I climbed this mountain for the first time back in 2009. It was at one of the lowest points in my eating disorder, I was freezing and miserable. I also had apparently blocked out parts of this trial from my memory and I now remember why. I am not saying this as a deterrent, this is still a beautiful climb, it was just much more tedious than I remembered. Timpanogos from the Aspen Grove TH is a 16 mile, 5300′ gain climb. The other and more popular route is the Timpanoke route. While it has less gain, the trail is a bit longer, however AG has been ranked as more difficult due to some of the earlier terrain as well. I personally think the Aspen Grove area is prettier with all the waterfalls and less crowded so it is my preferred route to the summit.
We started at 4:15 on a beautiful mid-September morning. Stars were out, meteor shower was in peak and it was incredibly calm. Moving pretty quickly through the first mile to the first waterfall (which we could not see but could hear in the darkness) the trail began up the switchbacks and across primrose cirque all in the dark of night. it wasn’t until we reached the higher falls (which was bone dry this time of year) that we began to get twilight. Working our way up the tight switchbacks waiting for the sunrise, the winds picked up but we were making excellent time. We stopped for a quick break at the top of the couloir as the sun rose. We had been going for nearly 3 straight hours.
We continued up the last bit of the couloir to the opening of the meadow where we had our first goat encounter and witnessed the suns rays light up the summit ridge in front of us. Strolling along, we made it to Emerald Lake and the shelter where we met our second pack of goats!
From here things slowed down a bit. Crossing the scree field was not difficult but it was time consuming. Keeping track or cairns, and just walking along the uneven path, ALL of our ankles could feel it by the end. That field was definitely bigger than I remember. onward up the steep pitch to the saddle, we were all feeling the burn, but it wasnt until we topped out on the ridge that the wind was at its peak (as per usual for Timpanogos).
We made our way up the last .9mi to the summit. The trail is exposed the entire way but ridge starts out with well defined trail. the crux of the climb is the chimney. a class 2/3 mix of loose and solid rock scramble up switchbacks sheltered in the rock formation. From here you pop out and its only a few more switchbacks to the final stretch of ridge and the summit is in sight.
On the summit we celebrated a client’s birthday and the overall accomplishment of a major climb for everyone involved! The wind was fierce, and it was cold and crowded so we headed down pretty quickly. Our descent was smooth until we returned to the scree field where ankles were sore and unhappy, slowing us way down and we took our time on the remainder of the descent enjoying the beautiful fall colors we didn’t get to see in the dark on the way up.
Car to car with our group was about 12 1/2 hours. My least favorite part was the crowds… it was like BYU Disneyland up there… If you can, pick a weekday to go. Overall a great day!
What a gorgeous pair of peaks for fall! With the leaves changing, and the bold colors of the mountain, this was a very beautiful climb.
Redcloud and Sunshine are located in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado just outside of Lake City. The climb itself is an easy class 2. t=There are a few points in the trail in which you are navigating scree but the trail is well defined. The scariest part was honestly the rough 4×4 road to get to the trailhead.
We car camped at the trailhead and started hiking at 3am because weather was supposed to roll in early afternoon. Since it is mid-September, starting at 3am looks A LOT different than starting that early in mid-summer. This is the darkest part of the state, hands down due to its remoteness. We spent the first 3 hours in pitch-black as we had no moon, and clouds masked the stars. The darkness slowed us down a bit in spots. At about 1 3/4 miles there are a few scree fields to navigate across and doing so in the dark was a challenge. The key is to hug the stream and not get too high in the scree fields. About 2 1/2 miles in the remainder of the trail to the saddle is well defined a tundra meadow.
By the time we got to the saddle, twilight began to make itself known, just in time for us navigating the switchbacks up the steep scree. We enjoyed sunrise from about halfway up the ridge and slowly made our way to the summit of Redcloud. The red dirt and colors on this mountain are unreal and absolutely gorgeous! We spent a quick moment on the summit before continuing down the ridge to Sunshine.
There is about a mile and a half between peaks and the ridge walk was fairly straight forward. The final pitch to the summit of sunshine is all scree but there is a defined trail and the rocks are fairly stable despite how loose they look. After 20 minutes on the summit we made our way back towards Redcloud to head back down. This ridge walk back to Redcloud’s summit seemed like it took forever and was honestly the hardest part of the climb mentally.
Once we made it back down to the saddle, the rest of the walk down was incredibly quick and very pretty as we could see the colors of the leaves that we couldn’t see in the dark. The views the entire day were absolutely stunning and I HIGHLY recommend this pair. Redcloud in particular is now pretty high on my favorite 14ers list. Car to car was 10 hours. We took our time, especially in the dark. Overall, this was a beautiful day!
I would like you to start by thinking of a few scenarios:
Raise your hand if you have ever set a goal for yourself, and then never followed through.
Raise your hand if you have ever set a goal for yourself but had no idea HOW to actually achieve it.
Raise your hand if you have ever set a goal for yourself, start working on it, but then had to stop or give up when you hit road blocks, whether mentally, physically, or objectively.
These are all VERY common reasons why goals don’t get achieved. Learning HOW to conquer your goals is the secret to making your goals achievable! I want to break down for you a few steps in goal setting that can help you be more successful in actually following through, and conquer the goals you set for yourself!
Setting a SMART Goal:
My high previous school students can attest to this, but maybe you have heard of it too! SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. By giving your goal these 5 criteria, you are already making a more achievable dynamic for yourself. Write them down, break down your goal so you can see exactly what you need to do to achieve it!
S =Specific: What is it EXACTLY that you want to achieve? Don’t just say “I want to lose weight”, say “I want to lose 10 pounds.” BE SPECIFIC. Give details.
M = Measurable: How are you going to keep track of your progress? Let’s stick with the weight loss example. If you are strictly measuring weight loss then the scale is the perfect tool. However, if you are doing it right, you are also building muscle, and muscle is dense and weighs more than fat than you should also be measuring waist, hips, chest, thighs, etc so you can see a visual change in the weight coming off. List the different ways you will track your progress and track your goal.
A = Attainable: How are you going to do it? What steps are you going to need to take? With weight loss a change in diet and exercise are usually the two biggies. Are there other things to add to your list of steps? Will you go tho the gym? Hire a trainer? Train at home with videos? What is your PLAN?
R = Realistic: Is this something that is not only humanly possible, but possible for YOU in this moment? Trying to lose 30 pounds in the span of a week is not healthy, and not really possible without very drastic measures. Make sure it is reasonable. As another quick example, When I was struggling with my eating disorder, I did not believe it would be possible for me to climb Everest, and at that time I was right. However after years of healing and recovery, now that goal is much more realistic to me!
T = Time: GIVE YOURSELF A DEADLINE! If you have an endless goal, it will never get done. We are all guilty of procrastination to some degree. Again, make sure it is a realistic timeline, but ultimately the deadline holds you accountable to yourself. “I want to lose 10 pounds in 30 days” is much more realistic for someone with weight to lose.
Once you have listed these five criteria your goal should sounds more like this: “I want to lose 10 pounds in 30 days by eating a healthier balanced diet, and working out 4 times a week using strength training and HIIT exercises. I will track my food, exercise and progress by scale as well as body measurements.” This is Specific. It has measurable data, it has an action plan, and a realistic timeline.
Diving Deeper Into Your Goal Plan:
Let’s talk about steps to conquer your goals. You have set your SMART goal, and come up with an idea of how to execute your plan, which is great, but we need to ensure it sticks. One way to do this is by really breaking down the steps and creating mini-goals along the way. For long-term goals this is especially critical. If you have a goal plan that takes a year or more to complete you need to take it in bite size chunks to make it more sustainable.
Let’s change the scenario to something bigger like preparing for an Expedition. You sign up with several months ahead of you to prepare for it. By breaking it down month to month, even week to week can help you prepare. There are a lot of pieces to your puzzle. not just training, but logistics, and mental preparation as well. By assigning certain tasks to different points in your path to achieving your goal, you create a step by step process to getting it done!
I think of it a little bit like planning a wedding. You set the date, pick your venues first so they are available for the date you chose. Then you pick your bride’s maids, you try on dresses and order a dress, then order a cake, a DJ, etc. and as you get closer, the to do list gets more specific: Get nails done, finish pace settings, centerpeices. The day of: hair, make-up, transport wedding party to venue, follow the schedule of ceremony and reception, etc. You start broad, and get more specific with details as the event arrives and the same can be applied to preparing for an expedition.
For example, you may start with general fitness prep. getting into general shape before adding training specifics. You book your plane ticket, book your expedition guide, get/renew your passport, and any other logistics that must be done first. Then as you get closer to the date, your physical training becomes more specific. You add mindset and mental prep to your routine, you make sure your gear is in good condition and buy or replace anything you are missing. Right before you leave you pack, purchase snacks, supplements, and any other last minute things you need. You check your flight details to ensure everything is still good to go, and head to the airport and off on your journey.
Breaking Habits of Procrastination:
We talked about breaking goals down into smaller timeline chunks such as months or weeks. However, even breaking it down day by day can help if you struggle with procrastination. Creating a daily To-Do List can be a lifesaver and an important key in helpin you conquer your goals. Your brain gets a little hit of dopamine each time you cross something off your list! Even struggling with daily tasks? Try the “Stop Light” method.
Break your daily tasks down into three categories: Things that absolutely HAVE to get done today, Things that should get done, and things that you would like to do if you have the time to get to them. This means everything: goal stuff, work stuff, family stuff etc. Items on your list will shift in priority at various points in time and that is normal, and also kind of the point as you will see below:
RED: This category is for the stuff that absolutely has to get done today. This means whatever is a priority at work, at home and in your goals. If weight loss or training for something is a goal for you, you need to make sure your workout/training is a red priority or it is less likely to get done. This makes your goal a priority in your life. These are your non-negotiable’s for each day.
YELLOW: This category is for things on your list with a medium level of priority. If you get to them, great! If not, you save it for the next day, and the idea is, these items eventually jump to the red category in time as their importance rises. For example, this blog post for me was supposed to be written about 2 weeks ago. I didn’t get it done because my blog posts are in my yellow zone (even sometimes my green zone). However, I made it a goal this week to get it done. a busy week forced me to keep pushing it off until I had more time. Now it’s Friday, Blog post jumped into the red zone and a “must finish” for today.
GREEN: These are things that would be nice if you were able to get to, but is totally ok if you don’t to it today. Much like the yellow, some of these items jump up the priority list over time. I personally like cleaning my bedroom as an example for this one and maybe some of you relate! (props to you if a clean room is higher on your list!) It would be nice if i get time for it, but its not a priority most of the time. It jumps in priority if I have friends come over, if it get really bad, or if I get stressed out (because cleaning is calming to me and a clean space DOES help me relax more).
You list will change daily. something that was yellow yesterday could be red today. Something green last week could even jump to red this week. This is just a simple way to keep your daily tasks organized and help you prioritize what is most important.
Facing Road Blocks and Challenges in Conquering Your Goals:
Life happens. Unexpected roadblocks can and will get in the way of us trying to achieve what we want but that should not stop us from trying. If you were training for an event and sprained your ankle, you may be out of commission for a bit but you can still train in other ways, you can focus on mental training, and you can get back on track once you heal. If you sprained your ankle say the day before your event, that is a bigger frustration, but you can always reschedule. Races happen multiple times a year, big ones are annually, and expeditions come in seasons as well. Fighting with the airline and expedition team about refunds is a nuisance, but has to be done in that scenario. In the even of an injury or life altering event, many expedition teams would be flexible and allow you to join them on a different date in the future and transfer your reservation. I know with COVID-19, many of us had cancelled plans, trips, vacations, and events. We continued forward, the goal remains, we just know it’s not now.
Mental resiliency in the face of challenges and adversity is going to be a key skill to learn. This is ultimately what sets people apart in those who are successful at achieving goals, and those who aren’t. We ALL hit road blocks in some form or another, but it is the ability to move past them and keep going. This comes in the form of utilizing coping skills, strategic critical thinking, and planning to push forward.
YOU CAN DO IT!
You can achieve anything you set your mind to if you practice effective goal setting. Lose that weight, climb that mountain, read 100 books an a year, get that dream job, finish that PhD, learn a new language, a new instrument, or simply a new hobby. Implement new habits into your life. Conquer Your Goals! Conquer Yourself!
There is no better way to celebrate the summer solstice than from the highest point in Colorado! Mount Elbert is located in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains just outside the city of Leadville. Not only is it the state’s high point, but it is the second highest point in the contiguous US. A steep climb, but definitely one for the books!
Out climb started just after 3:30am from the standard North route. The trail started off pretty moderately with switchbacks for the first mile, very doable. The trail then flattens out and actually heads slightly downhill for about 5 minutes of walking or so before you reach the Contintental Divide trail fork. This flat continues for just another half mile or so before the steeper incline begins. This first steeper section goes for another mile or so until you hit treeline and makes you question your life choices.
At this point, coming out of the trees the we were in twilight and sunrise was approaching. we slowly continued to make our way out of the trees just in time to see the alpenglow hit the peak in front of us and watch the sunrise. Once out of the trees you can basically see the majority of the route headed up the ridge. It is a slow steep walk but take your time and you will get there!
The crux of the route starts at about 13,000′. This is the steepest section and is a slow spot. Knowing you have 1,400′ left of climbing the first 900′ are right in front of you in a very short distance. This is the first false summit.
As you come around the north side and to the top of the false summit you can see the second false summit in front of you, a more moderate incline in comparison as you make your way up the hill.
As you come up on this second false summit the 3rd and last false peak gets your hopes up as it LOOKS like it could be the real deal…. it is not. HOWEVER, as you quickly make your way up this last hill you can see the REAL summit and it is a simple 2-4 minute ridge walk away!
Welcome to the roof of Colorado at 14,439 feet!!!!! We took our time on the way up as we encountered wind and cold and had to keep adding layers. We summited at 8:50am.
The decent took half the time for the most part. Some steeper spots were a little slow for those needing to be gentle on the knees. (bring poles) As for difficulty, its just the steep gain and the altitude. The standard North route is a class 1. Very well maintained trail as it is heavily trafficked. We did pass plenty of people who turned around early in the morning as they were not feeling it that day. Also, being June it was VERY cold and windy for us. It had snowed the day before so the summit temps were at or just above freezing that morning and the windchill was recorded at 17 degrees Fahrenheit! (burrr) Overall, it was a BEAUTIFUL day to summit.
Mount Nebo is the highest peak in the Wasatch Range in Utah. It’s located about 2 hours south of Salt Lake City near the town of Payson. It is a beautiful but challenging climb.
The trail starts out pretty mild and has a great view of North peak as you ascend. The trail is full of wildflowers and down trees. Navigating around the trees is fairly easy. The first mile and a half is the easiest part.
Once you arrive to the open meadow and cirque, the trail steepens as you head to the ridge.
As you top out on the ridge of North Peak, the trail leads around to the backside and flattens out as you work your way to the other side to the saddle.
Once you arrive at the saddle, the false peak stands in front of you. You can see the roue and the top of the false summit. Its pretty steep but straight forward.
Now for the tricky part. The summit ridge. This ridge is made of very sharp limestone and slippery shale. Gloves are highly recommended! There are no cairns or markers to mark a single solid trail. You can see what appears to be a path to the summit but it is actually pretty difficult to navigate as multiple paths exist but some dead end. I found the most direct route was to stay as close to the ridge line as possible. If you get too far below the ridge, the amount of shale increases and this rock is incredibly slippery.
The visible “path” ends approximately 100 feet below the summit. This part is rates as a class 3 scramble and it can be a little unnerving as you are trying to grab rock and hope that it’s solid and not loose shale. This was the point I actually turned around as I was climbing solo. I wasn’t sure where the recommended scramble path was since there are no markers or cairns and it was my first time on this mountain and did not feel comfortable being alone on the slippery rocks trying to figure it out.
This ridge was the MOST time consuming part of the climb. I made it to the top of the false summit. The ridge is only a half mile and it took me an hour and a half to navigate. Coming down, the shale is VERY slippery so keep that in mind. Stepping on solid rock is always better if you can. Poles aren’t super helpful on this ridge but they are on the way down the steep false summit.
Overall expect to spend 6-9 hours on this mountain depending on how fast you are. Like I mentioned, the ridge is the most time consuming part. Give yourself a turn around time. Many people just go up to the false summit to start. Start early, as there is NO shade from the base of the false summit onward.
Overall a gorgeous mountain! Definitely one to check off the list. I will be back to finish that last 100 feet! 😉
Here we are…. Well over a month into quarantine (some maybe even longer) and some of us are going crazy! I know for me I am dying to get out and climb. Spring is IDEAL ski mountaineering conditions. Yet here I sit. In my house dreaming of peaks, hoping and praying this all ends soon. We do what we can during these uncertain times. So to keep those climber muscles from getting weak, try these 6 resistance band exercises climbers can do at home.
Stand on the center of the band. Tuck in elbows in, palms up. Curl arms up nice and controlled.
Stand on one end of the band and hold the band out to the side. Raise arm to a “T” position.
Stand on the center of the band. Slight bend in the knee, and bend over slightly. Tuck in arms and extend behind you.
Overhead Tricep Extension
Stand on the handle on one end of the band and hold the band behind you. Tuck in your core so your spine is aligned. Extend arms straight back.
The best way to do this exercise would be by wrapping the center of the band around door handles or around a post. Stand back and sit back slightly. Draw elbows in palms facing toward each other.
The best way to do this exercise would be by wrapping the center of the band around door handles or around a post. Stand back and sit back slightly. Draw elbows back with palms facing the ground. Think about squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Create a Routine
Try putting these exercises together into supersets! For example:
3 sets of 15 Bicep Curls, and 15 Tricep Extensions back to back. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
3 Sets of 15 Lateral Raises and 15 Overhead tricep extensions. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
3 Sets of 15 Bicep Rows and 15 Chest Rows. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
Don’t forget to stretch those arms when you are finished!
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is not for the faint of heart. The trek is approximately 110 kilometers (or nearly 70 miles) and gains 9,000′ (3,000m) in elevation. Knowing exactly how to train for Everest Base Camp will benefit you as you prepare for the most memorable journey of a lifetime!
What the trail to Everest Base Camp is like:
There are actually a number of different routes to get to Everest Base camp. Some include high Himalayan passes with gorgeous views, others have a side-trip to climb a nearby 6,000 meter peak! For simplicity-sake, I will talk about the standard route. Know that trail conditions will be incredibly similar no matter which route you choose.
The Everest Base Camp Trek is known for STAIRS. The trail is not a steady incline. It goes up, it goes down, then up, then down, and up, and down again. When you land in Lukla at just over 9,000′, your trail starts primarily downhill to the village of Phakding. From there, you will follow the riverbank. After that, you will head up the steep pitch to Namche Bazzar which sits at over 11,000′. Past Namche, you will make your way to the Tenboche Monastery. This involves a steep decent back down to the river, before you climb back up to the monastery.
At this point, you will have a gorgeous view of the Khumbu region including Ama Dablam. You will make your way down into the Khumbu Valley. Once you are out of the trees, you will pass through several more villages on your way up to the Khumbu Glacier where Base Camp is located. Climbing Kala Patthar is also a must if you plan to visit Everest Base Camp. This involves a moderately steep trail at 18,000′.
What this means for training:
There are a few key elements that will be necessary for a trek of this magnitude. To ensure success you must focus your training on endurance, leg strength (particularly around the knees), and mental strength. The long distance, unfathomable amount of stairs, and high-altitude will be the biggest physical challenges you face. Having strong cardio capacity will help your body adapt to the high-altitude. Strengthening your legs and your knees for the long distance, and ALL THE STAIRS will be crucial. Finally, being able to maintain physical energy for hours on end will help you maintain energy during the long days on the trail.
The mental challenges on the trek to Everest Base Camp will be different for everyone. However, there are commonalities which can be exacerbated by those physical challenges. Lack of self-confidence, fear, illness, weather, exhaustion, and seclusion can all effect your mental ability to conquer your goals. The elements commonly faced at high-altitude are unpredictable. Learning how to power through the elements and stay mentally strong will be just as, if not more important than your physical training.
Why it is important to train for Everest Base Camp:
Thanks to the internet and apps like Instagram and Facebook, wanderlust fever is getting more people outside than ever before. Those who are successfully making it to Base Camp are training beforehand.
When I was training for my first trek to Everest Base Camp, I had no reference, and no idea how to effectively train for the high altitude. The only think I knew I could do was practice being up high. Mentally, the trek to Base Camp was the hardest thing I had ever done, short of recovering from my eating disorder. Shortly after I came home from Nepal, I became a certified personal trainer. I studied sport performance and mountain performance. In the end, I figured out exactly what I needed to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro. When I got home, people asked how hard the climb was. My reply was that it was easy, in fact way easier than Nepal! I even summited a day ahead of schedule! This was because I had figured not just the physical component, but the mental one as well.
There was plenty of trial and error, research, and education. In the end, I had dialed in an effective approach to endurance training for high-altitude. In addition, the most crucial and important piece to my training stems from utilizing mental performance to help you succeed. Not only do I now help others achieve their climbing dreams, I continue to apply it in my own life.
Interested in learning more about my coaching program?
Take a look at my mountain performance coaching program. My program works by combining both personal training and mental coaching to completely prepare you for trekking and mountaineering expeditions.
Understanding your emotions and how they effect you is something every human on this planet needs to function successfully in life, in society, in relationships, in your career, and in conquering your goals and aspirations. Whenever you are struggling with making a decision, fears, or anxiety, it helps to start at the core: the emotions themselves.
WHAT IS EMOTION?
Emotion drives us, some more than others. Even those with a very analytical personality are still driven by core emotions to some degree, especially in circumstances that effect your livelihood. Emotions are simply feelings and reactions whether positve or negative towards an external stimuli. We have a variety of emotional responses such as fear, anger, joy, sadness, and disgust (sound familiar?). As much as we may love that Pixar movie Inside Out, we have many more emotions that our bodies can react and respond with and some are more complex than others. Shame, envy, contempt, anxiety, depression, surprise, happiness, love, pride, and so on. This heat map shows how our bodies feel those different emotions.
The list is endless. We have a word or phrase for over a hundred different feelings and they are all at different points on the spectrum. However every emotion, every feeling can be placed into one of two categories: Desire and Avoidance.
Try this Journal Exercise:
First Question: Which emotion do you think controls you most? Why? What do you think is fueling that emotion: desire or avoidance?
Think about what you desire most in this life. What is it that you desire? What feelings or emotions come up when you think about what you desire? Now take a different direction with desire, look at “Desire” as a whole. What does “Desire” mean to you? What does it do for you in your life? What collective emotions drive your Desire?
Now, look at the other side of the coin, what is the one thing you want to avoid most in life? What emotions or feelings come up when you think about what you want to avoid? Look at “Avoidance” as a whole. What does “Avoidance” mean to you? What does it do for you in life? What collective emotions drive your avoidance?
Last concept to ponder: What is your desire’s relationship with your avoidance? How can they work together for? So I ask you again to think on this one last time: Which one do you think has greater control of your emotions: Desire or Avoidance?
Desire and Avoidance are similar to the concept of yin and yang. A small piece of one can be found in the other and they can work together in helping you accomplish life. Your goals and aspirations are commonly driven by desire but the fear of failure or fear of the unknown can cause us to avoid certain steps to get there. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because we desire a certain outcome and a strong desire helps us conquer those fears. I think most of us prefer to have desire be in dominant control so if it is not already, think about ways where you can help it be in more control. What emotions need to take over? What do you have control over changing to make that happen?
By gaining a little bit of introspection and a better understanding on how your emotions fuel your desires, your goals, and your aspirations in life, you will be able to be more successful at reaching those goals and dreams. If you find yourself avoiding something, stop and ask yourself, why am I avoiding this? What emotions are fueling this? And will this help me get what I desire most? Avoidance is powerful and can stop you dead in your tracks. But desire can help you push past those fears and anxieties fueling avoidance to help you conquer what you want most.
Just remember practice makes perfect. Perspectives don’t change overnight. This is simply one small step in learning how to Conquer Yourself!
Shopping for the best gear for your adventures can be a challenge. You can do research, you can compare products all day, but ultimately you want something that is the best fit for YOU and whatever your adventures entail.
Most gear isn’t cheap, and for me, trying to find a balance of quality and budget friendly is probably the biggest challenge of them all. I spent a number of years as a climbing dirtbag/ski bum before I got an adult job. I had to learn where to find the best quality gear at the best price and I got really good at it!
From long underwear to climbing gear, I spent a majority of shopping time researching what my best options were for what I needed. But what I need for my mountaineering, skiing, and climbing might be different than what you need. But luckily, there is now a place where there is an entire community of others like me who have done the research for you on thousands of outdoor products from camping, to water sports, climbing, mountaineering, you name it. So without further ado, let me introduce you to my new favorite community: Ask Sidebar.
Ask Sidebar is a community of ambassadors that aren’t tied to a single brand or product they have to sell. It is a community of real people, giving real honest detailed reviews and advice of ALL their adventure gear no matter what brand they are because lets be real, we all use multiple brands for multiple activities and we are available to ask specific questions to as well!
My profile is full of a wide variety of brands such as La Sportiva, REI Co-Op, North Face, Black Diamond, Singing Rock, Mad Rock, Nordica Ski, Julbo Eyewear, Tiva, Chaco, Marmot, FiveTen, Giro, Marker Apparel, Mammut, Kelty, and Vaude. You can check out my reviews or ask me questions about products I use on a frequent basis!
So, the next time you are shopping for new climbing shoes, or maybe a new tent, check out the Ask Sidebar platform to get an idea of people’s real life experiences with products you are interested in. Ask them questions, and know exactly what you’re investing in!
United Arab Emirates is a small middle eastern country on the south eastern edge of Saudi Arabia. Many people fly through Dubai if they are traveling because it is the hub for Emirates airlines. If you have a layover in Dubai long enough to see the sites, 48 hour tourist visas on-site are free to Americans and it is incredibly easy to see Dubai or even head to Abu Dhabi. SO what is there to do exactly?
Dubai is a very new city, it honestly reminds me of a middle eastern Vegas. Buildings are shiny, architecture is modern, and everything LOOKS rich and fancy. Thats just it…. to me, it really seemed like a ficade. The whole town seemed fake. Dubai honestly was not interesting to me, I drove right past it to get to where I really wanted to go. But irregardless, there are some minor attractions that still attract people.
The tallest building in the world stands at 2,717′. You can go to the top, but you must buy tickets in advance. The best time to go is around sunset. Lines can be long to get up as well so make sure you go early. A friend of mine was able to get tickets for 5:30, see the town in daylight and wait up top for sunset, and watch the fountain show from up above and loved it.
The second largest mall in the world, includes the only indoor ski resort in the world. Shops include some of the most popular and expensive brand names around, so if you want to actually do some shopping, be prepared to spend money.
The Atlantis resort is on the Palm Islands of Dubai. The rooms may be pricey but it would be a blast to stay at overnight and take advantage of the water park if you have an overnight layover!
Abu Dhabi is The capital of UAE about an hour and a half drive from Dubai but is seriously worth it if you have the time to spare. You can find more cultural sites in this town which is what was more personally interesting to me than Dubai when I visited.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
THIS. This is what you NEED to see! The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the country and is absolutely gorgeous. It was my favorite site in UAE and one I 110% recommend. They provide tours pretty much all day. It is a Muslim mosque and women need to make sure they are completely covered, from head to wrists, to ankles. They do provide free Abayas to cover up if you do not have anything but you have to leave collateral and can lengthen the amount of time it takes to visit the Mosque. It is incredibly hot (especially May-Sept) so if you can, go as early as possible to avoid the heat and bring an umbrella for shade. Take your time if you can. Always walk the mosque clockwise and be quiet and respectful in the prayer room. Pictures are allowed on most of the grounds but be respectful and only take photos in the designated areas. There are signs everywhere that say where it is ok and not ok to take pictures. Don’t walk on the grass as it is not allowed, even if you see others do the same. Set an example of respect.
Important things to know if traveling to UAE:
Whatever you plan to do in UAE, plan accordingly and give yourself a minimum of 2 1/2 hours back at the airport before your flight.
Women really should not wear shorts and tanks unless at the beach or swimming, it is still a predominantly muslim country despite how liberal Dubai may seem. Keep shoulders covered and wear capri legnth or longer. Don’t wear leggings unless your top is long enough to cover your butt unless you want to get looked at or cat called by Hindi and Persian men.
FEMALE ONLY TAXIS! This is a great option if you are a woman traveling alone. Dubai is actually considered a safe city but these are an option and are great. The Dubai taxis have pink roofs and drivers wear pink scarves.
It is definitely worth it to take advantage of your layover in UAE not matter what sites interest you. It is a small country and Dubai is a small town, you honestly won’t need more than a day to see the major tourist sites; but it is definitely one to see at least once if you are traveling through!