Building Your Van: Tips From A Girl in the Process

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Today’s post is brought to you by Sarah Coburn, a 22 year-old climber who just left New York for the west in her unfinished van. For building updates, tips and adventures follow her on Instagram @solarlunar__totallytubular.

Van life sounds sweet, right? No cares in the world, driving on the open road, feeling like a modern day-rock climbing-Jack Kerouac—it all sounds pretty good. Once van life starts, maybe it will be just like the climbing movie trailer of your dreams. Maybe your life will turn into a montage of sunshine and cruising your projects. But first, there is work to be done. And lots of it. My partner and I are in the process of creating our home on wheels in a used Ford Transit van. We were psyched when we first got it, and we had no idea how much work it would take. I am writing to share some of what we have learned so far, through lots of trial and error. This list is to give you the beta on some things you may not expect when pondering #vanlife and building out your dream-mobile.

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Tips from the Pros: For Beginners

A photo posted by Crux Crush (@cruxcrush) on


Today, Alex Beale from 99Boulders — a site focusing on climbing gear and training — joins us to share training advice he dug up from some of the world’s greatest climbers.

1. Alex Honnold

On what he would do if he had to coach a beginner climber:

“If I was trying to train someone to be a good rock climber, I would focus on movement and technique and footwork… The right things [in climbing] are movement and technique. So how you move over the rock. It has nothing to do with how well you can hold on or how hard you pull. It has to do with knowing where your center of mass is and being able to move your body around in the right way so that you can stay balanced over your feet and you can move yourself upward with your feet.”

Source: The Tim Ferriss Show

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Reel Rock 11!

This week, we’re psyched to share the recently released Reel Rock trailer, featuring Ashima and Brette Harrington as the stars of the show (in our biased opinion, anyways). Hop on over to the Reel Rock tour website for your local showings and get some friends together to check it out.

Climb on!
Emily

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New Challenges Welcomed: Interview with Angie Payne

In 2015 Angie Payne shared the ABS Nationals podium with Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson. Today we're catching up with her

In 2015 Angie Payne (right) shared the ABS Nationals podium with Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson. Today we catch up and see what she’s been doing since.

If you haven’t heard of Angie Payne, believe me when I say that she’s a pretty rad lady. If you need some proof, the now 31-year-old has done everything from winning national competitions, to bouldering V13, to taking on some seriously sketchy adventures. Read on for her thoughts on today’s comps, working a “real” job, and what it feels like to now be an “old” climber.

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How Not to Be the Crag N00b

Have shiny new gear, will climb! Photo credit: climbing.about.com

Have shiny new gear, will climb! Photo credit: climbing.about.com

Making the transition from sport climbing at the gym to the crag is unlike any other feeling; you’re no longer bound to color-coded plastic routes and greasy foot chips. The smell of fresh air, the mountains surrounding you, and the touch of real rock under your fingertips gives you an indescribable sense of excitement and freedom. Reflecting back on my early days at the crag, I cringe a bit at the memory of the silly mistakes I made in my sheer excitement that may have compromised the safety of myself, my fellow climbers, and the well-being of the crag. To save you the embarrassment of the mistakes I’ve made along the way, I’ve compiled a few tips:

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Why Americans Don’t Care About the Climbing World Cup

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The 2016 Overall World Cup bouldering podium: Shauna Coxsey of Great Britain, Miho Nonaka of Japan, and Melissa Le Neve of France. Photo by Liam Lonsdale via Shauna’s IG.

Every year the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) hosts a series competitions in each discipline of climbing: bouldering, sport, and speed. This year the bouldering World Cup series has come and gone, and now the sport climbing World Cup series is underway. Did you even notice? Okay, maybe you noticed, but how many comps did you watch? How many did you care about? For most of us, at least Americans, the answer sounds something like “Not many”, “Zero”, or “Huh? You mean that Euro comp?” Having covered each Bouldering World Cup competition this season on Crux Crush, we also noticed that very few of you read, commented on, or shared these posts. I’m not calling you out here, I’m just saying that we, as Americans, don’t seem to care.

There are really two sides of the not-caring-equation: the competitors and the spectators. Each side isn’t getting into it for different, but related reasons. To dig into the issues surrounding the World Cup we caught up with a bunch of American climbers who have competed in the series, including Megan Mascarenas, Margo Hayes, Ben Hanna, Sierra Blair-Coyle, Michaela Kiersch, and Josh Larson. Here’s what we found out.

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Girl Crush of the Month: Maureen Beck

Vedauwoo, Wyoming. Photo by Timpson Smith.

This month, we’re crushing on Maureen Beck, a self-proclaimed evangelist of adaptive climbing with an infectious and insatiable drive to push hard, whether training for the competition scene or finding the perfect crack to fit her stump into. It’s worth mentioning that she was born without a hand, though this hasn’t stopped her from excelling in a sport that has historically depended on having most limbs intact. Plus, she hails from our neck of the woods, born in Maine and raised on the best climbs that New Hampshire and the Adirondacks have to offer. What’s not to love?

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Building Climbing Confidence

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Most good climbers will say that confidence plays a huge role in their ability to climb well. So much of climbing is mental that not believing you can do a move or make a clip can be the difference between success and failure. I think of gaining confidence like building a wall, each positive experience helps to build up the wall. So what happens when you don’t yet have the confidence to try hard or commit to an insecure move or clip? Or what if a negative experience causes your wall of confidence to come tumbling down?

In my case it was the latter. My mind, which used to be strong and confident, is now filled with self-doubt and insecurity. As I look to the next hold on a route it seems further away and less attainable. My mind tells me that I won’t be able to grab the next hold. My self-doubt makes me expect to miss the dead point before I have even initiated the move. I envision myself botching the clip just as I am about to pull up the rope.

This type of negative thinking holds us back from our goals. So how do we overcome our self-doubt and replace it with confidence? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. It’s something I’m still working on every time I climb. But I do have a few thoughts that are helping me and I hope they can help you too.

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Women on Lead: An Interview with the Setters of Austin Bouldering Project

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In November 2015, the largest bouldering gym in the United States opened in Austin, Texas. With 50,000 square feet the Austin Bouldering Project (or ABP as it’s known by locals) shattered records. And who better to take on the job of head route setter for the massive gym than the former head route setter of their sister gym (Seattle Bouldering Project), Christine Deyo? Deyo started her setting career in Seattle and quickly moved up the ranks to become head setter before being asked to interview for the position in Austin. In Texas, Deyo is one of only 2 female head setters at the 10+ commercial gyms in the state. While a setter is in charge of putting up new routes or boulders each week, a head setter is in charge of overseeing the work of all the setters in the gym and for Christine, this includes a whopping 250 boulders in the gym at any one time, with 2 new sets going up each week.

While the setting community has historically been male dominated, these days more and more women are joining the crew. At ABP Caitlin Kirshbom and Chelsea McLofland also round out the team of 6 full time setters, a nice 50-50 ratio. I sat down to talk with Caitlin and Christine about their experiences. They have a lot of great insight into the plight of the female route-setter and a pretty refreshing viewpoint on gender dynamics in the community, plus some good advice for any setter–no matter your gender.

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7 Steps to Become a More Sustainable Climber

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Photo credit @lenadrapella

“To do good, you actually have to do something,” Yvon Chouinard said (ironically, in an American Express commercial. But hey, it’s a mad inspirational commercial!).

Start with these simple actions to limit your impact.

(1) Practice Leave No Trace (LNT).

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Climbers might argue the ethics of ground-up versus rap-bolting ad nauseam, but in general, being an ethical, sustainable climber is not excessively complicated. It starts with practicing Leave No Trace (LNT).

LNT is a set of guiding principles that limits our human impact on natural spaces. You can read the seven principles here, and the specific rock climbing ones here. They include guidelines such as stay on the trail, pack out your trash, minimize chalk use, extinguish campfires properly and respect wildlife. Simple but crucial stuff. 

Remember that every place you climb has different conservation issues. In many desert locales like Red Rocks and Moab, for example, you have to pack out your poop because it will not decompose naturally, even if you dig an appropriate hole. It’s a pain, for sure, but do you want to step in some dude’s poo while walking through the desert? No, no, no.

Disobeying LNT can get you in other kinds of deep shit, too. The Cold Springs fire in Boulder County this past July – which destroyed several homes, evacuated over 2,000 people and dispatched hundreds of firefighters – began when two men failed to extinguish a campfire properly. They were charged with fourth-degree arson and will likely serve 2-6 years in prison. One thing’s for sure: there’s no rock climbing in prison.

Practice LNT. Be a steward for the places you love.

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