Vegan-friendly rock climbing! Work it out!  »

I wasn’t vegan when I started rock climbing a few years ago, but I was lucky enough to already own a pair of synthetic climbing shoes when I decided to become a vegan. For all of you climbers who weren’t so lucky or if you’re a vegan and new to climbing I did some research on some of the top synthetic climbing shoes to share with you all.

Defy’s are my original climbing shoe love. They are great for beginners or any level for that matter! They even come in purple (for the ladies?). If you are looking for something a little bit more aggressive you might like the Five Ten Blackwings. These shoes provide stability and comfort while giving you the edge to tackle the more advanced climbs. And these are just hella cute! For you mini-climbers you can check out the Venga’s by Evolv. Nothing better than a day at the local crag with the kidlins.

In general Evolv will be your go-to company for climbing shoes; they offer the most vegan-friendly climbing shoes out of any climbing company. Vegan win! When you go to purchase climbing shoes I definitely recommend going into an actual store and having someone fit you. Buying climbing shoes is nothing like buying your trendy Toms. You want them to fit very tight (but not painful) and have to know what you’ll be wearing them for. It would be a huge waste of money to buy some advanced shoes if you are just a beginner.

If you already know how to fit yourself and don’t mind waiting for a package to come in the mail then feel free to try ordering a pair online. If you live in the Portland area I think you should check ClimbMax. They don’t have the biggest selection of vegan climbing shoes but everyone who works there is very knowledgeable and will do their best to answer your questions. ClimbMax also carries ropes, quick draws, cams, guide books and just about anything you could think about needing for your climbing adventures.

For all things outdoors make sure to take a trip out to Next Adventure. Always start in their bargain basement for gently used products such as tents, sleeping bags, and hiking shoes! If you prefer shiny gear, stay on the main level and don’t forget to head upstairs for camp cooking utensils and gear.

Next to having the right gear, I’m all about planning what to eat when I go climbing! Don’t make the mistake my friend made on one unfortunate climbing trip: He decided to leave the house with only a Costco-size box of danishes. FOR A WHOLE WEEK! Lucky for him I showed up with a car full of food. When planning what to eat you have to take into consideration your surroundings. Will you be in a traditional camp site? Are you staying in someone’s house or a hotel? Or are you just going out for a day?

No matter what the case, always remember that you are classier than PB&J and veggie dogs (gag). For ease, prepare what you can at home. Plan on having stir fry? Portion out your rice or grain of choice and have your vegetables pre-sliced. For climbing trips some of my favorite foods to cook include curries, stir fries, soups, pita pizzas (super easy to make if you have a Dutch oven), and really just about anything you can think of! I love being the envy of the cooking site when I go out on climbing trips.

For breakfast try to keep it simple, oatmeal with some fruit mixed in is a perfect, hearty meal to start your day. It’s fast and clean up is fairly easy. The goal is to get the job done and beat the other climbers to the best climbs, or, you know, to try to catch up to the other climbers because your alarm didn’t go off. Lunch is always best kept in snack form. I always keep an assortment of Cliff bars, mixed nuts, and dried fruits in my pack (and sometimes a PB&J). But most important of the food rules is DO NOT FORGET YOUR WATER! I know from experience that it can get above 100 degrees very fast at Smith Rock State Park in the summer and you would be a dead climber walking without your water bottle.On a side note: Vitamin Water and Crystal Light do not count as water! Only plain-jane water will do.

When you’re out there climbing just remember to have fun, be good and learn something new (like how to apply your vegan ethics to the basic ethics of climbing)! So vegan brothers and sisters, there are no more excuses. Get some shoes, get out to Smith Rock or whatever, and do your thing!

Chelsea Catchpole is a vegan who hails from the mystical land of Portland, Ore. She is a barista by day and a blogger, climber, and “chef” by night. You can normally find her wandering the isles of New Seasons or The People’s co-op. The rest of her free time is spent cuddling with her two cats, Sushi and Mojo-Jojo. You can read her other musings here.

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