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4 Women-Owned Climbing Businesses Making the Sport Better

Crusher Climbing womanPhoto credit: Zoe Rayor
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Funky designs? Check. Fresh ideas for climbers? Check. Female-founded? Check again.

In recent years, the climbing industry has grown by leaps and bounds. But despite its popularity among both men and women, it’s been largely dominated by male-founded and -run companies. That is, until recently.

This list of four companies, owned and founded by women, aims to help out. Through passion, creativity, and excellent final product, these brands are moving the needle in the climbing world.

Women-Owned Climbing Companies

Crusher Climbing

Crusher Climbing crack woman climbing
Photo credit: Zoe Rayor

With a 10-inch piton tattooed on her forearm and matching 3.5-inch cam on her bicep, it’s no secret that Zoe Rayor loves the aesthetics of climbing gear. As both artist and climber, she’s able to combine her two passions through her company, Crusher Climbing.

Here, she designs and sells colorful leggings, shirts, stickers, and metallic prints. Rayor’s most recognizable piece is the trad leggings, adorned with her hand-drawn cams, carabiners, quickdraws, and nuts.

According to Rayor, Crusher Climbing is “ethically made, climber approved, inclusively feminist, and objectively badass.”

And her stickers proudly relay her company’s stance on social and cultural issues — bold social statements like “you are climbing on indigenous lands,” “crush the patriarchy,” and “Trump only climbs .75 hand cracks.” What’s more, Crusher Climbing pledges a 5-percent giveback to organizations it aligns with, such as Queer Nature and Native Women’s Wilderness.

Dirt Chalk Bags

Dirt Chalk Bags
Photo credit: Julianne Mahoney

There’s a saying that goes: “If you can’t beat them, create your own product and make it way better.” (Or, something along those lines.)

Unsatisfied with the chalk bags for sale from large-scale companies, 22-year-old Julianne Mahoney decided to sew her own instead. And her unique designs quickly caught the attention of other climbers, so she created the company Dirt Chalk Bags.

Mahoney individually stitches eye-catching pieces that are high-quality and affordable. And, by choosing sustainable fabrics and vegan cork leather for all chalk bags and buckets, Mahoney keeps her company as environmentally friendly as possible. She also collaborates with other female artists, like Rachel Pohl, Rhiannon Klee, and Hailey Thompson, to create the Artist Series.

The result? The most beautiful chalk bags you’ll see at a crag.

Big Beauty Pitches Productions

Big Beauty Pitches
Photo credit: The Dust Magazine

Triple-threat photographer, athlete, and guide Mary Catherine Eden is a red-haired force to be reckoned with. If she’s not taking stunning photos and videos of off-width insanity, sporty crimps, or scary slab, she’s climbing them herself.

Eden began Big Beauty Pitches Productions in Moab, Utah, with friend Mericadi Carlson, another climber with similar ambitions. Originally, they jugged up static ropes to capture action shots on aesthetic crack lines throughout the desert for fun.

But the photography garnered so much attention, it turned into a business itself. Together, they created Bitches on Pitches Productions, specifically for their media. After some more thought about the name, they later rebranded the company to Big Beauty Pitches Productions to make it more inclusive.

With photography featured in various catalogs and publications, Big Beauty Pitches goes to whichever crag Eden and Carlson are currently climbing at.

Crag to Crux

Crag 2 Crux
Photo credit: Jovanna Reyes

Climber, artist, and environmental scientist Raee Lorton is here not just to create a brand, but a movement. And she does so through her business, Crag to Crux.

Lorton originally started with stickers of meticulously drawn lines on watercolor landscapes, but quickly expanded to drawing women climbers of all sizes, colors, and backgrounds. Overall inclusivity and access in the climbing industry are valuable to her, so she continued to design stickers that celebrate and advocate for LGBTQ pride and mental health awareness.

While touching upon heavier subjects through Crag to Crux, Lorton also designs sassy shirts that say “f*uck your beta” and “will send for seltzer.” She even got into the button-making game with well conversation-staring pins that clarify climbing chalk residue is “not cocaine.”

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