This story originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of our print edition.
On a trip to Brazil to establish as many first ascents as possible, Kevin Jorgeson repeated 100 Limite, a V11 opened by Gustavo Fontes in Itatiaia National Park (an area so beautiful it was declared the country’s first national park), near Rio de Janeiro.
Gustavo Veiga, local climber, first ascensionist, and proponent of Brazil as the world’s next climbing mecca, gives it some grrr to send Rastafari Baby (5.13b/8a) in Pedra Vermelha, Brazil.
Felipe Camargo on the coastal first ascent of Fortaleza at one of the many beaches in the fifth-largest city in Brazil—Fortaleza, near São Paulo. This first ascent is also the first V15 in the country.
The desert doesn’t always deliver sunny, dry days. Bad-weather days can be quite the opposite, in fact. After experiencing rain, snow, sleet, and wind, Pamela Shanti Pack worked her way up Birth (5.10) in Indian Creek, Utah, with fellow offwidth badass Patrick Kingsbury on belay.
Jonathan Siegrist cruises up this 5.13a called Lucy, which became his daily warm-up at Voralpsee in Switzerland, a crag that he called “one of my very favorite crags, ever.” This perfectly clean wall of limestone features crimps and slopers on lines that max out at 35 meters (115 feet), with the easiest route on the wall being 5.11d/7a.
On a no–tick list trip filled with unnamed rocks, cleaning lichen, breaking off loose chunks of stone, and bushwhacking—all for the sake of finding new problems—photographer Moe Lauchert and his friends found some real beauties in the Utah wilderness, including this pristine V4. Lauchert says, “We left many of the problems without names so the next group could stumble upon this anomaly in the forest themselves.”
Sometimes the approach is just as beautiful as the climbing, as Matthes DeShazo found out while avoiding waves on his way to boulder at Lost Rocks in Humboldt County, California. As with many coastal climbing destinations, the sand here provides a pleasantly soft landing area, but it can also rise and fall drastically over the course of a few days, turning otherwise short problems into highballs or completely covering the beginning moves of low starts.
To get on one of the most classic multi-pitch alpine routes in the West, you might have to risk finishing in the dark. Or you might just suck it up and do the whole thing in the middle of the night, which is what Chase McMillan and Greg Osborne opted for on a midnight ascent of Lone Peak Cirque’s much-loved Lowe Route (5.8) in Utah.
Midwestern ice isn’t just for hockey anymore, as the perpetually frozen winters and countless bodies of water in the area result in some of the country’s best ice climbing. Here, Adam Dailey takes his pick of the dozens of lines that tower over the western shore of Grand Island, Michigan, in the dead of winter.
With trad and sport climbing in spring, summer, and fall and ice climbing in winter, Lake Louise in Banff, Canada, is a jack-of-all-trade climber’s dream, but with always-changing alpine conditions, even the easiest routes can elude a veteran climber’s efforts. Here, Kelly Drager gets it done on Jason Lives (5.13a).
At one of the most aesthetic crags in North America with turquoise waters that rival the most beautiful Caribbean islands, climber and area first ascensionist Daniel Martian links up Maxi Pista and Lion’s Head Express into a challenging 5.14b mega-route at Lion’s Head in Ontario, Canada. Other notable strongmen who have established routes at the crag are Peter Croft and Sonnie Trotter.