Once I got into climbing, I started watching competitions. Well, I guess not all comps - specifically, the IFSC's (IFSC stands for International Federation of Sport Climbing) bouldering finals competitions. And while I don't climb in comps, even casually, I have learned a lot of great lessons and I recommend more climbers watch comps.
I’ve been climbing for 8 years and I know I’ve accomplished so much, but every now and then I can’t help but compare myself to other climbers. Sometimes I look around and I get a little discouraged when I see other people, who’ve been climbing for much less time than me, working on climbs that I can’t even touch.
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When I think back on one of the proudest moments of my climbing career, I almost immediately remember one of my worst experiences climbing. Both occurred at Indian Creek, Utah.
Above photo: Approaching the crux on Cannibals, 5.12d at Donner Summit. This isn’t going to be another train harder, work out more, get stronger fingers-type article—because, while these articles are important and valuable, they’ve already been written. Instead, this is what I do mentally when I want to climb harder. Let’s face it, we all want to get better. It’s why we love climbing. There’s always a challenge, whether you’re looking to climb your first 5.10 or 5.13. In my 14+ years of climbing, these are my time-tested tips on how to push your climbing level to the next grade.
Hey there, (soon to be) climber! We know it can be intimidating to come into a new space, especially since it feels like there are always unwritten rules and etiquette that everyone but you seems to know. So, to help, we are writing those "rules" down for you!
We are heartbroken to share that Jesse Schouboe tragically passed away last weekend.
Our hope is that the outdoors and climbing gyms serve as our safe spaces for everyone. However, “African-American experiences are far more complex than the contemporary narrative suggests, having been shaped by institutions of slavery, segregation and scientific racism. That combined impact has presented outdoor public areas as contested and often, violent social spaces" (Goodrid, 2018, p. 30). So, one step we are taking is to continue to learn about systemic impacts through black narratives and perspectives so we can better acknowledge past injustices and stop or intervene in future ones.
If you've ever felt like a fear of falling is holding you back from climbing through hard cruxes of routes or problems, you're not alone! Fear of falling is something that all climbers, even those with years of experience, manage regularly. It can be one of the most scary parts of climbing. However, falling is a part of climbing and learning how to take practice falls is a skill that should be practiced.
An Introduction into Core Tension What Is Core Tension?
(Warning: This article discusses curriculum for a new class. Whether you're interested in this class or not, please free to read on and enjoy the information!)
Actively working to change systemic racism and inequity. For the last few years, we have leaned on a trusted group of individuals from a variety of positions within the company to guide our DEI efforts. During this pivotal moment, they dedicated time to encourage conversations and listen to our entire workforce – this statement is a collection of voices from across every region, gym and position within our company and we are proud to stand behind every word below. Robert Cohen, CEO Renee DeAngelis, COO Charlotte Bosley, CMO Chris Jenkins, CSO Scott Yeager, CFO We support an inclusive society and condemn racial injustice. We stand in solidarity with the Black community, our staff, members, and partners, in the fight against systemic racism, inequity, and the historic oppression of the black community. Black Lives Matter.
If you’ve ever walked away from a crag with black, dirty hands, it might be time to wash your climbing rope.
Twenty million Americans took to the streets to celebrate the very first Earth Day 50 years ago. We may not have been able to gather the masses together for Earth Day this year, but that doesn't mean that our staff didn't find some creative ways to have fun at home. Reduce, REUSE, Recycle Is there a child alive who came out of schools systems in the 1980s and 1990s school system who doesn't know of the 3 Rs? Reduce, reuse, recycle. In any case, a lot of our staff came up with creative ways to reuse all kinds of materials to create drip irrigation systems, raised beds, and even watercolors! Take a look:
When one thinks of areas of your body to strengthen and stabilize, many focus on shoulders, hips, etc, but strong ankles are an incredibly important foundation for many of the movements we make with our bodies. Lack of strength or stability in the ankles can lead to instability or overcompensation in the knees or hips, which can lead to bad running technique and climbing technique. Think about it, weak ankles make standing on small holds difficult, which makes controlling your body position harder to control. So let’s strengthen those ankles! We’ve got three warmups and three exercises that help improve ankle strength and ensure that your ankles are strong and stable for activity and use down the road.
Do you remember your childhood memories and your ability to have innocent fun? Yes? Pick a number. 1-2-3. Pick a color. B-L-U-E. Pick another number. 1-2-3-4. We understand that adulting is sometimes difficult. The “real world” is challenging, but it does ironically expose a wonderful truth, which is that being an adult can be overrated. Picasso’s even on our side for this one (so you know it’s true): “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”. Reclaiming our innocence and the ability to break down our own barriers for fun is daunting. The first step is to get in the right mindset--rewind to your youth. Do you remember the old games of yore? Kick the can, the stick with a wooden circle rolly thing, pong, truth or dare, spin the bottle, creepy crawlers, the water level in Zelda? (Insert pause for melancholic sigh of remembrance). Recently, we’ve noticed our online community going bonkers for a silly, little game of “Would you Rather” and we thought we’d share the ones that seem to be getting downright heated. (To be fair, choosing between eating mayonnaise for the rest of your life or sweating mayonnaise for the rest of your life tends to do that). Enjoy!
The key to a good life is to have balance and what better way to test your skills than walking along a suspended length of flat webbing tensioned between two anchors, also known as slacklining? If you’ve never heard of slacklining or would just like a few extra tips, we’re here to help!
Foam rolling is a type of myofascial release. Fascia are the connective tissue surrounding your muscles and over time, fascia can become unhealthy due to overuse or injury. The goal of foam rolling is to try to release tension in your muscles and fascia. Foam rolling stretches and loosens the muscles and connective tissue in the area being rolled, releasing tightness and tension that has built up from use or stress.
Meet Iggy. This young, sassy adventurer isn’t afraid to tell it how it is. Iggy can often be found taking long walks on the beach, climbing in the mountains, getting sunburned in the desert, or dancing to a funky Brazilian beat. This feisty pup seems to constantly be asking, I love the outside, why doesn’t it love me back??
We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog discussing training plans training plans, mental techniques, and breathing exercises to help you improve your climbing. Check out those posts to get a ton of helpful tips you need to push into higher grades. However, sometimes when I’m looking for an extra edge, I head to my local gear shop to see what’s up. So, if you've got a few bucks laying around, here are four items that have helped me immensely with various climbing goals over the last several years.
After the long, cold winter of pulling on plastic, you may be hearing the outdoors inviting you outside again. You can hear it now…the chirping birds, the wind rustling the trees, and the clink clank of climber’s gear bouncing in cadence. As you head up the approach to the cliffs, you can feel the stoke of the first climb of the year. You’re feeling strong from all the winter workouts as you strap your shoes on and pull out that old rack that’s been sitting in your gear closet since last…who knows when? Belay on! The rock feels familiar, an old friend. The movement up the rock is as natural as the first two stoppers you just placed. Feeling confident on the easy terrain, you figure you might just run it out a little. After all, there’s a great placement just a little further up. Suddenly, you’re 8 feet above that last stopper. As you reach to make your next placement, panic sets in--the cam is frozen. The lobes won’t expand when the trigger is released. Heart racing and grip starting to sweat, it’s very clear: you forgot check your gear before heading outside for the first time of the season.
If you Google "tips for climbing harder", chances are that you'll get article after article offering up extensive training plans. But what if you’re not ready to jump into a complicated training plan? Perhaps you see other climbers sticking on impossible holds, utilizing crazy-looking techniques, and easily climbing routes and problems you could only dream about. ‘One day,' you think, 'but surely there are some quick and easy adjustments I can do now to climb a little better and a little smoother....’ You're in luck! Check out these quick tips:
For many climbers starting out, it makes sense to assume that you should focus on getting stronger if you want to climb harder. Certainly, strength is important if you want to progress to harder climbs (check out these posts here and here for tips on gaining strength), however learning to move more efficiently can really give you a leg up on your climbing goals. Maybe you find yourself stalled and pumped out at a certain grade or maybe you’re wondering how others are able to easily glide up a climb that feels impossible to you. Whatever the case, we’ve got some tips straight out of our Intro to Movement classes that can help!
I could open this blog with a faux-inspirational intro about building a better tomorrow for yourself. Or about how no one is holding you back from being the best person you can be, except the doubts in your own mind. But I know you, mysterious reader. You’re too busy designing your plan of attack to smash your climbing and fitness goals into smithereens—you’ve got no time to tolerate platitudes and pontificating. So, without further ado, check this beta for maximizing your workouts in order to crush your climbing goals.
Most Americans typically give up on their new year’s resolutions two weeks into every new year. Climbers seem to be a different breed. If I’ve noticed anything at Earth Treks Englewood over the last few weeks, it’s a committed focus towards crushing your climbing goals in 2019. Conversations I’ve overheard in the last week: “I’ve kind of plateaued in my climbing over the last year. I really want to break into the next number grade” “There’s this bouldering project I’ve been eyeing on Mountain Project, but it feels WAY out of my pay grade.” “I’ve only been climbing for a few months, but I’m so stoked. I can’t wait to see what I’m climbing by the end of the year!”
Sunday morning provides crisp, fall air sifting through the madrone and oak trees as they shade the Tafoni Sandstone in Castle Rock State Park (CRSP). The costume party last night only contributes to my excitement, despite the lack of sleep. Rebolting has been so intriguing to me after years of seeing so much antiquated rock protection. I was overwhelmed at the opportunity to contribute to some local climbing areas. That morning, we set out with the Bay Area Climbers Coaltion (BACC) and gear provided by the American Safe Climbing Association (ASCA) to update some of the old bolts that protect the California Ridge area.
“I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down…” -Chumbawumba
As a personal trainer and fitness guru at Earth Treks, I hear a lot of the same mindset: “All of my climbing goals involve tall climbs on ropes. Why would I boulder?” At first glance, the logic behind the thought seems sound. If you want to run a faster mile, you spend a lot of time running miles. If you want to lift heavier weights, you… well, you lift heavier weights. The fact is that rock climbing, especially leading sport routes, demands a very precise ratio of power, strength, endurance and mental fortitude. That’s where bouldering comes in.
I recently walked into my local climbing store for nothing in particular. As I was browsing, I came across a box and thought, “Is this box empty? Why are they displaying an empty box?” Skeptical, I opened the box and found...a climbing helmet! I was dumbfounded. Climbing helmets are normally bulky pieces! And while even the heavier versions aren’t that burdensome, at the end of a long day at the crag, I find myself tilting my head to the side and belaying while practicing neck rolls. As far as I'm concerned, cutting a few ounces can make a huge difference.
As Fitness Program Manager of Earth Treks Golden and Englewood, I notice that a lot of our members are more than just avid climbers. You’re trail running, backpacking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and more. That’s why we’re creating a fitness training series called Mountain Prep designed to get you ready to crush your other outdoor pursuits. It may only be October, but winter and, specifically, ski and snowboarding season is just around the corner. It may still be a while before we can get our first turns in, but now is the time to harness your upcoming ski and snowboarding excitement into exercises to get your body prepped for the season. Here’s a series of exercises you can start now so that your first ski day feels more like your 10th.
You’re outside at your favorite crag or bouldering pit. The weather is perfect, you’ve been training hard to send your project and you’re geared up and ready to crush! You start climbing, your heart’s beating, you’re starting to sweat and your forearms are pumping out. You only have a few more moves until you send, but you don’t think you’re going to make it. What do you do? The answer: Breathe!
Lead climbing is what I love most about this sport. While climbing can primarily be described as an individual sport, there is almost nothing more important to a lead climber’s success than trusting their belayer. This trust allows the climber to focus 100% on their climb and to commit to those harder and scarier moves. On the flip side, the fastest way to erase that trust is to give your climber a hard catch or, even worse, spike them. There are many tips, tricks and techniques that climbers learn and develop over the years to make themselves the best belayer possible in all scenarios.
Some of my fondest climbing memories have been spent with friends, huddled around the same 15 foot tall boulder, figuring out the precise sequence to send, and laughing all the while. I love bouldering outside--it's really awesome! However, there are a few things you should know before you take your inside hobby into the great wide open.
The climbing approach, the trail or walk in to the base of an outdoor rock climb, can be a weird concept for newer climbers who have learned in a gym setting. I’ve heard from some that it can be intimidating climbing outside the gym because there is so much more you need to know and it can take some time before you can get there. But approaching the crag is one of my favorite parts of any excursion.
Earth Treks is thrilled to host a USA Climbing Youth Bouldering Local Competition on September 29, 2018 at Earth Treks Timonum. LOCATION Earth Treks Timonium 1930 Greenspring Dr, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093 Click here for directions
Not long ago Black Diamond released the ATC-Pilot--a brand new assisted braking belay device that’s perfect for the gym or the crag. I was skeptical at first since there are numerous similar devices already on the market, but I’m a huge gear nerd so I had to try it out.
You make it to a yoga class. You're laying down at the end and you're ready to relax in Savasana, the last resting pose. As you settle in, the teacher tells you in their softest and most reassuring voice to let go, to surrender.
When I’m in Rifle, all I want to do is climb. From the moment I wake up, I’m ready to take off and jump on the warm-up routes. I sleep with the guide book next to my pillow. On a sheet of scratch paper sticking out of the book is the list of routes I carefully chose the night before. I’m still a bit impatient, like a kid at Disneyland, but I’m working on it. As the sun creeps over my van, I get out and walk around and pace around my climbing partner’s car, who is usually still fast asleep. I might even bump into his car a few times to get the ball rolling.
As climbers, most of us have felt the awesome impacts that climbing can have on us as individuals and on our local communities. Ideally, the continued growth in climbing and the development of new climbing areas in new communities will continue to have a positive impact and foster our community. That is our goal for Loreto and Comundu, two small communities in the incredible Sierra Giganta Mountains in Baja California Sur.
BOULDERER IS A WORD It's true, rock climbing requires some technical knowledge. We need to know how to tie a variety of knots, as well as ways to manage slack and get down from the summit safely. We need to have gear (many of us tend to go overboard with racks upon racks of carabiners, slings, cams and other various baubles). We need marathon endurance to tackle gigantic, wandering routes that disappear into the clouds. Right? … Well, not exactly.
'Tis the season! Whether your heart is set on Red River Gorge, Indian Creek or Red Rocks, it's officially climbing season somewhere. You've watched the weather, acquired all the gear and downloaded the crags on your app...now what? Make sure your t's are crossed and i's are dotted by checking out these quick tips for planning your climbing trip.
Earth Treks is thrilled to host the 2018 Youth Sport & Speed Local Competition! This USA Climbing Competition is April 28, 2018 at Earth Treks Golden.
Climbing is a challenging sport. It requires a great deal of technique, strength, flexibility, endurance and power. Many climbers have honed their technique and skill – but there's one looming part of the puzzle holding them back from those bigger, more challenging climbs.
Earth Treks is thrilled to host Rock Wars IV: A New Rope! This USA Climbing Youth Sport Local Competition is April 21, 2018 at Earth Treks Columbia. REMEMBER, EVERYONE entering the facility on Saturday, whether competing or just watching, must have a completed waiver on file! Please complete the waiver online before coming to the gym on Saturday, it will speed up the whole check in process! FULL WAIVER HERE LOCATION Earth Treks – Columbia, Maryland Click here for directions FORMAT Red point with two sessions for climbing. All USA Climbing age categories are welcome in each group, and each group gets three hours of climb time.
The perfect climbing team shares your psyche, pushes you to be your best and helps you laugh at all the silly little things that life throws at you. They make you more creative, more compassionate, more connected to the climb. Together you dream up cool adventures, embark on fascinating journeys and stand on distant summits. A great team makes climbing even more rewarding.
INTRODUCING UNLIMITED FREEZES We’re tossing the three-month limit to freezes. You can now freeze for as many months as you like! Accept that overseas internship or set off on a cross-country road trip and your membership will be waiting for you when you get back.* With all that climbing, it’s easy to forget about other perks already included in your membership - here's a short list of benefits you absolutely should be taking advantage of!
Tommy Bell was part of the Earth Treks Rockville family for more than six years hosting birthday parties, teaching climbing classes and much more. Best known for his ever-present smile and seemingly endless supply of positivity, Tommy embodied the best in all of us. Our community lost Tommy far too soon when he passed away in a bicycle crash in the Spring of 2017.
What do you get a climber who has more gear than ornaments on the Christmas tree? Worry not. We’ve got the gift list of items climbers don’t even know they need!
Earth Treks Rockville is thrilled to host the USA Climbing Youth Bouldering Capital Region Championship on Saturday, December 9, 2017!
Each month we Rendezvous! Why? Because there’s no better place to check your worries at the door and relax with friends than at Earth Treks. After a year of hosting these events, we’ve learned a few of the common threads that tie everyone together. Whether you are a long-time member or just interested in exploring the gym, the Rendezvous is a great way to join in on the fun. Friends, fun, free beer and a chance to meet new friends--what more could you ask for?
Our mission is to share our passion for climbing with you - whether you are a seasoned climber or brand new to the sport of rock climbing, there is something for nearly everyone! As a veteran employee, I’ve seen a lot over the years - here is my personal list of insider’s tips to ensure your visit is amazing.
Red Rock Conservation Area is a climbers dream. Seriously, people wake up hugging their guide books. Let me paint you a picture:
“Let’s head to Seneca!”...or Red River Gorge or Yosemite...if this text pops up on your phone and your heart starts to race, you know you’re ready to take your skills outside.
Climbing podcasts are out there, and I have listened to most of them. After hundreds of listening hours - here are my favorite podcasts that help motivate and educate me on all things climbing.
For most of us, our gear is our treasure: something we meticulously clean, inspect, display for our friends to admire and painstakingly organize (Don’t believe me? See the raddest gear sheds here). The thought of retiring it is difficult, but you know what they say: it hurts to let go, but sometimes it hurts more to hold on. I’m here to convince you to retire your cherished climbing gear before the point of no return.
My first experience multi-pitch trad climbing is what inspired me to work in the climbing industry and in many ways changed the course of my life. I remember getting to the top of Seneca on that first trip and thinking, “Now I get it! This is what climbing is supposed to be for me”. Climbing, while often a social activity, can also be very personal - a person’s goals, priorities and motivations are their own. At the top of Seneca I found my reason to climb and keep climbing. I wanted the ability to inspire others in the same way - it was time to plan a big climbing trip to expand my horizons and better hone my skills. I, along with Emily Sillcox and Sherie Lou Santos, was awarded an Earth Treks Avi Sengupta Staff Climbing Scholarship to venture out to Red Rock, Nevada and pursue my goals.
PRANAYAMA FOR CLIMBERS Pranayama is the art and science of the breath. Yogis use pranayama to calm the mind, expand inner awareness and stimulate a variety of healthful effects. Many of these practices translate beautifully into climbing. I would recommend trying these two in a seated or reclining position for a few minutes first before testing them out on a climb.
"Hello. My name is Kim and I'm a perfectionist." I don't know for sure how I became one. I'm guessing it had something to do with my childhood. There might be a sad little league story there. For whatever reason, since I was very young I remember trying very hard to be perfect at whatever I was doing. In school, I had to get straight A's, 100%'s on tests, be the fastest runner - I am an over-achiever, so… what's the problem?
When I began training more seriously for climbing, I came across Eric Horst’s thoughts on fear of failure and fear of falling in Training for Climbing, and it changed how I saw the impact of climbing on my life. Failure is a good thing in climbing. How you learn from failure determines how you grow as a climber, and falling is a symptom of failure. Lots of women and men talk about being afraid to fall, but I’m betting there are many women like myself who are afraid to fail.
Lead climbing, easy to learn but difficult to master. Whether you learned from a friend or took an Introduction to Sport Leading class, Earth Treks is here to help you feel secure and confident on the wall! Take a look at these tips and tricks that can be useful if you are wondering how to continue to develop your lead climbing.
Ever since I was very young, I’ve had a strong sense of adventure. I loved to be outside. My friends and I would run through the woods daily, playing tag, swimming in the creek, etc. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to be outside. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up but I knew that if I was outside and exploring, I would be happy.
Volumes; what routesetters love to set, and climbers love to climb! As the indoor climbing industry continues to grow, so too does everything that is involved with climbing gyms. Starting as shaped firing clay, eventually turning into foam cast in a polyester resin, climbing holds have seemed to evolve even more so than the gyms they live in. Check out this article from our friends at Climbing Business Journal to learn more about the evolution of climbing holds.
When I first started climbing, I didn’t know anything outside of the gym. I was ten years old growing up in southern new jersey. I would go to the climbing gym on a near daily basis. When most of the routes in the gym became too easy, I would try to memorize them and do them blind folded. Thankfully, one of the employees of the gym noted my perseverance and saw some promise in me and invited my dad, brother, and I to go climbing outside. I was ecstatic! I knew nothing about any other form of climbing besides what I was doing in the gym. I was probably 11 years old and can still remember the day like it was yesterday. Since that day, I have made sure to share my climbing experience with others – whether indoors or outdoors - to show them the full spectrum of climbing and how amazing it can be to apply the skills acquired in the gym in a beautiful outdoor setting.
February 26, 2017: 19 year-old Margo Hayes sent La Rambla (5.15a) in Siruana, Spain. Later that day, 15 year-old Laura Rogora sent Joe-Cita (5.14d) in Oliana, Spain. Then 22 year-old Michaela Kiersch sent Southern Smoke (5.14c) and Fifty Words for Pump (5.14c) during the same session at Red River Gorge, Kentucky. The following day, 26 year-old Nina Williams sent Ambrosia (V11), a 50-foot highball boulder in Bishop, California. And a month ago, 27 year-old Alex Puccio won her 10th Bouldering Nationals title while 15 year-old Ashima Shiraishi claimed 2nd place. With Women’s History Month upon us, we can add these amazing accomplishments to the long running list of inspirational achievements by the women of climbing.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air – and with love comes trust, with trust comes a happy climber, and with a happy climber comes an attentive belay. Here at Earth Treks Climbing and Fitness we value partnership above all else, and what better partnership is there than those who climb together. So grab a friend or meet someone new and celebrate with Earth Treks.
The venue was packed for the final event everyone had been waiting for – Youth Bouldering World Championship Finals. The top six climbers in each division from all over the world face off against each other in an epic showdown to see who truly is the best in the world. As the sun set, the lights to the venue kicked on and the show began.