Girl, You’ve Got Cute Hair: Climber Edition

Gotten lazy with your climbing hairstyles lately? Us too. That’s why today we’re getting inspired to switch up that ‘do with a few climber-friendly styles.

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One, two, inside-out, crown… so many options! A frenchie is perfect for holding all that hair where it belongs – out of your face and out of your GriGri. Check out these how-to’s on the inside-out braid and the french braid crown.

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Taking Your Woody to the Next Level: Tips for Setting Up a Rad Home Wall

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Several of our readers have requested a post on home walls. The fact is, that as far as the construction goes, Metolius has done a fabulous job of detailing out the process. Rather than reinvent the wall, we’ll just refer you to their instruction manual. However, after building 3 walls in 3 different houses, we’ve learned that it takes a lot more than a blueprint, a willing landlord, plywood, and some holds to take your wall to the next level, which is part of the reasoning behind building a home wall: to go beyond simply being a miniature replica of the standard climbing gym. In today’s post, we share a few tips we’ve learned along the way in designing a rad home wall, specialized to fit your own personal training needs while also providing an atmosphere that supports your climbing community.

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Climbing Destination: Kamouraska, Quebec

The view from the crag at Kamouraska

The view from the crag at Kamouraska

At the end of a vacationless summer my husband and I decided we’d better take advantage of the season, so we did a little sleuthing for a new crag that was in driving distance of Boston. I know some of you diehard climbers will make the 14 hour drive to The Red for three days of climbing, but for us, 8 hours per day is the max. With that in mind, we settled on a beautiful crag in the sleepy farm town of Kamouraska, Quebec. We quickly came up with a plan, made sure we had valid passports, booked a motel room, and within a week we were on our way for a 5 day trip. We arrived to crisp, cool, manure-scented air (which, yes, I happen to love), the beautiful Saint Lawrence River, and a horizon full of mountains and silos. Add to this peaceful scene about 100 routes of granite and quartz and we were sold.

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Gear Review: Gregory Sage Pack 35L

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At the risk of losing all my street cred (crag cred?), I have to tell you that this is my first ever pack. You may remember me, I’m your friendly city-gal turned rock climbing blogger.  So as far as backpacks go I’ve owned, like, a super cute black Marc Jacobs one, oh and this reeeallly adorable polka dot one I got from Forever 21. But I realized pretty quickly that all that stuff wouldn’t last a day in the woods (and though my friends are too nice to say it, it was probably kind of embarrassing). I was sick of borrowing from friends or from my husband whose pack fits me really awkwardly. It was time to upgrade. I knew I wanted a pack specifically designed for women, and I knew I wanted something with side or bottom entry zippers (I may be a city gal, but I wasn’t born yesterday) and come on, of course I wanted something that was at least kind of cute. This is what lead me to Gregory packs. With their women specific packs and simple design aesthetic, I knew I’d find my match. I have to be honest though, based on sight alone, the Sage pack was my last choice amongst all their packs, however, now it definitely tops my list. Here’s how it went from the bottom to the top:

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Girl Crush of the Month: Giorgia Tesio

Giorgia competing at the 2014 European Youth Bouldering Championship

Giorgia competing at the 2014 European Youth Bouldering Championship

Yes, this month our girl crush is truly a girl of just 14-years-old, but regardless of age we’ve got to give props where they’re due. And this month we’re giving them to Italian crusher Giorgia Tesio. This young gun already has an incredibly impressive track record indoors and out. Not only is she ranked #4 in the world for her age by the IFSC, but she’s also climbed V11 and flashed 5.13b. Let me just remind you that she’s accomplished what most of us will never even come close to by the age of 14.

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Actually Following a Training Plan: Review of The Rock Climber’s Training Manual

Putting my training to the test on Ginseng (5.12c) at Shagg crag, Maine.

Putting my training to the test on Ginseng Route (5.12c) at Shagg crag, Maine.

In the 7 years that I’ve been climbing, I’ve followed exactly zero training plans. It’s not that I didn’t want to get better at climbing, or that I doubted the training plan would work. The factors preventing me from training, any longer than a day, stemmed from a combination of motivation, commitment, and time management…that is, until reading the Anderson brothers’ Rock Climber’s Training Manual: A Guide to Continuous Improvement. Their approach to climbing and training worked for me for numerous reasons. I went from being unable to realistically attempt the crux moves on 5.12s, unable to even make a single move between the rungs on the campus board, and being able to do a max of three 10 lb bicep curls to sending or close to sending my three 5.12b/c projects, loving the campus board, pumping 25 lb bicep curls – all within 4 months. Here’s why the Andersons’ approach worked for me:

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One Step at a Time: Climbing and Addiction

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Starting out climbing can be daunting, but it can also be healing.

People often say things like “I’m addicted to climbing” and sure we get that they mean they really really like climbing, like, a lotBut the truth is addiction is a serious issue in our country. In 2013, according to a study by the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an estimated 21.6 million people aged 12 or older (8.2 percent of the population) had a problem with substance dependence or abuse. This is an issue that affects millions of families, and doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, or socioeconomic status. It is such a widespread issue, that I would go so far as to say that at some point in nearly everyone’s lives they will be affected by it – whether with their own struggles with substances, or that of a loved one. Today we will share with you one person’s story of recovery through climbing. We hope that her story will inspire others who are facing similar struggles.

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Puccio Reinvents the Wheel (of Chaos, V14/8B+)

Puccio on Jade (V14). Photo credit: Joel Zerr.

Puccio on Jade (V14). Photo credit: Joel Zerr.

“Epic.” That’s how Alex Puccio described her recent ascent of Wheel of Chaos (V14/8B+) in Upper Chaos Canyon in RMNP. We agree and continue to be in awe as we realize the significance of this ascent. For starters, this makes Puccio the only woman to have climbed two V14s. Secondly, she sent this problem, originally put up by Woods and Webb, after putting in just two days of work. But the implications of this send go further. The boulder problem consists of 25 moves – implying that Puccio just might be ready to quickly take down a short, powerful 5.15a. And as it turns out, Wheel of Chaos just so happens to have a 8C/V15 variation…very, very interesting indeed. Keep climbing on Puccio – we’ll keep waiting for the next send, on the edge of our seats.

Information thanks to Alex Puccio’s facebook, 8a.nu, and UKClimbing.com

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Gear Review: Petzl Arial 9.5mm Rope

arial rope

Before the invention of the Gri-Gri or light-weight harnesses, the climbing rope reigned supreme. This multipurpose tool was your harness, your belay device, and of course your rope, keeping you safe and off the ground. Thankfully, these days we can hang in our comfy harnesses and let our ropes just be ropes in their auto-locking belay devices. Over the past few decades the outdoor industry has grown a ton, resulting in better and better ropes and more and more to choose from. In today’s review, we’re featuring the Petzl Arial 9.5mm rope, which we’re totally digging, especially for sport climbing. I’m going to apply our usual review categories (Fit, Form, Function, Finances), which is a little funny for a rope review, but let’s give it a shot…

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