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11-year-old Brooke Raboutou is a rock climbing phenom who regularly breaks world records on elite bouldering and sport climbs once thought impossible for someone her age. With two former world champion climbers for parents and coaches, Brooke’s pedigree is unmatched. Now she has set her sights on pushing both herself and the climbing world to even greater heights.
I love the desert. Feeling the sun freckling my face, wearing tank tops and over-sized sunglasses, and basking on rocks like the native lizards. A desert girl at heart, this is the life. I can appreciate the seasons, snow is fluffy and pretty and all, but it gets old really quick. Don’t get me wrong, I have had lots of fun skiing and snow shoeing in the past, but the best part is after the day of cold is done- when you get to drink warm spiked coffee and sit by the fire.
Chris and I have primarily been bouldering recently, and over the past week we bouldered at Kraft Mountain in Las Vegas. It is nice to change things up a bit with climbing and what better way than bouldering – especially in the winter time. Gaining power, problem solving the boulders, and hanging with friends is hard to beat, but yesterday I was really excited to actually tie into a rope and sport climb again. I wanted to do more than five moves and most importantly just hang in a stunning place.
Yesterday, we had a glorious day at a crag in Red Rock Canyon called Jane’s Wall. None of us had ever been to this particular area before and just wanted to check out something new. It was my favorite kind of day. Our main goal was to have fun and enjoy the day – no projecting, no agendas. Sometimes it is nice to go rock climbing just to go rock climbing. Our friend, Bruce, was visiting town and joined us at this sunny and picturesque climbing area. A party of three meant a little more down time – perfect for sitting in the sun and soaking in the views of the towering mountains across the way or watching each other climb.
We first warmed-up on a 10d and 11d which was great to re-learn how to climb more than just a few power moves and relax and rest on small edges. The last climb of the day was a 12b that was awesome. The crux was in the first ten feet. A huge move to a sloper crimp over a roof was the business, then continuous climbing to the top for another 50 feet or so.
My first try I fell on the big move, then went to the top without much trouble. I was a little bummed I fell, but actually didn’t mind too much because I got to climb it again – it was THAT good. Second try I went for the big move and barely caught the crimp with two fingers and was able to reel it in and finish the climb. It was great to let go of any expectations of the day and just enjoy the day and the climb.
A perfect day – soaking in the sun with good company, doing what we love, and sharing the experience. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
Over the summer of 2012, I had the opportunity to return to South Africa with a great crew of climbers and together we bouldered in Cape Town and Rocklands, an area north of Cape Town. My friend Carlo Traversi and I were able to find and put up a bunch of first ascents in the Cape Town area. 11-year-old climbing sensation Ashima Shiraishi also joined us on our adventure and did the second ascent of a V13 as well as another V13, making her the first female in the world to climb three boulders of this grade. We were fortunate enough to capture the trip in its entirety and turn it into a movie called Chasing Winter.
Check out the trailer for a peak at the film.
I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!
~ Paul Robinson, prAna Ambassador
During my many trips to Europe to go bouldering over the past few years, I had never visited the Italian bouldering area of Varazze. This past fall in Europe, I knew I had to make a trip down there to see what it was all about. When I arrived, I realized that the area was even better than people had previously made it out to be! The rock was perfect, the scenery was amazing, the food was delicious… what more could you possibly ask for!? During my stay in Varazze, I got to sample a decent portion of the rock in the area and climb some of the area’s classics!
~ Paul Robinson, prAna Ambassador
Fun, failure and frustration are all part of the journey to inspiration, dedication and success.
Sometimes the best way to make personal progress is to get inspired by another person. That’s what Eastern Mountain Sports Brand Ambassador Joe Kinder learns in this video, the first in a series from the gorgeous cliffs of Catalunya Spain. prAna sponsored athlete, Chris Sharma, offers deep thoughts on climbing that we all can relate to.
The Hueco Rock Rodeo brings climbers of all abilities together for a weekend full of climbing and camaraderie in the world class bouldering destination of Hueco Tanks. Pro climbers and special events scheduled for this year include:
• Fred Nicole is returning to Hueco! He will be at the event helping 5.10 and prAna cook breakfast for the competitors Saturday morning!
• Daniel Woods is returning to see if he can win the Rodeo for what would be his fourth consecutive year and top his performance last year—one of the best climbing days of his life where he sent: 1 V11, 2 V12s, 1 V13 and 2 V14s! Woods will also be conducting a Rock Rodeo Climbing Clinic on Sunday February, 17th!
• Paul Robinson will be returning for the first time since he won the Rodeo in 2009 to challenge Daniel for the Mutant Category Title! On Friday February 15th Paul will also be premiering his new movie, Chasing Winter, which showcases his last year of bouldering in South Africa and Europe and conducting a Rodeo Clinic on Sunday.
• Paige Claassen and Abbey Smith will be presenting The Incan Odyssey—a slideshow about their recent bouldering trip to Peru with Pete Takeda, Mick Follari, and Andy Mann—on Friday February, 15th after pre-registration and dinner.
• Angie Payne will present Discovering and Establishing Boulders in Greenland—a slideshow about her recent trip to Greenland with Ethan Pringle, Keith Ladzinski, and Mike Libecki on Saturday February, 16th after the comp.
• The Park Staff of Hueco Tanks has made the available First Rodeo Hueco Tanks Rock Art Tour on Friday, February 15th at 2:00pm—embracing the cultural aspects of Hueco.
• 2nd Annual HRR Art Show featuring work from local strong climbers and artists Sam Davis (photography) and Vanessa Compton (mixed media) will be on Saturday, February 16th. Selected works will also be available for viewing and purchase throughout the season at the Hueco Rock Rodeo website.
• 2nd Annual HRR Dyno Comp will be on Saturday, February 16th
• 2nd Annual HRR Youth Comp will take place on Sunday, February 17th.
• Sunday evening the competitors and clinic participants will be welcomed back to the Ranch for the Rock Rodeo Round Up BBQ! There will be a food, drinks, beer, fire, live music, and, back by popular demand, the mechanical bull!
Registration costs $80 per participant and includes climbing Saturday, goody bags filled with Rodeo t-shirts, hats and more, slideshows, movie premier, Saturday night party, two breakfasts, three dinners, and beer!
Paul Robinson continues his global bouldering tour with a stop in Austria’s famed Zillertal, home to countless classic boulder problems. Check out PRob taking down a small sampling of the quality climbing found in the area, including an ascent of the Incubator (8B) and Anam Cara (8B+).
Tell us what you thought of the video in the comments below!
By mid November the school year is in full swing. The children have grown comfortable with the daily routine, their classmates, and with their teacher. Long summer days are a distant memory. This time of year I’m lucky if I make it out of the building before darkness completely sets in. November also brings unpredictable temperatures and conditions. I might be able to sneak into Rifle for a few more prefect days. But nothing is guaranteed. I’m just as likely to wake up to a foot of snow.
On top of the normal ebbs and flows of the year, I was also up to my eyeballs in wedding planning. What had started as something extremely exciting had, with the cancellation of my dream venue just weeks before the holiday season, turned into something stressful and all consuming.
Schoolteachers have an amazing schedule. We get time off for Thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, and of course SUMMER. The only trouble is, none of these breaks allow for amazing climbing trips. It’s always too hot (summer), too short (Thanksgiving), too guilt ridden (Christmas), or I’m completely out of shape after a long winter of no climbing (spring break).This year however I’d devised a plan. I’d been saving my personal days for two years and with some finagling had managed to get an extra week tacked onto my Thanksgiving break. For the first time since I started teaching I’d be able to go on a climbing trip, in the fall, when I wasn’t completely out of shape. All I had to do was write a week’s worth of sub-plans… oh boy!
Look out Spain, here I come!
I spent the week before my departure writing sub-pans, looking for a wedding venue, and taking care of the dog. Thursday night at 10:00pm I finally started packing. If I could just make it through the next day I’d be on my way. As I boarded the airplane I quickly felt the stress of the past few months lift from my shoulders. I’d never felt so happy to be squeezed into an uncomfortable seat next to hundreds of strangers. I was on my way to Spain!
My fiancé Andrew met me in the Barcelona airport. He’d been in Europe for about a week and was adjusted to the time zones. I however was a complete zombie from lack of sleep. Luckily Andrew would be doing the driving.
On our last visit to Spain we quickly learned that you CANNOT find food in Spain on a Sunday. On that trip we’d spent a whole day looking for food, we weren’t going to make that mistake again. So we did what any desperate American would do and headed strait to McDonald’s. A nasty McDonald’s burger and some fries would be better than nothing – but barely!
After our little pit stop we headed strait to Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda’s to meet up with the crew and get settled in. We were staying with Joe Kinder and Colette McInerney this trip. They are in Spain for six months and have rented a completely awesome apartment just two minutes down the road from Chris and Daila. We wasted no time trying to sleep off our jet lag, instead we headed strait to Santa Linya to do some climbing. After a complete day of travel, I was more or less worthless on the rock. But it was great to be out in the air and moving.
The next two weeks in Spain took on a comfortable routine filled with sleeping, climbing, eating, and spending time with amazing people. We climbed at 4 or 5 different incredible limestone crags. Each having it’s own feel and it’s own style. After spending months and months in Rifle, it was wonderful to put some long forgotten muscles to work on new climbs. I tried a number of routes, some hard, some not so hard. While I didn’t send anything super hard, I had a blast projecting some incredible routes. My body was growing exhausted from all the climbing, but my mind was stimulated in a way that only climbing can bring. Climbing helps me step back and get a perspective on my life. It helps calm my mind and reminds me of what I really love and what I really need.
While this was intended to be a climbing trip it was also a chance to see some of my favorite people and meet new friends. Each night was filled with wonderful dinners with the climbing community that inhabits Catalunya. Perhaps the best night of the trip was when Joe and Colette hosted a surprise party for local climber Ana. Because Colette and I are both planners by nature, and can’t stand the idea of not being prepared for a party, we spent the afternoon trying to read Spanish directions for cupcakes and guessing about the metric system and the many function on the Spanish oven.
The night was wonderful. I speak very little Spanish and many of the guest spoke very little English. The whole night was spent trying to communicate with people through very simple sentences and exaggerated gestures. Luckily my Spanish always improves as the party progresses. I like to think the wine helps! But it probably just helps me not care that I sound like an idiot.
By the end of our two-weeks in Spain I felt like I was home. It was so easy to pretend that this was my “real” life. The carefree nature of being in Spain and doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, was exhilarating. Our biggest daily concern was what to eat for dinner and which amazing limestone crag to visit. But all good things have to come to an end. My actual real-life was waiting for me, particularly Brooklyn, our amazing puppy, who I missed terribly.
Andrew and I spent our last night in Spain having a romantic dinner and roaming the winding streets of Barcelona until we had to head to the airport. Then it was another full day of travel and we’d be home. It was hard to leave behind our friends and amazing climbing. I couldn’t believe how easily I’d slipped into such a stress free lifestyle. Their climbing season was just beginning and ours was pretty much over.
We returned home on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Brooklyn was an excited, wiggly, ball of happiness when we walked through the door. I was so happy to see her! The scent of our house instantly comforted me and I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. On Sunday we hosted a Thanksgiving feast. We invited lots of friends and Andrew cooked for two straight days. As I sat there eating my turkey and stuffing I pondered what I was thankful for. In that moment I was thankful for a fulfilling life, complete with challenges, AND the opportunity to escape it from time to time.
As Sunday evening drew to a close I remembered that I’d be going back to work on Monday, but I wasn’t dreading it. This was my real life and I was happy to be back. Plus I’d have jetlag on my side for the next few days.
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