This story originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of our print edition.
Climber: Mason Earle
Route: X-Factor (5.13+)
Location: Gozo, Malta
“There were lots of mustaches out there,” said Mason Earle of a November 2015 trip to Malta with Matt Segal and photographer Andrew Burr. Following the Maltese grooming style, they grew their own lip hair to participate in No-Shave November, an unofficial event to raise awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health. While on Gozo, one of the islands that makes up the Maltese archipelago, Earle climbed this roof crack that was put up by Sonnie Trotter and Tommy Caldwell a few years earlier. Although the group enjoyed the deep water soloing and sport climbing opportunities on the island, a lot of the rock was choss. They described it “like dried peanut butter with old seashells in it.”
Climber: Chris Sharma
Route: Í skjóli nætur (5.11a)
Location: Hnappavellir, Iceland
Chris Sharma and Paul Robinson traveled to the land of fire and ice to explore coastal climbing and surf the frigid waters. The pair established a number of boulder problems and climbed near Hnappavellir on the southwest coast, which features some of Iceland’s oldest sea cliffs. These crumbling towers used to rise directly out of the Atlantic Ocean, but time has moved the water line back. Grassy meadows now cover the base. Visiting in July, the climbers experienced icy water but endless daylight due to their position just below the Arctic Circle.
Event: Women’s Climbing Festival
Route: Southwest Arête (5.9)
Location: Bishop, California
In February 2016, almost 200 female climbers traveled to Bishop, California, for the first ever Women’s Climbing Festival. The event was put on by Flash Foxy, an organization that celebrates female climbers, and it featured climbing clinics, slideshows, yoga, nutrition workshops, an all-female adventure film festival, and a Women in Climbing panel discussion. “When you get such a smart, strong, and rad group of women together, the feeling is electric,” Climbing Editor Julie Ellison said. “These women are going to change the world.” The event was capped by a group free solo of the popular Southwest Arête on the Grandma Peabody boulder.
Climber: Harrison Teuber
Route: A Clean Getaway (5.11+)
Location: Custer State Park, South Dakota
This wild two-pitch route in the Black Hills of the Mount Rushmore State follows disjointed vertical fissures up the Outer Outlet formation (on the left) before transitioning to a separate spire, the precarious Vertigo pinnacle (right). Once the cracks end and the gear runs out on Outer Outlet, the climber must test his reach by performing an ultra-wide, groin-stretching stem to move onto the adjacent tower. There, a continuous crack will take him all the way to the top.
Climber: Mayan Smith-Gobat
Route: Riders on the Storm (VII 5.13 A3)
Location: Patagonia, Chile
On February 6, 2016, Ines Papert and Mayan Smith-Gobat summited Riders on the Storm, making the fifth known ascent of the 1,300-meter big wall. Papert and Smith-Gobat went with the intention of free climbing the route, and although they were unsuccessful, they did find a five-pitch free variation to a standard pendulum in the middle. They also freed two new pitches higher on the wall, climbing as hard as 5.13a. “The outcome was as good as we could have gotten,” said Smith-Gobat of the three weeks spent on the wall.