How To Deal With Your Gnarly Climber’s Hands

Hands on a girls' day out bouldering

Look at these mitts! Our climber hands take some serious beating.

Don’t even get a climber started on hand care.  We climbers are a pretty obsessive bunch when it comes to certain details – shoes, shoe sizing, skin care, humidity, rock types, ropes, gear, grades, beta, etc.  We each have opinions on all of it, and some of us love to share these opinions, loudly.  In the past we did a post on foot care, and skin care, but so far have managed to tip-toe around this particular topic because we were dreading the angry comments it might inspire.  In the end we came up with this: If you ask 100 climbers what the best way to care for hands is, you’ll get 100 different responses.  In essence, there is not one “right” way. Everyone’s skin is different and has to do what works for them.  So today we’ll share with you some wisdom from skin care specialists and professional climbers alike, and then you can choose to obsess about it however you wish (because that’s just what we climbers do best). Here are some common questions climbers ask about skin care:

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Interview with a #Climbing Narcissist

Brian Runnels, aka the Climbing Narc, commentating at SCS Nationals

Brian Runnells (far left), aka the Climbing Narc, commentating at SCS Nationals

If you were obsessed with climbing in 1994, you wouldn’t have had at-the-crag access to DPM’s archive of beta videos on your smart phone. You’d have had to wait 3-4 months after the fact until Rock and Ice hit the shelves of the local gym to find out that Sasha sent a 5.14d on American soil. Climbing was forcibly more personal, local, and sub-cultural. Climbing in 2014 is an entirely different world. Not only can we find out within hours of clipping the chains that Sasha sent 5.14d, but thanks to Instagram we can see what she ate for breakfast before climbing. Whether you call it progress or commodification, it is quite clear that the reigning “King of Internet Climbing” is 30-year-old Wisconsin native, computer programmer turned blogger, Brian Runnells. Haven’t heard his name before? Try his internet persona: The Climbing Narc.

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Making the Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Climber


These days, almost all of us, myself included, learn to climb in a gym. Sure, there are those lucky few who have a quirky alpinist uncle or purist friend who insist they only climb outside, but let’s be real here, gyms are convenient, fun, and they’re popping up everywhere. Then, at some point we overhear our fellow gym rats talking about their weekend climbing plans or see a beautiful video of Sasha climbing in Spain, and our curiosity is peaked. Well, it turns out there are a lot of things to consider when making the transition from gym-only climber to outdoor adventurist, so today I’ll give you a few tips on making the shift to the great outdoors. Keep in mind this list doesn’t cover everything you need to know to transition outdoors, nor is it a substitute for hands-on experience, but I hope it gets you thinking about your first steps towards climbing outside.

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Rock Roots: Linda Lee

Guest contributor Lily He has been hitting up the crags and gyms, scoping out the best stories behind the everyday climber. Today, we feature her interview with Linda Lee – the mother of a talented and dedicated climbing family whose story brings new meaning to the idea of “Rock Roots”.

First, you notice the kids. Andy Lamb is 19 and just podiumed at ABS Nationals (don’t worry, I heard from *someone* that he couldn’t get to the top of the walls at Boston Rock Gym when he started climbing). Katie Lamb is 16 and climbed her first 5.14a, Cold War, at Rumney this summer (perhaps the youngest female to climb 5.14 at Rumney. Don’t have any embarrassing stories about her). Then, you realize you see that guy in the glasses…everywhere. Charlie Lamb, their dad, expertly belays the best climbers in the country (read: doesn’t short rope) at every rope competition. Finally, you put it together. That lady at the climbing gym who is confidently giving sound advice to her friends before, during, and after they rope up is the matriarch of this amazing climbing family. As fascinating as it is to see how this family fits together, what’s even more interesting is discovering that Linda Lee has come a long way from being a passive observer to a dynamic climber who is taking charge of her own progress.

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Iron Maiden Highlight Reel

Just in case you missed Crux Crush’s first all-female bouldering comp at MetroRock last Saturday – or if you want to be inspired by some incredibly talented, strong women, or if you want to see if you made the video cut, check out Louder Than 11′s Iron Maiden highlight reel. Get psyched for spring sending!

Climb on! ~Cate

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Climber Problems: Shoulder Injury


We ask a lot of our shoulders while climbing, so don’t forget to give a little back to em’.

Today our friend and favorite physical therapist Kristen DeStefano is back! Last time she gave us a lesson on the A2 pulley strain and now she’s filling us with knowledge on shoulder injuries. The shoulder is a complicated place, so get comfy and prepare to be schooled.

The shoulder is a very tricky and complex joint. Injuries to this joint are not only extremely common, but can be disabling to climbers, even during their daily routine. Research shows that 20% to 30% of the general population is affected by rotator cuff pathologies, which only becomes more prevalent and disabling with age. So, when those nagging shoulders are slowing you down at the crag, or you’re just trying to stay healthy, here are some helpful tips.

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Girl Crush of The Month: Delaney Miller


I have a secret I need to admit. This weekend I was out to dinner with Delaney Miller, and when she left the table to go to the ladies room, I googled her.  In my defense of this creepy act, I was CONVINCED that she was a least 21 years old, maybe 22-23.  I wondered aloud if she might want a beer, and my friend said, “I think she’s only like 18.”  And you know what? It’s true. She’s 18.  So why did I think she was older? “A lot of people think I’m older,” Delaney said, when I confirmed her age with her, because I still kind of didn’t believe it.  She has this relaxed and thoughtful energy that gives you the vibe of an older soul.  Some might describe her as quiet, but she’s the first to tell you she’s not shy at all.  While talking about the differences between this past weekends’ all-female bouldering comp, Iron Maiden at Metro Rock in Everett, MA and co-ed comps she’s been to she explained, “When the climbs I want to get on get crowded out, I like to use this move,” as she lifts up her arm, and does a sharp elbow-jab. No, this girl is not shy.

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Iron Maiden Results


Angie and Lizzy race, seemingly in sync, to the top of Finals problems 3 and 4

Saturday, Crux Crush partnered with MetroRock to hold the first Iron Maiden, all-female bouldering competition. Young guns, citizens, and pros battled it out together (in the most polite of ways, of course) during the afternoon’s Redpoint round, all vying to become THE IRON MAIDEN. Surprising or not, as a female run comp, actual Iron Maiden music did not make the playlist…nor did we employ the Iron Maiden torture chamber. Instead, we reclaimed Iron Maiden as a title of women’s invincible determination and strength, expertly displayed by the competition’s nearly 100 female competitors.

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Rock Out at Iron Maiden – March 29th


Ladies, get ready to rock because Iron Maiden, MetroRock and Crux Crush’s first all-female bouldering competition, is just around the corner! Saturday, March 29th, ladies from across New England and as far away as Colorado and Texas, will descend upon MetroRock’s stage to try their hand at some of the best boulder problems in the land, set by members of the American Bouldering Series Nationals setting team as well as local lady setters. The goal of our event is not only to put all those months of winter training to the test, but to bring together the female climbing community for one rad event. No shirtless grunting dudes, or beta that dynos past your masterful crimp strength and delicate, balanced body positioning – just a bunch of psyched, supportive, and STRONG femme fatales – all vying to become THE IRON MAIDEN!

Faith, Rachel, and Toba practicing for Iron Maiden during a comp prep session at MetroRock

Faith, Rachel, and Tova practicing for Iron Maiden during a comp prep session at MetroRock

What do we mean by supportive? Think free mini post-climbing massages by a licensed massage therapist, physical therapist consults, and post-comp climbing specific yoga/stretches (and free Lululemon yoga mat give-away!). Add onto that chocolate, climber snacks, and more chocolate – because Taza Chocolate, Q’s Nuts, and Perfect Fuel Chocolate will all be there as part of our Vendor Maiden’s Fair, from 4-6pm, bringing together some of our favorite climbing, clothing, and snack vendors (a.k.a. functional, cute & yummy swag!).

To finish it all up – you get to see the strongest of the fair maidens battle it out during Finals, while you chillax with soda, beer and pizza! Expect to see some sweet prizes, thanks to our incredible event sponsors: Evolv, Mad Rock, La Sportiva, Mammut, New England ReSoul, Practical Climbing, Core Power, and ClimbOn.

Register online or the day of the comp. Dudes, parents, friends, and non-climber cheerleaders are all welcome! Hope to see you there!

If you’d like to support your fellow ladies by volunteering at the comp, or if you’re a local vendor that supports climbers and would like to join our Vendor Maiden Fair email us @

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