Preparations, Failure, and Fun

I get immense satisfaction from climbing alpine routes, more than any other single activity. There is nothing quite like a waking up before dawn in the bitter cold, forcing down some coffee and a snack before heading upwards, spending the day putting out immense amounts of energy hiking my way up to the base of […]

Running: From a Climber’s Perspective

Just like not everyone who climbs is a “climber,” not everyone who runs is a “runner,” and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m the former, not the latter! And while most people probably can guess that rock climbing is great exercise, it’s not all-inclusive, so for me, running has always played a smaller, […]

Two Questions

During my phone interview to be an Athleta sponsored athlete this year, I was asked two questions that I wish I could answer again, more coherently. I’m perpetually a mess on the phone, and am much more comfortable one-on-one, in person. So I’d like to take advantage of my first blog post for Athleta to […]

Finishing a Goal

Twelve 5.12’s for 2012! As this year draws to a close, I am excited to share that I wrapped up a year-long goal of mine just a few weeks ago! At the tail end of 2011, I managed to send my very first route at the 5.12 difficulty grade. (Non-climber translation: a “send” means leading […]

Power of Heart

For those of you readers that are on the other side of 30, you may remember a TV show called Captain Planet. The heroes of this kid’s series were five environmental good guys, known as “Planeteers,” each possessing a magic ring that controlled an element of nature (earth, wind, water, fire) that they would use in […]

A Life Exposed

Exposure is a commonly used term in rock climbing that might not be familiar to those outside of the sport. I found an online dictionary that defined it as “being in a situation in which you are very aware that you are high off the ground.” In other words, standing on a large summit that […]

The Art of Projecting

For those non-climbers out there, the term “projecting” is used to describe the process that one goes through to successfully redpoint a route near or at their limit.  A route is considered “sent” (aka redpointed) when the climber is able to lead the route from bottom to top (bringing the rope up with them and […]

Stop and Look

“Don’t forget to look out!” I’m a little better about it now, but when I first started climbing outdoors, I was notorious for climbing to the top of a route, getting lowered down, and then proceed to hear every person that climbed after me rave about the spectacular view they had when they turned around […]

Climbing 101 – New Adventures for a New Year

When people find out that I’m a rock climber, the usual reaction is something to the effect of – “Wow, I could never do that!” My response is almost always “What’s stopping you?!?” So many times we as women refuse to undertake new adventures because of fear – fear of the unknown, of failure, or […]

What Is Commitment? Ask Janelle Smiley.

by Ashley McCullough, Team Athleta | As athletes, we all have very specific relationships to commitment. It’s something realized over a long period of time as a sport becomes more than just fun and turns into an integral, necessary part of life…