Author Archives: Sarah

5 Quick Tips to up your Photo Game at the Crag

Philip Quade shooting Claire Bukowski in Rifle, Colorado. Photo by Todd Bukowski.

If you’re heading out on a climbing trip this winter and want to take some amazing pictures, Phillip Quade is here to help. He’s an adventure photographer from Canada and has shot everything from IFSC comps to remote boulders in Alaska and Australia. His Instagram is completely drool-worthy, and not just because his photos are fantastic but because his life seems to be one big adventure with some of the world’s greatest climbers. Thankfully for us, he has kindly volunteered his best tips to help you get the perfect photo on your winter adventures. Whether you’re using your iPhone or a fancy DSLR, Phillip’s advice will give you some new perspective on how to get the best shot.

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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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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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Coxsey & Chon Win World Cup #5 in Austria

Shauna winning finals! Cred: The Circuit World Cup and Performance Climbing Magazine

Shauna winning finals!

This weekend was the biggest IFSC competition EVER, with 67 women and 108 men competing! The comp was hosted in the incredible Olympic Arena in Innsbruck, Austria, and the venue was completely filled up with a psyched crowd.

WOMEN:

  1. Shauna Coxsey (UK)
  2. Janja Garnbret (Slovenia)
  3. Miho Nonaka (Japan)
  4. Megan Mascarenas (USA)

MEN:

  1. Jongwon Chon (Korea)
  2. Tomoa Narasaki (Japan)
  3. Sean McColl (Canada)

More US Results:

25. Sierra Blair-Coyle
28. Lisa Chulich
41. Austin Geiman
65. Josh Larson

Even after qualifying for finals in last place, Shauna went on to dominate–winning her 4th world cup this season. It’s truly turning into an unprecedented run! Megan Mascarenas represented the US well with a 4th place finish after 2 flashes in the finals round. Local favorite Anna Stohr also managed to make her first finals for the season and lit the crowd on fire every time she stepped onto the wall.

For the men, Tomoas Narasaki continued his strong run from the last couple of comps. Sean McColl managed to finally make a final (AND a podium), after multiple 7th place finishes this year, which had left him one spot out of finals.

The next World Cup will take place in Vail, Colorado on June 10. This one is an absolute CAN’T miss as droves of US athletes will be there to put on a great show!

Climb on!
Sarah

Photo by The Circuit World Cup and Performance Climbing Magazine

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Nonaka & Fujii Win World Cup #4 in India

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Japan dominated the 4th World Cup of 2016, taking home 4 medals.

This weekend India hosted their first IFSC world cup in Mumbai. Check out the results:

WOMEN:

  1. Miho Nonaka (Japan)
  2. Monika Retschy (Germany)
  3. Akiyo Noguchi (Japan)

MEN:

  1. Kokoro Fujii (Japan)
  2. Tomoa Narasaki (Japan)
  3. Alexey Rubtsov (Russia)

US Results:

18. Lisa Chulich
27. Sarah Pearce
39. Peter Erard

The female side saw a pretty big shake up this weekend, where Shauna Coxsey, who has won all the World Cup comps this season didn’t manage to make it into finals. However, she still manages to lead in overall World Cup rankings. The Japanese team, on the other hand, had a stellar weekend with two men, Kokoro Fuji and Tomoa Narasaki, placing first and second; and two women, Miho Nonaka and Akiyo Noguchi placing first and third. For Miho and Kokoro, this was their first ever win at a World Cup.

Lisa Chulich repped the US placing 18th overall. Be sure to catch a replay of her climbing in the semi-finals stream on YouTube here.

Next week the world cup moves on to Innsbruck, Austria with many more US names competing including Megan Mascarenas, Lisa Chulich, Sierra Blair-Coyle, Josh Larson, Austin Geiman, and Benjamin Hanna.

Climb on!
Sarah

Photo from Miho’s Facebook

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Coxsey & Narasaki Win World Cup #3 in China

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So far the 2016 World Cup series is a clean sweep for Shauna Coxsey.

This weekend was the 3rd IFSC Bouldering World Cup competition of the season in Chongqing, China. Here are some of the results from the weekend:

WOMEN:

  1. Shauna Coxsey (UK)
  2. Akiyo Noguchi (Japan)
  3. Miho Nonaka (Japan)

MEN:

  1. Tomoa Narasaki (Japan)
  2. Jan Hojer (Germany)
  3. Johgwon Chon (Korea)

Also, a big congrats to Sierra Blair-Coyle (the only US athlete to compete) for making it into her first Semi-Finals of the season. She ended Qualifiers in 19th and moved up to 12th! Another huge congrats to Shauna Coxsey, who took home her THIRD consecutive win for the season, a feat rarely done. The last to accomplish it was Akiyo Noguchi in the 2014 season. For the men, the relatively unknown 19-year-old Tomoa Narasaki won the comp as the only male with 3 tops in finals. The men’s competition has been especially stiff this year with no single competitor having qualified for all finals this season.

Next weekend is a speed-only competition in Nanjing, China with no Americans competing. But, May 14 will be back to bouldering in Mumbai, India with 4 Americans, including Lisa Chulich. Stay tuned!

Climb on!
Sarah

Photo credit: The Circuit World Cup and Performance Climbing Magazine

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Coxsey & Gelmanov Win World Cup #2 in Japan

Photo credit: Shauna's Instagram

So far Shauna Coxsey is 2 for 2 in the 2016 Series. Photo credit: Shauna’s Instagram

120 climbers competed in the 2nd IFSC Bouldering World Cup of the 2016 season in Kazo, Japan this past weekend. Hope you guys all got a chance to enjoy the live stream. Here are the podium winners and US results from the past weekend.

WOMEN:

  1. Shauna Coxsey (UK)
  2. Melissa Le Neve (France)
  3. Miho Nonaka (Japan)

MEN:

  1. Rustam Gelmanov (Russia)
  2. Michael Piccolruaz (Italy)
  3. Kokoro Fuji (Japan)

US Results:

21. Sierra Blair-Coyle (one attempt away from making Semi-Finals)
52. Juliana Price
68. Peter Erard

After topping all the finals boulders Shauna earned a well-deserved victory, her 2nd of the season! After an injury last year she had to sit out many of the competitions, but has now recovered and plans to attend all the events this season. Previous bouldering world champion and Japanese favorite Akiyo Noguchi placed 20th, after not topping any of the semi-finals climbs, but the 18 year old Miho Nonaka stepped up for Japan and managed to make it onto the podium with 2 tops in finals. Sierra Blair Coyle is the only US climber who will be continuing on to the next competition this coming weekend in Chongqing , China. Tune in next week for more climbing goodness!

Climb on!
Sarah

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Up Your Game with an Online Climbing Coach

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Thanks to the power of the internet, trainers with years of climbing coaching experience will create a plan just for you. Photo by TrainingBeta.

If you’ve been climbing for a few years, then it’s likely that you have (or soon will) reach a plateau in your climbing ability. Answering the question “How can I improve at climbing?” is a difficult one.

Climbing is a relatively new sport, and theories around training are still being developed. It can seem like everyone you talk to has radically different ideas about what works best, making it hard to sort out the good advice from the bad. Furthermore, a training regimen that works for a certain type of climber, say a boulderer climbing V11, will not work for a sport climber projecting 5.13 or even another boulderer climbing V5. So how do you make sense of it all? A few years ago, your only option was buying a training book and sorting through the theories to design your own plan. However, recently, personal coaches for climbing have been using the Internet as a tool to reach a wider audience.

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Climbing Destination: Piedra Parada

Piedra Parada is Spanish for "Standing Rock"

Piedra Parada is Spanish for “Standing Rock”

Today’s post comes from guest contributor, Sarah Williams.

Piedra Parada, which translates to “standing rock”, is an iconic rock feature that marks the entrance to a canyon once home to ancient people, now known for its beauty and endless climbing possibilities. It’s located in the Patagonian region of Argentina. Climbing here is a magical experience. It feels like you’ve been transported back in time to a more adventurous age, where there’s still so much to discover. Cell phones don’t work out here so you can forget about Internet access. This place is isolated. And that makes it even more amazing. You can climb all day and only see a handful of other climbers—mostly Argentinians or Chileans. It became more widely recognized and more fully developed after the 2012 Petzl Roc Trip, which brought in hundreds of world-class climbers to establish world-class routes. But even after gaining all this attention, Piedra Parada remains remote, natural, and full of adventure waiting to be discovered.

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5 Things About Climbing I Wish I Knew 5 Years Ago

Sarah Williams putting her lessons learned climbing into practice.

Sarah Williams putting her climbing lessons learned into practice. (Photo credit: Carlo Nasisse)

We’ve all had that moment in climbing where something finally clicks, either physically or mentally. For most of us, that moment came later in our climbing career – followed by that temporary moment of regret: ‘If only I’d known this when I first started climbing!’ Today Sarah Williams shares her list of 5 things she wish she’d known when she started climbing 5 years ago. While it might be too late for some of us, hopefully Sarah’s advice will inspire any newbies just getting into the sport!

Lesson #1: Try Harder Stuff

Any gym rat can tell you that grades are very subjective. You may be cruising V5’s but just can’t seem to pull the move on one funky V3, or you might put 15 attempts into a V6 and flash the V7 next to it. Just because you’re climbing V3 and projecting V4 doesn’t mean you can’t jump on a V5 or even harder.

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