100 Drawings about Climbing — Anatomy of a Dynamite Starfish September 14, 2017 21:07

No. 21 of 100 Drawings about Climbing
"Anatomy of a Dynamite Starfish"⠀

Some people are confused about what a Dynamite Starfish is. Some call it "Dynamite Starship" or "Dynamite Starfrog." So here's clarification for those of you who aren't so sure of whatever this project is actually called.⠀

This idea came from a conversation I had a few weeks ago on the G.O. Get Outside podcast, where I ramble for a while about my "circuitous career path" and generally failing and flailing my way through life.

You can listen to it here!

100 Drawings about Climbing — Extraction August 15, 2017 14:28

Dynamite Starfish 100 Drawings Extraction


sometimes painful⠀
to pull the thorns from⠀
inside your bony cage⠀
and interrupt⠀
white space

Another one on the border of "climbing related" and "personal." If climbing is some form of personal expression for you, then you probably wrestle with this idea as well. Putting aside things like fear, ego, and fixation can be like pulling thorns from inside your skeleton, but when you can push through your comfort zone, amazing things can happen. Maybe you'll do or say something you need to without fear of interruption, get on a route that you may not have previously considered, or just have fun without worrying about falling or sending.

100 Drawings about Climbing — Socks 'n' Stocks August 09, 2017 08:11

Socks n Stocks


This one is for a friend who believed this footwear combination was totally appropriate for camping in 20 degree desert nights.⠀

Share with a friend you love to suffer with!

100 Drawings about Climbing — Pivot Point July 17, 2017 07:37

I'm so sorry, 100 Drawings about Climbing project, I've been cheating on you with my own personal work as of late. When I started this project, I didn't expect that I'd go down this road. But I think when you make attempts to be more creative (in any aspect) you open doors for other channels. So, I suppose worlds will collide now and I'll post some of these as part of this "climbing-related" project.

Pivot Point

Drawing No. 18/100 "Pivot Point"

Contemplating the introduction of a thing, upon which everything must change. Perhaps some hidden beta, or previously unseen foot hold? Or fact of life gone by that eventually settles into truth. Either way, accept the unseen, and do not be afraid to change it all.

100 Drawings about Climbing — Crushed Leaf and Tiny Rocks July 15, 2017 08:00

After a day of multi-pitch climbing in Tahquitz, and some seriously inspiring conversations, I found this little scenario in my left shoe.

Crushed Leaf and Tiny Rocks

100 Drawings about Climbing — Pointless Commodities for Pointless Activities July 14, 2017 10:00

Pointless Commodities for Pointless Activities

My thoughts fluctuate a lot between what is useful and what is not, and whether there is value in creating something for the sake of creating. Where I've landed: I believe there is value in creating something, no matter what it is, as long as it is something you believe to be true. Anyways, I had a conversation about this recently and these words came out of my mouth in an effort to explain what it is I do with myself.

100 Drawings about Climbing — More Shooting Stars July 14, 2017 05:00

More Shooting Stars

A thought I had one night while sitting in a hot spring after days of climbing in Bishop:

"More shooting stars than can fit in your hand. Sends and shut downs. There is so much we try to control, but it's nice to be reminded of how much we are not in control."


100 Drawings about Climbing — Open Your Heart July 13, 2017 09:00

Open Your Heart

This idea was given to me by someone sitting next to me on a flight. We talked about how the outdoors can transform lives - first in small increments, adding up to huge life changes. She suggested I create a drawing called "Open Your Heart" with mountains inside, because being outdoors teaches you to keep your heart open. I totally agree!

100 Drawings about Climbing — We Lived, and Along the Way, We Became July 12, 2017 08:00

We lived and along the way we became

This one might not be explicitly about climbing, but after every near epic, after each sigh of relief, perhaps you realize that along the way, something has changed.

100 Drawings about Climbing — The Blackest Night in Joshua Tree July 11, 2017 06:00

Blackest Night in Joshua Tree

When the nights are darkest, and the gap between here and there is small, I find your deep ocean heartbeat. In that vacuum there is no up, down or relief into light. Only the pressure of everything compressing inwards. It's the blackest night in Joshua Tree... and you are there. A piece of you in every molecule I breathe.

100 Drawings about Climbing — Ocotillo July 10, 2017 08:30


For much of the year, the plant appears to be an arrangement of large spiny dead sticks. With rainfall, the plant quickly becomes lush with green leaves and crimson flowers. (summarized from Wikipedia)⠀

Originally done as an acrylic painting, I made a digital reproduction because I think this plant is truly fantastic. Definitely of my favorite sights to see in Joshua Tree. 

100 Drawings about Climbing — I'm sorry for what I said while I was cruxing July 09, 2017 15:46


Sorry for what I said while cruxing

100 Drawings about Climbing — High Maintenance May 18, 2017 10:56

"I have to get in shape"

"How's that new skin salve?"

"Icing my hands twice a day really helps my performance"

"I didn't have the right shoes for this climb"

Climbers—we may not have showered in 5 days, but we sure are high maintenance.

Dynamite Starfish — High Maintenance

100 Drawings about Climbing — Stop Talkin' Start Chalkin' May 18, 2017 10:48

A note to self when you've been socializing too long.

A sharp look towards someone who's spraying all over you.

A sport 5.10d in Ten Sleep, WY.

Drawings # 7-8 in our 100 Drawings about Climbing series. (It's a GIF.)


Stop Talkin' Start Chalkin' animated gif

100 Drawings about Climbing — Hand Jam May 17, 2017 12:12

Drawing #6 was a request from a friend. "Can you draw a hand in a jar of orange marmalade?"

"...Sure, why not?"

If you have a suggestion or a request for me, please send me an email!


Hang Jam

100 Drawings about Climbing — It's a Jug! May 09, 2017 07:21

For Drawing No. 5/100, an homage to the ever-present "jugs" of climbing.

Our trip to Zion, with stops in Red Rocks and Moe's Valley May 08, 2017 00:30

The desert is a place of mysticism - of legends and tales and people who were. From the moment I enter Zion, I see the awkward coexistence of native spiritualism shoulder-to-shoulder with the rigid structure of brittle religion. The names of rocks struggle for truth, having been changed throughout the ages. Is this place truly Zion, or is it Mukuntuweap? Maybe it’s something that’s older than all that — it is it’s own entity, inexplicable by human language.
Zion - Cerberus Gendarme
The Watchman Campground
Zion, as we call her now, is somewhat akin to a kooky aunt you may know, or even have. You know, that one lady with a story for every knick knack, with all of her funky jewelry and brightly colored drapery. There is harmony in the unpredictability of the weather and the jagged cracks that shoot through the red towers. There is gratuitous shelter from harsh weather and perfectly placed wildflowers that are host to colorful butterflies and curious squirrels. As giving as she is though, she is terrible — the dry winds whip at your layers and suffocate your words. Snow and burning sun alternate on your skin, minutes from each other. We are tiny specks on the wall, trying, in our own colorful way.
Zion - mike
Our desert journey didn’t start there, however. We started in Red Rock, Nevada, a place I’ve been a few times before. It’s only now that I’m starting to understand what it feels like to climb in Red Rock, though. I’ve had some fun bouldering and sport climbing in Red Rock, but it’s the multi-pitch climbing that really shines here. Stories around the campfire about epic descents while staying up late to wait anxiously for friends — these events, I’ve learned, happen often.
Between the Red Rocks and Zion portions of our road trip, we camped and bouldered at Moe’s Valley in St. George, Utah. I loved the quality of the rock, but it tore through my fingers after five days of climbing already on them. It wasn’t until we had already left St. George, that I learned just how much climbing is possible in the area. Next time, I’ll be better equipped with guidebooks and beta, and I’m hopeful for some great climbing experiences here.
Zion from Confluence
What are some of your favorite Southwest road trips? Any stops, climbs or eats you recommend? Respond in the comments below!

Cactus flowers in Red Rocks May 03, 2017 07:00

Cactus Flowers Red Rocks

If you've been following along on Instagram, you'll probably have noticed that we've been on a road trip from Los Angeles to Red Rocks to Utah.

We sat in a dirt parking lot in Saint George, Utah after having climbed four consecutive days in Red Rocks. Thankfully the climbing was pretty varied — a day of bouldering at Kraft followed by some mellow multi-pitch routes, then some crack cragging and another day of mellow multi-pitch. Still, we were pretty tired.

None of us woke particularly early, and when we did, it was slow going to get moving. Our friend Mike played the guitar while Ben worked on patching a hole in his sweatpants. He's been really into learning how to sew lately, so our tattered climbing shirts and pants are feeling lucky. In no rush to get to the boulders, I got out my sketchbook for a quick doodle. The flowers in Red Rocks had been so beautiful the past week. I'm not really one to do any kind of representative artwork, but man, desert flowers just speak to me somehow.

So here are some of my favorite cactus flowers from Red Rocks, Mescalito in the background, and some truly unique looking rock in the foreground. Hey, we climbed Lotta Balls a few days before, so I had to.

100 Drawings about Climbing — Intro, and It's Finger Lockin' Good! May 02, 2017 19:41

It's Finger Lockin' Good — Drawing 1/100Introducing a new project today! I’m calling it “100 drawings about climbing.” The goal is to draw something climbing related every day for 100 days. I’ve had so many suggestions, random ideas and thoughts that just never make it onto t-shirts, so this is meant to be a fun way to “idea dump.” ⠀

Between designing, climbing and not having the right facilities sometimes to sit down and draw, I'm going to try my best to get one out each day, but there might be a few that slip out of my hands.⠀

So here goes nothing! Drawing 1/100 "It's Finger Lockin'Good!" Inspired by the countless KFC ads I keep hearing while not paying for Spotify. And finger locks, yeah, those.

The 2017 Women's Climbing Festival : Why not? March 18, 2017 10:13 1 Comment

Why go to a women's climbing festival? Don’t you already climb with women? I was asked this by many friends when I mentioned I’d be attending and sponsoring this year's event.

I imagine a lot of women respond with an instinctual “hell yeah!” when they envision a group of women climbing together, and anticipate an overall positive experience. But since I’d been asked so directly, I wanted to think about this a little more. Why did I go? What was different about this organized event versus getting a few lady friends together to climb?

It's hard to say what's so great about climbing with hundreds of women until you're actually there.

Women's Climbing Festival
Many women (and a few men) escaping the snow on Weekender V4.
My usual experience climbing outdoors is in a mixed crowd with slight variations in climbing ability. Sometimes the women are the stronger climbers, and sometimes the men are — it just depends on who shows up that day. However, males are usually the majority, both within the group and outside the group.

Being somewhere between 5'1" and 5'2", and having a negative ape index, it is very evident that most people I encounter outdoors don’t look like me. I’m also of average fitness — I’m neither super slim or have extraordinary muscle structure. I get really excited when I see someone of my body type climbing harder than I do, because that's encouraging for me. It means that my size is not a limitation. Sometimes I’ll be working on a climb and a bigger guy will step in and get up it by way of sheer force and length. This is not inspiring to me. I must also admit (with guilt) that I have a tendency to excuse myself on certain climbs by saying those moves must be achieved by having a longer reach and testosterone-boosted muscles when most people at the crag are male and much much bigger than you.

NOT SO when you’re climbing at the Women’s Climbing Festival. The best thing about this event is getting outside and seeing women of all climbing abilities trying hard. Although my body type is still a minority, it is a difference of seeing two to three people who look like me working on the same problem versus the usual zero. That’s huge! As I’m walking around, there are short women working on hard problems, problems I haven’t considered, and doing moves that I’m not entirely sure I can do but am now willing to give it a try. I love seeing a group of people who look like you make progress on a climb that you never thought you’d get on in a million years. There are fewer excuses to give up. The organized events are also a great way to catch up with familiar faces and connect with women from all around the country. I realize now, after two years of attending the women’s climbing festival, that it’s really the outdoor vibe that I’ve come to love. 

Ashley Nguyen on Claudius Roofus
Ashley Nguyen works the heel hooks on Son of Claudius Roofus, V5.

If you reversed the genders of all the people at the crag during the women’s climbing festival, that’s probably what a normal day outdoors would look like. Mostly male, with a decent number of women sprinkled in. I'm so glad that people out there take the time and energy to make women the majority outdoors, even if only for a few days. To me, the women’s climbing festival is a dream weekend where I can climb with people who understand my beta, and I can talk ideas without being looked at quizzically.

So here’s to women climbing with women, people like Shelma Jun who are willing to put events like this together, the amazing town of Bishop that opens up their roads and rocks to us visiting climbers. It’s a sneak peek into what the outdoor world would be like with women as the majority, and it’s a wonderful world out there.

On our way out of the Happies
The Happy hike down, and a happy finale to the Women's Climbing Festival!

Dynamite Starfish vendor table

Our vendor table at the Open Air Market

Shirts on people

Just a few of our lovely customers and models!


Peace, Love and Pussy - New women's tank! January 26, 2017 10:42

Don't have too much fun, don't have a different opinion, don't say controversial things, don't get lost, don't look unflattering, don't lose control, don't fall, don't rise up, don't fail, don't start. DON'T. DO. ANYTHING. 

OR, you can get a little louder, stand up, speak up and support your fellow women with this brand spankin' new tank top design.

Peace, Love and Pussy Tank Top 

Available now for preorder. Orders will ship in late February. For a limited time, we are also taking custom requests for alternate fits. So if you want this on a men's/unisex tank or on a tee, email for details!


Hey *nasty* ladies, introducing the "Peace, Love and Pussy" women's tank top. I'm going to be honest here — I wasn't sure if I wanted to release this. I didn't know if people would take it the wrong way, or find it offensive. I sat on it for a week, overthinking as I do sometimes. But today was the Women's March, and today I saw a celebration of women as symbols of strength, fierceness and all that is wild, creative and unique.


I was approached by a university student who was reporting for the school radio station. She asked me how I felt about what happened today, and what I was inspired to do next. I told her I felt an overwhelming sense of unity and love today, and out of a terrible situation something beautiful had emerged. What I was going to do next? That caught me off guard a little, but it forced me to think about it, honestly and on the fly. Then I realized I'm inspired to keep making art, and to be unafraid to push forward when I believe something is right. I don't know what's going to happen next in our country or condition, but I do know that pushing this art forward is one step forward for me in having less fear, being more proud to be female, and expressing solidarity for the strong women around me. I want more than anything to keep the feminist ball rolling, to empower women, including myself who sometimes feels hesitation, fear, and doubt. Today we are strong, and tomorrow we will be stronger.


I'm not asking for anyone to buy this tank because I'm trying to amass some kind of wealth.. if anything, between driving around town to pick up tanks, ink and the time spent printing, I hardly profit at all. But if you feel strongly about the topics I've talked about here and want to support this project, you can preorder this tank on, and I'd be so excited to print it for you.


With love ❤️


A photo posted by Dynamite Starfish (@godynamitestarfish) on

New Year's Eve in Bishop, CA January 11, 2017 15:55

We kicked off 2017 right with a pretty special trip to Bishop and Mammoth. Great weather, climbing, snowboarding — is there more I could ask for?

What a treat it is to live just 4 hours away from Bishop. As Los Angeleno’s, we’re damn lucky to have all this great climbing just half a day away.

Day 1 — Travel day + stop at Alabama Hills
Some time this summer I was inspired to make a climbing goal. Although it’s not super important to me what grade I climb, it is important to me that I measure my improvement and push myself to try harder things. I settled on the goal of climbing a 5.11a clean. At the time I was climbing 5.10c pretty solidly — sometimes I’d take a fall if the route was really pumpy, but for the most part, I could do every move with ease. I gave myself until December 31. Just before Christmas, I took a big fall from the top of the bouldering wall at the gym and gave myself some bad whiplash that stopped me from climbing for about a week and a half. Crap. With the end of the year just around the corner, I was mentally prepared to let it go. It was an arbitrary thing, I had improved over the past half year, and just having the goal had pushed me to try harder things — the accomplishment of the goal wasn’t really that important. My boyfriend suggested that we stop by Alabama Hills on the way up to Bishop to have a rope day, and also to maximize sunlight on a travel day. Without any expectations, I jumped on Dihedral Dance 5.11a, and sent it! Maybe it was easy for the grade, or maybe all the stars were aligned in my favor, but it's done now. Next goal...? Hmm. 😉

Moving from one dihedral to another on Dihedral Dance 11a, while a pair of super inspiring climbing moms take down the arete.

A video posted by Dynamite Starfish (@godynamitestarfish) on

Day 2 — Wake up early and climb! the Buttermilks, that is. We're the first party to arrive at the Get Carter boulder, and it's COLD. Warming up while freezing my hands at the same time. I'm such a baby about the cold... sometimes I wish I was brought up in heartier weather and able to brave temps below uhh... 60 F. Seven Spanish Angels v6 is on the agenda for this morning. This climb is honestly too hard for me to make much progress on right now, but I was able to see some improvement after a few attempts. Putting this in my back pocket for the time being. After one epic send, and a few near sends that brought on dreams of beta later that night, we moved on to to a more varied (but tired) tour of the Buttermilks.

It's a beautiful day in the Buttermilks today! A great morning spent with friends at the Get Carter boulder.

A photo posted by Dynamite Starfish (@godynamitestarfish) on

Day 3 — Snow? What’s that?
Snowboarding. Powder. Hot chocolate & Bailey’s. Mammoth Brewing. That is all. Post-snow celebration for New Year’s Eve at the campground. Much fire, much storytelling, much champagne. Feelings.

Loving this last day of 2016 in the mountains. Fantastic conditions with fantastic people! If only my quads would stop burning...

A photo posted by Dynamite Starfish (@godynamitestarfish) on

Day 4 — New Year’s Day
Started off 2017 at the Sads! Our group had a pretty large range of what we wanted to work on, so v1’s were projected just as intensely as v8’s. We climbed ’til we could climb no more. We got on Strength in Numbers v5, My Chemical Romance v2, The Fang v4, Pow Pow v8, and some other problems we encountered along the way.

Check out this sweet video Eric Dehaven shot of Ben on The Fang!

Day 5 — The Happy Boulders, and finally good-bye!
This was one of those days we split up into little groups so everyone could get in what they wanted on the last day. Man, this day was cold and windy. We finally found sunshine up near the 60-ft Woman Traverse and thoroughly shredded our hands on razor sharp pockets until it was time to go.

@monica_cowan looking sharp 🔪 on the Sixty-Foot Woman Traverse. What a fun weekend climbing with friends! 💕

A photo posted by Dynamite Starfish (@godynamitestarfish) on

How climbing has shaped my love for the outdoors November 07, 2016 12:50

Dynamite Starfish New Jack City

This obsession with PLACE. I’m not sure when it started—maybe it was growing up in an unimaginative suburb and being pushed into a box so small that anything outside of it was what I dreamt of every day. It’s the little details about a place that I hold so dear and have a neverending curiosity for. The current state of a place shows glimpses of its history—the people who developed an area and left their influence there. Hints to it’s future by way of the present. Those who are striving to make change in a place will define how the future plays out there, for better or worse. The rules, regulations and politics of a place also affect how it appears now. What kinds of people are drawn to certain places, and why? How does culture come about? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

Dynamite Starfish Smith Rock

Climbing is just one way to experience a place, but I’ve found that it is a meaningful and fascinating one. Each trail that you walk on has a history, and so does every established route you climb. This sport also has a way of transforming small towns and even large cities through its tightly knit community. The ideas and areas we explore run in parallel. We can’t visit a place and turn a blind eye to its past and future. The reason why I'm obsessed with the shared experiences of climbing and of a certain “place,” is because of the questions rattle my brain — the desire to know how a place came to be just so… and where might the culture be headed? Think about it the next time you head outdoors.⠀

Dynamite Starfish Red Rocks

Dynamite Starfish Joshua Tree

Sunny climbs and Obama in Yosemite Valley July 14, 2016 12:47 1 Comment

Yosemite Valley is the stuff of dreams. After seeing hundreds of tantalizing photographs and listening to stories and beta from friends, we gave it a go.
Yosemite Valley pullout
Magnificent views upon entering the park.
Upper Pines Campsite
Our campsite in Upper Pines.
Half Dome view from Upper Pines
Loved waking up to this view every morning!
Obama was giving a speech in Yosemite National Park that weekend, which set back our plans for the first day of climbing. After waiting in the Village parking lot for a couple hours, we made our way to the top of Manure Pile Buttress on the beautiful multi-pitch trad climb, After Six.
After Six — First Belay Station
The view over Yosemite Valley from the first belay station on After Six, 5.6.
We spent our second day bouldering around Camp 4, with our eyes set on Bachar Cracker. Afterwards, we headed over to the Generator Crack for a truly unique experience. For a few of us, this was our first taste of an off width. With a lot of sweat, blood and effort, the top was within reach!
Bachar Cracker V4
The start of Bachar Cracker, V4 at Camp 4.
El Capitan Meadow
Pretty much all we could do after Generator Crack.
The Grack on Day 3 gave us a little bit of a hard time. After spending longer than expected finding the right trail, we were on. During the first pitch, we took a wrong turn and ended up on the Grack Left. I don’t have a lot of experience on long multi-pitches or carrying heavy trad gear, so my achy feet were begging me to stop. As sad as we were to come off of a climb, we took a long lunch break beneath a shady tree before heading down and back home.
Yosemite waterfall
Bye, Yosemite! Thanks for the good times.
Yosemite was wonderfully majestic, and all the climbs we got on were well worth it.