Category Archives: Climbing News

#JeSuisDawnWall? The Hashtag Activist

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Over the last two weeks, via social media, the world experienced gut-wrenching moments, ending in extreme sorrow in Paris and extreme joy in Yosemite. Today climber and mountaineering historian, Carolin Roeder, explores what she calls “the hashtag activist.”

Last week, my Facebook feed could not decide whether Paris was the place to be or Yosemite Valley. In some magical way, we were simultaneously Charlie and Ahmed and Tommy and Kevin, inching up El Capitan’s Dawn Wall using only our pencils to defend the freedom of speech.

As a European, a climber and a history PhD student who works on the history of mountaineering, it made sense, perhaps, to be Charlie-Ahmed and Tommy-Kevin at the same time. And yet, I felt much unease about how #dawnwall and #jesuischarlie competed in a very similar way for my identity.

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KJ Sends Pitch 15 on the #DawnWall

The Dawn Wall in Yosemite. (Photo credit: Tommy Caldwell's facebook)

The Dawn Wall in Yosemite. (Photo credit: Tommy Caldwell’s facebook)

This is what the World Cup must feel like to soccer fans. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been glued to a variety of media outlets from The NY Times to ABC News to Instagram, following the progress of Tommy Caldwell & Kevin Jorgeson on the #DawnWall.

Pitch 15. (Photo credit: Brett Lowell)

Pitch 15. (Photo credit: Brett Lowell)

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Ashima Shiraishi Earns FFA of The Swarm (V14)

Ashima sending The Swarm (V14) in Bishop, CA

With her dad faithfully spotting, Ashima sends The Swarm (V14)

Ashima Shiraishi has started 2015 off with a bang, sending her second V14, The Swarm in Bishop, CA today. The 13-year-old is one of only four females to have ever sent V14, and now she has earned the first female ascent of this famous and scary boulder. Before her, The Swarm was climbed by a number of super strong guys, including Daniel Woods, Paul Robinson, and Dave Graham. On her Instagram Ashima wrote, “Ahhhh!!!! Sending has never felt this GOOD!!! Trying to get the first female ascent of The Swarm V14 was a huge mental battle for me! What a way to start the year!!!” Indeed. Happy new year to you, Ashima!

For more on the boulder check out this video of Brian Hendrick almost sending. Can’t wait to see a video of Ashima! I bet she’s got slightly different beta…

Climb on!
Mary

Info and Photo Credit: Ashima’s Instagram and Climbing Narc

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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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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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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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Mar Álvarez sends Era Vella, 9a/5.14d

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Mar Álvarez on Tripa de Conejo (8b+) in Rodellar, Spain

34-year-old Spanish climber Mar Álvarez has thrown down in Margalef, Spain by sending Era Vella (9a/5.14d)! The route was established in 2009 by Chris Sharma and has since seen almost 20 repeats. The only woman to have climbed the route before Mar was Sasha Digiulian back in 2012. This marks Mar’s first 5.14d and of the route she says, “It’s a dream come true. I never thought I could string it together.” To get a sense of the route check out the raw footage of Sasha on Era Vella below. Congrats to Mar, and keep the strong sends coming!

Climb on!
Mary

Info and Photo Credit: 8a.nucpfotografia.com.

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Big Weekend Sends for Payne and Puccio

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Angie slaying her nemesis, Freaks of The Industry (V13).

Clearly something is in the air in Rocky Mountain National Park, because serious sendage went down this weekend! To kick the weekend off, Angie Payne sent her 4-year-long, self-proclaimed “nemesis” of a project Freaks of The Industry (V13). Then on Saturday, Alex Puccio, fresh off her first V13’s just a couple weeks ago, she sends Jade (V14). And here we are, still trying to pick our jaws up off the floor. Both women have achieved something really amazing here, it’s hard to know where to begin, but each send is truly mind-blowing for very different reasons.

We caught up with Angie last winter, when she had already put 50 days into this project. 50 days. On her blog Angie says of Freaks“Freaks is a nemesis that surpasses all nemeses I have ever had. This is not the first time I have invested multiple seasons in a boulder problem, but it is the first time I have experienced a mental battle of this magnitude… I have tried countless mental approaches—getting angry, relaxing, letting my mind wander, repeating a mantra as I climb, screaming, rhythmic breathing, acting like my life depends on it, pretending I couldn’t care less about it, even drawing positive reminders on my arm—you name it, I have probably tried it. But the battle continues.” Just think about all that for a second. Really appreciate that struggle for a moment. And then, you know those times when you’ve worked on something for like 3 days (or let’s face it, like 3 hours) and you’re like “OMG, why can’t I do this? It’s so annoying. I’ll never be able to do this.” And then you go climb V0’s the rest of the day? No? Just me? Anyway, when I think about how much frustration she tolerated, how she was able to keep going back, year after year; it’s kind of like trying to imagine what a billion dollars really is, or like, how many stars are in the universe-very hard to wrap your head around once you start really thinking about it.

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Alex on Jade (V14) in Rocky Mountain National Park

And then of course there’s Alex. What we are loving about her right now is something completely different. Rather than super focused projecting on one specific boulder, taking months or years, Puccio is basically just getting outside, taking a break from comp climbing, having some fun, and seeing what see is capable of. In our interview with her in March (just before she won her eighth ABS nationals championship) she shared with us that climbing outside is really her reprieve from the comp circuit, “I have so much stress in competition that when I go outside I finally don’t have to feel like I’m training for something. When I go outside I’m like, ‘I don’t just have 5 minutes to do a boulder.’ It’s quite nice. It’s refreshing.” At that time that she had climbed fourteen V12’s, and thought she was capable of V13, but just hadn’t found the right one yet. Well, she found the right two, Nuthin’ But Sunshine and Top Notch in RMNP within a week of one another, and then Jade, swiftly making her the 4th woman in history to climb V14. Not to mention this particular V14 is known as one of the hardest boulder problems in the world. This line was initially a project of Dave Graham’s, and graded at V15. Daniel Woods earned the FA in 2007 (video from Big UP) and it was then repeated by many big names including Jimmy Webb, Carlo Traversi, after which it was decidedly graded a solid V14.

Both Payne and Puccio are so inspiring in what they have achieved. Added to the list of other historic sends lately (Ashima, Shauna Coxsey), we feel pretty certain that the first ever V15 send by woman could happen any day now. In the meantime, we want to say thanks for giving us new energy and excitement to push ourselves in our own climbing, and we’ll be on the edge of our seats to see what happens next!

Climb On!

-Missy

Photo Credits: Matty Hong and Joel Kerr

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Coxsey Becomes 3rd Woman to Send V14/8B+

"Psyched doesn't come close," says Coxsey of her first 8B+/V14. (Photo credit: Shauna's instagram).

“Psyched doesn’t come close,” says Coxsey of her first 8B+/V14.

In the last two weeks, Shauna Coxsey, took silver in the IFSC Bouldering World Cup, sent her second 8B at Magic Wood in Switzerland, and on July 12th became the third woman in the world to send 8B+! According to Shauna’s instagram, she sent New Base Line (V14/8B+) at Magic Wood, a line originally put up by Bernd Zangerl. “Psyched doesn’t come close,” said Coxsey of her send. Dave MacLeod calls New Base Line “one of the most iconic hard problems on the planet.” Just last week we reported on the second woman/girl to take down V14/8B+, Ashima Shirashi’s send of Golden Shadow. Clearly there’s nothing like seeing a 13-year old send 8B+ to inspire you to take down your own project. Whether Ashima factored into Shauna’s send or not, we’ve got mad respect for the 21-year-old British climber. It is interesting to note that Shauna’s first V13/8B, One Summer in Paradise, was Ashima’s 2nd V13/8B. For us everyday climbers, it is inspiring to see top level female climbers pushing, inspiring, and motivating one another to narrow the gap between female and male climbers. You go girls! ;)

Climb on! ~Cate

Information thanks to Shauna Coxsey’s blog,  Dave MacLeod’s blogPlanet Mountain, and Rock and Ice. (Photo credit: Shauna’s instagram)

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