Progress moves us forward, even if it’s tiny. It may sound self-helpy, but even reputable academic sources such as Harvard Business Review recognize the key role that progress plays in feeling good:
Consider, for example, how progress relates to one component of inner work life: overall mood ratings. Steps forward occurred on 76% of people’s best-mood days. By contrast, setbacks occurred on only 13% of those days.
–The Power of Small Wins, HBR
Rock climbing is like that. We’ve often felt happiest in our climbing when we are making progress (whether it’s sending harder routes, leveraging better technique, or getting stronger). Recently, we’ve overcome a decade-long plateau and are climbing harder, faster, stronger, and better than before, and have felt more connected and joyous with climbing than ever. It’s all upside, baby.
Photo by Eric McCoy
Now the burning question: How?
Anytime we feel stuck or in a climbing rut, we love getting back to basics. Our wardrobe is full of functional basics – white tees, blue jeans, black dress – and our arsenal of bouldering basics are just as key as building blocks to awesomeness.
Photo by Asha Agnish
Here are some bouldering basics and best practices to keep in mind for your next send:
- Warm it up, stretch it out: Properly warming up before climbing maximizes your time on the rock/wall by increasing blood flow to the working muscles, which results in more limber joints and less risk of injury.
Summer solstice is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, and we love immersing ourselves in the great outdoors and all its sun-kissed and sweaty glory!
To celebrate summer, here are five outdoor essentials to keep in our beach/crag bag:
- Honest SPF: There’s nothing sexier than sun-kissed glow of summer skin, but sunburn and skin cancer – not so much. We recommend a natural, mineral-based, water resistant broad-spectrum UVA & UVB SPF 30 sunscreen like Honest sans funky chemicals, greasiness, and smells.
- Natrapel 8 Hour Inspect Repellent: We had a lyme disease scare earlier this month after pulling two ticks out from a bouldering jaunt in nearby New Jersey’s Boonton Fields, and were kicking ourselves for not having taken all the precautions to prevent tick bites, including: staying away from high grassy areas, covering up legs and arms, and wearing insect repellent.
Every so often, we’ll interview extraordinary girls doing extraordinary things: this is Girl Crush. This week, we’re stoked to feature Vegas-based bouldering babe-turned-trad-climber Irene Yee (@ladylockoff)!
Rock climbing isn’t exactly the most intuitive sport or hobby that one picks up. That’s probably because there’s a whole host of fears (falling, heights, exposure, and injury) we need to conquer first before most of us can even fathom climbing.
Our onsight of Sixish (5.6) variation in the Gunks yesterday – a short, steep, and sweet climb (with some headiness thrown in for good measure)
Or not. I’m always inspired and impressed by people who haven’t yet conquered their fears and take up the sport anyway; this is badassery.
Part of what makes climbing so challenging (and addictive!) is how it constantly pushes our physical and psychological limits. In climbing, we’re confronted with our insecurities, frustrations, and ego. Up close and personal with the voices inside our head that tell us ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘what the heck are you thinking doing this?’
I call this our climbing head, and getting out of our head is key to conquering our climbing-related fears.
Easier said than done, right? Case in point, I returned to the Gunks (a popular trad climbing destination near NYC) after taking nearly 2 years off of trad climbing due to various injuries. I hopped on a route well below my climbing ability, and even though I have all the technical skills, eight years’ worth of outdoor climbing experience, and a full leader’s rack, my climbing head started to kick in, and hard.
Trad is rad.
Climbing season is in full bloom all over the country, and we’re excited to kick off our first guest post with five helpful tips from evolv athlete Kevin Liu for taking care of the great outdoors when climbing outside:
–Leave no trace
Bring a plastic bag for garbage. One of my biggest pet peeves that I see outdoors are those climbing tape balls – you know the ones that are the perfect mold to someone’s finger 🙂
–Brush brush brush!
Brush the chalk off of whatever climb you were working on after you are done with it. The rain will come, and the chalk with run and stain the face. The chalk will also absorb moisture, which could result in mold building up on the hold and inevitably cause the rock to be slick. Leaving chalk up is like taping a climb outside, and no one likes a beta bomb.
–Be aware of your surroundings
Don’t stray off of the trail, and respect the boulders in their natural habitat. Mother Nature is a lady of time and patience, and it has taken her a long time to grow what ever fungus might be on the back of that boulder.
–Be mindful of where you go (to the bathroom)
Always try to pee closest to a tree, and furthest from moving water. As for #2, dig a hole – a generous one – do your business, and cover it up. (Pro tip: pack the dirt that you used to cover up the hole well; animals will get curious and eat it, and humans might roll their ankle in it).
-Enjoy the great outdoors!
–Kevin Liu | Your average rock climbing outdoor lover
Getting over overhangs might seem scary at first. After all, no one likes hanging upside down (unless you’re a bat), and falling off an overhanging roof while bouldering or on lead can be pretty precarious, and downright frightening. World-class climber Steph Davis once said,
“The hardest thing for new female climbers (especially those of us over age 12) is building upper body strength in proportion to overall strength/weight ratio.”
There’s a common misconception that climbing overhangs is all about upper body strength. Steph is definitely on point about overhanging climbs being more difficult for women due to our needing to build more strength/weight ratio, but the secret to rocking overhanging roofs is employing a total-body strategy:
- Avoid an arms-only strategy.Don’t campus it up, as tempting as it looks to pull your entire body weight up the entire wall. You will pump yourself out doing so.
It’s been a long, cold winter in the Northeastern United States, and spring has officially sprung! We were stoked to hop on our first outdoor boulder problem of the season in New York’s very own Central Park.
We spent most of 2015 training at the gym, but now that it’s suns out, guns out, it’s time to get outside! Here are some outdoor bouldering tips for the urban lady:
1. Bring a crashpad and a spotter.
Bouldering outside is serious business, and falls are much more risky and likely to happen. Have your gal pals and guy friends spot you while you are climbing in precarious positions, particularly at the crux or topout.
Freshly pressed and totally stoked: we’re thrilled to announce the launch of our first Outdoor Climbing Clinic and invite you to boulder with our badass lady crew on Friday, April 17th!
Discover your inner adventuress and badass and take your climbing to the next level through our butt-kicking, confidence, and strength building Bouldering Babes Outdoor Climbing Clinic in Central Park!
Have you ever heard that ‘I can’t‘ voice inside your head – you know, the one that tells you ‘it’s too difficult,’ ‘I’m not strong enough,’ ‘I can’t do this‘?
Change those voices from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I CAN!’ and join a community of women who empower themselves and each other through rock climbing:
I CAN do this. I CAN be strong.