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Summer 2021

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.

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United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC

in this issue

1 min

Jamie Logan on Side Effects (5.10b), Moderate Mecca, Calico Basin, Nevada. This route tackles a pinnacle that had long fascinated the photographer Irene Yee. On the day of this shoot, Yee, Logan (she/her), and Logan’s belayer Lor Sabourin (they/them) got up at 6 a.m. only to find the sky overcast. Says Yee, “The clouds gave way for just a few moments to get our orange light.” She adds, “Both climbers are trans and nonbinary. It’s important in my work to be intentional with those I work with, so we all can experience the many beauties this world has to offer.” Sabourin has been on a tear recently, sending 5.14 trad with East Coast Fist Bump (5.14a) in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona, in January. And Logan has been leading for decades, making…

4 min

“Take the adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes!” —Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows FANTASTICAL IN BOTH CHARACTER AND CONTEXT, the Mount Katahdin, Maine, multi-pitch rock route The Wind in the Willows climbs much like the whimsical 1908 children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame. Tackling a flake resembling a wolf howling at the moon, on a pyramid of peppered alpine granite above a sweeping glacial bowl, The Wind feels worlds away from the usual pine-and-wildflower blanket of Maine—you feel like you’re anywhere but in the Northeast. Every year, hikers flock to Katahdin, Maine’s high point at 5,269 feet and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. But there is no beaten path leading to The Wind in the Willows. Rather, you must navigate several miles of untamed wilderness, an…

8 min
sandstone smorgasbord

“What do you think?” my friend Max Barron asked as we walked the final trail meandering up to the Buffet Wall at Denny Cove, Tennessee. I gazed forward and saw a giant grin stretch across his face. Behind him was an 80-foot cliff looming over a swath of cedars, its giant sandstone visage unbroken for over 200 feet horizontally. I felt my heart skip a beat. Buffet Wall is the most treasured wall among over a dozen sectors at Denny Cove, an area 35 miles from Chattanooga that was formerly on land owned by an international timber company. Since summer 2016—thanks to four years of tireless efforts by local climbers, the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC), and the Access Fund (AF)—the area has been open to the public as part of the…

3 min
in your face

“YOU’RE ONLY AS COOL AS your latest Mountain Project downgrade,” read a sarcastic comment in a debate at that site about the rating of the popular Annunaki—5.12 or 5.11+ or 5.11?!—in Indian Creek, Utah. If you’ve climbed at more than one crag on Planet Earth, you’ve surely noticed a discrepancy in grades between venues, and many an ambitious youth and crusty old-schooler alike have gotten fired up over downgrading the soft climbs and upgrading the sandbags. Grades are useful in that they let us measure the difficulty between climbs and crags. But they’re also problematic in that they easily attach to our egos—telling us how we’re performing relative to other climbs and climbers. By putting a numeric value on an act, we have a scale for how much to pat ourselves…

3 min
editor's note

2018: SIX OF US GROUPED UP IN A SUNNY BOWL one pitch up the south face of the Maiden in the Flatirons, Colorado. A buddy, Nate Mankovich, and I had come on a calm autumn day to try a 40-meter sport pitch up a leaning headwall directly above the belay, while the other party—four climbers—geared up to move rightward on the crux traverse of a meandering 5.8 first freed in 1958. Nate, as it happened, knew the leader of the group, and they chatted about past trips, mutual friends, beta—the usual climber-talk. At some point someone, getting organized at our cramped stance, said, “Hey, pass me that biner,” and one of the climbers joked, “I’m right here, man. And there’s no need for that kind of language.” “Of course,” he added, “I’m…

3 min
gear guru

I wear my climbing shoes in the gym two to three days a week and also outside, and have for several years. The rubber looks good, but I’ve recently started to slip off footholds, particularly on slabs. I keep my shoes in my pack in the car, and they’ve gone through hot and cold days. Can shoe rubber age? Can I sand them down to expose “good rubber”? Or do I need to suck it up and buy a new pair? As you’ve observed, dirty or old climbing rubber won’t stick as well as clean or new rubber, with the loss of performance determined by “how dirty” or “how old” the rubber is. I can ballpark the number based on tests I conducted on an adjustable friction board with a slab…