. So, no late night burritos. We really didn’t mind this part of it honestly we were pretty much ready for bed just after 6 ;)

You can also stay at the Rock Ranch located just outside the park. Camping was $7 per person and showers are at a minimum but it seemed like a nice chill place to hang out. There’s a big barn to hang out in and there’s internet and also a lot of climbers staying there. The only down side is during busy season if you don’t have reservations to climb you can’t even come past the park gate, you line up in your car until the park officer gets word that he can let some in … some people would be waiting all day. Some would never get in. Some would park outside the gate and sleep on their crash pads in the ditch so that they would be the first in line the next day!

There are also some relatively close motels and hotels at a decent price.

Reservations / climbing

I’m sure everyone knows that you need reservations to climb at hueco. Some people complain about this, but really it’s to protect the area and I didn’t feel at all like I was restricted in any way by the rules of the park; if you can’t deal with rules, don’t go. Bscially they reserve 60 spots on North Mountain and let 10 extra people in a day. Those staying in the park campground have first dibs on those 10 spots.

In early October we called the park to make reservations and we only got two climbing days out of a month and a half (from Dec 4 – Jan 15th) we accepted that fact and decided to wing-it with climbing, ie. We would stand in line early in the morning to try and get in. We did however get camping reservations for the entire time we were there, but, one person can only reserve for three days, so Alex would book three days then Josh would book three days then Alex again then Josh and so on for a month and a half. And yes, you do have to go check in every three days but you should be able to keep the same site, at least we did. What I would recommend is to try calling back for climbing reservations. Some friends of ours said they called the park every couple days and each time another day would open up for climbing (someone had cancelled) and they ended up booking a month straight! So be persistent and you should be able to get resos :)

If you don’t have resos (like us) then you have a couple options ….

In early December when it’s not super busy you should be able to go to the park office and get in relatively easy before 9-10 am. If you did end up on the waiting list what happens is those that had reservations if they don’t show up then they will give their spots away to those waiting. So if you have resos you need to show up before 10am! When it did start to get busy (around Christmas break) we were getting up at 6am and going directly to the park office to “get in line”. It’s really an honor system thing, first car that gets there gets first dibs. You can’t just send one person to sign up for the group, each member has to be there, plus the park people need to see everyone’s cards. This brings me to the certification thing. You have to watch a 15 min vid to go into Hueco tanks park; no one can even pass the office without seeing the video; we learnt this the hard way when we had someone fly in late and we brought them back to the campsite that night and the next morning they were not psyched that he was there at all! They said he should have stayed outside the park that night.

Guided tours

There are three other mountains that make up the park, east spur, west and east. To visit these other three mountains you need to go on a guided tour. There are two types of tours, volunteer and paid. There are pros and cons to both. Paid tours cost money, but you can book a guide and have them take you to exactly where you want to go. We never went on a paid tour but I never heard anything bad about them save for the fact that they do cost ~$10 – 20 per person / day. The volunteer tours are done by guides who are volunteering their time to take you out climbing, very cool! How this worked in our experience is that we knew a volunteer tour guide. We would plan with him to go out on a certain day and then he would call the park office and book a tour in our names. He would put me +4 and Josh +4 to equal 10 total (the max number of people on a tour). Josh and I then could bring anyone we wanted to a max of ten people, and even if it was just the two of us that would be ok (more on this point later). Because Josh and I had our names down that meant we were the ‘primaries’ and we decided where we wanted to go (and the group would have to go along with us weather they wanted to get on those climbs or not) and the group can not break up, it has to stay together. This is a non issue if you are a group of friends who want to go check out the same things, but it can be suckie if you get on a volunteer tour that goes to a V14 for the entire day and that’s it! If you don’t get into the park on a regular climbing day you can sometime get in on a volunteer tour (if there are open spots the office might fill them with random people waiting to go out). This is fine, but this is also where you run into maybe not getting out to the places you want. We had an awesome experience with our friend / volunteer guide, he was super accommodating and psyched to be out at the rocks. Volunteer guides are not allowed to climb or give beta and two groups can’t be at the same boulder at the same time. I definitely appreciate Antonio for taking his time to take us out!!

Wow, that pretty much sums up the logistics … I’m sure there are things that I’m forgetting but most of it is here as a resource for those wanting to travel to Hueco.

Part 1

Alex, Stacey, Josh and I arrive in hueco full of psyche!!


Team noon-to-four catching some sunshine in the am.
Alex Quiring, Regan Kennedy, Josh Muller, Stacey Weldon

We started climbing two days on, one day off but soon realized we needed to climb day on day off as we were feeling spent! The rock was really different from what we had been climbing. At first it felt like there was no texture, but within a couple days, after getting a feel for the rock, it really started to feel good! The movement was gymnastic and we were really feeling the burn in the core!


Josh on Martini right (V12)


Early on we were all hitting personal bests! I had climbed my first V8 (Mc. Bain) on the second day. Josh was crushing double-digit problems like it was his job and Stacey had done Fern roof (V9).

Here’s the link to a vid of our time there!


Stacey Weldon on Dark Age (V11)


Alex Quiring finishing up Martini left (V10)


Regan not quite making the move on Gloria (V7)


Josh Muller on Diabolic (V13) ... project left behind.

In the first couple weeks there the park was very quiet. Some friends from Calgary were also there, Krystal Chin, Mark Fraser and Sam Fischer. We spent a lot of time climbing with them. It was also on the cool side (not good for me as I am a fair weather climber). Us girls would hang out in the washroom in the am drinking our coffee, visiting and keeping warm. We spent most of our time on North Mountain. We didn’t want to get too tied into things (projects) on the other mountains so we pretty much stayed on North and for the first part of the trip didn’t have any troubles getting in. Days consisted of wandering around north hitting the classics or projects or resting in town at the starbucks, Vista or Torro :)  The four of us had an amazing, fun time in Hueco! We all loved it and were super motivated to climb :)Here are some pics of some of the classics.


Mark Fraser working out some moves on Dark Age (V11)


Josh on Power of Silence (V10)


On a cool and windy day, Alex crushing Bloodline (V8)


Regan sending the slopey problem right of girls of texas (can't remember the name ... sorry)


Look at that hair! Alex Quiring on Free Willy (V10)

Sadly, Team noon-to-four’s time was coming to an end near Christmas. Stacey was heading back to Calgary :( I was about to take 10 days to go see my mom in Yuma. And, the boys, they were left alone at the tanks.

Part II coming up soon!!!