Story 1: Adam Ondra talks the Dawn Wall
We promise; this will be the last time we mention Adam Ondra’s recent ascent of the Dawn Wall (5.14d) in Yosemite. However, in all honesty, this is by far the most significant story in climbing right now. As far as glorious achievements go, this takes the climbing cake.
Ondra is the equivalent of Michael Jordan starting to rack up rings, Tiger Woods sinking puts on his way to countless titles, or Conor McGregor calmly beating his opponents bloody. The only minor difference is his seemingly ego-less humility about everything.
In an interview with Rock & Ice, Ondra plainly breaks down his experience in Yosemite Valley, stating,
I wish I knew that Yosemite climbing requires so much fitness. I would have trained harder. To be honest, I underestimated it.
Yes, if only he had been in better shape before arriving—then maybe he could have sent the Dawn Wall faster than his measly 8-day push.
Jokes aside, the interview provides some interesting insight into how the best climber in the world experienced the Dawn Wall, as well as his possible future plans. Read the whole interview here.
Story 2: Matt Gentile quietly establishing hard, horrifying boulder problems
For a V14 climber, Matt Gentile keeps his head down. It’s understandable—he’s probably too busy searching the wild for jaw-dropping new boulders to care about the limelight.
Based out of Flagstaff, Arizona, Gentile leads the way in his home state’s bouldering development. Take one look at his Instagram profile and it’s obvious what types of boulder problem Gentile prefers–massive, proud, and steep. The pocketed limestone of the Flagstaff Hinterlands often creates the perfect lines. Huge snouts of rock jut horizontally from the hillsides, precariously sloped landings falling away into the distance. It’s hard to say where the “no-fall zone” begins on problems like these:
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Cleaned a new project out the left side of Renegade Roof. The start is guarded by a gnarly drop off, big committing moves to pinches and sidepulls continue out an ever worsening and sloping landing. Photo @t_w_w_ #rooftown #flagstaffhinterlands #hippytreetribe #organicclimbing #bouldering #climbing
With the plethora of limestone, sandstone, dacite, and basalt rock types dotting the landscape around northern Arizona, Gentile and friends undoubtedly have many years of development ahead of them. Follow along on Gentile’s blog–the aptly named Roof Town Bouldering–for a no-frills, pictures-only journey through one professional climber’s lifestyle.
Watch Gentile cruise the ludicrous Into The Black (V8) and other boulder problems in Virgin Gorda below:
Story 3: Public land conservation in a changing political environment
If you’re a human on Earth, you may have noticed that Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency back on November 8th. The massively polarizing election caused severe reactions from all over the political spectrum, provoking emotional outbursts and coaxing many respectable citizens into aimless Facebook “debates.”
When the aftershock of events like these subsides, many people go back to life as usual—an understandable course of action for those who assume that future policy does not affect them.
Regardless of your gender, ethnicity, or religion, chances are you’re a rock climber. Any policy changes that affect the lands on which we love to climb may in turn affect you as well. As The Access Fund points out in this article from November 16th,
over 60% of the climbing in this country [is] located on federally managed public lands.
If you’re worried about the future of climbing and the lands we cherish, here are some organizations to support and learn more about:
The Access Fund
This is a no-brainer for climbers. The Access Fund has advocated for climbing-centric conservation for 25 years. There’s no other organization better suited to speak for us in the political arena. In the organization’s own words, “it is more important than ever to have a strong and steady voice in Washington, DC to advocate for climbing access and conservation of our public lands.”
Please consider donating to The Access Fund today.
The Wilderness Society
The Wilderness Society has led the fight to conserve America’s public lands since 1935. It advocates for environmental protection policies in Washington, preservation and restoration of public lands, and promotes outdoor stewardship.
Land Trust Alliance
This organization organizes over 1,100 land trusts nationwide in order to conserve land not already protected by state or federal governments.
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