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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The Yoga Warm Up for Climbing

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Today, Colorado based yoga instructor and climber, Emma Murray, gives us the low down on the best yoga warm up for climbers. Try it out and work to loosen up those perpetually tight shoulders!

Getting your muscles warmed up before jumping on the wall can not only help prevent injury, it can also get you climbing your best right off the bat. Get on this yoga routine to activate all your climbing muscles. When warming up, movement is key. Dynamic stretching that targets shoulders, hips and lats is particularly important and helpful for climbing. Warming up the muscles in these areas can prevent muscle and soft tissue tears or overstrain on tendons and ligaments. Climbing is a strenuous sport; be kind to your body and take care of it so you can continue for the rest of your life!

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From WC Champ to the WCS: An Interview with Shauna Coxsey

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On point at the Vail World Cup. Photo from Shauna’s Instagram

Shauna Coxsey stole the spotlight earlier this year at the Bouldering World Cup Series with her poise, confidence, and all-around grit and determination. She became the first Brit to win the series, and has a promising future ahead of her with the inclusion of climbing in the 2020 Olympics. We were honored to chat with her, not only because of her recent accomplishments, but her continued dedication to empowering women by founding the Women’s Climbing Symposium at the age of 18 (!!), which has taken off in popularity since 2011. Read on to hear some exciting news on who will be featured at this year’s WCS!

CXC: What is the future of comp climbing?

SC: Who knows what the future of competition climbing is. I think that things will definitely change now climbing is in the Olympics. The Olympic format is bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing combined, so it seems that it may have an impact on the World Cups and other climbing events. Change is inevitable, but I think it can be a good thing if it’s right for the sport and done in the correct way.

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Not Your Average (Chalk) Balls

How do you keep your hands chalked? Photo by

With so many chalk balls, how do you choose? Photo by @jiinetiics

For girls who care about which balls they squeeze, we tested a bunch of chalk dispensers that are slightly cooler than average. Does size matter to you? Care for a little friend in your chalk bag? Are the ethics of leave-no-trace high on your priority list? Scented chalk, anyone? There is something for everyone out there, so get comfortable while we give you the run down.

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The 5 Stages of Mourning a Climbing Injury

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…and the cycle of injury begins again. Photo by @mariaenglishteacher

Periods of injury can be trying for climbers. You may feel a range of new emotions that are difficult to understand. You are not alone. The Kubler-Ross model, most commonly applied to grief and loss, can also be observed in injured climbers during climbing withdrawal and recovery. These 5 stages are meant to guide you through your grief process, better equipping you to cope with your injury and loss of climbing. Proceed through your journey with an open heart and remember your injury is as unique as you are.

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Climb4Life: An Interview with HERA Athlete Whitney Boland

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Whitney on Requiem of a Heavyweight. Photo credit Christian Fracchia.

On September 10th at MetroRock in Boston, the HERA Ovarian Cancer Foundation will be hosting their Climb4Life event with athlete Whitney Boland. I had the immense pleasure of getting know her and her work with HERA, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and money for ovarian cancer research. Though I hadn’t heard of her before, when I mentioned her name to a couple climber friends I was told by everyone that she’s a total badass. At just over five feet tall she’s known for her bold and powerful climbing style. But not only is she a fearless climber, she’s a contributing editor to Rock and Ice and long-time board member for HERA. Whitney is the real deal.

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Girl Crush of the Month: Laura Rogora

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Laura making Italian history on Grandi Gesti (9a/5.14d)

This month we’re crushing on the Ashima of Italy, Laura Rogora. The 14-year-old is the reigning Italian champion in both speed and lead disciplines and earned bronze in lead at the World Youth Championships in 2015. “Yeah, yeah, another comp kid,” you may be thinking, but Laura has impressive talent outdoors as well. Like other teenagers, she enjoys listening to music and chatting with her friends, but in her spare time she’s also become the first Italian female ever to climb 9a/5.14d with her send of Grandi Gesti. What strikes us most about Laura is her impressive focus and maturity both on and off the wall.

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Survey: Climbing & Income

Photo Credit: climbfit.com.au

As the sport of climbing grows, we want to to be able to share our love of it with everyone. However, the reality is that climbing can be an expensive sport, whether it’s a gym membership, new shoes, or (gasp!) a trad rack.

Here at Crux Crush, we want to learn more about accessibility to climbing, both indoors and out, and how finances play a role. Share your input in the survey below, and stay tuned for a more in-depth look at this issue!

CXC Climbing & Income Survey

Climb on!
Catherine

Climbing Destination: Hatun Machay, Peru

HatunMachay1Hatun Machay is a remote, high altitude (14,000 ft!) sport climbing, hiking and cultural playground, about two hours outside of Huaraz, Peru. With over 400 bolted routes, and counting, and seemingly unlimited bouldering you could spend weeks there without repeating a climb. The sunrises, sunsets and alpine hiking are stunning enough to attract non-climbers. That said, you’ll be almost entirely removed from civilization, including internet, and even consistent power supply (they run the power a few hours at night in the refugio), which I really relished, but you may want to bring a good book, a sketch journal, and a desire to find supreme relaxation.

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