Base Camp Blog
This is the place to get the inside scoop from Climbing's editors. In these pages, the editors share their unvarnished opinions on the day's news, favorite climbs, recent trips, and the gear that we use when we're out climbing.
  • HPReGramLizzie

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #CragDog

    Do you have a four-legged crag companion in your life? We want to see! Send us a photo for a chance to be featured in an issue of Climbing magazine.

  • HPReGramKidCrusher

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #KidCrusher

    Do you have an adorable little climber in your life? We want to see! Send us a photo for a chance to be featured in an issue of Climbing magazine.

  • One Nepali’s Earthquake Story

    One Nepali’s Earthquake Story

    The story of a friend and guide in Nepal, devastated by the recent earthquakes but looking to the future.

  • Flowchart: Should You Start Trad Climbing?

    Flowchart: Should You Start Trad Climbing?

    To the kind of climbers that slap “Keep Tahoe Bold” stickers on their bumpers, trad is the only true form of climbing. To many a sport climber and boulderer, it appears complicated, slow, and committing. Plus, all that jangly metal on your harness makes you sound like a wind chime. Yep, trad climbing can be intimidating. It requires a lot of gear, practice, and a strong head. It’s also an incredibly rewarding way to climb and allows you to reach places that would otherwise be impossible to access. So, should you start trad climbing?

  • The 10 Best Climbing Instagrams

    The 10 Best Climbing Instagrams

    It's easy for pro climbers and seasoned photographers to have badass Instagram accounts, but here are the 10 best climbing accounts from the rest of us.

  • 24 Carabiner Innovations

    24 Innovative Carabiners

    A survey of the current state of carabiner innovations. Some are mild improvements on existing technologies. Some are proven designs that stuck around. A few are so different that they don't even look like carabiners.

  • Re-Gram: Show Us Your #ClimbingLife Photos

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #ClimbingLife Photos

    Climbers don't spend 100% of their time on the rock. The extreme exertion our sport requires means a lot of down time between burns and mandatory rest days on long trips. For this edition of Re-Gram, we want to see your favorite photos that happened between routes—the photos that scream #climbinglife. Do you have a photo that gets you psyched to get in your car and spend a week camping at a new distant crag? Or one that makes you overwhelmingly excited to get back on your project at your home crag? Whatever it is, we want to see it! Post a picture on Instagram and tag it with #climbinglife. If your photo is among our favorites, we'll contact you about featuring it in an upcoming issue of our print edition.

  • Nepal: Death Toll Rises, How You Can Help

    Absurd Ascents: 5 Everest Stories We Won’t be Covering this Season

    From basecamp comedy to summit tech demos, these are the best of the most ridiculous Everest stories this season.

  • The Redpoint Jitters

    The Redpoint Jitters

    Climbing makes me nervous. Not in the “Oh, that doesn’t look safe, I don’t like you doing that” way that your mom gets nervous about it, but more along the lines of stomach-churning, palms-sweating performance anxiety. I’ve been climbing for a pretty long time, long enough that I feel like I shouldn’t still get nervous when I’m going for the send. When I played soccer, the more preparation and pre-game effort I put in, the less nervous and anxious I would be before the big moment. Of course I would still have some game-time jitters, but I could always remind myself, “Hey, this is exactly what you trained for, get psyched!” As soon that ball was centered in the middle of the field, I felt focused and ready to go. The problem with climbing—for me at least—is that no matter how much I’ve trained, it’s completely random and unpredictable as to how I’m going to feel and how I’m going to perform.

  • HPWrightStuffProfessional

    The Wright Stuff: Trust Me, I'm a Professional

    For those who are genuinely curious about what the hell it takes to be a pro climber, well, good question! Cedar Wright explains the qualities you need and what it's like to live the life.

  • hpsportstayalive

    4 Good Ways to Stay Alive While Sport Climbing

    How to control your fate in lowers or rappels while sport climbing.

  • Climbing Magazine Introduces New Objective Climbing Grade Scale

    Climbing Magazine Introduces New Objective Climbing Grade Scale

    To improve the lives of climbers everywhere, we have devised a simple, objective grading method called the RDRDHAWRDRBKOFLKBKOFLK Scale. (It’s an acronym.)

  • featured-image

    The True Cost of #Vanlife

    One thing that has always frustrated me about social media documentation of hashtag-van-life is the lack of transparency when it comes to money. We see these rad adventure mobiles parked in beautiful locales, captioned with some quote about how the mountains are calling, buying the ticket to take the ride, maximizing your one wild and precious life, or being mad to live, mad to talk, and mad to be saved. Poor Jack Kerouac and Mary Oliver didn't know their words would become the mantra of entitled trustafarians with a penchant for the Lo-Fi filter on Instagram. Yes, you have a rad van, a hot outdoorsy significant other, and the ability to climb anywhere, but how exactly are you paying for that? I'm not talking karma points in life; I'm talking cold, hard cash. As I've started dipping my toes in this world of what I call “regular extended mobility” (aka spending a few weeks at a time in my van every month), I decided I want to share my experiences as openly as possible, to help other van-dwelling hopefuls understand what it really takes to be part of this idealized but sometimes oversimplified community.

  • HPFlow514

    Flowchart: Why Aren't You Climbing 5.14?

    5.14 represents the pinnacle of our sport. Sure, there’s 5.15 and someday there will probably be 5.16, but 5.14 separates the good from the great. It’s the grade that puts you in the top 1% of climbers. You can’t just be-tall your way past cruxes at this level. You need to have flawless technique, and you need to be really, really f***ing strong, physically and mentally. Few ever achieve it. In fact, according to our reader survey (Climbing No. 331), the majority of climbers believe 5.12 will be the hardest they’ll climb in their lifetime. But loftier grades are certainly possible with enough time and dedication. So why aren’t you climbing 5.14?

  • Answer Man: Smelly Shoes are Ruining My Relationship

    Answer Man: Smelly Shoes are Ruining My Relationship

    Answer Man answers your burning questions about climber etiquette, customs, and values. This time: stinky shoes, warm-ups, and good skin.

  • Running Out of Gas: The Climbers' Solution

    Running Out of Gas: The Climbers' Solution

    A slick road trip trick: How to restart your car when you run out of gas, using supplies that are already in the car.

  • No Excuses: Two Heavy Climbers Who Crushed

    No Excuses: Two Heavy Climbers Who Crushed

    Some say our sport is obsessed with weight, and it’s hard to argue against that. Climbers look for any way they can to shed poundage, from dropping $50 on a chalk bag that weighs 0.00007 ounces to undertaking diets fit only for a fasting monk. I hear some climbers don’t even drink beer these days! If you have that voice in your head telling you that your project would go down if you dropped five pounds, here's something that’ll shut it right up.

  • 10 Rules for Climbing Photography

    10 Rules for Climbing Photography

    As the photo editor for Climbing magazine, I’ve spent countless hours of my life click-click-clicking through climbing photos to find the best of the best for our print publication. I’ve seen images that range from goosebump-inducing, palm-sweating, mind-blowing greatness to eye-assaulting, soul-crushing lameness. We all know climbing is a breathtaking, visually stunning activity that takes us to incredible places—hell, aesthetics of the places and the people (yes, we’re an attractive brood) are probably half the reason most of you climb anyway. But oddly enough, it’s pretty damn hard to capture the joie de vivre of climbing with just the press of a shutter button. Of course, there’s much more that goes into it: humping 50 lbs. of metal and rigging gear up steep cliffs to faraway crags, waking up before the sun to nail that magic light, spending hours in front of a screen perfecting color and tone, forgoing personal climbing goals to jug ropes instead, sitting in a harness until your lower half goes numb and your kidneys are squeezed into your chest... But I digress.

  • Is Your Climbing Trip Worth the Drive? Do the Math

    Is Your Climbing Trip Worth the Drive? Do the Math

    How much climbing do you need to do to justify a road trip? For weekend warriors, calculating whether it’s worth the time, gas money, and neglected chores to drive to a distant crag can be a tough assignment. Fortunately, there are formulas for that.

  • Are You a Real Rock Climber?

    Are You a Real Rock Climber?

    There are a lot of gumbies these days that call themselves rock climbers, but only climb in the gym. That’s bullshit. They’re not real rock climbers, and we all know it. Or are they? They do ascend rock-like surfaces using only their strength and cunning to overcome gravity. But it’s not rock. It’s plastic. On the other hand, some of the world’s best competition climbers rarely touch real rock, and there’s no question that the ones that top the podium are climbers, right? So let’s settle this once and for all. What’s actually rock climbing?

  • Re-Gram: Show Us Your #SummitPhoto

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #SummitPhoto

    We want to see your summit photo! Post a picture on Instagram and tag it with #summitphoto. If your photo is among our favorites, we'll contact you about featuring it in an upcoming issue of our print edition. No Instagram account? No problem. Email us.

  • The Wright Stuff What Valley Uprising Missed

    The Wright Stuff: What Valley Uprising Missed

    For me, part of the allure of Yosemite climbing is its rich and diverse history and the fact that, if you are dedicated and obsessed enough, you might just get to add to it. So, because I love Yosemite and its rich tradition of motley but masterful misfits, I have assembled a timeline of what are, in my opinion, key moments that “Valley Uprising” missed.

  • HPSemiRadBeta

    Semi-Rad: Do You Want Some Beta?

    OK, if you step up on that right foot, then reach up with the left hand, there’s a good sidepull. Feel it? No, it’s up higher. A little higher. Your hand should be on it. OK, yeah, it’s not that great, you’re right. You can get a full pad of all your fingers on it, can’t you? OK, no, you’re right, maybe three of them. Not full pads, just tips. Anyway, it’s good. I mean, it’s pretty good. Yeah, so pull on that, transfer your weight to your right foot, and just over that little mini-roof on your right is a crimp. You really have to stretch for it, but it’s up there. That’s it.

  • HPAnswerManShirtless

    Ask Answer Man: Why Can't I Boulder Shirtless With a Beanie?

    Answer Man answers your burning questions about climber etiquette, customs, and values. This time: shirtless bouldering, crag littering, and gear maintenance.

  • HPRegramGearCloset

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #GearCloset

    We want to see your gear closet! Post a picture on Instagram and tag it with #gearcloset. If your photo is among our favorites, we'll contact you about featuring it in an upcoming issue of our print edition. No Instagram account? No problem. Email us.

  • SROndraRotator

    Semi-Rad: Are You Climbing Enough?

    Not Climbing Enough Lately is a significant problem in the climbing community, and according to my totally unscientific research, it affects 99 percent of climbers at all times.

  • HPDWallInternet

    Dawn Wall Highlights From Around the Internet

    It's been a lot of fun following the Dawn Wall story over the past few weeks. It's also been a lot of fun watching the mainstream media coverage surrounding it. Here are a few highlights from the past week.

  • HPDWallNewspaperHeadlines

    Dawn Wall Headlines From Across the Country

    It's not often our sport makes national news, but the excitement surrounding Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's first free ascent of the Dawn Wall has crossed into the mainstream. Here's a selection of today's front page headlines about the historic climb from across the country.

  • HPDawnWallCoverage

    Our Complete 2014/2015 Dawn Wall Coverage

    Collected news and videos from Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's current push up the Dawn Wall.

  • HPWrightStuffStoneNudes

    The Wright Stuff: Behind the Scenes of Stone Nudes (NSFW)

    I was watching a man’s dream crumble before my eyes. “It’s over,” Dean “Bullwinkle” Fidelman, creator of the black and white nude bouldering calendar Stone Nudes, said with tears welling up in his eyes. “I’ve lost my funding.” With Dean’s yearly income in the very low five figures—mostly thanks to Stone Nudes—it was looking like a four-figure year.

  • HPRegramWhip

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #Whipper

    As much as we may try to avoid them, it's hard not to take a good whipper once in a while when you're pushing yourself on a hard route. If you're lucky, a friend will catch the carnage on camera. Do you have a photo of yourself going airborne? We want to see! Post a picture on Instagram and tag it with #whipper. If your photo is among our favorites, we'll contact you about featuring it in an upcoming issue of our print edition.

  • HPFlowAccidentSmall

    Flowchart: Are You a Climbing Accident Waiting to Happen?

    We recently presented an array of hero climbers. These are selfless people who went above and beyond to ensure the s safety of others, sometimes at their own peril. And then there are the climbing liabilities. They’re cavalier about essential safety practices. They get themselves in over their heads. And they don’t know what to do when things go wrong. Follow the chart below to find out if you’re the kind of climber that gets people into trouble—or out of it.

  • HPInterviewWedding

    Interview: The Ultimate Climber Wedding

    Brian and Mandy Fabel threw out the usual wedding-day worries and replaced them with a 10-mile bike ride, 25-mile hike, and 9 pitches of climbing (x2).

  • FBPunting

    Semi-Rad: The Accidental Art of Punting

    Punting: Long days full of mistakes—getting off route, getting rap ropes stuck, getting lost on the approach, and generally just taking longer than usual—but not quite having an epic.

  • HPTat

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #ClimbingTattoo

    Do you have climbing-related ink on your body? We want to see! Post a picture on Instagram and tag it with #climbingtattoo. If your photo is among our favorites, we'll contact you about featuring it in an upcoming issue of our print edition.

  • PactHP

    Commit to The Pact - Ensure Climbing Access for Years to Come

    Our sport is growing rapidly. Climbers are arriving at crags across the country in ever-increasing numbers. While this is great in many ways, it also puts a strain on the fragile environment in which we test ourselves. Our friends at the Access Fund have laid out this list of practices to minimize impact, protect our crags, and ensure they stay open to climbing for years to come. The Climbing staff has signed the pact to maintain these principles, and we urge you to do the same.

  • HPTheFlowTowns

    Flowchart: Which Climber Town Do You Belong In?

    Follow this handy flowchart to find out which climber-town fits your personality best, then move there.

  • HPalien

    Join Climbing Magazine for an AMA on Reddit Today at 2:30 pm MDT

    Today Climbing Magazine's editorial staff will be answering questions on Reddit's r/climbing community beginning at 2:30 pm MDT. If you have any burning questions about climbing, magazines, climbing magazines, Climbing magazine, anything else, or you just need a distraction at work, then stop by and hang out with us for a bit!

  • HPamtoenailsbig

    Ask Answer Man: Clipping Your Toenails in the Gym is Gross, Right?

    Answer Man answers your burning questions about climber etiquette, customs, and values. This time: gym hygiene, booty, and the nuances of "sending."

  • HPCR

    The Wright Stuff: Climbers And Climate Change

    Recently, the White House (seriously, the White House, the one on Pennsylvania Avenue) reached out to a bunch of climbers to help raise awareness of climate change through the social media hashtag #ActOnClimate. In the words of the Environmental Protection Agency, “Climate change is a serious threat to the health and welfare of American families.” They want to encourage people to take “common-sense action to reduce carbon pollution and promote a cleaner energy economy.” The outreach was timed with Obama’s move to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels.

  • HPBail

    Flowchart: Should You Bail?

    Sometimes things don’t go quite as planned. For whatever reason, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re considering cutting your losses and getting off the wall or backing down from that summit. While this is usually the safest bet, it’s also the least fun, and you may have to leave behind gear in the process. Here’s how to make the call.

  • HPSpeedJan

    Video: First-Person Speed Climbing With Jan Kriz

    Jan Kriz from the Czech Republic recently took first place in the junior division for speed climbing at the IFSC World Youth Championships. Here's what it looks like to run up a wall from his perspective.

  • HPDong

    Semi-Rad: Long, Hard Routes

    “I think every climber needs to summit something super, super phallic at least once,” I said to a friend on a raft trip last fall, for absolutely no reason at all. As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized I’ve really only climbed one desert tower and a couple other things that are somewhat schlong-like, and they were more sword-like than schlong-like, if I’m being completely honest. Am I even, by my own definition, a real climber if I haven’t climbed anything that looks like a, well, you know? I should make plans to go up Castleton Tower or at least Owl Rock soon, right?

  • HPCaldwood

    Re-Gram: Show Us Your #homeclimbingwall

    Have you built your own home climbing wall? We want to see it! It doesn't matter if it's a classic woody, a tree with some holds nailed to it, or an entire grain solo set up for toproping. All are welcome. Post a picture on Instagram and tag it with #homeclimbingwall. If your photo is among our favorites, we'll contact you about featuring it in an upcoming issue of our print edition.

  • Supercrack

    Semi-Rad: The Joy of Sloproping

    I will be the first to admit that I climb sloppily when I have a toprope guaranteeing my safety from above. Do you? I will try that desperate heel hook, or huck out of control for a hold above what would be a nasty ledge fall on lead, or just flat-out make dumb moves that would have bad consequences were I on the sharp end. Why not? It takes the edge off, right? Might as well try some shit. Usually I will announce in the first 20 feet of a climb, to myself or my belayer: “Man, toproping is awesome.”

  • HPAnswerMan

    Ask Answer Man: How Do I Find a Good Climbing Partner?

    Answer Man answers your burning questions about climber etiquette, customs, and values. This time: finding partners, belay glasses, and crag pooping.

  • HPFlowchart

    Flowchart: Should You Let That Rando Belay You?

    You’re at the crag. You’re tied in. You’re ready to climb. At that very moment, your belayer’s breakfast burrito comes back with a vengeance. He runs off to take care of business (using LNT practices, of course). Across the crag, a lone climber spots you. He sprints at full speed, brandishing a belay device, and yelling, “Need a belay?” You do, but should you let this random person belay you?

  • HPAM

    Ask Answer Man: Why Do So Many Strong Climbers Have Hunchbacks?

    Answer Man answers your burning questions about climber etiquette, customs, and values. This time: hunchbacks, dry ropes, and kids in the gym.

  • HPWrightSS

    The Wright Stuff: Stanley Style

    "This was the beginning of perhaps one of the sketchiest climbing mentorships of all time. With few motivated climbers to turn to, Sean really had no choice but to take me under his wing. The tutelage that followed won’t be found in Freedom of the Hills, and it would probably give the AMGA cold sweats."

  • HPUnBlyVblE

    Unbelayvable Archives: Scary (And True) Tales From A Crag Near You

    Every Monday we publish the most unbelievable stories of climbing stupidity submitted by our readers. Here are the collected links to every edition of Unbelayvable. The list is updated as new columns are published.