Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Greatest Hits 2012 (and Taking Requests!)

It’s tradition around here to designate the beginning of the new year as “Highlight Week.”  And I figured there was no better way to start the week AND end the year than with a “Greatest Hits” post. For those of you that are relatively new Cragmama readers (or for those interested in a walk down memory lane), here’s a look back at the most popular posts over the last year.  ”Popular” in this case means high traffic and a lot of overall buzz – via hits, comments, and social media.  I chose some from multiple categories…

A giggly Cragbaby at the beginning of 2012…

This was a new category this year, and it’s been a fun one – definitely planning on making Training posts a regular occurence in 2013.
Extra-curricular Training, Part 1:  The Antagonists:  Why is this type of training important for climbers, and how to incorporate it into your training regimen.  (Part 2 of this post, Shoulder Stabilizers, can be found here.)
HIT Hard, Crank Harder:  This post briefly went into the science of why this type of training works, and described how I used it to prep for the tweaky limestone pockets of Ten Sleep Canyon this past summer.

My Cragbaby grew up a lot this year…he’s more of a “Crag Big Boy” now, although that doesn’t have the same ring to it!  This category is quickly phasing out, but popular posts from earlier this year were Favorite Cragtivities for the Under 2 Set (the title says it all), and Cragbaby Crushes – “Up the Down” (C’s first official boulder problem “send”) 

In light of the “Crag Big Boy,” I introduced this new series, dedicated to issues and ideas specific to toddlers.  I got a lot of good feedback, so expect to see a lot more of these style posts for 2013.  But these got the most hits this year…
Toddlers on the Trail:  Two Steps Forward and One Step Back – Tips for raising happy hikers.    
Toddler Sleep at the Crag:  Play Hard, Sleep Hard – Handling Naptimes in the Great Outdoors

We try to get outside everyday for at least a few minutes, rain or shine.  Sometimes we spend our green hours in fun and adventurous places, but more often than not, we take advantage of all there is to explore in our own backyard.  These two got the most hits out of this category…
Choosing Puddles Over Playgrounds:   This post brought up an interesting discussion about the balance of nature-made versus man-made play in kid’s outdoor time.
Cragbaby’s First Field Guide:  Being the guidebook hound that I am, this was one of my favorite green hour activities of the year!  And judging from the response, it’s apparent I’m not the only nature dork around here! 

…to a smiley Crag-Big-Boy just a few weeks ago!

This category was the largest by far, but there were some obvious standouts when it came to popularity.
Slabster’s Lament:  The Lament is Over! – Getting redemption on the route that landed me in a walking cast for 6 weeks.
Pilot Projects (aka The Day of Reckoning):  A post on the art of projecting, plus multiple viewpoints in the comments section regarding onsighting versus projecting.
Lessons Learned from the Fifth Planeteer:  Got Heart?  This post offers an explanation for those desperation sends.  

Being somewhat of a gear junkie, product reviews are some of my favorite posts to write.  This year I was blessed with the opportunity to try out a lot of really cool gear, in exchange for providing a truthful, unbiased opinion.  Here’s a handful of the ones that generated the most buzz.
Why You Need a Pair of Tenayas in Your Climbing Shoe Quiver – Comparison of all 4 rock shoes currently offered by Tenaya
Julbo Kids Eyewear:  I Gotta Wear Shades – Sobering facts about kids and sun damage, along with some thoughts about C’s “cool dude” glasses.

There’s been a lot of cause for reflection this year, in a lot of different aspects of my life.  Reflection posts are the kind that always make me nervous before I hit “Publish,” since it often means I’m putting a big vulnerable piece of myself out there for the world to see.  
Tales of a Broken Talus:  7 Lessons Learned:  This proves a lot of good can come from a lot of bad!
Setting Your Mind:  From a Toddler’s Perspective:  This recent post has gotten a lot of action in a short amount of time! 

Our adventure to Tensleep Canyon, WY was definitely on our family’s “Greatest Hits” of this year!

Everyone likes hearing inspiring stories, so it’s no surprise that these posts rose to the top!
Cameron and Jonathan Horst (aka “The Send Brothers”) – Training guru and long time climber Eric Horst has joked more than once that he’s the least athletic person in his family… 
The Misty Mountain Guy:  I Love it When You Call Me Crag-Poppa… – An interview with Misty Mountain owner and all around great guy Mike “Grimbo” Grimm.

These types of posts are definitely my LEAST favorite to write…but they got a TON of hits, and I felt they deserved to be remembered once again.  🙁
A Pilot Mountain Legend:  Lloyd Ramsey – I’ll never look at Pilot Mountain the same way again, now that you’re gone.
In Memory of Eric Metcalf – RIP Eric. 

Now its your turn for some reflection…What would you like to see more of on Cragmama?
Any burning questions about crag logistics?  Specific issues that always crop up on your family adventures?
People you’d like to see interviewed?
Gear you’d love to see reviewed?
How about videos/pictures – more?  Less?
Last year I tossed around the idea of having an interactive dictionary integrated into the site that explained climber’s terms within each post…a few folks had requested something to that effect.  The idea wasn’t nixed, but was put on the backburner somehwat indefinitely as other things kept cropping up.  But if there is enough interest in that idea of something similar, I would definitely be up for exploring that option again.  Thoughts?
Please don’t hold back – any feedback is much appreciated, and will hopefully help me continue to build Cragmama into an online resource for adventure-minded parents.  As an added incentive (for whatever its worth…), I’ll throw in some Cragmama stickers for any commenters that would like one!  🙂 


3 Responses to “Greatest Hits 2012 (and Taking Requests!)”

  1. I would love to see more kid-oriented gear-reviews. The cragbaby/toddler series is my favorite!


  2. Lauren

    Hi Cragmama!
    I love rock climbing and just found out I am pregnant. I completely fine giving up leading, but was wondering if you thought it was safe to catch lead falls? Also, we were wondering where you live? Thanks!


    • Erica

      Emily – Good to know! I’m hoping to get more kid-gear reviews this next year as well! Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

      Lauren – Congratulations on your bun in the oven!!! I gave up leading pretty early on (10 or 11 weeks or so?), but I lead belayed my hubby on moderate terrain where he was unlikely to take big whippers until I went into the full-body harness (around 20 weeks). After that I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. My main climbing partner was my hubby, and he outweighed me by more than 100 pounds, so I couldn’t imagine that force would have been a good idea – not to mention the possibility of impact from getting shot upwards like a rocket every time he whipped…I might have felt differently had my partner been a little more even with me in the weight department, but for me it seemed like a bad idea. Oh, and we are in Charlotte – are you guys in the Southeast as well?

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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN