Monday, September 16, 2013

Donner Summit (again!), 37 Weeks Pregnant - September 14, 2013

We had so much fun at Donner Summit last weekend that we just had to go back again this weekend.  Plus, I just received a package of goodies from Mountain Mama and a couple pairs of shoes from Mad Rock, and was stoked to give everything a test drive!

For a casual day trip, we actually got a lot of good climbing in.  We did some fun warm-ups, three awesome 5.11s (two crack and one sport), and Andrew and Walker got to finish out the day on some challenging 5.12s. The 5.11s were challenging enough for me, so I opted out of trying that portion of the day... honestly, it took everything I had to make it up the 11s! (I was pretty happy that I [toprope] onsighted the 11b sport route though!)

The new threads from Mountain Mama were incredibly comfortable for climbing in, and were perfect for layering on the slightly chilly climbing day that we had.  I wore my new Leah Yoga Pants and Anya Performance Tee, which both have great fit and movement and are extremely comfortable (which is especially awesome, because as a pregnant lady it's almost impossible to find any clothing that fits this description!).

I really love the shoes I received from Mad Rock as well.  I got the Banshee, which is an all-day type shoe specifically designed for women, and the Concept 2.0, which is a more aggressive sport/bouldering shoe.  I used the Banshee for the warmups and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were exactly what I had hoped for.  They were comfortable and performed well, which is precisely what I want out of an all-day shoe. After the warm-ups, I put the Concepts on and was totally blown away!  These shoes have amazing edging abilities that made me feel confident on the smallest of holds, and they fit my feet like a glove.  I actually kind of feel like a ninja when I wear them.  

Here are some photos from the day.  Evidently nobody took pictures of anyone but me...

...except for this really cute one of Ainsley and Anne

Monday, September 9, 2013

Donner Summit, 36 Weeks Pregnant - September 7, 2013

This weekend there was a BASE jumping event at the Auburn bridge that Andrew and a bunch of our friends were involved in.  It was an awesome event that lasted all morning (hopefully it will become an annual thing!), but we soon found ourselves with an afternoon of free time to kill just an hour outside of Tahoe.  What better thing to do in a situation like that than to go climbing? So Andrew, a couple of the other BASE ladies and I piled in our car and headed to Donner Summit for a quick climbing session.

Here are some pics from the day:


Donner Summit
Laure working out some crux moves at the beginning of the route

Ainsley practicing her chimneying

Anne rocking it, as always

Our valiant rope gun and belayer

Having fun but feeling huge!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lover's Leap, 33 Weeks Pregnant - August 17, 2013

Last weekend we decided to see if a Lover's Leap day trip would be doable.  For some reason, sleeping on the ground hasn't been as comfortable these days, so it seemed like a great idea to bookend a day of climbing with my nice, cozy bed.  So on Saturday morning, all three members of Team Christensen set off to Tahoe at about 7:45 a.m. and we were on our first pitch of the day by 11:00 a.m.  Not exactly alpine style, but the slow pace was a nice change.

It ended up being a fantastic day.  We opted for the 10-minute approach crag and spent the whole time playing around at Lower Buttress.  One of Andrew's closest friends from college happened to be in Tahoe from SLC, so he, his wife, and their baby girl joined us.  My friend Sheri was also passing through, so she met up with us as well.

The social aspect was awesome (a total bonus of cragging) and was pretty much on par with the amount of fun we had climbing, too.  We started out on the beautiful, splitter first pitch of the Sinbad-Herbert (5.10b), moved on to Surrealistic Pillar Direct (also 5.10b) then got on all 58 meters of Crown Royal (5.10c), which proved to be an amazingly fun route.  We finished out the day on Black Magic (5.11c), which was "meh," in my opinion.

Another crowning moment of the day was that I got to try out my awesome new Mountain Mama clothes that they sent me this week!  Thanks Mountain Mama!!! I wore the Noa Trekking Capri, the Marni Movement Maternity Tank, and the Anya Performance Tee.  The capris were extremely comfortable to climb in, and very lightweight and breathable which was critical for climbing on a hot day.  Both the Marni Tank and the Anya Tee were also really comfy to climb in and both provided excellent belly coverage without feeling too tight or restrictive. I love them all!

On our 2.5 hour drive home, Andrew and I decided that a day trip to Tahoe was not only doable, but that it was kind of awesome.  No camping gear, no Friday night battle with traffic, and no cranky 2-year-old who didn't sleep well in the tent!  We'll definitely be doing it again.

Sinbad-Herbert.  Such a sweet handcrack.

Ainsley getting friendly with baby Emma

Black Magic

Sheri rocking Black Magic!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Word About Training...

So in the midst of all my weekend trips, a critical--but not-yet-discussed--component of maintaining my climbing fitness has been my gym sessions during the week.  It has been interesting throughout this process to see what kind of routes I've been able to climb during different stages of pregnancy, and to compare how differently I feel from one week to the next.  For example, as I've gained more weight, I've become TERRIBLE at climbing anything overhanging, while vertical routes remain pretty easy for me.  Most likely because my upper body strength has not kept up with my growing belly?  Another anomaly I've noticed is that instead of having more and more difficulty climbing in general, I have had tons of ups and downs where I'm barely able to get up a 5.11a one day, only to onsight a 5.12a the next.  Weird! (Ok, the onsighting a 12a thing hasn't happened for several weeks, but you get the picture...).

Here has been the overall gym training schedule that I've been sticking with since day 1 of pregnancy:

1) Climb in the gym at least 2 times a week (sometimes I only get one in though...)
2) Climb a minimum of 8 routes each climbing session
3) Do approximately 4 warm-up routes in the 5.10 range
4) Transition to 1-2 moderate 5.11s
5) Climb a route at the maximum of my ability; 5.12 or 5.11c/d, 1-2 times
6) Run a couple laps on a moderate 5.11 or 5.10 to warm down

Of course there has been some flux here and there on this schedule depending on how I feel any given day, but for the most part I've been able to stick to it.  I anticipated that I'd be maxing out on 11a's by now, but so far I'm still able to onsight most 11d's that I get on as long as they don't have long sections of steep incline.  The primary challenges that I've faced throughout the pregnancy have been a lack of energy during the earlier stages, core strength, and now in the later stages the biggest issue has been my ability to comfortably move my knees up very far past my belly (because it smushes the baby up into my ribs).  Oh, that, and putting on/taking off my shoes at the beginning and end of each route.  That's the real crux!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ladies Weekend, Lover's Leap, 32 Weeks Pregnant - August 9-10, 2013

Three girlfriends and I headed out to Lover's Leap for a ladies weekend of cragging.  The climbing portion of the trip was kind of a bust (we only did two routes!), but we had a blast anyway.  The best part of the weekend by far was that we put Ainsley in her new harness and had her climb for the very first time.  She was squealing and laughing with delight the entire time!  It was priceless.

Like mother like daughter!

Ready to go!
Grinning the entire time

All done!

The other three members of our girls weekend included:


and of course, Annon the Cannon! (aka Anne)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chapel Wall, Lower Yosemite Falls, and After Six - 27 Weeks Pregnant: July 4-6, 2013

Finally, a long weekend in the Valley with the family!  Somehow we were lucky enough to get a site at Upper Pines for the July 4th weekend, so we got to camp in style.  We had a lot of different friends--old and new--join us for our weekend extravaganza!  And the best part is that we got to rock our new "family tent"--a monstrosity that will fit Ainsley's portable crib, a future portable crib for baby #2, and is tall enough for me and Andrew to walk around in.  Yep, no more light alpine style camping for us!

One of our friends is a hardcore sport climber visiting from France, and she was determined to do some sport climbing in Yosemite.  So we spent the first half of the day at Chapel Wall playing around on Drive By Shooting, 12a and another 5.11.  But not before we made her warm up on a crack though!

Raphaelle looking strong on 5.10 crack (though she claims she was miserable)
Time fore me and the baby bump to have a turn!

Raphaelle crushing once again
On the hardest 11d I've done in my life

Finally, a rest!

Once the sun peeked out at Chapel Wall, we headed to Swan Slabs to meet up with a couple of Raphelle's friends.

Ainsley loves climbing too!
Daddy in the background un-sticking a cam for our friends.  Quite the boyscout.
After some lunch at Swan Slabs, we headed to the Lower Yosemite Falls Amphitheater to do some fun crack climbing. Unfortunately, Raphaelle's friend Nicholas took a bad lead fall and broke his ankle at the end of the day.  Poor guy!
Andrew, our fearless leader

Nicholas, before the ankle incident
Because of Nicholas' broken ankle (we actually were told it was sprained at the time...didn't find out it was broken until about a week later), we ended up taking it easy the next day.  We messed around on some fun roadside cracks and made Raphaelle practice leading on gear, then ended up at Manure Pile Buttress towards the evening.  Another friend of Raphelle's, Fanny, was excited to climb After Six--an incredibly fun and mellow 5.7--so the two of us blitzed up all six pitches of it under two hours!  There was no time for photos, except for a dark topout shot.  I had a great time climbing with Fanny.  She's by far one of the most competent alpine climbers I've ever met!  A shame that she too lives in France and won't be back to the States in awhile.

Topping out on After Six with Fanny
It was such a great weekend!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tuolumne Cragging - 26 Weeks Pregnant: June 29, 2013

Andrew and I headed out to Tuolumne this weekend with our little climbing prodigy friend Ben (15).  It was HOT, but we managed to find some shade and got to play around on some nice slabs.  Ben even did his very first lead on gear!

It was awesome getting to be with both Andrew and Ainsley all weekend since I haven't been to Yosemite with them for months! 
Love me some slabby knob climbing

Ben's first lead on gear

He did so great!

Ainsley keeping watch over the gear
 After boiling on the slabs, we found a river to cool off in.

Did you know that there is a DWS route in Tuolumne?  Neither did I!  So perfect on a 100 degree day.

Ben getting stuck at the crux!

Andrew's second--and successful--attempt

I was not so successful...