FRED NICOLE’S V15 DREAMTIME CHIPPED BY VANDALS + TONY YANIRO’S
RO U FOOTWORK TIPS CK [27 MOLT -S DELSIM HO FIE A E LD TESTE RE TED] VI EW
BUILT BY CLIMBERS ISSUE 133 | JUNE 2004
Sport Climbing's Sordid Past
The Disputed Routes That Changed the Game
BOULDERING'S NEW CRUCIBLE LETS ITS GREEN HAIR DOWN
Chris Sharma and Co's Immaculate Reconception Raises New World Standards
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The Huber brothers, topping out after the first free ascent of the Zodiac, after 69 hours being on the wall. October 2003.
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Next Issue: Bouldering Extravaganza Special
36 FAME, SHAME AND LAMENESS You may not have noticed, but American sport climbing just turned 21. Groove on the dirty deeds, bitter controversies and hard-earned achievements that have defined the growing pains of U.S. bolt clipping. BY MATT SAMET
44 OVER THE BRINK Jim Earl lived for thin ice, big mountains and Jesus. So where was his savior when Earl tumbled into the darkness while descending a hairy new alpine route in Peru? BY KELLY CORDES
48 SO ILL A crying stripper, a rubber-skinned climber, a circus reject, a hoedown at Fred’s Dance Barn and beautiful bullet sandstone boulders. The only thing tedious about our Odysseus’ trip to southern Illinois was the 2,400-mile drive. BY JONATHAN THESENGA PHOTOS BY ALLY DOREY
ON THE COVER: Chris Sharma and other young
American sport climbers have ushered in an age of enlightenment. PHOTO BY COREY RICH INSETS: Tony Yaniro (top) and John Bachar. PHOTOS BY RANDY LEAVITT, GREG EPPERSON THIS PAGE: The godfather of sport climbing, Alan
Watts, showcasing 1980s fashion on Vicious Fish (5.13c/d), Smith Rock, Oregon. PHOTO BY BETH WALD
DEPARTMENTS JUNE 2004 Issue 133 // www.rockandice.com
08) 10) 56) 99)
EDITOR’S NOTE LETTERS EXPOSED CLASSIFIEDS
18) BREAKING NEWS
Rosaasen rocks, Lee leads at the PCA comp; Dreamtime and other Swiss testpieces chipped; Ethan Pringle snags Las Vegas’ hardest boulder problem; Boulder boys make good in Patagonia; and more.
Southern Illinois bouldering. You have your green hair, chalk pot and yen for sick, sloping stone. Now, here’s the beta to the boulders that have America talking.
▲ BREAKING NEWS
Lizzy Scully’s magazine for women climbers, She Sends, just turned one. Its age has not withered, nor custom staled, its smiling and stroppy editor. BY ALISON OSIUS
The 2004 Rock and Ice rock-shoe review. A whopping 27 sticky new models field tested. Plus: The Ultimate Guide to over 130 models. BY DAVE PEGG
80) TRAINING 26) ACCIDENT REPORT A 5.11 climber grounds out on a 5.8 sport route. What happened?
Your feet provide the lion’s share of your climbing power. Use them wisely and use them well. BY REBECCA STOKES
28) DR. PITON El Cap’s latest pissing match; the smooth facts about sharp edges; the nonsensical new vs. old-school ratings.
30) BETTER BETA Build a hang-pipe for awesome sloper power; rig a poor man’s rope bag and belay seat; and smarter gear taping, the electrical way.
84) CLIMB SAFE Take it from the top. Toproping is so safe it’s virtually foolproof, right? Think again. Just one belay lapse can produce high loads, redlining the holding power of your gear. Rock and Ice editors field-test realworld climbing scenarios. BY TYLER STABLEFORD
88) GUIDE’S TIP 32) OUTLOOK The day New England stood still. The Fryeburg Nordwand, with its $100 bounty, had repelled all suitors—until the East’s strongest posse rolled in, yo. BY JOSH WHARTON
Storm sense. Don’t lose yourself when the weather goes sour. BY JON TIERNEY
106) DOWNWARD BOUND Skewering all that is sacred in climbing.
▲ SPOTLIGHT // ▼ OUTLOOK
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: DAVID CLIFFORD; JARED MCMILLEN; TYLER STABLEFORD; TOM MARTIN
62) GEAR 24) SPOTLIGHT
.ICKNAMED h%NDUROMANv IN THE S FOR HANGING OVER AN HOUR ON ONE OF THE MOST STRENUOUS OVERHANGS IN THE 'UNKS *OHN "RAGG HAS MADE A CAREER OF SOME OF THE MOST CLASSIC FIRST ASCENTS &ROM +ANSAS #ITY 'RAVITYS 2AINBOW AND h%NDUROMAN v TO ROUTES IN 9OSEMITE 5TAH "OULDER .EW %NGLAND !LASKA !RGENTINA 0ERU &RANCE AND #HINA 3O WHEN IT COMES TO THE SHIRT ON HIS BACK HE PREFERS TO GO THE TIME HONORED ROUTE TOO 4HE $RI#LIME 7INDSHIRT FROM -ARMOT &OR OVER A DECADE *OHNS RELIED ON THE $RI#LIMES BI COMPONENT KNIT TECHNOLOGY TO CONTINUOUSLY WICK MOISTURE AWAY FROM HIS BODY FOR
RAPID EVAPORATION UNDER THE MOST DEMANDING CONDITIONS 3O WHETHER HES ROCK CLIMBING IN THE 0ATAGONIAN !NDES OR ICE CLIMBING h4HE &ANGv IN .EW (AMPSHIRE HE ALWAYS STAYS DRY !ND WITH AMAZING WIND RESISTANCE WATER REPELLENCY AND 3LIM&IT FOR LAYERING HE KNOWS HELL STAY WARM TOO )N THE ODD CHANCE HE FINDS HIMSELF HANGING AROUND IN THE COLD LONGER THAN HE EXPECTED )TgS NO WONDER PEOPLE WHO WORK OUTDOORS FOR A LIVING ARE THE INSPIRATION FOR THE CLOTHING THAT WORKS FOR THEM 4HE $RI#LIME 7INDSHIRT #OUNT ON IT©
0HOTO *IM $ONINI
(AVING PUT UP SOME OF THE MOST TIME HONORED FIRST ASCENTS IN THE 'UNKS ITS NO SURPRISE *OHN "RAGG PREFERS TO GO THE CLASSIC ROUTE
EDITOR’S NOTE Bouldering Rules
SUN DAPPLED THE FAMOUS CARRIAGE ROAD, which winds below the Shawangunks cliff band. Upright, strapped on, bouldering pads dotted the path like gently bobbing barges, at one point creating a minor bottleneck. The Gunks has always had bouldering, but not like this. Cragging impacts we know: trails and bare areas at cliff bases. Bouldering creates similar but separate impacts, usually in rings around boulders. “Boulderers are a high-priority group for the Preserve to reach out to with education,” says Hank Alicandri, head ranger of the Mohonk Preserve, which contains the Gunks, in New Paltz, New York. “We have done so, with mixed success. The only rules that apply to boulderers are the general ones that apply to all visitors.” Specific management challenges he sees include: boulderers exploring talus fields to find new problems, creating informal trails; recreating in large “posses,” increasing impact; trampling vegetation; and littering a bit more than other groups. On the other coast, Joshua Tree, California, with a vast history of bouldering, is also seeing a surge. Boulderers are often young and spirited, and don’t particularly want to be lectured to—what climber ever has? But whereas climbers in the past learned from mentors, who usually passed on an environmental awareness, today many learn in the gym and hit the rocks from there. The Friends of Joshua Tree, a consortium of local climbers and Park Service rangers, last July took a progressive course with a bouldering-specific initiative, Boulder Clean. Devaki Murch of Boulder Clean says the group originally focused on Southern California, planning an outreach program in gyms in which leading climbers would teach technique and spread the gospel. Which is: minimize group sizes, visible chalk, volume (music and yelling), and crash-pad damage to flora; avoid removing vegetation or leaving litter and human waste; follow established approach trails; and park legally. Outdoor companies such as PrAna, of Vista, for whom Murch works, may pony up star athletes such as Chris Sharma to lead clinics. “We were just chugging along, trying to figure it all out,” Murch says, when Shawn Tierney of the Access Fund (AF) attended a meeting. Then the national office called Murch: The AF liked Boulder Clean’s approach and wanted to involve the group in developing a national initiative. The AF also offered to contribute existing work sheets and some funding to Boulder Clean. “The Access Fund is awesome,” Murch says, “but they told me they don’t have that personal touch with the bouldering community. Their strength is working with land managers. We had that connection because we’re all climbers, but a lot of it was having the rangers.” Two Joshua Tree park rangers are part of the nine-member Boulder Clean work group. “They are out there every day,” she says, “and very, very involved.” The rangers plan to build a kiosk near the Hidden Valley Campground to announce events and area closures. Robb Shurr of Ojai, a clothing manufacturer in Ventura, is part of the AF’s national initiative, newly named the Boulder Project. “We will be an axis, listening to the bouldering community.” Boulder Clean is creating flyers and posters to distribute at the kiosk, gyms and events, and the Boulder Project will hold a clinic/party on the first night of the Phoenix Boulder Blast. Ideally, Murch says, the program—with some modification—can be implemented at any bouldering area: “Boom, here’s a program for Salt Lake, boom, here’s a program for the Gunks.” In the Gunks, climbers are an established and welcome force. The Mohonk Preserve receives upwards of 150,000 visitors a year, more than 50,000 of them climbers. Preserve visitors spend over $3 million directly into the local economy. “While climbers are one-third of our visitors,” says Alicandri, “I think they spend more than a third of the over $3 million.” Boulderers are part of our community—and the one part that’s growing fast. Each aspect of our sport creates use issues, and we are lucky that volunteers are addressing them. Please support your local climbing organizations, attend functions, pass out flyers, get the word out, and follow the precepts. (See www.boulderclean.org or www.accessfund.org.) —ALISON OSIUS, SENIOR EDITOR
BEGGAR’S BANQUET JESSE GRANT HERE, author of the lead letter, “No More Labels,” in issue No. 130. Well, I realize it would be impractical to send out free Wild Country Zero cams retroactively to all former “top letter” authors, but I just missed it by one issue. I’m not complaining, just begging, after seeing your new advertisement offering two Zeroes to top letter writers of the future. Thanks.
Jesse Grant, Eugene, Oregon
Editors’ reply: Now you didn’t miss your chance. Cams are in the mail.
BLUE WAS GOLD “Blue Velvet” (No. 131) was exquisite. His style is both poetic and punchy, unwrapping his reverence for Australia’s Blue Mountains. His honest yet somehow welcoming description of the local people and rock made me want to get on standby for the next available flight down under. In the climbing world, it’s refreshing to hear a favored climb described more eloquently than “Dude ... suh-wheet!” Kudos to a great story.
MICHAEL LAW’S ARTICLE
Jenn Posterick, Stillwater, Minnesota
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT IN “TALES OF SICKNESS” (No. 131), I finally found an article that related to my life. I’m a 22-year-old climber who was just diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And I’m a little different than the folks in the article: My only outlet was climbing. In early 2003, I became clinically depressed and spent months in bed, trying to feel somewhat sane. I was forced to drop out of school and live with my parents. I was put on two different drugs, to calm the demons, you could say. The only thing I’d leave my house for was climbing. It was the only time my mind felt at ease. It felt like I was fighting anxiety with anxiety. Climbing allowed me to focus on movement and breathing, and somehow distracted the demons. Nowadays the demons are gone, I’m pretty much off all the medication, and getting back to a normal life. I guess we all have reasons why we climb, and continue to climb. Thanks for the article, totally appreciated! Danny O’Farrell, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
DISMAY I AM WRITING TO EXPRESS MY DISMAY at Rock and Ice for publishing a sensationalized story against the express wishes of the victim. No. 133 included a story (in “Accidents”) by Alison Osius on the accident at the Brass Wall in Red Rocks. The woman you mentioned is a friend of mine, and I know for a fact that she did not ask not to be named, as Alison says—she asked, adamantly, that the story not be used. Rock and Ice’s choice to publish 10
ROCKANDICE.COM JUNE 2004
this story anyway amounts to journalistic ambulance chasing. Every manufacturer of any climbing equipment puts the same warning on it: “Climbing is a dangerous sport.” Desperately searching for a story that will allow you to admonish climbers about rockfall potential is remedial and unnecessary; unless, of course, our culture as climbers has shifted to that of gym rats, blissfully ignorant of the dangers of climbing outside, but that’s a whole ’nother Oprah. If Rock and Ice’s intention was to educate, the same results could have been achieved without using this story. I am not going to make idle threats about not reading or buying your magazine, and I realize that regardless of what you publish someone is going to get pissed, but Rock and Ice’s blatant disregard for my friend’s express desire for anonymity and privacy is really disappointing! Christopher Roberts, Boulder, Colorado
Alison Osius replies: While we appreciate your concern for a friend, the article was presented with much care. We did not use the woman’s name, the tone was factual, and we enumerated points to be learned. The accident happened on public land and involved public rescue services; others have the right to discuss and learn from it. The parenthetical phrase that the victim “asked not to be named” was due to an editing error, for which we apologize. In fact, we had no direct contact with the victim.
PROPS that if he had a time machine, he would go back to the 1960s so he could beat George Lowe to the Canadian Rockies. Just last summer I found a time machine. Castle Rock State Park, Idaho, finally opened last May, and a handful of us have had the thrill of exploring this world-class climbing area. (See “Storming the Castle,” No. 127.) I want to thank everyone who helped make it a reality, every single person who made a donation, wrote a letter, or supported the Access Fund or the American Alpine Club. This success was a result of the generosity of thousands of climbers
ALEX LOWE ONCE SAID
“It’s refreshing to hear a favored climb described more eloquently than ‘Dude ... suh-wheet’”—Jenn Posterick, Stillwater, Minnesota
LETTERS all over the country. Those climbers who actually spent time in the trenches drafting the Climbing Management Plan should also be applauded. They had the thankless task of getting more than one climber to agree on something. The Park’s management team of Wallace Keck and Brad Shilling did an outstanding job. Superintendent Keck’s vision of a park for the people is refreshing compared to the priority placed on commercial interests in many other parks. This may be the first time that a government agency has treated climbers as the premier user group. If you haven’t made it out to Castle yet, I invite you. Mike Anderson, Farmington, Utah
BIG TENT CLIMBING IS A BIG SPORT, including everything from big mountains to tiny boulders, everyone from grizzled alpinists to wideeyed newbies. A comprehensive climbing publication should endeavor to address the whole of the adventure. For the most part the available magazines do a fair job in this respect. In the past I have been put off by the elitism that implied that only the hardest climbs were worthy of report-
ing. The 30-something mother of two who finally gets the opportunity to pull down some grade III 5.9 trad route is just as impressive as the sponsored super climber who can spend months subduing some over-bolted uber-route. Lately I have become increasingly annoyed by the preponderance of articles devoted solely to bouldering. Don’t get me wrong, bouldering is a fabulous sport. But I am sick to death of every 12inch piece of stone with a hard problem getting covered like a breaking news story of national importance. I for one would like to see more stories about the human side of climbing rather than just the big numbers. How about reports of the climbers who are endeavoring to give a little back. Like “Jingus” Joe Callahan volunteering to build passive solar systems for orphanages in Nepal and India. Phil Broscovak, via email
Editors’ note: We hear you. No more bouldering coverage in this mag ... er, as soon as we ship next month’s Bouldering special issue. Your point on those who give back is well taken. Please note that our cover image, Chris Sharma, has given to the community
in starting the Sharmafund scholarships to send children to Yo! Basecamp rock-climbing school in the Sierra.
KELLY TUFO AND THE FIRST TIME I ATE SPAM THANK YOU FOR “Darkness at Noon” about Kelly Tufo and Dave Kellogg (No. 131). Kelly Tufo was kind, generous, friendly and wildly fun. In December of 2002 we spent five days on the same campsite. He was amazingly generous, sharing his food and wood, among other things. It was on this trip that I met Kelly’s pal Dave Kellogg and his wife and son, Nicolas. Dave, too, was generous, sharing his brews. I remember his love of climbing. In 30 minutes I watched him and another friend gun up three sport routes. I remember him playing with little Nicolas and thinking what a great father he was and what an adventurous life this kid must lead: only one year old, and hanging out at Josh for the weekend. One night I returned cold, wet, tired and hungry to a flooded campsite. Good old Kelly had dinner ready. It was hot and delicious. Then I asked what it was. He replied, “Turkey Spam.” I never thought I would eat Spam, nor to this day have I eaten it again. Kelly and Dave will be missed by all
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