Chicks Rock! Devil’s Lake Entries

Deadline for Entries is today (Monday 8/31) at NOON CDT!


Hi my name is Reese and I’ve been a climber for a handful of years. Access is not a trail, access is not having a place, access is not bolts or anchors; It is an idea, it is a belief that we have the right and ability to visit an area.

I’ve recently had a loss of access to climbing due to a medical reason. Now that I’m able to climb again my access is limited by my head game.

I work with low-socioeconomic girls in Chicago. Their access is limited by education and resources.

The climbing community has limited access to climbing in SE Wisconsin and Illinois due to land owners needing to protect themselves and government bureaucracy.

All these limitations can be overcome… by holding on and working towards the belief that access should be open to everyone.

It takes climbers, taking care of current areas. Insuring that we are trusted and understood in communities.
It takes organizations, bringing awareness and raising funds.
It takes agencies willing to re-evaluate laws and rules.

But it starts with me, getting out there, taking action, and passing along the idea of access.

I would like to nominate myself and my friend Marcy who fell in the RRG and also needs access opened to her through inspiration. I’ve climbed with Chicks with picks instructors at the Ouray Ice fest and I know they are just the type of women that can help us battle our personal access issues, while we become part of the movement that will redefine the idea of access and takes action to redefine it!


I joined the Chicago Rock Climbing Meetup Group a few years ago to learn how to climb outdoors.  Some time later a backpacking friend invited me on a trip with a buddy of his that happened to be a guide.  I had so much fun, I’ve now been on 6 climbing trips (Devil’s Lake, Jackson Falls, Red River Gorge, and Jurassic Park in Estes Park, Colorado).

Last fall the organizer of the Chicago Rock Climbing Meetup Group stepped down.  We all (600 people) received an email that the group was going to end if someone didn’t step up to the plate.  I clicked on a button in my email that said, “Become the Organizer!”, thinking it would take me to a webpage with information on becoming the new organizer…no, the page it took me to said, “Congratulations!  You’re the New Organizer!”  My eyes popped…and then I scheduled our first meetup.  I changed the name to the Chicago Rock Climbing Community and I added as many assistant organizers as possible.  I am such a newbie to rock climbing (although I do climb indoors during the colder months), that I felt I had no business “leading” this meetup group.  I wanted the group to be an excellent resource for Chicagoans to learn how to climb, and find friends to climb with in the area…or to make trips with to actual mountains which happen to be far, far, from glacier flattened Chicago.

I’ve met a few wonderful women through the group.  I would like to nominate 2 of them for the Chicks Rock contest:  Betsy Miller and Aileen Tormon.  They’ve helped me schedule climbing meetups at Vertical Endeavors, and they joined me in clinics and on a trip to Red River Gorge.  They are truly fantastic women and I think they would have an amzing time on this trip!  What a selfless act eh?

So, if you really want to invite a couple of chicks that rock, I hope you choose us!  Obviously we wholeheartedly encourage access!

Thanks for offering this contest!!!
Kasey Rose


Who: Me, I hope (Michana Buchman)
What: Climbing with Chicks Rock
Where: Devil’s Lake (woot)
Why: Are you kidding?!? The chance to go climbing with Chicks Rock at Devil’s Lake!
Climbing has changed my life.

I’d never touched a climbing wall–didn’t know a piton from a python– until three years ago, when I read an article on a beginner climbing class for women over 40. At 57—yipes–I was overqualified.

I joined the class with my sister. A refugee from Hurricane Katrina, she had left New Orleans to move in with me after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. We both needed something to do together, to kick us out of our rut. We were not disappointed. The class was taught by two incredibly energetic, positive, warm and supportive women, Vera and Anne. We were hooked.

As we climbed, we learned more than just technique. We learned self-reliance, and we learned to rely on each other. We felt strong and happy. My sister thrived, then remembered what winters are like in Wisconsin, and moved back to New Orleans; I’ve kept climbing, and haven’t looked back. My husband has since started climbing with me. My son and daughter-in-law have likewise adopted the sport, far surpassing me–they’re on a climbing vacation in British Columbia as I write this. Amazing.

One of the things that’s impressed me most about climbers is their generosity, their impulse to mentor others. And climbing in the company of strong women has its particular joys. Another factor that feeds my love of climbing is climbers’ devout respect for natural places, their appreciation of the value of leaving no trace while preserving access to the rocks we climb–both for ourselves and our climbing partners, but also so that future generations of climbing enthusiasts may climb on.

Bottom line, why Chicks Rock at Devil’s Lake? Because it’d be a blast to hang out with the charming, witty and gritty Girly Guides. Let the wild rumpus begin!


Top reasons why I deserve to go to Chicks Rock! Devil’s Lake:

  1. My climbing partner is a PhD student and just went back to school/work/thesis/TA’ing for the rest of the school year.
  2. I like to climb every year at least once outside and I haven’t been able to do that this year.
  3. I have been unemployed all summer and can’t afford a major trip this year.
  4. I am a brat and need climbing partners that are my height, which is about 5’3”.
  5. I have some skills and have been around the climbing block for over a decade.
  6. My favorite part about the itinerary is the dinner and slide show, and something tells me that Chicks Rock!  feels the same way.
  7. I am the Chicago rock climbing writer for and I have been looking for a new story to write about and some video to post on my site, and it sounds like Chicks Rock! might be a good story.

I started rock climbing in 1998, because a boyfriend took me to his friend’s gym to try out climbing with him.  My boyfriend and I both fell in love with rock climbing–a love that lasted far beyond that relationship.  He now lives in California with his wife and kid and owns a dog grooming and day-care business.  I stayed in Chicago and went to law school and pursued a career in real estate law.

For the last few years, I have spent my Friday nights at the rock climbing gym with my friends who love to spend their free time testing the limits of their strength and agility.  I am grateful that there are people who are so devoted to the sport that they are willing to spend their precious Friday nights climbing instead of drinking or partying or even divulging themselves in a more “cultural” nightlife.

But this summer has been rough.  My climbing partner lives far away in DeKalb and I haven’t seen much of him.  Plus, I was laid off from my job in early May.  I wish I could say that would be the perfect time to spend down at the Red River Gorge, but I haven’t been able to get enough free time with all my outside activities to be able to get down there for a stretch of time.  Plus, it’s not easy being 31 years old and finding friends who can take off the time to chill for long weekends.  Gas and food are not cheap either.

This trip to Devil’s Lake sounds like it’s right up my alley, though.  I have yet, in my eleven years climbing, to learn how to trad climb, and it sounds like I may get a chance to place some protection, or at least clean up a route.  Also, I love Devil’s Lake state park in Wisconsin.  I think it is a beautiful, magical place where I would love to meet some new women to climb for the weekend.  I’ve spent some time at Devil’s Lake, but not enough to play tour guide for anyone.  I would love to be able to just kick back and meet new women and climb some rocks around the Lake.  When it is done, I hope to have a story to tell my friends and family!


It has taken me a few days to work up to submit this. When I began to write my response I kept thinking there are so many other women out there who deserve this more. Then it hit me, that’s exactly why I deserve to go on the Chicks Rock trip. I haven’t had a real vacation in a year and a half. I have taken plenty of vacation days but they were all spent volunteering with Women’s Wilderness Institute to produce the 2009 Gear and Cheer Fundraiser. Working with a great committee we put together a live and silent auction with amazing food and entertainment. We were able to raise money to support the women and girls programs and it feels good.

While I am passionate about many causes helping girls find their place in the great outdoors is the top of my list. The Women’s Wilderness Institute programs help girls and women find their inner strength and determination through courses in backpacking, climbing, and mountain biking (to name a few). The climbing component has always been a favorite for me. I love climbing and want to share that with future generations. I love that Women’s Wilderness teaches that it’s important to protect and respect our outdoor playground. Because of their work and teaching I understand that without the involvement of Access Fund our favorite climbing spots may not be safe or available to the public in the future. It’s why I choose brands that support the Access Fund and volunteer with an organization that shares in their beliefs.

I won’t over-romanticize any longer.  What it come down to is this Cupcake needs a vacation and after volunteering to support womens and girls outdoor programs I think I an awesome climbing trip would be perfect ;-)



I believe I deserve to go because I have only been outdoor climbing four times. But if that isn’t considered a good enough reason I guess I could give you a few more.

I fell in love with climbing in college when some friends took me on a trip to Utah. Then they all graduated and moved away, no more climbing buddies. I learned that climbing is not a sport that you can just pick up on a week-end. There are so many safety, environmental, and even etiquette issues that you can’t learn from a book. Every area and every situation is different. Not only do the climbing areas need to stay open, the insider knowledge that goes with it does. People need to be taught how to respect the area and guidelines.  Some areas require special care and this needs to be clearly stated if we expect these places to be open to the public. A bonus would be for people to also know LNT and basic etiquette that we would hope would be common sense but it appears not to be for some.

Here is an example:

Climbing needs to stay accessible and available to everyone because it really is something that everyone can benefit from. I took a group of girls to an indoor gym and one of them almost didn’t go because she didn’t know what to wear. That is one of the greatest things about climbing. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to have the name brands or new shiny gear. You don’t even have to be good to enjoy it.

A few summers ago I taught at a girl scout camp. Even though I basically belayed all summer on a climbing tower in the scorching Arizona sun I don’t regret any of it. Seeing the confidence the girls gained from facing their fears and encouraging them to work through problems on their own was such an incredible experience. One of my favorite parts was when some of them would come the next day with a whole new attitude, ready to put on their gear without help and even wanting to learn how to tie the knots on their own. This is why I think Chicks Rock would be a fantastic experience. There would be so much to learn from that talented group of women, as cheesy as it is, it would be inspiring. Everyone can benefit from the phenomenal feeling you get after working hard, facing your fears, and hanging out with some good people.

-Sarah Skeate


I’d like to nominate Traci Hagie to go to Chicks Rock at Devil’s Lake. She’s a super young lady who loves outdoor sports, especially climbing. During her days, she works as a counselor for teens struggling with substance abuse problems, counseling the students at a Colorado High School & having sessions for the family members. She has developed tobacco & drug awareness programs in Broomfield County. She is very dedicated in her work with these young people.  In the spring time, she has enjoyed coaching the girl’s high school soccer team for the last 3 – 4 years. She plays on two women’s soccer teams throughout the year.  She has enjoyed rock & ice climbing for several years and is pleased that Pemba is donating money to help to preserve climbing areas so that many can enjoy these areas in the future. Climbing is one of her most enjoyable pastimes & feels that often the natural environment is not preserved so that future generations will be able to enjoy it. It’s wonderful that this organization realizes the importance of working to preserve our environment now.

Recently, Traci has started mountain biking and took part in her first competition of running, biking and swimming through mud to get to the finish line. I hope that you will consider her for one of the winners to come to Devils Lake.


I met Sarah Koniewicz only a few weeks ago at the climbing crag Ely’s Peak in Minnesota, but I know that she would really love and enjoy the chance to learn from women climbers.

When I met Sarah she was stoked to meet another women who trad leads; she had never met one.  All afternoon as she and her partner (male) and me and my partner (male) climbed in the same area we got to know each other more and Sarah asked questions about how I learned certain things, committing to moves above your gear, experience, etc.  It is obvious to me that Sarah is craving guidance and experience with women climbers who share her desire to be on the sharp end.

Sarah also asked us where we had parked to make sure we had parked in the appropriate parking lot.  Until 2 years ago there was limited parking for Ely’s Peak and a near-by resident was having climbers’ cars towed.  Two years ago the Access fund matched MCA funds to build a parking lot and new trail to eliminate the parking problems.  Sarah was obviously interested in making sure the access rule were followed so that there are no problems.

I think that Sarah would be thrilled to attend the Chicks Rock program and would really enjoy and benefit from the learning environment.  It would give Sarah more skills to extend her climbing and steward abilities.

– Kendra


Nothing like an injury to provide reflection on life’s loves.  This past year I have nursed 2 hamstring pulls – derived from over doing Via-Ferrata in the Dolimites last fall.  It’s been a hard season.  I’ve gained weight and lost strength.  I’ve given up my ski season, my annual trip to Ouray, and much of the summer season.  Mostly I seem to have lost my drive.  I realize this is my personal choice.  Without continued support of climbing access to public areas – it’s a choice being made for all climbers.

Climbing is a passion.  It feeds into life much more than just it’s physical benefits.  It enables.  It provides an ability to take on risk and it re-enforces us mentally: to stretch, reach, gain, and be able to do it again.  It’s helped me face challenges that go way beyond rock.  And I want it back!!

Thank you for the ability to reflect on the issue of access and the reason why I climb.

– newstar

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