Rock Climbing’s First Free Global Publication!
InsIde ThIs Issue
26 Love on the Rocks
Sometimes we have to make choices in life. Andrew
Tower attempts to find balance between true love and
28 Free Spirits
Abbey Smith gives us a personal look into the lives of three
climbers tragically killed on Mount Edgar in China.
34 Red Rocks Sizzles
If a picture speaks a thousand words, this photo spread is
not going to shut up anytime soon.
Font: One man, one trip, one perspective.
This Page: Michael Arthur treads cautiously through
the thin flakes of End Over End, V5, on the Cube
6 Ed Speaks
16 The Rack
18 Kehl's Crypt
20 Pro Files
32 Hot Shots
60 The Last
Tobias MacPhee Photo
The Ed Speaks
When the chalk dust settles and the punter grunts First of, WOW!
turn to exuberant smiles, the memory of a climb can Evolution of the sport, bottom line. Incredible FREE magazine,
only be summed up in the effort we exerted to reach one of the best climbing websites up, best free footage, period.
the top. Thank you. Question: The DPM videos are amazing. Are ALL of
these featured on the homepage only? And will they just add up
Climbing is about effort. or will you pull them down as the catalog builds?
It cannot be measured by the quantifiable grade Pete Hill
attached; it isn’t about who was there to see you or
whether or not that problem or route gets your name Hey Pete, Thanks for the kind words. Some of our videos can
or photo into a one line news flash of Grippin’Pebbles only be found within the pages of our webzine. The videos on
Magazine. Climbing and the memories of our greatest our HDtv will remain on the site as our catalog grows, so you
achievements can only be measured by the sweat, will be able to enjoy them for years to come.
blood and skin we left behind in our efforts to
accomplish our goals.
-Ed Hey There at DPM,
Keep up the work on the awesome mag. Whenever the new one
hits the gym, I'm always on it. I love what you guys have to say
and all the articles you print. How can I get a t-shirt or some-
On the Cover; thing with DPM on it?
The Cannibal Boulder is one of Thanks again,
the most easily accessible crags Chris
in the Calico Basin. It is a five
minute walk from the car and
hosts a dozen routes from 5.10
to 5.12+. Local climbing guide, We are glad that you are psyched on the mag. The easiest way
Crista Hollenberg, punches a to get a shirt is to get a ticket for the Triple Crown Bouldering
lap on the steep and gymnastic Series. DPM will be there handing out stickers and T-shirts
New Wave Hookers. printed exclusively by our friends at Friksn.
The right ropes
CHRIS SHARMA on FIFTY WORDS FOR PUMP 5.14C, RED RIVER GORGE, KY. KEITH LADZINSKI PHOTO.
velocity 9.8mm / ion 9.5mm / nano 9.2mm
Years of research and development went into the Nano and Ion to achieve ideal performance
from skinny cords. Years of being our best selling rope has put the Velocity in the lofty category
of Great Rope. Each has an innovative construction to create the ultimate balance of light weight,
durability and performance, making them the preferred choice of Chris Sharma.
Dave Graham made the first ascent of Big Worm (V14) at Mt.
Evans in Colorado. The previously injured Graham took three
sessions of effort to complete the problem. Chris Schulte and
Paul Robinson made the 2nd and 3rd ascents.
Alex Johnson and Daniel Woods took top spots at the 2009
Mammut Bouldering Championships in Salt Lake City during
the summer OR Tradeshow. Woods flashed all but one problem,
which he did second try, securing a victory over the young
Julian Bautista. Johnson and Puccio sent the first three problems
leaving the fourth to decide who would emerge the winner.
Neither sent, but Johnson took the top spot by climbing a few
moves higher than Puccio.
DPM Video Exclusive! Nalle Hukkataival made the fourth
ascent of Daniel Woods’s RMNP testpiece Jade (V15).
Hukkataival accumulated an impressive ticklist in his short time
here, including Jade, FA of Sunseeker (V13), The Automator
(V13), Nuthin but Sunshine (V13), Stormshadow (V12), along
with four other V11’s including one flash. Following his spree
in RMNP, Nalle upped the ante with the first ascent of a highball
he called Livin’ Large (V15) in Rocklands, South Africa.
Ethan Pringle made the second ascent of Chris Sharma’s Iron
Resolution (V13) in Joshua Tree. The tall and scary boulder
problem had not seen another ascent since Sharma’s FA in 2006.
Chris Sharma “flashed” the 300-foot Infinity Lane (5.14b) at the
Petzl Roc Trip in Millau, France. Sharma had climbed the 8b
beginning of Infinity Lane as it is the same start of another route
next to it.
Will Stanhope made the fifth ascent of Cobra Crack (5.14)
in Squamish. Stanhope has really been gunning for hard gear
routes as of late with two other 13+ ascents. Stanhope is now
one of the proud few who can claim harder gear ascents than his
own sport climbing efforts.
Los Inconformistas (5.14d) in Rodella Spain saw a string of
repeats from Gabor Szekely, Magnus Mitdboe, and Felipe
Camargo. Gabor also made an impressive onsight of Alter Ego
Sixteen year old Sasha DiGulian redpointed her hardest route to
date, Botanics (13d/14a) in Rodellar, Spain.
DPM Video Exclusive! Adam Ondra spent some time in
South Africa flashing almost everything he looked at in
Rocklands including Pendragon (V11) Nutsa (V12), Armed
Response (V13), and The Vice (V13). Adam also checked out
Mazawattee, a longstanding project bolted in the late 90’s by
Sean Maasch. He fired off the first ascent of the route suggesting
8c+ (14c) for the grade, making it the hardest established route
in South Africa.
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Problem #1 in the Mammut Bouldering
Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah.
AN INTERVIEW WITH A MASOCHIST
Andy Chasteen is responsible for the creation of the extremely late. 24HHH is my baby now. It's hard to let go. Someday when it
painful 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell event in Arkansas at Horse- truly runs like a machine maybe I'll step into the ring. You want to
shoe Canyon Ranch each September. This love child came from run it for me?
a tight group of friends in Oklahoma who thought it would be What cool shit's going down at 24HHH this year?
a good idea to see how many routes they could do there in one Friday night we start early on pasta and New Belgium brew,
cycle of the earth’s rotation, but when others showed interest in slackline comp, speleo box time trials (Google it), Big Smith
suffering along side of them, Andy turned it into a full fledged jammin’ on the stage, sponsor booths, then all wrapped up with the
climbing event complete with parties, food, drinks and fun. I pimpinandcrimpin.com after party. Comp kicks off on Saturday
caught up with Andy to find out why he loves organizing and morning at 10 a.m. It's hard to fully explain what will go on during
watching the agony. a 24-hour period of full on climbing. Best I can tell it’s a lot of
laughing AND crying.
How on earth do you keep people coming back What's with the mullet/stache combo you got going on
to suffer for a day at this event? right now? Are you just trying to terrify everyone at
I'm good at targeting egocentric climbers, the comp?
marketing to their interests, and stroking an Honestly, I'm not sure why. I woke up and decided
ego or two. They all come back. No, honestly that a serious mullet had never been worn on my
I think the concept is just so different from head. The ‘stache is just to add a bit of class. By
the norm and people like to come out to shred the way, I did add two racing stripes to the left
themselves year after year. The climbers side of the mullet. It's sick. I'm sick.
always leave with a sense of accomplishment. - Interview by Andrew Tower
What's the most impressive thing you've
seen in the last three years of the event?
Probably Doug Englekirk in 2007, onsighting
5.12's all night long and way into the early
hours of the morning. This would have been a
good 15-22 hours into continuous climbing for
him. I like to see the guys/girls who show no
signs of weakness going into the 20th hour of the
event and beyond. Impressive.
You've been watching people suffer through for asteen
y Andy Ch
the past three years. Any chance we'll actually otrait b
see you climbing along side us?
That question has popped up quite often as of
r. olson, font.; jason pinto photo
Recently I spent two weeks in Lander,
Wyoming getting to know the incredible
family of climbing legend Todd Skinner.
While there, I received word that another
icon of our sport, John Bachar, had passed.
Amy Skinner and I had an enlightening
conversation about life, death, and the
legacies that Todd, John, and so many
others have left behind, that ultimately help
us all move ahead.
I only had one encounter with Bachar. Last
January at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt
Lake City, while performing with Misty
Murphy, I had noticed an attractive girl
in the audience, enjoying the show. After
playing to another corner of the crowd, I
turned back toward the girl, and standing
beside her is a stone faced John Bachar.
So much of the posturing and stories of
crushed egos that my songs revolve around
were inspired by the tales of a young
Bachar. The impromptu laps on Midnight
Lightning, while someone else struggled
just to get to the crux. The $10,000
Song after song, while the rest of the crowd
laughed and had a great time, John’s face
showed no emotion. I directed my best
lines toward him, hoping for at least a faint
smile. Finally, during the last verse of
the last song, John laughed out loud and
validated my performance.
Later, thru a mutual friend, John offered
that if I ever needed a saxophone for a song,
he’d be happy to do it. Well John, now I
need a saxophone.
This song was inspired and built around
a clip I found of Bachar playing his ever
present alto sax. Misty Murphy lent the
track her amazing vocals, and it will be
found on our forthcoming collaboration,
“Float”. This one’s for you, Johnny Rock.
Turn to this page in DPM’s online webzine
@ www.deadpointmag.com to hear a
musical tribute by Odub and Misty Murphy
featuring John Bachar on saxophone
This and all past DPM tracks can be
downloaded free at www.odubmusic.com.
To donate to the Tyrus Bachar Living Trust,
please visit http://alturl.com/mhmj. Photo By Karl Bralich
EVEN FUN REQUIRES SECURITY.
• Maintains Shape
• Reduces Sheath Slippage
• No Flat Spots
• No More Baggy Rope
Chalk Line was specifically developed for the punishment gyms inflict on rope. Whether you
have a small gym or big wall the Chalk Line can take the constant falls, and belays. The Str8
Jacket core allows the Chalk Line to hold its shape and keep the cover and core in balance
which virtually eliminates Sheath Slippage. This will reduce flat spots and help maintain the
performance of the over all rope. At 10.8mm the Chalk Line will provide a safe easy belay
through a variety of devices while still maintaining its shape.
New England Ropes • 848 Airport Road • Fall River, MA 02720-4735 • 800-333-6679 • www.neropes.com
1. Five Ten Women’s Guide Tennie $104.95
After much success with the unisex Guide Tennie, Five Ten has decided to bring us a woman-specific version. Built similarly to the original, the Women’s
Guide Tennie has been upgraded with a women’s last. It is important when wearing a good approach shoe to have a great fit. Women typically suffer
in unisex approach shoes because of the wider last they are built on. The Women’s Guide Tennie is a far cry from the sloppy oafish fit of most unisex
approach shoes. The narrow heel and lower volume forefoot provide unmatched stability, preventing much of the rolling found with a wider shoe. This shoe
is great for tough approaches, with Stealth rubber dotty tread soles, and a fully encased rubber toe.
These shoes make it through wet rocks, slimy leaves, and general rock hopping with no problem. The shoe performed wonderfully in all terrain, not to
mention that the shoe itself is quite stylish. Five-ten Women’s Guide Tennies made me feel comfortable and hip on long hikes in Rocky Mountain National
Park and at post-climbing Thai dinner. My feet have a new home.
2. Black Diamond’s Ozone/Aura $99.95
Minimalistic in design, Black Diamond’s new Ozone/Aura is departure from the typical light = uncomfortable conundrum of harness design. Using Black
Diamond’s Kinetic Core Construction, the Ozone/Aura is able to displace weight over a wider surface area than other harnesses in its weight class.
Featherweight champion? Maybe. . .
The harness is geared for the serious sport climber, and it is not a successor to the ever popular Chaos. It is meant to satisfy the rice cake consuming gram
counters, and it does so effectively. Weighing in at a mere 320g (11oz), the Ozone/Aura is Black Diamond’s lightest butt rig. Trad climbers may find the
minimalistic design leaves something to be desired, but the Ozone/Aura is just that- a minimalistic harness meant to cater to those wanting a featherweight
harness for redpointing projects. In spite of this, the Ozone/Aura is incredibly supportive for its weight. At times, the svelteness of the Ozone/Aura caused
concern for its whereabouts, only to discover it was secured to my waist. Sport climbers looking for featherweight security from a harness without sacrificing
comfort can find out more about Black Diamond’s Ozone/Aura @ www.bdel.com.
3. Go GaGa Messenger Bag $118 - $128
If you are as sick and tired of back pain from your usual messenger bag as I am, you may want to try out Go GaGa’s version of the old favorite. Go GaGa
has come up with a unique elastic strap they call the “Urban Sherpa Strap” that widens over your shoulders to evenly distribute the weight of your bag. The
idea is simple: displace the weight over a larger surface area to create more comfort. After weighing this bag down with a laptop, files, phone, cords, and
wallet, I found the strap design to be revolutionary.
Go GaGa currently produces three different bags, each with the ergonomic strap design. I was lucky enough to try out both the Gondola and the Messenger
Bag. Both were incredibly versatile and comfortable. The Gondola Bag works great as a bouldering bag. I shoved shoes, chalk, a sweat shirt and water
into this bag with no problem. The slim design slipped nicely into the center of my crash pad. The Messenger Bag fits a laptop, and any other accessories
you might need for some work on the road. It also held my yoga mat on the outside and slipped two water bottles onto the side. Designers at Go GaGa re-
ally thought about the details. Get your own Messenger bag @ www.gogagalife.com
4. Sterling Nano 9.2mm 60 Meter Dry - $202
Those were only some of the comments made about this dreamy send rope. If you are looking for a light weight cord for sending your 30 meter overhanging
project, the Sterling Nano is your gun.
Nothing is worse than going for a clip only to have your belayer unable to feed the fat caterpillar quick enough for you to make that tenuous clip. In those
situations, “Sorry bro” doesn’t cut it. Sterling’s Nano will eliminate any hippie stoner excuses about an inability to feed rope in a timely manner. This rope
is lightning fast to belay with, and clipping has never been easier. High on the wall, the rope’s weight is virtually unnoticeable, and when you are pumped,
that lack of extra weight is important. The Nano isn’t intended to be a “working” cord, instead Sterling saw a need for a “send” rope that would give the
climber an extra advantage on redpoint attempts by shaving weight off the their tether and providing a silky smooth hand for the belayer.
In spite of this, the DPM staff has been using the Nano over the last three months as their primary rope. We have logged countless falls in an effort to get the
Nano to show us any signs of weakness, but to no avail. That, and the fact that this rope has climbed more 15a’s at the hands of Chris Sharma than any other
rope, only adds to our confidence in recommending this rope. Heck, if it’s good enough for Sharma. . .
Check it out @ www.sterlingrope.com
5. Evolv XY $115 - $145
Have you ever put on your favorite shoe and thought to yourself “These would be so much cooler if they weren’t puke green.” You aren’t the only one.
Evolv has developed the XY Program so climbers can express their individuality by changing the color of your favorite Evolv shoes. The individuality
doesn’t stop with mere aesthetics. Using the XY Program, climbers can add more rubber, increase heel rand tension, and increase/decrease midsole rubber
thickness. We recently put the Evolv XY Program to the test. Currently, you can choose to customize the Defy, Pontas, or Elektra. I went with the Elektra
for its women-specific fit. Once a shoe model is selected, a list of options appear. Who doesn’t love options while shopping?
The fun part: Evolv’s XY Program allows you to click on any part of the shoe and change the color to your liking. Almost every portion of the shoe can
be changed, allowing you to try different combos until the desired look is acquired. Purple shoe, green logo, silver tongue, yellow straps – why not? What
a way to express yourself! When you are done creating your custom colored shoe, you can move onto Toe/Heel Rand, and Midsole changes. I changed
everything possible on my shoes just to experiment.
Here is what I found: First of all, the color combo I chose is attention grabbing. During every climbing session, someone asked what shoes I was wearing. I
jokingly replied, “These are the Evolv DPM signature model.”
I added a stiff midsole for better edging control and made the heel rand tension tighter for aggressive heel hooks. The Elektra is a great shoe, and these few
changes made it more technical. The fit and comfort of the shoe remained unchanged from the original Elektra. I did, however, notice the tension rand
secured my heel better and drove my foot forward which helped on techy face climbs
The Evolv XY Program is unique and fun. Be your own shoe designer with Evolv’s simple and self explanatory process for ordering and express yourself
with the Evolv XY Program!
Black Diamond’s LiveWire Quickdraw $24.95
BD's high-end sport-climbing quickdraw is redesigned with new, lighter
Dynotron and LiveWire carabiners as well as a 12cm Vari-width dogbone.
-Hot forged Dynotron on top and a wiregate LiveWire on the bottom
-Equipped with a 12cm Vari-width dogbone with Straitjacket
-Draw-friendly surface keeps runners oriented where you want them
-Hooded nose protects opening end of wire gate. www.bdel.com
You trust J-Tree Climbers Salve 'cause "It'll fix
a flapper faster than a screen door slammin' in a
hurricane.” Now you can turn to the same active
lifestyle company for a unique new Sun Stick. This
mostly organic, totally natural, dry-touch foundation
stick is designed for an active life under the sun... On
the rocks, water, and snow.
Weighing in at SPF 33, It is very water, sweat,
and freeze proof. It comes packaged in a no-fuss
applicator and has a pleasant fresh scent, and a
translucent skin-tone tint... Just enough tint to see the
application, but not so much to leave you looking like
David Hasslehoff circa 1986!
Available at www.JTreeLife.com for $8
The next-gen version of Mad Rock's groundbreaking Mugen model boasts a
new nature-friendly hemp lining. Performance has been increased with Mad
Rock’s Power Upper and 3-D midsole. It’s performance, understated looks and
environmental bona-fides cannot be beat for $89.95. If you are looking for a
feel-good, eco-friendly rock shoe with limit-shattering performance, step right
up with the new Mugen @www.madrockclimbing.com
New England Ropes’ Glider Series, starting at $160,
represents the ultimate in durability and reduced rope drag.
Built to the same high performance standards as their Apex
products, ropes in the Glider Series utilize the TPT (Twill
Pattern Technology) sheath design, significantly reducing
drag. This smooth tight cover allows a rope to feel lighter
than it really is, and has an extremely supple feel and soft
hand. For more information, check out www.neropes.com
Asana is the first bouldering pad company to go green! The new Asana
Green Pad has a fill made of 100% compostable material that has an
amazing ability to handle big falls. Because this material is quickly
biodegradable, you can take it out of your pad in a couple of years and throw
in your backyard compost pile rather than adding it to the landfill. Asana
will provide replacement fills when you need them at an affordable price.
This sick pad is 48 x 36 x 4.5 inches. It closes with an unbreakable superior
2-buckle system. It is constructed of 1” closed cell with 3.5 inches of the
compostable material to create a bomber landing zone. It’s available now on
Asana’s website for field testing and will be in stores Spring 2010. $99 online
special for a limited time, available at www.asanaclimbing.com
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 98 pound weakling
Biggest Accomplishments in Climbing: Managing to climb full time
for the past ten years.
Sponsors: Scarpa, Outdoor Research
I first heard the name Mikey Williams at Rocky Top Retreat aka Roger’s Campgroud, while visiting the New River Gorge
prior to establishing residence in the Mountain State. Stories of Mikey skinning dead animals found on the side of the road
and bleaching their bones in order to reassemble them in disturbing and grotesque skeletal mutations filtered through the
campground. I envisioned Mikey to be a tall, dark eyed, venomous beer swilling, demon climber (read: John Sherman), but
upon introduction, I saw something very different. This demented road kill sculptor was actually below average build, below
average height, an inept partier, and a wise-cracking unassuming hardman. Mikey is quite the package, but sorry ladies, he is
You live at the New River Gorge, but recently took a trip out west. What were you doing out there?
I drove out to work with Wolverine Publishing on the latest guidebook to the New River Gorge. They happen to be in Rifle,
Colorado which is convenient because I like to rock climb.
So, let me get this straight, you went out west to work on a guidebook for the New River Gorge? That doesn’t make
Well, I spent over a year compiling the information in West Virginia. Hiking the cliffs,
taking pictures, and picking the brains of old timers like Porter Jarrard (The Poster
Boy for Enzyte) and Kenny Parker (age 50). It was helpful to sit down with Dave
Pegg at Wolverine to make sure that we shared a similar vision for the book.
Are you glad to be coming back?
It was hard to leave Rifle. There are so many good routes there and there is always
another that’s just a bit harder than the one you just sent. It’s a great place to get
stronger. But on the drive home I had plenty of time to shuffle through my mental
to-do list for the New River Gorge and get really excited about the upcoming fall
Isn’t your return due in part to your disgust for how chossy Rifle is,
and the fact that you felt all the grades were inflated?
It’s true, the rock isn’t as good as our pristine southern sandstone
but what is? And yes, if you’re superhero strong and fit as a
mountain goat then everything in Rifle is easy.
Continue reading our exclusive interview with Mikey
Williams in our webzine @ www.deadpointmag.com
So, how does the peace and serenity of Rifle compare to the overcrowded crags of the New?
I moved to the New because I love the small community and abundance of rock. There are plenty of places to go where
you’re guaranteed to be alone. The social atmosphere in Rifle is a bit different, but really fun. Despite the reputation that
Rifle climbers are elitist pricks with attitude, everyone was super nice and supportive . . . except one guy but he was
Years ago at Rifle, we were witness to a climber wielding a sledge hammer to “clean” a route. Is that how all new
routes are established?
Few people realize how much work goes into putting up a new route, especially in a place like Rifle. It’s easy to criticize the
image of someone cleaning with a hammer. Imagine the backlash though when a belayer is killed by a flake that gets pulled
off by the climber overhead. Sometimes it’s necessary to knock the loose stuff off or reinforce it before opening it to the
public. I was very impressed with the routes in Rifle and the amount of work that went into “making” that area a world class
Recently, you branded a hammer at the New. What was that about?
There was a route that was equipped with three additional glued-on rocks to make it easier. My first time up the route, I
couldn’t help but notice that it was definitely climbable without the added holds. I came back and knocked them off with a
hammer and sent the route after a few days effort. It used to be a sustained 13a. Now it’s a bouldery 13c.
Do you feel your actions were just?
Maybe they were ‘just actions’ with little regard for the consequences. Quite a few people got pissed and let me know. I felt
like I was the one that ‘chipped’ the route. It’s important to remember that both myself and the equipper of the route were
just doing what we thought was best for the community. Who is right? I don’t know.
My thought on the issue is that standards change and the only way to ensure that the challenge will always be there for the
next generation is to keep routes as natural as possible. It’s not like we’re talking about cutting edge stuff here. This is a
globally accepted ethic in climbing. And it’s not like we’re talking about the elite end of the spectrum. This route is only
5.13c! Adam Ondra can’t properly warm up on this route and there are about 30 teenage kids in Boulder that would cry if
they didn’t onsight it!
You have climbed most of the hardest routes at the New and have established a few of your own. Are you getting bored
of the place and do you think it is tapped out?
I will never be bored at the New. With two and a half thousand routes there is always a new warm-up or a new onsight effort
right around the corner. Not to mention the stuff that hasn’t been done. Some of the hardest projects are bolted and have
been waiting for an ascent for 20 years. A properly motivated, strong climber could spend a few seasons here ticking off 5.14
projects one after the other.
When is this guidebook of the New River Gorge coming out, and what should people expect to see?
As with any huge body of work the more time you put into it the better it will be. We’re still shooting for getting the book
out this fall but want to make sure the final product is the best quality it can be. People should expect to see the same high-
quality work that Wolverine Publishing is known for: Glossy full color action shots, digital photos of the routes, colorful
and informative route descriptions, detailed history, and essays from the New’s major players like Porter Jarrard, Eric Hörst,
and others. You can also expect to get all the insider beta including the addition of nearly 400 routes at 12 never-before-
These are the worst interview questions I’ve ever seen. You didn’t even ask how big my biceps are. In case you’re
wondering. . . they are huge.
Andre De Felice
Bigger is Better
visit www.deadpointmag.com to experience DPM’s HDTV
The Guidance Meister
I’m the Conversation Starter
Rick Meister is a certified rock climbing guidance counselor, but think of him more as your buddy or your bro, the
one with those cool jeans, the sport jacket, and that sweet blonde ponytail. Whatever you do, don’t call him Mr.
Meister- he’s. . .The Guidance Meister.
Climber #1: “So the sequence goes: gaston into the undercling, then scum your feet up and huck. Reminds me of
a move I did on this V6 at J-Tree, real core intensive—not like that Dan Osman “No Fear” press, or anything, but still pretty
thrutchy. Hey, I just read somewhere that Rolling Stone crowned Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 the heir to Phil Collins. . .
do you think Dean Potter is like the heir to Dan Osman?”
Climber #2: “Gaston-undercling—got it. You went to Joshua Tree? Wow, you are epic. I think Dean Potter is
more like the heir to that German guy with Lethal Weapon hair who climbs skyscrapers. . .”
Climber #1: “Hey, do you campus at all? I tried it for awhile but I tweaked my tendon. I was only asking because I
wanted to talk about my own training routine, anyway. Maybe I’ll order a Moon Board . . .”
If you’re a climber, this dialogue ought to sound at least a little familiar. (If you’re not a climber, how could you
possibly have gotten this far into the magazine? What are you some kind of freako voyeur, or something?) The details may
vary, but in skeleton form, conversations just like this one play out among climbers across the world every single day: the
fixation on sequences, holds, and movements; the references to well-known and status-bearing climbing destinations; the
momentary deviations from climbing cut short by inevitable regressions into more comfortable, climbing-related subject
matter. The next time you’re out climbing with your friends, pay attention to how much of your discussion revolves around
climbing. If you’re like my buddies and me, not only do you shift about awkwardly after every inadvertent, overly intimate
spot—you also talk climbing fully ninety-nine percent of the time.
On the black day that I realized this about my crew, I just couldn’t stop noticing it. It was “climbing this…” and
“climbing that…” By the end of an afternoon, the never-ending slew of climbing blahbitty-blah-blah downright exhausted
me. It was all just so danged circuitous. Take the example I began with: Climber #1 and Climber #2 could have carried out
a very fruitful interlocution RE: the fact that Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 straight-up sucks and that, while Phil Collins
also sort of sucks, he’s at least got that ironic, power-ballad novelty attraction going for him and he has the instant street
cred of being a former member of Genesis—therefore rendering Rolling Stone’s preposterous claim laughable. Instead, our
climbers got stuck in a vicious climby-talk cycle, spinning their wheels, mixing metaphors, and getting absolutely nowhere.
Kids. My dear little bros and stros. If you really want to get somewhere in this life we call life—if you want to
open your world to the dialogical pleasures that only begin with Phil Collins-lauding—you’re going to have to take steps.
Make an oath with your friends—using your blood and a couple choice phrases from Lord of the Rings that really made you
cry (more than that steady trickle you sported throughout the film)—that for an entire day of climbing, you will not talk about
climbing: not share a patronizing bit of beta, not cheer a triumphant send and demonstrate how “selfless” you are, not even
describe a climbing accident scene to a 911 dispatcher (if something does go horribly wrong, you will permit each other to
pantomime your communications with paramedics, who will undoubtedly appreciate and support your oath in any way they
can, including allowing you or your friends to bleed out).
Stop spewing climbing while climbing, and your eardrums will immediately begin popping from the silence. At
first, you’ll want to fill that void by dropping an easy “Ah, I just missed the hold…” or a “Dude, that was so funny when
Chris laughed at the way Mamachichi sounded…”—but you’ll be bound by your blood oath to resist. Instead, try asking
your compatriots questions that your rain of climbing spray has always snowed under, like, “What is your name?” “Are you
male or female?” or “Have you always only had one leg?” Before you know it, you’ll find yourself breathing the rarified air
of high society—carrying on about Cliff’s Notes, drinking fine box wines, and learning a thing or two about amputee phantom
pain. Then about an hour later you’ll realize how stupid this exercise is and once again start babbling on about the only thing
that really matters.
The Guidance Meister secretly only turns off Rob Thomas songs a couple minutes when “quite suddenly” he “realizes” that
he’s been listening to “crap.” Then he says very theatrically for everyone to hear, “Ah jeez. I’ve quite suddenly realized that
I’ve been listening to crap,” and he changes the station…but not before lingering over the dial for just a second longer. Ditto
for Creed and Ace of Base.
Check out www.deadpointmag.com for more details
A now defunct girlfriend of mine once told me that dating
a climber was like dating a single parent. There’s always
In my opinion, this is no different than dating a female climber.
She would at least understand your passion because she would
share in the obsession. She would never make you choose
something more important to the parent than the so-called between her and climbing because she would never want to
significant other. She also told me climbers reminded her of have to make that choice. She does, however, want to be sought
gay men in that they wouldn’t exactly say they are a part of after, cherished and pursued like any other man or woman on
the “lifestyle,” but if they aren’t doing it, they certainly aren’t the planet, which is where our ultimate failure as lover/climber
happy. The latter statement is funny only because climbing combos lies.
is really a bunch of narcissist men admiring each others abs
and dancing suggestive little poses up the sides of immovable On the whole, it would seem we are incapable of thinking about
phallic walls while grunting. It’s no surprise to me that she anyone but ourselves. I know this isn’t true for each and every
made that connection. It’s also no shock to me that dating in the one of you shining beacons for healthy relationships. You of
climbing community could be called an exercise in frivolity. course have never had any problems regarding the opposite
(or same) sex, but for the rest of us selfish assholes, it would
“Andrew, if you had to appear loving someone as much as ourselves is as difficult as
choose, me or climbing, which onsighting 5.14c. Even as I write this, I cannot help but furl
my eyebrows while I resist the urge to turn on sad music, chain
would you choose?” smoke, and sink into the laps of my oft-visited friends Jack and
Jim. That’s pretty melodramatic, but I’m certain everyone can
At first I thought that this problem was specific to men, given relate to how all-consuming this bullshit really is. Perhaps that’s
that the ratio of male climbers to female climbers is as close to why climbing has become such a comfortable mistress. It has
10:1 as possible and that nearly all the climber girls I know are no feelings, it doesn’t get offended if I don’t show my emotions,
in very happy monogamous relationships. Though, after many and it certainly never holds grudges for anything I did or did not
talks with women who climb, I noticed that they aren’t satisfied do.
either. They simply have more options, and therefore appear as
if they are in a better position. I don’t think that climbing is actually the problem, because there
are plenty of things that occupy the hearts of non-climbers that
We climbers are too self-absorbed for our own good. It’s the could contribute to just as much trouble. For instance, in college
reason I have seen very few climber/non-climber relationships I was too busy to be a good boyfriend due to cross-country and
work out. When push comes to shove climbing trumps love, track. But at least then, the school was giving me money to do
even though we never see it that way. Take this conversation I it. Sports were a reasonable and well-respected consumer of
had with said former lover. my time, as I had something valuable to show in return for my
devotion. Thereafter, I decided to dive headfirst into an activity
“Andrew, if you had to choose, me or climbing, which would that offered me no monetary benefits, no credit to anyone who
you choose?” can’t pronounce GRIGRI correctly, and nothing to show for the
“Uhh huh?” thousands upon thousands of dollars I’ve poured into climbing
“It’s simple, which would win?” instead of say . . . lobster for two and expensive jewelry.
“I’m not sure they equate. I’m not sure you understand how it
works.” I have not been able to find a fast and true bright line approach
“I’m not asking how it works. I’m asking which one would you to finding love in the vertical world, whether looking for
choose if you had to choose one.” someone to share my climbing passion or enjoy life with
someone more grounded. I think we’re totally eff’d either
I balked. I said something deceitful, I’m certain, but draped it way. I’m not too interested in seeing if this is one of those
in enough ambiguous and non-specific love that my response generational Peter Pan complex things, where none of us will
would at least pacify the situation and leave me available to grow up enough to let go of a silly sport for some real bona
have a relationship with both her and the pastime that has slowly fide lovin’ or if we have somehow transcended the values and
become the only real thing I’m passionate about. In the end it mores of past times and made a real case for being selfish and
didn’t work. She was offended that climbing constantly took happy in some hedonistic mush pot. Honestly, they both sound
precedent in my life, and I was offended that she could have her ridiculous and probably have pretty convincing arguments, but
myriad of activities and my ONE was causing trouble for our that’s not important. I’m doomed to be forever malcontented by
relationship. Once, in a very non-tactful attacking sort of way, I the opposite sex, all because of this stupid addiction to groping
fought back her interrogating with “I would never date someone rocks instead of girls. But like the rest of you, I’ll continue to
that would make me choose between the two.” A valid point, I blame my shortcomings on the misunderstanding of others
think, but it hit so close to the nerve that I managed to instead of owning up and actually putting forth real effort. It’s
lose the last of the bedtime privileges I had left. the only way I can sleep at night without someone there to
r e e
S p ir
John Dickey Photo
Jonny Copp Photo
r i ts
In the dark of night on May 20, 2009, the lives of world-class climbers Jonny
Copp and Micah Dash and photographer Wade Johnson were taken by a ferocious
avalanche on Mount Edgar (E Gongga; 22,368 feet), in China’s Western
Sichuan Province. The global climbing community has huddled in mourning the
tremendous loss of such solid and extraordinary men who dedicated their lives to adventure.
Whether on big mountains, business ventures, creative quests, or in matters of the heart,
they took the risk to step outside of their comfort zone. They gained attention and respect
by leading with their hearts to disarm fear and suffering. Their untamed nature, fearless
curiosity and limitless enthusiasm inspired us all and could not be contained.
Continued on the Next Page
“Whether training at the one to take himself too seriously, Micah gained respect with
his charisma, perseverance, indomitable courage, and self-
gym, bagging an FA in the deprecating humor.
mountains, or partying at Jonny and Micah had mutual admiration for each other and
made an unstoppable team. Jonny handled the ice and snow
Miguel's, those boys always suffering while Micah tackled the technical rock pitches. By
held it down.” feeding off each other’s energy and strengths, they claimed
the cutting-edge first ascent of the Shaffat Fortress in
Jonny Copp was born into a boundary-less life in 1974 Kashmir, India via their Colorado Route (V1, 5.11, A1 M6).
in Singapore. As an infant, his parents Phyllis and John
enriched Jonny’s perception of the world during an 11-month “Jonny was always psyched and liked that Micah was always
caravan trip through India, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, psyched,” said friend and partner Matt Segal. “The two
and the Middle East. After settling in Fullerton, California, teamed up, and their dynamic worked really well for their
Jonny spent his teenage years climbing on the tricky granite big objectives. They could just suffer well together.”
in Joshua Tree. Overtime he grew to become the archetypal
alpinist with a brawny, ripped body and seemingly undaunted Though trad-dads and alpinists to the core, Jonny and Micah
by life threatening situations. Based in Boulder, Colorado didn’t limit themselves to just the big mountains; they were
Jonny sharpened his skills as an all-arounder and excelled aficionados in all climbing practices. They believed in the
on long, technical rock walls at high elevation. He cobbled light-and-fast, Colorado cowboy alpine-style with just
together a living and expeditions through photography, the shirt and pack on their back. To train power for their
writing, construction, and grants until solid sponsorships— free climbing objectives, they recognized the strength and
including becoming a Patagonia ambassador—came along. knowledge gained by engaging in all realms of climbing.
In 2005, Jonny and childhood friend Mark Reiner founded Dash crossed over to clipping bolts, and Jonny was a
the internationally acclaimed Adventure Film Festival, regular fixture at The Spot Bouldering Gym. Amongst sport
which provides a global platform of exposure for adventure climbing, bouldering, and climbing gym circles, what stood
filmmakers. A true renaissance man, Jonny dedicated his out more than their floppy shoes and high-tech outerwear
life to his family, friends, and those he could inspire. The was their overwhelming positivity and enthusiasm for
centerpiece of a tight community, his infectious smile was an everything. Their unpretentious attitude and unrestrained
undefeatable force of positive energy. psyche was contagious, and in no time, they could break
down social cliques and become insta-friends with everyone
Micah Dash, a short 32-year-old, Jewish boy from Lancaster, they met.
California, was a perfect compliment and also converse
to Jonny. Micah worked harder than anyone to center his “Whether training at the gym, bagging an FA in the
life on climbing in the mountains and the community he mountains, or partying at Miguel's, those boys always held it
cherished dearly. The mountains first captivated Micah while down,” said photographer and close friend John Dickey.
competitive ski racing and backpacking through the Sierras
with his father, Eric. After high school, he relocated to In 2008, the dynamic duo received the Mugs Stump Award
Leadville, Colorado where he discovered technical climbing for the Dojitseng rock spire in southeastern Tibet, but was
while attending Colorado Mountain College. After a year, forced to change their objective due to political unrest in the
Micah dropped out of college for a life on the road. He region less than a month before departure. They rolled with
returned to California’s Yosemite Valley where he learned to the punches and selected Mount Edgar’s unclimbed, 3,000-
aid climb and became a revered Yosemite Search and Rescue foot mixed granite wall on the east face.
(YOSAR) responder. In 2003, he migrated to Boulder to
focus on free climbing and to complete his undergraduate Boulder-based film production company Sender Films
degree. He progressed at lightning speed and became an joined the expedition to shoot potential footage for their
elite big wall and free climber, and 5.13 crack and sport First Ascent series, to be aired on the international television
climber with cutting-edge free ascents in India, Greenland, channel National Geographic Adventure. Jonny and Micah
and Yosemite. After a decade of sporadic classes, Micah chose their talented, confident, and fearless photographer,
received his BA in History from the University of Colorado Wade Johnson, 24, of Arden Hills, Minnesota, to join them
at Boulder. As a professional climber sponsored by W.L. in China. One year earlier, Wade moved from Boulder for
Gore, Mountain Hardwear, La Sportiva and Black Diamond, an internship at Sender Films to hone his filmmaking and
Micah was at the top of his game. A born showman, Micah climbing skills. Within a month, Wade was promoted to
used his impeccable social skills to host professional full-time Associate Producer and worked long hours on The
slideshows at major universities and climbing events. Never Sharp End. Soon thereafter, Wade was sent to the Canadian
Rockies, Black Canyon, and Rocky Mountain National Park to film
the most progressive climbers in the world. Having worked with
Wade and experienced his laid-back nature, positive attitude, and
burliness, Jonny and Micah insisted that he join the team. This was
to be Wade’s last expedition for Sender Films before moving in with
his longtime girlfriend Erin Addison and starting a prestigious Ph.D.
program in chemistry at the University of Washington this fall. He
couldn’t have been more thrilled to spend his final mission with his
“It was very unlike either to give
up on an objective, but they’d
expended all the possibilities and Recycling
knew they weren’t going to get up
During the trio’s month-long stay in China, they made several Learn more about
unsuccessful attempts to access Mount Edgar’s east face. Unable to
find a clear and safe pathway through a labyrinth of steep and snowy Sterling’s Rope Recycling
gullies, twisting ridges, and towering rock spires, they changed their
objective to a subsidiary rock tower near their 15,000-foot advanced Program and how we can
base camp (ABC) below Mount Edgar. During the early morning
hours of May 20, they began the 4,000-vertical-foot trudge to ABC. recycle your retired rope
Tragically, they were killed instantly by an unexpected avalanche,
just a few hours’ hike above basecamp (10,170 feet). from any brand, at
Six friends—Eric DeCaria, Nick Martino, Pete Takeda, Steve www.sterlingrope.com
Su, Mick Follari, and Nick Rosen—four of whom were highly
experienced alpinists, dropped everything to bring their brothers
home, while the global community came together to share stories,
tears, hugs, and laughter in their remembrance.
“It was very unlike either to give up on an objective, but they’d
expended all the possibilities and knew they weren’t going to get up
Edgar,” described friend and rescuer Pete Takeda. “So the last time
they went up, whether to pull their gear down or to use it as a staging The Right Rope.
point to climb a rock spire, they got killed. That’s the bad news.”
Tragedy comes to all lifestyles, and often at the unexpected and
less-risky times. The painful and life changing loss of a loved one
reminds us that we cannot control the world, the people we love,
or the unforeseen circumstances we find ourselves in, despite our
desires. We do have power over our personal lives – how we care for
others, how we react to what life dishes out, how we move on. Jonny,
Micah, and Wade inspired us all to go for it and make the most of
every moment. They died doing what they loved in one of the most
beautiful places in the world. Few are so lucky. Their legendary free
spirit continues on in the hearts of their countless friends, family and Sterling Rope Company
For more information or to donate online, visit:
Nalle Hukkataival on the sit start to
Sundance (8a+) Zillertal, Austria.
Photo by Reinhard Fichtinger
o u re
y o e
“Matt - You have to look, just try, its amazing.”
My stomach wrenched as I peered over Megan’s shoulder to catch the first glimpse
of Nevada’s landscape. The plane leaned sharply to the left, and my visions of dying in a
flaming inferno with a hundred other screaming passengers seemed to be coming to life.
Except I was the only one screaming. Well, it was more of a whimper, but it was enough to
attract some suspicious looks from other passengers who were now facing a fiery death in
this flying, aluminum, coffin box with me. Megan grasped my hand, “It’s OK. We are just
landing. The pilot has to line the plane up with the runway.”
“Why the hell can’t he line up the runway with us?”
I shuttered under the grinding whine of hydraulics performing some necessary task
to the plane’s wings. This is it, I was sure of it. I decided to look out the window again and
take my last look. We were inches off the runway, and there, in the distance – Las Vegas.
W E L C O M E
My feeling of being grounded and secure only lasted a brief moment. Our hotel, billed
as a four star resort, was a dark dungeon with 1960 decor and gang-land thugs
smoking Philly spliffs and sporting more faux-“bling” than a southern Baptist revival.
The desire to retreat to the security of our room was overwhelming, until we saw our
room. Suddenly we realized we may be safer in the casino lobby. With its lustful olive
complexion and maroon berber carpet, our room engulfed our senses. Its visual allure
was only rivaled by its aromatic smell of a cigar smoking Labrador. It was, however,
equipped with a small refrigerator, which at its coldest temperature setting, was a gelid
106 degrees. The room’s other amenity, a television, likely broadcasted man’s first
steps on the moon. Stuffing our wallets into our front pockets to reduce the chances of
pick-pocketers’, we returned to the front desk with our baggage and promptly checked
Crista Hollenberg on
the classic Pearl Boulder
The seediest forms
of life are found
in Las Vegas
crust - well
sort of. At the
poker tables, all
things are equal and the “have’s”
can become the “have not’s” in
the amount of time it takes to play
one hand. We were now “have
not’s”. By that, I mean, we had
no room, and with it being NBA’s
All Star weekend in Vegas, the
likelihood of us finding respectable
accommodations was seemingly
slim. We decided to take a drive
out to Red Rocks while we
discussed a course of action.
Most people visiting Vegas
never get past the casinos,
shows, bright lights, and bizarre
phallic structures of the strip.
In some respects, Vegas is the
traveler’s dream. Many of the
World’s Wonders are located
casinos. There is no need to brave
sweltering desert heat or malaria
infested rain forests to view them.
On the strip, seeing the Statue of
Liberty, Seattle’s Space Needle, le
Eiffel Tower, and Venice becomes
a day trip. Venturing further for
a visual spectacle is unnecessary
with this much scenery located
only minutes from your hotel room
door, but for us, “worldly” Vegas
is not a dream vacation. This is
especially true when a serene
canyon with wildlife, including
quail, wild donkey, roadrunners,
and mountain lions lie just twenty
minutes away. Red Rocks sits as
a severe contrast from the all-
night gambling, eating, drinking,
and sinful solicitation of the Vegas
If 5.10 is your grade then the Black Corridor isn’t
Strip, and it was truly a breath of a bad place to hang out. Graeme Watt of Cal-
fresh air considering what we had gary escaped the harsh winter of his hometown
gone through. to sample Red Rocks’ more temperate climate.
The rock might qualify as choss, but the scenery is breathtaking at the Kraft Boulders.
Sin isn’t far away from
the wildlife and climbing
opportunities at Red Rocks
Mike Arthur takes a lap on Monkey Bar Direct (V9)
Yo, check it!”
Mike’s finger pointed fiendishly
towards asphalt parking lot peppered with
palm trees that surrounded a casino resort
just outside of Red Rocks. We pulled in,
unsure as to whether or not our budget
would allow us to stay at the newfound
digs, or if they had vacancies. Thankfully,
the answer was yes on both counts.
The following day was our first day
climbing in the park. There, we met up
with local climber Crista Hollenberg and
some of her friends in Calico Basin. Jokes,
banter, and good climbing made for a
great morning. The climbing at Red Rocks
is spectacular, and Crista and her friends
made for better company than the local
color we had observed at our first hotel in
“There is this crack I want to try just up
the hill, wanna come?”
Crista’s invitation sounded innocent
enough. I was psyched to get some photos
on this trip and Crista assured me the
route was photogenic, but twenty minutes
later, her belayer and I were dubious as to
whether the hike was going to be worth it.
As I struggled to keep my balance, I was
amazed at how agile she navigated the loose
talus and high steps up the large blocks.
Stumbling up the rugged terrain, I noticed
Utah, Crista’s dog, dropping a pitiful glance
in my direction as if she knew what I was
thinking. Crista continued ahead of us like
a billy-goat until we came her project de’
Megan Phillips enjoying one of
the canyon’s many moderates.
Crista Hollenberg yells for
the pump to go away on
Risk Brothers Roof (5.11)
Calico Basin rests just a stone throw outside of Red Rocks, and is a destination in itself.
Routes litter Calico like scattered debris on the highway. Around every bend a labyrinth
of new routes awaits, but nowhere in Calico gets the same amount of traffic as the
Kraft Boulders. The Kraft Boulders sit in the mouth of Calico Basin dwarfed by the cliffs
and canyons surrounding them. Encroaching homes mar the flip-flop approach, but the
distant views are spectacular. As the sand defoliates calloused feet on the morning
approach, the seemingly small boulders soon loom intimidating overhead. It isn’t long
before the cool January air becomes warm and arid.
The morning sun at Kraft is bright. It quickly warms the skin and causes the eyes
to squint as they surf for signs of chalk on distant holds high above. By mid afternoon,
bands of barebacked boulderers are working on getting that mid winter burn. The Kraft
Boulders enjoy the warmth of the sun all day, and there is little protection from its
blaze. This also means the boulders dry more quickly than the neighboring cliffs. High
above the sand landings of the Kraft Boulders, I am reminded of our return flight. An
acidic burn starts to tear a hole in my stomach lining. To say I am a nervous flyer is an
understatement, and my apprehension of flying is compounded by my reluctance to
Now, three hours later, the hydraulic sounds of wheels contracting and the hissing
of ignited jet fuel is causing me to death grip my arm rest. Megan’s smile brings little
relief to my anxiety. Rubbing my arm with a consoling hand, she looks out the window.
We climb higher off the runway, and feeling adventurous, I peer down over Megan’s
shoulder to the catch the last glimpse of Nevada earth we both have vowed to come back
and visit again.
Megan Phillips on the Cube Boulder
By Chris Schulte
Chris Schulte on Rainbow Rocket (8a).
Photo by Andy Jennings
Days of deliberation, days of weather watching, tracking
airfares (why won’t they go down?!), days of consulting
oracles, maps, my bank account, days of probing the depths of
my heart, weighing my desires against my belief in myself all
coming to bear now, when I bought my fourth ticket to Paris,
en route to the magic forest. I’m going back to Fontainebleau,
again. I’ve had one small freak-out already: not hours after I
purchased the ticket, the weather, which was golden across the
board, has taunted me with the suggestion of snow and rain on
the days prior to, on, and after my arrival. Ahh, le Bleau! It is
everything you have heard.
My first trip to the woods was mint. Amazing weather, the
full experience in car and on foot, camping in the woods,
touring classics, life projects sent. The second was okay,
nice accommodations, good friends, but spotty weather
and sickness. The third trip was last winter, and despite the
old country cold I catch for a week every time I go, it was
amazing, the best yet.
So, here I am. I finally slept a bit after hours of travelling in
planes, trains, and automobiles, and the place is soaked. Snow
fell heavily not two days ago, and the ground is wet as beach
sand, the water welling up to meet my every step. I’ve had
extraordinary luck in my trips to Font for the most part, but
that never quells the fear that this trip may be the one I’ve
been warned about; weeks of rain, no sun, not a breeze to be
felt that wasn’t carrying a sideways mist. But, the forest has
never, ever let me down. The world changes from WEATHER
to whether–or-not in less than twelve hours, and we headed
The Rempart is probably my favorite area in Font. It’s fairly
large, with blocs of all grades and sizes, and is host to some
of the most famous problems in the world. The Big Four sit
right in the center, the first grade 5 up on the crest of the ridge,
and the first 8a (v11) is just off the trail, like everything else.
Turbo-classics like Haute Tension, T-Rex, Michel-Ange, and
Atresie are the pillars of this hefty sub-area, topped off with
modern testpieces like Sideways Daze, Gourmandise, Le
Dernier Fleau, and Kheops. This is the area where the history
of bouldering began. Dynoing to the top of a sharp arête from
an awful smear that I’m sure will fail at least once this year
and shin me fiercely, I reflect on the fact that this desperate
pinch and smear bloc I’m trying to warm up on was first
climbed in 1934, in nailed boots. The modern climbing shoe
was invented by the man who first ascended this problem, and
I am pleased to just eke it out on my second try.
The history of this place lies thicker than the leaves that cover
the forest floor, rustling with the names of founders from
Allain to Libert, “golden-agers” like Godoffe, LeDenmat,
Avare, and Laumone. Today the archives are expanded by the
likes of Lebreton, Pochon, Nadiras, Frigault, Lopata, Graham,
and more. Sit starts and “last great projects” are everywhere;
the last few years have seen coveted projects sent, amazing
finds cleaned and climbed, and whole new sectors opened.
Font is far from being climbed out at any grade.
Le Tajine, the Island, Satan I Helvete, Deliere Onirique,
Narcotic, Elephunk, Londinium, Kheops assis, Imothep…
These are the new classics to be had here in the forest; the
story of this place develops exponentially. Lines that have
been passed over for years are finally ascended as we as
climbers get stronger, smarter, and bolder.
The process of climbing here in the forest is in itself
special. Not completing a line often feels more like a lack of
understanding the movement rather than a lack of power, and
so the student of Font strives to become a better climber, not
just trying to develop better contact strength. That variety of
tough develops as you climb your way through the forest. You
learn, you get better, you improve. The challenge of beautiful
climbs in a truly peaceful setting motivates and encourages.
Warm ups are definitely plentiful, you pick your projects;
everything else is climbing what looks good to you, from huge
brains to elephants to leaping fish and ogre faces.
The best approach is a humble one, given over to openness,
experimentation, and patience. It might help to try and
temporarily throw away what you may know; it can be odd
here at first, but the feeling and understanding develops before
long. Even so, you can climb the hardest line of your life one
day, and fail on every warm up the next. The best advice I’ve
received for Font is to go expecting to climb three grades
lower than you would at home. Yet, there’s even a chance
these blocs might suit you to the marrow. Something to be sure
of is that the style of climbing here rewards the knowledge of
climbing movement, and forces personal refinement.
It’s really easy to be overwhelmed when you first break
through the tree line and try to get your head around the extent
and degree of what the forest has to offer. An easy way to
break off a manageable introduction is to jump into a circuit.
This unique facet of Font grew from a desire to train for the
long, committing routes in the Alps and has evolved into a
discipline unto itself. The completion of certain circuits within
a record time defies logic, especially when I consider the
amount of time I’ve spent on a single problem on circuit.
Traverses, too, are a sub sect of Font that have a pretty
hardcore selection of devoted followers. In an area of lines
that average six or eight moves, these blocs stand out as the
ultimate test of endurance. Some of these lines go on for thirty
heaving meters, and run the spectrum from jug hauling warm-
ups to desperate affairs on a near-vertical sloping lip, weighing
in at the absolute top of the grading scale.
Another unique chapter in the evolution of Font is the use
of pof, a resin, usually powdered but occasionally seen in
liquid form used in lieu of, or in conjunction with chalk. Long
viewed as an ecologically superior alternative to chalk, this
substance is responsible for the many greasy black spots on
the footholds of many of the older and easier problems around
Chris Schulte on Control
Technique (7c+) Bas Cuvier.
Photo by Andy Jennings
Jackie Hueftle on Bleau's Art (7b+), Cuvier
Chatillon. Photo by Chris Schulte
the more popular areas. Once an item of great contention, the use of pof has thankfully declined a great deal with the coming
of a new generation who shuns its use as unnecessary and destructive. The texture of the stone here is very important; success
on the blocs and the preservation of the amazing lines in the forest depends on a respectful approach. Keep holds clean;
use a soft, natural bristle to brush away chalk and tick marks, and clean your shoes before stepping onto the rock. Without
friction, nothing is possible. The delicate patina can erode away with too much traffic of boots or dirty shoes; evidence of
this is seen in the sandy spots on a number of noteworthy classics. Extra care and prudent judgment should be used after a
rainstorm, as the porous sandstone absorbs and releases water. No one climbs in approach shoes here, and a bit of mat for
cleaning the shoes is indispensable. This is a rare spot, with few regulations and a beautiful lineage that everyone should take
responsibility to preserve and maintain.
Fontainebleau is a very special place, perhaps one of the only areas in the world where one can completely be a boulderer
without any justification. The pursuit has evolved as a part of the makeup of the region, practiced by all ages, for well over a
hundred years. I’m always grateful for the time I’m given here; I hope to be able to visit this place for the rest of my life. It’s
a homecoming and a gift to share the summits of at least a handful of these incredible blocs with so many other boulderers of
yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and to revel in the celebration that is climbing in the birthplace of bouldering.
3 Tips for Deciphering Crux Sequences
By Eric Hörst
Unlocking a “stopper move” or devilishly difficult crux sequence is often more a matter of the mind than of muscle.
Success usually comes when you have learned how to climb smarter and more efficiently, rather than simply pulling harder.
You can best do this by avoiding the trap of frustration, which will only handicap you further, and fostering a curious and
creative mind-set that is essential for deciphering the unobvious. Toward this end, here are three valuable problem-solving
techniques for use on projects that are resisting your best efforts.
1. Embrace the Route's Feedback
Many climbers fail on routes they are physically capable of doing because they ignore the feedback the route is
providing. Evade this mind-set by embracing the feedback of failed attempts as clues toward your inevitable success. For
instance, if you are barndooring off the crux move, recognize that a flagging leg will increase stability. Or if you can't reach
the next critical hold, look for an undercling and hip turn to extend your reach. If, after trying out several different moves and
techniques, you still can’t unlock the sequence, then the route is likely hinting that you are missing a hidden hold or perhaps
that you need to formulate a completely different sequence.
Most important, resist feelings of frustration and maintain the belief that the route wants you to succeed despite your
current struggles. View each failed attempt as a signpost directing you toward a better course of action and remain optimistic
that a positive outcome is inevitable, even if it takes several days or weeks to work the route. Always remind yourself that
climbing is a never-ending cycle of success and failure, and that the trials by fire are just as important as the wins in terms of
developing the mind-power of a master climber.
2. Think Out of the Box
To break through a sticking point on a climb, you must get outside your current state of mind. The first key strategy
is to exercise a flexibility of perspective. For a moment, detach yourself from the situation and visualize the problem spot
from a perspective outside yourself. View yourself attempting the crux from a disassociated, on-TV perspective. See yourself
trying a wide range of possible solutions, and particular sequences that you have yet to test out in reality. It can also help
to visualize how some great climber you know would attack the route--what tricks and tactics do you see her employing?
Maybe a dyno past a long reach, a sequence of small foothold upgrades, or possibly a clever rest position that would provide
a more rested attempt on the crux.
Another good strategy is to try a series of ridiculous, improbable solutions to the crux sequence. For example, try
doing a heel hook, a twist lock, a deadpoint, a mantle, and any other move you can think of. Disregard the fact that a given
move doesn't seem to be the solution--give it a try without prejudice. In attempting a variety of different techniques, you may
very well stumble onto a workable sequence that you would have never surmised while climbing with the blinders on. Be cre-
ative and have fun, and above all maintain a belief that the route is possible. You might not send the climb that day, but you
will take strides toward future success.
3. Focus on the Feet
When struggling on difficult move, it's a natural tendency to obsess on finding the next good handhold that will en-
able you to pull through. Ironically, the solution is usually a matter of better footwork and body position. Thus it's vital that
you assume an intense foot-focus and resist the temptation to search for a handhold solution to your difficulties.
Stellar footwork and never-ending foot focus are hallmarks of all top climbers. Observe how the best climbers seem
to “climb tall” by using their feet to drive through reachy moves. Make this your intention, too, by striving to use your legs—
not your arms—as the primary source of locomotion. Toward this end, spend more time with your eyes aimed downward
targeting foot placements than looking upward at the more obvious and generally easy-to-engage hand holds. Make "focus on
the feet" your climbing mantra, and you will be surprised by your growing prowess as both a project and on-sight climber.
Eric Hörst (pronounced “hurst”) is a renowned author and climber of more than 30 years. The second
edition of his best-selling Training for Climbing was released last fall. Learn more at: Training4Climbing.com
E R I C H Ö R S T ’ S
conditioning for climbers
Conditioning for Climbers is the first complete exercise guide for the
vertical athlete. Featuring more than 50 exercises and training activities,
this book will help climbers of all ages and experience develop a most
effective conditioning program.
To learn more visit: www.Training4Climbing.com
Reviews By Mike Arthur
Built To Spill – There Is Nothing Wrong With Love
Even in the Indie genre, very few bands have the ability to create a unique sound. Built To Spill, however, seems to be
spitting out something fresh. The band is led by lead singer and creator Doug Martsch, whose voice is reminiscent of a young
Bob Mould. Unlike the screamo pop bands so prevalent today (the kind that brainlessly masturbate your inner cochlea with
senseless babble) Doug’s lyrics and guitar riffs (a la Dinosaur Jr.) compel one to listen as the story unfolds. Built to Spill
brings together the old and the new, creating a refined sound that is sure to appeal to a broader audience. In this author’s
opinion, the album There Is Nothing Wrong With Love, stands among the top Indie albums of all time.
Set Your Goals – This Will Be he Death Of Us
On some days you need a band that makes you wanna pound your steering wheel into oblivion, and Set Your Goals rises
to the occasion. Formed in 2004, Set Your Goals is a pop-punk band that specializes in thoughtful lyrics and foot stomping
beats. Their new album entitled This Will Be the Death of Us features thrash guitar sound and zit popping drums that serve up
a psyche omelet and a side of “send” juice before the end of the first song.
One song, The Few That Remain features the vocals of singer Hayley Williams of Paramore, and the 90’s skate influenced
song, Our Ethos: A Legacy to Pass On, features vocals from Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory fame. Although these guest
vocals bring diversity to the tidal ripples of the album, they also seem to overpower the lead vocals of Matt Wilson and
Jordon Brown. This otherwise flawless execution of rebellious teen angst hit Billboards top 100 and is featured in the video
game Madden NFL 10.
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We Get Our Belay From the Following Gyms:
Massachusetts New Jersey cont.
Boston – Now Open! The Gravity Vault
Rock Spot Climbing 13,500 sq. Ft. of the best
67 Sprague Street climbing in New Jersey.
Boston, MA 02136 Tall walls, great lead,
www.rockspotclimbing.com and huge boulders.
Higher Ground Climbing New Jersey Rock Gym
851 Bond NW 973-439-9860
Grand Rapids MI www.njrockgym.com
www.higround.com North Carolina
“Best Bouldering in the
Universe!” RedPoint Climbing,
Inside Moves 910.868.ROCK(7625)
639 76th Street SW, www.climbredpoint.com
Byron Center, MI. “Check Your Ego At the Door.”
“West Michigan’s Premier Rhode Island
Indoor Rock Climbing Facility”
Rhode Island Rock Gym
New Jersey 100 Higginson Ave
Lincoln, RI 02865
Garden State Rocks 401-727-1704
Find out how your gym can be a “friend” by
e-mailing us @ email@example.com
Looking for a rock climber/belay-partner/lover:
I could be your energetic, romantic, You like the adrenaline.
Moonlight walking, intimate talking, I get my thrills from running out in the rain barefoot,
Totally easygoing, And running out of gas in the snow,
Warm you up on a cold morning, 5’9” brunette arête. Hundreds of miles from home.
I like the adventure,
But if you’re anything like me, you won’t want it that easy. The inconvenience,
The change of pace.
We both like to live life a little dangerously
Which is why, you’ll see I have problems,
I can be your 5.14d—in fact, Commitment issues.
That’s exactly what will keep you coming back to me. I give up at the last possible moment.
I’m afraid of getting in over my head
I can be your crimper/sloper/side-pull/gaston/ And I’m afraid of being tied down,
undercling/two-finger-pocket. But I’m not afraid of being tied up.
I have curves, smooth lines, and a well-featured face.
You can mantle, lieback, and hand jam me. Knot practice at camp four:
I have clean placements that will still get your hands dirty. You’ll tie me up in figure eights.
I’ll teach you the figure four.
Looking for a rock climber/belay-partner/lover: And we’ll do it to stay warm.
I enjoy awkward stemming problems High above Katmandu,
And find a certain pleasure in silences. We can work on dynamic moves.
We can practice doing them statically.
You get your thrills from run-outs. And feel the electricity jump from body to body.
We can practice on cliff sides and tables Because as soon as you’ve forgotten about landing
In bivouacs You can fall with wild and reckless abandon,
On crash pads And it feels
And dangling from cables. Like flying.
We can have back country love affairs. Trust me.
We can be port-a-ledge paramours.
I’m on the other end of this rope.
We can make falling feel like flying.
Looking for a rock climber/belay-partner/lover:
There are two kinds of falling.
And while I know you’re not afraid of heights at all, Looking for back-country love affairs.
Or tumbling backwards off of the wall, Looking for port-a-ledge paramours.
Because hell—I’ve seen you fall,
I do wonder...
I watched you fall again and again for Serengeti,
But what would it take to make you fall like that for me?
And would it be more, or less scary?
We could fall into serendipity,