Rock Rescue at REI

Have you been eyeing up courses this summer? There are so many to chose from — from AMGA Single Pitch Instructor courses to Self Rescue from the Washington Alpine Club, REI and the Mountaineers. Some are women’s only with women instructors, some are mixed gender, some are taught by volunteers and some are taught by certified, tenured guides. There is no right course — it’s all about what’s right for you and what you’re looking for. REI recently held a Rescue Course and we had a few members attend.

Do you have all of this with you when you’re out climbing?

Do you have all of this with you when you’re out climbing?

The REI Rock climbing Rescues class was a perfect introduction to a few simple rescue techniques. I was already feeling overwhelmed by everything I didn't know. I knew I didn't really have the time (or brain) to commit to learning *everything*, but committing to learning *something* within 3 hours (and practicing my skills over the summer) seemed a lot more achievable.

The class description read, "You'll learn how to escape a belay setup, ascend to aid an injured climber and lower both climber and rescuer." It seemed simple enough: baby steps. I signed up.

Five minutes later, I'd convinced two of my rock climbing buddies to sign up as well.

Two short weeks later, we heroically fought traffic after work and arrived to REI ready to learn. Our class ended up a total of 7 women: 5 students and 2 instructors. True to its description, the class taught us several ways to transfer a belay, and how to ascend to a climber and lower down with the climber. It was surprisingly fun, even though there was a lot to take in. The main instructor was awesome and very open to questions. She was never far away, and gave a lot of great pointers as we struggled our way up the rope. We ended up discussing gear in general (specifically why we've seen a transition to wiregate vs solid gate carabiners, how to tell if equipment was "too" worn out, and when to use nylon vs. dyneema) and even learned a few new knots!

The best part of the class? How beginner-friendly it was. Both instructors did a really great job of speaking to all levels: addressing the more advanced crowd so that no one was bored, and answering the more beginner questions, so no one was left behind. It was a fantastic way to spend the evening and even though it was unplanned coincidence, I really liked being in a class full of lady climbers!

The only thing I would add is advice to bring more snacks. I'm ready for the next step: practice!

Thanks to She Rocks member Skye Hansen for her write up! Link to the class here. This is not sponsored by REI in any way.

Representation in Guidebooks

Today I played a fun game. I took my favorite guidebook and I went through each page, tallying the photographs. For the ones where I could tell the gender, I marked a tally in a column. (I also noted if it was a mixed gender partnership and who was belaying. Surprisingly there were more men belaying women, by 1). I was surprised by how many women were actually in the photos. Then I did the math. 90 people in photos. 57 men, 33 women. Despite feeling like I saw more women than I expected, women were still only 36%


Is this representative of the climbing population? What happens when you look through YOUR favorite guidebook?

Today is International Women’s Day. I talked with Carrisa and we wanted to write about who inspires us, but lately I’ve also been frustrated and angry and I want to sing praise but also to remember there is still work to do. Women matter, and it’s more than just today. Let’s keep this conversation going. Let’s talk about our inspirations and our mentors and let’s make sure it’s today and tomorrow and next week and next month. -Alexis

Pants! Dyan aka Pantsypants shares her gear beta

I love climbing pants.  I have no idea how this happened but I have a climbing pant addiction. Some people go to a new climbing area, walk into the local climbing shop, and buy the guidebook. Not me. I head straight for the pants.

Here are some of the pants I’ve tried and my personal experiences with each one. I realize everyone is different, so take these reviews with a grain of salt. What doesn’t work for me, may be best for you depending on your body type or climbing style.


La Sportiva Mantra Pant

I recently got these this summer and have only climbed in them a few times, once up Vesper Peak and once in Washington Pass That said, there are hands down the BEST summer and fall alpine pant I’ve ever worn. Lightweight, great color, excellent fit, and not too baggy. An extra perk is that the waistband is robust yet comfortable, and can be easily pulled down even when wearing a harness. I have nothing bad to say about these pants at this point. My only concern is that the ass may wear out fast because of the thinner material. Overall, 10/10, would recommend to a friend.

La Sportiva Todra Pant

I ended up selling these. For my body type, they were too long, too baggy, and didn’t fit well. I was mostly dissapointed that the fun pockets weren’t that functional. No cuffs or fasteners meant I had to roll them up all the time. La Sportiva’s worst pant IMO. Only plus side was the fun colors! La Sportiva now makes so many other amazing pants, I would pass on these and anything in this shape/style, but they may fit well if you have thicker legs or have more of a pear-shaped body.

RAB  Vapour-rise Guide Pant

These are my main winter softshell pant. Great for summer mountaineering and ice climbing. The run a little long but are generally true to size. Note that they fit slightly high-waisted (which I don’t mind when I’m wearing a ton of layers in the winter and a harness). Even with the heavier fabric, they feel very breathable and movement is not constricted even with a pair of leggings underneath. Extra reinforced panels on the knee and butt - I dig that.

Prana Avril Pant

Ok, first of all, I’ve had 4, YES, 4 pairs of these pants. I LOVE them. Great price and colors, all around fun and cute and pretty good for cragging and bouldering. Cotton makes them super comfortable and cozy. It’s a solid pant and I wear them in town and at the crag. For reference, I’m 130, 5’4’’, and the XS is my preferred size (go with one size bigger if you want them slightly baggy - they will still fit!). The one bad thing is that the butt does wear out on these and gets thin over time. With that disclaimer, I’d still recommend them to a friend.


E9 Onda Pant

A pretty good pant. Pros: 1) Definitely the best color options out of all the pants I’ve seen, 2) Comfy, 3) Movement is good. Cons: 1) Material feels thin and I can see them wear down, 2) Waistband stretched out, plus the cord came out so now I have no way of cinching them down 3) Pockets don’t really do much for me but they are cute?. I’d wear these for bouldering but not much else. Wearing a harness with them is annoying.

Nograd Sahel Pant

I’m in love. These are the pant to rule them all. I first found these climbing in Fontainebleau, France. They had lots of fun colors and ended up buying a size Small in a beautiful bright red color. Later they kinda shrank and I wished I had got the Medium. Aside from that, they are truly perfect. They have a button three-button closure with robust cuffs and waistband. The material is heavy but not too heavy, so I don’t feel like they are wearing thin or feel overheated. Movement is uninhibited. If clothes do anything for your attitude, these pants will make you feel badass. I love them so much I got another pair. Get some (but size up)! They sell them at Climb On in Squamish. Disclaimer: They ain’t cheap. $$$.


Pro tip - If you’re going to Squamish there is a workwear store called Mark’s in Burnaby. They have $20 scrubs ($15 USD) in super fun colors and zipper pockets. If you want something cheap, durable, and cute, these are actually quite the find. I climbed the Chief in these and they are still going very strong!

Patagonia Venga Pant

I had two pairs. The first pair was a size 4, which is what I normally wear in Patagonia. Turns out they stretched out like crazy. I had to wear a belt with them after a few climbs and washes. I went into Patagonia, told them my story, and the lovely folks there let me have another size! I’ve climbed in the new pair, size 2, a few times. For some reason these now feel too constricted! I can’t heel hook in them without bunching at my knees. I hate that. Maybe I’m just being Goldilocks, but these aren’t the climbing pants for me. That said, I know a lot of people who love these. Plus, Patagonia is a fantastic brand to buy from and support. So give them a try.

Prana Halle Pant

An Ok pant. The material isn’t cotton, which makes it a good choice for alpine climbing or long rock routes. They seem to run a bit long for me, and the fit is not super flattering. Unfortunately the buttons have come off as well. I’ve repaired them myself but if you’re going to spend the money on a pair of climbing pants, get something with a better clasping system. I still wear these around town and at work however.

Rafiki Etnia Pant

I just got these in Prague. I haven’t climbed in them yet but just wearing them around they are very similar to E9 but with more room in the butt area (yay!). I sized them to be 38 Euro. Looking forward to climbing in these, the colors are very poppy! Not sure where you’d buy these in the US.

What are your favorite climbing pants and why? I’d love to hear your reviews and recommendations!



IG: @pantsypants