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Adam Ondra, Chilam Balam (5.15b), Villanueva del Rosario, Spain. BERNARDO GIMENEZ

RI198 december 2011

Can you improve your climbing by taking the right supplements, in the right amount? Learn more about climbing and nutrition in the feature article on page 66. Then maybe you too can send like Andrea Maruna, shown here on Finsterer Tour (5.13d), Hochkogel, Austria. photo: bernhard fiedler

10 Opening Shot

The king of comps: Arco.


44 Everyman’s Exposed 46 Pacific Heights The vertical world, from Bishop to Yosemite to B.C.

You may never have heard of Mickey’s Beach, Indian Rock and Castle Rock, but these areas spawned some of the world’s great climbers and achievements. photos and story by jim thornburg

54 Origin of Species

Fontainebleau is bouldering’s birthplace, and home to a unique scene and style.


60 El Cap’s Hardest

Wings of Steel sees its second ascent after 30 years. So, is it El Cap’s most difficult line, or the shitshow detractors have claimed?


66 The Right Ratio?

Eat your way to the chains! New science maintains that a 4:1 carb/protein supplement is the optimal climbing fuel.



Parting Shot

Son of a gun! Lonnie Kauk follows in his father’s footsteps on a Tuolumne testpiece. photo by jim thornburg COVER: Dean Fleming walks the AC Devil Dog (5.10d) at the Grotto, Jamestown, one of many crags in the Bay Area. See page 46 for more.

photo: jim thornburg



Sonnie Trotter in Squamish, British Columbia. Photo: Keith Ladzinski


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Departments rock and ice |

Notes 18 Cliff The mother of all epics: a

new route in a land lost in time. By shane houbart

28 spotlight Mike Foley, the up and comer

who recently repeated Jaws II, finds the devil in the details. By alison osius

30 accident A bolt rips from the roof of

a redtagged line at the New River Gorge. By jeff jackson

of WEakness 32 Lines Grimer flames someone by mistake. By niall grimes

36 TNB Climbing is easy. The rest is hard. By andrew bisharat

5.10 40 My Favorite Big dreams become a reality on the legendary Diamond face of Longs Peak. By patrick pharo

42 What I’ve Learned Thomas Huber on style, cancer and living life.

tested 70 Field Daddy’s got some new shoes!

72 training Better, safer bouldering through spotting. By neil gresham

dr. j 74 ask Stop taking ibuprofen

now. Straight talk about climbing’s silent killer. By dr. julian saunders

gear guy 76 ask Holy bathooks and oval carabiners!

12 14 26


Mike Foley on Jaws II (5.15a), Rumney, New Hampshire. Foley made the third ascent of this testpiece and is the subject of this issue’s Spotlight, page 28. Belaying Foley is Fletcher Chen. photo: pat bagley

Rock & Ice (USPS 0001-762, ISSN 0885-5722) is published 8 times a year (January, March, April, June, July, September, October, and December) by Big Stone Publishing, 2567 Dolores Way, Carbondale, CO 81623. Periodicals postage paid at Carbondale, CO, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Rock & Ice, 2567 Dolores Way, Carbondale, CO 81623. Subscription rates are $29.95 per year, $44.95 for two years. Canada, add $12.50 per year for surface postage; all other countries add $15 per year for surface postage (US funds only). Canada Post CPM #7157697.

opening Shot

photos by lucas warzecha

Twenty-five Arco Rock Master years. A modern tradition of Arco Rock Legends awards. How fitting that the World Championship, a grand event held only every other year, was this time celebrated in Italy, where, in Bardonecchia in 1985, sport-climbing competition began. The Arco World Championship combined lead, bouldering and speed climbing, and brought together the past, present and future as well: with attendance by Lynn Hill, Luisa Jovane, Yuji Hirayama, François Legrand and Chris Sharma; Adam Ondra, Jain Kim, Ramon Julien Puigblanque and Anna Stöhr; and the young Enzo Oddo, and the new American star Sasha DiGiulian, and some 16-year-olds you’ve never heard of. Yet. (See for more.)

d e c e m b e r 11 3 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 11

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Chris Schulte, human sloper


he great crime-fiction writer Elmore Leonard once quipped: “Never start a story with a description of the weather.” Obviously, Leonard had never been bouldering in Fontainebleau, France, a botanical preserve infamous for capricious conditions. The best lines are composed of slopers that only become “holds” when the temperature drops. Ironically, the high season is one where mist and rain prevail, driving visiting climbers bonkers with (mal)lingering. As one American boulderer, Chris Schulte, describes in his feature “Origin of Species” on page 54, the work of sending a storied Font testpiece like his current project The Big Island (V15) is like building a pyramid, where raw materials are assembled over years of effort— first in learning the idiosyncratic style, then unlocking the moves, and finally waiting on proper conditions. In some ways Schulte, one of three Americans to have sent V14 in Font, the sanctum sanctorum of compression climbing, is the antithesis of a stereotypical American boulderer. He’s quiet and mostly climbs alone. In Boulder, where he lives, the top tier regard him as an iconoclast specializing in a kind of anti-style where the ability to latch tiny holds won’t get you anywhere. In fact, Schulte excels in territory where there are no holds at all, just burnished angles set in opposition. Carlo Traversi, a Boulder peer, once pointed out a steep, blank, unclimbed arête in a lonely sandstone talus field near Carbondale. “Another Schulte child,” he told me. I first met Schulte 10 years ago while writing a feature on bouldering in Durango, Colorado. He was already turning heads with ascents of “impossible” faces, like the center of the east face of the Big East boulder at Turtle Lake. We kept in touch, but I hadn’t bouldered with him since Durango until we met up in early September at the Southfork boulders, a new zone of granite blocks off the Frying Pan River, near Basalt, Colorado.

Schulte and his girlfriend, Jackie Hueftle, were camped next to my friends Morgan and Deb, sharing a bunch of fresh-picked raspberries when I drove up early Sunday. He was much as I remembered with his shaven head and red beard. Schulte, who grew up in Bandera, Texas, speaks sincerely, with a tight jaw, like he has a dip of snuff under his lip. We packed up and I noticed that Schulte moved like a bear across the talus—with a loose-jointed rolling gait. His long arms were pale and thick with muscle, and like a bear he often picked and ate berries. It occurred to me that Schulte is the personification of a sloper—a big, bulging, berry-eating, baldheaded bear. Schulte seemed to climb everything he touched, and we arrived late in the day at Morgan’s new problem, a 45-degree arête and opposing rail, maybe 18 feet tall. Schulte stood under the prow and slapped chalk on the holds like you might spank an irritating dog, just a bit too hard. “Are you going to give it a try?” Morgan asked. “No, I think I’m just gonna do it.” His breath picked up. He spoke clearly, like Babe Ruth calling a home run, but Schulte’s disposition was more like Bruce Lee: gathering chi, focusing energy before busting a cinder block with his forehead. He strapped on his slippers and basically campused the rig first go, palms whacking glistening slopers slicker than his own pate, fingers snagging razors, heel hooking, feet cutting, air-kicking. When Schulte arrived back on the ground, Morgan admitted that he hadn’t used any of that beta. He was clearly dumbfounded and maybe just a tad chuffed. Schulte said by way of explanation, “It’s literally the one thing in life that I’m good at.” Which reminded me that we all have gifts. Schulte got slopers. The trick is to recognize your gift and then build your own pyramids. ■

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letters so I will have plenty of time to enjoy these essays. As our cottage is 300+ years old and therefore a mouse haven, I turned first to Andrew Bisharat’s “Feeding the Rat.” Oh yes, we know well that “lashing snap of the metal wire.” Nice piece. I expect Andrew’s familiar last line— died doing what he loved—is what they’d have said of me last week had not a vital bit of gear held. —Steve Goodwin, Editor, Alpine Journal Cumbria, U.K.

Editor’s Note: Get your copy of the annual compendium Ascent at

LASHED Congratulations on Ascent 2011. Love it! We’re in debt to you all for bringing such great writing together again like this. Last week I had a climbing accident— a full 80-foot clattering—which is going to keep me round home for a few weeks,

QUIET IN LITTLE SWITZERLAND The patter of snow hitting the tent is the only sound. Three of us remain in camp. Craig Hastings is asleep to my left. Rob Litsenberger is in his own tent. I lie in my zero-degree bag enjoying the warmth and the feeling

that camp and isolation bring, drifting in and out of sleep. Craig Peterson and Marcin Ksok are climbing up on the South Troll tonight. They left camp hours ago, before the weather moved in. Hastings and I will have our own mini epic on that same route days from now, but tonight the show belongs to Peterson and Ksok. The acoustics are amazing. They are hours away and hundreds of feet up and it sounds like they’re whispering right outside the tent. “Watch me!” Marcin whisper-yells. “I got you!” comes the reply. “Climbing!” “I got ya!” The show continues and I think, damn, these guys are hardcore— climbing alpine rock at night in the snow. I grab my book from the gear hammock. After about two sentences I doze off again. I wake up around 2 a.m. “On rappel!” A distant whisperyell. I’m relieved that they’re on the way down. It’s cold and I zip up my bag and cinch down the opening. I’m

glad I’m not up there. The show continues through most of the night and I wonder how long I’ve dozed when I don’t hear voices anymore. Finally, sometime early morning: the approach of skis, the ring of biners, and hushed voices celebrate the return to camp. I feel their buzz and for a moment I’m a little jealous. Then I’m out again. —David Lynch Eagle River, AK

ALASKAN ALPINE CLUB ON CLIMBING FEES The National Park Service recently increased the climbing fee (a tax) to climb Mount Rainier, in Washington State, to $56 per climber. The Park Service climbing tax to climb Denali and Mount Foraker in Alaska is $200 (plus $10 entrance fee) per climber. The Park Service has been proposing an increase to $500 per climber. Climbers object to paying that special tax for their right to walk (climb) on their own public land. One of the fundamental rights upon



which this nation was founded was the right of the common people to walk and travel on the public lands. By prevailing law, a right cannot be lawfully taxed or require government permission (permit, license). Like other agencies, the Park Service routinely violates the law, with impunity. Climbers do not consume the resource. Climbers are willing to assist each other for rescues, without an armed government nanny destroying the freedom of the mountains. Other public-land recreation groups, involving vastly higher annual rescue expenses, do not pay such taxes for walking or motoring on the public land, or boating on public waters. The Alaskan Alpine Club, a member of UIAA, is proposing a process to eliminate the climbing taxes in the U.S. but the unelected Park Service bureaucracy do not heed climber complaints about fees or government violations of prevailing law. However, climbers (even without the backing of their notoriously useless climbing-organization leaders), can formally declare the climbers who climb Rainier, Denali and Foraker, and pay the taxes, a “Disgrace to the History of Mountain Climbing” until the climbing taxes are eliminated. The climbingorganization “leaders” who do not support the effort can be relegated to the same “Disgrace to Mountaineering History.” The Alaskan Alpine Club has proposed that UIAA, all other climbing organizations, publications and individual climbers endorse the declaration, and spread the word that the climbers who pay the tax to climb on their own public land of Rainier, Denali and Foraker, starting in 2012, and until the climbing taxes are completely repealed, are a “Disgrace to the History of Mountain Climbing.” The full explanation is at Alask a n A lpi ne / Cl i mbi ng Taxes.html. —Doug Buchanan Alaskan Alpine Club delegate to UIAA

RED ROCKS THREATENED Are the readers of Rock and Ice aware of the development proposal submitted by Gypsum Resources,

LLC, to be constructed adjacent to the Red Rock National Conservation Area (RRNCA)? The plans were just submitted to the county and include 1,500 homes, restaurants, schools, etc. The development will severely degrade the ecological integrity of the NCA while detracting from the experience of the over 1 million people who visit each year. The resources required to build and support the infrastructure for this project, especially in the fragile desert environment, exceed what is reasonable and logical. Traffic will increase, light pollution will be more pervasive, and scenic views will be ruined. These factors not only affect those who recreate in the NCA but also the sensitive species that rely on the already limited resources. Additionally, Las Vegas has numerous vacant homes and is still recovering from the rash of foreclosures. The website www.saveredrock. com has addresses for Las Vegas and Clark County residents to contact their legislators. It also has the address for the BLM staff that manages the NCA. Those who are not residents could influence the BLM’s position on the development by writing to them. —Cristina Rose Mastrangelo Via e-mail

NOT ACCEPTABLE I read the articlE, “Not So Fast” [Cliff Notes, No. 194] and there is a very disturbing comment regarding the author walking across a glacier, unroped, wanting to be an equal partner to his son, who thought that roping up would take too much time. I really do not think it is appropriate to have published this part of the article without a sub note condemning his actions. I have over the last three years trained under a guide, my own outings and read a huge amount of literature which I feel is a very important source of information for budding alpinists. I would be shocked to hear of any guide ever condoning this course of action in the mountains. Of course, I do not know the exact circumstance Tim Kemple was in, Correction Jeff Lowe [“Lifers,” Ascent] was incorrectly credited with the invention of the modern rating system for mixed climbs. This system was proposed by Mike Bearzi two years prior to Lowe’s ascent of Octopussy.

16 rockandice .co m 4 11 d e c e mb e r

Photo: ©Nathan Smith -

but he seems to talk about a potentially life-threatening situation with utter disdain. Big up yourself by all means, but do not put comments out there of this sort, which might be directly followed as “acceptable” behavior by others who do not know any better due to inexperience. There are enough dangers without giving people the impression that to

be an equal to a more experienced partner it is OK to cross a glacier unroped, and to suggest it would take too much time to rope together is outrageous. Three to five minutes is ample for the task and if he thought this was too much, he should have gotten out of bed a little earlier. —Dave Tilly Basingstoke, UK

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cliff notes

by shane houbart

The Epic of All Epics

Three climbers are seven days from help and deep in the Venezuelan jungle when a snake bite threatens more than mere success.


had been in Caracas, Venezuela, for less than three hours when Alfredo turned to Cory and me, and said: ¶ “Don’t talk to anyone, don’t let anyone know that you’re foreign, and try not to be seen by anyone. Bad people live here.” ¶ Alfredo, from Caracas, is an experienced climber. In 2011 we climbed Lost Arrow Spire, Half Dome and the Salathé Wall in Yosemite. Cory Nauman, the third member of our team, is another climbing friend; together we'd tackled Muir Wall that same season.

I had flown in from Australia, and Cory from America, only to find ourselves in the middle of one of Caracas’s roughest ghettos. We were staying in the home of Amelio, a friend of Alfredo’s. His house was covered with burglar bars and the imposing front gate was locked up with a heavy-duty chain. Set within a U-shaped valley of jungle-covered mountains, Caracas has one of the highest murder rates in the world. We spent three days locked 18 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

up in the slums while Alfredo sorted out the logistics of getting us to one of the most remote parts of Venezuela—La Gran Sabana, located in the south of the country. Cory and I were effectively prisoners of both Alfredo and Amelio. We passed the time checking our equipment, and discussing what to ditch to lighten the load. Our hope was to establish a new route on an unclimbed face on the southern

side of the Upuigma Tepui. Tepuis are tabletop mountains with sheer sandstone flanks—some 2,000 feet tall—that rise dramatically above the rainforest in the Canaima National Park on the Venezuelan side of the border with Brazil and Guiana. The Upuigma Tepui was first climbed by John Arran, Ivan Calderon and Steve Backshall in 2007, and the team found several unknown species of plants and animals on the top. The tepuis are incredibly remote and unexplored. Simply reaching the base of any tepui is an adventure in itself. For the price of 10 cams, Alfredo’s friend Freddy drove us the 10 hours to Ciudad Bolivar. From there we chartered a tiny Cessna aircraft. As we flew toward the Gran Sabana, the landscape changed from concrete cities to open grassland plateaus followed by thick jungles with raging rivers. We spotted only the occasional plantation and Indian village. After a two-hour flight, the plane dropped through a massive cloud and the towering bands of sandstone big walls came into view. We landed in the Pemon Indian village of Yunek and from there launched our adventure on foot. Packed and loaded, we set off early in the morning, first negotiating two river systems using dugout canoes. By day two, we had reached a steep and difficult leg of the journey, passing through slick vertical grasslands and jungle. We were incessantly bombarded by bloodthirsty sandflies until the daily deluge drove them off. We eventually settled down for the night on a semi flat boulder that accommodated a three-man tent. Over the following days we established an advance base camp under the route El Nido del Tirik Tirik (5.12b, 14 pitches), done by Kurt Albert, Ivan Calderon, Helmut Gargitter and Bernd Arnold in 2008. Alfredo had climbed it two years earlier. From here we ventured into new territory using our machetes to cut a trail through the dense jungle beneath the largest section of Upigma. We had spied an obvious large white streak with cracks and ledges that ran down most of the face, and were determined to find a way to reach its base. We spent two days hacking through the jungle to reach the white streak. Toward the end of the second day, Cory screamed in pain. I ran over to him. “Something bit me!” he cried. The two distinct puncture wounds on Cory’s ankle led us to conclude he had suffered a snakebite. This was extremely worrying. Lots of snakes in the Venezuelan jungle are venomous. I raced to get the first-aid kit.

alfredo zubillaga

With the top of the Upuigma Tepui in sight, Shane Houbart leads pitch 13 (5.10+) on the new route The Hospital Breakout (V 5.12+ A2+). The climbers' adventure, however, is far from over.

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A traumatized Cory Nauman three days after being bitten by an unknown snake in the Venezuelan jungle.

Only at that moment did the remoteness of our location truly sink in. The nearest hospital was at least a seven-day hike away, and prior to our trip, I had read accounts of people being bitten in this section of the jungle and dying four hours later. Our only option was to wait and see how Cory would react to the venom, assess his condition through the night and then facilitate a rescue to the nearest hospital in the morning. At daybreak we were relieved that Cory was still alive, but his foot had swollen to twice its normal size and was charcoal black. We left our advanced base camp, abandoning all our big-wall gear and most of our equipment. Cory could hobble using his walking poles, but the strenuousness of navigating the steep terrain circulated the poison through his system. Suddenly, blood started seeping out of all his orifices including the bite marks from his encounter with the sandflies. With our friend in a bad way, Alfredo and I had no choice but to make fun of him. Such is the climber’s way: No sympathy for the vulnerable! (Cruel as this may sound, our ribbing helped to keep Cory’s spirits up). We stumbled on at the pace of our wounded friend and camped halfway to Yunek. Upon waking up on the second morning of the rescue we were shocked to see that both of Cory’s feet were now black and swollen. Fortunately, from here the terrain was flat and within eight hours we arrived back at the village. By this time it was late in the afternoon and the sun was beginning to set. Thankfully the village had a short-wave radio and miraculously a Cessna aircraft passing through a neighboring valley heard our distress call, turned around, and headed back to rescue our stricken friend. Within three hours of being in Yunek, amazingly, we were deplaning in the town of Santa Elena, located on the border of Brazil. The pilot had radioed ahead and an ambulance 2 0 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

was waiting for us. Immediately after touchdown, Cory was rushed to the local hospital. The staff was fantastic and gave the “American Gringo” five-star treatment despite their rather meager supplies. Cory needed regular anti-inflammatory injections and strong antibiotics to combat the infection and stem the swelling. As we had no idea which species of snake had bitten him, the hospital could not provide any anti-venom. After three days in the infirmary, Cory, though appreciative of the attention, had had enough of the poor sanitation and wanted to leave. The hospital staff kept re-inserting the same needle into his vein, stale blood lined the IV tubes and it was frightening to see air bubbles in the hypodermics that were used to inject the antibiotics. Cory was dismayed to find that the hospital refused to release him. It turned out this was because they feared that if Cory, an American, died soon after leaving their hospital

Shane Houbart fully racked for pitch 12 (C2+).

there would be repercussions. To this effect Cory was watched very closely by the hospital security. That evening, after a few beers, Alfredo and I decided to stage a hospital breakout. We monitored the armed security guards’ movements throughout the next day and noted what time they changed their four-hour shifts. To spring Cory, we would have to bypass three guards and two security gates. The first order of business was to disguise Cory, which involved fresh clothes, sunglasses and a large straw hat. It would then be my job to create a diversion by talking to the guards in fast English and pointing in the direction opposite to him. My advice to Cory was simple: “Don’t stop for anybody, and act like you own the place.” Cory and I made it past the first security gate and were doing our best to nonchalantly bypass the final guard at the second gate, where, just outside, Alfredo was waiting for us in a taxi. At this moment though, someone must have noticed Cory’s empty bed because suddenly an alarm rang out. Security instantly noticed the sombrero-wearing gentleman carrying his own I.V. drip and beelining for the exit. We ran the rest of the way, sprinting past the last astonished guard, dove into the taxi and sped away. Rodriguez, a friend of Alfredo’s, kindly let us lie low in his house on the edge of Santa Elena while we waited for the heat to die down, and to arrange the funds necessary to get Cory to an American hospital and to get Alfredo and myself back to the jungle to salvage our equipment. After three days we put

TOP (both): Shane Houbart; Bottom: alfredo zubillaga

cliff notes

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cliff notes

ABOVE: Heavy daily rains turned to cascading waterfalls that show the route's steepness. RIGHT: Camp III, atop pitch 11. Alfredo Zubillaga sorts gear above the abyss.

Cory on a plane to Miami for further medical treatment. One member down, Alfredo and I departed once again for the jungle. We retraced our steps to our advanced base camp to find the Indians had stolen the luxury items from our food supplies, some clothes, and strangely enough, even our mobile SIM cards. We decided to push onto the wall anyway, now with only two weeks left in La Gran Sabana. Before even starting up the route, we still had to finish cutting the path. It took us two more days of hiking and cutting to finally stand next to the wall, which was easily 1,300 feet high—the largest overhang I had ever laid eyes on. We finally eased into the complexities of route finding with 11 days left. It was glorious to be climbing rather than cutting trails and hiking, and after the third pitch, we verged into the overhanging terrain. We estimated that the entire route’s aspect was between 10 to 15 degrees overhanging. The fourth pitch was especially fun: a beautiful lieback with hand jams through a small roof. Big moves, good holds, and a few gripping runouts on impeccable red and white rock. The climbing got better and more solid with every pitch. Crack systems linked into horizontal breaks, providing well-protected climbing with occasional runouts up to 25 feet. Mostly, the climbing stayed within the 5.10 range with a few 5.11 pitches. The rock was generally solid with a few loose sections. The climbing was very mentally and physically draining. I have been climbing for four years and I was at my limit. Lessons learned from the nine years I spent as a British Royal Marine helped me deal with fatigue and the constant mental stress of trying to onsight each new pitch. Alfredo handled the pressure like a heavyweight climbing champ. I’d never seen someone grin so effortlessly while “cruxing out” on a runout 5.12+ pitch. For the first three nights we slept on the portaledge, finding small ledges to cook on as we watched the setting sun and appreciated the beautiful view 2 2 ro c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

Alfredo Zubillaga (bottom); Shane Houbart (top)

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and stunning bird life. Inquisitive hummingbirds hovered around us. Swallows played and flew parallel with the walls, narrowly pulling away from impact at the very last second. Colorful jungle parrots chattered. Though it rained every day, not a single drop touched us under the large overhang. From days four to eight we camped in caves and slept on flat ledges. Storms rolled past and the skies thundered while we climbed through dense clouds, making route-finding even more gripping. Most of the climbing was free with the exception of pitch 11, a tenuous A2+ with two tension traverses, and pitch 12, C2+ with mandatory free climbing of 5.11-. On the 11th pitch, Alfredo was hauling the bags when all of a sudden he found himself in freefall. Terrified, he finally came to an abrupt halt and looked up to see that the sling attached to the Pro-Traxion had been cut by a sharp edge. Luckily he had backed everything up correctly and didn’t end up losing the haul bag—or his life. On pitch 13, I deadpointed to a large hold that snapped off in my hand. My face did a good job of stopping the rock, but it connected with the bridge of my nose and the peak of my helmet, and I toppled backward. The wall whizzed by my bloodied nose as I fell, and I had plenty of time to remember that I only had one piece of protection, just above the belay. I fell 30 feet, passing an astonished Alfredo, and narrowly missing the belay ledge. It took a few moments to compose myself, this time consciously testing each hold as I progressed past Alfredo, who jokingly told me I was wasting his time playing games on the wall. It was a relief to pass the last overhang and hit thick jungle on top of the tepui. Both of us were dirty and exhausted so we jointly decided not to bushwhack to the summit. The vegetation was hugely thick and our rations were running low. That night, perched on our ledge, we celebrated with a bottle of rum and jointly concluded that we should name the 14-pitch route The Hospital Breakout (V 5.12+ A2+, 14 pitches, 1,700 feet). Rappelling the face took a full day and as soon as we hit the ground, we started to hike out in horrific rain. We tried to carry everything back to our advance base camp in one load; however, with the extra weight it took an hour and a half to cover a kilometer in the downpour. We were further thwarted to find that the timid stream where we had once filled our water bottles had now become a turbulent river 165 feet wide. We bivvied nearby, spending the night completely soaked and near hypothermic. We woke to blue skies and the sad sight of a dry shelter just 100 feet to our left. We split all the gear into four manageable loads, taking two with us, and 2 4 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

shane houbart

An exhausted Alfredo Zubillaga amid the post-climb torrent.



nti Pa a h S a l e Pam a Break r line “ Utah , on he k e re C Indian

2, Leg 5.1

shane houbart

Unloading the plane in the village of Yunek, the gateway to the lost world of the Tepuis.

made the 22-mile trek back to the village of Yunek in a single push. At Yunek we hired porters to retrieve the last gear, leaving Alfredo and me time to hire a dugout canoe. We spent that day chilling out on the river. The porters returned two days later, and we used the village’s shortwave radio to charter a Cessna aircraft back to Santa Elena. This was not the end of the story; as soon as we landed, I realized that my passport was missing despite having packed it in my bag the day before. We contacted the villagers by radio and the village chief informed us that it wasn’t there. We assumed that a neighboring village had stolen my passport while we were on the river. I spent the next seven days agonizing over how I was going to get home, and dealing with crooked, lazy cops, but through persistence I managed to obtain the travel document that I needed. I eventually arrived in Caracas and the British Embassy was more than willing to help. The staff arranged an appointment for the following morning with the American Embassy to arrange an emergency visa to transfer through American airports to get me back to my current home in Australia. The traffic was hellish and, arriving at the airport late, I sprinted to make up time. U.S. Marines get very touchy when a sweating, frantic young man with a dark complexion and a large unkempt beard hurtles toward them at a full dash. They deployed their emergency-response team and I suddenly found myself surrounded by 10 masked men with assault rifles pointed at my head. I was thrown to the floor, knees thrust into my neck, and handcuffed. Then I was taken into a room and interrogated. I apologized profusely and received my Washington-approved travel visa with two minutes to spare. This, however, was not the end of my problems as I was delayed in the U.S. due to a numbering error on my temporary passport and visa. Added to that, two of my flights were delayed and the airline lost my bags. For all the anguish that we went through, this trip was still the greatest adventure I have ever had. Against the odds and challenges, we put up a new route. Alfredo is dirtbagging around the U.S., and Cory is alive and climbing. To this day we still don’t know what bit him. Shane Houbart is an ex British Royal Marine with four years of climbing experience in 11 countries. d e c e m b e r 11 3 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 2 5




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Hold a people, nation and climbing culture “between the hammer and the anvil,” as the Polish alpinist Voytek Kurtyka says, and you will see what the human spirit is capable of. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Polish climbers dominated Himalayan climbing, period. And they accomplished that in spite of their country’s war-ravaged history, and paucity of resources. Through interviews, research in both print and photographic sources, and a love for these climbers’ stories, Bernadette McDonald fleshes out the indomitable characters who forged Poland’s Golden Age of Himalayan climbing. Andrzej Zawada’s vision,

Wanda Rutkiewicz’s prideful ambition, Jerzy Kukuczka’s quiet obsession, Voytek Kurtyka’s mysticism, Krzysztof Wielicki’s drive: McDonald brings them to the fore in all their complexity. I can think of no other time when mountaineers carried so much of a nation’s heart, soul and pride with them to the top of the world’s highest peaks, and almost always in winter. Like many of the most significant books that I’ve read, Freedom Climbers finished as a mirror, reflecting vision, ambition, obsession, mysticism and drive—and left me asking myself questions. This is a beautiful and important book. —Barry Blanchard

Bouldering: Movement, Tactics, and Problem-Solving By Peter Beal | | $21.95 | ★ ★ ★ ★ Trust me, all climbers could benefit from a little more bouldering in their lives. Whether you are looking for an introduction to the sport or a little extra power for your trad or sport project, or you just enjoy the purity of minimal gear, bouldering rewards you. Bouldering: Movement, Tactics, and Problem-Solving by Peter Beal is a well-organized and highly informative resource for almost any level of climber. It covers a host of topics, from technique and grades to a well-researched history of the sport. A myriad of photos combined with detailed (though sometimes verbose) writing imparts a healthy understanding of the world of bouldering. The book is a step-by-step guide, with sections on choosing the right gear, understanding movement, training techniques, injury prevention,

competition advice, and everything in between. A resonant explanation of flow in the “Movement in Bouldering” section describes this “state of heightened perception that allows unconscious thought and movement patterns to take over.” With this principle, Beal delves into the more meditative aspects of high-end bouldering and how they will help you to continue to improve as a climber. It’s rare to find such clear descriptions and examples of these largely theoretical bouldering topics. The book lacks the more advanced philosophies of utilizing momentum that could make it more useful to advanced boulderers looking to join the world of the elite. But a boulderer at a basic to moderately advanced level will be more than satisfied with the knowledge at hand. —Carlo Traversi

{Emily Harrington’s Favorite Book} forget me not | by Jennifer Lowe-Anker

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In Forget Me Not Jennifer Lowe-Anker weaves a story that is both heart-wrenching and triumphant. Recounting her life with Alex Lowe, she illuminates his personality and great passion: “Although he was a loving spouse and proud father, it was climbing that defined him. It was his gift, and he pursued it with measured care and persistent glee.” Through sharing Alex’s letters, she ties his love for the mountains into his love for his wife and family. “I can hear the marmots whistling far below,” he wrote her. “Occasional grumbles from the glacier emanate upwards. There’s nary a cloud in the sky, the Karakoram is magnificent today and I love you! You remain in my heart always and I will do nothing that jeopardizes my safe return to my family.” Though seemingly invincible, Alex was taken

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in an avalanche on Shishapangma in 1999. His death was the beginning of a string of tragedies that plagued Jenni and her family, and her heartache is so tangible in her writing it brought tears to my eyes. The mutual consolation she finds with Alex’s climbing partner and best friend, Conrad Anker, is a turning point. The themes of tragedy, love lost and found, remembrance and new beginnings resonate, but so do the beauty and magnificence of the mountains, and the deep connection felt by those who dedicate their lives to experiencing them. Despite all that Jenni suffered due to Alex’s obsession for climbing, she depicts his passion as something to be celebrated.

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Foley and Jaws II, one of America's most difficult lines at 5.15a, Rumney, New Hampshire.

Never Enough Mike Foley lands Jaws II and other big fish


ike Foley likes to draw, usually portraits, in charcoal. He spends anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days on a given drawing. ¶ “I like stuff that involves a lot of finedetail work,” he says. “I’m pretty meticulous like that.” He also likes complex, “minute-detail” climbs.

Foley, 21, of Lincoln, Massachusetts, was the relative unknown who in July busted out the third ascent of Jaws II (5.15a), Rumney, New Hampshire. First done as Jaws (5.14b) in 1998 by Dave Graham, the line lost crucial holds over time, and was freed and rechristened in 2007 by Vasya Vorotnikov. Jaws II saw a second ascent only last year, by Daniel Woods. As a person Foley is quiet, though humorous, and focused. In describing his own process on climbs, he says, “I have a really good spatial memory, so I just remember a lot of things that people overlook.” He

laughs. “Lots of micro beta.” Andrew Freeman of Brookline, Massachusetts, a frequent climbing partner, concurs. “He has an amazing geometrical memory,” he says. “He remembers the shapes of holds.” The send was no surprise to those who are aware that Foley did Rumney’s China Glide (5.14d) last summer; and his name is known all too well by anyone he’d beaten for years on the junior-comp circuit. A climber since age 11, Mike was Junior National Champion in bouldering in 2007, Junior National Champion in lead in 2008 and 2009, and Continental

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learned never to half-ass anything.” As it happens, problems can arise from his laser focus: He says of his art pieces, “I’m never really satisfied with my work. I always end up focusing on the details so much that I lose sight of the piece as a whole.” What, though, could force synthesis better than a redpoint, with all its finality? “Maybe the reason I’ve stuck with climbing so long,” Foley says, “is that it’s one of the few things I’ve ever tried where I can put the pieces together to make something I’m proud of.” Nothing’s simple, though. “Whenever I finish a project, I’m always looking for what’s next. In that sense, I’m never really satisfied.
” ■

What made you decide to study in Squamish? I like to be outside all the time and this just seemed like a good way to go. It’s a good change of pace from New England. The people here are different and the scenery and everything is so opposite from the East Coast. It’s cool to bounce between the coasts.

Do you want to do more trad climbing? I prefer sport climbing but I can see myself getting more into trad climbing. I don’t have my own rack, though.

In what way are the people different? People from the West Coast are just a lot more polite. I’m used to dealing with a lot of Massholes.

Other hobbies? My brother’s a very good biker. He got me into biking when I was younger. Now that I’ve moved out to B.C., I’m getting into it more. I think it’s definitely helped my climbing. Kind of gets my mind off climbing and puts me in a different mindset, and my overall fitness gets better if I’m biking a lot.

What made you choose Jaws II? I’ve been climbing at Rumney for a very long time and have sort of done pretty much all the stuff I could do and I was running out of projects. There were only two left for me, The Fly and Jaws. The Fly is a two-bolt 5.14. It was summer and I thought I might as well start trying Jaws. I spent a few weeks on it and found some beta that worked for me. Once I finally did the move I couldn’t do before, I got really excited.

Role models? I really respect people that can manage to balance school or a fulltime job and still climb hard. I think I respect that more than people who are bumming around climbing. It’s easier to meet your climbing goals if you’re only climbing.

What did you think watching the video of you on it? I remembered it being a lot harder than it looked [on film]. I was trying pretty hard!

One you regret?

 Missing the registration deadline for the Vail World Cup because I misread an e-mail. Lesson learned.

Has this gotten you excited to try other routes? It was a really good confidence boost. I’m excited to get on some stuff in Canada. Dreamcatcher? [Chris Sharma’s 2005 5.14d in Squamish, repeated by Sean McColl in 2009] Yeah, exactly.

Ever made a particularly good decision in climbing? Not to get surgery on my shoulder after being told by two doctors that I needed it.

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Champion in lead in 2009. His climbing background includes redpointing the eight-pitch bolted route the Black Dyke (5.13b) in Squamish, British Columbia, in a day having taken only one fall, on the crux pitch; and some trad, up to the Zombie Roof (5.12d) in Squamish. A student in environmental science at Quest University in Squamish, Mike is the son of an Irish father and a Filipino mother, and he grew up in a very artistic family. His father is a graphic designer and his mother a book binder, while his brother, 24, majored in studio art. “Growing up around a lot of artists taught me always to be very thorough in everything I do,” he says. “I’ve

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What do you think about before trying a big redpoint? I try not to think more than one move ahead at a time, and I tell myself that I’m going to try really, really hard when I get to the crux. Why do you call your top three routes on all “soft”?! I don’t believe that I can actually climb that hard.

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Although not the route the accident occurred on, the one shown here, also at the New River Gorge, has bolts straight up in a horizontal ceiling. While a properly placed bolt in good sandstone can hold up to two tons in a straight-out pull, an improperly placed bolt can fail.

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Bolt pulls out at the New River Gorge


n June 23 two groups from area gyms were climbing at crags along the Meadow River in the New River Gorge, West Virginia. Instructors from the gyms were guiding the climbers and both groups were overseen by an AMGA-certified rock-climbing instructor. At approximately 5 p.m., while the rest of the group was packing up to leave, one of the gym instructors, Arian Bates, decided to

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Chris Sharma gets serious on Es Pontas (5.15b?), Mallorca, Spain. Corey Rich / Aurora Photos

ANALYSIS Properly placed bolts of the appropriate length and diameter do not pull out of solid stone. Nuttall sandstone, the type of rock found in the New River Gorge, is especially solid. The bolt that pulled out was a 2.5-inch by 3/8-inch stainless-steel wedge anchor. Bolts of this type in solid rock have a rated pull-out strength of around 3,500 pounds. Bates dynamically weighted the rope when he stepped off the ledge, but forces generated on the bolt could not have reached anywhere near the rated pull-out strength. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that the bolt was improperly placed or defective. Inspection of the bolt revealed damaged threads on the shaft and that the nut was fixed (unable to spin). Further, the expansion collar on the bolt was not fully engaged. Finally, there were hammer marks on the shaft, nut and hanger. One possibility for the marks, thread damage and subsequent failure is that the hole diameter was too small (perhaps a metric bit was used). The AMGA instructor and a local climber returned after the accident and rappelled the route, inspected the bolts and attempted to remove the hangers. All the bolts appeared solid, yet when the local climber tried to wrench off the nuts, the studs spun in the hole, preventing him from removing the hangers. Clearly, something was wrong with all the bolts, though it is impossible to diagnose the exact problem. According to local Dan Brayack, the route was his project. When he bolted it on aid, the bolt in the roof didn't drill properly and it didn't tighten down. With his drill battery shot, Brayack redtagged the line to keep people off it until he could return to replace the bolt.


In any anchoring scenario—even using provisional anchors to bail midway up a route—you must have two independent protection points, preferably equalized. In this case, Bates could have left a carabiner clipped to the last bolt in the slab and backed it up with a long sling fixed to the other bolt in the roof. This should have prevented the accident. It could also have been prevented had the bad 3 0 ro c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

bolt been promptly replaced. Finally, view all fixed gear—bolts, pins, chain, quickdraws—as suspect. As discussed in a recent article [Cliff Notes, No. 197], accidents involving fixed gear are on the increase. Most of us, like Bates, put our faith in fixed gear all of the time, but we’re beginning to see the folly in that blind trust. Take responsibility for your own safety by using your own gear when possible, and by backing up fixed gear. ■

dan brayack

Chris Sharma is a member of the new AAC.

lead one more route. He chose a sport route at the Rehab Crag that was red-tagged, indicating that the line had not yet been redpointed. But, having heard, incorrectly, that the line was an open project, he decided to try it. The climb was about 55 feet tall and followed a steep 5.12 slab for five bolts to a horizontal six- to eight-foot 5.10 roof. The roof had two bolts, with another just over the lip. These three bolts and the two-bolt anchor had in-situ quickdraws. When the AMGA guide questioned Bates about his ability to climb the roof, Bates said that he would lower off a fixed quickdraw if he had trouble. Bates set off and completed the slab, but fell at the first bolt in the roof. He hung for about five minutes, then decided to bail. As he lowered from the first bolt in the roof, he cleaned his draws off the lower bolts. At the second bolt off the ground, Bates swung onto a small ledge, unweighted the rope and unclipped the draw. When he re-weighted the rope, the bolt in the roof pulled out. Bates fell 10 feet to the ground and fractured his tibia.


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lines of weakness

by Niall Grimes  illustration by Jeremy Collins

Quest for Fire The Grimer burns it up in Spain


limbing, I realized within the first six months of starting it, had to be unpleasant. It just had to be. ¶ It usually rained on our Irish mountains. We would walk long ways in steady drizzles to climb what were largely elongated streaks of upright vegetation interspersed with brief rocky bulges. We frequently belayed squatting on saturated heather ledges. At the top we would coil thick rain-heavy ropes, then stumble back down again, up to our ankles in boggy water.

Come evening we would pitch our tents, deathly smelling canvas wedges that would seep when touched. Cooking was a complex chore, depending on a conundrum of fuels and lighting sequences. The stove was a shining golden bell, its neck to be heated with methylated spirit until pumped paraffin would reach evaporation point. There were nozzles, leather washers, pig grease, imperial-sized fittings. Stoves were called the Primus or the Optimus. Small wonder these gadgets, antiques from a forgotten time, 32 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

had Latin names. The moments of joy that a great move or a flowing 20-foot section gave us were magic indeed. Just as well given the amount of bother we had to go through just to do them. Fast forward to a more convenient age. Times have changed and we have turned our backs on the cumbersome motifs of the past. I found myself on a Spanish sport-climbing holiday, the paragon of climbing convenience. However, this was a badly organized sport-climbing holiday: Through not

paying attention to the plans of others I was to spend my 13 days in Spain with time spread among three different partners, none of whom were in the country at the same time. The first and last partners, both called Steve, were coming to Rodellar, while Dave was going to Alicante, a day’s drive away, with some days of downtime between their arrivals. This meant that out of 13, four were traveling and four were waiting in dusty landscapes for something to happen. Training gurus who like to bang the recovery drum will be pleased with this silver lining to my cloudy organizing. I had arrived in the country by myself and was really on the convenience trip: flown in, hired car. My rucksack was filled with cooking gear, a pillow, shoes, rope and harness, and I was even going to buy a cheap tent when I got there. Who knows, perhaps I wouldn’t even bother bringing it home. Oh, the modernity of it all. I drove to a supermarket for some food and there I saw a pop-up tent, the latest miracle off the production line. Only 25 euros, wow. I couldn’t find gas for my stove, though; the screw-on canisters must be rare in Spain. That was a pity, since I am addicted to tea. At Rodellar I met Steve. All went well enough except I wasn’t climbing very well. Then I drove to Sella and met Dave, on his way to a conference, who announced he’d gotten the shits on the airplane. He spent two full days in the campsite, unable, he claimed, even to belay me. On the third day he recovered enough to wholeheartedly burn me off. Strange. I usually had the edge on him. On the last climb of the day he dropped me as I went for a jug and I slammed in on my ankle. “Owww! Nice one, Steve.” He claimed that it wasn’t his fault, the Grigri snapped at him. “What?” I asked. “Like an alligator? Like a wild, hungry alligator?” No, he said stubbornly, more like a cat. To make a point I belayed him on a redpoint with a figure-eight and he really had to work to get any slack off me. He still managed his first 7c+ (5.13a), but the campsite was a little tense that evening, and he spent most of it on his iPhone chuckling to himself at YouTube clips. By 9:00 the next morning Steve had left and I was beginning my commute back to Rodellar, my accelerator ankle swollen and giving me some pain at speeds over a hundred. Two hot hours

passed. I’d love a cup of tea, I thought. I had still found no gas to fit my cooker and, determining to change that, I stopped in a bustling town. Saturday, market day. I took the burner and strode off, eventually, from a paint stall, being sold a rust-freckled can of propellant the shape of an air freshener. “Are you certain?” I asked. “Certain-tantes?” “Si,” the Spaniard said. “Muy caliente!” The canister made me think of the Russian space program but it seemed to fit. Not finding a teabag stall, I drove on to a roadside supermarket. “Inglés?” asked a pretty checkout assistant with very black hair and nice bangs. I smiled and nodded, handing over coins for a box of tea. Desperate by now for the tea, I decided to brew up in the car park, screwed the propellant onto the burner, filled a pot and lit the stove just beside my open trunk. The stove blazed friskily, though seeming a bit erratic. Once it stuttered, so I gave the canister a kick. A five-foot flame burst from the neck of the canister, leaping toward me like a snake. “Shite and onions!” I cried. I gave the infernal snake another kick and it spun off behind a blue Mazda 30 feet away. It was a better kick than intended. Stunned, I watched the jet of flame, waiting brainlessly for a cataclysm. I had just decided to drive off when I heard a cry. “Ai-yi-ya!” Oh no. To my right the checkout girl with the bangs was inching toward the Molotov, brandishing a fire extinguisher, like a scientist who thinks a Geiger Counter will keep her safe. She closed in on the blaze, tentatively tapping a right foot as far ahead as her balance would allow in some form of selfdefense. It was how I imagined I would cross a live minefield. The sense that this was my doing forced me to walk over and take the extinguisher from her. I nozzed 30 seconds of white death over the can, and stepped back. The girl was grateful and impressed. As far as she knew, I was just an ordinary, real person wanting to help. A hero. I declined her gratitude, then surreptitiously unscrewed my burner from the propellant can, returned to my car, and drove off. I drove all day listening to Spanish pop and filling up on chocolate at petrol stations. Knowing I was still many hours away, and feeling frazzled from

Photos : Š Guillaume Vallot


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lines of weakness the sprained ankle and the brush with death, not to mention the Spanish pop, I decided I would pull off the road, find a quiet spot and relax for the evening. I quickly found a field, turned in and pulled my needs from the car. I got the pop-up out of the trunk. It had initially popped up with some enthusiasm but attempts to pack it back down again had been unsuccessful, once causing me to drive for

leapt from its bed like a tiger out of a cage, springing right at me, mouth gaping open. The violence of its movement flung me backwards. My left foot stumbled on some hard, uneven Spanish soil. On my back foot now, I was easily forced away by the advancing tent, and staggered into a patch of nettles upon the backs of my bare legs. I screamed in agony. Then, for perhaps the third time in

Stunned, I watched the jet of flame, waiting brainlessly for a cataclysm. I had just decided to drive off when I heard a cry. my life, I saw red. The tent now lay prostrate before me, swollen in size yet still an obscene parody of its original form. It had rolled over and was showing me its exposed underbelly, the pale sagging groundsheet. “You little shit!” My eyes scoured the overspill from the trunk of my car and caught sight of a steel fork. I clasped the fork firmly in my right fist and in a fury of oaths brought it clean into the dead center of the thin groundsheet. I cranked the

damentals, what really mattered. As I lost myself in the profundity of this emotion, the artifices of convenience dropped away, no longer relevant. Sport climbing, airports, schedules, success. For what? I dwelled on damp traditional leads, dank wool and short pitches. Ledges. The weight of a wet rope, the cool of a hex. I thought about the roughness of canvas; the supple strength of leather. I missed them. Niall Grimes was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1968 and moved to England in 1991. It was just after this that he started writing because he found that no one could understand a word he said.

r. jenkins, chattanooga, t. donoso photo

two hours with it coerced into the back seat, blocking all rear vision. I had finally managed to bully it into its bag, although it did not look flat and spherical like in the brochure. Its poles were twisted inside the tent bag and it was balled up in a fist of angry nylon. I muttered obscenities to it as I undid the semicircular zip. “You cheap piece of mass-produced shit—” Unexpectedly the bag flung open, out of my hands almost, and the tent

fork toward me, opening a huge triangular incision. I withdrew, turned the beast over and attacked its flanks, lacerating each violently, or at least putting three holes in them, until not one panel was intact. Shaking, I sat down and observed my work. The Horror! It was like a big version of that emotion that makes one snap a pencil in two. Still, I was glad. I had acted and I felt no remorse for the death of the capsule even as its mauled carcass lay before me. In the cool sunlight of a beautiful Spanish evening I stood for a moment and observed my surroundings. An old ruined farmhouse. Fields of blossoms, pink and white. As my breathing returned to normal, I decided I would light a fire. Dry wood lay in easy reach and I soon had a nice blaze going. I boiled water in a pot and downed three cups of tea. I rolled out my sleeping mat and bag and bivied down in the kinship of the fire. Half-asleep, I peered into its heart and felt that primordial sustenance of warmth and protection, the fun-


5 Annual th

Photo Contest Athlete Chris Thomas on Sperm Donor, M9, Joes Valley- Photo by Steve Lloyd

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Rock and Ice is proud to announce the Fifth-Annual Photo Contest presented by Mammut. Now is your chance to show off your great climbing photos! Simply email your images to Rock and Ice. We will publish the best submissions in our Everyman’s Exposed in every issue this year (see page 44 for this issue’s top picks). Then, October 14, 2012, we’ll announce the best of the best. Those winners will receive the great prizes from Mammut (see below). Each winner will also be profiled in Rock and Ice— you’ll get your photos and your own mug in print! Each contestant may submit a total of 15 photos. Send photos, in 72 dpi jpgs, to: The editors of Rock and Ice will select the winners. For more information, go to:

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tuesday night bouldering

by andrew bisharat  art by meg bisharat (ab’s mama)

Rest Days

Like showers, they aren’t something you want to take—but sadly, you must.


f I could be granted one wish, just one wish, I wouldn’t ask for money, eternal youth, or one of those boring things that beauty-pageant robots wish for, like world peace. My wish would be that I could climb every single day for the rest of my life. ¶ (If I had more than one wish, though, I’d go for the climbing, then the money, then eternal youth, definitely a European road trip with Keira Knightley, and finally world peace—with the stipulation that people can still argue and fight, but they just can’t drop nuclear weapons on each other.) Of course we all know from folktales and Adam Sandler movies that people who are granted wishes are ultimately regretful because their wishes doom them to existences they never wanted. For example, maybe I’d be “able” to climb every day, but never get past the gate at Hueco. Or maybe the only type of climbing I could do would be ice climbing (aka torture!) because of the nuclear winter. (Should’ve 3 6 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

wished for world peace first! Dammit!) Or maybe I’d be stuck with a really, really annoying belayer who would always short rope me, send my projects first, never pay for gas, and slurp every bite of food. Oh, man, I’d hate that! I take it back! I take it all back! A never-ending supply of climbing days sounds so good and tasty, but like with the Olive Garden’s never-ending basket of bread sticks, there comes

a point where even one more is just too much. That’s when you need a Rest Day. And that’s exactly what rest days are: something you need, not want. For most climbers, rest days are simply called “work days” and come in mandatory sets of five. Come to think of it, the people who use the term “rest day” in their daily vernacular probably don’t have jobs. If you think that five out of seven days of rest seem excessive and downright cruel, at least be thankful that you have something productive to do when you’re not racking up fantasy points. Imagine being one of those beleaguered full-time climbers who are either professionals or just trust-funders: After updating their Facebooks/blogs, buying plane tickets to their next expedition and sending out e-mails to their sponsors about their latest sends, they are left with nothing else to do except get high and wait until their sinewy muscles are ready to pull again. Consider how boring (awesome) that must be. Though I “rest” five days a week like everyone else, I can understand the bane and boredom of rest days in my own miniature way whenever I go on climbing trips. For example, three friends and I are currently planning our “Tanksgiving” extravaganza: a seven-day jaunt to Hueco Tanks over Thanksgiving. (Yes, people still go to Hueco, and not just the human relics from the 1990s that still say “Phat!” and wear Jane’s Addiction concert t-shirts under plaid flannel shirts.) I know I will need at least two rest days during our trip because Hueco rock shreds skin, muscles and tendons faster than Greg Mortenson shreds his receipts. However, I can’t help but feel depressed that two precious days of my vacation will be spent not climbing. What to do? As much as I dread wasting a day in which I don’t have to work by not climbing, I know that climbing every day is unrealistic. Yet when I reflect on past climbing trips, I realize how many super things happen on rest days—and not just the supercompensation of my muscles. Rest Days are magically unscripted, like snow days in grade school. In fact, now that I think about it, some of my best climbing memories took place on rest days just as some of my best childhood memories involved sledding with my friends down “Suicide Hill” during a freak Thursday blizzard. On a recent trip to Spain, I took quite a few rest days and learned some new ways for how to spend these necessary troughs in the sine wave that is a climber’s life. I guarantee these tips won’t be found in any guidebook. Here they are, rest-day ideas gleaned from the country that brought you the siesta. Start drinking at breakfast. They really know how to live in Spain—and by that I mean, live in a perpetual state of semi-inebriation. In the mornings, we’d head down to the single restaurant in the sleepy village of Sant Llorenc de Montgai for café con evaporated milk and free WiFi. The spring morning air was pregnant with vital life and birdsong could be heard beside the placid waters settled in the limestone mountain cirque. I felt healthy and awake, and


wanted to do stuff like write poetry, plant flowers and shop for some prAna tights. Inside the restaurant, however, was a different vibe. Every day the scene was the same: old Spanish men, probably war vets, would congregate around a table perpetually covered in wine, whisky and beer bottles. They’d eat tortilla (potatoes and eggs), bread and olives, get loose, and at around 9 a.m. start arguing with each other, which would last a few more hours (during which time the drinking really escalated) until it was siesta time. Then the old men would disperse from the table like ghosts, slowly hovering away in different directions toward a nap sanctuary, where they’d remain till 5 p.m., at which point a round of tapas and cervezas would reanimate them all over again. C It wasn’t just old men, either. One Friday M morning we walked into the restaurant to find it filled with about two dozen firefighters get- Y ting lit up like flaming Christmas trees: arguCM ing, laughing and just enjoying what we could MY only hope to be a fire-free day. We assumed that while drinking at breakfast CY is taboo in Puritan America, in Spain it’s par for the course. We even tried it ourselves, whichCMY put us to sleep by noon, groggy by 4:00, back in K party mode by 5:00, and asleep again by 9:00. It was like time travel, and before we knew it, the hateful rest day was over and we were on our merry way back to the crags. Salud! Sit out in the sun. Climbers seek shady rock the way skiers seek powder, and since we spend so much time avoiding the sun, our skin tends to look as pale as that of those crybaby emo vampires that have invaded television by fulfilling every girl’s secret fantasy of having a metrosexual boyfriend who loves them but doesn’t want sex from them. We were staying at Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda’s house in Catalunya, and among our crew was the photographer Keith Ladzinski’s young intern, Elly Stewart. Elly is from Oklahoma and her two favorite things in the world are having the Canon versus Nikon debate with Keith, and sleeping until noon. Rest days were right up Elly’s ally, and I think she probably wished we would just take more of them. One rest day Daila and her friend Ana were lying in lawn chairs, soaking up some rays, when Elly joined them on an adjacent lawn chair and settled in for her first nap of the day. Daila and Ana have beautiful caramel-colored Spanish skin, while Elly’s is delicate, fair and creamy. After a few minutes of baking, Daila, whose English is improving but not yet perfect, asked Elly in a loud whisper, “Do you use protection?” Ana sat up and also looked at Elly. Both Daila and Ana wore serious expressions, ones of concern. “Um, excuse me?” Elly asked. She couldn’t fathom why Daila wanted to know such a per-



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tnb sonal detail. “Do you use protection?” Daila asked again in a low voice. Elly remained dumbfounded. Then Daila got up, hurried into the house and returned with a bottle of sunscreen. Meet new people and do manual labor for Chris Sharma. Though it’s easy to meet really cool, interesting people simply by going to a new climbing area, you will still be meeting climbers, who are essentially all brewed in one genetic pool. For most singleminded climbers to venture outside of our narrow world and meet someone not of our kind, it requires a mandatory rest day. In Spain, I was fortunate enough to actually meet a non-climbing human. His name was Steve, and he looked like a 6’6” 300-pound WWE wrestler who could suplex a small elephant; however, his kind demeanor and charming English accent conjured up Hagrid from Harry Potter more than Stone Cold Steve Austin. Steve is a handyman whom Sharma hires to help with various DIY projects, particularly metal welding. Since Sharma was letting us stay for three weeks for free, I magnanimously decided to help out our host with his various home projects. I didn’t want to lift anything heavy or exert myself too much since I had my own projects to send the next day, but I figured I could at least give the impression of

being a helpful guest without blowing my recovery. That all changed when Chris assigned Steve and me the tasks of cleaning out the tool shed and fetching a 500-pound cement grill from Steve’s house. “I’m sweating like a pig that knows it’s what’s for dinner,” Steve said. He was dismantling a shelf in the tool shed, and was indeed sweating profusely. The backs of his hands were swollen and fleshy like oversized beets, and his digits formed lobster claws that pinched a socket wrench with some difficulty. It was over 80 degrees, but he was wearing a turtleneck under his t-shirt. Steve explained that he had lost a lung in a motorcycle accident, and that he had to sweat constantly in order to keep his body from overheating. The bones in his hands had been fused, which explained the permanent Spock grip. As we worked together throughout the day, Steve opened up and unfurled the poignant threads of his past. For example, Steve had never liked school very much, and would always get into trouble. One day, in the principal’s office, Steve begged to be expelled. The principal said that Steve hadn’t given him a good reason. So Steve took a stapler and smashed the principal in the mouth, breaking his jaw. He was expelled from school at 14 and ran away. He worked in metal shops, and got into more trouble, but eventually was set straight when he

found his wife, Dee. Last year they moved from Manchester, England, to Spain to open a bed and breakfast. But when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, Steve said, “Life went tits up.” All their savings went toward medical bills, and the bed and breakfast fell into disrepair and never got off the ground. Six months ago­—“To the day, actually,” as he suddenly realized—Dee died. We arrived at Steve’s house to pick up the cement grill. It was a six-bedroom house. No lights were on, and everything smelled musty due to a leaky roof that hadn’t been fixed. Steve and I used a combination of dollies and Egyptian pyramid-building techniques to roll the cement grill toward the car. We stopped every 30 seconds so Steve, panting and sweating, could catch his breath. The work also left me feeling more exhausted than any 8a ever could, but feeling connected to this surprising person in a way was better than any day out on the rocks, when it’s all about me. We finally got the cement grill over to Chris’s house, and that night we grilled whole chickens split open and stuffed with lemons. The next morning I ached. I’d blown my rest day, and probably my chances for sending that afternoon. But the trip had already become a success. Andrew Bisharat rests five, climbs two and sends one (route per year).


We climb 8,000-meter peaks in the dead of winter for moments like this. Expedition member Denis Urubko en route to the summit of Gasherbrum II as his team makes its way into mountaineering history. FOLLOW THEIR CLIMB AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GEAR THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE AT THENORTHFACE.COM/CLIMBING

the best 5.10 i ever climbed

by patrick pharo

Logistics  From Denver International Airport, head northwest through Boulder, along US 36 to the Estes Park valley. Reserve a backcountry permit from the Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Office (970-586-1242) if you wish to bivy. The office is located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center three miles west of Estes Park on US 36. From this office, head back south along CR 7 toward the Longs Peak trailhead, and begin the long, gradual nine-mile approach to Chasm Lake. Look for the cutoff trail marked with a cairn the size of a car. From the bivy at Chasm Lake (or if you’re just passing through in a car-to-car push), find the North Chimney and its obvious snow tongue. A lesser-done alternative is a longer hike to the Boulder Field, followed by rappels back down to Broadway’s ledge system. Besides the double #4s, bring doubles from green Aliens on up, with extra finger- and thin-hands sizes. Supplement with nuts and plenty of extra runners. DESCENT: If you eschew the rappels that lead back to Broadway from Table Ledge, and instead go over the top, you have several descent options. Take the long walk down the Keyhole trail, or better yet, head northwest down low-angle terrain and find the Cables Route, equipped with three huge eyebolts. Take these single-rope rappels back down toward the Boulder Field. Once there, stay right along the ridge, aiming for the loose but mellow gash called the Camel Gully that leads down and right, back to the bivy spots. Crack that now-warm PBR, chase off the marmots, and exult during the slog back to the car.

Pervertical Sanctuary (5.10d) Longs Peak, Colorado


s a boy I went to sleep hearing my father’s stories of his summer and winter climbing adventures on Longs Peak—the 14,000-foot flattop mountain that dominates Colorado’s Front Range. He talked about fearful winter winds that batted him around, and verglas that nearly caused him to plunge into Glacier Gorge. His glory was signing the summit register. To me, Longs might as well have been Mount Olympus.

A mountaineer, my dad saw hard, technical climbing as something to be largely avoided. Dad had certainly roped up in his day, but he didn’t train on plastic, go sport climbing, or even think about falling. Longs was attainable exclusively by routes that avoided the sheer face of the Diamond. The Diamond! Longs Peak’s famed East Face, one of America’s most classic alpine walls, is a vertical monolith 4 0 r o c k a nd i ce .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

rent with crack systems and corners. Fortunately for me, Pops showed me the ropes 15 years ago. By the time I fell in love with rock climbing, Rifle was already polished, and 5.10 was the warm up if the 5.11 was taken. I, however, still clung to the understanding that the Diamond was a hallowed place where even the hero of my youth feared to tread. Setting off to climb my first route

up there, I arrived at the base of the first pitch almost in disbelief. What a lucky man I was, able to explore a wall so steeped in the myths and legends of my childhood. On second thought, maybe I was just happy to have survived the approach. Many parties are slowed by loose rock, occasional ice, and the inevitable yet serious debate about roping up in the North Chimney—the low fifth-class approach to Broadway Ledge, which is the starting point for any route on the Diamond. Most parties choose to tie in, but use your best judgment to get to Broadway safely. Once there, head far to the climber’s left for the start of the classic 5.10 Pervertical Sanctuary. Three pitches of adventurous 5.9 climbing follow a fairly obvious crack system that ascends the left side of a large pillar known as the Mitten. From there, Pervertical’s business begins with a beautiful 5.10 splitter crack system. Pure jamming like this is rare, and at such an altitude, it had me gasping to catch my breath, even as my teeth were clenched in a shit-eating grin. Here’s a hint for the aspiring Pervertical climber: bring doubles of some wide gear. The unreal sixth pitch, with thought-provoking climbing that seems to go forever, will take two 4-inch cams. Save one for the end. Eventually, the corner rears

back for an exciting wide finish. This iconic ropelength (5.10a) drops you at a perfect belay ledge with a king’s view of Lumpy Ridge. A final 5.9 romp leads to Table Ledge. From Table Ledge, my partner and I took the upper portion of Kiener’s nebulous terrain to the summit. Standing there on top of the mountain that my father had battled in his own youth, I wondered about the grade. These days Pervertical is commonly given 5.11a. When Tobin Sorenson and Bruce Adams first freed it, though, 5.10 was still hard. They were bold just to grade the crux pitch 5.10c. Out of respect for that FFA team, I’ll stick with the original rating, and tell everyone I know that it’s the best 5.10 I’ve ever done. ■

Patrick Pharo, son of the climber Randy Pharo, is a native Coloradan. Check out his blog at

top left: john evans

The Diamond face on Long’s Peak may be the scene of untold epics, but it remains high on many climbers’ wish lists.

Philippe Batoux / photo: P. Tournaire

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What I’ve Learned

Photo by Keith Ladzinski I understand why [my brother] Alex is better known in America. The photographs of him when he free climbed the Salathé were the best climbing shots that had ever been taken. I was always more injury-prone than Alex. When he went to climb the Salathé, I was at home having knee surgery. It was hard for me to see his big accomplishment—the great coverage and pictures—while I was doing therapy at home. I said, fuck, fuck, fuck. It pissed me off! The next year I tried to climb the Salathé in a day, and I came so close, but I fell on one pitch. I freed them all, but didn’t redpoint. I wanted to be equal to Alex. It was a competition between us, but it was positive because Alex wanted me to share the success that he had had. Alex is my best friend and climbing partner. We are brothers. We trust each other, we have the same blood, we know our strengths and we know our [pause] … what’s the opposite of that word? No mountain, no climb, is worth it to lose your life. Of course, we risk life all the time because it’s what makes life meaningful. But you always have to know that what you are doing is dangerous, because when you know it’s dangerous, you are on a safer track. That’s my philosophy. In 1997 we went to the Southwest Face of Latok II, and I am still proud of this expedition, even though we used fixed ropes. It is still one of the biggest, hardest walls ever climbed in the world. Mountaineering has so much space for everyone. To say, “Only what I’m doing is good” is wrong.

Thomas Huber

Alpinist, Cancer Survivor, Heavy-Metal Singer, Elder Half of The Huberbaum, 44, Berchtesgaden, Bavaria. There is one sentence in my life that is so important to me. “When you walk in the valleys, you know how big the mountains are.” It’s nice to be up on top of summits, but up there, there is no perspective. It’s good to walk in the valleys because there, you know where you’ve been and where you want to go. If you have the motivation, the will, you will get to the summit and you will feel freedom. This metaphor helps me to never give up. I had a terribly hard year. My good friend Bean Bowers died of cancer. I saved an e-mail from him that began, “Hey cancer brother, how are you doing?” The doctors had found a small lump on my 4 2 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

kidney, but I was lucky, and it was benign. Bean was on the other side. It was hard to see how fast it goes. He went so, so fast. Nobody can say I “fought” against cancer. I was just lucky. And it made me realize how important mountains are because they represent health. The most important thing in life is your health.

We’ve received criticism of our tactics, especially in Yosemite. The problem is, we did those climbs. Everyone else just watched. The most memorable climbing experience is the one where you suffer the most. For me it was probably making the second ascent of the Ogre, the hardest peak in the world. Every age has its heroes. When I grew up, I drew inspiration from Wolfgang Gullich and Jerry Moffatt. Nowadays I look to the younger generation, and I say, “Dammit! I want to go bouldering!” Paul Robinson, Chris Sharma, Alex Honnold, Kevin Jorgeson. I have a big, big respect for these guys. I watch their videos, and I say, “I want to go climbing, dammit!”

The most beautiful mountain in the world? There are three: El Capitan, Cerro Torre and the It’s important not to think that our generaWatzmann, which is the peak outside my home in tion has to do everything. It’s important to leave Berchtesgaden. When I finally see the Watzmann projects for the younger generation. My again, after being away on a big expeTo read more about brother and I are fighting the over-boltdition, I know that I am home. I know interesting people, go ing that is going on here in the Alps. that I am alive. ■ to

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LEFT: luke anderson Daniel Montague fiddles in the brass on Lazy Bum (5.10d), Sunnyside Bench, Yosemite.

ABOVE: jimmy martinello Trevor McDonald on his Into The Mystic (5.11+), Pemberton, B.C. LEFT: brian branstetter Solarium (V4) at The Happy Boulders, Bishop, California. Akinola Soyode-Johnson, spotted by Paul Nakauchi, basks in it.

Enter the Rock and Ice/Mammut Photo Contest Send your photos to Rock and Ice! If they get published in our Everymanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Exposed, you are automatically entered in the 2012 Photo Contest, with a shot at sweet prizes from Mammut. To enter, e-mail low-resolution 72 dpi jpegs (no more than six at a time) to: Please include your name in the file name or metadata for every photo. No purchase necessary. 2012 Photo Contest Winners will be announced October 14, 2012.

o ct o b e r 11 3 r oc k andice .com 45

Christine Zalecki shines on Sunny Side Up (5.11d), The Egg, Mickeyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Beach. A hard start is followed by 50 feet of excellent edging.


Cragging in the Bay Area Story and Photos by Jim Thornburg


LEFT: Christine Zalecki on Donkey Dong (5.11d), Castle Rock State Park. When the “Dong” broke off a few years ago, this four-star climb got even better. ABOVE: Eliot Carlsen goes Trout Fishing (5.10d), Consumnes River Gorge. This traverse above the river can be a deep-water solo, but then you miss the fun second pitch.

had never kissed a girl, so when a naked one came up to me and started asking questions about the climb I had just tried, I was a little thrown. Painfully shy, I’d always wondered how I would ever ask a girl to go climbing, and now a naked one was here asking me if I knew of a place where she could learn. It was 1981 and I was 17. This was my first real climbing trip, an hour-long journey from Berkeley to the fabled Mickey’s Beach Crack on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in far-flung Marin County. Perhaps it was the confidence boost I’d gotten from trying my first 5.12 that allowed me to stammer enough words to arrange a future climbing date with the girl who had wandered over from the nearby nude beach to watch us climb. It must have been a spectacle, since the climb was stunning: a one-inch crack gracefully splitting an overhanging wall of dense Greenstone. Bathed in a sunset glow and floating on a cloud as I hiked back to the car, I marveled over a dreamy kaleidoscope of flowering red and yellow plants, the heady aroma of sage mixed with humid sea air and the distant sound of booming waves.  This was the day I fell in love with climbing, and it’s lasted 30 years. The Bay Area. I love living here—it’s one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. You could say it’s a big, ugly metropolis, and you’d be partly right. Yet the Bay Area retains its natural beauty. On summer evenings a thick wave of ocean fog pours through the Golden Gate and over the

4 8 r o c k a n d i ce .co m 11 d e c e m b e r

dark ridge of Mount Tamalpais, sweetening the blighted air. Ancient towering redwoods on Tam’s lofty Bolinas Ridge offer low boughs, made to be climbed, above the fog where you can peer into the wind and watch the sun settle into the Pacific while the mist assumes different shades of orange, pink and purple. The climbing varies, but some of it is downright proud, offering good stone in amazing settings. While it has become fun and fashionable to take the stance that climbing here sucks, the polished holds on our local rocks tell a different story. It’s a story that begins on, but reaches past, our little bluffs to the world’s biggest walls and greatest climbs.

The Indian Rock Legacy In 1934 Jules Eichorn, Bestor Robinson and Dick Leonard, all in their early 20s, practiced ropework on a paltry plug of rhyolite in the Berkeley Hills called Indian Rock. With an experimental attitude and the big walls of Yosemite as their goal, the youths developed a dynamic hip-belay technique that upped the odds of surviving big falls on the static ropes of the time. After a few months of practice on the 40-foot rock, during which time they took and caught falls of over 20 feet, they brought their newfound skills to bear on the landmark first ascent of Higher Cathedral Spire, far and away Yosemite’s hardest climb at the time. A few years later, in 1939, David Brower, who had also learned the art of

Christine Zalecki on Captain Hook (5.10c), The Treasure Chest, Fisk Mill Cove. The tricky arete is followed by a long reach and a move into a bombay chimney, and topped off with a body-length roof.

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BELOW: Rebecca Taggart moves through the beautifully sculpted 30-foot Bates Arete (V4), Castle Rock State Park. RIGHT: Christine Page on Rust Never Sleeps (5.10a), Mickey’s Beach. The 50,000-ton boulder that hosts this route moves a couple inches each time a wave hits.

climbing on the Berkeley Rocks, made the first ascent of the oft-tried (his was the 13th attempt) 2,500-foot Shiprock in New Mexico. Brower’s technical skills developed to such a degree that he was hired to teach mountaineering to soldiers during World War II. His training of the 10th Mountain Regiment helped them in the rough terrain during the storming of Riva Ridge, a critical action that disrupted German lines in the North Apennines range of Italy. Brower, ultimately a great conservationist and considered the father of modern-day environmentalism, said once, “It is quite likely that Indian Rock, however indirectly, spared thousands of lives.” In the 1940s the next generation of would-be pioneers, Allen Steck, Steve Roper and Chuck Pratt, focused their budding skills on harder and harder lines at Indian Rock and went forth to establish routes that still challenge climbers: The Steck-Salathé on Sentinel Rock (Yosemite, 1950), the West Face of El Cap (Yosemite, 1963), and the FFA of the Kor-Ingalls on Castleton Tower (Castle Valley, 1963). Peter Haan and Galen Rowell were the next young climbers to step up to the plate at Indian Rock, in the early 1960s embracing the practice of eliminate problems like the slippery Watercourse done with only one hand (V5?), or by soloing the 40-foot I-12 (5.11a). In Yosemite Haan made the FFA of the Left Side of the Hourglass, a 5.11 undercling and offwidth with groundfall potential. His pre-cam, onsight ascent, in 1971, is still considered one of Yosemite’s boldest leads. Rowell went on to become one of the world’s foremost adventure photojournalists, and a prolific first ascentionist throughout the Sierra. In the 1970s locals were once again spurred to new heights, this time

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by a young mathematician named Nat Smale. Nat’s Traverse (V8, 1976), a 40-foot traverse near Indian Rock, marked a huge leap in standards. Smale’s climbing sparked a period during which he, Scott Frye, Harrison Dekker, John Sherman and, a few years later, Jeff Webb vied with each other to create progressively sicker boulder problems, developing mutant strength in the process. Sherman traveled the country looking for new and harder boulders, introducing his now widely used “V” bouldering scale in Hueco Tanks, Texas, where he established many new V9s (near the top of the scale at the time). Frye and Dekker left their marks around the country with numerous top-of-the-line ascents in sport climbing. The honed Dekker, whose study of library science earned him the moniker “Conan the Librarian,” lived for a time near the New River Gorge, where in 1991 he made the first ascent of The Travesty (5.13d), a route as yet unrepeated by his original direct line. Meanwhile, Scott Frye was busy traveling, leaving behind hard routes from Colorado to California, notably A Steep Climb named Desire (5.14a), Donner Summit, 1991, and Living in Fear (5.13d), Rifle, 1992. A few years later, in 1994, Jeff Webb quietly bagged Colorado’s first consensus 5.14 with Lungfish (5.14a/b), Rifle. In 1988 Robb Rodden bought a climbing harness for his skinny 8-yearold daughter and brought her to Indian Rock to toprope The Slab and Transportation Crack. Beth Rodden, enamored with the sport from that day forward, went on to free climb several El Cap routes, including, with Tommy Caldwell, the FFA of Lurking Fear (5.13c) in 2000 and an early free ascent of the Nose (5.14a). In 2008 she fired Yosemite’s hardest climb, the

short, vicious crack called Meltdown (5.14c). Today Indian Rock offers the same challenges it did back in the 1930s. The cutter edges and burly overhangs have remained a magnet for local upand–comers. Sometimes, when another dry and dusty summer yellows the grass and cakes the holds with a slippery film, Indian Rock seems destined to slip into obscurity. But like the arrival of the afternoon fog, the next generation of youthful exuberance flows in with the winter rain to breathe new life into old holds, and the rock never fails to entertain, school or even provide one more Last Great Problem right up to V13.

The Castle Rock Connection In the South Bay a similar scenario has played out at the Fontainebleauesque blobs of Castle Rock State Park. Castle Rock is no doubt the Bay Area’s premier bouldering spot, with bizarre, technical moves on slopers and pockets that are frustratingly hard but all the more satisfying once mastered. You’ll find the same quirky attributes on the scores of fun miniature sport routes (40-80 feet tall) that lie hidden in dark forest chambers throughout the 3,600-acre park. The sandstone boulders were a perfect training ground for developing the friction skills and take-no-prisoners attitude needed for hard Yosemite climbs. During the 1960s the Castle regulars Barry Bates and Jim Bridwell honed their free climbing on desperate sloper problems like The Spoon (V3), The Bates Arête (V4) and The Bates Eliminate (V6). These two climbers were largely

TOP: Marcos Nunez and Sea Biscuit (5.12b), Fisk Mill Cove. Nunez discovered and developed much of the climbing along the lonesome Sonoma Coast. ABOVE: Amna Shiekh on The Brick (V5), Jimi’s Beach. This recent find boasts some stellar problems but is only attainable during times of low tide and swell.

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responsible for the solidification of the 5.11 grade in Yosemite in the early 1970s, with first free ascents of Butterfingers (5.11a) by Bridwell in 1971 and New Dimensions (5.11a) by Bates and Steve Wunsch in 1972. Of course Bridwell also went on to author many of Yosemite’s most daunting big-wall climbs, including the Sea of Dreams (A5), 1978. A few years later the future Yosemite denizens Ron Kauk, Scott Cosgrove and John Yablonski frequented the boulders, and left behind classics like the Yabo Roof (V5) and Coz Daddy Roof (V6). In Yosemite Kauk went on to the FAs of Astroman (5.11c), in 1975, Midnight Lightning (V8), in 1978, and Magic Line (5.14b); Cosgrove’s Southern Belle (5.12d R/X) of 1988 with Dave Schultz has seen only two repeat ascents in 23 years and his 1988 Joshua Tree testpiece The New Deal (5.13d/14a) just received a second ascent last year. The 1980s were a quiet time at Castle Rock, but in the early 1990s a clumsy adolescent from Santa Cruz began to show up with the locals Andy Puhvel, Sterling Keene and Chris Bloch. Chris Sharma scanned the boulders with fresh eyes and discovered the next harvest of excellent problems, culminating in his ascent of The Ecoterrorist (V11), 1996, when he was 13. Sharma’s problems, featured in photos and videos, put Castle Rock on the map for good, and boulderers from as far away as the East Coast began to add Castle as a destination. This era also saw the resurgence of the sometimes forgotten jumble of huge conglomerate cliffs and boulders east of Santa Cruz called The Pinnacles. Sharma, by now 14, made a fast ascent of the area’s hardest route, Lardbutt (5.13c) before establishing his own route, Übermensch (5.14a),

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1996, a year later. In 2001 Sharma traveled to France for the first ascent of Realization (the world’s first 5.15a). This landmark ascent was shortly after his recovery from knee surgery. His rehab had been 30 days of bouldering barefoot at Panther Beach, a gorgeous and lonely stretch of plush sand in Santa Cruz featuring a wave-sculpted sea cliff a quarter-mile long. The crumbly, soft sandstone offered some Céüse-like pockets and fun problems—but no names or ratings, which suited Sharma perfectly.

The Santa Rosa Legacy The medium-sized, a-little-bit-country North Bay city of Santa Rosa has been the breeding ground for the most recent series of game-changers. During the 1990s the steel-fingered locals Marcos Nunez and Jason Campbell developed many of the remote and windswept Sonoma Coast crags and boulders, setting the stage for future climbs by Kevin Jorgeson, a quiet Santa Rosa teen who began blowing minds in 2002 at Indian Rock, where he’d huck laps on Impossible Wall (V9) and New Wave (V9), trying to catch a pump. Soon he was pushing the Bay Area highball envelope on North Coast classics like Stony White Shoes Johnson (5.13a solo). Visiting the Buttermilks, he brought a new base line to an area already rife with crippling highball problems, establishing mind-benders like the Beautiful and the Damned (V13), 30 feet, and Ambrosia (V11), 55 feet. Now he’s ensconced in the project of a lifetime, working on the FFA of Mescalito on El Capitan with Tommy Caldwell, a route that may set the standard for the hardest big wall free-climb ever.

LEFT: Sharma on the Impossible Traverse (V13), Mortar Rock (Indian Rock). The obvious challenge, to link Nat’s Traverse (V8) into this, remains undone. BELOW: Dean Fleming on The Scoop (V4), Columbia State Park, east of San Francisco. These Mazes of Marble were sites of Gold Rush hydro-mining in the 1800s. LEFT: Chris Sharma on Mickey’s Beach Arete (5.13c), Mickey’s Beach. This arete is what remains of Mickey’s Beach Crack, the superclassic 5.12b fingercrack whose right side fell into the ocean in 1994.

Portal to the Natural World Thrashing about overgrown trails and scrambling up short cliffs has been an important rite of passage for our local heroes. At the gym you won’t learn which direction the sun is moving, or when the full moon rises. You won’t learn about tides and swells, get lost or run out of water. You won’t wonder about the Natives of this area, what they ate, or if they climbed these rocks before you. In short, you won’t learn about the natural world, a key ingredient for many when falling in love with climbing. Our crags seldom reach past 60 feet in height. Some are decidedly urban, like The Beaver Street Wall, a 50-foot cliff of polished chert in the Heart of SF’s Castro district, but others are wild, like the northern seaside crags at Fisk Mill Cove. Sometimes it’s possible to escape the snarling city confines with a mere 10-minute drive. On a bustling Walnut Creek weekday you can get a two-pitch route done after work, sharing quiet Pine Canyon with only coyotes, rattlesnakes and eagles. At Castle Rock you may become hopelessly lost looking for the fabled Klinghoffer Boulders while thrutching through bushes. At the Pinnacles a wild pig may accost you as you stumble back to your car in the dark, exhausted. At Mickey’s Beach a sea bird could perch on the clipping jug of your favorite route and spew sea-bile on you, or you might reach the chains in the last orange blush of a California sunset, as the waves lap below, tinged frothy pink in the fading light of another perfect day. Jim Thornburg, a photographer from Berkeley, is completing work on his guidebook to Bay Area climbing. Look for it soon at

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At Font, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be surprised when some old Bleausard strolls up your project. Here, Jo Montchausse hikes his Le Toit du Cul de Chien (6c/7a), Cul de Chien sector.

ABOVE: The author projecting Elefunk (8b), Marlanual sector. RIGHT: Mike Rafiti comes to grips with le Bibloquet, Cul de Chien.



A leading American tours the birthplace of bouldering, Fontainebleau, France, and reports on how for a hundred years “Font” has been the stage for the most difficult moves on rock. By Chris Schulte • Photos by Stephan Denys

t’s 5:45 a.m. and I’m driving to Fontainebleau. Outside my window, fields of seedlings are green, damp and cool. Moisture sparkles in the fog, now peeling back from the tilled soil like a tide, receding through the woody edge, tucking into the valley corners before vanishing in a cold butter sunrise. Deer and squads of rabbits patrol the fields. Pheasants strut along the roadside bramble. I’ve been timing myself on this rural rally course for the last four weeks. Bouncing into downhill curves following the drainage works, cutting roundabouts, and straddling speed bumps through four tiny sleeping towns in quick succession, each separated by swaths of farmland and thicket. The early morning soundtrack polishes the lens. Beethoven seems to be the finest, but some days there is techno, punk, strange fantasy metal, ’90s hip-hop, often something lounge-y, maybe Nirvana. The hunter measures conditions and this season has been an odd one meteorologically. My fifth visit to ’bleau, and the shakiest weather yet. Rare, fleeting and utterly trophy. So, early to bed and so forth. Off and on for a few weeks I creep through coffee and breakfast (don’t wake the house mates), having packed the night before, and set out across the fields to the work. Not like punching the clock at the restaurant. More like building a pyramid. Sometimes I stop and warm up quickly at Roche aux Sabots. A few blue-circuit problems in the tennis shoes. Tall reds sort the head. This area can be like North Mountain at Hueco on a nice morning but at this hour no one’s here.

More often, I just rocket on toward the work, carried by the music of the day. A brisk walk in, just under a kilometer. The washer-sized stone in the parking lot is dry. A bit of frost lingers on the grass at the park’s edge. I’m hurrying, loaded with pads—a Mondo, two Drop Zones, and a big, borrowed tri-fold. A pause for breath after the last little hill, hand to the bone-white stone, clean and untouched today except for me feeling the pulse. C’est sec. It’s dry. Ca colle. That sticks! At Font, the temps must be just right. I usually have about a 45-minute window on a good day when I’ll reach my high point, where the littlest things become big things. It must be cool and dry to climb to this point. I must move with tension, and get lucky. In my head it’s merely “stick, step, hook, snatch, step, slap, top out.” I usually slide off at “hook.” One nice day at about 7 a.m., I fell right after “snatch.” On a bad day, I shoe up, chalk up, pull on mid-sequence and slap for … nothing. There is no hold on the bad days and I pack up immediately and head back to the gite. Most of the time, it’s just a bit too warm for me but my friend Michele seems to be fine so I continue to try, working the sequence—kneading dough, hammering steel. Most of the time overtones of frustration and resignation coexist in a simmering balance. Some days I have to crunch through the woods downhill, looking for a shoe, or my hat. My resolve is unshakeable, thankfully. I know I’ll climb the thing sometime, maybe next season, and until I do, I get to work on one of the best climbs I’ve ever tried. I get to. I’m lucky enough to understand that, and as such, however long it takes, I will participate in a real story with real emotion: joys, sacrifice and eventually celebration. And when the work is done, it’ll feel great, and I’ll move on to the next pyramid.

Jacky Godoffe on his C’etait Demain, Font’s first proposed 8a, in 1985.

Marc LeMenestrel and his L’Alchimiste (8b).


or over a hundred years, the botanical preserve of Fontainebleau, a rustic forest located one hour south of Paris, has been the stage for the most difficult moves on rock. The very progression of climbing can be read in the problems, scattered across the shady forest. While the climbing world is piqued with recent news of V15s and V16s, the Bleausards—curators of the Magic Forest—quietly carry on with their own history, setting and recording the standards of their insular and exemplary bouldering world. At Font footholds are of primary concern and texture is variable, infamously dependent upon conditions that tend to be particular to each problem. The structure of the stone requires a mastery of techniques that need to be refined, slowly improved with age, familiarity and practice. The climbing is cerebral, faith-based, and an acquired skill … and for most people an acquired taste. Chances are, if you’ve been to Font you’ve been graced and dismayed by the spectacle of any number of graying, floppy-slippered ninjas hiking your project and moving on to 20 other problems you may never finish, or even start. Often a single move will take uncounted attempts to understand, but as frustrating as the experience may occasionally be, the effort becomes a natural part of the encounter and you begin to find pleasure in the need to “work something to death.” One can really live with these climbs. It’s a pleasure to have such projects to pursue for their own sake—lines that mean something, lines that need no explanation, life-goal climbs. Font has lines that will last as long as climbing exists. These are the lines you surrender and swear to, you give and give again for. Those that keep you mindful, humble, open, inquisitive and focused. These are lines that are selected like a university or religion. L’angle Allain, La Marie Rose, l’Abbatoir, Carnage: brilliant ascents from a long Golden Era following the Second World War, as Font was 5 6 roc k andice .com  11 d e c e m b e r

Vincent Pochon taking advantage of optimal conditions at night on Welcome to Jamrock (8b+), one of Font’s two stand-up problems of the grade, and unrepeated.

breaking free from the cocoon of alpinism. These were the problems that established bouldering as an end unto itself. The climbers of this age founded new grades, gave us the modern climbing shoe, and the first dirtbags. Parisians constructed hidden bivouacs in the forest for long weekend sessions, coming down by train and bicycle to explore, to compete with other climbing clubs, to drink wine and play in the woods. With time, technique, and a changing of the guard, the first 8a in the forest followed with Jacky Godoffe’s 1984 opening of C’etait Demain, and soon thereafter Marc Le Menestrel’s much-lamented bloc L’Alchimiste (8a+/b), a problem that was subsequently vandalized/destroyed by a competitor. Footwork master Philippe Le Denmat, author of the prominent and iconic slab Duel (8a), opened the first 8b in the forest: Enigma, repeated only once, by his son, before a crucial foothold broke. In these halcyon years, Fred Nicole, a name now synonymous with standard-setting climbs, appeared on the scene, adding difficult sit starts to several lines of note, as well as decoding the moves to make the first ascent of Karma (8a), and La Pierre Philosophale, trés recherché at “hard 8b.” As the numbers piled up, the absurdities and contradictions of hard bouldering and its particulars were slowly unmasked: Laurent Avare opened the longtime project Kheops (8b), joking that it must be 7c+ because he could do it but not Verdict, hard 8a, a line a friend had opened days before and rated 7c+. The cycle continues, and a new generation has appeared to expand the lists of the Magic Forest and carry Font into tomorrow. With whole new areas opened seasonally, the archives of Fontainebleau are always expanding. Even in the well-traveled heart of Font, the Cuvier, grand projects of this age or the next stand as silent sentinels. History waits. Chris Schulte is one of America’s strongest boulderers. He specializes in “compression” problems that involve core-intensive sloper squeezing, a style well suited to Font, where he has climbed numerous famous, hard problems, including Gecko assis and Kheops assis, both V14.

P Vincent Pochon Pochon grew up in Marlanval, with the boulder that was to house his line Elefunk (8b) in his backyard. Literally. He is big, as is easy to determine when one sees his lines; the huge moves and dynos of Electro (8a+) or Welcome to Jamrock (8b) in Puiselet, or the giant span on Narcotic (8a+/b), in Recloses. His vision and determination resulted in the FA of the Big Island (8c), shown here, a long-standing project in a small and individual area. Twelve to 14 moves long, on a variety of slopers, edges and bad pinches up a 45-degree overhanging prow, it is a test of staying power, tension and stillness, and likely the hardest “up” problem in the forest, with only one repeat to date.

P Olivier Lebreton -FAs of Hip Hop (8a+)/Hip Hop Assis (8b), Gecko Assis (8b+), le Toit du Greau, and Tigre et Dragon. Once the young gun of the forest, Lebreton has climbed in Font for 18 years and continues to open new lines such as Bleau Sacre (8a+) and l’ Apparremment bas (8b), as well as Le Convecteur Temporel at Rocher St. Germain, a new enchainment at 8b/+. In this photo, Dave Graham gets his A Game on for the sit start to Gecko Assis. P Sebastien Frigault Frigault opened Trip Hop (8c), which consists of several meters of 7c+ slopers into an 8b. Trip Hop is one of many difficult overhangs opened by this school teacher. If it’s in Font and it’s really hard and steep, it was probably put up by Seb. He can claim rare jewels such as MeCanique Elementaire (8c, shown here), le Dernier Fleau in the Fatman roof, and the mysterious Dune, an 8b+ single move from underclings, possibly only repeated once.

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Grade Comparison

(Note: This reflects the experiences of one individual of average height, weight, ape index.)

7a V5 to V6 7a+ V6 to V7 7b V7 7b+ V8 7c V9 to V10 7c+ V10

8a V10 to V11/12 8a+ V12 8b V12+ to V13+ 8b+ V14 8c V15

Dave Graham p

Contributed FAs of the crimpy Sideways Daze (8b), Satan i Helvete (8b), and the excellent Big Dragon (8a/+) at Petit Bois. He is one of three Americans (along with Chris Schulte and Paul Robinson) to climb 8b+ in Font and is shown here working The Island (8c).

Fred Nicole Q

FAs of Karma, Pierre Philosophale, Fatman assis, Hale-Bopp. Fred Nicole’s lines have inspired thousands, and pushed our imaginations to stretch the possible into reality. The first to climb the grades 8b, 8b+ and 8c, he redefined what is possible. His vision and passion is largely responsible for the development of the hardest lines in the best (and best known) areas on earth, from Magic Wood to Hueco Tanks, to the Rocklands. This photo of Fred (above), spotted by Jacky Godoffe, making the first ascent of Karma, made me decide to pursue bouldering. For years I had the problem in my mind—it was on the “life list.” When a hold was destroyed, I was crushed. When re-ascended, I was elated. And when the day came when we walked an hour to Cuisinere and I rocked over my heel, shown in this photo of me (right of Fred Nicole photo), to the finishing jug with a thunderous yell resounding in five languages, it was one of the best moments of my climbing life. 5 8 roc k andice .com  11 d e c e m b e r

Kevin Lopata p

A tall, thin university musician, Lopata plays a variety of concert instruments. As much as he works, he says he feels “lucky to be able to get away to climb a few weeks out of the year.” Still, the encyclopedic website features video of him climbing almost every hard, mysterious problem in the forest, with beta different from that of most any other human. His la Force du Destin (8b+) was unrepeated until this past winter, when the second ascent fell to Paul Robinson, shown in this photo (right), on that send.

P Julien Nadiras FAs of Chaos (8a+ and shown in this photo), Gecko (8a+/b), UBIK and Assis (8a+/b), Mad Maxx (8a+), Surplomb de la Mee assis (8b), Beaux Quartiers (8a/+) and many modern classics like SuperTanker (8b+). Fiendishly strong as a compression climber, Nadiras made one of the only repeats of Tonino ’78, a sandstone compression test in Italy’s Mescia that may be one of the hardest squeeze problems around. Once painfully close on a project of tomorrow, the futuristic sit start of Imothep, he now lives in Grenoble and makes ski films.

PP Philippe Le Denmat Slab master of planet Earth. FA’s of most hard Font slabs, including Duel (8a and far left photo), Lacrima (8b) and Enigma (8b and right photo) as well as Golden Feet (8a+). He often climbs sans crash pad and wears floppy climbing slippers like rubber socks. His son, Loic, is the only person to have repeated his hardest lines. Duel is the most famous hard slab in the world.

Paul Robinson

Paul’s first trip to Font reads like a lifetime of dedication to the forest. In three months he climbed nearly every problem of note, including the second ascent of Kevin Lopata’s La Force du Destin, as well as rare ascents of the power-endurance testpieces Angama and Trip Hop, both given 8c. He did Kheops Assis (8b+, climbed in the left photo by Olivier Lebreton and above by Laurent Avare) in under an hour. “You can’t climb in a gym your whole life and climb here,” he says. “It requires technique and a true understanding of one’s body. I feel like a much more rounded climber after climbing at Font. I learned some great techniques and I know that it will help me in the future.”


SLANDER The first ascent of the Great Slab on El Cap sparked climbingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest character assassination, a fit that began with chopped ropes and now, nearly 30 years later continues with online vitriol that is piled nearly as high as the Big Stone itself. With the second ascent of the wall completed just this summer after countless days and some 500 feet of falls, redemption for the FA team may finally be at hand. By Ammon McNeely and additional reporting by Kait Barber

FACING PAGE: The Great Slab, with bags fixed on Wings of Steel, as a storm clears. NEAR LEFT: 1982. Looking down at the fifth anchor (second camp) from pitch six. Originally rated A4/A4+, this pitch, with a maximum 50-foot fall, is a hooking testpiece.


n fading light I balanced in my stirrups, hanging from a sharpened hook set precariously on a dime-sized edge on the granite slab. I took a deep breath, and announced to Kait that I was committing to the placement and was likely going to fall … again. “Watch me!” She grimaced and braced herself as yet another one of my 20-foot whippers rag-dolled her for the fourth time that day. My focus wavered as guilt crept in. Was I being fair to my partner, my girlfriend? She’d become frazzled catching fall after fall, and I could tell it was starting to take a huge toll. She wasn’t having fun anymore. I wasn’t even sure I was, either, but we’d given too much sweat and blood and heartache to retreat now. Was this route even worth it? Hours upon hours of tedious micro-flake hooking had infected my psyche. I was cracking. I took several deep breaths, eyed the placement one last time, and slowly climbed to the top-step of my aider, beads of sweat popping out on my forehead. Climbing in the dark has never really bothered me before, but this route Wings of Steel was a different kind of animal. I reached high with my right arm, pushing another talon hook toward what looked to be my next micro placement. Ping. The hook that I was standing on blew. I flew down the slab, dragging the upper hook until it caught an edge, ripping my shoulder from the socket. The pain


BELOW: 2011. Home sweet home for 13 days. Kait Barber belays Ammon McNeely on the sixth pitch. This station is known as the “Faucet Bivy” because of its perpetual seepage.

ABOVE: Ammon McNeely about 40 feet up the first pitch (A3+), which contained some of the best hooking on natural edges. MIDDLE: Smith leads the second pitch on the first ascent, in 1982. This photo was taken prior to the chopping party. RIGHT: McNeely beginning the A3 hooking section on the sixth pitch. This photo was taken a few moves before he took a fall on a hook and dislocated his shoulder.

Wings of Steel is, without doubt, the most controversial route on El Capitan. When Mark Smith and Richard Jensen showed up in 1982 inspired to make a first ascent on El Capitan, their arrival did not go unnoticed by Valley locals. Conflict was inevitable: Smith and Jensen had never climbed a grade VI big wall, yet they chose as their first a new route the blankest, slabbiest, least naturally climbable section of El Cap, the 1,000-foot Great Slab on the Southwest Face, left of the Dihedral Wall. From almost the moment they started the route, they were threatened and slandered by a small group of locals who adopted the surfer’s “don’t surf my wave” turf mentality. “We were repeatedly told that my car would be destroyed,” says Jensen. “Groups of climbers would surround us in parking lots, even in the Village Store, to yell at us. Always there were threats: ‘You’re gonna be walking through the forest, and then there’s just gonna be the sound of bones snapping.’ And, ‘We’re gonna ship you back to San Berdo in a box.’ We always felt outnumbered, and there wasn’t the sense that it was going to be just a fist-fight; the intensity of the verbiage always made it seem like it was going to be much more.” The warnings went unheeded, with Jensen and Smith continuing up the route, angering some locals even further. Things spiraled out of control when three locals decided to erase the burgeoning route. In a covert midnight raid, the crusaders ascended Smith and Jensen’s fixed lines and chopped the rivets and bolts. They then took turns defecating on the pile of ropes left at the base. The “shitters,” as they became known, bragged to their friends about the deed, but to this day have preferred to remain anonymous and unavailable to question for this article. The raid and threats caused the park rangers to hold a meeting with Jensen and Smith and some locals and SAR members, with the aim of keeping the peace. The rangers instructed all present that Smith and Jensen were to be left alone, threatening disciplinary action if not. Smith and Jensen picked up the pieces and continued their adventure, replacing the chopped gear and enduring 39 days on the wall. But the attacks continued even as they climbed—they were pelted from above with bags of excrement by a team on a route overhead. Jensen and Smith knew that their ascent would rile the Yosemite locals, but, says Jensen, “We figured that people with any concerns would talk to us 62 rockan d ice .com 11 d e c e m b e r

and give us an opportunity to dialog, and that we would catch at most a bit of chiding for not having kissed all the right booty prior to having the audacity to do such a route. We honestly thought that people could be reasoned with.”

As a long-time Valley big-wall climber, I’ve always had a mild interest in Wings of Steel but had heard it was just a bat-hook ladder protected by rivets up a blank slab, put up in the worst possible style by a pair of hacks. In 2005, a simple question was asked on the popular climbing forum Supertopo: “Has Wings of Steel ever seen a repeat?” I chimed in, believing it to be a botch job, like most others. Rumors abounded. “I heard the team drilled their way up the thing then chopped the bolts while cleaning.” “There was a streak of feces and trash 200 meters long below their hangin’ bivy camp.” “It’s nothing but a rivet ladder.” Suddenly the FA team joined the discussion to defend themselves, with Jensen facetiously calling himself “madbolter1,” opening a can of worms resulting in thousands of posts in dozens of threads. “For 29 years we’ve been widely accused of putting up the ultimate botch job on El Cap and then lying about it,” says Smith. “And the online forums have contained some amazingly vile speculations. Because we cared about what the climbing community thought, we tried to defend ourselves. But even our defense got spun into ‘hyping the route,’ or, ironically, ‘being defensive.’ We wanted there to be a second ascent, because we believed that other teams would see that we told the truth and that the route was not a botch job.” Twenty-nine years after the first ascent the controversy only intensified. The players included: the shitters, the haters, the believers, the supporters, the gawkers, the onlookers and the lurkers … quite the arena of spectators! It didn’t help that Jensen had written a book boasting of “A world record 39 days on the face of El Capitan” or that the back cover—written by an overzealous editor—states: “El Capitan soars 3,600 feet.” In fact, the wall is a bit less than 3,000 feet tall, and Wings of Steel is not quite 2,000 feet high. In 1990, the book Big Wall Climbing included a chapter by Steve Grossman, one of Wings of Steel’s most vocal detractors, where he singled out Wings as an example of how not to establish a big wall, writing that the first ascent team “ignored local ethics and bolted excessively.” Smith and Jensen were also berated when they showed up at crags to climb, with crowds gathering to fling insults and order them to leave. It went so far as climbers calling Ed Leeper, a bolt manufacturer, and saying: “If you sell any more bolts to those guys, none of the Yosemite climbers will ever buy from your company again.” In September 1988, six years after the first ascent, Rob Slater, who made the first asent of El Cap’s Wyoming Sheep Ranch (VI A5) in 1984


was tremendous and I knew exactly what had happened—my shoulder had partially dislocated. Once I fought it back into place, Kait pulled me to the portaledge using the lower-out line. After all our hard work, it was now looking like we would have to bail. “Let’s see how I feel in the morning,” I told Kait. We settled down, drank a beer and let the night take us into unconsciousness.

Talon hook on a small natural edge of pitch 2 (A3+). Talons were the choice of hook on the second ascent of Wings of Steel.

and who would die on K2 in 1995, attempted a second ascent along with Bruce Hunter. They reached the top of pitch 5, but with intense heat—the slab bakes in the sun—they decided to bail. Back on the ground, they noted that the route was tedious and very hard. Since then, other parties tried their hand at a second ascent. In the late 1990s the wall master Kevin Thaw, along with Tim Wagner and Calder Stratford, made another strong attempt. Their idea was to climb Wings of Steel in a single push. Kevin led the first two pitches—the two most natural hooking pitches on the route. Calder continued, pushing forward on the next couple of pitches and encountered bathooks (a small hook hole drilled into blank rock) and batheads (a copperhead pounded into a drilled hole). On the fifth pitch Wagner proclaimed the route bullshit—too many batheads to clean. With Thaw and Calder also unwilling to take the sharp end, they all bailed. To a non-aid climber, the difference between bathooks, batheads and enhanced hook edges, and especially hole counts might seem trivial, but in the world of aid climbing such things determine the righteousness and purity of a line, and its difficulty, which is why Wings of Steel has been so contentious: Jensen and Smith’s claims of rock alteration have been reputed to be inaccurate, undercounted and understated. Smith and Jensen contend that they did not drill a single hook hole into blank rock, and that they only used the drill to peck off micro crystals, “maybe the size of a couple of periods,” that prevented a hook from holding at all. Anytime they drilled a hole, they said, they either pounded a bolt, rivet or bathead into it. “We’ve always been honest about our reporting, and meticulous with the hole count,” they wrote in an e-mail. “It wouldn’t serve us to lie about the hole count, then be discredited by a second ascent, especially since vindication about our honesty was what we’ve been seeking for almost 30 years.” Curiosity and the online controversy got the better of me. In 2006, I hiked up to the Great Slab to see for myself. Once there I was confused by two different starts. Since I didn’t know the history, I decided on the left start, which looked better. I later learned that Smith and Jensen had established this “Bogus Start” in hopes that it would be an easier way to reach the top of the second pitch to replace the chopped bolts. The first pitch wasn’t too bad, but the second took me nearly five hours. It was the most confusing climbing puzzle I’d ever dealt with. There was no real way to see which hook placements were useable—they really are that small—and I constantly found myself at a dead end, only to deliberately choose a placement that would fail so I could fall and start over. I finally made it to the anchors but not before I took three huge falls, including one 50 footer, which filleted the skin on my leg. After that, my nerves were shattered and I needed to take a few days off. Meanwhile Pete Zabrok, Tom Kasper and Randy Wenzel showed up in the Valley also intent on the second ascent, and had none other than Mark Smith and Richard Jensen in tow. Pete attempted to lead the original start, but failed and used a cheat-stick to bypass hook moves he couldn’t—or wouldn’t—do. “Hardest damn hooking I’ve ever tried,” Pete lamented later. “Light years harder than anything else I’ve done on El Cap, and I’ve done plenty. Mark and Richard were sick!” After securing permission from my brother Gabe, the team used my ropes to gain my high point so they could replace the rivets and bolts on the first two pitches. Zabrok wanted to chicken out, but Smith and Jensen convinced him to give it another try, which he did after rehearsing the hook moves on top rope. Ultimately, Zabrok bailed, unwilling to commit to the long fall potential presented by the hooking sequence. While I recovered, my partner Cheryl Seger showed up and we were priming

to get back on the wall when I learned I had only climbed the Bogus Start. Continuing would mean that we would not have made a legit second ascent. I ended up pulling my ropes and choosing a more natural line, the Jolly Roger (A5). Five more years flew by and the controversy on Supertopo only got worse. Vitriol and insults were hurled back and forth, and a bounty thread appeared, pledging thousands of dollars to the team that could do the second ascent. A rumor that Wings of Steel might be the hardest big wall on the Captain was circulating and I felt compelled to unlock the mystery, to find out for myself and formulate my own opinion. Looking from the base up the massive slab, I was perplexed as to why Jensen and Smith had chosen to climb the blankest section of El Capitan when plenty of other natural lines remained. It seemed odd, but maybe they were ahead of their time? Maybe their route wasn’t a bathook hole ladder protected by rivets? I usually choose my big-wall routes based on natural aesthetics and the presence of a solid first-ascent team, but the unknown details of Wings of Steel kept the route in my mind.

Now climbing with my girlfriend, Kait Barber, I stood on a block at the base of the wall using my fingertips to push a hook up the warm slab, the first move of the route. The next move was on a Zmac rivet, intended for concrete in the construction world, and rated to only 400 pounds. I knew that a fall could generate enough force to sheer one of these rivets, so we came prepared with a hand drill, 25 rivets and 10 bolts, which we wouldn’t place unless absolutely necessary. I also donned skateboard knee pads and elbow pads. From my experience with the “Bogus Start,” I expected to take multiple falls and it made sense to protect myself from slab rash. I methodically hooked my way up the first pitch. I knew from Jensen’s Wings of Steel book that he had dislocated his ankle in a big fall getting to the belay. I did a few free moves and entered the delicate zone where he had fallen nearly 30 years before. The edges thinned and it was a crapshoot as to which ones would hold. Ping! My first fall was a 40-footer. I instinctively went to my knees and slid down the glacier-polished granite. Next, a 50-foot fall had me calling to Kait for the whiskey. “Send up the Jameson!” This became a common refrain throughout the rest of our climb. I’ll give the FA team extra credit for being dead sober on those sketchy hooks. I pulled myself back up to the high point and tried again. Once more, I found myself whipping down the rock, but this time the rope caught my forearm, leaving a painful and nasty rope burn. I was finished for the day. The next day a layer of dark clouds drifted in from the coast. A ridge blocked our view and we couldn’t see just how bad the storm might be. I made my way up the rope determined to finish the pitch. With the knowledge of which flakes and edges wouldn’t hold, I reached the anchors without incident and encouraged. In total, the first pitch took me six and a half hours. Wow, I thought, I’ve climbed an entire El Cap route faster than that! The rain started falling lightly as I tried to haul our enormous flotilla while Kait cleaned the pitch, but I finally resorted to waiting for her to help me haul. I set up the Portaledge so Kait would be comfortable, knowing that the next pitch was going to take a while. The next pitch started with more natural hooking and some really spaced-out rivets—perhaps 25 feet apart. I stared at the granite, scrutinizing every inch for features to hook. When that didn’t work I used my fingertips. I took a couple of 15- to 20-foot falls and finally made it to the anchor at the top of the second pitch, only four and a half hours later. So far, I was impressed with the quality of the route and the natural hooking involved. We fixed and bailed for a few days of rest. A few days later we were back on the route, the sun beating on the slab, but thermal breezes kept us cool. I began the third pitch and found the first dimples made with a hammer and drill. We figured the holes were from a previous second-ascent attempt, since Jensen and Smith were so adamant about not making many dimples or bathook holes on the slab. Some tedious hooking and a couple of falls led me to the only real rivet ladder on the entire route. Even though we had plenty of light left to start the next pitch, I just wanted to


Smith and Jensen contend that they have “always been honest about our reporting, and meticulous with the hole count.”

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chill, drink a few beers and decompress from the mental strain. At the belay, Kait endured another white-knuckle session. “The further away Ammon got from a rivet,” she says now, “the more my stomach would knot up with anticipation, waiting for him to take these massive falls. I preferred to keep my head down, wait for the sound of a piece popping and his yell—and then brace for the fall. Most of the time I kept my head down.” That night Kait had a meltdown. She told me she was over it. “My mental game isn’t where it should be for this route. I need to go down.” The combination of watching me fall all day and some serious family problems at home had all come to a head. “I thought I could go up on El Cap and get away from it all, have some time to clear my head,” Kait says now. “Instead, while Ammon was on lead, I had hours to sit and think about my life and how my family was falling apart around me.” We talked for hours, debating why this particular route was so much more stressful to us than other hard El Cap routes we had climbed together. We determined that it was because of the certainty that I was going to take long falls. Most El Cap routes require no falls, but I’d whipped eight or nine times already and we were only on the third pitch. The hooking on the sloping ripples in the smooth granite was so delicate that my hook placements would unexpectedly blow off with the slightest wrong shift in weight. I also fell off the bathooks, which on this route had been drilled so shallow they barely held body weight. My heart ached as I watched her shed tears, but I wasn’t going to try and talk her into something she didn’t want to be a part of. We agreed to go to the ground, where I would find another partner. I was sad, and couldn’t imagine being up there with anyone else. I was very disappointed in the way the ascent was turning out. The next morning Kait felt a little better, but still wanted to go down. We talked for hours. I had my own hissy fit and kind of lost it when our friends on Excalibur called over to us with encouraging cheers of, “Go Team!” “We’re not a fucking team!” I screamed, then went ballistic on the ledge, thrashing around like a toddler having a tantrum. This was my one and only chance to climb this route and I knew it would disrupt my momentum and focus if I had to find another partner, possibly thwarting my efforts. I sulked and hoped that she would change her mind. Eventually I calmed down, and felt ashamed of how I’d acted. After hours of negotiations and cowering from the sun, Kait decided she was going to suck it up and take one for the team. She didn’t want to let me down and hated the idea of bailing. I apologized and gave her a big hug. We continued up, Kait cleaning and me hauling the enormous load, glad we weren’t carrying 1,200 pounds like the FA team did. By the time we settled onto the anchor, the day was pretty much a wash, so we lounged on the nylon ledge and relaxed. The next morning we had to wait a few hours to climb because the reflection of the sun off the slab was blinding. The fourth pitch starts out like just about every other—with a pulse-quickening runout. We were starting to see a pattern in how the FA team operated: scare the hell out of yourself, sink a questionable rivet, scare yourself some more, and repeat. “Our choice of a bolt or rivet [on the first ascent] was determined by runout,” says Jensen. “We only drilled holes where we could find nothing to hook. So, we would choose on the spot whether to fill the hole with a bolt or rivet depending upon how crazy things were getting. Rivet to ‘keep the commitment level high,’ and bolt if the commitment level was getting ‘too high.’” Each day was the same: sleep in, numb myself by drinking beer and whiskey, get a single pitch done, then unwind for the rest of the day. As I led, I would occasionally ask Kait to dig into Jensen’s Wings of Steel book. “What did they say about the fifth pitch?” The situation was humorous. What other route on El Cap can you climb while simultaneously reading a pitch-by-pitch account of what the FA team was thinking and doing? Reading also gave Kait something to do while I took hours to figure out the sequence and finally clip the belay bolts. Another day, another pitch. In anticipation of the heat, we had brought a 6- by 6-foot tarp with a reflector side. It fit nicely around the ledge and acted as a parasol. Our

shady nook was so cozy I didn’t start the fifth pitch until 7 p.m. I figured I would be at the belay in a few hours, or could lower whenever I got to a good piece. I set off, not really too surprised when I saw bathook holes traversing out right. I again attributed them to repeat attempts, but this was the last pitch that had been repeated, by Thaw, Calder and Wagner, who reported numerous batheads, which, oddly, I didn’t find. By now I’d gotten into the groove, and was even having some fun. The traverse led to some thin seams that seemed to continue forever, and I kept wanting to lower to the bivy, but wasn’t comfortable fixing from the small heads I had placed. I was forced to press on through the night and didn’t make the anchors until 11 p.m. I came back down to the belay delirious, telling Kait that it was a fine pitch and that Jensen and Smith had utilized the seams really well. After another ridiculously long day of cowering under our sunshade, I started up the sixth pitch with a smirk, this time having no expectations of how long it would take. It was one move at a time, pitch after pitch. I was in Wall Mode, forgetting the days and not knowing or caring how long we’d been up there. Some natural hooks led to some bathooks, a rivet and more dimpled hooks. At this point we were convinced that the dimples and bathooks had come from the first ascent, since we knew of no other attempts that reached this height. Was it possible that someone else did a second ascent and didn’t report it? Ping! One of the dimpled hooks blew and I took a 15-foot fall. I examined the placement and I could clearly see the fresh green-colored rock where the lip had broken. I tried to hook it again … Ping! The fall dislocated my shoulder and activated one of my only Screamers, clipped to an old rusted Z-mac. That night I felt like a bombshell victim, traumatized by all the falls I had taken, and worse, the falls I knew I had yet to take. I convulsed awake after “feeling” the sensation of falling. I’d never before experienced nightmares on a wall. I hadn’t considered using the drill buried deep in our haulbag, but I had broken the flake and it wasn’t going to hold a hook. I eventually drilled, and counted exactly four rotations, the minimum amount of rock removal to hold a hook, and in line with the first ascentionists’ dimpled trademark. The sixth pitch ended up being one of the most natural pitches on the Great Slab, winding through the weaknesses, using every feature possible. It was the most aesthetic pitch on the slab and I even placed cams in a crack. It was good to see Jensen and Smith’s choice beginning to make sense.

If falling is an accurate measure of difficulty, then Wings of Steel is the hardest. But it is hard only because of the technical hooking.

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The next day we watched our peregrine buddies score a meal. A male peregrine pounded into a swallow and dived after it while a female peregrine chased. With its kill in its mouth, the male swooped up and landed on a ledge parallel to ours, only 50 feet away. We watched in awe as the male spread his wings and wouldn’t let the female near until he was nearly done devouring the swallow. Then he flew off with the remains clutched in his talons, while the female pecked bits of the meat in mid air. We were three pitches from the Overseer Roof, the obvious feature that marks the end of the slab, nine pitches up, and I couldn’t wait to put my paws into the cracks. I’d had more than enough of the slab! The clouds had continued to threaten and Jensen and Smith’s descriptions of getting pounded by waterfalls haunted me. A few hours later we were merrily hanging out on the top of pitch seven. The next afternoon when Kait made her daily call home, she said, “Two more pitches and we are done with the slab.” I made my way up to “The Pits,” a scooped section disrupting the smooth slab where I was able to place cams in a nice crack—finally! I lowered from the last rivet before I could make the belay, leaving 35 feet of natural hook and head placements for the following morning. Those 35 feet ended up taking an hour and a half. The ninth pitch also had some good features. It started out with bathook holes between rivets to a nice head seam that turned into a crack that took cams. Some hooking between rivets brought us to the Overseer Roof where Wings of Steel shares the Horse Chute anchor. That night we shared our camp with a crack full of chirpy swallows and I drank the last of the beer and whiskey.

LEFT: 1982: Starting the seventh pitch. Jensen doesn’t remember this stretch being particularly stiff, but notes that it had a “very cool, exposed belay.” RIGHT: Barber cleans pitch 6 (A3), one of the most natural sections on the route—heads and beaks are followed by small cracks that take the route’s first cam.


I racked ten pounds of cams onto my chest harness and set off through the grassy crack. I didn’t care that it wasn’t clean—just being able to place cams for an entire pitch made me giddy. Beaks and a few heads took me about halfway up the next pitch, the 11th. A bulge in the middle was the crux and sharp edges on the rock were definitely a concern. I hooked and headed, precariously making it onto some tipped-out beaks. I arrived at the belay, four quarter-inch bolts, knowing that we had the equipment to beef it up, but not wanting to add anything to the route. The original hardware seemed sufficient. I fixed the lead line and yelled down to Kait to lower the bags, leaving her to clean in the dark. After hauling, stacking the ropes, setting up the portaledge and getting out all the supplies we would need, I settled in comfortably. That’s when I heard a small voice from below. “Babe, I’m stuck … I need help.” “What’s going on?” I yelled. The next 20 minutes I tried to talk her through the predicament, but finally gave up and rapped on the tag line. I wasn’t happy and lost my composure, once again yelling. I found her hanging exhausted in midair, between two pieces, not able to reach behind her and clean a welded knifeblade. I got Kait on the rope and she jugged the line to the bivy. It wasn’t long before we were both back at the ledge, comatose.

I was worried about pitch 12 because in Jensen’s book he said that he had placed 73 pieces of gear, most of them #0 heads, and our head rack was thin. The pitch started off with a few beaks and opened to a #3 Camalot. I placed the blue cam and heard chirping in the back of the crack. Twenty feet later I realized that I had plugged the door to a swallow’s home, her anger evident as she flew in frantic circles trying to reach her babies. I put in a couple of good pieces and had Kait lower me so I could remove the cam and let the family reunite. “If only everybody knew what a softy you are,” she said, laughing. I continued to the belay and felt that with our modern gear the pitch wasn’t all that bad, just tricky. I started the last pitch, the bathook hole traverse, which took no more than 10 minutes. Kait did a couple of lower-outs and we were on Aquarian, finished with the second ascent of Wings of Steel. From Aquarian Wall, we only needed a few days to reach the summit, in spite of it being nearly as many pitches as Wings of Steel. We were hauling the final pitch when our friend Dean Potter came free soloing by. We chatted a bit, catching up since we hadn’t seen each other for a while. Kait and I gave one another a huge hug on the summit, took the obligatory photo, then headed for the East Ledges descent. Go to to see Smith and Jensen’s original Wings of Steel topo, and Ammon McNeely’s topo from the second ascent.

On the way down I started thinking again about the Wings of Steel controversy. Most of us climb for ourselves and don’t really care what anyone else thinks. There are no written rules. We can do what we want when establishing routes and only have our peers to judge us, to steer us in the right direction if we’re out of line. With everything in society that can go too far, who is to say how many holes are justifiable for a good aid route? These questions swirled in my head as I stumbled down the trail. I was unsure of the answers, but I did know that we had had a great journey on an obscure part of El Capitan. The route had not been easy and I learned a lot about micro-hooking on a slab. We had learned something about ourselves and each other as well, things like patience and forgiveness. I also pondered Jensen and Smith’s hole count. They reported drilling 157 placements. Counting the 30 or so bathooks I used, the route as I found it had 188 drilled placements, which includes 48 belay bolts, some of which were likely added during repeat attempts. Subtract out the 30 drilled hooks that Jensen and Smith deny placing, and their hole count is almost exact. But you can’t subtract the bathook holes, which begs the question: Where did they come from? It is conceivable that the drilled hooks were added by a later and unknown party. Yet I tried to avoid the drilled holes and hook around them, but couldn’t find any natural features, even well off to the side. I had to use the holes. The drilled hooks are one mystery about the route that may never be solved. Then there is the question of whether Wings of Steel is El Cap’s hardest. I took 20 falls, triple the amount of any other El Cap route that I have done. In total, I logged about 500 feet of air—half the distance of the entire slab! So if falling is an accurate measure of difficulty, then Wings of Steel is the hardest. But it is hard only because of the technical hooking, and it is relatively safe. The aid route with hard and dangerous technical climbing is Warren Hollinger and Grant Gardner’s 1998 Nightmare on California Street (A5), unrepeated despite strong attempts. Is Wings a good route? Depends on what you’re after. I think my feelings about the route were best summed up by Jim Bridwell when he described one of his routes on Half Dome by saying: “I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy.” And what of Jensen and Smith? They went on to do the second ascent of the most feared aid route in the world, Jim Beyer’s Intifada (V A5), in the Fisher Towers, and the fifth ascent of Sea of Dreams (VI A5) on El Cap. Do they feel vindicated now that Wings of Steel has been repeated? “Maybe ‘vindication’ is nothing more than a shift from the majority believing we lied, to a majority believing we told the truth” says Jensen. “Perhaps there’s some hope for that.” Ammon McNeely, aka The El Cap Pirate, has climbed El Capitan 68 times via 53 different routes. He holds 23 El Cap speed records, including 11 first one-day ascents. McNeely and Barber live in Oakdale, California. d e c e m b e r 11 3 rockan d ice .com 6 5

You climb hard, but what do you do for recovery? (Hint: Beer doesn’t count)


hen Emily, my collegeaged daughter, asked me to go to the climbing gym, I thought it would be an easy outing with some quality bonding. After all, I bike and run, and did not consider my daughter a strong athlete. After falling off the easiest route for the fourth time, however, I lay on the ground, rubbing my sore forearms and feeling humbled. My daughter gave me words of encouragement: “Dad, you lasted 10 minutes longer than Mom.” Meanwhile, Emily effortlessly climbed the most difficult route. Although clearly not a climber, I am a sportsscience researcher who has worked with athletes in almost every sport, written three books on sports nutrition, and even developed the first recovery drink. My climbing experience got me thinking about the impact of nutrition on climbing performance. To my surprise there was no research in this area even though participation in the sport is exploding. I called Dr. John Seifert, a well-known sports-science researcher, and suggested some studies. Dr. Seifert’s lab at Montana State University is unique because it has a rock-climbing treadmill. This led to the first nutrition study done with climbers, the results of which were presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. The study subjects, seven males and one female, were experienced climbers who on average had been climbing for nine years. Total vertical climb in each interval was 1,500 feet and both the speed of the Treadwall and pitch changed (from 10 to 40 degrees overhanging) during the climb. Muscle damage was measured by a blood test. The results, presented in this article, are an interesting testament to how nutrition can enhance climbing performance.

Nutrition Straight Up

The first climbing-specific study on nutrition might change the way you climb__By Robert Portman Ph.D

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Physiologically, climbing is unique. In most activities an increase in exercise intensity is paralleled by an increase in oxygen consumption. However, at least with high-level climbers, oxygen consumption does not necessarily increase with the difficulty of the climb. Additionally, overall energy expenditure is far less than in cycling or running because it is confined to a selective group of muscles primarily due to sustained and intermittent forearm contraction. Anaerobic metabolism plays a key role in energy production to drive muscle contraction for climbing. Muscles have two energy systems: an aerobic one, which generates energy in the presence of oxygen, and an anaerobic one, which generates energy in the absence of oxygen. Sustained forearm contraction relies almost exclusively on the anaerobic system, which is only about five percent as efficient as the aerobic one. This reliance on the anaerobic system has important consequences: Muscles fatigue more quickly and nutrient stores are depleted more rapidly than in aerobic exercise.


Physiology of Rock Climbing

Fatigue A third consequence of anaerobic metabolism is acid buildup in the muscles. During climbing, acid levels can increase almost threefold (compared to resting), and they remain elevated even after the climb. Acid buildup is highly correlated with muscle fatigue. For example, hand-grip strength can decline by 57 percent from the beginning to the end of a climb. Muscle fatigue is not the only issue for climbers. Brain fatigue, also known as central fatigue, is a major factor in performance decline. Fatigue signals emanating from the brain can directly impact the force of muscle contraction. Additionally, brain-fatigue signals can produce a loss of concentration.

Performance Nutrition Although nutrition can mitigate the depletion of muscle-energy stores and delay the onset of fatigue, climbing imposes practical limitations on fueling methods. Because weight and bulk are the enemies of climbing performance, the nutrition must be light and portable. The climbing environment also imposes additional limitations. Hot, humid or windy conditions can speed fluid loss and dehydration. In light of these physiological and practical obstacles, how does a climber select the best combination of nutrients to achieve optimum performance during a climb and rapid recovery afterward? The ideal way to develop an effective nutrition plan is to segment your effort on every climb into three stages, recognizing that each stage has different nutritional needs: p Priming p Fueling p Recovery

Priming Most climbers use the priming or pre-climb stage to fully hydrate their bodies. The beverage of choice is water and the standard recommendations suggest consuming one liter or more prior to starting the climb. However, fluid intake should be driven by three considerations: the number of climbs (or pitches) one expects to do in a specific time frame, temperature and humidity and the fact that, on average, our GI tract can only absorb about 36 ounces of fluid per hour. If you are fully hydrated before you start your climb(s), top off by drinking 16-20 ounces. Drinking too much before you start climbing will make you feel uncomfortable and if you exceed your body’s absorption capacity, will do you little good. There is no question that maintaining hydration is a critical goal. A fluid loss of two percent of overall body weight, which is not unrealistic when climbing in high temperatures, can significantly reduce muscle performance. However, hydration is just one part of the equation, and the pre-climb plan should always include nutritional supplementation beyond water. Here’s why. Muscles contain a limited amount of glycogen (the form in which the muscle stores energy). When glycogen is depleted, muscle performance drops dramatically. Even though climbing utilizes a selective group of muscles, the body cannot recruit glycogen from other muscle groups. In other words, there is no central glycogen pool. When you deplete glycogen in your forearms, it is not readily restored, and sustained use of the forearm muscles rapidly depletes the glycogen pool.

Consuming food or beverages can delay glycogen depletion by raising blood-glucose levels. Muscles can utilize blood glucose as an energy source. The net result is that limited muscle-glycogen stores are preserved and muscle endurance is extended. Glucose is derived from dietary carbohydrate. Therefore fluid and carbohydrate are the cornerstones of pre-climb nutrition. The goal is to raise the blood-glucose level before you start climbing. But there’s a role for protein, too. Protein has been shown not only to improve re-hydration, but also to help minimize fatigue signals emanating from the brain. You can use various combinations of fluid and solid food to optimize your pre-climb nutrition (See Table 1), but there are a number of advantages to consuming a sports drink that contains protein because it can meet your total preclimb needs, is easy to consume, and absorbs rapidly. As a general guideline, consume 100 to 120 calories of a carbohydrate/protein sports drink in the priming stage.

Fueling The key goals of fueling during your climb (or periodically throughout the day if you’re climbing single pitches) are to provide a rapid source of energy, minimize dehydration and control muscle damage. All forms of exercise create muscle damage, which is an underrated cause of fatigue and loss of performance. In climbing, muscle damage in the forearm muscles is of special concern. Research has shown that protein, when consumed with carbohydrate during exercise, reduces muscle damage and thereby delays fatigue. Again, as shown, lots of different nutrition options and combinations can meet your fueling goals. The Montana State University study measured the effects of three different nutrition interventions on muscle damage during simulated rock climbing on a Treadwall. The three treatments were: 1) a carbohydrate/electrolyte sports drink, 2) water, and 3) water combined with a carb/protein gel in a 4:1 ratio. The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Seifert, said, “One reason we conducted this study is that rock climbing is characterized by a high percentage of isometric muscle contractions, which cause significant muscle damage. We therefore expected that carb/protein supplementation would reduce the level of muscle damage.” The researchers reported that the carb/protein gel, compared to the carb-only supplement, did indeed reduce muscle damage—by 56 percent. And compared to water, the carb/protein gel reduced muscle damage by 79 percent. Seifert concluded, “These findings indicate that a carb/protein gel supplement offers significant advantages during rock climbing.” Depending on the intensity of your climb/pitches, consume 100 to 200 calories per hour.

Recovery An online poll among climbers noted that beer was their preferred recovery drink. However, your body’s nutritional needs do not end when the climb is completed. Although I have nothing against beer, I would suggest that serious climbers delay their first beer until after they have consumed real recovery nutrition, as doing so will reduce their post-climb muscle soreness and help them climb better the next time. The post-exercise period represents a unique metabolic opportunity for athletes. Immediately after exercise, the

Separating Herbal Hype from Herbal Science? A number of herbal supplements promise to improve climbing performance, but there is often a disconnect between what the manufacturer claims and what the studies show. The challenge for climbers: How do you separate the hype from the science? For example, two popular herbs, cordyceps and rhodiola, claim to improve endurance, decrease lactic acid and increase delivery of oxygen to muscles. The published studies paint a very different picture. Five peerreviewed studies came to the same conclusion—these herbs did not improve any parameter of endurance or reduce muscle fatigue. Although these results may be discouraging for climbers, a recently published study on another Chinese herb, ciwujia, may provide some hope for climbers looking for an herbal magic bullet. Ciwujia-the Climber’s Herb Ciwujia is a well-known type of ginseng that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1,700 years. Ciwujia first came to the attention of sports scientists in the mid-1990s based on anecdotal reports of its use by Tibetan mountain climbers to enhance work performance at high altitudes. Multiple studies conducted in the U.S. and in China showed that ciwujia improves exercise performance, reduces feelings of fatigue and lowers lacticacid levels. The latest study published in the prestigious Chinese Journal of Physiology is particularly credible because the researchers used a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover protocol, the gold standard for research. They found that eight weeks of ciwujia supplementation increased oxygen uptake by 12 percent and endurance performance by 23 percent. Two things should be kept in mind if you decide to use ciwujia. First, positive results were seen after eight weeks at a dose of 800 mg per day. Second, make sure that the ciwujia you use is a standardized extract. This is the only way you can be certain that the amount of ciwujia listed for each capsule is accurate.  —R.P.

d e c e m b e r 11 3 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 67

Climbing Partners

Optimal Nutrition For Climbing Performance

Protein For years, carbohydrates dominated the conversation in terms of improving muscle performance. We now know, however, that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement can produce large improvements in both performance and recovery. In the 1990s researchers at the University of Texas demonstrated that a combination of carbohydrate and protein in a 4:1 ratio improved both the speed and quality of muscle recovery. Carb/protein recovery drinks replenished muscle glycogen stores almost three times better than carb-only drinks, decreased muscle damage by 90 percent and improved endurance performance up to 55 percent in exercise bouts conducted 14 to 16 hours later. In fact, the carb/protein drink was 37 percent more effective than a 90-percent-pure protein-supplement drink in rebuilding muscle protein. The carb/protein combination has also been shown to be superior when consumed during exercise. Compared to water or a carb-only beverage, proteinenriched sports drinks dramatically increase rehydration, extend endurance and reduce post-exercise muscle damage. Based on these studies, protein should be considered an essential macronutrient before, during and after climbing.




Prime muscle energy mechanisms


Provide rapid source of energy

Caffeine Many climbers drink coffee before starting routes because it makes them more alert. Although caffeine has been shown to improve aerobic performance, research now shows that it may be particularly beneficial to climbers. For example, caffeine consumption may inhibit brain-fatigue signals that have been shown to decrease the force of muscle contraction. Caffeine also raises blood-sugar levels, providing a source of energy for working muscles. Consider adding caffeine to the fueling stage in the amount of 100 mg at the midpoint in a multipitch climb or halfway through your workout or outing. A number of carb and carb/protein gels contain caffeine. Simple Sugars One of the more persistent myths in sports nutrition is the idea that long-acting carbohydrates delay fatigue better than products containing “fast-acting” sugars because they provide a more sustained level of blood glucose. In fact, just the opposite is true. Exercise performance declines very rapidly when muscle-glycogen stores are depleted. The goal, therefore, is to preserve muscle glycogen as long as possible. Fast-acting carbs are rapidly absorbed in the GI tract, transported to muscle cells, and metabolized to provide energy to working muscles. By providing an instant source of energy, fast-acting sugars preserve muscle glycogen, thereby extending endurance. This is critical for climbers. Long-acting complex carbs such as those found in whole grains, beans and foods that are very high in fructose, such as honey, are absorbed more slowly, and must be metabolically converted to fast-acting sugars before they can be transported to the muscles and used as energy. All this takes time, so the working muscles continue to deplete their limited supplies of muscle glycogen while they wait. The result is faster glycogen depletion and faster onset of muscle fatigue. Long-acting carbs certainly have an important place in the overall diet of climbers, but that place is not during and immediately after climbing.  —R.P.

6 8 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 11 d e c e m b e r

Fully hydrate

Prevent dehydration


(fruit, grains, milk, lentils, fruit juice)

(white bread, potatoes, waffles, corn flakes)

High Glycemic Meal

High Carb Gel or Bar

High Carb/ Protein Gel or Bar

Carb/Electrolyte Sports Drink

Carb/Protein/ Electrolyte Sports Drink
















Low Glycemic Meal

✔ ✔




Control muscle damage Rehydrate

✔✔✔ ✔✔

Reduce muscle damage/soreness Replenish glycogen stores

✔✔✔ ✔



Repair damaged protein Enhance performance in subsequent climb



✔✔✔ ✔✔

✔✔✔ ✔


metabolic machinery responsible for replenishing muscle-energy stores, rebuilding muscle protein and reducing muscle damage are in a heightened state of activation. Unfortunately, this metabolic window of opportunity is only open for about 45 minutes. Research performed by myself and others has shown that when the right combination of nutrients is consumed during this time, the result is greater and more complete restoration of muscle-energy stores and an increase in protein synthesis, which is critical for repairing and rebuilding damaged muscle tissue. This greater recovery translates into a much stronger performance the next time you exercise. As a general guideline, consume about 125 calories of a recovery beverage for every 30 minutes of climbing. Two caveats. First, if you delay consuming your recovery nutrition beyond the recovery window, you lose most if not all of the benefits of this heightened metabolic activity. Second, not all nutrients work equally well. Multiple studies have shown that the ideal recovery beverage contains carbohydrate and protein in a 4:1 ratio. In fact, compared to a carbohydrate-only beverage, a carb/protein beverage replaces muscle energy stores 128 percent better and rebuilds muscle protein 38 percent more effectively. The results compared to water are even more dramatic. The bottom line is that you need to consume appropriate recovery nutrition within 45 minutes of finishing each and every climb.



✔✔✔ ✔✔✔



during a climb is so critical. Yet in spite of the obvious benefits I have found that most climbers do not pay attention to nutrition. It is not unusual for them to complete a three- to fourpitch climb and their only nutrition is a single water bottle. I understand why they don’t want to carry additional weight, but this weight must be balanced against the obvious benefits of improved climbing performance and safety. At the minimum climbers should carry a handful of gel packs, which weigh almost nothing.” The nutrition you consume before, during and

Compared to a carbohydrate-only beverage, a carb/protein beverage replaces muscle-energy stores 128 percent better and rebuilds muscle protein 38 percent more effectively.

The Nutrition Edge Based on his studies, Dr. Seifert makes some important observations. “My research subjects are high-level, experienced climbers. After a two- to three-hour climbing session they are totally spent, which underscores why refueling

after your climbs won’t magically transform you into a 5.14 climber. But consuming the right nutrients at the right times will enable you to climb stronger and longer, and bounce back faster. Dr. Robert Portman is coauthor of Nutrient Timing and Hardwired for Fitness. His articles have appeared in Men’s Fitness, Velo News, Triathlete and 3/GO. Portman works with PacificHealth Labs, a company that holds patents on the 4:1 ratio. Independent studies including some published in the Journal of Applied Physiology and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise have substantiated the efficacy of the ratio. Products with the 4:1 ratio can be purchased at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe or pacifichealthlabs. com. A turkey sandwich also has the 4:1 ratio.

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Toll Free 877.762.5423 x118 Use promotion code: Wstkt11 | $129.90 | ★ ★ ★ Out of the box, the Myo (billed as an “expert slipper”) looks like a high-end shoe. Stiff, downturned, with a talon-sharp toe, I expected them to edge fiendishly and hurt like the dickens. For about a month, the Myo delivered on both counts. Slowly, however, they started to feel more comfortable. Unfortunately, even as my feet were relieved, the performance suffered. The mid sole softened. The downturn straightened. Composite mid sole. The heel became baggy. They Synthetic upper with lined toe box. still performed reasonably well, Easy triple Velcro closure. but soon I was wearing the Myo 4PointsGrip sticky rubber. for warm-ups and pulling out Sizes: 4–13.5. another shoe for the biz. Millet Hook Effect laser-grooved sole. The Myo features a sole that

EVOLV Shaman | $145 | ★ ★ ★★½ The new Shaman was designed by Chris Sharma, right down to the blue and orange colors, inspired by a basketball that his dog, Chaxi, loves to wrestle. I got to test a pair this summer, and was both Downturned asymmetric profile with surprised and pleased to find “knuckle box.” that Evolv has finally produced Synthetic upper, leather forefoot and an aggressive sport-climbing foot bed, cotton heel. and bouldering shoe that I Opposing Velcro closure straps provide secure fit and eliminate dead space. would actually buy. 4.2mm of Trax High Friction Rubber The Shaman is built on an on sole. asymmetric, downturned last, Sizes: 4—13.5. with extra room built into the 7 0 r o c k a n d i c e .com 4 11 d e c e m b e r

Soled Out Millet’s laser-grooved rubber isn’t the first instance of a designer fiddling with the sole of a climbing boot in hopes of making it perform better. Climber and inventor Greg Lowe told Rock and Ice that he once had the idea that impregnating a rubber sole with wire bristles might make it stick better to slabs. He went as far as making and testing a prototype. Unfortunately for those that struggle with slabs, the shoes, according to Lowe, made climbing too easy and he scrapped the idea.

has been sculpted with a laser. A pattern of grooves is etched into the rubber. Millet claims that this micro grooving facilitates mechanical deformation of the rubber and enhances stickiness. This might be true, but the etching is too far from the edge of the boot and only comes into play when you’re standing on wide holds or big smears. The etching needs to be brought toward the front of the boot where climbers stand. On the upside, the Myo is comfortable and works great to 5.11. I’d choose the Myo for days of mileage on routes or boulders, or for multi pitch climbs where it pays to have an easy-on/ off shoe at belays. But for projects it lacked the precision I’ve come to rely on.  —Jeff Jackson

toe box for the big-toe joint. Though aggressively crafted for mean, steep toe hooks, the Shaman is quite comfortable. There is very little dead space in the arch and heel—which seems to be one of the hardest things for a shoe company to nail, but also the most important. Three opposing Velcro closure straps—my favorite design (and one copied from other company’s shoes) —also help minimize this dead space by creating a secure, snug fit that wraps the shoe around your foot from both sides. The Shaman is soft, so having strong toes will help. For such a soft shoe, however, it has way too much rubber on the sole. With 4.2mm of Evolv’s proprietary Trax High Friction Rubber underfoot, the sole tends to roll up when dime-edging. I filed down the rubber edge a bit and that helped. People have mixed opinions about Trax. I found it to be adequately sticky­—in fact, on today’s market, you’d be hard pressed to find climbing-shoe rubber that doesn’t stick to rock well enough to climb hard. Beware of the sizing. I had to size up by a full size for a pair to fit my foot. However, after a month of testing, the Shaman has stretched, so I wish I had originally only gone up by a half size. Bottom line: the Shaman offers both comfort and performance, and excels for bouldering and sport.  —Andrew Bisharat


Legendary Experiences. Larger than Life.


Norman Clyde • Mt. Whitney and California’s 14ers • Timeless Towns • Endless Backcountry Big Pine, Bishop, Death Valley, Independence and Lone Pine.

InyoClimbing608.indd 1

6/2/08 10:58:20 AM


by Neil Gresham

7) Dynos

Lazy or inattentive spotters, even on lowball problems will put the climber unnecessarily in harm’s way, here on Font’s Sibille (7c+), a rocky landing should have the spotters on high alert.

Dyno problems require the most careful crashpad positioning of all. The classic error is to place the pad directly below the target hold, rather than considering the trajectory of the fall. The landing will often be slightly further back, especially on overhangs. The same principle is true for topouts and undercling moves, where falling climbers have a habit of shooting backwards. Again, try to anticipate where you (or your partner) will land, and dial in the pad position.

8) Spotter positioning

10 tips that might save your ass


t’s a perfect boulder: sharply undercut at the base and deliciously rounded at the top. Your buddies are nowhere to be seen, but the urge to climb it is just too compelling. You throw down your pad, wipe your feet, and chalk up, and before you know it you’re launching for the lip. You stick it, and instinctively swing up a heel, then rock over, but just as you’re about to stand up, your heel shoots off.

There are two possible endings to this story: You’re celebrating a near miss or you’re in the hospital. However, there is only one lesson. Bouldering can be riskier than climbing with a rope. When hitting the ground is a certainty, we are presented with a new list of variables: Where will you fall, how will you land, and—most important—will your buddies catch you? Spotting is to bouldering what belaying is to roped climbing, a fundamental safety procedure that should never be taken lightly. For some reason the same stigma doesn’t seem to be attached to poor spotting as to poor belaying. Yet the outcome can be just as severe. While bouldering injuries tend to be relatively minor, broken limbs are common and spinal injuries—even death—have occurred. Examine your spotting technique and crashpad positioning, and you will increase your chances of a safe landing.

Checklist: 1) Boulders, tree limbs and stumps Fold spare mats around tree stems or boulders that are close to the landing zone. Spotters should still make every attempt to prevent the climber from testing them.

down it is easy to forget about them. For larger potholes or uneven slopes, use a second pad underneath your main one to create a level platform.

3) Highballs Stack pads to create more cushion for falls from higher problems. Put older, softer pads below newer, firmer ones. Spotters should continually inspect the platform to check that the top pad stays directly on top of the lower pads. Uneven, shaky towers are clearly bad news.

4) Slabs and vertical boulders Be sure that the pad sits flush to the base of the boulder so that you don’t land in the gap.

5) Overhanging boulders If you only have one pad, pull it back from the base so it protects you for the upper part of the problem, especially if the highest part appears to be difficult. With more pads you can protect a larger landing zone. If you have pads to spare, double up in the area where the climber will land if he falls from up high.

6) Diagonals and traverses 2) Uneven terrain Use extra padding such as rucksacks, jackets or minipads to fill holes or minor irregularities. Try to flatten the landing surface before laying down your main pad. Tree roots are common in heavily eroded areas and are especially worth watching out for, as once the pad is 7 2 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

Carefully determine where the crux is and position the pad accordingly. As a spotter you can refine pad placement by watching where the climber hits if he fails on his attempt, and then repositioning the pad if necessary. An alternative is for the spotter to tow the pad around below the climber, using the carry straps.

9) Spotting method For low- to mid-height problems that are slabby or gently overhanging, aim to grab the upper part of climbers’ sides just below their armpits (their lats). For low and very steep problems such as roofs, a better approach is to cradle the upper back. Never go for the armpits on steep problems or you could wrench the climber’s arms if you miss. Also avoid the waist as grabbing here can tip the person backwards on top of you. Always keep your thumbs tucked in or you risk spraining them (a common spotting injury). It is both unrealistic and unnecessary to expect to “catch” the climber. Instead, guide the person down onto the mat, taking care that he doesn’t land flat on his back or strike his head. For highball problems do not use this method as the spotter is likely to incur more injury than the climber. Instead, just push the climber hard in the middle of his upper back to decelerate his momentum and ensure that he stays on the mat. It simply isn’t realistic to expect to be able to do any more than that. In general, be firm and play on the aggressive side, as there’s nothing worse than flying through the arms of a wimpy spotter. And above all, remember that it ain’t over till it’s over. Just because the climber has his hands on top of the boulder is no excuse to drop your arms and your guard. I’ve seen too many failed topouts result in multiple climber pile-ups.

10) Etiquette and ethics Unlike belaying, spotting is generally regarded as a “secondary” safety system. In bouldering, the primary responsibility always falls on the climber. Pick appropriate problems and adopt a sensible climbing and landing style. Even the most carefully positioned pads and the best spotters can’t save the most gung-ho climbers from themselves. It’s not just about the spotting—in bouldering, the oftrepeated advice to “know your limits” will go a long way toward saving your ass. And ankles.

bernhard fiedler

Safe Bouldering

Ideally, a team of spotters will surround the mat and each person will take responsibility for defending a side. A solo spotter must make an educated guess about where the climber is most likely to land. Cradle your arms as widely as possible and be ready to switch sides in a flash. In some cases the spotter may opt to stand away from the pad and block the climber from a collision with a nearby tree or boulder. If the pad is flat and the boulder is fairly low, it’s fine to let the person land on his own, but make sure you discuss this so the climber knows what to expect. Spotters should never stand in the landing zone (under the climber).



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the dangers of NSAIDS ➊ NSAID’s side effects such as sudden hearing loss and kidney failure are compounded if you drink alcohol.

➋ According to the American Gastroenterological association, 100,000 people are hospitalized each year for complications related to the use of NSAIDs and thousands die. ➌ Persons at the greatest risk are those who take NSAIDs for long periods of time, and exceed the recommended dosage, such as climbers.


// Killing you softly with their love

I have been taking ibuprofen for many years, intermittently but consistently, for various recurring sorts of ills. Sore elbows, twanged fingers, sore back. I probably take ibuprofen no more than once or twice a week on average, with none for many weeks, and it would usually be 200 milligrams but occasionally twice that amount. What is the latest thinking and research on moderate but longterm use? Do climbers’ livers start screaming, “No more!” or just silently fall apart? 

—Alison Osius | Carbondale, CO

Aversion to pain is the second-biggest preoccupation of modern society. Money, the driving force of the Machiavellian pharmaceutical giants, is the first. That’s right, ladies and gents, you are being turned into a bunch of Nancies by corporate puppeteers to the point that the prospect of removing a superficial splinter without an anesthetic will cause you to faint. Pill popping is all the rage. From lolly stores to disco floors, from truck drivers to gym junkies, the problem can be resolved by the magic pill that will transport you to the place you need to be. In fact, 16,500 peeps each year will transcend themselves all the way to heaven by way of NSAIDS like ibuprofen, more than are killed in the USA by AIDS and cervical cancer. Whoa! Life does not have a reverse, so if you want to go at it full throttle on jet fuel, you might want to remember the steering wheel. Damage by way of minor acute injury will do better with a bag of ice than anti-inflammatory (AI) drugs. Chronic issues such as sore elbows and a bad back will do better if you actually do something about fixing the problem rather than applying Band-Aids. Out of sight, out of mind is the trick of a dyslexic mentalist with an equally inept audience. Or possibly just human nature. 74 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

Although a few NSAIDs may not be too harmful, the notion that they are without risk is categorically incorrect. Recent data suggests that there is no safe dose in young people and, like a lightning bolt to the forehead of modern medicine, the greatest risk for ulcers is in the first two weeks of use, contrary to previous understanding. I would guess that you could quite easily not take any medication. The pain you do feel may well propel you into doing something constructive about the injury. If it’s a minor acute issue, toughen up, princess.

I hurt my shoulder several months ago and after six weeks of PT I feel about 50 percent better. My orthopod has me doing another six weeks in the hopes that I will continue to improve. Two radiologists viewed my MRI. The first said I had a partial tear of the supraspinatus and labral tear, and the other said I had a borderline partial/full tear of the supraspinatus and labral tear. What are the odds of being able to recover from this? Should I have surgery or continue with therapy?

the surgical theater are ongoing pain (beyond six months) and locking of the shoulder whereby you cannot continue to move it without first reversing it and giving it a little shake out. That’s the cartilage tear wedging in the joint. BADNESS. Going to surgery before either occurs is hastier than a Middle Eastern invasion. The dilemma here is that even with an MRI it’s difficult to elucidate the extent of damage. Because of this there is little data for physicians to extrapolate what injuries are likely to settle down without surgery. At face value your injury looks no worse than most and should continue to settle. There is, of course, a chance that it won’t, so keep communicating with your ortho; it sounds like she is on the ball.

I had a very bad bouldering accident in February 2008 and suffered a compound fracture and total dislocation (bone sticking out) of the ankle. After eight surgeries and almost two years on crutches I am climbing a lot better than I am walking! I have no range of motion in the ankle joint, no cartilage at all, and severe osteoarthritis (which I put up with; I’m drug free). But the stiff ankle has led to severe tendonitis in the knees. Do you think I could still climb with an ankle fusion? And do you think the twisting and drop-knee moves are going to lead to the ultimate death of my knees as well? 

—Jenny Zhuang | Hong Kong, China

I’d rather lose a testicle than be in your shoes. Yes, you can still climb. That’s the short answer. I know several climbers who have a fused ankle. They boulder and climb quite well, actually.  —Michael Denkovich | Plainview, NY There are almost no down sides to having a fusion since, in functional terms, your ankle has pretty You’ll be fine. I foresee that your shoulder will remuch fused already. The up side to a fusion is that cover and you will find happiness in a dark-haired you will only have a mild gait anomaly and you can girl with ash-green eyes and a smile of pearls. You remove the leather patches from your pants since will reach a new high point in climbing by the you will be crawling a lot less. And your ankle pain end of next year, having spent a few months using will be vastly reduced. When your gait normalizes mind power, food and sex to heal and strengthen somewhat, the tendon issues will also largely resolve. your shoulder. You’ll appear on NBC in a TV series I am pretty sure a fusion will make you feel that will empower the American people with your much closer to your old self. Hanging onto an recipe to life and happiness. God knows the Ameriankle that doesn’t work is ironically making you cans currently need it. feel much older. The knee and hip on Stop suffering and let Most labral tears will settle without that side will certainly suffer some inDr. J’s medical advice be hewn into your minds! surgical intervention. The primary two creased wear and tear, but likely much Send your questions to symptoms that would propel you into less than in the current situation. ■

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gear guy

Aid Climbing = Moped Riding I’ve heard about the second ascent of Wings of Steel [page 66 this issue]and am not clear about the difference between bathooks and batheads. Help!  —MikeO, via

Bathooks were developed by Warren “Batinto a shallow drilled hole, and also invented so” Harding and he famously used them for his by Harding, is a threaded hex-head machine first ascent of the South Face of Half Dome. Faced bolt hammered into a shallow drilled hole of a with the prospect of drilling bolts up hundreds slightly smaller diameter. When you hammer of feet of blank rock, Harding ground down his in the rivet, the threads mash, providing a very skyhooks so they would seat in a shallow drilled tight friction fit. In fact, machine bolts are so hole, saving about half the time and effort of bomber they can be stronger than the carabidrilling a bolt in an aid ladder. ner, depending, naturally, on how shallow or Bathooks as we know them today evolved deep you drill the hole. Some aid climbers play from Harding’s modified skyhooks, which still the nuanced game of drilling very shallow rivet required a fairly wide hole, to the use of Leeper holes, then, when they get scared, drilling a pointed hooks, which were meant for natural deep one, then switching back to shallow. edge hooking. Somewhere along the way someRivets don’t take much more work than batone discovered that a pointed Leeper fit perfecthooks or batheads, and age gracefully, making ly into a ¼-inch hole drilled ¼-inch deep. The them usable for future ascents decades down the smaller hole required for the Leeper saved even road. Brass rivets, although harder to find and more drill time, and bathooking caught on. more expensive than steel rivets, last just about Batheads are a bizarre contrivance, an extenforever and I’ve even seen one—drilled straight sion of the bathook, which is itself a bastard of up in a roof—hold a fall. In recent times, aid a placement. For a bathead, you drill a ¼-inch climbers who encounter bathooks often drill hole about a half-inch deep, and hammer a copthe hole a bit deeper, and pound a rivet into it. perhead into the hole. Batheads are more bombA good move, I think, as long as you keep it in er than bathooks, which don’t offer much in the proper perspective, remembering the words of way of pro, but they are just about impossible Chris Kalous, who said, when comparing aid to to clean. When you try to jerk one out with a free climbing, that “Aid climbing is like riding a funkness device, the cable usually snaps, leavreally sweet moped: No matter how tricked out ing a blob of copper plugging the hole. Leave your ride is, it’s still a moped.” Next! the head fixed in the hole, and the cable rusts, rendering it a timebomb with a short fuse and THE SHORT STRETCH likely to break when you try to clean it. Why do people leave oval carabiners at rappel stations? Are they super bomber for that use? Batheads and bathooks are both unsavory. Bathooks are used to keep the potential of a fall —Cracklord via long. By pure definition, bathooks are a hole drilled into blank rock. Don’t confuse bathooks Oval biners are the dumpy weaklings in the herd, with “enhanced” hooks, which are edges or left behind to die because no one wants them. Any bumps that have been drilled out to take the other shape of carabiner is lighter and stronger tip of a Skyhook or Cliffhanger that may have than the oval, so, ironically, we leave our worst its wide blade ground down to a point, similar gear, ovals, at the most critical places, such as beto that of a Leeper pointed. Enhanced hooks lay and rappel stations and tow hooks. might be even more popular than bathooks, as Oval carabiners are great for some uses. They most aid climbers consider them the more natrack more pins than D shapes. They work well for ural of the two, since they usually require less constructing carabiner-brake rappels (am I the only rock removal, and were widely used on many one left who still knows how to make one of these?). El Cap routes including the And they look smart on a belt famous Sea of Dreams. loop or accessorized with a water Win the C.A.M.P. Armour Helmet I can’t figure out why anybottle or wad of locker keys. The Armour delivers one would ever use a bathead: Maybe I am being a bit too a precise fit, superior protection and a striking look! When you drill a hole for a hard on the long-suffering The molded ABS shell has a total of head, it makes sense to put in oval. Ovals are plenty strong, 10 vents on the sides for excellent ventilation. Fast and secure adjustment a rivet or just bathook the hole or “they” wouldn’t make them, system makes the helmet ready to so it is available for repeat use. and the CE wouldn’t sign off use on any adventure. To score your Armour helmet, simply send a question I prefer rivets to batheads on them. I like ovals, however, to Gear Guy at gearguy@rockandice. and even bathooks. A rivet, for a really good reason: no com. If your question is selected as next issue’s leading query, you win the originally a short, smooth one is apt to steal them. Gear goods. Next! Guy has spoken! ■ aluminum dowel hammered 76 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 4 11 d e c e m b e r

Adventure Consultants; PO Box 97; 58 McDougald St., Wanaka, New Zealand; Phone: 64-3-4438711; Fax: 64-3-443-8733; www.; info@; New Zealand • South America Himalaya • Seven Summits • Antarctica • Artic Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School, Inc; PO Box 1081, Haines, AK 99827, USA; 800766-3396;;; Premier climbing school and adventure guide service for over 20 years, small teams, college credit, leadership/guide training; North/South America • Africa • Europe • Asia • Antarctica AlpenGlow Expeditions; PO Box 3122, Olympic Valley, CA 96146; 970.309.8693;; www.; IFMGA/AMGA certified; Specializing in small group and private arrangement expeditions; Himalayas • Alps • Andes • Africa • North America ALPINE ENDEAVORS; P.O. Box 58; Rosendale, NY 12472; 877486-5769; 845-658-3094; www.;; AMGA Certfied, Rock, Ice, Mountaineering,; Shawangunks, Catskills & Adirondacks, NY • Cannon, Cathedral & Mt Washington, NH • Ragged Mtn, CT • Seneca Rocks, WV • Eldorado Canyon, CO • North Cascades National Park, WA • Ecuador Alpine World Ascents; IFMGA/AMGA Certified; Ski & Mountain Guides, instruction, guiding, expeditions in rock, ice, alpine, ski/snowboard, avalanche safety, Specializing in Private Arrangements; PO Box 1013; Boulder CO 80306-1013; 800868-5429; 303-350-0366;;; Boulder area • Black Canyon of the Gunnison and throughout CO • Red Rocks • Devils Tower • North Cascades • Alaska • Canada • Europe • Mexico • Ecuador • Peru • Bolivia • Argentina • Chile • Africa • Himalayas

American Alpine Institute; 1515 12th St Bellingham, WA 98225; Phone: 360.671.1505; Fax: 360.734.8890;; info@; Rainier • McKinley • North Cascades • Sierras • Alps • Andes Colorado Mountain School; 2829 Mapleton Ave; Boulder, CO 80301; Phone: 800-836-4008; Fax 303-447-8356;;; AMGA Accredited Guide, Service, AMGA Certified Guides, AIARE Instructors; Rocky Mountain National Park • Eldorado Canyon • Flatirons • Vail • Alaska • Red Rocks, NV • Moab, UT • Mt. Rainier • Ecuador • Mexico • Peru • Argentinas Exploradus, LLC Profes sional Mountain Guides; PO Box 4166; Jackson, WY 83001; Phone: 307-733-8812; Fax: 503213-9861;; www.; Specializing in Custom Expeditions of Seven Summit Peaks as well as first Ascents around the world. Exploring the world one adventure at a time FOX MOUNTAIN GUIDES AND CLIMBING SCHOOL; 3228 Asheville Hwy., Pisgah Forest, NC 28768; 1-888-284-8433;;; Rock and Ice guiding and instruction • South American Expeditions • New England Ice • Southeast’s only AMGA Accredited Program International Mountain Guides; 31111 State Route 706 East; P.O. Box 246, Ashford, WA 98304; 360-569-2609; 866-2797455 Fax; www.mountainguides. com; office@mountainguides. com; “Climbing the World’s Great Mountains” since 1976; Seven Summits • Alaska • Ouray • Joshua Tree • North Cascades Smith Rocks • Ecuador • Bolivia • Mexico • Peru Cho Oyu • Alps • Mt. Ranier

Mountain Madness; 3018 SW Charlestown St ; Seattle, WA 98126; Phone: 800-328-5925; Fax: 206-937-1772; AMGA certified; www.mountainmadness .com;; Worldwide expeditions • courses, trekking, and skiing Mountain Professionals; PO Box 1468 Boulder, C O 80306; 303-956-9945;;; Small teams, personalized service on refined expeditions to 7 summits, Everest, Manaslu, Ama Dablam, North and South Pole. Limited group size to ensure quality. Rare Earth Adventures; 300 Barnes Ave., Seneca, OR 97873; Phone: 866-936-0910; Fax: 877270-0226; Email:;; Accredited by Wilderness Education Association. North Cascades • Olympic National Park • Mount Adams • Smith Rock • Mount Saint Helens • Columbia River Gorge • Mount Thielson • Goat Rock Wilderness • U.S.A • Thailand • Tanzania • Iceland • Malaysia • Zimbabwe • Belgium • Nepal • Tibet • Nicaragua • Jordan San Juan Mountain Guides; PO Box 1214; Ouray, CO 81427; (970) 325-4925; (866)525-4925; www.;; San Juan Mountains • Colorado • Utah • Alps • Alaska Sierra Mountain Center; P.O. Box 95, Bishop, CA 93515; 760-8738526;;; AMGA and IFMGA certified guides, Rock, Ski, Alpine, Ice and avalanche courses, Custom Trips, Private Guiding, Parent/Child courses and Guide Training; Sierra Nevada • Mt Whitney • Alaska • Patagonia • Dolomites • New Zealand

Jackson Hole Mou ntain Guides; Mountain Adventures since 1968; Box 7477, 165 N.Glenwood St., Jackson, WY 83002; 800-2397642;; www.jhmg. com; AMGA accredited; Tetons • Wind Rivers • Wild Iris • Sinks Canyon • Beartooths • City of Rocks • Moab • Red Rocks

SIERRA MOUNTAINEERING INTERNATIONAL; 236 N Main St.; Bishop, CA 93514; Phone: (760) 872-4929; Fax: (760) 872-2489;;; Sierra • Mt. Whitney • Palisades • Seven Summits • Ecuador • Mexico • Peru • Europe • Africa • Mt. Ararat • Rock climbing • Ice climbing • Backcountry skiing Avalanche courses

Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School; HCR 3034 Joshua Tree, CA 92252; Phone: (800) 890-4745; climb@joshuatreerockclimbing. com; www.joshuatreerockclimbing. com; AMGA Certified Rock Guides; Rock Climbing; Joshua Tree National Park, California; Very accomplished guides include; Steve Gerberding, Don Reid, Scott Cole, Kevin Thaw.

S t e v e Ba n k s M o u n ta i n Guide; Crested Butte, CO/Chamonix, France; Phone 970.209.7165; www.stevebanksmountainguide. com;; AMGA/IFMGA Certified Guide, Rock, Ice,Alpine, Ski; Crested Butte • Ouray • Moab • Black Canyon • Chamonix • Mont Blanc • Matterhorn • Haute Route

SUMMIT CLIMB with daniel mazur; Pob 123, Lakebay, WA, 9 8349; 360 -570 - 07 15; www.;; Everest Summit, Everest Training School, Seattle Glacier School, Leader Training School, Basecamp Treks; Aconcagua • ChoOyu • Amadablam • Baruntse • Shishapangma. On Top Guides/Jorg Wilz; C anmore, Alber ta, CANADA; Phone: 800-506-7177; 403-6782717; info@ontopmountaineering. com; www.ontopmountaineering. com; Certified Mountain Guides (IFMGA / UIAGM) Canada - Europe - USA Mountaineering, Rock, Ice; Canada • Alps • Dolomites • Spain • France • Italy Talkeetna Air Taxi; PO box 73; Talkeetna, AK 99076; Phone: 907-733-2218; Fax: 907-733-1434; FAA Approved Part 135 Air Operator, Glacier Landing Concessionaire of Denali National Park;; info@; Alaska Range • Denali National Park • Mt. McKinley • Mt. Hunter • Mt. Foraker • Mooses Tooth • Mt. Huntington • Great Gorge • Ruth Glacier VERTICAL ADVENTURES; (800) 514-8785;;; AMGA Accredited program. Rock climbing instruction at Joshua Tree National Park since 1983.; Summer program at Tahquitz & Suicide Rocks, Idyllwild. Voted #1 Rock Climbing School in America by Outside Magazine in 2008. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures; 200-50 Lincoln Park, Canmore, AB, T1W1J7; 1-866-678-4164;;; IFMGA/ACMG Certified; Rock • Ice • Mountaineering • Skiing; Beginner to expert programs; Private, family and groups

WHERE TO GO? HOW TO GET THERE? WHO TO GO WITH? For answers, people need to know you’re out there.Expose yourself. Advertise in the Guide Directory section of Rock and Ice Contact ben eaton beaton @ 877.762.5423 x 123

d e c e m b e r 11 3 r o c k a n d i c e .co m 7 7

guide directory

Above All Rock Guides and Climbing instruction at Devils Tower; Box 66, Devils Tower, WY 82714; 1-888-314-5267; www.; www.; frank@; PCGI & WMI Certified; Oldest Guide on the Tower, Climbing the Tower Since 1972, Exclusively guiding 1 on 1 to 1 on 2. Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming, U.S.A.


Rock Gyms

Edmonton. VERTICALLY INCLINED ROCK GYM. 780-4969390; Toronto , O N . J OE ROCKHEAD’S CLIMBI N G GYM . “eating glazed donut bracelets off the right arm of Jesus”. 29 Fraser Ave., Toronto, Ontario M6K 1Y7; 416-538-7670; Toronto, ON. The Rock Oasis. Toronto Location: 15,000 sq. ft; 416703-3434; Ajax Location: 3,000 sq. ft; 905-231-3434; www. Victoria. THE BOULDERS CLIMBING GYM at Stelly’s. Newly expanded - 60 feet high, speed wall, and new climbing academy for grades 9 - 12. 250.544.0310 The Netherlands Amersterdam. KLIMHAL AMSTERDAM., Alabama Alabama. FIRST AVENUE ROCKS.; 205320-2277 ARIZONA Scottsdale. AZ ON THE ROCKS. is fully air conditio n e d , h as 14 ,0 0 0 square ft of climbing, yoga and focuses on customer service. Contact 480-502-9777 or Tempe. PHOENIX ROCK GYM. 4 8 0 -9 2 1 - 8 3 2 2 ; w w w. p h o e arkansas Little Rock. LITTLE ROCK CLIMBING CENTER;; 501-227-9500 CALIFORNIA Anaheim Hills. ROCK CITY CLIMBING CENTER. 714-777-4884; El Cerrito (Berkeley/East Bay). BRIDGES ROCK GYM. Extraordinary bouldering, stellar cave, 18-ft top-out boulders, slackline arena, yoga, fitness, childcare, & organic café. (510) 525-5635,

San Diego. SOLIDROCK GYM. Three locations - DOWNTOWN, POWAY, and SAN MARCOS. 30 foot walls, 35-45+ ropes per gym. Hundreds of clearly marked, frequently changed, expertly set routes. Toproping, topout bouldering, crack towers, slacklining and lead climbing. www. 619-299-1124 (Downtown); 858-748-9011 (Poway); 760-480-1429 (San Marcos) San Diego. MESA RIM CLIMBING AND FITNESS CENTER. The nation’s newest and largest climbing facility. 52’ pillar, 80’ overhanging routes, 300+ expertly set and frequently changing climbing routes, multiple cracks and incomparable bouldering and traverse, all rounded off with yoga and fitness center. MESA RIM Where climbing higher is just the beginning... NOW OPEN! MESA RIM; 10110 Mesa Rim Road; San Diego, CA 92121 - Ph. (858)348.4593 San Diego. VERTICAL HOLD SPORT CLIMBING CENTER, INC. The largest in Southern California. Over 23,000 square feet of superbly textured climbing surface. Colossal 40 foot lead cave, 200+ toprope/lead routes, 2 awesome bouldering areas 9580 Distribution Ave., San Diego, CA 92121; 858-586-7572;

San Francisco. PLANET GRANITE. 25,000 sq. ft. of indoor climbing, yoga & fitness. 45-ft high walls. Cracks, off-widths and lots of steep terrain. TONS of bouldering with top-out boulder! Full fitness center, two yoga studios, pro shop, views of the bay and GG Bridge! 924 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94129; www.

Sunnyvale. PLANET GRANITE. 25,000 sqft of indoor & outdoor climbing. 60 ft high. Cracks, chimneys, off-widths and lots of steep climbing. HUGE bouldering area. Extensive weights & fitness, yoga & spinning, pro-shop. 815 Stewart Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94085; (408) 991 - 9090; www. Victorville. THE BULLET HOLE TRAINING CENTER. The high desert’s only indoor climbing gym! 15315 Cholame Road, Unit D, Victorville, CA 92392; 760-245-3307 COLORADO Boulder. THE SPOT BOULDERING GYM. 303-379-8806; www. Boulder. BOULDER ROCK CLUB. 8 0 0 - 836 -40 0 8; Denver. ROCK’N & JAM’N. Denver area’s premier climbing gyms with the tallest and steepest walls. Routes and problems for all abilities. Air conditioning and filtration. Two locations: 9499 Washington St, Thorton; 7390 S. Fraser St, Centennial. (303)CLIMB99 www. Become a Fan! Denver. THRILLSEEKERS. 300 Ft. MEGA bouldering traverse, 5 lead arches. 38 topropes, 12,000 sq. ft. of climbing surface. 303-733-8810, Fort Collins. INNER STRENGTH ROCK GYM. 970-282-8118; www. Glenwood Springs. Colorado Mountain College, Spring Valley Center Climbing Gym. Boudering area and top rope wall. 970947-8237 Grand Junction. GRAND JUNCTION CLIMBING CENTER. 970241-7622; CONNECTICUT

San Mateo /Belmont. PLANET GRANITE. 20,000 square feet, 50 foot high cracks! Extensive weights & fitness, yoga, pro-shop; 100 El Camino Real, Belmont, CA 94002; 650-591-3030; www. Santa Cruz. Pacific Edge.Indoor climbing at its finest! 104 Bronson St., Santa Cruz, CA 95062; 831-454-9254; www. Santa Rosa. VERTEX CLIMBING CENTER. 707-573-1608; www.

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Manchester. STONE AGE ROCK GYM. 860-645-0015; www. FLORIDA Jacksonville. THE EDGE ROCK GYM: 8,000 square feet. Top Rope, Lead and Bouldering. Full fitness area. 3563 Phillips Hwy, Ste 702, Jacksonville, FL 32207; 904-683-2512 Miami. X-TREME ROCK CLIMBING. Florida’s premier climbing facility. 12,000+ square feet . 13972 SW 139 Court, 33186; 305-233-6623;

Ft. Lauderdale. CORAL CLIFFS ROCK GYM. 75 routes and now mixed climbing. 954-321-9898. georgia Atlanta. ATL ANTA ROCKS! INTOWN. is the most popular indoor rock climbing gym in the southeast, featuring more than 12,000 square feet of professionally-designed, seamless climbing surface. With more than 50 top-rope stations, crazy overhanging lead routes and hundreds of climbs, Atlanta Rocks! has plenty of challenging routes for climbers of all skill levels. Lead routes up to 85 linear feet, bouldering features, aerobic and weight training equipment, computerized sales and rentals: 1019 Collier Road NW, Ste A, Atlanta, GA 30318; 404-351-3009 Atlanta. STONE SUMMIT CLIMBING & FITNESS CENTER, 45,000 impressive feet of climbing. 3701 Presidential Parkway 678.720.9884; Peachtree City. ASCENSION CLIMBING GYM. 678-870-1400 hawaii Waipio. VOLCANIC ROCK GYM. ; 808-397-0095; ILLINOIS Bloomington. UPPER LIMITS. Over 20,000 ft2, 65’ silos, wave wall, bi-level cave, large outdoor bouldering area and 110’ routes. Climate Controlled! Just off I-55 and I-74 309-829-TALL (8255);

Chicago. VERTICAL ENDEAVORS. 18,000 ft2 of climbing on 40 ft walls. 22 Auto Belays. Programs and outdoor guiding for all ages. 630-836-0122; Crystal Lake. North Wall . 815-356-6855; Homewood. CLIMB ON. 18120 Harwood Ave, Homewood, IL 60430; 708-798-9994; www. INDIANA Evansville. VERTICAL EXCAPE. 812-479 - 6887; Kentucky Louisville. ROCKSPORT-LOUISVILLE. 502-266-5833; www.

Get the exposure you deserve! • Call 877.762.5423 x117 MARYLAND




Boston. ROCK SPOT CLIMBING. 67 Sprague St., Boston MA 02136,

Boston. METRO ROCK CLIMBING CENTER. 69 Norman Street, Unit 9, Everett, MA 02149;

St. Louis. UPPER LIMITS. 10,000 sq. ft2. Auto belays, Bouldering, 35 feet high. Just off I-64/40, behind Union Station. Free parking. 314-241-ROCK (7625); Montana Billings . ST E E P WORLD. Your comprehensive climbing center! Gym/Shop; 208 N 13th. Billings, MT; 406-25-CLIMB; nevada Incline Village. HIGH ALTITUDE FITNESS. 775-831-4212 Las Vegas. RED ROCK CLIMBING CENTER & MOUNTAIN GUIDES. 8201 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89117; SHOWERS! (702) 254-5604; NEW JERSEY

New Bedford. CARABINER’S INDOOR CLIMBING INC. 508-9840808;

N ewbur ypor t. Me troRock North. 40 Parker Street, Newburyport, MA 01950; Worcester. CENTRAL ROCK CLIMBING GYM. 508-852-7625; MICHIGAN Byron Center. INSIDE MOVES. 616281-7088; Kalamazoo. CLIMB KALAMAZOO., 269-385-9891 Pontiac/Ann Arbor P LAN E T ROCK CLIMBING GYM. 34 Rapid St. Pontiac, MI; 248-334-3904 82 April Dr. Ann Arbor, MI; 734-8272680. MINNESOTA

St. Paul / Duluth. VERTICAL ENDEAVORS. The Twin Cities facility (651-776-1430) offers 18,200 ft2 of climbing while Duluth (218-2799980) offers 14,000sf on walls up to 42’tall. Auto Belays. Programs and outdoor guiding for all ages.

Chatham. GRAVITY VAULT. www., 201-934-7625 Randolph. RANDOLPH CLIMBING CENTER. 973-598-8555; Upper Saddle River. THE GRAVITY VAULT. 201-934-7625. NEW MEXICO Albuquerque. STONE AGE CLIMBING GYM. NM’s largest! Topout bouldering, two lead caves, guiding, complete climbing shop. 505 -341-2016; www. Santa Fe. SANTA FE CLIMBING CENTER. 825 Early St Ste A, Santa Fe, NM. 87505; www.climb NEW YORK Albany. ALBANY’S INDOOR ROCK GYM. Over 6,000 square feet of climbing. Labyrinth system. 4C Vatrano Road, Albany, New York; 518459-7625; New Rochelle. THE ROCK CLUB. 914-633-ROCK, Valhalla. THE CLIFFS AT VALHALLA. 914-328-ROCK. NORTH CAROLINA


Charlotte. INNER PEAKS CLIMBING CENTER. 9535 Monroe Rd., Ste. 170, Charlotte, NC 28270; 704844-6677; Morrisville. TRIANGLE ROCK CLUB. NC’s premiere climbing gym. 9000 ft2. 919-463-7625 (ROCK);




Austin. AUSTIN ROCK GYM. 512-416-9299;


Carrollton. STONEWORKS ROCK CLIMBING GYM. 972-323-1047;

OHIO Cincinnati. ROCKQUEST CLIMBING CENTER. 513-733-0123; www. Oklahoma Oklahoma City. ROCKTOWN CLIMBING GYM. www.rocktowngym. com; (405) 319-1400

Carrollton. EXPOSURE ROCK CLIMBING GYM. 972-732-0307;

Houston STONEMOVES. 281-3970830;



Klamath Falls. THE YETI’S LAIR. 541-882-5586;


Portland. PORTLAND ROCK GYM. 503-232-8310;

Sandy. MOMENTUM INDOOR CLIMBING GYM. 801-990-6890. Vermont

PENNSYLVANIA D oylestown. DOYLESTOWN ROCK GYM. 215-230-9085. www. Philadelphia. GO VERTICAL INC. 215-928-1800; Pittsburgh. THE CLIMBING WALL at the factory. 14,500 square feet. 7501 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208; 412-247-7334; Wind Gap. NORTH SUMMIT CLIMBING GYM. 610-863-4444.

The Best Crags in town! Two Locations in the Philly area: Oaks, PA & Valley Township, PA. 877-822-7673 Confidence. Community. Climbing. RHODE ISLAND

Lincoln. rock spot climbing. 401-727-1704; TENNESSEE Franklin. the CRAG AT COOL SPRINGS. 615661-9444; Knoxville. THE CLIMBING CENTER.; 865-523-006

Burlington. PETRA CLIFFS. 86665-PETRA; Rutland. GREEN MOUNTAIN ROCK CLIMBING CENTER. 802-7733343; VIRGINIA Alexandria. SPORTROCK. 703-212ROCK (7625); Midlothian. PEAK EXPERIENCES. 804-897-6800; Sterling. SPORTROCK. 571-434ROCK (7625); Virginia Beach. VIRGINia BEACH ROCK GYM. 5049 Southern Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23462; mail@;; 757-499-8347 WASHINGTON Seattle. STONE GARDENS. Big & friendly, Tons of bouldering. Lots of TR & lead too. 2839 NW Market St., Seattle; 206-781-9828; Spokane. WILD WALLS CLIMBING GYM. 509-455-9596; Tacoma. EDGEWORKS CLIMBING. 253-564-4899 Wisconsin Brookfield/Pewaukee. ADVENTURE ROCK. 21250 W. Capital Dr. Pewaukee, WI 53072; 262-7906800; www.adventure

d e c e m b e r 11 3 ro c kandi c e .com 7 9

Rock gyms

Columbia, Timonium & Rockville. Earth Treks Climbing Centers. State-of-the-art Climbing Gyms, among the largest in the country, with the best bouldering in the area. Three facilities within 25 minutes of Baltimore and Washington, DC: 800-Climb-UP,





1 photo: Nearing 1the summit on Antisana, Ecuador


9 7Y E A R S 0 5 • 2





WinTer rock red rock Joshua Tree Moab


– Outside Magazine G

ecuador Patagonia Denali 7 Summits

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climber’s resource

“The best guide

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rock noW: Moab, Red Rock, Joshua Tree, Sierra: courses & climbs at all levels, plus Learn to Lead, Big Wall Training WINTER NOW: Denali Prep, Back Country Skiing, Extreme Skiing, Avy Courses, Ice Climbing – Sierra, Ouray, Cascades MAJor AScenTS ALWAYS: 7 Summits plus other great climbs in Alaska, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Patagonia, Nepal, China

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Marmot Mountain Works; info@; 800MARMOT-9 (627-6689); 3049 Adeline St. Berkeley, CA 94703


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Books & Dvd’s

A HIMALAYA, ACONCAGUA, AFRICA expedition with Dan Mazur. CLIMB EVEREST, Aconcagua, Amadablam, Cho-oyu, Glacier Schools, Mustagata, North-col, Baruntse, Basecamp and SERVICE TREKS. (360) 570-0715,, info@

ACME CLIMBING;; 800-959-3785; 509-624-4561; F 509-747-5964; 12 W Sprague Ave. Spokane, WA 99201



Rifle Mountain Park and Western Colorado Rock Climbs 2008 edition Wolverine Publishing Rifle Mountain Park is the best limestone sport climbing area in North America. This book is the essential resource for visiting and local climbers, with a comprehensive guide to the park and other local cliffs. Price: $29.00 Item: BK 1043

Uinta Rock Nathan Smith and Paul Tusting The discovery of great rock just 1 ½ hours from Salt Lake City has given climbers “gold fever.” There are over 20 separate areas and almost 400 routes in this high altitude ecosystem. Price: $21.95 Item: BK 1033

To Order

Call toll free: 877.762.5423 x118 For more books & DVD’s go to

BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN SPORTS; customer-service@; 866-905-2767; Towne Center West; 12020 West Broad Street; Richmond, VA 23233

CAMPMOR;; 800-CAMPMOR; 800-2267667; Catalog-PO Box 680-RI7 Mahwah, NJ 07430 CLIMB HIGH; info@climbhigh. com; PO BOX 292; Williston VT 05495

GEAREXPRESS, INC; staffgx@; 888-580-5510; F 801-968-7441; 2702 S 3600 W, West Valley, UT 84119; Free shipping over $50

Mountain Gear; info@mgear. com; 800-829-2009; F 509-325-3030; 6021 E Mansfield, Spokane Valley, WA 99212; 800 5.10–2–5.14; 831-620-0911; F 831-6200977; PO Box 222295, Carmel, CA 93922

NEPTUNE MOUNTAINEERING; 633 S Broadway, Unit A; Boulder CO 80305; 888-499-8866 RIVER SPORTS OUTFITTERS (865) 523-0066; F (865) 525-6921; 2918 Sutherland; Knoxville, TN 37919 ROCK/CREEK; 888-7076708; 301 Manufacturers Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, Free Shipping over $49

800-499-8696; 5045 E Speedway; Tucson AZ 85712;; THE TRIATHLETE STORE; sales@; 858-8424664; 14307 Midland Rd; Poway, CA 92064

Climb through High School Renowned Climbing Program • College-prep boarding and day school, grades 9–12 • Located 30 miles from Aspen, CO

(970) 963-2562 or

Get the exposure you deserve! • Call 877.762.5423 x117 canada

Alaska Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking 2633 Spenard Rd, Anchorage, AK 99503; 907-272-1811; F 907274-6362 www.alaskamountaineering. com; Arizona BABBITT’S BACKCOUNTRY OUTFITTERS 12 E Aspen Ave; Flagstaff AZ 86001; 928-774-4775; F 928774-4561; www.babbittsbackcountry. com; Arkansas

NOMAD VENTURES 61795 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252; 760-3664684;;; See website for additional locations Real Cheap Sports 36 W. Santa Clara, Ventura, CA 93001; 805-648-3803; F 805653-2581; Wilson’s Eastside Sports 224 N. Main St, Bishop, CA 93514 760-873-7520; www.;

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209 W Sunbridge Dr., Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-521-6340; Ou r tdo o C e nte F 479-521-6580; r 877-521-6340;; Pa

Marmot Mountain Works 3049 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703; 800-MARMOT-9 (6276689);


COLORADO OURAY MOUNTAIN SPORTS 732 Main St, Ouray, CO 81427 970-325-4284; www.ouraysports. com; and blurb; Professional Ice Screw Sharpening and Ice Gear Rental Available!

Adventure 16 11161 W. Pico Blvd., West Los Angeles, CA 90064; 310473-4574; for other SO CAL locations:; We carry Vibram FiveFingers

Pine Needle Mountaineering 835 Main Ave #112, Durango, CO 81301-5436; 970-247-8728; F 970-259-0697; 800-607-0364;;

ELEVATION 150 S Main St; Lone Pine CA 93545; 760-876-4560; www.; info@

ROCK N ROLL SPORTS GUNNISON 608 W Tomichi Ave, Gunnison, CO 81230; (970) 641-9150; F (970) 641 9150;;;

GRANITE CHIEF SKI & MOUNTAIN SHOP 11368 Donner Pass Rd; Truckee CA 96161; (530) 587-2809 Truckee (530) 583-2832 Squaw Valley; www.;

Wilderness Exchange Unlimited 2401 15th Street Ste. 100, Denver, CO 80202; 303-9640708; www.wildernessexchangeunlimited. com;


OUTDOOR SPORTS CENTER 80 Danbury Rd, Wilton, CT 06897 203-762-8797; 800-7822193; Kentucky J & H LANMARK 189 Moore Dr, Lexington, KY 40503; 859-278-0730; 800-677-9300;; MIGUEL’S PIZZA AND ROCK CLIMBING SHOP 1890 Natural Bridge Rd Slade, KY 40376; 606-663-1975;; miguelspizza@

Minnesota Midwest Mountaineering 309 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55454; 612-339-3433; 888-999-1077; www.midwestmtn. com;; Free Climbing Cave Michigan PLANET ROCK CLIMBING SHOP 34 Rapid St, Pontiac MI 48342; 248-3339590; F 248-333-9597; 877-380-GEAR; www.planet-rock. com; new hampshire INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT 2733 Main St; North Conway, NH 03860; 603-356-6316 New Jersey CAMPMOR 810 Route 17 N, Paramus, NJ 07652; 201-445-5000; 800-CAMPMOR (266-7667);



MOUNTAIN SHOP 628 NE Broadway St.; Portland, OR 97232; 503-288-6768; F 503-280-1687; weborders@;

Outdoor Gear Exchange 152 Cherry St, Burlington, VT 05401 802-860-0190; F 802-860-0169;;

Serving Portland’s Outdoor Needs Since 1937

NEXT ADVENTURE 426 SE Grand Ave; Portland, OR 97214; 503.233.0706; F 503.233.1362; www.nextadventure. net;

REDPOINT CLIMBERS SUPPLY 8283 11th Street, Terrebonne, OR 97760; 541-923-6207 F 541-923-1303; 800-923-6207; contact@redpointclimbing; Rockhard Smith Rock State Park, 9297 N.E. Crooked River Dr, Terrebonne, OR 97760; 541548-4786 Pennsylvania EXKURSION 4037 William Penn Highway Monroeville, PA 15146; Just outside of Pittsburgh; 412-3727030; F 412-372-7046 tennessee RIVER SPORTS OUTFITTERS 2918 Sutherland; Knoxville TN 37919; (865) 523-0066; F (865) 525-6921;; Utah The Desert Rat 468 W St, George Blvd; St George UT 84770; 435-628-7277; F 435-628-2894; www.thedesertrat. net


Feathered Friends 119 Yale Ave N, Seattle WA 98109; 1-888-308-9365; 206-292-6292 - Mail Orders; F 206-292-9667;; Marmot Mountain Works 827 Bellevue N.E., Bellevue, WA 98004 800-CLIMBIN; Whittaker Mountaineering 5 miles outside Mt. Ranier National Park, 30027 SR 706 East, Ashford, WA 98304; 800-238-5756 West Virginia Water Stone Outdoors 101 E. Wiseman Ave, Fayetteville, WV 25840; 304-574-2425; F 304-5742563;; Wyoming

Teton Mountaineering 170 N Cache, PO Box 1533, Jackson, WY 83001; 307-7333595; 800-850-3595 WILD IRIS MOUNTAIN SPORTS 333 Main St., Lander, WY 82520; z307-332-4541; F 307-335-8923; 888-284-5968; wildiris@

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MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP 830 10th Avenue Sw, Calgary, AB T2R 0A9; 403-269-2420 ;

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

Parting Shot


Lonnie Kauk on his dad, Ron Kaukâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Peace (5.13d), Medlicott Dome, Tuolumne Meadows. Bolted on rappel during the height of the sport-climbing war, Peace, which is near the iconic Bachar-Yerian (5.11c R/X), was originally a groundup John Bachar project.

new patagonia shells athlete-driven design best-in-class technology environmental leadership

© 2011 Patagonia, Inc.

super alpine jacket and bibs A classic reborn: our bomber big-mountain jacket is engineered with durably waterproof/breathable 3-layer nylon GORE-TEX® Pro Shell for the worst possible conditions. Our team of climber/designers partnered with W. L. Gore, Inc. to produce the most technically advanced, best-in-class alpine shells. To learn more about Patagonia’s environmental work and leadership, visit GORE-TEX®, GORE-TEX® Pro Shell, GORE®, and GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® are trademarks of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.



ranger ipa is brewed by new belgium brewing fort collins co









Your Ranger has a first name. And it’s not Simcoe, Cascade or Chinook (but those are in there). It could be Joel if you’re in Missouri, or Jeannie in California, or even Bubba in Wisconsin. They are the Beer Rangers across our territories dedicated to getting Ranger IPA into your hands for the continual enjoyment of hops. Scan the code or go to to follow their journey as they protect, pour and partake.

Rock and Ice #198  

Rock and Ice #198, December 2011