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  1. 1. Rock Climbing’s First Free Global Publication!
  2. 2. 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 life’s distractions. 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. 46 Off-Circuit 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 Boulder.
  3. 3. Departments 6 Ed Speaks 8 Clips 12 Odub 14 Booty Reviews 16 The Rack 18 Kehl's Crypt 20 Pro Files 24 Guidance Meister Online exclusive 32 Hot Shots 52 Training 58 Climbing Soundtracks 60 The Last Pitch
  4. 4. D Pm EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Matt Stark ASSOCIATE EDITOR Megan Phillips PHOTO EDITOR Matt Stark ART EDITOR Megan Phillips EQUIPMENT EDITORS Megan Phillips WEBSITE Billy Ford and Josh Lawson ADVERTISEMENT Bentley Brackett COPY EDITORS Tonia Mayhew and Mark Mayhew CONTRIBUTORS Abbey Smith, Anthony Lapomardo, Joel Brady, Andrew Tower, Dan Brayack, John Dickey, Eric Hörst, Jason Kehl, Ruth Taylor, and Kris “Odub” Hampton, Reinhard Fichtinger, Chris Schulte, Andy Jennings, Mike Arthur, Tobias MacPhee DEAD POINT MAGAZINE PRINT & EDITORIAL OFFICE PO BOX 927 FAYETTEVILLE, WV 25840 Most of the activities described or depicted within the pages of Dead Point carry an inherent risk of injury or death. The owners, staff, contributors, and management of Dead Point Magazine do not encourage participation in any of the activities depicted herein unless they are performed by a trained professional. Dead Point Magazine strongly encourages participants in these activities to seek qualified professional instruction or guidance. Anyone participating in rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, bouldering, hiking, or any other outdoor activity should understand the risks involved and be willing to personally assume all responsibility associated with those risks. ©2009 All rights reserved. The contents of this magazine cannot be duplicated without prior written consent of the copyright owner. The views written within the pages of Dead Point Magazine do not necessarily reflect the views of its owners, staff, or management. Dead Point Magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited material.
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  6. 6. 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? Thanks, 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 Chris, 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. 6
  7. 7. The right ropes for Chris. CHRIS SHARMA on FIFTY WORDS FOR PUMP 5.14C, RED RIVER GORGE, KY. KEITH LADZINSKI PHOTO. Nano 9.2mm Velocity 9.8mm Ion 9.5mm 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.
  8. 8. TickList 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 (13d). 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.
  9. 9. Clips as ing Ch mb ers Nuwith And rew T ower Michael Jackson’s memorial wers who watched 31,000,000 Nu mber of U.S. vie es Ja son 2,500 41 7 f tim Gawd!” or er o Numb , “Oh, my ied amm th cr cing the M ps. Danf nnoun shi ut Num ber the A of dollar ,000 a pion cc s while ring Cham loan ess Fund slated to Boul de progr ’s new be in lo cal or a m re ganiz designed volving 0 mone ation to eq y more and resou s with the uip climb Number of bolted ing ar rces to sa climbs Will Stanhope has eas. ve climbed that are harder than a . his hardest gear ascent, The d in mer Cobra Crack (5.14). ate he sum mul t ccu uring ree sa ad 1/3 00+ Deg lahom Total linear Ok 1 the rmom e ter in yards of fabric used in Sierra Blair- 10,080 Number of feet above sea Coyle’s bouldering level of Lower Chaos Canyon. attire. 28 ber 22 Number Num les of moves in of cobb d odge Dave Graham’s disl ple g in Ma n Durin new boulder o Cany eFest l problem Big Cobb to Worm (V14) Staff Pho 2,500 of pot umber s each 1 fNee it take ith of co f cope w s Number of Gapers at morn ing to y. the Mammut Bouldering the da Championships. Sierra Blair-Coyle clings to Women’s Problem #1 in the Mammut Bouldering Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  10. 10. 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 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 Self P see you climbing along side us? That question has popped up quite often as of r. olson, font.; jason pinto photo O
  11. 11. John Bachar 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 1957-2009 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. Instant intimidation. 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 challenge. 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. - Odub Turn to this page in DPM’s online webzine @ 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 To donate to the Tyrus Bachar Living Trust, please visit Photo By Karl Bralich 12
  12. 12. EVEN FUN REQUIRES SECURITY. CHALK LINE • 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 •
  13. 13. 2 1 Booty Review 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 @ 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 @ 14
  14. 14. 4 5 3 4. Sterling Nano 9.2mm 60 Meter Dry - $202 “Clipping dream” “Buttery-smooth belay” 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 @ 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! 15
  15. 15. 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. 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 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 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 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
  16. 16. Photo by Matt Stark
  17. 17. Age: 30 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 taken. 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 sense. 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 season. 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 @
  18. 18. 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 Canadian (jk). 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 destination. 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- documented crags. Parting words? 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. 22
  19. 19. Videos of: Paul Robinson Daniel Woods Andre De Felice Chris Lindner Joe Kinder ...and more Bigger is Better visit to experience DPM’s HDTV
  20. 20. 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. 24
  21. 21. Cas Win hM one y! !! in DPM’s Monthly Video Contest Check out for more details
  22. 22. 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 spoon. 27
  23. 23. r e e F S p ir b bey S mith A By John Dickey Photo Jonny Copp Photo
  24. 24. Jonny C opp Self Portrait 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
  25. 25. “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 30
  26. 26. 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 heroes. Sterling “It was very unlike either to give up on an objective, but they’d Rope expended all the possibilities and Recycling knew they weren’t going to get up Edgar.” Program 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 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 admirers. For more information or to donate online, visit:
  27. 27. PM ots D h ot S H
  28. 28. Nalle Hukkataival on the sit start to Sundance (8a+) Zillertal, Austria. Photo by Reinhard Fichtinger
  29. 29. h is e w er u w o u re y o e y H “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.
  30. 30. W E L C O M E Fabulous TO RED ROCKS NEVADA Stark att yM yb E ssa to Pho
  31. 31. 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 out. 36
  32. 32. Crista Hollenberg on the classic Pearl Boulder 37
  33. 33. The seediest forms of life are found in Las Vegas brushing shoulders with the world’s upper 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 inside temperature-controlled 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. 38
  34. 34. The rock might qualify as choss, but the scenery is breathtaking at the Kraft Boulders. 39
  35. 35. Sin isn’t far away from the wildlife and climbing opportunities at Red Rocks 40
  36. 36. Mike Arthur takes a lap on Monkey Bar Direct (V9) 41
  37. 37. 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 Vegas. “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’ jour. Megan Phillips enjoying one of the canyon’s many moderates. 42
  38. 38. Crista Hollenberg yells for the pump to go away on Risk Brothers Roof (5.11)
  39. 39. 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 leave. 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
  40. 40. Off-Circuit By Chris Schulte Chris Schulte on Rainbow Rocket (8a). Photo by Andy Jennings 46
  41. 41. 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 out. 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 t 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, 47
  42. 42. 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 48
  43. 43. Chris Schulte on Control Technique (7c+) Bas Cuvier. Photo by Andy Jennings 49
  44. 44. 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. 50
  45. 45. Problem Solved! 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 52
  46. 46. 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: 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:
  47. 47. Climbing Soundtracks 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. 58
  48. 48. n g to e thi s @ e som ail u hav E-m you ute? ntm Do trib poi d con .dea w ww 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, and huge boulders. Michigan 201-934-7625 Higher Ground Climbing New Jersey Rock Gym 851 Bond NW 973-439-9860 Grand Rapids MI 616-774-3100 North Carolina “Best Bouldering in the Universe!” RedPoint Climbing, CrossFit, MMA Inside Moves 910.868.ROCK(7625) 639 76th Street SW, Byron Center, MI. “Check Your Ego At the Door.” www. “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 732-972-3003 Find out how your gym can be a “friend” by e-mailing us @
  49. 49. WANTED: 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. 60
  50. 50. 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, -Ruthie Taylor 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, 61