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  • Utah Rock Climbing

    Jackie Hueftle -- Vitalyte Brand Ambassador

    I recently celebrated my 32nd birthday. This birthday was special for me in a few ways, perhaps mostly because now I have been climbing for half my life. As noted in my previous post I began climbing around my 16th birthday. Since then climbing has become the center around which my life revolves.

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    In the end of March I flew to Las Vegas to meet up with my boyfriend Chris and attend the Red Rocks Rendezvous. In this annual event pro climbers teach clinics on all aspects ofclimbing, and Chris was scheduled to teach several bouldering clinics. Even though I live in dry Colorado, the Vegas desert is even drier and more demanding and I was grateful I’d packed some Vitalyte to keep me hydrated when we went bouldering and taught clinics in Calico Basin.

    From Vegas we headed to Zion National Park in Utah. Zion is a dramatic and beautiful canyon full of stunning red sandstone walls that seem to reach to the sky. I’d never been to Zion and I wanted to see something new for my birthday so we drove out there and explored the canyon before spending a the night in the very full campground with some friendly Coloradans who offered to share their site with us.

    The next day was cold and windy with a prediction of rain or snow so we bid adieu to our new friends and drove out the other end of Zion toward Bryce Canyon National Park.

    IMG_9511I grew up reading Edward Abbey novels and though I’ve spent time around Moab, Lake Powell, and Indian Creek, I’d never actually seen the rest of Southern Utah that I’ve read so much about. Bryce Canyon’s first overlook is the stunning Bryce Amphitheater (PIC), and were it a bit warmer we would have liked to explore it. As it was we decided to continue on and took the scenic Highway 12 north and east toward Capital Reef National Park.

    There’s a lot of beautiful land in Utah and the rock formations in and out of the parks were extraordinary. We saw petroglyphs, pictographs, ancient and still-operating ranches, rivers, and lots and lots of crazy rock formations. As climbers, there was potential everywhere. As travelers, we were glad to have Vitalyte to drink because it’s easy to get dehydrated on long car rides and Vitalyte is a quick and tasty way to get yourself back on the right side of hydration.

    IMG_9489Finally we ended up in the mountains where we had a somewhat scary drive through a snowstorm on a muddy ranch road and found some great camping and climbing high above the valley floor. We enjoyed a few days of complete isolation in which we saw nobody and didn’t even have cell service as we explored the boulders. The weather was mixed, with several snowstorms blowing through and blue skies in between. The wind was taxing on the middle day, and in the afternoon we were forced to retreat to the car where we ate soup and drank Vitalyte as an afternoon snack to help us recover from the harsh conditions. The last day in the mountains was the worst weather-wise, and instead of staying the night and risking getting suck on the muddy road again we packed up during a dry spell and bailed to the nearest burger stand. From there we drove to a camp spot we know, low and dry, and then the next morning home to Boulder. All in all it was a great birthday week. I saw lots of new things, did some climbing, and had a nice vacation from work and from my cell phone. Now I’m back home and back at work, but I can’t wait for my next adventure!

  • An Interview of Jackie Hueftle by None Other Than Jackie Hueftle

    Jackie: So, Jackie, what do you do? What are you all about?

    Jackie: Hi Jackie! I'm a rock climber, routesetter, and freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado.

    Jackie Hueftle setting a comp at The Spot Gym

    Jackie: For those not familiar, what is a routesetter?

    Jackie: Routesetters are people who put up holds in indoor climbing gyms. Indoor climbingholds are bits of polyurethane in all different shapes that you connect to a climbing wall with bolts or screws. Routesetters use these holds to design courses for people to climb. Tall courses that people climb with a rope for protection are called routes, and short courses where you don't have a rope and don't go very high are called boulder problems. I have set routes and boulder problems for several indoor climbing gyms and for major competitions like USAC Climbing Junior Nationals, Mammut Bouldering Championships and other adult level pro events, and the Spot Bouldering Series comps at my home gym, The Spot, in Boulder.

    Jackie: Tell me how you got started climbing.

    Jackie: I started rock climbing sixteen years ago in a gym in Reno, Nevada and outdoors in the wonderful granite formations around Lake Tahoe. Since then climbing has taken me across North America and Europe and even to China.

    Jackie: China?!

    Jackie Hueftle Chinese CompJackie: For my first few years I competed in junior competitions and went to Austria as part of Team USA. When I aged out of juniors (around age 19) I turned my focus completely to outdoor climbing, but my friend Patrick was America's best speed climber and we got invited to China as representatives for the US by the Chinese Mountaineering Association. We were treated like celebrities--taken to the Great Wall, museums, sports centers, and fancy banquets--and we met people from all over the world who we competed against in speed and difficulty events that more of exhibitions. The whole trip was 11 days and it was a really good time.

    Jackie: What's your normal climbing life like?

    Jackie: My boyfriend Chris [pro boulderer Chris Schulte] and I spend a lot of time in the winter driving around the American West to world class bouldering areas like Bishop, California; Hueco Tanks, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Moab, Utah; Durango, Colorado; and Joe's Valley, Utah. I am a guide in Hueco so in addition to climbing myself I help other people by taking them to the backcountry where you have to have a guide to go climbing. Hueco days are lots of flat hiking and lots of fun climbing in the sun.

    Jackie: How about in the summer?

    Jackie: In the summers we hike into the high alpine areas of Colorado--Mount Evans and Rocky Mountain National Park--where a day of bouldering often requires several miles of uphill hiking before you even get on the rocks. We get lots of visitors from around the world who stay at our house to visit all the alpine bouldering.

    Jackie: All that uphill hiking sounds like hard work!

    Jackie: It is! But it's really rewarding to spend a full day outside climbing and hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, even if you have to carry a lot of stuff to make it possible. You get some fantastic views and even though there are usually daily rain and hailstorms, they pass quickly and the rocks dry so you can climb more, and you are often rewarded with a rainbow or a beautiful sunset as well.

    Jackie: I bet Vitalyte comes in handy with all that hiking and climbing.

    Jackie: It does! We discovered Vitalyte in Las Vegas and after trying it once we were hooked. We liked how well it rehydrated us without leaving us feeling bogged down by too much sugar. The following summer we used Vitalyte in the alpine and were thrilled with how clean it felt to drink and how well it worked. We use Vitalyte for all our trips now, and I drink it at home when I've had a long work day and gotten behind on my hydration. We also share it with our visitors who often need help getting hydrated to get used to the higher altitude of Boulder and the even higher altitude of the bouldering areas.

    Jackie: Do you work with any other companies?

    Jackie: Yes! I represent La Sportiva for climbing shoes and Flashed Climbing for bouldering pads and other gear. I also work with Kilter Climbing Grips, which is a company that makes holds for climbing gyms. I am proud to add Vitalyte to this group of companies, as all are companies I work with because I believe they are the best in the business. Vitalyte is hands down my favorite sports drink I've ever used and I'm excited to share it with all my friends in the climbing community.

    Jackie: Well, that about sums it up for now. Thanks for the interview, Jackie!

    Jackie: No problem Jackie!

  • Meet Brand Ambassador Jackie Hueftle

    Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.00.02 PMI’m Jackie, and I am a rock climber from Boulder, Colorado.

    As a junior I competed in the Youth World Championships in Imst, Austria, but now I prefer to travel and climb outside. I currently set routes for competitions and day-to-day at The Spot Gym. Outdoors I have climbed hard problems and put up new climbs in many areas. For winter climbing I usually travel to Europe or camps in the desert (California, Southern Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and West Texas), and in the summer I enjoy high alpine bouldering at areas including Independence Pass, Mount Evans, and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

    The dry deserts in the winter and big hikes at high altitude in the summer are very physically demanding, and I have found Vitalyte to be a crucial part of keeping happy, healthy, and hydrated for long days of climbing and during recovery and rest phases. I also love Vitalyte for keeping me going during long days of travel and the demanding work of setting for competitions. In addition to Vitalyte, I am a representative for La Sportiva and for Flashed Climbing.

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