Jim Erickson is integral to free climbing history. Erickson started climbing in 1962, with early forays at Devil's Lake. Later he moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he would make the first free ascent, with Duncan Ferguson, of Eldorado Canyon's iconic The Naked Edge in 1971. Erickson was among the first to eschew the use of pitons in favor of protection that wouldn't damage the rock, and is also credited with inventing the modern quickdraw. Climbing editor Matt Samet sat down with Erickson to talk about his early days climbing in the '60s and '70s, and how climbing gear has evolved since then. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Climbing Magazine this year, Erickson will also be writing an essay for issue 372, on newsstands in April.