• 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
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  • TNB: Love on the Road
  • TNB: Is Pakistan Safe for Climbers?
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  • TNB: DR's Crazy Brain Puzzle. Get It Correct or Else.
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  • TNB: Cry of the Colorado Fussy Snivel
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  • TNB: The Mystery of Moses Tower - Help Answer a 25-Year-Old Question
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  • TNB: Erasing Midnight Lightning
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  • TNB: Watching the Boston Marathon
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
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  • TNB: Super Unknown - Austin Dark Horse Establishes 5.14d in Random Texas Cave
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  • TNB: Honnold's Achilles' Heel
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  • 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
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  • TNB: Artificial Intelligence
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  • Video Spotlight
    Where The Wild Things Play
    Where The Wild Things Play
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    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    TNB: Joe Kinder Visits the World's Hardest Cave


    Kinder getting down to business in the Hanshelleren cave. Photo by <a target="_blank" href="http://bearcammedia.com/">Cameron Maier</a> My first assignment as a Rock and Ice intern was daunting: Inform the American climbing public that the future of hard sport climbing had been discovered … in Norway. A relatively unknown Dutch flatlander named Jorg Verhoeven had established a 180-foot 5.14 in the belly of a cave in Northern Norway that looked deep enough to house a supermarket. The kicker was that the cave wasn't limestone, which had long been considered the ideal rock type for hard sport climbing. In fact, the new "world's hardest crag" was gneiss.

    "Santa Linya is like a puppet theater compared to these things …" quipped the Dutchman when asked how the famed Spanish cave routes stacked up against the potential lines out the Norwegian behemoth.

    That was in September 2011. And we now know that the cave has lived up to the hype. The following summer, Adam Ondra established Change, the world's first 5.15c, in what's now called the Hanshelleren Cave outside of Flatanger, Norway. The Hanshelleren cave has become the canvas of choice for the world's hardest climbers and route developers.

    Yet despite the many news updates and videos emanating from the cave, I realized recently that I knew very little about the actual tactics, aesthetics and overall vibe of climbing in Flatanger. After seeing photos and social media posts about the crag by high-end route developer and sport climber Joe Kinder, I took the opportunity to ask him the questions I've always wanted to know about the world's hardest crag, which he visited from the 17 of August through October 4.

    What Kinder described was a crag both inspiring and unique, requiring distinct tactics such as rope transfers, and fixed lines for accessing and working different sections of routes.



    So, what does Change (5.15c) look like? Is it unbelievable looking?

     Photo by <a target="_blank" href="http://bearcammedia.com/">Cameron Maier</a>.That's funny. I was hitting up Chris Sharma to try and motivate him to come up and he kept asking me the same question. “Is Change cool?” It’s really cool, but nothing like La Dura Dura or Realization cool. I guess it didn’t really have my head spinning. The Iron Curtain, Dharma, and even Move were really rad and inspiring looking because those lines take a massive weakness out the cave. To be honest the whole cave as one giant entity is inspiring..

    How long had you been dreaming of visiting the Hanshelleren Cave?

    That’s a good question, man … too long really. I saw some teaser images and then some video snippets about four years ago. It was immediately something I remembered as being downright insane looking. I also figured it was WAY off the beaten path and perhaps unattainable.

    What initially intrigued you about the place?

    What I was drawn to was the steepness and the rock type. I absolutely LOVE gneiss and my favorite style is cave climbing with physical movement. I grew up climbing on similar rock in New England and even the surrounding ambiance looked similar.

    Upon arrival, was it everything you had imagined?

     Photo by <a target="_blank" href="http://bearcammedia.com/">Cameron Maier</a>.Yup … like … 100 percent visually and physically. The routes are massive and are very accessible. Most of the time you jug up fixed ropes to work out pieces of the routes. You gather so much information on these rigs, like rests, kneebars, places you transfer ropes, and even spots where your belayer has to be on guard, as you are close to the deck.

    So the tactic for trying the cave's long routes is to jug fixed lines and try sections?

    Many of the routes have fixed ropes in the broken-up sections (knee-bar in a large crack feature or near a no-hands rest). These ropes allow you to jug up and work particular sections of the route, which is really clever considering how long they are. Usually the jugging is still near the ground (15 meters) as the ground follows a lot of the wall.

    Will you bring this technique back to your projects in the States?

    This is something I will surely bring back to my projects here in the USA as you can focus your optimal energy on those particular cruxes. I would call this a pretty unique method actually.

    OK. And what's up with the rope transfers?

    Rope transfers are for the longer routes and allow you to a) avoid hitting the ground with rope-stretch because the ground follows the routes through the cave, and b) eliminate rope drag. Rope transfers are done by clipping into a fixed rope at a rest and manually pulling your rope through so your belayer can relocate closer to you and further up the route.

    Was there a transition period of learning the style in the cave? Or did you just jump right in and start cranking?

    The process I took was to get the style learned as fast as possible in order to have a successful trip. The first week I did 5.13b or 5.13c routes and realized that it’s not as technical as I was expecting and there are TONS of rests so you can really manage your fatigue well. To be honest the style is pretty basic. Usually gneiss is relentless and requires a lot of sketchy moves or awkward climbing, but this place is comfy. There was nothing tweaky, painful or bizarre feeling so I really loved that.

    How long are the routes and what makes them unique compared to other areas?

    Photo by <a target="_blank" href="http://bearcammedia.com/">Cameron Maier</a>The rigs are massive. I found that it’s best to (mentally) break them up into pitches or sections separated by checkpoints. Most of the lines are intermittently climbed with a kneebar or an odd-ball-rest that allows you to recover and continue. Some of the rigs take 30 minutes to redpoint!

    The only negative thing I can say is a few of the lines are a little funny in terms of where you climb and where it ends. But hey… it's sport climbing and all just fun-filled-action anyway so whatever. The comparison to USA would be a little bit of Rocky Mountain National Park, Shagg Pond and even the new Cascade/Zebra wall in Tahoe … perfect, fine grain rock that never cuts the skin and SUPER steep. It has lots of rounded features and good movement. Seriously writing this right now is getting me psyched up for the place and I just got home …

    So you definitely put down some hard routes. What did you climb?

    I honestly didn’t do that many hard lines. When I think of “hard” I feel like that’s 9b or so. We can all thank Ondra, Sharma and all the other top dogs for that. I did a lot of the “intro hard” routes I guess. I climbed Nordic Flower, Eye of Odin, Nordic Plumber, The Fire Within, and Muy Verdes. All of them felt the same more or less … in the 8c (5.14b) range.

    Did you join in on the developing efforts in the cave?

    Photo by <a target="_blank" href="http://bearcammedia.com/">Cameron Maier</a>.To be honest I didn’t see any solid lines to bolt … not to say it is tapped out and there aren’t any, I just never found a striking pathway that spoke to me. I bolted some really cool connections and extensions, but they were far from solitary lines. There are holds ALL over the place and giant features so the wall takes some exploring.

    Finally, was the cave good enough to keep you coming back?

    I have to say, the Hanshelleren cave is my new favorite spot. I tried some of the harder jams my last days too … 5.14d/5.15a and they were SOOOO good. It will now plague my brain until next year!

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