I started doing my Indian Creek Clinics in 2012. They're for all climbers who want to learn more about pure crack climbing and multi-pitch techniques and have a great time in the desert for a few days.
People started asking me if the clinics were women only, or if I had thought about that. I really hadn't.... we usually get about half women and half men at the clinic, often some couples, and I certainly never want to exclude any climbers! But...people asked enough that I decided to try out adding another, totally different clinic as a "women's only" option just to see what happened. There ended up being a strong interest in both clinics, so it was a fun and easy decision to offer them both! I looked at it as an opportunity to connect with more awesome people in a place I love to call home!
The great thing about the Moab Women's Clinic is that it is completely based on what people were asking for, and it has turned out to be an awesome addition to the Indian Creek Clinic, which is still for all climbers - men and women. A funny change that just happened due to sun schedule (a big deal when organizing the climbing portions here because the conditions are so extreme) was that I switched the group intros to lunchtime after the first morning of climbing.
People knew each other a little already, and we were treated to some truly phenomenal life stories from this group. The life experiences were varied: one woman was a Peace Corps officer, another left a soul-sucking Starbucks career to become an animal rights activist and yoga instructor, another followed a well-known rock band as a groupie for seven years until she ended up marrying the drummer, having two kids, became an engineer, and one woman is a CrossFit coach who travels the world competing and training people!
Both clinics are always different every time because we base what we do on what the group wants to do. Gear, taping techniques, efficient movement and safety.... we try to learn as much as we can relative to what everyone wants to experience, try, and practice. In the Women's Clinic we generally have a pretty even split of people who are fairly new climbers looking to transition from indoor climbing environments and people who have a lot of outdoor climbing experience. And, we're extra lucky to be able to share time with our dog friends who wear themselves out each day supervising.
On the first night of the clinic, when typically everyone splits up for dinner, I invited the group to a new local community space called the Helipad. It's a beautiful spot owned by a friend of mine: You can bring pets and your own beverages, and she also has a vegan food truck called the Moab Kitchen. Everyone loved the Sri Lankan curry, getting the insider beta, and enjoying an awesome locals experience together. I've found that no matter what people's past experience may be, everyone wants to learn a lot about fundamentals of safety as well as the little tricks and tips for efficiency that can take years to learn on your own.
One of my very favorite parts of the Women's Clinic and the Indian Creek Clinic is all the time we spend together as a group. We've stepped up the infrastructure for the Indian Creek Clinic camping portion at my land thanks to Backcountry, who provided us with a new Camp Chef stove and outdoor pizza oven. We also built an outdoor kitchen and a sink with gravity fed water and brought in four truckloads of bonfire wood.
We mix in instruction and coaching on rope work, knots, rappelling, and anchors with lots of climbing ranging from face climbing to crack climbing. We always have truly amazing people at these clinics.....and generally everyone leaves with new climbing partners and a lot of new friends. I love how contagious the smiles are!
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