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2008 Golden Piton Awards2008 was the year of the winner: Britney Spears won back her sanity; Michael Phelps took eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics; and oh, yeah Barack Obama won his bid for the Oval Office. On the climbing front, the bar, pushed almost immortally high in the aught decade, was notched higher yet. Once again, in 2008, the unthinkable a trad 5.14 up El Cap in 20 hours; a 250-foot, mondo-cave 5.15b; and a free solo of a multi-pitch 5.12+ has become reality.
2009 Shoe Review – August 2009A bumper crop of sport, trad, and approach rigs – Shoe designers still find ways to tempt those of us who need the perfect shoe for a specific climb. So, as with last year, we asked them to send us their flagship high-performance sport/bouldering model and then a traddie version of the same. We recruited 15 testers with as many different foot shapes and ability levels, showing no mercy to our kicks on rock (and plastic) from coast to coast.
2009 SCS Adult National ChampionshipsPhotos by John Evans – In a two-day comp near Salt Lake City, Coloradans Carlo Traversi and Emily Harrington won the 2009 SCS Adult National Championships, sponsored by The North Face and Sterling Ropes. Ryan Roden and Amanda Sutton won the speed-climbing nationals. Both the men’s and women’s fields at the Momentum gym were stacked with top U.S. sport climbers, and Traversi entered the final tied with Ethan Pringle and Jonathan Siegrist. Read More.
24 Hours of Horseshoe HellPhoto by Lucas Marshall / www.lucasmarshall.com – 2009’s fourth annual 24 HHH brought many new and exciting variables to the table. Ample rain, Tommy Caldwell, mucho loud screaming and the best event to ever grace the walls of Arkansas’ Horseshoe Canyon Ranch was eventually how it all turned out. In this unique endurance climbing challenge, participants attempt to cleanly lead as many routes as they can in 24 hours, with more points for harder routes and trad climbs. September 25-27, 2009 had over 500 people slammed into Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in the form of 230 competitors, over 60 volunteers, and spectators. Camaraderie was high. Competition was fierce. Visit TwoFourHell.com for more info.
Thirty Pitches of 5.10 in a Day at the GunksAfter climbing ten 10’s in about 4.5 hours in June, 2008, Rufus Lusk and I thought we should up the ante a bit. Twenty 10’s, perhaps, eleven 11’s, eek, thirty 10’s. YES!As training to climb the Nose in a day, we thought that climbing thirty 5.10’s at New York’s Shawangunks in a day would be a relatively close approximation of the amount of effort we’d have to put forth. If nothing else, the project would help our stamina.
Tech Tip – Technique – HEELS OF STEEL 6 keys to master-class slab climbing – CLIMBERS TYPICALLY FALL INTO TWO CAMPS when it comes to slabs. Some gag at the connotation of meat-grating, nipple-raking falls. But others say friction climbing is our most elegant discipline, a communion of mental grit and technical grace that rewards brains and finesse, not mindless brawn.
The 2009 Bouldering National ChampionshipsPhotos by Steve Woods – Daniel Woods and Alex Johnson won the adult Bouldering National Championship at the Spot gym in Boulder, competing in a field that included some international superstars of bouldering. Among the surprises: second place for Paul Robinson (a pleasant surprise because he suffered a broken ankle in October), and second place for the relatively unknown 16-year-old Chauncenia Cox from Colorado.
2009 Kalymnos Rock Climbing Festival Photos by Nicolas Smalios, Giannis Koulias and Aris Theodoropoulos – The Kalymnos Rock Climbing Festival, celebrating the enchanting rocks of Kalymnos, Greece, took place, for the 4th time, on May 22-26, 2009. The highlight of this years festival was none other than the mega-talented, 16 year-old Czech climber, Adam Ondra. More than 300 climbers from around the world participated (84 Greeks, 50 Germans, 28 Swedes, 28 Swiss, 26 Austrians, 16 Italians, 13 Spaniards, 12 Americans and individuals from 15 more countries). The event was made possible with support from the Greek Tourism Organisation and the Greek company POLO. Read the event recap by festival organizer Aris Theodoropoulos.
Bruce Willey – Reader Blog 79/17/09 – Two fools rediscover the Aiguille du Fou, Smoke Blanchard’s lost route in the High Sierra – I had just climbed to one of those belays where living feels beautiful and life is sweet. Tying off a horn I call down “off-belay” to Greg with a certain amount of relief. Time, then, to fondle the view from 200 feet of the arête and wait for him to pull through the cruxes made apparent by the slow progress of the rope.
a href=”https://www.climbing.com/news/hotflashes/hard_new_route_in_alaskas_hayes_range/”>Hard New Route in Alaska’s Hayes RangeSamuel Johnson and Matt Klick made the first ascent of the northern ridge on 11,140-foot Mt. Balchen in Alaska’s Hayes Range in a lightweight two-day climb. The pair climbed 14 long pitches to complete the Alchemy Ridge (V AI4 M7), the most technical route to date on rarely climbed Balchen.
The Ultimate Guide to Digital Photography in the MountainsText and photos by Alexandre Buisse – In my (very biased) opinion, mountains are the most beautiful environment on the planet, and certainly a very important source of great photography. But besides their intrinsic beauty, those big stacks of rock have another attribute that makes them of special interest to imagemakers: they are inaccessible. Or rather, very difficult to access, requiring special knowledge, equipment, and physical abilities. Which means that the perspective from mountains is likely to be very unique, only having ever been seen by a very select few.
Climbing in Northern CaliforniaPhotos by Alton Richardson – This gallery features climbing from all around Northern California including Yosemite, Mickey’s Beach, Tahoe, Castle Rock State Park, Berkeley, Sonora and Bishop and also features many nor-cal climbers and local strongmen like Eric Sanchez and Jessie Palomino. Alton Richardson is a Northern California based photographer with a passion for documenting climbing and evolving the ways that climbing is photographed. His work is about being creative and organic while incorporating the natural elements of the outdoor world with a vision of innovation.
ARCTURUS – Part 2 Remembering the agony of defeat and injury They say that completing a goal isn‘t the best part of the experience, but rather it’s the journey that counts. Unfortunately, my story is not one of great success. It is of pain, discomfort, and months of a climber’s worst nightmare: rest and recovery. See more photos by Andrew Burr from Arcturus, Half Dome. Read part 1
ARCTURUS – Part 3 – Redeption – June 2007 The Return to Arcturus Rob Pizem broke a vertebrae in his back while attempting to free an old Royal Robbins aid route on Yosemite’s Half Dome called Arcturus with Mike Anderson, in 2006. This is the third part and conclusion of Pizem, Anderson, and photographer Andrew Burr’s epic first free ascent.
Los Glaciares National Park – Argentine PatagoniaPhotos by David Albert – David Albert is a mountain guide from Córdoba Argentina who works out of El Chaltén in northern Patagonia. While based in this beautiful place during the climbing and guiding season (our winter / their summer), Albert is able to capture some stunning images of the FitzRoy Massif, Cerro Torre and other familiar scenes in the northern part of Los Glaciares National Park.
New Austro-Canadian Route on Nanga Parbat After a three-month expedition to Pakistan Canadian Louis Rousseau and Austrian Gerfried Göschl have climbed a new route on Nanga Parbat and made two attempts to climb K2.The goal of the team was to forge new routes on two 8,000 meter peaks: Nanga Parbat (8,125 meters) and K2 (8,611 meters). The team consisted of Rousseau, of Montreal, Quebec, and four Austrians: Gerfried Göschl (trip leader), Sepp Bachmair, Hans Goger, and Günther Unterberger. According to Rousseau, “Günther was definitely one of the strongest among us on the new route, but suffered problems with altitude and had to return to camp 4 on summit push.”
Parque Nacional de Basaseachic – Chihuahua, Mexico Being about the size and depth of Colorado’s Black Canyon, the immense and expansive area of Candamenia Canyon/Basaseachic hosts very few climbing routes. El Gigante, the major wall of the area, is up to 3000 feet tall and has seen only a few ascents since it’s first in the early 90s. The Cascade Wall with its giant waterfall, the Cascada de Basaseachic also only has a few routes despite it’s convenient access. Shown in this gallery are photos from the first ascent of the ten pitch Subiendo el Arcoiris (5.13b/c), the monster 28 pitch Logical Progression (5.13) plus a few sport climbs and boulder problems in and around the park.
Belgian Expedition to Baffin IslandPhotos by Nicolas Favresse, Olivier Favresse, Stephane Hanssens, Sean Villanueva and Silvia Vidal – The Belgian team of Olivier and Nicolas Favresse, Stephane Hanssens, and Sean Villanueva completed a remarkable expedition to Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island, during which they established three new routes, nearly free-climbed a big-wall route on Mt. Asgard along with Silvia Vidal, and repeated another big-wall climb. Click here to read a trip report by Nicolas Favresse.
Lamprecht Sends Possible V16 in Germany37-year-old Toni Lamprecht of Munich, Germany, has climbed a new limestone boulder problem at the cliff Altantiswand in Kochel, Germany, that he has graded 8C+, or roughly V16. At about 20 moves in length the link-up of Bokassa’s Fridge and Assassin, Monkey and Man is more of a route than a boulder problem and if the grade is confirmed this will rank among the hardest problems in the world.
21 Questions with Boone Speed Interview by Luke Laeser – Portland Oregon Based pro-photographer, father and 5.14+ climber, Boone Speed recently had his work showcased on the highly acclaimed and widely respected Feature Shoot website “featuring” photos and interviews with both up-and-coming and established photographers. For more background read the Perspective by Abbey Smith from Climbing Magazine No. 269 – September 2008. We slowed down with the 43-year-old Mr. Speed for this exclusive Climbing.com interview to see what he’s been up to.
Bruce Willey – Reader Blog 3 3/26/09 – What Happens in Vegas Stays in the Atmosphere – If you compare climbing to other sports as Ernest Hemmingway famously did, one is forced to draw a few conclusions. Obviously climbing is a lot more eco-friendly than auto racing and bull fighting. We don’t go billowing around a track, needlessly spewing oil and fumes. We don’t stab hapless angry cows with sharp sticks.
A Trip Report from Patagonia and Valle CochamóBy Camilo Lopez and Anna Pfaff – This season in Chile and Argentina, despite lots of snow and rain, we made good friends, partied, ate lots of meat, drank good wine, and most importantly, we climbed! Amidst multiple weeks of waiting out bad weather we beat all odds and climbed two spires in the Fitz Roy Range and spent eight days in Valle Cochamó “The Yosemite of Chile”. Click here to see a photo gallery from this trip.
Big Canadian Climbs on Baffin IslandCanadians Chris Brazeau and Jon Walsh enjoyed a productive summer trip to Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island, completing seven climbs or attempts in ultra-light style, including a couple of possible new routes or first free ascents. Below is Walsh’s account of the climbs, with some minor editing and annotation: Chris Brazeau and I spent four weeks this summer in Auyuittuq National Park, climbing the granite walls and ridges of the Weasel Valley. We left home with some inspiring photos, vague beta, and a lot of excitement. In the small fishing village of Pangnirtung, we met our Belgian friends Nicolas Favresse, Sean Villanueva, Olivier Favresse, and Stéphane Hanssens, as well as Silvia Vidal of Catalonia, and together we hired a boat to take us to the trailhead at the end of the fjord.
RECENT UPLOADS: Kor-Ingalls (III 5.9) – Castleton Tower, Castle Valley, UtahThe desert spire that helped launch a revolution – Photos from PhotoPost’s Classic Climbs – “I WAS STARTLED THERE COULD BE SUCH A THING,” says Huntley Ingalls, the first climber to spot the 400-foot (now) desert icon Castleton Tower. It was 1956, and Ingalls had happened upon Castleton, the Fisher Towers, and the Six Shooters during a gravity survey for the United States Geological Survey. His other impression? “That Castleton was beautiful,” says Ingalls. “It struck me as a classic.” Read more.
Cerro Torre – The Lie and the DesecrationBy Jim Donini – Over the last four decades I have climbed on all seven continents. During that time it became apparent to me that Cerro Torre was the most magical mountain that I would ever encounter. A spike of light brown granite soaring over a vertical mile out of an ice sheet and capped by an otherworldly ice mushroom. Cerro Torre is also a peak of ever changing moods predicated by swirling storm clouds or an intense orange alpine glow on the rare clear days.
World Championships in Qinghai, ChinaCanadian Sean McColl made the finals in both lead climbing and bouldering at the World Championships in Qinghai, China the only climber to achieve this remarkable feat. However, no North American gained the podium in the biannual competitions’ three big events. Spanish climber Patxi Usobiaga capped his remarkable career by winning men’s lead climbing after three second-place finishes at previous World Championships. Among the women, Austrian Johanna Ernst, last year’s World Cup winner, continued her dominance of lead climbing competition.
The Thunder from Down UnderOne of Oz’s strongest, Chris Webb Parsons, goes on a world tour – When I first met Chris Webb Parsons, he was just some random climber around a campfire in Australia. It was 2007, and I was camping alone amongst the kangaroos, wallabies, and kookaburras at Stapleton Campground, in the Grampians. Eating sardines in the dark one night, Chris and his mates invited me over to their circle.
Eight Confessions of a Climbing MomWhile we worked with the author Susan E.B. Schwartz on her feature on what it’s like to be a climbing mom, we learned that her research was so thorough (and elucidating) that it would have been remiss not to share her other conclusions with readers. The following info is distilled from more than 75 survey responses and 12-plus hours of phone interviews.
Huge New Ice Route in Nepal – Ines Papert and Cory Richards have climbed a new route on the historic, 1,200-meter north face of Kwangde in Nepal. The German-American duo summited 6,093-meter Kwangde Shar in a four-and-a-half-day round trip, despite lean ice conditions in the Khumbu.
Haley Solos Fitz Roy’s Supercanaleta Colin Haley has done a rare solo ascent of Fitz Roy in Patagonia, via the Supercanaleta (a.k.a. Super Couloir), the amazing ice and mixed line that splits the mountain’s west face. Haley completed the mile-high ascent in a little over 14 hours from the bergschrund to the summit. Significant accumulations of rime ice slowed his progress. Shown here are the photos Haley took as he made his way up the Super Couloir on January 7, 2009. To read more about his ascent visit his blog at Colinhaley.blogspot.com.
In Memory of Craig Luebben On August 9th, 2009, Craig Luebben lost his life while climbing in the Cascades. Craig was an amazing climber, guide, teacher, photographer, writer, and community member. Yet, above all, he was a deeply loved friend, husband and father. A memorial for Luebben, open to all comers, will be held Sunday August 16 at 4 p.m. At the American Alpine Club: 710 10th St., Golden, CO 80401 USA. Doors open at 3 p.m., and the event will either be held outside or in the auditorium. To donate to the Craig Luebben Memorial Fund, please visit: nococlimbing.org/get-involved
Updated 6/03/09 with Daniel Holz’s 2nd blog from the Kullu Valley in India”It was a difficult decision to make, but we desperately needed to escape the punishing 44 degree C temperatures of Southern India. Though they beckoned for the snap of our quickdraws, we had to forgo Badami’s beautiful bolted lines altogether. The time had come to travel north to the land of snow capped peaks and yak cheese.” Daniel Holz
Updated 10/07/09 with Daniel Holz’s 5th blog from Tonsai Beach, Thailand”Ahh, Tonsai. While I would love to offer you some groundbreaking news on one of the world’s most beloved crags, I’ve got nothin’. Seriously, what more can be said about this place that hasn’t already been put out there and fed to the masses? While it’s true that there are few places in this world where your belayer can pull rope from a beach side bar. And even fewer places where a local known only as the ‘Chicken Mama’ serves up a plate of mango sticky rice that will bring you to your knees.” Daniel Holz
David Ethan Graham – Professional Climber, Loner Gypsy, Cult-Sci-Fi Fanatic, Laptop Beat Maker, Nocturnal Tweaker; formerly of Portland, MaineCompiled by Abbey Smith – The hard-climbing icon Dave Graham, 26, is manic, tweaky, and opinionated. He’s also best understood in person and in his element – with friends and at the rocks, where you’ll find him in a hoody and sneakers, waving his gangly arms to pantomime Beta. Shown here is a collection of photos from his Climbing.com Pro Blog
Dave Turner Solos Huge Baffin RouteCalifornian Dave Turner capped a 65-day expedition to Sam Ford Fjord on Canada’s Baffin Island with a solo, 39-hour, single-push ascent of a 4,750-foot new route on Broad Peak. Turner climbed the elegant north arête and headwall of the 6,000-foot granite-walled mountain, with no bolts and no stop for a bivouac. The route went at VI 5.10 A3 60°. He descended the south ridge and gully, the only previously established route on Broad Peak.
DESERT SOLITAIREStory and photos by Todd Smith TIRED OF ROLLING UP TO JOSHUA TREE’S MEGA-CLASSICS only to find queues five parties deep? Well, so am I you’d think the park’s 5,000 pitches would make finding solitude simple, but the sad truth is most climbers flock to Josh’s handful of pedestrian classics with high stars and easy access. Still, with a little effort, you’ll find four- and five star pitches far from the hordes. I’ve been climbing in J-Tree nine years, tacking thousands of miles onto my odometer on the drive up from San Diego. Although most of my treks into the park’s more obscure areas have turned out fruitless, a handful of climbs stick in my mind as true gems some revealed by longtime locals, and others upon which I simply stumbled. As the park becomes more crowded, with weekend warriors like me piling in from LA and San Diego, the pressure’s on to find solitude.
Bold Ascents in High TatrasPhotos by and courtesy of Dodo Kopold – The rugged High Tatras mountains are east of the Alps, on the border between Poland and Slovakia. Though the Tatras’ high point is only 2,655 meters (8,711′), and though many North Americans have never even heard of the range, top eastern European climbers trained on these rugged peaks for decades while their travel was restricted. Slovakian Dodo Kopold has no such problems, but he still loves the High Tatras. This fall and early winter, Kopold has been putting his stamp on his native mountains in a big way. Read more.
Englekirk Fires Two Valley V 5.13s in a Week By Chris Van Leuven – “Boy, I almost just took a big whipper right there,” said a relieved Doug Englekirk after onsighting the final 5.12d pitch an enormous, imposing roof on Washington Column’s Quantum Mechanic (V 5.13a, 1000 feet). A few pitches later including a fight through an absolutely heinous and unrated chimney Englekirk was on the summit of the Column just as the sun set over the Valley, having freed two iconic Yosemite grade V 5.13 routes within a fiveday period. Between October 16-21 Englekirk redpointed Leaning Tower’s Westie Face (V 5.13a/b AO, 9 pitches, 700 feet, ‘FFA’ Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles 2001) in fewer than five attempts spread over three months and Washington Column’s Quantum Mechanic (V 5.13a, 15 pitches, FA/FFA Rob “Platinum” Miller, Jay “Shaggy” Selvidge, 2002) on his second attempt. Doug’s send of the Westie Face likely stands in the top 10 free ascents of the route. As for Quantum, this is likely the third free ascent, after Yuji Huriyama’s impressive onsight in 2003.
Beautiful Cascades Testpiece Free-Climbed Jens Holsten and Sol Wertkin have free-climbed Dragons of Eden (5.12a R) on Dragontail Peak in the central Cascades of Washington State. The route was established in 1989 by Bob McGown and Wayne Wallace, who free-climbed up to 5.11 but used some aid. Last summer, Holsten and Wertkin repeated the route, likely completing the first alpine-style ascent, in a 20-hour round trip from the car. After eight pitches of steep climbing, with a roofy three-pitch headwall, the route ends on the northeast buttress, which climbs another 2,000 feet to Dragontail’s summit. The two men free-climbed several of the pitches, but found the cracks too dirty to attempt a full free ascent.
Bruce Willey’s 6th Blog – The Eastside Lowdown: Front Country Cragging under the shadow of the High Sierra CrestTo be frank, I thought about starting this story with an epic. Some hanging on the thin edge thing: frozen fingers grasping for a nub, a hair-raiser of a lightning storm scrubbing the inside of your helmet, being skinned alive by a fall on run-out slab. It sells magazines and stokes campfires, not to mention touches the void that is ego.But I’m happy to report that climbing is more fun when you manage to avoid these stories in the first place. When fear is replaced by experience (see above), or when you find heightened conviction with vigorous hands and feet and the common assurance of such things as a rope attached to a good, maybe even loving partner.
El Potrero Chico, Nuevo Leon, MexicoPhotos by by Adam Bove – The winter paradise of Potrero Chico is located in the town of Hidalgo, about 30 minutes away from the massive city of Monterrey, Mexico, just a couple hours beyond the Texas border. The scene is small, relaxed and the limestone sport routes are plentiful. The cliffs vary from powerful, pocketed single-pitch to soaring, monster multi-pitch towers containing a variety of slabs and overhanging walls for all abilities. The food is good, the people are amazing and the climbing is perfect. Shown in this gallery is a small collection of shots taken by Bove in December 2008.
Austrian’s Sendfest in Rocklands, South AfricaEmanuel Moosburger of Innsbruck, Austria recently amassed an impressive ticklist during a seven-week trip to the sandstone bouldering mecca, Rocklands in South Africa. Highlights from his trip were about 30 problems V10 and harder including: 11 V11s, 6 V12s, 5 V13s and a V14 repeat (at night by headlamp) of Fred Nicole’s Mooiste Maise that was believed to be unclimbable after a crucial hold had broken. One of Moosburger’s most prized days from the trip consisted of sending Royksopp (V11), Armed Response (V13) and The Vice (V13).
The Internationals”Every parking space has a car parked in it, so we pull off to the side of the road. The scene is pretty much the same every weekend. Men, women, and children of various shapes and sizes check and double-check their gear, before they burden their backs with the heavy load. My wife or other climbing partner looks at me, ‘Scuba diving is too much work,’ one of them will usually say. I just agree and load my own back.” Emmanuel Lacoste – Reader Blog 3
Huber Brothers Free-Climb Trango Tower Alexander and Thomas Huber have redpointed Eternal Flame (5.13b), a classic 35-pitch route to the summit of 20,508-foot Trango (“Nameless”) Tower in Pakistan. The German brothers managed 5.13 crack climbing at over 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet) on the granite needle. In all, their ascent required half a dozen 5.12 or harder pitches. Eternal Flame was established 20 years ago by the German team of Kurt Albert, Wolfgang Güllich, Christoph Stiegler, and Milan Sykora, who free-climbed about 80 percent of the route, with pitches up to 5.12; they were unable to free four pitches. (Controversially, they also placed an average of three bolts per pitch, often next to good cracks, to facilitate future ascents.)
Expedition_Antarctica-NovDec08.gif © Hubers, Siegrist Pioneer Huge Antarctic WallsDuring a six-week trip to Queen Maud Land in Antarctica, Bavarian brothers Alex and Thomas Huber, along with Stephan Siegrist from Switzerland, climbed new routes on two enormous, otherworldy rock towers thrusting from the ice cap. The trio made the first ascent of the 2,500-foot west face of Holtanna, the north buttress of Holtanna, and the west buttress of Ulvetanna. Images courtesy of Expedition Antarctica.
Searching for Alpine Perfection in the BugaboosPhotos by Gerhard Schaar – Nesteled in British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains is Bugaboo Provincial Park home to some the finest alpine multi-pich granite in North America. Bugaboo Spire, Snowpatch, Pigeon, the Howser Towers … climbers from all over the world all celebrate this remote and rugged wonderland of spires. Standard proceedure, before venturing into the wilds is to wrap your car with chicken wire, protecting it from the rubber eating porcupines. Shown is this gallery, Schaar has captured many stuning views and routes such as: the West Ridge of Pigeon Spire, the SE Ridge of Brenta Spire, the NE Ridge Bugaboo Spire, the Kraus McCarty and Sunshine Crack on Snowpatch Spire.
Get Shorty – The 5 best miniature sport routes in AmericaBy Matt Samet – “These days, sport routes are getting longer,” says the sport-climbing progenitor Boone Speed. Speed would know: he recently photographed Chris Sharma on his 250-foot mega-pitch Jumbo Love, a 5.15 in California that’s emerged as North America’s longest, most difficult stretch of bolted rock.
Going Big on the Costa BlancaStory and photos by Shawn Boye – I first travelled to the Costa Blanca, as so many do, for a sunny respite from the long, dark Swedish winter. The chance to climb sporty limestone routes irresistibly drawing me south, we would end up in Calpe and with a view from the 15th floor the Peñón de Ifach would dominate our morning preparations and evening victories and defeats.
Susan E.B. Schwartz – Reader Blog 10The Schwartz Spot – It must be so much fun to write a book – Recently, I was thrilled that Eric Horst asked me to read his new book in manuscript form, and if I was so moved, provide a blurb. I’ve just started the manuscript but it’s terrific. I can’t say more here. You’ll have to look for the book when it comes out later this year. But Eric’s manuscript set me thinking. About how much effort goes into writing a book… Heck, about how much effort goes into writing a bad book.
Daniel Holz – Reader Blog 4 Harau Valley, West Sumatra, Indonesia – If you’ve been following this blog, you might expect this next entry to arrive from somewhere in mainland Asia – perhaps China or Tibet. We even considered heading straight to Mongolia to avoid the monsoon season in southern Asia. But one click of the Google search button changed our minds completely.
Climbing.com Welcomes Daniel Holz to the Reader Blog Team”Years back, I asked a friend how she was able to commit to bouncing around Europe for months at a time without a care in the world. She plainly replied, “It’s simple Dan, just buy your ticket and the rest will fall into place.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but there was so much brilliance embedded in her simple answer.” Daniel Holz is his first Climbing.com Reader Blog from Hampi, India
John Bachar 1957-2009On July 5, the climbing world lost one of its greatest icons: John Bachar. While climbing alone at the Dike Wall near Mammoth Lakes, California, Bachar fell to the ground, though the circumstances of the fall remain unclear. Bachar died later at Mammoth Hospital on Sunday afternoon.The free-spirited Californian was a symbol of American free climbing and free soloing, with a strong traditional climbing ethic. The blonde-haired, surfer-esque and charismatic Bachar will be remembered for many of his earlier achievements, including his daring 1980s free solos of Yosemite routes like Outer Limits (5.10c) (Climbing Magazine Issue no. 84), New Dimensions (5.11a), Butterfingers (5.11a), Butterballs (5.11c), as well as the sport routes Enterprise (5.12b), in the Owens River Gorge, and The Gift (5.12c), at Red Rocks (Climbing Magazine Issue no. 192).
INDEX CLUB The First Rule of Index…You Don’t Talk About Index – From Climbing Magazine No. 279 – October 2009 – If you measure a crag’s merits by rock quality and the influential climbers who there perfected their technique, there can be no doubt Index holds a very special place in the pantheon of granite climbing areas. Index is an unsung land of classics, claimed from the moss through grit and determination. Here, not-to-be-missed lines sport, trad, aid, and more. Note: don’t be surprised to find a few bolts on classic trad lines. Click here to see more photos from Ben Gilkison of climbing at Index.
PhotoPost Uploads From Indain Creek, Utah Desert action: Extra Lean (5.11+) at the Second Meat Wall, view of the Creek from the Super “Dust” Bowl camp, Rainbow from the Cottonwood Camp, Mad Dog (5.11+) at the Cat Wall, King Cat (5.11) at the Cat Wall and Pistol Whipped (5.12-). UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS AND WIN PRIZES! Create your own galleries, comment, rate, and view thousands of photos in a variety of categories: BOULDERING, CLIMBING EVENTS, TRAD, SPORT, THE CLIMBER LIFESTYLE, ALPINE ICE AND MIXED, INDOOR AND COMPETITION, and CLASSIC CLIMBS
International Kalymnos Climbing FestivalBy Aris Theodoropoulos – The International Kalymnos Climbing Festival will be held on May 22-26, 2009, on the scenic and tranquil island of Kalymnos, Greece. The event will be organized by the Municipality of Kalymnos. Climbers of all abilities and from all countries are welcome to attend the event.
COCHISE WHISPERSInner and outer worlds collide in an Arizona granite hideaway – By Fitz Cahall and photos by James Q Martin – Well lubricated with Pinot Gris, “Pig” careened around the campfire like a gyroscope. “Cochise Stronghold is a promised land,” he said, nodding preacherly. Shadows capered on the rock behind him, here in Joshua Tree’s overcrowded Hidden Valley Campground.
Jeremy Collins: The InterviewInterview by Adam Peters – Chances are, if you’ve picked up a climbing mag in the past ten years or so you have no doubt seen Jeremy Collin’s artwork. Not only does he monopolize the creative genius you see gracing your magazine pages, but he stinking rips too! Haling from Kansas City, this dynamo is a first ascent slayer, grabbing FA’s from Arkansas sandstone to Black Canyon granite.
The Paintings of Jesse CrockJesse Crock is a native Coloradoan with a love for climbing and the outdoors. He has passionately explored and captured the world around him with the use of strong, bold lines and bright, vibrant colors. Crock is an art teacher by trade and finds that he often connects his work with the playfulness of his students and is inspired by the energy they bring to the classroom. As a climber he loves to bring the viewer’s eye to places that are not often painted. In each of the paintings shown in this gallery he has attempted to abstract the subject and background so that they become interwoven. Please visit his website at: Jessecrockart.com for more.
Americans Bag Huge Unclimbed Peak in NepalAmericans David Gottlieb and Joe Puryear have completed the first ascent of Jobo Rinjang (6,778 meters) in Nepal, near Nangpa La on the border with Tibet. The two climbed a direct route up the 1,700-meter south face. See more Photos by Joe Puryear at Climbnepal.blogspot.com.
Kaare Iverson – Reader Blog 1 11/25/09 – Dreamy Limestone from Thailand’s Tonsai Beach in the South to Chiang Mai in the North – A year of traveling the world in search of the best climbing and subsequently the best photo opportunities landed me first on Tonsai Beach. In under a month there I’d already increased my climbing abilities by a full grade, met Dan Holz and Emmanuel Lacoste, found myself writing a Climbing.com Reader Blog and had all of my gear coated in a fine veneer of salt-cake and mold.
Expedition to the Khumbu Valley and Cholatse, Nepal Photos by Felix Berg – his post-monsoon expedition had the goal of exploring the less traveled Cholatse (6443m) mountain in the middle of the Khumbu Valley in Nepal. The style was alpine and light, the team just made up by Robert Steiner and myself, both German nationals. We left Frankfurt on the 14th of September with a cheap and badly timed Air India flight, had a day in Katmandu for organization, and arrived to the Khumbu at the rough little airport of Lukla town with its short uphill landing strip on the 17th. We hiked in through the beautiful Khumbu Valley, surprised at the development of internet, coffee shops and prices, to reach base camp on the 22nd of September. Read more.
Toni Lamprecht Climbs New 5.15 at KochelGerman strongman Toni Lamprecht has climbed a new limestone sport climb, Jaws 11, at Kochel in Southern Germany that he’s graded “up in the French 9th grade”; i.e., mid-5.15. Lamprecht named his new route after a fierce reef break on Maui, called “Jaws” or “Pe’ahi”. He also recently snatched the first ascent of the long-standing, 15-year open project, Katze auf dem heißen Blechdach. The route, which name translates to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, features a tricky double-dyno finish that he graded 8c or 5.14b.
Toni Lamprecht “Beats” Another 8c+/5.14c Toni Lamprecht has slain another testpiece at his local stomping ground Kochel in Southern Germany that he’s named Beat it (8c+/5.14c). The 38-year-old German, who’s made a number of hard first ascents at Kochel over the years, says that 15 years ago he placed a few bolts in the steep upper part of the wall and then forgot about the beautiful line because it seemed too futuristic.
The Old Man and the Sea – Gorge du Verdon, FranceIn August and September 2009, Toni Lamprecht, Uli Strunz and Benno Wagner spent several weeks in the Gorge du Verdon with the target of establishing a first ascent on one of the amazing limestone walls in the south of France. The result is Le Vieux et la Mer or The Old Man and the Sea, with 7 pitches up to 5.13b/c. German climber Toni Lamprect believes this one of the nicest and most beautifull first ascents he’s made. Lamprect had the project in his mind for several years, but finally caught the “big fish” this summer.
Bouldering NorwayPhotos by Laurent de Senarclens – Magnus Midtboe, one of Norway’s top climbers, made some impressive highball ascents this fall (2009) on the granite of his homeland during a recent Mammut sponsored trip along with swiss aces Cyrille Albasini, Franz Widmer and World Cup champion Anna Stöhr. Magnus first “warmed up” with Good Year a 6-7 meter Font 7c+ first ascent (after a bit of cleaning and quick abseil) at the sea side boulders of Sirevag in the Rogaland region. Later on the trip at the area of Lysebotn (a world famous base jump location) Magnus made the first ascent of the 10 meter Hoka Hey (Font 7c+) after a couple top rope laps to inspect the rock and clean it up a bit. “Hoka Hey” roughly translates from the Sioux Indian saying “it’s a nice day to die”.
Major New Route at Willoughby in Vermont – Ian Austin and Josh Hurst have completed Luna Kahuna (180m, M8 5.11 NEI5+), a five-pitch mixed route above Lake Willoughby in Vermont. Hurst called this the “first multi-pitch bolted route” in New England, with 24 protection bolts in its five pitches. “I called it a bolted route and not a sport route because the bolts are where you need them and not where you don’t,” Hurst said. “You are 15 feet out at times on M4/M5. For New England, with its archaic view of mixed climbing, Luna Kahuna will be viewed as a clip-up.”
Sending Spree at the ButtermilksMatt Wilder climbed a number of hard problems during a three-week trip to Bishop, California, over his winter holiday in December 2008 through early January 2009. Shown here are a collection of photos from his trip that he featured on his blog at: http://mattwilderclimbing.blogspot.com
Dozens of New Routes in NorwayBy Marten Blixt – On March 8-15, 2009, the Norwegian Alpine Club (Norsk Tindeklub, NTK) invited nearly forty climbers from worldwide (Russia, Georgia, South Africa, US etc., and yes even Sweden!) to come to Lofoten, Norway, for a come-as-you-are climbing meet. The meeting was organized by Marius Morstad from NTK, as a part of his celebrated “Marius Magical Mystery Tours” events. The humble philosophy behind these events is simply: “Put climbing and adventure in focus without add-ons like sponsors, logos, DJ’s, slideshows, competitions; no public, no clinics and organizers with yellow T-shirts.”
Melloblocco 2009Record numbers at the great international bouldering festival in Val di Mello, Italy – On May 7-10, (Thursday through Sunday), 2009, over 2100 registered climbers and more than 5000 visitors gathered for the sixth annual Melloblocco, or “bouldering game”, at the most famous international bouldering meeting in the world, Val di Mello (Val Masino – Sondrio), Italy. It was meant to be a celebration and what a celebration it turned out to be!
Misty Murphy’s 5th Reader Blog “I just spent this morning writing a letter to the Access Fund about the big stinky problem at the Welcome Springs/Cathedral of southern Utah. Yes, it is true. Climbers are PIGS! Not all of you, of course. But apparently for some of you need ‘How to take care of your shit 101’. ” Misty MurphyMeet the Team and subscribe to their RSS feeds: SUSAN E.B. SCHWARTZ; MISTY MURPHY; BRUCE WILLEY; MARTIN GUTMANN; SARAH JANE ALEXANDER; SARA LINGAFELTER; GREGORY BAHR
Monkey Face Highlinin’ Words and photos by Tyler Roemer – A July 2009 a crew of Oregonians rigged up a highline on the 350-foot Monkey Face on the backside of Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park, home to routes: Just Do It (5.14c), the Backbone (5.13a), Spank the Monkey (5.12a) and Astro Monkey (5.11d). With their tension system tight, harnesses, and fall leashes quadruple checked Joel Sprenger, Chuck Williams, and Tyge Shelby inch their way into the mouth of the Monkey. The highline session went into the evening hours with knee drops, turn arounds, pounding hearts, and only a couple falls in the bag. A quote that resonated through the evening was, “Who needs to jump out of a plane when you have this.” Greg Garretson.
Alaska Vets Climb Superb New RoutesJay Smith and Jack Tackle, longtime veterans of Alaskan climbing, enjoyed a remarkable two and a half weeks in the Alaska Range in May, climbing four new routes. Tackle, who has done 28 climbing trips to the 49th state, called it “maybe my best trip ever to Alaska since I started going in 1976.” Meanwhile, back on Mt. Huntington, Chris Thomas and Rick Vance made a rapid, nearly complete ascent of the Harvard Route, stopping just below the summit.
Big, New & Hard Ice Climbs in WyomingGood snow and consistent temperatures made for incredible ice climbing conditions near Cody, Wyoming this year. Aaron Mulkey, Joel Anderson, Dan Miller, Matt Steen, Kenny Gasch, Hillary Eisen and Matt Touchette went hiking and explored further into the depths of the South Fork Valley finding a number of unclimbed lines for the taking.
Alaska Action: New Routes in Ruth Gorge and FA of Ice PyramidJon Bracey and Matt Helliker enjoyed a super-productive two-week trip to the Ruth Gorge in the Alaska Range, where stable weather and good ice conditions allowed them to climb two very hard new routes. And, Clint Helander and Seth Holden completed the first ascent of the Ice Pyramid (9,250′) in the Revelation Mountains of Alaska. The two climbed the southwest ridge in a four-day round trip from base camp.
Sport Climbing in AlbertaPhotos by Nick Croken – Nick Croken is a photographer based out of Edmonton, Alberta. Although most of his work is commercial and automotive based he is out climbing every weekend and often finds himself shooting from above at the people below. This gallery is a small selection of what Alberta has to offer at areas near Calgary, Jasper,and Canmore. Stay tuned for future galleries to come featuring more beautiful Alberta rock.
Awesome Big-Wall Ice in Norway – Separate teams of Norwegian, German, and Swiss climbers seized the day in unusually cold temperatures during February and established gigantic new ice routes on Norwegian cliffs the size of Yosemite Valley’s walls. Bjorn-Elvind Aartun climbed two routes on the 1,000-meter-high Kjerag massif directly above the open sea in Lysefjord in southwestern Norway. The German climber Robert Jasper made two separate trips to Norway to climb three different huge ice routes.
NovenaEnmienda_Bindhammer09.gif © Bindhammer’s Marathon Through The Roof Interview and photos by Frank KretschmannAndreas Bindhammer repeats La Novena Enmienda (9a+ or 5.15a) – The Catolonia region of Spain is known for its denseness of difficult routes. And one area stands out extremely: The Cova Grande cave at Santa Linya, in the cooler months is know as ‘the important meeting place’ of the international climbing scene and an ideal training area. Countless lines promise great challenges at the highest level. A month later at Santa Linya, Chris Sharma redpointed the mega-project Neanderthal (9b or 5.15b). The route begins with 8a (5.13b) to a no-hands rest, followed by sustained, difficult climbing to a huge dyno and then more desperate climbing to the top of Santa Linya’s main cave.
Open Bivy – METAMORPHOSIS Losing it in the Kichatnas: a transformative experience Alaska, 1991: a ptarmigan spoke to me from 90 feet up Middle Triple Peak (8,835 feet), in the Kichatna Range. Seth Shaw and I had just ticked the second ascent of the venerable East Buttress (VI 5.9 A3; 3,300 feet) in grotesque conditions. As we made the last of 20-some raps to the glacier, the Fates dished out more adventure: the snow dollop we stood on gave way while we built our station. Boom! The rope, a 100-meter 9mm cord, whipped through Seth’s device. He hadn’t yet clipped the belay and fell 90 feet to the glacier, pulling the rope with him. Tethered to a couple of pieces of gear with no rope, I feared Seth had fallen to his death. It was then that the ptarmigan spoke…except its usual churgle-churgle came out sounding like English, like a distant, incomprehensible conversation at the end of a hall. I strained my ears. Was the ptarmigan saying all would be OK, or warning of utter doom?
The 14th annual Ouray Ice FestivalPhotos by Joe Skalsky – Colorado’s own Ouray Ice Festival, held in the beautiful San Juan Mountains, kicked off and swung into action on January 8-11, 2009. On the schedule this year were slideshows by Clint Cook, Mike Libecki, Raphael Slawinski and Maxime Turgeon, plus an Ice Axe Throwing Competition, the Screaming Barfies Challenge, the 5th Annual Kids Climbing College, a pullup contest, gear auctions, gear demos, climbing clinics, and of course, the famous mixed climbing competition. Shown in this gallery are a handful of mixed masters from Saturday’s comp. Read more. For more information visit: ourayicefestival.com
Climbing.com Photo of the Month Winners Deep water soloing in Thailand, sport climbing in Spain’s Rodellar, bouldering at Arizona’s Oak Flats, pocket pullin’ in California’s Owens River Gorge, tower baggin’ in Utah’s Castle Valley, sloper squeezin’ Alabama’s HP40 … there have been thousands of gorgeous shots uploaded over the years! What are you waiting for! UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS AND WIN PRIZES! Create your own galleries, comment, rate, and view thousands of photos in a variety of categories: BOULDERING, CLIMBING EVENTS, TRAD, SPORT, THE CLIMBER LIFESTYLE, ALPINE ICE AND MIXED, INDOOR AND COMPETITION, and CLASSIC CLIMBS.
NEW UPLOADS in PhotoPostSport climbing at The Bank, Shelf Road, Colorado by acdoll; Hanging on Traitor Horn by CarlA, Sabotorfossen in Rjukan, Norway by Martin Paldan; Off season crack training by handjam; Black Corridor chaos at Red Rocks in Las Vegas, Nevada by Hutch1033; Climbing at Hatun Machay in Peru by Antonio Puyol; Sunrise on the Mount Whitney’s East Face, Eastern Sierra, California by vic; And climbing at the The Pit, Flagstaff Arizona by JohnFlo. Create your own galleries, comment, rate, and view thousands of photos in a variety of categories: BOULDERING, CLIMBING EVENTS, TRAD, SPORT, THE CLIMBER LIFESTYLE, ALPINE ICE AND MIXED, INDOOR AND COMPETITION, and CLASSIC CLIMBS.
New Uploads in PhotoPostCreate your own galleries, comment, rate, and view thousands of photos in a variety of categories: BOULDERING, CLIMBING EVENTS, TRAD, SPORT, THE CLIMBER LIFESTYLE, ALPINE ICE AND MIXED, INDOOR AND COMPETITION, and CLASSIC CLIMBS. Shown here are a couple classic boulder problems at Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania by climbafoetus.
UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS AND WIN PRIZES! From city-scape bouldering in Qingdao, China, to digit-munching, splitter-fingers at Old Rag Mountain, Virginia, classic moderates in the lush forrests of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, night time bouldering sessions at Timna Park, Israel, and a sighting of the living legend Fred Beckey … it’s all in there and much, much more Create your own galleries, comment, rate, and view thousands of photos in a variety of categories.
Recent Uploads in PhotoPost: Lisa on Peter Principle (5.11a), Donner Summit, CA; Chris on Finger Licker (5.11a), Donner Summit, CA; Big Boy, somewhere in California; Sport climbing in the Flatirons above Boulder, CO; and Wheels a Fire (V6), Joe’s Valley, UT. UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS AND WIN PRIZES! Create your own galleries, comment, rate, and view thousands of photos in a variety of categories: BOULDERING, CLIMBING EVENTS, TRAD, SPORT, THE CLIMBER LIFESTYLE, ALPINE ICE AND MIXED, INDOOR AND COMPETITION, and CLASSIC CLIMBS
French Climber Sends Smith Rock Project By Luke Laeser – In early November French climber Pierre Bollinger made the first ascent of an old project at the world famous, standard setting welded tuff cliffs of Oregon’s Smith Rock State Park. Bollinger sent the 10-year-old open project that’s located on the slightly overhanging Aggro Wall, situated between Aggro Monkey (5.13a/b) and Badman (5.14a). Bollinger named the route Shoot’m Up and has proposed a grade of 5.14b (8c).
Big New Routes in Isolated Argentinean ValleyTwo North American teams have completed routes on the striking granite towers of the Piritas Valley of Argentina, a little-explored and remote drainage above the upper Rio Turbio, near the Argentina-Chile border.
The 4th Annual REEL ROCK FILM TOUR kicks off in September with over 100 shows around the world! The fourth annual REEL ROCK Film Tour is coming to a venue near you this September and October delivering the best in cutting-edge climbing and adventure entertainment. This year REEL ROCK brings you the world premiere of Progression, the latest release from Big UP Productions. Also catch the sneak preview of the brand new series First Ascent, co-produced by Sender Films and Nat Geo Adventure Channel. Back by popular demand are the two winning short films from this year’s REEL ROCK Filmmaking Competition. Vote for your favorite films online starting in August. Gear giveaways, appearances by top climbers, and fundraising for non-profits always add to the fun and community spirit of REEL ROCK events. Come and celebrate your passion for climbing and outdoor adventure!To check out the tour schedule and film trailers, go to: www.reelrocktour.com.
The 4th Annual REEL ROCK FILM TOUR kicks off in September with over 100 shows around the world! The fourth annual REEL ROCK Film Tour is coming to a venue near you this September and October delivering the best in cutting-edge climbing and adventure entertainment. This year REEL ROCK brings you the world premiere of Progression, the latest release from Big UP Productions. Also catch the sneak preview of the brand new series First Ascent, co-produced by Sender Films and Nat Geo Adventure Channel. Back by popular demand are the two winning short films from this year’s REEL ROCK Filmmaking Competition. Vote for your favorite films online starting in August. Gear giveaways, appearances by top climbers, and fundraising for non-profits always add to the fun and community spirit of REEL ROCK events. Come and celebrate your passion for climbing and outdoor adventure! Don’t miss the Reel Rock Film Tour Premiere at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado on September 10th! The show starts at 7:00pm. Pre-purchase your tickets for $12 at the Boulder Rock Club, The Spot Gym, and Neptune Mountaineering or buy them at the door for $14. But, be careful, opening night sold out last year.
Reid Morth PhotographyReid Morth was born and raised in North Dakota, where he graduated St. Mary’s High School and went on to graduate from college in commercial art. It was here that Reid found his passion for photography. In 2006 Reid relocated to the mountains surrounding Bozeman Montana so he could be in the epicenter for all his passions: photography, snowboarding, skateboarding, and climbing. Visit: morthphotography.com for more.
Respect Your AldersBy Emily Stifler and photos by Mikey Schaefer – Dome hunting in wild Alaska – July 2007: Kate Rutherford peered out the window of the Cessna 185 as it flew toward Dillingham, in southwest Alaska. For the next month, Rutherford would be working as a fly-fishing guide in Bristol Bay’s remote headwaters. Outside the window, the ragged 5,000-foot peaks of the Wood River Range cut the western skyline, eventually ebbing into gentle tundra, spruce forests, and glacially carved lakes.
The Photography of Ricardo Silva Alves Ricardo Silva Alves of Lisbon, Portugal, has been interested in photography since the age of 16. He is attracted to the variety of colors, textures, forms, energy and movement found outside in natural environments. Besides working as an engineer, he spends most of his time in the field, climbing and photographing, always looking for dynamic compositions, distinct light and new challenging views. In this gallery Ricardo presents a variety of climbs and climbers near his home in Portugal as well as other areas throughtout the world. To see more of his work visit: pbase.com/ricardoalves
California Bouldering – A Way of Life Photos by Brooks Institute student Richard Tyler Gross – This collection of bouldering images, shot in 2008 and 2009, was gathered from a few areas in Southern California like Santa Barbara, Bishop, Joshua Tree, and Pine Mountain. These places offer stunning views and allow one to truly feel connected to Mother Nature and her elements. These images help support why bouldering is more than a just sport or social gathering; it is a way of life. It is a personal test of the soul as well as a development of trust in oneself. Bouldering has a spirituality, and it is my aim to capture that within these photographs. My passion for photography and the outdoors is an ongoing quest of finding the perfect balance within myself, nature, and the subject being photographed.
Rocky Mountain Highball – Colorado Premiere – Photo Gallery Last Monday , April 27th, 2009, was the first screening of Rocky Mountain Highball. The event nearly packed the house and brought four generations of Colorado boulderers together. The pre-party at the B.Side Lounge provided a chance for people like Jim Holloway, Mark Wilford, John Sherman, and Steve Mammen to spend a few hours chatting with the new generation such as Paul Robinson, Jason Kehl, Kevin Jorgeson, and Matt Wilder. The American Alpine Club and Yama Studio are extremely pleased with how this landmark event was received. Read more.
Climbing in Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and SwitzerlandPhotos by Bulgarian lawyer turned professional photographer Ruslan Vakrilov – In this gallery Vakrilov captures a handful of localy famous Bulgarians, a few Brits and his girlfriend on a collection of problems and sport routes at Magic Wood and Brione in Switzerland, Pili and Mouzaki in Greece, and Bafa Lake in Turkey. Plus lesser known areas: Kamen Briag, Vratca, Tiulenovo, Rila Monastery, Bozenitca, Maslen Nos, and Karlukovo Cave in Bulgaria.
Desperate New Route on Peak Pobeda Russian climbers Vitaly Gorelik and Gleb Sokolov completed a difficult and dangerous new line up the north face of Peak Pobeda, the highest summit in the Tien Shan mountains, in late August. The two men climbed the circa 2,400-meter (7,875-foot) buttress alpine-style over seven and a half days, with another day and a half to descend. They topped out on a minor peak along the long, high ridge between the 7,439-meter main summit of Pobeda and 6,918-meter Pobeda West (Peak Pavel Pshavel), and then crossed over the summit of Pobeda West during their descent.
Triple Crown Bouldering at the Stone FortPhotos by Sam Silvey – The biggest and most bodacious outdoor boulder series was back again for the 7th time in 2009 and dedicated as ever to maintaining climber access by raising funds for the Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition and The Carolina Climbers’ Coalition. The series began at Hound Ears in Boone, NC on October 3rd then moved to Horse Pens-40 in Steele, AL on November 7th, and concluded at the Stone Fort in Chattanooga, TN (after a snow day) on December 6th. For more information and competition results visit: TripleCrownBouldering.org
Everything is IlluminatedInterviews by Matt Samet – “Sleep came easily before the redpoint,” says Shawn Diamond, 26, of his December 28 FA of the hyper-perilous Luminance (V11), a 16-move highball at the Buttermilk, California. “But I could hardly close my eyes the night after, from the adrenaline.” Diamond, a Cali native now in med school at the University of Cornell Weill Medical College in New York City, was spotted (bravely) by Sara Orens and Walker Emerson, the latter tying into an anchor, to keep him and Diamond from plunging 40 feet off the downsloping ledge below the problem.
French Climb South Spur of NemjungFrench alpinists Yannick Graziani and Christian Trommsdorff have climbed the south spur of 7,140-meter (23,425-foot) Nemjung in Nepal. The two climbed the route in a six-day round trip, reaching a high point of approximately 6,900 to 7,000 meters atop the south face, but they did not continue across the long easy ridge to the peak’s summit.
Americans Free Climb Big Wall in Namibia, Africa Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette, and Kate Rutherford have climbed two new big wall routes: Southern Crossing (V 5.11+) and Painted Giraffe (V 5.9+), on the 1300-foot Brandberg, Namibia’s highest peak, in Southeastern Africa. But that’s only part of the story. There’s also a 2,000+ year-old painted giraffe, 108-degree temperatures, eight days at 15km/hour over washboard roads, scorpions, laser sharp granite cracks, crumbling granite faces, cobras, realized conservation, weathered maps, and rugged mountain passes. Read more.
Two First Free Ascents in Cirque of UnclimbablesInes Papert from Germany and Lisi Steurer from Austria established a new 400-meter route on Middle Huey Spire in Canada’s Cirque of the Unclimbables, and then Papert returned to free-climb the line at 5.13a. Power of Silence follows cracks and corners through some large roofs on the left side of the south face, wih 11 pitches, mostly 5.11 and 5.12.
Climbing in Suesca, Colombia Photos by Sebastian Mejia, Ricardo Ernesto, Nestor Contreras, J. Cruikshank and Carole Lunny – Colombia is a country full of legends and myths, and Suesca, just 45 kilometres north of Bogotá, has its fair share of ghost tales, supernatural drumming, and flying witches. Suesca is a popular weekend destination for climbers of all levels. It is the best area in Colombia for both traditional and sport climbing, and boasts over 400 routes from 5.4 to 5.14. The walls are up to 125 metres high and follow the railway tracks and a small river. Read Ghosts, the Rock Gods, and Colombian Climbing by Carole Lunny for more.
DREAMTIME A LOCAL’S-EYE VIEW OF SWITZERLAND’S MAGICAL BLOCS – “it’s a nice achievement to do this bouldering portfolio about my country, in the style of climbing I like the most,” says the Swiss boulderer/photographer Fred Moix, who spent the last six years shooting his native stones. “It was like a personal mission, a kind of legacy I wanted to give.”
“This being Easter Sunday our water bottles would no sooner turn into wine flasks than we would chance upon the devout. All those good folks are up-river, filling the white little Baptist churches bursting at their holy holler seams. He may have risen, but our Easter services begin and end on the sandstone sermons writ large on the wall, rising under our own effort with the miracle of cams to save our souls. ” Bruce Willey – Reader Blog 4 – Suffer the Lizards: Losing Our Religion to Southern Splitters
Sand BlastedBy Cody Roth – Photos by Andy Burr / andrewburr.com – Travel Travails and Epic Limestone in the Taghia Gorge, Morocco – April 7, 2007; Marrakech: chaos welcomed me in the blinding sun outside the airport. Moroccans shoved past each other. Heatedly, they shouted, “La grève, la grève, pas de taxi!”: a taxi strike, hardly ideal for four dirtbag climbers me, Andy Burr, Jonathan Thesenga, and Brittany Griffith trying to reach Morocco’s Taghia Gorge, a stunning and isolated limestone oasis in the High Atlas Mountains. The only way around would be with the hard-haggling, “unofficial” taxi drivers.
The Mountains of Alaska by AirPhotos by Paul Roderick – Carrying climbers, skiers and sightseers to the remote regions of Alaska is what Talkeetna Air Taxi (TAT) specializes in. Climber, photographer and owner of TAT Paul Roderick has years of experience on Denali and other peaks throughout Alaska. In this gallery he’s captured a handful of awe-inspiring shots of TAT aircraft, climbers and the wild Alaskan places like: Denali, Huntington, Foraker, Hunter, Dickey, Bradley, Moose’s Tooth, Kichatnas, Ruth Gorge, Lacuna Glacier, Whistler Glacier and more.
SPOT ON! Eight turbo tips from a master spotter When 6’4” Corey Dwan first plucked me from the sky, I’d just pitched from a Grampians, Australia, highball he quickly earned a place on my all-time spotting dream team. Dwan’s masterful bodycatching technique is even a matter of public record, as seen in the 1998 climbing flick Free Hueco.
Tech Tip – Technique – DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK! An amputee’s tips for smarter, smoother movement – AS AN AMPUTEE (I’m missing my right leg below the knee after a 100-foot fall ultimately claimed the limb), the way I climb has changed in several ways. For one, I’m forced to use my feet more precisely than before. But other things have changed, too.
Timy Fairfield – World Cup Winner, Professional Climber, Route-Setter, Coach; Albuquerque, New MexicoIf you’ve seen Timy Fairfield, 40, climb, you know he has the preternatural fluidity that signals an evolved grimpeur. Fairfield, in the late 1990s, became one of the early Americans to immerse himself in World Cup culture, entering 100 international events. During his five years on the Continent, he trained fiendishly on François Lombard’s garage wall; took first in a Bouldering World Cup at Clamency in 1997; won a difficulty event in Normandy that same year; and placed third two years later at Arco’s Bouldering World Cup. Fairfield’s also established 5.14c (Pimpin’ Aint Easy, Socorro, New Mexico), grabbed an early (1995) redpoint of the Volx testpiece Le Plafond (5.14b), and was the world’s first to flash V11 (Future Eaters, Switzerland; 1997). Fairfield was also the first American to flash V10, with Left Martini, at Hueco Tanks. Over the years, Fairfield has taken his knocks for “futurist” tactics like glueing and hold sculpting, perhaps because he speaks openly about tactics not uncommon in sport climbing. Today, he lives in his native Albuquerque, where you might see him taking one of his cats on a neighborhood stroll.
Americans Shine at Vail World Cup American boulderers dominated the second annual Vail World Cup at the Teva Mountain Games on June 5-6. Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson took gold and silver in the women’s competition, and three U.S. men finished in the top five, including Daniel Woods in second. Paul Robinson was fourth among the men, and Californian Kyle Owen was fifth. Click here to see a photo gallery of the qualifier rounds by Justin Roth from the IFSC Bouldering World Cup in Vail, Colorado.
Traitor Horn (5.8; four pitches) Tahquitz Rock, Idyllwild, California – Alpine dreaming in So Cal’s San Jacinto MountainsIn 1941, Roy Gorin and William Shand made the FFA of Traitor Horn, which zigs up the west face of the sweeping, 800-foot Tahquitz Rock. Gorin had only one leg, having lost the other at age 6 remember that as you fight to straddle the slick horn on pitch three, your quads quivering with fatigue. Shown here is a collection of recent uploads to Climbing.com’s Classic Climbs folder on PhotoPost.
Photography by Tyler RoemerTyler Roemer is an adventure sports, portrait, and lifestyle photographer based in Bend, Oregon. In these photos he’s selected climbs from three climbing areas. Featured in this gallery are: White Line Fever, Prey for Me, Redtail and CrotchBound at the City of Rocks in Idaho; the Mandala, Center Direct, Evillution and Stain Glass at the Buttermilks and Solarium at the Sad Boulders near Bishop California; plus an odd formation near Tumalo, in Central Oregon.
UTOPIAN VISTASTaos: a basalt, granite, and conglomerate paradise in northern New Mexico – They say you can tell a lot about a climber by his dog. And if Jay Foley’s German shepherd, Lupita, is any indication, he’s put up a lot of routes.We’re near Taos, northern New Mexico, on a hot May afternoon – 85 F, blistering for 7,000 feet elevation on a plateau lapping against the Sangre de Cristos (Rockies).
Deep Water and Sport Climbing in VietnamPhotos by Tontonbebel, Ong Da, tOine, R. Burns, and Jean Branly courtesy of Dong Chi / vietclimb.com – It’s very simple: take a flight to Vietnam. From Hanoi, take a packed bus to Haiphong, and then a packed speedboat to Cat Ba island. Then pick your own boat, fill it with climbing shoes, Halida beers, chalk and sexy swimsuits. Open your eyes and enter the game. Sit start from a former USSR kayak (watch your balance), campus up to the lip of the roof, heel hook, stand up, and you’re already pumped! Now, you’re really in the game. By the way, you’ve been had, there is no exit. The more you climb, the higher you fall.
The Climbing and Culture in the Interior of VietnamPhotos by Tontonbebel, Ong Da, Pangoline, la belle-mere, Jean Branly – From the karst towers in the north to granite in the south, you’ll see locals who solo cliffs to get bird’s nests, children who make fun of you because you’re trying the hardest way to climb up a boulder, teenagers who steal your crashpad to take a nap, and drunk guys who climb up your rope. Chill out, drink a beer, take a nap, and climb again. We climb because it’s useless, and we love it. “Before the deed comes the thought. Before the achievement comes the dream. Every mountain we climb, we first climb in our mind.” Royal Robbins
PHOTOPOST: Bouldering near Qingdao, ChinaThe yellow sea surrounds Qingdao to the west and the south with many beaches, crags, boulders and deep water soloing spots. To the east is Lao Shan Mountain a holy mountain which has perfect boulders, scenic temples and is the highest point in the area. Near Qingdao’s city center is Fu Shan Mountain, a future nature protection area where great boulder potontial waits there as well. For more photos check out wangzhen’s PHOTOPOST Member Gallery
Fisher Towers’ Cottontail Goes Free at 5.12+ RJason Haas and Rob Pizem have free-climbed every pitch of West Side Story on 800-foot Cottontail tower in Utah’s Fisher Towers. Despite a reputation for fairly stout aid climbing (5.9 C3), this is the easiest route on the most serious of the Fishers’ four main towers. The route required three 5.12 pitches and two broken bones to free-climb.
Whodunit (5.9; eight pitches) Tahquitz Rock, CaliforniaStory and photos by Bruce Willey – A delectable mystery leads to a satisfying cliffhanger – As you rack up in the parking lot below Tahquitz Rock, it’s nearly impossible not to feel the history seeping out of every dignified crack and feature on the granite above. This is, after all, the embryonic loins, the Fertile Crescent, and the cradle of civilized (if you can call it that) American climbing all rolled into one.
Canadian Mixed Master Will Gadd makes the headlines twice in a week Canadians Climb Gigantic Half-Frozen Waterfall – 2/24/09 – Will Gadd and EJ Plimley have climbed 1,000-foot Hunlen Falls in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, east of Bella Coola, British Columbia, the first ascent of Canada’s third-highest waterfall. Three-Year Effort Yields Huge M12 in Canada – 2/23/09 – After a three-season effort, a team of Canadians has completed a major new mixed route in Alberta with a long crux pitch that could be as hard as M12. Will Meinen and Brandon Pullan spent several days over two seasons working on The Jimmy Skid Rig (300m, WI5 M12) before recruiting Will Gadd this year for the final efforts to free-climb the route.
The Wonders and Wilds of PatagoniaPhotos by Claudia Colonia – 26 year old Claudia Colonia is based in Cuneo, Italy and has been shooting photographs for about six years. In this gallery she presents a selection of images from a recent trekking trip to South America. For three months Colonia explored the wonders and wilds of Patagonia in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, the scenic beauty of Agentina’s Tierra del Fuego National Park as well treks to the base camps of the massive spires Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, also in Argentina.
2009 World Cup Boulder – Eindhoven, NetherlandsPhotos by Jörg Paschke – On June 12-14, 2009, the World Cup Bouldering came to Eindhoven in the Netherlands. With an audience of more than 1000 enthusiastic fans and a professional organization team, the scene of the games a former factory building turned into a place full of suspense until the last minute. The route setting crew gave their best efforts to reveal champions: Austrian Kilian Fischhuber succeeded to take the winner’s position over Russian Rustam Gelmanov, who held the lead since the beginning of the season, and Akiyo Noguchi from Japan won the gold in the women’s final. The Boulder World Cup 2009 in Eindhoven has shown that bouldering should in fact be part of the Olympic sport disciplines as declared by Erica Terpstra, chairman of the Dutch Olympic Committee, at the end of the finals.
Photos from the 2009 Yangshuo Climbing FestivalPhotos by Rocker – On November 11-15, 2009, China’s second annual Yangshuo Climbing Festival, sponsored by The North Face and Black Diamond commenced on Yangshuo’s world class limestone with than 500 climbers in attendance. The week included clinics taught by Alex Honnold and Abond plus informative slide shows, a climbing treasure hunt, climbing videos, music, food, beer and socializing. The twin goals of the Yangshuo Climbing Festival are to promote a sense of community among climbers throughout China in a fun, friendly, and casual atmosphere and to support the sustainable development of rock climbing in the Yangshuo area.
12 Year Old Girl Climbs 5.13c/dZhenja Kazbekova, a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl, has climbed New Kenigsberg 8a+/8b or 5.13c/d at the Krasny Kamen or “Red Stone” sector, in Crimea, southern Ukraine. This would make her the youngest girl redpoint a route of this grade. Zhenja grew up at the crag, has been climbing since age 5.
Prominent Zion Aid Line Free-ClimbedRob Pizem and Mike Brumbaugh have free-climbed Gentleman’s Agreement on Zion National Park’s Three Marys formation at 5.13b. The 1981 aid route, visible from the town of Springdale at the mouth of Zion Canyon, has long been a target of free climbers, but the first-pitch liebacking crux had blocked a free ascent. Pizem said the 5.13b first-pitch crux is 30 feet of dead-vertical tips liebacking protected by fixed pitons in solid sandstone.
Climbing.com Covershows – 2009
A collection of covershots from many great photographers and adventurers that graced the homepage in 2009. Images from Photopost, Hot Flashes, Photo Galleries, Events, Extended Features … I would like to thank all of our dedicated contributors and uploaders for making Climbing.com what it is today. —Luke Laeser — Climbing.com Online Editor