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

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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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How To Train On The Campus Board

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When it comes to training one of the most intimidating tools we can think of is the campus board. We know that this big, imposing board covered in vexing little rungs is an effective training tool, but it can be hard to even know how to begin to use it. So to help us get past our fears, we turn to none other than the fiercely dedicated training machine, Galina Parfenov (and if you haven’t seen this lady in action, check out her training videos to see what we mean). In today’s article, she breaks down the different types of campus board exercises and shows you how to do each one, whether you are just starting out, or already have a campus-board routine and want to freshen it up! Here’s Galina:

Over the years I have gone back and forth between various training techniques and devices—everything from fingerboards, rock rings, systems boards, and even plain old pull-up bars—until finally settling on just one: the campus board. Which, like the lever, screw, pulley, and wedge, is a simple machine, at least where climbing is concerned. Ten rungs. That’s all it takes (just ask their inventor, Wolfgang Güllich, who used the campus board to train for the first ascent of Action Directe, the world’s first 9a!)

That being said, a person who has been climbing for less than two years should not be using a campus board. They shouldn’t really be training, other than maybe a few pull-ups here and there. The first 18-24 months or so should be dedicated solely to climbing and training by climbing, until your tendons can handle the additional pressure of campusing. This also applies to youth.

Here’s a checklist to help you decide if campus rungs are right for you:

  • I have been climbing for at least 18 months.
  • I am at least 16 years old.
  • I have not recently had reoccurring pain in my fingers, elbows, or shoulders.
  • I have plateaued.
  • I want to get STRONG!

Check them all? Then refer to the list of campus board exercises below! I’ve provided modifications for beginner and advanced. If you aren’t sure which you are, start with the beginner exercises and move to advanced if you need more of a challenge.

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Rock Roots: Alice Chiang

Lately, climbing has scared the crap out of me. Within my circle of climbing friends I definitely complain the most about being scared and feel helplessly restrained by my second-guessing and over-thinking. But then I met Alice. She talks about being panicked … almost more than me. The difference is that she talks about being terrified and exploring new climbing areas, trying new climbs, falling on vertical walls in the same breath. She has a constant willingness to put herself in scary situations while being completely aware that she is scared.

Today's Rock Roots tells Alice Chiang's story of climbing through fear

Alice psyched to be in Colorado for the first time! “LET’S GO CRACK CLIMBING!”

LH: You moved to Boston without knowing anyone. How has climbing helped you expand your community in an unfamiliar place?

AC: Actually back in Seattle I was in grad school and found bouldering. It was such a social activity that it was one of the ways I ended up expanding my community. I was one of the few people in my program who regularly worked out and found new friends to boulder with me at our school’s climbing gym. I was also lucky to come to Boston at a time when new communities were being formed in the recently opened gyms. Participating in something that was evolving made it much easier to meet people who were more open to new faces, although climbers in general are pretty social.

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Fall Climbing Essentials

While we’re sad to see the sunny beach days of summer go, we’re pretty psyched for sending temps and lower humidity. Today we’ve got a few of our favorites to keep you looking good and climbing strong this fall!

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1. Adidas Swift R Shoes – Fall sending temps mean that flip flops will no longer cut it as approach shoes. Adidas is busting into the climbing scene with a whole line of super cute and functional gear like these approach shoes. I dig how sturdy the entire shoe is, including the stiff tongue designed to not slide around while hiking. You know they had easy on and off between climbing in mind as well – instead of laces that tie, there’s a quick lace release system. On top of that, they come in a great teal color and black if you want something more low-profile. 

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Setting For The Heist: Interview with Flannery Shay-Nemirow

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Now that Labor Day is past, and we can smell autumn in the air, we can feel the excitement building not only for “sendage season” here in New England, but also for all of the great comps that happen in our fair city in the coming months. We are really fortunate to see so many amazing climbers from all over the country right here in our backyard. One of the comps we are super psyched about is The Heist, an all female produced climbing comp, with an all female setting team (that’s right, all women set this comp, which makes it unique in the US). This year the head setter is the one-of-a-kind, super strong, Flannery Shay-Nemirow. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Flannery to ask her about her process in setting for The Heist, and also learn about the gal behind one of our fave climbing videos (if you haven’t seen it, you MUST click here, it’s a rule, sorry) where she talks about eschewing the conventional path of going to college, and instead embarking on her own educational journey through climbing. Read on for more about Flannery and The Heist!

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Girl Crush of The Month: Emma Twyford

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This month we are crushing on UK climber Emma Twyford, who is not only pushing grades for female climbers across the pond by becoming the second UK woman to climb 5.14b (Unjustified in Yorkshire, England), and the first one to climb that grade within the UK, but also making a name for herself with her ascents of headier trad routes. Last year she became the second woman ever to climb E9 (which is a “bold”, i.e. poorly protected/sketchy route, see here for more info on UK grading if you are not familiar), and also crushes E7’s like it ain’t no thing, recently flashing (yep, flashing) an E7 Bucket Dynasty.

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Becoming an American Ninja Warrior: Interview with Meagan Martin

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Whether you’re a reality TV junkie or an “I don’t even have cable” type, we can all agree that watching the incredibly fit athletes on American Ninja Warrior throw themselves at obstacles week after week is undeniably entertaining. Turns out that rock climbers, with their stacked upper bodies, overall coordination, and finger strength, are amazingly well suited for the show. Add to that the super strong group of women competing this season, and I was totally hooked! We caught up with ANW finalist Meagan Martin to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be on the show and why she’s totally hooked just like us. 

CXC: Congratulations on making it so far in the competition and becoming the first woman ever to complete the Jumping Spider! There was an incredibly talented group of women competing this season. How do you think you inspired each other? How did the dynamics between the female competitors evolve as the competition went on?

MM: Thank you so much!!! I was really excited when I stuck that jump! I think that seeing the women knock down so many barriers this season, led to us inspiring each other in each round we faced. I think that the dynamic was always one that was really supportive, and it didn’t really change.

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Facing the Possible: Interview with Shauna Coxsey

Shauna Coxsey on New Base Line (V14/8B+)

Shauna Coxsey on New Base Line (V14/8B+). Photo: Shauna’s blog.

Four women in the world have sent 8B+/V14. Two British women competed in the 2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Finals. Only one woman has sent New Base Line (8B+/V14). The common denominator is none other than 21-year-old Shauna Coxsey whose climbing resume is as admirable as her reflective, humble, and mature character. We picked Shauna’s brain about her recent successes, experiences, and what motivates her to climb hard.

CXC: When we heard about you becoming the 3rd woman in the world to send V14/8B+, we had just reported on Ashima becoming the 2nd woman to do so. We liked picturing in our heads, you seeing Ashima’s Instagram, putting the phone down, and being like, “If she was the 2nd, I’m going to be the 3rd!” Did this happen at all? Do female sends like Ashima’s or Hazel’s influence your climbing more than seeing someone like Adam Ondra or Alex Honnold? 

SC: I read about Ashima’s ascent the day after falling at the end of New Base Line (V14/8B+). I thought it would be really cool for two women to climb V14 in the same week! However, I was really worried about the weather in Magic Wood so that took up most of my attention. I love hearing about hard ascents and I think it’s really exciting to hear about the boundaries of the sport being pushed. The sends that inspire me most are the ones that people work hard for. I think it is inspiring to see anyone at any level pushing their own personal limits and boundaries!

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Shoe Review: Five Ten Hiangle

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As much as we’re all obsessed with climbing, I think the climbing community may be even more obsessed with climbing shoes. I’ve tried on countless pairs, and maybe this isn’t the best way to start out a Five Ten review, but until now I was a La Sportiva kind of gal. For whatever reason they fit me best… until I slipped my foot into the latest high performance shoe from Five Ten. The Hiangle hugs my foot in all the right places and feels incredibly secure on steep terrain and small edges. Here are all the deets on this new release:

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