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  • Tim Emmett, Klemen Preml Establish 260-Foot WI 12 at Helmcken Falls
  • Jimmy Webb Sends The Big Island (V15), Toupie Carnivore assis (V14)
  • Kevin Lopata Sends Jour de Chasse (V15), Fontainebleau (with video)
  • Rocasolano Makes Second Ascent of Catalan Witness the Fitness (V15)
  • VIDEO: Jonathan Siegrist Sends Power Inverter (5.15a)
  • Black Diamond Recalls Carabiners, Quickdraws and Slings
  • Jimmy Webb Sends l’Alchemiste In Three Tries – Downgrades
  • Brette Harrington Free Solos Austríaca in Patagonia
  • Nathaniel Coleman, Megan Mascarenas Win 2016 Bouldering Nationals
  • Marianne van der Steen Flashes Kamasutra (D13+)
  • Alex Honnold and Colin Haley Repeat the Torre Traverse in a Day
  • Barefoot Climber First to Repeat Original l’Alchimiste (~V14)
  • Alban Levier Cranks Third Ascent of l’Alchimiste (V15)
  • New Big Wall Route Established on El Diente North Face in Mexico
  • Epic Ascent of Yosemite’s Ephemeral Widow’s Tears
  • Colin Haley on Patagonian Solo Streak
  • VIDEO: Tom Randall Takes Down the Kraken (V13)
  • Ryan Vachon Dominates 2016 Ouray Mixed Climbing Competition
  • Guillaume Glairon-Mondet Puts Up New V16 in Fontainebleau
  • Job Opening: Director of Digital Development
  • Two Experienced Climbers Killed in the Scottish Highlands
  • Jimmy Webb Sends The Game (V15)
  • Siegrist Sends Power Inverter (5.15a), Flashes Fish Eye (5.14b) in Spain
  • Jakob Schubert Sends La Planta de Shiva (5.15b) in Spain
  • VIDEO: Ueli Steck - Accepting Risk, Reward & Danger (Part 4)
  • Epic TV's Top Three Training Videos of 2015
  • Chris Sharma Sends Catalan Witness the Fitness (V-Hard) in Spain
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  • A Tribute: Doug Walker, First AAC President Killed in Office
  • VIDEO: Barefoot French Climber Sends V12 Traverse
  • Two-time Mugs Stump Award Winner Ryan Jennings Dies on Ice Climb
  • Climbers We Lost in 2015
  • VIDEO: Tragedy Strikes Ueli Steck’s 82 Summit Project
  • Climbers Against Cancer Founder John Ellison Dies
  • VIDEO: Alexey Rubtsov Climbs Three Magic Wood V14s
  • Ashima Shiraishi Sends Phenomena (V14) in 30 Minutes
  • Kayah Gaydish Climbing Accident Update
  • Climb Safe: To Screamer Or Not To Screamer
  • VIDEO: Ueli Steck Runs Up 18 4,000 Meter Peaks In A Day
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  • Jimmy Webb Puts Up The Matriarch - The Southeast's First V15
  • The Classic Alpinist: Ueli Steck Climbs 82 Summits In 62 Days - Part 1
  • 2016 Mugs Stump Award Recipients
  • Access Fund Launches Second Batmobile
  • VIDEO: Road to the Top - World Cup Training with Alex Puccio
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  • The Top 7 Climbing Achievements of 2015
  • Sarah Hueniken First North American Woman to Send M14
  • Climb Safe: Full Strength Haul Loops
  • Will Gadd Sends The Mustang P-51 (M14-) Second Go - with Video
  • Walton, Grainger Claim Another Triple Crown Victory
  • Founder of The North Face, Doug Tompkins Dies in Patagonia
  • VIDEO: Highlights from La Sportiva Legends Only 2015
  • Top 10 Weekend Whippers of 2015
  • Kai Lightner Storms Bishop, Hikes The Mandala (V12)
  • Southern Rampage – Jimmy Webb Establishes Four V14s
  • Janja Garnbret Dominates La Sportiva Legends Only
  • Alex Megos Hikes Demencia Senil (5.15a)
  • Pirmin Bertle Sends Meiose (~5.15b) in Switzerland
  • VIDEO: Martin Stráník Climbs Story of Two Worlds (V15)
  • Q&A: Ueli Steck On Reclaiming the Eiger Speed Record
  • GEAR OF THE YEAR 2015
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  • Martin Stráník Sends Story of Two Worlds (V15)
  • Top 10 Climbing Videos of 2015
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  • VIDEO: Ondra and Markovič Crush in Kranj
  • Ueli Steck Reclaims Eiger Speed Record
  • Kai Lightner Reflects on Competitions, Bouldering and the Future
  • Jonathan Siegrist Crushes Papichulo (5.15a)
  • Dani Andrada Sends Chilam Balam (5.15b)
  • Ondra, Markovič Crowned 2015 Lead World Champions
  • Crack Fix – How to Build a Home Crack Training System
  • VIDEO: Alex Puccio Storms the Buttermilks—Bishop, California
  • The K2 Summit Controversy
  • VIDEO: Adam Ondra and Stefano Ghisolfi Send New 5.15b's
  • The Locomotive: Roy McMurtrey – 87 and Still Climbing
  • Whittaker, McManus Claim 2nd Ascent of The Secret Passage, El Cap
  • Sherpa Makes Solo First Ascent on Himalayan Peak
  • Banff Mountain Book Competition Announces Winners
  • VIDEO: Climbing the 9th Grade (5.14d)
  • Hound Ears Competition Postponed Again
  • Jorg Verhoeven Sends Wheel of Life (V15)
  • Adam Ondra Establishes France's Hardest Route
  • Stefano Ghisolfi Establishes Italy’s First 5.15b
  • No Expectations: Joe Kinder Sends 6 5.14c's in Spain
  • Solar, Rock and Landmines—Alex Honnold Explores Angola
  • Spotlight: Megan Mascarenas - The Logician
  • Big Wall Soloing on Bugs
  • Triple Crown Bouldering Series Kicks Off at Stone Fort
  • Niky Ceria Repeats Voyager Sit (V14)
  • Alpine Warriors - History of Alpinists in Yugoslavia
  • VIDEO: Joe Kinder and Patxi Usobiaga Explore Cala Gonone, Italy
  • Sonnie Trotter Fires Blue Jeans Direct (5.14a), Mount Yamnuska, Canada
  • Megos Cruises the Red River Gorge
  • Logan Barber Frees Honeycomb Dome (5.13d) in China
  • Ondra, Kim Sweep Lead World Cup in Wujiang, China
  • How to Build a Home Climbing Wall
  • Winners of the 8th Annual Rock and Ice / Mammut Photo Contest
  • Alex Megos Sweeps the New River Gorge
  • $10,000 Granted for Anchor Replacement Across U.S.
  • Three Sherpas Complete Three Himalayan First Ascents in Three Days
  • Ashima Shiraishi Sends Nuclear War (V14), New York
  • Dan Mirsky Sends The Crew (5.14c) – Rifle, Colorado
  • Marc-André Leclerc Free Solos Aguja Standhardt in Patagonia
  • David Lama Establishes Lebanon's Hardest Route
  • Dave Graham Sends Thor's Hammer
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  • Yosemite Facelift - Finding Beauty Behind the Trash
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  • Sport Climbing Makes Shortlist for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
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  • VIDEO: Brette Harrington - Free Solo of Chiaro di Luna (5.11a)
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  • Q&A: Jesse Grupper – Youth World Championships Silver Medalist
  • Everest ’96 – Unheard Voices of the 1996 Disaster
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  • Nalle Hukkataival Puts Up New V15 – The Stepping Stone
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  • Nina Caprez and Barbara Zangerl Redpoint 1,400-foot Rätikon 5.14
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  • REEL ROCK 10 - Interview with Filmmaker Peter Mortimer
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  • The Dawn of Urban Big Wall Speed Climbing
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  • Ondra Pioneers Four FA's in Norway
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  • Shiraishi, Garnbret Win Again at Arco Youth World Championships
  • Climbing Beta: El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • Q&A: Sasha DiGiulian on Climbing the Eiger
  • Q&A: Carlo Traversi on Climbing the Eiger
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  • VIDEO: How To Climb 5.14d and Hold A Job
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  • Seb Bouin Claims First Ascent in Verdon Gorge
  • Jakob Schubert Takes Third Ascent of Thor’s Hammer (5.15a)
  • Dave Graham Repeats Spray of Light (V15)
  • Sasha DiGiulian and Carlo Traversi Climb the Eiger North Face
  • VIDEO: Jonathan Siegrist Climbs La Rambla (5.15a)
  • Stormed Out – Sasha DiGiulian and Carlo Traversi Bail on Paciencia
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  • Alex Megos Repeats Thor’s Hammer (5.15a), Flatanger Cave
  • Isabelle Faus Sends Amandla (V14)
  • Markovič, Supper Claim Gold in Stavanger
  • First Ascent of the Southwest Buttress of Mt. Waddington, B.C.
  • Andy Kirkpatrick Solos Sea of Dreams on El Cap
  • LIVE: IFSC Lead Climbing World Cup Stavanger 2015 - FINALS
  • How To Make Your Own Clip Stick - Tips from Jonathan Siegrist
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  • Shauna Coxsey, Alexey Rubtsov Win Final Bouldering WC of the Year
  • Chon, Noguchi Crowned 2015 Bouldering World Cup Champions
  • Jon Krakauer: Climbing Everest was the Biggest Mistake I've Ever Made
  • LIVE: IFSC Bouldering World Cup Munich 2015
  • 82 and Done – Ueli Steck Completes Alps Mission in 61 Days
  • Lightning Halts Psicobloc, Jimmy Webb and Charlotte Durif Take Gold
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  • Staying Alive in the Death Sport Capital of the World
  • Mina Markovič, Romain Desgranges Win Lead World Cup, Imst, Austria
  • Jon Cardwell Snags Second Ascent of Shadowboxing (5.14d), Rifle
  • Eight Day Solo First Ascent of Bigwall Route on Mt. Huashan, China
  • Robert Pizem – Father First, Climber Second
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  • British Team Makes First Ascent of The Mirror Wall, Greenland
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  • Julianne Wurm and Jan Hojer On Sending Spree in Silvretta, Austria
  • Adam Ondra Claims Second Ascent of Sharma’s Three Degrees of Separation (5.14d), Céüse
  • Homestead: Access Fund Saves 360 Acres of Climbing Access in Arizona
  • MERU: Highly Anticipated Climbing Film Premieres August 14th
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  • Margo Hayes, 17, Sends Two Rifle 5.14s in One Day
  • Jesse Huey, Brette Harrington Claim Second and Third Free Ascents of Edge of Pan (5.13 R), Squamish
  • Vikki Weldon Makes Fourth Free Ascent of Adder Crack (5.13 R)
  • VIDEO: Stefano Ghisolfi Repeats Chris Sharma's Demencia Senil (5.15a)
  • Hukkataival, Woods Claim First and Second Ascents of Get Railed (V14)
  • REEL ROCK 10 Film Tour Lineup
  • Jain Kim, Gautier Supper Win Gold in Briançon, France
  • Karoline Sinnhuber Sends First V13, Charity Boulder, Silvretta
  • VIDEO: Sicilian Deep Water Soloing
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  • Conrad Anker, David Lama Put Up New Route on Temple of Sinewava
  • Barbara Zangerl Sends Bellavista (5.14a, 500m)
  • Mina Markovič, Ramón Julián Puigblanque Win Lead World Cup, Chamonix, France
  • Daniel Woods V15 FA Spray of Light, Rocklands
  • ​The Edge of Extinction - First Ascent of Nanga Parbat's Mazeno Ridge
  • Seb Bouin Establishes 5.15a at Pic Saint-Loup
  • UK/US Expedition Summits Unclimbed Himalayan Peak
  • Ueli Steck Reaches Halfway Point on 82 Summits Project
  • Dave Graham Claims FA of Hatchet Prow (V14), Rocklands
  • MOVES - How Many Climbs Can You Identify From Just One Move?
  • Jimmy Webb Makes Second Ascent of Livin Large (V15), Rocklands
  • Belay Ledge Disappears on Half Dome’s Regular Route
  • Giorgia Tesio, 14, Makes First Female Ascent of Chay (5.13d)
  • Dimitri Vogt, 18, Sends Cabane au Canada (5.14d)
  • Time-Lapse: Lightning Triggers Multiple Wildfires in Zion
  • Anthony Johnson Onsights Jihad - Third Ascent of “Terrifying” Vedauwoo Offwidth
  • Only Two Seats Left at the John Long Writing Symposium
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  • Climbing Access Victory – Michigan’s AAA Walls Re-Opened
  • ​First World Cup Victory for Petra Klingler - Haiyang, China
  • Grampians: Best Bouldering in the World or Overrated?
  • Stefano Ghisolfi Sends Sharma’s Biographie/Realization (5.15a)
  • Sean McColl, Akiyo Noguchi Win Bouldering World Cup, Chongqing, China
  • Ueli Steck, Michi Wohlleben: Eighty-two Summits in 80 days
  • The Beatnik of the Alps: A tale of FA's, Rescues, Love, and Suicide
  • Untouched Rock: Angie Eiter, Bernie Ruech Develop New Crag in Greece
  • Massive Rockfall in Yosemite's Tenaya Canyon
  • Hazel Findlay on Positivity, Being Bold and Staying Focused
  • Cameron Hörst, 14, Sends First 5.14b, Raubritter
  • Josh Ibbertson, 11, Sends Raindogs (5.13b)
  • Jonathan Siegrist: 5.14 First Ascent in the Flatirons, Colorado
  • Sasha DiGiulian Makes First Female Ascent of La Coccinelle Trump L'oeil (5.14), Verdon Gorge
  • Chris Sharma Free-Climbs California’s Redwoods
  • Stefano Ghisolfi Sends Hell'Avaro (5.14c/d)
  • For Sale: 10 Acres at Donner Summit
  • Roland Hemetzberger Repeats Ondra’s Fugu (5.14d)
  • Iranian Team Climbs First Ascent on Karambony Tower, Madagascar
  • Megan Mascarenas, Nathaniel Coleman on the Podium in Vail
  • Inside the Mind of Ethan Pringle – Climbing Jumbo Love (5.15b)
  • Sachi Amma - Second and Last Ascent of Tinipi (5.15a), Borneo Earthquake
  • Adam Ondra Flashes Jade (V14), Don’t Get Too Greedy (V13) after Vail WC
  • LIVE: 2015 IFSC Bouldering World Cup, Vail
  • Emily Harrington Sends Golden Gate (5.13) on El Capitan
  • VIDEO: Hazel Findlay - Giving El Cap's Pre-Muir (5.13+) a Try
  • GoPro Mountain Games Hosts Bouldering World Cup
  • Austrian Alpinists Summit Unclimbed Mt. Reaper in Alaska.
  • Adam Ondra Sends White Noise (V14/15), Flashes Bear Toss (V13)
  • Mateusz Haladaj Sends Sharma’s Papichulo (9a+/5.15a)
  • Anna Stöhr and Alban Levier Take Gold in Toronto
  • LIVE: IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 2015
  • Twenty-two Year Old Dies in Rappelling Accident on El Cap
  • Ramp Up Your Training with Fun
  • IFSC World Cup in Toronto May 30-31
  • Sébastian Bouin Claims Third Ascent of Chilam Balam (5.15b), Spain
  • Bouldering Competition to be Held in Memory of Tito Traversa
  • Only Two Spots Left in the John Long Writing Symposium!
  • VIDEO: Tommy Caldwell Cruises Ice-Covered Crack
  • Vasya Vorotnikov, Claire Bresnan Claim Bouldering Titles at Riverrock
  • Alex Puccio on Training, Bodyweight and Crowdfunding
  • Siegrist Sends Le Cadre Nouvelle (5.14d)–“Best climbing trip of my life”
  • Kev Shields – High Solace: Demons, Depression and Solo Climbing
  • VIDEO: Raw Power vs Flawless Technique
  • Germans Win Big at European Bouldering Championships
  • Ethan Pringle Sends Jumbo Love (5.15b) – Hardest Sport Climb in America
  • Dean Potter Killed in Wingsuit Accident in Yosemite
  • Solo Climber Found Dead on Denali
  • LIVE STREAM: European Bouldering Championships 2015 – Semi-finals
  • VIDEO: Gord McArthur - The Man Behind the Machine
  • Training Beta: How to Warm Up For Route Climbing
  • Logan Barber Frees The Firewall (5.13d)—Hardest Trad Line in China
  • Sherpa Future Fund and Account of the April 25 Everest Avalanche
  • A Second Earthquake and A Shorter Everest
  • Dai Koyamada Sends Three-Year “Super Project”
  • Chris Sharma Onsights Snuff Movies (8c/5.14b), Catalonia, Spain
  • Calling All Non-Sponsored Climbers
  • 2015 Ice Climbing Trip Report: Montana, Wyoming and Norway
  • Melloblocco 2015: World's Largest International Bouldering Festival
  • Dean Potter Sets New Half Dome FKT
  • Indian Creek, Cedar Mesa Under Threat by Utah Legislature
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  • Dani Arnold Breaks Ueli Steck’s Speed Record on the Matterhorn
  • Big Men: 5.15a First Ascent by Iker Pou, Spain
  • A Summitless Year for Everest? North Side Closed, Retreat from the South
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  • VIDEO: Chris Sharma Sends El Bon Combat (5.15b/c)
  • Angie Scarth-Johnson, 10, Climbs Her First 5.14b
  • VIDEO: Yvon Chouinard on the Today Show
  • VIDEO: Lynn Hill, Real Life Superhero
  • Sufferfest: Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright on Nat Geo Live
  • Angy Eiter Sends Era Vella (5.14d), Spain
  • VIDEO: Sasha DiGiulian on the Deep Bond Between Climbing Partners
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  • Geyikbayiri Saved: Climbers Stop Mining Operation at Turkey’s Largest Crag
  • Jacopo Larcher Gets Second Ascent of Helmutant (5.14d), Italy (With Video)
  • Carlo Traversi Bags Bad Girls Club (5.14d), Rifle, Colorado
  • Training Beta: Mark and Mike Anderson’s Guide to Hangboard Training
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  • Jakob Schubert Gets Second Ascent of Bügeleisen Sit, Austria’s First V15
  • 2015 Piolets d’Or Awards
  • Rub it Raw: Mike Anderson, Bryan Bird Free Five-Pitch 5.13 in Zion
  • Vikki Weldon Sends Los Humildes pa Casa (5.14a), Oliana, Spain
  • Q&A: Sonnie Trotter On Estado Critico (5.14d)
  • Alex Megos Downunder
  • Roads, Bridges Washed Out At Red River Gorge
  • Kai Lightner Sends His First 5.14d, Era Vella, Spain
  • Sonnie Trotter Sends Estado Critico (5.14d), Siurana, Spain
  • Ramón Julián Puigblanque: Two 5.14d's and Two 5.15a's in Four Days
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  • VIDEO: Dave MacLeod – Project Fear
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  • Dean Potter: When Dogs Fly
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  • Kai Lightner, Delaney Miller Win 2015 SCS National Championships
  • LIVE: 2015 SCS National Championships
  • Annapurna Claims Two More Lives
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  • Ashima Ticks Another Project in Spain
  • Jonathan Siegrist Sends La Rambla (5.15a)
  • Alex Megos: Japan Sendathon
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  • Ashima Shiraishi Climbs Possible 5.15a
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  • Golden Moment: Bill Ramsey Sends 5.14b at 54
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  • VIDEO: Alex Megos on Lucid Dreaming (V15)
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  • PHOTO GALLERY: Canadian Ice: By John Price
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  • LIVE STREAM: Climbing Works International Festival 2015
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  • PHOTO GALLERY: Women of Rock 3 in HD
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  • First Free-Solo of Chiaro di Luna (5.11a), Fitz Roy Massif, Patagonia
  • 2015 Rock and Ice Photo Camp Enrollment Now Open
  • Q&A: Ondra Sends Necessary Evil, Says Failures Are Reasons to Train
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  • New Winter Route on the Troll Wall, Romsdal, Norway
  • New Paltz Climbing Gym Burns Down
  • Hueco Tanks Public Use Plan Under Review
  • Kwon YoungHye Sends World's Hardest Mixed-Climbs In A Season
  • Everest: Reroute Through Khumbu Icefall for the 2015 Climbing Season
  • Sachi Amma Sends 5.15a on 4th Attempt, in Santa Linya, Spain
  • Royal Canadian Air Force Sgt. Missing After Ice Climbing Accident
  • Griffin Whiteside Sends The Big Island (V15) in Fontainebleau
  • Puccio and Woods Both Claim 9th ABS National Title
  • Colin Haley and Marc-André Leclerc Put Up New Routes in Patagonia
  • Sneak Peek: The Dawn Wall Issue Is On The Way!
  • Papert Claims Second Ascent of M12 Scarefest
  • Messner Capped the Hour at the AAC’s 2015 Annual Benefit Dinner
  • Sachi Amma Sends Sharma's Fight or Flight (5.15b) in Oliana, Spain
  • Climbing Guide Dies in Fall
  • VIDEO: Will Gadd Sends Niagara Falls
  • Will Gadd Climbs a Frozen Niagara Falls
  • SlabMaster: Klemen Bečan Onsights 5.14c in Spain (With Video)
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  • Nick Duttle Sends 5.14d Project in New Mexico
  • Nalle Hukkataival Cranks First Ascent of Kintsugi (V15)
  • Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson Appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
  • The Grand Experience: Superbowl XLIX to Host Rock Climbing Wall
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  • Q&A: Jason Kehl Proves that Hueco Tanks Is Far From Climbed Out
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  • The Film "Valley Uprising" is Now Available Here
  • The Dawn Wall Goes Down!
  • Guidebook Worth its Weight in Gold, Selling for $1,000
  • Dawn Wall Update: Jorgeson Catches Caldwell, Final Push Begins
  • Dawn Wall Update: Jorgeson Sends Dyno, Two Pitches Away from Wino Tower
  • Gadd Wins Ouray, Again
  • Dawn Wall Update: Jorgeson Sends Pitch 15!
  • Dawn Wall Update: Caldwell Sends Last 5.14 Pitch!
  • Sasha DiGiulian to Compete in Ouray Ice Fest
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  • Dawn Wall Update: Caldwell Sends Pitch 16!
  • Dawn Wall Update: Caldwell and Jorgeson Both Send Crux Pitch!
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  • Climber Dies From Fall in the Gunks
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  • Clif Bar's Response: A Letter to the Climbing Community
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    Video Spotlight
    Steph Davis Free Solos Jah Man, BASE Jumps From Summit
    Steph Davis Free Solos Jah Man, BASE Jumps From Summit

    Ethical Debate: Dave MacLeod's Routes Disputed

    13-Mar-2013
    By

    MacLeod on <em>White Noise</em>. Photo by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.jamiehageman.com/">Jamie Hageman</a> Two weeks ago, the Scottish climbing polymath Dave MacLeod claimed the first ascents of two winter climbs on Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands.

    MacLeod’s ascents included a traditionally protected system of roof cracks in the Cascades of Ben Nevis, graded M10+/11 and named White Noise. MacLeod’s second reported FA is an often-tried line on the Breneva Face of Ben Nevis’ North East Buttress dubbed The Snotter, which has been referred to as “the last great unclimbed icefall on Ben Nevis.” The Snotter took MacLeod two attempts and he gave the climb the Scottish grade of VIII, 8. “One of the best winter climbs I’ve done on the Ben,” wrote MacLeod of The Snotter.

    Almost immediately, however, notable sources began to question the validity of MacLeod’s ascents.

    “Both my ascents have been questioned,” MacLeod told Rock and Ice. “The Snotter for not being in condition, and White Noise for being not acceptable as a climb at all.”

    The “condition” MacLeod is referring to is “Scottish conditions”— a local ethic that involves waiting until the route is properly covered in snow and ice before climbing it.

    Simon Richardson, who runs the blog Scottishwinter.com, was quick to dispute The Snotter’s validity as a proper Scottish winter climb.

    “The technical crux of the route up overhanging cracks was climbed on dry sunny rock to reach five meters of vertical ice,” wrote Richardson. “The route was given a Scottish winter grade, but in my opinion it is not a Scottish winter route and I will not be recording it as such.”

    Richardson argues that The Snotter’s technical crux does in fact ice over during some days of the season and that the icefall also forms as well.

    MacLeod followed the dispute with his own blog post and argued, “I deliberately went on the route because the recent sunny conditions has been good for helping the grooves below the icicles become iced. In the 55-meter crux pitch, around 47 meters was climbed on water ice, with 6 meters crossing a grossly overhanging wall underneath the roof to get to the icicle.”

    MacLeod explains that because he waited for the proper icy conditions for some sections of the route, the overhanging wall was pretty dry. “My thinking was that this is par for the course for this type of route. The sun helps more ice form, but at the expense of the rime. My interpretation (which may be ‘wrong’ if such a judgment can truly be made) of Scottish winter conditions is that basically the route must be wintery in appearance. If it was nearly all dry mixed with a little ice, it would be outside that definition and I would have come back another time. But the reality was the pitch was nearly all ice with a short section of dry rock.”

    The gray area of Scottish winter climbing ethics is an interesting debate. Ian Parnell, another well-known U.K. climber also discredits The Snotter as a winter climb. He writes on his blog, “The ‘magic’ at the heart of Scottish winter climbing arises not just from this country’s great landscape, it’s challenging weather or it’s world class routes but largely from a universally adopted ethical approach. The key point being that routes should only be climbed in ‘true winter conditions.’”

    Parnell admits that this ethic is a fine line and perhaps the ethical code gets broken every season, however, his argument is that this time “the climber involved is the most influential climber in the U.K. and the flag bearer for Scottish climbing on the international stage.”

    Parnell also claims that MacLeod’s White Noise is unacceptable as a winter route. He explains that the route can be climbed any time of year. He writes, “Dry tool routes have a tenuous place in British climbing but surely not on our greatest mountain.”

    Parnell continues by writing, “If White Noise had been climbed in a quarry it would have been applauded, if it had been climbed in a quiet Glen on a low profile natural crag then it would have been silently ignored, but [doing it] right in front of every climber passing by the CIC hut is as provocative and inappropriate as any indiscretion I can think of in Scottish winter’s very colorful history.”

    One argument that Simon Richardson cites for upholding the ethics of Scottish winter climbing is that climbing in full “winter” conditions is more difficult. He writes, “What’s the big deal about Scottish winter ethics? Quite simply, climbing bare rock with axes and crampons is easier than climbing it when it has a wintry appearance.”

    This point seems debatable. However, MacLeod expressed his own opinion in an e-mail to Rock and Ice.

    “Sometimes the rock being hoared/iced makes it harder (by obscuring hooks and gear placements), sometimes it makes it easier (by making hooks better),” wrote MacLeod. “Most of the time it doesn’t make a vast difference but I’m sure people would argue on that one.”

    MacLeod also expresses his opinion regarding White Noise explaining that the roof of the route would never become white with snow and ice. Though MacLeod claims to “be the wrong man” to define Scottish winter conditions, he did his best to explain the ethical code.

    “For the easier routes, which are vertical or less it’s not that much of an issue, we just wait until they get white,” he writes. “But to climb the super steep stuff, it means that some roofs become effectively off limits. It could be argued that if you wait patiently, they will eventually get white for a day in exceptionally snowy conditions. That’s easy to say if it’s not you doing the waiting.”

    MacLeod has chosen to take down his blog post featuring the two routes, however, and suggests in a follow-up post that people should forget about them. But adds, “They still exist of course, in my memory as great days and two of the most fun climbs I’ve done in a while. Nothing more ultimately matters. Anyone else is welcome to climb them as first ascents if they feel those ascents are more worthy.”

    Simon Richardson has also announced that he too will take down his initial blog post regarding the matter writing, “Dave has responded with dignity to the challenge around The Snotter. He recommends that people forget about it. I will do the same, and delete this, and the original post, in a few days time.”

    Though this particular dispute seems to have been amicably resolved, what do you think of the rule? Should an ascent only be counted if it’s completed in “Scottish conditions?” For that matter, do winter conditions always make a route more difficult, or are there times when a coating of snow and ice actually reduce the difficulty? Is Scotland the only country that practices this ethical code? Feel free to comment below…

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