Tag Archives: climbing competition

The Great Age Debate

14-year-old Ashima Shiraishi competing at this year's Portland Boulder Rally

13-year-old Ashima Shiraishi competing in the Portland Boulder Rally. Photo by Ben Moon.

Today we’ve got a great read from guest contributor John Burgman on a question competitive sports have been asking for decades…

How young is too young for a climber to be crushing it in competitions?

If you went to the fridge for another beer at some point while YouTubing the recent 2014 Portland Boulder Rally, you might have missed the off-handed commentary about age restrictions that sparked discussion of the question on social media and message boards—in essence, reigniting a timeless debate that spans all sports.

Here are the details: while sharing play-by-play duties at the commentary desk, bouldering superstar Alex Johnson was asked how she felt about Ashima Shiraishi being allowed to compete in the Portland competition, despite the fact that Shiraishi is under 16 years old.

“A lot of these events lately haven’t been conforming to the 16-and-up, pro-event rule, so it has been interesting having [Shiraishi] thrown into the mix,” Johnson said.

Johnson was then asked her opinion on so many recent competitions not adhering to the widely-accepted age restrictions.

“Personally, for me, it is frustrating…” Johnson said. “But then, on the other hand, when [Alex] Puccio and I were 13, we were doing the same thing, competing against Lisa Rands, and now I feel bad about it. I feel like I should have waited until I was 16. It’s frustrating, but only personally because of my ego, I think.”

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Dark Horse Finals: Preview with Kasia Pietras

darkhorse on blackThis Saturday, February 1st the best of the best will come to MetroRock in Everett, MA to battle it out for the title of Dark Horse Champion. Now in its 5th season, the Dark Horse Series has crowned some seriously strong climbers as its previous winners, including Isabelle Faus, Francesca Metcalf, and Daniel Woods. This year’s series features arguably the strongest group of climbers that Dark Horse has ever seen, and we are psyched to cheer them on in our own backyard.

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Get Ready for The Iron Maiden!


On March 29th at MetroRock Climbing Gym hundreds of ladies (and girls!) will descend upon the gym for a bouldering competition so fierce, it could only be called Iron Maiden. For the brave of heart, and strong of forearm, this competition will showcase the strongest female climbers out there, from young guns to today’s most well-recognized pros. We are excited to announce that we are partnering with MetroRock to bring you this inaugural bouldering competition for women, and we will continue to bring you the details of the event as we know them.  Here’s what we can confirm so far:

– This competition is open to both citizens and pros

– There will be both pro AND youth finals

– There is a $3000 cash purse, and there will be tons of prizes

– It’s going to be a super fun time!

To find out more, follow the Facebook page. Website and registration information to follow soon!

-Climb On!

Missy, Mary and Cate

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Girl Crush of The Month: Megan Mascarenas


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!

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

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Making of The Heist: The Setting Team

A couple weeks back we were able to catch up with the co-creators of The Heist, (see interview here). This week we were lucky enough to get a few minutes with the ladies who are presently hard at work setting for this Saturday’s big event! If you haven’t heard, The Heist is a bouldering competition set by women for women at Central Rock Gym in Watertown, MA and it’s going down this weekend! The all-female setting team is responsible for setting the routes and forerunning to ensure the routes will put competitors to the test.  Heading up the Heist setting team are Kasia Pietras and Sydney McNair. They give us a sneak peak at what’s in store at The Heist and what the process has been like for them: 

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How The Ladies Are Taking Over: The Making of The Heist


Today we talk to the brains (and the beauty) behind The Heist, Brittany Marryott and Andrea Brennen.  If you haven’t heard, The Heist is going to be the first all female competition where all the elements, from the route setters, to the forerunners, to the DJ, and emcee, will be run by 100% women.  That’s right, the ladies are taking over Central Rock Gym, for a whole weekend of not only the bouldering comp, but female-oriented climbing clinics as well!  This is a big deal for women in climbing, and Brittany and Andrea were kind enough to take some time to talk to us about how this competition came about and give us a sneak peek behind the scenes.  Just to give you an idea of their qualifications, Brittany was Office Manager and Director of Event Logistics at NE2C, working with Jason Danforth and Pete Ward to run events like the Eastern Mountain Sports Nor’easter and the Unified Bouldering Championships Pro Tour. Andrea’s been involved with multiple high profile events in the climbing industry, setting and forerunning for MetroRock’s Dark Horse Championship and running real-time scoring at ABS Nationals (using a scoreboard system she developed with STNCL-co-founder Chris Brown).  So let’s just say this comp is in some very capable (and chalky) hands. Here’s what they had to say about the ladies stealing the show:

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Ring of Fire Competition Recap


Meagan Martin on the women’s finals route

This weekend, Central Rock Hadley hosted their third annual Ring of Fire competition. Crux Crush was there from the beginning to the end as participants in the Intermediate category and observers of the phenomenally strong climbing that was going down. You name the strong route climber, they were there, and even a few boulderers attempting to defy their endurance odds to win a part of the $10,000 in cash prizes. What started as a laid back, chill, and very unique approach to the sport climbing comp built up to a dramatic dropping of a 60 foot tall curtain revealing the women’s and men’s finals routes, criss-crossing one another up the arch of the gym.  Read more on the comp below and check out more images of the comp in our photo gallery.

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Guide to the World Cup Climbing Series


Next scheduled World Cup competition, June 1-2 in Toronto

From groundbreaking sends, to changes in crag access, to international climbing competitions, we do our best to keep up with the latest climbing news and events. However, while covering climbing news over the past few months, I’ve come across one competition series that completely baffles me: the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Cup series. For example, why does it seem like there’s a World Cup every weekend? And how can there be more than one World Cup in the first place? Who gets to compete? Why aren’t we seeing more American women in the mix? And what the heck do the ‘t’s’ and ‘b’s’ mean?

So here goes my attempt at deciphering the 97 page handbook

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Tierra Boulder Battle 2013

Tierra Photo Shoot Ahkka 2012

Haven’t gotten your fill of climbing comps yet?  Perfect, because this Saturday April 13th, you can watch the Tierra Boulder Battle streaming from Stockholm, Sweden. What makes this event really unique is the format – 6 of the world’s best female climbers each set a problem that they all compete on. Now let’s talk about the line-up for a second: Matilda Söderlund (SWE), Anja Hodann (SWE), Mina Leslie-Wujastyk (GBR), Therese Johansen (NOR), Alex Puccio (USA), and Mélissa Le Nevé (FRA). Not only are they all huge names in climbing, but their styles are vastly different. Take graceful route climber Matilda Söderlund and powerhouse boulderer Alex Puccio, for example. I can only imagine that the problems these two ladies set will be wildly different from one another, but we’ll have to wait and see on Saturday. You can watch it live at 8pm Stockholm time (2pm EST) at www.klattercentret.se and www.tierra.se or if you happen to be in the Stockholm area you can attend the battle!

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