Big Ups to Alex Puccio

Alex happily upping her training game

Alex happily upping her training game

Lately all I can think of is Alex Puccio. Creepy, I know. In my defense, she seems to be everywhere: dominating comps, taking down hard boulders outside, constantly training, and popping up all over my Facebook feed. She’s been on the scene for many years, but recently she seems to be taking the climbing world (even more) by storm. So today I wanted to give some huge props to Alex Puccio for being a totally rad, feminine, strong, beast of a climber.

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No Excuses: Training From Home

No excuses! Grab that pan and get started training now!

No excuses! Grab that pan and get started training (forearm hypertrophy) now!

It’s the middle of winter and while you might be dreaming about sending your proj this summer, you’re full of excuses when it comes down to training for your summer of sending. “It’s so hard to get to the gym after work.” “There’s a driving ban because of the snow.” “If only I had a home wall…” Ya, ya, ya, we’ve heard and said it all ourselves. For today’s training post, we share 10 ways you can get fit for climbing, without even leaving your house. We’ve kept these exercises minimalist, the first five require a hangboard and the second five require only yourself.

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Aleksandra Taistra: Obsession & Balance

by Michal Lesniewski www.fotolesny.pl 3

Today we’ve got a special feature on Polish climber Aleksandra (Ola) Taistra by Zofia Reych of the UK blog Up That Rock. When she’s not busy managing her own training regime and sending 5.14s, Aleks spends her time  preparing training plans for climbers and coaching a team of young athletes. Aleks has even become Zofia’s online coach! So here’s a little piece on the truly amazing and multi-talented Aleks (Ola) Taistra. 

At sixteen, Aleksandra Taistra was a well behaved young lady. She was hoping to become a vet and start working with her beloved horses. Yet summer holidays brought an abrupt change of direction in her life as her mum sent her on a climbing camp to Jura, the biggest sport climbing region in Poland. Like so many others, she was instantly hooked. Unlike others, and much to the horror of her parents, in the first days after the holiday she threw away all the furniture from her room and built a training wall. Two years later she started university, but quickly dropped out, moved in with her boyfriend/coach, and began chasing her dream.

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Get Your Weave On with a DIY Rope Rug

join ends 2

Cabin fever doesn’t even begin to describe what we’re experiencing in Boston as we dig out from our fourth blizzard in less than 3 weeks. In an attempt to entertain ourselves beyond watching another climbing video and doing another hangboard session, we reached out to our uber crafty friend Jess, to show us the “ropes” on some climbing related DIY projects. 

I have a confession for make: I love a good DIY. Repaint thrifted furniture? Done. Recover lampshades in colourful material? Done. Wedding stationary from scratch? So done. So when it came time to retire the pretty green rope my husband and I climbed on during our honeymoon in Kalymnos I knew I wanted to give it a second life in our home as a woven rope rug.

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10 Things I Love About Climbing

valentine2

Dear Climbing,

When I think about you, I overflow with memories and feelings that can only be defined as true love. I can still remember the first time we met. It was a day like any other. I was tired after a long day of work, but a friend convinced me to come meet you. I’d heard you described as “plastic” by some and “rock-hard” by others, so I made myself presentable but headed out with little expectation. What happened that day wasn’t magical. No offense, but it wasn’t butterflies and roses and love at first sight. Rather, it was like coming home, like visiting a childhood friend. Despite your tough exterior, I could be myself with you. As time went by, and I learned how to hold you and move with you, our comfort grew into unconditional and passionate love that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. There are so many things I love about you, but for today I will narrow it down to just 10.

1. That you bring me closer nature.

2. Your unwavering support of my shoe shopping habit.

3. The way you constantly play with my emotions.

4. Your network of great friends.

5. That you gave me the gift of abs.

6. Your love of travel.

7. That you introduced me to my new best friend: the puffy jacket.

8. Your ability to push me further than I ever thought possible.

9. That the slightest indentation on a concrete wall makes me think of you.

10. Your sense of adventure.

I can’t wait to spend my life with you. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Climb (and love) on,
Mary

Want to create that cute handmade valentine pictured above? Check out the creative blog Flamingo Toes.

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Glenna Alderson: A Local Crag Legend

Glenna Alderson, a Western Massachusetts crag legend.

Glenna Alderson, a Western Massachusetts crag legend.

In the climbing community, we idolize a tiny subset of climbers such as Lynn Hill or John Bachar. Their legendary status often is acquired through first ascents that define a generation. However, not all of the superhuman climbers who created our sport bothered to find their ways into the spotlight. If you spend enough time hanging at the crag or sitting around campfires beneath cliffs, you may be lucky enough to run into one of the legends that changed our climbing world without the media spotlight. These heros have fewer Rock and Ice covers, and it’s quite likely that they are not the strongest person at the crag. These rare, inspiring people create and change our community, they establish new cliffs, maintain trails, negotiate with landowners, and become the keepers of an area’s history. And because climbing pulls us out of our cars, away from our screens, and confronts us with complete strangers who share the same love, you just may find yourself face to face with a climbing legend. If you’re extra lucky, the short conversation that you never saw coming will change your perspective on life.

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Girl Crush of the Month: Helen Sinclair

The moment we fell in love with Helen: Helen on The Great Red Roof (5.13b).

The moment we fell in love with Helen: Helen on The Great Red Roof (5.13b).

She’s a cake baker, EMT, climbing coach, ski patrol, and she places gear while dangling one-armed from a 5.13b roof. Do I need to say any more to explain why we’re crushing on Helen Sinclair?

Flying under the radar, New Zealand born and Colorado residing, Helen caught our eye when a video of her climbing The Great Red Roof (5.13b) was released last month. The video profiles Helen projecting the length of a 20 foot odd roof at the top of the sandstone hills over looking Red Rocks Park, Nevada. While she does not send the climb in the video, her psych and ambition are contagious and inspiring. Sending The Great Red Roof will become Helen’s hardest climb to date. However, she is no stranger to pushing her limits and lists a number of 5.13a sport and trad sends on her climbing resume.

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Together to the Top: A Look at Climbing’s Next Generation

With all the amazing things young guns are doing across the world, it can be easy to forget that we’ve got a few impressive ones here at home. Today we’re recognizing the efforts of Bimini Horstmann (15 years old), Katie Lamb (17 years old), and Lily Canavan (16 years old), who are right in Crux Crush’s backyard. At the end of 2014, these three out-climbed other formidable little crushers to bring home some hardware from the PanAm Championships in Mexico. If you’re from the Boston area, you’ve probably seen these girls at local comps, gyms, and crags. They are a great reminder that the next generation is quietly and tirelessly working in your local gym…even if most of them don’t have their driver’s license yet.

1 BH Podium

Bimini Horstmann (left) collecting her silver medal for the USA in the Female Youth B Rope competition. Photo by Bimini Horstmann.

CXC: When I was a kid, there was an overwhelming amount of sports to be a part of through school and local community centers. How did you end up finding climbing?

Lily: For a birthday party, I went to a gymnastics place that had a climbing wall. Fred, the guy running the birthday party, convinced me to join the team at that wall. When he moved to the Rock Spot, I joined the climbing team there. Eventually I quit ballet, figure skating, and swimming, just because I was having more fun at climbing practice.

Bimini: I was taking classes at the Newton YMCA and really wanted to keep climbing. We searched around for a team, and my mom (who knows Lily’s mom) saw Lily’s name on the Rock Spot website. So I also joined the Rock Spot team. I ended up quitting softball, and then swimming as well. Swimming especially was hard on my skin.

Katie: My whole family started climbing when I was still really young. I didn’t really have an option so we’d pack toys that I could play with at the gym. Eventually I decided to join the Boston Rock Gym’s Team Waimea, and at some point, I got to the age where I really started to try.

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Interview with Climber and Model Sierra Blair-Coyle

Sierra soaking up some sun and getting in some bouldering in Maui

Sierra soaking up the sun and getting in some bouldering at Grandma’s Beach in Maui, HI

Arguably the most recognizable female climber today, Sierra Blair-Coyle hardly needs an introduction. When she’s not climbing and modeling, this 20-year-old keeps busy studying marketing at Arizona State University and interacting with her some 200,000 Facebook followers. We caught up with Sierra to get a glimpse into her everyday life, her career, and just how she got there.

CXC: How did you first get introduced to climbing, and what made it stick?

SBC: The first time I climbed was on a wall at a local outdoor mall. I instantly loved climbing and would beg my parents to take me back every single day! The guys who ran the wall were very encouraging, and they would let me climb to my heart’s content. After this, I told my parents that I wanted to start competing in rock climbing. At the time, they did not know that climbing was an organized sport. Luckily, there was an article in the newspaper two weeks later about a local climbing team and how they had just competed at Nationals. I immediately went to the gym, joined the team, and started competing!

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