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All Climbing

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Top ten reasons to rock climb with girls

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Today we have a guest post from Sara Lingafelter who writes at the climbing blog

Top ten reasons to rock climb with girls:

1. Some of us have nice thin (but strong!) forearms, itty bitty wrists and long fingers; perfect for cleaning stuck nuts and walked cams. I rescued a blue Camalot on a route at Tuolumne that wouldn’t have been retrievable by any of my guy partners without some extremely creative antics and additional hardware.

2. You’ll be the envy of the other guys at the crag. You’ll be the extra-super-envy of the other guys at the crag if your female climbing partners are traditional leaders.

3. If you’re climbing with girls, you’re more likely to have other girls approach your party and chat folks up, because hey — you’re presumptively non-creepy enough for some girl to rock climb with you. And the corollary applies: you’ll spend a lot less time lost, because we don’t hesitate to stop and ask other climbers (or gas station attendants, or grocery store clerks) for directions and/or routefinding tips.

4. Food and drink. Subject to exceptions, there are usually yummy leftovers when you eat with girls. You also get to sample tasty treats like Luna Bars and that awesome vanilla cinnamon oatmeal without having the cute girl at the grocery store checkout raise her eyebrow at you for buying food with the words “for women” on the label.

5. Our overnight kits generally include such important but often overlooked items as Aleve, eye drops, fingernail clippers and chap stick with SPF.

6. When getting to know new partners, we tend to understate and/or underestimate our relative skill… which tends to lead to pleasant surprises on get-to-know-you routes instead of the epics that can occur when a new partner overstates their skill.

7. Come on, admit it… sometimes you actually like the “Lilith Fair crap” we listen to on road trips. As much as you try to hide it, we can hear you singing along.

8. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a girl climbing partner with whom traded backrubs after a long day of climbing qualifies as sports massage and not flirting. True story. It can happen.

9. No matter how long we go without a shower, we always smell better than boys for the long drive home.

10. I’ll spare you the “climb like a girl” coaching because despite the fact that I just wrote a partly tongue-in-cheek guest post full of gender-based generalizations, the generalizations that climbers make about boys being strong, powerful and dynamic and girls being graceful, technical and static don’t sit well with me. But, to make a long story short, just like we can learn a thing or two from you… you can learn a thing or two from us.

What have I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments, or pop over to for more on my climbergirl life.

All Climbing thanks Sara Lingafelter for today’s guest post. You can read more from Sara at her blog You can also find Sara on Twitter at sharing her thoughts.

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  1. Wow… I expected criticism about indulging in gender-based stereotypes… but I guess I underestimated…

  2. @sendaustin Sara did say at the end of the post that it was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but you’re entitled to your opinions. I don’t think she meant to offend anyone and it was intended to be a light-hearted look at being a female climber – from at least *her* perspective.

    I also ran the it by my wife before posting and she had no problems with the post. She simply laughed and said she enjoyed it.

    What does everyone else think?

  3. Eh, I’m generally the one doing the criticism of treatment of women in the climbing press, so I appreciate @sendaustin’s position.

    But, now I’m tapping out to go rock climb.

  4. #3 could not be more true. My wife was constantly advising us that we were going the wrong direction about 1.5 hours before we turned around during our ill-fated attempt to reach Cathedral Peak. Fortunately she is used to being right and didn’t rub it in our faces too badly.

  5. I love climbing with girls. A lot of the time they can make better climbing partners, well maybe sometimes it depends.

  6. Very funny and realistic this post… Here in Brazil We don´t have many girls climbing. Blame the “media” (tv, radio, magazines)… Climbing is still treated as something weird and involuted… WHat is really good is a shopping mall…. I fortunately climb With a girl, she is my friend more than most men, and we really have a good time climbing and laughing, she complains less than most men i know. My girlfriend is more jealous of men friends than of her. Awesome! =D

  7. I loved it. Being a female rock climber isn’t easy at times as men can be stuck in stupid perceptions at times, but I’ve climbed with men and it can be fun.
    Sara, I was surprised to see you here but loved the post

  8. 11. Girls smell better than guys, hence mosquitoes like them better, hence guys get bitten less when climbing with girls…ergo, you’ll be saved from West Nile Virus.

    12. They always remember to bring food.

    13. They inspire you to never quit on a route that they’ve already climbed, because, I mean COME ON the GIRL just climbed it!!! Hence, they make you a better climber.

    14. They never talk smack when they’ve just completed a route you couldn’t climb. (Because they don’t want to spend the next 14 hours belaying on that same route, watching you fall off that same *&$$!&!!!** move 274 times. See item 13).

    15. To quote Colbert: BEARS! You don’t have to run faster than the bear, you just have to run faster than the girls. You ARE faster than the girls, right? Right? Right?

    16. Girls who climb are an automatic, minimum, 12a on the “hotness” scale. Girls who climb AND write have to be at least 14a….. You know I’m right.

  9. hmmm… methinks my friend G has found this post… and I actually have rebuttals to some of your additions. #11 may be true, but I take B vitamins and tend to carry bug spray, so no luck for the boys there. #12 is not true… I actually, on one recent trip, *forgot* to bring food. Thank goodness Mr. Reliable had an apple and bagel to share, or it would have been one crabby climbergirl day. #13 goes both ways. When I see my male climbing partners send something, it sometimes triggers my inspiration to send. #14 … true. Never thought about the 14-hour belay… I just like my climbing partners, and don’t want to lose them because of smugness. We all have different strengths. #15 … depends on the guy and girl. Me, not so fast, especially with a pack. So, I guess that makes me a good choice for a climbing partner in bear-addled areas. #16, is awfully familiar… 😉

  10. Anybody that can’t see the humor in this piece…*cough, cough*…Send Austin…might want to go get a grip of their own.

    I can’t imagine being insulted by this. But then, I have a strong sense of my own capability and don’t feel limited or put in a little box because I’m a female.

    I thought it was hilarious. And especially true about the food. My husband never brings food, whereas I tend to bring an eight course meal.

  11. How about a 10 reasons to climb with guys reply?…This could get oogly!

    But seriously – I like climbing with philosophical, opinionated, funny, smart, not “ticking time bomb” types – male or female. And also like following people who don’t weld every nut like they’ll fer sure die if they don’t. And following people who PLACE nuts – and tricams! And people who don’t insist on using super-duper double redundant systems(one redundancy is enough!) hahahah

  12. Sorry guys #9 is true; even if you met a smelly girl, she still smells better.
    Re: #4, not true. I recently did a short climbing trip where my lunch consisted of a Outdoor Research instant meal of couscous and lentils, while the two guys I was hanging with had a huge Tupperware tub full of an endless smorgesbord: huge bags of gorp and peanut butter stuffed pretzels, a large container of cut fresh fruit of every type you can imagine, Izze natural sodas, chips and salsa and all the fixings for Dagwood style sandwiches, everything fresh. It just kept coming and coming out of that tub. There I sat sooo envious and pathetic with my little bag and spork. Of course they shared, nice guys they are. But I swore never again would I go so light in my packing that I would be eating a tasteless, Spartan meal out of an paper bag again!

  13. Man, some people really need to lighten up, freaking out over stereotypes. Like it or not, there are certain things that group us all together in many different ways. Studying anthropology, I see these patterns all the time, especially in sub-groups like us climbers.

    It’s like anything in life, if you have no sense of humour and take offence to every little thing, then you’re going to have one horribly dull and meaningless life. I for one thought it was a great article. Most of the best tv shows are all written overemphasising stereotypes. . . we just have to laugh at ourselves 😀