Angela VanWiemeersch

Hometown: Idyllwild, California

Activities: Rock & Ice Climbing




Angela VanWiemeersch grew up as a competitive ice skater in Detroit, Michigan where she danced across the horizontal ice until her late-teens. After a few years as a fashion design major in college, Angela embarked on a life-changing bike tour that recalibrated her life. After selling all of her fashion supplies, Angela hitchhiked, paddled, and sailed her way through all of North America from the Arctic Ocean to the Panama Canal. While hitchhiking through California, she heard of a place called Ouray, where people wore spikes on their feet and held axes in their hands to climb frozen waterfalls. She was enamored. She took every last dollar she had and spent it on a months rent in Ouray and a bag full of used climbing gear. Angela found the happiness and inspiration she was looking for and is now fueled by the beauty and challenges that ice climbing offers. From the Ouray Ice Park to Virgin Ice in Zion to amazing alpine adventures in Alaska, Angela is once again dancing on ice, only this time she's moving upward on vertical icefalls. 

Climbing Resume:

  • Team Ascent of Pico con Grande (Largest Volcanic Plug in the World Nubivagant) - 5.13d 1,500-feet, Free & Aid Climbing - Sao Tome, Africa
  • First Ascent of Thicker Than Thieves - VI 5.8R A14 M5 7,300-feet - Mt. Hayes, Alaska
  • Solo Climb of Ham & Eggs - WI4+ M4 3,000-feet - Mooses Tooth, Central Alaska Range, Alaska
  • First Ascent of The One Who Knocks - WI6 M5 R/X 345-feet - Reid's Peak, Uinta Range, Utah
  • First Ascent of Golden Spike - WI4 M5 R 345-feet - Reid's Peak, Uinta Range, Utah
  • First Ascent of Last Man Standing - WI6 PDW 400-feet - Zion National Park, Utah 
  • 11 First Ascents In and Around Zion National Park - WI3-WI6 up to 450 feet - Zion National Park, Utah
  • First Ascent of Chimp Simpelton - WI5 - Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan
  • Team Ascent of Trivium - WI4 90-feet - Uinta Range, Utah
  • First Female Ascent of Twin Towers - WI5/6 - PIcutred Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan
  • Rope Solo of Tombstone Tower via Keswick Lads Day Out - C3 - Moab, Utah


Adventure/Endurance Resume:

  • 430-mile Solo Paddle on the Mackenzie River - Northwest Territories, Canada
  • 9,321-mile Fat Bike Tour to Choktoi Glacier - Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan
  • 1,200+-mile Unsupported Solo Bike Tour from Detriot, Michigan to Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2 Unsupported Trail Marathons - Utah & Colorado
  • 3-month Central America Sailing Expedition from California to Texas via the Panama Canal
  • 100-mile Unsupported Bike Tour from Cortez to Telluride, Paired with an 18-mile Trail Run over Imogen Pass in Winter with a 4,350-foot Elevation Gain
  • 1,380-mile Unsupported Solo Bike Tour to 6 different Climbing Destinations between Salt Lake City, Utah & Squamish, Canada

On Episode 66, I sit down in a dumpy hotel in SLC with Angela Van Wiemeersch. Angela’s story began on the sharp blades of competition skating and came full circle when she strapped on crampons for the first time. In the meantime, we hear about a whirlwind life crisscrossing the US and Canada as a traveling soul, hunkering down in the Yukon winter, and finally getting a lucky date in the Ouray Ice Park. Angela’s entry into the hardcore world of ice climbing belies its fierce reputation. And though she has a lot to learn, swinging picks came as natural as hacking double axels.

Favorite Gear Picks

Edelweiss Performance Unicore 9.2mm, 70M

"Most supple rope on the market that actually lasts! Often I feel like you have to choose one or the other. This thing is a sporty workhorse."

Nalgene Kitchen Storage Food Containers, 16 oz. 

"I take this thing out with me everywhere from cragging to expeditions. It's completely leak proof, so you can even put soup in it. The wide-mouth design makes it easy to eat out of. In the winter I just glue closed cell foam to the outside to make it insulated. Sounds funny to love a piece of "tupperware" so much, but I hate bars and I like saving real food for when I need energy the most."

Grivel Mountain Runner Comp 5L

"I love to do long runs and this vest has everything you need for water and snacks, plus it's comfortable."

Sterling HollowBlock2 13.5"

"As far as prussiks go you can use anything, however the HollowBlock2 is simply the best. It lays flat, slides easier, and catches better. I prefer it to any other prussik material. I have it on my glacier travel kit, as well as to rappel with."

Edelweiss Sloop Footstep

"When big walling and jumaring you want the least amount of stuff on your harness as possible, but you also want it to be easy to use and durable.
I love the Sloop Footstep because they're light and easy, but quick to adjust. Jumar away!"