5 Tips for Riding Solo

Spring has sprung, which means road tripping season is officially upon us! I may not be the most adventurous person on the planet, but I’ve driven across the country with dog as my co-pilot quite a few times. I’ve made mistakes, and learned from some of them, so here are my top tips for other aspiring road warrior-women!

Me and my favourite co-pilot.
  1. Load up on audiobooks and/or podcasts. Music is great but there’s only so many times you can sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody. If you’re into books, most libraries now will let you rent out the audio versions. Or you can download some podcasts – I recommend This American Life and Radiolab if you’re into learning random cool stuff.
  2. Get a GPS. Even if the directions are easy, even if you usually use your phone, the GPS is worth it. It’ll help you find important things (like gas) along your active route, and you can watch the ETA creep closer and closer without being tempted to text and drive.
  3. Stop often, even just to stretch your legs. I happen to have a miniature bladder (or maybe I just like to stay well hydrated), and over the miles I’ve learned McDonald’s is the best. You don’t have to be a fan of their food, but their washrooms are clean, and you can refill nalgenes at the drink fountains (there’s even ice if you’re into that). Another great stopping point is a ‘Scenic View’. If you see a sign for one and haven’t braked in a while, they’re usually worth checking out. Get out and walk around, you’ll feel much more awake afterwards!

    A random ‘Scenic View’ in Utah.
  4. Snack smart. Bring healthy, crunchy foods (I find the crunch helps keep me awake). My favourites are carrots, almonds, apples and potato chips (okay, so chips aren’t really healthy, but whatever).
  5. Figure out how to sleep in your car if you want to be thrifty. Yeah, you could pitch a tent at a rest area, but I cannot not recommend it. I’ve woken up more than once to a creep staring into my window (my dog is a great car alarm – don’t forget to lock your doors). Walmart parking lots seem to be safer, but are less common and require you to leave the freeway.


One of Wyoming’s ‘Scenic Views’. Those are the Tetons, yo!


Drive safe, ladies!



Staying Psyched

Feeling bummed? Uninspired? It happens to the best of us. Here are the steps I work through when I’m feeling burnt out.

     1. Read a Guidebook

This is the first thing I usually try because it’s really easy to do. Looking through my old guidebooks reminds me of all the radness in the world that’s worth training for. My personal favourite is Lies and Propaganda from Ten Sleep Canyon, which is basically half climbing guide half zine. The guns, cats, strippers, sick photos, and unusual (understatement) diagrams give me a laugh. Flip through the guidebook to your favourite area and maybe you’ll find a photo or a route description that’ll help you off the couch!

Lies and Propaganda from Ten Sleep Canyon (and my sleepy partner in crime). Photo by Jill Sompel.

     2. Watch some Videos

Another really easy and quick thing to do. Watching the pros float through their projects, or scream and fall off them, is super inspiring. I’m pretty sure that’s why they make the movies in the first place. Are you trying to get inspired to freeze your butt off in the alpine? Try Meru. Are your goals closer to sea level? Maybe Progression or The Scene would be a better choice. Do you just need a good laugh? Boogie Til You Poop. There are a ton of quality climbing films out there, so sit down with some popcorn and get psyched.

   3. Go Outside

Are you becoming a gym rat? Fresh air and a little Vitamin D might be all you need to feel inspired again. Touch some real rock, and have a fun day with your pals outdoors. You don’t even have to project something hard, just climb some easy-for-you classics. Maybe even bring a pie to the crag. I promise you won’t regret it.

The world is a beautiful place – get out there! Here is Lila ticking the classic ‘Water into Wine’ in Ten Sleep Canyon, WY.

     4. Switch Styles

Been bouldering your butt off, bro? Maybe it’s time to get on a rope. Tired of taking whippers on your proj? Bust out the trad rack, or convince a trad-dad to take you on a multipitch adventure. Do something new, switch things up, climb some classics – no expectations, just get out there and have fun!

     5. Climb with a New Partner

Did all the above options fail? Maybe you need to seek out some new partners. No wait, don’t get upset! I’m not saying you should abandon your current partner, but sometimes some fresh blood and a different perspective can help you get motivated again. As with most sports, it’s advantageous to climb with people who are stronger than you. If you’re the strongest person in your particular group of friends and you’re feeling a bit sluggish, maybe you need to sit down at the gym next to that crusher lady and get to know her. It’s also no secret that some people are better motivators than others, so try climbing with someone who encourages you to get on something above your paygrade. Do a little hang-dogging, it’s all good!


Alright, are you motivated? Now put your shoes on, chalk up, and send that b!#ch!