Author Archives: Cate

Dyno-ing for People Who Can’t Jump


Ready, set, dyno! If we can do it, so can you.

When I say I can’t dyno, I really mean I can’t dyno. There is some gravitational pull connected to my bum that increases ten fold at the exact moment I pump and release to go up. Instead of catapulting upward, I typically plummet to the ground with a loud, confidence-inspiring thud. I tried pumping, visualizing, counting, ejecting, nothing seemed to propel me in the right direction of up. After years of refusing to try any problem or route that involved a dyno, I finally admitted I had a dyno problem and needed serious help to break the process apart and then build it all back up together. Luckily climbing coach and pro, Mike Foley, was open to giving me (and by extension you!) a few pointers on the dyno process. After just three drills, I felt more confident in attempting a dyno and even managed to stick a few dynos since! Below, I’ve described the three easy drills that Mike had me do and included a quick video demonstrating each so that you could set the same drill up at your own gym. These three drills will either warm you up to practice dynos if you already feel confident in the skill, or will allow you to gradually build up to an actual dyno.

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Girl Crush of the Month: Margo Hayes

At age 17, Margo Hayes exudes a maturity beyond her years. Photo credit: Bruce Wilson

At age 18, Margo Hayes exudes a maturity beyond her years. Photo credit: Bruce Wilson

Maturity tends to come with age. Having just turned 18,  Margo Hayes, defies this belief in both her climbing and perspective. Not only has she podiumed in 11 different national and world youth sport climbing championships, five different bouldering climbing championships, but she has also climbed six 5.14 routes and three V11s. As Margo told Crux Crush, “I really like the ever-changing aspect of rock climbing. The learning curve in climbing is really steep and so I know that with each climb, there will be more lessons learned!  I also love to be in nature, and when I climb outdoors, I can take in the world around me and keep things in perspective.  It is humbling to stand at the bottom of a wall and look up!”

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Crux Crush Line of Organic Climbing Tools


Today’s economy of abundance is destroying our precious planet and littering the crags that we love so dearly. We want you, socially and environmentally responsible climber, to limit your impact on the environment when choosing your gear. In response, Crux Crush has been working with climbers, environmentalists, and a whole bunch of hippies to design a line of essential climbing gear that Mother Nature herself would endorse, bringing climbing and our earth back into equilibrium.

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New Year’s Resolutions: Climber Edition

Here's to a happy 2016!

As climbers, we often talk a big game. I think I’ve “started training” approximately ten times in the last 6 months. But with the New Year, the slate is clean and we can once again declare our resolve to be a better climber! Here are the top ten resolutions you might hear from a climber:

  1. I will dust off the ol’ hangboard and actually use it.
  2. I will stop making excuses and do more abs!
  3. I will pay it forward and mentor a newbie.
  4. I will wash my rope before spring.
  5. I will actually follow a training plan.
  6. I will do more dynos!
  7. I will remember my beta.
  8. I will resist inventing a parking spot and hike the extra 1/8th of the mile to the crag.
  9. I will bury my poop (and my dog’s poop, too!)
  10. I will always wear my helmet while climbing and belaying. It’s a no-brainer!

What resolutions did you make this year?

Climb on and Happy New Year! ~Crux Crush


Climbing & Body Image: Losing Weight to Win at Climbing

The rise of climbing gyms may be one reason for an increase in eating disorders amongst climbers.

The increase in climbing gyms and competitive climbing teams is one hypothesis for why so many survey respondents reported taking drastic measures in weight management.

Today’s post continues our analysis of the 2,014 responses to our climber body image survey

The longer we climb and the more climbers we meet, the more we realize that like any other sports’ athletes there are climbers willing to take drastic measures to lose weight to perform better. In fact, 28% of our 2,014 survey respondents know someone who has taken drastic measures or personally have taken drastic measures to improve their climbing performance. While the term “drastic measures” can be interpreted in many ways, including dieting, excessive exercise, and taking muscle-promoting supplements, nearly all of the respondents described it in terms of dramatic weight loss.

When we first started climbing, we naively believed climbing was immune to the body weight issues that many other sports’ athletes fall prey. From our view, most people begin climbing through a community or “just for fun” rather than on a competitive team where weight management may be encouraged. However, recently the number of climbing gyms, teams, and competitions across the United States has skyrocketed. For example, over the last two years in the Boston Metro area the number of climbing gyms more than doubled from four gyms to nine and along with it the number of climbers and competitive teams. As is evidenced in the graph below, the more serious one becomes in climbing, the more likely one is to have taken, or know someone who has taken, drastic measures in weight management to climb harder.

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Raising a Kid Who Might Not Be a Climber


Over the past year multiple people have emailed me videos of child climbing prodigies. First there was the 22 month old climbing on her parents’ woody, which was upped by the 20 month old “Little Zen Monkey”, topped by the 19 month old climber. Each video features a blossoming child climber genius sure to become the next Ashima. In each video I hear the gauntlet being thrown, a resounding “CHALLENGE!” to me as a climber parent. My son, Chase, is now almost 20 months old and despite in utero exposure to climbing, spending most evenings hanging at our home wall and most weekends at the crag, he has yet to display an inherent aptitude and genuine psych for climbing. To garner a deeper interest in climbing, his bedtime routine was modified to include dead hangs from the hangboard and a mandatory crib V0 to get into bed. Ondra videos replaced Elmo videos, and we’ve set a specific route on our home wall that includes enticing truck and turtle holds. When Chase started out of the blue shouting, “Dynamo!” we convinced ourselves he was surely saying, “Dyno more!” Yet, despite creative manipulations of his speech and Little Zen Monkey’s taunting, my son seems quite content with rolling around on the mattresses rather than bouldering, or throwing rocks rather than climbing them. It is with great trepidation that I dare ask, what if my son chooses not to climb?

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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: Climbing with a Chronic Illness

Chronic 2

Feeling exhausted for the right reasons in Montserrat, Spain

Thank you to today’s guest contributor, Leigh-Anne, for sharing her story with us.

A colleague introduced me to climbing a few years ago in the hope it would help with my insomnia. Little did I know that climbing would help me with so much more than insomnia. When I first got into climbing, I was going through a tough time having lost my father to cancer and trying to complete my architecture course at Leeds Beckett University. Climbing was a revelation – I felt free. I didn’t have time to think about any of my worldly worries. I was too busy clinging to minuscule rock indentations while my feet smeared the wall with the aid of shoes that made me feel like Spiderman. I was addicted.

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Every Trail Connects Every Climber

The approach trail may vary, but each connects us to what we love most - climbing.

The approach trail may vary, but each connects us to what we love most – climbing.

As climbers we tend to focus singularly on the climbing route – the beta, the crux, the send. But climbing’s silent sidekick is the approach. Whether a scenic hike along the Crooked River at Smith Rock, a Tyrolean traverse across Boulder Canyon, or a scramble up the ladders at Rumney, without the approach, trails, and most importantly access, there would be no Monkey Face or Predator. Every trail connects us to something – an end point, a U-turn, a vista, a summit. In climbing, the trail is both the beginning and the end. It is the psych up for the day’s climbing and also the reflection post-climbing, the warm-up and cool-down, sandwiching our beloved climbing in the middle.

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The Cost of Going Pro

What does it take to "go pro" in climbing? (Photo credit: USA Climbing)

What does it take to “go pro” in climbing? (Photo credit: USA Climbing)

Admit it, at some point in your climbing, you’ve fantasized about becoming a pro climber. You know, living that glamorous, celebrity, Hollywood climber life, rolling in the dough, just for climbing. This last spring, one of the most well known professional American climbers, Alex Puccio, started a crowdsourcing website to raise money to travel to and participate in the Bouldering World Cup. The climbing community had mixed reactions to her request. Regardless of one’s support for Alex’s crowdsourcing, a major question surfaced: Why does one of the strongest and most well known American professional climbers need the public to financially support her? This question led us to wonder and investigate what is the cost of being a pro climber?

We reached out to a number of pro climbers to get the lowdown on the cost of going pro. While the climbers we talked to were extremely candid, they did risk upsetting their sponsors, (discussing compensation for many of the pros is a breach of contract), and therefore asked to remain anonymous. To ensure we had the whole picture, we also reached out to several companies who sponsor climbers, but all declined to comment. As we came to find out, although these climbers may be “living the dream,” there is a lot more (and less financially) that goes into becoming a pro climber.

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Girl Crush of the Month: Caroline Ciavaldini

Caroline in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo credit: Francisco Taranto Jr)

Caroline in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo credit: Francisco Taranto Jr)

It’s easy to envy those who climb for a living, ‘Do they realize how good they have it?’ I often wonder, with just a touch of resentment working my 9 to 5. Caroline Ciavaldini, pro climber and August’s Girl Crush of the Month, is very aware that she is living the dream. Despite living the dream, Caroline remains grounded and grateful, and very connected to her climbing community. In describing herself as a “professional climber,” Caroline explains, “Who am I? Just a climber like you. When I have a good day, I fight my very best, and if I am lucky, I get to the top of my projects. If I am in an idiot mood, and/or if I am not lucky, I fall, and I scream because screaming stops me from being scared.” Her grounded approach may be in part due to Caroline’s island roots which seem to have influenced several pieces of Caroline’s life and climbing.

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