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NO.129 December 1, 2003

$ 4 . 9 9 U S • $ 7. 9 5 C A N 1 2>


25274 19201


Ben Heason on Paralogism (5.12 X). His solo of the committing route is considered one of the most impressive feats on British rock.

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12 Exposed

In focus: today’s sharpest climbing imagery.

56 Calculated Risk

Catapulting from a 5.11 climber to a 5.13 free soloist overnight, Ben Heason redefines the term “bold” on England’s gritstone edges. By Colin Wells

60 The Power and the Fury

Two years ago, traditionalists and sport climbers reached a fragile truce over sport routes in Boulder Canyon. Today, Bob D’Antonio’s 120 new routes have become instantly popular, but they threaten to ignite another round of “bolt wars.” By Matt Samet

64 Bearing Witness

Capturing Southeast rock on film is epic. Stubborn rains and reluctant locals discourage even the most motivated of shooters. One tenacious photographer, however, has pierced the veil. By Jeff Achey Photos by Harrison Shull

68 Against All Odds

With 9/11 still a raw wound, most climbers have shunned Islamic countries. Two young alpinists, however, braved their fears to chase a fantastic unclimbed tooth. By Josh Wharton

On the cover: Ben Heason on the lip of Paralogism (E7 6c or 5.12 X). He soloed the committing route first-try; the ascent is one of the most impressive ever on British rock. Photo by Ian Parnell. This page: Matthias Böhm and Nels Rosaasen all set to lap the home wall after shoveling grain out of the silo at Rosaasen Brothers Farm. See the Spotlight interview with Rosaasen, page 36. Photo by Lev Pinter.


NO. 1 2 9 , D E C E M B E R 1 , 2 0 0 3


Global warming hits the Alps — what are you going to do?



No need to read between the lines, it’s all here: news, gossip, outrage.

Breaking News


Carlos Buhler succeeds on a Peruvian dream route; Mont Blanc joins the list of closed peaks in the Alps; Alex Johnson, 14, storms world-class field in Salt Lake comp; more.



Farmer power. Nels Rosaasen trains in the wheat fields of the family farm in Canada, and bouted Chris Sharma, Timy Fairfield and other powermongers in a bouldering comp.

Video of the Month


Reviewed: “American Steep,” by Corey Rich and Ron Ambrose.



Micro-cams. The latest thin-crack gear, including 2-, 3- and 4-cam units, plus slider nuts. By Mark Eller

What’s New


Sexy cragwear, hot deals and the lowdown on new climbing gear.

Tales of Sickness


New column. How to meet girls. A three-step dating guide for the modern climber — who needs it. By Matt Samet



Explosive power. Send your contact strength into the stratosphere with a focused regimen of plyometrics. By Mark Eller

Better Beta


New tips. Expert advice on how to clean overhanging sport routes, tie a better figure-8, get the most out of your shoe rubber, and extend your reach. By Mark Eller

Famous Faces


Mount Waddington. The 7,500-foot Bravo Glacier Route is the “easy” way up. By Barry Blanchard



Indian Creek, Utah. Selected topos from the upcoming tome Indian Creek Climbs, the first comprehensive guidebook to crack-climbing’s walls of fame. By David Bloom

Dr. Piton


New column. The infamous Dr. Piton comes clean on aid climbing’s dirty little secrets.



Rock gyms, retailers and more.

Accidents 106

Lightning strikes a team of climbers on the Grand Teton’s Exum Ridge, precipitating the most spectacular climbing rescue in U.S. history. Edited by Jed Williamson





From the Editors








The start of it all

Bouldering at the birthplace of modern climbing, the Falkenstein cliff near Dresden, Germany. In 1907, The American Oliver PerrySmith pushed grades as hard as 5.10d on these sandstone crags — often with little or no protection. Photo by Lisa Raleigh


The rave

Sandstone crucible

Jvan Tresch plugs into the eight pitch of Zion National Park's Moonlight Buttress (5.13a or C2). The finger crack splits the upper headwall for four uninterrupted pitches. Photo by Jim Thornburg

Beat Kammerlander toeing the edge of Ecstasy (5.13) at Pine Creek Canyon, California. Photo by Greg Epperson | 15


Joining the club

This summer Monique Forestier became the first Aussie woman to tick 5.14, with Intergalactic Lactic Spastic (5.14a) at Bowens Creek, Australia. Photo by Simon Carter


Jeff Schoen arching into The Gong Show (5.12c), Maple Canyon, Utah. Photo by Jim Thornburg




Global Warming Hits the Alps and Beyond What are you going to do?


elf-righteousness and magazine editorials often go hand-inhand, the author pushing his own disingenuous and/or hypocritical agenda under the aegis of “informed opinion.” That said, I drive a small passenger car (a battered 1995 VW Golf) and so, with clear conscience, can say: SUVs and tank-sized pickups are bad juju ... their Super-Sized emissions are helping destroy the environment. The time has come for those who blithely pretend that global warming is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific farce to wake up and witness the melting: of the Alps’ and Himalayas’ massive glaciers, of the polar icecaps and of routes closer to home. Need proof? Turn to Breaking News, where author Colin Wells details devastation in the Mont Blanc region. The truth isn’t pretty and is, in fact, utterly disheartening. Here in the United States, the celebrated Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park had, by 1993, retreated from its 1850 size of 576 acres to a mere 216 (and is still shrinking), and the Grand Teton’s once reliable Black Ice Couloir was, for the second year running, an unclimbable wreck. “Overall it’s pretty dry looking around here,” said Grand Teton National Park Climbing Ranger Jim Springer. “A lot of the permanent snow features are just gone.” President Bush refused, in 2001, to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Agreement, which commits 113 countries to an overall reduction by 5.2 percent of “greenhouse gases” (such as the carbon monoxide produced by automobiles) by 2010. In doing so he allowed the perpetuation of a destructive dynamic wherein the American consumer is feted by car manufacturers offering ever larger (and more wasteful and more polluting) SUVs. This, however, is nothing new. What really disappoints is the willingness of climbers, traditionally an independent-thinking, environmentally conscious group, to buy into the specious argument that Bigger Is Better. (Go to any crag on a weekend and count the number of SUVs clogging the parking lot.) “I need my Conquistador for road tripping,” you might lament. “Otherwise, how am I supposed to fit all my gear and bros?” If you do genuinely care about the environment, here’s your chance to prove it: sell your SUV, buy a passenger car and carpool whenever possible, be it to the crags or otherwise. No, the President won’t thank you and neither will American automakers, but your contribution just might help the next time you’re traversing under that unpredictable band of hanging cornices.

Matt Samet Senior Editor

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LETTERS Don’t do it I’m writing about a letter from Josef Ebner printed in No. 128. Josef claimed that a phrase of mine in issue 126 (“Soloing is a journey into the very heart of things, reserved for the finest climbers on their best days”) implied that soloing is the pinnacle of a climbing career, something to which all climbers should aspire. I believe the opposite, and wrote the sentence to communicate such. Soloing should only be undertaken by the very best climbers (at the pinnacle of physical and psychological fitness). No one else should consider it. Soloing is a journey into the heart of things, specifically one’s own heart. One climbs alone precisely because such a “selfish” journey can only trend inward. I paraphrase Martin Van Creveld when I write that for every person who has expressed his horror of soloing, another finds in it the most marvelous of all experiences available to man. I have lost many, many friends, but few died because they were soloing. The others were killed in what even a certified guide might agree were relatively benign circumstances, where the presence of the rope and companions tied to it were of little use. Certification and a rope cannot make climbing “safe,” only safer, and if that’s the point, why not stay home? Falling objects (rock, seracs, avalanches, cornices, etc.) contribute to more climbing accidents and fatalities than does the lack of a rope. Finally, Ebner insisted that media with the power to influence young minds must assume responsibility for content that could have negative consequences. Following that argument to a logical conclusion, all but the most antiseptic, risk-free indoor climbing would be excised from the pages of Rock and Ice. Responsibility cuts both ways; young and old minds alike must accept responsibility for choice and action. Laying the blame anywhere else is irresponsible. Mark Twight Salt Lake City, Utah

Ain’t misbehavin’ I read with interest my friend Harrison Shull’s letter [“Don’t dumb down routes,” Letters, No. 128] objecting to climbing ranger Brad Shilling’s comments in No. 127’s story on Castle Rocks, Idaho. Brad has said he will add bolts or reposition anchors on routes he considers unsafe. Harrison, whom I know, respect as a climber and personally like, lamented the effect Brad’s stance will have on the tradition of allowing first ascentionists to determine the relative safety of a bolted route. But I have to disagree. As a “local,” I can speak for the respect that Brad commands among local climbers for his ability, judgement, vigilant maintenance of anchors at the park,

and efforts to involve local climbers in developing Castle Rocks’ climbing-management plan. Many climbers see badly bolted routes for what they are: not more daring or higher quality, but unnecessarily dangerous. It’s a senseless and selfish tradition that allows someone, by virtue of getting there first (and perhaps being miserly with bolts), to dictate the safety of all who follow, and there’s no parallel in climbing’s other disciplines: if the first ascentionist of a crack runs it out, I’m not compelled to do the same. I support Brad’s policy. Michael Lanza President, Boise Climbers Alliance Boise, Idaho

From the horse’s mouth In response to Harrison Shull’s letter [No. 128] about my re-bolting routes: I have no intention of re-engineering “bold” routes ... there wouldn’t be anything to fix, as “bold” routes are clean climbs that don’t have bolts. What I intend to fix are poorly engineered bolted routes, by which I mean climbs with loose bolts, bolts placed in depressions, anchors located over razor edges, etc. “Bold” is one thing; a lack of skill, consideration and equipment is something else. Bolts are a contrivance — why place them at all if they are in the wrong place? Be bold, climb clean. Brad Shilling City of Rocks/Castle Rocks Climbing Ranger Almo, Idaho

Many climbers see poorly bolted routes for what they are: not more daring or higher quality, but unnecessarily dangerous. 20 |

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Show reality Hey, what’s with blacking out the portaledge porn in that unbelievable article by Chris Belczynski [“Last Cry of the Butterfly,” No. 128]? You guys are journalists, right? What happened to reporting the truth? I can understand the need for porn, sir. I spent two months alone in the Arctic last summer. As to Belczynski’s article, it was the best climbing article I’ve read in years. Kind of like finding a diamond in your driveway. Hunt that guy down and make him write more. Mark Herndon Norman, Oklahoma

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Show some respect I can appreciate the pictures of attractive young women that grace the pages of your magazine when the women are actually climbing — especially when they crank. I find many of the pictures inspiring. But I was disgusted by the photo containing pornographic images in “Last Cry of the Butterfly” [No. 128]. I don’t care what the context was — you shouldn’t have printed it. Not everyone who reads your magazine has the mindset of a pubescent boy. Have some respect. What an unwelcoming climate you’ve created for women. Redeem yourself, please. Elizabeth Donley Via email

Leading the way From the perspective of a climber and an economist whose research involves international aid programs, I am impressed with the works of Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute ["The Infidel," No. 128]. As I write this on the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I am reminded of Amartya Sen's New York Times Op-Ed piece from May 27, 2002. In it, he quoted Isaiah Berlin: "Men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals." Sen, the 1998 Nobel Prize winner in economics for his work in poverty and economic development, argues that terrorism may be reduced by reducing the disparities in today's world, notably through education. In the latest Rock and Ice, I was pleased to see the feature demonstrating Mortenson's example of living by positive goals. Paul Chambers via email

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Owned and Operated by Climbers EDITORIAL Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Duane Raleigh | Editor Tyler Stableford | Senior Editors Alison Osius | Matt Samet | Senior Contributing Editors Geoff Childs, Mark Eller, Jeff Jackson, John Long, Dave Pegg, Doug Robinson, Pete Takeda, Jon Waterman Contributing Editors Barry Blanchard, Andy Dappen, Niall Grimes, Tim Neville American Alpine Club Accidents Editor Jed Williamson AMGA Safety Review Board Mark Houston, Mike Powers WMI Medical Review Board Buck Tilton ADVERTISING SALES Associate Publisher Lisa Raleigh | Advertising Managers Joanne Kneafsey | Randall Lavelle | Classified Sales Executive Lisen Gustafson | Business Manager Mark Kittay, CPA | CREATIVE Art Director Assistant Art Director Production Manager Photo Editor Senior Illustrator

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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 Village 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.

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Melting Europe

The dirty, rocky Mer du Glace on Mont Blanc has become especially hazardous due to alarming melt-out conditions.

Big heat closes Mont Blanc


ountain conditions went from bad to worse in the European rocks of the 14,200-foot Dome de Gouter, a prominent landmark on Alps this summer. Following huge heat-wave-triggered rock- the Voie Normal to the summit, while gaping crevasses and totterfalls on Switzerland’s Matterhorn in mid-July (reported in Rock ing seracs had appeared on the normally benign slopes of the popand Ice No. 128), scorching temperatures failed to relent, leading to major ular alternative route via Mont Blanc du Tacul. Climbers were rockfall on France’s Mont Blanc Massif, including routes like the dissuaded from using most of the popular non-technical trails to Walker Spur on the Grandes Jorasses and on The Dru. Meanwhile, the summit — sometimes with the help of strategically placed deadlier-than-average rockfall plagued many mixed routes through- police guarding the couloirs near the start of the routes. The warming, apparent globally since 1980, seems to be particout the Alps, with 55 deaths so far in the Swiss Alps alone — nearly ularly amplified in the Alps, with some locales experiencing a 3.5double the number of fatalities normally recorded by late summer. Most news reports have been quick to seize on the events as a degree F increase — a five-fold amplification of the global climate manifestation of global warming. “It’s a tragedy,” said Doug Scott, one signal. “Initially people thought it was great, this nice warm weather,” of Britain’s greatest mountaineers and a leading alpinist of the 1960s said Martin Beniston of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel of Cliand 1970s. “Here is the most dramatic and visible proof that the cli- mate Change. “But then they realized it’s a big problem ... we are in a warming trend and human activmate is changing, and still the Ameriities are at least in part aiding this.” cans won’t ratify the Kyoto Agreement 100 to 130 Estimated feet of snow (several harsh winters’ Mont Blanc’s closure was prompted restricting greenhouse-gas emissions.” worth) needed to offset the 2003 losses alone. by the deaths of two tourists in a rockPerhaps the most symbolic move 492 The average distance in feet that winter snowlines have receded slide as they traversed the mountain’s was the unofficial “closure” of Mont down the side of most mountains in the Alps over the last decade. lower slopes toward a restaurant. “It’s Blanc in August by the Chamonix Office 50 to 90 Estimated percentage of Alpine glaciers that could disappear by the end of the 21st century. impossible to find a route that’s not de Haute Montagne — the town’s clear2 Degrees that sub-surface temperatures in the Alps have risen in dangerous,” a spokeswoman for the ing house for climbing information the past decade — three times faster than any other time in the Office de Haute Montagne told The and the booking of guides. For the first last century. Guardian. “I’ve never seen this before.” time in living memory the summer 113 Number of countries that have ratified the Kyoto Agreement to curb greenhouse-gas emissions (the United States isn’t one of them). — Colin Wells meltdown had exposed the summit

Alarming Numbers

— CW 26 |


09:18:56 am

For those who find that fat ice just doesn't cut it, try an inverted, one handed spread-eagle, while heel hooking your tool at the lip of a broken curtain. Throw in a crowd of spectators, a few more moves, the lucky #13 bib and you are on your way to a moment that makes the most of it.


Š2003 BLACK DIAMOND EQUIPMENT, LTD. 1 Barndoor or heel hook? Let the judges decide. Rich Marshall, Ouray Ice Festival. 0



Rosaasen and Johnson headline PCA show

Men 1. Nels Rosaasen 2. Chris Sharma 3. Rob D’Anastasio 4. Matt Bosley 5. Ethan Pringle

Women 1. Alex Johnson 2. Lisa Rands 3. Meagan Martin 4. Lauren Lee 5. Lizzy Asher

Timy Fairfield and Chris Sharma beta-mime after the PCA Summer Showdown, with Nels Rosaasen behind.

28 |

TEARING IT UP Thumbs down to the City of Monticello, Utah, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for inaugurating a three-day “ATV Safari” September 2527 through fragile desert terrain near the Canyonlands. The event allows up to 350 off-road vehicles to grind away on ATV tracks, cow trails and riverbeds, all recognized as “legitimate roads” by the legal loophole RS 2477. As of press time, the event is slated to follow a final, single selection from among 16 proposed routes, including ones that pass by Bridger Jack Mesa and Texas Tower, and one through the Indian Creek corridor. Also, double-super kudos to Utah Governor — and Bush appointee to head the EPA — Mike Leavitt and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton for their failure to uphold a Memorandum of Understanding that effectively banned RS 2477.



ast year Nels Rosaasen of Saskatchewan came within a hair of taking the PCA Summer Showdown in Salt Lake City. On August 16 this year he ruled, smoothly hucking a one-arm from a crescent-moon sloper that others struggled to hang. Placing a strong second was Chris Sharma, the event’s defending champion and, aside from one loss to Rosaasen on a technicality, long undefeated in major events. Among women, Alex Johnson, 14, climbed like a machine, polishing moves off. She and Lisa Rands, women’s defending champ, flashed their first three problems, but Johnson alone sent the last. Third places went to Rob D’Anastasio and 13-year-old Meagan Martin.

Filming the Void

Simpson’s epic gains quick acclaim



o sooner had Touching the Void opened to plaudits at Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day than IFC Films scooped up rights; a week later the film got standing ovations at the Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary, by Oscar winner Kevin McDonald, is based on Joe Simpson’s eponymous book about his and Simon Yates’ 1985 first ascent and catastrophic descent of the West Face of Siula Grande, in the Peruvian Andes. Actors and climbers recreated the pair’s ordeal, filming in the Swiss Alps and Peru; Simpson and Yates themselves returned to Siula Grande for the first time. Says Simpson, “I had to do all the glacier/moraine crawling reconstructions in Peru ... It did my head in.” Simpson and Yates’ reflections are slated for inclusion in a future DVD; meanwhile, keep an eye on for the big-screen release.

Big screamer, big screen: The bestselling Touching the Void has finally made it to film. Will we see Joe Simpson in tux at the Academy Awards?

Riefenstahl Dies Controversial German director was an active climber Controversial German filmmaker/actress Leni Riefenstahl, 101, often reviled for her film Triumph of the Will, made for Adolf Hitler and hailed as the best propaganda film of all time, died in her home south of Munich on September 8. Riefenstahl was an active climber who, for her role in the film The Holy Mountain in 1925-26, was buried in an avalanche; she later undertook barefoot climbing in the Dolomites to prepare for the part of Gita, the Goat Girl, in The Great Leap.

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Back on Top

Buhler nabs Peruvian showpiece


ealizing a 24-year dream, Carlos Buhler, along with Thaddeus Josephson, made the first ascent of the 3,000-vertical-foot Northwest Face of Peru’s Nevada Pucahirca Norte (19,836 feet). The Bozeman, Montana, pair completed the formidably steep mixed route in a grueling six-day push after The new route up Pucahirca Norte. negotiating an approach Above: Buhler summiting in a blue-sky window. through the tortuous Lake Safuna cirque to an advanced basecamp at 16,000 feet. Climbing alpinestyle with a minimal rack (five pitons, seven ice screws and two snow stakes), Buhler, 48, and Josephson summited July 27 after 24 pitches of 50-to-60 degree icy terrain, including a crux M5 rock band. Pinned down by storm on July 26, the pair unknowingly bivied a mere pitch below the summit in a crevasse, where Josephson “celebrated” his 22nd birthday. When Buhler and Josephson opted to descend via the peak’s original 1961 route, they found themselves thwarted by a glacier rendered all but impassable by years of warming temperatures. “We would have died like rats in a cage down there,” said Buhler. “It was a maze.” Backtracking over the summit, the pair, now out of food, rapped their ascent route to safety.

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Dusan Beranek nubbin-pimping on the 5.12c third pitch.

A Slabby Welcoming Slovaks ride The Sphinx









n a 10-day effort this summer, Slovakians Dusan Beranek, Vlado Linek and Rado Staruch established a testy new route on Peru’s 17,470-foot-high La Esfinge (“The Sphinx”). Perhaps the country’s best-known high-altitude granite big wall, The Sphinx hosts 2,000-foot faces rising above the Paron Valley of the Cordillera Blanca. Their line, Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha (VI 5.13a), tackles the formation’s east face via 13 pitches of difficult, ahem, slab climbing. Established ground-up, the line held at 5.12c A1 until Beranek returned, freeing it in a one-day push. The crux sixth pitch, a 60-meter, 5.13a technical jaunt up a golden shield of rock between two prominent water streaks, was later flashed by Staruch during his and Vlado Linek’s second free ascent of the route, just two days later. This pitch is followed by 150 meters of water-pocketed slabs — “almost climbing paradise” according to Linek. With 97 bolts total (29 of these at belays) and seven pitches of 5.12a to 5.13a climbing, Welcome to the Slabs of Koricancha is the hardest free route on the wall.





You Go, Joe

Kinder frees new Rumney testpiece Establishing one of the hardest sport routes on the East Coast, Joe Kinder, 23, linked Rumney, New Hampshire’s Livin’ Astro (5.14c) into China Beach (5.14b) to produce the slippery Livin’ Astroglide. The unrated line went down after 15 days of effort and is, according to Kinder, “pretty badass.” 32 |

Valley Boys Make Good


Schneider and Cork storm El Niño

On July 31, Steve Schneider, with Brian Cork, sent El Capitan’s El Niño (VI 5.13c), an almost totally free version of the North America Wall, after 21 days of effort. “I’m totally psyched and surprised,” said 43-year-old Schneider, who, fit from rock-gym course setting, led six of the route’s seven 5.13 pitches and freed the entire route (Cork came close). Thwarted by the route’s new crux pitch (an ultra-bouldery 5.14a, freed by Basque climber Iker Pou during his ascent of El Niño, after a crucial hold had snapped), the pair exited via the original NA Wall, adding a new 5.13a variation in the process.


The Eiger’s Hardest


Stephan Siegrist and Ueli Steck took advantage of the Alps’ heat wave this summer, establishing the most continuously difficult route on the Eiger’s north face. They redpointed the 27-pitch La Vida es Silbar (VI 5.12d), up nearly 3,000 feet of rock on the wall’s right side, on June 29 and 30.

Turning Green

Greenland walls draw summer crowds The pristine fjords of Greenland saw a spate of climbing activity this summer, drawing teams from all over the world. On the American front, Nathan Martin and Tim O’Neill freed the left pillar of Nalumasortoq’s southwest massif via an existing A2, the 18-pitch Left Pillar Route, establishing The British Route (IV 5.12). Also, Micah Dash and Thad Friday freed Non C’e Due Senza Tre (VI 5.11+ R) on their sixth try, on the formation’s right pillar, including a 5.11 R pitch protected by fixed copperheads. Russian and Spanish teams added new routes on Nalumasortoq as well. On the British front, a team of eight climbers visited Havn Tower, renamed “The Saft,” a 2,700-foot granite monolith in the southern part of the island. Fresh off his new Malham testpiece Rainshadow (5.14d), Steve McClure, with Miles Gibson, established the 23-pitch Twenty-one, with a 5.13 crux and daunting wet roof crack. Ben Heason and Simon Moore made a two-day free ascent of the 23-pitch British outing A Wonderful Life, on-sighting up to 5.12. Their new route, Turning Point, included a series of intimidatingly steep “Gogarthe-sque” pitches. “It was undoubtedly one of my proudest achievements,” said Heason. | 33












Castleton Tower ... Saved!

Heads Up

The Castleton Tower Preservation Initiative has succeeded. On July 2 the collaborative effort between climbers, foundations and outdoor-industry members blocked a housing development that would have supplanted the traditional campground and access to the legendary Castleton Tower, northeast of Moab. In the process, it protected 530 acres of land from development. Purchase coordinator Utah Open Lands still needs to raise $45,000 toward the $658,000 total price. To donate, visit

A 21-year-old college senior and experienced climber, Tyler O. Miller, died of electrocution after accidentally touching power lines 30 feet up a Rite Aid building in Bellingham, Washington. The lesson? Be careful when tackling the urban vertical — cement landings, loose “holds,” power lines, and other factors can all contribute to a potentially lethal experience.

The perils of buildering

A hundred people gathered at the Tetons Climbers Ranch to surprise Jim McCarthy on his 70th birthday, midsummer. McCarthy is known for roundly stamping 5.10 on the Shawangunks starting in 1961, and major routes on Canada’s Mount Proboscis in 1963 and Lotus Flower Tower in 1968. In 1964, he and other climbers undertook a clandestine CIA mission to place a nuclear-powered device on Nanda Devi to monitor missile testing in China, as documented this year in Spies in the Himalayas/Secret Missions & Perilous Climbs by M.S. Kohli and Kenneth Conboy. We interviewed him at home in Jackson, Wyoming. When you look back, what were the best times? The ‘60s. The Gunks, and getting to explore the Cirque of the Unclimbables. I was lucky in the sense that a lot of stuff had not been done. The worst times? The ones with the CIA-sponsored trip. I talked them into letting us go to Denali for a training climb, attempting the Direct South Face. We set up camp about a mile from the base. We got stormed off the mountain and decided to move the camp, and the whole South Face cut loose and swept right where we had just been. It taught me a lesson. Which was? [Laughs] That I wasn’t cut out for that kind of expedition. Then we went to Nanda Devi and that was another clusterf—k. I had just done a run up high and was down in basecamp. There was a storm and the Indian climbers left the [nuclear] generator in a really exposed place. It was avalanched. Where it ended up we don’t know. So were you guys spies? Sure we were. What inspires you most about the current climbing scene? I’m totally blown away by the Dean Potters and the Timmy O’Neills, doing such fast ascents in the far reaches of the world. They’re so skillful and fit that if they get the slightest little weather window, they’re up. They have mastered an amazing array of very complex skills.

34 |


Eyes and Ears




American Steep, by Corey Rich and Ron Ambrose $20 From the minute you push play, American Steep, the new DVD by climbing photographer Corey Rich, is refreshingly unpredictable. Unlike climbing videos that club you about the head with thuggish sending and idol worship, American Steep delves into climbing’s fertile counterculture of us sub-men and women, and zigzags the country, documenting from Yosemite to Joshua Tree, from Canyonlands to Kansas. First, Rich takes us on a freight-train-hopping mission where he and a friend roll from crag to crag, sleeping wherever, cleaning up in restrooms and keeping a vigilant eye out for “the man.” The footage proves with finality that climbers and hobos are kindred spirits at heart: we all are, or want to be, dirtbags. Another section, “Flatlanders,” reveals that climbers, even ones in Kansas, have a serious jones and will do anything to feed it. In the Midwest they chomp on plastic inside a 90-foot cement factory, or at a home gym built with lumber “procured” under cover of darkness from a construction site. Wrapping up American Steep, Rich poses the inevitable “Why do you climb?” and it is here that the DVD really shines. The answers blindsided me. One young climber stammers inarticulately but his high-pitched squeals tell everything. A middleaged Brit, shirtless and with an obvious passion for his pints, simply pats his jiggly belly and replies, “Because the people are so beautiful.” Surprise, surprise. — Duane Raleigh

A u t h o r ’s N o t e s Rock and Ice caught up with Corey Rich at his home in South Lake Tahoe, California. You are one of climbing’s most voracious photographers. What keeps you psyched? Do women follow photographers like, say, rock stars? I get to work with my friends, which puts an interesting spin on it. I know everyone in every frame that goes through my camera. They are people I have lived with, shared tents with, climbed and traveled and surfed with. There is nothing else I’d rather be doing. As far as the women ... umm, no. You recently did a photo shoot with the Navy SEALs. Which group has more attitude, climbers or the SEALs? [Jokingly.] The SEALs are much harder to shoot. They’re all so vain — asking if their butts look OK in their camo pants. You’ve published many climbing photos of Rikke Ishoy. What is she up to these days? Rikke is great! She is currently working as an attorney for the Red Cross in Israel, but we are actually in the middle of planning an expedition together to Afghanistan. It is the new hot spot. What is the most difficult situation you’ve been in during a climbing shoot? I was on staff for this newspaper, photographing the Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile while it was being painted, and I got too close and got painted the color of the wiener. It was a brand-new camera, too, and today it’s a paperweight. | 35


Animal Farm Rosaasen rages in Salt Lake national


ever for my eyes. My sister cuts my hair, and I hadn’t seen her for awhile.

What do you do with garbage at the farm? Oh. You heard about that? ... You soak the garbage [in a barrel] in gas and fill a soup can with gas and shoot it. It flies and lights the garbage can up; it’s like a big mushroom cloud.

On the night of your PCA win, why did the after-party security guard ask you and your friends, “What do I have to do to get rid of you guys?” Was that when we broke the revolving door?

“We make ourselves out to be more redneck than we are.”

How does a pig get a hernia?

How do you stay motivated on your home wall?

We just built it this year so it’s kind of exciting for us. In general, we might not climb the whole time; we always end up doing flips off the wall. One time at the gym in Sasketoon, we piled all the mats up and jumped from the roof. It’s probably 35 feet. The owner might not like that.

What if you didn’t have Nevin around? If Nevin wasn’t at the farm, I wouldn’t be at the farm. It’d be way too boring.

How are you on real rock? In the summer I’m busy on the farm and in the winter I’m in school [University of Sasketoon], so it’s hard to get out and climb. I go out for a bit, a day here and a day there, just going around and pooting around, and last Christmas I went to Bishop for 10 days — but the last big trip was a few years ago, when we went to Europe for six months. I’ve climbed a hundred times more inside than out. I enjoy it so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. [Rock] takes a lot more technique.

[Momentarily taken aback:] I don’t know. Who knows.

What did you do after winning the PCA comp? What’s with the ski headband in a hot gym? I thought it was kinda funny. My hair is just at the worst length 36 |

Just went back to work, back to the farm. — Alison Osius


omebody, sometime was bound to win a bouldering comp over the legendary Chris Sharma. And it was ... a jumping farm kid from Sasketoon, Saskatchewan. Nels Rosaasen, 21, winner of the Professional Climbers’ Association (PCA) Summer Showdown in Salt Lake City on August 16 and a threetime Canadian champion, has enormous explosive power. He is less a technician than great on big moves and pinches and slopes (he can go a very long way off small holds, too), and holds himself in with front-lever body tension at crazy angles. Rosaasen is literally at home on 45 degrees, and considered “unstoppable” campusing. “We do boulder problems, and he campuses them all” on a 45-degree wall, says Sonnie Trotter, one of the half dozen top Canadian climbers to attend “training camp” at the Rosaasen Bros. alfalfa farm two weeks before the comp. Nels and his brother, Nevin, 23, built the wall, which rises 18 feet out of the fields, to upgrade their old one (still standing in the barn). The nearest actual rock climbing is 10 hours away. At a comp, Nels may look like an artist or rock star in earrings, glinting fashion shades and camo baseball cap, but he and his brother are fifth-generation farmers, down-to-earth as well as spirited. Nels is always up to something. Just before getting his driver’s license photo taken, for example, he shaved his hair into a mullet, the image now preserved in his wallet for posterity. After one comp, he rallied everyone to ride a mechanical bull at a local bar, and after another, he led a mission to a closed hotel hot tub by climbing up an outside chimney, and down drainpipes and windowsills. His high-tech pre-comp diet? One of the pigs on the farm got a hernia, so the gang had a pig roast.

Clip/Unclip bolts from ground Attach rope to hanging draws Unbreakable polycarbonate Compatible with most paint poles Patented design

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Micro Cams

The latest thin-crack gear, including 2-, 3- and 4-cam units, plus slider nuts BY MARK ELLER


lug just about any hand-sized camming unit deep into a solid crack and you can be fairly confident that it won’t budge. Big cams, with their abundant contact area, are hard to dislodge. Smaller models, however, demand a more precise approach. Even if the cams are perfectly positioned, their contact with the rock is scant, the holding power is reduced and the chance for failure is higher. In other words, the smaller the cam, the more concerned I become with a its design and attention to detail. There’s a mess of thin gear to choose from: cams with four, three and even two cam lobes; U-stem and center-stem designs; and spring-loaded slider nuts. In truth, there’s no single perfect design on the market today. What slips easily into horizontal cracks might walk out of shallow piton scars, and an ultra-flexible stem (commonly thought to be a bonus) can behave like a limp noodle when you’re trying to shove a quick piece into a tight placement. Also, if you haven’t used slider nuts before, you may not know that they provide some of the most secure — and strongest — placements available in ultra-thin cracks. Each company in this review sells at least three models fitting cracks .75 inches or smaller, constituting a set of micro-cams. Here are the key attributes we looked for: Stem design There are two basic designs: single center stems and Ushaped stems. Cams built around a U-shaped bracket are flexible enough to accommodate horizontal placements, and most are easy to handle. On the other hand, single-stem designs can flex in any direction including diagonally, a bonus for tricky placements where the pull vector is hard to anticipate. Units with a central stem tend to be wider at the head

38 |

than U-brackets, although the outer cables and swages on some U-bracket designs are quite bulky. In general, a single stem equals greater width at the cam heads, adding stability but decreasing placement options. A single stem is also narrower at the bottom (sling) end of the unit than a Ubracket, an advantage for extremely narrow cracks. Trigger design The trigger should be easy to handle when making a quick grab from your rack, should resist twisting or floating, and allow precise control of the unit. Equally important, the trigger bar must be distant enough from the head that you can easily access deep placements. I have also noted designs that will appeal to climbers with big hands. Stability In general, four-cam units are more stable than those with three (or two) cams because they provide a wider platform. The extra stability won’t do you any good, however, if the cam is too wide for that tight slot or pocket. That’s where three- and two-cam units, and slider nuts, come into play. When set firmly, slider nuts can be quite stable, often more so than a three-cam unit, because the sliding wedge locks the unit firmly in place. A firm, snappy spring tension is also vital — strong springs press the cams (or slider nuts) against the stone securely, prevent the cams from walking and resist going limp after years of use. Ease of placement and removal Designs with long stems and ample stiffness can access tricky placements more easily than those with short or noodle-soft stems. Units with narrow heads and trim, unobtrusive swages will naturally fit better in tight spots as well.

GEAR Metolius Power Cams and TCUs



est value

TCUs #00 .37-.57 inches, 4.4kN, 2.1 ounces, $49 #0 .39-.65 inches, 4.4kN, 2.2 ounces, $49 #1 .46-.77 inches, 8.8kN, 2.5 ounces, $49 #2 .6-.98 inches, 8.8kN, 2.6 ounces, $49 #3 .72-1.1 inches, 13.3kN, 3.0 ounces, $49

Stability: 4 Trigger design: 4.5 Tricky placements: 4.5 Final score:



Best overall

Metolius’ sturdy U-shaped frame on the Power Cams and TCUs (four-cam and three-cam units with similar designs) helps protect trigger wires and keeps them from tangling with the rest of your rack. The trigger action is smooth and precise, and you can grip the knurled bar in a variety of ways — of the cams in the review, these were the easiest to slam in from awkward stances. Once placed, the Power Cams’ four-cam design is comfortingly stable, with very firm springs holding the cams securely in position. Aid climbers appreciate being able to clip directly into the bottom of the U-stem when high-stepping. The nylon slings are beefy and brightly colored, making it easy to discern cam sizes. Power Cams and TCUs are not as adaptable to shallow horizontal cracks or angled and diagonal placements as some ultra-flexible single-stem designs, but for most placements they’re reliable performers, even in the tiniest sizes. Though a heavy load can bend the outer cables into awkward shapes, a bit of massaging usually restores them to working order. Constructed with the same design as Power Cams, TCUs boast many of the same advantages as the four-cam units but have a slightly narrower cam head. The tradeoff is that TCUs pivot around more than their four-cam brethren. Like the micro-sized Power Cams, the cams heads are made from durable 7075-grade aluminum. Metolius: 541-382-7585, Power Cams #00 .37-.57 inches, 4.4kN, 2.1 ounces, $54 #0 .39-.65 inches, 4.4kN, 2.2 ounces, $54 Stability: 4.5 #1 .46-.77 inches, 8.8kN, 2.5 ounces, $54 Trigger design: 4.5 #2 .6-.98 inches, 8.8kN, 2.6 ounces, $54 Tricky placements: 4.5 #3 .72-1.1 inches, 13.3kN, 3.0 ounces, $54 Final score:

Black Diamond Micro Camalots

40 |

#.1 .34-.54 inches, 7kN, 2.3 ounces, $50 #.2 .41-.65 inches, 8kN, 2.5 ounces, $50 #.3 .5-.86 inches, 10kN, 2.7 ounces, $59 #.4 .61-1.05 inches, 10kN, 3.4 ounces, $59

Stability: 5 Trigger design: 5 Tricky placements: 3.5 Final score:



These units are quite easy to handle, and yielded stable placements in irregular cracks due to their relatively wide cam heads. They also held up to abuse, operating smoothly even after bounce testing in horizontal cracks. The two smallest Micro Camalots, the .1 and .2, lack the double-axle design of their bigger siblings. The double axles, in addition to being very strong when cams are fully opened in an “umbrella” position, allow for a slightly increased expansion range. Spring action was solid and the units showed little tendency to walk. The relatively stiff central stem made it easy to plug them into overhead placements, and a nicely textured plastic trigger allowed for precise control. The leftmost or rightmost cams can be retracted independently, handy for flared cracks, and the generous trigger bar accommodates big hands. The relatively wide cam heads at times failed to fit where narrower units did, though they resisted lateral tugs nicely. Another minor complaint is that you can’t clip directly into the stem of the unit for aid climbing. Black Diamond: 801-278-5552,

Wild Country Zero Friends

#1 .22-.30 inches, 3kN, 1 ounce, $59 #2 .24-.38 inches, 4kN, 1.2 ounces, $59 #3 .33-.5 inches, 6kN, 1.7 ounces, $59 #4 .40-.63 inches, 6kN, 2 ounces, $59 #5 .51-.75 inches, 10kN, 2.25 ounces, $59 #6 .67-.94 inches, 10kN, 2.5 ounces, $59

Stability: 4 Trigger design: 3.5 Tricky placements: 4 Final score:



Wispy light, yet resistant to serious abuse, these slick micro-units are an impressive new addition to the thin-pro market. The two smallest sizes are so teensy as to look like scaled-down models of real camming units — appealing to aid climbers, but almost too small to finagle while free climbing. All Zeros employ a springcovered central cable that bends into awkward placements, yet snaps to attention afterward. The trigger cables are routed through two metal guides, increasing durability and preventing snags. Other single-stem designs utilize a bit of rigid shaft below the cam head, but the central cable on Zeros inserts directly into the cam head, enhancing holding power (due to reduced leverage) in shallow horizontals. During testing, I also noticed that the central cables don’t get tweaked as easily as other designs. The color-coding on the doubled slings (and the cam body) is excellent, and you can clip directly into the thumb loop when high stepping on aid routes. Ironically, the Zeros’ tiny features and superior flexibility can make them hard to handle: The trigger bars are a tad small for secure handling in all situations. They’re also so close to the cam heads that extracting deep placements is a chore, and the ultraflexible stems feel noodley when you’re trying to wiggle the units into or out of a tight spot. Wild Country/Excalibur: 801-942-8471, WE SHIP ANYWHERE IN THE U.S. FOR ONLY $4.95! Actual shipping charges apply to AK, HI, PR and APO addresses. BLOWOUTS!


Sterling 10.2 X 60M Bandit Pkge……$99.00 Black Diamond Camalot Jr. .5……$37.95 Bluewater 11 x 50M Enduro Ropes….$89.95 Sterling 3/8” x 150’ Static Ropes.....$89.00 Black Diamond ATC XP Blems…….$15.95

OP Dirtbag Bentgate Quickdraws……….$9.95 ABC Canyon Rope Bag w/Tarp….……..$27.95 Petzl Myo Headlamp…………………....$32.95 Rock Empire Cam Set (8 Cams)….....$217.00 Sterling 1” Tubular Webbing……....28 cents/ft.

LOTS more Blowouts on our website SALE ITEMS Edelweiss 10.5 x 60M DRY Ropes….$109.95 Charlet Moser Dart Crampons…..…..$159.95 Camp Tricam Set (6)………...…..…..…$89.95 Metolius Simulator Blem ……….…..… $59.00 Petzl Grigri w/ Free Carabiner………...$70.00 Camp Wiregate Q’Draw 6 Pack ……....$59.95 ABC Huevos Stopper Set #1-13……..$59.95 Trango B52 Belay Device…………...…$18.95 Metolius Curve Hex Set……….….….$109.00 BD Hemisphere Helmet………………..$49.95 Five Ten Moccasym Shoe………………$89.95 Order 10 or more carabiners and get 10% off - MIX & MATCH!

Starved Rock Outfitters, Ltd. 201 Donaldson St., Utica, IL 61373 Phone: 815-667-7170 ORDER TOLL-FREE 1-888-580-5510 CALL OR WRITE FOR OUR LATEST SALE FLYER | 41

GEAR Colorado Custom Hardware Aliens Aliens are a staple for many climbers, especially those who frequent areas with tricky protection like the Gunks or Eldorado Canyon. A fairly long and flexible stem, combined with an ultra svelte head width, gives Aliens an edge when it comes to bottoming cracks, horizontals or hard-to-reach spots. The bendable stem absorbs minor sideways tugs, keeping the cam head from rotating out of position. Other pluses are the trigger wires, housed in a sheath that slides on the central cable and reduces their exposure to wear and tear; and the trigger bar, which is placed well below the head. In the field, I noticed that Aliens don’t tend to tangle with other gear, operate smoothly even after vicious bounce testing in a shallow horizontal placement and, because of their long flexible stems, hardly ever walk out of position. On the downside, the small, smooth metal trigger bar is hard to grasp, and spring action is a little mushy, which means you have to be very precise when setting the unit to get a good fit. There are no cam stops on Aliens, so open placements are not an option, and the lobes sometimes invert, complicating removal. CCH also offers a Hybrid model, with offset cams, and the option of extra-long stems. Colorado Custom Hardware: 307-721-9385, no website. Stability: 3.5 Trigger design: 3.5 Tricky placements: 4.5 Final Score:



#1 .33-.54 inches, 8kN, 2.3 ounces, $54 #2 .39-.67 inches, 9kN, 2.5 ounces, $54 #3 .50-.86 inches, 9kN, 2.6 ounces, $54 #4 .61-1.06 inches, 12kN, 2.9 ounces, $54

The North Face Ama Dablam with GORE-TEX ® XCR™ fabric technology

Extendin g comfort. That’s what GORE -TEX ® XCR™ (Extended Comfort Ran ge) outerwear is all about. Thanks to a remarkable new membrane technolo gy, these expedition-tested

Wild Country Technical Friends



Sturdy and compact, the Tech Friends operated smoothly even after receiving a serious tweaking during a horizontal aid traverse. A plastic exoskeleton surrounds the central cable, which makes these units particularly easy to grasp as well as durable. The trigger bar operates smoothly, has snappy spring action, and is comfortably shaped. The wide cam head didn’t fit tight slots especially well, but the relatively stiff stem meant I could readily shove the unit into hard-to-reach placements. These cams tended to walk more than other designs, likely because the rigid, plastic-covered stem didn’t absorb sideways tugs. The bar tacking on the sling sometimes snagged in the plastic frame, making clipping difficult. On the plus side, the brightly colored slings and cam heads made selecting the correct size a snap. Wild Country/Excalibur: 801-9428471, Stability: 4 Trigger design: 4.5 #00 .4-.63 inches, 10kN, 2.5 ounces, $49 Tricky placements: 3 #0 .51-.75 inches, 14kN, 2.7 ounces, $49 Final score: #.5 .67-.94 inches, 14kN, 3.0 ounces, $49

garments are the first to deliver extended comfort. Their extreme breathability combined with durable waterproof protection ensures comfort over a wide ran ge of weather conditions. It’s rugged outerwear guaranteed to take you to that good place – and keep you there lon ger.

DMM 3CUs and 4CUs The bargain pricing isn’t the only attractive thing about these units — the colorful anodizing on the cam heads and trigger bars is just as eye-catching. A deeply recessed notch on the trigger bar accepts a single finger nicely, but the bottom spreader bar on the U-shaped bracket was too close to the bottom of the “U” to accept a thumb, so I had to stabilize the unit by pressing my palm against the slippery, plastic-coated bottom wire. Spring action was slightly mushy on both the 3CUs and 4CUs, complicating a perfect fit in flaring cracks, and the fitting that connects the outer cables to the cam head is relatively bulky. Despite these shortcomings, the units performed reasonably well in the field, where the wide central | 43 GORE, GORE-TEX, GORE-TEX XCR, Guaranteed To Keep You Dry and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., ©2002 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., 1-800-431-GORE.

GEAR cam on the 3CUs created stable placements and the handy doubled-sling sometimes eliminated the need for a quickdraw. The 4CU design offers two normal-size central cam lobes rather than the 3CU’s extra-wide center lobe. DMM/Excalibur: 801-942-8471,


3CUs #.5 .51-.75 inches, 14kN, 2.6 ounces, $39 #.75 .67-.94 inches, 14kN, 2.8 ounces, $39 #1 .75-1.14 inches, 14kN, 3 ounces, $39


Stability: 4 Trigger design: 3 Tricky placements: 3.5 Final score:


4CUs #.5 .51-.75 inches, 14kN, 2.7 ounces, $45 #.75 .67-.94 inches, 14kN, 2.9 ounces, $45 #1 .75-1.14 inches, 14kN, 3.3 ounces, $45


Stability: 4 Trigger design: 3 Tricky placements: 3.5 Final score:

Rock Empire Microflex Robot



The U-shaped bodies on these bargain-priced units are quite durable, and molded back into shape even after serious abuse. The spring action is good but not the snappiest in the review, yet the Robots were stable and easy to maneuver. The plastic trigger bar felt good and had a slight curve in the middle to accommodate a single finger. The fit may be a bit tight for extra-thick digits, but the bar is also just wide enough to be grasped on the ends. The doubled slings were nicely color coded. On the downside, the side swages on these Best value cams are huge, making for a bulky head width. Rock Empire: 866-3033315, Stability: 3.5 #.25 .47-.6 inches, 9kN, 2 ounces, $29 Trigger design: 3.5 #.50 .55-.79 inches, 10kN, 2 ounces, $29 Tricky placements: 3 Best value Best value #.75 .75-.97 inches, 10kN, 2 ounces, $29 Final score:

Trango FlexCams The smallest three sizes in the FlexCam family offer reliable thincrack performance, down to .47 inches, at hard-to-beat prices. Spring action is reassuringly firm, and the long, fairly rigid, plastic-coated stem makes it easy to push the units into, or remove them from, distant placements. The cam head is fairly narrow, which helps with tight flares, but sacrifices a touch of stability. The trigger bar is on the small side and sits close to the cam head, making extraction a chore. On the plus side, the bar is nicely textured and easy to grasp.

44 |

#1 .47-.65 inches, 8kN, 2.3 ounces, $40 #2 .55-.79 inches, 9kN, 2.4 ounces, $40 #3 .67-.96 inches, 10kN, 2.5 ounces $40



FlexCams performed well on the rock, holding securely in vertical and horizontal cracks, though the stiff stem did cause them to walk a bit. I liked being able to clip directly into the large closed loop at the base of the stem when aid climbing. The doubled sling can be extended into a longer single runner, which can obviate the need for a quickdraw. Trango: 800-860-3653, Stability: 3.5 Trigger design: 3.5 Tricky placements: 4 Final Score:

The unique single-finger ring trigger on these four-cam units takes a bit of getting used to, but after a few pitches I found I could grab them off my rack quickly and securely. The U-stem is noticeably longer than the frame on other models (the Quadcam is more than an inch longer than Metolius’ frame), which simplifies access to high or deep placements. Quadcams functioned well in the field, showing little tendency to walk and, thanks to lowprofile outer swages, slipping securely into tight spots. On the minus side, the trigger prevents you from retracting each side of the cams independently, a slight disadvantage for removing the units from tight placements. Also, the springs are not as snappy as some other U-stem cams, so the units didn’t sit as securely in flares. Hugh Banner/Climb High: 802-985-5056,, Stability: 4 #.00 .41-.65 inches, 10kN, 3.0 ounces, $56 Trigger design: 3.5 #.0 .51-.75 inches, 15kN, 3.0 ounces, $56 Tricky placements: 3.5 #1 .6-.9 inches, 15kN, 3.1 ounces, $56 Final score:



Hugh Banner Quadcam Marmot Cold Steel with GORE-TEX ® XCR® fabric technology

Extendin g comfort. That’s what GORE -TEX ® XCR® (Extended Comfort Ran ge) outerwear is all about. Thanks to a remarkable new membrane technolo gy, these expedition-tested garments are the first to deliver extended comfort. Their extreme breathability combined with durable waterproof protection ensures comfort over

Spider Cams just squeak into the micro-cam category, as their smallest model starts at a relatively large .59 inches. However, these units deliver reliable free-climbing performance, and they fit the larger cracks that mere mortals like myself tend to climb. The single-stem design performs well, with solid spring action and a stable, average-width head. The thick, easily controlled stem facilitates long reaches, but I had to spend time bending it back into shape after weighting placements in horizontal cracks. The trigger was a touch too close to the cam heads, complicating removal from deep cracks. However, the broad plastic bar fits most people’s mitts comfortably. The sewn sling is a nice touch. C.A.M.P. USA: 303-465-9429, Stability: 4 #1 .59-.75 inches, 10kN, 2.8 ounces, $39 Trigger design: 3.5 #2 .67-.87 inches, 10kN, 3.1 ounces, $39 Tricky placements: 3 #3 .75-1.1 inches, 10kN, 3.3 ounces, $39 Final Score:



C.A.M.P. Spider Cams | 45

a wide ran ge of weather conditions. It’s rugged outerwear 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.


Reasonably priced and nicely finished, the Flexi-Fix units fit well in tight pods and other tricky spots due to a moderately narrow cam head. On the downside, the large but slippery metal trigger bar tended to float on its cables, making it hard to place the unit quickly. The trigger is also located close to the cam head, making extraction difficult. At the sling end of the stem, a metal fitting kept the single stem especially rigid, increasing the tendency to walk. Hugh Banner/Climb High: 802-9855056,, Stability: 2.5 Trigger design: 2 #00 .43-.67 inches, 15kN, 2.6 ounces, $42 Tricky placements 3.5 #0 .51-.74 inches, 15kN, 2.7 ounces, $42 Final Score: #.5 .59-.90 inches, 15kN, 2.9 ounces, $42



Hugh Banner Flexi-Fix

Arc’teryx Sigma SV with WINDSTOPPER® fabric technology

New WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shells combine the full protection of a shell with the soft comfort

Splitter Gear 2Cams and 4Cams


These innovative units offer another option for protecting ultra-shallow cracks and pin scars — both the 2Cam and 4Cam designs held body weight while aiding vertical cracks so shallow that only half of each cam lobe touched the rock. The lobes are directly opposed (compared with traditional cams, where the cam lobes are staggered along the axle), which Splitter says creates greater holding power. In practice, the 2Cam design worked best when the load was directly aligned with the unit’s central cable. A forceful tug from the side, however, was sometimes enough to dislodge the cam. The 4Cam units were more stable, and were strong enough for aid placements even with only two cam lobes engaged. On both designs, a plastic sheath protects the offset trigger wire, but the small metal trigger itself is hard to grasp. With the 2Cam unit, the single, offset wire left the trigger bar sitting at an awkward angle, and the spring action was uneven. These cams are great for aid climbing, and a nice specialty tool for free climbing. Splitter Gear/Advanced Base Camp: 888-90-CLIMB, 2Cams #.5 .47-.67 inches, 2 ounces, 9kN, $52 #.6 .57-.81 inches, 2 ounces, 9kN, $52 #1 .74-1.09 inches, 2.1 ounces, 9kN, $52

of a mid-layer in one garment. Thanks to its revolutionary ultralight membrane technology, WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shells not only stop the wind, repel water, and prevent heat loss, but allow moisture to easily escape so you don’t get overheated. So now you can slam the door on windchill, blow away the need for layering, and find comfort in your favorite high-aerobic activity – in virtually any condition.


Stability: 2 Trigger design: 2.5 Tricky placements: 4.5 Final score:


4Cams #.5 .47-.67 inches, 2.3 ounces, 9kN, $55 #.6 .57-.81 inches, 2.3 ounces, 9kN, $55 #1 .74-1.09 inches, 3 ounces, 9kN, $55

Stability: 2.5 Trigger design: 2.5 Tricky placements: 3.5 Final score:


from the inventors of GORE-TEX ® fabrics GORE, GORE-TEX, WINDSTOPPER, and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., ©2003 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., 1-800-431-GORE. | 47


LOWE ALPINE SYSTEMS Mutant pants Whether you're mountaineering in Alaska, cragging in West Virginia, or skiing in Colorado, you need a pair of these pants. Technical mountain pant in soft shell fabric giving maximum versatility. These pants are wind and water resistant, durable and VERY breathable. Three zippered pockets, calf zips, cuff snaps, a lined waistband, make a pant that everyone needs in their closet!


Model 760 Summit

FITTER INTERNATIONAL BoarDRocK & Bongo Board The new Buck/Whittaker Summit is a rugged knife which includes essential tools for outdoor activities. Lightweight yet durable, it has a partially serrated 2-1/2” blade plus can and bottle opener, screwdriver, even a corkscrew to help you celebrate your achievements. $70.

The BoarDRocK and Bongo Board are awesome trainers for all boarder's or anyone who wants better balance and spinning skills. When you get on either of these boards you'll quickly realize how the skills you're practicing and the confidence you're gaining will transfer over to all of your other boarding sports!



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EXTREME CARE, INC. “I take Protech on all my climbs and wear it every day. Protech provides superior protection from the elements in a non-greasy, soothing, moisture-rich formula and it feels fantastic!” –– Pete Athans. Find out for yourself what other climbers are raving about! Go to to request a free Daypack or to order!


JOSHUA TREE CLIMBING SALVE For the tip-rippin', knuckle-nickin' climbing fiend. For hands that take serious abuse...climbers, skiers, backpackers, carpenters, gardeners, dishwashers, anyone with cracked, beat-up hands...with the best ingredients known to handkind. Made with 100% synthetic-free ingredients, it heals, soothes and moisturizes. Puts blown tips back on the rock, where they belong.



Ultra 7 LED Headlamp If you value brightness above all else, the Ultra 7 is for you. This model offers 7 LED bulbs, 3 brightness settings, adjustable head strap, handy tilt function and water-resistant case. Available in White, Red, Blue & Green LED colors. Weighs only 5 ounces with 3 AAA batteries.

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$19.95 Order now Meticulously researched, fully comprehensive, guide to Little Cottonwood, Joe’s Valley, Ibex, Big Bend, and Ogden. 216 pages.


C.A.M.P. Ball Nuts and Trango Sliding Nutz

C.A.M.P. Ball Nuts/Trango Sliding Nutz #1 .12-.24 inches, 4.5kN, 1 ounce, $36/$35 #2 .18-.35 inches, 8kN, 1.4 ounces, $36/$35 #3 .24-.47 inches, 8kN, 1.7 ounces, $36/$35 #4 .35-.51 inches, 8kN, 2.2 ounces, $38/$35 #5 .43-.59 inches, 8kN, 2.5 ounces, $38/$35

Stability: 4 Trigger design: 4.5 Tricky placements: 4.5 Final score:

New WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shells combine the full protection

of a mid-layer in one garment. Thanks to its revolutionary ultralight membrane technology, WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shells

Climb Tech Tech-Nuts Similar in design to the C.A.M.P/Trango sliding nuts, Tech-Nuts differ in their lack of a channel in the main nut, along which the sliding wedge travels. In irregular cracks I found that I could set the point of the triangular sliding nut behind a crystal and gain a secure placement, but in smooth-sided cracks I liked the C.A.M.P/Trango slider nuts better, due to their larger contact surfaces. Plus, the C.A.M.P./Trango slider nuts fit flares better because the floating ball swivels while the Climb Tech wedge can’t. To their credit, Tech-Nuts offer about two more inches of reach than their competitors, a feature that aid climbers will appreciate for high placements. Tech-Nuts do not come with a sling. Climb Tech/Advanced Base Camp: 888-90-CLIMB,

not only stop the wind, repel water, and prevent heat loss, but allow moisture to easily escape so you don’t get overheated. So now you can slam the door on windchill, blow away the need for layering, and find comfort in your

#1 .31-.39 inches, 6kN, 1 ounce, $40 #2 .35-.47 inches, 6kN, 1 ounce, $40 #3 .39-.51 inches, 10kN, 1.5 ounces, $42 #4 .45-.60 inches, 10kN, 2 ounces, $42 #5 .51-.66 inches, 10kN, 2.2 ounces, $43 #6 .59-.74 inches, 10kN, 2.5 ounces, $43



Arc’teryx Sigma SL with WINDSTOPPER® fabric technology

of a shell with the soft comfort



These two models are identical, and are thus reviewed as one model. These slider nuts are the best things going for ultra-thin and narrow cracks, even flares and pin scars. Under load, the spring-loaded brass ball slides up the wedge, pushing forcefully against the crack. It’s a remarkably secure mechanism for creating outward pressure and holding power, something you’ll appreciate when trying to remove one of these units after a fall. One tester used them successfully as aid gear in wildly flaring placements where no cam could ever hope to go — and they held. They’re wickedly strong, too, with a breaking strength of 8kN for the #2, fitting cracks down to .18 inches. On the smaller sizes, the ball (which is flat-sided where it contacts the rock) doesn’t offer enough surface area to withstand severe sideways loading, but placements were extremely stable when the stem was aligned with the direction of pull. I would, however, welcome sewn slings on these units. C.A.M.P.: 303-465-9429, and Trango: 800860-3653,

Stability: 3.5 Trigger design: 4 Tricky placements: 4 Final score:

favorite high-aerobic activity – in virtually any condition.

Dirty No More TLC for cams Like all good things, cams don’t last forever, but they can keep their wings for a decade or more if you clean them regularly. Chris Harmston, who spent eight years designing, testing and destroying all manner of camming devices in Black Diamond Equipment’s laboratory, recommends washing your cams after an extended trip, or once a year during normal use. Here’s how: 1. Fill a bucket with hot water, add a squirt of dish soap and swish the cams in the water. Actuate the triggers several times, and use a toothbrush to get rid of any residue. Once the cams are clean, shake out as much water as possible and wipe each unit dry with a clean cloth. A

compressed-air spray can (available in office supply stores) is handy for getting the cam heads completely dry and preventing rust. 2. Lubricate all moving parts with WD-40. Although WD-40 attracts more dirt than non-oil-based lubes like silicon, it more readily prevents rust — the primary enemy to safe cam operation. 3. Finish the job by thoroughly inspecting all wires, cam lobes and slings. The sling is often the weakest link in wellused cams. Minor fuzzing is not an issue, but even small nicks in the outer edges will greatly reduce a sling’s strength. — M.E. | 49 from the inventors of GORE-TEX ® fabrics GORE, GORE-TEX, WINDSTOPPER, and designs are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., ©2003 W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., 1-800-431-GORE.

W H AT ’ S N E W Valandre Shocking Blue -15 F sleeping bag

Beal Booster II 9.7mm rope

One side effect of the French gastronomical obsession with fois gras is this: a wealth of superior-quality goose and duck down. The good folks at Valandre in Belcaire have capitalized on the flurry of available feathers with their amazing sleeping bag the Shocking Blue. Hand-plucked 850+ fill down, water-repellent Pertex fabric and meticulous design make this 3-pound 1-ounce bag by far the lightest -15 Fahrenheit model that I’ve climbed with. I used the Shocking Blue ($625) on Denali this spring and stayed warm in below-zero temps with no trouble; I’d gladly take it to -20 or colder. Among the secrets to the bag’s warmth are its whopping 52 baffles, constructed so the inner fabric never contacts the outer surface. In other words, the down always has plenty of space to expand. Even the hood is baffled — when you cinch it down, your mug is wrapped in two inches of insulation. The foot box is specially designed, too, like a pair of soles inclined for a normal angle of rest. With a compression sack I can stuff the Shocking Blue down to the same size as a rugby ball. This bag is a godsend for the alpinist. Do I have to give it back? — Barry Blanchard

It’s amazing, on a long trad pitch or even a 90-foot sport route, how much you can start to feel the weight of the rope. Though we might yearn for lighter ropes, some of us shrink from going really thin. An inviting compromise is a fatter, if you know what I mean, thin rope. At 9.7mm, the Beal Booster II ($158, or $184 for dry-treated) is a pillar of its community. It has a lower impact force than, for example, its trimmer sister, the 9.4mm Stinger II (7.2 kN versus 8.2 kN), reducing the load on your top piece of protection. At a flyweight 61 grams per meter, the rope shines for on-sighting or redpointing on steep rock. It is rated for eight UIAA drop-test falls, and the 60-meter length is good for most routes. The Booster has a smooth sheath that trails without snagging, and a long black middle mark that remains visible even when the cord gets dirty. The rope itself is relatively soft, which can make it noodley in clipping. But on lead it never hung heavy ... off my harness or on my mind. Beal/Black Diamond: 801-278-5533, — Alison Osius

Bargain Corner: Black Diamond Positron Screwgate It’s frustrating: You crank your brain out on a heinous lead only to arrive at the anchor to discover a cluster of multi-colored, tattered slings crowding it. Here’s a locking carabiner that makes quick work of clipping into that mess of slings and rides light on your harness. Black Diamond’s 1.9-ounce Positron Screwgate offers a notch-

less gate, so there’s nothing to snag inside the nose. I found I could operate the biner one-handed, spinning the slick screwgate open and shut with my thumb. Even better, it locks tightly and doesn’t vibrate loose during long jug sessions. At $10.50 the Positron lets you keep a good lock on your cash, too. — Tyler Stableford


50 |


PrAna Impala top and Isis Lorelei Capris Lord knows we women love our sport tops. But sometimes you just want more on — it’s cool out, or you don’t love grating your shoulder in a chimney. The Impala top ($34) from PrAna is — what?! — an actual shirt, long enough to stay put under a harness, easy to wear on the street. Made of poly-cotton-lycra, the Impala stretches without pulling, and offers a slim fit with good wide armholes, a mercy for climbers’ movements and builds. The Lorelei Capri pants ($60) from Isis are just incredibly useful. They protect your knees from rock wounds and rope burns, while the multi-ply nylon is versatile enough for three-season use, and built to wick. The pants have, hallelujah, no belt or belt loops, and only one pocket, a zipped cargo rig below and clear of your leg loop. The front fly is a flat hook and eye, less fiddly than you’d think to deal with under a harness. The fabric shunned snags from crozzly rock, and was positively burly at holding off stains. PrAna: 800-5577262, and Isis: 802-862-3351, — A. O.

Misty Mountain Silhouette harness Aptly named for its body-hugging fit, the Silhouette ($75) is so nimble that I hardly noticed it until I needed it. And that was the moment I found what a super-comfortable women’s harness this is. The waist belt’s firm closed-cell-foam padding is cut relatively wide in front to cover the top of women’s hipbones and avoid digging into them. The back is a generous three and a half inches wide for support — so sweet when you’re hanging on a rope. Adjustable leg loops and a big thumb-pry buckle on the waist belt make it easy to cinch

the harness for a snug fit. Misty Mountain will also semi-customize the harness, mixing different-sized leg loops and waist belts at no extra cost. The Silhouette is built for trad climbing, with a haul loop (rated to 12 kN), releasable rear risers and four stiff gear loops that take 10 carabiners each. At 16 ounces for a size small, the Silhouette is a couple of ounces heavier than some harnesses. The only thing I noticed, though, was the extra comfort. Misty Mountain: 866647-8955, — Suzanne Hurt


Tried and True: Wild Country rigid-stem Friends In 1980, when my climbing partner Jon Frank bought a Wild Country Friend and added it to our group rack, I was taken aback. Not only did the cam’s $20 price tag seem staggering, but its complex machinery lacked the simple trustworthiness of a nut or hex. It was with trepidation that I first slotted a Friend into a crack — then backed it up with a good old nut. In hindsight such distrust seems stupidly puritanical. Not only did Friends quickly prove themselves safe and reliable, but indispensable. Practically every ascent of every crack since then has used Friends, or some derivation on the cam. Today, about a dozen companies make cams, and even Wild Country has variations on its own theme, offering flexible-stemmed “Technical” Friends and micro “Zeros.” Despite all of the tweaks, the rigid-stem design — now called Forged Friends — still leads in durability. I have several units on my rack from the early 1980s and they perform just as well today as they did then. Critics will note that the rigid stem is vulnerable in horizontal-loading situations. True, but this is easily remedied by slinging a “Gunks tie-off” through the stem’s forward hole. Forged Friends come in 9 sizes to fit cracks from .75 to 3.94 inches and cost $35 each, regardless of size. Wild Country/Excalibur: 801-942-8471, — Duane Raleigh | 51




How to Meet Girls A three-step dating guide for the modern climber




limbing 5.14, or V10, is easy — through monomania and calculated starvation, you too can join the elite ranks of footloose teenagers and V-sputtering subnormals to penetrate the stratosphere of climbing difficulty. Yet such obsession has its cost. Today’s sport has yielded a “lost generation”: climbers, mostly male, so socially inept that interaction with the opposite sex is generally limited to staring and cowering. It’s too bad really, because with more and more women in the sport, the odds of meeting a Grade-A climber chick have never been higher. Blame it on testosterone, bull-headedness or stupidity (brain-tissue necrosis from holding one’s breath on ultra-sickity 52 |

moves), but the net result is the same: scads of hapless climber dudes forced to “solo” while a savvy minority, who knows how to work it, snags the Betties. Well, toss that fist aside! With these helpful dating tips, you’ll learn both what “it” is and how to “work” it without ever leaving the cozy confines of your local gym/bouldering area/crag. But a word of caution before you begin: Never venture into the real world of dating, where the fact that you did the Dream Merchant (V11) on your 417th try will actually make you the object of your date’s pity, not desire. No, it’s not safe out there; better to keep “it” in the climbing world, where we all speak the same lingo of dysfunction.

Conrad Anker, Jackson, WY. Photo: © 2003 Jimmy Chin. GORE-TEX XCR is a registered trademark of W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.


This is Summit Series — our most technically advanced gear. The Ama Dablam Stretch Infusion Jacket and Pant shown here are engineered with our breakthrough Infusion technology, reinforced where apparel takes the most abuse, preventing abrasion and wet-out. They also feature durable, waterproof GORE-TEX®XCRTM fabric. If it’s from The North Face, then it’s been pushed, pulled and tested by some of the world’s best athletes. This is your invitation to join them. To find out more, explore The North Face online.




STEP 1: GETTING A DATE Method A: Open your mouth Choose your words, and venue, wisely: To be heard in a crowded rock gym, you’ll need to shout your pick-up lines. Conversely, screaming these same lines at a quiet crag will only paint you as the Neanderthal that you are. Modulate your volume accordingly. • Bzzzattt and Hnnnughhh! “Bzzzattt!” — a power shout heard in rock gyms across America — exudes both authority and sexual intensity. Enhance your

dialogue. Prep by wiping the drool off your chin, clearing the film from your eyes and dry-flapping your piehole before a mirror. Possible topics: climbing, blowby-blow beta, places to go climbing, slagging off other climbers, humpy-humpy (aka bangy-bangy) and the metaphysical ramifications of an ever-expanding quantum universe. Method B: Point and shoot Ever notice all those stunning pix of gorgeous women that grace the climbing magazines, then puzzle over the fact that all are shot by the same five or six dudes, who also happen to be, or have recently become, the models’ boyfriends? Consider the power of the camera, a seemingly innocuous device that, dangled from the neck of some drizzly little nothing with the charisma of a urinal cake, creates a Lothario with a lens cap. Become, or at least pretend to become, an outdoor-sports photographer by: •Buying a camera •Buying some film (optional) •Going outside •Shooting some pictures Sound too complicated? Then visit one of the myriad Internet dating sites, those bleak corners of the electrosphere where sociopaths, V-boulderers, Zorromask-wearing onanists, sport climbers, the morbidly obese, climbing-magazine editors and other fringe dwellers go to meet, greet and make plans to mate.

Consider the power of the camera, a seemingly innocuous device that, dangled from the neck of some drizzly little nothing with the charisma of a urinal cake, creates a Lothario with a lens cap. N E W Y O R K ’ S O N LY A U T H E N T I C OUTDOOR STORE


(212) 227-1760 (800) 237-1760 54 |

“Bzzzattt!” by going shirtless, sporting lots of ink (I recommend intricate tribal or Celtic tattoos across the biceps and lower back) and flinging your chalk bag when you fail to send. “Hnnnughhh!” — an instinctual grunting derived from our pre-linguistic ancestors — is more forceful yet. To fully unleash your inner caveman, pony up for a “modern warrior”-type men’s retreat, where you’ll enjoy such male-bonding activities as primal screaming, naked drum circles, group massage and “soggy biscuit.” • Ummmmm ... One step up the interaction ladder from unfocused grunting, “Ummmmm ... “ lets that smokin’-hot crag Betty know you’re interested in her but, unfortunately, at present incapable of talking. This renders you a tantalizing Man of Mystery: Are you being deliberately enigmatic? Are you so intelligent as to find mere words vulgar? Are you so awestruck by her beauty that you lose the power of speech in her presence? Or are you just a f--king dumbass? She need never find out ... at least not until your first date. • Hi! A risky maneuver, this pick-up line is reserved for the select few who are verbally proficient enough to engage in

Method C: Get online To do this you’ll need a computer. Lacking that, shuffle down to your local library, with its free Internet access. (Libraries themselves can be great places to hook up; using “glory hole” and “Magic Marker” technology, you can schedule safe yet anonymous restroom rendezvous with other like-minded singles.) The key to online dating is subterfuge: never, I repeat never, reveal anything about yourself that smacks of the truth. Thus, if your real Internet personal reads something like this:

SWM, 22, stuck at home with parents, high-school education (GPA 2.4), climbs five days a week, no job, little or no experience with women, shirtless, sweaty, communicates in grunts and via threatening, misspelled message-board missives, sleeps in dirt and survives on Pop-Tarts and Zima, TV addict, has climbed double digits and has a chalk sponsor. Let’s hook it up, yo ... Change it to this, adding a few wellplaced Sensitive New-Age Punter (SNAP)-isms for effect: SWM, 22, dedicated family man between careers. I’m open to new ideas and experiences, but prefer the simpler things in life, be they plain, direct conversations or getting close to the land. I like white wine, massage, the video arts and the sweeter things in life. I would love to take a Bikram’s yoga class or attend an Ani Di Franco concert in the park with you. STEP 2: DRESS FOR SUCCESS As the bearded sages of ZZ Top once posited, “Every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.” While styles have changed drastically during the 20 years since The Top penned these words of wisdom, a few tried-and-true fashion accoutrements will still wow any lady worth her salt: • Jock strap: More than just an elastic support system for the crown jewels, the J-strap is the hallmark of a dedicated athlete and, like a loincloth or codpiece, a universal symbol of virility. If sparks are flying on your first date, consider slipping off somewhere private and moving your J-strap to the outside of your pants, thus telegraphing your intentions. Alternately, buy a pair of low-slung jeans and pull your J-strap high, so it rides above your pants like a thong. There is nothing more titillating. • F--k me pumps (FMPs): A derogatory term most often applied to women’s high heels, “FMPs” have recently been appropriated by SNAPs (think crystal licking, hot tubs, herbal tea, facial hair and greasy P-tails), whose own FMPs are generally fetid hemp sandals. Climber-casual FMPs include sticky-rubber flip-flops, wooden clogs and retro-chic gym shoes, though any pair of battered sneakers emitting the pheromone-rich aphrodisiac known as “stinkfoot” will suffice.

• Realistic climber wounds: Chicks dig scars, so bring on the gobies, flappers and split tips. If you haven’t actually incurred these injuries out climbing, do some home wounding prior to your date. For trad cachet, run the backs of your hands through a belt sander (“Man, those splitters at The Creek are totally grinder!”); for sport cachet, file a few layers of skin off the tips of your fingers with an emery board (“It was sooooo hot in the Canyon — my tips are killing me!”); for alpine cachet, blast your fingers with liquid nitrogen, then snip a few tips off with pinking shears; and for bouldering cachet, have a friend beat your hands with a meat tenderizer into broken, bloody pulp (“Dude bro, I must have tried the first move on Black Lung 200 times yesterday!”). STEP 3: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Now that you’re dressed to the nines with your J-strap on display, FMPs trolling proud and climbing wounds aglow, it’s time to wow your date with presence. Since the only possible topic of interest will be climbing, stage your date at a climbing area ... for authenticity. One old classic is the picnic lunch, which can be sited in the acrid dust below your crag of choice. Clear a space among the snarling pit bulls, scowling U-tards, whingeing stick-clippers and yowling babies, and, on the finest of pilfered hotel towels, lay out a delectable spread of stale sporty bars, expired sporty goo (for icing), day-old bagels and hops-heavy microbrew. You can now plunge into conversation. For example: Wrong: So, tell me a little bit more about yourself. Right: I’m sponsored and shit. Wrong: You have a beautiful smile. Right: Finish up eating so I can jam my tongue down your throat. Wrong: I’m really enjoying getting to know you. Right: I brought an extra harness so you could belay me on the proj. Matt Samet is senior editor of Rock and Ice and a loyal patron of | 55




Ben Heason’s quest to purify extreme trad climbing By Colin Wells ovember 1996. A tall, sinewy 21year-old stands below the English gritstone outcrop called The Roaches, intensely pondering a steep, holdless slab — Obsession Fatale (E8 or 5.13 X) — off of which he’s just fallen on toprope. His response to this setback is outrageously counter-intuitive. He looks up, unbuckles his harness, drops it on the ground, and without a word to his partners, daubs chalk on his hands and promptly sends the line — solo. “I can’t explain how I knew I would be OK,” he says. “I somehow managed to convince myself that I hadn’t put enough pressure on a pebble previously.” His companions are as amazed as they are aghast, watching Ben Heason, a self-confessed 5.10 climber, smear his way smoothly up the 40-foot wall. Before Obsession Fatale, Heason had never led anything harder than 5.11a.


hat seemed to his peers an isolated moment of madness turned out to be the start of Heason’s career as one of Britain’s boldest gritstone climbers. Today Heason, a part-time tree surgeon, part-time sponsored climber, lives in the post-industrial city of Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District. Here, cramped rows of high-density Victorian terraced houses host the world’s most concentrated population of rock climbers. Sheffield resident Seb Grieve (featured in the celebrated video Hard Grit, and author of Peak desperates like the 5.13a X Meshuga) once joked that he was “only the fifth-best climber on his street.” This is a city where it’s extremely hard to stand out, yet Heason is exceptional — not so much for what he does, but for how he does it.


“Part of what sets Ben apart is that he is willing to push trad climbing to his limit — and sometimes beyond,” says one longtime partner, Miles Gibson. “For me, Ben is one of the few keeping the soul in hard grit,” says another friend and fellow Sheffielder, Ian Parnell, a worldclass mountaineer. “Reading the magazines, you might be forgiven for thinking that there’s been a quantum increase in grit standards, with ascents of E7s and E8s [roughly 5.13 X] a weekly affair. But not all grit ascents are equal. The increase in hard grit ascents has less to do with an increase in abilities [than] a decrease in ethical standards.” Parnell says Heason is one of the elite few engaging in the seriously “deep play” of Hard Grit climbing, with old-school values — no toproping the route into submission first, and no crash pads at the base. Parnell cites Heason’s 2002 flash of the legendary Ron Fawcett testpiece Moon Madness (E7/8 6c or 5.13 X) on Curbar Edge, a route that had seen very few repeats in the 15 years of its existence and which no one had yet attempted groundup. With good reason: a sharkish rabble of jagged boulders awaits anyone who fails to overcome the route’s overhang and its crux bulge at 40 feet. “Even the legendary Fawcett needed to toprope extensively,” says Parnell. “He only managed the crux once every 15 goes. Ben’s only beta was watching a videotaped ascent. And he sent it first go.” Heason describes his approach in plain terms: “I just want to do routes in the purest style possible. I prefer on-sight climbing where possible.” At a time when increasing rumbles can be heard in UK

Heason on the first-ever solo of The End of the Affair (E8 6c or 5.13 X).

climbing pubs that ethical standards are once more on the slide — with a trend toward excessive pre-practice, pre-placed gear and mountains of crash pads — Heason continually chooses the hard option. His exploits to date include on-sighting 50-plus trad E6s (5.12c/d) and a dozen trad E7s (5.13a/b); soloing numerous routes in the E5 to E8 (5.12 to 5.13c) range; and putting up a slew of trad first ascents as hard as E9 7a (5.14 X). Add many dozens of hard headpoints (during which he has eschewed the use of multiple crashpads) and even the jaded Peak District “Mafia” are impressed. Adrian Berry, one of the leading lights of the current “Hard Grit” renaissance, says, “E7 is the hardest that anyone has on-sighted on trad gear in the UK. On gritstone, E7 on-sights are very rare.” Although Heason reveres the on-sight, ground-up ascent, he’s not averse to bending his ethics and “headpointing” the most committing of routes (using toprope rehearsal for serious traditional routes). One such was his own E9 7a (5.13+ X) Ozbound, a route described in the traditionally understated phraseology of British guidebooks as, “a desperate technical line in a position of great danger.” The climb starts with a thin, slabby boulder problem before a committing sequence surmounts a roof with marginal holds. Faith and precise footwork are prerequisites for success. “I think it would be pretty nigh impossible for anyone to onsight,” Heason says. “It’s not the sort of climb that you can really afford to fall off even once. So it was a case of either headpoint it — or don’t do it at all.” In time, he sent it — without crashpads, spotters or ropes. Like many grit aficionados, Heason cites the legacy of legendary climbers like Joe Brown, Ron Fawcett and Johnny Dawes — who established their routes via a kind of kinaesthetic intuition, rather than pre-planning. Evidently, Heason has joined this elite club. “I’m just a bit better than most when it comes to switching off my brain, switching off my heart, and letting my hands and feet do the business,” Heason explains.

“I certainly don’t have a death wish,” he says. “There are plenty of routes out there that I’d die on if I tried to on-sight at the moment.” circuit in Nepal,” says Alan. “He just marched off ahead on his own. We were lucky to catch sight of him just before it got dark — he wasn’t going to stop. That’s probably the closest we’ve come to losing him.” Part of Ben’s determined individualism stems from being brought up with an older and taller brother. “He was very much in the shadow of Matthew,” reflects Heason senn his younger years ior, “and I think this made him pretty comHeason participated in petitive.” That continues to this day; Matt fell running, the uniquely is also an exceptional climber, who holds tough British style of cross- the Guinness World Dyno Record (with a country racing. While fell jump of over 8 feet, 5 inches). “I’m totally running demands extreme psyched for a rematch as I was out of the stamina on long uphill grinds, country during that competition,” says Ben the key to success is in hell- enviously. “In the two previous dyno comps for-leather descents down we’d entered together, we’d [tied] in one ankle-snapping talus and and I’d beaten him in the other!” Heason initially didn’t show much of boulder-strewn hillsides. Heason’s father, Alan, an interest in climbing. Such classic team remembers the time his son sports as soccer, rugby and his chief love, won a race on the craggy basketball, claimed his attention. “AnyHeason bouldering on Brad Pitt (V11), Welsh mountain of Cnicht thing that interested him, he became possibly the best-known problem on grit. near the family home in obsessed with,” says his father. Heason Snowdonia. “If he had fallen he would have admits he “set up a hoop outside the house Heason’s head-control adventures reached a crescendo in the 2002 to 2003 season, when ripped himself in half,” he says. Alan and and practiced incessantly,” adding that he he made dozens of bold, headline-grabbing his wife, Anne, both accomplished former is still as nearly keen on the sport as he climbs in England and around the world. climbers themselves (climbing 5.10+ and was at 15. (He’s never lived farther than When he later followed with the first solo 5.9+ respectively in the 1960s), remember their 100 yards from a hoop and, until torn carascent of the ultra-serious E8 6c (5.13 X) son as markedly self-reliant from a very tilage curbed his playing recently, pracEnd of the Affair, made famous by Leo Hould- early age. “When Ben was four we took ticed several hours a day.) Heason’s horizons broadened beyond ing’s headpointed ascent in Hard Grit, some him and his brother Matt on the Annapurna the backyard court when, at 18, he Ben Heason has climbed roughly 7,000 routes in the last six years, making him one of the won a scholarship to the Atlantic world’s most prolific hard climbers. Heason selected the following routes as his personal standouts. College, a radically liberal instituTRAD ROUTES tion in South Wales devoted to India (5.13a), Arapiles, Australia, 2002: flash enabling young people from difContra Arms Pump (5.13c), Grampians, Australia, 2002: first on-sight Journey Through Nicaragua (5.13c), Grampians, Australia, 2002: first flash ferent cultures and countries to THOSE SEXY E GRADES To Bolt is Not to Be E7 6b (5.12+ R), Avon Gorge, UK, 2001: on-sight study together. Heason, plucked Many attempts have SOLOS been made to explain from his sleepy Welsh village of End of The Affair E8 6c (5.12+ X), Curbar, UK, 2003: solo (first solo ascent) E-grades to Yanks. On Porthmadog, found himself mixOzbound E9 6c (5.13+ X), Froggatt, UK, 2002: solo (first ascent) gritstone, they compute Moon Madness E7/8 6c (5.12 X), Curbar, UK, 2002: flash solo ing with more than 300 students roughly as follows: Cara Cangreso (5.13d), Thailand, 2002: solo from some 70 countries. (The ColE1: 5.8-5.9 Seafood Monos Fritas (5.13a/b), Thailand, 2002: barefoot solo E2: 5.10 lege’s motto of “Plus est en vous” Paralogism E7 6c (5.12 X), Roaches, UK, 2001: on-sight solo E3: 5.11 Deathwatch E7 6b (5.12 X), Ilkley, UK, 2001: on-sight solo — “There is more in you than you E4: 5.11+/12Toy Boy E7/8 7a (5.13+ X), Froggatt, UK, 2001: solo (2nd ascent) think” — might have been written E5: 5.12 R Monopoly E7 6b (5.12 X), Millstone, UK, 1999: on-sight solo with Heason’s later climbing exploits E6: 5.12 R/X Epiphany E6 6b (5.12 X), Froggatt, UK, 1999: on-sight solo E7: 5.13 R BOULDERING in mind.) “It was the making of E8: 5.13/13+ R/X Cave Rave (V12/13), Hollow Mountain Cave, Grampians, Australia, 2002 him,” says Heason’s father. Peak climbers cried hubris. Heason shrugs his shoulders at the criticism. “I certainly don’t have a death wish,” he says. “There are plenty of routes out there that I’d die on if I tried to on-sight at the moment.”

SPORT ROUTES Over 20 on-sights from 5.13a to 5.13c. 58 |

E9: 5.13/13+ X E10: 5.13+/5.14 R/X

(continued on page 96)



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Bob D'Antonio's 120 new bolted routes in Boulder Canyon have gained an instant following, yet they threaten a fragile truce between traditionalists and sport climbers on Colorado's Front Range By Matt Samet

t’s come to this: threats of bolt removal and sophisticated postings like “If only you knew anything at all!” on the Web, where the latest iteration of Boulder, Colorado’s bolt wars unfolds daily. With a record 120 new routes installed on the granite of Boulder Canyon over the last year and a half, Bob D’Antonio, one of the country’s most prolific new-routers, appears to have ushered in the inevitable next phase. Pissing matches over Boulder bolts are nothing new, dating back to 1985 when Christian Griffith established the area’s first rappel-bolted route, Paris Girl (5.13a), in Eldorado Canyon. In 1999, Jeff Brislawn and Alex Shainmain rapbolted The Purpose on Boulder Canyon’s traditionally traditional Bell Buttress. Steve Dieckhoff, 51, a longtime Boulder climber and stalwart trad, took offense to the route, which he’d envisioned as a gear lead and removed the bolts. In July 2000, local guidebook author Mark Rolofson re-installed the bolts with glue-ins, adding two new clips. In retaliation, Dieckhoff and friend John Christie unscrewed all 43 bolts from the nearby Cornerstone, announcing that the cliff’s lines could be led on natural gear. Rolofson and Chris Alber quickly replaced all of the Cornerstone bolts. They also called the sheriff to accuse Dieckoff of theft. (The sheriff refused to arrest Dieckhoff, deeming the hangers “abandoned property.”) Meanwhile, an escalating series of threatening answering-machine messages (“I’ll cut your f--king balls off!”) led, in one case, to a restraining order; sharp screws were strewn across the Sport Park pullout (the Sport Park is a cragging area known for its bolted cracks, chipped holds and grid bolting, and is another Boulder Canyon sore spot); posters reading “Wanted for theft and vandalism” with Dieckhoff’s picture popped up around Boulder; and the first, critical ring bolt on Paris Girl was symbolically — and shockingly — slashed so it would break when weighted. Finally, the Access Fund stepped in, brokered an informal truce that

called for a moratorium on both bolt drilling and removal, and distributed a detailed Boulder Canyon survey among the climbing community. (The study found that the vast majority of respondents frowned upon bolt chopping.) The Access Fund also suggested that climbers establish an online review process for approving new routes in the Canyon, but nothing ever came of it. And so the controversy (seemingly) ended, with the moratorium holding firm throughout 2001. In 2002, however, Philadelphia native Bob D’Antonio, 50, and author of over 1,000 routes during his 30-year climbing career, moved to nearby Louisville, enlisted his friend Vaino Kodas, and charged up his Bosch Annihilator. His routes have involved some 1,000 new bolts, and the ensuing furor has gone cyber, where it plays out daily in the “Route Comments” section of the website Ever vocal, Dieckhoff and D’Antonio, among others, have jumped into the fray, with “ethical” discourse often entering the realm of the personal. (For example, D’Antonio’s suggestions that Dieckhoff “move from Boulder” and get into a “good relationship”; or Dieckhoff’s response that the “website should be renamed”) Squabbles aside, D’Antonio’s routes have been relatively well received. “Ninety-nine percent of the people I talk to thank me and Vaino for all our hard work,” says D’Antonio of his oeuvre, comprised mainly of high-density crowd-pleasing 5.10 and 5.11s. “All of Bob’s routes are set up for convenience and safety,” says Boulder fixture Pat Adams. “He’s bolted a few real classics, but some people are annoyed by his take-no-prisoners approach to route development.” And, as Dieckhoff himself concedes, “Bob’s routes are not the worst examples of recent developments in Boulder Canyon.” “However,” he adds, “over-bolting stifles the imagination and selfdiscipline. Some of us still believe that adventure has much more lasting value than mere exercise.”

An escalating series of threatening answering machine messages led, in one case, to a restraining order.

ury F


Rock and Ice recently caught up with D’Antonio at his home in Louisville. How many routes have you put up over your lifetime? Close to a thousand. I started putting up new routes in the 1970s at the Gunks. Steve Wunsch was there, John Bragg, Henry Barber. It was a very cool time. Pitons were going out and natural gear was coming in, which really influenced my style of climbing. Climbers were very ethical about how they did things — they were environmentalists, too. Where does your motivation for new routes come from? I don’t do routes for me anymore. It may sound strange, but I do them for the community. Before, it was all about me ... it was just chest-pounding: “I did Scary Canary, I did this, I did that.” Everyone goes through that in his climbing career, but later you realize that those [dangerous] routes are self-serving; they’re limited to a certain amount of people. Might this, however, conflict with preserving the environment? Bolts are not an environmental concern — go to El Salvador, where there’s only two percent of the forest left, and that’s an environmental concern. Bolts on a wall, that’s a personal thing. Some people just don’t like bolts, and that’s OK. The Dieckhoffs and the other people — they’re absolutely lazy. They go to Eldo and climb the same old routes, but they’re the first ones to bark when somebody’s doing something new. They have the opportunity to go out and do [virgin Boulder Canyon] routes in whatever style they see fit. They can hook, they can do them ground-up — but they’re just not doing them.

Man of the people. D’Antonio and his trusty Annihilator in Boulder Canyon.

What about the Sport Park? It’s the worst-case scenario, and it wouldn’t bother me if it got chopped ... I think it’s very distasteful what they’ve done. But the bolts going in in Boulder Canyon lately are pretty stand-up. I’m proud of the routes I’ve done. Why the controversy, then? No matter what you do [in Boulder], you’re scrutinized by people who have an opinion. There’s nothing wrong with that. People in Boulder are pretty well educated — maybe too educated (laughs) — and they tend to think the sky is falling. I’ve never really fit the Boulder mold: I lived down in Colorado Springs for a while, and I’m kind of blue collar. Why bolt in Boulder Canyon, and not Eldorado? Boulder Canyon is on National Forest land and they’re pretty hands off. Eldorado is stagnant: Nothing new or creative has been done there in years. A lot of the routes are fill-ins controlled by a committee [the Fixed Hardware Review Committee], which goes against the grain of climbing. They’re our lands, and they’re multi-use. We still have a lot of freedom in Boulder Canyon, and I’d like to keep it that way. It seems like much of this plays out on the Web ... It’s the little dogs that bark the loudest. They read something on the Internet and they think it’s the truth. We cleaned a route [The Future of Life, on Bell Buttress] by removing 800 pounds of dirt — which really isn’t a lot — and one person called it “environmental destruction” without even seeing the route. You can’t form an opinion behind your computer. You have to get out and climb. Have you had any confrontations over this? I’ve had a few verbal confrontations, but nothing physical. I don’t try to force my opinion on other people. They think that by placing bolts, you’re doing just that ... but you’re not. People don’t have to clip the bolts if they don’t want. Any words for your detractors? I try not to let the masses dictate what I want to do; I’m going to let time be the judge of my routes.





Capturing Southeast rock on film is epic. Stubborn rains and reluctant locals discourage even the most motivated of shooters. One tenacious photographer, however, has pierced the veil. Presenting the motherlode of rebel rock, at its Kodachromatic best.


hy don’t you see more photos of rock climbing in the South? With the exception of the deeply hued sandstone of the Red River Gorge and the all-around fun walls of the New River Gorge, few Southern venues seem to get much press. Climate is one of the reasons. It’s easy to get postcard-perfect shots at a crag in the West that sees 350 days of sunshine a year and provides treeless vistas, sunset light from distant horizons and hundreds of climbers willing to pose. It’s way harder to snap good pix amid the South’s frequent rains and deep forests, with vegetation obscuring half of the good camera angles. Complicating matters is local climbers’ reticence: you’ll never find a slew of maga-

zine articles or triplicate, ad-filled guidebooks covering the nooks and crannies of the South because, as a rule, anything endangering Southern stone is locally unwelcome. Southern folks in general are serious about private property, a sentiment that carries over onto climbing turf, even where the rock is on public land. A lot of time and work went into finding these crags, and establishing trails and routes; often, landowners tolerate climbing based on the personal diplomacy and good manners of the original pioneers. Access here has always been touchy. Enter Harrison Shull, a dedicated climber who set out to document Southern climbing. He is proud of his roots, sunk deep in the rain-drenched Carolina hills, and is any-

thing but demure and soft-spoken. As Shull set out to win over locals, his most valuable traits were not his towering height or his impressive climbing skills (though both helped), but his dogged persistence and respect for Southern traditions. Old-timers saw him scare himself silly on their hard oldschool classics, and that helped, too. If you’ve never been, you may very well ask, What’s so special about the South? Well, you can begin with the vivid contrasts: gentle, green pillowy hills hiding jagged, overhanging crags; fierce cracks and deadly runouts, which are recommended to you in sweet Southern drawls. The climbing is incredibly diverse. Locate yourself in, say, Atlanta and within 100 miles you can cover the entire lithic spectrum: sandstone, granite, gneiss, friction slabs, dime-climbs, crimp ladders, jug-hauls, 30foot roof cracks, dihedrals, aretes and splitter finger cracks. Sport climbing on homemade hangers. Circleheading and hooking up Reaper-like aid leads. World-class boulder fields. Behind it all is a mountain landscape of rhododendron tunnel-trails, psychedelic orange walls towering behind red maples, rows of blue ridgelines fading into the haze, waterfalls splashing down vine-covered cliffs and glass-clear swimming holes in polished bowls of stone. The climbing areas are full of characters, too, some flamboyant, some crusty, some properly insane; collectively, they’ve preserved a diversity of climbing styles that match the variety of rock. All kinds of tales vie around the campfire: of mythical trad runouts, the glory days of rap drilling, debates about the merits of TCUs versus slider nuts and rifles versus pistols, and encounters with copperheads (the kind that bite, as well as the kind that rip). Shull has done more than anyone to document this wild spectrum. For that, even the most cynical and tight-lipped locals cede him a grudging respect — which is saying something. Jeff Achey was project editor for Southeastern Rock, Shull’s new 144-page book on Southern rock climbing, from which these photos were excerpted. See

WEST VIRGINIA Making a splash

Sure, it’s hot at the New River Gorge come high summer. You can complain about it, or you can do what the locals do — rent a pontoon boat on the nearby Summersville Lake for some soloing, Virginney-style. Here, Bill Wilson attempts the 5.12 crux moves on a yet-to-be-sent overhang. Previous spread: Rick Thompson topping out the New River Gorge’s showpiece arete Discombobulated (5.11b). 64 |

KENTUCKY Red River moonshine

Many consider the pocketed sandstone of the Red River Gorge the best cragging in America. If only it wasn’t so darn humid and rainy. Andrew Valerius seizes a clear weather window on Nicorette (5.12a). Below: Fortunately, there are options aplenty for Red River rain days — hang tough at Miguel’s Pizza, or hang tough at Miguel’s Pizza and drain endless bottles of Kentucky’s caffeine-laced Ale 8.

TENNESSEE Home cooking at the Obed

The Obed’s wildly steep sport climbs and pumpy bouldering send climbers hobbling back to camp with lactic acid still lingering in their forearms. Kelly Brown’s nighttime recuperation remedy: a beer-basted “yardbird,” roasted on a spit. | 65

ALABAMA Private land — and climbers are welcome!

There’s some mighty tasty climbing in Alabama, particularly on the Fontainebleaulike slopers of Horse Pens 40. This private park ($3 day-use fee) hosts biker rallies, bluegrass concerts (Emmylou Harris played her first gig here), Civil War reenactments and, naturally, bouldering competitions. The Triple Crown Bouldering Series final showdown comes to call December 6 and 7. Here, Kirk Brode tiptoes up Mortal Combat (V3). 66 |

NORTH CAROLINA Head for the high country

Fog caps the top of the imposing southeast face of Whiteside Mountain (4,930 feet) at dawn. With 900 vertical feet of granite, Whiteside is just tall enough to create epics. Many a climber has relegated to spooning with his partner during a chilly night midway up the popular route Traditions. Below: The craggy peaks of Carolina are one of the few refuges from southern summer swelter. Here at the 4,400-foot outcrop of Ship Rock near Boone, Michelle Smith powers out over the void on the Doug Reed roof crack The Broach (5.11d). | 67


There was one unclimbed peak in the area. Think anyone else had noticed it?

With 9/11 still a raw wound, most climbers have avoided Islamic countries. Two young alpinists, however, braved their fears to head for a fantastic unclimbed tooth. By Josh Wharton

Clouds boiled

up over the top of Uli Biaho, the 20,000-foot granite spire just to the south. To the west I caught the last glimpse of The Flame — a fantastically thin spike soaring from the top of a granite wall — before it was hidden by another afternoon of downpours. Our spirits sank again. As the first drops of water fell from the sky, Brian packed up the notebooks for his makeshift ESL lessons, and told our cook, Gafoor, the next section would have to wait. Lately Brian had been helping Gafoor with his English. I hoped Gafoor was a fast learner. We needed someone new to talk to. The Trango glacier was empty. We were the only expedition in the valley. Two years ago, in the summer of 2000, things had been different. Climbers had flocked to northern Pakistan, with over a hun-

dred teams attempting peaks of 6,000 meters or more, and nearly twice as many treks and expeditions to lower peaks. On the famous Trango Glacier, German, Austrian, Mexican, Spanish and American parties formed queues at the base of Nameless Tower, and raced up new routes at every break in the weather. Amid an international crowd, Americans had climbed strongly. Two Yosemite speed phenoms, Miles Smart and Timmy O’Neill, made valiant attempts on Great Trango and Nameless towers, managing to climb more pitches than any other party without touching a single summit. The couples Steve Schneider/Heather Baer and Brian McCray/Roxanna Brock opened a free line, For Better or Worse (VI 5.12), on the unclimbed Hainiblak Spire. The Black Canyon duo of Mike Pennings and Jonny Copp brought Colorado style to the Himalaya. In a total of nine days, the pair added another line, Freebird (VI 5.11d A1), to Hainiblak, made


70 |


relations between the Islamic and Western worlds. Osama Bin Laden and his al Qaeda network had responded violently to their grievances with Western influence in the Middle East and Central Asia: U.S. abandonment of Afghanistan after its war with the Soviets, troops in Saudi Arabia and American support of Israel. The result was an unprecedented American fear of terrorism. The tourism industry in Islamic nations collapsed. Despite the rocky political climate, I had desperately wanted back on the Trango Glacier, and for one reason. Barely visible from Shipton Spire basecamp remained the only unclimbed peak in the area, its height and distance from there a mystery. The spire, dubbed The Flame, appeared to overhang its base on all sides, suspended in a state of improbable mountain geometry usually reserved for the Utah desert. There seemed a very real chance it would fall over before it was ever ascended. Rumors flew that the spire was a hot item on the climbing-superstar hit list. The American climbers Mark Synnott and John Middendorf told me they’d had the peak on their minds since first seeing it. After a strong Austrian team made an unsuccessful attempt on the mountain in 2001, the website had quoted Hans Kammerlander as saying he would “like to come for The Flame in 2002.” Worst had been the hints that the Huber brothers were chomping at the bit for it. I made a decision. Politics be damned, I was going to Pakistan. Nine months later, on June 16, Brian and I had arrived at Islamabad International Airport feeling dazed and anxious. We were among only a few foreigners in the region. Many countries, includBrian McMahon on the upper headwall, approaching the imposing summit needle. ing the United States, had issued severe travel warnings urging their citizens to stay out of Pakistan. An attack on the Indian parliament in December had the first ascent of the Cat’s Ears Spire with Tague It to the Top (VI 5.11 C2) and shot up Inshallah (VII, 5.12, A1) on Shipton re-ignited nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan, and terrorist activity continued: just two days before we arrived, Spire in 72 hours. Brian McMahon and I had gotten our feet wet on a 1,500- a car bomb had exploded outside the American Consulate foot knife-edge ridge (Unfinished Symphony, V+ 5.10+ A2) in Karachi. Although Brian and I, having been here before, and a small unclimbed granite spire (The Patricia McKee had faith in the Pakistanis’ kindness, the possibility of all-out war left us constantly tense. It would be hard to fly home if Wall, IV 5.10+). Worries about political turmoil, anti-Western sentiment Islamabad International was destroyed. My father, a climber himself, suggested that if war did and the ongoing war in Kashmir, a long-disputed territory between the Pakistan and Indian border, had been brushed erupt, we should discreetly escape from basecamp by marchaside amid feelings of international camaraderie. Climbers ing 30 miles to the north into China. When I passed the idea raised their hands in success, and Pakistanis thanked Allah to Brian, he joked, “A plan that delusional is bred out of one for a tourism industry on the verge of providing a sound too many days at altitude.” economic base for the region. Smiles had seemed engraved on the faces of our Balti porters. s we eased into our first days in the country, The summer of 2001 brought much the same. our concerns subsided, mitigated by the warmth Then, in fall of 2001, the world erupted. As the World of the Pakistani people. The head official at the Trade Center collapsed, so, too, did the façade of reasonable Ministry of Tourism advised us, “Tell people you are Cana-

dian and avoid political discussions.” But as we traveled north along the Karakoram highway, people greeted us with such courtesy that lying about our nationality seemed rude and unnecessary. Political discussions were unavoidable; people, seeing their tourism industry slipping away, wanted to tell us that their country was safe. During our approach along the once-popular Baltoro glacier we saw only one other expedition (Koreans headed for Gasherbrum II), and one group of Pakistani trekkers. In the northern city of Skardu we’d been the only guests at the ordinarily full Indus hotel. Jeep drivers, shopkeepers, porters, just about everyone, would be lucky to make a fraction of the money they had made in previous years. In a country where the average annual income is $425, a dramatic income reduction could mean the difference between subsistence living and outright hunger. A week after arriving in Islamabad, Brian, Gafoor and I settled into Shipton Spire basecamp and said our good-byes to the porters. This would be our home for the next 50 days (40 there, 10 on the mountain). The Flame stood proudly in the distance. Still every bit as beautiful, somehow oblivious to the ugly world around it. The lack of other expeditions delivered a new set of fears. In 2000, essentially a group of Yosemite all-stars had been on hand. Now, if any negativity built up between the two of us, it would be a very long trip; but if either of us were injured climbing, there was absolutely no chance of rescue.

would climb regardless of the weather. After a night of tossing and turning in our tiny tent, we headed up to The Flame’s lower wall, and climbed all day through light snow, encountering everything from icy free climbing to rotten mixed nastiness. On one pitch I climbed for nearly 50 feet up a 5.10 groove without any pro, because the crack at its back was encased in ice. On another, Brian took a 15-foot fall when the thin sheet of ice he was climbing delaminated. Eventually darkness and a difficult pendulum made it ridiculous to continue, and we retreated from the base of the upper spire. On the walk back down, we cached gear at the base of the icefall nearest to high camp. We knew we only had the

Every time

I zipped up the vestibule, surrounding myself with a taut nylon cage, I realized I had forgotten a few critical things in Boulder — candy, candles, DVD player, my girlfriend.


time and motivation for one more attempt. On August 2, the weather cleared. At this point prying us from our tents and chessboard required meteorological perfection, but as we grudgingly marched out of camp things seemed to be looking up. We knew from our previous attempt that we only needed one good day, and routefinding would be simple. An hour out of camp, awash in optimism, I started up the first icefall toward our cache. We had stacked ice tools and crampons on top of a huge boulder, and stashed a pack with some food, clothing and my camera under its overhanging edge. When I reached the small plateau where the boulder sat, my heart plummeted. During the week of hard rain since our last attempt, the ice underneath the boulder had melted, and the immense block had rolled! A small piece of my pack extended teasingly from under the rock, our ice axes lay strewn in a glacial pool 10 feet away, and my crampons were either lost to a nearby crevasse or crushed. On the verge of tears, I sat down on the ice. Finally, good weather was here, and we couldn’t even approach. Ten minutes later Brian arrived. I mumbled, “Worst nightmare, Brian!” and then lost it in a temper tantrum befitting a 5-year-old. Brian said, “That new camera you got was a piece of junk anyway.”

told Brian, “I’m sure there’s a perfect hand crack splitting the back side.” We peered through binoculars. The upper spire seemed a column of overhanging crackless stone, and it might be impenetrable. It rained our first day in basecamp, the next day rained some more and by the third day a few inches of snow rested heavily on the roof of the tent. In our 40 days encamped we saw only two 24-hour periods with no precipitation. Tent time started out dull, and got duller. Every time I zipped up the vestibule, surrounding myself with a taut nylon cage, I realized I had forgotten a few critical things in Boulder — candy, candles, DVD player, my girlfriend. Brian and I managed to pass through bouts of insanity by reading, playing chess and slack lining. Brian read 17 books at basecamp, and I played more rounds of Tony Hawk Pro Skater on my Gameboy than I care to admit. Somehow, we got along without exploding. During a small break in the clouds, Brian and I managed to establish an advance basecamp in the glacial cirque below The Flame. Our tiny, single-walled tent was dug in on a field of snow, situated on a small rise that we hoped would protect us from the roaring gullies, cornices and rockfall that surrounded e chopped furiously at the ice under the boulder. us. In the weeks of abysmal conditions, we made three separate There didn’t seem to be much chance of moving trips to that high camp, fighting through 4,000 feet of elevathe two-ton granite block, but we had nothing tion gain, two icefalls, avalanche slopes and loose talus. to lose. I swung so hard that blisters formed on my hands. On our third trip to advance basecamp we decided we As we hacked, we talked through scenarios. Brian gener-


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STASH PACKS FROM BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS Don’t suck ice. Hose and bite valve are stashed inside a superinsulated shoulder strap, where they're kept warm by body heat and protected from the elements. Not in-yourface when climbing. Won't freeze in winter. $69.95 Backcountry Access, Inc. Boulder, CO USA



BLACK DIAMOND ZENIX The first all-LED headlamp to introduce "Hyperbright" LED technology, the Zenix is compact, incredibly energy efficient and provides five times more brightness than traditional LEDs. Tested to IPX Waterproof Standards, the Zenix sets a new standard in backcountry lighting. Batteries included. For a free catalog:


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Created to answer the demands of hardcore alpine climbers, the Ice Floe Jacket is no stranger to challenging ice or extended expeditions. Schoeller® Dryskin Extreme™ w/3XDRY® stretch-woven fabric sheds stormy weather and withstands abuse. The helmet-compatible hood and voluminous Napoleon pockets make it a far-ranging favorite of ice, mixed and alpine climbers everywhere.

All positive, all large radius. Hand- and finger-swallowing holds for the discerning route setter. At Franklin, we work constantly to combine our intimate hands-on knowledge of indoor climbing with the newest technologies available to bring you the lightest and strongest climbing holds on the market. For a free catalog:



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Holiday Gift Guide

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and was designed around the needs of climbers. At $129 it has everything you need to comfortabley carry and access your gear. Of course it is hydration compatible and built for super tough materials. It also uses our new, patent-pending, Exo-Frame™ technology.

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LA SPORTIVA Integral Designs - for over 15 years we have been making functional gear for climbers and backpackers. We are a low-key niche brand that designs and builds quality products at our own factory in Calgary, Canada. Many gift items available.



Trango Extreme S The Trango Extreme S continues the La Sportiva tradition of TECHNICAL INNOVATION. This boot is a lightweight, streamlined heavy-duty alpine climber’s dream come true. Super technical, warm and toasty, its incredible precision and awesome flexibility allows multi-dimensional mountaineers to push the envelope on modern alpine, sport, ice and mixed routes. FOR A FREE CATALOG, visit our website, see your local dealer, or call us!



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Holiday Gift Guide

OMEGA PACIFIC GRIPSAVER PLUS The GripSaver Plus was designed by a doctor to strengthen and balance the muscles of the hand, wrist and forearm. Super effective for rehab or prevention of all climbingrelated finger, wrist and elbow injuries, the GripSaver Plus is an essential tool for serious climbers.

Omega Pacific’s 2003 Gift Guide is filled with over 35 pages of quality climbing hardware that any climber in your life will be stoked to receive, Carabiners, Rock Pro, Belay Devices and Ice Gear. Call Today for suggestions and information or visit us on the web. Happy Holidays from your friends at Omega Pacific.



prAna prAna Kharma Hooded Pullover This cool weather women's pullover is sure to keep you warm at the crag or around town. It's crafted from ultra plush cotton/poly sherpa fleece and is available in amber and blue. Check it out at your local climbing shop or visit to find a dealer near you. $65

DIMENSION JACKET Scrappy mixed terrain on the way up, rock-garden snow chutes on the way back down – the Dimension’s exclusive stretch-woven fabric accommodates your every move with unmatched durability, while resisting water and blocking wind. Inside, the bonded polyester knit mesh adds warmth and speeds wicking. For information or a catalog: 800-638-6464


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Super Crags Tape up for the best of Indian Creek TOPOS




ndian Creek Canyon, an hour southwest of Moab on the border of Canyonlands National Park, Utah, is a dramatic, unforgiving venue, defined by its strenuous deadvertical cracks etched into monolithic red and chocolate-brown walls. Though its history reaches back almost 30 years, “I.C.” continues to be a vibrant and active locale. With literally miles of unexplored sandstone and good, clean rock, would-be first ascentionists need only a fat rack of cams and a small bolt kit (for anchors) to realize their goals. The last half-decade has seen a veritable route explosion, with anchors appearing atop sweeping, improbable corners and impossibly thin splitters. However, despite I.C.’s increased popularity, the area retains a timeless, brooding feel. Treat it reverently. For years, information about the streamlined Wingate sandstone cracks of Indian Creek Canyon has been sparse at best. Although a cadre of elite local climbers liked it that way, visitors were kept in the dark about the area’s newer climbs. Not anymore: This October, David Bloom will present the first comprehensive and full-color guidebook to the area. Excerpted here are topos to “I.C.’s” most popular “moderate” crag, Supercrack Buttress, and a good hot-weather cliff, the Pistol Whipped Wall, with its welcoming shorter routes.

Jimmy Surrette Slamma Jamma on Coyne Crack (5.11+), Supercrack Buttress, Indian Creek, Utah.


Indian Creek Essentials WHEN The best times are spring and fall, but the warm season can be stretched thanks to several shady, new cliffs. Winter, though often stable, is more hit or miss, as the interiors of the cracks don’t heat as quickly as the walls themselves. WHERE From Moab, drive 40 miles due south toward Monticello and turn west on Highway 211. Drive about 25 minutes, past Newspaper Rock, to Indian Creek. Ps AND Qs Obey all parking and camping rules. Never tread on cryptogrammic soil (the crunchy, black crust), stick strictly to existing trails, pick up your (and any others’) tape wads, dispose properly of waste, and consider leaving your precious Poochy at home. Camping A good place to camp is off Road 107 toward Bridger Jack Mesa. Alternately, camp at the "Super Bowl" by taking the first left before the turn to Davis Canyon off Highway 211, just before the road crosses over Indian Creek. LODGING Moab, an hour away, offers an abundance of lodging options, while Monticello has a Day’s Inn (866-597-9330). GUIDEBOOKS David Bloom’s comprehensive Indian Creek Climbs, published by Sharp End,; Rock Climbing Utah, by Stewart M. Green, Falcon Books, GUIDE SERVICES Moab Desert Adventures; visit or call 435-260-2404. GRUB Monticello has a few cafés and a grocery store; Moab has two brewpubs among other options. CLIMBING SHOPS Pagan Mountaineering, Moab (435-259-1117); Gearheads, Moab (888-740-4327). GEAR Nowhere in the world are one-pitch routes more gear intensive than at Indian Creek. The pitches are long and often unchanging in size. A minimal rack for most climbs would be one set of TCUs, a triple set of cams from 1.0 to 3.5 inches, a few stoppers, and several slings. Bring two ropes unless you’re sure that the climbs you’ll be doing are under 100 feet long. | 77






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Shorter routes and inviting shade at this wall make it a popular venue. Don’t miss Pistol Whipped’s classic three-pitch namesake. To get to Pistol Whipped Wall, drive past the Supercrack Buttress to the Dugout Ranch. Just past Dugout Ranch, turn left (south) on the Beef Basin Road (County Road 104). Go about 4 miles and turn left on County Road 104a. Cross the creek and connect with the old canyon road, where you go right 1.7 miles and park. Pistol Whipped Wall is about 20 minutes uphill from your truck. (Note: Gear beta is given in the following format: (2)2.0, (3)2.5 means you need two #2 Friends or the equivalent, and three # 2.5 Friends.) 1. Hijinx in the Desert (5.11), Fingers to thin hands up a right-facing offset. 80 feet. 2. Dusty Trails to Nowhere (5.10). Hands in a right-facing corner 30 feet right of Hijinx. (2)2.5, (3)3.0. 50 feet. 3. Wolf’s Ear (5.11+). Right-facing corner with a wide slot, then steep hands. 80 feet. 4. Rump Roast (5.11). An alluring wide-fingers and thin-hands splitter. (1)0.4, (1)0.75, (2)1.0, (5)1.5, (4)2.0. 70 feet. 5. Coyote Essence (5.11-). Steep fingers and hands in a small left-facing corner just left of a huge detached flake. (2)1.0, (2)1.5, (1)2.0, (2)2.5, (1)3.0. 50 feet. 6. Unnamed (5.11-). Fingers in a shallow corner that grows very thin at the top. 100 feet. 7. Unknown Tips splitter past a bolt. 80 feet. 8. Coyne Crack Simulator (5.11-). Pleasant fingers to thin-hands splitter to a small left-facing corner. (1)1.0, (1)1.5, (2)2.0, (1)2.5, (1)3.0, (1)3.5. 40 feet. 9. Wounded Knee (5.10). Twin-crack start, fingers/thin hands to a small left-facing corner. (2)2.0, (2)2.5, (3)3.0, (2)3.5. 75 feet. 10. Spaghetti Western (5.11). Gorgeous, striped left-facing corner. A fingers start to sustained thin hands, then hands. (1)0.75, (1)1.0, (2)1.5, (1)2.0, (3)2.5, (5)3.0, (1)4.0. 120 feet. 11. Revenge of the Rock Gods (5.10). Fingers and hands starting in a shallow right-facing corner. (1)0.75, (2)1.0, (2)1.5, (2)2.0, (2)3.0, (1)3.5. 70 feet. 12. Steve’s Wimpout (5.10+). Fingers in a left-facing corner through a small roof. (2)0.75, (3)1.0, (1)1.5, (1)2.5. 40 feet. 13. Pinyon Pining (5.10). Two pitches. The route follows a right-facing offwidth corner. P1)Broken rock (5.7). P2)Climb wide 5.10 past a bolt. (1)0.75, (1)1.5, (4)3.0, (3)3.5, (3)4.0, (1)4.0, fixed pro. 14. Pistol Whipped (5.12-). Three pitches. P1: A broken dihedral that gets thin at the top (5.10; 100 feet). P2: Exit the slot and up thin hands and hands in a left-facing corner (5.11, 110 feet). P3: Amazing thin-hands splitter (5.12-, 100 feet). (1)0.5, (3) each 0.75-1.5, (4)2.0, (5)2.5, (3)3.0, (1)4.0 15. Unnamed (5.13-). Fingers to tips splitter. Desperate! (2)0.65, (7)0.75, (2)1.0. 60 feet. 16. Chambered Round (5.10). Chimney behind a pillar to left-facing corner. 90 feet. 17. Skidmarks (5.10). Wavy fingers in a left-facing corner. (3)0.5, (1)0.75, (1)1.5, (1)2.5. 35 feet. 18. Short and Stupid (5.8+). Thin hands in a left-facing corner. (2)2.0, (1)2.5. 25 feet. 19. Unknown Hands on left side of pillar to wide slot. 120 feet. 20. Sig Saur (5.12-). Fingers splitter. (6)0.75, (3)1.0, (1)1.5, (1)3.0. 60 feet. 21. Jolly Rancher (5.10). Splitter-to-wide hands. (1) each 0.75-2.0, (2)2.5, (1)3.0, (8)3.5. 150 feet.

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SUPERCRACK BUTTRESS Prior to 1976 this was just another anonymous Wingate escarpment. Things changed, however, when Earl Wiggins, Ed Webster and Bryan Becker had the vision to tackle a staggeringly beautiful wide-hands splitter armed with only nuts and Hexcentrics; the rest is history. The Supercrack Buttress area sees more action than all other Indian Creek crags combined. It is one of the first cliffs encountered, the approach is short, there’s a high concentration of 5.10s and its reputation is unparalleled. On spring and fall weekends you might feel like you’re queuing in a Russian bread line. Park 0.3 miles past the Supercrack cattle guard, on the right, at the Access Fund kiosk. (Note: Gear beta is given in the following format: (2)2.0, (3)2.5 means you need two #2 Friends or the equivalent, and three # 2.5 Friends.) 1. Unnamed (5.11-). Tight hands in a shallow left-facing corner. Stays shady. 60 feet. 2. Unnamed (5.11+). A wavy tips splitter through a bulge. Anchors not visible. 3. Bad-Rad Duality (5.10+). Everything from thin hands to offwidth in a long, left-facing corner. Mostly hands; 2 to 4 Friends. 110 feet. 4. The Onslaught (5.11). Fingers in a tight, straight-in corner. 70 feet. 5. No Name Crack (5.10). Hands to wide hands in a right-facing corner; 2.5 to 4 Friends. 120 feet. 6. Triple Jeopardy (5.7). Climb the left side of a broken pillar. One of the Creek’s few 5.7s. 60 feet. 7. Twin Cracks (5.9). Climb twin hand/finger cracks in a right-facing corner; 1 to 3 Friends. 50 feet.

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8. 3 a.m. Crack (5.10). Hands to wide hands in a right-facing corner. (2)2.0, (3)2.5, (4)3.0, (2)3.5. 100 feet. 9. Wild Works of Fire (5.11 R). Start over stacked blocks and climb a hand-to-finger crack, then face climb along a seam. Nuts, two sets of TCUs, two sets of cams. 100 feet. 10. The Incredible Hand Crack (5.10). Possibly the Creek’s most popular route. Over the years the crack has gone from tight hands to loose hands from all the traffic. Climb the right side of a pillar to slammer hand jams in a right-facing corner through a roof. (6)2.5, (1)3.0. 100 feet. 11. Binge and Purge (5.11). Thin hands to offwidth on the left side of a pillar. Do your bingeing and purging before trying this route; 0.75 to 6.0 Friends. 70 feet. 12. Pringles (5.12- or 5.11). Though it comes very close to the Gorilla Crack, this a fine layback problem nonetheless. Climb sustained fingers in a shal-


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low right-facing corner sans the crack out right (5.12-). Alternately, toprope the route from the Gorilla Crack anchors and stem right (5.11). 0.5-3.0, heavy on the 0.5, 0.75. 110 feet. 13. Gorilla Crack (5.10). Mostly wide hands and fists up a poddy splitter. (1)1.5, (2)2.0, (3)2.5, (5)3.0, (3)3.5. 110 feet. 14. Three Pigs in a Slot (5.10). A left-facing corner to a chimney/slot through a roof. 90 feet. 15. Unnamed (5.10). The black corner to a fixed-nut anchor. 60 feet. 16. The Wave (5.10+). An enduring classic up an undulating left-facing corner on the left side of the Key Flake formation. Nuts, 2 sets of Friends from 1 to 3 Friends. 100 feet. 17. Key Flake (5.10). Battle the offwidth on the right side of the Key Flake. 110 feet. 18. Unnamed (5.10). Immediately right of Key Flake — climb an offwidth flake and step right to a finger crack. The boulder problem direct start is 5.12-; 0.5 to 2 Friends. 50 feet. 19. Unknown Start in a right-facing corner, pass a bolt, then step into the corner that switches aspects. 95 feet. 20. Keyhole Flakes (5.10). Fingers to hands on the varnished right wall of a dihedral; 1 to 2.5 Friends. 80 feet. 21. Unknown Climb a flared splitter that goes to tips in a left-facing corner. 70 feet. 22. Coyne Crack (5.11+). This amazing thin-hands splitter was first led yo-yo style by Leonard Coyne in 1978 with Hexes hammered into the crack. Coyne later returned for an allFriends ascent (before the introduction of half-sized units), blowing out a series of tippedout #1s and sustaining a nasty eye injury in the process. While Coyne recovered, his climbing partner, Ken Sims, sent the route in good style. (3)1.5, (7)2.0. 70 feet. 23. Fingers in a Light Socket (5.11+). Beautiful fingers in a right-facing corner, with a tricky, crux move to the slings. Many micro-cams; ball nuts useful; (2)0.5, (3)0.75, (2)1.0. 60 feet. 24. Unnamed (5.9). Short, but good. Hands on the left side of a block. 20 feet. 25. Supercrack (5.10). The climb that started it all, and the classic wide-hands splitter. Originally went another pitch (5.11) to the rim. (1)1.5, (1)2.0, (1)2.5, (2)3.0, (5)3.5. 100 feet. 26. The Little Face Climb (5.11). Saunter up the first 15 feet of Amaretto, then traverse left onto a pillar, pass a bolt and finish at Amaretto pitch-one anchor. 60 feet. 27. Amaretto (5.9/5.11+). Climb hands to offwidth on the right side of a pillar. Pitch one is worthy in its own right. Pitch two ascends the sustained, varnished, thin-hands, right-facing corner above. Pitch 1: 2.0-5.0. Pitch 2: heavy on the 1.5, 2.0. 60 or 100 feet. 28. Painted Pony (5.11). A long pitch that surmounts some big blocks (nuts useful), turns a roof and finishes with sustained thin hands. 1 to 3 Friends (heavy on the 2-Friend size), nuts, extra slings. 130 feet.

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Explosive Power Pump up your contact strength in only four weeks with plyometrics


before they snap concenxercise researchers trically into action. in the former Soviet The legendary WolfUnion were the first gang Gullich of Germany to notice something that was one of the first athletes do during force- Campus training, while high impact, is a cornerstone of climbing plyometrics. Michael Logan shows how it’s done. climbers to apply plyoful movements: They metrics to power training. In 1988, Gullich built a special trainbounce. Think of a high jumper racing toward his take-off point: ing board in his university’s gymnasium, experimenting with As he plants a leg and leaps, his body dips slightly before he blasts explosive foot-free leaps between the wooden rungs on this sointo the sky, creating a more powerful leap than an upwardcalled “campus” board. The workouts paid off for Gullich, who, only movement. More power is generated because this “plyoin 1991, redpointed Action Direct (5.14d), an über-powerful metric” bouncing effect allows the muscles to lengthen eccentrically

84 |



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PERFORMANCE dynamic line on shallow pockets in Germany’s Frankenjura. At the time it was widely considered the world’s hardest climb, and has seen only four repeats. Plyometrics also teach you to climb more quickly. Increasing your potential for explosive movement can only help your climbing, particularly on shorter, bouldery routes or fierce crux sections. Adding the following drills to your training sessions will bring noticeable power increases after just four to eight weeks. Because of the intense demands on your neuromuscular system, however, you should take a two- to fourweek break after 12 weeks of plyometrics to avoid injury (back off earlier if you experience lingering soreness). Don’t do these power drills more than twice a week — the remaining one to three training days should be reserved for technique and endurance only. On plyometric days, complete all the drills you can while maintaining good form — climbing on tired muscles often leads to injury. You may want to finish your workout with as much regular bouldering or roped climbing as you can comfortably handle. Your ultimate goal: completing all the following exercises in one training session (about an hour). Campus training is a common way to build power and contact strength through plyometrics. Unfortunately, many

climbers develop finger and elbow injuries by overdoing it. The plyometric drills featured here are less destructive than campusing but still build superior power. (See the sidebar below for a guide to better campusing.) The best place to perform these drills is a spacious bouldering area — either a commercial climbing gym or a home wall — with a variety of problems, plenty of good pads and a chin-up bar. It’s nice, but not mandatory, to have a “system wall,” which incorporates identical holds, evenly spaced on the board. The drills have been assigned difficulty ratings from 0 to 3, with 3 being the hardest. Don’t attempt a higher-rated drill until you can complete all the exercises at the preceding level in one session.

Drill 1: Submaximal Warm-Up DIFFICULTY LEVEL 0

•Begin by climbing for 10 to 15 minutes on easy boulder problems — ones you can do first or second try. •During this phase, climb slowly and deliberately for the first few problems, then gradually increase your speed of movement until you’re climbing slightly faster and less in control than usual. •Next, spend three to five minutes doing

Big comrade on campus With Fontainebleau’s famous Karma and his own No Additives (both V12) to his credit, Steven Jeffery of Utah is one of America’s most powerful boulderers. He recommends campus (no footholds) training as a way to build strength for the moves he encounters on high-end problems. “If you have to make a long reach and there’s no good place to put your feet,” Jeffery says, “campusing teaches you to float to that next hold and stick it.” Beware: Campusing places an enormous strain on your muscles and tendons. “Take a week off if your joints start to hurt,” says Jeffery, “and don’t campus again until you can climb normally for a week without pain.” JEFFERY’S TIPS: • Start with big holds. Learn by making no-foot moves between comfortable plastic grips on a gym wall. Once you can make eight successive campus moves on these holds, switch to a specialized campus board — the kind with evenly spaced wooden rungs. • Go for quality, not quantity. Warm up by making small reaches on big holds for about five minutes, then spend just 10 to 15 more minutes striving for the most powerful throws you can muster. Try progressively longer throws, until you’re tossing the biggest moves you can make. Rest for at least one to two minutes after every attempt, so you can go full bore on the next one. • Don’t match. Always try to pull past your upper hand to hit the next hold; if the grips are too small to avoid matching, switch to bigger ones. “If you’re trying to build power, lots of little tick-tacky moves won’t help,” says Jeffery. • Avoid two-handed drops. They mess with your elbows. Similarly, eschew down-campusing by matching hands, rung by rung. • Keep a log of your farthest throws. “The strongest I’ve ever been is when a friend and I kept a notebook behind our board,” says Jeffery. “Whoever made the biggest move [skipping the most rungs] got to scratch out the previous entry.” The last mark in the book is his. 86 |

active stretches. Windmill your arms in circles (both directions, with arms straight). Next, crook your elbows at 90 degrees, touch your hands together in front of your chest and rotate your torso back and forth. Finally, hang from big holds and twist your body back and forth, ignoring the jeers from your slacker rock-gym buddies, who will only grow flabbier while you morph into a fearsome powerhouse.

Drill 2: High-Speed Bouldering DIFFICULTY LEVEL 1

An extension of your warm-up, this drill teaches you to climb quickly and builds power. If you tend to climb slowly and statically, you’ll probably suck at this initially; don’t get discouraged — the gains will come quickly. •Pick an easy problem (ideally three to six moves long) from your warm-up. Using a stopwatch, have a partner time you while you climb it as quickly as you can. •Rest for two to three minutes, then strive to reduce your time on the next burn. •Eliminate holds and skip moves on your third, fourth and fifth attempts. Climb as dynamically as possible, with the expectation of frequent falls (gauge your landing accordingly!). •Repeat this drill on two more problems with, again, five attempts per problem. Try alternating burns with your partner.

Drill 3: Big Toss DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

A favorite of Canadian strongman Sonnie Trotter, this fierce exercise is just as demanding, yet far less destructive, than campusing. •Start seated, with a good hold at head height. Choose a slightly overhanging to 45-degree wall with small footholds — a system wall, with its regularly spaced holds, is ideal. •Pick the most distant hold — or even just a spot on the wall — that you can theoretically reach in a single move. Experiment a few times to find a hold that’s just at the apex of an all-out dynamic stab. The grip doesn’t have to be big, as your goal is to touch but not hold it. •Avoid drop-knees to keep the focus on your arm and back muscles: Keep your hips square to the wall or affect only a

slight twist as you reach. •Lunge for the grip, hold it very briefly, then instantly release your grip. Sink back to the start position, but don’t fall to the pads. Instead, try to “catch” yourself by locking off the bottom hold. Reset and prepare for the next toss as quickly as possible. •Repeat five to 10 times in rapid succession, then rest two or three minutes before switching hands. Build up to two sets of five to 10 reps on each hand, reaching failure with each set.

Drill 4: Inversions DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

A great way to improve core strength, this powerful exercise should be done with strict form: straight legs at the bottom and top of the movement, and pointed toes and a slightly rounded lower back throughout. •Grip a pull-up bar with your palms facing forward. •Swing your legs up in an arcing movement, bending your knees as little as possible, until your feet are straight above your head. •Point your toes at the sky, then slowly lower your legs to a hanging position. •Do three sets of five to 10 reps, resting one to three minutes between each set.

Drill 5: The Clapper DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

Two-handed dynos require explosive power; adding a hand clap means you’ll recruit even more fast-twitch muscle. •Find a well-padded spot where you can comfortably fall flat on your back. •With two hands on the launching hold/holds, drop into position for a twohanded dyno. Your target should be a twohanded jug: Pick one so comfortable that even a twiggy-armed alpinist in big silly boots could crank pull-ups from it. •Toss the throw, clapping your hands in midair before you stick the finishing hold. Drop off the wall and get ready (without rushing) for another dyno. •Repeat five to 10 times. As you dial in the timing of each dyno, the move will become easier; keep challenging yourself with bigger throws. Senior contributing editor Mark Eller lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he says just about everyone but him can stick a two-handed dyno. | 87

B E T T E R B E TA Extend your reach

A better mousetrap

“This route,” said the woman, repeating her favorite mantra, “is too reachy!” “Yeah,” my friend Timmy quipped, “you have to reach from one hold to the next.” It’s true: So-called “reach” problems are often a failure of the imagination, not of ape index. One solution is “posting,” or advancing your bottom foot up the wall — thus moving your hips higher — to extend your reach. Say there’s a bucket high and left, just out of range. Typically, you’d plant your left foot on a good edge, lock off your right hand, stretch for the jug, and come up just shy. To make the reach, “post up” by bumping your lower, right foot onto progressively higher holds or by simply smearing it ever higher while continuing to extend your left arm. (You can also use intermediate handholds to help generate the necessary lift.) Paying attention to what both feet are doing may very well mean success on that next “reach.” — Matt Samet

How many times have you cranked through a crux, struggled to place a piece, slapped on a quickdraw, then grabbed the rope to clip in only to realize that you’re clutching the loose tail to your tie-in knot instead of the rope itself?

Squeaky clean rubber

bolt. If you can, clip directly into the second quickdraw and spin upside down to retrieve the first one. If the first draw is out of reach, leave your rope clipped through the second draw and get lowered a bit; now reach downward, retrieve the first quickdraw and haul yourself back up to the second draw. Unclipping from the last bolt is the tricky bit — clip directly into the quickdraw, unclip the tram (the belayer’s side of the rope) from the quickdraws, and remove all slack from the rope. Gauge your trajectory to make certain you won’t hit a tree, sloping hillside or other obstacle, then pull yourself on the rock briefly so you can unclip from the bolt. When in doubt, get on the rock and climb up until you will swing clear. Another option is to downclimb from the first bolt to the ground, but this requires fresh arms and easy moves. — Alison Osius 88 |

The key to maximizing rock-shoe grip is ridding your soles of sand and dirt, which are the most evil culprits in slippage. To clean your rubber, scrub it with a stiff, nylonbristled brush (a wire brush is more effective, but also abrades the rubber), then use a carpet or crashpad to avoid stepping in the dirt before you start climbing. Boreal (800437-2526, sells a do-itall shoe brush for $5 that includes nylon and metal bristles, a rough sandpaper swatch and a slab of natural rubber; after brushing your shoes, rub them down with the rubber patch — the soles will look as good as new. For mud or slime, wipe your soles down with water or a small amount of rubbing alcohol, brush clean and dry them on your pant leg. Don’t have water or alcohol? Spit works well, too. — Tyler Stableford


Safe let down On really steep sport routes, stripping the draws can be downright dangerous — more than one sorry soul has swung free from the bottom quickdraw only to smack into the ground. Here’s how to avoid a crash landing: As your belayer lowers you from the anchor, clip one quickdraw from your harness’s belay loop to the rope running upward from the belayer. This “tram” holds you close to the wall and the route. The belayer should position himself against the rock, at the base of the route, enabling you to push or pull on his rope. As you near the cliff base, check out the bottom (or first) quickdraw. It’s usually safer to pluck this draw while you’re still clipped to the draw on the second

This scenario need never again happen. By using a variation on the figure-8 loop you can tie a knot that not only has no troublesome tail, but also offers a bulk-free backup. I’ve used this knot for over 20 years, and therefore in my typically self-effacing and conformist manner, refer to it as the “Olevsky Knot.” Simply tie a standard figure-8-follow-through with a long tail, and feed the tail back through the interior of the loop as shown. Tighten the knot itself from both sides without pulling on the tail; once the knot is tight, tug on the tail to snug up the whole works. Besides being a cleaner tie-in knot, it is also ideal as a hauling knot. — Ron Olevsky

Rock and Ice encourages reader tips for Better Beta. If you have an idea for tying a safer knot, a faster method for rigging anchors, modifying gear and so on, please submit it to: Should Rock and Ice use your tip in the next issue you will receive a Gregory Swift hydration pack. This streamlined pack weighs just 10.6 ounces, holds 70 ounces of fluid and retails for $55. Send in those tips now!



The route ascends the southeast ridge along the intricate glacier, then tackles the 600-foot summit tower via its Southeast Chimney.

Mount Waddington The 7,500-foot Bravo Glacier Route is the “easy” way up BY BARRY BLANCHARD


ou don’t see a guy unroped and rushing toward a 5,000foot death fall every day. My boss had blown a crampon on Mount Tiedemann and was hurtling toward the south face like an Olympic bobsledder. With one well-aimed swing Mike sank his tool and jerked to a violent self-arresting stop; I thought his arm would rip out of his torso. “It’s amazing how you know exactly what to do when you realize that you will die if you do it wrong,” he said, clinging to his tool, as I approached him and carefully snapped the crampon back onto his boot. Mike Weis was a climbing hero of mine in my beloved home range, the Canadian Rockies. He’d made the first ascents of an alpine masterpiece, the Grand Central Couloir, and a waterfall desperate, Curtain Call. Now we were working together as well: 90 |

it was 1990, and Mike and I had helicoptered to the top of Tiedemann to scout a location for filming K2, the Hollywood stinker for which he’d hired me as a climbing double. Above us, and witness to Mike’s near-demise, stood the star of the movie: Mount Waddington (13,186 feet), a mountain so towering, sculptured and rime-and-snow-barred that even we thought it a fine stand-in for the real K2. Looking across to its Northeast Face, I imagined Waddington as a killer whale, the black blade of the summit a dorsal fin arcing up from the bulging white glacier. Five years later I found myself again in the basin below the northeast slopes of the “Wad,” this time in my normal role of mountain guide. John Sr., his son John Jr. — whom we dubbed “Juan” — and I had climbed together every year for the past decade. For our first two days on the 7,500-vertical-foot Bravo Glacier Route (IV 5.6) we tiptoed over sagging snow bridges that

FA M O U S FA C E S looked like fallen angel-food cake, and zigzagged crosscut icefalls like ants stepping up and down dominoes. One icefall labyrinth was so complex we chose to endrun it on the disintegrating rock wall of the cirque, a face of sloping kitty litter. We perched our high camp at 10,660 feet, right on the back of the whale, with only the summit fin above us. I blew our first attempt by trying to climb on water ice directly to the notch between the Main Summit and the subsidiary tower of the tooth. Getting over the ‘shrund that gained the notch demanded a balance move on overhanging concave snow, which proved too much for John and Juan, although they scored points for ingenuity when Juan used his dad’s helmeted head as a crampon footstep. Back at high camp, bone-tired and summitless, I could not help but think about how minuscule our inconvenience seemed in comparison to the pioneering efforts of Don and Phyllis Munday, the husbandand-wife team from Vancouver who devoted hundreds of days over a half-

Mount Waddington Essentials WHEN June to September. Mike King, proprietor of White Saddle Air in Bluff Lake, says, “February and September are the best months.” Note that winter on the Wad is not for the faint of heart. WHERE Mount Waddington is the top of the Coast Range of British Columbia, about 200 miles north of Vancouver as the crow flies. The best way to get in is to fly, or drive, to Williams Lake (pick-up service available with White Saddle Air, and drive 140 miles west to Tatla Lake, then 31 miles south to Bluff Lake and White Saddle Air (phone 250-476-1182); have Mike King fly you into Rainy Knob, the start of the Bravo Glacier Route. A roundtrip flight should be about $1,500 Canadian/ $1,100 U.S.; payload is 800 pounds, enough for three average-sized climbers and gear. The route should take two to four days, with one more day to descend. CAMPING AND LODGING Hotels and camping are available in Williams Lake, a lodge is available at Bluff Lake ( and camping is acceptable, too. The Paul Plummer Hut, run by the British Columbia Mountaineering Club ( and located on Claw Ridge, is a possible but more distant option. Fee is $5 Canadian/ $3.60 U.S. per night. GUIDEBOOKS AND REFERENCES The Waddington Guide by Don Serl. Also, World Mountaineering, edited by Audrey Salkeld, provides a good overview of the mountain. Pushing the Limits, the Story of Canadian Mountaineering, by Chic Scott, offers excellent historical info. GUIDE SERVICES Most accredited Mountain and Alpine Guides from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides can guide the Bravo Glacier Route. Contact the ACMG at 403678-2885,; or Yamnuska, Inc. at 403-6784164,

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Don and Phyllis Munday devoted hundreds of days over a halfdozen expeditions between 1926 and 1934 trying to climb this peak they called “Mystery Mountain.” dozen expeditions between 1926 and 1934 trying to climb this peak they called “Mystery Mountain.” They had approached from its northwest side; we were to the northeast. (In the early 1930s the name was changed to honor Alfred Waddington, a prospector and author who had tried to build a road up the Homathko River to the Cariboo gold fields in 1864; the road ended when his party, though not Alfred himself, was killed by Chilcotin Indians.) The Mundays succeeded in climbing Waddington’s Northwest Summit — twice — but never cracked the difficulties of the summit fin. (Don died in 1950, and Phyllis was awarded The Order of Canada for her continued explorations and mountaineering in 1973. The great lady died in 1990). John, Juan’s and my failed attempt revealed to me a series of ramps rising left to right climbed by the Sierra Club party of Oscar Cook, Ray de Saussure, Bill Long and Dick Houston on the first ascent of the Bravo Glacier Route in 1950. That, I saw, was the way to go. At 5 a.m. the next day John, Juan and I crunched away from camp by headlamp and by 2 p.m. were fully engaged in the fine mixed climbing that led us from the notch to, an hour and a half later, the summit. The Coast Range marched north to south, plains of plaster-colored ice knuckling the blue bulk of a full horizon of peaks. It had been a difficult ascent and I peg it a full grade harder technically than the Kain Face on Mount Robson, and more complicated for its glacial travel. Before descending, I leaned over and gazed down the precipitous South Face, scene of Waddington’s first ascent, climbed by another of my heroes in 1936: Fritz Wiessner leading in rope-soled shoes, a hemp cord in a bowline around his waist, belayed loosely by Bill House. It is amazing to look back on where we’ve come from. That’s the movie Hollywood should make. ◆ | 93



CASTLETON TOWER With support from the outdoor community, Utah Open Lands has now completed the purchase of the land at the base of Castleton Tower. To support stewardship at the tower, please contact Utah Open Lands: 801-463-6156 These organizations were leaders in the preservation of Castleton Tower:

Neptune Mountaineering

Photo by: Jay Smith



FA M O U S FA C E S looked like fallen angel-food cake, and zigzagged crosscut icefalls like ants stepping up and down dominoes. One icefall labyrinth was so complex we chose to endrun it on the disintegrating rock wall of the cirque, a face of sloping kitty litter. We perched our high camp at 10,660 feet, right on the back of the whale, with only the summit fin above us. I blew our first attempt by trying to climb on water ice directly to the notch between the Main Summit and the subsidiary tower of the tooth. Getting over the ‘shrund that gained the notch demanded a balance move on overhanging concave snow, which proved too much for John and Juan, although they scored points for ingenuity when Juan used his dad’s helmeted head as a crampon footstep. Back at high camp, bone-tired and summitless, I could not help but think about how minuscule our inconvenience seemed in comparison to the pioneering efforts of Don and Phyllis Munday, the husbandand-wife team from Vancouver who devoted hundreds of days over a half-

Mount Waddington Essentials WHEN June to September. Mike King, proprietor of White Saddle Air in Bluff Lake, says, “February and September are the best months.” Note that winter on the Wad is not for the faint of heart. WHERE Mount Waddington is the top of the Coast Range of British Columbia, about 200 miles north of Vancouver as the crow flies. The best way to get in is to fly, or drive, to Williams Lake (pick-up service available with White Saddle Air, and drive 140 miles west to Tatla Lake, then 31 miles south to Bluff Lake and White Saddle Air (phone 250-476-1182); have Mike King fly you into Rainy Knob, the start of the Bravo Glacier Route. A roundtrip flight should be about $1,500 Canadian/ $1,100 U.S.; payload is 800 pounds, enough for three average-sized climbers and gear. The route should take two to four days, with one more day to descend. CAMPING AND LODGING Hotels and camping are available in Williams Lake, a lodge is available at Bluff Lake ( and camping is acceptable, too. The Paul Plummer Hut, run by the British Columbia Mountaineering Club ( and located on Claw Ridge, is a possible but more distant option. Fee is $5 Canadian/ $3.60 U.S. per night. GUIDEBOOKS AND REFERENCES The Waddington Guide by Don Serl. Also, World Mountaineering, edited by Audrey Salkeld, provides a good overview of the mountain. Pushing the Limits, the Story of Canadian Mountaineering, by Chic Scott, offers excellent historical info. GUIDE SERVICES Most accredited Mountain and Alpine Guides from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides can guide the Bravo Glacier Route. Contact the ACMG at 403678-2885,; or Yamnuska, Inc. at 403-6784164,

92 |

Don and Phyllis Munday devoted hundreds of days over a halfdozen expeditions between 1926 and 1934 trying to climb this peak they called “Mystery Mountain.” dozen expeditions between 1926 and 1934 trying to climb this peak they called “Mystery Mountain.” They had approached from its northwest side; we were to the northeast. (In the early 1930s the name was changed to honor Alfred Waddington, a prospector and author who had tried to build a road up the Homathko River to the Cariboo gold fields in 1864; the road ended when his party, though not Alfred himself, was killed by Chilcotin Indians.) The Mundays succeeded in climbing Waddington’s Northwest Summit — twice — but never cracked the difficulties of the summit fin. (Don died in 1950, and Phyllis was awarded The Order of Canada for her continued explorations and mountaineering in 1973. The great lady died in 1990). John, Juan’s and my failed attempt revealed to me a series of ramps rising left to right climbed by the Sierra Club party of Oscar Cook, Ray de Saussure, Bill Long and Dick Houston on the first ascent of the Bravo Glacier Route in 1950. That, I saw, was the way to go. At 5 a.m. the next day John, Juan and I crunched away from camp by headlamp and by 2 p.m. were fully engaged in the fine mixed climbing that led us from the notch to, an hour and a half later, the summit. The Coast Range marched north to south, plains of plaster-colored ice knuckling the blue bulk of a full horizon of peaks. It had been a difficult ascent and I peg it a full grade harder technically than the Kain Face on Mount Robson, and more complicated for its glacial travel. Before descending, I leaned over and gazed down the precipitous South Face, scene of Waddington’s first ascent, climbed by another of my heroes in 1936: Fritz Wiessner leading in rope-soled shoes, a hemp cord in a bowline around his waist, belayed loosely by Bill House. It is amazing to look back on where we’ve come from. That’s the movie Hollywood should make. ◆ | 93


Coming Clean

Dear Dr. Piton, I’m confused about this clean-climbing thing. I’ve wanked around on walls for 25 years and have done my share of nailing, but find it hard to believe that all of these once-proud nail-ups are going clean. What gives? Do these guys/gals have cojones of chromoly and are really clean aiding everything, or are they clipping fixed heads and pins and calling that clean? If so, that doesn’t seem right. Or am I an idiot? — Onan J. Goat


sking if you are an idiot is not a good way to begin a relationship with your Wall Doctor, but I’ll let you slide this time. As far as Dr. Piton is concerned, this whole clean-climbing gig is a heap of choss. You hit the piton on the head when you sensed the hypocrisy. While I take exception to the trumpedup clean-aid claims, I climb clean whenever possible for two reasons. First, clean-aid gear, like cams, hooks and nuts, does not savage the rock. Second, clean-aid is usually easier to place and remove than pins, though some nuts and cams can be beggars to fiddle in and buggers to extract. (The “easier” bit is important for People Like Me, who never do more work than is absolutely necessary.) The problem with claiming a clean ascent of virtually any bigwall aid route is that you almost always clipped fixed, hammered gear, like pins, heads, RURPs and bolts. This is true in almost every proud aid ground, from the Valley to Zion to Looking Glass. If you are bitchin’ (like me), this will happen less frequently, but even the Doc must clip pounded mank from time to time. Right, then, back to your question — how can you make a clean ascent if you clipped fixed hammered gear? Well, you can’t. There are, however, three ways to improve your chances of making a clean-aid claim. First, try harder. Find a way to climb clean. If you automatically reach for the iron, you are a sissy. Instead, be strong and grab those nuts. Forcing yourself to become

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a clean-climbing machine will improve your aid skills, even if it kills you. Second, use a “cheat stick” to bypass the hammered-aid move and reach a pre-existing fixed piece above (usually yet another hammered piece). Cheating saves you the work of hammering in gear, and lets you truthfully say you did all the moves cleanly. But like, you cheated, eh? Another option is to drive iron, but say you climbed clean. This is known as lying and is a favored tactic of some clean-aid climbers. Of course, it is easy to be a clean-aid advocate in your mind, and have another outlook when you are actually quivering in your aiders. Dr. Piton calls this dilemma “situational ethics,” where you agree that hammered gear is not sporting, but in your situation its use is warranted. Picture yourself on the 18th pitch of Sea of Dreams. You have just made 10 hook moves in a row (if you are a Real Aid Climber, your hands should now be sweating) and are faced with the option of using a marginal clean piece or a bomber hammered one. Situational ethics dictate that you slam in a BFP (Big Frickin’ Pin). Then again, your monster ego may force you to artificially inflate the rating of the pitch by placing the clean piece. If this is your aim, then why leave behind any gear at all? Why not skip clipping good pieces altogether and really get that ego stroked? When faced with this quandary, there is no second thought for me, mate. Even if I were willing to splatter my brains across the rock for a measly clean-aid claim, and the clean-aid piece held, the claim would be hollow because the route already required copious use of fixed, hammered iron. So, rather than die, or become a liar, Dr. Piton will grab a tasty Lost Arrow and pound that beautiful hummer home until it rings like a sweet-sounding church bell. To not do so would be emphatically inappropriate. Have a question you’d dare pose to Dr. Piton? Email:


True lies about big-wall aid

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PMG - Professional Mountain Guides Jim Williams PO Box 4166 Jackson,WY 83001 307-733-8812 f. 503-213-9861 Grand Teton National Park (with Exum Mountain Guides) • Denali (with Alaska Denali Guiding & Alpine Ascents Int’l) Red Rocks (with Sky’s the Limit) • Nepal China/Tibet • South America

Rhinoceros Mountain Guides Jim Shimberg 55 Mt.View Rd. Campton, NH 03223 Phone: 603-726-3030 or Rock Barn 603-520-5696 Northeast • Southwest Desert • Canada Mexico • Throughout North America and the World

Rock Climbing Guides International PO Box 1971 Joshua Tree, CA 92252 760-366-7335 f. 253-423-0431 800-94-CLIMB Joshua Tree • Tahquitz • New Hampshire

Sierra Mountain Center PO Box 95 Bishop, CA 93515 760-873-8526 f. 760-873-8526 Sierras • Patagonia • Alaska • Dolomites Mt. Robson

Slipstream Rock & Ice Guides Box 219 / 5010 Paradise Valley Rd. Squamish, BC V0N 1H0 Canada 604-898-4891 f. 604-898-4429 800-616-1325 Squamish • Victoria • Whistler • Skaha Western Canada

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San Juan Mountain Guides PO Box 776 Ouray, CO 81427 970-325-4925 f. 970-325-4925 Ouray Ice Park San Juan Mountains of CO Moab and Castle Valley Colorado National Monument Black Canyon of Gunnison NP South America

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CALCULATED RISK (continued from page 58)





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There, he was taken climbing by one of the teachers — and his attitude toward the sport changed. Serendipitously, his brother’s interest in climbing was simultaneously kindled by a vibrant outdoors scene at university. When Matt came home on vacation, sibling sparks kicked in once more. Like teenagers who discover their parents’ old vinyl collection and start digging The Stones or The Velvet Underground, the brothers unearthed their dad’s old Moacs (an early brand of slung aluminium nuts), tatty harnesses and ropes, and went off to Tremadog to tackle 5.7s. For the first few years, Ben remained “just an ordinary, average climber.” He, too, went on to university (where he studied Sports Science), joined the climbing club, and got into weekend club trips. Heason’s neatly maintained climbing logbook is a study in normalcy — at least for the early years. After an initial entry of 5.6 in 1993, it follows a typical enthusiastic rise to around 5.10, where many climbers plateau. But under the section headed “1996,” Heason’s notes suddenly charge through the grades. He explains the shift in gear. “From about 1994 to 1995 I started climbing with real keenness, full-time really — apart from the inconvenience of studying.” The genesis of the change was sharing a house with three other university climbers; they fed off each other’s enthusiasm, leading to Heason’s fateful breakthrough on Obsession Fatale. “The funny thing was, I still felt like an E2 climber afterwards — I didn’t let it go to my head.” In many ways, this sudden leap forward was akin to putting a parked sedan into gear and discovering you had a Ferrari under the hood, but it wasn’t long before there were a few stalls. Within a year and a half Heason was lying at the foot of the bold gritstone arete Narcissus with two broken ankles. “It was the fourth E6 (5.12+ R/X) in two weeks I’d tried to on-sight,” he remembers. “Ironically, it’s one of the few hard grit routes I’ve attempted with crash pads — and I missed them.” Miles Gibson recalls holding Heason’s ropes on a near-disastrous, uncontrolled and “slappy” ascent of the E5 6a Kicker Conspiracy, on Scimitar Ridge in Wales. “Ben ended up high above a huge rock spike with only a shoddy micro wire halfway between. He was shaking and sketching all over the place and all I could do was shout encouragement. Eventually he had to jump sideways to a jam.” Heason stuck the jam and climbed to safety. “Ben’s got a bit of gnarl to him,” says Gibson. “He’s got a hell of a lot of experience with desperate situations, so he’s quite a calming influence if things get out of hand. His biggest asset is his mental strength — which is one of the most powerful weapons on grit.” Heason’s recent success hasn’t been simply down to luck: He’s learned by experience. “I’m so much better at climbing now than when I fell off Narcissus,” Heason says. “I’m much more calculating.” Even so, just last year in Australia he experienced his most dire moment. While making the first on-sight of the horribly sustained 5.13c Contra Arms Pump, he failed to place a crucial piece of solid gear and found himself high off the deck in a probable chop situation. Too pumped to place a good piece, Heason settled for stabbing a dodgy cam into a blind crack. “After about 20 more feet of sustained [5.12] moves I was totally boxed, and looking at a ground fall from about 70 feet if the cam ripped — which it would have,” Heason recalls. Somehow, he sketched to the top. “I don’t want to sound melodramatic,” says Heason almost apologetically, “but for the first time ever I felt like I was climbing for my life.” (Heason’s mother and father say they simply “close their minds” to their son’s exploits these days. “I just hope if he has an accident, he makes sure it’s a good ‘un,” Heason senior says cryptically).

lthough Heason has achieved recognition through his grit exploits, he’s hardly just a one-rock specialist. He has proved his abilities on Welsh mountain rocks and sea cliffs, Cornish granite, Czech and Australian sandstone, and Euro and Thai limestone. He’s even put up a new route in the Tetons. In 2002, he barnstormed his way across Thailand and Australia, cutting a swathe through routes in the 5.13b to 5.13d range, most on-sighted, some soloed. He even tried his hand at bouldering, putting up five V11s at Australia’s Hollow Mountain Cave and repeating Klem Loskott’s V14 Cave Rave, regarded in the late 1990s as one of the hardest boulder problems in the world. Heason is typically modest, saying, “I don’t know whether [V14] is the grade or not, since I’m not an experienced boulderer.” But it’s on grit where he continues to make his greatest impact. In 2002, for example, Heason soloed the desperate 5.12 Paralogism, one of the country’s biggest gritstone roofs — without ever having climbed it before. [See this issue’s cover photo.] “Personally, I feel I’d be cheating the route if I stacked up a bouncy castle underneath,” he says.


“Ben’s biggest asset is his mental strength — which is o n e of t h e m ost p owe r f u l weapons on grit.” His main gripe is the manner in which many hard gritstone ascents are being reported. “I’ve been reluctant to be dragged into what would ultimately end up as a sterile slagging match,” he says warily, “but it does frustrate me that people are perhaps claiming grades that are unjustifiable given the approach they adopt.” Heason is alluding to the increasing tendency of some climbers to employ “tricks” to bring celebrity hard-grit routes within their grasp, such as relentless toproping, tick marks, pre-placed protection and even, in some cases, the use of long slings draped from above, clippable within reach of cruxes. “There are routes that I’ve done with one or no pads, that others have done with six, and they claim the same E grade. It doesn’t take rocket science to work out that that’s not quite right.” Although recovering from torn cartilages incurred during bouldering and basketball sessions, Heason spent this summer on the big walls of southern Greenland as the expedition leader of a British team of 5.12-and-up on-sight climbers. Heason soloed an 1,800-foot 5.11 and made the first ascent of the 24-pitch Turning Point, a free version of the aid line A Wonderful Life. He and Simon Moore climbed the route over two days, all on-sight, dispensing with previous aid and adding four independent pitches up to 5.12 (the last two climbed in the dark after 15 hours on the go). “Onsighting new 5.12 pitches in the middle of the night makes most of my grit ascents pale by comparison,” says Heason. “I was close to tears almost the entire time. “But,” he says, “big routes on big mountains are actually what I’ve always really been interested in.” And then he adds, unexpectedly, “I’m quite keen on the ideas of ice climbing and dry-tooling as well. I don’t feel I’ve reached my limits yet.” Colin Wells, the literary editor of On the Edge, observes the goldfish bowl of gritstone climbing from the safety of his home, in the Peak District.

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Against all odds (continued from page 71)

ously offered that if we couldn’t move the boulder, he would lend Unless ... I tried rocking over onto some small slopers above my last gear, a horribly tiny cam and poor knifeblade. The move was maybe mid-5.10. me his crampons, so that I could make a solo attempt. So there it was. The pitch might be climbable, and I was (thank Amazingly, after an hour of work, the boulder began to look as if it might budge. Since my crampons were either In a moment of tempo- god) in rock shoes, but there was no chance of protection between myself and the summit, no lost or crushed, it wouldn’t matter much, but at least I would have a good story of rary insanity, I decided guarantee of an anchor on top, no way to tell how hard the climbing might become, and deffailure. We pulled hard on the boulder’s edge, to try. I was not big initely no opportunity for down climbing. doing our best to avoid becoming its second In a moment of temporary insanity, I decided victims. enough for failure. to try. I had to, otherwise it was go home with Unbelievably, it moved! My camera was crushed and our packs of energy gels had burst all over the inside of stories of “almost” that would drag on for the rest of my life. I could not take the “what ifs” for eternity, or reading an American Alpine Journal account the pack, but in a small niche sat my crampons — intact. of some bastard who would eventually bring a gas-powered drill up here. wenty-four hours later Brian swung past our previous high I was not big enough for failure. The details of the climbing are murky, made fuzzy by the flood of point into a tenuous and impressive series of skyhook and adrenaline, but some endure. A hold broke, and I swung into a terribirdbeak placements. From the top of his lead it felt like the summit was right there, a fying barn door. Another broke: my feet skated in almost comical desperation. The climbing eased slightly after 40 feet or so, and at 140 simple step away. I just had to lead one more pitch. Eight months of planning, fund raising and begging for gear, half feet I wrapped my hands around the spire’s southwest arete. To the a world of travel, 10 miles of loose glacial trudging, two roll-of-the-dice east Masherbrum, Gasherbrum IV and K2 basked in alpenglow. Although rounded, the arete finally provided some secure handholds, icefalls and the 6,800 vertical feet between our tiny perch and basecamp giving my heart rate a chance to settle during the final yards of climbing. had come down to one last ropelength. At the summit, as usual, there wasn’t much of anything. Just a small I French-freed up a crack for 25 feet, until it petered out into a devilish 85-degree face. Above was no indication of any hopeful features, blunt point to drape some slings over, and a feeling of vast release. just a slight kick back in angle after 30 or 40 feet, and then a long smooth Josh Wharton, 24, lives in Boulder and is currently planning trips to Patag80-degree rise to the summit, still some 165 feet away. In that instant I knew we were hosed, more or less completely f—ked. onia and Pakistan. The Flame Expedition was supported by grant programs With our hand drill broken, the summit might as well have been miles away. from the Mazamas Mountaineering Club and the American Alpine Club.


98 |


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JOSH LOWELL’S Masterpiece sportclimbing and bouldering first ascents by Sharma, Graham many others.



Available in DVD or VHS 102 |

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-TALL (8255); Chicago. LINCOLN PARK ATHLETIC 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 ENDEAVORS. 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 arch, 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;


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, Commercial Rigging and Consulting, Corporate Team Building, and portable climbing walls. Ann Arbor 734-827-2680; Pontiac 248-3343904 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 S.W. Byron Center, Michigan; 616-281-7088

Homewood. CLIMB ON. 18120 Harwood 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 ;

Grand Rapids. HIGHER GROUND ROCK CLIMBING CENTRE, LTD. 851 Bond NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503; 616-774-3100

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;

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;

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 Trips. New Bloomington site January 2004 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 & Timonium. EARTH TREKS CLIMBING CENTERS. Largest Climbing Gyms on the East Coast with the best bouldering in the area. Two facilities within 25 minutes of Baltimore and Washington, 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


St.Paul/Duluth. VERTICAL ENDEAVORS. The Twin Cities' facility (651-776-1430) offers 10,000ft2 of climbing while Duluth (218-279-9980) offers 12,000ft2 on walls up to 42' tall. Auto Belays. Programs and outdoor guiding for all ages.

MISSOURI Springfield. PETRA ROCK GYM. 916 N. Cedarbrook, Springfield, MO; 417-866-3308; 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 Tingley 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 country and pro-shop; 973-439-9860;

ROCK GYMS Hamilton. ROCKVILLE CLIMBING CENTER. 200 Whitehead Road. 32 foot Eldorado Walls. 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;

RHODE ISLAND Lincoln. Rhode Island Rock Gym.


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

TEXAS New Paltz. THE INNER WALL. Main St., Eckerd’s Plaza, New Paltz, NY; 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;

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. 703-212-7625; Virginia Beach. VIRGINIA BEACH ROCK GYM. 6,000 square feet, 33 foot textured wall with roofs, aretes, slabs, cracks and bulges. Toprope & lead, boulder, weights, pro-shop. Open everyday. 5049 Southern Blvd., VA Beach, VA 23462; 757499-8347;

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

WASHINGTON Monroe. CLIMB ON! - Fun and friendly bouldering + top rope. Indoor and outdoor instruction from experienced Mountain Guides. 360-805-5848;

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

Bring in the Climbers!


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 service 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 West 2nd Ave, Spokane, WA 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;

Lisen Gustafson


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

877-762-5423 ext. 10


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



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PENNSYLVANIA APPALACHIAN SKI & OUTDOORS 123 S. Allen State College, PA 16801 814-234-3000 800-690-5220 EXKURSION 4037 William Penn Highway Monroeville, PA 15146 412-372-7030 F 412-372-7046

PUERTO RICO AVENTURAS TIERRA ADENTRO 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

UTAH BLACK DIAMOND EQUIPMENT RETAIL STORE 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

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5206 S.Tacoma Way Tacoma,WA 98409 253-472-4402


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1799 North State St. Orem, UT 84057 801-226-7498





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

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

TEXAS 155 E. Moana Ln. Reno, NV 89502 775-825-2855

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

4732 Sharon Rd, Ste. 2M Charlotte, NC 28210 704-556-0020



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



HONG KONG HONG KONG MOUNTAINEERING TRAINING CENTRE 1F on Yip Building, 395 Shanghai St., Kowloon Hong Kong, China 852-23848190 F 852-27707110

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

WEST VIRGINIA ADVENTURE’S EDGE 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



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


Lightning Strike Exum Ridge (5.4), Grand Teton, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming EDITED




by lightning in the U.S. in 2002:

106 |




lower a ranger to the climbers, n July 26, a 13-member and four other rangers were team of inexperienced deposited on the Lower Saddle and experienced climbers and then climbed to the accident attempted the Grand Teton scene. There, they tended to the (13,770 feet) by the mountain’s injured, then extracted them onemost popular route, the Exum by-one by connecting them to a Ridge. Although they had been rope dangling from one of the advised by Grand Teton National helicopters. The uninjured Park rangers to get an early start climbers descended under their and be at the Lower Saddle, a own power. landmark some 2,000 feet from Liberal was transported to a the summit, by 6 a.m. to avoid hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, afternoon thundershowers, the where he was listed in critical large team didn’t leave basebut stable condition with burns. camp until 8 a.m. and didn’t arrive at the Lower Saddle until noon. By that time the clear blue ANALYSIS skies of morning were giving About 150 people die from lightway to afternoon clouds. At the ning strikes each year — many Lower Saddle, the group split of them on golf courses. In the into four roped teams. Still movTetons, as with Colorado mouning slowly, and further slowed by tains and other places in the West, what they described as even slower teams ahead of them, the climbing on ridges above timberline in the afternoon greatly group pressed on, but decided they had run out of time some increases one’s chances of being struck. In this case, the team was 500 feet below the summit and turned around. They were too large and had too many inexperienced climbers to move descending in the rain when, at 3:45 p.m., a bolt of lightning quickly; they got too late of a start to beat the afternoon thunhit the cluster of climbers. derstorms; and they apparently ignored warnings from park Erica Summers and her husband Clinton were sitting hip-torangers. All of these factors contributed to the tragedy. It is also hip on a ledge belaying up Rodrigro Liberal. The strike killed Sumimportant to note that a lightning-strike victim who appears dead mers and gravely injured Liberal, who hung upside down in may in fact be in ventricular fibrillation or simply have stopped his harness, moaning. The rope team of Jacob Bancroft, Reagan breathing. CPR can restore cardiac rhythm if it is started right Lembke and Justin Thomas were blasted off the rock. Their proaway, and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation has frequently worked tection either pulled or was blown out of the rock, and the trio on victims who have just stopped breathing. An added note: With fell 60 feet until their rope luckily snagged on protruding rocks, multiple lightning-strike victims, triage should be the stopping their fall. Lembke temporarily lost his sight and hearopposite of normal; that is, treat apparent fatalities ing. Uninjured team members immediately called for help with first and deal with the wounded victims later. their cell phones. The park service, in what was described as the “most specThe annual book Accidents in North American tacular rescue in the history of American Mountaineering is published mountaineering,” dispatched two helicopby The American Alpine Club. ters and eight rangers. Operating in high Number of climbers reportedly struck AAC members receive it as a benby lightning in the U.S. between 1951 and 2001: 43 efit. Call 303-384-0110 or visit amerwinds and with another storm cell threatNumber of climbers reportedly struck ening, one of the helicopters managed to to join or place an order.

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Backcountry deprivations on day 37: Carl Tobin reduced to eating with a compass, Swift Fork of the Kuskokwim River, Alaska. Photo: Roman Dial 1% For The Planet is a registered trademark of 1% For The Planet, Inc. Š 2003 Patagonia, Inc.


Rock and Ice issue 129