• TNB: Climbing's Big Mistake
  • TNB: Trad Dads and Dad Bods
  • TNB: Do the Right Thing
  • TNB: Big Wall Soloing Sustenance – Cookies vs. Bugs
  • TNB: When Your Rope Falls Off—and 5 Ways to Prevent the Nightmare
  • TNB: Before I Die - What Would Climbers Think?
  • TNB: Raphael Slawinski - Firsthand Account of Everest Earthquake
  • TNB: Point Break - Sharma, Andrada on the Big Screen
  • TNB: Muscle Shoals - Rock and Soul
  • TNB: Naked Soloist is Saner Than Me
  • TNB: The Hard Climb to Heaven
  • TNB: Summer Camp
  • TNB: Suicide in Our Sights
  • TNB: Ethan Pringle's 10 Tips for Sending Your Project
  • TNB: Hawaii Rocks - Totally Aloha
  • TNB: PointGate - Why Comp Climbing Is Not The Future
  • TNB: My First Epic
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Avoid Braking Bad - The Art of the Soft Catch
  • TNB: #Dawnwall and The Creation of Alex Honnlove
  • TNB: Vision Quest - Benji Fink and Mexico’s Steepest Big Wall
  • TNB: The New Dawn (Wall) of Climbing
  • TNB: The Top 5 Weekend Whippers of 2014 (Plus the Comments)
  • TNB: 10 Tips for Jolene Kay, Professional Climber (and Hot Actress)
  • TNB: The Story Behind the Craziest of Rescues
  • TNB: The Risk of Climbing
  • TNB: How to Get Stronger by Doing Nothing for 5 Minutes a Day
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Improve Your Footwork
  • TNB: In Praise of the Weekend Warrior
  • TNB: Joe Kinder Visits the World's Hardest Cave
  • TNB: Celebrating Insomnia in Chamonix
  • TNB: Run, Rabbit - Hermann Gollner, 71, Cranks Pump-O-Rama (5.13a)
  • TNB: Five Best Photos of 2014
  • TNB: Clip Like A Pro - 5 Tips from Sasha DiGiulian and Sean McColl
  • TNB: Five Things Every Gym Climber Must Know About Climbing Outside
  • TNB: Still Jeff Lowe
  • TNB: Moving Over Stone With Doug Robinson
  • TNB: Wheels Up—The Top 5 Climbing Rigs
  • TNB: Is K2 The New Everest?
  • TNB: Things—Besides Us, That Is—That Fall
  • TNB: When Homemade Gear Works, Sorta
  • TNB: The Outsiders
  • TNB: R.I.P. Homero Gutierrez Villarreal - The Padrino of El Potrero
  • TNB: A Short Talk with Sierra Blair-Coyle
  • TNB: Ian Dory, Ninja, or The Craziest Thing I Ever Seen
  • TNB: The Best Crag Dogs of All Time
  • TNB: 5 Ways to Make People Love Your Routes
  • TNB: Hudon and Jones, and Don't Forget It!
  • TNB: Climbing's Tribal Rites
  • TNB: Sasha DiGiulian and Alex Johnson On How to Be a Modern Pro
  • TNB: Is Dean Potter A Bad Father?
  • TNB: Silly Places We’ve Slept - Tales of Unplanned Bivies
  • TNB: Forgotten Hero - Frank Sacherer 1940-1978
  • TNB: The World-Class Weekend Warrior – Martin Keller Climbs V15
  • TNB: Everest Sherpas No Longer Willing to “Grin and Bear It”
  • TNB: Hardheaded Helmet Lesson Learned
  • TNB: Six Most Awesome Jobs for Climbers
  • TNB: The Coolest Climbing Deal Breaker
  • TNB: Sharma and Glowacz Send World’s Steepest Rock Climb
  • TNB: An Encounter with a Legend - Patrick Edlinger, Plus A Whipper Vid
  • TNB: Six Things Every Climber Should Do Before They Die
  • TNB: Falling from the Top
  • TNB: Weekend Whipper
  • TNB: Band of Crushers
  • TNB: Charlie Porter, We Hardly Knew You
  • TNB: Climbing's Greatest Route Names
  • TNB: Hot Women Die and Have Sex on Everest
  • TNB: The Great Tragedy at Carderock
  • TNB: Thoughts On Death, and Last Words
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Big Story
  • TNB: Next Level? Honnold Pushes the Game on El Sendero Luminoso
  • TNB: Jeff Lowe Invented the Sport
  • TNB: The Most Popular Weekend Whippers of the Year
  • TNB: If Ondra Isn't The Best Climber In The World, Who Is?
  • TNB: Storm Years or Typhoon? The Biggest Issue in Climbing
  • TNB: Jim Bridwell Speaks
  • TNB: Honnold's Biggest Solo
  • TNB: Death on Forbidden Peak - Was the NPS Complicit?
  • TNB: Ice Climbing Goes to Sochi Olympics
  • TNB: When Gear Attacks
  • TNB: 8a.nu: The Best Climber in the World is the One with the Most Points
  • TNB: Shutdown: Illegal Climbers in Yosemite—Ninjas or Criminals?
  • TNB: Who is the Best Climber in the World?
  • TNB: The New Courage in a Rucksack
  • TNB: Unsolved Mystery - The Ten Sleep Shooting
  • TNB: The Pad Problem - Honnold, Kehl on Headpoints and Highballs
  • TNB: Travels with Delaney Miller - National Champ Turns to Rock
  • TNB: Jail Food and Booty
  • TNB: Love on the Road
  • TNB: Is Pakistan Safe for Climbers?
  • TNB: Flash Floods, Climbers and How to Get Out of the Way
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Level
  • TNB: Best in Show - Brand New Gear from the Outdoor Retailer Show
  • TNB: Adam Ondra Ties the Knot
  • TNB: Under Pressure - Trotter and Honnold On How Bets Can Help You Send
  • TNB: The Tragedy of Tito Traversa
  • TNB: DR's Crazy Brain Puzzle. Get It Correct or Else.
  • TNB: What Happened To Climbing Films?
  • TNB: Cry of the Colorado Fussy Snivel
  • TNB: Mystery Solved!
  • TNB: The Mystery of Moses Tower - Help Answer a 25-Year-Old Question
  • TNB: No Such Luck
  • TNB: Erasing Midnight Lightning
  • TNB: Mayhem - Crawling, Balling & Brawling on the Evere$t Soap Opera
  • TNB: Watching the Boston Marathon
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
  • TNB: Born-Again Gumby
  • TNB: Super Unknown - Austin Dark Horse Establishes 5.14d in Random Texas Cave
  • TNB: Fearless?
  • TNB: The Big Freaking Deal, Ain't Bouldering
  • TNB: Honnold's Achilles' Heel
  • TNB: He's Either Crazy or a Poet
  • TNB: The Fish Cheat and the Prince of Climbing
  • TNB: A Letter from Santa... I mean Sharma
  • TNB: Traveler's Advisory - El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • TNB: A Year Ago - Athol
  • TNB: Gun Control
  • TNB: What's the Problem?
  • TNB: Derek Hersey's Magic Carpet
  • TNB: The Apprentices
  • TNB: The Jungle
  • TNB: Klem Loskot is Back Climbing V15 and 5.15
  • TNB: Eliminated
  • TNB: The Hurt Locker
  • TNB: The Perils of Sport Climbing
  • TNB: Baddest Climb of the Year
  • TNB: Crossfit Misfit
  • TNB: Eating People and the Real Seventh Summit
  • TNB: Bring It On, Bitch!
  • TNB: What Would Warren Harding Do?
  • TNB: The Curse Of The Bandit
  • TNB: Reality Pro
  • TNB: Chris Sharma and The Art of Jeep Maintenance
  • TNB: American Dirtbag
  • TNB: How Not To Climb 5.12
  • TNB: Project FAIL
  • TNB: The Backwards Future of Climbing
  • TNB: The Death of Progress
  • TNB: The Da Vinci CO
  • TNB: The Philosopher King
  • TNB: Spam Alert
  • TNB: Bad Genes - The Different Types of Gumbies
  • TNB: Mouth Wide Shut
  • TNB: Outside Reality
  • TNB: The Day I Saved Jésus
  • TNB: My Pad, Your Problem
  • TNB: House Rules
  • TNB: Five Things I Don't Hate About Climbing
  • TNB: Metro-Pointing
  • TNB: Beast in the East
  • TNB: Artificial Intelligence
  • TNB: To Boldly Go Sprad Climbing
  • TNB: Self-Destruction
  • TNB: Soul Sport
  • TNB: Nine Pitches
  • Video Spotlight
    Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher Send Zodiac (VI 5.13d) on El Cap
    Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher Send Zodiac (VI 5.13d) on El Cap
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    TNB: Climbing's Next Big Story


    Climbing gear has certainly come a long way since the days of wooden ladder aid ascents! Last week at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Salt Lake City the great wheel of innovation was spun so many times by the massive beast of gear companies that the sport of climbing is unquestionably hurtling forward to new dimensions in 2014.

    At “the show,” throngs of people—from pro athletes to retail buyers to media makers—walk in circles inside the Salt Palace convention center for what seems like miles spread over four days while visiting manufacturer’s booths and seeing the latest big “story” in the world of outdoor gear. Well, these pitches aren’t real stories per say—as in they don’t contain a plot or an arcing narrative or anything close to what stories generally have—but no matter, some of these “stories” will revolutionize the extreme outdoor adventure sports they are geared towards none the less.

    Upon entering one of these booths, you commonly encounter a Public Relations representative who will give you a highly caffeinated run-down of their brand’s Next Big Story, which will sound something like this: “The latest story for spring 14 is our new revolutionary ultra-wet-wicking-hard-shell-soft-shell-hybrid-feather-light-sticky-rubbered-approach-shoe-boot that basically combines everything you need into nothing. It’s a game-changer, trust me.”

    Wait … I actually need nothing?

    “Well, no you need this [insert product here] to make you feel like you actually have nothing on.”

    Oh, so I’ll feel like Honnold when he soloed Sendero?


    Of course I just made up the above dialogue, but my point is that the real Story in the world of climbing right now buzzing through the collective consciousness of our tribe at the latest great gear gathering was not a piece of revolutionary equipment, but rather the news that Alex Honnold had free-soloed a 1,750-foot 5.12c/d with … gasp … practically no gear at all.

    Crimp Oil reduces pain and swelling in tendons, joints and muscles.Ironic, right?

    To me that’s one reason why climbing is such a soulful sport. Ascents like Honnold’s smack of an important ethos for the 21st century: Less is more.

    Not to condone free-solo ascents or anything, but truthfully, in all facets of climbing, using less gear, or taking less time, or fixing less rope, or employing less support to climb to the top of anything usually means that the ascent has better style and therefore is a step forward. In climbing less is more.

    Not that there weren’t some exciting new products hitting the market in the spring of 2014. I most certainly will be testing out Metolius’ new secret tendon elixir (oops … cat’s out of the bag!). Crimp Oil, as it’s appropriately called, is a special balm made of natural ingredients like lemon eucalyptus, and was tested underground in the dark cellars of noted crimpaholics for months, and is now finally surfacing in 2014 as a reputed wonder-healer.

    Then there is Petzl’s new crash-pad, a renovated design on … well … other square pieces of foam that sit between you and the ground when you’re bouldering. This pad, which will be available in July 2014, is well thought out with improvements on the little things like keeping the back straps out of the mud so you don’t get your hybrid merino-moisture-wicking-jacket wet, and there’s also a full closure system that turns the pad into a veritable haul bag when folded.

    Oh, and the great genius cobbler and climbing legend Heinz Mariacher (see What I’ve Learned in Rock and Ice No. 212) has a new shoe hitting stores this spring. Modeled after one of the best shoes ever made for sport climbing—the Scarpa Boostic—the new Scarpa Booster S is another Velcro slipper. Unlike the Boostic, this baby has a flexible mid-sole for an ultra-sensitive feel on the rock. The Booster S will be launched this fall.

    Truthfully, however, the real Next Big Story in climbing is an age-old classic. It was already written when Walter Bonatti tied in to a hemp rope for the first ascent of Pakistan’s Gasherbrum IV in 1958. It was re-written again when the Stonemasters free-climbed the great walls of Yosemite. And today, with fast-and-light alpine ascents like Ueli Steck’s solo of Annapurna and Honnold’s groundbreaking romp up Sendero, the story continues to be read like a devotional for the hard-core climber. The title? Yeah, you guessed it: Less is more.


    The new Petzl crash pad comes in three sizes, the Alto, Cirro and Nimbo. Heinz Mariacher's latest innovation in rock shoe design, the Scarpa Booster S.

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article: