Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Regular programming will resume shortly 

Where'd I go? I know, it's been a long while since I've posted on here but the glorious 'Life Exploring Stone' got put on hold for a bit, hence the 5 month hiatus.

Lets cut to the chase. Why? I was born with a chronic illness, it was in remission for 8 years, it came out of remission and I got sick for a while. Ya it sucks, blah, and that that is why this post has been so hard to write, I don't like talking/whining about it, it's a bummer dude.

I left Ontario this winter as my usual bright eyed self, ecstatic about our winter adventures in the land of the free. And I came home with a totally new appreciation for life after being so sick for months. Not what I expected but a welcomed new outlook on life. Hard times give you unexpected perspectives.

I've had to change a bunch of things in my life. The only way I knew how to control this illness was to cut out many different types of foods, and I quit drinking alcohol, coffee, pop, anything acidic and keep stresses at an absolute low. "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". Each day I seem to get better. I feel fitness returning to my body and I'm starting to crave physical activity again. Good signs and thankfully just in time for the guiding season with On the Rocks! So happy I can still work, I was so worried.

I've had a bad luck stretch, but the tide always rolls back in. I'll be waiting for when the timing is right and I'm feeling alright :)

Rewinding through my photos from our winter in the US, we still had some amazing times. We rented a place in Mesquite, Nevada while I was sick. And despite my health, I got out climbing when I could muster the energy. Rock climbing became more of a nature therapy type thing, like going to church to pray. It was nice to feel the rock in my hands and the blood moving through my body. I just had to listen to my body and not push myself too hard.

Trilly in the Utah Hills.
Surprised to find these pics of me while flipping through the local guidebook: 'The Limestone Bible'

I had a rather spiritual experience near the end of our stay in Mesquite on a climb that has been on my Life List called 'The Great Red Roof', 5.13 Trad. This route was the one of the only things that kept me sane while I was really sick. I fantasized about it all winter, hoping that I would eventually be well enough to try it. As my health started to improve, I started to climb harder and sent a bunch of classics around Vegas and Mesquite to build fitness for the roof. I had a couple weeks left before we moved back home and as expected, the roof was just as cool as I'd imagined. I one hung it 6 times during my few days working on it, getting closer each attempt; but we then got completely rained out for our last week. This rain allowed me to step out of my obsessive rock climbing bubble and realize that I needed to go home and be an adult. A sign from mother nature to stop being so damn stubborn and take care of your sick ass self. So we said goodbyes and hit the road. This climb isn't going anywhere and I will be back.

The Great Red Roof 5.13 trad, Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Life List!!!

Pet Shop Boy 5.12d is one perfect piece of power endurance. Nice to crush it quick!

Brendan "Shadow Cruiser" O'Neil makes 'Old World Lullaby' 5.14 look cruizzee

Misty Murphy crushing a 5.12 at the Simian Complex. Cool to get to know this bad ass lady and her legendary status hubby Bob Ohran this winter.
Views from another perfect day at the Wailing Wall, Utah Hills.

Getting weird on 'The Weirding Way' 5.13a

Here is a peek at some of my first few attempts of the Great Red Roof 5.13 
Max effort! Ha

And how's this for a silver lining...
Arc'teryx has offered me a spot on their climbing team, and I obviously accepted!
Really honored and excited to work with this amazing clothing company. They truly make the most incredible technical clothing out there. I've never owned stuff so nice!

Superpower line up thanks to Arc'teryx, La Sportiva & Flashed!
And now I am home! I love home.
I've had some days off conveniently timed with perfect weather! 

Catching a ride.................... :)
Jany Mitges climbing one of the best 5.10's in the Beaver Valley: Homecoming @ Devils Glen

We will now resume the regular broadcasting of 'Life Exploring Stone'!!!

I am feeling a lot better these days! Fitness is returning, guiding has been amazing. On the Rocks is still the best job in the world. I have had a few absolutely stellar climbing days in the Beaver Valley and a couple at Lions Head as well. Dave Zieleniewski and Kyle Thomas bolted and cleaned a route called "Showered with Gifts" 5.11d at Metcalfe Rock and I was showered with the gift of the FA when I flashed it after guiding all day. It is just to the left of 'Split Image' and it goes up the blank white face. A classic!

Kyle Thomas on his FA attempt of 'Showered With Gifts' 5.11d. The FA race was on!

Just finished bolting a route with Kyle that I started last year on the peninsula, tried the moves and wow what a gem! Did all the moves except one and I think it may be possible. Oh I hope! Route developing is so exciting and rewarding.

Kyle Thomas creating a new gem on the Peninsula

Just really happy to be feeling better and to be home doing what I love :)
Great to be out at the local cliffs, see all the familiar friendly faces about.
Made the drive up to Sudbury to ARC Climbing and Fitness a couple weeks ago. I ran a training session for the Youth Team, ran a Technique Course for the members and finished with a slideshow and swag from La Sportiva, Sterling Rope, Flashed, Sanuk. Good times getting to meet this amazing climbing community in Sudbury, and its a great gym with really nice routes, if you happen to be in the area.

Everyone loves swag! Thanks to La Sportiva, Sterling Rope, Flashed and Sanuk for the support :)

Teaching technique to lots of awesome folks

Climbing with the ARC Youth Team in Sudbury, Ontario
Discovered "The Yoak" while I was at the gym and what an incredible training tool! The possibilities are endless with this thing and I can't wait to implement it into my training. Excited for a partnership with this company, they have graciously welcomed me on to their team of athlete testers! My Yoak arrives today.

Check it out at:

Well I'll cut it off here, I went from having so little to say to so much to say! I think that is a sign of changing tides. Looking forward to another summer climbing on the Niagara Escarpment! SO much thanks to my amazing husband, friends, family, and sponsors for being so incredibly generous, positive, kind and supportive through all the ups and downs. I am still the luckiest lady in the world. Big love to all :)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

November to Remember

I guess I can say that I guided right to the very end of the season this year!

 I love my job On the Rocks, though I equally love the pure freedom of my off-season from guiding full time. The freedom of the open road, freedom to roam and explore, freedom to eat, sleep, climb, repeat. 

Work hard, play hard.

By October, I was feeling totally beat down from a long guiding season here in Ontario. After having a strict work agenda from May-Oct, all I really wanted for the month of November was to have no agenda, no goals, no plan, no stress. So we did what we do, we packed up the truck and trailer and hit the open road... First stop: New River Gorge,West Virginia.

Back in Wet Virginia, still soaked, I mean stoked, well ya soaked too.

Fall colours, New River Gorge, WV... worth the detour
Our trip to the New was quick, the usually gloomy forecast scared us away pretty quick this year and we drove due west in search of sun and rock. I researched sport climbing spots on Mountain Project while Kyle crushed the drive and we literally just drove to the closest place with a sunny forecast and new rocks to climb....which ended up being Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico.

Steep thrills in the Solstice Cave, Last Chance Canyon, NM.
We didn't really have any expectations going there, so when we arrived to sun and free private camping in the desert, we were already stoked. The climbing was decent, short but good quality limestone, a good grade selection and absolutely no crowds. What the rock lacked in height it made up for with steepness in a lot of the Canyon, which was a nice change from the vertical Niagara Escarpment stone. Shade and sun were abundant and the routes were relatively concentrated with an easy approach The Solstice cave offered both shade and sun and crazy steep routes while the Mad Cow Wall offered more technical lines and all day shade. Check it out on Mountain Proj here:

Kyle Thomas jug hauling on Solstice 5.12+

Approach into Last Chance Canyon
Fav part of the trip was being able to push my onsight climbing again. It has been years since I have been able to with finger injury hesitations and having the freedom to give 100% on the rock again was the most incredible feeling. I was right back to taking down 5.12+ on my first try and technically 5.13 too, though I didn't feel that the route was that hard. The camping was peaceful, in a beautiful meadow of dry desert grasses where wild horses and coyotes regularly roam. Kyle was back in action, climbing 5.12 again after being on the bench for years. We were both so blissfully happy to be climbing freely again without hesitations. 

Onsighting Eternal Sunshine 5.12
Sun, wind
Maury casually takes down another 5.12 on the Mad Cow Wall at LCC
First view of Sitting Bull Falls, NM...yum
Sitting Bull Falls was another nice cliff close to LCC. Great spot with a small wall of fun 5.10-5.11 beside a wall of steep gymnastic 5.12-5.13. Not a ton of stuff but great stone and movement, a pretty location and totally worthwhile stop!

Milking the double knee bar no-hands on Broken Arrow 5.12d
We finished our stay in New Mex on a perfect note. Kyle had his first multiple 5.12 day in years and I made super quick work of a steep dynamic jug haul called Canadian Beef 5.13a, put up by Canadian beef cake Kevin Wilkinson who developed a lot of the steepness in LCC. Our friends Maury and Carrie had some great sends too and we all celebrated this perfect day on the rocks back at camp. Next morning we split LCC with no plan at all and ended up heading straight for Joshua Tree, California for our last couple days of climbing before we flew home.

Joshua Tree vistas, chocolate for my soul <3

A family climbs the famous Headstone
 It feels like time stands still in JTree and life was just as it was when we left, same vibe, same energy. We were welcomed into the park with perfect weather and a couple of amazing last climbing days of bouldering and sport climbing. I was feeling weightless on the rock and in tune with my self and the stone. I guess putting in 2 months straight last winter + countless previous trips has paid off, and the style is starting to come a little more easily each trip. That and I have absolutely no expectations there any more, grades are meaningless and inspiration is my guide. Its about the climb, and the challenge that motivates you. This frees the mind to relax and be present in the moment and during these last two days I felt more free and in tune than I have in years. I was on a tear over the two days and most memorable was stomping a stellar 5.12d called Prime Real Estate on my second try, it was a rather out of body experience!

Sunset glow gun show

Crow Pose

Alligator skin granite on the Illicit Sweetie boulder
The rest of November was more of a blurr! In a whirlwind 3 days of travelling from J-Tree to Palm Springs to Toronto to Thornbury and back to Toronto, we eventually ended up in Costa Rica. We spent a crazy 9 days in Puerto Viejo and did nothing but relax, drink, eat, explore and chill on a beach. Every day was like ground hog day, living the true Pura Vida, with some of my most amazing friends. The culture was incredibly refreshing, so happy and relaxed and I doubt that'll be our last time and our last happy hour in Puerto Viejo.

Jungle escape
Pelicans fish at sunset
La Playa Negra - The Black Beach


happy hour yeeoo

Cool bird we stared at for a while


Seconds after I snap this shot, the dude on the tall unicycle nails a car and flies off the thing into a restaurant.
Post-happy hour pose

The flight home was rather terrifying, but we made it back to the ground and to Thornbury safe and sound. Now I've got a little over a month to train up for round 2 and winter goals. Really excited to work with the Power Climbing Company and the training program they custom designed for me. We fly back to Cali on Jan 4, and start our winter road trip Jan 15 after some family visiting. Can't wait to be back on the road...and the rocks :)