Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Tuesday Night Bouldering

TNB: Band of Crushers

A lot of climber words come and go. “Honed” was once used often, and with straight faces, if you can believe that: “That guy is so honed.” “Sent” is practically everywhere. But I’ve never seen another piece of climber slang as widely applied as “crushed.”

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Rifle Mountain Park, canyon and cauldron. Photo by Andrew Bisharat.
Rifle Mountain Park, canyon and cauldron. Photo: Andrew Bisharat.

Rifle. Fourth of July. Mike and I had
a day off, and our kids have drivers’ licenses, and we hastened to Rifle.

The third or so climb we hoped to do was the sweeping Rumor Has It, said to be the first bolted route in the canyon, which follows a blue-gray
streak on the airy limestone walls.

We strolled up, delighted by the blue skies and holiday vibe. But wait! Three young men, perhaps early 20s, were on the route.

They were nice and friendly, and warned us, “This might take a while.”

Which seemed clear, as the first guy was saying, “Take” two bolts up.

A grade tells so little: Rumor Has It is given 5.11b, but is surely harder, shiny-slick with decades of use, and the bolts are wide-spaced according
to early practice.

Anyway, we were fine with waiting, and set off on another line, the less poetically named, mediocre Tijuana Crack Whore 15 feet to the left.

The youths’ discussion continued apace, ending with a sudden, “I’m not into it!” from the leader, and a short, “Dirt me!” He lowered.

The second kid mounted the route, the first now sitting disconsolate on the ground.

[Also Read TNB: Six Things Every Climber Should Do Before They Die]

“I haven’t been sport climbing lately,” he explained. “Just crushing hard boulder problems.”

He added, reflectively, “I haven’t sport climbed since I last worked. So that was four weeks ago. No, five weeks ago.”

You can crush beer. Maurie Waugh and Charlie Moore do a lieback at Rifle Mountain Park. Photo by Andrew Bisharat.
You can crush beer. Maurie Waugh and Charlie Moore do a lieback at Rifle Mountain Park. Photo: Andrew Bisharat.

A few bolts above, kid number
2 was saying that the clips were in bad places. “That is not how you do it! I do not appreciate this!”

He lowered. Number 3 didn’t say anything, but led through to the top, falling maybe once at the very end. Silence is golden.

They packed up, and the first said, cheering, “Let’s go to a 5.12. I’m going to work it once, and then I’m going to go up and do it.”

[Also Read TNB: Ian Dory, Ninja, or The Craziest Thing I Ever Seen]

What a funny, bombastic word “crushed” is. Climbers, to hear them talk, crush everything.

“Let’s go crush.”

“She’s a crusher.”

“You’re crushing, man!”

A lot of climber words come and go. “Honed” was once used often, and with straight faces, if you can believe that: “That guy is so honed.” “Sent” is practically
everywhere. But I’ve never seen another piece of climber slang as widely applied as “crushed.”

She's a crusher. Well, she is. Shauna Coxsey, visiting from the UK, pulls first female ascent of Nuthin' But Sunshine, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Cameron Maier.
She’s a crusher. Well, she is. Shauna Coxsey, visiting from the UK, pulls first female ascent of Nuthin’ But Sunshine (V13), Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo: Cameron Maier.

Kelly Cordes, a climber-writer I saw recently, points out that the phrase can apply to any act of living, such as, “I’m gonna totally crush this burrito.”

A
search of my email yields nearly a hundred uses of “crush” just from the last year and a half, such as: “We can work over the next few months on crushing
out great photos.”

A couple of days ago, I got this genuinely sweet note:

“Hi – thanks for the email and consideration. File is attached. Hope you get out there and crush something good this weekend.”

I did climb. I tried hard, but didn’t crush a thing.

What silly words do you hear climbers say?


Also Read

TNB: A Short Talk with Sierra Blair-Coyle