246 – Febuary 2006

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246 - Febuary 2006

COVERMerrick Schaefer dips back to his heavy metal roots on the Todra Gorge’s Esalada Metalica (7a or 5.11d), Morocco.Photo by Aaron Black

Africa Long a haunt of a dedicated few, African climbing remains a mystery to most of the world. Join us on a tour of the Dark Continent, from its lowland crags to its skyline-piercing volcanoes.Intro by Lynn Hill

Moroccan Gold Every climber longs for a multi-pitch-packed destination that’s far enough away to feel exotic, but close enough for easy travel. For North Americans, it’s El Potrero Chico. For Europeans, it’s the amber limestone of Morocco’s Todra Gorge.By Merrick Schaefer Photos by Aaron Black

Diamonds are Forever Conventional wisdom holds that Mount Kenya’s Diamond Couloir evaporated in the climate-toasting furnace of global warming. One of America’s most storied alpinists sets out to see if the armchair pundits are correct.By Jim Donini

The Hand The idea was simple: Bring Yosemite-style speed tactics to the fabled towers of Mali’s Hand of Fatima. Simple, yes, until you consider the bowel-busting bacteria, lethal serpents, and crazed bats.By Cedar Wright Photos by Jimmy Chin

Gallery Home sweet home. Jugs, grit, rust, and a lenticular perspective on the rest of the world.

10 Editorial Demystifying Africa

16 Letters Sharma’s FA gets stripped, toddler’s FA approved

20 Hot Flashes Cerro Torre’s Maestri mystery put to rest, Davis frees the Salathé, Berthod pulls off another Indian Creek testpiece, Colorado codger sends 5.14a, Schneider comes clean, new route on Cerro Murallón

28 On the Radar Traveling for business or family doesn’t have to mean dismissing the vert

32 Off the Wall North Carolinians corner the real-estate market, AAC brings hope to Pakistan quake victims, Israeli climber takes his fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease to El Cap

40 Passages Saying goodbye to Carl Skoog, a master mountain photographer

68 Tech Tips Alpine: Hard knowledge about soft knots Training: Getting hyper for gravity Wall: Smart knot passing

74 Equipment We wrangle with everything from Monsters to Bastards

82 Reviews A trio of bios: Gunks guru Hans Kraus, belligerent Brit Don Whillans, and Deborah diarist David Robert

86 Classifieds

94 Vantage Point A sociological guide to getting stuckBy Jeffrey McCarthy

98 Off Route Yet another reason not to fall

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.