• 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
    Joe Kinder On the First Ascent of Bone Tomahawk (5.14d/5.15a)
    Joe Kinder On the First Ascent of Bone Tomahawk (5.14d/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: The Coolest Climbing Deal Breaker

    By Chris Parker

    Kai Lightner making quick work of <em>Lucifer</em> (5.14c) in the Red River Gorge. Photo: <a target="_blank" href="http://elodiesaraccophotographic.smugmug.com/">Elodie Saracco</a>. Last week, we reprinted a feature from Ascent 2011 titled "Climbing Deal Breakers." The piece is basically a list of idiosyncratic habits of climbers that the author—well known climbing lifer and writer Jonathan Thesenga—feels are utterly pointless and/or lame. Take, for instance, the first deal breaker on the list: Topropes with Extraneous Gear on their Harness.

    "You don't need an ATC, belay gloves, nut tool, and/or random single locker for toproping," writes JT. "What the hell are you going to use any of that stuff for? Double-negative if you're in the climbing gym."

    I must admit, JT has a point. There is no reason why a climber would need a nut tool in the gym, much less have one swinging from the gear loop of his or her harness while toproping plastic. Yet, many readers took major offense to JT's satirical list. The comments poured in, and most attacked JT for his "judgmental" attitude. One commenter even defended her nut tool toting, writing, "apparently I'm a 'deal breaker'—my nut tool is taped to my harness … I'm sorry I'm not going to take it off just because I'm climbing in the gym … haha!"

    I'm still not exactly sure how she uses that nut tool—whether she's in the gym or not. I can only picture awkward scenarios as she fumbles to free the tool and wrestle with a stubborn Stopper. “Just a minute, my nut tool is stuck, too!”

    It seems that many climbers took offense if they themselves felt attacked. And though the author, in his introduction, wrote that the piece wasn't intended to be "mean spirited," it's clear that many readers felt that it was a mean-spirited, personal attack.

    The point of JT's article, however, seemed to be forgotten in the online hullabaloo. The truth is, we all have climbing deal breakers.Ironically, the biggest attacks emanated from the comments. Many readers unloaded on JT. Werner Goetz, for example, went a step further and lumped all climbing writers together, explaining that we are all "d-bags" that will "spend all day warming up by flailing on the low-grade 'classics' all the while trying to figure out how to turn a mediocre experience into a story about their latest epic."

    The point of JT's article, however, seemed to be forgotten in the online hullabaloo. The truth is, we all have climbing deal breakers. The list, compiled by one of the most die-hard, prolific and dedicated climbers I've ever met, was actually meant to be inclusive. Think about it. If you seriously do not or have not made one of these "deal breakers," then you probably aren't climbing enough. The author himself makes the list multiple times. If you don't believe me, then check this out.

    So is a deal breaker actually a deal breaker? No. A deal breaker is just an excuse to poke fun at the climbing lifestyle and the colorful characters that make this sport unique. A deal breaker is, in fact, no indication of your ability level and does not correlate to your dedication to the sport.

    For example, I recently discovered what I now consider my favorite climbing deal breaker of all time. And although this particular CDB didn't make JT's list, it should have.

    Lightner styling <em>Southern Smoke</em> (5.14c). Notice the CDB?The culprit? A 14-year-old 5.14 “crusher” (a CDB word), named Kai Lightner. While researching a story I recently wrote about Lightner sending Lucifer (5.14c) in the Red River Gorge, I stumbled across a video of him climbing his first 5.14c—the Red's steep Southern Smoke. The ascent is astounding to me for multiple reasons. One is because Kai was only 13-years-old. Even more impressive is the fact that a few months after sending Southern Smoke, Kai told Rock and Ice in an interview (Spotlight No. 212) that climbing outside once a year was "a lot."

    And that might explain the glaring CDB I noticed hanging on Kai's harness while he slowly and seemingly effortlessly flowed through the moves of the 5.14c. I paused the video, blinked, and sure enough, there it was—a laminated card dangling like a dingleberry from his gear loop.

    I immediately e-mailed Kai to confirm what I suspected:

    Quick question, what is hanging on your harness in this video?

    To which he responded:

    It's my Stone Summit lead cert tag. Never thought to take it off.

    That's right. Kai Lightner climbed a 5.14c—and made it look piss-easy I might add—with his gym's lead belay certification card swinging around on his harness.

    That has to be the Coolest Deal Breaker of all time.

    See for yourself.


    Reader's Commentary:

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

    Add Your Comments to this article: