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Fire in THE SKY Connecticut’s Fickle Traprock



November | DECEMBER

inside the mag //



REST DAYS // Altitude, Headaches and Coca Leaves By David Crothers

Waiting out the drizzle and clouds during the AAC’s Craggin’ Classic at White Horse and Cathedral in New Hampshire


SKYWALKER // A New Addition in Huntington Ravine By Michael Wejchert


LOCAL LEGEND // Jean-Pierre Ouellet Chalked up with Mr. PeeWee


GEAR REVIEW // Jackets Staying warm in style


FIRE IN THE SKY // The Fickal Traprock By Gregg Vigliotti


climberism | MAGAZINE


CRANKING // Jimmy Webb Flashes V13 in Mass. Roses and Blue Jays Gets Cranked


THE LIBRARY // North Conway Rock Climbs

ON THE COVER: Peter Doucette tooling up the steep Pilaf crack on Cannon Cliff in full Scottish conditions. Photo by Alden Pellett

contributors //





David Crothers Assistant Editor

Jarred Cobb graphic design

Wendy Greenberg intern

Katie Williamson, Melanie Hess, Wendy Greenberg advertise

Gregory Vigliotti Gregg Vigliotti is a freelance photographer based out of New York. When not working on his latest photo-project Gregg can be found in the Gunks, in New Paltz, NY “trying� to get after it, or at The Rock Club, where he sets routes.

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Climberism Magazine P. O. Box 4563 Burlington, VT 05406 contact us

Michael Wejchert Michael Wejchert, 26, lives in Jackson, New Hampshire and travels to Alaska, Patagonia, Peru, and other odd places to fail on large mountains. At home, he can be found chasing ice, sport climbing, or watching Star Wars. He believes in art, action, and large pizza from Kringles General Store.

Most of the activities depicted in this magazine carry significant amounts of risk with the potential for serious injury or death. We do not recommend you try or participate in any of the activities depicted within this publication. Seek professional guidance or help from someone of expertise. You assume all risks associated with your decision. Copyright Climberism. All Rights Reserved. No material in this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent.

climberism | MAGAZINE


editor’s note // David Crothers


Advance Tech HX

Progress Capture Pulley

It takes a lot of strength and willpower to live in the Northeast, day in, day out and by growing up in the region you’ve probably got thicker skin than most people. We survive heinous winters, weeks of cloudy skies, torrential down pours and feet of snow. But somehow we still find it in ourselves to get after it, even when the weather hits the fan. We’re a different breed, to say the least, and it doesn’t surprise me that athletes like Henry Barber, John Bouchard, Dick Williams, Doug Coombs—the list can go on forever—are from the Northeast. From skiers to climbers, the Northeast is a breeding ground of top-notch climbers. A lot has changed since Bouchard and Williams’ time. But they laid the groundwork for many of us out there today. They didn’t rely on guidebooks, they made them. They didn’t care if it would rain tomorrow, they climbed for today.

PN 154900

The SMC Advance Tech HX Pulley is a double pulley with an integrated cam that provides immediate progress capture without the need of prussik loops. The all in one frame and cam design presents a compact form factor. Stainless pins retain the rope when a rigged system is packed so that system can be pulled out and used immediately. Manufactured from high quality aluminum and anodized to help prevent corrosion. The Advance Tech HX is the most advanced pulley of its kind on the market today. The Advance Tech HX will support ropes diameters from 7mm up to 12.5mm. The Advance Tech HX is ideal for all rescue applications where a small mechanical advantage system is being utilized.

For more information visit SMC on the web at or your local PMI Dealer. 4

climberism | MAGAZINE

We have new names pushing the boundaries now, Silas Rossi, Peter Doucette, Matt McCormick, Peter Kamitses, Jean-Pierre Ouellet, and many others. These guys, their friends, my friends, and your friends are leaving those pitons behind for someone to find, the hard routes to repeat, the legendary status to follow. So when Skywalker was established recently in Huntington Ravine by three local boys, Michael Wejchert, Erik Eisele and Ryan Stefiuk, it got me psyched and I hope it gets you psyched. Nobody covered it in the climbing media because nobody cares about a new hard route in a seemingly forgotten place like Huntington, but us. The weather wasn’t ideal but the climbing was good and that is what it is all about. -Dave



Jean-Pierre “Peewee” Ouellet making it look easy on Le Toit de Ben, 5.13a, while getting a belay from Sonnie Trotter, in Val-David, Quebec. Andrew Burr photo


The Sterling Fusion Ion2 is my favorite rope. It's easy to clip, handles well and is very lightweight. Sterling = Performance without sacrifice on durability.


size weight impact force falls 9.4mm 57g/M 8.1kN 5

w w w| .MAGAZINE s t e r l i n g r o p e . c5 o m climberism


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e haven’t even started climbing yet and I am already tired. The bus ride from Huaraz wasn’t any help either, it was crammed, hot and extremely bumpy—it’s become something I expect whenever I go on a bus ride down here. Brendan, my good high school buddy and longtime climbing partner, is soaking it in. You can see the excitement in his eyes, even if the mountains are buried in clouds. It’s his first time down here and I wouldn’t expect anything different. The bus continues up a dirt path I wouldn’t call a road, passing little mud and brick adobes with soft smoke rising from hand-made chimneys, slowing down occasionally for washouts from the rain. This place doesn’t remind me of anywhere. It’s not home, it’s Peru. Months prior to my time in Peru, I had been training in Colorado, climbing as high as I could, every chance I had. It felt good, but today was a different story. The bus dumps us out at the last dwelling on the little path, turns around and catapults back toward Huaraz, hitting every rock, divot and pothole in its way. Our two-hour bus ride left us in front of a beautiful Gringo-made home. We stand there for a minute wrapping our heads around the fact that this is the nicest place we’ve seen during our entire trip in Peru. The cold snowflakes hitting our face make us move quickly toward the door. The place looked deserted but after a few loud and heavy whacks at the door, a long-haired hippy type opens it in front of us with all smiles. It’s the off season up here and no wonder, because the weather is heinous. The wind is whipping and the snow is picking up. The clouds that are hanging low don’t look to be going anywhere. The only thing we can see from the Gringo adobe are the north and south valleys with

Nevado Chinchey 6309m 10th tallest mountain in peru


the massive Chinchey ridge splitting them before it disappears in the clouds. The name of the valleys are long gone from my memory and a quick internet search has left me just as dumbfounded. Our objective is simple, hike the south valley to its end. From there we’ll search for the easiest route to the top of the Chinchey ridge where a small weakness cuts through it. We can take to the other side and descend. We gathered all this information from Google Maps and local guides. However, it is rarely done this time of year because of the weather—which didn’t turn out to be all that bad. We left the Gringo hippy in his lonely home after storing some stuff with him we wouldn’t need on our trip. His place is a hostel of sorts for climbers and hikers during the busy summer season. It’s February now and nobody is out here. We eat some coca leaves, which were supposed to help with the altitude, and make our way toward the south valley. On foot we travel over snowy farmland and cattle paths until we are fully engulfed in the valley. To either side of us, waterfalls are rushing down hundreds feet from rock faces that disappear into the clouds. The valley is green, lush, and wet. The travel was easy, but since we got a late start, we only hiked for about six hours before it got too dark to continue. We setup camp on the flattest and driest spot we can find. Wild cattle surrounded us, chewing grass and staring awkwardly. We’re in their domain, not the other way around. We settle in for the evening and Brendan starts to read his book aloud.

[continued on page 41] climberism | MAGAZINE


Jean-Pierre holding one of the original Toit de Ben wooden pegs. Photo By: Andrew Burr

local legend // Jean-Pierre Ouellet


ou don’t have to be tall to be one of the best climbers in the world. Jean-Pierre Ouellet is the perfect example and living proof that a climber standing only 5’ 8” tall can repeat and establish hard sport and crack climbs. Ouellet has been spending a lot of time in the desert of Utah as of late and with much success to brag home about. His recent accomplishments include, Necronomicon (5.14a or 13d), The Vadge (5.13-) and he made the first ascent of the roof crack, Fisting the Crack (5.13-) onsight. Back home in Quebec, Ouellet made the true free ascent of Le Zebra (5.14a) and has repeated Le Toit de Ben (5.13a) many time. We caught up with him to talk about life and climbing. tell me a little bit about why You’ve been out in Utah lately. are there just endless projects for you up there? Or is it just your style?

I think it’s both you know, its so vast there, so much rock, and all the cracks you want—that’s what I climb. It’s also the best time of year. In November, you could go out to the Red River Gorge or that kind of thing but I prefer crack climbing, and this time of the year is probably one of the best. Since I’ve been there so much, on my rest days I usually walk, I’ll go out with my dog and 8

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explore for new projects. I have a little notebook with a bunch of potential lines, it kind of always draws me back there every year. So how’d you get involved with the community out there?

I tend to collect really old guidebooks, just for fun, and sometime they have old aid climbs in them, so when you browse through them, sometimes you go find a climb in the book and sometimes there’s something,

sometimes there’s nothing. Sometimes you walk to something, and on the way to it you find projects. I went and looked at some aid line a friend of mine had told me about and then I ended up finding that other one that was even more interesting, Mexican Snow Fairy was the latest find. do you just climb professionally now? ORwhat else are you doing for work?

I’m a tech rep. I work for Black Diamond as an employee as well, I do a little bit of selling actually, I’ve been

Jean-Pierre Ouellet // local legend repping for many years, but I just joined Black Diamond about three years ago. It’s basically, now half and half—I have to work about five-six months and then I climb for five or six months, but when I work I still climb, you know? I’ll still climb four days a weeks even when I’m working, it’s a little harder in the winter because I have to climb indoors which is not my preferred style. I’m pretty lucky. I’m saving up money to buy a house, but I still climb most of the year. Do you spend most of your time in Quebec? Or are you on the road?

I’m on the road quite a bit actually. I cover Ontario, and I travel all over, mostly in Quebec though. Mostly around Montreal. I’ll do the climbing clinics mostly, it’s not too bad, it’s not too hard of a job I would say. What was your childhood like growing up in Quebec?

I was a pretty normal kid, I’m from a really really small town, way east, about half an hour from Maine, so way east of Quebec. I liked sports, but I was not necessarily good at them and then I discovered track and field, when I was maybe 13 or 12. I started climbing when I was about 15 or 16, and I’ve been climbing since then so, I was a pretty normal kid, and was pretty good in school. I liked to play in the woods, I played a lot of army stuff you know, green and camo paint on my face, you know, trying to hide in the bush. So how’d you get involved with climbing, did your dad climb, did any of your family climb? How do they feel about it?

Nobody from my family climbed or had any interest in climbing, they were not that type when I started. When they realized what I was doing they helped me and encouraged me. I started, physically, when a guide came to my school and gave a slide show, and immediately I was pretty interested and serious about it. I was trying to get information about it, but there’s not a lot of information in French and I’d just started speaking English at that time, so it was hard for me to find information. At some point I saw an ad on TV for climbing in Kamouraska, a little sport climbing cliff, and I asked my mom to drive me there. She

drove right up to the cliffs and there were some old dudes climbing there, so I asked them if I could try and they put me in a harness and belayed me on TR. I don’t even remember what I climbed, and I went there every weekend after that. I did a lot of soloing when I was a kid because I would go without partners. When I was 16, I got my first car so I could drive there whenever possible. I was usually by myself because climbing was not as popular back then, so I would just solo a bunch of stuff, until people I knew would show up at the cliff and then I would team up with them.         So how is the climbing in Quebec, I know you sort of evolved as one of the better crack climbers..

I’m not trying to do anything special, I just have my own little plan that I’m doing for myself. The climbing in Quebec is very similar to the Adirondacks, its mostly granite, so there’s quite a bit of crack climbs here and compared to Indian Creek or Moab, I mean there’s granite that’s more varied and more textured, but there’s quite a bit of good cracks actually worth a visit no matter what grade you climb, there’s still hard stuff to put up. I pretty much started to trad climb right away. When I started climbing, there was no difference between sport climbing and trad climbing. If a route was protected by bolts you climbed it, and if the other one was protected by gear you climbed it, but I learned to trad climb pretty much right away. I was not very good at crack climbing, but I was always really inspired by it. Now I think I’m just specialized in crack climbing. I climb the same grade whether it’s sport or trad, although I don’t really work sport routes too much, unless it’s something that I bolted myself. I’ve put up quite a few lines around my house here. I basically do it for myself, I don’t have any expectations, and I don’t want people to have any expectations for me I do the climbing that I like, and I’m just lucky to be able to do it now, and get paid for it. So how’d you get the name “Pee Wee”?

that small. It started when I was 15 with a bunch of older guys that were in their 30’s and 40’s. I was the youngest guy out of all my first climbing buddies. I was always the young kid on the block they would be like “oh you’re such a Pee Wee” and my friends have been calling me that for fifteen years if not more. It’s my real name now. If you could climb one route for the rest of your life what would it be?

I think it’d be Le Toit de Ben. It’s such a cool route for a crack, it’s cool to be climbing upside down, one pitch off the ground, really cool route. And you were the belayer for Mason when he flashed it?

Yeah! Well I was traveling here with Andrew Burr and one of my friends, and there was a route I was trying to free and it started to rain, so we drove back out there and I was like “oh man, you should try that flash or onsight, if you want to flash it, I’ll spray you down with beta and we’ll just fuckin’ hike it.” I knew it really well, I’ve done that route like about a hundred times, so we went out, he warmed up, and then I just told him exactly move by move, , he climbed it like a robot, basically. Do you have any kind of motto that you live by or favorite quote or something? “One crack a day makes sport climbing go away.” [laughs]

Left: Andrea doing what she does best, smiling at life.

[laughs] I’m not the biggest guy around, so that definitely didn’t help, but I’m not climberism | MAGAZINE


northeast newswire // 2012 Crazy climbing recap peter-kamitses-workingoppositional-defiance-disorder/ Peter Kamitses: Peter put up quite a few hard routes in the Adirondacks this year. His first, Working Oppositional Defiance Disorder, 5.14a in the Silver Lake area of the Daks, his second? An insane 5.13R in the Mud Pond area and most recently, before the weather took its seasonal turn for the worst, Peter Freed The Highline 5.13+/5.14- R. It was the last main crack system to be freed on Moss Cliff in the Adirondacks which he’d been working on since 2006. He also established Fire in the Sky 5.13c and Illuminessence 5.13d. renan-and-freddie-finally-getthe-tooth-traverse/ Freddie Wilkinson and Renan Ozturk: Granite-state, hardman Freddie Wilkinson and Renan Ozturk sent their longstanding project “The Tooth Traverse” in the Ruth Gorge of Alaska. You can read their entire trip report in the latest issue of Alpinist 41. The five-mile traverse along one of the most rugged skylines in Alaska has been a project of theirs for many seasons. ty-landman-establishes-hardnortheast-v14-boulder-problem/ Ty Landman: establishes, SOMEWHERE in CT, maybe hardest boulder problem in the Northeast. He was caught on video by Phil Schaal. Schall reports that, during this lovely Northeast weather they’d been having, Ty was still able to put the project to bed and is somewhere in the 8b+/V14 range. ashima-shiraishi-2012-luciferv11-flash-and-a-boatload-of-v13/ Ashima Shiraishi: took a break from New York City life and Flashed Black Demon V11 in Cape Town, South Africa over the summer. Ashima had a very impressive year, flashing V11, climbing V13 and taking down some of the country’s hardest sport routes. She’s so awesome we did our own little recap for her, here. nathan-kutcher-back-inbusiness-with-the-girl-withouttits-m9/ Kutcher recently returned from a trip to Alberta where he


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visited Lower Haffener Creek and completed a 45 minute onsight of The Girl Without Tits a M9+ established by Gery Unterasinger–who has his fair share of time in the mountains and on hard climbs– in December of 2004. And you did read it right, Kutcher took 45 minutes to start and finish the 50 foot route, without ever hanging or falling.

http://www.climberism. com/new-hardest-boulderproblem-in-the-adirondacks/ As of September 16th, Evan Race put to bed a long standing project in the Nine Corners Lake Area of the Adirondacks and calling The Era of Lobotomy . He is giving it a tentative grade of V12. The problem climbs through the crux of Overburden (V11) and into Lighter Burden of Priesthood (V8), likely making the problem a very solid V12. Ken Murphy, who has done both Overburden and Lighter Burden of Priesthood says it will be a solid V12.

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New Year, New Jackets Ice climbing in the rockies, skiing the east, It didn’t matter where we abused them or how we abused them. More than a dozen jackets went through the shit kicking test and only the toughtest survived.

Drystein II Jacket M o u n ta i n H a r dw e a r $600 Mountain Hardwear decided to design and manufacture the Drystien II with their own Dry Q Elite membrane material. It’s lightweight, breathable and rugged as hell. It has almost a rubber feel. It’s waterproof and will stand up to harsh weather just fine. We found roomy with room for layering.


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Stretch Neo Jacket

Rab $385

The NeoShell fabric strikes again. “I love how it blends soft shelllike feel with hardshell performance.” Our tester wrote. And we couldn’t agree more. The Stretch Neo performs great while ice climbing and shed water like a bacon greased pan. No pit zips may be an issue for some but the fabric alone will breath enough to keep you dry.

A pastron J acket P atag o n i a $350


jac k e t

W estco m b $400

Synthetic filled with Primaloft’s eco insulation and shelled with Gore Windstopper, you’ll find it a nice layer when you’re hanging at a belay station for a while. The Apastron isn’t the lightest insulated jacket on the market, but it is warm and if you don’t need to tread lightly than the Apastron is your ideal choice. It’s durable and warm.




is the lightest shell we tested. It weighs only 11 oz, and packs down to almost the size of a fist. Slogging through snow hiking to climbs or skinning over pow, this thing breathes very well for having limited ventilation. It’s is all in Polartec’s NeoShell. Pack so easily that there isn’t a reason not to bring it.

T ov J acket

S i erra D es i g n s $250 Well what do you know? Just when you thought down couldn’t get any better, it did. With Sierra Designs’ DriDown 600 fill down, you don’t have to worry about damp feathers. DriDown was design to keep you warm regardless if it’s wet or not. Good for cold belays and packs well. climberism | MAGAZINE


A xiom J acket


T r i lo gy Millet $336

jac k e t

R es e a rc h $375

The Axiom packs down into the left-hand pocket GORE-

and to about the size of a

TEX Active Shell to and

large fist. The GORE-TEX

durable expedition style

Active Shell is breathable

jacket. The shell is light

and ideal for fair condition

weight, zippers pull very

alpine climbing. Our tester



said, “I like the fact I still

zips you’re not going to

have access to my pockets

sweat out. It has a roomy


fit for extra layers. Well

After a day of climbing.






done on this shell Millet.

T e r r e x J ac k e t a d i das

$455 Adidas has recently jumped on board manufacturing climbing apparel. The Terrex won’t disappoint those looking for a waterproof climbing jacket. By using GORE-TEX Active Shell in a number of their new jackets, they are in the market with the big dogs The hood fits a helmet nicely, zippers move freely and the Active Shell is very durable. The shell packs down nicely and snuffs between gear easily.




F i r st A sc e n t $300

A standout from the rest of its down is


competitors. two-layer

The fabric

shell called


BC Microtherm 2.0

WeatherEdge Pro. It’s waterproof and breathes very well. “I approached in it just to see how it would do. Even on approaches the pocket vents did their job.” Our tester said. It fits a helmet nicely and the sleeves and cuffs can pull over layers for extra ventilation,






easily jackets.

The Endeez rope end-icator was designed to aid climbers with a quick physical means of identifying their rope ends as they are rappelling, belaying, climbing or handling rope. Ideal for use as a back-up knot while climbing, providing quick identification of rope ends or as a physical marker while working on or with rope. Endeez provide users with exceptional performance in the simplest form as a physical link between the rope and the climber.

For more information visit or call 360.366.5534


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GEAR TALK// The access Page

Ragged Mountain Foundation

C3PA Climbing Conservency of Central Pennsylvania

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All Photos By: Gregory Vigliotti


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Fire in

SKY The Thefun funand andfickle ficklenature natureof of Connecticut’s Connecticut’sTraprock Traprock Author Greg Troutman

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born and raised nutmegger,


didn’t find myself a climber until


packed up and moved to



years of exploring the amazement of


southern desert and the numerous rock infused canyons

of the Wasatch, I decided to head home in search of real beer and a decent slice of pizza. What I found was far better, the hidden gem of Connecticut’s trap rock cliffs. Created by ancient lava flows, these rocks provide amazing texture and friction, as well as crisp angles that create perfect crimps, jugs, and cracks. All of this comes together to create extremely unique and natural lines. My introduction to traprock started at Ragged Mountain, a medium size crag in Southington, Connecticut. Today it is generally lined with top ropes and no fixed protection and thus the stage of an ongoing bolt war that always seems to be the drama centerpiece of our sport. However, for those brave enough to test their trad skills, Ragged Mountain is packed with classic climbs, put up by classic climbers. Most can be led on a single rack, and some nuts, so feel free to leave the 35 pound pack at home. Sure these cliffs are mostly 80ft or under, but as any Connecticut trad climber would agree with, once you leave the ground, you’re sure to find adventure.

Greg Troutman on Cat Crack (5.10a)


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Being a confident desert rat, a warm up on unconquerable crack seemed fitting. Connecticut climbing is rumored to be fairly sandbagged, but I just assumed that most people aren’t as comfortable with offwidths and the thin hand jams found at the crux .

Ryan Sagan on Subline (5.10d) climberism | MAGAZINE


Above: Matt Raue on the top section of Zambezi Hatchet Head. right: George F. Maynard Jr on YMC Route.

Feeling good on this new traprock terrain, I later moved to Aid Crack. At the rating of 5.10, I figured how bad can it be? After stringing together a series of mediocre-at-best gear, my foot slipped right before the ‘Thank Jah Jug.’ My last two pieces blew, resulting in a large fall. Luckily my belayer’s neck broke my fall. Walking away that day, thankfully uninjured, but frustrated with being shut down in such a way on a 5.10 I realized that Connecticut climbing is a fickle beast;

But don’t let me deter you, there is something for everybody. From safe moderate classics to leads spicier than a shot of Tabasco, and a vast variety in between. It’s impossible to single out five climbs that could be considered the classics of the classics, but we’ve decided to bring a mix of climbs that highlight the surrounding Trapp Rock Cliffs. From climbs that are well known, to others hidden in plain sight.

There’s climbs that can suit anyone and others that will humble you.

Note: Access to most Connecticut cliffs is constantly changing and parking is a big problem. Be sure to check local guide books for the proper places to park. Failure to do so could lead to your car getting towed, or the cliffs being closed.

I have returned to Aid Crack, and it is now one of my favorite climbs. The movements are technical and exciting, and the gear is all completely safe if placed properly, but I learned my lesson, that trap rock lead climbing is nothing to be taken lightly.


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ymc route (5.10) at Ragged

YMC was first climbed in 1964 by J ohn R eppy and D ick W illiams . The route gets its name from the Yale Mountaineering Club. An organization of motivated climbers that established many of the climbs around the Connecticut area. Utilizing these smaller local crags as great training to jump off to bigger destinations. From the Front Range of Northern Colorado, to the exploration of the Brooks Range in the North Slope of Alaska, a pioneering ascent of Mount Wood (15,886 ft.) in the St. Elias Mountains of Alaska and the Yukon, and, perhaps most notably, one of the first documented expeditions into the Logan Mountains, arguably one of the most remote and isolated regions in North America.

The Beta If you are going to use the old pin at the start of YMC, threading a large nut wire through the pin is a good idea, so you won’t risk the chance snapping your carabineer if you can’t find the key footfold. At 5’9” all the best holds are at full extension, which creates exceptionally dynamic and fun movements. climberism | MAGAZINE


Ryan Sagan on Thunderbolt (5.10) 24

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SUBLINE (5.10d) at Ragged




until it was freed by



Barber and Bob Anderson in 1972 with the fixed pins still in place. The pins are long gone, but it remains a traprock trad testpiece. This 80ft gem has numerous sequential cruxes that will keep you on your toes. Despite some of the rumors, there is plenty of gear to be found on this climb, and comes together as a great trad climb for anyone who is up for it.

Aid Crack

(5.10) at Ragged

D es p i t e

i ts n a m e , t h i s i s

an amazing free climb.

The gear can be as tricky as the climbing, but it’s all there, and all great. Offset brass is helpful. The only downfall of this climb is its height. At 40 feet, with a low crux, it’s a borderline boulder problem.

Author, Greg Troutman on Aid Crack (5.10) 26

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(5.10a) at Ragged

Ryan Sagan on Subline (5.10d)



crack climbing. This one has it all, finger locks, ring locks, thin hands, perfect hands, fists and some offwidth. Or you can just use the abundant amount of face holds if your crack technique is lacking in any of those areas.

Greg Troutman on Unconquerable Crack (5.10a)

The Beta Bring a #4 if you’re a little shaky on offwidth. If you don’t own a #4, just try using your knee to conquer this great line.

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Sky w Erik leading. The corner is steeper than it looks


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walker Wor ds and Photos By: Michael Wejchert


aturday it rained and the wet stuck to me in Huntington ravine. It stuck to Erik and Ryan. Only the snowflakes sprinkling down here and there convinced us to keep walking up. Ten years ago it rained in Huntington ravine too. It misted, it was socked in, and you could not see the routes. I was 16 years old and I followed as my father’s kicked steps up towards Yale gulley. It was the first time I went “alpine” climbing. Then, I wore two pairs of wool socks, wool dashein mittens, a cheap raincoat and my father’s big leather boots and rigid SMC crampons. Tool holsters and a striped wool cap. My father was silent and serious and I knew from 16 years of being his son that this morning would be a serious one. I was terrified, not of the climb, but of letting my partner down. He did not say it but I knew I must have composure for this sort of thing and not joke. He started up Yale Gully and his frontpoints caressed the ice and he balanced there. Perfect. He hammered in an ice screw older than I was. I wanted to shout questions but I stayed quiet. Saturday we wobbled on talus and did not pay much attention to the ice climbs, though when I see Yale Gulley I still think of my father and I. Erik has talked the whole way up about relationships, life, marriage. Ryan and I stayed silent, and serious, again. It was good to be there with them. I remember Ryan, solid as Oak, after a horrible, dangerous lead in Newfoundland. Soaked to the bone, scared eyes, but neck craned eternally upwards. I remember Erik taking the rack from me in Peru when I slumped against the anchor and wanted to cry after another hellish lead at 17,000 feet. He was exhausted but he patted me on the back and let me rest. In the mist again!

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Above: Ryan Stefiuk on belay duty. Right: Ryan following Erik’s crux pitch.

Erik sprints towards the route, full of restless energy. He wavers up and down on the crux, skating boots, ice tools sparking off of Presidential Schist. I can see my father and I climbing 400 yards to the right. As we got higher in the gully he let me lead. It was the first time I had done so. The rope was so heavy! Up I went. I was scared I would fall down and eventually my father untied from his anchor and only the rope was between us. I could not hear him but it felt good to know he was below me as I kicked steps. Gaining momentum, I realized my lanky body could not get girls or sprint up a soccer field but my awkward limbs were meant for this. They were meant to do this. As I topped out onto the alpine garden, the clouds lifted and the summit shone brilliant and gold, and I howled because I had found something incredible. On Saturday I scraped up a slab. My lanky legs kicked at turf and thin ice and I pounded in pitons through the clouds. Erik and Ryan cheered, and as we swapped leads and stories it felt good to be home.


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Our route is fun to do because not many people go up there for mixed climbing. There are endless possibilities on the buttresses to the left and right of Pinnacle gully. It’s probably a variation on something somebody did years ago on a day like Saturday. We called it Skywalker because it is close to Cloudwalker. (It seems I have retained my awkwardness.) It’s M6+ with marginal gear in places. Take a full rack, perhaps doubles up to one, some hexes in the larger sizes, pins and small nuts. That stuff probably doesn’t matter much though: take partners you care about.

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Andrea Charest, owner of Petra Cliffs in Burlington, Vermont, psyched on the power of the Unicorn.



n his first trip to the region Jimmy Webb came to town with loaded guns. He wanted to give give Roses and Blue Jays a solid flash attempt and did just that. On his first day out and in perfect conditions, Webb nailed the iconic V13 Great Barrington boulder problem that has stifled many hard boulderers. This is likely the first flash of the problem, setting a new high bar for future attempts of climbing the problem. Webb wrote on his scorecard, “The most spectacular boulder. Freak[ing] good conditions today and I was able to climb the boulder perfectly making not a single mistake. A dream come true.” A dream indeed, one I think most boulderers climbing at that level would

love to fulfil by simply topping out. Webb didn’t stop there, however. He finished the day by climbing two more double digitl boulder problems, putting the icing on the cake. I’d say his first day out is enough to make any climber’s trip an official success. A video of Webb climbing and topping out successfully can be be found at along with Evan Race’s successful topout. Evan, however, worked and climbed the problem over several sessions before sending. We have caught up with Mr. Webb so be on the lookout for the upcoming interview coming to the website soon.

Jimmy Webb cranking through the crux move on Roses and Blue Jays. Photo: Jimmy Webb

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AROUND TOWN // Classifieds PO Box 11, Keene Valley, NY, 12943



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Guidebook is Going Mobile Witness The Evolution of the Climbing Guidebook

Rumney Climbing app Explore the entire content with a few taps using interactive maps, topos, and wall photos. Search for your next route by custom criteria such as difficulty, stars, conditions, area, route name, etc. TickList the climbs that you want to get on. Log the climbs you send and keep track of your progress on projects. Navigate the crags and terrain in real time with embedded maps and GPS points.

Test Drive all the features with the Free edition that contains three of Rumney’s classic walls.

Check Out all of our other guide-apps. climberism | MAGAZINE


© Keith Ladzinski (all)

to air is


to send


Sasha DiGiulian becoming the first American woman to climb 5.14d with Pure Imagination. When you’re pushing your limits, taking falls is part of the game. That’s why Sasha ties in with Petzl ropes for routes like Pure Imagination, in the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. FUSE 9.4mm

focused //

Bill Sacks climbing P2 (5.8+) of Final Frontier at Barton High Cliffs. Photo by Cameron Coppock. climberism | MAGAZINE


// focused

Andrew Kim prepares to attack the Pro Finals #3 problem at the Dark Horse Round 1 Competition at Metro Rock in Everett, MA on October 13, 2012. Vasya Vorotnikov went on to win the Men’s Pro Finals. Photo By: Ian Maclellan

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focused //

Bill Sacks in action in his basement training center in Troy, NY. Photo by: Cameron Coppock

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The Library

brought to you by


Mark Kroese interviewed 50 of the most accomplished climber of our generation and put together a list of their favorite climbs creating an book of epic climbs. I wouldn’t call it a guidebook but more like school book for history class. Jump inside the minds of Tommy Caldwell, Mark Twight, Russ Clune and Peter Croft. These guys tell the tales of their most personal challenges and controversies. Jump on a boat with Joe Terravecchia and follow the first ascent of one of the worlds most remote climbs in Devil’s Bay Newfoundland. The adventure starts after Joe catches wind of a remote cliff Earl Wiggins had seen while on a sailing tour in the area. Less than a year later, Joe, Karin Bates, and Casey Shaw went to investigate. From Yosemite to British Colmbia, Wyoming to Alaska, it is all here. The 50 favorite climbs in North America exposes the minds and souls of the climbers we follow and love. It is not just a coffee table book, it’s an adventure through climbing history.


The Roskelley Collection weighs almost as much as my trad rack on some days, but don’t let its girth scare you away. A compilation of John Roskelley’s three books, this tome is intriguing for the author’s brutal honesty and as an insight into a legendary hardman’s technical, mental and emotional development. The journey starts with Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition, a gripping story of the ascent of a new route in India. The trek is full of big personalities (including Roskelley’s), a lack of clear leadership and climbers without the technical ability to complete such a difficult route. Roskelley is direct in his criticism of his team members, while at the same time acknowledging that some were put in impossible positions. The second book, Last Days, recounts the first ascent of Tawoche in Nepal with Jeff Lowe and an attempt on Menlungste. Written many years after Nanda Devi, one can see Roskelley’s maturity as he grapples with the demands of Himalayan climbing while balancing his family life. The collection finishes with Stories off the Wall, the author’s autobiography, which consists of a series of essays covering Roskelley’s experience in the Russian Pamirs, Yosemite, as well as climbing with his son and working in a mine. Read together, The Roskelley Collection gives the reader a true understanding of the author’s life. From his early days struggling with team dynamics to his grown up climbs in the Himalayas, Roskelley doesn’t hold back.


I try and relax as my stomach started bothering me as soon as we began walking into the valley. Shortness of breath and running out in the cold with toilet paper in my hand kept would me up all night. The next morning came with a few breaks in the clouds and the sun lit snowy mountain summits all around us. Regardless of how much sleep I had gotten, the landscape was enough to re-energize anyone. We packed up our frozen tent, made a quick bowl of apple flavored oatmeal and watched the cattle graze aimlessly in their Mecca. We continued deeper into the valley with lips and cheeks full of coca leaves. Finally reaching the end of the valley, we encounter a gigantic crevasse littered glacier and it’s beautifully lit from the sun. We negotiate large rocks and make our way toward the steep slope that leads the top of the ridge. It doesn’t looks like anyone has been here, ever. No tracks, no chalk to follow, the Andes are deserted. My body starts to feel the altitude as we get higher above the valley floor, making it difficult to navigate and follow Brendan over the fifth class terrain. I am taking many breaks and the travel has become very slow. My GPS, that works only intermittently, tells me we are somewhere around 15,000 feet and we still have another 3,500 feet to go until we get to the pass. After a couple more hours of climbing we find a nice camp spot next to some water we can filter from. Brendan feels no sympathy for me as I lay almost helpless. It’s midday and he would like to keep climbing, but I can’t, I have to stop. It is hard for me to imagine that only a few month prior to my current position, I was in the mountains of Colorado, not having any issue with altitude. Now I sit somewhere in the mountains of Peru nearly shitting myself, out of breath and a headache that feels like I have just lost a bar fight. I try and sleep it off but the handfuls of coca leaves I have consumed are keeping me awake.

The night was hell. My headache was the worst its been and at 16,500 feet we still have 2,000 more feet to climb until we top out. When the sun finally came up, I got out of the tent and drank as much water as I could, ate some food and walked around, which seemed to help. A storm from the night blew through and everything is buried in nearly a foot of snow. The climbing will be tough tough today, I thought to myself. After a few hours of climbing and slogging through waist-deep snow, we finally managed to top out. We were in the gap that separated the ridge from the summit ridge, roughly 18,500 feet above both valleys. If we had more technical equipment and I was in better health, we would have gone for it. The view of clouds, glaciers and summits was spectacular. But was I slapped back to reality with the pain from headache, it was pounding and my lips were numb from coca leaves. We slowly descended into the north valley through snow and large rocks, treading lightly to not trigger an avalanche. I moved slow, taking a break whenever needed. It took us until dark to get back to the Gringo house. I was relieved I didn’t have to move on my own anymore. A bus picked us up shortly after and we bounced back down to Huaraz. I couldn’t help but think about how much of a failure our trip was to me. I had never felt anything like I had at that elevation before. We certainly should have acclimatized before we jumping the gun. Brendan however, was fine. The elevation didn’t seem to faze him. Though on another trip, a year later, he would tell me that the elevation nearly knocked him out. While I didn’t ever feel like my life was in jeopardy, I did realize that elevation is something not to be messed with and should be taken seriously. We were certainly ill prepared for our trip but our young and naive determination lead us through one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, even if not summits weren’t reached.


Climberism Magazine Issue #13