Plastic Weekly’s look into SheSets; a female route setting movement

Here at Climb Like a Girl we like to see (and hear about) women participating at all levels and roles in the rock climbing community.  That’s why when I listened to Plastic Weekly’s podcast focusing on women in a setting role, I immediately wanted to share it with all of you.


Even though at least half the climbing population is female, many roles are still predominantly filled by men.  Setting is certainly one of them.  In this episode host Tyler Norton interviews the inspiring, and knowledgeable female industry leaders that made SheSets (the first ever female route setting symposium) happen.  Have a LISTEN of their take on why there are so few female setters, brainstorm how to influence change, and discuss what it takes to become a great setter {Spoiler; you don’t have to be the strongest climber in your gym}.

via Ep. 12 – Making Better Setters: SheSets Symposium — Plastic Weekly


– Steph



March Break Adventures

Things are starting to warm up here in Ontario, but (for most) it is not quite comfortable enough to put bare fingers to cold rock just yet.  Like many others at this time of year, our Crew member Liz made a trip down South to ditch the plastic and get on the real thing for a little while.

Here’s her post from ‘Six Legs in a Subaru‘ sharing her March Break Adventures.

Six Legs in a Subaru

I’ve spent a couple weeks in the Chattanooga area every winter for the past 4 years, mostly at Little Rock City, as its myriad of tricky slab problems fit well with my strengths. Last year I sent my two hardest boulders to date at LRC, “Grimace”, an absolute 5 star line, and “I Think I Can”, the most contrived crimp ladder I’ve ever split a tip on. Facebook keeps suggesting I repost some of those memories, which is nice, but really it’s only reminding me that my 8a bouldering scorecard is about to tank. (#spoileralert)

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Climb Time in Europe!

This week Sue T returns to the Climb Like A Girl Blog to tell us about a great opportunity for those looking to climb abroad – and maybe don’t know where to start.

Hey Ladies!!!  Just sharing a great opportunity to climb in Europe with the guiding group Rockbusters.  I’ve been on 3 of their trips (Czech Republic, Germany, and Spain), and I’m headed back this summer for more.  Beautiful locations, incredible climbing, and great coaching.  They even have a trip this spring with Adam Ondra doing some workshops!!!  Even better, there are ladies only trips throughout the year, some of them coached by Daila Ojeda:  WOW. ZA.  The trips are affordable (there are always deals coming up on their site), there is ZERO ego, and you will leave climbing stronger than when you started 🙂

Check them out at

A couple of questions  you may have:

Q. I just started climbing, or I’ve never climbed outdoors.  Is this trip right for me?

A. Yup.  Beginners are really successful on these trips! You can get as much or as little guidance as you want.  During my Spain trip someone who had never climbed outside learned how to lead!

Q. I climb harder stuff.  Will I get on some hard things?

A. Yes.  Go on with your bad self. You will be challenged.

Q.Will I smell like armpits because I won’t be able to shower?

A. I was able to shower and clean my tits, pits, and girlie bits everday on the three parts of the trip I was on.  Another gal I met did the Italy trip and I heard that she bathed in an Italian river (amazing) which I was disappointed to hear is not, in fact, made from gelato.  She absolutely loved it.

Q. I hate sleeping in tents.  Any other options?

A. On some legs you will to sleep in fart domes (tents) but on some trips there are other options.  In the Czech Republic we stayed in a house.  I shared a room with 2 amazing gals and a hot Frenchman (tres delicieux) but there were 10 of us on this tour total.  In Spain 7 climbers shared an entire refuge. Wine EVERY night.

Good safe climbing fun! I highly recommend climbing with Rockbusters!  If you want any more advice or info DM me on IG @bushwhacker_sue or at



Making History: Margo Hayes climbs 5.15a/9a+

It seems like the entire climbing word is buzzing about Margo Hayes’ amazing 5.15a (9a+) send of La Rambla in Catalunya, Spain and for good reason.

My first reaction to this news was just awe.  As a recreational climber who dreams of redpointing a 12a someday, I cannot even begin to imagine what a 15a looks like.  But the raw emotion on Margo Hayes’ face in this photo is something most, if not all of us can relate to; pure joy and utter disbelief.

Pure joy is also how I feel about being a part of a sport that has women absolutely killing it at the highest levels.  Not just as female athletes, but as athletes… period.

Interestingly enough there is already a bit of controversy about the caption “first woman to send 5.15a/9a+”.  As there are accounts of both Ashima Shiraishi and Josune Bereziartu climbing this grade before Margo.  And though I haven’t seen it yet, I am just waiting for the whole ‘female first ascent’ debate to get charged up again.  But in this moment I’m not going to get lost in the drama that may demote or undermine this achievement, I am going ahead to call it exactly what it is: Historical.

Historical may seem like a strong word for some.  Becuase Margo may not have been the first woman to achieve the grade, nor the first person to send that particular route, many can and will dispute it’s importance.  But 5.15 is a threshold few have obtained and a send of that magnitude at this point in the history of rock climbing is certainly notable and newsworthy.  Until this becomes the norm for elite climbers (male or female), any woman to indisputably complete a climb of that difficulty is achieving something historical.  To put this in perspective maybe 30 people in the history of climbing as a sport have completed a 5.15.  It is an athletic feat significantly less common than someone running the 100 meter in below 10 seconds.  Now when I say someone, in this case, I am referring to a man (women haven’t even broken 11-second mark since 1988).

Other than climbing there are few examples of elite female athletes performing at or better than the level of their male counterparts.  This is often is at the heart of nearly every argument supporting the disparity of sports coverage, attendance, and funding between men’s and women’s sports.  So ya, Margo, Ashima, and Josune’s climbs are all a pretty big deal… and maybe should be for more than just climbers.

While the debate of who gets the title of ‘first’ may never be settled, the fact remains; there is not one, not two, but three women capable of climbing 5.15/9a+ … and many others putting their best efforts in to join them.  If 5.15 is sport climbing’s modern equivalent of the 10-second barrier, then ladies get ready; we are about to see more history be made.

Photo Credit Circuit Climbing

Note: I kept the number of climbers to complete 5.15s as a general, but conservative estimate.  Doing my best to stay out of debates of who sent what and whether it should be down or upgraded.

If you’d like more information on female first ascents, here is a good read:


For some it may seem too late in the summer to take the leap and transition their climbing habit to the outdoors.  But not only is it never too late to start gaining experience, late summer and fall are some of the best times to get out!  Less bugs and cooler temperatures make for a more comfortable experience (and more friction on the rock).  Whether you are interested in top roping, bouldering, or leading outdoors; our guest blogger Leslie Timms has some great tips to guide us through a smooth transition.

For the experienced climbers out there; let this be a little refresher.  It never hurts to know more.  In all honesty I picked up a thing or two out of this and am inspired to learn more and be better prepared (and safer) for my future trips!

Thanks Leslie


Theatre Meets Climbing

A Special Guest Blog from Laura Del Papa; Crux PerformerTheresa split logo


Four months ago, I was not a climber. Three months and a few days ago, I walked into Boulderz Climbing Centre on Dupont, determined to throw myself into something new. I wanted to find stability in my life as a performer and my solution had been to further shake things up; I was to be a complete beginner at something, in a place where I knew absolutely no one.

As fate would have it, I found myself back at Boulderz four days later, this time, auditioning for a Toronto Fringe show called Crux. The concept was innovative and catchy – Crux: a site-specific, immersive play that takes its audience into the gripping world of climbing. The show, written and directed by Greg Borris, was a fine balance of climbing, dancing and theatre. It would also allow audience members to freely follow any of the 8 characters throughout the gym. I walked out of my audition hoping the stars would align in my favour – I was already hooked on climbing and I desperately wanted to be a part of this unique experience.

Fast forward three months’ time and I’m still thanking my lucky stars: not only was I was able to pursue climbing, but I had the good fortune to be cast as Theresa in Crux! With less than two weeks to opening the show, I look back at the progress I’ve made. The walls have helped me develop my strength and confidence in ways I never thought possible.  They forced me to slow down and deal with problems, one move at a time. They taught me how to take risks and trust.

Set on the night of the Bigger Better Boulder competition, Crux gives you the option to choose who you follow throughout the show. My character, Theresa, works at the gym and has to manage the comp. Juggling the tensions of the evening, she slips in and out of multiple roles; Theresa must become a teacher, friend, mediator and fighter in order to maintain her own personal balance. As a dancer and an actor, I love how smoothly the scenes transition into dance and climbing sequences. As in real life, we carry our emotions onto the wall and they shape the way we move.

Crux has taught me that falling isn’t failing and that the only way is through. It has been a truly remarkable process that has changed me for the better and I believe it can change you too, if you give it a chance.

Come see who will crush and who will crack under the pressure of the Bigger Better Boulder comp. Come see what drives people up the walls.

Crux runs from June 29th to July 10th at Boulderz Climbing Centre.                                 

Showtimes: 9:30PM on weeknights, 7:30PM weekends. No show July 3rd .

For more information or to buy tickets, please visit
Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @crux_TO

Laura Del Papa is a Montreal born and raised performer, currently based in Toronto.  Interested in all aspects of theatre, she is unabashedly exploring opportunities all the while pursuing her training, her writing, and enjoying whatever comes her way in life.

Lion’s Head 101

Ask anyone about climbing in Lion’s Head and likely you’ll get one of three replies- Where is that? It’s so beautiful there! Isn’t it really hard to access?

Where is that?

Lion’s Head is nestled in a bay, that’s in a bay, on the Bruce Peninsula. It’s in Isthmus Bay, in the almighty Georgian Bay. The geology of the area is fascinating! A long long long time ago (400 million years give or take) the area that is now the Niagara Escarpment was a shallow tropical sea, home to crustaceans, living corals, and mollusks. As the sea dried, the minerals that dissolved in it became concentrated. Magnesium in the water was absorbed into the limestone, which then became a harder, slightly different sort of rock, called dolomite (thank you Parks Canada for the history lesson). Then a long long time ago (10,000 to 5000 years ago), water from melting glaciers flowed from the west (Lake Huron) and drained to the east (Georgian Bay) over the massive cliffs along the escarpment- that must have made for the most incredible waterfalls back then. Eventually, the water filled the bays and lakes, the waterfalls receded, and what we are left with are some pretty bitchin’ cliffs to climb that have some of the most amazing views.

If you’ve never been up to the Bruce Peninsula you need to go!. It’s an easy drive up Hwy 6, and that’s it. (It’s a really quiet place, there are pretty much no other roads!). Lion’s Head is one of the ‘bigger’ towns, with Tobermory at the tip of the peninsula. I could go on about the Flower Pot Islands, The Bruce Trail, Harvest Moon Bakery, and the Grotto, but this is about climbing!! So let’s get our hand sweat on 😉

It is so beautiful there!

Yes. Yes it is. The first time I went was to Halfway Log Dump, a bouldering spot in the Bruce Peninsula National Park. Turning off of Hwy 6 onto Emmet Lake Rd, it’s a nice 1km hike to the water. I wasn’t expecting the view when we arrived- the most gorgeous blue water I’ve seen outside of the Caribbean, and gleaming white rocky beach!

Taking a break after climbing The Kids Are Alright (V3) at Halfway Log Dump.

Continue reading “Lion’s Head 101”

The sharp end of rock climbing – A bird’s eye view and the pursuit of balance

Thanks JJ for sharing your incredible story… and for being the biggest badass I know! You never cease to be a source of inspiration and motivation.

Stay on Target

I made it on the cover! I made it on the cover!

Some of you know that I’ve been rock climbing for half of my lifetime, which is a really long time.

Pre-ride warmup! Pre-ride warmup!

Others have only seen me pedalling furiously at races vying for a spot on the podium.  As one cyclist stated after discovering that my biceps came from rock climbing, he responded, “hell honey, whatcha wanna do a crazy sport like that for?  You have a death wish?”  That coming from a road racer, to me, is somewhat ironic.  I’ve never felt more at risk than in road racing…but let’s get back to rock climbing.

Coming into the feed zone! Coming into the feed zone!

Since I’ve started this blog, I haven’t mentioned my previous life of scaling walls and such, primarily because wearing lycra and riding a bicycle through beautiful forests was a wonderful change and focus in my life.  I had a health and cancer mission…

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So, I want to know…

Laughs and our first ever GIVEAWAY!

We here are at Climb Like A Girl know that our audience has lots of great stories, and we want to hear them!  To encourage some sharing we are running a small giveaway.  We will be keeping it light and looking for some laughs, on that note feel free to tell stories about ‘a friend’, and don’t use names, unless it is your own.  See details below on how to enter.  `

So to get the ball rolling…

It was a pretty chilly day to be climbing in Kentucky; maybe about 8 degrees.  The sun had yet to hit the wall of the crag we were at and the rock was so cold your hands would ache on climbs.

We met a small group of young climbers from various parts of the States and we became fast crag friends– chatting, offering beta, and cheering each other on.  At one point a girl who was part of the States crew disappeared for a pee and returned a few minutes later from around the corner of the wall holding her chalk bag straight out in front of her.

It looked like she was offering it to us. She was breaking a smile and her expression said something strangely proud like, “So guess what I just effing did!?” Likely, in the haste to pull down her pants and harness to prevent her lady parts from catching a chill, her chalk bag must have dangled its way under the stream and… she pissed right in it!

She was simultaneously embarrassed and gratified with this feat and we were all totally awe-struck with the precision of this accident. We laughed, maybe applauded, and for the rest of the day no send on the wall even compared to this accomplishment.

To this day I think about her when I’m making potty in the bush. You should too: ensure that your bag is out of harm’s way so that your essential chalk does not end up turning into pee-dough. Life lesson folks, life lesson.

-Sue T

Actual bag of pee!

So, what’s the funniest or most bonehead thing you’ve seen at the gym or crag?

There are three ways to participate in our little giveaway:

1) through the sharing of your story in the comments below

2) share the post via  Facebook and add your story with the hashtag #climblikeagirlgiveaway

3) share your story and picture via Instagram with the hashtag #climblikeagirlgiveaway.  Must be a resident of Canada or the United States.  The winner will be chosen at random, and contacted at contest’s end June 13, 2016.  No restrictions on story lengths.

giveaway 1
Our giveaway prizes.  Just in case you forget the lesson learned above and need a new chalk bag!  We are adding in some Flashed liquid chalk and Metolius super chalk (not pictured).

When We Fall

No matter how hard we try – in climbing and in life – sometimes the universe has other plans.  It is not the fall that defines you; you are still the same person when you get up… just maybe a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser, and a lot less alone than you thought.

This beautiful message is from a father to his daughter, reminds us of just that.

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A big thanks to Matt for allowing us to share this with the Climb Like a Girl community.

Indiana Crimpgirl – thank you for embodying what it means to Climb Like a Girl.  We just know you will be doing incredible things in the future, and can’t wait to see what you get up to!  You officially have some big fans here on the Climb Like a Girl crew.
For more on Indiana you can follow her athlete page on Facebook