Desert Towers

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Desert Towers

When I first met Kate, she was in her standard post climbing attire. 

Sundress, spandex shorts, Birkenstocks. We were hanging out at a dirtbag potluck, which is basically just a bunch of climbers hanging out in a parking lot and sharing food together. I was instantly drawn to her bubbly attitude and her impressive list of badass climbs she had been ticking off in Squamish. Kate wasn't afraid to go for it.

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Getting the Police Called on you

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Getting the Police Called on you

I was lying in my bed, half asleep, when I heard the first knock. 

It wasn’t so much of a knock as a bang. Someone was pounding on the side of my house. In the large metal box that is my van, it reverberated around the small space and startled me awake. 

I had been half asleep when it happened. Just in that place before sleep, where you aren’t quite awake but you can still sense what’s happening around you. My heart rate skyrocketed. 

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Hitting the Road as a Rock Climber

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Hitting the Road as a Rock Climber

Hey Kaya! Can you make a video about hitting the road as a climber? How skilled were you when you started? Is it better to be a fully competent trad climber before starting? How often do you climb with knowledgeable climbers and how often are you taking novices? And most importantly, how do you not get in over your head?!


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Leaning Tower: Day 3

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Leaning Tower: Day 3

I blink and it’s morning.  

My shoulder hurts so I roll over onto my other side.

Nope. 

I blink again and the sun has risen higher in the sky. I’m on my back. I look over to see Mike with his puffy jacket covering his face. 

Nope. 

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Leaning Tower: Day 2

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Leaning Tower: Day 2

I never thought I would be bored at 500 feet off the ground. 

Standing on Ahwahnee ledge on the West Face of the Leaning Tower, I pace back and forth in anticipation. Or what amounts to pacing when you have less than 3 feet of space to move around in. 

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How to Insure Your Van Buildout

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How to Insure Your Van Buildout

One of the things I get asked all the time is ‘How do you insure your van?’

I think it’s a valid question and since I’ve done a bit of research on this exact subject I thought I’d share with you how I got my van insured and how you can most likely get yours insured if you want. 

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Leaning Tower: Day 1

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Leaning Tower: Day 1

Big wall climbing  is the culmination of all of the climbing skills I’ve been honing over the last 5 years.

It takes technical skills, mental toughness, physical endurance, and good communication with a partner. I borrowed gear from friends, grilled them on the terrain, looked over maps that climbers before me had drawn, and scrolled through comments people had left on the mountain project to try and prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the hardest thing I had attempted to date in climbing. 

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Highway 50 West

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Highway 50 West

Breath in. 

Breath out. 

Turn the key. Hear the rumble of the engine. Beep, beep, beep, beep, click. Roll the automatic windows down. Feel the warm breeze on my skin. Smell the wet grass and the still damp asphalt. It’s hot outside.

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Jumping on The Circuit

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Jumping on The Circuit

The circuit is the pathway between climbing areas for a year. It takes you round and round, from Yosemite to Red Rocks, to Indian Creek, to Joshua Tree, back to Indian Creek, Red Rocks, Smith Rock, Squamish, Index... It chases the good weather (read: sunshine) and the sending temps (read: mildly cool). When you jump on you typically meet a few people who are riding the same wave as you. You’ll see them in Indian Creek, lose track of them for a few months and then see them again in Squamish. The circuit brings you around and around, like a merry-go-round of climbing destinations. After getting on, it can be difficult to get off. 

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Why I Chose Vanlife

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Why I Chose Vanlife

One of the questions I get all the time is:

"What made you decide to live this lifestyle?"

I wanted to address this question because it IS really important to me and I think it’s really relevant to my generations struggles to fit into our society. 

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Surrealistic Pillar

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Surrealistic Pillar

I’m standing on a hollow flake,

about 150 feet above the ground, and only 20 feet from the summit. Hidden Valley Campground is spread out below me, people are cooking around their campfires, chatting about the day and playing music. The pinyon pines and Juniper trees create shade in the late afternoon, while the orange white boulders create stools, tables and playgrounds for the park visitors. Normally I would be down there with them, enjoying the sunshine, stretching and talking, but right now I'm more focused on not dying. My palms are sweating. 

Fuck.

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Periods In The Van!

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Periods In The Van!

I see more and more people with uterus’s moving in to vans and since I’m a uterus having person I thought I would dedicate some space to the period experience for van lifers. 

So I have a really heavy period, that can last anywhere from 5-10 days and I get really bad cramps that make me nauseous and crabby. I’m all about low impact and minimalism so I don’t use pads or tampons, although they are great, I use the diva cup!

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Dating in a Van!

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Dating in a Van!

So I’ve lived in my van with a full-time partner, alone, and for short periods with other people. 

And I have to say that living with two people full time in a van… is pretty difficult. 

I do think it can be done, I know lots of people who do it really well, but I think it forces you and your partner to talk about things you wouldn’t otherwise confront because of the close proximity and space. 

You both have to be really on top of your space management, and if you weren’t super close before then you are going to get SUPER close really quickly. 

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Sprinter Van Maintenance - Oil Change

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Sprinter Van Maintenance - Oil Change

It’s pretty easy. You need a 13 mm socket wrench, an oil pan that can hold close to 3 gallons of oil, rubber gloves, paper towels or shop towels, a new oil filter, 12 quarts of oil, and an oil filter wrench. 

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The First 5 Things I Do When I Get To A New Town

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The First 5 Things I Do When I Get To A New Town

"How do you just show up to a new town?"

"Where do you park?"

"How do you know where to shower?" 

These are the first 5 things I do when I get to a new town! 

I have, over the last year and a half or so, developed a method for arriving in a new town that helps me get settled into a new place. 

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Vanlife Lessons: Year One

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Vanlife Lessons: Year One

I've lived in a Sprinter van for 1 year and 6 months as of the writing of this blog. 

The highlights are: It has been the best decision I've ever made for myself, I really like working on my house and living in a small space and there are a few things I would do differently next time. 

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Best Gifts For Vanlifers Under $50

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Best Gifts For Vanlifers Under $50

Have a loved one who lives in a van and have no idea what to get them for the Holiday season? LOOK NO FURTHER! 

I've gathered my favorite vanlife gadgets that are under $50 that anyone living in a small space with limited resources would love to receive! 

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The Unexpected Joys and Sorrows of VanLife

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The Unexpected Joys and Sorrows of VanLife

I’ve been living in my Sprinter Van for a little over a year now, and during that time I continue to be surprised by the little joys of living in a van, the ones I didn’t expect when I moved in. I expected the freedom and the flexibility and the beautiful scenery, but I didn’t expect the pure joy of a nice parking space or the giddy feeling I get when the wind blows through the curtains on my open door. 

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