Category Archives: Girl Talk

8 Tips for Adventure Filmmaking

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We caught up with one of our favorite filmmakers, Jen Randall of Light Shed Pictures, to get her tips on adventure filmmaking. Jen’s films have won tons of awards at Banff, Edinburgh, and Vancouver Mountain Film Festivals, and she’s got a new project in the works called Psycho Vertical. To learn more about the project check out her Kickstarter.

1. Work Out What Your Film is About
My most successful film so far has been Operation Moffat – it’s been in a load of festivals, is for sale online and won 16 awards. It’s also the only project where, very early on, my co-director and I spent 5 days in a hut working out what it was we wanted our film to explore and why. This meant that during the shoot we had more focus and a clearer idea of what we were making. It also made the edit a little more straight forward because I had an outline of our story ready and waiting – often a whole film is worked out in the edit room which is also exciting, but certainly more time consuming.

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Crag Dogs of Crux Crush

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A girl’s best friend

While we’re out having fun at the crag, our pups are lucky enough to be on an adventure of their own.* Like climbers, crag dogs each bring their own personalities and strengths to the crag, whether demonstrating proper rock-napping technique, or establishing D.F.A.s (dog first ascents) of little-known boulders. Today, we present a few of our favorite crag pups of Crux Crush (#cxccragdogs), with contributions from our friends on Instagram!

*Disclaimer: All dogs in this post are well-behaved, kept on leash if necessary, and present only at dog-friendly crags. Please respect your fellow climbers and crag dogs, anticipate any issues that may arise, and clean up after your pup!

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My Hand Care Routine with Get Giddy + Giveaway!

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From torn pulleys to split tips to flappers, we tear up our hands, inside and out. Today, with the help of Get Giddy and a few other techniques, we’re taking some time to give our hands the care and attention they deserve. While you’ll have to figure out the specifics of your own hand care routine, here’s what I like to do keep my hands happy.

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Your Best Cup of Crag Coffee

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Me, manically hand-grinding coffee beans in Lovell Canyon, NV, at dawn.

Coffee & climbing! If you’re like me, you really can’t have one without the other. Let’s be honest: for some of us, climbing without being properly caffeinated is effectively a safety hazard. (Sure, Alex Honnold purportedly does not consume caffeine, but… we all know he’s some kind of robot/behemoth/super-human).

Over the years, I’ve experimented with many different methods of making coffee while in the wilds, with various tools at my disposal. In my search for caffeine while backpacking in New Zealand, I once even drank cold, instant coffee made with iodine water (spoiler alert: it was terrible). Here are my expert opinions on everything I’ve tried, so that you may make your best cup of crag coffee yet.

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The Climbing Fall that Almost Took My Leg

Pushing through and climbing on between surgeries.

One fall changed everything for Clara, and led to years of battling surgeries, recovery, and intense fear. Today she shares her story with us.

Recently a friend of mine sent me an article comparing the risk of injury from climbing to other sports. Interestingly, climbing had a lower incidence of injury compared to sports like basketball and soccer. And when you think about it, it makes sense – most of our gear doesn’t actually help us climb better, it’s just there to keep us safe. Yet, we still think of climbing as a fairly high risk activity. I think it’s because we know that aside from a pulley tear here or there, climbing injuries, while rare, can be catastrophic.

I learned that lesson the hard way. A slip and a fall – 20 feet runout above my last piece, a #2 c4 – landed me in the hospital. But I was lucky; what gear I had was good, and it saved my life. I escaped with “just” a broken leg and a few scrapes. Having lived a pretty active life, I was no stranger to injuries so I was pretty sanguine about the entire situation. In fact, we drove back to NYC from the Gunks before checking in at the hospital. Plus, I got used to reading stories of climbers who had decked, broken both legs and their back and were climbing 5.13 again after just a few months. So I figured I’d be sitting the rest of the season out, and then would be back at it in time for the spring.

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Women on Lead: Interview with Hilary Harris, Founder of Evo Rock + Fitness

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Continuing our series celebrating Women on Lead, we have an interview with Hilary Harris, founder of Evo Rock + Fitness, which started in New Hampshire and has expanded to locations in Maine, Indiana, and soon, Colorado.  In today’s interview, she dishes on growing a business, the changing face of women in climbing over recent years, and more!

CXC:  Tell us a bit about your background as a climber.

HH: I started climbing in college, and have been climbing for almost 30 years.  I went to college at University of Colorado, and went with some friends and my little brother who was also getting into climbing at the time.  I had actually made the decision to go to University of Colorado because I loved skiing.  We used to joke that climbing was a good activity in the off season of skiing, but then it became a year-round activity and I got into climbing full-time. I graduated from college and went to Europe, where I honed my technique, trained with the German team, and climbed with some incredibly strong, inspirational climbers.  When I came back to the US, I was climbing hard routes and competing, but really preferred climbing hard routes so left the competition circuit.  At the time it was hard to make it as a professional climber, so I went back to school for architecture.

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Giveaway for You & a Friend – Just Because!

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“One for you, one for me…”

We wanna show you all some love on this Wednesday with a giveaway full of climbing goodies! Yep, just because you rule. The winner will take home half the swag and will choose a friend to receive the other half. Check out all the ways to enter below.
Good luck and climb on!
Mary & Emily

Just Because Giveaway!

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Tips to Trad: A Beginner’s Guide

When I began trad climbing earlier this spring, I was entirely perplexed about where to start. I kind of felt like…

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And though I’d like to say trad isn’t complicated, that’s not really true.

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The sheer amount of gear alone is overwhelming! Don’t worry, you probably won’t need this much. Photo by Weigh My Rack

The fact is, trad requires an added level of technical expertise and gear than sport climbing – there’s no avoiding that. But when you boil it down, these are essentially the two things you need: skills and gear. Here I’ll walk through elements of each, and provide tips for your first lead. This is by no means comprehensive, but will hopefully give some ideas and a good starting place.

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Poll: (Mostly Inconsequential) Climbing Preferences

Climbers can be a particular (and opinionated) bunch, especially when it comes to our preferences about gear, belay device, knots…you name it and there is surely a heated debate on Mountain Project discussing the topic at length. Here at Crux Crush, we want to get the raw facts and see how each of you fit into the larger climbing community. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, tell us what you prefer!

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Climbing, Medicine, and Identity

Jenn’s first outdoor climbing route at “Blob Rock” in Boulder Canyon, Colorado

In today’s post, guest contributor Jenn shares her insights on climbing and medical training, as she finishes medical school and embarks on residency training as a pediatrician in Denver.  

Since starting medical school four years ago, I have come to realize that my development as a climber and future doctor have become intricately and deeply intertwined. Climbing helped me stay sane while studying for my licensing exams. After my fourth year rotations as a sub-intern, I felt like I had gained a new confidence in myself as a clinician, and found myself feeling that same confidence and conviction leading outdoors. Climbing has given me joy that fuels my clinical work each day, and making a difference for my patients gives me confidence in my abilities to grow as a climber.

Reflecting on my experiences and thinking about my friends in the climbing community made me wonder what other climbers in the medical field have to say. There seems to be a lot of climbers who also are in training or have health professions.

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