Salves for Sore Hands

Whether it’s cold weather, sharp rock, or a brand new hangboard, your climber hands need some TLC! Today, we review some of the products out there to keep your hands smooth, fresh, and flapper-free. We’ll start out with a few salves and finish up with some lotions specifically for athletes and climbers.

climber skin carecrossFIXE HANDS salve is great for preventing and quickly recovering cracks, tears, and flappers. As a part of the SKINourishment family this salve is made of all-natural, food grade ingredients. It feels soft and quite oily, but in a way that you know is bringing much needed moisturize to your skin. The tube applicator also allows you to apply without getting your other hand covered in salve. With ingredients like beeswax, coconut oil, and green tea oil the scent is natural, pleasant, and not overwhelming. You can also feel good about the packaging – it’s biodegradable and compostable.

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Rock Climbing: Expectation vs. Reality

Expectation: That photo of you sending your project is going to look awesome!

rock climbing reality

Reality: Just another butt shot.

rock climbing reality

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Namuli: An Interview with Majka Burhardt

Majka and team summiting Mt. Namuli. Photo credit: Lost Mountain Film Project

Majka and team summiting Mt. Namuli. Photo by James Q Martin.

When I first heard about Majka Burhardt I was immediately struck by all she has accomplished as a professional climber, guide, filmmaker, author, and entrepreneur. In 5th grade she won the award for the most checking penalties in the boys’ hockey league, and since then has had an impressive career as a climber, including an ascent of The Bachelor Stroll (WI6) in Frankenstein Cliff, New Hampshire. Her most recent endeavors have been in social entrepreneurship and conservation. The film “Namuli” documents the expedition which brought together climbing, science, and conservation in the mountains of Mozambique. In 2014 Majka and Kate Rutherford led an expedition of scientists and established routes on Namuli to enable the collection of specimens from an area with tremendous biodiversity and beauty.  

 CXC: Tell us a little more about how you became “obsessed” with the mountains of Mozambique. Why Namuli?

MB: I get obsessed with things that are rich and complex and the mountains of Mozambique are a perfect example. Once I saw photos of the inselbergs (granite island mountains in the north of the country) I started learning anything I could about Mozambique and was hooked. Mount Namuli is Mozambique’s second highest mountain and a critical target for conservation in southeast Africa. It has been understudied and sampled scientifically, held important data and discovery potential, and had a beautiful looking southeast face of granite…

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Girl Crush of the Month: Claudia Ziegler

Claudia Ziegler

Claudia’s artful eye seamlessly combines climbing and nature.

While Austrian-born Claudia Ziegler loves to climb, she’s better known for her mesmerizing images of climbers, mountain bikers, and skiers. Her fascination with photography began at age six when her parents gave her a camera, and over several decades she has made a life of shooting in her unique style, which she calls “dynamic photography.” She tells us, “It was not until I was 20 that I realized that photography is what I wanted to do. I never thought that I could make a living out of my passion, but my urge was so great that I had no other choice but to follow it.” Her incredible drive and vision are so clearly evident as you scroll through her website or flip through the pages of her latest book, The Young Savages.

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Deadlifting for Climbing

Deadlifts will strengthen your posterior chain to keep your hips closer to the wall. Photo credit: Merrick Ales

Deadlifts strengthen your posterior chain which helps keep your hips closer to the wall. Photo by Merrick Ales

With winter training season in full swing, today’s post presents a reason to hit the weight room in order to make climbing gains. Deadlifts strengthen the lower back muscles which will have a secondary benefit of improving overall lifting form in daily life! While I am a proponent of using all the compound lifts (bench press, press, deadlift, and even squat) as conditioning for climbing, I have found that deadlifts translate the most to climbing. Today, I’ll take you through the how and why of deadlifting for climbing.

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Exploring New Faces: Interview with Sasha DiGiulian

Sasha DiGiulian Interview

Sasha has recently been expanding her horizons to include mixed, ice, and big wall climbing. Photo by Andy Mann.

Today we’re very excited to share an interview with the one-and-only Sasha DiGiulian. At just 23 years old Sasha already has a lifetime’s worth of climbing accomplishments under her harness, including the titles of first American woman to climb 5.14d and 3-time National sport climbing champion. Here she shares her thoughts on big walls, climbing in the Olympics, her future in the sport, and lots more.

CXC: A few months ago you became the first woman to climb Magic Mushroom on the Eiger – Congrats! It was quite a departure from what you’re known for, so what inspired you to take on this type of route?

SD: I would like to be the best climber that I am capable of being in as many different facets of the sport as possible. The Eiger was an adventure that tested my comfort zones and was perfect grounds for me to challenge myself physically and mentally.

CXC: Do you have plans for other climbing endeavors that are a little bit outside of the box? Can you tell us a bit about them, why you’re pursuing them, and what you hope gain from them?

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From Marathons to Multi-Pitch: Maximizing Your Mental Game with the Help of Others

Climbing Mental Game

Tess climbing at Seneca Rocks.

The mental aspect of climbing is one of the most challenging topics to address. Each climber has an individual experience of fear on the rocks shaped by their past experiences. Yet this experience is something that all climbers can relate to, regardless of their level. In today’s post, guest contributor Laura K. asked athletes about their experience of mental barriers and how the support of others has been instrumental in getting through challenging situations.

I’ve been both an endurance athlete and a climber for a few years. The mental barriers of climbing have left me baffled and stuck, while I have been able to push through multiple triathlons and long-distance running races. Is mental prowess achieved in different ways for different sports?

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How to Wash Your Rope

How to Wash Your Rope

Our two hard-working test subjects ready for pampering.

A Google search of “how to wash your rope” will lead you down a winding path of climbing forums with many opinions on the various techniques out there. Fear not, we’ve combed through all of the existing literature on the subject to provide you with a comprehensive yet simple guide to washing your rope.

Not only will a dirty rope make your hands black, rope manufacturers also recommend washing it to extend life. The silt and sand work their way through the sheath into the fibers causing interior abrasions. The grit is also hard on gear, wearing out biners faster over time and clogging up your GriGri (causing faster wear on its metal parts, as well as your rope sheath passing through it with more friction). So, now that you’re totally out of excuses to put off washing your rope, let’s get to it.

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Bouldering in the Southeast: Horse Pens 40, Rocktown & Stone Fort

Joe Chalmers working the compression of Golden Showers (V5). Rocktown.

Joe Chalmers working the compression of Golden Showers (V5).

Bouldering in the southeast this past fall season has been distressing to say the least. If you’re a southern sandstone crusader, then you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. Looking out your window, or on the interwebs of Weather Underground has been like sticking your precious finger skin into scalding water over and over again. The rain and humidity (no thanks to El Niño) have been an agitation to every local and visiting dirt bag. Rare windows of cold, dry days have kept us sane, and have allowed bouldering warriors such as Jimmy Webb within the means of sending the South’s first ever V15. Otherwise, dampened spirits were a norm in the fall of 2015. But this is a new year! And I’m determined to believe 2016 will provide ideal conditions. Plus, I asked Santa for send temps, and I’d like to think I’ve been good (enough) this past year for him to oblige.

So here it is folks, the Southeast’s Sandstone Winter Bouldering Circuit Extravaganza! If you want to get inspired by the South’s unique sandstone features and send some unforgettable problems, now is the time to do it. The slopers are crisp, the campsites are open, gas is cheap, and the locals will be happy to spray you with their peculiar beta. This list mentions the top three bouldering fields within the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, as well as some other noteworthy sites along the way.

Stay safe, embrace the humidity, and happy bouldering y’all!

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Shoe Review: La Sportiva Katana Lace

La Sportiva Katana Lace

There’s no doubt that La Sportiva is one of the most trusted brands of climbing shoes out there, and for good reason–their shoes consistently perform well, are incredibly reliable, and they tend to look pretty darn good on top of all that. The La Sportiva Katana Lace, while may be slightly less known than the Muira or Solution, is no exception. I bought these shoes after trying them on at an outdoor store in West Virginia–my Five Ten Anasazis were succumbing to a giant hole in the right toe, and I had no time to get them resoled before my next climbing trip a few days later. I wanted a good introductory aggressive shoe, and the Katana Lace did not disappoint!

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