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The Geology of Climbing: How the Rocks Make the Routes

Wed, 2012-06-20

Los Alamos Mountaineers SWAP MEET is Wednesday, June 20 at Fuller Lodge from 6:45 to 7:30 pm

Bring your outdoor stuff to sell, trade, give away,  or donate to NEW DAY for disadvantaged children's outdoor activities.  
Bring cash or check to equip yourself for every imaginable outdoor activity.
Note: the June 20th Speaker Dinner will include Jan Studebaker as a special guest. 
And on to the main event!
Rock climbing is a sport that is naturally dependent upon geology, but it is surprising how few climbers and guidebook authors really know what kind of rock they are climbing. Climbers inherently gain an appreciation for vertical landforms, a feel for different rock textures, and an understanding of the most appropriate climbing style for a given crag. This amalgamation is determined by the geologic history that brought each crag into existence. Our rocky playgrounds owe their existence to Earth’s dynamic forces and the huge magnitude of geologic time that created the rocks and brought them to their current vertical forms at the surface.
On Wednesday, June 20 at Fuller Lodge, Lauren Heerschap will provide a geologic overview of some of her favorite and most memorable climbing areas, organized by their igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic origins. She will highlight areas in northern New Mexico and Colorado as well as other U.S. and international locales where she has climbed over the past 16 years. Through photographs, maps, diagrams (and the occasional anecdote), she will show how basic geologic knowledge can enhance the climbing experience.

Lauren Heerschap grew up in Los Alamos. "I naturally became both a climber and a geologist, a very common trend amongst late 90’s Los Alamos High School graduates. I learned to climb at age 16 thanks to the Los Alamos Mountaineers Club course that my father took. The basalt of White Rock was the first I ever climbed, " Lauren says. Since then she has been doing vertical “studies” of rock in her free time, along with some real studies of rock for her work, one of which was as study in the vertical. Lauren received her  undergraduate degree in geology at Wheaton College, and her masters in geology at Colorado University in Boulder. "After working a variety of geology jobs, I have happily landed as a geology instructor at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO." When she is not climbing and/or looking at rocks, she and her husband enjoy mountain biking, playing with their cats, and looking for moose in the Weminuche Wilderness that is their backyard.

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