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Nate Gold getting enlightened at Hampi, India. 7

25274 19201


7 25274 19201 4 Madmen offering themselves to the void. Marcin Tomaszewski and Chris Belczynski on Last Cry of the Butter fly, Kichatna Spires, Alaska.

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14 Exposed

66 Last Cry of the Butterfly

Become enchanted by rock climbing and mountaineering all over again — Three climbers circled Alaska’s black Kichatna Spires this spring in a ski plane, right here. looking for the steepest unclimbed route. They found it, and arrived with a month of supplies, ready to suffer. By Chris Belczynski PECIAL OSEMITE RIPLE EATURE Photos by Dawid Kaszlikowski






56 The Granite Anvil

The Austrian photographer Heinz Zak, aka “The Wizard,” may be the last person you'd expect to produce a photo collection of Yosemite's vertical walls. Yet this consumed photojournalist, who lives 6,000 miles away, has produced the definitive compilation of modern climbing images. Herewith, a celebration of his and Alexander Huber's sumptuous new book, Yosemite.

60 Out of Sight

Leo Houlding on the most rewarding (and unsuccessful) climbing he has done — pushing a ground-up free route up El Capitan's wildly steep east face.

62 Burning the Clock

72 Beyond Evilution

Jared Roth’s quest to go higher and harder in the Buttermilks delivered one of America’s fiercest boulder problems. By Wills Young

74 The Infidel

Greg Mortenson came to the Karakoram like all climbers, focused on bagging a big summit. Ten unsuccessful weeks later, an emaciated Mortenson got lost while hiking out the Baltoro Glacier. Stumbling into a tiny, poverty-racked village near K2 he found his greatest challenge. By Kevin Fedarko

Yosemite speed-climbing is being rewritten faster than you can read this sentence. To approach the latest records you need to be a 5.13 free climber and grizzled wall rat — plus bold. It also helps to be compulsive. By Steve Schneider, with photos by Simon Carter

On the cover: Marcin Tomaszewski flying high on the Citadel’s new route Last Cry of the Butterfly, in Alaska’s Kichatna Spires. Photo by Dawid Kaszlikowski This page: Jerry Moffat trying to Stick It (V11) on Yosemite’s Wine Boulder. Photo by Heinz Zak.

Photo: Pascal Tournaire

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Caught on film. Yosemite’s Golden Age is just beginning.



Fan mail, hate mail and everything in between.

Breaking News


Tragedy on Alpamayo; the Matterhorn crumbles; Say what!? Spanish climber Bernabé Fernandez sends shockwaves by announcing his new 5.15c. Beth Rodden sends America’s highest 5.14; and more.



Shannon Stuart-Smith, former jockey and now head of the Red River Gorge Climbers’ Coalition, finds horses to be more dangerous and climbers harder to control.

Book of the Month


It was a signature climb — and disaster. In 1970, brothers Reinhold and Günther Messner climbed the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. Three decades later, in The Naked Mountain, Reinhold Messner tells the story.



Quickdraws. 13 packaged designs for sport, trad and alpine climbing. By Dave Pegg

What’s New


Innovative packs, ropes and techwear, plus hot deals.

Planet Largo


The royal scam. Coming clean on the mysterious first ascent of a Yosemite classic. By John Long



SPECIAL ROCK SCHOOL HOW-TO SECTION Learning the ropes: three essential skills to keep you out of harm’s way. In-depth tips by veteran guides and climbers.

Famous Faces


The North Face of the Eiger. Mark Wilford’s touch-and-go solo of the “Wall of Death.” By Jeff Achey



Lincoln Woods, Rhode Island. Insider information and topos to over 40 problems at New England’s premier bouldering ground. By Tim Kemple



Rock gyms, retailers and more.

Accidents 106



A fixed piton pops during a lead fall in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon, sending the climber to the E.R. A look at what went wrong, and what could have been done differently. Edited by Jed Williamson



From the Editors

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Caught in the Act Yosemite’s Golden Age is just beginning WHEN YOU CARE ENOUGH TO SEND THE VERY BEST


t’s been a banner year for Yosemite. Just when skeptics were sure that the park’s granite walls had been “climbed out” and the future of hard ascents lay elsewhere, El Capitan hosted a convergence of worldwide talent. Yuji Hirayama of Japan, Alexander and Thomas Huber of Germany, Beth Rodden and Tommy Caldwell of Colorado, and Leo Houlding of the U.K., among many others, vied for free climbs and speed records on the 3,000-foot monolith. They left much undone, too. This fall also marks the release of a colossal climbing documentary. The Austrian photographer Heinz Zak, indulging a 24-year enchantment with the glacier-cleaved granite of Yosemite, has, along with Alexander Huber, produced the book Yosemite. Not since George Meyer’s 1979 photo feast Yosemite Climber (now out of print) have we seen such a compilation of high-angle imagery. Zak’s photo collection includes many of the past decade’s big-wall feats by Dean Potter and Timmy O’Neill, Lynn Hill, the Huber brothers and others. Plentiful bouldering and free-climbing images capture legends and characters like Dan Osman, Jo Whitford, John Bachar, Peter Croft and Kevin Thaw crimping and jamming. Some of my favorite shots, however, are the candid images of Yosemite’s infamous low-brow culture. Zak, living on the other side of the globe from California, is an unlikely Yosemite historian. To complete the book project, he made 16 trips since 1979, flying nearly 200,000 miles, burning 700 rolls of film and dropping over $32,000 in travel expenses. His fascination with Yosemite is absolute, and began, as for so many of us, with a single image. The one that sparked Zak’s dream was George Meyers’ late1970s shot of Ray Jardine struggling out the enormous roof crack Separate Reality. “The first time I saw it,” says Zak, “I turned the photo around to check the angles and said, ‘It’s not possible!’ We weren’t crack climbing in the Alps, and could hardly believe this photo.” “That was the shot that drew me to America,” he says. “It changed my whole lifestyle.” Zak himself has climbed Separate Reality over 50 times. In the 1980s he added to Yosemite lore by shooting the shocking images of Wolfgang Güllich free-soloing the roof. True to form, Zak will be back in the Valley again this fall. His next project? Capturing the Huber brothers’ free-climbing attempt on the Zodiac.

— Tyler Stableford Editor




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Blowing in the wind

Spindrift sweeps the classic Arete des Cosmiques on the Aiguille du Midi (12,450 feet), with Mont Blanc du Tacul behind. Photo by Mario Colonel

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Spanish ace BernabĂŠ Fernandez proposed the unheard-of grade of 5.15c for his latest route, Chilam Balam, at Spain's Villanueva del Rosario. Although Fernandez is one of the country's strongest climbers, his route has sparked controversy in Europe. See Breaking News on page 26 for the full story. Photo by David Munilla 16 |

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An eye for a tooth Mark Synnott climbing the West Face Route (5.10) on Alaska’s Eye Tooth. Located in the Ruth Gorge across from Mount Dickey, the route ascends 2,800 feet of granite cracks above the glacier on what the photographer calls “excellent rock — for Ruth Gorge standards.” Photo by Cameron Lawson | 17

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Tall tales

Steph Davis sending the Yosemite thin-hands pumper Tales of Power (5.12b). Photo by Jimmy Chin 18 |

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p.020-24 Letters.128 7/28/03 12:13 PM Page 20

LETTERS Don’t dumb down routes I just received Rock and Ice #127 and read the Castle Rocks feature [“Storming the Castle”]. I can’t say I have ever been so disappointed in seeing something in print as I was when I read Brad Shilling’s comments on the “re-engineering” of bold routes. One can only imagine what our history and tradition would be today if there had been a Brad Shilling around to tell Henry Barber, John Bachar, Alec Sharp, Jim Erickson, John Stannard, Shannon Stegg, Jeep Gaskin, Mark Wilford and many other visionary climbers what to do when they were establishing the tenor of some of our most popular areas. Such arbitrary new-route parameters would reduce proud crags like Medlicott Dome, Looking Glass, Cathedral Ledge, Seneca Rocks or Eldorado Canyon (and scores of others) to mere outdoor gyms. I may be a crusty old traditionalist, but I cannot help but lament the pervasive trend toward the dumbing down of the sport. Climbing is supposed to be an adventure — not a homogenous and antiseptic effort to cater to the lowest common denominator. Thank God that climbing here in my little slice of the world still places great value on a climber’s judgment and personal responsibility and requires an ethic of adventure climbing that is as demanding of your mind as of your body. It is a shame to see this regressive ethic get ink next to interviews with people like Yvon Chouinard and Aron Ralston. Ralston’s extraordinary survival was, in some ways, built upon a foundation, handed down to us by Chouinard’s generation, of a strong adventure ethic and a desire to take the outdoors on its terms. Had Ralston been accustomed to having everything safe, easy and convenient, would he have had the skills and the mental toughness to see himself through? Who knows, but I do feel that Shilling’s ethic does not bode well for the future of rock climbing here in the United States.

Harrison Shull, Asheville, NC Solo this

Not my godfather

Three passing thoughts on the free solo issue [No. 126]: 1. The obvious plums to pick are the Regular Route on Half Dome, and the crème de la crème — Freerider on El Capitan. 2. If one is really interested in paring down the nonessentials, you really should leave the shoes and chalk at home, too. 3. If the aforementioned ideas pique your interest, please stop. Take three deep breaths, pinch yourself and be thankful you are among the living. Death will come soon enough. Eric Zschiesche via email

Yvon who?? The game has moved on without the old gent [Yvon Chouinard, “The Godfather” No. 127]. The people whom he feels are practicing illegitimate forms of climbing in many cases don’t know who he is, and wouldn’t care if they did. Craig Harris via email

Don’t glorify stupidity Let me first say that I really like Rock & Ice, but I’m a little bit irritated with your July issue about soloing [No. 126]. Sentences like

“Soloing is a journey into the very heart of things, reserved for the finest climbers on their best days,” glorify what is, in my opinion, an act of stupidity and self-indulgence, and imply that soloing is the pinnacle of a climbing career, something to which all climbers are (or should be) aspiring. One can read heroism between the lines even in the title of the editor’s page, “The Dark Art,” your lame attempt to justify an issue devoted to soloing. If you really were trying to cover all aspects of climbing’s dark art, where are the articles by climbers permanently disabled by soloing attempts, articles written by families

“I may be a crusty old traditionalist, but I cannot help but lament the pervasive trend toward the dumbing down of the sport. Climbing is supposed to be an adventure — not a homogenous and antiseptic effort to cater to the lowest common denominator.” 20 |

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LETTERS who have grieved the loss of a life in its prime? Unfortunately, while hinting that the magazine does not endorse the activity, the tenor of the articles and interviews once again glorified soloing. As a certified mountain guide from Austria, I have lost my share of friends and colleagues to soloing accidents. As a father of a 16-year-old who also admires your magazine, I am worried that your issue will only pique the interest of young climbers, curious to experience “the most rewarding days of their lives.” My son and I have talked a lot about soloing, and I have always told him that he will never meet an old solo climber because they all die before reaching an age where they can appreciate how irresponsibly they’ve acted. Rock & Ice has the power to influence many young, impressionable minds, and like it or not, with that power comes responsibility. Josef Ebner via email

Respect Cave Rock’s closure

PRE-SEASON CALENDAR SPECIAL! FREE shipping for any order received before Oct. 15! Place your order for your 2004 Ultimate Climbs calendars now. 877-762-5423, ext. 18 22 |

I am writing in response to the letter from Melanie Rives entitled “Gender Politics” (No. 126), regarding her displeasure with the proposed Cave Rock closure at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I am a climber and an archaeologist who works for an agency that manages archaeological sites on public and private land. Though I am not very familiar with the specifics of Cave Rock, I would like to remind everyone of some issues regarding what are known as “Traditional Cultural Properties” (TCP’s). TCP’s are defined as: “Properties of traditional religious and cultural importance to an Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization may be eligible for the national register of historic places.” The determination of TCP’s on public lands has stopped logging activities, road building and even dam construction. It is unfortunate that some people have overlooked the good that these laws do for our environment as well as the protection of sacred places they provide for Native Americans; and instead complain about the closure of one small crag. We often disregard the fact that even though certain land is today defined as “public,” this land does not inherently belong to us, nor to our ancestors. Native Americans did not build churches in which to practice their religions; so often their

p.020-24 Letters.128 7/28/03 12:14 PM Page 23

places of worship are not recognized by those of Euro-American descent. This does not mean that we should be able to make decisions regarding the management of their places of worship. It is bad enough that their place of worship is located on Forest Service Property, let alone that disrespectful climbers are whining about access. I believe that the Washoe have a legitimate argument, and we as climbers need to respect others as we attempt to seek out every exposed piece of rock on this planet and claim it for our own. Nicole Stutte via email

Ode to the common man A climbing magazine should be more than a journal of extreme ascents by only mountain gods, the super men, women and photographers of our sport. Sure, there must be high drama and the best pictures to appease our need to be there. But ... Rock & Ice is doing the climbing community a service by bringing to its pages a down-to-earth realization: Articles written by and for the common man (I hear Aaron Copeland playing in my head). David Sweetland via email

Corrections Yuji Hiryama and Nick Fowler’s speed ascent of Lurking Fear on El Capitan in Breaking News No. 127 was printed as four hours and three minutes. The correct time is three hours and four minutes. In Gear No. 126, the Trango B-52 belay device was listed as requiring three locking carabiners when used in the auto-block mode to belay two followers simultaneously. To clarify, the device requires one biner to block both ropes, and two biners to secure the device to the anchor. Due to a printing error, we inadvertently printed a Breaking News story twice in issue No. 126, omitting another one. We have included the missing news story on our web site,


TO REACH US Letters may be edited for clarity. | 23

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Owned and Operated by Climbers EDITORIAL Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Editor Senior Editor Editor at Large Senior Contributing Editors

American Alpine Club Accidents Editor AMGA Safety Review Board WMI Medical Review Board

Duane Raleigh | Tyler Stableford | Alison Osius | Dave Pegg | Geoff Childs, Jeff Jackson, John Long, Doug Robinson, Pete Takeda, Jon Waterman Barry Blanchard, Andy Dappen, Niall Grimes, Tim Neville Jed Williamson Mark Houston, Mike Powers Buck Tilton

ADVERTISING SALES Advertising Director Advertising Manager Classified Sales Executive Business Manager

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Tracy Martin | Quent Williams | David Clifford | Bonnie Hofto | Jeremy Collins

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1101 Village Road UL-4D, Carbondale, CO 81623 Telephone: 970-704-1442 Fax: 970-963-4965 WARNING! The activities described in Rock & Ice carry a significant risk of personal injury or death. DO NOT participate in these activities unless you are an expert, have sought or obtained qualified professional instruction or guidance, are knowledgeable about the risks involved, and are willing to assume personal responsibility for all risks associated with these activities. ROCK & ICE MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, OF ANY KIND REGARDING THE CONTENTS OF THIS MAGAZINE, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY REGARDING THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF INFORMA TION CONTAINED HEREIN. Rock & Ice further disclaims any responsibility for injuries or death incurred by any person engaging in these activities. Use the information contained in this magazine at your own risk, and do not depend on the information contained in this magazine for personal safety or for determining whether to attempt any climb, route or activity described herein. The views herein are those of the writers and advertisers; they do not necessarily reflect the views of Rock & Ice’ s ownership. • Manuscripts, photographs and correspondence are welcome. Unsolicited materials should be accompanied by return postage. Rock & Ice is not responsible for unsolicited materials. • Please allow up to 10 weeks for the first issue after subscribing or a change of address (to expect continuous service). No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. © Copyright 2003 by Big Stone Publishing Ltd. Occasionally, we give subscriber names to companies offering products/services in which you may be interested. To remove your name from the list, please contact Rock & Ice Customer Ser vice at 1-877-ROCKICE.

Rock & Ice (USPS 0001-762, ISSN 0885-5722) is published 9 times a year (January , March, April, June, July, September , October , December , plus an annual special edition in February) by Big Stone Publishing, 1101 Village Rd., Ste. UL-4D, Carbondale, CO 81623. Periodicals postage paid at Carbondale, CO, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Rock & Ice, 1101 V illage Rd., Ste. UL-4D, Carbondale, CO 816231563. Subscription rates are $29.95 per year , $47.50 for two years. Canada and Mexico, add $10 per year for surface postage; all other countries add $12.50 per year for surface postage (US funds only). Canada Post CPM #1368672.

24 |

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p.026-36 Breaking News.128 7/30/03 4:38 PM Page 26

Fernandez grinning below his 5.15c creation, Chilam Bilam. See Exposed this issue for a photo of him on the route.



Burden of Proof



Spaniard stirs the pot with a new 270-foot 5.15c Despite Fernandez’s obvious ability, some climbers are skeptical he Spanish climber Bernabé Fernandez sparked controversy this summer by giving his new route Chilam Balam at Villanueva of Chilam Balam’s 5.15c rating. Germany’s Alexander Huber wrote del Rosario near Malaga, Spain, the unprecedented grade of 5.15c. a letter expressing his disbelief (see sidebar), and the popular In keeping with its massive grade, Chilam Balam is a monstrous European climbing web site opined: “It’s now up to Fernandez to offer the climbing world route, totally natural, radically overhanging some kind of proof, showing he’s really — and climbed in a single 270-foot pitch. miles ahead of everyone else. Normally Fernandez worked on the route for four Alex Huber, one of Europe’ s leading climbers, immediately questioned Fernandez’s ascent of Chilam Balam. Following is an a climber should be able to on-sight years, and finally redpointed it on July excerpt of a letter Huber sent to the Spanish climbing magazine routes around three [letter] grades eas4, a day of 90-degree temperatures. Desnivel, which he asked the editors to forward to Fernandez. ier than his redpoint level. Considering Fernandez, 28, is an outstanding climber. “The climbing world is faced with a problem that has the amount of work he’s put into this In 1992 he established Spain’s first 5.14b, occurred many times before: potential overgrading. I cannot take route, in Fernandez’s case four grades Hara-kiri, at the age of 17. Two years later Bernabé’s proposal seriously as I can’ t see any references that would demonstrate his skills of climbing at such a high level — is maybe more fair, but still, no one has he gave the country its first 5.14c, Mojave. far above the rest of the world. I would be lying if I said that I been remotely close to on-sighting [5.14c] He’s also no stranger to controversy. In believed in the correctness of the grade 9b+ [5.15c]! ... Can he do it?” 1996 he used four bolt-on holds to make I hope I don’t sound jealous or unfair . I am not. I am tryThe challenge isn’t likely to be the “first ascent” of Orujo (5.14d). A couing to avoid what has happened so many times before — a answered. The weekend after his ascent, ple of years later he dispensed with three climber who lost his credibility in the climbing world is a damage for our sport. Rather than insulting Bernabé, I am the climbers’ refuge at Villanueva threw of the bolt-ons and proposed a new grade giving him a fair and honest chance, because I am letting a huge party at which Fernandez of 5.15a. Top Spanish climbers Daniel him know my opinion about his proposal. Informing him announced his retirement from highAndrada, Pablo Barbero, and Ramon Julian about my doubts gives him the opportunity to answer and to standard climbing. have attempted Orujo without success. consolidate his credibility.”

Huber asks for answers

— Alex Huber 26 |

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Global Warning


Alpamayo with the Basque/French Route marked. The icefall occured near the ridge.

Alpamayo Icefall Kills 8


n fickle trigger of hanging ice on July 21, eight climbers perished on Peru's Alpamayo (19,511 feet). The victims, four Germans, two Israelis, a Dutchman and an Argentine, were members of three different teams climbing a steep chute on the Basque/French Route when a huge block of ice collapsed from high on the route, sweeping them to their deaths. “Most guides consider this one more example of how climate change is making climbing increasingly more difficult and more dangerous in the Cordillera Blanca,” says area mountain guide Ross Wehner. "You wouldn't believe how many routes have been shut down by [the warm conditions]. The bergschrund on Alpamayo's Ferrari Route has grown so wide that no one can climb it anymore."

28 |

wiss authorities took the unprecedented step of temporarily “closing" the Matterhorn (14,688 feet) at the height of the mid-July season after enormous rockslides raked the peak's east and north faces, trapping over 90 climbers, and precipitating one of the biggest mass rescues in mountaineering history. British mountaineer and author Victor Saunders was among those trapped. "An enormous avalanche hurtled down the east face,” he said, of the first of three massive bombardments. “I have never seen so much rock falling at one time.” Remarkably, all the endangered climbers escaped without serious casualties, thanks in part to a massive helicopter airlift effort. It may be no coincidence that the mountain crumbled — Switzerland had just experienced its hottest June since records began

in 1753. “I am quite sure what happened on the Matterhorn last week was the result of the Alps losing its permafrost,” said civilengineering professor Michael Davies of Scotland's Dundee University. “The ground temperature around the Matterhorn has risen considerably over the past decade. The ice that holds mountain slopes and rock faces together is simply disappearing. At this rate, it will vanish completely — with profound consequences. We are going to see a lot more of this sort of devastation.” Mindful of the Matterhorn's vital importance to Zermatt's tourist economy, mountain guides rapidly replaced fixed ropes damaged by the rockslides and local authorities had declared the mountain “open for business” again within a week. — Colin Wells


Rockslides trap climbers on melting Matterhorn

p.026-36 Breaking News.128 7/30/03 4:43 PM Page 29

Micro Managing Roddens sends America’s highest 5.14


hile spending the summer in the Colorado high country, 23-yearold Beth Rodden sent Rocky Mountain National Park’s testpiece Sarchasm (5.14a). Located at the Ship’s Prow crag on Longs Peak, the 80-foot route features micro crimps and smears on a sharply cut granite arete. The stinger: It’s at 12,000 feet, and Rodden made the grueling two-hour approach seven times before bagging it on July 19. Sarchasm was established five years ago by Rodden’s husband, Tommy Caldwell; this was only the route’s second ascent. Rodden’s first 5.14 was Smith Rock’s To Bolt or Not to Be in 1999. Yeeow! Rodden shaking off the pain from Sarchasm's stinging crimps.


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The International Climbers’ Festival in Lander , Wyoming, July 10 through 13, upheld its history of glad profusion: You could enter the dyno comp, or the pie-eating contest, or the hallowed tug of war into Jell-O. But beware ... one poor sod in the haulbag races blew out his ACL.

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WORD! "Climbers say newcomers put up permanent bolts merely to make hard climbs easier.“ — The Wall Street Journal, in a June 11, page 1 article. (So ... which of the world's hardest routes have bolts made “easier“? Realization perhaps?)

Eyes and Ears

Jimmy Chin’s photos have appeared in

National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, and Outside. His photo has just appeared in People magazine — in the “Hottest Bachelors” issue. He sighs. “I didn’t tell anybody about that,” he says. “I was hoping it would just kind of blow through.” Chin, 29, has climbed all over the world: Mount Combatant in the Waddington Range and first ascents in the Karakoram (on Fathi Brakk, Beatrice Tower, and Tahir Tower). He’s made over 10 one-day ascents of El Cap, and at home in Jackson, Wyoming, skied the Grand three times this spring alone. We spoke to him just before he left for Everest in July to photograph Stephen Koch attempting a snowboard descent. How about that People magazine?! It’s flattering, but I would rather be known for doing something useful than the fact that I can’t find a girlfriend. ...There’s a reason I’m a bachelor. I’m incredibly shy.

What book are you reading? Freedom at Midnight, about Pakistan’s secession from India. What’s the worst moment you have ever had photographing climbing? On my first trip to Pakistan, we got caught up high in an ice storm on the side of the wall. It was avalanching on our ledges and I remember taking photos and thinking I was documenting our demise. You are about to photograph Stephen Koch on Everest. How do you feel about recording a dangerous undertaking? I’m documenting life, and life in general is a possibly dangerous undertaking, so you go on with what you love doing and keep the faith. 848 Airport Road, Fall River , MA 02720 USA T 800-333-6679 F 508-679-2363

Back to that People. What has it done for your dating? It hasn’t done anything and I don’t really expect it to as I’ll be on the north side of Everest for two months. 30 |


Scott Milton feeling “groovy” thanks to the safety and performance of his MAXIM climbing rope with



n July 1, 13-year-old Daniel Woods of Longmont, Colorado, tied for the record of being the youngest American to climb 5.14 when he redpointed The 7 p.m. Show (5.14a) at Rifle, Colorado. Woods, who turns 14 on August 1, displayed little interest in working his way through the grades, having previously sent just one 5.13c and a couple of 5.13b’s. Nevertheless, he romped up The Show, considered solid for the grade, in a mere 10 tries. Eric Scully shares the record with Woods, having climbed Closing Down (5.14a) at Mount Charleston at age 13. In Europe, two sprightly 12-year-olds, Bálint Kámvás and David Lama, have climbed the grade.

p.026-36 Breaking News.128 08/05/2003 03:16 PM Page 31

Taking It Back National Park Service apologizes to former Climbing editor for fabricating arson report



he U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a written apology to Jonathan Thesenga, former editor of Climbing magazine, for “inaccurate reporting” contained in an April 15 posting on the National Park Service’s web site. The posting claimed that Thesenga, 31, was convicted of arson — a felony — and vandalism for lighting a fire in Joshua Tree National Park on New Year’s eve. The report also stated that Thesenga fled from rangers at the scene, and in court did not show remorse for his actions. The most damaging of the alleged charges, however, turned out to not be true, and, according to NPS West Coast spokesperson, Holly Bundock, were the result of “editing mistakes” caused when the park rangers’ initial report was condensed for the on-line NPS site. Unfortunately for Thesenga, the NPS report was immediately picked up and rebroadcast by many climbing and outdoor dot-coms. Climbers who believed the article were outraged by Thesenga’s alleged activity, and a fury of protests followed. Three and a half months after the alleged incident, but only 24 hours after the NPS article went online, Thesenga, editor of Climbing, was terminated from his position by Climbing’s management at Primedia Incorporated. The actual incident concerned a December 31 celebration in Joshua Tree National Park, at which Thesenga ignited white gas he had poured on a granite slab — A “juvenile prank,” he admits. Rangers


Thesenga intends to rebuild his career in the climbing world. who spotted the fire ticketed Thesenga — who did not flee — for “discarding lighted material,” a misdemeanor that’s equal in seriousness to failing to extinguish a campfire. Thesenga was not cited for arson nor was he cited for vandalism. In court, a remorseful Thesenga said he, “loved the park ... and would never purposely cause harm to it.” Despite losing his “dream job,” Thesenga hopes to salvage his reputation and rebuild a career in the outdoor industry. “There is no excuse for what I did,” he said in a statement, “and, as I have said from the beginning, take full responsibility for my actions and the resulting ramifications.” After issuing the apology to Thesenga, the National Park Service deleted the original news posting from its web site and published a retraction and correction. In a phone interview, NPS spokesperson Bundock said that she was unaware of any disciplinary actions taken against the editor of the on-line article.

Sharma nabs bouldering's baddest Taking advantage of cool late-June temps at the bouldering hotspot of Magic Wood, Switzerland, Chris Sharma made the first ascent of the Never Ending Story. Bouldering heavyweights Dave Graham and Bernd Zangerl had vied for the first ascent without success, and pegged it as potentially harder than Fred Nicole's world-famous Swiss testpiece Dreamtime (V15). The Never Ending Story , a 15-move cave affair on water -polished, slopey gneiss, links a V12 tacked onto a V14. Sharma took only two days to complete it, compared to the seven he spent on Dreamtime. Along with Zangerl's V15 New Baseline, also at Magic Wood, and Dreamtime in Cresciano, Sharma's unrated Story represents the state of the bouldering art. | 31




p.026-36 Breaking News.128 7/30/03 4:47 PM Page 32


David Christopher Gunstone of Renton, Washington, died May 31 on Exasperator, a classic route on the Chief at Squamish, B.C. He fell about 100 feet and died instantly. The British Columbia coroner services are investigating the circumstances of the fall. Gunstone was a prominent but unassuming figure in the Seattle climbing community for nearly 20 years. An engineer, he was known for his meticulous attention to detail and safety. He was also committed to making climbing safer overall: Dave replaced over 1,000 bolts, and spent countless hours cleaning routes and doing trail maintenance. —Jane Courage


Dave Gunstone, 41

On May 31, Chris Hampson, 25, of Breckenridge, Colorado, died in a 100-foot leader fall on easy terrain on the Overhang Bypass route (5.7), Lower Cathedral Rock, Yosemite Valley. Chris was a regular inhabitant of Yosemite’s Camp 4, exceptionally well-liked for his kindness and cheerfulness. Chris once told a climbing partner, Teague Holmes, “I didn’t have to wonder what I was going to do in life. I always knew.” He was “going to keep living the way I’m living” — climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and working in Breckenridge — “until the day I die.” Sadly, that day came much too soon. — Sibylle Hechtel


Chris Hampson, 25

Pat started climbing in 1969 near his home in Lander, Wyoming, at only 14. His first routes were in Sinks Canyon and the Wind Rivers, but he eventually spent most of his rock-climbing days at Wyoming’s Dome Rock and Fremont Canyon, establishing approximately 500 first ascents. After high school, Pat worked as a welder in the oil fields, married Mary Bonazza and had a daughter, Angie. He was later divorced, met and married Deb Starks. In about 1984 he entered nursing school, and then worked as a highly respected RN until his death. He and Deb financed construction of The Peak gym in Casper in 1997. On February 14, he died suddenly of what was later found to be vasculitus, a condition in which blood cells enter and damage tissues. Only 30 days earlier he had been in Fremont Canyon ice climbing and researching a new guide to the area. A couple of months later Deb told me that every few weeks Pat would say to her, “I love climbing.” — Steve Petro 32 |


Pat Parmentor, 47

p.026-36 Breaking News.128 7/30/03 4:48 PM Page 34


Shannon Stuart-Smith Fighting the good fight at the Red River Gorge


Is there a protectionist attitude about the Red, a sense that the area can’t handle more people? One of your board members was quoted as expressing one. I think what he was trying to express is that exposure in the publications has invited more people to come here, and we’re very much in a cycle of growth. That brings impacts ... that the Forest Service is very troubled by.

What is your own feeling on the subject?

“I never thought I was worthy or good enough.”

How long were you a jockey? Nearly 20 years. I went on the racetrack in 1973 right out of high school, as a hotwalker, then groom and exercise rider. Then I got my jockey’s license. I rode quarterhorses, Arabians, and thoroughbreds.

As a jockey, did you have to be draconian about weight? I’m 5’7”, I was 140 and I got down to 108. It was not good, not healthy. I fasted a lot and it was a strict protein diet. You’re basically cannibalizing yourself.

That part of every climber’s experience has got to be an awareness of being a guest here. It goes beyond picking up trash. It goes to not “posse climbing” — not having groups of 10, 15, and 20 climbers standing around crushing vegetation. If it gets crowded, disperse yourselves.

How long did you practice law? I did not practice. I interned with the D.A. I always intended to be a trial attorney. It was in my third year [in law school, University of Kentucky] that I won the local American Trial Lawyers’ Association competition, a mock trial. But I woke up in the middle of the night. I didn’t know if the person I had gotten a murder conviction for was really guilty or not. They took the fact pattern from a real case. I couldn’t really accept that kind of responsibility. I realized that it wasn’t necessarily guilt or innocence we were deciding but who could win the case.

How often do you climb?

[Laughs] No. At the racetrack you went to work and an ambulance was there every day watching you.

Four times a week. I’m all packed and sitting in my climbing clothes ready to go out the door right now. I’m climbing with Julie Fain, who is my [domestic] partner. She’s the one who supports me and makes all this possible. ... Everybody’s very thankful that I have such a great family life that I can do this.

What is the greatest success of the RRGCC?

What has been a particularly inspiring moment in your life?

Our personal relationship with the Forest Service [which manages crags containing 75 percent of area climbing routes]. It’s made an enormous difference to all of us.

My grandmother told me to think about a life of working for other people; she said that people who have talent, and can do things for other people, really should. She said that when I was a little kid, and it’s been on my mind ever since. The flip side of that is I never thought I was worthy or good enough. Somehow I still knew I was supposed to do something. — Alison Osius

After racing horses, does climbing even seem dangerous?

Biggest regret? Losing Pocket Wall. It was sold to a state park.

34 |


o to the Red River Gorge at Rocktober Fest and you will see a slender woman, with fine features and streaming white hair, everywhere. Out at Torrent Falls, she’s giving a women’s climbing clinic — for $10, to benefit the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition (RRGCC); she is at an Access Fund board meeting, as member and host. At a pancake breakfast, she serves coffee; at a BBQ, she works the front table. Shannon Stuart-Smith, 48, RRGCC executive director and an attorney and former jockey, is spending several years volunteering her energies for climbing. Stuart-Smith will again be chief architect of this year’s Rocktober Fest, October 11 and 12, a party and a showcase for an ambitious project: purchasing two tracts of land, containing the crags of Drive By, Oil Crack, Bob Marley, Solar Collector, Dark Side, and Gold Coast.

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The Naked Mountain: Brother, Death and Loneliness by Reinhold Messner In 1970, a 25-year-old Reinhold Messner and his younger brother, Günther, became the first climbers to ascend 26,620-foot Nanga Parbat (“the Naked Mountain”) by its monstrous Rupal Face. The Messners shared a moment of triumph, then, just below the summit, Günther developed severe altitude sickness, forcing the pair to retreat down the opposite side of the mountain, over unknown terrain. The badly frostbitten Reinhold had almost led them to safety when an avalanche buried Günther. Or so Reinhold has always maintained. Since that disaster three decades ago, the man widely regarded as the greatest mountaineer of all time has been dogged by accusations that his ambition and neglect brought about his brother’s death. Now, in a fascinating, troubling account, Reinhold Messner tells his version of the dark epic that launched his Himalayan career. Nothing if not passionate, Messner writes of the Himalayan experience with a nearly mystical fervor. His description of catastrophe at high altitude is page-turning, and Messner makes a fair case that the ferocious conditions of the “Death Zone” above 8,000 meters caused his brother ’s death. But while this is a heartfelt book, it is also an angry and bitter one. Ultimately, his account lacks the forgiving wisdom one hopes comes with age. — Richard Ryan

Behind the scenes on Nanga Parbat The much-ballyhooed 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest coincides with the 50th anniversary of Hermann Buhl’s harrowing solo first ascent of Nanga Parbat, a more impressive alpine achievement. The American climber Ed Viesturs’ ascent of the mountain (13th in his goal of climbing all 14 8,000-meter peaks) in June marks a commemoration of Buhl’s success. Unfortunately, the anniversary has also been darkened by a new round of controversy in the European press over Reinhold Messner’s 1970 summit climb. Two of his former teammates (neither of whom were part of the 1970 summit contingent) have published books in Germany insinuating Messner created the circumstances that led to his brother’s death. One of them even goes so far as to suggest that Messner may not have tried to lead his brother off the mountain but abandoned him high on the slopes. Messner was preparing for an arctic expedition as Rock and Ice went to press, and did not respond to requests for comments. However, Messner recently announced his intention to return to Nanga Parbat next summer, with the hope of finding his brother’s remains at its base, where he insists Günther was killed by an avalanche 30 years ago. The expedition would mark Messner’s fifth journey to the mountain. — RR

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13 packaged sets for sport, trad and alpine climbing. Plus: the editors’ picks for best buys. BY DAVE PEGG


quickdraw is like a haircut — you only notice it when it’s bad. When a quickdraw is good, it hangs unobtrusively by your side, and when called on, easily and securely connects your protection to the rope. In fact, about the only time you notice this vital link in the protection chain is when it doesn’t work right: a carabiner gate sticks open or a biner pinwheels around, making clipping the rope a frustrating game of tag. Or a small basket traps your finger when you try to clip the rope. You also notice quickdraws at the cash register. Pay for two carabiners and the sling, and each unit can set you back $20 or more. Multiply this by the 15 or so quickdraws that you need for a modest rack, and your wallet suffers a serious dent. It makes sense, then, to scimp where you can. How? By buying packaged quickdraw sets. Most manufacturers, hip to merchandising, offer two carabiners and a sewn draw preassembled into quickdraws. These units offer the same quality as their individual components, but cost about $2 less. In effect, when you buy a packaged quickdraw, you get the sling for free. What to buy? We could fill this entire magazine with stats on 38 |

the myriad quickdraw sets. As scintillating as that issue might be, we’ve chosen to pare down the number by selecting just one proven package per manufacturer. In some cases, the quickdraw was chosen for pure performance, others for light weight, low cost or catchy innovations like self-locking carabiner gates. Read on — and save. WIRE GATES VERSUS REGULAR GATES Wire gates have several advantages over regular “bar-stock” gates: They’re lighter, and because wire gates are so thin, open wider than bar-stock gates. And wire gates don’t freeze open or closed as easily as regular gates, making them excellent choices for ice and alpine use. Makes you wonder why anyone would buy a carabiner with a regular gate. The answers: Regular gates can be easier to clip; they are less likely to tangle with wired nuts and cam triggers on a crowded rack; and they are less prone to catch and twist open if they’re spun around a bolt hanger. Hence the popular use of regular gates on the top of a quickdraw and wire gates on the bottom. BENT VERSUS STRAIGHT GATES Bent-gate biners are typically easier to clip than straight gates, suiting them for the rope-

p.038-45 Gear.128 7/29/03 10:19 AM Page 40

GEAR end of the draw. Bent gates, however, are more likely to unclip themselves from your protection. For these reasons, most climbers prefer a straight-gate carabiner on the protection end of the draw, and a bent-gate on the rope end. In situations where rope-toprotection security is critical, such as first- and second-bolt clips, using a draw with straight-gate carabiners on both ends is wise. STRENGTH Carabiners have three strength ratings: major axis (normal lengthwise loading), minor axis (sideways loading) and major axis with the gate open. Carabiners almost never fail, but can when they are cross-loaded or the gates somehow open. Then, the second and third strength ratings become critical.



LENGTH This depends on personal preference. I like short (fourto six-inch) draws for sport climbing and longer ones for trad, where rope drag and the chance of accidentally lifting out wired

nuts are ever-present concerns. Even if you prefer short quickdraws, you should still buy a few long ones, using them to reduce rope drag on recessed or off-to-the-side placements. For trad climbing, consider long slings, ones that you can use doubled or tripled up when rope drag isn’t a concern, and can extend when it is. MATERIAL You have two choices: wide (19-25 mm) nylon or skinny (8-17 mm) Spectra/Dyneema. Spectra/Dyneema is lighter and less bulky. Nylon is less expensive and can be stiffer, which extends your reach a bit, “cheat stick” style. All slings in this review are CE approved, which means they must hold at least 22 kN. FLIPPING What flips me off is trying to clip an upside-down carabiner. To prevent carabiner rotation, which makes clipping difficult and can cause carabiner cross loading, the sling should either be sewn tightly so the bottom carabiner can’t rotate out of position or have a carabiner-capture device, like a rubber band.

Petzl Spirit Express $20.90 Best sport quickdraw

This is the Ferrari of quickdraws. The carabiners are Total weight: 3.9 ounces engineered for a totally smooth clip. A notchless gate Sling material: 25mm nylon reduces the chance of the nose (where the gate meets Sling lengths: 4, 7 inches the carabiner body) snagging on protection and gear loops. Carabiner strengths: 23x10x9.5 kN I also appreciated how the bottom carabiner flares out Final Score: to present a wide and friendly rope-bearing surface. A stiff sling and rubber grommet firmly secure the bottom carabiner in place. If you can bear to part with over $20 for a draw, sport-climbing designs don’t get better than this. Petzl: 801-926-1500,





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Black Diamond Hotwire $18.95 The Hotwire competed with the Petzl Spirit as my Total weight: 3.8 ounces favorite overall quickdraw. I like the Hotwire’s combiSling material: 16mm Spectra nation of a regular-gate biner on top and a wiregate on the Sling length: 4.7 inches Carabiner strengths: 25x8x8 kN (top) bottom. I also like the big 35mm gate opening that gives 25x7x9 kN (bottom) your fingers and the rope lots of room for clipping. The Final Score: upper carabiner has a notchless gate that allows for easy cleaning when lowering down overhanging routes. A rubber grommet on the Spectra sling holds the bottom biner securely for easy clipping. The 12-centimeter (4.7-inch) sling was sometimes too short for reducing rope drag; I’d welcome a longer option, particularly for trad climbing. Black Diamond: 801-278-5552,

Wild Country Wild Wire $16.50 Best all-around quickdraw

The Wild Wire is a great all-rounder: the biners are Total weight: 3.3 ounces full-size, finger friendly and surprisingly light, and Sling material: 12mm Spectra the Spectra sling is lean, versatile and available in Sling lengths: 4, 6, 8 inches several lengths. The sling is especially great for traCarabiner strengths: 23x7x9 kN ditional routes as it’s available in three lengths, hangs Final Score: trimly on a crowded rack, and is flexible enough to make a half twist and squeeze through thin cracks, ensuring proper loading. The same features can be a small drawback on sport routes though, as the bottom biner doesn’t always hang in line with the top one, and the sling isn’t stiff enough to help extend your reach when trying to clip high bolts. Of course, the wire gates are great for ice and alpine use because they resist freezing. Wild Country/Excalibur: 801-9428471,

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DMM Truclip $12.95 Best value quickdraw

DMM has several great draws, including the Wirelock Total weight: 4.3 ounces (a unique notchless wiregate) and the 2.7-ounce Superlight. Sling material: 19mm nylon I chose the Truclip as my favorite, though, because it’s Sling lengths: 4 inches the classiest clip you’ll find for $13. Unlike many budget Carabiner strengths: 25x7x9 kN competitors, the carabiners are generously sized and Final Score: have a great gate action. Plus the sling holds the bottom carabiner securely. The Truclip is heavy and I’d like a longer sling option, but otherwise it’s a steal. DMM/Excalibur: 801-942-8471,

Cassin Cosmos Wire $14.95 The Cosmos is bigger, wider and stouter than most wireTotal weight: 3.9 ounces gate quickdraws. The biners clip smoothly, and with a Sling material: 17mm Dyneema huge 38mm gate opening and flat, broad spine, climbers Sling lengths: 5, 7, 10, 17 inches with big (or gloved) hands will love the way they feel. Carabiner strengths: 25x9x10 kN They are also among the strongest reviewed, especially Final Score: if somehow loaded sideways or with the gate open. The Dyneema sling isn’t sewn as tightly as I’d like at the bottom, however — the biner can flip around. With a better sling or a rubber band securing the bottom biner, the Cosmos would be a top choice. Cassin/Climb Axe: 503-236-9552,,

Trango Superfly $16.95 Best lightweight quickdraw

Many climbers are as obsessed as anorexics when it Total weight: 2.4 ounces comes to the weight of their rack. In the quickdraw Sling material: 12mm Dyneema category, the 2.4-ounce Superfly is the reigning champ. Sling lengths: 4, 6 inches Replace your regular quickdraws with 12 Superfly Carabiner strengths: 24x7x9 kN Final Score: draws and you’ll shed well over a pound. Alternatively, you could skip breakfast for a week. I used the draws to save weight on hard on-sights and long routes where I had to carry a big rack. I didn’t like them as everyday draws, since the Superfly’s small, narrow-diameter carabiners are a little tricky to clip and the rope-bearing surfaces are relatively thin. Trango: 800-860-3653,

Mammut Yosemite $15.50 The Yosemite draw consists of two lightweight wireTotal weight: 3.1 ounces gate carabiners and an over-the-shoulder sling that can Sling material: 8mm Dyneema be tripled to create an 6.5-inch quickdraw. Not technically Sling length: 22 inches (6.5 inches tripled) a “quickdraw,” it is included here because it is rare to find Carabiner strengths: 24x8x8 kN a carabiner/runner setup that’s offered as a package. The Final Score: 8mm Dyneema runner is the skinniest CE-approved sling we tested (the next-thinnest in the review is 12mm). The slender biners save on weight and rack neatly — a plus when carrying a large rack. When sport climbing, the Yosemite rig is as out of place as Royal Robbins with a power drill, but you’ll appreciate its versatility on traditional rock or ice. Mammut/Climb High: 802-985-5056,

Metolius Nylon Quickdraw $13.95

42 |

The Quickdraw uses two modified-D carabiners with Total weight: 4 ounces round bar-stock gates. The bottom gate is slightly bent Sling material: 19mm nylon so the rope drops easily into the basket. Yet because Sling length: 5, 7 inches the bottom biner is only a bit dog-legged, Metolius says Carabiner strengths: 25x9x9 kN you can also clip it directly into protection — a useful Final Score: feature when you mistakenly grab a draw upside down. Unfortunately, the relatively narrow biner doesn’t easily accommodate a clipping finger and a rope. Metolius sews the sling tightly to the bottom biner and gives you the option of having the top biner sewn tightly, too. A packaged set of six draws sells for $75. Metolius: 541-382-7585,

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GEAR Advanced Base Camp Mantis $15.50 I loved the well-made and easy-to-clip carabiners Total weight: 4.2 ounces on this quickdraw. They have a smooth action and wide Sling material: 20mm nylon opening. However, they’re mated with a sling that Sling length: 6 inches isn’t sewn tightly enough to stop the bottom caraCarabiner strengths: 26x8x10 kN biner from spinning — you’ll need to upgrade the Final Score: sling by twisting on your own rubber band to keep the biner in place. Sport climbers may find the six-inch sling too long; trad climbers will prefer it. Advanced Base Camp: 888-90-CLIMB,

Kong Express Mix $22.50 The notchless, anodized biners and bright orange Total weight: 3.8 ounces sling drew oohs and ahhs of envy from my friends. Sling material: 21mm nylon But those are the only features that differentiate the Sling lengths: 4 inches Express Mix from the crowd. The carabiners are narCarabiner strengths: 25x7x9 kN row with a slim gate opening that can jam up with your Final Score: fingers and a rope, and the gate action isn’t as smooth and is noticeably stiffer than other premium quickdraws. Kong/Advanced Base Camp: 88890-CLIMB,

Omega Pacific DB $9.95 If you’re shopping on a budget or want extra draws Total weight: 4.3 ounces to hang on a project, the $9.95 DB could be the quickSling material: 21mm nylon draw for you. This relatively heavy quickdraw won’t Sling length: 4 inches win any beauty contest, but it is practical. The sling Carabiner strengths: 24x7x8 kN is sewn tightly enough to secure the bottom biner, Final Score: and both carabiners have a nice action, although the narrow gate opening can make clips difficult. A longer sling option would be nice, too. Omega Pacific: 800-360-3990,

Camp Steelkar Safelock Express $20.75 The bottom carabiner of this quickdraw has a unique Total weight: 3.7 ounces clippable, self-locking gate. Push in and slightly upward Sling material: 25mm nylon on the blue locking tab to open the gate. The action suited Sling lengths: 4.7 inches my clipping style; when I pushed the rope against Carabiner strengths: 25x8x10 kN the gate as I normally do, the locking tab released. Final Score: That said, a friend complained that he couldn’t always open the carabiner. If that’s the case, you’ll need to modify the way you clip. I used these quickdraws for extra security on placements where the gate could drag open against a bolt or the rock. I won’t be replacing my whole rack, however — the sling is so loose that the bottom carabiner flips constantly (attach a rubber band), and the top biner has a stiff, clunky gate. Camp USA: 303-465-9429;

Stubai Easy Clip $12.50 The Easy Clip features notchless-gate carabinTotal weight: 4.1 ounces ers at a great price. On the downside, the Easy Sling material: 20mm nylon Clips have a narrow gate opening that’s not so Sling length: 6.3 inches easy to clip, and the sling isn’t sewn tightly enough Carabiner strengths: 25x8x8 kN to stop the bottom carabiner from flipping. Again, Final Score: pinning the bottom biner with a rubber band helps. Stubai/Advanced Base Camp: 888-90-CLIMB,

44 |

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W H AT ’ S N E W BlueWater Dominator 9.4mm rope I've never been a fan of skinny ropes for everyday use, pooh-poohing them as luxury items for obsessive sport climbers. That was until I tried BlueWater's Dominator ($165 for a 60-meter length; dry treatment $20 extra). After 30 days of use on sport and multi-pitch trad routes, this svelte 9.4mm cord is still going strong. The best part is that it weighs only 55 grams per meter; I noticed a serious savings in weight and, importantly, rope drag on long leads. I tested the 70meter version, and found I could often link two pitches into one, or toprope routes that used to require two ropes.

The Dominator is strong for its size, holding seven harsh UIAA test falls with a gentle impact force of 8.29 kN. Because it's thin, I found the rope wore more quickly than some 10.5mm lunkers I've tested — no surprise. For its diameter, however, I was impressed by the Dominator's durability, and expect to get at least another 30 days of use from it. BlueWater: 770-834-7515, — Tyler Stableford

We all know it’s important to stay hydrated on a long route, but still rarely drink enough when we climb. It’s a hassle to stop and dig water out of the backpack — or lead with a bottle flapping against our thighs. The Flash backpack ($110, 1 pound 8 ounces) makes drinking a snap. An insulated two-liter hydration system funnels water through a tube in the shoulder strap so it’s always handy. The tube and valve zip neatly inside the shoulder strap when you don’t need to use them. I wore the Flash on an ascent of Spearhead’s Syke’s Sickle in Rocky Mountain National Park this summer. Every few minutes I’d suck on the tube, and because I drank so frequently I felt much stronger than I normally do at 12,000 feet. Designed for climbing, the Flash has a volume of 1,100 cubic inches, trim enough to wear while

CragWear Apex is the latest softshell fabric from The North Face — it’s a supremely stretchy midweight nylon-andlycra weave that blocks wind, but isn’t so heavy that you overheat in moderate temps. I hiked Colorado’s 13,200-foot Mt. Audubon in the Apex Pants ($99) on a summer day and found that they breathed well enough for comfort during the grindy approach, yet added the right touch of warmth for the windy, 40degree conditions on the summit. The styling is a bit techy, though; I never did use all six pockets, nor the plastic D-ring that hangs below the front belt loop. The North Face: 800-719-6678, — Mark Eller 48 |

making technical moves, like pulling the route’s 5.9 crux roof. The downside is limited capacity: When the bladder is full the Flash will just hold a rack, shoes, a few energy bars, and a lightweight jacket. Fortunately, sturdy straps allow you to lash extra equipment like a rope and helmet to the outside of the pack. Backcountry Access also makes the Alp 40 ($165), a 2,850-cubicinch climbing pack with a similar hydration system. Backcountry Access: 303-417-1345, — Dave Pegg

Bufo Unbreakable Gym climbing and bowling have one thing in common: rental shoes. Unless you’ve been climbing for a while or stepped in on blind faith and bought shoes straight away, you will have to rent them your first few times on the wall. Most rental shoes, however, are inexpensive, low-end models built neither for high performance nor durability. Enter the Bufo Unbreakable ($5 to rent), the first and only shoe designed specifically for plastic and rental programs. If you are on the climbing side of the shoe, fret not. You may think that a shoe built for rental would, for foot-padding and toe-dragging durability, use radial-tire rubber for soles, but the proprietary Utopia PDS is indistinguishable from any of the top rubbers out there. To comfortably fit a wide variety of feet, the Unbreakable’s upper is designed more like a trad than sport shoe. The heel-to-toe curve is only slightly hooked and the toe, while pointed, isn’t sharp. I spent a week at Smith Rock roughing up these shoes on 5.11 faces and cracks and can happily report: no problem. In the gym these shoes performed admirably, and if you are a manager in charge of stocking rentals, know that the Unbreakable’s unique double toe rand holds up well to foot dragging. Bufo: 877-922-5462; — David Sweetland


Backcountry Access Flash backpack

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Bargain Corner: Cabela’s Polartec Power Dry Zip-T It’s crazy to think of paying $100 or more for a long-underwear shirt, but many of us (myself included) have somehow believed that polyester is an expensive material. This summer a friend introduced me to a cheaper alternative, Cabela’s expedition-weight Zip-T ($47, 8 ounces for a size medium). I took the pullover shirt on a High Sierra climbing trip, and found the Polartec Power Dry synthetic fabric identical to that used by other companies — at roughly half the price. It’s surprisingly warm for the weight and dried relatively

quickly when I drenched it with sweat. Being a 6-foot 3-inch fellow, I jumped at the tall-size option, something too few outdoor companies offer. The shirt climbs well — it’s cut long in the arms and torso, and stays tucked under a harness. The forearms are snug and stay put when reaching high, while a 12-inch chest zipper comes in handy while hiking. The expeditionweight model can get steamy for summer alpine routes, but Cabela’s offers a medium-weight pullover as well. Cabela’s: 800-237-4444, — TS


Tried and True: Jumar ascenders Only one piece of climbing equipment has been around so long and used so much that its name has become a verb — the Jumar. Sometime in the 1960s this Swiss-made mechanical ascender latched onto climbing ropes as an alternative to the prusik knot, and Jumars and jumaring have remained in climbers’ hands and vocabulary ever since. I got my first pair of Jumars in the 1970s and used them so much I wore the gray paint right off of them. The manufacturer beefed up the device’s castaluminum frame around 1980. It is this second version, in bold yellow, that you see today, and this is the model I have used without a single glitch for over 20 years. For scooting your butt up fixed lines on big walls, Jumars ($117 to $138 per pair) are unbeatable. No other ascender is as easy to slap on and off the rope with one hand — an advantage for cleaning long strings of aid placements. Equally great, the Jumar’s low-profile cam teeth don’t snag the rope, sparing your cord’s sheath when you have to down-jug or lower out from a severely overhanging or traversing pitch. For hauling, Jumars have a handy top hole that lets you invert one ascender for use as a “holding” ratchet. Jumars rule on walls, but they aren’t for everywhere. The same small teeth that are so kind to your rope can clog with snow or ice, and slip. If you require ascenders for the mountains, a model with more aggressive teeth will serve you better. Advanced Base Camp: 800-902-5462,; BlueWater Ropes: 770-834-7515, — Duane Raleigh | 49

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The Royal Scam Coming clean on the mysterious first ascent of a Yosemite classic BY JOHN


nly with reservations do I record the following story. First, it ends a classic hoax, one so fine, so perfect, that I might never again have the opportunity to stage one with details so inexplicable. Second, it makes me out as a rascal, but I can deal with the flak. The gaff worked once, and no doubt would continue to work; but since there’s now an outside chance of some other rascal taking credit for my idea, I’m hoisting the curtain on the whole shebang. Dig: In the fall of 1973, Jim Bridwell (The “Bird”) showed me a list of new routes he planned to attempt in Yosemite in the coming years. One took a bold, penciled line up a black-and-white photo of Middle Cathedral, which then, as well as now, is my favorite rock. The line looked striking — 50 |


splitter cracks, thin corners, a roof, some open face work, hanging belays for sure. The length, projected at 12 pitches, made the adventure seem especially dramatic. In conventional military fashion, Bridwell soon commanded a platoon of Camp 4 draftees to a high point of 900 feet. Here, buckling knifeblades and holdless granite halted vertical progress, though the Bird thought it possible for the platoon to execute a “column left” and traverse off to easier rock on the flank. In the spring of the following year, the platoon did just that, and the route was completed: The Central Pillar of Frenzy (IV 5.10b). No less than 10 climbers had their hand in the final ascent. Angered at my exclusion, I chose the next best thing, an early repeat, something of recent vogue. The

Bird and company had no sooner rapped off when folks started queuing up for The Central Pillar, an all-time classic from start to finish. Nevertheless, when Jim Orey and I gained the last pitch we were amused that the route “finished” by traversing off at the first rugged stretch, though not amused enough to brave Bridwell’s buckling knifeblades and holdless granite above. We traversed off like everyone else. Enter Tobin Sorensen and Gib Lewis, the next team to attempt to straighten the Bird’s line. Tobin would traverse off only at gun point. Gib, then the stronger face climber, thieved up the holdless pitch, which ended in slings beneath a thin crack chocked with dirt and shrubs. The final 300 feet, leading to the U-shaped bowl, looked climbable, but they’d need a roto-

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GO WHERE FEW HAVE GONE BEFORE. Jeep is a registered trademark of DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

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PLANET LARGO tiller to clean this next 40-foot stretch. Never one to rap off, under any circumstances, Tobin punched out the jungle pitch on aid and the two carried on, encountering a one-inch splitter (5.10b) on the next and final lead. The complete line was finished: V 5.10d, A1. Remember that The Central Pillar of Frenzy was a Bridwell route, a hallowed creation beyond rebuff. To think of improving — let alone completing — something so sacred was comparable to doodling on a Goya. Never comfortable usurped, the Bird resolved to tidy up the Lewis/Sorensen direct finish. Presently the Bird, Billy Westbay and I were in conference, glassing the route from El Cap meadow. The Bird slowly drew the binoculars from his eyes, his gaze still fixed on that green stretch, 950 feet up. He pulled a last draw from his Camel and toed the butt into the dirt. “It’s offset,” said the Bird, tendrils of smoke wafting past his moustache. “Clean it up some, a touch of liebacking and we’re home free.” Fresh off the first one-day ascent of the Nose, Billy, the Bird and I were on a roll, bagging gemstones at our leisure. Now in slings, we faced that holdless pitch. Billy —one of the finest climbers of the era — flashed up and we soon were again hanging in slings and scoping that grassy, offset seam, several body lengths up and left. According to the Bird, I would try and free it, ungardened, and if that failed, Jim would clean it with a long-picked alpine hammer. Straight off the hanging belay, I clawed up and left over dire acorns and gained the seam. “Impossible,” I said, frantically scratching about the dirt-filled crack for a lock, a hold — anything. I slugged in a Bugaboo which drifted into the eye like a tent stake into fertile ground. “Sounds bunk,” Billy warned. My feet greased off those acorns the moment I clipped into the Bugaboo, which straightaway shot out, lobbing me down the wall in a perilous arc and brazing a nasty red

groove in the back of Billy’s legs as I wrenched straight onto the belay bolts. After aiding up and hoeing that pitch with the ice axe, the Bird swung back to our hanging stance, smiling through a mask of topsoil. “It’s clean now!” said the Bird. “Great locks to the end, then one thin face move and we’re up” Billy shifted in his belay seat, wincing at the taut nylon cutting across his rope burn. The Bird stoked another Camel as I racked up for the lead. Lipping the hack, Jim pointed five feet down and left, where half-inch face edges allowed me to bypass the dire acorns and basically walk over to the seam. “Dumb shit,” said Bridwell. Those “great locks” were something less, with only sketchy wrinkles to boot, so at crack’s end I found myself suitably pumped. That one thin face move was altogether too thin, and for a frantic minute, leaning off a soiled tip-lock, my right hand pawed the face for any sort of bump or crinkle. A last wave for purchase, but nothing ... “Nothing! I’m coming off!” “Grab the vine,” shrieked the Bird. Perhaps eight feet separated me from the flawless one-inch splitter, streaking up the wall to easier ground. The “vine” in question, still several feet out of reach, dangled from a scrawny and altogether refutable stump budding from the start of the crack. Pencil thin, furry and shaped like a long corkscrew, the vine hardly seemed something to lunge for, but with a nut at my feet, what the hell? “Watch me!” I sprung up and right, latched that crooked root which crackled and popped, elongated two-fold and uncoiled straight as a guitar string as I shockloaded onto the furtive stump. Holding my breath, I hand-walked a body-length up the vine and grabbed the stump, held fast by an inch of soot and a frozen cobweb. I started mantling up, but reconsidered after realizing the opportunity for a royal scam. In a moment of spontaneous knavery, I reached down and

No one short of Andre the Giant could ever reach the upper crack from the lower article, and none but our Savior, Jesus Christ, could tread over that bald face without the vine.

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snapped off the vine. No one short of Andre the Giant could ever reach the upper crack from the lower article, and none but our Savior, Jesus Christ, could tread over that bald face without the vine. The one-inch crack was a regular marvel at 5.10c, likewise the upper wall, right to the U-shaped bowl. We all laughed at our rating: IV 5.11c/d. 1978. I’m kicked back in Yosemite Lodge and in walks Englishman Ron Fawcett (with whom I’d first climbed El Cap) with an antsy young upstart at his side. Hot on Middle Cathedral, the kid had hiked many of Middle’s finest routes, and wanted the dope on The Central Pillar, thentofore unrepeated in its entirety. The kid had the topo in his hand. “A real plum” I said, pointing to the impossible pitch. “The crux is just here. Following some 5.7 liebacking, there’s a crafty friction step here, then a quick slap for a treasonous stump. The rest is casual. Great route, man. Have fun.” “I will,” said the kid, no doubt imagining some piddling high step off a foot stool. I crossed paths with the kid several days later. No longer cocky, he sounded grave and looked insulted. “You know we checked out that Central Pillar of yours,” said the kid, hands on hips, his toes drumming the ground. “Great route, eh?” I said. “Well,” said the kid, “we got to that supposed friction step you mentioned, but no go. I figure there’s no man alive who can crank that move. In fact, there’s no move to be done.” Though I had much more experience, the kid had enough to know damn well that no one scales a holdless wall, and he probably would have called bullshit had it not been for the pin I’d fixed just after the vine maneuver. “Must have taken a load of falls,” said the kid, kicking the ground and resigned to believe the unbelievable. “Actually, I got it first try,” I said. “Must have been on that day.” The kid’s face turned perfectly red and his teeth gnashed so horribly in his head I thought he might break into tears or draw a knife. The only decent thing was to tell him about the vine prank, but you don’t fess up to someone so annoying, so I decided to play him like a cheap banjo, simply for my own amusement.

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PLANET LARGO “Listen up,” I said. “You’re probably just not keen on the specialized techniques involved. The route’s only 5.11, and I’ll bet you’ve done harder things on occasion (he’d done 5.12s everywhere). Get yourself over to the Apron for a few days, hone up that friction a tad, then blast on up for another shot,” I concluded with an upward sweep of my hand. If smugness were a rock, I was El Cap, and the kid looked as though the mighty bulk of the Captain itself had crushed his pride to sand. But he quickly reformed, like a character in Dante’s Inferno, and shot me a look insisting he could climb anything that I could. Anything but The Central Pillar of Frenzy, I laughed to myself. My recommendations had provoked such choler in the poor kid I figured there was an outside chance he might run up there and actually climb the son of a bitch, giving me credit for bagging — first try — the first 5.13 on Middle Cathedral. Either way, I couldn’t lose. 1982. I splayed up the final chimney moves, then rolled onto the terraced summit of Rixon’s Pinnacle. And there he

54 |

was, the kid, except he’d grown up, and his arrogance had matured into an infectious self-confidence. “Hey, Largo!” He walked over, hand extended and a smile stretching across his face. His breezy manner caught me off guard, but I suspected monkey business as he continued pumping my hand. “Remember The Central Pillar?” he asked. “How’s that?” I said, clipping off a knot of natty slings at the anchor pins. “Sure you do,” he said. “And I’ll have you know that I went back up there last week — and guess what?” Here he shook his head theatrically. “Remember that grim friction step to the stump? Well, a vine’s grown out of the bugger, and by hucking a wee dynamic, you can latch the vine and pull right up it like a hand rail. No friction step involved.” “I’ll be darned,” I said. “That’s not all,” he said. “My mate, he’s a real joker, he is, and when he followed the pitch, he gets this crazy idea. I tried to talk him out of it, but nothing doing. The guy just boots off the whole bloody stump, vine and all. Roots probably survived, but it’ll take a decade or more for that stump

to grow back, and well into the next century before anyone’s swinging around on any vine. Way I got it figured, we’ll both be broke or dead before anyone repeats The Central Pillar of Frenzy.” The guy laughed for a solid minute. I started to cook up a comeback, but a voice bellowed from the chimney below: “Hey, dumb shit, am I on belay or what?” Author’s note: I first wrote this story over 20 years ago for the venerable Mountain (number 91). Of the three people on the nefarious ascent, Billy Westbay has since climbed into history, Bridwell has ventured up the meanest walls on earth, and the other principal in the story, “the kid,” an eventual champion of the nascent sport climbing revolution, became a software designer in Gibraltar. Meanwhile, The Central Pillar of Frenzy has become perhaps the most traveled moderate free climb in the Valley. However, recent parties rarely if ever venture beyond the ledge atop the fifth pitch, scarcely halfway up the entire route. I’ve got to wonder how a modern climber might fare on the peculiar crux section detailed in the story. To my knowledge, no one has ventured back up there since the second complete ascent in 1982.

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TIPS (5.12A) Although rated a “lowly” 5.12a, the one-move crux start to this decisively thin crack is so heinous — and the fixed slings at the base are so close, almost everyone uses a bit of French free to breeze past the issue. Considered by many as the quintessential Yosemite steep finger crack, Tips does have a few secrets. Tips tip: somewhere up there you get a no-hands rest off a knob. Here, El Cap speed climber Cedar Wright gets twisted in Tips’ homestretch.

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osemite is a place of extremes. You name it and it’s been done there, and in excess. Extreme free climbing, extreme nailing, extreme bouldering, extreme number of days spent on a wall (Harding’s 40 days on the Nose), extremely fast, extremely slow, extremely bold (Croft ropeless on Astroman pops to mind). Even laziness and debauchery of all manners and slander (not even the Gods are spared) and intentional poverty have been pushed to their outermost reaches. Many are the tales of climbers bumming around, eating tourists’ leftovers — “mmm, look at all the meat they left on them ribs” — to save a buck, and diving headfirst into dumpsters to fish out recycling cans and make a buck. Throughout the decades of highs and lows, Yosemite’s stature has only grown, and there is a reason why when you say “The Valley” every climber knows exactly what you are talking about. Yosemite’s granite walls are among the largest and grandest on earth. Its climbs, from the cold crimps and seemingly ungraspable slopers of the Camp 4 boulders to El Cap’s strung out A5 nail-ups to the stupendous free routes are not just climbs, they are statements of rock mastery. Whether able or not, ever y one of us at some point makes going to the V alley a mission and nothing will deter us. We drop out of school, hitchhike, go into debt, go to jail — whatever it takes to make our dream reality. Generation after generation is equally driven, and every new crop of uppity whelps leaves its mark. Just when we naively think we’ve done and seen it all and are content to bask in our glor y, someone comes alone and twists the ratchet even tighter, blowing conceptions — and minds. This is happening today.

The following three features are the latest happenings from Yosemite. The first, a photo compilation by Heinz Zak and adapted from his and Alex Huber’s new book Yosemite, captures the essence of climbing and living at the world’s greatest crag. The essay (also from the book) by the brave Brit Leo Houlding gives us a peek into the mental gyrations it takes to go bigger and bolder, on-sighting aid routes on El Cap. Last, the Huber brothers are at it again. This time they not only are working to free Zodiac — an unthinkable proposition — but have smoked up that route in less time it takes most of us to select and down a brew over at Degnan’s Deli. As a postscript, the Hubers consider their time slow and believe the next round of takers will blow their time of two and a half hours right off the clock.


ZODIAC (VI 5.7 A2 C3) Named after San Francisco’s infamous 1970s serial killer the “Zodiac,” the route, at the time of its solo first ascent in 1972 by Charlie Porter, was widely considered one of El Cap’s steeper and more extreme nail ups. Technology and perhaps a thousand ascents have mellowed the climb’s reputation, but it remains one of Yosemite’s most coveted walls. Indeed, on any given fair-weather day climbers queue up at the base and clog its lower pitches with a hanging spaghetti garden of fixed ropes. Climbing in conventional high style, Russel Mitrovitch, Steph Davis and Beth Coates near the z-shaped slash, the “Mark of Zorro” roof 11 pitches up. The route’s technical crux, C3 nutting (often fixed with mank) lies just above the roof. For a more unconventional take on Zodiac, please turn to page 60.

Photos by Heinz Zak

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BOOK OF HATE (5.13D) ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD Although clearly visible from the popular Cookie Cliff, the Book of Hate wasn’t climbed until the fall of 1999. When you put boot rubber to rock on this nearly 150-foot overhanging corner, however, you quickly discover why this route was such a late bloomer — there are no holds. Climbing Book of Hate is a grinding endurance problem that can be outright disheartening. Leave it to Randy Leavitt to unlock the complex gyrations and mesh the rhythm necessary for success. Leavitt, one of Yosemite’s great yet unsung pioneers and tricksters with several big, hard El Cap routes to his credit — Scorched Earth, Lost in America and Aurora (solo) — ticked the overhanging dihedral in bold traditional style, placing all the micro cams and slide nuts on lead in the corner that is so pinched off it rarely allows even a tip jam. His first ascent was a “brutal stemfest,” he says. Protection was sketchy: sometimes the #2 Ballnuts that protect the route’s final 40 feet ripped under load.

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GETTING BY ON THE SLY CAMP 4 Same as on its walls, success on the Valley floor is all about improvisation. Don’t have a chessboard? Try a sheet of recycled plywood. And chessmen? Cheers.



When you’re in the right mindset, say imagining spiders in the passing clouds, you can clearly see that the rock forming this route looks like a fish standing on its tail. Henry Barber, ever the visionary Valley visitor, snaked Fish Crack right from under the noses of locals in 1975. Though not hyped at the time, this route back then may well have been the world’s first 5.12b. Hats off to Henry. In this photo, Airlie Anderson finagles Fish Crack’s final thin locks. Alexander Huber and Heinz Zak’s book Yosemite is available to Rock and Ice readers at a special price of $29.95 until October 15. Contact Menasha Ridge Press at 800-243-0495. | 59

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Text by Leo Houlding Photos by Heinz Zak

FREEBIRD And just what does someone who gets his kicks pushing extreme purism on El Cap do on his days off? To relax and work out the kinks, Houlding rope jumps from that famous stone's overhanging pitches.

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Houlding, 21, began climbing in the Lake District of England, and is a former British Junior Champion. In 1998 he and Patrick “Patch” Hammond made the second free ascent of the 30-pitch 5.13c El Nino on El Capitan. In 2001 he and Jason Pickles attempted a ground-up free ascent of Bad to the Bone (VI A4) on El Cap’s steep and loose eastern side.


he ultimate challenge is a ground-up, one-day new free route on El Cap without a drill, where each person leads or seconds everything. First ascents are not about creating routes for other climbers to enjoy in safety. They are about a climber rising to the challenge of his chosen line, pushing himself to his limit and leaving the wall the way he discovered . adventure intact for those who wish to follow. My partner, Jason Pickles, and I set our sights on El Capitan’s east-side aid route Bad to the Bone (VI A4). Less than half the height of the Nose, this route might — just might — go free. We started our attempt at 6:30 a.m. on October 14, 2001, armed with two ropes, one 6mm haul line, a lightweight free rack, and a small haul rucksack containing a tiny selection of aid gear, three liters of water and a few energy bars. We made good progress over the initial but not particularly difficult pitches until I began to lead the fifth pitch. At that point the wall became much steeper. A complicated enigma of discontinuous cracks, bottomless dihedrals, flying aretes and hanging roofs lay above — a section of climbing that was to be the most demanding I have ever done. The mental crux was the sixth pitch, the Screamer Pitch. Adrift in a vertical ocean, I balanced on an acute foothold 30 meters above the belay. One of the lead ropes was clipped to a micro wire by my foot on the left side of the arete, then hung free all the way down to Jason, belaying below. The other came straight horizontally to my harness from the right. Some six meters up and to my left was an old bolt. The crux of the pitch proved to be the move to get to it, a desperate sideways press off a small, incut sidepull to a distant flat edge. I did the move but was too drained to contemplate more hard, scary climbing. I clipped the dangerously rusted bolt with a shock-absorbing Screamer, and rested. It held. Above, tiny but positive edges led without protection up a vague groove in a gently leaning wall to another bolt in a blank area of rock about 10 meters higher . I could not tell if it would be possible to clip. Summoning the courage and determination to continue pushed me to my limit. A more per fectly horrendous test of climbing ability and nerve I cannot imagine. Every move was a torturous

First ascents are not about creating routes for others to enjoy in safety. They are about a climber rising to the challenge of his chosen line. decision whether or not to run it out farther. Just as the relief that it was too hard to continue would start to take grip, another good foothold would appear . A positive edge invited another move. Just one more move? At the limit of my reach, with the carabiner in the tips of my fingers, I managed to clip another Screamer into the next bolt and hang on it. By now I was utterly exhausted but had come too far to be defeated. The next move confirmed my suspicion that this pitch was a masterpiece, meant to be climbed. It was a full-body-length mantleshelf onto a small, incut ledge on an overhanging wall. If the ledge had been a few centimeters smaller or the hold a few centimeters farther away, I could not have done it. More big moves on small edges, way above the dubious bolt, led up a hairline crack to a final section of easier climbing and the belay. It is amazing it went free. Unknowingly , Jay Smith had placed just enough bolts during the aid ascent to make it possible. By now it was 4 o’clock, too late to continue. We retreated, leaving no rope fixed. Tragically, on our next attempt Jason fell on the first pitch, injuring his hip badly. I had two more attempts with different partners, re-climbing the whole route each time, hoping to reach the high point more quickly and with more ease, leaving enough time and energy for an assault on the upper half of the wall. Ultimately I only added one more pitch but managed to climb everything to that point without falling. If we had attempted the climb in a more conventional style we might have succeeded in making a new free route on El Capitan. However, attempting the route ground-up and climbing into uncharted terrain without any previous exploration was a more power ful and rewarding experience than any other climbing I have done. ◆

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— AND THE SAFETY MARGINS ONLY GOT THINNER By Steve Schneider Photos by Simon Carter


peed climbing is dangerous. I’ve seen that. In the summer of 1994, my partner Scott Stowe and I embarked on a push of El Capitan’s Chinese Water Torture. Scott raced up the initial A4 pitch in the middle of the night. I was belaying in slings, pretty much asleep, when he popped a piece of protection, and took a 40-foot ride into the black abyss. His headlamp battery ejected, splattering on the talus, although we were too high up to hear anything. Alert now, I heard Scott say, “Guess I’m gonna need a new battery,” and then, “Hey, I think my ankle is messed up.” It didn’t slow him down. We still topped out in a record 17 hours, though he limped for a week after ward. As for our record, it doesn’t mean much: Today no speed record is safe. Times once thought insurmountable are being obliterated. Just this spring two El Cap records were crushed, and in the process a new breed of climber emerged. These climbers are putting a premium on increased risk-taking, pure free-climbing skills, and such extreme devotion to a certain climb that the term “route adoption” fits. So does obsession. This spring, Yuji Hirayama arrived in Yosemite to work Lurking Fear as a free climb. Free climbing such a route takes a lot of time — days and weeks of wiring out little sequences, and figuring out protection. In contrast to an average speed climber, who whips through sections with little regard for actually acquiring beta, a free climber such as Yuji learns every nuance of a climb. When Yuji, who lives in Japan, realized that free climbing Lurking Fear would require more time than he had, he gave the route a speed-climbing bid. Recruiting Nick Fowler as a jug bunny, Yuji pared the rack down to a single set of Stoppers and cams up to two inches. He ran out the infamous wide sections of the climb, going for broke on a pumpy 80-foot section of fist jams on the eighth pitch. Yuji also spent minimal time in his aiders, doing one-arm pullups from bolt to bolt on the earlier pitches, and frequent 20-plus-foot runouts on 5.12 crack climbing. Apart from a little simul-climbing near the top, he led the route in classic style, with the follower jumaring. This style is safer than simul-climbing, where a mistake by either person can be costly — and also appears to be faster , since his time of 3:04 demolished the previous mark by an hour. Alex and Thomas Huber similarly adopted El Capitan’s Zodiac

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this year. Trying to free-climb the route, the pair found a way around the blankish early pitches by freeing the initial pitches of Lunar Eclipse to the right. They then began working on the immaculate white granite pitches of the Cir cle, a white formation of rock resembling the symbol for which Zodiac is named. Like Yuji, the two garnered more knowledge of Zodiac than any other team before, spending hours on mere meters of rock. By early June, they had freed every move on the entire climb, but then it was too hot to put it all together. The free attempt would have to wait till fall. Off they went for the speed record as a consolation prize. The Hubers, like Yuji, took a single set of cams up to two inches. The pair used a method known as “shortfixing” to keep the leader moving at all times. When shortfixing, the leader pulls all the slack out of the rope after finishing a pitch and ties it to the belay so the second can ascend. He then continues to lead on the remaining rope. The leader can self belay with a solo device, or just proceed with a huge loop of slack hanging down. The Hubers opted not to self belay: “Once you are using a Grigri, you are slowing down,” said Alex. Apparently, leaving the belay with a 60-foot loop of slack doesn’t slow them down. The one consolation is that in many places, a hundred-foot fall, although spectacular, wouldn’t necessarily mean instant death since the entire route overhangs gently. The Hubers’ time of 4:06 smashed the old record by almost two hours. But, upon reflection, they realized where they had burned extra time, and decided they could do better. Days later, on Friday the 13th of June, the two went an hour faster — and saw that they could still trim 20 or 30 minutes. Two days later they blazed the climb in an incredible 2:32. They had smashed what had been considered a highly competitive time, 5:57 by Nick Fowler and Ammon McNeely in November 2002. Huge risk, excellent conditioning and extreme free-climbing ability all contributed, and so did extreme route knowledge. The feats of Yuji and the Hubers have shattered conventional thinking. Now it seems that any route that has not seen similar “adoption” methods can be considered as having a slow time. That the Hubers kept breaking their own record proved how much practice pays off. Think how much time Yuji could trim off Lurking Fear if he kept doing laps. A half hour? Then maybe another 15 minutes? For all those watching from El Cap Meadow below, it’s one of the best shows in town. Steve Schneider wrote this story between attempts on the continuously hard free climb El Nino (5.13c) on El Capitan.

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The one consolation is that in many places, a hundredfoot fall, although spectacular, wouldn’t necessarily mean instant death.

PITCH 14 Alex Huber on Zodiac’s third to last pitch, with plenty of daylight left. Alex and his brother Thomas’ record speed ascent of 2:32 is doubly impressive when you consider that Zodiac, unlike The Nose and Salathé, which have long sections of moderate free climbing, is still considered a big-wall nail up, with most parties spending at least two nights in portaledges. Here, Alex “leads” a rare section of 5.9 just off of the route’s only real flat spot, “Peanut Ledge.” Meanwhile, Thomas is furiously jugging the pitch below and just out of sight in this photo. At one point in the climb Alex and Thomas simul-climbed with a single nut between them for an anchor. Keeping both climbers moving at all times was one of the keys to the Hubers’ extraordinary time, though it did require the leader to launch up each new pitch without an initial belay. If Alex were to fall on the pitch shown here, although tied in, he would fall the length of the slack rope. | 63

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(VI 5.7 A2 or c3)

The 16-pitch Zodiac takes a direct line up to and through the prominent white circular feature, “The Circle.” A pinched-off dihedral slashes vertically through the circle, and typically is clogged with tattered heads and RURPS, often presenting the mental crux for aid climbers. Many long yet clean air falls have been logged here when strings of fixed gear zippered on the unlucky leader. For most climbers, free climbing this section is unthinkable.

PITCH 15 Anything goes on a speed ascent. You free climb when that’s fastest, and yam on gear when it isn’t. The Hubers’ fast ascent was, however, secondary to their original mission. Prior to their blitz they had their sights set on free-climbing Zodiac. While they succeeded in freeing every move — the crux being pitch nine, the infamous traversing “Nipple” pitch at an estimated 5.14a — soaring summer temperatures shut down their link-up free attempt. Rather than leave empty handed, the Hubers speed-climbed the route in 4:06, beating the previous record by 1:51. Not satisfied with that time, they then reclimbed the route in 3:08. Then, figuring they could shave off even more time, they climbed it a third time in 2:32. The photo here, of Alex Huber on pitch 15, is, like all of the photos of their speed ascent, unrehearsed and unposed. Australian photographer Simon Carter fixed rope down the Zodiac’s upper section and jugged next to them, furiously snapping frames. Carter, who has been shooting climbing for over a decade and says he has “pretty much seen it all,” says that the Hubers’ speed ascent “impressed me above anything else.”

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PITCH 15 Thomas Huber, like his brother, is one of El Cap’s most prolific free-climbing pioneers. Together, the two have established three free routes — The Golden Gate (5.13b), which combines the lower slabs of the Salathé with the upper steep pitches of Heart Route; Freerider (5.12d), a variation to the Salathé’s headwall cracks; and El Nino (5.13c), a free version of the North American Wall and the first free route on El Cap’s “right side.” In addition, in 1995, Alex and Thomas made the free ascents of the Salathé (5.13b). Here, Thomas cleans the Zodiac’s 15th pitch, a roof to a slab. Like many speed climbers, Thomas and Alex led the route in “blocks” to minimize belay change overs. On this day Thomas led the first half of Zodiac; Alex led the last half.

Huge risk, excellent conditioning and extreme free climbing ability all contributed, and so did extreme route knowledge.

STOP THE CLOCK Zodiac in 2:32:20. Believe it. | 65

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e unload a plane on a wide, smooth glacier — the Shadows Glacier. It is April, the end of the Alaskan winter. The sun bears down on us with unexpected oppression. There is not even the smallest draft of air. The plane leaves us, alone for several weeks. Silence is so deep it shakes off all our desklife worries. With the first step into waist-deep snow we start our new adventure. We have chosen the silence, and that is what we get. No radios, no phones, no support teams. It is so simple that many forget: There is a mountain and there is you. In this different time, different world, everything is clear. The wall that we approach, we love. We don’t know the name of the peak we will climb, and have no history of it. All we have is the desire. We are blinded by the beauty of the wall, growing larger with every step toward it. — Wlodzimierz Pietrzak, Polish poet (1913-1944) I recall the long discussions among Marcin, Dawid and me, the excitement of picking a next destination. There is such a freedom when you look at the globe and can choose anywhere. Having recently visited the arctic areas of Baffin Island and Greenland, we wanted a place unknown and challenging. We did not understand why some teams go back to the same place over and over — there are so many different destinations, all with their unique flavors and colors. Besides, we remembered our trip to Kashmir just before September 11. Scenes of poverty one cannot imagine, men with automatic rifles on the streets, young dying in the gutters in the view of modern clinics. These memories are going to haunt me a long time. So, Kichatnas! Acclaimed as the baddest walls in North America. The boldest of our threesome is Marcin, a gifted mixed and speed climber, known for his brave solo night ascents. He runs a company specializing in construction at height. Dawid is the controversial one on our team, always endeavoring to climb big buildings and bridges. He earns his living from climbing and journalism, and free climbs 5.14, so we know we are safe on that side. I am the professor, like to relax and consequently am to blame for our big-wall style; if Dawid and Marcin had their way, they’d speed solo the wall. Marcin is expecting his first child in six weeks; Dawid just got back from a climbing exploration of Vietnam, and I am in between scientific symposia. So far apart, yet so close together, we find ourselves surrounded by the walls of Kitchatna Spires.

Reaching for the possible is not worth the effort

Dawid Kaszlikowski and Marcin Tomaszewski during “rappel day” down the 8,520-foot-high Citadel. Having divided their last Snickers bar the day before, the team rappelled 15 hours in a storm while dodging small avalanches.

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Pushing a big new route in the Kitchatna Spires, a Polish team declares that suffering is for softies and there’s no such thing as a climbing epic By Chris Belczynski Photos by Dawid Kaszlikowski

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e drive in the first pitons. Later, after the day’s work, we set the rappel for the steep mixed approach to the headwall. With a crushing sound, the snow breaks under my feet. I go in, hands over the rope instinctively breaking the fall. The blue ice of a hidden crevasse passes in front of my eyes. Silence again. It is so cool here in the soft light of this icy underworld. On the walk out I ponder what would have happened if the snow had broken earlier during the approach, when there was no rope. A storm hits us without warning. But we laugh, taking night turns at the spade, digging out our basecamp. The wind keeps us cool while we work over the freaking snow show. Hiding in the oasis of our tent in this no man’s land, I recall the training phase, my month of climbing in the lower states.


oft rain pelted the forest of North Carolina and showered the dome of Looking Glass. We pushed through a final overhang onto the muddy slabs, while other climbers retreated from the hot, wet wall. Such a waste. They had no love, no passion, no nothing. They looked surprised that we were still climbing, yet we wondered why they would go away. Why would they let it die, in this mild drizzle? They lose the best. Independence Monument, Colorado National Monument, Colorado. Vertical challenges push out of sun-burnt red desert. On the Independence tower itself, there are two A4s, several other challenging aid routes and a few free climbs. The easiest one, Otto’s Route, is 5.8+ from a hundred years ago. Why are 99 percent of this tower’s ascents via this route? So lame, so conformist. When we summitted after a few days on one of the A4s from the 1970s I wondered when the spirit of desert climbing had died. Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Beautiful overhanging sandstone. Yellow-orange walls, climbing just sweet and much more varied than most people think. Chicago, my home for now, is only seven hours away, yet people in that city complain there is no climbing around! Crowds were hanging on the easiest climbs, while the best and boldest lines saw little traffic. I could not believe that anyone dogging up a toprope for half an hour, taking all possible hangs, pulling on every single draw, would go down and say happily, “I did it!” And the peers? “Oh, yeah, man, you did just great!”


Chris Belczynski at the end of the eighth pitch — delicate climbing on skyhooks and a piton gain a crack that is “comfortable” but loose inside.

Spire Ire The noted alpinists John Bouchard and the late Andy Embick were the first to attempt Kitchatna Spire’s crown jewel, the striking Northwest Buttress. In 1979, Bouchard and Embick first tried a couloir between Kichatna and Sunrise Spires. They climbed the couloir, but a deluge of meltwater higher up forced them down. Next, they attempted a route on the striking buttress itself, but retreated after a couple of pitches on loose rock. Snow set in and continued for a week. Bouchard, now out of vacation, returned home. The persistant Embick then enticed Yosemite big-wall legend Jim “The Bird” Bridwell up north by buying him a round-trip ticket. Using beta gleaned from his attempt with Bouchard, Embick and Bridwell ticked the route two months later. Today, in retrospect, Bouchard says that the crux of his trip was not on the Spire, but in camp. “On the first day,” says Bouchard, “Andy made hot chocolate for lunch. After pouring my cup, he poured his own, and after producing a bottle of Everclear, poured some into his cup, but not mine. I gave him a questioning look, and he replied ‘When you filled out the pre-expedition questionnaire, there were three boxes next to alcohol [hand drawn boxes marked "like,” ok,” “dislike"] and you only checked "ok," so I didn't bring any for you.’” As it turned out, Bouchard purposely did not check the “like” box because he feared that Embick, a Rhodes Scholar and one of Harvard Medical School’s top 10 graduates of 1976, would reconsider inviting him on the trip. With that, Embick cracked open a book, leaving Bouchard gapemouthed in astonishment. 68 |

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hidden ice/snow couloir rappel 40m

Heinous Host Confusingly also known as the “Cathedral Mountains” or “Cathedral Spires” on older maps, the Kichatna Spires consist of a range of dramatic peaks in the southwest corner of Denali National Park. Known for its fierce weather, the Kichatna massif is home to a number of peaks, including Kichatna Spire, the Citadel (right) and Middle Triple, regarded by many alpinists as North America’s most elusive and inhospitable summits. Kichatna Spire itself, from which the range takes its name, got its first ascent in 1966 but held off seven expeditions in 13 years before suffering a second, by Andy Embick and Jim Bridwell. This past spring, the three-person, polysyllabic Polish expedition of Chris Belczynski, Marcin Tomaszewski and Dawid Kaszlikowski traveled to Alaska to climb a new route on Kichatna Spire. After seeing nothing steep enough to their liking, they ended up on the neighboring Citadel, a formidable tower of ice and granite that had only three routes. The Polish climbers chose a tower on the East Face that led to the peak’s main summit, up the prow-like 3,000-foot East Buttress. Basecamp was on the glacier known as the Shadows.

1. Last Cry of the Butterfly (VI, A4/C3, 5.10+, ice/snow 70-80 degrees). FA: Marcin Tomaszewski, Dawid Kaszlikowski and Chris Belczynski, April/May 2003. 1150 meters, 25 pitches. East Face of Citadel, Kichatna Spires, Alaska. 2. Embick Route (VI 5.9 A3).

5.10+ 3rd bivy 5.9 "Dress me right" A3/A4 A3/A4 C3 C2 A2+ 2nd bivy C3 "Eyebrow" A3 A2

e dig out our camp, put on several extra layers, and head into the whiteout. We trot over the small avalanche fields, cross the crevasse and start our climb. It is good that we had a look at the wall a day before. Now, despite the storm, we know where to go. This day we learn that it is quite OK, quite fine, to climb when the weather goes bad here. The leader is always focused on the difficulties, hammering his cold away, even for long hours. And the belayer? Ah, the belayer — but who would give a f—k about him? I guess you finally learn the art of hibernation. In the evening, running down toward basecamp, we laugh. We know that whatever happens to the weather, tomorrow we will still climb. Next day not much changes: wind, snow; the temperature goes down a bit. It is minus 10 F. It is really not so bad. We were worried about getting minus 40 F. We move all our belongings from the basecamp to the wall, leaving behind just the tents. I become good friends with the crevasse on the approach. With almost every crossing, heavy bag or not, I break the small bridge that forms with the falling snow, and fall into the hushed depths, the darkness thickening below. We suspect the thing is called Citadel. If we are right, the wall should have at least one line. Sure enough, we find a bolt right at the start of our intended climb, above the mixed approach. We need to find something else. Worsening snow prevents our getting a good look. We know there are promising formations to the left, and a beautiful dihedral over there somewhere. I bang in the first pin below the dihedral. It rips six times before sticking. A4 for the warmup. It stays like that. No placement would hold a fall. I ponder the ground. There’s a soft snow ledge to catch me. S--t, I forget all about the boys at the belay, and already have climbed six hours. Dawid is long gone, back in the basecamp, and Marcin must be in a coma, all snowed


"G-spot" A3



A4 1st bivy

in and silent at the belay. These quiet hours on the lead you are driven inward, to the world so closed to you in the city. But here you discover these big, empty spaces inside of you, and it is so surprising, you do not even know what has come over you. The weather clears and we climb higher until we can see Denali on the horizon. On the way in we were told that the mountain hosts up to 500 people a day. The regular route is just a trench filled with climbers and guides. Why would they all swarm onto this place, destroying, smashing, stepping on each others’ toes? Just to tick off another peak? To later show off at parties and corporate social events? Why would somebody take a guide? Wouldn’t you rather climb a hill in your back yard and do it by yourself? Take it a step farther, try to learn something from that. Maybe if you paid with a twisted ankle or a s--tty unprepared bivouac you would really appreciate what you are doing. Look at Everest. People go who are not fit, not prepared to attempt something half that size. But if someone pays, there is always someone to offer a ride. The outcome? Death, but not to the body. The death of spirit, the death of the ideal, the fall of climbing. In that high air, climbers abandon climbers. The dying are left behind, their frozen hands outstretched.

It is minus 10 F. It is really not so bad. We were worried about getting minus 40. | 69

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Let’s put the death to this porn. Let’s stop the exaggerated epic stories, the horror-show climbing shots. We ourselves choose to go in harm’s way. The wall bathes in the morning sun. Blue skies. We are so high. Below us, avalanches rack the valley. Accumulated snow, ripened under the sun, thunders off. We can take our time now, the wall is open; thin features up the orange-yellow granite. We swim up easier pitches to horrors. But this is what we have come for. The fear sends us back to the Stone Age, to simple survival versus death. Yet it is so natural. When you leave everything behind, the only way is up. The only way is life. And we choose to live, not to die alive. We sweat, fear, get hurt. Every minute up here is precious and unique. Everything goes fine, we need no talk, no plan; the climb just opens up and we smash ahead day after day. The weather pattern now seems clear: three or four days of blue skies, two to three days of storms. The butterflies swarm around us one sunny day. Their beautiful colored wings shiver at the windy altitudes. They are the only life we meet here. At first I cannot believe it. For miles and miles there is nothing but snow, glaciers and mounMarcin Tomaszewski, in rare good weather, reclaiming ground 900 tains, yet they come, drawn to our yellow portaledge and feet above the Shadows Glacier. Tomaszewski is one of Poland's shiny gear. We watch in silence as they slowly die, hit by the leading alpinists, dubbed the “man with no nerves.” storm and freezing night. They cling to the wall, our only friends, fighting for survival hidden in shallow KICHATNA SPIRE cracks. Are they gone? 1966 Northeast Couloir to North Ridge. FA: David Roberts, Dave Johnston, Art Davidson, Pete Marcin gets frostbite sitting in the Meisler and Rick Millikan. sleeping bag during one of the stormy 1979 Northwest Buttress. FA: Jim Bridwell and Andy Embick (attempted two months prior by Embick and John Bouchard.) nights. We get wet, snowed on. We 1982 East Face Pillar. FA: Mike Graber, George Schunk and David Black. run out of food, destroy our fingers, 1982 East Face. FA: Bill Denz and Scott Woolums. pitch into the void as loose rock breaks. 1992 East Buttress. FA: Shin Dong-Seok, Han Tai-II and Yu Hak-Jae. It would be so easy to make an 2001 As Good as it Gets. FA: Jay Smith and Nate Martin. epic story out of this climb, but this is not a real epic and we are not CITADEL heroes. This route came painfully 1972 North Face. FA: Katra et al. reached the summit via the easiest side. (Citadel was then easily. We are not worthy of the big called “point 8520.”) names of the surrounding moun1976 East Buttress. FA: Andy Embick, Mike Graber, Alan Long and Dave Black. Route tackled the tains, not even close to the big names monolith’s main buttress. Repeated in 1984 by Thomas Bauman and Jack Lewis. of climbers who suffered endlessly 1978 Northwest Ridge. FA: Alan Kearney and Jeff Thomas. 2002: Mike Turner et al. established here trying to put routes on the a variation to Embick route. This team did not reach the summit. nearby peaks. 2003 Last Cry of The Butterfly. Takes main wall about 250 feet to the right of the Embick route, on the very prow of the main wall. Why make an epic, when we 2003 Mike Turner, Stu McAleese and Ollie Sanders add new route in the narrow ice/snow col just came looking for a thrill? Why use left of Last Cry of the Butterfly. all the lame excuses if we fail? I have bailed so many times, so many MIDDLE TRIPLE different places, and there was 1975 West Face. FA: Charlie Porter and Russ McClean. always one reason — I was not

Kichatna Spires — By the Numbers

1975 North Ridge. FA: Andy Embick, Mike Graber, Alan Long and Dave Black. 1976 East Buttress. FA: Andy Embick, Mike Graber, Alan Long and George Schunk. 1977 West Face. Ride the Lightning. FA: Kitty Calhoun, Steve Gerberding, Dan Osman and Jay Smith.

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ready, not strong enough to face the challenge of the wall. Let’s put the death to this porn. Let’s stop the exaggerated epic stories, the horrorshow climbing shots. We ourselves choose to go in harm’s way. The final 14-hour push comes as a surprise. In the snow, we do not even know where the summit is. We free climb and wander along the snowy steep ridges to the saddle, with still no view of the summit. We fix our last undamaged ropes and retreat to the highest hanging portaledge camp, which had been our third. Dawn meets us at the saddle. We rap down onto the other side to the gully filled with steep snow. The climb gains an extra dimension. It uses the entire spectrum of our skills, from the purest big wall, to fragile free climbing, through alpine ridges, to snow and ice. Several rope lengths farther we start seeNever gonna get it. Tomaszewski and Belczynski hallucinating in the portaledge. ing traces of the first ascentionists. Although Below: Tomaszewski leads pitch 20’s snow and 70-degree ice fields. Six more pitches I will never know them, I feel a brother to gain the summit ridge. each of them. I unpack our stove and pot, and melt the snow. The last two tea bags are torn and mixed with oatmeal. Our shaky hands on the hot pot, we cannot believe it: There is nowhere higher to go. Unclimbed peaks and unwalked glaciers stretch from horizon to horizon. The sky is so close. Back down on the wall, the portaledge fly vibrates with our roars. What am I saying? I am bent in half, hands tight on my abdomen; uncontrollable laughter jerks my entire body. And tears. Down they go. I cannot get any air in, I suffocate: Stop, you guys, stop! The three of us are such an explosive mixture, I do not remember laughing like this in years and this is the third time on this trip. We would start on an innocent subject, then always veer into sex talk, and then it just happens. It is always easy with that sex talk, as I have brought the porn mag for this trip. Of course I never part with it. On the last portaledge camp we leave a sealed box for followers with our choice of the hottest model. On the way down from the summit, we hear voices. We must be wasted, imagining things. But they are real: the British climbers we saw landing on the Shadows glacier a week ago. Mike “Twid” Turner, Stuart McAleese and Ollie Sanders have summitted, for what will turn out to be the probable sixth ascent of the mountain, only three hours after we did, a strange coincidence: There are no more than a few teams in the Kichatnas a year. Had they not spent hours digging our basecamp out of the snow while we climbed, we would have had no place to return to. Their gift is the best of the best, the unwritten partnership of the climbing world. All is not lost, after all. Chris Belczynski was born in 1971 in Poland, and graduated with a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Polish Academy of Sciences in 2001. Belczynski learned to climb in the Polish Tatras, and is a frequent contributor to the Polish climbing magazine Gory. He currently works as an astrophysicist at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. | 71

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t is rare that a boulder problem can take on epic proportions. But, when the boulder is the 60-foot Grandpa Peabody at the Buttermilks, California, the line between bouldering and soloing is hard to distinguish. The main face on this giant block is a 45-degree yellow-and-gold-streaked overhang, sprinkled with well-spaced crimps and underclings. After 15-plus feet, the angle relents, first to vertical, then to a long summit slab. A strong climber can power to the lip on perfect rock, but what of the top-out? Jason Kehl first supplied the answer in December 2001 when he pulled out left from the central line, forcing his way through the grainy vertical section with dicey deadpoints to create Evilution (V12). Kehl’s creation was hailed as a modern classic, taking its place alongside John Gill’s The Thimble and John Bachar’s So High in the highball hall of fame. In October 2002, Jared Roth, who had dispatched such Buttermilk testpieces as the Mandala (V12, third ascent), Plain High Drifter (V11) and The Buttermilker (V12/13), began to look with increased interest at a line to the left of Kehl’s problem. The new project had at its start one of the hardest single moves in the area — a desperate deadpoint or dyno from a poor sidepull for a distant crimp. This opening move leads to a series of long, steep locks between first-pad flakes, then on to a vertical lip encounter slightly lower than that on Evilution. However, the difficulties do not end there: The holds vanish near Evilution’s finishing slab. Roth rappelled the line. “I scrubbed the holds,” he says. “And it looked like it was all there — except for that slab bit.” Not knowing for sure whether the upper section would go, he tried the lower crux each day he climbed for a couple of weeks. In mid-November Roth pulled through the crux and found himself facing the blank slab. He strained to get his right foot across to the handhold that ends the difficulties on Evilution. At that point, Roth’s feet were higher than French climbing star Daniel Du Lac’s hands had been when Du Lac fell and badly broke his ankle trying Evilution. Du Lac had landed on his feet. “The bad thing,” Roth explains about the new line, “is that you could fall off in a ROTH CALLED TO THE SPOTTERS bad position.” Roth called to the spotTO STEP ASIDE, FOR FEAR HE ters to step aside, MIGHT HURT THEM IF HE SLIPPED. for fear he might hurt them if he slipped. Fully prepared to risk a fall, he began slowly easing his weight onto the foothold. Moments later, to whoops of delight, he stood trembling on the upper slab. The final stretch proved to be moderate climbing; Roth scrambled to the top, completing one of America’s hardest, highest boulder problems. Roth named the line Rastaman Vibration, declining to suggest a grade. It has yet to see a second ascent. — Wills Young

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Tony Lamiche sending Evilution. The unrepeated Rastaman Vibration ascends just left.


Jared Roth’s quest to go higher and harder in the Buttermilks

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Greg Mortenson came to the Karakoram like all climbers, focused on bagging a big summit. Ten unsuccessful weeks later, an emaciated Mortenson got lost while hiking out the Baltoro glacier. Stumbling into a tiny village near the base of K2, he found his greatest challenge. By Kevin Fedarko


igh in the desert of northeastern Pakistan, a rutted dirt road winds through a boulder-strewn moonscape, gaining altitude with every mile. The lunar aridness is relieved only by a series of tiny villages, circled with emerald fields of barley that cling to the feet of the surrounding Karakoram peaks. If you’re approaching K2, the Trango Towers or any of the other great spires in the range, you must travel this road. About two hours beyond the town of Skardu en route to Askole, you pass through a place called Jafarabad. Here, water trickles though narrow irrigation channels, and each morning and evening the nearby granite walls echo with the call of the muezzin, summoning the faithful to prayer from a loudspeaker bolted to the side of a 350-year-old mosque. Like many villages in Baltistan, the famously rugged and remote corner of central Asia, Jafarabad boasts some surprising connections to the outside world. The townspeople, Shiite Muslims, are shepherded by conservative mullahs — local religious leaders who take their guidance from the Supreme Council of Ayatollahs, more than a thousand miles to the west in Iran. The hills around the village hold a vein of exquisite white marble, which graces the floors of the finest bathrooms in Italy. In the center of the village is a cluster of apricot trees where, on summer afternoons, men gather in the shade to slurp salty green tea laced with fermented yak butter, and talk of the days when they and their fathers worked as porters on the great foreign expeditions to the peak they call Chogori, or “the Big One,” known to outsiders as K2. Unlike most other villages in Baltistan, though, Jafarabad boasts a more radical link to the world beyond the moun-



reg Mortenson, 45, grew up in Tanzania in a house at the base of Kilimanjaro, the 19,335-foot mountain that he first climbed at age 11. When he was 16, his family moved back to the States, and by the late 1980s he was an itinerant climbing bum, living in the back of a burgundy eightcylinder Buick he called “La Bamba” and following the seasonal climbing migration from the Tetons to Joshua Tree and The


tain walls. Next to the road, a clean blue-and-white sign marks, in English, the location of a four-room schoolhouse. Here, for the first time in recorded memory, Jafarabad’s young women are being taught to read and write — a privilege that, ever since the village was first inhabited in the 15th century, Islam has reserved solely for males. The sign bears the names of two Americans from Montana: the famous mountaineer who paid for the school, and the not-so-famous mountaineer who defied the mullahs’ threats and built the school himself. The unlikely story of how this all came to be will be recounted for years to come by the village’s octogenarian tea-sippers. It begins with the onetime K2 climber known throughout every town and village in Baltistan simply as “Doctor Greg.”

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Valley, where he once spent a night in the Yosemite jail after rangers caught him acting up after a couple of beers in Camp 4. In 1992, Mortenson lost his 23-year-old sister, Christa, who suffered for most of her life from severe epilepsy. She died in her sleep on July 24. Determined to dedicate his next climb to her memory, he signed on to a 12-man expedition led by Daniel Mazur to the West Ridge of K2 in the summer of 1993, a season that would see 12 people summit, five of whom died on the descent. Mortenson served mainly as a medic and mule on the mountain, hauling loads and stocking camps while the more experienced members of the team pushed the route upward. Ten weeks later, Mortenson was exhausted and drained after racing to 25,000 feet with his Alaskan climbing partner Scott Darsney to help rescue their teammate Etienne Fine, who had collapsed with exhaustion on the upper slopes. After Fine was brought down to basecamp and evacuated by helicopter, a sick and emaciated Mortenson decided it was time to throw in the towel. “I was in terrible shape after 73 days above 16,000 feet,” he said, “and I knew I needed to descend.” From basecamp, he stumbled down the Baltoro glacier, but became severely dehydrated and lost his way. Fortuitously, he encountered two Balti porters named Mouzafer and Yakoub, who escorted him back to their village, a tiny hamlet called Korphe (pronounced Kor-

Mortenson oiling the machinery for school building with Shiite Muslims. Right: To receive a school from Mortenson’s organization, a village must agree to increase girls’ enrollment by 10 percent a year. Fay), perched high above the banks of the Braldu River. “Going up to K2, I was very focused on the summit and the linear progression of just getting to the top,” says Mortenson. “But coming out in such a weakened state, I started being aware of other stuff: the beauty of the place, and the generosity of the local people, who are really the lifeblood of that region.”

Mortenson started peddling his possessions — but after selling his car, hawking his climbing gear and cashing in his retirement, he’d raised only $2,000. That process continued over the next week as the people of Korphe rallied to nurse Mortenson back to health. While recovering, he got his first glimpse into the crushing poverty of the region — a place where the literacy rate is only 3 percent, where one out of every three babies dies before age one, and where the entire community survives the winter months by descending into a large unheated

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basement and huddling together for up to 18 hours each day. One afternoon, Mortenson asked to see the local school and was escorted to a patch of open ground where 84 children squatted on their knees scratching their lessons in the dirt with sticks. Strangely, there was no teacher — he was in another village. Korphe was so poor, Mortenson learned, that it could only afford the teacher’s $1 daily wage for two days per week. “Those kids were so determined,” Mortenson recalls. “The fierceness of their desire to learn reminded me of Christa. And since I couldn’t help her anymore, I figured I had to find a way to help them.”

A dollar goes a long way

the contracts on the school-building projects — a cut of the pie,” he says. “It had nothing to Average daily wage for a do with Islam.” low-altitude porter. Seeking advice, Mortenson met with Saeed Average annual salary Abbas Risvi, the senior Shiite spiritual leader in for a teacher. northern Pakistan. Risvi took a liking to him, Cost to build a wrote to the Supreme Council of Ayatollahs in five-room school for 100 Iran, and obtained a rare letter of recommenstudents, including supplies. dation endorsing his work. The council wrote: Cost to endow a “Dear Compassionate of the Poor, teacher’s salary. ... The holy Koran does not prohibit your Annual cost of school work to promote girls’ education in our homes. supplies per student. Our holy Koran tells us that all children should Amount of receive education, including our daughters and money the CAI has brought sisters. Your noble work follows the highest to Pakistan since 1993. fter returning home to Bozeman, Monprinciples of Islam, to tend to the poor and sick. Cost to tana, Mortenson decided to thank the Secondly, in the holy Koran, there is no law to build the remaining 228 people of Korphe by building a school prohibit an infidel from providing assistance schools to educate all the for them. He wrote 580 letters to celebrities, to our Muslim brothers and sisters. Furtherchildren in the K2 region. businessmen and other prominent Americans. more, we direct all clerics in Pakistan to not His only reply: a $100 check from NBC’s Tom interfere with your noble intentions. Brokaw. He submitted 16 grant proposals — all rejected. Finally, “You have our permission, blessings and prayers.” he started peddling his possessions — but after selling La Bamba, The letter finally cleared the path to build a school in Jafarabad. hawking his climbing gear, and cashing in his retirement policy at Now the only hurdle was to raise the funds. the hospital where he worked as a trauma nurse, he’d raised only Providence came to Mortenson and to the people of Jafarabad $2,000. His luck began to turn only after a group of elementary from an unlikely source. In the spring of 2000, Mortenson got a school children in River Falls, Wisconsin, where his mother was phone call from a Bozeman mountaineer, a hard-core climber who the principal, donated $623 entirely in pennies. was the last guy in the world one might expect to take an interest Within six months, Mortenson gained the help of Dr. Jean Hoerni, in building a school for Pakistani girls. a Swiss climber and microchip physicist, and raised $12,000. The n addition to his list of formidable alpine ascents, Jack Tackle, 49, money enabled him to launch the first project of what would evenis famous for his capacity to suffer, his fondness for Scotch and tually become the Central Asia Institute (CAI) — building a five-room his impressive repertoire of swear words. Of his 40-plus mounschool that could accommodate 100 of Korphe’s school-age children, with an endowment for a teacher’s salary. After completing taineering expeditions to far corners of the earth, those exploring the school for Korphe in 1996, Mortenson went on to similar proj- the Karakoram have proven among the most memorable, and in ects, first in northern Pakistan and eventually in neighboring the spring of 2000 he called Mortenson and said he wanted to help. “I was just floored,” Mortenson says. “I just couldn’t believe he Afghanistan. His life was frantic, split between the Karakoram and the CAI headquarters in a cramped Bozeman basement. He also wanted to have anything to do with girls’ education.” Tackle said married Tara Bishop and had two children, who were given Per- he wanted to meet that afternoon, so Mortenson invited him over sian names, Amira and Khyber. By the winter of 1999, he was up to to his mother-in-law’s house, where they sat on the porch. Tackle arrived with his checkbook. He asked how much Morten22 schools, and a long list of villages all over Baltistan was clamoring son needed to build a school and endow a teacher. to be next. “I don’t think you can afford to fund a whole school,” Mortenson said. Like many foreign-aid experts, Mortenson believes that provid“Tell me how much,” Tackle said, deadpan. ing education for girls helps to lower infant mortality and bring Tackle wrote a check for $12,000 that afternoon. Mortenson down birth rates — which in turn reduces the ignorance and poverty that fuel religious extremism. Thus, with each new school he builds, deposited the check two hours later and called Pakistan. The next a village must agree to increase girls’ enrollment by 10 percent each day people began constructing a school in Jafarabad. “It was unbelievable how fast the project came together,” Tackle year. This approach, however, pitted the CAI against the forces of Islamic extremism that have dominated northern Pakistan ever says. “In about three months, it went from being an idea to being since the Taliban began taking over Afghanistan in the early 1980s. open for business. That’s the way Greg operates.” Tackle asked Mortenson to keep the matter quiet, but word quickly During the late 1990s, Mortenson received numerous threats from hard-line local religious leaders near the town of Jafarabad, one got around that he was sponsoring girls’ education in Pakistan. of the proposed sites for a girls’ school. A handful of mullahs claimed “Jack’s advocacy dovetailed with similar support coming from mounhis enterprise — with an infidel, of all people, teaching girls to read taineers in the Karakoram network like Nick Clinch, Bob Bates, Pete and write — violated the Koran. One leader, Mullah Agha Mub- Schoening, Jim Wickwire, Steve Swenson and others,” Mortenson harik of Chutran, issued a fatwa, a religious decree, that sought to says. “And together with Tackle, they triggered hundreds of other people within the climbing community to step up to contribute.” ban Mortenson permanently from Pakistan. Thanks to these and other efforts, the CAI is currently constructing Though admittedly frightened by the threats, Mortenson refused to back down on his quest. “What the mullahs really wanted was its 31st school, in Gultori Valley, part of the war zone between India




$17,000 $3,500 $10

$1 million +

$ 2.5 million


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and Pakistan (the school is built into the cliff to protect the students from artillery shells). More significant, of the 8,200 children now studying in CAI schools, 3,400 are girls. “The American climbing community has really rallied behind the cause,” says Mortenson. “It shows that climbers really do care.”

n August 2000, Jack Tackle returned to the Karakoram for the he Institute’s growing coffers have also provided a founthird time on an expedition in which he and Doug Chabot dation for Mortenson’s next series of projects. Shortly after attempted the South Pillar of the Ogre. On the drive back to building Tackle’s school, Mortenson was approached by a Skardu, they stopped off in Jafarabad, and Tackle got his first group of Balti porters who thanked him for glimpse of the school he’d funded. There assisting with their daughters’ education, were about 70 girls, all dressed in greenbut wanted to know if he could do anything and-white uniforms, and initially they to help them. Ever since mountaineers started were so shy that they wouldn’t even look coming to the Karakoram, a system of bribery Tackle in the eye. has governed the porters’ lives. “To get a Later the village held a reception. Everylucrative job with an expedition or trekking one gathered in the fields outside the group,” Mortenson explains, “a porter will school and the girls climbed into the often have to sell his land or his livestock branches of several apple trees and started in order to have money to go down to to relax. “Those girls were darling!” recalls Skardu or Khaplu to bribe the sirdar for Tackle. “There they were, perched in the a job. The sirdar, in turn, ends up bribing trees like little birds, and the thing I rememthe local guide. And the guide, in turn, ber best was just the look on their faces: this ends up bribing the Pakistani travel ageneagerness — this wide-eyed look of enthucies, all of whom try to underbid each siasm. Meeting them was actually the best other for Western contracts. The irony, of part of the whole trip. It was one of the course, is that the difference is ultimately most rewarding things I’ve ever done.” being made up by the lowliest man on Last summer, I went to Jafarabad with the totem pole, the porter.” Mortenson, where I got a chance to see Mortenson conferred with his brotherTackle’s school. After touring the classrooms, in-law, Brent Bishop, who had organized Mortenson ushered us all out to the apple several cleanup expeditions on Everest. trees and the girls gathered around the blueTogether they devised the first Karakoand-white sign bearing Tackle’s name. Mortenram Basecamp Cleanup, with a unique Jack Tackle with students son had brought along a stack of new pencils pay schedule designed to provide more outside the school he funded in Pakistan. and notebooks, which he began distributing revenue for porters, who typically receive full pay (approximately to the girls. They clustered together, giggling, for a photograph. $50) for humping a 25-kilogram load for four or five days up to the Off to the side of the happy crowd, looking strangely out of place, basecamps and half pay for walking out with empty packs. First, stood two girls dressed in dirty work clothes. Instead of spending Mortenson and Bishop got several sponsors, including the CAI, the the morning in class they had been digging potatoes in the fields. clothing company Patagonia and sometimes the expeditions them- Now they stood in their bare feet, gazing with intense envy at their selves, to pay the porters an additional quarter-pay for each day of peers. Mortenson explained that they were part of a group of girls who had been left out of the program. “The school is so small that we simply don’t have the funds and the space to accommodate them — there just isn’t enough room,” he said. “There are thousands of girls like this.” Mortenson estimates that 228 schools are needed to fill the demand for education in Baltistan alone. On those 228 unbuilt schools stands the future of an entire generation of boys and girls in northern Pakistan. their descent, in exchange for which the porters agreed to carry out “You know, it’s not just a matter of donating money,” says a full load of trash. Then they set up a recycling center in Skardu, Tackle. “It’s a matter of attitude — a question of what you choose which paid the porters for each kilogram of trash they delivered. to do when you see people like this. Look at where Greg ended up. Since the program was initiated, 34,800 pounds of trash have He went to Pakistan on a climbing trip, and it changed his life. been removed from the basecamps on the Baltoro Glacier and the That could happen to anybody.” porters are delighted to get revenue from garbage. To address the bribery problem, Mortenson and Bishop also set Kevin Fedarko lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is a former staff writer up the Karakoram Porter Training Institute. Designed for low-alti- for Time and senior editor of Outside. tude porters, the program educates them on a variety of subjects To learn more about the Central Asia Institute, visit, call from hygiene and sanitation to government regulations regarding 877-585-7841 or email Tax-deductible contributions can be what the porters should be given in terms of wages, food and gear. sent to the CAI, P.O. Box 7209, Bozeman, MT 59771.



To date, 847 porters have gone through the program. Thanks to these lectures, travel agencies — and climbers and trekkers — now find it much more difficult to cheat porters out of their wages and rations.


Mortenson got a phone call from a Bozeman mountaineer, a hard-core climber who was the last guy in the world one might expect to take an interest in building a school for Pakistani girls. | 77

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Learning the Ropes Three essentials to keep you out of harm’s way


here’s not a soul among us who doesn’t want to be a better climber. I mean, who would pass up the chance to climb a grade harder if it was easy to do? In our quest to get stronger, however, it’s easy to overlook the technical skills that should accompany our growth — the advanced ropework, anchor placements and rappelling tricks that keep us safe. They’re not sexy, and won’t make your forearms any bigger, but these skills are the most important techniques in your rise to power. Even if you have climbed for 78 |

years, brushing up on your rope skills is never a waste of time, and we can always learn better, safer ways. Written by veteran climbers, this special section covers three essentials: setting up a solid toprope and cleaning the anchor, multi-pitch rappelling with and without a heavy pack, and escaping the belay if your partner is injured. Some are skills you will use every day. Others are rescue techniques we pray you never have to use — but you’ll be happy to have them in reserve.


Steve Leeder plugging into Squamish’s stunning trad line Crime of the Century in British Columbia.

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Get Down On It

Rappelling safely — with and without a pack BY ELI HELMUTH



or most climbers, rappelling is the least favorite and most stressful part of climbing. When we scale the rock we are usually backed up by multiple points of protection, which only come into play if we fall. Yet when we rappel we trust everything to a single anchor system. With no backup, the system must be solid. This article covers the essentials: building a secure anchor and rappelling safely.




Avoid rappelling directly from cord or webbing. Ropes can slip and burn through the nylon, and friction weakens the nylon when you pull the ropes. Aluminum rappel rings are a cheap metallink solution, but double them up to ensure adequate strength. Better yet, use a steel lap link (3/8” minimum) or carabiner, but be sure to leave a locking carabiner or tape the gate shut. If you have the gear, leave two carabiners just to be sure. JOIN RAPPEL ROPES WITH AN OVERHAND BEND You can tie two ropes together for a long rappel in several ways. The double fisherman’s knot or a retraced figure-8 are both secure, but they have bulky profiles that can snag or abrade when you pull them from below. They can also be difficult to untie. Many guides prefer the overhand bend, which is more than adequate for the forces involved in rappelling and less likely to snag. When using the overhand bend, tie it neatly, cinch the knot tight and leave a onefoot tail in each end (figure 1). Never use this knot to join two ropes of drastically different diameters. AVOID ACCIDENTS AND T ANGLES THROWING THE ROPE Alert climbers below you by yelling “Rope!” and then waiting for their OK before you drop the rope. Coiling the entire rope in one hand to throw down the cliff often results in tangles and knots. Instead split the coil into two sections, one in each hand, then throw the

Figure 1. The overhand bend and double fisherman’s knot. Both are safe, but the overhand bend is less likely to snag.


first coil straight down (not out-pitching style). If you’re throwing two ropes, do one at a time. In extreme winds where a thrown rope can sail above you and lodge in inaccessible terrain, survival can be at stake. You have two options that let you deploy the rope as you rappel: 1. Loop the rope in small lap coils and secure these coils to your harness on each side with shoulder-length slings, clipped at both ends into the gear loops. 2. Carry the ropes down in two medium-size stuff sacks (which could have been holding your rain jacket or snack food), one on each side. The sacks need loops so you can attach them to your harness. Also make sure the rope ends have solid stopper knots because you won’t see them coming out of the bag. When you get to the next anchor, continue to hold onto the rope, keeping it just taut enough to prevent it from blowing sideways or up, yet slack enough for your partner to rappel.


Get a grip

in the device. The most painful thing I’ve heard of is loose arm skin catching. Yikes! For extra security and conCONTROL YOUR DESCENT Most modern trol, wear leather gloves belay/rappel devices give a smooth, conor, if balance permits, keep trolled descent. The old-school figure-8 both hands on the brake device is mediocre due to its tendency side of the rope. Y ou can to twist the ropes. Clip your device into increase friction by passthe belay loop of the harness for maxiing the brake end of the mum strength. (A carabiner clipped rope down the inside of around the waist belt and leg loops can your thigh and holding it be loaded in three directions and weakon the outside of your thigh. ened.) The belay loop also places the rappel device away from your body, making your backup function better. USE BACKUPS Always tie a knot in the end of each rappel rope. A knot will prevent you from rappelling off the rope ends. Many climbers also back up a rappel with a friction hitch, which prevents you from zipping down to the end of your rappel if you’re struck unconscious by rockfall, lightning, seizure, etc., and allows you to release both hands to untangle the rope.

How to rig a bomber anchor SOLID Thoroughly check each component of your anchor. Is the tree alive and well rooted? Are the wires on the fixed nut frayed? Is the piton loose? Beware fixed nylon slings that may have been weakened by ultra-violet rays or frayed by ropes being pulled directly through them. Don’t blindly trust someone else’s anchor. Bodyweight test all fixed gear — before you unclip from your lead line or previous rappel. If in any doubt, add your own gear to the anchor. REDUNDANT Build anchors from multiple pieces of solid gear (two or more). The only time I rappel from a single point is when it is a solid, healthy tree or something unquestionably bomber. EQUALIZED Pre-equalize your anchor by tying all the components to one master point. A cordalette (a 20-foot sling of 7-millimeter cord) is the ideal tool. Beware the “death triangle,” which does not share loads equally and actually multiplies the forces on the anchors, or other pseudo-equalizing methods that can shockload pieces if one piece fails.

The “death triangle” multiplies the forces on the anchor, and the single rappel ring is sketchy.

A properly rigged and equalized anchor. | 79

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Figure 2. The autoblock backup. Even when you’ve done everything to smooth things, the ropes may still stick when you pull them. If you still have both ends of the rope in hand, you’re in luck. Tie two autoblocks around both ropes, and use these, ascender-style, to climb back up to the rappel anchor, or free climb, using the autoblocks as a moving self belay. Tie frequent figure8 knots in each rope and clip them to your harness belay loop as a backup as you ascend. When you get to the anchor, re-rig it for smoother pulling and try again. You can troubleshoot the system by having your partner below you test pull the ropes. The worst-case scenario is only having one strand of a stuck rope in your hands. The only safe alternative is to lead a pitch to reach the top anchor. Use aid, stand in STAY UPRIGHT WITH A HAUL BAG OR slings, do whatever necessary to reach the HEAVY PACK Rappelling with a point where you can fix the problem and monster pack or haulbag can be descend again. frustrating and frightening. The Last, the worst, worst-case scenario hapweight on your back can flip you pens when the ropes pull upside down or waste your abdomfree, but hang up on the inal muscles fighting to stay upright. cliff as they fall. In this To avoid the problem, girth hitch situation climbing the a long sling on the pack’s master ropes is out — they point and connect could come free your rappel device with your weight on directly to a locking them. Your options carabiner on the here are to abandon sling. Girth hitch the ropes, cutting off another sling and whatever you can salcarabiner though the vage and descending pack so you can easily with those scraps, or rig a clip it to anchors along belay and climb up to where the way. Finally, clip the ropes are snagged. If you yourself into the rappelopt to climb to the snag, you device locker with a stancan, if the available free rope dard-length sewn sling allows, tie into an end and lead girth-hitched to your belay loop (figure 3). The final step Figure 3. Getting down up, placing gear and belayed by your partner. When you get to gives you more control and with a heavy pack. power by extending the device from your the snag, you either have to rig a rappel body; it also keeps the pack out of your station there, climb all the way back up to the higher rappel point, or downclimb way as you head down the cliff. AVOID AND RETRIEVE STUCK ROPES The while belayed by your partner. first climber who descends should test the ropes to make sure they’ll pull. If not, the Eli Helmuth is an AMGA-certified rock and climber up top can change the set-up. Using alpine guide. Majka Burhardt is an AMGA-cerlong slings to extend the ropes’ thread point tified rock instructor and writer. Both work as over an edge or just adding a carabiner to guides for the Colorado Mountain School and the rope/sling thread point often do the trick. share a straw-bale house with their dog Osito.


One of the best frictionhitch backups is an “autoblock” friction knot connected to your leg loop below the rappel device (see page 85 for a detailed autoblock illustration). Girth hitch a sewn shoulder-length sling to the leg loop on your brake-hand side. Wrap the remaining length of sling around both strands of the rope three or four times, forming an autoblock knot, and clip it back into your leg loop with a locking carabiner (figure 2). The autoblock must have a short tether so it can’t ride up and come into contact with the rappel device, where it might jam or fail to lock. If you need to shorten the autoblock sling, put two or more wraps in the leg-loop girth hitch. As you rappel, slide the autoblock along to prevent it from locking up. | 81

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p.078-89 performance.128 7/30/03 4:28 PM Page 82

Heaven can wait

Setting up a toprope and cleaning fixed anchors is a constant source of accidents — do you know how to do it right? BY MICHAEL SILITCH


etting up a toprope on a sport-climbing anchor and cleaning the system to lower off are two of the most basic climbing skills. Nevertheless, climbers engaged in these tasks have serious accidents each year — usually because the person fixing or cleaning the toprope fails to back himself up or communicate effectively with his partner. To insure a long and healthy climbing career, you must master how to rig and clean a toprope anchor, and get it right every time. You should also know belaying techniques that will make your toprope sessions safer. The following tips will get you on the right track. In all cases we’ll assume the simplest scenario — that you are toproping on fixed, secure, double-bolt anchors with chains. For advice on setting up a toprope system on natural protection, see “Watch That Edge,” page 34, Rock and Ice No. 126.

through fixed gear makes cleaning the system easy (when you’re finished you simply pull the rope), but the sawing action of a toprope can quickly wear out the hardware. By running the rope through your own carabiners you prolong the life of the fixed equipment and help prevent future accidents. A great compromise at anchors where the lowering rings dangle on chains below the bolts is to thread the fixed equipment and clip the toprope through quickdraws or an equalized master point attached to the bolts themselves. This way the toprope is weighting and wearing your carabiners, but the last person up can simply unclip the gear and lower off the fixed rings.


GET A GRIP Make sure everyone in any toproping group knows how to belay. Watch to make sure no one ever takes the brake hand off the rope. Inexperienced belayers should practice belaySETTING UP A TOPROPE GETTING TO THE ANCHOR You will either lead up to an anchor ing before they ever actually do it, by holding and lowering a or reach it by hiking to the top of the cliff. If you reach the anchor climber who’s just a few feet above the ground. If a belayer is from above, crawl out to the edge and sit down to set up the shaky, have a back-up belayer who feeds rope off the stack and toprope. It is a lot harder to fall off the cliff when you are in a provides extra grip on the brake-hand side of the rope. low position than when you are standing. Stay protected, too: BE A BUDDY Use the Buddy System to confirm that a climber is Take a length of the rope and tether yourself to a large tree or properly tied into the rope and the belay is secure before leaving boulder as you approach the edge. When you the ground. You can do this in four verbal steps: reach the anchor, clip yourself into both bolts 1. “Am I on belay?” — Climber checks that Dynamic climbing ropes stretch roughly with screwgate carabiners attached to a long the rope is threaded through belay plate coreight percent under a static load. That slings girth hitched to your belay loop. rectly, that the locking carabiner is locked, and means if 100 feet of rope is out (in a If you lead up to the anchor, clip into both that the belayer’s harness is doubled back. toprope on a 50-foot climb), and the bolts with quickdraws, and clip the rope end 2. “You’re on belay” — Belayer doubleclimber falls at the start of the climb, of each quickdraw into the belay loop on checks his system and confirms it’s good. he could deck from eight feet up. T o your harness. To prevent the quickdraw cara3. “Are you ready to climb?” — Belayer take some of this stretch out of the biners from unclipping themselves, make checks that the climber is correctly tied into rope, have the climber “sit down” on sure the carabiner gates at your belay loop are rope and that his harness is doubled back. the rope and have the belayer take up reversed and opposed. Stay on belay while 4. “I’m ready to climb” — Climber double slack before climbing. you set up the toprope. To descend you can checks his system and confirms it’s good. lower or rappel. TIE A KNOT IN THE FREE END OF THE ROPE RIGGING THE ANCHOR You can use two quickdraws clipped This isn’t strictly necessary when toproping short (less than half through the bolts. Make sure the gates of the rope-end carabin- a ropelength) pitches but it’s a good habit to get into every time. ers are reversed and opposed. This is quick and easy; however, A knot will protect you from being lowered off the end of the if the toprope is going to be used for a long time and you will rope in those situations where the lowering distance is greater not always be there to check on the system, consider some alter- than the length of your rope. natives: You could use screwgate carabiners and a sewn sling or ANCHOR THE BELAYER This is a good idea if the belayer is lighter cordalette to equalize the bolts to a single knotted master point. than the climber or the belay area is steep and rocky. Trees make Or, if you like the quickdraw option, rig quickdraws with lock- great anchors. Have the belayer tie into the free end of the rope, ing carabiners on the rope ends. girth hitch a tree with a sling, put a locking carabiner on the sling, Avoid running the toprope directly through fixed rings, cold shuts, tie an overhand figure-8 knot in the belayer’s rope, and, using fixed carabiners or lap links on the anchor. Stringing the rope the locking carabiner, clip this to the sling.

Pre-stretch the rope

Climbers toproping have serious accidents each year — usually because the person fixing or cleaning the toprope fails to back himself up or communicate effectively with his partner. 82 |

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Nine steps to cleaning the anchor

8. 9.

At the end of the toprope session you’ll need to retrieve your equipment. If you can’ t reach the anchor from the top of the cliff, or didn’ t pre-thread it, you’ll need to toprope the pitch and hang on the anchor while you clean it. This is a simple procedure, but it is possible to screw up. To avoid becoming a statistic: Double check each new system before you commit to it; never go off belay; communicate clearly with your belayer.

Yell “Got me?” to confirm that you are on belay.

When and only when you hear the OK, release the quickdraws, and clean the rest of your equipment from the anchors. Your belayer can now lower you to the ground.

Michael Silitch is an American mountain guide living and working in the Alps. He is AMGA certified in rock, alpine and ski mountaineering. Contact: 011-41-79-765-1400, Know the procedure Follow these steps to safely clean an anchor:


Clip into both bolts, using two separate quickdraws clipped to your belay/rappel loop. The carabiners on the bottom of the draws should have their gates reversed and opposed.

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Ask for slack from the belayer and, starting at the tie-in-knot side of the rope (not the one on the belayer’s side of the anchors), pull about three feet of rope up through the anchor . Tie a Figure-8 knot on a bight and clip it to the belay loop of your harness with a locking carabiner . (This step keeps you on belay while you untie the rope and also prevents you from dropping it.)

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With your weight on the quickdraws clipped to the anchor, untie the rope at your tie-in point, thread the end through the fixed lowering equipment (rings, chains, lap links, cold shuts etc), and tie the rope back into the tie-in point of your harness (figure 1).

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Check your system: Is the rope threaded through the fixed equipment? Is it tied into your harness correctly?

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Untie the figure-8 backup.

Ask your belayer to take in the slack; he should suck up enough rope to hold your weight. This way you can confirm your system is holding before you release the quickdraw backup.


Double check that the rope is threaded through the fixed equipment and correctly tied into your harness.

outerwear guaranteed to take Figure 1. After securing yourself to the anchor with slings and clipping into a figure-8-on-a-bight backup to the rope, untie your end of the rope and feed it through the anchor.

you to that good place – and keep you there lon ger.

Check that toprope swing Working an overhanging sport route on toprope is problematic. One slip and you go swinging away from the rock. Getting back on the wall can be strenuous to impossible. T o prevent this, when you lower off the route after rigging the toprope through the anchors, clip your side of the rope through all of the lead bolts. When you toprope, the bolts will keep you pinned to the rock, preventing you from swinging away. As you climb, unclip the rope from each of these “lead” bolts. If clipping the rope through all of the bolts creates rope drag, only clip select bolts just above the cruxes, where you are most likely to fall. | 83 GORE, GORE-TEX, GORE-TEX XCR, Guaranteed To Keep You Dry and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., ©2003 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., 1-800-431-GORE.

p.078-89 performance.128 7/30/03 4:29 PM Page 84

The Great Escape How to break free from a loaded belay. Self-rescue tricks every climber should know. BY S.P PARKER

THE BELAY ESCAPE One of the basics of any rescue is “Do not make a bad situation worse.” You could escape the belay by simply attaching an autoblock on the loaded strand to the anchor. But this leaves the climber dangling on a loaded friction knot, which can slip and damage the rope and will be impossible to release without a knife. The method described here avoids these problems. It may seem complicated, but is simple once you have mastered the knots above. Take some rope and work through it with a partner on the ground. Hands-on is the best way to learn. For the escape scenario we’ll assume you are belaying a leader or follower on a device clipped to the belay loop on your harness and that you are tied with the climbing rope into a solid anchor. The only additional equipment you need to escape the belay are a sling and two locking carabiners

through the plate until the autoblock catches — you need to be careful here, making sure that the autoblock is gripping. SECURING THE LOAD BACK TO THE ANCHOR Take the slack side of the rope coming from your belay plate (on what used to be your brake-hand side), place a locking carabiner on the anchor, make a munter on the rope and clip it to the carabiner. Now, holding onto the rope at the munter to maintain a belay, remove the rope from the belay plate at your waist. Suck up the slack generated and pre-jump the munter. Secure the munter with a mule and overhand knot and snug it down. Finally, go back to the munter/mule combination at the autoblock and release it, gently feeding the rope through the munter until the load is transferred back to the anchor. Clean everything up by removing the autoblock. See figure 3 for an overview. You have now escaped the belay and can raise, lower or seek help for your partner. SP Parker has never had to escape the belay and hopes he never will. A guide of 20 years, he is IFMGA certified, and a joint owner of the Sierra Mountain Center based in Bishop, California.


With the belay device in the locked-off position, pinch the whole plate with your non-braking hand, squeezing the rope against the plate, so you can pull a two-foot bight of rope through the carabiner with your brake hand. Now, tie a mule knot in front of the belay plate and secure it with an overhand backup (figure 1). You can now release both hands. REMOVE THE LOAD FROM YOUR BELA Y DEVICE With a sling, tie an autoblock on the loaded rope in front of your belay device. Now grab the rope on the opposite side of the knot securing you to the anchor. Tie a munter hitch in the rope and attach it to the autoblock sling with a locking carabiner. Suck up any slack and prejump the munter. Secure the munter with a mule knot and overhand backup (making the munter/mule combination). See figure 2 for an overview. You are now ready to transfer the load from your belay device to the autoblock. Release the tied-off device by untying the overhand and giving the slack side of the mule knot a hard tug. Now feed the rope

Figure 2. After tying off your belay device, tie an autoblock to the “live” side of the rope and secure it to the anchor as shown.

Figure 1. Tying off a loaded belay device with a mule knot. Finish with an overhand-on-a-bight backup.

84 |

Figure 3. The final four steps to escaping the belay. You are then free to untie yourself from the rope and seek help.



t some point you may have to rescue a partner who’s hanging on a rope, unconscious or incapacitated, and can’t be lowered to a ledge or the ground. This article describes how to escape the belay and tie off your partner to a safe anchor. You can then run for help or execute a rescue yourself.

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Essential knots Figure 1. Tying the munter hitch.

Montrail Susitna

Figure 2. Tying a mule knot to secure a munter hitch.

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You need to know three simple knots (and one combination) to escape a belay . It only takes a few minutes to learn these knots, and it’s time well spent since they also come in handy in other climbing situations. THE MUNTER HITCH This hitch allows a sliding rope to generate friction, dissipating the force of a load. It’s a great knot to learn since you can also use it for belays and rappels if you drop your device. Tie as shown in figure 1. The hitch has two orientations: one for feeding out rope and one for reeling it in. The hitch flips, sometimes jerkily , over the carabiner when it changes from one to the other. Always build the munter hitch on a locking carabiner. Since the knot is large and needs to swivel, a large locker works best. THE MULE KNOT This blocking knot enables you to secure a loaded rope and free your hands. It is commonly used on top of a munter hitch (see figure 2) or to secure a belay plate. Its most important attribute is that it can be released under load. When using it to secure a belay plate, start by passing a loop of rope through the screwgate carabiner and tie around the loaded strand of the rope. To back up the knot, finish it with an overhand knot. To release the Mule knot untie the backup overhand, and pull on the unloaded side of the knot. THE MUNTER MULE This combination allows you to secure a munter hitch and easily transfer a load back and forth. Start by tying a munter hitch on a carabiner. When you have tied the munter, make sure that it is oriented to feed rope out toward the load — this is known as “pre-jumping” the munter. Next, secure the munter with a mule knot. T ry to keep everything tight — build the mule right on top of the Figure 3. The “munter mule” with munter, not six inches away from it. Finan overhand-on-a-bight backup. ish by securing the system with a backup overhand knot (figure 3). THE AUTOBLOCK The autoblock is the ideal rope-gripping knot because it can be tied in webbing or cord, is multidirectional and loosens easily. Simply take a cord or webbing sling, wrap it around the rope, laying it out smoothly, and clip both ends of the sling with a screwgate carabiner (figure 4). If you need more friction, simply add more wraps. Spectra slings have a greater tendency to slip; nylon is preferred. Figure 4. Tying the autobock. | 85

technolo gy, these shoes are the first to deliver extended comfort and durable waterproof protection during high ouput activity and over multiple sea sons. By dramatically increa sin g breathability and keepin g the temperature inside your shoe at its optimal level, GORE-TEX® XCR® footwear is guaranteed to take you to that good place – and keep you there lon ger. GORE, GORE-TEX, GORE-TEX XCR, Guaranteed To Keep You Dry and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., ©2003 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., 1-800-431-GORE.

p.086-89 Famous Faces.128 7/29/03 3:30 PM Page 86


Exit Cracks

White Spider

Traverse of the Gods

Ramp Third Ice Field

Death Bivouac

Second Ice Field First Ice Field

Hinterstoisser Traverse


Gallery Window Windowv

The North Face of the Eiger Mark Wilford’s touch-and-go solo of “The Wall of Death” BY JEFF ACHEY


ark Wilford had never climbed in his new boots, an instantly obvious error. Grasping poor holds, he moved up. A foot popped and he fell. That was the end for Wilford — he was out of the 1988 Snowbird sport-climbing competition. The huge, nationally televised event was stacked with chic European sport climbers, and Wilford, a proud American trad, had worked hard to get into Snowbird and hoped to prove something there. Instead, he joined the spectators after 25 feet of climbing. Back home in Telluride, Wilford burned off his frustration by 86 |

scrambling up big, rotten faces in the San Juan Mountains. He took further solace in climbing literature far removed from artificial-wall competitions. Wall of Death, about the North Face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps, was the most influential title. Three months after he slipped off the wall at Snowbird, Wilford was in Switzerland to attempt a solo of the notorious Eiger Nordwand, first climbed in 1938. The first bivy of his shoestring expedition was behind the tennis courts in the alpine village of Grindelwald; the second was in a cow pasture near the Kleine Scheidegg railroad station and tourist center, which offered a

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full view of the 6,000-foot face. The upper wall was plastered white by a recent storm, but the weather was perfect. Before dawn on September 5, carrying one thin rope, four carabiners, a few nuts and pins, and a quart of water, Wilford headed up the face by headlamp, on short, fifthclass steps alternating with clattery scree. An hour into the climb, still in the dark, he followed a line of old pitons up what appeared to be the route’s first named obstacle, the Difficult Crack. Soon, a nest of old slings below a blank overhang and the murmur of voices off to the right suggested a route-finding error. Wilford dug out his rope, rapped, then scrambled right in the first light of day to find another party tackling the correct crack. He slipped by the team at the top of the pitch. More San Juans-style loose scrambling led to the famed Hinterstoisser Traverse, where passing across the rotting fixed ropes proved horrifying without a belay. Wilford found the First Icefield melted out, and moved up quickly on dry rock. A sudden slip on invisible verglas nearly ended Wilford’s fledgling alpine career and sent his heart racing. Balanced on a small stance, he donned his secret weapon, a pair of custom overboots he’d scored a few days earlier in Munich. Slipped over his fleece-lined rock shoes and fitted with crampons, they’d make state-of-the-art alpine footwear. He hadn’t actually climbed in them, however, an instantly obvious error. “I put on the boots and they really sucked,” says Wilford. Board-stiff soles and zero ankle support gave the sensation of climbing in plywood sandals. The verglas and névé on the upper face would demand that he wear them for the rest of the climb. The Eiger’s notorious stone barrages held off as Wilford sprinted up the Second Icefield toward Death Bivouac, where he took a short break. It was 8 a.m. Ahead he could see a climbing party of eight people starting up the Ramp. The only weakness through the steepest part of the Nordwand, this 600-foot dihedral was a route bottleneck, now full of climbers gesturing and shouting in Spanish. Fortunately, the friendly team — which was making a film — permitted Wilford to

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p.088 Corey Rich.128 7/25/03 8:23 AM Page 1

a multimedia presentation documenting the sport, art & culture of modern rock climbing

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p.086-89 Famous Faces.128 7/29/03 3:43 PM Page 89

At Brittle Crack above the Ramp, Wilford pass. He clambered over them, crampons moved into a 15-foot vertical dihedral laced stemming on the dihedral walls as the with verglas, clipping into fixed pins with Spaniards took cover in the corner. a long perlon leash. Near the end of the High in the verglassed Ramp, Wilford cruxy exit moves, his leash came tight to roped up for the first time since his earlier the piton below him. He was too far above rappel. His innovative self-belay system to unclip, and retreated. After several forallowed 80 feet of climbing with no need to ays out from the piton and with no better plan rappel the pitch or leave carabiners. He in mind, Wilford faced the inevitable. He doubled his rope rappel-style through a latched the best hold he could reach, then fumfixed belay anchor and tied into both ends, bled for his pocket knife. Opening it with then worked up the sketchy mixed pitch teeth, he cut the leash tying occasional lengths of A sudden slip his and pulled through the exit. perlon through fixed pins on invisible When the Spanish came and around his rope. If Wilford slipped on the pitch verglas nearly upon the freshly severed cord they feared the worst. he’d fall until all the slack ran out, then the doubled ended Wilford’s In fact, the worst was now over. ropes would come tight fledgling The fiercely exposed Trathrough one of the perlon alpine career. verse of the Gods was plas“carabiners,” in theory tered with perfect névé and Wilford soon arresting his fall. The more probable outcome, entered the maw of the most famous iceof course, was that a tumble would instantly field in climbing, the White Spider. It was melt the thin perlon and become a maspast noon now but the heavily iced consive fall directly onto the belay anchor. ditions held stonefall at bay. Wilford batWilford avoided that scenario with pretled severe dehydration and an advancing cision stemming and dry-tooling on the tide of fatigue as he worked up the Spisloping, verglas-covered holds of the diheder, the névé-covered Exit Cracks, and the dral. At the top of the pitch he pulled up interminable-seeming Summit Icefield. At his rope and came to grips with the noto2 p.m. he stepped on top. It had been a rious Waterfall Pitch, sporting a large freeperfect day, one that would spur him on to hanging icicle, which a tentative tap other audacious alpine adventures around promptly knocked free. The ice exploded the world. The frustrations of Snowbird down the Ramp toward the Spanish team never crossed his mind. as Wilford screamed a warning. Several In the summit boulders he discovered a members took punishing hits, but the Spanbeer, wrapped in a note wishing someone conish yelled back an all-clear. Later, back at gratulations and luck on the descent, in GerKleine Scheidegg, Wilford viewed with man. He’d passed no Germans on the route, horror the eggplant-sized bruise on one and it was the route’s 50-year anniversary. climber’s bicep, but the Spaniard simply Wilford cracked the beer and toasted. ◆ shrugged and said, “It’s the Eiger.”

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Eiger Essentials WHEN The Eiger (13,041 feet) has been climbed in every month of the year, but the most popular time for the 1938 Nordwand route and the easier ridges is late summer and early fall. Frozen conditions greatly reduce the risk of rockfall, and all the main north-face lines save the 1938 route (which sprints between islands of relative safety) are generally attempted in winter. WHERE The base of operations for the Eiger is the popular ski and tourist town of Grindelwald, Switzerland, which is a short hop by bus or train from Interlaken. In Grindelwald, depart for the Eiger from the big carpark at Grund at the base of the W engernalpbahn rail line. You can either hike from Grund to a bivy at the base of the Eiger in about three hours, or take the pricey (about $40) train to hotels at Klein Scheidegg, a train-stop, restaurant and hotel area about level with the base of the north face and half a mile west. CAMPING AND LODGING Free wild camping can be found in the high meadows below the Eiger. Bunks at

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either of two dorms at Kleine Scheidegg are about $25 per night (contact the Grindelwaldblick at 011-41-33855-1374 and the Station Buffet at 011-41-33-855-1151), while the posh Eiger Sanction-style digs at the Scheidegg Hotel (011-41-33-855-1212) run considerably more. Kleine Scheidegg offers several restaurant options. In Grindelwald, a convenient base is the Mountain Hostel (011-4133-853-3900,, located about 100 yards from the Grund station. Prices run from $10 for a bunk space to $30 per person in a two-bed room with breakfast. If you drive to Grindelwald and stay at the hostel, you can generally leave your car there and save the $4per-day carpark fee. GUIDEBOOKS AND REFERENCES Bernese Oberland: Selected Climbs, by Les Swindlin, Alpine Club Books (UK) is a good English-language guide to mountaineering in the region. The Rough Guide and Lonely Planet guides to Switzerland will provide useful information on Grindelwald accommodations and the various rail pass options. | 89

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p.090-94 super guide.128 7/30/03 10:43 AM Page 90


Get a Load of This

With 100 boulders and counting, Lincoln Woods is the Northeast’s preeminent cranking hotspot BY TIM KEMPLE

WHERE Lincoln Woods state park is 10 miles outside of Providence, Rhode Island and about an hour southwest of Boston, Massachusetts. From any direction, take I-95 to Providence and get onto RT 146 north (a two-lane highway). Travel north on RT 146 for 4.5 miles and take the Twin River Rd exit (signs for “Lincoln Woods State Park” and “Lincoln Park”). Go right on Twin River Road to Lincoln Woods. There is no fee to use the park. Although there is a one way-loop road around Olney Pond (Les Peterson Drive), the approach is shorter if you park just past the main gate and walk northeast (against traffic) to the boulders. SEASONS The crisp days of fall are the best. Like any area in the northeast, bugs are voracious in the spring. Winter can be good, but can also be snowy and have low temps. CAMPING One of the cruxes of Lincoln Woods is the lack of camping. The closest campground, located in Chepatchet, is the George Washington campground and is more than a half hour from the boulders (401-568-2013). There are several hotels in the Providence area. GRUB Everything you need away from home is in Providence. CLIMBING SHOP Rhode Island Rock Gym has a full pro shop and great indoor bouldering: 401-727-1704; 100 Higginson Avenue, Lincoln, Rhode Island. Guidebook. Bouldering Guide to Lincoln Woods State Park, 2001 by Joe McLoughlin, available at A new guide to New England, by Tim Kemple, will be available in the spring of 2004.

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rouched below a to return. Here, a dense 10-foot piece of deciduous forest shades a cold granite that labyrinth of dirt trails, local has beaten me countless high-school party spots times in five minutes, I and more than 100 wellexamined my finger tips. featured granite blocks. If “Daat!”, I said as blood V7 is out of the realm — as seeped through my chalky it was with me that day — fingertip, “A leaker!” The you can boulder to your sharp granite edges of Linfinger’s content on a galaxy Becca Higgins dusting for the final move on Sidewaze Daze (V2), Summit Boulders. coln Woods’ boulders were of problems V5 and under. exacting their pound of flesh. With each drip of blood, my mission of ticking Lincoln Woods may be the proving ground for rising the Northeast’s boul50 V7 or harder problems in a day became more and more remote. dering standards, but it is better known for its wealth of moderate problems. I packed chalk into the flapper and crimped hard again on the pimper iniLocated just outside Providence, Rhode Island’s growing capitol city, Lintial holds to The Lilypad Problem. I hiked my feet onto the rock, then just as coln Woods attracts a steady stream of boulderers. From calve-twanging slabs quickly stepped back onto the dirt. Those 50 problems would have to wait to ulna-pinching overhangs, the granite boulders of Lincoln Woods are so feaanother day. tured with edges, flakes and textured slopers that some people compare the climbWhich was fine — Lincoln Woods State Park in Rhode Island boasts some ing more to plastic than stone. If there is such a thing as an everyman’s of New England’s finest and greatest concentration of bouldering, and I was happy bouldering area, this is it.

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GUIDE DIRECTORY GUIDE SERVICES Adventure Climbing and Trekking Company of South America PO Box 100 Salida, CO 81201 719-530-9053 f. 719-530-9053 Ecuador • Peru • Bolivia • Argentina

Adventure Consultants PO Box 97 / 58 McDougall St. Lake Wanaka, 9192 New Zealand 64-3-443-8711 f. 64-3-443-8733 Himalaya • Antarctica • Greenland South America • New Zealand Carstensz Pyramid

Alaska Mountaineering School PO Box 566 Third Street Talkeetna, AK 99676 907-733-1016 f. 907-733-1362 Denali (McKinley) • Foraker Moose's Tooth • Alaska Range Aconcagua • Kilimanjaro

Alpine Ascents International 121 Mercer St. Seattle,WA 98109 206-378-1927 f. 206-378-1937 7 Summits • Alaska • Cascades Ecuador • Mexico • Mong olia

Alpine World Ascents 4224 Corriente Place Boulder, CO 80301 303-247-0668 Boulder/Eldorado Canyon Europe • South America Himalaya • Africa Rocky Mtn. National Park (non-technical


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Sierra Mountain Center

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Christoph Dietzfelbinger, ACMG Mountain Guide Box 4222, Smithers BC V0J 2N0 Canada 250-847-2854 f. 250-847-2854 NW British Columbia • Yukon

Chicks with Picks All women’s ice climbing clinics PO Box 486 Ridgeway, CO 81432 970-626-4424 Ouray, CO • North Conway, NH

Colorado Mountain Guides 373 Bonanza Dr. Nederland, CO 80466 303-258-0630 Boulder, CO • Southern Arizona Joshua Tree, CA • Red Roc ks, NV

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MICA Guides PO Box 1134 Chickaloon, AK 99674 907-232-1497 800-956-6422 Matanuska Glacier, AK Ice Climbing, River Trips, Glacier Hiking, May-October

Mooney Mountain Guides Art Mooney UIAGM/ AMGA Certified 638 Old Bristol Rd. New Hampton, NH 03256 603-744-5853 New Hampshire • Alaska • Canada Europe • South America • Mexico

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Lisen Gustafson 877-762-5423 (x10) | 91

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THE POND CAVE 1. Lip Service (V3)** Sit start on jugs at the left end of the large roof. Traverse the lip past the top-outs for #2 and #3. 2. Gravity Hits (V10)*** Sit start on chalky jug and climb left to the steep dihedral. 3. Who Needs Hueco? (V8)**** Start #2, then climb straight out the scoops to a dyno at the lip. 4. Hueco Nightmares (V10)*** Climb #3 to the dyno, but instead of jumping to the lip, take the quartz bands out right and top out #1. 5. Quiet Buddhist (V3)*** Sit start at the right end of the roof on a jug/crack. 5a. Under the Big Top (V11)*** Start as #5 then traverse into #2. 5b. Feeling Needy (V10)*** Start #5, then traverse into #3 and finish on #1. 6. The Buddhist (V3)*** Sit start at the base of the

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crack and traverse out the lip, joining #5a. 7. The Pond Cave Traverse (V4)**** Start #6, then traverse the crack out right. 7a. Variation (V5)**** Eliminate the feet on the left wall. 8. Leap Frog (V7)*** Sit start on large underclings, using the block for feet. Climb out the crack and across the ‘waffle’ rock on the #7, then dyno to the lip. 8a. Variation (V9)**** Block for feet is off. 9. The Pond Arete (V3)*** Sit start using rounded jugs on the arete for hands and the block for feet. Eventually dyno into #7. 9a Variation (V5)*** Block for feet is off. 9b. Variation (V3)** Head out right instead of doing the dyno. 10. Sink or Swim (V3)** Traverse over the water and climb the middle of the steep bulge.

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THE PINNACLE BOULDER 1. Pinnacle Scoop (V3)** Stand start with both hands at the base of the arete. 2. Sor-Brett (V8) Sit start in crack and traverse the lip left to finish #1. 3. Pinnacle Crack (V0) V2 from the sit. 4. Brownian Motion (V1) Stand start on the lowest triangular hold and bump up the face to the left arete to finish. 5. Razor’s Edge (V0+)** Sit start to right arete. 6. A Little Duller (V1)* Stand start. 7. Suzie B (V4) Stand start with small crimps on the right edge of the diagonal rail for hands, and climb up past a small triangular roof/undercling. 8. Suzie Flakes (V2) Climb the flakes left of #9 starting with your right hand on the small ear-shaped hold at chest height. 9. Pinnacle Arete (V0)*** Climb the sharp arete from the sit or stand, on the left or right. 10. A Little Less than Pinnacle (V0)** Face and seams on the slab right of arete. 11. Brownie Points (V0)* Friction slab. 12. Assigned Values (V0)* Start 5 feet left of #1, below a block that rests next to the boulder. Sidepulls to highball finish. 13. Up to Par (V1) Sit start on a left-hand jug at the bottom left side of the block behind the Pinnacle.


SUMMIT BOULDERS 1. Sidewaze Daze (V2)** Sit with your left hand on a scooped pocket and right on a jug. Traverse right and top out on jugs. 2. Phophofructokinase (V2)* Sit start on small edges, climb to jugs on #1. 3. Big Sucka (V9)* Sit with left hand on a slopey rail and right on a sidepull at the same (3 feet) level. 4. Bad Buddha (V4)* #5, but escape 6 feet left at the lip. 5. Buddha’s Revenge (V5)** Sit start with left hand at the end of the slopey rail and right on a large sloper. 5a. Penny Pincher (V0)* Just right of #5. Grab the jugs at 6 feet and pull up to the next set of jugs and then to the summit. 6. Bugs Bite (V2) Sit start. Crimps and scooped pockets to the crack and slightly left to the top. 7. Ankle Biter (V5)* Sit start down and right at the nose of the boulder on two large jugs; traverse into #6. 8. Hug a Jug (V5)*** Start #7, but slap up and right for the jugs and then again to easier terrain. 9. Tip’s Ahoy (V8) Sit start on two small edges and pop to sloper. 10. Summit Slab (V0)* Stand start to slab, then jugs. 11. Summit Descent (V1) Sit start to flake. | 93

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HEART FONT BOULDER 1. The Flying Frenchman (V0) Sit start to flake. 2. Instant Karma (V5)* Sit start. The crack is off after first move. 3. French Postcard (V5)* Sit start . 4. Napoleon (V8 )* Start on a huge flake. Traverse left on small edges, past the tree; finish on #1.

1. The Heart (V0)* Climb the groove past the rounded jug. 2. Wishful Thinking (V1)* Start #1, but step left at the big jug and surmount the slab. 3. Silent Rage (V7)* Stack the pads to reach the small edges in the slab about 8 feet up. 4. The Heart of Glass (V4)**** Stand start with left hand on the sidepull flake and right hand at chest level on the arete. Slap up and right, then left. 4a. Variation (V8)**** Sit start #4. 5. The Scoop (V6)*** Start with hands on edges at the 6 foot level. 5a. Variation (V8)*** Sit start #5. 6. Shattered (V9)*** Start #5a and climb into #4. 7. A Single Blade (V4)* Sit start in the large flake. Up and right on crimps. 8. Heart Crack (V0) Start #7 and climb obvious flake/crack. 9. Chris’ Traverse (V3) Sit start on flake and traverse low and right on rounded edges into #8 (V5 if you traverse into #7).

THE LOWER HEART 1. Lower Heart (V0)** Start stand; left arete. 2. Left Loadie (V3)* Slab. Crack on #1 is off. 3. Center Loadie (V4)** Stand start; slab. 4. Right Loadie (V1)** Sit start on the right arete. 5. Nosey Heart (V0)*** Start #4; climb up and right following the arete and larger edges to the right. 6. Static Heart (V3)** Sit start on crimps. 7. Missing in Action (V7)* Start #6, but grab the flake with your left hand and make hard moves up and right following a faint seam. 8. The Lower Heart Traverse (V2)* Traverse the lip. Top out on #5.


1. KY (V6)* Sit start to rounded arete. 2. Crisp (V3)* Sit start just left of tree. 3. The Fred (V2)** Scooped arete; edges on right wall. 3a. Variation (V5)*** Sit start #3. 4. Conquest of the Irrational (V9)*** Low sit start. 5. Fastball (V3) Crouch start on two crimps. 6. The Fred Traverse (V7)** Start #3a then traverse across #4 and #5, then rock over at the finishing slopers.


For a Free Catalog, Call: 1-800-CAMPMOR (800-226-7667)


Classified.128 new-q 07/30/2003 01:56 PM Page 95


Mountaineering Equipment

Black Diamond Ice Climbing Catalog Make sure you’ve got the best gear in hand this winter. The highest performing, most technically advanced ice gear can be found in the pages of the Black Diamond Ice Catalog. To check out our full line of equipment, visit us online or call for a free catalog. 801-278-5533

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Hilleberg the Tentmaker Gregory Mountain Products Smell real alpine wildflowers. Feel warm granite against your fingertips. Taste trail dust on your lips. See the world from 14,000 feet. And you will understand why Gregory has been building the best backpacks on the planet since 1977. To find out more, visit us online.

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Classified.128 new-q 07/30/2003 02:02 PM Page 97


Mountain Tools Guiding Climber's Choices Since 1980

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Classified.128 new-q 08/05/2003 11:33 AM Page 98


S 2003 Shoreline Mountain Products

The fit, feel and performance of prAna's clothing has attracted many of the world's top climbers. Their Fall/Winter 2003 Climbing Supplement features new core climbing pieces, as well as an expanded selection of multi-purpose outdoor clothing. For a dealer near you call 760-566-1070 or visit for more information.

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The catalog from Titan Mountain Sports has a large assortment of camping, climbing and packing equipment and supplies. There is lots of titanium gear for cooking, climbing and mountaineering. Titanium knives, tools and more. 888-638-2599

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Western Mountaineering

Vasque has been helping people push their personal limits for 35+ years. We think about the fit, function and performance of our products, so you don't have to. Look through our brochure and you'll find the quality, dependable footwear you've come to expect from Vasque, integrated with the latest technology.

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CLIMB ON SUPERIOR ROCK & ICE. Trek and climb in the PERUVIAN ANDES. Join us for rock & ice climbing, outdoor adventures or for Peruvian treks and expeditions. www;; 705-882-1032 H E L I M O U N TA I N E E R I N G . M o u n t a i n e e r i n g / Climbing Courses, Heli Hiking,; 888-837-5417


ALPINE MEXICO. Pico de Orizaba, Iztaccihuatl, and more...Local experts. Mexico City- phone + (52)(55) 51350564, fax +(52)(55) 56713001;;


ADVENTURE CONSULTANTS - world renowned expedition guiding company directed by Guy Cotter , operating in the Himalaya, South America, Antar ctica/Arctic and on the Seven Summits since 1991, plus climbing school and guided ascents in New Zealand. Our IFMGA climbing guides will equip you with the skills for success on the big climbs; Cook, Tasman, Denali, Ama Dablam, Great Trango... Call today, ph +64 3 443 8711 fax +64 3 443 8733 HIMALAYA EXPEDITION with Daniel Mazur . Pumori, Manaslu, Amadablam, EVEREST, Cho-oyu, Dhaulagiri, T reks, 360-570-0715,; MOUNTAIN MADNESS. Join our Alpine & Rock climbing school in the Cascades and South America. Climb the Seven Summits, Kilimanjaro, Cho Oyu, Everest, trek in Patagonia, the Inca T rail & to Everest Basecamp. Cascade volcanoes & classic North Cascade climbs all summer . 800-328-5925; PEAK FREAK EXPEDITIONSMt. Everest, Mt. Pumori, Mt. Ama Dablam, T ibet Mountain Biking, Canada, since 1991. Join T im Rippel ALL TRIPS LIMITED TO 6! Guiding Treks, expeditions, technical climbing: Aconcagua, Africa, Alaska, Cho Oyu, Everest, Elbrus, Nepal, Patagonia, Bolivia, Carstensz, more. 20 years experience. High-altitude specialists. Adventures International, Scott W oolums, AMGA Certified Alpine Guide. 800-247-1263; COST EFFECTIVE CLIMBING EXPEDITIONS Mera, Aconcagua, Gasherbrum II, Spantik, Ecuador, and more. Professionally led and organized trips. or

SOAR HIGH CLIMBING ADVENTURES, LLC. Specializing in safe outdoor adventure guiding. Based out of Colorado’s Front Range, the gateway to world class climbs. Year round temperate climate and diverse terrain make Colorado one of the best climbing destinations in the World. Tailor a customized climbing adventure to your specific needs and skill level. 303-472-5920

ALASKA ALPINE ADVENTURES. - Custom, Personalized & Gourmet guided adventures in "REAL" Alaska. Mountaineering, ice climbing, backcountry skiing and backpacking expeditions in the Alaska and Aleutian Ranges. First ascents, descents and more! www or toll-free 877-525-2577

RHINOCEROS MOUNTAIN GUIDES, Jim Shimberg. Guiding since 1986 in NH and worldwide. rh 603-726-3030 or Rock Barn 603-536-2717. DAIRYLAND EXPEDITIONS LLC. Advance in rock and ice climbing; Private guiding, Anchoring, rock rescue, Top-roping and lead rock climbing courses. Dair yland Expeditions LLC, AMGA accredited: 920-734-0321;;

Mountain Trip Join us in the mountains of Alaska. Climb Denali via three routes. Mountaineering Seminars and Skiing Adventures in the Alaska Range.

P.O. Box 111809 Anchorage, AK 99511 907-345-6499 E-mail:







Accredited Member of the AMGA




ABOVE OURA Y ICE & DEVILS TOWER ROCK GUIDES * Certified * Instruction & Guiding *Moab-Canyonlands Utah, Black Hills Needles, Unaweep, Colorado National Monument; 888-345-9061; 157 HWY 24, Devils T ower, WY 82714; 450 Main, POB 1073, Ouray, CO 81427;;

Tom Milne International Guiding Specializing in Mount Elbrus Climbs

970-325-4925 Rock Climbing

Black Canyon Colorado NM Castle Valley

Mountaineering Peak ascents through SW Colorado Call today to book your adventure! email: 100 |

w w w. o u r a y c l i m b i n g . c o m

Classified.128 new-q 07/30/2003 04:10 PM Page 101

ROCK GYMS NORTH CAROLINA, FOX MOUNT AIN GUIDES. Climbing Courses and AMGA Top Rope Site Manager Certification Courses. www Ph: 828-692-3591 YOSEMITE MOUNT AINEERING SCHOOL and guide service is the official concessionaire for climbing and guiding in Y osemite National Park since 1969. Offering all levels of instruction and guided climbing, from “Go Climb a Rock” beginner classes to scaling El Cap and other big walls. Come climb where legends were made! For a brochure or more information call 209-372-8344 or visit www Attention Climbers! Call for great deals on Canvas Tent lodging in Yosemite. 559-252-4848

SOUTH AMERICA ACONCAGUA SPECIALISTS FOR 25 YEARS! Aconcagua Expeditions via our new and pristine Guanacos V alley Route. Polish Glacier and Traverse approaches via the Guanacos V alley. Highest success rate, experience and quality in the field. First Class Expeditions to: Patagonia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Antar ctica, Alaska and the Alps. A VENTURAS P ATAGONICAS Internationally Certified Guides (IFMGA/UIAGM) 888-203-9354.; ACONCAGUA EXPRESS Guided Expeditions: Normal, Polish Glacier, Polish & Traverse, Guanacos & Traverse Routes. Quality & Professional Certified Guides, international air fare included. Mules, base camp and logistics support, local Aconcagua operation. US Phone 866-690-8423. info@; ACONCAGUA SPECIALISTS. 10 Years Experience, Satellite Phones & Pulse Oximeters used on all trips. 10 departures, Unique Routes, & Small Groups. Also Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador , Nepal, Pakistan, Africa, & Alaska Programs. ALASKA MOUNT AIN GUIDES and CLIMBING SCHOOL Inc. 800-766-3396;

PORTABLE WALL SCHOOLOFOUTDOORLEARNING.COM St. Louis & Mid-Missouri area rentals. 1-888-4-A-Belay

Newmarket, Ontario. ROCK & CHALK CLIMBING. Climate controlled. Open 7 days. 905-895-ROCK;

Orange County . SOLIDROCK GYM. (Lake Forest) 10,000 sq. ft. climbable terrain. T op roping, bouldering, lead climbing. 26784 Vista Terrace; 949-588-6200;

Toronto, Ontario. JOE ROCKHEAD’S CLIMBING GYM. The W orld’s Greatest Climbing Gym. 29 Fraser A ve., T oronto, Ontario M6K 1Y7; 416-538-7670;

Pasadena. Jungle Gym Rock Climbing, Pasadena, CA 626-446-5014 www 4500 sq.ft. of Southern California’ s best and newest bouldering. Portable Climbing wall for rent.

Toronto, Ontario. THE ROCK OASIS. 15,000 square feet. 60 foot high climbs & lots of bouldering. 27 Bathurst Street, T oronto, M5V 2P1; 416-703-3434;

Sacramento. GRANITE ARCH CLIMBING CENTER. Now the biggest! 23,500 square feet of hand sculpted climbing sur face. Enormous, new , outside boulder park. Fully stocked retailer . 11335-G Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95742; 916-852-ROCK;


COSTA RICA San Jose, MUNDO A VENTURA. Climbing Gym & Adventure. Paseo Colon, Between 36th & 38th St. 0 3 Ave.; Ph: 506-221-6934; email:;; San Jose, Costa Rica

ALABAMA Birmingham. URBAN OUTPOST. Indoor bouldering cave, gear shop, outdoor climbing classes. (205) 879-8850.

ARIZONA Flagstaff. VERTICAL RELIEF CLIMBING CENTER. Awesome indoor walls, guiding and instruction, gear shop, S.W. guidebooks, showers. 928-556-9909; Toll Free: 877- 265-5984; Tempe. PHOENIX ROCK GYM. 1353 E. University, Tempe, AZ 85281; 480-921-8322

CALIFORNIA Anaheim Hills. ROCK CITY CLIMBING CENTER. 714-777-4884; Berkeley. BERKELEY IRONWORKS. 14K sq. ft. climbing. Full fitness center and programs. Retail shop. A Touchstone gym. 800 Potter St. (off Ashby exit Hwy. 80), Berkeley , CA 94710; 510.981.9900; Concord. TOUCHSTONE (Concord). 10K sq. ft. climbing. Full fitness center and programs. Retail shop. 1220 Diamond Way #140 (off Willow Pass Rd. exit Hwy. 680), Concord, CA 94520; 925.602.1000; Davis. ROCKNASIUM. Great Routes. Good People. 720 Olive Dr ., Suite Z, Davis, CA 95616; 530-757-2902;

Patagonia Mountain Agency EXPEDITIONS & GUIDES

Hollywood. RED ROX CLIMBING. 7416 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA; 323-651-1225; 10,000 boulder problems Tel/Fax (907) 789-1960 P.O. Box 210516 Auke Bay, AK 99821

2003 EXPEDITIONS: Island Peak (6,173m) Pumori (7,145m) Ama Dablam (6,856m)

Oct 1 to Oct 20 Oct 14 to Nov 17 Oct 19 to Nov 16

$2,000 $5,000 $4,500

2003 TREKS: Around Mt. Kailas

Oct 1 to Oct 20

2004 Aconcagua, Ama Dablam and others to be announced. E-mail:


Monterey Peninsula. SANCTUARY ROCK GYM. 1855A East Ave., Sand City, CA 93955; 831-899-2595;

Los Angeles. BEACH CITY ROCKS. In the South Bay, 40 foot leads, top ropes, and bouldering. 100+ routes. Just minutes south of LAX. 4926 W est Rosecrans Ave. 310-973-3388. Malibu. AGOURA HILLS/CALABASAS COMMUNITY CENTER. 35 Foot Sculpted wall, auto-belays, campus board, instruction, extensive weights & aerobic equipment, gymnasium, spinning. 818-880-2993; Marin County. CLASS 5. 6K sq. ft. climbing. Fitness center. Retail shop. A T ouchstone gym. 25B Dodie St., San Rafael, CA 94901; 415.485.6931;

Sacramento. SACRAMENTO PIPEWORKS. 10K sq. ft. climbing. Full fitness center and programs. Retail shop. A T ouchstone gym. 116 N. 16th St. (16th & A), Sacramento, CA 95814; 916-341-0100; San Diego. SOLIDROCK GYM. Three locationsDOWNTOWN, POW AY, and SAN MARCOS. 30 foot walls, 35-45+ ropes. Hundreds of clearly marked, frequently changed, expertly set routes. Toproping, bouldering and lead climbing. 619-299-1124 San Diego . VERTICAL HOLD SPORT CLIMBING CENTER, INC. The largest in Southern California. Over 20,000 square feet of superbly textured climbing sur face. Colossal 40 foot lead cave, 200+ toprope/lead routes and 2 awesome bouldering areas. 9580 Distribution Ave., San Diego, CA 92121; 858-586-7572; San Francisco. MISSION CLIFFS. 14K sq. ft. climbing. Retail shop. T ouchstone’s first gym. 2295 Harrison St. @ 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94110; 415-550-0515; San Jose. TOUCHSTONE (San Jose). 3K sq. ft. climbing. Bouldering and Y oga. Retail shop. 210 S. 1st Street #70 (Downtown), San Jose, CA 95113; 408.920.6000; San Jose. TOUCHSTONE (San Jose). 3K sq. ft. climbing. Bouldering and Y oga. Retail shop. 210 S. 1st Street #70 (Downtown), San Jose, CA 95113; 408.920.6000; San Mateo. PLANET GRANITE. 20,000 square feet, 50 foot high, cracks! Extensive weights & fitness, yoga, pro-shop. 100 El Camino Real, Belmont, CA 94002; 650-591-3030; Santa Clara. PLANET GRANITE. 14,000 square feet of sculpted climbing, weights & fitness, pro-shop. 2901 Mead A ve., Santa Clara, CA 95051; 408-727-2777; Santa Cruz. PACIFIC EDGE. Indoor climbing at its finest! 50 feet tall, Huge Lead Cave, Extensive Bouldering, Pro-Shop. 104 Bronson St., Santa Cruz, CA 95062; (831)-454-9254; w w w. p a c i f i c e d g e c l i m b i n g g y m . c o m Upland. HANGAR. 18 INDOOR CLIMBING GYM. 2 5 6 S towell St., Ste. A, Upland, CA 91786; 909-931-599; | 101

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ROCK GYMS Victorville. THE BULLET HOLE TRAINING CENTER. The high desert's only indoor climbing gym! 15315 Cholame Road Unit D V ictorville, CA 92392; 760-245-3 3 0 7

COLORADO Boulder. Boulder Rock Club - Colorado's Premier Climbing Gym. 800.836.4008 Boulder. THE SPOT . BOULDER'S NEWEST CLIMBING GYM. 10,000+ sq/ft building, freestanding boulders with topouts as tall as 16-feet, 25-foot tall roped wall, amazing Hueco, Fontainebleau, and Yosemite textures and forms, highest tech flooring available, and air filtration/conditioning. Guide ser vice, cafe, full programming, yoga room, weights...and on. 3240 Prairie Ave, Boulder, CO 80301; 303-379-8806. Colorado Springs. SPORT CLIMBING CENTER. Colorado’s ultimate indoor climbing destination. Spacious. Over 13,000 square feet. Guiding available. 4650 Northpark Dr., 80918; 719-260-1050;

This place



is huge!

ROCK’n & JAM’n Colorado’s premier rock climbing gym located in North Denver. 9499 N. Washington St., Thornton, Colorado 80229 *


Denver. PARADISE ROCK GYM. The best!! 6260 N. W ashington St., Unit 5, Denver , CO 80216; 303-286-8168. Fort Collins. INNER STRENGTH ROCK GYM. Indoor (5800 square feet) & outdoor instruction. 3713 South Mason, Fort Collins, CO; 970-282-8118; Fort Collins. THE GYM OF THE ROCKIES. Over 5500 sq. ft. of awesome terrain. Located in a multi-sports fitness center. 1800 Heath Pkwy.; 970-221-5000 Glenwood Springs. C O L O R A D O M O U N TA I N COLLEGE, Spring V alley Center Climbing Gym. Boudering area and top rope wall. (970) 947-8237 Summit County/Silverthorne. ROCK GYM. 970-468-1248


CONNECTICUT Mystic. OLLIE'S ROCK GYM. (860) 572-ROCK A place where life is good and getting Gooder!

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Manchester. STONE AGE ROCK GYM. 860-645-0015; Wallingford. PRIME CLIMB. Connecticut's FIRST and BEST climbing gym. (203) 265-7880;

FLORIDA Miami. X-TREME ROCK CLIMBING. Florida’s premier climbing facility. 12,000+ square feet of stateof-the-art fully textured arches, aretes, slabs & overhangs. 13972 SW 139 Court, 33186; 305-233-6623. Orlando. AIGUILLE ROCK CLIMBING CENTER. Orlando's indoor climbing gym. 36 feet vertical, 7,500 square feet of climbing and bouldering, proshop and guide ser vice. 999 Charles St., Longwood, FL 32750; 407-332-1430;

GEORGIA Atlanta. WALL CRA WLER ROCK CLUB. Atlanta's neighborhood climbing gym. Where the climbers hang out! 404-371-8997 Atlanta. ATLANTA ROCKS! INTOWN/PERIMETER GYMS. The largest gyms in the Southeast, offer challenging climbing on 12,000/6,000 square feet of seamless, textured climbing sur face, featuring multi-tiered, wildly overhanging ledges on terrain so realistic, it seems like real rock. Lead routes up to 85 linear feet 50/40 topropes, bouldering features, aerobic and weight training equipment, computerized rotating climbing wall, locker rooms and showers. Group rates, daily instruction, equipment sales and rentals. INTOWN! location 1019A Collier Road, Atlanta; 404351-3009; PERIMETER! location 4411A Bankers Cir cle, Doraville; 770-242-7625;

ILLINOIS Bloomington. UPPER LIMITS. Over 20,000 sq. ft., routes up to 110' , wave wall, bi-level cave, 65' silos and 1,700 sq. ft. outdoor bouldering area. Climate controlled! Just off I-55 and I-74 (309) 829-T ALL (8255); Chicago. LINCOLN P ARK A THLETIC CLUB. The ultimate urban crag! Outdoor climbing on a Spectacular 70' EP masterpiece: sustained overhangs, roof, cracks, aretes, dihedrals and more. Plus, synthetic ice climbing 65' routes. Indoor climbing on a programmable rotating wall. Expert instruction beginner to lead. Located at The El Line. 1019 W . Diversey at Sheffeld; 773-529-2022; Chicago. VERTICAL ENDEA VORS. 18,000ft 2 of climbing on 40 ft. walls. 19 auto belays. Programs and outdoor guiding for all ages. 630836-0122 Crystal Lake . NORTH WALL. Top roping, leading, 250+ continuous feet of bouldering, 50 foot ar ch, multi-level bouldering cave and pro-shop. 824 S. Main; 815-356-6855; Evanston. EVANSTON ATHLETIC CLUB. Two Entre Prises walls up to 46' high with all the goods: slab, crack, roof, sustained overhang and the Kaisers Lair bouldering cave. Expert instruction beginner to lead. Located on the El line. 847-866-6190; Homewood. CLIMB ON. 18120 Har wood Av e , H o m e w o o d , I L 6 0 4 3 0 ; 7 0 8 - 7 9 8 - 9 9 9 4 ;

Rochester. THE SILO, INC. “Dare to Climb.” To p r o p i n g 6 5 f t . 1 1 0 f t . I n d o o r / O u t d o o r . 1 3 0 South John St., Rochester , IL 62563; 217-498-9922; Rockford. G.A.R. INDOOR CLIMBING CENTER. 9,000 square feet of custom sculpted climbing terrain, bouldering, leading, instruction, rental. High ropes challenge course. New Bouldering Wall! 6630 Spring Brook Road, 61114; 815-654-6447.

INDIANA Bloomington. HOOSIER HEIGHTS. 8,500 square feet of climbable terrain. Outdoor T rips. New Bloomington site August 2003 with 10,000+ square feet.; 812-824-6414 Evansville. VERTICAL EXCAPE. 812-479-6887; Indianapolis. CLIMBTIMEINDY. 8750 Corporataion Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46250 317-596-3330;

MARYLAND Columbia & T imonium. EARTH TREKS CLIMBING CENTERS. Largest Climbing Gyms on the East Coast with the best bouldering in the area. T wo facilities within 25 minutes of Baltimore and W ashington, DC; 800-CLIMB-UP, Rockville. SPORTROCK 1. 703-212-7625; w w w. s p o r t r o c k . c o m


BEGINNER TO EXPERT — ALL AGES Leading and Bouldering FULLY STOCKED RETAIL SHOP Group and Individual Instruction Slabs, arêtes, cracks, roofs, overhangs and the bouldering bat cave. The Boston Rock Gym 78G Olympia Avenue Woburn, MA 01801 FOR THE BEST INDOOR CLIMBING FUN IN NEW ENGLAND CALL 781-935-PEAK (7325)

MICHIGAN Ann Arbor/Pontiac. PLANET ROCK CLIMBING GYM & TRAINING CENTER. Nationally recognized Junior Climbing Team, Adventure Race certification & setup, Commer cial Rigging and Consulting, Corporate Team Building, and portable climbing walls. Ann Arbor 734-827-2680; Pontiac 248-334-3904 Byron Center . INSIDE MOVES. 7000 feet of TR lead and bouldering walls up to 30 feet tall. Top-out bouldering, pro-shop, comps. 639 76th Street Southwest Byron Center , Michigan. 616-281-7088 Grand Rapids. HIGHER GROUND ROCK CLIMBING CENTRE, L TD. 851 Bond NW , Grand Rapids, MI 49503; 616-774-3100 Kalamazoo. CLIMB KALAMAZOO - 10,500 sq/ft, toprope/lead, outdoor guided trips, complete retail store, seven days/week. (269) 385-9891 136 S. Kalamazoo Mall;

Classified.128 new-q 07/30/2003 04:14 PM Page 103

ROCK GYMS MINNESOTA Rochester. PRAIRIE W ALLS CLIMBING GYM. St.Paul/Duluth. VERTICAL ENDEA VORS. The T win Cities' facility (651-776-1430) offers 10,000ft2 of climbing while Duluth (218-279-9980) offers 12,000ft 2 on walls up to 42' tall. Auto Belays. Programs and outdoor guiding for all ages. w

MISSOURI Columbia. Columbia Climbing Gym. BOULDERINGGARDEN.COM (573) 474-4997 Springfield. PETRA ROCK GYM. 916 N. Cedarbrook, Springfield, MO; 417-866-3308; St. Louis. St. Louis. UPPER LIMITS. 10,000 sq. ft. of custom sculpted terrain. Climate Controlled! Auto belays. Conveniently located off I-64/40 behind Union Station. Free parking. (314) 241-ROCK (7625);

NEW JERSEY East Hanover. DIAMOND ROCK. 3,000 square feet, seamless texture, 37 foot peak; 973-560-0413. Edison. WALL STREET ROCK GYM. 5,000 square feet. 216 T ingley Ln. 908-412-1255; Fairfield. NEW JERSEY ROCK GYM. 373D Rt. 46W, Fairfield, NJ. Over 12,000 square feet with air conditioning. Eldorado Walls with giant lead roof, largest freestanding boulder in the countr y and pro-shop; 973-439-9860; Hamilton. ROCKVILLE CLIMBING CENTER. 200 Whitehead Road. 32 foot Eldorado W alls. Awesome bouldering cave. Air conditioned. 609-631-ROCK.

NEW MEXICO Albuquerque. STONE AGE CLIMBING GYM. NM's Biggest and Best, Multi-level Bouldering Cave, Leading, Guiding, Complete Climbing Shop. 505-341-2016,

NEW YORK Buffalo/Niagara Falls. NIAGARA CLIMBING CENTER. 716-695-1248; New Paltz. THE INNER W Eckerd’s Plaza, New Paltz, NY

ALL. Main St., ; 845-255-7625.

Rochester. ROCKVENTURES. Largest in North America- over 18,000 square feet of climbing! 585-442-5462;

NORTH CAROLINA Charlotte. INNER PEAKS CLIMBING CENTER. 9535 Monroe Rd., Ste. 170, Charlotte, NC 28270; 704-844-6677;

OHIO Euclid. CLEVELAND ROCK GYM, INC. 21200 St. Clair , Euclid, OH 44117; 216-692-3300;

OKLAHOMA Oklahoma City . OKC ROCKS CLIMBING GYM. Tallest Artificial Climb in America - 145 ft. A wesome lead routes, TR's and Bouldering. 405-319-1400;

OREGON Portland. PORTLAND ROCK GYM. 2034 SE 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97214; 503-232-8310;

PENNSYLVANIA Oaks. PHILADELPHIA ROCK GYM. 422 Business Center, PO Box 511, Oaks, P A 19456; 610-666-ROPE; Philadelphia. GO VERTICAL. Philadelphia's only climbing gym. Open 7 days a week at 10am ever y day. Call 215-928-1800; Pittsburgh. THE CLIMBING W ALL at the factory. 7,000 square feet. 7501 Penn A ve., 15208; 412-247-7334; Wind Gap. NORTH SUMMIT CLIMBING GYM. Large, all extremes, professional walls and routes. Easy access from Eastern P A, NY and NJ. 610-863-4444

RHODE ISLAND Lincoln. RHODE ISLAND ROCK GYM. Huge new facility! 401-727-1704;

TENNESSEE Chattanooga. THE TENNESSEE BOULDERING AUTHORITY. Indoor climbing, instruction, guiding a nd fraternizing. 423-822-6800 Cleveland. FIVE POINTS W ALL AT EXTREME OUTDOORS. 185 Inman St.; 423-728-4810;

TEXAS Carrollton. EXPOSURE ROCK CLIMBING. Over 9,000 square feet of climbing, excellent bouldering and gear shop. Portable climbing wall available.

VIRGINIA Alexandria. SPORTROCK 2. 703-212-7625; Sterling. SPORTROCK 3.


Virginia Beach. VIRGINIA BEACH ROCK GYM. 6,000 square feet, 33 foot textured wall with roofs, aretes, slabs, cracks and bulges. T oprope & lead, boulder, weights, pro-shop. Open ever yday. 5049 Southern Blvd., V A Beach, V A 23462; 757499-8347;

WASHINGTON Monroe. CLIMB ON! - Fun and friendly bouldering + top rope. Indoor and outdoor instruction from experienced Mountain Guides. 360-805-5848; Seattle. STONE GARDENS. Biggest, best and friendliest in the Northwest! Best bouldering of any gym. Textured 30 ft. walls, 40 ft. outdoor wall and 65 ft. lead roof. 2839 NW Market St., Seattle; 206-781-9828;

Seattle/Redmond/Bremerton. VERTICAL WORLD . America's first indoor climbing gym. Fun routes, friendly ser vice and professional instruction since 1987. Three gyms for the price of one! Seattle 206-283-4497; Redmond 425-881-8826; Bremerton 360-373-6676; Spokane. WILD WALLS CLIMBING GYM & GEAR STORE. 40 foot walls, toprope, lead bouldering 202 W est 2nd A ve, Spokane, W A 99201; 509-455-9596;

WISCONSIN Appleton. VERTICAL STRONGHOLD. Indoor/outdoor climbing center and gear shop. 8,000+ feet of climbing fun. Longest uninterrupted bouldering. 920-731-2720;, Brookfield/Pewaukee. ADVENTURE ROCK. Wisconsin's largest indoor climbing facility , over 9,500 square feet of textured surfaces, ceiling heights of 35 feet. Full pro - shop, portable rock wall rental and outdoor guiding. 21250 W . Capital Dr. Pewaukee, WI 53072; 262-790-6800;

WYOMING Casper. THE PEAK. 408 N. Beverly , Casper , WY 82609; 307-472-4084

Bring in the Climbers! Contact

Lisen Gustafson 877-762-5423 ext. 10 | 103

Retailers.128 07/30/2003 03:38 PM Page 104


R E TA I L E R S Shopping for the latest gear? Visit these fine retailers for all your outdoor needs. O N L I N E R E TA I L E R S

800-959-3785 509-325-9855 1314 South Grand Blvd. #2-292 Spokane,WA 99202 800-953-5499 207 Madison St. Eugene, OR 97402

800-CAMPMOR 800-(226-7667) Catalog- PO Box 700 Saddle River, NJ 07458

CLIMB MAX 800-895-0048 503-797-1991 F 503-236-9553 2105 S.E. Division Portland, OR 97202 Starved Rock Outfitters 888-580-5510 815-667-7170 F 815-667-9970 201 Donaldson St. Utica, IL 61373


800-MARMOT-9 (627-6689) 3049 Adeline St. Berkeley CA 94703

MOUNTAIN GEAR 800-829-2009 F 509-325-3030 730 N. Hamilton Spokane,WA 99202


800-558-6770 303-442-8355 F 303-443-0670 2835 Pearl Street (near Whole Foods) Boulder, CO 80301

TALKEETNA OUTDOOR CENTER INC. PO Box 748 1 Front St. Talkeetna, AK 99676 907-733-4444 F 907-733-2230 800-349-0064

ARIZONA 800-5.10-2-5.14 831-620-0911 F 831-620-0977 PO Box 222295 Carmel, CA 93922

NORTHERN MOUNTAIN SUPPLY 800-878-3583 707-445-1711 F 707-445-0871 125 W. 5th St. Eureka, CA 95501

BABBITT'S BACKCOUNTRY OUTFITTERS 12 E. Aspen Ave. Flagstaff, AZ 86001 928-774-4775 F 928-774-4561 SUMMIT HUT 5045 E. Speedway Tucson, AZ 85712 and 605 E. Wetmore Tucson, AZ 85705 800-499-8696

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE 16 800-638-6464 F 800-543-5522 38 locations worldwide 800-485-1439 541-947-7855 F 541-947-7855 360 South H Street Lakeview, OR 97630

888-707-6708 100 Tremont St. Chattanooga,TN 37405

SHORELINE MOUNTAIN PRODUCTS 800-381-2733 415-455-1000 F 415-455-1363 21 Golden Gate Dr., Unit C San Rafael, CA 94901

SIERRA TRADING POST 800-713-4534 F 800-378-8946 5025 Campstool Road Cheyenne,WY 82007

11161 W. Pico Blvd. West Los Angeles, CA 90064 310-473-4574 for other SO C AL locations: BERKELEY IRONWORKS 800 Potter St. Berkeley, CA 94710 510-981-9900 CLASS 5 25-B Dodie St. San Rafael, CA 94901 415-485-6931 GRANITE ARCH GEAR CLOSET 11335 Folsom Blvd. Bldg., G Rancho Cordova, CA 95742 916-638-4605 F 916-638-4706

MAMMOTH MOUNTAINEERING SUPPLY 3189 Main St. (Next to Wave Rave) Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546 760-934-4191


3049 Adeline St. Berkeley, CA 94703 800-MARMOT-9 (627-6689) MISSION CLIFFS

2295 Harrison St. San Francisco, CA 94110 415-550-0515 NOMAD VENTURES

405 W. Grand Ave. Escondido, CA 92025 760-747-8223

800-499-8696 F 520-795-7350 5045 E. Speedway Tucson, AZ 85712





3054 Independence Dr. Birmingham, AL 35209 205-870.1919 F 205-870-5505 800-870-0011

2633 Spenard Rd. Anchorage, AK 99503 907-272-1811 F 907-274-6362

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125 W. 5th St. Eureka, CA 95501 707-445-1711 F 707-445-0781 800-878-3583 OUTLAND MOUNTAIN SHOP 929 E. California Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91106 626-568-8828 F 626-568-9693

BENT GATE MOUNTAINEERING 1300 Washington Ave. Golden, CO 80401 303-271-9382 F 303-271-3980 877-BENT GATE MOUNTAIN CHALET

226 N. Tejon Colorado Springs, CO 80903 719-633-0732 800-346-7044

REAL CHEAP SPORTS 36 W. Santa Clara Ventura, CA 93001 805-648-3803 F 805-653-2581 SACRAMENTO PIPEWORKS 116 N. 16th St. Sacramento, CA 95814 916-341-0100 SUNRISE MOUNTAIN SPORTS 2455 Railroad Ave. Livermore, CA 94550 925-447-8330 and 15-B Crescent Dr. Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 925-932-8779


423 N. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills, CA 90210 310-246-4120 THE NORTH FACE

217 Alma St. Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-327-1563 THE NORTH FACE

180 Post St. San Francisco, CA 94108 415-433-3223


NEPTUNE MOUNTAINEERING 633 S. Broadway, Unit A Boulder, CO 80305 303-499-8866 OURAY MOUNTAIN SPORTS 722 Main Ouray, CO 81427 970-325-4284 SUMMIT CANYON MOUNTAINEERING

307 8th St. Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 970-945-6994 800-360-6994 THE MOUNTAIN SHOP

109 N. College Ave. Bloomington, IN 47402 812-334-1845 800-440-1845


1435 N. Kentucky 11 Campton, KY 41301 606-668-6441 F 606-668-9916 J&H L ANMARK

189 Moore Dr. Lexington, KY 40503 606-627-8073 800-677-9633



1220 Diamond Way #140 Concord, CA 94520 925-602-1000

632 S. Mason Fort Collins, CO 80524 970-493-5720 800-403-5720



THE NORTH FACE 210 S. 1st St. #70 San Jose, CA 95113 408-920-6000 VALLEY SPORTING GOODS

McHenry Village 1700 McHenry Ave., #D50 Modesto, CA 95350 209-523-5681 F 209-523-0624 800-435-0150

WILDERNESS EXCHANGE 629-K S. Broadway Boulder, CO 80303 303-499-1731 WILDERNESS EXCHANGE UNLIMITED 1550 Platte St, Suite E Denver, CO 80202 303-964-0708


996 A North Coast Hwy. 101 Leucadia, CA 92024 760-634-4855

John Hancock Center 875 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 312-337-7200


2835 Pearl Street (near Whole Foods) Boulder, CO 80301 303-442-8355 800-558-6770






61795-29 Palms Hwy. Ste. A Joshua Tree, CA 92252 760-366-4684

201 Donaldson St. Utica, IL 61373 815-667-7170 F 815-667-9970 888-580-5510

Free Shipping!

54415 N. Circle Dr. Idyllwild, CA 92549 909-659-4853


J.L. WATERS & C OMPANY 209 W. Hampden Ave. Englewood, CO 80110 800-841-0707




1407 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley, CA 94702 888-326-7021 F 510-528-1789



10051 Skinner Lake Dr. Jacksonville, FL 32246 904-645-7003 F 904-645-9727

224 N. Main St. Bishop, CA 93514 760-873-7520



425 Market Place Roswell (Atlanta), GA 30075 770-992-5400 F 770-992-9343

BACKCOUNTRY EXPERIENCE 1205 Camino del Rio Durango, CO 81301 970-247-5830 F 970-247-8013 800-648-8519




IDAHO LOST RIVER SPORTS 516 N. Main St. Hailey, ID 83333 208-788-7625

26 Cottage St. Bar Harbor, ME 04069 207-288-4532 F 207-288-8260

MAINE MOUNTAINWORKS 311 Marginal Way Portland, ME 04101 207-879-1410 F 207-761-4654


7125-C Columbia Gateway Dr. Columbia, MD 21046 410-872-0060 F 410-872-0064 800-CLIMB-UP EARTH TREKS

1930 Greenspring Dr. Timonium, MD 21903 410-872-0060 F 410-872-0064 800-CLIMB-UP THE TRAIL HOUSE

17 S. Market St. Frederick, MD 21701 301-694-8448 F 301-694-8449

Retailers.128 07/30/2003 03:43 PM Page 105







451 Russell St. Hadley, MA 01035 413-253-5500 F 413-253-0694

2724 White Mtn Hwy North Conway, NH 03860 603-356-8877



78 G Olympia Ave. Woburn, MA 01801 781-935-5641 NEW ENGLAND BACKPACKER 6 E. Mountain St. Worcester, MA 01606 508-853-9407 MOOR & M OUNTAIN

3 Railroad Street Andover, MA 01810 978-475-3665 F 978-470-1982


639 1/2 76th St. S.W. Byron Center, MI 49315 616-281-7088


311 W. Kilgore St. Kalamazoo, MI 49002 269-381-7700 F 269-381-5530 PLANET ROCK

82 Aprill Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48103 734-827-2680 and 34 Rapid St. Pontiac, MI 48342 248-334-3904 888-334-ROCK

MINNESOTA M IDWEST M OUNTAINEERING 309 Cedar Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55454 612-339-3433 888-999-1077

Free Climbing Cave

MONTANA NORTHERN LIGHTS TRADING CO. 1716 W. Babcock Bozeman, MT 59715 406-586-2225 F 406-586-7544 866-586-2225

Route 16-302 Intervale, NH 03845 603-356-3042 F 603-356-8815


810 Route 17 N. Paramus, NJ 07652 201-445-5000 800-CAMPMOR

RAMSEY OUTDOOR STORE 1039 Route 46 W. Ledgewood, NJ 07852 973-584-7799


240 Route 17 N. Paramus, NJ 07652 201-261-5000


628 N.E. Broadway Portland, OR 97232 503-288-6768 F 503-280-1687 MOUNTAIN SUPPLY

834 Colorado Street Bend, OR 97701 541-388-0668 800-794-0688

REDPOINT CLIMBERS SUPPLY 639 NW Franklin Ave. Bend, OR 97701 541-382-6872 F 541-382-6853

REDPOINT CLIMBERS SUPPLY 975 NW Smith Rock Way Terrebonne, OR 97760 541-923-6207 F 541-548-3175 800-923-6207 ROCKHARD

Smith Rock State Park 9297 N.E. Crooked River Dr. Terrebonne, OR 97760 541-548-4786




114 S. Plaza Taos, NM 87571 505-758-9292

123 S. Allen State College, PA 16801 814-234-3000 800-690-5220




LAKE PLACID MOUNTAINEERING 132 Main St. Lake Placid, NY 12946 518-523-7586 888-547-4327

4037 William Penn Highway Monroeville, PA 15146 412-372-7030 F 412-372-7046




21 Park Place New York, NY 10007 212-227-1760 800-237-1760


Box 66, Route 73 Keene Valley, NY 12943 518-576-2281 F 518-576-4352 THE NORTH FACE

2101 Broadway (@ 73rd) New York, NY 10023 212-362-1000

268-A Pinero Ave. University Gardens San Juan, PR 00927 787-766-0470 F 787-754-7543

RHODE ISLAND RHODE ISLAND ROCK GYM 100 Higginson Ave. Lincoln, RI 02865 401-727-1704 F 401-727-4447

WHOLE EARTH PROVISION CO. 1014 N. Lamar Austin,TX 78703 512-476-1414 WHOLE EARTH PROVISION CO.

S. Lamar & Hwy 290 (Westgate) Austin,TX 78745 512-899-0992

WHOLE EARTH PROVISION CO. 5400 E. Mockingbird Ln. Dallas,TX 75206 214-824-7444 WHOLE EARTH PROVISION CO. 2934 S. Shepherd Houston,TX 77098 713-526-5226 WHOLE EARTH PROVISION CO.

2092 East 3900 South Salt Lake City, UT 84124 801-278-0233 F 801-278-5544

GEARHEADS, Moab's most

complete outdoor store. Huge! selection of climbing gear. Black Diamond, Wild Country, Metolius, Petzl,Trango, Sterling, Mammut, FiveTen, La Sportiva 471 S. Main St Moab, UT 84532

888-740-4327 open 8:30am -10:00pm ever y day

HIGH ADVENTURE SPECIALTIES 1799 North State St. Orem, UT 84057 801-226-7498 HURST

160 N 500 W (corner of Bluff and Blvd.) St. George, UT 84770 435-673-6141 F 435-628-3380





8201 W. Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89117 702-254-1143 F 702-254-1050 RENO MOUNTAIN SPORTS 155 E. Moana Ln. Reno, NV 89502 775-825-2855 JESSE BROWN’S OUTDOORS 4732 Sharon Rd, Ste. 2M Charlotte, NC 28210 704-556-0020


2105 S.E. Division St. Portland, OR 97202 503-797-1991 F 503-236-9553 800-895-0048


2025 West Pioneer Pkwy. Arlington,TX 76013 817-461-4503 800-805-9139 THE NORTH FACE STORE

by Whole Earth Provision Co. 2410 San Antonio St. Austin,TX 78705 512-478-1577

OUTDOOR GEAR EXCHANGE 152 Cherry St. Burlington,VT 05401 802-860-0190 888-547-4327

480 South 50 East Ephraim, UT 84627 435-283-4400 F 435-283-6872 800-671-5323 MOUNTAINWORKS

2494 N. University Pkwy. Provo, UT 84604 801-371-0223 F 801-371-0223

PAGAN MOUNTAINEERING 59 South Main St. #2 Moab, UT 84532 435-259-1117 F 435-259-1119

E. 11329 Hwy. 159 Baraboo,WI 53913 608-356-4877

WYOMING ALL TERRAIN SPORTS 412 Grand Ave. Laramie,WY 82070 307-721-8036



WASHINGTON BACKPACKERS SUPPLY 5206 S. Tacoma Way Tacoma,WA 98409 253-472-4402 FEATHERED FRIENDS 119 Yale Ave. N. Seattle,WA 98109 206-292-2210 F 206-292-9667

1251 Sheridan Ave. Cody,WY 82414 307-587-9517 F 307-527-7436 888-889-2463 TETON MOUNTAINEERING 170 N. Cache PO Box 1533 Jackson,WY 83001 307-733-3595 800-850.3595 WILD IRIS

333 Main St. Lander,WY 82520 307-332-4541 F 307-335-8923 888-284-5968



2777 St-Martin Blvd West Laval, PQ H7T 2Y7 and 2159 St-Catherine East Montreal, PQ, H2K 2H9 800-567-1106

827 Bellevue N.E. Bellevue,WA 98004 800-CLIMBIN MOUNTAIN GOAT OUTFITTERS 915 W. Broadway Spokane,WA 99201 509-325-9806 F 509-325-9855

5209 Ballard Ave. NW Seattle,WA 98107 206-545-8810 F 206-545-9397

Skiing, Climbing, Boating



5414 Asheville Hwy Naples, NC 28760 828-684-6262


2438 Shelburne Rd. Shelburne,VT 05482 802-985-5055


719 W. Frances St. Appleton,WI 54914 920-731-2720 F 920-734-0321


3265 East 3300 South Salt Lake City, UT 84109 801-484-8073 F 801-467-7884


212 E. Cork St. Winchester,VA 22601 540-667-0030 F 540-667-2618





101 S. Higgins Missoula, MT 59801 406-721-1670


702 East 100 South Salt Lake City, UT 84102 801-359-9361 F 801-534-0905

255 E. Basse (Alamo Quarry) San Antonio,TX 78209 210-829-8888

100 Tremont St. Chattanooga,TN 37405 423-265-5969 and 2220 Hamilton Place Blvd. Chattanooga,TN 37421 423-485-8775





1F on Yip Building, 395 Shanghai St., Kowloon Hong Kong, China 852-23848190 F 852-27707110

5 miles outside Mt. Ranier National Park, 30027 SR 706 East Ashford,WA 98304 800-238-5756



1023 First Ave. Seattle,WA 98104 206-622-4111


131 Pleasant St. Morgantown,WV 26505 304-296-9007 F 304-292-2295

WATER STONE OUTDOORS 101 E. Wiseman Ave. Fayetteville,WV 25840 304-574-2425 F 304-574-2563

in the


Paula Stepp 877-762-5423 ext. 16 | 105

p.106 accidents.128 7/29/03 9:40 AM Page 106


Fixed Piton Pulls Perhaps (5.7), Gate Buttress, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah EDITED




pry loose even the most stubborn fixed pin. Likewise, fixed nuts n November 19, 44-yearcan loosen over the seasons and old “Mike” fell while even new, fixed gear that may leading the second pitch seem bomber can be unreliable. of Perhaps, a two-pitch 5.7 at the It makes sense to clip fixed proGate Buttress in Utah’s Little tection, but also test it with a tug Cottonwood Canyon. The end and back it up as soon as possiof the second pitch is a long, ble. In Mike’s case he failed to horizontal traverse where you back up the fixed pin, and relied undercling a wide crack with on it implicitly for his safety — his your hands and smear your feet next piece, the Camalot, was on a low-angled slab. Mike placed a full 15 feet before the pin. If he had placed another cam placed a #4 Camalot at the beginning of the traverse and just past the pin, or just before it, his 60-foot bone-breaking fall clipped an old fixed piton about 15 feet later. Because of rope could have instead resulted in a short, harmless slide across the drag on the long and circuitous pitch, Mike was constantly havslab. Mike also believes that there was a lot of slack in the rope ing to pull up more rope than necessary, just to move. About because of rope drag, which caused him to fall farther than nec15 feet out from the piton, he stopped and looked for the essary. The leader needs to carefully choose protection placeanchor chains. As he straightened up to look, his feet skated ments and runner lengths and consider the path of the rope to out and he fell. The piton pulled and Mike pendulumned minimize rope drag. Doubly so on traversing pitches. Proper use about 60 feet across the low-angled granite until he hit a small of runners will also minimize unwanted sideways or upward ledge, suffering fractures in five lumbar vertebrae, both feet loading on protection, helping keep it solidly seated. Mike was and both ankles. His two partners were able to lower him to wearing a helmet that received a few their belay, and then to the ground. knocks during the fall, likely proSAR team members met them at tecting his head from serious injury. the base of the route. Mike was immoWhen you clip a fixed pin, yank it hard up and down and sideways to get bilized in a bean-bag vacuum splint, a feel for its reliability. If you are aid climbing and have a hammer, you could The annual book Accilowered another five or six pitches of hit the pin and use the sound and bounce of your hammer to evaluate the pin. A nice ring and springy hammer rebound indicate a solid piton. On a free steep scree to the road, and then transdents in North Amerclimb, you can do much of the same thing by whacking the pin, brassican Mountaineering ported by ambulance to the hospital. knuckle style, with a carabiner — just watch your fingers. Also a good is published by The idea: Clip fixed gear with load-absorbing “screamer” type runners (like the American Alpine Club. ANALYSIS ones from Yates). These AAC members receive Always view fixed protection, like 1951-2001 2002 runners have special stitches designed to rip Cause of accident it as a benefit. Call 303pitons and nuts, with suspicion. In Fall or slip on rock 2,768 73 apart under a high load, 384-0110 or visit ameriparticular, pitons are likely to be loose. Contributing cause of accident limiting the impact to join or place an order. The freeze/thaw action of winter can Nut/chock pulled out 196 0 force transmitted to

Safety tips


Piton/ice screw pulled out

106 |



the protection.



p.c3 Patagonia.128 7/23/03 8:41 AM Page 1

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Kathy Dicker and Chelsea Grif fie, ascent of Prodigal Son finished, reaping the rew ards, Zion, Utah. Photo: Greg Epper son 1% For The Planet is a trademark of 1% F or The Planet, Inc. Š 20 03 Patagonia, Inc.

p.c4 Marmot LTD.128 7/23/03 8:43 AM Page 1


Rock and Ice issue #128


Rock and Ice issue #128