Tag Archives: sport climbing

Girl Crush of The Month: Emma Twyford


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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Girl Crush of The Month: Lizzy Asher


When we first met Lizzy at last month’s Iron Maiden bouldering competition (where she took second place just behind Angie Payne, BTW) we were impressed by her technique, strength, and the way she approached the day with the poise of a seasoned competitor. Well, it turns out that’s exactly what she is (and a lot more)!  Born in Austin, Texas and currently working on her PhD in Vancouver, Lizzy’s recent participation in the comp circuit has been somewhat under the radar. “I competed with great regularity all through college and until I began my PhD program at the University of British Columbia,” she explained, “I balance climbing and my other life goals sometimes with difficulty but always with great enthusiasm and true grit…I’m not happy being exceptionally good at one thing only-I would rather be very good at a few of them!”  When Lizzy isn’t climbing, she is out to sea (like, literally, on a sea vessel) for her research in oceanography and atmospheric sciences, traveling to Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Northeast Pacific.  Yet she somehow still manages to find time to climb 5.14, boulder V11 (and work V12, but we’ll get to that), and train for the upcoming World Cup Bouldering Series. So, if you haven’t heard of Lizzy yet, we have no doubt that you soon will.  Read on to find out more about our smarty-pants, seasoned, and super strong girl crush of the month!

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Vian Charbonneau is a thug, sends Thug Life (5.13d)

Climbing takes strength, flexibility, technique, precision, focus, and the ability to keep your cool even when you’re hanging upside-down many feet away from your bolt. In this video of Vian Charbonneau you see all these skills put together, as she takes down this steep, overhanging beast of a climb, Thug Life 5.13d in Red River Gorge.  Watching this video is a lesson in not only cutting your feet like a boss, but also using amazing footwork (and let’s not forget her brute strength, there’s that too) to move through a really sustained overhanging route.  What’s really cool to watch is that she has a very definitive style.  Earlier this year Vian also earned an FFA of Divine Fury, 5.14b in Maple Canyon, Utah.   So clearly homegirl loves an overhanging route.  See video of the send here.

We’ll continue to watch out for what Vian does next!

-Climb (Thug) On!


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Overcoming a Fear of Lead Climbing

lead climbing

Working on my fear of leading at Rumney

Overcoming a fear of leading or topping out boulder problems is a huge obstacle for many climbers. For years I top-roped my partner’s 5.12’s while being too afraid to lead even 5.8. When I did try to lead there were lots of “take”, tears, and frustration. It wasn’t until a birthday that I finally did something to change the way I perceived fear and the way it affected me. I had friends who for their birthday would try and lead as many pitches or send as many boulder problems as the age they were turning. For my birthday I decided I was going to take a lead fall for every year of my age. This was a transition point for me that has lead me down a path of leading my own projects, taking whippers and feeling mentally strong. I think something that many of us don’t realize is that everyone is scared: what separates us is how we deal with it. To me dealing with the fear is best compared to being an addict, it’s a constant battle. An addict considers themselves an addict for life and the fear of falling will never truly go away but the more you lead the better you will be able to deal with the fear. You can’t expect to get over the fear of leading if you don’t lead. Every time you force yourself to move through the fear it will get easier, every time you let the fear get the best of you it will get harder. Below are some tips that have helped me over the years and I hope that they can help you to.

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Breaking News: I Passed My Lead Test!!!!

Here's me lead climbing last weekend in Farley, MA.

Here’s me lead climbing last weekend in Farley, MA.

I have been asked, and the other CXC ladies also sometimes get asked “So, did Missy pass her lead test yet?”  And that’s because if you were reading our site back in the earlier days you might be familiar with these posts (rants): Lead Test Pt. 1 and Lead Test Pt. 2.  If not, I’ll explain the gist of it. In Part One, I’m psyching myself up to take my lead test, and in Part Two, I psych myself out of taking my lead test.  Well, flash forward 6 months later to last night, and I was finally ready. I felt confident, I felt strong, and I finally felt more excited than terrified (still a little bit terrified, not gonna lie).  As I reflect back on the progression of the past 6 months, I see that a lot of things have gone into me getting ready to finally do this stupid thing (and I say stupid not to belittle my accomplishment, I’m psyched, but I am aware that in the grand scheme of things it’s just a test).  Certainly there was training, and getting stronger, and learning, and re-learning and practicing lead climbing techniques and safety.  But I think the biggest shift is that I have gone from saying, “I should do more lead climbing” (which got me no where but feeling bad about myself) to saying, “I want to do more lead climbing.”  The move from the hypothetical “should” to the active, reality of “want” was born out of a shift in my internal motivation, which lead to committed action.  It had to come from within me, not from outside.  I forget and am reminded all the time that people make changes when they are ready, and I am no different.  I need to be patient and trusting with my own process of being ready, not compare myself to other people, and find a balance between preparation and risk-taking.  So anyway, readers, all that is to say, WOO HOO!!!! It feels good to finally be ready to lead climb!

-Climb On!


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Sasha is fierce and earns her first FA


Our Girl Crush, Sasha DiGiulian is making the most of her time in South Africa, and has earned a first ascent of Rolihlahla, 8c+ (5.14b/c) at Waterfall Boven.  According to 8a.nu she says this of the experience:

 “I am incredibly excited with this new accomplishment. The route is one of the most spectacular lines I have ever climbed. It is also my first time doing a first ascent of a route…the climb also includes crack climbing, big falls, and some very technical portions that required my full commitment.”

According to Planet Mountain, this route took her just three days to take down, which must be her lucky number, because that was the same number of days it took her to redpoint Pure Imagination (9a/5.14d).  The whole climb was photographed and filmed by Keith Ladzinski and Andy Mann, so we’ll be waiting on pins and needles to see the footage of this really beautiful looking climb!

Congrats Sasha!

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Girl Crush of The Month: Sasha DiGiulian


Our Girl Crush this month is none other than Sasha (no last name needed, you know, like Madonna).  You may ask why we haven’t chosen her already, given that she is arguably the best female climber on the planet.  In general, we try to award the “prestigious” Girl Crush to those climbers who are not also household names. But for this month, she got us to break our own rules! So how did she do it? Well, first of all, we are celebrating Fourth of July this week, so we had to go American, and who better to represent our fair nation than the first and only North American female to ever climb 9a/5.14d.  Then last week she went and added not one, but two more FFA’s to her impressive tick list, in the same week!  Not to mention, that while she’s dominating crags and comps worldwide, she’s also a full time undergrad at Columbia University.  Lastly, we had the good fortune of meeting her in May at the Ring of Fire Comp and found that not only can this petite, blonde haired, blue-eyed 20-year-old contend with the burliest of climbers out there, she’s also apple-pie-sweet and friendly as can be! So Sasha, we know you’ve won a lot of awards, and this one doesn’t come with any medals, but it does come with huge amounts of admiration! Thanks so much for continuing to inspire female climbers worldwide.

-Climb On!

Missy, Cate and Mary

(Photo Credit: Sasha’s website www.sasha-digiulian.com)

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Shoe Review – Evolv Shaman


I bought these shoes right before our trip to Puerto Rico in February.  It was the day before the trip and my La Sportiva Miuras weren’t back in time from being resoled, so I was in desperate need of a reliable pair of shoes.  I was looking for a tight, but comfortable, all-day shoe for sport climbing.  A friend recommended these, and I was able to demo them at my gym, so pretty soon these guys were in my suitcase and headed for some rainforest climbing adventures.

Besides being voted Editor’s Choice by Climbing and Urban Climber magazines, you know this shoe has gotta be good because every aspect, right down to the, ahem…”Love Bump” was designed by Chris Sharma himself.  So, wanna know more about Sharma’s “Love Bump”? Then do read on:

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