When your partner almost blows a clip…
The rare day you’re both nailing all your beta…
As climbers we tend to focus singularly on the climbing route – the beta, the crux, the send. But climbing’s silent sidekick is the approach. Whether a scenic hike along the Crooked River at Smith Rock, a Tyrolean traverse across Boulder Canyon, or a scramble up the ladders at Rumney, without the approach, trails, and most importantly access, there would be no Monkey Face or Predator. Every trail connects us to something – an end point, a U-turn, a vista, a summit. In climbing, the trail is both the beginning and the end. It is the psych up for the day’s climbing and also the reflection post-climbing, the warm-up and cool-down, sandwiching our beloved climbing in the middle.
Thank you to today’s guest contributor, Tiffany, for graciously and openly sharing her story with us.
I have struggled with depression and suicide since I was 12. Throughout high school I thought I had it all figured it out; I covered it up with designer clothes and makeup trying to hide the sadness and despair I was feeling underneath. I went to a very conservative private school and did everything I could do to fit in. I tried to fill the void with bible studies and religion with the belief that trusting God would take it all away. Unfortunately, no amount of materialistic obsession or religious involvement can fill the void of clinical depression. The only thing that can fix that internal struggle is finding yourself, surrounding yourself with a strong circle of support, and accepting your hardship.
Admit it, at some point in your climbing, you’ve fantasized about becoming a pro climber. You know, living that glamorous, celebrity, Hollywood climber life, rolling in the dough, just for climbing. This last spring, one of the most well known professional American climbers, Alex Puccio, started a crowdsourcing website to raise money to travel to and participate in the Bouldering World Cup. The climbing community had mixed reactions to her request. Regardless of one’s support for Alex’s crowdsourcing, a major question surfaced: Why does one of the strongest and most well known American professional climbers need the public to financially support her? This question led us to wonder and investigate what is the cost of being a pro climber?
We reached out to a number of pro climbers to get the lowdown on the cost of going pro. While the climbers we talked to were extremely candid, they did risk upsetting their sponsors, (discussing compensation for many of the pros is a breach of contract), and therefore asked to remain anonymous. To ensure we had the whole picture, we also reached out to several companies who sponsor climbers, but all declined to comment. As we came to find out, although these climbers may be “living the dream,” there is a lot more (and less financially) that goes into becoming a pro climber.
I can’t tell you how many people I know who have hangboards but don’t really use them. Even I had mine for over a year before I really started reaping benefits from it. Then I was introduced to a hangboard routine that stuck. Taken largely from The Anderson Brothers (thank you!), this workout is great for intermediate to pro climbers who want to increase their finger strength. If you’ve been climbing for less than 2 or so years you may want to hold off on handboarding and let your fingers build up strength from climbing alone. Before beginning this workout warm up well by stretching your shoulders, forearms, and fingers and doing some pull ups. And as with any workout, listen to your body and know the difference between pushing it and pushing it too far.
We all love a good climbing photo. It transports us to a faraway land or captures a memory to look back on. It’s powerful stuff—it turns a mindless instagram sesh into an inspirational experience in an instant. All made possible by the people behind the lens. Their art helps us see more of the world than we could ever cover, stand in other’s [climbing] shoes and blurs the lines between cultures, geographies and people.
It’s easy to envy those who climb for a living, ‘Do they realize how good they have it?’ I often wonder, with just a touch of resentment working my 9 to 5. Caroline Ciavaldini, pro climber and August’s Girl Crush of the Month, is very aware that she is living the dream. Despite living the dream, Caroline remains grounded and grateful, and very connected to her climbing community. In describing herself as a “professional climber,” Caroline explains, “Who am I? Just a climber like you. When I have a good day, I fight my very best, and if I am lucky, I get to the top of my projects. If I am in an idiot mood, and/or if I am not lucky, I fall, and I scream because screaming stops me from being scared.” Her grounded approach may be in part due to Caroline’s island roots which seem to have influenced several pieces of Caroline’s life and climbing.
As the climbing community grows and pushes the boundaries of climbing, so does the demand for high quality, aggressive shoes. Scarpa, a longtime player in the climbing shoe game, continues to evolve their designs to meet the demand of climbers and the boundaries of what a climbing shoe can do. Check out Scarpa’s latest team member, fresh out of the gate and looking for action: the Booster S.
We aren’t all career climbers and so for many of us, many of our greatest achievements lie outside of climbing. I have found that many of the mental processes involved in progressing in climbing are similar to those involved in advancing professionally. I’ve come to recognize that learning to become a physical therapist feels a lot like learning to be a good sport leader.
“It should be here?” I looked at the guidebook photo and back up to the wall in front of me. “There’s the tree, but where’s the route?”