Tag Archives: Trad climbing

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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Female FA Duo Push the Boundaries of 5.13R and Beyond

 Pamela Pack leading the third pitch of American Horror Story (unrated 5.12/13), where she muscles through a 45° off width flare on loose gear and rock. Photo by Rob Frost.

Pamela Pack leading the third pitch of American Horror Story (unrated 5.12/13), where she muscles through a 45° off width flare on loose gear and rock. Photo by Rob Frost.

Molly Mitchell, at age 22, has already established three unrepeated FAs in her first year of trad climbing. Most people would be surprised to hear that her hardest feats on her climbing resume are her FAs: All Hell Breaks Moose (5.13 R) in Indian Creek, The Spoiled Moose (5.13- R) in Boulder Canyon and Element X (5.13a X) in Eldorado. While her peers are busy ticking off classic climbs from their to-do lists, Molly lives for the thrill of scary faces, thin cracks, and sketchy gear placements. Her main goal with climbing is to push herself and the sport by sending routes people have never touched.

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Girl Crush of the Month: Helen Sinclair

The moment we fell in love with Helen: Helen on The Great Red Roof (5.13b).

The moment we fell in love with Helen: Helen on The Great Red Roof (5.13b).

She’s a cake baker, EMT, climbing coach, ski patrol, and she places gear while dangling one-armed from a 5.13b roof. Do I need to say any more to explain why we’re crushing on Helen Sinclair?

Flying under the radar, New Zealand born and Colorado residing, Helen caught our eye when a video of her climbing The Great Red Roof (5.13b) was released last month. The video profiles Helen projecting the length of a 20 foot odd roof at the top of the sandstone hills over looking Red Rocks Park, Nevada. While she does not send the climb in the video, her psych and ambition are contagious and inspiring. Sending The Great Red Roof will become Helen’s hardest climb to date. However, she is no stranger to pushing her limits and lists a number of 5.13a sport and trad sends on her climbing resume.

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Rock Roots: Tiffany Skogstrom

Rock Roots highlights the every day female climber who inspires us in our every day climbing. Today Crux Crush contributor, Lily He, highlights Tiffany Skogstrom. 

Tiffany at Squamish

Tiffany taking advantage of a great photo op on Star Chek (5.8+) in Squamish. Photo Credit: Josh Squire

 “My friend Tiffany Skogstrom has been climbing for over a decade and has been an inspiration to many women over the years. Besides being an accomplished New England climber, she’s taught many women’s trad climbing clinics and even gets a nod from Arno Ilgner in his sequel to Rock Warrior’s Way. What sets Tiffany apart from other climbing partners is her incredible support of women in the sport. When we first met and chatted about sharing a rope, she said that climbing with women “is really inspriring” to her. And although her husband is an incredibly strong climber and willing belayer, she most often seeks out female partners. With her, I found myself trying and succeeding on tough trad lines I would never have attempted without her encouragement.” – Alissa Doherty, Tiffany’s nominator

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Girl Crush of The Month: Emma Twyford

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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: Hazel Findlay

Hazel Findlay climbing in Maine. Photo credit: Tim Kemple.

Hazel Findlay climbing in Maine. Photo credit: Tim Kemple.

Moroccan big walls, spicy gear placement, climbing through death fall potential – just another day in the life of 23 year old Hazel Findlay, October’s Girl Crush of the Month. Hazel managed to fly under the radar for a little while, (at least here in the US), but word of her big wall work in Morocco, her E9/6c send of Chicama, and her seeming lack of fear cannot be ignored any longer.  As one of the featured climbers in this year’s Reel Rock Tour, she manages to give Daniel Woods and Ueli Steck a run for their money as the ultimate star of the film. She has emerged as one of the few women in the world pushing the limits of trad climbing and appears to only be getting started.

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Interview with Beth Rodden

Beth Rodden on the FA of Meltdown, 5.14c (unrepeated). © Corey Rich. www.auroraphotos.com

Over the last few years, Beth Rodden, arguably one of the best climbers out there, male or female, disappeared from the pages of climbing magazines and blogs. During that time she battled a cycle of injury, surgery, and re-injury, as she attempted to make sense of the sport that debilitated, captivated, and catapulted her. In the last year, after sculpting, chipping, and remolding herself, Beth has emerged as a different kind of climber.  In her redefinition, Rodden embodies the role of ambassador, designer, storyteller, nutritionist, traveler, and writer. She’s broadened her inspiration from an aesthetic, unclimbed line in Yosemite, to include her granny, a food revolution, and contentment with sending a climb she might have previously warmed up on. Crux Crush was fortunate enough to talk with Beth as she reflects on her personal evolution, as well as the transformation of climbing as a sport. We’ve shared the full interview below as well as some beautiful pictures from the talented Corey Rich. Enjoy and climb on!

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Caroline Ciavaldini turns 5.13c bolted line into trad send

Caroline on Mind Control (8c+), last year.

Caroline on Mind Control (8c+), last year.

French climber, Caroline Ciavaldini decided that the bolted Grazie Ricky, 8a+ (5.13c) wasn’t challenging enough. So just to make sure she got her mental and physical work-out, she sent the route on trad…nbd. She describes the “magical” ascent on her blog.  Despite the bold climb, she admits struggling with fear: “I was scared to death, but jumped into the route with one thing in my head: in Trad, being scared doesn’t help at all. If you know where to place the protection, you just have to focus on the climb and place your gear quickly and well!” Talk about amazing head game! Congrats Caroline!

Info from Caroline’s blog, climbing.co.za and 8a.nu

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