Rock Climbing News

Read here about all the latest rock climbing news--the hardest redpoints, the most astonishing onsights, the wildest trad climbs, and the boldest solos. If it's a ground-breaking rock climb, we've got all the details.
  • Unbelayvable: A Belay Too Comfortable

    Unbelayvable: A Belay Too Comfortable

    The story of a shoeless belayer sitting 30-feet from the wall in a comfy chair.

  • Unbelayvable: A Pleasant Day of Topwebbing

    Unbelayvable: A Pleasant Day of Topwebbing

    "They were toproping, but they weren't using a rope. Instead, the group thought it would be fine to use an 80-foot piece nylon webbing. They even threaded it through a belay device."

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    Climber Andy Tyson Killed in Plane Crash

    4/11/15 - Four men were killed in a plane crash Friday in northern Idaho, and the victims included well-known climber Andy Tyson.

  • Mike Libecki and Angie Payne Climb Wild Jungle Tower

    Mike Libecki and Angie Payne Climb Wild Jungle Tower

    In February Angie Payne joined expedition legend Mike Libecki for an attempt on one of the world’s gnarliest towers: a 1,500-foot volcanic spire in the South Pacific called Poumaka.

  • Unbelayvable: Car Doors Aren't Bomber Anchors

    Unbelayvable: Car Doors Aren't Bomber Anchors

    "We only had one harness, so I pulled my car up closer, opened the passenger door, and clipped the locker and belay device to the door latch. The car caught a few falls."

  • HPUnBPointyRocks

    Unbelayvable: One Sling on One Sharp Edge

    "In my early climbing career, I nearly killed myself when I extended an anchor over an edge with just one long sling. After one climb, the sling was halfway cut through. I still carry the section on my keychain as a reminder."

  • Ashima Shiraishi Climbs Possible 5.15

    Ashima Shiraishi Climbs Possible 5.15

    3/17/15 - Ashima Shiraishi has climbed Open Your Mind Direct 9a+ (5.15a) in Santa Linya, Spain. Shiraishi climbed the route in a mere four days of attempts. While the original consensus grade of the route was 5.14d, a broken hold has lead some to suggest it could now be as hard as 5.15a. If the grade holds, she will be the first woman to climb a confirmed 5.15.

  • HPUnBSoloTRDaredevil

    Unbelayvable: Toprope Soloing for Daredevils

    "I was at the gym when I saw a guy “self-belaying” on toprope. He was tied into one side of the rope and he had a tube-style belay device clipped to his belay loop, which was attached to the free-hanging side of the rope. He would climb up five feet or so, pull the slack through his device, then continue up. I stopped him as soon as I saw what was going on."

  • Mason Earle Sends Multi-Year 5.14 Crack Project Near Moab

    Mason Earle Sends Multi-Year 5.14 Crack Project Near Moab

    3/13/15 - Mason Earle has redpointed a 35-meter overhanging finger crack in Bartlett Wash, outside Moab, Utah, and called it 5.14-, undoubtedly one of the hardest pure crack climbs in the United States.

  • Unbelayvable: A Different Kind of Simul-Climbing

    Unbelayvable: A Different Kind of Simul-Climbing

    "I was belaying my 2-year-old at the gym, and I overheard an employee giving an orientation to two new climbers behind me. The employee said something about climbing at the same time using the gym's autobelays. When my daughter was back on the ground, I turned and saw the new couple about to climb ON THE SAME AUTOBELAY! One of them was using the proper locking carabiner. The other was clipped into a regular carabiner that was only connected to the autobelay with some utility cord."

  • Sharma Sends Solid 5.15 Project

    Sharma Sends Solid 5.15 Project

    3/8/15 - Chris Sharma has completed El Bon Combat and proposed 9b/+ (5.15b/c) for the Spanish climb. Sharma worked on the route, off and on, for eight months before sending on March 7.

  • Unbelayvable: The iPad Photographer

    Unbelayvable: The iPad Photographer

    "We saw a smiling belayer that was taking pictures with a tablet. He was holding the device above his head with the rope still in his brake hand. I wonder, in the case of a fall, if his reflexes would make him save the tablet or the leader."

  • HPElCapFreePioneers

    El Cap Pioneers Hudon and Jones Plan Fast, Free Ascents

    Nearly 40 years after they made the first real attempts to free-climb El Capitan, Mark Hudon and Max Jones are ticking El Cap routes once again and aiming for in-a-day routes and the big prize: an all-free ascent.

  • HPUnBKnotToRappel

    Unbelayvable: How Knot to Rappel

    "I saw this guy rapping off Intersection Rock in Joshua Tree. His rope didn't reach the ground, but it was long enough to reach a big ledge most people walk off. I didn’t think much of it. He looked like he was going pretty fast though, so I stopped to see what he was doing. He was about to pass the ledge and was coming to the end of his rope when I yelled, 'Stop! Hey! Your rope's not on the ground!' My buddies quickly chimed in. He stopped just in time to swing to the ledge and not rap off the end of his rope, which wasn’t knotted."

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    Red Rock Rendezvous 2015 Info

    The 12th annual “Mountain Gear Presents: Red Rock Rendezvous” (RRR) rock climbing festival will give participants an opportunity to climb with the world’s best professional rock climbers in a unique venue at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas, Nev., Friday through Sunday, March 27-29. The event will host 45 professional rock climbers from the North Face, Black Diamond, La Sportiva, Petzl, Blue Water, Five Ten, Metolious and Osprey. Athletes will coach festival participants in half-day climbing clinics designed to improve intermediate and advanced rock climbing and mountain biking skills.

  • Sachi Amma Sends Third 5.15 of Incredible Spanish Trip

    As he winds up a short trip to Spain, Sachi Amma of Japan can look back on one of the greatest stretches of redpointing in sport climbing history. In less than three weeks, Amma, 25, has done six routes 5.14d or harder, including two 9a+ (5.15a) routes and his first 9b (5.15b).

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    Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Ethics Initiative Successfully Raises Money to Replace 1000 Bolts (and How to Donate)

    In a very impressive fundraiser, the Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Ethics Initiative has raised enough money to subsidize the replacement of 1,000 bolts in the Red River Gorge. And there's still plenty of time for more. If you'd like to donate to the improvement and maintenance of fixed gear in the Red, visit the Red River Gorge Fixed Gear Fund. The group is having great giveaways for donors every day until February 14.

  • HPUnBOverhand

    Unbelayvable: Overhand Knots and Little Girls Don't Mix

    "I heard a little girl talking to her dad behind me. 'But dad this knot don't look like the one the guy showed us,' she said. I turned around to see her dad assuring her that it was fine.

  • HPUnBSelfie

    Unbelayvable: Two-Minutes of Selfies

    "I saw an inexperienced belayer take out her phone and take selfies for two full minutes."

  • HPcenturyclimb

    Climb of the Century? 7 Groundbreaking Ascents (Besides the Dawn Wall)

    2/2/15 - As the media frenzy swelled through January, both climbing and mass-market writers repeatedly called the Dawn Wall the "climb of the century." But are there other contenders?

  • HPUnBArtAnchor

    Unbelayvable: The Art Project Anchor

    "I saw a commercial outfitter set this up for their clients. Is this an art project or is there some purpose that I cannot decipher?"

  • HPUnBBoulderingNotTeamSport

    Unbelayvable: Bouldering is Not a Team Sport

    "I saw a boulderer get stuck and climb another climber through two sections of the 25-foot highball Heavenly Path (V1) in Bishop, California."

  • Photo: Ted Distel/Adidas Outdoor

    The Dawn Wall Goes Free!

    1/14/15 - At 3:30 p.m. pacific time, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson summited El Capitan, completing their years-long quest to free climb the Dawn Wall. They spent 19 days on the wall. This has been called the hardest big wall free climb to date, and is truly a historic achievement that may not be repeated for years to come.

  • Kevin Jorgeson makes the 5.13c pitch 18 look easy. Photo: Tom Evans/ElCapReport.com

    Dawn Wall Update: The Final Push

    1/13/15 - Just a few days ago Kevin Jorgeson's success on the Dawn Wall seemed questionable. He'd been stuck on pitch 15 for seven days. His finger skin was shredded. It seemed like he may have hit his high point. Since then, Jorgeson has erased any doubts about his ability to get to the top of the 3,000-foot face. He fired off pitch 15, went on to stick the notorious dyno on pitch 16, and then kept his momentum and caught up to partner Tommy Caldwell on Wino Tower at pitch 20 in a matter of days. This puts all of the 5.14 and 5.13 pitches behind the team, besides one 5.13a boulder problem nears the top of the wall. The majority of the remaining pitches are 5.11 and 5.12, all relatively easy compared to what the duo has already accomplished.

  • HPUnB1Nut

    Unbelayvable: One Lucky Nut

    A party started a route directly above me. The leader put in his first piece, a nut, and promptly fell on it. I was directly in his fall line.

  • Jim Ewing in his hospital room in Florida.

    Jim Ewing’s Terrifying Fall and Recovery

    1/12/15 - Longtime New England rock and ice climber Jim Ewing, a senior rope engineer at Sterling Rope, was seriously injured in a ground fall while climbing at Cayman Brac on December 26.

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    Jorgeson Finishes Last 5.14 of Dawn Wall

    1/10/15 - In a comeback worthy of basketball's Final Four, Kevin Jorgeson has redpointed the final two 5.14 pitches of the Dawn Wall, sending Pitch 15 yesterday and Pitch 16 (the famed Dyno Pitch) today.

  • Dawn Wall Update: Caldwell Completes 5.13c Pitches, Jorgeson Sends Pitch 15

    It appears the end of a six-year effort to free climb the Dawn Wall could be in sight.

  • Dawn Wall Update: Final 5.14 Pitch Goes Free

    The most difficult pitches of the Dawn Wall are now behind Tommy Caldwell. He redpointed the final 5.14 pitch late last night.

  • HPUnB5AwfulBelayers

    Unbelayvable: 5 Photos of Absolutely Awful Belayers

    Belaying should be a lifelong pursuit, a skill that we are always striving to improve and perfect. It should be done consciously, and with great care. Unfortunately, the world is full of people that think clipping a rope to their belay device is enough to ensure the safety of their partner or, worse yet, that they can figure out how to belay on their own. Here is a collection of those dangerous people, captured in the wild by our readers.

  • A helicopter heads into the canyon to search for the body of the first victim.

    Two Climbers Die in Separate Rappelling Accidents in El Potrero Chico, Mexico

  • Kevin Jorgeson shaking out at a rest midway on Pitch 15 (5.14+) of the Dawn Wall. Photo by Brett Lowell / Big UP Productions.

    Dawn Wall Update: Caldwell Passes Key Milestones

    1/5/15 - Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have spent the past five days working on the crucial right-to-left traverse across the middle of the Dawn Wall, the 5.14-plus route up El Capitan's southeast face. Since both men completed Pitch 12 (5.14b) on December 31 and Pitch 14 (5.14+) on January 1, progress has been measured in millimeters of skin on fragile fingertips.

  • Kevin Jorgeson on pitch 14 of the Dawn Wall, the hardest pitch of the climb. Photo by Jeff Johnson (Jeffjohnsonstories.com).

    Dawn Wall: Four 5.14 Pitches Down, Two to Go

    1/2/15 - Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have launched what they hope will be their final push on the Dawn Wall on El Capitan, and so far it could not be going better. Yesterday the two men both greeted the new year by leading pitch 5.14, which they call the hardest pitch of the entire climb.

  • HPUnBPhone

    Unbelayvable: The Best of the Worst of 2014! (Part 3)

    This edition we're highlighting some of the most unbelievable Unbelayvable stories of 2014. These are the scariest (true) tales from a crag near you.

  • President's Gold Medal winner Fred Beckey. Photo courtesy American Alpine Club Archives.

    Fred Beckey to be Awarded Rare AAC Gold Medal

    The American Alpine Club (AAC) has announced its 2015 award recipients. Every year the AAC recognizes outstanding achievements in conservation, climbing, and service to the climbing community. This year the Club will also bestow its rare President's Gold Medal to Fred Beckey.

  • Fred Beckey (left) and Eric Bjornstad celebrating a first ascent in Monument Valley in the 1960s. Eric Bjornstad Collection.

    Desert Pioneer Eric Bjornstad Has Died

    12/17/14 - Eric Bjornstad has passed away after a long illness. The longtime resident of Moab, Utah, wrote the original comprehensive guidebook to rock climbing on the Colorado Plateau, Desert Rock, first published in 1988 and later expanded to four volumes.

  • HPUNB

    Unbelayvable: The Best of the Worst of 2014! (Part 1)

    This week we're highlighting some of the most unbelievable Unbelayvable stories of 2014. It's one superlative you don't want to achieve.

  • HPUnBDontTellMom

    Unbelayvable: Don't Get Hurt or Mom will be Mad

    "There was no harness, no belay device, and no anchor. He yelled to his kids, 'Don’t get hurt or your mom will never let us do this again!'"

  • HPUnblyvUnwilling

    Unbelayvable: The Unwilling Leader

    "The girl had no outdoor experience but went up a 5.7 on lead at the coaxing of her boyfriend. She cruxed out partway up, but her boyfriend refused to lower her. He just kept yelling that she could do it. She then down-climbed to a very small ledge and untied from the rope."

  • Tommy Caldwell on the 14th pitch (5.14d) of the Dawn Wall. Photo by Jeff Johnson.

    Dawn Wall: Major Hurdle Cleared, Final Push Planned for December

    11/19/14 - Tommy Caldwell has free-climbed the 14th pitch of the Dawn Wall on El Capitan, which means that either he or Kevin Jorgeson now has redpointed every 5.14 section of the route.

  • Honnold Frees Muir Wall in 12 Hours, Solos Romantic Warrior

    11/14/14 - Alex Honnold led the Muir Wall (5.13b/c) on El Capitan all-free, with no falls, in 12 hours. Just a few days earlier, he finished a four-day free ascent of PreMuir (5.13c/d), which shares all but five pitches of the Muir (out of 34).

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    Clif Bar Releases Statement Regarding Dropped Athletes

    Earlier this week, Clif Bar suddenly released five climbers—Alex Honnold, Dean Potter, Steph Davis, Cedar Wright, and Timmy O’Neill—from their athlete roster. The decision sparked strong feedback from the community, which can be found in comments on their Facebook page. Today, Clif Bar released this statement, explaining their decision.

  • Remembering Dave Pegg

    When not cranking out beta, Dave was a tireless and obsessive climber, purposely making his home near the sport-climbing crucible of Rifle Mountain Park, Colorado. He brought to the task an unusual, sometimes alarming blend of traits: precise, meticulous technique on the rock, and stumbling absentmindedness on the ground; a quiet, gentle demeanor, unfazed by punishing lead falls. Though an ex-mathematician and master problem-solver, Dave showed utter disregard for the experience of his belayer or the condition of his lead rope. He trained constantly, but was the antithesis of “Type A.” He bled easily and often—his skinny, battered legs are legend—but scarcely seemed to notice. In all, Dave was at home on rock. He was comfortable and fearless there.

  • HPanchors

    Unbelayvable: Ridiculous Anchors Edition

    This week, two real climbing anchors that you have to see to believe.

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    Valley Uprising Wins Banff Grand Prize

    11/10/14 - "Valley Uprising," the documentary of Yosemite climbing culture directed by Nick Rosen, Peter Mortimer, and Josh Lowell, has won the grand prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. The 90-minute film, produced by Zachary Barr and Sender Films, is currently showing worldwide in the 2014 Reel Rock tour.

  • Jorg Verhoeven Frees the Nose

    11/6/14 - Dutch climber Jorg Verhoeven has free-climbed the Nose of El Capitan, becoming the first non-U.S. climber to achieve the feat.

  • HPUnBSkinny

    Unbelayvable: Skinny People Need Anchors, Too

    I was belaying from above when another climber topped out and set up next to me. He was braced over a rock with no anchor or belay device, belaying his follower by pulling up rope hand over hand. I offered to let him use my anchor, but he said, “It’s OK. She’s really light.” I did sort of convince him to belay from the anchor. Reluctantly, he clipped a locker in and looped the rope once around it (not a Munter hitch), and then continued pulling up rope. Luckily, his partner did not fall.

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    New Women's El Cap Speed Record for Mayan Smith-Gobat and Libby Sauter

    10/29/14 - Mayan Smith-Gobat and Libby Sauter have set a new women's speed record for The Nose on El Cap in Yosemite.

  • HPUnBPhone

    Unbelayvable: I Can't Belay You Right Now, I'm on the Phone

    "The leader started climbing before the belayer was set up. Then the belayer's cell phone went off, so he dropped what he was doing and answered it."

  • HPGrigriblyv

    Unbelayvable: How Not to Use a Grigri Edition

    "I heard my belayer say, 'Well, we know the grigri works.' I looked down to find him hanging a few feet off the ground with both hands on a sandwich."