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CONTENTS

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SUMMIT TALKS ADAM ONDRA. THE GENIUS CLIMBER.

POSTCARDS ALEXIS BERG. THE DECISIVE MOMENT.

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WILDERNESS AREAS ICELAND. SILENT BEAUTY.

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THE SCENE PENYAGOLOSA TRAILS. 2018 TRAIL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.

CHALLENGES BASE JUMPING. ADRENALINE.

PORTRAITS MAITE MAIORA. NO SURRENDER.

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THE CAMERA IRIS JAN NOVAK PHOTOGRAPHY. #WHOAREYOU_PROJECT.


THOUGHTS

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“The strong blizzard seems to want to erase color. In a few seconds it will be achieved. Everything will go white. Everything will emit coldness, absence. The fog will envelop the farms, and shelter them from human eyes”. Wilderness Areas. Iceland. Silent Beauty. “The second moment I will never forget is when I reached the anchor. It was very intense. My emotions were so strong that I couldn´t even release them. Normally when I achieve something complicated, I scream to release them, but this time I just couldn´t. Only cry, but very weakly. It was a minute of almost «silence»”. Summit Talks. Adan Ondra. The Genius Climber. “This season has been one of the best in my life not only at a title or race position level, but emotionally. It has been a great year with fantastic trips. As I always say, it seems that all the stars have aligned. But not all years have been like this. My sporting life has been very bittersweet. It has been like a wave. One day I’m up, one day I´m down. Indeed, I have been very depressed too”. Portraits. Maite Maiora. No Surrender. “Doubts that coexist with hope. Nerves over excitement. Exhilaration that tries to overcome self-control. Optimism broken by fear. Indecisions that become diluted through confidence. Overcoming and emotional relapse. Cold that craves the heat. Thirst fighting against a loss of desire. Dreams that try to prevail disappointment. Cold sweat. Emotional ups and downs on the way to Sant Joan de Penyagolosa”. The Scene. Penyagolosa Trails. 2018 Trail World Championships. “I do not know if at that exact moment the photograph was taken, Walmsley had already abandoned the race or sought to reach the next control to do so. Perhaps it´s not really that important. The reality was that the photographer had captured the right moment, the decisive moment as described by Henri Cartier-Bresson. I was aware at that time that many would put it down to chance, being in the right place at the right time to capture that image. I also knew without looking at the credits that the photograph belonged to Alexis Berg”. Postcards. Alexis Berg. The Decisive Moment. “The combination of air and nature is something that I have always unconsciously sought. BASE jumping has given it to me. It has been love at first sight. I like the environment, the visual aspect, the fear, the height and above all, the atmosphere of brotherhood in a world where I have met good friends”. Challenges. Base Jumping. Adrenaline. “I hope that humans will be more human and that lifestyle will be inspired more by Microsystems found in nature and not destroyed by some political system that devastates the planet. I hope that denaturalization will be stopped naturally and that the intelligence of humans will be less egoistic and more open to new ways of thinking. We don’t need to chase after happiness, because happiness is all around. Please, people, awake!”. The Camera Iris. Jan Novak Photography. Whoareyou_project This is “Blizzard”. This is The Ridge [004].

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ADAM ONDRA

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PHOTO © HEINZ ZAK

THE DAWN WALL | YOSEMITE | USA


Perhaps you might expect that the first 9c in history would be achieved by someone who has been climbing since they were two years old, someone who enjoys the entire process without it turning into a nightmare, who puts in one hundred percent almost obsessively in each and every training session, and someone who´s not only satisfied in near-perfect technical climbing but seeks advice from specialists into the functioning of the human body. I have always thought Adam was a genius. After talking to him, I have no doubt.

Text: Kissthemountain

Kissthemountain: I would like you to close your eyes and tell me what you see when you go back to your first memories from the world of climbing. Adam Ondra: It´s very difficult because my first experiences are from a long time ago, when I was very small. I don´t have any first well-defined images. What I can say is that everyone in my family climbed, and so if I saw my parents and their friends climbing at the age of two, of course I wanted to do it too. I imagine so I wouldn´t be the only one left out. So, you could almost say that I had to climb because it was the natural thing to do, not because my parents put pressure on me. From six years old, I see everything more clearly. I remember trying a very complicated route, a 6a, in the school near my home. That memory is very clear. I enjoyed it so much that it encouraged me to keep climbing. Then came the first competitions in which the fact I was unable to win them really motivated me. From those moments onwards, I wanted to spend more and more time on the climbing wall, to train and pre-

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pare for them better. I am very ambitious. If I came third, I was happy enough, but eager to win on the next occasion. K: I think that in 2009, at the World Championship in China you lost to Patxi [Usobiaga] at the very last moment... A: [Laughs]. Yes, it´s true. K: How things have changed... He is now your trainer. A: Yes, that was a very important moment in my life. It brought us very close. It was in my first international competition, at the China World Championship. I won the semifinal. In the final I knew that Patxi was at his best. To win I had to give it my all too, but I fell in the last move because of my nerves. K: Well… that´s OK. Patxi deserved to be world champion, right? A: Exactly, and also for me it was more motivating not to win the championship in my first attempt. K: Adam, close your eyes again and tell me about the ten seconds that followed the chaining of Silence [The first and only 9c in history, carried out in Flatanger, Norway]. A: For me there were two very in-

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tense moments that day. The first is when I was in the key section. It always felt very tough to me. Even when I was just testing the moves in that area. That day I was very relaxed and at the same time fully concentrated. It is very difficult to grab each climbing hold with the precision and perfection with which I did at that moment. I noticed that everything flowed perfectly. It was a very strange feeling. Everything was precise and perfect and at the same time I was very relaxed ... Mentally I have never climbed as well as I did in Silence. It was a moment of “silence” in my head. I felt that I had done really complicated things easily. The second moment I will never forget is when I reached the anchor. It was very intense. My emotions were so strong that I couldn´t even release them. Normally when I achieve something complicated, I scream to release them, but this time I just couldn´t. Only cry, but very weakly. It was a minute of almost “silence”. K: How intense! At that moment were you aware of what you had achieved and of everything you had fought for...


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A: I´d spent two years working on that route. K: The other day I was talking with Carlos “Citro” Logroño about the evolution of the sport. To sum up, I came to realize that the greatest evolution has been mental. He gave me an example that helped me understand it better. He said that the first time athletes broke the 10 second mark in the 100 meters sprint it was because they were already so close that they started to believe it was possible. He gave me this example when I asked about Margo Hayes´ recent 9a+ in Céüse, a route that she did in a relatively short time when it had taken Chris Sharma about two years. I asked him how it was possible, or your 9c, and he told me that, on the one hand, in Margo’s mind, she already knew that someone had done that route, and in your case, it meant taking your 9b + a little further. He spoke of the power of the mind when you see that challenges are almost within reach. A: It’s like that in climbing. I think that in recent years women have had the ability to do a 9a, 9a+ or 9b, but I also think they hadn´t attempted it because they thought it was impossible. Only has this changed in the last few years, and it´s precisely because of what Citro said. The standard goes up, of course, but I think the biggest component is mental. We´re only at the start. In this type of route it´s very possible that women could climb even more than men. K: Does that psychological barrier you just broke with the first 9c in history mean that someone will achieve that grade in the not too distant future? I don´t know if in

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PHOTO © PAVEL BLAZEK

SILENCE 9C | FLATANGER | NORWAY


SUMMIT TALKS

K: Why was Adam Ondra the first to do a 9c? You´ve been the one to break that psychological barrier that will now make others try to do it again... but why you? A: There are many factors. Surely because I have a gift, because my parents helped me out so much to be able to travel across Europe to rock climb every weekend, for all the competitions I’ve done... But I think the most important thing is that I like climbing almost too much. In every training session, five hours a day, six days a week, for twenty years, I have given it my all. It´s been hard, but I enjoy it. If you don´t do it that way it becomes a sacrifice very difficult to achieve, but despite the hardness, I enjoy it. It is very difficult for someone to experience the same thing. K: But I’m sure Chris Sharma enjoys it or... A: Chris likes climbing a lot, but I don´t think he trains as much as I do or Patxi Usobiaga. That is diffi-

Silence or somewhere else... you have to climb in the middle A: I don´t know if it will be sooner or of the route is very hard. Those 15 later, because only Chris Sharma movements are the toughest I’ve and I have done a 9b+. I’m sure Alex ever done. And the craziest thing Megos has the ability to do it, but is that this boulder is right in the you have to keep in mind that the middle. Only thanks to those rests mental part of doing a 9c is almost is it tough but possible. I was able more important than having the to rest and feel strong again, like at technical skill. I don´t think anyone the beginning of the route. can do a 9c in the next few days. K: But... If you say you could never You have to try do it, then who? it, you have to Other climbers “The second moment I will never forget is when I with other conthrow yourself completely reached the anchor. It was very intense. My emo- ditions? That into that proroute without tions were so strong that I couldn´t even release rests makes it ject, yet at the same time, dethem. Normally when I achieve something compli- impossible curspite attemptrently? cated, I scream to release them, but this time I just A: Yes. I’m very ing it for many weeks, enjoy couldn´t. Only cry, but very weakly. It was a minute curious to see the process. what the level of almost «silence»”. That is really will be like in difficult. I´m 20 years. Then I sure that a few years ago I couldn´t cult to change. think it will be possible. have done Silence, but now, expe- K: Adam, I’ve heard you say that if K: But why? Through the evolurience has been key. The process Silence didn´t have that knee rest tion of the physical, technical or of attempting Silence never turned it could be a grade 10. mental condition? into a nightmare, and that is very A: I’m absolutely sure. The route A: There is a lot of room for imdifficult to achieve. I always enjoyed without those rests is almost a provement and work through trainit. I knew it was a complicated pro- 10a+. It´s impossible for me. I don´t ing. Climbing is still a very complex cess, but it was never a nightmare. know if it could be done. Surely so, thing. Physical training has evolved This was the key. but not me ... Because the boulder well, but it has not come together

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PLAY VIDEO

Project Hard (Silence) Teaser.

VIDEO: Adam Ondra

PLAY VIDEO

Adam Ondra: incredible moves in Silence 9c.

VIDEO: TENDON

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FOTOGRAFÍA: © JCDFOTOGRAFÍA


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ALLGÄU | GERMANY PHOTO © JAVIPEC MOUNTAIN CULTURE MAGAZINE

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with training technique. Knowing how to use each muscle of the body perfectly is something that can evolve and susceptible to much improvement. Also, the mental aspect. There is still a lot to evolve. It´s as if we had a 5-yearold boy with whom the technique could be improved a lot. That’s what I’ve been working on lately. I´ve always concentrated a lot on technique, on climbing perfectly one hundred percent, on using the least possible amount of strength to chain a route. A few years ago I thought I was climbing almost perfectly, and that I could only improve through physical training, but now I realize that´s not true. Yes, I can still evolve a lot with physical training, but more so with technique. There are aspects that I had never thought of. K: That was something I wanted us to talk about. About motivation and how it can be found in aspects that are still possible to improve. A: Yes, Juanmi. I have no problem with motivation. I like to climb and that is something natural. Motivation to do a route like 9c which

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you have to achieve over 15 weeks is something that ... The toughest routes inspire me more, they look more impressive and make me train and want to be strong so that I´m able to climb them. In the end I enjoy this type of route most. I like the fact that climbing is not just a physical sport, but goes beyond that. I am super motivated by the fact that I´ve come to realize I can greatly improve through technique. K: Do you talk about these technical improvements with Patxi Usobiaga ...? A: Yes, of course, but with Patxi I talk mostly about periodization and training programs. He knows his stuff very well. We also talk about technique, but what I’m talking about in particular is working alongside physiotherapists. I think this is the future. To have a coach for training programs and some-

one on your team who knows really well about the human body and how it functions. In this way you can climb better and harder routes, and at the same time injure yourself less. K: When you talk about physiotherapists, you´re not just referring to the post-training recovery treatment similar to cyclists in the Tour de France... A: Right, it’s not just a matter of recovery. A physiotherapist can watch how I climb and give me some advice. I´ll give you an example. The position of your shoulders in climbing is extremely important. If you don´t place them properly you are using your biceps and pectorals more, and this might not be as efficient. If the position is better you´ll compensate with the whole back which has much more strength than biceps and pecs. But for most climbers it´s natural and

rals is too intense for the elbows and shoulders. K: Do you already have these specialists on your team? A: This year I found Klaus Isele from Austria. He has helped me a lot. K: Adam, I’ve heard you say when talking about Silence, that the road to doing it has been more important than the actual goal of achieving it. A: For motivational reasons it´s important to have a goal, but when I am training or testing out a project the most important motivation for me is to enjoy the process, to have small objectives. Only when I´m feeling unmotivated or am too tired to train harder, when I know it´s required, does it help me to think about the bigger overarching goal. “Ok, now I must train because I want to achieve this 9c”. But I try not to use this argument too much, only in the abso-

“In every training session, five hours a day, six days a week, for twenty years, I have given it my all. It´s been hard, but I enjoy it. If you don´t do it that way it becomes a sacrifice very difficult to achieve, but despite the hardness, I enjoy it. It is very difficult for someone to experience the same thing”. almost instinctive to follow habits that may not be the most appropriate. For example, when we have two verticals we contract the pectoral muscles. This is impulsive in climbers. But it´s possible to do it with the back muscles. And as I mentioned, they have more strength and so the movement is less harmful. Doing it with pecto-

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PHOTO © PAVEL BLAZEK

THE DAWN WALL | YOSEMITE | USA


to do. It all seemed super hard. At the same time, there are many straights that are very dangerous and this is also difficult from a mental point of view. As an amateur of big walls I chose one of the toughest in the world. This was perhaps a bit stupid. I should have done a route that was a little easier, but I was very motivated to give it a go. At first it seemed impossible. I had no confidence in my feet on those weird straights, and it took me a few weeks of testing to get that confidence. In the end, even though it was very hard, something clicked in my head and that was the most important thing. After a few weeks I began to believe the route was possible. K: Will you return to Yosemite? A: Yes, absolutely. El Capitan is something else and there is a lot of

lute necessary moments, in which fatigue stops me enjoying the training process. K: “Silence has been the hardest climbing route, but nevertheless Dawn Wall was something special, perhaps not so much for the physical or technical effort, but for being totally different”. A: Dawn Wall was a special route be“Knowing how to use each muscle of the body percause I had fectly is something that can evolve and susceptible no experience in big to much improvement. Also, the mental aspect. There walls. I had is still a lot to evolve. It´s as if we had a 5-year-old boy done some 400 meter with whom the technique could be improved a lot. walls but That’s what I’ve been working on lately”. they were very well equipped with parabolts. But Dawn Wall is potential there to do even harder more than just parabolts, you have routes than Dawn Wall. to use natural protection or other K: What do you currently have fixed protections that are not very planned in your mind? good. Technically it´s a very hard A: I want to concentrate on sport climb because the rock has little climbing and try to raise my level grip or touch, with many fissures. in this discipline. Next year I would It´s really difficult. I´d never climbed like to do another 9c. Let’s see if it´s in Yosemite before and the first possible. few days I didn´t even know what K: Anything specific?

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SUMMIT TALKS

A: There are too many projects. Especially in France and Italy. There is also a very good one close to home. It´s difficult to know if they will be a 9b + or 9c. You have to try them out more and then see. K: Are you motivated by the Tokyo Olympics? A: Yes they motivate me for sure, even though I´m not very keen on the format. I have to just accept it. That will be the most difficult thing to do. To train speed, even though I don´t like it at all. It will be the first time I train for something I don´t like. K: Are you sure you want to do it? A: Yes, yes. K: Now that we’ve talked a bit about competition, I´ll read you some of your words: “Competition is fine because it’s the only time you can measure yourself with others, but I’m not interested in doing it every year because I just see it as a sport, not as a lifestyle.” A: Yes, it´s true. Maybe competitions motivate me to train more specifically, and in the long term help me to do difficult rock routes. I also like the idea of training for a specific goal, to arrive in the best possible form on a given day at a given time.

On the final route you have to showcase everything you´ve trained beforehand, in five minutes. Sure, that’s a very physical issue, but also a very mental one too. K: Do you work well under that kind of pressure? A: There have been moments in my competition career that I´ve done it very well. In the last World Championship in Paris in the difficulty final, I climbed very well mentally, almost impossible to improve upon. K: Do you train this mental component? A: In each training session I try to give it one hundred percent so that when the competition or key moment of my goal arrives, I´m ready to give everything. Doing this in training is good, because it´s more efficient and prepares you for when you really need it, but it requires a lot of mental strength. At the end of the day, I don´t find it difficult to train five hours a day, the tricky part is to give your all in every movement. K: What would you have been if you had not become a climber? A: I would be a different person because climbing has influenced me in almost every aspect of my life. It´s hard to say. I think for me that climbing, doing those movements and seeing the world from above, is something so natural that if all my family hadn´t climbed, maybe later, I would have discovered it anyway. K: It´s your way of life... A: I can´t imagine my life without climbing. Within 30 or 40 years I will still be climbing. Surely not at a 9c level, but doing routes in rock makes me happy. K: Does this type of life demand a lot of sacrifice or does it come nat-

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PHOTO © PAVEL BLAZEK

SILENCE 9C | FLATANGER | NORWAY

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urally? You are 24 years old. There will be moments when friends call you to have a few beers or go out at night and you will have to say no because you have to train the following day. Is this sacrifice for you? A: There are times that yes it is a sacrifice and I have to say no when I feel like going out, but I think it´s very important to have a balance between sacrifice and enjoyment. Although having a few beers may not be good for recovery, I also know it can help me relax, and the mental part is also very important. If you make too many sacrifices then you have this pressure that is almost impossible to bear. The important thing is to achieve a good balance between concentration in sport and a sense of not sacrificing too much. For every person that balance falls at a different point. In my case, I don´t have that feeling of sacrificing myself too much, although others may think so. K: Finding equilibrium… A: That is the most important thing in life overall.

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PHOTO © JAN NOVAK PHOTOGRAPHY

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PHOTO © DAVID MUNILLA

CHILAM BALAM 9b | MÁLAGA | SPAIN

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ALEXIS BERG THE DECISIVE MOMENT

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POSTCARDS

Lofoten Ultra-Trail. Lofoten Islands Landscapes that feel like you are running on another planet. Stepping on fresh water, on snow, and then in the next instance, on salty sea water. Extremes. Beautiful extremes.

Alexis Berg (23/09/1986) has been an official photographer for the Ultra Trail World-Tour. His photographs have graced the pages of such prestigious magazines as L’Equipe, VSD, National Geographic, Esquire, Runner’s World, The National, Forever Sport, Nature Trail, Ultrarunning Magazine, Trail Magazine, Geo Plen Air, Wider, Trail Endurance, Marca, and The Guardian. Among his clients are Strava, The North Face, Gore-Tex, Salomon, Red Bull, Asics and Columbia. He is the author, among others, of the prestigious book Grand Trail (Ed. La Plage, 2015). Creation of videos and documentaries also feature in his curriculum, being the author of several high quality works, among those Radèl, selected for the Festival of Douarnenez.

www.alexisberg.com

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POSTCARDS

Transgrancanaria. Gran Canaria Island This photo could have been taken in any race in the world. Or maybe not. Perhaps it was the island that inspired Alexis to find his stroke of genius again.

Text: Kissthemountain

I think it was this summer whilst in an apartment in Sierra Nevada that a picture of Jim Walmsley walking totally desolate with his eyes looking at the ground flashed on my tablet screen. His torso was naked and on his shorts bib number 35 from the mythical American race, Western States. Jim not only started out as favorite, but sought to break the race record, as he never tired of telling the press in the days leading up to it. In fact he had said it so many times that many considered it a gesture of arrogance, whilst others bravery. I do not know if at that exact moment the photograph was taken, Walmsley had already abandoned the race or sought to reach the next control to do so. Perhaps it´s not really that important. The reality was that the photographer had captured the right moment, the decisive moment as described by Henri Cartier-Bresson. I was aware at that time that many would put it down to chance, being in the right place at the right time to capture that image. I also knew without looking at the credits that the photograph belonged to Alexis Berg.

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PHOTO © ALEXIS BERG

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POSTCARDS

Diagonale des Fous. Réunión Island The conditions were perfect for taking this picture in one of the most mythical races of the ultra-trail world. The angle, the solitude of the runner, and clouds that patiently wait for him to pass by before hiding this entire scene.

Alexis Berg is a different type of photographer. It seems as though he has been touched by that wand that turns an excellent photographer into a true great. Experience also helps. Alexis has toured the main mountain races in the world. Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, Transvulcania, Marathon des Sables, Diagonale des Fous, Western States, Hard Rock, Les Templiers, Transgrancanaria, Ultra-Trail Mont-Fuji, Lavaredo, Eiger Ultra Trail, Tarawera, UltraTrail Australia, Hong Kong 100, Madeira Island Ultra-Trail, Lofoten Ultra-Trail, Glencoe Skyline and many other races, have been the stages where the diaphragms of Alexis´ various cameras have worked their magic. Fruit of it is a photographic project unrivalled in the art of trail running photography: Grand Trail, Le Livre. https://www.grandtrail.info/ Photographs where the sole protagonist is the landscape or environment and the runners appear without name, anonymous, as mere extras; photographs where, now, the sole pro-

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POSTCARDS

Emelie Forsberg Emelie in her environment. This image perfectly captures the beauty of the movement of the Swedish runner when advancing through technical terrain, observed by mountains of extraordinary beauty.

tagonist is the runner with whom Berg seems to establish a special chemistry that goes beyond a professional interaction; photographs where the focus is on the composition, on contrasts, a play of light and shadow, absolutely brilliant. These are the three types of photography that the selection aims to cover. Most of the images shown below are taken from his Grand Trail project. Talking about the difficulty in choosing photos to showcase on The Ridge may seem like a clichĂŠ. But rarely have we found it so complicated to discard and reach this final selection. After several hours studying the photographs sent by Alexis Berg, I made the decision to study each of them for two minutes and then close my eyes to see which one excited me the most and made me feel as if I was there. These are the chosen ones. Thank you very much Alexis.

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Glen Coe Skyline. The Highlands. Scotland If you try to put yourself in the shoes of one of these three runners you can almost sense the feeling of smallness against the great mountain. Beauty and respect, almost fear.

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Lofoten Ultra-Trail. Lofoten Island The sea welcomes the mountain in. Or maybe it’s the opposite, the host is the latter. In any case, a beach in paradise.

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POSTCARDS

Matterhorn Ultraks Why do we run in the mountains? No other answer is required when contemplating this photograph.

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Madeira Island Ultra-Trail. Madeira Island There are many photographs that try to capture the snake of lights formed by the beams emitted from runners´ headlamps. Then, there is this one.

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POSTCARDS

Transvulcania. La Palma Island There are still a few hours left to reach Roque de los Muchachos at 2,420 meters above sea level, before launching a frantic descent of just over 18 kilometers down to the sea. But it´s not the moment right now to contemplate that, but rather to enjoy the sun that says good morning to the island of La Palma.

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Jim Walmsley in Western States “He burned everything. The chrono and the hearts. And suddenly it was the fire that took Jim. He remained motionless in the dust, lost in the furnace of a canyon, his stomach in flames, his dream in smoke. His passing times were insane, in spite of the snow and the unbearable heat. From the outset, he was flying, as usual, far away from the records of the past, established by the best runners in the history of this sport. And while all the fences had fallen, he fell himself, broken star that crashes on a wall, invisible and real. He ran beyond the limits and found his own. It is the law of mortals. I love fools and dreamers. I love poets of the impossible.”

PHOTO: © ALEXIS BERG

From Alexis Berg’s Instagram.

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POSTCARDS

Lofoten Ultra Trail. Lofoten Island Not being in first position of a long distance race has many advantages. At least the road to paradise is already marked by footprints in the snow.

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Kilian Jornet If you stare into Kilian’s eyes, you may wonder if he´s a human being or a wild animal destined to live in the mountains.

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ICELAND SILENT BEAUTY

The pyramidal mountain covered with snow and ice imposes its shape full of textures in contrast to the softness of the glaciers. Moments to be still, to contemplate, to feel, to dream...

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WILDERNESS AR

Text & photography: Xabier Mata

“After having done a circular tour of Iceland eight years before, and knowing that this trip was just a first taste, at the beginning of spring I decided to return to my dream that I´d put on hold: to once again circle this island so full of delights for image scouts. I hoped to see one of my favorite images, the snow, and if the weather permitted, take a short helicopter ride through the southern area... The weather did not disappoint. Cold days and storms in the north, and roads cut off due to the accumulation of snow that forced me to tow the all-terrain vehicle I had rented. The strong wind made me experience the other Iceland, the one where photos catch your eye because of their silence and ever so slight strokes of color. Winter. Its hardness, its beauty, its whiteness tinged with a veil of fog. During the trip there were moments to photograph frozen waterfalls, to feel the dance of the northern lights, and the beauty of the glaciers ... Even the weather became my ally, so that the day before my departure I could fly by helicopter for a couple of hours and hence confirm its silent beauty. Unforgettable. Iceland. All good things come in threes. Until that day arrives, reflecting on the images I will be able to keep you in mind.”

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REAS

We leave you with these images by photographer Xabier Mata, who told us that he would be happy if a feeling of coldness and melancholy came over the reader without the need to use the “spectacular “, but simply by using delicacy.

Song: Train Station’s Dustlight. By Yagya.

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WILD

A simple dim light that is quickly diluted, is a good enough reason to wake up my senses in the sear An open shot, where nobody steals the limelight. All is one.

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DERNESS AREAS

PHOTO © XABIER MATA

arch for a frame.

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WILDERNESS AR

The storm in the north in all its splendor. There are no trac

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REAS

PHOTO © XABIER MATA

cks, there are no memories. The magical power of white, the stillness of the moment in a small town.

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WILD

Stepping on the accelerator to try to get out of the storm that sweeps the north, a dreamlike image Humans outside. I immortalize the image from inside my vehicle. I feel as if I have the only proof that there is life out there.

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DERNESS AREAS

PHOTO © XABIER MATA

appears before me.

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WILDERNESS AR

All white. Fog, snow and win

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REAS

PHOTO © XABIER MATA

nd accompany my trip. The desire to find brushstrokes that break up the absence of color bear fruit. Resisting the harshness of the weather, a group of horses.

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WILD

The strong blizzard seems to want to erase color. In a few seconds it will be achieved. Everything wil Everything will emit coldness, absence. The fog will envelop the farms, and shelter them from huma

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DERNESS AREAS

FOTOGRAFÍA: © XABIER MATA

ll go white. an eyes.

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THE SCENE

Text: Kissthemountain

“What’s over there, beyond the mountain, if it’s not a human being?” Walter Bonatti.

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PHOTO © JOSÉ MIGUEL MUÑOZ EGEA

x Doubts that coexist with hope. Nerves over excitement. Exhilaration that tries to overcome selfcontrol. Optimism broken by fear. Indecisions that become diluted through confidence. Overcoming and emotional relapse. Cold that craves the heat. Thirst fighting against a loss of desire. Dreams that try to prevail disappointment. Cold sweat. Emotional ups and downs on the way to Sant Joan de Penyagolosa. Run. Doubt. Wage. Fall. Overcome. Walk. Fear. Deny. Suffer. Smile. Win. Why? Why do I not listen to whatever is telling me to stop? Why do I not give

in to comfort? Why do I decide to go for the next feeding station when I doubted I could even reach this one? Why do I try to run instead of walk when I know I no longer have any strength? Why smile at that child when a moment ago I was swearing about what I was doing? Why do I keep fighting? Why? The silence of the night is only broken by these noises. The light emitted by my headlamp and me. No one in front or behind. Cold. Very cold hands. The sky begins to grow light timidly in the east. Confidence wraps itself around any doubts and takes them away. Pace. Effort. A drop of sweat falls on my watch screen. Keep accumulating kilometers. Penyagolosa Trails. Forever.

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THE SCENE

Minoru. Concentration and determination. The road to Sant Joan de Penyagolosa. It was written on your face.

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PHOTO: © ANDRÉS NÚÑEZ | LAST RACE STUDIO

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PHOTO © ANDRÉS NÚÑEZ – LAST RACE STUDIO

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THE SCENE Yeray. On-route to a well-deserved glory. A real pleasure to see you go up. Thank you for that duel in the sun.

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PHOTO © ANDRÉS NÚÑEZ – LAST RACE STUDIO


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THE SCENE Zaid. The smile is always on your face. May it never be erased. Strength and conviction.

PHOTO © ANDRÉS NÚÑEZ – LAST RACE STUDIO

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THE SCENE

Miguel and Cristobal. First and second united in a hug. This is mountain running. May it never change!

PHOTO © ANDRÉS NÚÑEZ – LAST RACE STUDIO

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PHOTO: © JOSÉ LUIS HOURCADE

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THE SCENE Laia. MiM has paid back what it owed. And in what a way! Your face says it all. Amazing.

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Timothy. Indisputable victory. Superiority and dominance. Fight and dedication. A true sight to see you head towards glory.

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PHOTO © ANDRÉS NÚÑEZ | LAST RACE STUDIO

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PHOTO © ANDRÉS NÚÑEZ – LAST RACE STUDIO

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THE SCENE Gemma. Speechless. Alone at the finishing line, as deserved in this great race. How far can you go? As far as you want.

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A very important indicator of success in the organization of a sporting event is undoubtedly the fact that one of its modalities (MiM) has reached its nineteenth edition this year, and that another (CSP) is already in its sixth. In addition, that in 2017 more than 4,400 people were pre-registered for a total of 2,100 bibs that went to runners of over thirty nationalities. This event was repeated within the Spain Ultra Cup series and, in particular, was selected to enter the prestigious group of the Ultra Trail World Tour. We could highlight other signs that prove Penyagolosa Trails is already a world reference in mountain races. Suffice to say that this year it hosts the Trail World Championships. Without doubt a great reward for their hard work. But when you show up in the Plaza de las Aulas in Castellon to pick up your bib and sense you are about to participate in one of the big races, it is not because of this data, but down to something very different. You breathe in happiness and kindness among the other runners, hundreds of volunteers, photographers and press, speakers, those looking after the trade stands... This event has not become dehumanized, it´s kept its feet on the ground. One feels comfortable and part of it all. Not just another number to add up to 2,100. No. You can see that each runner is important to a dedicated organization that is not seeking post congratulations in the specialized press, but rather to go unnoticed. The real protago-

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nists are those who wear a bib on their chest. And their families who wait in Sant Joan de Penyagolosa. And the volunteers who go out of their way to ensure nothing is lacking. Everything is perfectly meshed, but not as a cold machine driven by electronic controls, but by something much more important and that makes Penyagolosa Trails HG what it is: the heart. This sport is still in its infancy. Its evolution in recent years has been impressive. The number of people every day who fall in love with trail and the mountains does not stop growing. Along with the number of races and circuits. Many people think that perhaps too much so, and that its growth makes this sport prone towards the opposite of what we mentioned before, something that Penyagolosa Trails has managed to avoid: dehumanization. There are runners and races that should safeguard the sport for its own good. One of them is Penyagolosa. It will do so. It is in their genes. The organizers of this now international event have been there since birth, taking care of it like a mother who looks after her child, from their Marató i Mitja (MiM) to their CSP. We are confident that they will continue in this role. Mountain races need it. That’s why we thank you in advance and shout out loud: PENYAGOLOSA, FOREVER. May the spirit of the mountain stay with you.

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BASE JUMPING READY, SET, GO!

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CHALLENGES

Text & photography: Chechu Arribas

x Action photography has always been the one that has most caught my attention. If it also occurs in the middle of nature, and is combined with air, speed, adrenaline and friendship, then for me, the combination is practically perfect. It has been three years and a few months now since I became a skydiver, and a little less since I started to get interested in photography from a professional point of view. It was only a question of time before these two passions would intertwine with each other, and that my view of the action would be reflected in the images. I’ve spent some 20 years in the mountains. I have climbed, skied, walked ... and was always fascinated by that part of the void that was somehow left behind when I climbed. Since becoming a skydiver, my view has changed radically. The phrase that says that once you have flown you´ll never look at the sky in the same way again, became

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completely true. Flying makes me feel free in a more intense way than other disciplines have done. Gliding, moving from one place to another, jumping and playing in the air, are experiences that make me feel alive. The combination of air and nature is something that I have always unconsciously sought. BASE jumping has given it to me. It has been love at first sight. I like the environment, the visual aspect, the fear, the height and above all, the atmosphere of brotherhood in a world where I have met good friends. Friends who have made me part of their adventures, and made it possible to take photos that convey what they feel before, during and after each jump. This journey through BASE jumping is making me open my mind to understand that it is not about people who have lost their minds or who are tired of it all. I have met people with an adventurous spirit, highly prepared, meticulous and motivated. People who will not jump if they do not believe the moment is optimal, and that, above all, love their jumping partners as brothers. I am not going to deny the risks involved in this sport, and more so if you take it to the extreme of “Proximity flying”, but it is always a personal decision as to what kind of jumps you can afford to take or not.


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PHOTO © CHECHU ARRIBAS

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CHALLENGES

Being on the other side of BASE jumping has given me a different perspective of this fascinating sport, in which preparation beforehand is just as important as, or more so, than the actual jump. Each photo session is stressful because of the build up: the walk to the “exit”, the preparation of the jumpers, the search for the most realistic visual shot (which often means I must lower myself down to places where there is no margin of error), the silence prior to the jump and the famous “Ready, set, go”, which triggers an adrenaline rush as I realize I cannot fail. The moment passes and there is no turning back.

PHOTO © CHECHU ARRIBAS

I have two maxims that I constantly repeat and that make me live life this way: “If what you do isn´t fun then you’re doing it wrong”; and “set goals as high as your dreams”. Having projects and goals keeps me motivated. In the very near future, new projects directly linked to BASE jumping and I will be revealed. Ready, set, go!

w w w. c h e c h u a r r i b a s . c o m

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PLAY VIDEO

BASE JUMP CROIX DES TÊTE

VIDEO: David guti

PLAY VIDEO

BASEJUMP BRENTO 2016

VIDEO: Richi Navarro

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PHOTO © CHECHU ARRIBAS

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08:21:21

LA SPORTIVA MOUNTAIN RUNNING TEAM

MAITE MAIORA

PHOTO © FOTOIOSU PHOTOGRAPHY | TROMSØ SKYRACE | 1st PLACE

NO SURRENDER


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PHOTO © FOTOIOSU PHOTOGRAPHY

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PORTRAITS

LIVIGNO SKYMARATHON 1st place.

04:37:30

““This season has been one of the best in my life not only at a title or race position level, but emotionally. It has been a great year with fantastic trips. As I always say, it seems that all the stars have aligned. But not all years have been like this. My sporting life has been very bittersweet. It has been like a wave. One day I’m up, one day I´m down. Indeed, I have been very depressed too. Of all the injuries I´ve suffered, the worst was the stress fracture in the femur. It coincided with a shoulder operation. It was horrible because at first we didn´t know what it was. The pain I felt in the race was attributed to my shoulder posture. I started to think I would never be able to run again in my life. I also thought that if that happened, I would do it by bike or whatever, that I would continue in the sport, but the truth is that I started to forget about running”.

When we chatted with Maite in March of 2016, in a cafeteria in Elgoibar [Basque Country], about her serious stress fracture injury of the femur, she could only think about putting on the race bib of her most treasured race: Zegama Aizkorri. She had been out for several months and there were still a few weeks left. I knew she was about to leave that nightmare behind, in which she told us that the worst part had been the uncertainty of not knowing the cause of those terrible pains, and especially, not knowing if she would ever be able to run again. Just over a year and a half later, Maite can look back at a season in which she was proclaimed Sky Extreme World Cup champion (ISF World Series), Overall World Cup champion (ISF World Series), winner of Zegama Aizkorri Maratoia, Ultra Pirineu, Tromso SkyRace, Royal Ultra SkyMarathon Gran Paradiso, Livigno SkyMarathon, KV Fuente Dé, KV Arredondo (Spanish Championship)...; runner-up in the CCC (UTMB), in the Ibiza Trail Marathon, and in the KV of Zegama; and third in Red Bull K3. Really spectacular.

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PORTRAITS

ZEGAMA AIZKORRI MARATOIA 1st place.

04:34:25

“From the injuries I´ve learned to look at things differently. Before, when I was injured, I took it really badly and thought those things only happened to me. Nowadays I realize that´s not true, and when they tell me I have to stop because of an injury, I start thinking about how I can resolve it and look forward”.

I would dare to say that Maite´s words are a result of that injury we discussed in Elgoibar. She had no other choice. She went through a really rough time. “I missed a bus because I was unable to run. I was left staring at it. The bus was there at the stop and... I don´t know, if you run a little he´ll see you and stop, but I couldn´t. So long!” She told us this anecdote with a smile on her face. But it wasn´t one of happiness, rather one of those smirks after having gone through something really bad and when you can see the end is almost there. Maite had no choice but to mature, sportingly speaking, based on huge ups and downs. This process of accepting an injury and immediately looking for solutions is undoubtedly one that people go through with great strength and courage.

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PORTRAITS

ULTRA PIRINEU 1st place.

14:22:19

“On a mental level I need a lot of positive energy and someone by my side like Iosu. On my own, it would be very difficult. I don´t think I have that strength”.

Maite refers to her partner. Iosu Juaristi is an optimistic. Or at least tries to give that impression. This year at Ultra Pirineu, sitting next to him at the finish line waiting for Maite, he looked nervous. Extremely. Everyone commented that the gap between Maite and Nuria Picas was increasing, but he was not going to relax until she appeared with a big smile, breaking the tape and pointing her finger at him to let everyone know that this victory was also his. Maite gets a lot of support from Iosu. I remember that before going to Elgoibar in 2016, he posted a photo on social media where Maite, tagged, was going out to train on the bike. Iosu, tried to use his humor so that his girl would laugh despite being unable to run.

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PHOTO © FOTOIOSU PHOTOGRAPHY | RED BULL K3. 3th place. | 2:33:00

PLAY VIDEO

VIDEO: Evasión TV

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PORTRAITS

CCC. ULTRA TRAIL DU MONT BLANC 2nd place.

12:26:41

“The fact of having had these injuries, on a sporting level, makes me feel calmer and have more peace. I know that just being on the starting line is quite a triumph and that from there, whatever happens will be welcome”. Whoever knows a bit about Maite, knows that these are not empty words. She seems to take things little by little. She enjoys each and every success because she knows that luck, or better said bad luck, can come at any time in the form of an injury. In May 2016 I went to Zegama. Maite was able to put on the bib as she predicted in that cafe. She ran the vertical and won it. At the finishing line, when she saw me, she said: “You see Juanmi! Little by little. I told you I´d run the vertical and here I am.” To top it off, she had won.

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PORTRAITS

ROYAL ULTRA SKY MARATHON GRAN PARADISO 1st place.

08:05:28

“After everything I’ve been through, a friend gave me some bracelets where it says “no surrender”. This year, when I´ve had weak moments or when I´ve been close to injuring myself, I´ve looked at them and taken those words as my own. That is my motto forever”. You don´t need to promise us anything, Maite. Stay strong. And take courage, World champion.

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Text and photography: Jan Novak

I´ve always liked looking deeply into everything that surrounds me, people and objects, looking for answers. That’s who I am! I don’t know why I am here or what I am doing here... Only that when I am sitting in the middle of nature surrounded by silence I can feel my body is part of everything and that my brain is excited by this strange visual world around us. I am sure that not every single human being sees the same things, colours, shapes, distances... As each fingerprint is unique, so our realities are different.

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In fact, everything we see is a kind of energy with changing density that creates objects from atoms to molecules, from molecules to structure, from structure to bodies, from bodies to space... It’s hard to believe that everything is connected and made of the same substance, but for me, it is more evidence than believing in some imaginary God with all those rules created by religions that only seek to manipulate people and for economic gain, in the same way as politicians do. We can’t see atoms, but we know they exist because science tells us so. But science is still very limited, in the same way as our powerful mind. I completely agree with the famous quote from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry: Anything essential is invisible to the eye. As you can see in portraits, the essential lights up from the eyes.

MARGO HAYES

Since I can remember I´ve asked myself many questions about existence. Who are we? Why are we here, and what are we doing here?


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PATXI USOBIAGA

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DANI ANDRADA

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I believe in the magical effect of photography. Some pictures just stay printed on your brain and drive us to spend time in nature or motivate us to do something different in our lives, not just work from 9 to 5 and afterwards watch TV. So when I take photos of beautiful nature, I hope that people will want to go there; if a climbing photo, I hope to encourage people to go climbing and when I take a portrait, I want to express the “light” in each personality so that people love themselves. In my work I try to express myself and my vision of beauty, details, and emotions. I want to show everybody that our life is amazing and our reality is our imagination. You get what you give! Each day is unique and in

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every moment we can decide to give our best or our worst. For me all people are good deep down, just that some of us have had bad experiences or have been manipulated or have a different perception of things. I am not sure that capitalism and globalization are healthy for our body and for our mind. I just try to change it through my vision of the world. I hope that humans will be more human and that lifestyle will be inspired more by Microsystems found in nature and not destroyed by some political system that devastates the planet. I hope that denaturalization will be stopped naturally and that the intelligence of humans will be less egoistic and more open to new ways of thinking. We don’t need to chase after happiness, because happiness is all around. Please, people, awake!

LUIS RODRÍGUEZ

#WORK


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UNKNOWN

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STEPHANE MONARI


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URKO CARMONA

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OLIVIA HSU

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ADAM ONDRA

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ON THE COVER FOTOGRAFÍA Adam DE PORTADA: Ondra. Photo: UTMB.Javipec Fotógrafía: Fede Arcos (Paralelo 70). Issue [004]. Blizzard. January 2018 PUBLISHER Número #08. www.kissthemountain.com Horizonte. Septiembre 2016 theridge@kissthemountain.com Granada. Spain EDITA kissthemountain EDITOR IN CHIEF C/ Albaricoque, J. M. Ávila 18 18198 juanmi@kissthemountain.com Huétor Vega – Granada info@kissthemountain.com ART DIRECTION & DESIGN LAYOUT REDACCIÓN Kiko Cardona kiko@kissthemountain.com Juanmi Ávila juanmi@kissthemountain.com TRANSLATION ARTE Liz Barrass Kiko Cardona Inboca kiko@kissthemountain.com ADVERTS & MARKETING MAQUETACIÓN theridge@kissthemountain.com Y DISEÑO Kissthemountain (+34) 670013576 PUBLICIDAD CONTRIBUTORS publicidad@kissthemountain.com Xabier Mata (+34) 670013576 Jan Novak Chechu Arribas COLABORADORES Guillermo PHOTOGRAPHERS Olcina Maite Maiora Aritz Urdampilleta Jan Novak Pipi Cardell Heinz Zak Fede Arcos Pavel (Paralelo Blazek70) Javipec FOTOGRAFÍA David Munilla Paralelo Alexis70 Berg Carlos Xabier Llerandi Mata Iosu Andrés Juaristi Núñez José Rubén M.Fueyo Muñoz Egea José KilianLuis Jornet Hourcade Luis Chechu Ordóñez Arribas Mikel Iosu Besga Juaristi. Pipi Cardell Jordi García Localpres Fernando Guevara Pyrene Media

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MOUNTAIN CULTURE MAGAZINE


PHOTO: ARCHIVE KTHEM

MOUNTAIN CULTURE MAGAZINE

THE RIDGE 147


PHOTO: ARCHIVE KTHEM

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148 THE RIDGE

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