This story originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of our print edition.
Although McCord hated his first climbing experience, a guided middle school excursion to Smith Rock (“I was scared of heights and wouldn’t go up more than 10 feet!”), he revisited the sport in college when his roommate convinced him to give it another shot. “Challenge, both physical and mental, is what I seek from photography and climbing,” McCord says, and he got that on a recent trip to Venezuela documenting a first ascent. “Broken-down buses, a crazy bush pilot, and 1,800 feet of overhanging rock,” he describes. “Shooting the crux pitch put me about 30 feet from the wall with nothing but 500 feet of air and the jungle floor below.” McCord just nabbed the cover of the American Alpine Club’s 2014 Guidebook to Membership.
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