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Tenaya Mundaka: First Look, First Ascent

My latest climbing project—a 5.14 wall of thin edges that gently steepens into a cresting wave of granite at Devil’s Head, CO—presented me with a significant dilemma.  The climbing is 80% Smith Rock, precise edging on micro-chips with your hips plastered to the face and most of your weight on your feet, followed by 20% Rifle, gymnastic moves on steep rock with feet toeing in and hooking on glassy features.

I began the campaign in my trusty Tenaya Intis.  These are the ideal edging implement, with a stiff and precise forefoot that excels on credit card chips.  I was crushing the lower sections, routinely climbing up to the lip of the steep wall, but struggling to make progress on the wildly dynamic exit.  I decided to switch to Tenaya Oasi’s, my go-to shoe for gym-style climbing, where sensitivity and flexibility facilitate monkey-style pulling with your feet.

My progress in the steeps improved instantly, but it came at a price.  Though I could still climb through the technical start in Oasi’s, I had to pull a bit hard with my hands, compounding the wear on my already heavily-worn finger skin. I needed a shoe that could excel on both types of terrain—technical thin walls and gymnastic overhangs.

At that pivotal moment I had the opportunity to test-drive Tenaya’s ground-breaking Mundaka.  It was just the shoe I was looking for.  The Mundaka is perhaps best described as a sock with rubber on it, although that’s not doing it justice.  The toe box is tight and stiff—ideal for thin edging.  Yet the rubber sole ends at the forefoot, creating a nearly-bare arch that is completely flexible (you can easily bend the shoe in half at the arch).  This enables tremendous toeing power on steep incuts, allowing the climber to wrap the fore foot around features and pull with your feet.  It’s almost like getting an extra pair of arms delivered in a 12” cardboard box!  Throw in a perfectly sculpted heel cup and it’s got everything a serious climber could ask for.

When I slipped the Mundakas on for the first time at the base of my project, I joked about how tightly the shoes formed to my feet, promising my toes would only tolerate a brief burn.  Yet amazingly I climbed happily for well over an hour.  The Mundakas are so well-shaped, pain was never an issue, and if anything, the shoes became more comfortable and sensitive the longer I climbed.  Also worth noting is the vastly improved Velcro tabs at the end of the adjustable closure system (similar to that of the roundly lauded Tenaya Iati closure system).  The new tabs offer so much sticking power I had trouble removing them as I lowered off the route.  There is zero chance of these coming un-stuck mid climb!

My new footwear gave me the confidence and peace of mind to focus on my climbing.  In a few more tries I finally stuck the burly dyno to the lip, mantled onto the lime green lichen-covered slab and waltzed up to the summit, finally completing the first ascent of Walk Tall Or Not At All, the hardest route at Devil’s Head at 5.14c.

It’s hard compare Mundakas to anything else I’ve climbed in.  Most shoes excel in one aspect and fall flat in another.  Not the Mundaka.  These shoes easily matched the performance of my best edging shoes and far exceeded the toeing/hooking power of my best gym shoe.  They will definitely be my new go to shoe!

The New Tenaya Tarifa is Here!

I’ve found a new favorite shoe.  It’s called the Tenaya Tarifa.  It. Is. Awesome.  This shoe takes the term “versatility” to a whole new level.  It really can do it ALL…and comfortably! Let me back up a bit.  I first got a crack at these shoes a little over a month ago.  Although the addition of a 4th family member caused me to take a step back from working events and demos for the time being, the folks at Trango/Tenaya thankfully still love me enough to send me a care package of their newest products for fall – most notably,…Read the rest of this entry →

New Offerings From Trango: Antidote Rope Bag and Cord Trapper (and GIVEAWAY!)

In the past 2 years I’ve been signed on with Trango, one of the things I’ve come to love about this company is their innovation and creativity in product design.  They see a problem, and they devise a product to fix it in a practical way.  If you want an auto-locking belay device that also feeds rope smoothly, the Cinch is for you.  If you want a pair of aggressive shoes that can still smear once you pull over that burly roof and onto the face, the Oasi’s are a perfect choice.  And this “problem-solving” mindset is not just limited…Read the rest of this entry →

My Stonewear Designs “Preggo Picks” (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Tomorrow marks the official halfway point of my pregnancy – 20 weeks down, 20 more (or less…) to go!  And what better way to commemorate making it this far than by reviewing some of my favorite “non-maternity” preggo threads from Stonewear Designs!  Even more fun, my fellow Stonewear Ambassador Amelia Mayer is ALSO pregnant (3 weeks ahead of me) and is ALSO blogging about her preggo faves today!  And between our 2 posts, our readers will have a chance to score some sweet Stonewear threads!  Amelia and I are built differently and are carrying differently, so it’s no wonder that…Read the rest of this entry →

Trango Junior Harness – A Great Option for Kid Crushers!

Got a kiddo chomping at the bit to climb like Mommy and Daddy?  One of the first purchases you’ll need to make is a harness.  Once a child climbs higher than an adult can reach, a parent is forced to trust that child’s safety equipment over a set of protective, high-reaching arms!  Armed with that daunting thought, harness shopping can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for!  Hopefully this post will clear things up a bit… For the preschool and elementary-aged set, a full-body harness is the only way to go for safety reasons.  With shorter legs…Read the rest of this entry →

The NEW Tenaya Oasi: Comfort + Performance = Climbing Shoe Perfection!

It’s been almost a year to the date that I traded in my La Sportiva Miuras for a whole fleet of Tenayas – Tatanka for overhanging terrain, Masai for technical edging, and Ra for everything in between.  To be honest, I’ve never looked back.  My experience with the product as well as the company has been nothing but top-notch, so I’m thrilled that Tenaya is adding yet another great shoe to their line-up!   At this point I’ve done a wide variety of demo’s – at the New, at the Red, and at various climbing gyms across the Southeast.  And…Read the rest of this entry →

Keeping Elbow Tendonitis at Bay with Armaid (plus a GIVEAWAY!)

While there are any number of items you might expect to see passed around a campfire on a chilly spring evening in the middle of the Red River Gorge, a wacky-looking contraption designed to massage one’s forearms is probably not first on the list.  But that’s just what happened at our campsite on our most recent trip to the Red.  Why?  If you assumed it was due to overindulging in one of the many other items that are more commonly passed around a campfire, you’d be wrong again.   Let me back up.  Steve and I first discovered the Armaid…Read the rest of this entry →

The Best of the Best from Trango (and GIVEAWAY!)

This week marks one year that I’ve been signed on as an athlete for Trango Extraordinary Climbing Gear, and I must say it’s been a delightful ride!  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to represent Trango and their affiliates (such as Stonewear Designs and Tenaya) at numerous festivals and demos, provide feedback on products still in the testing phase, as well as meet some really great people.  Oh yeah, and I also got loads of free gear along the way too!  And though I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of the gear I’ve received from Trango, a few products in particular have found their way into…Read the rest of this entry →

Stonewear Designs Winter Review (and GIVEAWAY!)

I am lucky enough to have access to Stonewear Designs apparel as part of my contract with Trango, and those of you that have been reading for a while may recall the “Review Collage” I did on this company this past summer.  But now that tank top weather is long gone, it made sense to do an updated review of my favorite threads from Stonewear’s Winter Collection.  AERY TOP:  This cute little number transitions seamlessly from Crag to Date Night.  In fact, I wore it at the hubby’s company Christmas party, which was dubbed as “Holiday Casual.”  I’m still not sure what…Read the rest of this entry →

Why You Need a Pair of Tenayas in Your Climbing Shoe Quiver

When I found out a few months ago that Tenaya would be joining Trango under the Great Trango Holdings, Inc umbrella, my first thought was, “YES!!!  Free shoes!”  But then my second thought was, “Geez, what if I don’t like them?!?”  I mean let’s be honest here.  Though at first glance many climbers may seem like easy gear junkies who will try anything and everything if its free, the majority of our flirtations with gimmicky swag is just temporary before we toss it aside in favor of our old stand-by gear.  And there’s probably no piece of climbing gear that…Read the rest of this entry →

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