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Location #7: Turkey

Written on February 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm , by

Paige and Heather sit among ancient ruins in Turkey. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11)

Paige and Heather sit among ancient ruins in Turkey. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Paige climbed in Turkey to support CARE, which combats global poverty. Help Paige raise $10,000 for CARE on her Crowdrise page.


By Paige Claassen

A marathon runner will likely earn sloth status in a sprint. A road cycler is prone to a few bruises on a mountain bike course. Put a technical sport climber on a horizontal roof and watch them flounder and fall. We’re all assumed to be experts in our respective sport, career, or hobby. But seemingly subtle variations from the outside actually make a big impact when you’re the one in the driver’s seat.

I spent the month of January climbing the steep limestone roofs of Geyikbayiri, Turkey. Typically, I prefer vertical climbs that require precise footwork, strong fingers, and technical movement. Alternatively, the rock in Turkey offers a much steeper, more powerful and physical style of climbing. My attempts to navigate the stalactite roof features left me feeling disoriented, as though I was underwater and didn’t know which way was up.

As with other styles of climbing, roof climbing is a very specific skill that requires dedicated practice. Roofs often require climbers to lead with their feet rather than hands. Surprisingly, roof climbs often offer “no hands rests,” whereby a climber can wedge their knees against features and let go of the rock with both hands. Unfortunately, my skillset does not lend itself to this style of climbing. I struggle to identify sections of the route where I can let go with both hands, or where I should climb feet first.

Paige navigates the sea of roof features, such as the stalactite in the foreground. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11)

Paige navigates the sea of roof features, such as the stalactite in the foreground. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11).

Challenges within our own field of expertise can leave us frustrated and disheartened, when we struggle with a feat that we “should” be capable of performing. However, these obstacles offer unique opportunities to grow within our field. Likely, improvement in one area of our trade can only help us in our given specialty.

With this in mind, I tried to learn all I could about roof climbing in Turkey from my friend and fellow visiting American climber, Heather Weidner. I observed Heather’s seemingly effortless roof maneuvers. She gracefully twisted around the same stalactites I had tried to climb over. Whereas I saw a blank section of rock with no holds, save a 90 degree angle I couldn’t possibly grab, Heather saw an opportunity to “knee bar” and let go with her hands. After a few weeks of Heather’s instruction, I felt more comfortable identifying rests and tricky movements. What once felt impossible suddenly didn’t seem so unreasonable.

This is why I love to climb. Each route offers a new obstacle, a new chance to learn, and a fresh start. Thanks for showing me the way through the roofs, Heather!

Heather Weidner demonstrates a "no hands rest." Photo by Paige Claassen.

Heather Weidner demonstrates a “no hands rest.” Photo by Paige Claassen.

Did you know that women and girls make up 70 percent of the world’s 1 billion poorest people? Or that a child born to a literate mother is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5? These are statistics from CARE, a Lead Now supported organization that helps the poorest communities in the world unleash their full potential. Help Lead Now support CARE by donating online at http://www.crowdrise.com/leadnowturkey. Contribute $27 or more for a chance to win a Marmot two-person tent!

To get involved and donate online to help, visit Crowdrise.

Check back next month for a video and update about Paige’s next location. And stay tuned for the video of Paige’s time in Turkey! FitnessMagazine.com, with thanks to Marmot and Louder Than 11, will have the first-look exclusive video .

Fit Links: How to Pick a Healthy Road Trip Snack and Support 8 Awesome Sports Charities

Written on June 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm , by

Trail mix, veggies and whole grain crackers make for excellent travel munchies. (Photo by Evan Sklar)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Models Making a Difference

Written on March 21, 2012 at 9:35 am , by

heide lindgren and georgie badiel

Models 4 Water's co-founders Heide and Georgie

In 10 days, the 2012 Ludus Athletics Model Beach Volleyball Tournament will hit South Beach—and give us a motivational kick in the butt to get ready for bikini season. But the two-day event will also give us a little boost of hope, too, thanks to its charity partnership, Models 4 Water.

Co-founder models Georgie Badiel (runway stunner) and Heide Lindgren (face of Guess by Marciano) started M4W last year, with the goal of raising money to bring sustainable, clean water to the people in Burkina Faso, Georgie’s homeland. The country is one of the poorest in the world and about 85 percent of the population doesn’t have clean drinking water. And as you may suspect, most of the burden of finding usable water falls on the local women.

brukina faso children

Taken at Nakar, Burkina Faso: After M4W's first drill hit water, children celebrate. (Photo courtesy of Models 4 Water on Facebook)

“We want to use our level of exposure to give back and work (as an industry) together to make a difference,” Heide says. “But this isn’t about being a ‘rewarding experience.’ It’s about fulfilling your duty as a human being to use your blessings to help bless others.”

M4W works with The Water Project, which also hosts the donations. (They’ll accept as little as $1, so go for it!) But the Model Beach Volleyball Tournament will also have an area dedicated to M4W, and additional Global Ambassadors will lend their image and connections to the cause in the future.

Until then, Heide says the dream is simple: “Water is one of the few things the body requires to live, and we don’t want access to clean water to be an issue or concern for anyone.”

Stay tuned for more updates about the exciting 2012 Ludus Athletics Model Beach Volleyball Tournament, an event FITNESS is proud to partner with!

Bloggers Unite to Fundraise and Fight Cancer

Written on July 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm , by

Susan and Janetha at the Foodbuzz Festival in November 2010. Photo courtesy of Janetha at Meals and Moves.

Susan (left) and Janetha at the Foodbuzz Festival. (Photo courtesy of Janetha at Meals and Moves)

If there was ever any doubt about the healthy living blogging community and the support system it creates, Janetha from Meals and Moves has erased it all. She’s spearheaded The Great Fundraising Act, or TGFA—an online auction that is donating all of the proceeds to Susan, a fellow blogger who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Susan and Janetha officially met last fall when they were roommates for the Foodbuzz Festival in November, but they had been following each other’s blogs since April 2009. The two became fast friends, and when Janetha heard about Susan’s cancer diagnosis and the fact that she had to pay for her medicine (to the tune of $5,000 a month) she knew she had to help. Soon after, TGFA was born.

Intending to hold a bake sale that would “hopefully raise a few thousand dollars,” Janetha sent out emails to anyone in the blog world that might have a connection to Susan, asking if they’d be willing to donate baked goods. After an overwhelming amount of support, the bloggers recommended Janetha contact companies for charitable contributions. More support rolled in and TGFA ended up with over 170 items to auction away!

TGFA began at 8 a.m. EST today and has raised over $20,000. “People are so generous, it makes me want to cry,” Janetha says. “I’ve read tweets that say things like, ‘I don’t have any grocery money this week, but I’m still donating.’ I’m just completely astonished by the love and support that’s coming from all directions.”

Awesome products like a one-year supply of Chobani Greek yogurt, a travel package to Universal Studios in Hollywood, and tons of healthy, baked goods are ready for the taking, with staggered closing times until 11 p.m. Make sure you check it out!

If you’d like to simply make a direct donation to Susan to help cover the cost of her medical bills, you can donate via PayPal here.

And if you think there might be something you want post-TGFA, Janetha will be setting up an “After the Act” page next week that will list more products for sale at a set price!

Now tell us: What’s on your fitness wish list that you’d love to see auctioned off?

Getting Fit for a Cause: Jamie Horn and the Andi Foundation

Written on March 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm , by

Jamie Horn training for the Andi Foundation, Photo by Kevin Coloton

Here at FITNESS, we believe in getting fit for good causes. In the That’s the Spirit! section of our April issue (on newsstands now), we feature runner Jamie Horn, who’s currently training for the Potomac River Run Marathon on May 1. She’s running 26.2 miles to raise money for the Andi Foundation, a nonprofit she started to honor her best friend Andi Parhamovich.

In January 2007, Andi was killed during a terrorist attack in Iraq while working on a democracy-building mission for a nonprofit. Jamie and Andi’s family and friends created the Andi Foundation to help young women pursue careers in politics, humanitarian work and media. Learn more about the Andi Foundation and donate at theandifoundation.org. We wish Jamie the best of luck on her upcoming race!

Want to get fit for a good cause? We put together this list of our favorite fitness charity events to help you find one near you. And if there’s a cause you strongly believe in and are involved with, tell us in the comments below!

Know someone who is sharing her love of fitness with others in a creative and charitable way? Email us at spirit@fitnessmagazine.com.