|Born||March 28, 1975|
Darlene Thomasina Pidgeon (born 1975) is a rock climber known for being one of the world's strongest female boulderers, the strongest female Canadian boulderer, and the first Canadian female to climb the grades of V10, V11, and V12.She is often featured in Gripped Magazine and contributes to The Collective (a multi-climber website). She has also been featured in several international magazines and websites and her image has been used in advertising, magazine galleries, and magazine covers.
Thomasina is also a mother (her daughter Cedar travels around with her), a doula, sews and sells clothing, shopping bags, and other crafts, and works as a photographer. She is one of 5 athletes to be featured in The Season 2, a 22 episode web TV show running this fall.
Pidgeon started climbing near Flatrock in her early 20s on a trip home to her native Newfoundland. Soon after she moved to Whistler, British Columbia, and climbed occasionally at small local sport climbing areas like Nordic Rock and Rogue's Gallery while working several jobs with the goal of visiting Europe for an extended trip. With the money she'd saved she got a working visa and went on a year-and-a-half long trip to Wales, Ireland, parts of Eastern Europe, and Morocco. She learned to traditional climb in Wales, but most of the trip was spent visiting new places. She returned to Canada, moved to Kelowna, and began studying sciences at Okangon University College. She continued climbing while in school and after a year and a half she moved to Vancouver to work and climb as much as possible. She got a job at Mountain Equipment Co-op and began climbing at The Edge climbing gym in Vancouver. She injured her shoulder, kept climbing on it, and eventually was unable to lift her arm above shoulder level. After a year off of climbing her arm had not improved so she visited a physio-therapist and with the exercises he taught her she was able to strengthen her shoulder and climb again. She began spending much of her time outside on the boulders at the base of the world-famous granite monolith "The Chief" in Squamish, BC.
Flatrock is a town in Newfoundland and Labrador. The town had a population of 1,457 in the Canada 2011 Census.
Whistler is a resort municipality in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in the province of British Columbia, Canada, approximately 125 km (78 mi) north of Vancouver and 36 km (22 mi) south of the town of Pemberton. Incorporated as the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), it has a permanent population of approximately 11,854, plus a larger but rotating population of seasonal workers, typically younger people from beyond British Columbia, notably from United Kingdom, Australia and Europe.
Traditionalclimbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against falls, and remove it when a pitch is complete. Traditional bolted face climbing means the bolts were placed on lead and/or with hand drills. The bolts tend to be much farther apart than sport climbs. For example, a trad bolted route may have bolts from 15–75 feet apart. A sport route may have bolts from 3–10 feet apart, similar to a rock climbing gym. The term seems to be coined by Tom Higgins in the piece "Tricksters and Traditionalists" in 1984. A trad climber is called a traditionalist.
Pidgeon quickly became integrated into the Squamish climbing community and in 2001 she moved to Squamish, where she currently lives in a van, to live and climb as much as she possibly could.
In her first decade of climbing Pidgeon quickly became one of the most progressive female boulderers in the world, opening the doors to the harder grades by making First Female Ascents (FFAs, not to be confused with the traditional usage of FFA in climbing)of many double digit problems.
In mountaineering, a first ascent is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. First mountain ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges, and recognition than climbing a route pioneered by others. The person who performs the first ascent is called the first ascensionist.
V10 - In 2001 Pidgeon made an ascent of Zero Zero in Squamish, BC. The problem had previously been climbed by American climber Tiffany Campbell. Pidgeon had only climbed a handful of harder moderates at the time and for a climber of her level, much less a female climber, to try a V10 was considered ridiculous. Nevertheless, Pidgeon picked her project and after only a handful of days of effort she sent the problem. It was one of the first female V10 ascents in the world and the first by a Canadian woman. It was another year before Pidgeon began climbing V10 again, but that year was quite productive with ascents in Squamish, Hueco Tanks (Texas), Bishop (California), Little Cottonwood Canyon (Utah), and an area in Nova Scotia. 2004 saw two more ascents and 2005 one. In 2006 Thomasina became pregnant with her daughter Cedar and did not begin climbing seriously again until 2008 when Cedar was old enough to travel. That year Thomasina made four more V10 ascents. Since then she has kept up the pace, sending several V10 and harder problems each year. As of August 2011 she has sent over 40 V10s.
V11 - Pidgeon was the first Canadian woman and one of the first women in North America to climb V11. As of August 2011 she has done over 20 V11s, almost all FFAs. Her first was "The Egg" (FFA) in Squamish in 2008. She quickly followed that ascent with Water Hazard (2nd ascent, FFA, Bishop), La Belette (FFA Bishop), Lucky Charms (FFA Squamish), and Beefy Gecko (Bishop), all in 2008. In 2009 she managed "Encore En Fois" (Squamish), and in 2010 she went back on the road and did 8 more V11s, 7 of which were FFAs. Perhaps most impressive was her FFA and 2nd try ascent of "The Hand" in Hueco.
V12 - Pidgeon was the first Canadian woman and one of the first women in North America to have climbed V12, and she is still one of only a few female boulderers in the world to have climbed multiple V12 boulder problems. To date she has done 7 V12s-- "The Butterpumper" (FFA Hueco Tanks, February 2009), "Rumble in the Jungle" (Hueco Tanks, March 2009), "Barefoot on Sacred Ground" (FFA Hueco Tanks, January 2010), "Summoning Sit"(FFA Squamish, June 2010), "Sur Le Tois" (FFA, Squamish, September 2010), "Beautiful Gecko" (FFA since break, Bishop, March 2011), and "The Aquarium" (FFA Bishop, March 2011). She has also done two slash grade (V11/12) problems -- "Sarah Sit" (Hueco Tanks, 2004), and "Chablanke" (Hueco Tanks, February 2010).
For a full list of Pidgeon's bouldering and route ascents search for her scorecard on climbing ranking site 8a.nu.
Thomasina does Beautiful Gecko
Beautiful Gecko Short Web Article
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Women in Hueco Article
Squamish and Motherhood
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Girls climbing 8A
Interview with Urban Climber
The X Factor Article
Mention in Female Crushing Article
Climber in “Herman Hesse Memorial Hospital” commercial for US TV, 2008 http://www.vimeo.com/25092863
Featured climber in the Top 20 Boulder Classics of NA, N. Condor film, 2006 http://www.fanaticalfilms.com/top20_synopsis.htm
Contributed to Quality Lesson Plans for Outdoor Education
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses. While it can be done without any equipment, most climbers use climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry and provide a firmer grip, and bouldering mats to prevent injuries from falls. Unlike free solo climbing, which is also performed without ropes, bouldering problems are usually less than 6 meters (20 ft.) tall. Traverses, which are a form of boulder problem, require the climber to climb horizontally from one end to another. Artificial climbing walls allow boulderers to train indoors in areas without natural boulders. In addition, bouldering competitions take place in both indoor and outdoor settings.
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