Climbing February/March 2020

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


the real cost of travel

This issue marks our annual Travel/Road Trip Issue, a celebration of the climber-vagabond lifestyle and the incredible places we get to visit. I’m excited about the destinations, including our cover feature Cayman Brac (p.44), Mount Lemmon, Arizona (p.36), Bishop, California (p.68), the epic-long sport climbs of Washington’s Cascades (p.54), the granite of Cathedral Ledge, New Hampshire (p.26), and a multi-pitch (!) crag in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (p.24). It is almost impossible to extricate getting vertical from globetrotting—even if your local area has thousands of routes, at some point you’ll crave fresh terrain or a go at bucket-list climbs like the Hunchback Arête on Mount Lemmon or High Planes Drifter at the Buttermilks or Flyboys in the North Cascades. We climbers have always traveled, stretching back to the Golden Age of Alpinism…

inbox/top 10

DECADE DANCE Regarding your Skills piece in No. 370: “Return to Sender: Comeback fitness in two weeks for climbers over 40” ( At 67 years old, I’ve been in and out of shape a dozen times over the years, always getting back into multi-pitch trad 5.10-to-5.12 shape each time. Swimming has always been key for my return to fitness. Also, my experience has been that there is a period of adjustment somewhere around the turn of each decade that lasts 4 to 14 months, and then you’re good again for the rest of the decade. I’ve always suspected that climbers failing to persevere through these decadal adjustments is the reason for the high attrition rates at each successive decade mark. JOSEPH HEALY, VIA FACEBOOK DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK! Regarding your “Return to Sender”…


why “get ‘er done” doesn’t work

Have you ever experienced being above your protection, gripped by hesitation and a fear of falling? Your friends “encourage” you by telling you to “Go for it” or that “You’ve got it.” But part of you knows better: It knows that your fear has meaning; it wants to protect you from danger. So do you listen to your friends and go for it, or do you listen to your fear and back off? Motivation drives how you climb. It reveals what you value and impacts how you make decisions on the rock—and also informs the consequences of those decisions. For example, if you’re motivated to bypass your fear and avoid falling, then eventually, you’re likely to injure or traumatize yourself. Everyone falls, and if you haven’t learned to fall skillfully, a…

the skinny on fad diets

As a climber of two years and registered, practicing dietitian-nutritionist (I studied nutrition education at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on medical nutrition therapy), I’ve seen firsthand with both myself and my clients how nutrition can spell the difference between sending and yet another day of dogging. Much of how your body functions stems from its food sources. But with so many diets out there based on seemingly contradictory principles, it’s tough to know what certain diets are doing for our climbing. While our bodies differ in their needs, knowing how the diets currently getting the most buzz at the cliffs—the ketogenic diet, the paleo diet, and intermittent fasting—generally affect performance can help you decide how to eat. (Also see our Skills piece on optimizing body composition for sending…

gallery images

“For me, China Doll was one of the best traditional lines I had seen on the Front Range—and one of the best pitches I’ve ever climbed,” says Mike Patz, who made the first integral free ascent of the Dream Canyon, Colorado, granite testpiece by first pinkpointing the extension as an isolated second pitch in 2004 and then returning in 2007 to redpoint the entire line, placing gear. The 40-meter route starts with six bolts, a fixed pin, and 45 feet of 5.13c, the crux of which involves a V7 layback on a pinch loaf. After a moderate rest, the climb tackles 22 feet of gear-protected tips jamming along a flared crack. In September 2019, the Boulder-based climber Molly Mitchell redpointed the integral line, skipping the bolts on the first pitch…