Climbing October/November 2019

Climbing offers the entire climbing world: sport, trad, bouldering, walls, ice, alpine and mountains. In each issue we offer the richest stories on the vertical world you'll ever read, with award-winning photography. Climbing has earned its moniker as the journal of record for climbers worldwide.

United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC


sacred ground

While this October/November 2019 issue was ostensibly meant to be the “Winter Climbing/Shoe Review Issue,” at some point we took a different tack. (Don’t worry, the shoe review’s still here, on p.16.) Perhaps it wasn’t conscious, but the issue began to gel around the many ways our sport interweaves with the larger problems our planet faces, things like climber impact up on the cliffs and at the crag base, colonial appropriation and renaming of native lands and sacred sites, and the destruction of climbing or natural areas for industrial purposes and commercial gain. New Mexico, where I grew up, is like many Southwestern states a relevant prism through which to view many of these themes. It has a history of European colonial exploitation and displacement of indigenous people, going back to…


Climbers have flocked to the UK’s Peak District since the late nineteenth century, climbing on its gritstone escarpments including Frogatt Edge, shown here, with Pete Whittaker free soloing Chequers Buttress (HVS 5a, or 5.9+). The cliff, once used as a source for millstones for grinding wheat and other grains, sits just outside Sheffield. Whittaker, who lives just minutes from the crag, enjoys Frogatt for its easy access and short routes; he also likes the crag’s moderate grades and straightforward descents. “Chequers is a classic with a little exposed step onto the arête,” says Whittaker of the 1962 John Gosling route. “With gear you don’t really feel the exposure much, but when soloing it really changes the character.” For a Peak District headpointing exposé, check out our next issue, No. 370,…


IMPACT ZONE I’m all in on the idea that more climbers need to be educated about their impacts. In the past two years, I’ve seen a huge negative impact from the hordes of folks visiting outdoor crags. It’s so bad. Every Monday, I scroll through Instafeeds and watch the local hashtags with folks inadvertently doing horrible things to the environment. Hammocks, tick marks, trash, stashing pads, gear, tramping vegetation, unleashed pets, cliff-top erosion, noise, etc., etc. We have so many people coming in that it isn’t sustainable. It would be super-rad if you guys ran an “Ethics Tips” column a couple times per year—basically, an attempt to curb problems before the season picks up. I’m a huge fan of your magazine and love to read the articles. I’m hoping that some…

personalized climbing gear

I used black spray paint for the base layer on my helmet and then an acrylic paint pen to draw a wolverine skull surrounded by peonies. MICHAELA TEEFY Sami drawings on slippers. GLENN-ROBERT JOHNSEN All this year, METOLIUS is giving away a sweet prize to the best Re-Gram photo—check our social channels to enter! This issue, Emi Takashiba wins the Upshot, the new standard for belay glasses. The pink-duct-tape faces of our Happy-Face and O-Face haulbags made communication about supplies a breeze on the wall. MICHAEL ANDERSON I made a chalk bag from a broken umbrella and an old towel. KOON HOONG MUK I’ve created this drawing in many media, from pastels to pencil, and doodles to fine work. I got this crashpad in 2002 and drew on it; this year I re-inked it, adding the iPhone X and…

origin stories

For millennia, indigenous tribes have lived on the lands where North American climbers gather. The tribes have their own names for these sacred places, each with a unique story that guides their relationship to the land. In indigenous communities, it is not the people who name places, but the lands themselves who give the people their names. Today, however, many of the original names for iconic climbing areas have been replaced. European settlers and explorers, who came to North America beginning in the 1600s, rewrote these sites’ histories, not only displacing the original inhabitants but also renaming the lands. Take the Virginia-born rancher Samuel Bishop, who only stayed in Payahuunadü for 18 months in the 1860s before lending his name to the Eastern Sierra region. Even the continent’s highest peak, Denali—from…

12 sizzlin’ new rock shoes

We test a lot of gear here at Climbing, and it can be easy amidst the flurry of incoming and outgoing packages to forget what a great opportunity we have to get our hands on (and feet in) the latest innovations. However, there is one annual ritual we find just as thrilling now as when it began decades ago: the rock-shoe review. As I’ve learned, no single piece of gear has as direct an impact on performance: A poorly sized or improperly used shoe can inhibit your game just as much as a well-sized, right-for-the-job shoe can enhance it. Moreover, a precise, well-built shoe that feels like it’s been crafted and sized just for you can literally change how you climb, letting you move fluidly and use footholds and sequences…