Category Archives: Climbing News

Alex Puccio’s Controversial Crowdfunding

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Alex competing in the 2014 World Cup series, where she placed 5th overall. Photo: Seb Lazure.

While crowdfunding may be commonplace amongst start-up businesses, bands, and filmmakers, it has rarely been used by climbers, until last week when Alex Puccio posted a request for donations on the crowdfunding website RallyMe. Setting her goal at $10,000, Alex plans to use the money to fund her 2015 World Cup circuit travel expenses, where she hopes to, once and for all, clinch the title of World Cup Champion. Her request for funding has received a range of responses from the climbing community, from “I couldn’t think of a better cause worth supporting! So honored to be able to donate to see this hero make her mark on the world!” to “I feel insulted that Miss Puccio feels she’s entitled to money that could go to better causes.” With these two opinions and many in between it got us thinking about why the climbing community seems to be so polarized about Alex’s crowdfunding.

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Ashima Strikes Again! Ciudad de Dios 9a/+

Ashima sending Ciudad de Dios (9a/9a+). Photo credit: Ashima's Instagram c/o Cross Road Studios)

Ashima sending Ciudad de Dios (9a/+). Photo from Ashima’s Instagram c/o Crossroad Studios.

Less than a week after sending Open Your Mind Direct (9a+*), becoming the first female and youngest person to send 5.15a, Ashima is at it again. We’d barely had time to pick our jaws up off the ground, when Ashima posted her ascent of Ciudad de Dios, (9a/+), and in only three days. According to her Instagram, she actually fell on the last move after just one day of working the route, evidence that despite being only thirteen years old, this young lady is a force to be reckoned with. Ciudad de Dios links two routes Ashima is quite familiar with: Open Your Mind Direct and La Fabela (8c+), which Ashima sent last year.

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Sports(wo)manship at its Finest: Iron Maiden Season 2 Report

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Lily Canavan takes home the title of Iron Maiden 2015 (still from Cold House Media)

A few weeks ago some of New England’s strongest lady climbers gathered at MetroRock in Everett, MA for the second annual Iron Maiden bouldering competition. The competition series began in 2014, with Angie Payne taking home the first ever title of Iron Maiden (check out last year’s video here). As we see it, the competition is a celebration of the strength and camaraderie of the female climbing community. This year we got in on the action by competing and chatting up some of the finalists. Today we’ve got a report on the event from Boston area climber, and 1st place winner of the Iron Maiden advanced category, Ann Pham.

In comparison with your average competition, there is undeniably something different about the Iron Maiden. The obvious difference is that it’s a female only bouldering competition. Yet, even the camaraderie between climbers feels different. Top female climbers in the world compete alongside local lady climbers, all vying to earn the title of Iron Maiden, yet equally supportive of one another performing at their best. I was given an opportunity to sit down with a few of the local climbers at MetroRock during the isolation period to discuss everything from preparation rituals to what makes all-female comps special.

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Big Ups to Alex Puccio

Alex happily upping her training game

Alex happily upping her training game

Lately all I can think of is Alex Puccio. Creepy, I know. In my defense, she seems to be everywhere: dominating comps, taking down hard boulders outside, constantly training, and popping up all over my Facebook feed. She’s been on the scene for many years, but recently she seems to be taking the climbing world (even more) by storm. So today I wanted to give some huge props to Alex Puccio for being a totally rad, feminine, strong, beast of a climber.

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#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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