• 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
    Chris Sharma - Back in Business! Second Ascent of Joe Mama (5.15a)
    Chris Sharma - Back in Business! Second Ascent of Joe Mama (5.15a)
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Chris Sharma's 100-foot Pont d’Arc Deep Water Solo
    Weekend Whipper: Chris Sharma's 100-foot Pont d’Arc Deep Water Solo

    TNB: Derek Hersey's Magic Carpet


    In 1985, the legendary British free soloist Derek Hersey witnessed Stevie Ray Vaughan pour his soul into a beat up Fender Stratocaster. Stevie was at the height of his powers, having just cut his second studio album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather. Derek was pretty impressed, I assume, because on his way out, the thrifty Brit splurged and purchased an SRV-tour tank top.  The tank top grew worn and faded while enduring numerous ropeless jaunts from Eldo to Yosemite. I like to picture Stevie’s screen-printed image high on the Redgarden wall, moving farther and farther into open space.  Sadly, Derek died a soloist’s death and Stevie no longer got out to the crags. Instead, the tank top rested quietly in a chest of drawers. But with the constant shift of everything in our universe, eventually this would change …

    Derek’s SRV-tour tank top. Photo by Duane Raleigh. I was scared, psyched, and extremely nervous while hiking up to a gash of rock in Ouray, Colorado, known as The Alcove. I had been climbing for approximately two months, and I was marching up a steep talus slope to accomplish my first “send” on lead. My prized project was a chossy stem-box known as The Groovetube, and at the grade of 5.8, I was somewhat confidant I could manage a clean burn to the chains. I’d even sprayed about the “possible” send the night before in the smoky Ouray tavern called the Silver Eagle (aka the Dirty Bird).

    “Oh, I’ve already flashed it twice on toprope,” I’d blurted out to my friend-turned-mentor Annie Whitehouse. Annie is a famous mountaineer, climber, and all around badass who probably found our crew of beginner climbers to be at turns entertaining and annoying. I have no idea why she even hung out with us. We would constantly pepper her with questions that eventually turned to one subject, Derek Hersey. Derek had been Annie’s boyfriend, and we were obsessed with Hersey lore. We had read about Derek in our bible also known as Climb!: A History of Colorado Climbing, and once we found out about Annie’s inside knowledge, we would never let her leave our presence without probing for the nitty gritty.

    “What did Derek do for money? Did Derek only free solo? What did Derek eat? Did he smoke pot?”

    The barrage of questions would only end once we were forced from the doors of the Dirty Bird at closing time. But Annie must have seen a spark of the climbing spirit in us, because she continued to welcome our enthusiasm and fuel our climbing escapades with stories. It was with this spirit of encouragement that Annie agreed to join us at the Alcove the next day and bear witness to my first redpoint attempt.

    “I’m nervous,” I wheezed. My friend, Justin, and I had trudged up the talus that ended at the base of The Groovetube, and now the sober reality of sending and not just talking about it had set in. I took off my pack and dropped the tangled mess of my newly purchased rope on the ground. Practicing a few trace eights, I looked up to see Annie bounding up the talus like a mountain goat.

    “Are you gonna send?” Annie asked with a toothy grin as she reached us.

    “Uh, yeah. I don’t know. I’ll try.”

    “Well, here’s some good luck,” she said dropping her pack on the rocks in front in front of us. She reached in and brought out what appeared to be a whitish-yellow rag of some sort and tossed it to me.

    I opened the wrinkled ball to see the black silhouette of a cowboy on the front of a tissue-thin tank top. The figure held the telltale shape of a Fender Strat in his hands and the lettering above the cowboy’s hat read, Stevie Ray Vaughan in faded gold print.

    “Uh, what's this Annie?”

    “Oh, that was Derek’s,” she said casually.

    I caught Justin’s eyes as I tried to comprehend what was happening. We stared at each other in disbelief. All I could muster was, “Holy shit!”

    “He would want somebody to wear it,” Annie mentioned while slipping on her harness.

    I set the tank top down carefully, and began to ready myself for my first attempt at a real redpoint. But my thoughts were now somewhere else. I was thinking about Derek and Annie, and the fact that climbing had become something I wanted to belong to so badly. I had moved from the Mississippi Delta—the flattest part of the whole freaking country—about five months earlier, and had been searching ever since for a way to belong. In the south, I was a musician, but in Colorado, I was someone who drank and smoked way too much and stayed inside on gorgeous sunny days nursing a hangover and playing guitar.

    My close friend Justin, who I had grown up with, had moved to Colorado and started climbing, so after a very, very, long winter, he was kind enough to start taking me along. And from the very first top-rope, I was hooked. Climbing was my way in.

    I was wondering, embarrassed, if Annie had sensed my need to belong to climbing.

    With these swirling thoughts and emotions, I fumbled through my first attempt at tying a figure eight, which Annie calmly corrected. Now tied in and ready, I found it difficult to concentrate.

    “Hold on,” I said walking back to my pack.

    I gazed down at Stevie’s image, and thought about the previous journeys of this shirt. I thought about Derek, and his great adventures and the climbing spirit he embodied. And then I thought about my own direction in life, and my constant questioning and searching. I figured there was only one way to answer these questions. I pulled off my own sweat-soaked t-shirt and let the hole-ridden relic slip over my torso. Though I could never hope to fill it in the same way Derek had, the fit was perfect.

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