What We’re Thankful For + Holiday Giveaway!

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With Thanksgiving tomorrow and the holiday season to follow, we wanted to share a few things we’re thankful for. This year, we’re thankful for the aspects of climbing that can be maddening and frustrating, yet motivate us to come back and climb even harder. We may not have been initially grateful for many of the things that made our list (just ask our patient belayers!), but upon reflection they make us stronger and more mindful in our climbing and everyday lives. So, today we give thanks for…

  • Not sending our projects, because it gives us yet another opportunity to get outside and refine that beta.
  • Long reaches and burly moves, so we can get creative with our technique and find that un-chalked intermediate no one uses.
  • Terrible crimps and slick slopers, because they force us to work on our climbing weaknesses.
  • Heady cruxes and run-out sections that help us find an inner mantra to keep calm and focused.
  • Less-than-ideal climbing weather which gives us extra time to spend with friends grabbing a post-climb beer, huddled around a fire, or jumping into the nearest swimming hole.

Most of all, we’re thankful for our readers near and far, who inspire us both at the crag and in our daily lives–we love hearing and sharing your stories. To show our thanks, we’ve got an awesome giveaway planned. Check out the details on our Facebook page!

Climb on!
♥ Crux Crush

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Pull-Ups: The DIY Manual

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One of the most commonly asked questions by those who have just gotten into climbing and want to improve is, “How do I work up to doing a pull-up?” Today on Crux Crush, Galina Parfenov, professional climber and climbing trainer shares her step by step manual to working up to doing a pull-up.

This is probably the number one question I get asked by clients, YouTubers, climbing and fitness fanatics alike.  Actually, it’s a question I never considered until recently. I started gymnastics when I was about eight, and prior to that I had spent a majority of my life hanging from and doing pull-ups on a contraption called a Sports Complex. In other words, pull-ups had always been a part of the repertoire, hence I never had to go through the process of learning to do one as an adult.

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How to Keep Climbing When the Temp Drops

Maybe conditions aren't perfect... but that's not stopping us.

So maybe conditions aren’t perfect… but that’s not stopping us.

You know the story, it’s the end of the fall season or beginning of spring, and even though you know it’s probably too cold for climbing you have to go for it anyway. Sometimes this ends in numb fingertips and retreating to the nearest bar, but sometimes, just sometimes, you can beat out the cold. Today we’re embracing the battle against winter with a bunch of tips for how to keep climbing on those more-than-brisk fall days and “I swear late February counts as spring” afternoons.

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Battling Gender Stereotypes in Climbing

Elaine working the moves of Nose Candy (V6) at Rocktown, GA. Photo by Sarah Anne Perry.

Elaine working the moves of Nose Candy (V6) at Rocktown, GA. Photo by Sarah Anne Perry.

In today’s post, guest contributor Elaine Elliott talks openly and honestly about stereotypes of women climbers, including battling her own personal female climber stereotypes.

After watching #CoverTheAthlete’s video regarding male athletes being asked the same interview questions as females, I started to relate this setback to my own sport: rock climbing. The video was amusing, but a larger problem is evident behind the shocked faces and laughs from these male superstars. The problem being that women want to be taken seriously in athletics, and these stereotypes are holding us back.

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Jen Randall’s Latest Film Adventure: Operation Moffat


Today one of our favorite adventure filmmakers, Jen Randall of Light Shed Pictures, tells us about the making of her latest project for BMC TV, Operation Moffat. Read on for her candid story, watch the trailer below, and definitely check out the film at your nearest film festival.

This film was a project I took on because it was a job. To be honest, making a film about a climber from generations gone by has never been top of my list. So when Claire Carter and BMC TV asked if I’d be interested in making something short about Gwen Moffat – a pioneering climber and mountaineer from the 40s onwards – I agreed because I thought it would be interesting, but didn’t plan on making it the biggest project of my year. A ten-minute film they said, using photographs and an interview. I could do that.

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Girl Crush of the Month: Zohreh Abdollahkhani

Our girl crush of the month, Zohreh, crushing on ice. (Photo credit: Zohreh's instagram).

Our girl crush of the month, Zohreh, crushing on ice.

This month’s girl crush was submitted by friend of Crux Crush, Carolin.

Born in Karaj at the foothills of the Alborz mountain range, Zohreh Abdollahkhani thought as a child that climbing would let her touch the sky. Indeed, there is something celestial about the 31 year old woman from Iran. I spotted her the first time following the Sochi Winter Olympics and had an instant crush on her. A female athlete of a niche sport who represented a country that is not necessarily known for empowering women—that alone I found rad enough, but oh yes, she is also beautiful. Some stalking followed and I began following her on Facebook, wishing I had learned more than three words in the beginner Farsi course I took a year ago. But then again, isn’t the language of climbing universal?

Zohreh demonstrating an elegant calm while competing. (Photo credit: Zohreh's facebook).

Zohreh demonstrating an elegant calm while competing.

The first Iranian woman to win an international medal in ice climbing, Zohreh placed third in the Asian Ice Climbing Championship in 2014 and competed in the UIAA World Cup in Korea this year. Zohreh hopes that the Olympic Committee will put ice climbing on the list of official disciplines. In a one minute message, she tells us about her passion and why she needs the support of the five rings. In the meantime, if you happen make it to the Alborz mountains, check out the “Sang-e-Sar Sol,” a huge limestone wall in the province of Semnan on which French and Iranian climbers put up first ascents back in 2009. Zohreh was among them and yes, her route is called “Zohreh.” I can only surmise that it must be a beautiful climb.

Zohreh is currently recovering from a wrist injury; we wish her a quick recovery and thanks for being crushable!

Climb on! ~Caro

Photo credits: Zohreh’s Instagram and Facebook.

The Truth About Rest Days

Rest Days? Ain't nobody got time for that!

Rest Days? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Today’s post comes from Galina Parfenov, who recently launched her own training site, Parfenov training. Her site focuses on online training programs, private coaching and training posts. If you’ve ever watched any of Galina’s Training for Climbing Youtube videos, you know she takes climbing and training seriously. Keeping that in mind, when Galina tells you that rest days are important, you should listen.

In the time I have been coaching climbers, I have discovered one common link: all of my clients hate rest days. The truth of the matter is, I hate them too. You can’t climb, you can’t throw weights around, and you can’t cardio too much…essentially all you can do is go to work and school, eat, and sleep. Yup, rest days are the worst.

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Guide to Women’s Climbing Pants – Fall 2015


High-steppin’ should be no problem in the right pair. (Amy in the 3rd Rock Skat Pants)

Good, sturdy outdoor climbing pants are seriously hard to find (#firstworldproblems, we know). To help you narrow it down we’ve sifted through the park ranger styles and “I just left yoga class” options and came up with a list of our very favorites this season. Have a look, and don’t forget to share the love and tell us about your favorite pair!

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Raising a Kid Who Might Not Be a Climber


Over the past year multiple people have emailed me videos of child climbing prodigies. First there was the 22 month old climbing on her parents’ woody, which was upped by the 20 month old “Little Zen Monkey”, topped by the 19 month old climber. Each video features a blossoming child climber genius sure to become the next Ashima. In each video I hear the gauntlet being thrown, a resounding “CHALLENGE!” to me as a climber parent. My son, Chase, is now almost 20 months old and despite in utero exposure to climbing, spending most evenings hanging at our home wall and most weekends at the crag, he has yet to display an inherent aptitude and genuine psych for climbing. To garner a deeper interest in climbing, his bedtime routine was modified to include dead hangs from the hangboard and a mandatory crib V0 to get into bed. Ondra videos replaced Elmo videos, and we’ve set a specific route on our home wall that includes enticing truck and turtle holds. When Chase started out of the blue shouting, “Dynamo!” we convinced ourselves he was surely saying, “Dyno more!” Yet, despite creative manipulations of his speech and Little Zen Monkey’s taunting, my son seems quite content with rolling around on the mattresses rather than bouldering, or throwing rocks rather than climbing them. It is with great trepidation that I dare ask, what if my son chooses not to climb?

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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: Climbing with a Chronic Illness

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Feeling exhausted for the right reasons in Montserrat, Spain

Thank you to today’s guest contributor, Leigh-Anne, for sharing her story with us.

A colleague introduced me to climbing a few years ago in the hope it would help with my insomnia. Little did I know that climbing would help me with so much more than insomnia. When I first got into climbing, I was going through a tough time having lost my father to cancer and trying to complete my architecture course at Leeds Beckett University. Climbing was a revelation – I felt free. I didn’t have time to think about any of my worldly worries. I was too busy clinging to minuscule rock indentations while my feet smeared the wall with the aid of shoes that made me feel like Spiderman. I was addicted.

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