Sisterhood of the Climbing Pants

Finding climbing pants that look and fit this good can be tricky. (Photo credit: Cold Thistle)

Finding climbing pants that look this good and fit this well can be tricky. (Photo: Cold Thistle)

Time and time again I bemoan the fact that I cannot find a good climbing pant. Seriously!?! It’s one thing to be climbing crack, it’s a whole different story to be showing crack while climbing. Trying to find pants that allow you to throw that crazy heel hook over your head without busting the seams can be so frustrating. And then add to the list pants that won’t bunch under your harness, and aren’t a magnet to bits of gym foam floors, leaves, and dirt – the quest seems near impossible. I prefer not to look like I just walked out of a Yoga studio when climbing, yet at the same time, I don’t care to be mistaken for Ranger Rick. As your faithful servants in climbing fashion, Crux Crush took this impossible task upon ourselves and reviewed four different potential climbing pants. While we hoped for a one size fits all solution, what we found is, just like a good pair of jeans, it’s going to vary from gal to gal. Here are our findings:

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Childbirth and Climbing

Rebecca waving to baby Wilder from a knee-bar rest on Meltdown, 5.12 c/d

Guest contributor, Rebecca, in a knee-bar rest on Meltdown, 5.12c/d, waving to baby Wilder.

Today Rebecca Lambert, ‘wicked’ strong climber and mom to a one year old, shares a few lessons from pregnancy and childbirth that just may be the secret to what often holds women back in climbing. (We’re not saying go get pregnant, just to channel your inner pregnant woman ;) )

Back in 2011 I had just broken into the 5.13s with the fourth ascent of ‘What About Bob – Original,’ a notoriously cryptic sport route at Shagg Crag in Maine. A few weeks later I asked an old friend, who happened to be a new mom, if she’d been up to any physical challenges lately. “I kinda feel like childbirth was it,” she replied. Okay, but that’s a little lame, I thought to myself.

A year later, my husband and I decided we wanted kids. This is rarely a wholly rational decision for anybody, and we were no exception—we just had an inkling that parenthood involved some kind of love we’d not yet experienced, and we wanted in.

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Now that you know all the components, get out there and project!
Climb on!

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Video Friday: Girls Trip Europe with Daila, Alizée, and Olivia!

One of my climbing fantasies (and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there) would be to take a girls climbing trip with Daila Ojeda, Alizée Dufraisse and Olivia Hsu. Talk about inspiration and motivation! The talented Colette McInerney brought my fantasy a little closer to reality with her sweet climbing video short, “Girls Trip Europe: Las Motivadas!” In it these ladies demonstrate that climbing is about more than just climbing. Check it out and get psyched for your next climbing trip.

Climb on! ~Cate


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Gear Review: Black Diamond Aura Harness


bd aura


Your harness matters tremendously in climbing. Safety trumps all – but comfort and fit are also essential, especially on those days when I seem to spend more time hanging in my harness than climbing. This is why I was stoked to find the Black Diamond Aura harness that allows me to hang, belay, climb, and feel safe.

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In it for Adventure: Interview with Hazel Findlay

hazel italy

Hazel on a beautiful crack climb in Cadarese, Italy. Photo by Ian Burton.

Today we’re psyched to share our interview with headstrong and witty Brit, Hazel Findlay. Mostly known for pushing limits and breaking records in trad climbing, Hazel also dabbles in 5.14 sport climbing and epic alpine adventures. Read on for her thoughts on “growing up trad”, going pro, and being one of the few women to push mental limits in climbing.

CXC: You were first introduced to climbing by your adventure-seeking, trad-climbing Dad. Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing? 

HF: On weekends my Brother and I would go climbing with my Dad. After a while I started wanting to go climbing on my own, mostly at the local climbing wall and I started doing junior competitions. Climbing has been the biggest thing in my life since I started it all those years ago and I think it’s made my life richer and I’ve done loads of things and seen so many places I wouldn’t have otherwise. More specifically, my Dad taking us to adventurous places, mostly trad climbing on the sea cliffs, has shaped what I most love about climbing and what inspires me the most.

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Big Weekend Sends for Payne and Puccio


Angie slaying her nemesis, Freaks of The Industry (V13).

Clearly something is in the air in Rocky Mountain National Park, because serious sendage went down this weekend! To kick the weekend off, Angie Payne sent her 4-year-long, self-proclaimed “nemesis” of a project Freaks of The Industry (V13). Then on Saturday, Alex Puccio, fresh off her first V13′s just a couple weeks ago, she sends Jade (V14). And here we are, still trying to pick our jaws up off the floor. Both women have achieved something really amazing here, it’s hard to know where to begin, but each send is truly mind-blowing for very different reasons.

We caught up with Angie last winter, when she had already put 50 days into this project. 50 days. On her blog Angie says of Freaks“Freaks is a nemesis that surpasses all nemeses I have ever had. This is not the first time I have invested multiple seasons in a boulder problem, but it is the first time I have experienced a mental battle of this magnitude… I have tried countless mental approaches—getting angry, relaxing, letting my mind wander, repeating a mantra as I climb, screaming, rhythmic breathing, acting like my life depends on it, pretending I couldn’t care less about it, even drawing positive reminders on my arm—you name it, I have probably tried it. But the battle continues.” Just think about all that for a second. Really appreciate that struggle for a moment. And then, you know those times when you’ve worked on something for like 3 days (or let’s face it, like 3 hours) and you’re like “OMG, why can’t I do this? It’s so annoying. I’ll never be able to do this.” And then you go climb V0′s the rest of the day? No? Just me? Anyway, when I think about how much frustration she tolerated, how she was able to keep going back, year after year; it’s kind of like trying to imagine what a billion dollars really is, or like, how many stars are in the universe-very hard to wrap your head around once you start really thinking about it.


Alex on Jade (V14) in Rocky Mountain National Park

And then of course there’s Alex. What we are loving about her right now is something completely different. Rather than super focused projecting on one specific boulder, taking months or years, Puccio is basically just getting outside, taking a break from comp climbing, having some fun, and seeing what see is capable of. In our interview with her in March (just before she won her eighth ABS nationals championship) she shared with us that climbing outside is really her reprieve from the comp circuit, “I have so much stress in competition that when I go outside I finally don’t have to feel like I’m training for something. When I go outside I’m like, ‘I don’t just have 5 minutes to do a boulder.’ It’s quite nice. It’s refreshing.” At that time that she had climbed fourteen V12′s, and thought she was capable of V13, but just hadn’t found the right one yet. Well, she found the right two, Nuthin’ But Sunshine and Top Notch in RMNP within a week of one another, and then Jade, swiftly making her the 4th woman in history to climb V14. Not to mention this particular V14 is known as one of the hardest boulder problems in the world. This line was initially a project of Dave Graham’s, and graded at V15. Daniel Woods earned the FA in 2007 (video from Big UP) and it was then repeated by many big names including Jimmy Webb, Carlo Traversi, after which it was decidedly graded a solid V14.

Both Payne and Puccio are so inspiring in what they have achieved. Added to the list of other historic sends lately (Ashima, Shauna Coxsey), we feel pretty certain that the first ever V15 send by woman could happen any day now. In the meantime, we want to say thanks for giving us new energy and excitement to push ourselves in our own climbing, and we’ll be on the edge of our seats to see what happens next!

Climb On!


Photo Credits: Matty Hong and Joel Kerr

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Girl Crush of the Month: Jenny Lavarda


30-year-old Italian climber, Jenny Lavarda, caught our attention recently with her onsight of 8b+/5.14a, Le Mur des Cyclopes. Few women have climbed 5.14, let alone onsighted it. Of the route Lavarda tells, “It was an amazing week I will remember all my life. When I saw the route, I immediately liked it. It is long and intense, with the crux just before the end. When I got to the last part of the route, I felt a little nervous…the hardest part was the last quickdraw but fortunately I did not know. When I arrived at the top, I could not believe I had succeeded. I was so happy. I still cannot believe it! This is the perfect way, my favorite style of climbing!” With this exciting send, Jenny adds yet another climbing accomplishment to an already long and impressive list.

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Projecting: How to Own Your Climb

Jess working the moves to her project in Kalymnos.

Jess goes through her sequence before jumping back on her project in Kalymnos.

Today we feature a guest post from Hilary Sherman, an exceptional climber who is all about sharing what she’s learned in her climbing journey to help others improve their own climbing. 

One of the wonderful things about climbing is that it can be whatever you want it to be. If you are only interested in bouldering, great. If you prefer to clip bolts, perfect. Maybe you plug gear, awesome. The same attitude applies to the way you climb. Maybe you climb grades well below your ability and just enjoy getting outside with friends. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all climb for different reasons and your reason is not anyone’s business but your own. Me, I climb because I enjoy trying to push myself physically and mentally. One of the things that has helped me to push myself as far as I have has been my willingness to project climbs. I used to only get on climbs once maybe twice and then move on to something else. People would encourage me to try routes again but I would always have an excuse; I’m too tired, I’m not feeling it, I’ll try it next time, I’d rather do climb X, and so on. I don’t know if it was a lack of confidence in myself or a fear of crumbling under the pressure to send. Regardless, it was holding me back.

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A New Look at Climbing: Beth Doyle’s Story of Climbing with Visual Impairment

Me attempting a 6a+_6b in luxembourg exactly 1 year after i started climbing

Beth making the most of her reach in Berdorf, Luxembourg

One of the first emails we ever received was from European climber, Beth Doyle, who wrote, “I just wanted to send an email to thank you three girls for being such a great inspiration to us newbies.” Of course we were very flattered and excited that someone was even reading our site. In her email she also mentioned that she found climbing after a traumatic event that left her visually impaired. We immediately wanted to hear more. How difficult is it to climb without “normal” vision? Did climbing help in the recovery process? What does the world look like for her? Well, today we find out. Thank you Beth for graciously sharing your story with us.

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