What It Takes On giant walls in Spain, this top climber from California will be hauling her weight

March 22, 2004

Heidi (Almighty) Wirtz, 32, has hit dizzying heights in the
male-dominated sport of big-wall climbing. Last month Wirtz and
Zack Smith put up a 5.11 A1 first ascent on Mount Rafael in
Patagonia's Fitz Roy range. Next month the rock jock from
Sacramento heads to Picos de Europa National Park in northern
Spain with Lizzy Scully, to tackle the 2,460-foot El Naranjo de
Bulnes. Here's what she'll bring.

HEADLAMP
Black Diamond Zenix ($45), bdel.com
I don't like holding a flashlight, and this is so light and
bright. It's great for around camp when you're cooking or when
you're walking on the trail to hike into a climb at two in the
morning. It's also good for rappelling when you need to shine the
light down to look 40 feet below.

SHOES
La Sportiva Testarossa 255 ($160), sportiva.com
These are really good for steep face climbing. It's an aggressive
shoe with a nice, narrow toe box, which makes it great for
standing on tiny footholds when I go sport climbing in Colorado's
Eldorado Canyon. It's stiff and precise for standing on thin
cracks and will be great for the limestone climbing I'll be doing
in Spain.

CLIMBING PROTECTION
Black Diamond Camalot #1 ($63), bdel.com
Black Diamond's got the best camming unit on the market. It has a
bigger range than other units, so I can carry fewer cams when I
climb. The camalots go into the rock nice. They rarely get stuck,
which is a huge plus. And unlike other units they don't tip out
of the crack or move around too much in the rock.

STOVE
MSR SuperFly Ascent System ($110), msrcorp.com
I cooked countless meals on this thing when I took it to
Patagonia. When it gets too windy and nasty outside your tent,
it's nice to have a hanging stove so you don't have to go out to
cook. It's also a necessity to hang your stove when you're in a
portaledge because there's nowhere else to cook.

PORTALEDGE
Anker Climbing Equipment Cliff Cabana ($800),
ankerclimbingequipment.com
The thing I like about this portaledge is that it's easy and
quick to set up, and it's way roomy. It's got a lot of clip-in
loops to hang all your gear. The conditions can be really
unpredictable when you're exposed on the side of a big cliff, and
the fly seam is super bomber in keeping the weather out. You can
also leave the setup intact and haul it up with you.

SOFT SHELL JACKET
North Face Apex 1 ($139), thenorthface.com
This is really lightweight, and I wear it in all types of
conditions. It's super breathable, blocks wind and repels water.
What I like most about it is that it's very durable. I do a lot
of crack climbing in Yosemite, Zion and Indian Creek [State
Park], and this is the only soft shell that hasn't gotten holes
from rubbing against the rock.

COLOR PHOTO: CARL YARBROUGH (7) ROCK STAR Wirtz is the rare female who tackles the sport ofbig-wall climbing. SIX COLOR PHOTOS: CARL YARBROUGH (7)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)