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  • Daniel Woods Climbs Black 90 Project at V16
  • Marc-André Leclerc Solos Patagonia’s Torre Egger in Winter
  • Matty Hong Repeats Fat Camp (5.14d) in Rifle, Colorado
  • Banff Mountain Book Competition Announces 2016 Finalists
  • Remembering Kim Schmitz, by John Roskelley
  • Ondra Seizes Lead Championship, American Women Climb High
  • Roger Schaeli Makes Second Ascent of La Vida es Silbar, Eiger North Face
  • Ines Papert Makes Rare Ascent of Alpine Testpiece Scaramouche (5.13b/c)
  • Rob Collister: Gletscherhorn North Face, Swiss Alps
  • 2016 IFSC Climbing World Championships
  • VIDEO: Ryuichi Murai Sends Three V15’s In A Month
  • Ashima Shiraishi on Horizon (V15), Sleepy Rave (V15) & “Young Guns”
  • VIDEO: Chris Sharma Trains With Patxi Usobiaga For ‘Le Blond’ Project
  • Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2016 Shortlist
  • VIDEO: Dave Graham Sends Monkey Wedding (V15), Rocklands
  • Search Called Off for Missing Pair in Pakistan
  • (Updated) Weather to Break, Helicopters Expected to Fly in Search for Adamson and Dempster in Karakorum
  • ​Tommy Caldwell Free Climbs Mount Hooker in a Day Car to Car
  • Ask the Master: Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide
  • Domen Skofic, Magdalena Röck Victorious at Imst Lead World Cup
  • Alex Megos Flashes The Path (5.14 R) On Gear, Talks Fightclub (5.15b)
  • Coxsey, Narasaki Overall 2016 Bouldering World Cup Champions
  • Dave Graham Sends Old Nemesis, Monkey Wedding (V15)
  • Alex Megos Establishes Fightclub – Canada’s First 5.15
  • Margo Hayes, 18, Breaks the “Boys Club” of Bad Girls Club (5.14d)
  • Jon Cardwell Finishes Fat Camp (5.14d), Rifle First Ascent
  • VIDEO: Man Attempts to Climb Trump Tower, Gets Nabbed
  • Jan Hojer, Michaela Kiersch Win 2016 Psicobloc Masters, Park City
  • Miranda Oakley Breaks Women’s Solo Speed Record on the Nose
  • REEL ROCK 11 Film Tour Lineup
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  • Sean Bailey, 20, Clips Chains on Biographie/Realization (5.15a)
  • LIVE: 2016 Psicobloc Masters
  • Ashima Tops Second V15, Sleepy Rave, Grampians, Australia
  • Tokyo 2020 Olympics Officially Approves Climbing
  • A Win for Tennessee Climbing: Denny Cove Protected
  • Megos Crushes Canada: Seven 5.14b’s in Four Days
  • Toshi Takeuchi, Shawn Raboutou Smash Spray of Light (V15)
  • Drew Ruana, 16, Sends Le Cadre Nouvelle (5.14d) in Céüse
  • VIDEO: Melissa Le Nevé on Training, Comps and Outdoor Projects
  • Dave Di Paolo, Carderock Hammer Killer, Sentenced to 10 Years
  • Climbers Spook Gunman, Allowing Hostages to Flee on Independence Pass
  • Adam Ondra Cranks 5.15a FA in Three Attempts, Onsights Two 5.14c's
  • VIDEO: Alex Megos Sends Ben Moon’s Infamous Hubble (5.14c)
  • Nalle Hukkataival, Vadim Timonov Send Monkey Wedding (V15)
  • Gary Falk, IFMGA Guide, Falls to Death on Grand Teton
  • Janja Garnbret Dominates Lead World Cup, Again
  • Sherpas on Denali: First Nepalese Ascent of the West Rib
  • Mich Kemeter Frees 14-Pitch Voie Petit (8b 5.13d) on Grand Capucin
  • Paul Robinson - South African Boulder Fiend and Visionary
  • Nalle Hukkataival Repeats The Dragon’s Guardian (~V15), South Africa
  • Sean McColl, Janja Garnbret Take Gold At 2016 Villars World Cup
  • Margo Hayes, Brian Huang Win USA Climbing Junior Sport Nationals
  • Seb Bouin Repeats Thor’s Hammer (~5.15a), Suggests Downgrade
  • Inspect Your DMM Climbing Harness
  • Slovenians Victorious at First Lead World Cup of Season
  • LIVE: IFSC Lead Climbing World Cup - Chamonix, France 2016 - Finals
  • Ashima Shiraishi Injured in 45-Foot Ground Fall
  • Weekend Whipper: Climbers vs. Trees
  • Adam Ondra Establishes The Right of Passage (5.14d), Flatanger
  • Sachi Amma Repeats Thor's Hammer (9a+ 5.15a)
  • Paul Robinson Establishes The Dragon’s Guardian (V15), South Africa
  • Three El Cap Routes in a Day for Brad Gobright and Scott Bennett
  • Q&A: Martin Keller, 39, Sends 13-Year Project Highlander (8C V15)
  • American Alpine Club Announces 2016 Craggin’ Classics
  • The Battle for Indian Creek: Bears Ears, Rob Bishop & the Access Fund
  • Climb Safe: Carabiner Off-Axis and Tri/Quad-Axial Loading
  • Jon Cardwell's Biographie (9a+ 5.15a) Training and Projecting Advice
  • Dave Graham Makes Third Ascent of Delirium (V15)
  • Caroline Gleich, World-Famous Ski Mountaineer, is a Trad Addict
  • Virtual Reality: Watch Alex Honnold Solo the Needles in 360-degrees
  • Bouldering Access is Back in Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland
  • Adam Ondra Makes First Ascent of 120 Degrees (5.15a), Flatanger
  • VIDEO: Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll Loves Pain and Dirty, Wet Cracks
  • Klemen Bečan Sends Papichulo (5.15a), Disappointed With Ease
  • Margo Hayes, 18, Sends The Crew (5.14c) in Rifle
  • President Obama Takes Over Yosemite
  • Rustam Gelmanov Makes Second Ascent of Hypnotized Minds (V16)
  • RIP Ken Wilson: Editor of Mountain Magazine, Rabble-Rouser
  • Lena Herrmann, 22, Climbs 5.14c in the Frankenjura
  • The Desert – Excerpt from “American Climber” by Luke Mehall
  • Heather Weidner Sends China Doll (5.14a R) on Gear
  • INTERVIEW: USA Boulderers On the IFSC World Cup in Vail
  • Stefano Carnati Sends Action Directe (5.14d), Frankenjura
  • RIP: Nicholas Clinch, 85, Led Only American First Ascent of an 8000er
  • Jonathan Siegrist's Mission to Rediscover Switzerland's World-Class Sport Climbing
  • Megan Mascarenas Dominates 2016 Vail Bouldering World Cup
  • LIVE: IFSC Bouldering World Cup, Vail 2016 (Finals)
  • LIVE: IFSC Bouldering World Cup, Vail 2016 (Semi-Finals)
  • Mélissa Le Nevé, a Top-Three Boulderer at Vail World Cup, Talks Rock
  • VIDEO: Pump Control and Efficient Resting for Climbing
  • Virginia Sandstone Crag Opened to Climbing
  • Bouldering World Cup Comes to Vail, Colorado This Weekend
  • Alex Megos Sends Hubble (8c+), Northern Lights (9a)
  • INTERVIEW: Melissa Arnot on Climbing Everest Without Supplemental Oxygen
  • Dai Koyamada Establishes Nehanna (V14/15) in Japan
  • VIDEO: Daniel Woods on the Elusive V17 Bouldering Grade
  • VIDEO: Adam Ondra Makes Second Ascent of Geocache (9a+/5.15a)
  • Q&A: Jon Cardwell On Climbing Biographie/Realization (9a+/5.15a)
  • Adam Ondra Repeats Geocache (9a+/5.15a) in a Day
  • American Melissa Arnot Claims Mount Everest Record
  • Jon Cardwell Sends Biographie/Realization (5.15a)
  • Coxsey, Chon Win Innsbruck Bouldering World Cup
  • Nathaniel Coleman, Brooke Raboutou Win 2016 Riverrock Boulder Bash
  • Zimmerman, Wright Establish New Route in Alaska’s St. Elias Range
  • Three Dead, Two Missing and Hundreds Summit on Everest
  • Robbie Phillips and Jacob Cook Free El Cap’s 30-Pitch El Niño
  • VIDEO: Chris Sharma On His Santa Linya Project
  • Climbing and Mentorship Come Together at City Rocks
  • Japan Triumphs at Bouldering World Cup in Navi Mumbai
  • Silvio Reffo Sends Goldrake (5.15a), Cornalba, Italy
  • The Wizard - Dean Potter
  • The Great Unknown - Graham Hunt
  • Dean Potter: What I've Learned
  • VIDEO: Alex Megos Sends First Round, First Minute (5.15b)
  • Ofer Blutrich Sends Mind Control - First Israeli to Climb 5.14c
  • INTERVIEW: Sonnie Trotter on Freeing "The Prow," 5.14a Multi-pitch
  • Valley Walls: A Memoir of Climbing and Living in Yosemite
  • Block and Wall: Buildering and Raving in Trento, Italy
  • VIDEO: Adam Ondra Attempts The World's First 5.15a Flash
  • VIDEO: The Width of Life - Tribute to Dave Pegg, Colorado Climbing Legend
  • William Bosi, 17, Climbs Rainshadow (5.14d), Malham Cove
  • Shauna Coxsey Triumphs, Tomoa Narasaki Shocks at Chongqing World Cup
  • Alex Lowe's and David Bridges' Remains Found on Shishapangma
  • Mark Cole, Longtime Leader in SE Climbing, Passes at 58
  • The Greatest Boulderer You’ve Never Heard Of: Ryuichi Murai's on Fire
  • Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation's Khumbu Climbing Center Almost Complete
  • Climbers Remember Nepal on Anniversary of Earthquake
  • Shauna Coxsey Dominates at Kazo World Cup
  • VIDEO: Epic Climber - Sharma, Ondra, Digiulian, and Marin in Spain
  • Adam Ondra On Climbing In The Olympics
  • Crack School with Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker (Video Series)
  • Mary Harlan: Heartiness, Suffering and The Zion Link-Up
  • Chuck Pratt's "The View From Dead Horse Point"
  • VIDEO: Ethan Pringle Sends Meadowlark Lemon (V14), Red Rock
  • Megan Mascarenas Places Third At Meiringen Bouldering World Cup
  • VIDEO: Slow Details - 2016 Meiringen Bouldering World Cup
  • Tyler Armstrong, 12, Denied Permit to Climb Mount Everest
  • Drew Ruana Sends Five 5.14s, Onsights Four 5.13s at the RRG
  • Ryuichi Murai Sends Hydrangea (V15), His Third V15 in a Month
  • Roland Hemetzberger Frees 22-Year-Old Project, Outro (5.15a)
  • Everest's Icefall Doctors Establish 2016 Route Through Khumbu Icefall
  • Black Diamond Recalls Camalots/Camalot Ultralights, Ascenders and Via Ferratas
  • Glen Dawson, Sierra Nevada Climbing Pioneer, Dies at 103
  • Jim Curran, British Climber and Author of "K2, The Story of The Savage Mountain," Dies
  • Stefano Ghisolfi Sends Adam Ondra’s Goldrake (5.15a)
  • John Long Writing Symposium Accepting 2016 Applications
  • Access Fund 2016 Climbing Preservation Grants
  • Michaela Kiersch Sends Pure Imagination (5.14c)
  • Five New Mixed Routes in Pilot Creek, Wyoming
  • Allen Frame Hill, Climber-Filmmaker, Found Dead at Home
  • VIDEO: Profondo Sud - Bouldering in Basilicata, Italy
  • Ryan Vachon Makes Second Ascent of Saphira (M15-)
  • Adam Ondra Claims 5.15a/b and 5.14d First Ascents in One Weekend
  • Brooke Raboutou, Dru Mack Send Southern Smoke (5.14c) at the RRG
  • Durango Climbers Linkup Six Fisher Towers in Under 24 Hours
  • Margo Hayes Sends Pure Imagination (5.14c) at the Red River Gorge
  • VIDEO: Edu Marin Discovers His Limits On Alex Huber's Sansara (8b+/5.14a)
  • Matty Hong Sends Papichulo (5.15a) in Oliana, Spain
  • 2016 Piolets d’Or Award Recipients Announced
  • Jon Cardwell Sends Shadow Boxing (5.14d), Flashes Waka Flocka (5.14b)
  • Interview: Klemen Bečan on the First Ascent of Joe Mama (5.15a)
  • Ashima Shiraishi Sends V15!
  • Stefano Carnati, 17, Makes Quick Work of Goldrake (5.15a) in Italy
  • Margo Hayes, Sean Bailey Win USA Sport Open National Championships
  • Big Crowds, Big Money: Climbers Bring $3.6 Million to the RRG
  • Ethan Pringle and La Reina Mora – The Full Story
  • V15 Send Train by Adam Ondra, Sachi Amma and Jongwon Chon
  • The Bold and Cold: A History of 25 Classic Climbs in the Canadian Rockies
  • The 2015 Sharp End Awards from the Access Fund
  • Alex Puccio on Grade Chasing and Climbing Media
  • Magnus Midtbø Makes Fourth Ascent of Seleccion Anal (9a+/5.15a)
  • Daniel Woods Sends Papichulo (5.15a) in Oliana, Spain
  • Legendary Climber Cal Swoager Dies at 66
  • Klemen Bečan Puts Up New 5.15a in Oliana, Spain
  • Mayan Smith-Gobat and Ines Papert Repeat Riders on the Storm, Patagonia
  • Interview: Marc-Andre Leclerc Solos Three Routes on Stanley Headwall
  • Gaetan Raymond Repeats World's Hardest Dry Tooling Route
  • Nacho Sánchez Sends Catalán Witness the Fitness (V15)
  • First Winter Ascent of Nanga Parbat
  • The Final Frontier – Rumney, NH Land Purchase
  • Scott Cosgrove, Bold Yosemite Climber, Passes Away
  • Highlights from the 2016 Ice Climbing World Youth Championship
  • Climb Safe: Rethinking the Double-Loop Bowline
  • Felipe Camargo Repeats Catalán Witness the Fitness (V15)
  • Adam Ondra Repeats Sharma’s Stoking the Fire (5.15b)
  • Lucie Hrozová Establishes Hardest Mixed Climb in U.S.
  • ​Snowball Fight on K2: Interview with Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita
  • Drew Ruana, 16, Establishes Smith Rock’s Hardest Route
  • Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita Named Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year
  • Climb Safe: Common Belay Screw-ups and What To Do About Them
  • Jimmy Webb, Charles Albert Repeat Fontainebleau's “Hardest Climb”
  • Alex Puccio, Jakob Schubert Win 2016 Hueco Rock Rodeo
  • Climbing Anchors and the Evolution of the Quad
  • Tom Ballard Establishes World’s Hardest Dry Tooling Route
  • 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
  • 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
  • Alex Megos Sends First Round, First Minute (5.15b) and More
  • 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
  • North Carolina Climber Dies in 50-foot Fall
  • 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
  • Lost in Mozambique – First Ascent on Mt. Namuli
  • 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
  • Edu Marin Redpoints Chilam Balam (5.15b)
  • Martin Stráník Sends Story of Two Worlds (V15)
  • Top 10 Climbing Videos of 2015
  • A Step Too Far - The Tragic First Ascent of Kuksar
  • 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
  • Q&A: The Willpower of Mar Álvarez
  • Q&A: Ethan Pringle on Thor's Hammer (5.15a)
  • Tufas in Paradise – Angy Eiter Puts Up New 5.14s in Greece
  • Yosemite Facelift - Finding Beauty Behind the Trash
  • Novice Climbers Could Be Banned from Everest to “Maintain the Glory”
  • Daniel Woods Smashes Thor's Hammer (5.15a)
  • Sport Climbing Makes Shortlist for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • Kim, Škofic Climb the Podium in Puurs
  • Trail Runner Now Hiring
  • Schaeli, Jasper, Gietl Establish Odyssee (5.13c) on the Eiger
  • VIDEO: Brette Harrington - Free Solo of Chiaro di Luna (5.11a)
  • Banff Mountain Book Competition Announces 2015 Finalists
  • A Youth Wasted Climbing
  • Toru Nakajima Sends Paint It Black (V15) in RMNP
  • Q&A: Jesse Grupper – Youth World Championships Silver Medalist
  • Everest ’96 – Unheard Voices of the 1996 Disaster
  • Paige Claassen Sends The Bleeding, Discusses First Female Ascents
  • Nalle Hukkataival Puts Up New V15 – The Stepping Stone
  • Sachi Amma Redpoints Jungle Boogie, 5.15a
  • Nina Caprez and Barbara Zangerl Redpoint 1,400-foot Rätikon 5.14
  • Bouldering Bub - Isaac Caldiero
  • REEL ROCK 10 - Interview with Filmmaker Peter Mortimer
  • Jonathan Siegrist Establishes New 5.14+ in the Fins
  • IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE: DMM Carabiner Recall
  • Climber Dies in Fall on Crestone Needle, CO
  • Alex Honnold Talks REEL ROCK 10
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  • The Dawn of Urban Big Wall Speed Climbing
  • She Goes! - Half Dome’s Regular Route Climbed After Rockfall
  • Spotlight: Alexander Ruchkin - Russian Locomotive
  • Climbing Beta: Rocktown, Georgia
  • Tex Bossier, Golden Age Climber, Dies in France
  • 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
  • Americans Claim Two Karakoram First Ascents
  • VIDEO: How To Climb 5.14d and Hold A Job
  • Scottish Team Climbs Paciencia on the Eiger North Face
  • USA Girls Rise Up in Arco's IFSC Bouldering Youth and Junior World Championships
  • Rocklands – How Far Are You
  • Seb Bouin Claims First Ascent in Verdon Gorge
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  • 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
  • Roskelleys Climb NE Buttress of Mount Slesse
  • Climb Safe: How to Extend a Rappel
  • 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
  • How To Make Your Own Clip Stick - Tips from Jonathan Siegrist
  • Sasha DiGiulian, Carlo Traversi Go for Eiger Summit Push Tomorrow
  • Jonathan Hörst, 12, Sends Two 5.14’s
  • Best New Climbing Gear of 2016
  • Stanhope, Segal Free Bugaboos' Tom Egan Memorial Route at 5.14
  • 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
  • 82 and Done – Ueli Steck Completes Alps Mission in 61 Days
  • Lightning Halts Psicobloc, Jimmy Webb and Charlotte Durif Take Gold
  • Potrero Chico First Ascentionist “Magic” Ed Wright Dies
  • 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
  • Czech Up - Adam Ondra Climbs A Sparsely Bolted Sandstone Arête
  • British Team Makes First Ascent of The Mirror Wall, Greenland
  • Keep 'er Wild - Leave No Trace Tips for Rock Climbers
  • New Route and Deaths on Annapurna - World's Deadliest Mountain
  • 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
  • Alex Johnson - The Pro Life and Growing Up as a Climber
  • 32-Year-Old Dutch Mountaineer Dies in Fall on Mount Blanc Massif
  • 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)
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  • REEL ROCK 10 Film Tour Lineup
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  • VIDEO: Sicilian Deep Water Soloing
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  • 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
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    A Close Encounter With Dean Potter

    14-Dec-2012
    By

    Art by Jeremy Collins.Did I tell you about the time I hung from the lip of the overhang,  pumped, looking down at the strewn blocks far below, calmly waiting for  death to take me into its bosom? Can’t be bothered. Or the time I was  marched away at the point of a Kalashinikov in the remote Central Asian  uplands by “soldiers” wearing Adidas shoes and “Enjoy Coca-Cola”  T-shirts? Why bother. You’ll have heard one just like it, I’m sure. Or  the time I was liebacking the 30-ton obelisk of granite on that  forgotten island off Greenland and the entire thing started coming  toward me. Oh, not that one again 

    The big stories are often too big. Bloated carcasses of derring-do pumped full of the gas of bravado, lifeless in the putrid water. The pressure of intestinal gasses farting out the same yarns time and time again.

    “And then I ... And then I ...”

    Let’s face it, if you’ve climbed long enough to have gone through your first block of chalk then you’ve heard all these stories and you’ll know how they work out. They’re too fat to have any truth or magic left in them.

    They are dead behind the eyes. Good night.

    But the little stories, they are a different matter. Stories that at the time you hardly noticed but years later you reflect on, seeing small signs in them that pointed in the most curious directions. That gave you insights into other people, other ways, that perhaps might shine a light into your own life.

    Kevin was the perfect partner inasmuch as he was desperate enough to climb with just about anyone, as was I. I had been set adrift in Zion. Chance in a million, the coffee-shop owner replied to my inquiry that there had indeed been someone hanging around who was looking for a partner. Kevin appeared some time later and, his cut-off denim shorts notwithstanding, I asked if he would want to form a rope. He did. Result.

    Through Touchstone Wall, Iron Messiah and Moonlight Buttress (with a rope, and aided, just so you can rank us in the grand scheme of things and relax into the story), we became friendly, and in the end I joined Kevin and his pickup truck to go on the road. Weeks of fantastic sandstone followed. From Zion we headed toward the Canyonlands, Fisher Towers and Indian Creek. I can’t recall the details of what we did but there was definitely something involving a parallel-sided crack. The town of Moab was the center of our travels.

    Sometimes we treated ourselves to a night in a hostel, and frequently we punished ourselves with one-dollar hamburgers from McDonald’s.

    Sometimes on slack mornings Kevin and I would make our way to a particular coffee shop on the south side of town that was the hangout for the local climbing scene. At least that’s how it appeared. It may just have been a congregation of badly dressed men without jobs who owned trucks, but every now and again a rope would appear from the back of a vehicle or a crux would be mimed. We went there neither for the coffee nor to rendezvous, more just to be there. For despite the fact that Kevin and I enjoyed each other’s company, something about the wide desert left us, both social and chatty types, with a hankering for more conversation every now and again.

    We seldom found it. We would arrive at the coffee shop just as trucks were leaving, irrespective of what time we actually got there. If we coincided with some of the climber-style people, we failed to join great interactions. We often sat consciously on a table slightly within their personal space and tried to make eye contact. We were generally ignored. Not that I blamed them, however. Kevin was still in his denim shorts and I had a very tourist tan, my white Celtic skin reddened on one side of my head and my big sunburned nose peeling. In my desperate need to shade my skull from the sun I had taken to wearing one of those hats that pedophiles wear. We both wore office-worker-style glasses. I wouldn’t have spoken to us either.

    One morning we must have mistimed it completely because the parking lot was filled with people, girls included. We found a spot, parked and tried to mingle. I joined the queue while Kevin went to the bathroom and I came out with two coffees. Kevin appeared from within, took his coffee and we both relaxed in the shade of the shop to observe the crowd.

    “Shit me!” Kevin said, springing out of his slouch into an upright alertness. “It’s Dean Potter.”

    A truck that had been in front of us moved off and there, revealed, was indeed Dean Potter. One of the jokes Kevin and I shared was pretending that we were into spotting climbing celebs, and we would make up over-the-top stories of what we would do to meet them. Classically, it was funny because it was true. I did indeed know who was who in the climbing world and the vast collection of climbing mags that Kevin toted around in his truck identified him as a true train spotter.

    I had seen Dean Potter in the mags and on videos and he seemed like a true ancient spirit. I loved the whole thing he had about being the bird and how different he was from all the other climbers. I thought he was great, still do. He was obviously hot property here, for he stood ridiculously tall in the center of a small group arranged around him protectively. He was like a big scruffy lighthouse with wave upon wave of hangers-on breaking onto his rocks. We were psyched.

    We waited around for some time, conspiring strategies for approaching him, all the while drinking more and more coffee in our rising excitement. Eventually the backed-up caffeine imploded onto my intestines and I excused myself to go to the bathroom. After a rapid evacuation, I was on the brink of leaving the cubicle when I heard the main door of the bathroom open. I don’t like meeting people in that space so I sat down again momentarily to allow him to himself but the door to the cubicle beside me opened and the person came in. I looked down and in the gap under the partition I could see an enormous left foot: bare, tanned and streaked with street dirt. I recognized it. It was Dean Potter’s foot. Dean was in the cubicle beside me.

    Was this my chance? Should I wait till he was finished and deliberately open the door at the same time, and swan into a fulfilling conversation about the desert towers I had already done? No, this space was no place for conversation. Perhaps I could just speak to him from here, call under the partition and ask him about BASE jumping or slacklining, or whether he had ever climbed in Britain. What could I ask him in this situation that would be appropriate?

    “Excuse me,” I called out. “May I have some toilet paper, please?”

    ==

    I stuck my hand under the gap and waved my fingers around like a nude glove puppet. I heard a grunt, a turn of a roll dispenser, and something was pressed into my hand. I pulled it back and there in my grasp was a sheet of soft white paper. I had spoken to Dean Potter. I panicked now, reflushed the toilet, exited the cubicle and quickly left the room, leaving Dean famous and alone. I ran into the light.

    “Kevin, Kevin, I spoke to Dean. I spoke to him and he gave me this.”

    I waved the sheet like a flag of surrender.

    “He gave you that—Dean did?”

    “Yes, he was in the cubicle beside me and I asked him for it, and he passed it to me.”

    “Is he still there?”

    “Yes. Go and get yourself a sheet.”

    Kevin had turned toward the entrance when Dean burst out of the building, veered sharply right, got straight into a truck and drove off. Another truck followed. In no time the crowd that had hummed in the parking lot seemed to evaporate, and we were left, as usual, alone.

    We went climbing again that day and in the days that followed, and I think it took Kevin a day or two to get over his jealousy of me, especially as I continued to describe being within Dean’s aura and how sublime that had been.

    “I can’t describe it, Kevin. Only those who have been there would understand.”

    The sheet of toilet paper itself got lodged onto the dashboard, one corner under an air vent. It became the subject of some discussion and we were curious if it had been imbued with some of the aura, soaking it up like acid onto blotting paper. A concentrated super-hit of Dean-ness.

    In my Catholic past my mother would sometimes produce little medals from religious-holiday destinations. These had small glassy centers and set in the glass were squares of frayed cotton. I was told they were cuttings from the cloak of Saint Anthony or from Saint Christopher’s trousers. A piece of wood maybe, chipped from the One True Cross. She would wear the medals and make me kiss the glassy bits on Sundays or other feasts. They were called relics, although I’m pretty sure she got the joke.

    Dean Potter relics. There could be a profit in that. I suggested we chop the paper up into 200 pieces, set it in resin and sell it in Moab at $20 a hit to Potter Pilgrims. Four grand, I said to Kevin. Four grand.

    But ultimately, like most failed businessmen, we never got round to it. Our time together was nearing an end and we had lined up Primrose Dihedral as our last climb. The big one. Kevin drove his truck down the roughshod trail late one desert afternoon and we camped that night under the mighty totem of Moses. That morning we looked at each other and knew what we must do.

    I went to the dashboard, freed and halved the sheet, handed Kevin one of the magical gossamers and took the other myself. We both went off behind our respective rocks and with my eyes on the summit I carried out my ritual, and wiped. I then took a lighter from my pocket and, holding the relic by a corner, set fire to it. A small blackened ghost left the earth in the desert wind.

    The climb. Intense. We both struggled on the first three pitches. I felt awkward and lacked commitment but on the fourth pitch I started coming up. A new flow came over us both whereupon corners, cracks and walls went flapping by no harder than feathers. Such things as belays seemed tiresome chores. We summited and looked out, or in, at the world and its great forces, at the patterns in the cosmos.

    Magically, a black bird appeared and circled the tower. In its caw I heard the fabric of everything and understood where we fit.

    “The air,” the bird said. “Not only mine. Yours, too. Come.”

    Perhaps. Mundanely, we rappelled Pale Fire back to the red ground.

    I have lost touch with Kevin and hope he’s doing well, but still there was one part of the episode we didn’t touch upon at the time but on which I often find myself reflecting today. It remains the true fascinating jewel in the whole thing and through it I fancy I see into another life. It is this:

    When I asked Dean to pass me some toilet paper he passed me one sheet. One single sheet no more than five inches by five. I think that’s fascinating. What did he think I could do with one sheet of toilet paper in that situation? Is that all he needs? Or did he have me figured as a goon and was tossing the gag back at me? Did the bird tell him? Was he actually telling me I shouldn’t waste so much and this one square would suffice? A metaphor? Did he think I was wasting my life? Am I still wasting it, Dean?

    Am I?

    Niall Grimes was born in Northern Ireland but now lives in Northern England. He’s thinking about moving to Northern Scotland.

    RECOMMENDED READING: DEAN POTTER ON FREE SOLOING THE ROSTRUM ROOF

    This article was first published in Rock and Ice, September 2011.

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