BCFF’s- Best Climbing Friends (Forever)!

The sisterhood of outdoor lovers… my best climbing friends…

Amanda, Betsy, Danny, Chelsea, Mariapaz, Michelle, and me!

About 9 years ago I had the break up of all break ups! It was dramatic, emotional, and messy. I was already an avid rock climber by then, and I did not want to give up this sport over a stinking boy! Making the final decision to leave my current beloved gym that I shared with said boy to start at a new one sounded both heartbreaking and refreshing. I would miss the lady crew who supported me in the beginnings of my journey, but I knew I would make new friends and keep the old!

Audrey, Nikkie, Krista, Dawn, and Me. My FIRST ever outdoor climbing trip. The Cemetery, High Desert. (2005)
Girl power! My first ladies group. Full of passion, power, and pretty badass women! Holcomb Valley, Big Bear. (2005)
Rebecca, Meagan, Rupa, Audrey, Caitlyn, and Judy at New Jack City. Now wives, moms, and non-Cali residents. (2006)
Back packing adventures in the Sierra Mountains with Rupa and Caitlyn. (2007)

I slipped into the new gym community quite silently. I was in a messy place internally, and this guided my external personality toward shyness while I licked my healing wounds. As it unfortunately goes, I was labeled as “bitchy” because I wouldn’t talk much to others, both guys and gals. When a gym staff member finally brought this to my attention (in a very caring way, as my only friend because they saw me check in everyday), I broke out of my shell from embarrassment.

I started going to Frisbee in the Park on Wednesdays with fellow gym members, and met my first friends. I had a 25th birthday bowling party and took a chance inviting many of them. The next day this rambunctious gal tackled me in the gym, threw me down to the mats, and said, “sorry I missed your birthday party, my husband told me about it.” My first thoughts, “who is your husband, who are you, and do you always tackle people to greet them?”

Gym theme night, Spandex Monday, Teresa and me. (2009)
Another gym theme night, Prom (2009), and our reenactment at my wedding (2013).
Teresa immediately became my bestie, on and off the wall. She introduced me to the rest of the bouldering bestie’s that quickly enveloped me into their world. Over the years we have been through new jobs, themed parties of all kinds, marriages, babies, divorces, and moving across the country. Best of all, there were many outdoor adventures in between.
Halloween, we love our theme parties! Talula, Teresa, Danny, Cambria, and Jackie (along with some other awesome gals). (2010)
Twister and Cambria’s new house was the Hot Spot! Jackie, Betsy, Talula and me. (2010)
A gym trip to New Jack City. (2009)

These ladies were there for me and I for them, thick and thin! When I moved to Orange County they supported me fully. I solidified my relationship with my then boyfriend, now husband, and we began building our business, an indoor rock climbing gym. All of my friends visited me and we still adventured together!

Teresa’s engagement night. Danny, me, Talula, Mari, Betsy, and Chelsea. (2013)
Teresa’s wedding. Donna, Evie, Mari, Jen (who now lives in DC), Teresa, me, and Talula (who now lives in Ohio). (2014)
Betsy’s bachelorette weekend in Joshua Tree. Mari, Betsy, Becca, Chelsea, Danny, Katrina, and me. (2015)
Betsy and Joe’s wedding. Katrina, Charlotte, Mari, Teresa, Talula, Chelsea, Danny, and me. (2015)
Talula came to visit after her move to Ohio in 2013. Hiking to Deep Creek hot springs. Joe, Charlotte, Louie, Chelsea, Betsy, me, Danny, and Talula. (2016)
Our gym business started to prosper, and my very own climbing community began to form. I’ve met so many wonderful people from this business venture. People we call our family, our Factory Family in fact. From this group I have found even more strong, talented, intelligent, brave, and beautiful women to add to my climbing posse of rad chicas! It’s been 4 years now, and similar stories have emerged. Relationships come and gone, babies arrived, goals achieved, marriages happened (including my own), and of course MORE ADVENTURES!!!
At the gym there is a post that has the height of the lady crushers under 5’3″.There is a huge lack of photos from 2012 because we were busy building the gym and adventuring as a couple.
Joshua Tree clean up and climbing day. Katrina, Bonnie, Betsy, and me. (2013)
Tramway, Palm Springs climbing with Michelle. (2014)
Mill Creek bouldering session with Michelle. (2014)
My BRF, Best Running Friend, who pushed me to my first marathon! (2015)
Flash Foxy Festival in Bishop with Mariapaz. (2016)
Coming full circle, this past weekend I spent a day out in Joshua Tree with both of these lovely lady groups. My kindred folk have come together. What inspired this was my recent trip with Mariapaz to the ALL women’s Flash Foxy Festival. If you want to read more about this mind blowing and sensationally inspiring trip see my blog. The second night of the event there was a panel that discussed anything climbing and woman related. One audience member asked, “how do I get my female friends to come outside with me?” Julie Ellison, editor at Climbing Magazine said, “just keep asking”. I thought, “who do I know that I can ask?” Why not bring all the badass lady senders I know all together?!?
I came home and immediately planned an ALL LADIES climbing trip of my very own. I only had to pester a few of my friends to commit, and 7 of them signed up for a day in Joshua Tree. I marked my guidebook, studied the pages we would need, and memorized the photos as best I could. I wanted them all to have the best time ever! I think the following photos show just that…
Put your boots on girls! Mad Rock Remora shoes. PC- Chelsea Harris
PC- Betsy Sherrock
(Mariapaz, Amanda, Danny, Betsy, Michelle)
MR. H.:
PC- Chelsea Harris
PC- Betsy Sherrock
(Danny, Betsy, Mariapaz)
Headstands to boost our energy for climbing! Stonewear Design Breeze Pullover hoodie and Liberty Tight Capri. (Valarie, Mariapaz) PC- Chelsea Harris
PC- Betsy Sherrock
PC- Chelsea Harris
(Amanda, Michelle, Michelle, Chelsea, Valarie, Valarie)
(Michelle) PC- Chelsea Harris
(Valarie, Betsy, Michelle, Chelsea)
Stonewear Designs Tempo Bra and Liberty Tight Capri.
Mad Rock Lyra shoes.
PC- Betsy Sherrock
(Betsy, Mariapaz, Valarie, Valarie)
(Valarie, Betsy)
(Amanda downloading the beta from Michelle)
PC- Betsy Sherrock
PC- Betsy Sherrock
(Valarie, Michelle, Amanda, Mariapaz, Betsy, Danny, Chelsea)
Remember to stay hydrated in the desert! (Chelsea) PC- Betsy Sherrock
One legged down dog looking up. Stonewear Designs Vinyasa Tank and Liberty Tight Capri. (Valarie) PC- Betsy Sherrock
PC- Betsy Sherrock
Our day is done!
A million thank you’s to all the lovely ladies in my life who have enriched my outdoor experiences with their cheerleading, hugs, high five’s, beta, tears, gratitude, care, natural beauty, and love.
Stay Adventurous,
Valarie Tes
A huge thank you to my sponsors, Stonewear Designs and Mad Rock Climbing for outfitting my adventures! 

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