Part of what I’ve come to really enjoy about doing this podcast is that it gives me a great excuse to reach out to old friends that I’ve lost touch with. As soon as I decided to do this show, I knew that Elaina was going to be one of the people I’d want to interview and I’m so excited I could finally catch up with her in the middle of her crazy guiding schedule.
Elaina epitomizes the modern dirtbag lifestyle. She’s been semi-nomadic for her entire adult life, always in the pursuit of good rock and great people. Along the way, she’s “accidentally” become a climbing guide, the owner of New River Mountain Guides, and co-owner of Chicks with Picks. And to round it all off, she’s also a Rock Warriors Way trainer – teaching people how to better manage the mental aspect of the climbing game!
- [3:25] How Elaina accidentally became a climbing guide
- [6:00] Being an army brat and growing up all over the place
- [7:10] Getting to start fresh every few years
- [9:40] Keeping up with 3 brothers and early starts into the outdoors
- [10:25] Elaina’s first lead climb on her very first day climbing outdoors
- [12:00] “If you’re high enough off the ground, you won’t hit it.”
- [12:55] How she ended up on a road trip, in midwinter from Alaska to Potrero Chico, Mexico when she already lived 5 hours from Potrero Chico
- [14:20] Driving the Al-Can highway in winter
- [15:00] Having an accident in Destruction Bay
- [17:00] How Elaina got involved at Potrero Chico and how it short-circuited her NYC advertising job
- [17:50] What is Potrero Chico like?
- [18:30] Dealing with objective danger in climbing
- [20:25] Elaina’s greatest fear in climbing? Other people around you.
- [21:00] What should someone getting into climbing do in order to properly learn how to do it safely?
- [22:50] Life on the road as a professional climber with Kurt Smith (her husband at the time)
- [26:00] Settling down at the New River Gorge in Fayetteville West Virginia.
- [28:00] Moving back out west to Las Vegas.
- [29:20] Las Vegas? Climbing? Red Rocks!
- [31:30] Chicks with Picks
- [36:30] Rock Warriors Way
- [41:30] The most scared that Elaina has ever been in the mountains