December 2009 - 281 - Climbing Magazine

December 2009 - 281

COVER: Peter Vintoniv high above a frozen Lake Superior, Grand Portal Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising, Michigan. PHOTO: Andrew Burr /

GALLERY Smoove on into winter with soul-warming visions of the desert, the Red, Smith Rock, Frey (Argentina), beachside bouldering, and a leap of faith at sunny Lumpy Ridge.


LOS SUEÑOS GRANDES Picture a seven-pitch, stalactite-studded 5.12d off which you could single-rope rap at nearly any point — holy berserker, right? Welcome to El Chonta, the monster limestone grotto near Mexico City that’s become the epicenter of the country’s latest, greatest sport-climbing explosion. By Kyle and Aimee Roseborrough Photos by Andrew Burr

WATER WARS Sink your picks into the sleeper ice of Niobrara, Nebraska, a riverside preserve of thunker blue-and-white perfection on the windswept prairie. Story and Photos by Stuart Schneider

MOUNTAIN MISHAPS Or, eight hilarious (in retrospect) ways to almost die in the mountains, whether you’re dropping the rope one pitch up a wall, backing off a cornice during a photo shoot, or stabbing yourself in the chin while cutting off a tape glove. By Dougald MacDonald Illustrations by Jamie Givens

XA^APA (HALARA) Greece’s most storied climbing isn’t Kalymnos or Meteora. No, it’s the trad-flavored multi-pitch limestone of Varasova, a proving ground just hours from Athens. Think of it as Eldo by the sea and you should be OK . . . unless you stray off route, that is. Story and photos by Bennett Barthelemy


CONTRIBUTORS David Black, James Lucas, Kyle Roseborrough, Stuart Schneider

EDITORIAL Celebrating the Mountain Moron inside all of us


JUST OUT Five new stocking stuffers for the discerning climber

HOT FLASHES Matt Wilder brings bolt-free 5.14 to Flatirons; Rouhling’s new 9a/b

THE HAULBAG A Santa-riffic Off Route; Overheard; The Crux: seven (semi-sanitary) dirtbagging tips; the jacket that’s a sleeping bag and a tent; more . . .

OFF THE WALL Downward bound — the subterranean art of “free-descending” technical canyons

PLAYERS Steve Levin: master trad pledges three years to his 450-page Eldorado Canyon guidebook, a magnum opus

TEN THINGS . . . El Potrero Chico, Mexico

ROADKILL Catharsis: how a fallen climber rebuilt himself better, faster, stronger

SPORTING LIFE Your partner’s ringing again: do you pick up the phone?

SUSTAINED A look back at 25 Sustaineds, with five hot-button access stories brought up to date

CLASSIC CLIMBS Whodunit (5.9; eight pitches), Tahquitz Rock, California: a delectable granite mystery leads to a satisfying cliffhanger

TECH TIPS Big Wall: Free big walling . . . sans the hauling Trad: Scum Manifesto — aka, oozing over stone, a full-body primer in seven easy steps

MILEAGE Ibiza, Spain — limestone paradise, raver hell, or a little of both?

REVIEWSEldorado Canyon: A Climbing Guide; Big UP’s face-melting film Progression; Royal Robbins’ memoir My Life: To Be Brave; and Early Days in the Range of Light

ANCHORED Micah Rush, a Wyoming diehard putting the “free” in venerable Fremont Canyon

PERSPECTIVE Doug Englekirk: climber, general contractor