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Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 in Featured, Features, How I Started Climbing | 1 comment

Learning to climb to avoid the cables in Italy

Learning to climb to avoid the cables in Italy

By Martina Zandonella “Come on… Cross it! ” “But it is cold and the rocks are rolling on my feet!” My little friends and I nagged each other on. “Come on, let’s see who can go the furthest.” “Oh is so cold.” “One step at the time. Watch the current!” Many days of my childhood where spent on the side of a river called Boîte, in the Italian mountain range of the Dolomites, challenging ourselves to cross it. We would make some progress, finding the best spots to get through, most of the time turning back when the current was too strong for us, others finally making it to the other side. Once we had mastered the river crossing, there was only so much challenge and entertainment that we could find on the valley floor. The vertical exploration started this way. In a valley with beautiful mountains rising up on every side, we started hiking, clambering and scrambling up. Of course we would do this with the parents if they were with us, but most of the time...

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Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Featured, Features, How I Started Climbing | 0 comments

How this tennis player became a rock climber

How this tennis player became a rock climber

By Mercedes Pollmeier I wasn’t always a climber. I started out my athletic career as a tennis player and played as a junior in open tournaments in Australia. I landed a full scholarship in the U.S. at University of Northern Iowa, and surprisingly, this is where I first stumbled across climbing. I got my first college job at the university climbing wall as a “safety.” It was so awesome, learning to climb 5.8 on the plastic walls, and going out to Arkansas with 10 other dudes to climb top rope in the rain. It was one of my most memorable climbing trips to this day. Because I was mostly a tennis player, and gunning to play the pros, I only occasionally climbed. My strength coach at the time was training people out of Paradise Rock Gym. He got me to face my fears of “failing” and taught me to push harder in training. He also convinced me to boulder more, which helped with my overall power as an athlete....

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Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Featured, How I Started Climbing, Personal Stories | 0 comments

A tale of my early adventures, and misadventures, as a British expat working in Dubai who suddenly discovered a love of rock climbing

A tale of my early adventures, and misadventures, as a British expat working in Dubai who suddenly discovered a love of rock climbing

I began rock climbing on New Years Eve 2011. I just could not face the prospect of seeing in one more New Year doing exactly the same thing as I had been doing for the last 10 years – i.e. standing in an overcrowded bar, counting down to midnight, and being hugged by random strangers when the clock stuck twelve. The day before New Year’s Eve, a colleague and I bumped into a friend of a friend at the mall and he and his wife were climbers. They invited us to join them, out in the desert of Oman, for a weekend of sport climbing. At this point I had never climbed before, I didn’t know any of the people, and I didn’t have any climbing gear. In short – I knew nothing of what to expect. Quickly I went to the local sports store and bought a harness, some climbing shoes, and a chalk bag (but no chalk). The following day, early on New Years Eve, the two...

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