This past Thanksgiving we made our way to Utah and Nevada to spend nine days in the desert. Luckily, we had sunny and warm days. If I can climb in the shade in a tank, that's a perfect day!
First stop: Arrow Canyon. We decided to take the dam approach which was a little rough for our van but we made it. There was a section of deep sand that we made it through, but had us a little worried on the way out. The approach isn't bad. It's helpful to bring an extra rope that you can leave at the dam and an ascender would be nice for getting back up. Pulling your weight and a pack can be tiresome at the end of the day.
We spent each day at the Swamp Cave. The area has about 15 routes with overhung and vertical climbs. Most of the climbs are 12's and 13's. If you climb that grade, I'd recommend a visit. Tangled in Blue is one my favorite 12a's. The climb starts off with a boulder problem and then you have 12 bolts of vertical climbing. Steve spent time on Mud Butt 13d. Overhung with a powerful sequence in the middle with a few knee bars.
On day 4, we made our way back on the dirt road. Juno got stuck in the sand but we quickly dug her out and made our way to Utah. If we return, we may just take the other approach and take on the extra time to hike instead of bang around our little climbing mobile around.
Even though we're van traveling, we got a room at the Virgin River Casino. Tomorrow was a work/rest day and a room for $30 is a great way to get a shower in and get wifi. After checking out, we wrapped up work at Starbucks and Barnes and Noble in St. George then made our way to Moe's Valley.
For Thanksgiving, we spent the day bouldering at Moe's. This place is a great option for those colder days and is a quick stop off the highway in Utah. We wandered around and found plenty of awesome boulders. Afterwards, we cooked up our Thanksgiving dinner.
Our last stop was Hurricave. This cave sits up on a hillside with routes that go across the whole roof. If you haven't noticed yet, we love our limestone caves. We spent a couple of days here and by the last day our bodies were beat. We definitely could use more rest days but when time is limited, all you want to do is climb!
At the beginning of the year, we bought our van. If we aren't climbing, we are researching, planning, building, and sometimes re-doing. Like a oil painting, it takes countless hours before your start seeing the picture.
This is Juno from the very start. An empty white van with plans to take our family of 3 around the US. As of today, she has filled out a little bit more.
We've insulated, upholstered half of the walls, rails for the bed, 2 windows, installed a backup camera, added a fan, a bench with storage, painted the back doors, mapped out our wiring, added wood flooring, made a bug screen, and insulated window covers. The plan is build this little beast out to be pretty comfortable while we travel to climbing destinations around the US.
We plan on spending time in Rifle, Hueco, Squamish, Red River Gorge, Bishop, and many more places, including time in Spain and France. Most of the time we'll be climbing and filling up our free time with fly fishing, biking, exploring, and fitting in some work.
Bringing our 11-year old that isn't quite psyched about it may be challenge, but we hope things will change over the next year. We're mentioning it to her friends parents in hopes that she'll have some company throughout the trip. She'll homeschool and with her love for writing and video, she'll help document this time in her life.
We'll be sharing our adventures as YAMA Climbing. Previously, a climbing bag company, we're expanding it to share our van life, where we climb, the rivers and streams we fish, the road and trails we ride, and to the things we make.
Follow us on Instagram @yamaclimbing
Some of the best ways to learn how to travel is to get out and do it, get beta from your friends, and read a lot of blogs. At least, that's how we do it. So if you're thinking of heading out to Rodellar, Spain to do some climbing, this is what we got out of our trip.
Pack your climbing gear in your carry-on. To lose out on some days of climbing days because your luggage was lost, would be terrible. We packed our quickdraws, shoes, grigri, chalk bag, and any clothes that we would really want on the trip. If you have room, take a rope, but we bought an 80m at Barrabes in Madrid for about 130 euros. We needed a longer rope and and the price was right!
Before you drive up to Rodellar, get groceries. There are small mercados in Rodellar, but your selection is very limited. When it's time to shop, keep in mind what day and time it is. Most grocery stores are closed on Sundays and don't forget siesta. From 2pm-4pm, most shops are closed. Mercandona is a larger market and there is one located in Huesca.
When you rent a car, get the smallest one that you need. The streets can get narrow and parking can be tricky. Once you're get to Rodellar, you only need your car if you stay at El Puente, but your drive is only a couple minutes to the climbing parking area.
Bring all the quickdraws you own. Rodellar is not like Rifle and there aren't permadraws on almost every climb. We only brought 17 draws and some days that wasn't enough when we had different projects. Most routes are 25m-40m and they are all amazing!
There are few options for a place to stay in Rodellar. We stayed at Camping El Puente. Our room accomendates 2-6 people. It would fit 4 people comfortably, but if traveling with another couple and there are more aparthotels available, it almost the same price to get our own space. Depending on the time of the year, a room will cost 37-122 euros. It's a small two bedroom with a stove, fridge, kitchen table, and patio. We loved our spot! A couple more recommendations are Valle de Rodellar and Kalandraka.
Take a dip in the water. One of the days, we bought an inflatable raft and paddled up river and explored climbing areas that you have to access by boat. If you have time, go canyoning. About 30 minutes away is a swimming hole called Bierge that you should visit.
Don't forget your kneepad. This place is filled with tufas and kneebars. Cushion up those thighs so you keep on climbing.
Look for the labeled stones to help find out which routes are what. New routes are added and depending if you have a book or not, this is a helpful way to find what route you want to get on.
We headed out to Rodellar the end of May until mid June and we had great weather. There were a couple of hot days but that didn't stop people from sending. In May, you may find that some of the climbs might still be seeping, but by the end of trip, they drying out. Place are cheaper to stay at during the Spring and Fall. Rodellar is known for their canyoning so prices will go up to 100 euros a night. Camping is still available and most of the walls are in the shade, so if it's the only time you can head out there, you can still get climbing in since the canyon has morning and afternoon shade.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you out on your trip to Rodellar. I can't wait to get back!
We want to say Good Luck to Kalia for making it to USA Sport Climbing Youth Nationals in Kennesaw, Georgia. Kalia climbs for Movement Climbing Gym Boulder Youth Team. She has worked very hard to make it to Nationals and she's got a great mom that has helped her out along the way!
Have fun out there and crush it little lady!
This is one of my favorite trips of the year. There's no rush to finish my cup of coffee, a little bit of fly fishing, climbing, and then Fourth of July festivities. If only I could live like this everyday.
We made the trip with our van, Juno. Still bare inside expect for the insulation we installed this week. We did the after work push, leaving us in exhausted right in Buffalo. We found a spot to sleep and woke up to finish the 45 minute drive to Ten Sleep and see our first moose. Finally!
With the Fourth being on Monday, the town was a party on Saturday and Sunday. The best way to find out what's going on, visit the Bighorn Climber's Coalition and Ten Sleep Brewery website or find a flyer in the shops.
The Bighorn Climber's Coalition hosts their annual Climber's Festival and it's growing each year. You can test our your rodeo clip skills, your belaytionship, how fast can you pack a rope, do most pull-ups, strike a yoga pose, enjoy music by Jalan Crossland, and enjoy fireworks going off all night long. Along with the Climber's Festival, you have to check out the rodeo, the parade, the street dance, get ice cream at Dirty Sally's, shaved ice, and drink few beers at Ten Sleep Brewery.
Oh and did you know that there is amazing climbing out here? Mostly vertical to slightly overhung limestone and so much of it. Even on the busiest weekend of the year, there are classics to get on. Some of our favorites are Wagon Wheel of Death, Da Illa Pilla, EKV, Hellion, Captain Insano, and Left Shinto. This a only a short list of what's out there.
Then comes outdoor cooking. Our first Climber's Festival we whipped up an Upside Pineapple Cake for the potluck. So yummy. Then came pizza, brownies, popcorn, and cobbler. A new one that we have to add to cookbook, our friend Brandon cooked up Mac n Cheese with brocolli, kale, and SPAM.
Till next year.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside...thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!” ~ Hunter S. Thompson
It has been a while since I wrote. The journey continues. Still climbing, still running, still surfing, still paddling, and now painting things, most recently my crash pad.
This past year has been full of many firsts and adventures. At any age, that is a marvelous thing but especially makes me happy as I get older. Life is about adventure. Adventure is a beautiful thing; it keeps things exciting and keeps us young and playful and curious. I never want to just settle for the ordinary. That is how I will stay young. Play like a kid. Create. Live in the moment.
Many of the previously mentioned firsts in the past year involved new climbing areas: Bachar Boulders, Black Mountain, Stoney Point. And trips to some of those I already know and love: Buttermilks, Jasper, Tramway and Joshua Tree.
One of the Black Mountain trips was spent following Bryce and a group of friends around while they climbed and I was stuck wearing a “boot,” yes, another foot injury. That old broken-while-slacklining foot still gets aggravated by too much running, hiking or climbing but I’ve learned to deal with it because I will most certainly not be staying off it.
The other trip to Black Mountain, and my first, saw me send Future Direct, which I was very excited about!
Summer is always a good time, last summer no different for the fun factor. I went backpacking for 3 days with a friend. There is such beauty and magic in the Eastern Sierra. Many mountain ranges can make this claim but since I am talking about the Eastern Sierra, it is the representation of beauty and majesty for me here. We hiked out of Agnew Meadows in Mammoth on the John Muir Trail. There are so many lakes in that area, each more incredible than the last in its own way: Olaine, Shadow, Ediza, Iceberg and Cecile. Cannot wait to get back out there again!
There was also an incredible trip to Kona. No climbing on that adventure but lots of exploration while paddling, surfing, snorkeling and swimming. The best thing about all these adventures are the friendships created and enhanced. Experiences are defined by those with whom we share them.
Written by: Brand Ambassador Karey Garcia
On March 11th, Steve and I were invited on the CLIMBTALK radio show by the host, Michael Francis Brooks. The show streams live on Friday nights on the University of Colorado Boulder's 1190 am station, interviewing various climbers and outdoor enthusiast in the community. We got to share how YAMA was started and some of our climbing adventures.
Listen to the Podcast HERE
YAMA is back and doing it and doing it well.
In 2013, Boulder experienced the mighty flood and that year, I moved about 6 times which makes running a small business very difficult. So to get some stability in my life, I started working with Green Guru. Part-time turned into full-time and finding the time to bring YAMA back seemed impossible. Especially since I needed to fit all the outdoor activities that Colorado offers.
Now I'm picking up the pieces and get back to it and I'm really excited to create more bags and share our climbing adventures.
To get started, make sure to follow us on:
A little bit about YAMA: Based in Boulder, CO. We make chalk bags, chalk buckets, beanies, and accessories. Products are made in limited runs, one-of-a-kind, and custom.
Keep posted for more news!