Tips to Trad: A Beginner’s Guide

When I began trad climbing earlier this spring, I was entirely perplexed about where to start. I kind of felt like…


And though I’d like to say trad isn’t complicated, that’s not really true.


The sheer amount of gear alone is overwhelming! Don’t worry, you probably won’t need this much. Photo by Weigh My Rack

The fact is, trad requires an added level of technical expertise and gear than sport climbing – there’s no avoiding that. But when you boil it down, these are essentially the two things you need: skills and gear. Here I’ll walk through elements of each, and provide tips for your first lead. This is by no means comprehensive, but will hopefully give some ideas and a good starting place.

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Coxsey & Chon Win World Cup #5 in Austria

Shauna winning finals! Cred: The Circuit World Cup and Performance Climbing Magazine

Shauna winning finals!

This weekend was the biggest IFSC competition EVER, with 67 women and 108 men competing! The comp was hosted in the incredible Olympic Arena in Innsbruck, Austria, and the venue was completely filled up with a psyched crowd.


  1. Shauna Coxsey (UK)
  2. Janja Garnbret (Slovenia)
  3. Miho Nonaka (Japan)
  4. Megan Mascarenas (USA)


  1. Jongwon Chon (Korea)
  2. Tomoa Narasaki (Japan)
  3. Sean McColl (Canada)

More US Results:

25. Sierra Blair-Coyle
28. Lisa Chulich
41. Austin Geiman
65. Josh Larson

Even after qualifying for finals in last place, Shauna went on to dominate–winning her 4th world cup this season. It’s truly turning into an unprecedented run! Megan Mascarenas represented the US well with a 4th place finish after 2 flashes in the finals round. Local favorite Anna Stohr also managed to make her first finals for the season and lit the crowd on fire every time she stepped onto the wall.

For the men, Tomoas Narasaki continued his strong run from the last couple of comps. Sean McColl managed to finally make a final (AND a podium), after multiple 7th place finishes this year, which had left him one spot out of finals.

The next World Cup will take place in Vail, Colorado on June 10. This one is an absolute CAN’T miss as droves of US athletes will be there to put on a great show!

Climb on!

Photo by The Circuit World Cup and Performance Climbing Magazine

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Poll: (Mostly Inconsequential) Climbing Preferences

Climbers can be a particular (and opinionated) bunch, especially when it comes to our preferences about gear, belay device, knots…you name it and there is surely a heated debate on Mountain Project discussing the topic at length. Here at Crux Crush, we want to get the raw facts and see how each of you fit into the larger climbing community. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, tell us what you prefer!

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3 Euro Climbing Companies You Should Know


In today’s global economy, one continent’s worth of climbing gear, clothing, and shoes is definitely not enough. So today we head across the pond to share a few of our favorite European climbing brands with you.

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Nonaka & Fujii Win World Cup #4 in India


Japan dominated the 4th World Cup of 2016, taking home 4 medals.

This weekend India hosted their first IFSC world cup in Mumbai. Check out the results:


  1. Miho Nonaka (Japan)
  2. Monika Retschy (Germany)
  3. Akiyo Noguchi (Japan)


  1. Kokoro Fujii (Japan)
  2. Tomoa Narasaki (Japan)
  3. Alexey Rubtsov (Russia)

US Results:

18. Lisa Chulich
27. Sarah Pearce
39. Peter Erard

The female side saw a pretty big shake up this weekend, where Shauna Coxsey, who has won all the World Cup comps this season didn’t manage to make it into finals. However, she still manages to lead in overall World Cup rankings. The Japanese team, on the other hand, had a stellar weekend with two men, Kokoro Fuji and Tomoa Narasaki, placing first and second; and two women, Miho Nonaka and Akiyo Noguchi placing first and third. For Miho and Kokoro, this was their first ever win at a World Cup.

Lisa Chulich repped the US placing 18th overall. Be sure to catch a replay of her climbing in the semi-finals stream on YouTube here.

Next week the world cup moves on to Innsbruck, Austria with many more US names competing including Megan Mascarenas, Lisa Chulich, Sierra Blair-Coyle, Josh Larson, Austin Geiman, and Benjamin Hanna.

Climb on!

Photo from Miho’s Facebook

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Climbing, Medicine, and Identity

Jenn’s first outdoor climbing route at “Blob Rock” in Boulder Canyon, Colorado

In today’s post, guest contributor Jenn shares her insights on climbing and medical training, as she finishes medical school and embarks on residency training as a pediatrician in Denver.  

Since starting medical school four years ago, I have come to realize that my development as a climber and future doctor have become intricately and deeply intertwined. Climbing helped me stay sane while studying for my licensing exams. After my fourth year rotations as a sub-intern, I felt like I had gained a new confidence in myself as a clinician, and found myself feeling that same confidence and conviction leading outdoors. Climbing has given me joy that fuels my clinical work each day, and making a difference for my patients gives me confidence in my abilities to grow as a climber.

Reflecting on my experiences and thinking about my friends in the climbing community made me wonder what other climbers in the medical field have to say. There seems to be a lot of climbers who also are in training or have health professions.

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Climbing Destination: Taghia Gorge, Morocco


Today Cathy shares with us her experience and tips for visiting Taghia Gorge, Morocco.

Climbing in the Taghia Gorge, located in the high Atlas mountains of Morocco, is like climbing through a time machine, where the towering limestone walls protect the small village from the conveniences of this modern life. Climbing here began in 1974, with the establishment of the route Shoukran (5.12) by Tony Arbones. Further development, including many highlights from Arnaud Petit, leaves Taghia with 250+ routes, and endless potential for development.

How to get there: Flights are available from many European cities directly to Marrakesch. From there you’ll need to get to Zaouia Ahanesal either by public transit (via the town Azilal) or if you have less time and are willing to pay extra, you can travel directly with a taxi at a cost of ~120 euro/taxi (2014). To get from Zaouia Ahanesal to Taghia is ~2h walking trail. When we arrived, Mohammed (the son of Saïd) met us in Zaouia Ahanesal and walked with us into the gorge. Donkeys can also be rented for 9 euro donkey to help carry gear. Once you’ve reached Taghia climbing is a short walk away.

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The Dynamics of Couples Climbing: An Interview with Courtney Woods

Climbing can take you beautiful places together. Photo credit: Courtney's Instagram

Climbing can take you beautiful places together.

Climbing with a significant other can be a hugely rewarding and supremely challenging experience. It builds trust like no other shared activity (you literally have your partner’s life in your hands on a regular basis!), but also comes fraught with challenges of figuring out how to best push and support each other on the wall. From arguments over who puts up the draws to sharing the joy of a couple’s send, we asked Courtney Woods to share her experience as a climber alongside husband Daniel Woods.

CXC: How have you influenced each other in climbing and life in general?

CW: We’ve known each other for 7 years now. Honestly, I can’t recall what it was like before. We just coexist. The hardest part is that we’re both really driven and sometimes that doesn’t always flow in the same direction. However, the positive aspect is that we always support each other in whatever goals we’re wanting to achieve without limits on each other’s freedom.

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Two Friends, One Dream: Climbing El Capitán

Today’s guest contributor, Sasha, shares her story of realizing a lifelong dream: climbing El Capitan with her best friend, Geraldine. She trained for seven years to make the transition from a sport climber to a big wall climber, and through sheer determination and obsession, finally achieved her goal.

In the Venezuelan climbing community there aren’t as many women as men climbing multi-pitch routes, let alone in the realm of big wall climbing. And that’s why one of my dreams was to climb El Capitán with one of my best friends: Geraldine.

We hail from Venezuela, but I’m currently living in Spain. Before climbing El Cap, Geraldine and I hadn’t seen each other for 7 years and hadn’t climbed long multi-pitch routes together. We had quite a challenge ahead of us.

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Coxsey & Narasaki Win World Cup #3 in China


So far the 2016 World Cup series is a clean sweep for Shauna Coxsey.

This weekend was the 3rd IFSC Bouldering World Cup competition of the season in Chongqing, China. Here are some of the results from the weekend:


  1. Shauna Coxsey (UK)
  2. Akiyo Noguchi (Japan)
  3. Miho Nonaka (Japan)


  1. Tomoa Narasaki (Japan)
  2. Jan Hojer (Germany)
  3. Johgwon Chon (Korea)

Also, a big congrats to Sierra Blair-Coyle (the only US athlete to compete) for making it into her first Semi-Finals of the season. She ended Qualifiers in 19th and moved up to 12th! Another huge congrats to Shauna Coxsey, who took home her THIRD consecutive win for the season, a feat rarely done. The last to accomplish it was Akiyo Noguchi in the 2014 season. For the men, the relatively unknown 19-year-old Tomoa Narasaki won the comp as the only male with 3 tops in finals. The men’s competition has been especially stiff this year with no single competitor having qualified for all finals this season.

Next weekend is a speed-only competition in Nanjing, China with no Americans competing. But, May 14 will be back to bouldering in Mumbai, India with 4 Americans, including Lisa Chulich. Stay tuned!

Climb on!

Photo credit: The Circuit World Cup and Performance Climbing Magazine

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