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Do women like to climb chimneys?
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By Wendy Laakmann
From Bend, OR
Oct 8, 2009
On top of Castleton.. with the Rectory and Sister Superior behind.

My husband and I are having a debate. I hate climbing chimney's, abhor them, dread them, struggle, bruise, and get stuck in them. My hubby enjoys them and insists it's just because I don't know how to climb them....I argue that they are miserable and that few women are likely enjoy them.

My n of 2 from this afternoon found one woman that tolerates them (she was a hardcore climber, though), and a second woman who hates them.

Are there really women out there that enjoy chimneys and don't get their booties stuck in them?

Wendy


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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Oct 8, 2009
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

For some reason, I have a funny feeling Epinephrine isn't happening for me on this trip.....


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By kBobby
From Spokane, WA
Oct 8, 2009

Andy, I think you might be right. :)

Wendy, don't let him talk you into Tunnel Vision then.


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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Oct 8, 2009

FWIW, my wife has thought that a few easy chimneys we did were fun. My older 2 daughters have liked some easy chimneys, too. I think it might be because one can stem. Difficult chimneys are likely to be different.


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By KateC
Oct 8, 2009
Deep water solo'ing in Thailand.

Aw, you don't like chimneys? Sad.

I am a woman, I am not a "hardcore" climber by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been doing it for a few years now. I love climbing chimneys, because it makes me feel like a kid again. The first things I climbed when I was little were trees and door-frames or chimney alcoves on buildings. I remember being like 6 years old and thinking it was so cool that I could walk up a wall by bracing my back against the other side! How is that not fun??

I think the trick to having a good time on a chimney climb is to go into it realizing that it will be a slower climb. You can't fly up a chimney doing dynos, you have to work up it in inches. If you are patient, you can wiggle wiggle wiggle your way all the way up and enjoy every minute!

Oh, and don't wear a tank top if you want to save the skin on your back. ;)


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Oct 9, 2009

Let's be fair....there are chimneys and there are Chimneys. Generally only hedonistic men like to thrash and squirm and tear the skin from their backs and knees in an attempt to conquer the rocks.

KateC, go climb the Hollow Flake and the squeeze chimneys on Half Dome's regular route then get back to me on your love for chimneys. Wendy, never fear, many chimneys are fun especially when you don't have to lead them. Just stem and climb the outside and ask your husband innocently why he struggled so mightily. Learning good technique, facing the right way, and wearing knee pads go a long way. BTW my wife likes most chimneys, but didn't have too much fun on the ones I listed above. Especially when she got stuck in the squeeze on Half Dome because she had my down coat on. Generally the wider a chimney the more fun it is to climb (but not necessarily to lead). Stay away from the squeeze chimneys, those are almost all bad.


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By David Aguasca!
From New York
Oct 9, 2009
Oh no! OUT OF COFFEE! ALL IS LOST

Kevin Stricker wrote:
Stay away from the squeeze chimneys, those are almost all bad.


Nah...those are just about having technique, too...ok, AND a penchant for a little bit of suffering. I think Chimneys are great. (check out my profile picture)


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By KateC
Oct 9, 2009
Deep water solo'ing in Thailand.

Ha ha, yes you are hilarious. I would like to invite you all out to a weekend in my playground: Vedauwoo. And you will learn why I love my chimneys. Squeeze and all.

The wider ones are the way off the rocks around here. ;]


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Oct 9, 2009
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

My wife HATES chimneys. She climbs 5.12 but won;t do any route, of any grade if there's a chimney. She also really hates traverses, the combination of which pretty much eliminates Eldo, but I digress.

The key Andy, is to limit your lovely wife's access to the guidebook.


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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Oct 9, 2009
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress

Monomaniac wrote:
..... The key Andy, is to limit your lovely wife's access to the guidebook.


That just made my day! LOL.

Actually, Wendy led the tunnel pitch on Tunnel Vision and enjoyed it! I think her particular aversion is to SQUEEZE chimneys ;) And it should be noted that her profile photo is after climbing the North Chimney on Castleton... and note the smile. Now, the awkward flaring chimney on P2 of Thin Ice was an entirely different story....

I'm just sayin'.....


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By EMT
Oct 9, 2009
me bouldering in MT

Wendy,

Epi is the best least chimney intensive chimney you'll ever find.... I climbed it with a sport climber who thought a chicken wing was something you ate not something you did with your body, and we had a blast! I must admit, as a rule my wife HATES chimneys and off widths?

Good luck and have fun....or as much fun as you can - in a chimney!


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By Stefanie Van Wychen
From Golden, CO
Oct 9, 2009
Caguama queen at Homero's in the Potrero

I am a woman, not weak but definitely not hardcore, and I've loved chimneys from the beginning of my climbing experience. Oh and add to that, don't die from shock that a 'woman' might say this (dripping with sarcasm) - I LOVE OFFWIDTHS too. I second Vedauwoo - one of my favorite places to climb! Both offwidths and chimney feel like wrestling to me - full body puzzles - I love that. Epinephrine's chimneys are awesome and they're over early - well worth it to experience the whole climb.

The only chimney/offwidth (not really sure which to call it) that bothered me was KP Capers in Vedauwoo because I did literally get stuck inside it trying to retrieve a cam and started to panic before I opted instead to climb the edge - which is more offwidth like.


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By Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Oct 9, 2009
Function over fashion.  My newest pair of climbing shoes.

I love a good chimney, full body, squeeze fest.


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By slim
Administrator
Oct 9, 2009
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

my wife loves OW and chimneys. she is a beast, and crushes #4 camalot cracks just as easily as she crushes #1 camalot cracks. people are like, "well yeah, you onsighted coyne crack, but it's because you have small hands". then, when she crushes steve carruthers memorial crack, or big baby, or mondo, etc, they kind of button it up.

a lot of people don't like to climb certain styles that they aren't proficient at. they don't want to suck, or start near the beginning of the learning curve again. this really hinders their development as a climber. if you can't climb 5.12 on every type of terrain, you aren't a 5.12 climber, plain and simple.


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By Ross Purnell
From Palmyra
Oct 9, 2009
Me on a belay ledge on Sharkstooth, Colorado, Sept. 2008.

I was at Lumpy Ridge a few weeks ago, and climbed Kor's Flake--first pitch is an easy chimney. It's kinda fun because at the top you place a big cam waaay at the back on a long sling, then pull around a large chockstone and emerge out into the sunlight.

I yell down to my second who is a female--and a good climber--and say "you are going to have fun with this, it's easy!"

Then like 45 minutes later all I hear is gunting and thrutching I yell down "are you okay?" and she says "it's not that fun wearing a God-damn backpack!"

And gave me royal hell for getting her wedged in there.

anyway, based on my informal poll, I'd say females hate chimneys.


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By jcntrl
From Smoulder, CO
Oct 9, 2009

Dave Holliday wrote:
One of my regular climbing partners is a woman who loves off-widths and chimneys. She's happiest when she gets to place #4 Camalots and larger.


My experience has led me to the observation that most women like using big gear. :)


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Oct 9, 2009
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

I hate wide, hard, slick, and slippery chimneys , uh, that's old school 5.8, and above for me ; ), where I have to stem my arms, and my legs so wide that I swear that I can almost hear the midieval horses, as I'm about to be hung, drawn, and quartered.

In hard squeeze chimneys, my partner can see me at my worst; I get the shittiest, I'm gonna kill your ass look on my face, whine a lot, and curse like a sailor. I exit smiling, and much calmer though.

But....I do love crawling in, and butt sliding down easy chimneys, and can do it all day; it's more like scrambling than climbing I suppose.


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By Buff Johnson
Oct 9, 2009
smiley face

While it may always be our fault; just remember, we didn't put the chimneys there. We only try to help our partners succeed on a route and with as much as we can do for anchors, pro, and keen rope management. We try to offer only the best of encouragement as you thrutch, thrash, and dangle. And, yet we know; maybe this route isn't working out so well, we will get through it together; we've always got each other with a trusted brake hand. And, can patch up a skinned elbow with a kind word and trusty band-aid and ace bandage if we have to






So wipe that look off your face, B---- and Cowboy the F Up!!


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By Stefanie Van Wychen
From Golden, CO
Oct 9, 2009
Caguama queen at Homero's in the Potrero

I don't think this is a female/male issue - I think it's personal preference - I've heard a lot of men out there bitch and whine about chimneys or avoid routes because of offwidths/chimneys.


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By Kayte Knower
Oct 9, 2009
paralysis by analysis

This is such a fun read. Great post Wendy.

Although I do think that the women who love chimneys are probably in the minority, I'd say the chimney thing is personal preference, not gender. For the record I simply adore any kind of climbing that involves core thuggery or burrowing, including chimneys. One of my best climbing partners is the opposite. She can stem and crimp her way up anything, and that's how she climbs "chimneys" too.

The thing I love about chimneys, and all cracks probably, is they are rarely as reachy as face routes of the same grade. They come together inch by inch. This suits my personality and my lack of height and power relative to the boys. On cracks, I can always find some alternate beta; then my husband and I can argue about whose beta is more efficient. Mine is, of course.


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By Kat A
From Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Oct 9, 2009
Summit of Chasm View

I love chimneys! Being a smaller sized woman, I think there are advantages in chimneys.

What makes chimneys easier and more fun is staying calm and taking your time. Instead of thinking "I'm stuck," think "I'm secure."

After climbing Steck-Salathe, I gained a better appreciation for chimneys. Though I found out I still suck at off-widths. (I need to take more lessons from Stef, seriously, she cruises those things!)


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By Stefanie Van Wychen
From Golden, CO
Oct 9, 2009
Caguama queen at Homero's in the Potrero

I guess I was never one for face climbing - I was always a crack lover and a generally more thuggy climber - so maybe I am a minority - but I would say in the group of climbers I hang with - there are equal numbers of men that despise the wide.

Kat, you are the ying to my yang, I have a lot to learn from your movement and fearlessness on the rock!

I can tell you what all climbing women don't like - when the men drink more beer than they were alotted while you're out putting up some sweet route in the creek - and you're left short of refreshment when you get back to camp!!!


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By Marc-Andre
From Squamish, B.C
Oct 9, 2009

I love squeeze chimneys.... although flaring squeezes can be scary sometimes. Falling out of chimneys is rare in my experience and they are so cool to just slide up then not go down..... i feel like a human jumar!


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By KateC
Oct 9, 2009
Deep water solo'ing in Thailand.

Kat and Stef, sounds like you two are on my same wavelength! We should have a climbing day for MP.com Women Who Love Big Gear. It would be awesome.


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By JPVallone
Oct 9, 2009

Was seeing a girl this summer who turned out to be worthless and used me for sex, LOL,

but thats another story

She was a new climber could not climb 5.8 cracks or faces to save her life. But she was an incredibly flexible gymnast and amazing core strength. She was in weeks time, following 5.9 and 5.10 chimneys and offwidths in Veeda woo, Maybe she had a twisted head, but she prefered wide cracks, offwidths and chimneys. Backwards, but she was the rarest example I ever saw, she whimpered and complained on 5.7 5.8 friction routes and said they were too hard, but dove right into the wide stuff and climbed it with techniques I have never seen, Never jamming when available, some of the craziest stemming and opposition I have ever seen.

Different strokes for different folks, I like what Craig Luebben said about offwidths and chimenys , If it's 5.8 and it doesn't feel like 5.8, Your climbing it wrong and he would prove it with the right techniques.


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By deniseb
Oct 9, 2009

My hubby just pointed me to this post and thought I should chime in. I love chimneys and any crack in general. They make me feel safe and secure. I am short and will echo what someone else said - you can always find a move, just take it inch by inch. Honeymoon chimney was a blast as was north chimney of castleton. I am a big wimp when it comes to traverses or even crimpy exposed stuff, but stuff me in a chimney or offwidth and away we go.


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