Tag Archives: Megan Mascarenas

Why Americans Don’t Care About the Climbing World Cup

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The 2016 Overall World Cup bouldering podium: Shauna Coxsey of Great Britain, Miho Nonaka of Japan, and Melissa Le Neve of France. Photo by Liam Lonsdale via Shauna’s IG.

Every year the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) hosts a series competitions in each discipline of climbing: bouldering, sport, and speed. This year the bouldering World Cup series has come and gone, and now the sport climbing World Cup series is underway. Did you even notice? Okay, maybe you noticed, but how many comps did you watch? How many did you care about? For most of us, at least Americans, the answer sounds something like “Not many”, “Zero”, or “Huh? You mean that Euro comp?” Having covered each Bouldering World Cup competition this season on Crux Crush, we also noticed that very few of you read, commented on, or shared these posts. I’m not calling you out here, I’m just saying that we, as Americans, don’t seem to care.

There are really two sides of the not-caring-equation: the competitors and the spectators. Each side isn’t getting into it for different, but related reasons. To dig into the issues surrounding the World Cup we caught up with a bunch of American climbers who have competed in the series, including Megan Mascarenas, Margo Hayes, Ben Hanna, Sierra Blair-Coyle, Michaela Kiersch, and Josh Larson. Here’s what we found out.

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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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Young Guns Who Climb Harder Than You

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It’s no secret that today’s top male climbers are sending harder routes than top females. The reasons for the gap have recently been discussed and hotly debated; see Paige Claassen’s recent post and Andrew Bisharat’s Rock and Ice article and similar post on Evening Sends. We’ll probably never agree on why exactly this difference exists, but hopefully, soon, we can put the issue behind us and watch as the next generation of young, super strong ladies closes the gap. We recently heard from 8-year-old climber, Victoria Gezel, who just started climbing a year ago and is already sending V4 (for the record, it took me almost twice that long to reach V4, so rock on Victoria!). She shared this interview with us and it got us thinking about the up-and-coming generation and what they could mean for the sport.

We know, you’re probably thinking, “Ashima Shiraishi, Brooke Raboutou, who else is there really?” We agree, they’re both incredibly strong, smart climbers and they’ve received a lot of media attention (see photos above). We could certainly write entire posts about each of them, but for today we’re focusing on 4 other young climbers who you may not be so familiar with. These girls are making hard sends and beating out the competition, yet still have to get their parents to drive them to their national comps.

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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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