Tag Archives: ABS Nationals

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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Girl Crush of The Month: Delaney Miller

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I have a secret I need to admit. This weekend I was out to dinner with Delaney Miller, and when she left the table to go to the ladies room, I googled her.  In my defense of this creepy act, I was CONVINCED that she was a least 21 years old, maybe 22-23.  I wondered aloud if she might want a beer, and my friend said, “I think she’s only like 18.”  And you know what? It’s true. She’s 18.  So why did I think she was older? “A lot of people think I’m older,” Delaney said, when I confirmed her age with her, because I still kind of didn’t believe it.  She has this relaxed and thoughtful energy that gives you the vibe of an older soul.  Some might describe her as quiet, but she’s the first to tell you she’s not shy at all.  While talking about the differences between this past weekends’ all-female bouldering comp, Iron Maiden at Metro Rock in Everett, MA and co-ed comps she’s been to she explained, “When the climbs I want to get on get crowded out, I like to use this move,” as she lifts up her arm, and does a sharp elbow-jab. No, this girl is not shy.

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Chasing Goals Not Grades: Interview with Alex Puccio

Alex competing at ABS Nationals just a few weeks ago. Photo by Mary Mecklenburg.

Alex competing at the 2014 ABS Nationals. Photo by Mary Mecklenburg.

Eight-time American Boulder Series (ABS) National Champion, Alex Puccio, is undoubtedly the strongest female competition boulderer in the US. In talking with her we learned that becoming the best took clear goals, a strong sense of competition, and a surprisingly laid-back attitude about climbing. We had the pleasure of chatting with Alex on a pretty average day; she had just come back from a practice session and was about to sit down to a hearty dinner of brisket. It was a just a few days before the 15th Annual ABS National Championship, where she clinched her 8th national title in a row. Here’s how our conversation went: 

CXC: During competition season what does a typical week of training look like?

AP: The week before [a comp] I try to practice flashing boulders or making up new climbs and doing them in as few tries as possible. Some days I’ll do a bit more power, and I’ll try to eat better. Maybe eat one day of brisket instead of a few days of brisket. Maybe a few cookies instead of a whole pack [laughs]. I try to be a little bit more scheduled. It’s really hard for me to be on a schedule. I’m not very good at it. Months out I have a rough plan, but it’s a very flexible plan.

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ABS Nationals Results

Alex Puccio and Daniel Woods vying to hold onto their 2013 Nationals' titles. (Photo credit: Climbing Magazine Instagram)

Alex Puccio and Daniel Woods trying to hold onto their 2013 titles at this year’s ABS Nationals. (Photo credit: Climbing Magazine Instagram)

Setting challenging finals problems for the likes of Alex Puccio, Alex Johnson, Jule Wurm, Angie Payne, Megan Mascarenas, Margo Hayes, and Grace McKeehan would be an exceptionally difficult task. Yet, the setters for the American Bouldering Series (ABS) Nationals rose to the occasion, delivering challenging yet interesting problems for the seven strong finalists. After Friday Qualifiers and Saturday morning Semi-Finals, these seven ladies powered through, ready to put their bouldering prowess to the test. Competitions are often so obviously tilted toward one competitor, however, it truly came down to the very last problem to see who would emerge as the winner. Angie Payne and Megan Mascarenas had strong starts, whereas Alex Puccio started off shaky. Sixteen year olds Margo Hayes and Grace Mckeehan also each had moments when it seemed the tables could turn in favor of any competitor.

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Girl Crush of The Month: Megan Mascarenas

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Having started climbing at the age of 3, Megan Mascarenas has probably gotten used to the title of “youngest”, so she’ll feel right at home as Crux Crush’s youngest Girl Crush yet! We chose Megan as our Girl Crush of the Month after witnessing her fiercely compete in the Dark Horse Series last month, coming in on the heels of Angie Payne to claim second place. We realized that age aside, this girl is strong, and definitely one to watch. Since she turned 16 this past year, she was able to compete for the first time as an adult in ABS Nationals. She came in fourth place, beating out competition vets Angie Payne and Alex Johnson, and then, with only a week’s rest, she went on to take second place in the ABS Youth Nationals in her division. NBD for this little powerhouse, at 5’3″ and just barely able to drive, she’s taking the competition world by storm….or should we say, by nunchuk? Quiet, and serious, Mascarenas is affectionately nicknamed “The Ninja” by her fellow teammates on Team Mad Rock, of which she is the youngest member. To get a sense of how Megan readies herself to crush, check out the video below of her training at the home wall of Kevin Branford (one of the most accomplished route setters in North America).

Outdoors Megan is just as much of a quiet killer as she is in the comp world. She took down her first V11 at age 13, Mirror Mask, in Mount Evans, Colorado. Megan then proved that this wasn’t just a fluke by sending Show of Hands (V11) in Moe’s Valley, Utah this past year. She’s also had multiple ascents in the V9/V10 (7C/7C+) range. If you want to feel old…whoops, I mean “inspired”, take a look at her 8a tick list (just don’t start asking yourself questions like “what did I do before age 16, besides cut class to chill with ‘skater Bruce’ behind the gym?”, because it gets real dark, so just trust me, don’t go there). We have our fingers crossed that she’ll compete in the Dark Horse finals in February, and give Angie Payne, Charlotte Durif, Alex Puccio, and more of today’s best pros a run for their money. Watch out for those throwing stars ladies, the Ninja is here!

Climb On!
-Missy

Photo Credit: Team ABC
Video Credit: Mad Rock Team Blog

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Girl Crush of the Month: Alex Johnson

The Mandala, V12

“Girls are getting strong and guys are going to have to learn to deal with it.” The Mandala, V12.

This month, we’ve got a crush on Alex Johnson. Having started climbing in Wisconsin, I feel an extra sense of pride watching the Wisconsin native crush (she’s taken GOLD twice and silver twice at the Bouldering World Cup, won five national champsionships, and lists multiple V12s on her tick list, nbd). Alex stands out from the rest, and not just because she’s tall, drives a 1962 travel trailer, or boulders with her Chihuahua, Fritz, but because she sees the bigger picture, and her own role in it.

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Learning from the Best at ABS Nationals

Watching Angie bring the Payne and youngin’ Megan Mascarenas prove that age ain’t nothing but a number at the ABS Finals last weekend was inspiring, as well as instructional. Yes, these women are INCREDIBLY strong, and yes, they are climbing at a slightly different level than you and me…but it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them. Because, after all, that’s what this community of strong women climbers should be all about! Here are 5 things we can learn from the women at Nationals, to apply to our own climbing:

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