• Reinhold Messner: What I've Learned
  • Listening for the Echo: The Klem Loskot Profile
  • Layton Kor Dies
  • Climbers We Lost In 2012
  • Life on Hold: The Ian Powell Story
  • Rope Jumping with Dan Osman
  • Mike Foley: Never Enough
  • Hayden Kennedy: Superballistic
  • Naomi Guy: What I've Learned
  • Dave Macleod: What I've Learned
  • Thomas Bubendorfer: Eiger Legend Back in the Game
  • Q&A: V15 Maestro Nacho Sanchez Unleashed
  • Francesca Metcalf: Meant to Compete
  • Maurice Herzog Dies
  • Kurt Albert: Free Wheel
  • Mason Earle: Crack Ropegun
  • Mayan Smith-Gobat: Climber for all Seasons
  • John Long: What I've Learned
  • Nik Berry: Obsessive Crusher
  • TNB: Tony Scott, Climber, Movie Maker, Lived and Died Large
  • Who's Next?
  • Todd Skinner: The Renegade
  • Tom Patey: The Tiger of Yesterday
  • Patxi Usobiaga: The Bionic Man
  • Michael Reardon
  • Max Turgeon and Louis-Philippe Ménard: Alpinists and Ice Climbers
  • Kurt Albert: The Climber Who Invented Redpointing
  • Josh Wharton: The Alpinist
  • John Rosholt: Climber and Gambler Disappears in Las Vegas
  • The Stonemasters Climb at Pirates Cove
  • John Bachar's Last Interview
  • John Bachar Remembers Michael Reardon
  • John Bachar by Henry Barber
  • John Bachar Remembered by Duane Raleigh
  • John Bachar by Doug Robinson
  • John Bachar and the Bachar-Yerian First Ascent
  • Colin Kirkus: Climbing's Greatest Unknown
  • Alex Puccio
  • John Long: A Man for All Seasons
  • Galen Rowell: The Vertical World
  • The Prophet
  • The Guy Whose Nuts Revolutionized Climbing: R.P.
  • Randy Leavitt
  • Brian Kim Spotlight
  • Rob Raker
  • Ueli Steck
  • Kemple and Lindner Almost Free El Nino
  • Crack Attack
  • Climbing World Mourns Todd Skinner
  • Ammon McKneely
  • A Tour of Magic and Mystery
  • Tanja Grmovsek
  • Rob Miller
  • Climber Hugh Herr Honored by Esquire Magazine
  • Climber Eric Brand Dies
  • Chuck Fryberger, Climber and Filmmaker
  • Chris Schulte Profile
  • Beth Rodden
  • Joe Kinder
  • Hazel Findlay
  • To the BASE Layer
  • Pete Ward
  • Mad Max
  • Chris Boskoff
  • Bradford Washburn
  • Revenge of the Nerd
  • Chris Lindner
  • Renan Ozturk
  • One-Track Mind
  • Tim Clifford: Escaping the Quantum Hole
  • Traveling Light
  • Colette McInerney
  • The Banner Years
  • Pakistan: The Big and Free
  • MAD DASH
  • Kris Hampton
  • KEEPING THE FAITH
  • Jules Cho
  • Extreme Eleven and Beyond
  • Bob Bates, 96, Takes His Final Journey
  • Jody Hansen
  • Home Girl
  • An Encounter with Fred
  • The Average Hero Sir Edmund Hillary, 88
  • More Than One Trick
  • Dave Graham
  • Red River Sugar Mama
  • Phillip Schaal
  • An Advanced Beginner
  • The Last Samurai:
  • THE BERMANATOR
  • Sonnie in Scotland
  • Offwidth Hombre
  • Moonlight Solo-Nata
  • Jasmin Caton
  • Crag Clown
  • Unlikely Candidate
  • Lone Star
  • The Calculator: Alex Kordick
  • Rise of the Machines
  • Dave Waggoner 1955-2009
  • Blood Spider
  • The Original Desert Rat: Kyle Copeland | 51
  • J-Star
  • Italian Legend: Lino lacedelli | 83
  • Cold Justice Paul Cormier
  • The Suffer King
  • The Need for Speed
  • Nick Martino Gives All
  • G-Money
  • Climbing Out of Academic Trouble
  • Charles Houston, 96
  • Bobby Model, 36
  • "Open Bivy" Willy
  • To the Rescue
  • The Genius
  • The Gamer
  • Shock Rock
  • Ryan Triplett | 31
  • John Bachar and the Cosmic Surfboard
  • Hand Crafted
  • Return of the Verm
  • Amped
  • Regime Change
  • Man vs. Snake
  • Living Legend
  • Layton Kor honored by AAC
  • Cold Justice
  • Cowboy Anguish
  • The Rock Jester
  • Mixed Rehab
  • Laura Fletcher
  • Bill Stall
  • Benjamin Strohmeier
  • Joe Six-Pack
  • Freedom Path
  • Manboy
  • Up and Down
  • The Duelist
  • A for Achiever
  • Paul A. Duval
  • Kelly S. Bell
  • Close But No Cigar
  • Video Spotlight
    The Story of Two Worlds Dai Koyamada V16 Sit Start
    The Story of Two Worlds Dai Koyamada V16 Sit Start

    Nick Martino Gives All

    02-Feb-2010
    By

    On the night of June 4, Nick Martino found out that Micah Dash, Jonny Copp and Wade Johnson had failed to catch a plane home from an expedition to China’s Mount Edgar. He and Eric DeCaria immediately planned to travel there in hopes of a rescue. They learned at 2 a.m. on June 6 that they were booked; they packed in 45 minutes, and boarded a 6 a.m. flight.

    A day later he and DeCaria landed in Chengdu, drove eight hours to Moxi, and met with Chinese government officials. They identified photos that Chinese rescuers had taken of Copp’s body. With two other Americans, Pete Takeda and Steve Su, as well as Chinese climbers, they recovered Copp’s and Johnson’s bodies and searched in vain for Dash. The 3,000-foot gullies above them flushed rockfall and avalanches daily, forcing an end to the search.

    “By the immensity of the avalanche, we could tell that they didn’t suffer,” says Martino, 29. “We brought back the reality of what happened, provided some closure for people. They spent their last days in a magical place–like a Chinese painting of jungly towers against the Himalaya.” Dash was one of Martino’s best friends for almost a decade. Says DeCaria, “Nick has such a good heart. He’s willing to do anything for people. He was good at dealing, communicating, and making things happen when we were in China.”

    A Kansas native, Martino had an adventurous start to his climbing career. At 19, he was working in a Kansas City robot factory, stocking and testing the SP 200, an automated pharmaceutical dispensing robot, when he first tried climbing at a local gym. Three months later, he sold everything he owned, drove to Yosemite, and jumped on the Nose (VI 5.10 C2) of El Capitan with his gym friends. Martino led the first four pitches in a storm, ice chunks falling from the cliff top. When his partners bailed from Dolt Tower, 10 pitches up, Martino joined another team of beginners. Eight days later he topped out—hooked.

    “I grew up on El Cap,” he says today. “I learned how I react, and what I’m made of.”

    A year after arriving in Yosemite, he did the Nose in a day. In 2003, his third year of climbing, he linked the Nose and Half Dome, over 50 pitches, in the relatively fast time of 19 hours 20 minutes.

    In 2004 he, Renan Ozturk and Cedar Wright completed two first free ascents on the Bugaboos’ South Howser Minaret: Southwest Pillar (V 5.12 R) and Italian Pillar (V 5.11d). In 2007 Martino led every pitch on Free Rider (VI 5.12d). He spent most of 2008 climbing in Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and South Africa.

    This past winter he sent the Boulder-area testpieces Musta’ Been High (5.13c R) and Five-Year Plan (5.13+). This spring he stepped it up in Indian Creek by working the still-ungraded 60-foot Kansas City Special on the 4x4 Wall. “It doesn’t have much crack climbing,” he says of the route, describing serious runouts and an all-points-off sideways dyno to a sloper on an arête over 000 C3’s placed blind.

    “Every time I climb with Nick is memorable,” DeCaria says. “He’s a charming character, is tenacious, and has amazing drive. He’s also naturally gifted, and isn’t climbing for anyone but himself. Whether you’re a total gumby, or the best climber in the world, Nick treats you the same.”

    ==

    WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GO TO CHINA?

    I didn’t even have to think about it. As soon as we heard they were missing, Eric and I gave the State Department our visas, so they could be expedited.

    WHAT WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MICAH, JONNY AND WADE?

    Micah was like a brother. He talked me into going to college, e-mailed me financial-aid applications and called me every day. He said he was going to buy me a book every semester, and that’s pretty much why I jumped on the plane to go find his ass.

    DID IT GIVE YOU ANY CLOSURE?

    Even though I found Micah’s broken helmet in the biggest debris pile I’ve ever seen, I never had time for it to be real that Micah was gone until I spent a day with his mom.

    HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT STARTING SCHOOL IN THE FALL?

    I was on the road nine years, and now I’m committing to being in school and studying. I’m gripped, but Micah convinced me it’s better than working construction. I think I’d like to be a high-school teacher.

    TELL US ABOUT KANSAS CITY SPECIAL, IN INDIAN CREEK.

    Wrapping my mind around the dyno was hard, trusting microcams in desert stone. I got stuck in one-hang-landia. Then heat and lack of a partner forced me out until fall.

    WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE CHINESE?

    The Chinese were incredibly helpful, providing us with a ton of resources.

    HOW DID YOU COORDINATE THE LOGISTICS?

    The guys from Sender Films and Adventure Film worked around the clock, buying plane tickets, e-mailing us, and talking to the government. We were just the dudes on the ground.

    WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM CLIMBING?

    How to gauge what I’m capable of, which translates to the rest of my life. I used to skateboard, and I always tried the same trick wrong and never got it. Climbing taught me to figure out what I don’t know how to do, and kept me humble. It’s taught me how to live simply, so I can focus on the important things in my life: relationships and experiences.

    Reader's Commentary:

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

    Add Your Comments to this article:
    Hello