Women in Climbing

Posted on 30. Aug, 2010 by in News

A while back I wrote about women in climbing and the general lack of development on their part, in terms of first ascents. This summer a “new” bouldering area was discovered, or at least re-discovered and I have spent much of my free time there. I have put up a couple of problems and repeated a few more. Dave and Daniel, Chad Greedy and Luke Parady have lead the way by establishing a ton of amazing new hard problems, including Daniel’s recent FA of The Wall Project, which is now known as Let the Right One In V14. Jon Glassberg, Kevin Jorgeson, and Ryan Silven have also added their own this year. Absent from the list of developers are any females, and so as sort of update to my previous post I want to know why that is? Lincoln Lake represents the case in point. A new area is found and publicized, just an hour or so from Denver, with tons of rock and many moderates to climb, yet as far as I know there haven’t been any significant contributions from women. If there have been I would love to hear about them. Most of the women I see bouldering at Lincoln Lake are trying to repeat The Idiot, Chalk on Rock or Unshackled. I would love it if some women out there were preparing and climbing new problems, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Perhaps I am wrong? Or perhaps there just aren’t that many women visiting the area? I don’t know the answer and I am not blaming them for not doing it, as I am sure some will try to read into this. I am simply interested in why it hasn’t happened. My previous post was the most commented on post I have written, it seems to be an interesting subject matter and I wondered if the re-discovery of this area has changed anything. Thoughts?

25 Responses to “Women in Climbing”

  1. campusman

    30. Aug, 2010

    and yet another one of campusmans attempts to make people laugh (with wisdom included).
    doing fa’s is dangerous. thats usually the first warning sign you get, and thats scary at first but after a while it seems like fa’s are all there are to live for when you are down and smoked out climbing v10 and above… but then you start doing other things besides focusing on just climbing and its like hmm, I probly should not be falling all of the time. then you start doing top ropes for a while, and skipping holds on climbs you can do laps on. but that gets old so you travel a ton, and you spend like a lot on gas and food but whatever. then the empire dies like all of the rest of them.You start walking to crags, and or riding your bike or skateboard if you have one because its worth like 5 trillion pounds of gold, rose oil and or franksenthis. I remember 7 years ago when I told Bruce yo, Mt. Evans is full of FA’s. He’s says something along the lines of ” oh that place is a huge granite area…Years back…yada yada yada, you look like ricatta. then you realize people are not crazy, they are just trying to be funny. but then they realize that they are crazy, because you were so mean to them. but then they realize they were mean to you, and you look like a weirdo, and so do they. So you go to the store and get some organic food, but your taste buds suck now. And your doctor taught you all types of negative placebo information that scared you so much that you stopped taking showers because there is chlorine in the water. Then God saves you, and you start going to a really cool spot that you always wanted to go to. Its like a dream really, your life seems to never end, every day you wake up because you decided to climb and eat organic food that tasted good. and then you just want more, and you are so healthy that when you eat non organic you throw it up. but then you just realize i need organic food only because its good for me, so you start growing your own food naturally from the sun with water from the spring. It is high in alkalinity, and you dont have to follow all of these gay ass high alkaline diets with a ratio of 5/1 alkaline to acidic. You actually eat a ton of sugar, because its the bodies preferred source of food, and it tastes good because God is that good. Things were made that way.
    You just dont stop thinking about what there is to be said, all you do is think and think and think, but then you slow and because God is on your side. You relax and your body just realizes it is Ph Balanced, there is no cancer or diseases in your body. All of your lumps, knots, tight areas, clicking and soreness goes away. You go into the doors of your house and you smell hyssop because you grew and extraced the oils from the plant, and or got some from a kind friend or climbing partner/ coworker. All of your ideas seem to be perfect because the aroma is lasting and your mind is where it wants to be continually. You’re stress is manageable because life balances itself out to where it should be. Always, there is never anything that thinks too much or too little. Everything was meant to be, all of your dreams come true as you right them down and think about what is realistic to you.
    God comes into your heart for the first time, and or was already there. You recognize your eye site and hearing becomes better as the knots went away from orange oil and massages you received from someone you love. Thats right, you have someone you love. They love you, because they are nice to you with nice things to say. You never fight with them unless there is confusion. You both understand the miscommunication, and you go off into a regular place where you like being. All of your ideas come together into one and you take in everything from present time, and never resent the past. God continues to keep you on a path that is full of excitement, the burning bush. You go into a room a dark room and light a candle, all you do is make out.

  2. CH

    30. Aug, 2010

    Probably for the same reasons that women are constantly video’ing themselves and spraying on the internet. Dudes are status-seekers. The gender dynamics in climbing are ripe for someone to write a dissertation on!

  3. ch

    30. Aug, 2010

    err… Probably for the same reasons that women ARE NOT constantly video’ing themselves and spraying on the internet.

  4. smarvez

    30. Aug, 2010

    Patience Jamie. The Powder Room Project is going down soon.

  5. cjs

    30. Aug, 2010

    Campusman: Smoke less pot.

    JE: I was wondering the same thing. How many folks would you say are heading up there on a regular basis, and how many of them are women?

  6. sfp

    30. Aug, 2010

    Why don’t more women seek out and establish FA’s?
    Probably because climbing for most people is about pushing personal limits and not everyone cares about signing their name to a problem by seeking out FA’s. Up until now at least, the sport has been predominantly driven to its limits by men.
    There are certainly some notable exceptions where women have established ground breaking ascents, but I think as long as women are climbing a slight step “behind” men in the grade scale, most will aim to push their personal limits and project established problems rather than worrying about getting FA’s. FA’s seem to me to be mostly the realm of the very strong, those people that have done most of the established problems and need to find new problems to challenge themselves. Others like the adventure or validation derived from signing their name to the problem.

  7. Adam M

    30. Aug, 2010

    It’s coming. For sure, there will be many FA’s both moderate and hard, by women. I know it’s happening and there are a ton of hard women climbers out there that are way stronger than other guys putting up FA’s, including myself.

    All that needs to happen is for an area to be discovered by some ladies and the go out and just start yanking down, then go and tell some fella’s.

    Talk to John Sherman, he’s got a ton of bouldering areas all around the States that have yet to be developed and are full of moderate classics!

    Let’s see it Ladies! I’m really psyched to start repeating YOUR lines so we can start a new thread!

  8. cardboard_dog

    30. Aug, 2010

    dude I know for me .. I love finding new problems. I love the whole process of searching, finding, cleaning, working ..
    I am not a solid double digit climber and in NEPA, I am not going to put up any problems that put me in the mags or get me free shoes. It’s just what keeps me psyched on climbing. I personally seek out the pure, beautiful moderates with the best movement because I know that they are going to be the problems that get repeated the most by the most people. And if I take people to an area I found, I want everyone to have something to climb or its just not worth it for some people to go. There are plenty of woman that could be doing the same thing. Putting up 5 star moderates that people are going to love climbing over and over again. just seeing that would be rad. I think that there is certainly an aspect of climbing that is male driven and keeps woman chasing men on the V scale in order to be taken seriously as elite climbers and athletes which in many ways is a shame. If that weren’t the case I think alot more woman would be focused on FAs as much as repeating hard problems. And we would see alot of killer problems being done because alot of woman have a different vision when it comes to a classic problem, and therefor would probably seek out and clean problems that have been overlooked in the past.

  9. Jackie Hueftle

    30. Aug, 2010

    Hey Jamie,

    I’ve put up a few moderates of moderate quality at Lincoln Lake, as I told you about a few months ago. I also did a new one the other day that’s actually pretty fun and I think will capture the interest of the general public better than the first 3. I got some sub-par video of Chris climbing it yesterday that I may put into a short beta video, but basically it’s up in the talus above Tangerine man and it’s a slightly overhanging, left leaning double arete. Vee moderate +, compression.


  10. B0oulderite

    30. Aug, 2010

    It would be nice to see more high-level problems getting established by females … but will we see the “FMA” tag when dudes repeat them?

    Personally I think the FFA tag is a bit silly. First repeat by a woman is cool but does it really need an acronym?

  11. cj

    30. Aug, 2010

    Every climber loves seeing/touching/climbing a problem that was fa’d by one of their favorite climbers. It gives off a magical vibe knowing the history behind the vision and the execution of the problem. That psych when seeing a classic problem would be that much more special if it was fa’d by a women. The time is now for the ladies to send to give our future climbing generation a thrill!

  12. Dave T

    30. Aug, 2010

    I think it is strange how people come up with the idea that the only people who do FA’s are the uber strong who have sent everything else. More often than not, FA’s are more about exploring, seeing what is around that next bend, what is hidden in the next valley, will that line go? what is under that moss?

    There is something special about finding a new and inspiring line, cleaning it up and then beginning the process of leaning how to climb it. I think far too many people these days put waaaaaaay too much emphasis on beta and getting a quick tick. There is so much more to be learnt by trying to work something out for yourself, even more so when there is no silly number attached to the problem that tells you yes you should be able to do this in x tries.

    FA’s teach you that climbing is about climbing, numbers matter not, how hard is it, is it easy? is it above my limit? When going for an FA you just jump on and try, there is no roadmap, nothing telling you it is too hard, you just try and that, for me, is what bouldering is all about.

    Why more women are not engaging in this process is hard to understand.

  13. Trent H

    30. Aug, 2010

    Despite all the rhetoric flying about on the subject, I think that there are interesting differences between the sexes that drive this pattern. It is clear that men contribute virtually all the first ascents (especially in bouldering), but do not represent an overwhelming majority of the climbers in any given area. I think that this has to do with male behaviours that drive them to dominate territory, and to find and kill prey. In this day and age, this drive generally translates into fighting outside bars, driving way too fast, and highball bouldering. I do know of one notable exception, though – a close friend of mine (female) is the author of two scary highballs that were subsequently backed off of by several men…

  14. Nietzsche

    31. Aug, 2010

    Jackie Hueftle has been active putting up nice new climbs (and yes she’s done The Idiot). I had the distinct pleasure of repeating a nice double arete that she showed me on Sunday. My vote is V6.

  15. cj

    31. Aug, 2010

    @B0oulderite- The acronym is definitely necessary for hard problems! Testosterone goes hand in glove with bouldering.

  16. Adam M

    31. Aug, 2010

    “It goes boys.” Lynn Hill.

  17. Tendon

    31. Aug, 2010

    I say cause its WORK.

    Climbing FAs means a lot of sacrifice to your free time. Most people have limited time these days, so sacrificing any portion of a climbing day to clean/prep rocks for climbing just seems crazy (and it probably is). First you got to find the boulders, which is a day at least of sacrifice to find the NEW bloc. Then you have to haul your gear out there, maybe fix the landing, probably scrub some lichen, maybe pull a chossy hold off, put some chalk on holds, tick some feet, then maybe your ready to start trying this “new” problem.

    Aside from Jackie apparently, I have yet to see a women haul her own wire brush into a bouldering area. Yeah yeah, i have seen one pick up there male companions brush and help them scrub. But oh man, are they ready to drop that tool and whine about how boring cleaning rocks is. Hell yeah! its called work.

    Women know exactly what they’re doing. Why scrub rocks themselves, when that dude that just gave them the eye will be MORE than happy to scrub a little lichen for them. Women are good at getting men to do stupid shit for them, always have and always will. Why do work when the boys do it for them? they can just patiently watch, then snag the FA when the boys are all tired from cleaning.

    Whos got pics of ladies scrubbing lichen or moving rocks?

  18. sock hands

    31. Aug, 2010

    i’ll be psyched to check out jackie’s line asap. i think i know what it is… just didn’t get up there sunday.

    anyway, perhaps it makes sense to look beyond the parameters of rock climbing.

    throughout history, men have grasped at straws to create something, by their own hand, that will last in this world and create their legacy. most fail and fall into obscurity. from dust, to dust. however, some do succeed in creating a lasting impression on the world and the rest of us look up to this and try to formulate our own version, though some of the most lasting impressions upon the world created by men were fueled by pure ego and the fruits of the labor were very sour indeed. some of the greatest legacies created by men were really only offsetting the negativity created by those who came before.

    some believe that many women do not feel this compulsion to create some halfassed imperial legacy as acutely as many men because women have the intrinsic power to create LIFE and therefore create their legacy in a way much less selfish, and in many cases, much more profound than the worldly toils of man.

    google it.

  19. itinerant

    31. Aug, 2010

    patronising. present participle of pa·tron·ize (Verb)
    1. Treat with an apparent kindness that betrays a feeling of superiority.
    2. Frequent (a store, theater, restaurant, or other establishment) as a customer.

    which one is it gonna be?

  20. cardboard_dog

    31. Aug, 2010

    I agree with Ben 100%. FAs are WORK. And there are plenty of men that aren’t willing to do it either. You really have to enjoy it. Why waste a good climbing day looking at choss or chasing shadows in the forest when you can be stoned on the Trapps rd pulling down on the Buddah for the 200th time? with your shirt off. Wearing a wool beanie ..

  21. campusman

    01. Sep, 2010


    the gill egg
    its easier to cut your feet and campus to the jug.

  22. slabydno

    02. Sep, 2010

    jaimee, i think the reason women are not out there cleaning off lichen and popping loose flakes off really revolves around their place in life, and men not assigning these tasks to them. perhaps instead of ordering them to fold your laundry and clean the bathroom, we should tell them to go clean off that face with a wire brush. i’m a huge believer in the abilities of women and a proponent of the feminist cause. all they need is a little direction from men and this would no longer be an issue. you’d have ffa’s as abundant as the nicely folded khakis in your dresser.

  23. cardboard_dog

    03. Sep, 2010

    you see, the chicks .. cannot hold de smoke. thats what it is .

  24. sock hands

    03. Sep, 2010


  25. Courtney

    24. Sep, 2010

    Jamie…The first two weeks I didnt even climb up there, and walked around and brushed up about 6 boulders. (Not every little tick is Dave’s haha… Tangerine Man being one, which I spent at least 3 hours cleaning and scrubbing. I didnt do the F.A. but I did put effort into something that people could rock climb on.

    I do think us girls should put more effort into it, but mine is from lack of experience not effort!

    -Court :)

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