Matt Cunningham is a multi-facited photographer, climber, and musician from Nashville, Tennessee.
He does portraits, artistic shots, photos of the music scene, and, of course, climbing photography in the southeastern United States.
I think it can be particularly challenging to capture climbing photos in heavily treed-areas with spotty light, and Matt has done a magical job of it.
Check out Matt's interview and get absorbed in his visually captivating images of climbing.
The climbing life analogies are endless and beautiful, and frankly, sometimes they just help me to find the perspective I need to keep moving forward. There are some years where we feel like we are in control and leading our life's direction, and then there are those years where an uncontrollable life feels like it has the reigns and our only option is to follow along and clean up afterwards. With the escape of COVID into our human world, I would venture to guess, many of us feel like we have just had to follow along.
My life and world have changed greatly since the pandemic began last year - my main business going into survival mode, not seeing friends and family, no social climbing or social interactions, no travel, no eating out, getting most supplies delivered, and the near constant tension that COVID might grip me or someone I love a little too tight.
Gratefully, I received my first COVID shot last week, and my husband, who is considered a "critical-infrastructure employee" received both of his vaccine doses over a month ago in the early stages of distribution. As I look forward to the second dose of the vaccine, I can glimpse of the top-out after a long, chossy, poorly-protected climb.
But, until everyone I know and love is protected - frankly, until the world is protected - it's hard to exhale.
To add the the challenge, I injured my knee several weeks ago and haven't been able to escape into my main form of exercise and solace - climbing. With the inability to climb or travel, assembling this month's edition of Common Climber has been particularly up-lifting. It helped me escape the confines of my mind and restricted world.
For those who want to be transported via video, we proudly have three new videos on our YouTube channel: An Education video with me and my hubby Rick showing a super easy and effective way to clean a dirty rope; an Atmospheric video with all the feels embracing The Process; and, a Storytelling video of a neat first ascent of a super-long boulder roof problem in a volcanic lava tube in southern Utah. I hope you find the same joy and transport in these stories and videos that I have, and I hope you love them enough to share.
Thank you for joining us on the climb!
Stefani Dawn, Editor-in-Chief
The Kenyan Climber
By Kang-Chun Chang
The love of climbing is spread by those who love climbing. Sam Mwangi is no exception. Sam is a passionate advocate for climbing in Kenya, where, indeed you are surrounded by the acacia tree-studded savannah and can spot giraffes, dik diks, gazelles, zebras, and even hyenas on the approach.
Read about how Sam has been building a climbing community in Nairobi and what he envisions for the future.
Vertical Ice Climbing in Ontario, Canada, eh?
By Debbie Fowler
Debbie Fowler takes us on a tour of ice climbing spots in Ontario, Canada, and shares a few tips on some of the best. Armed with electric socks and gloves to stay warm and avoid the screaming barfies, Debbie has been a busy climber this year!
The Sinai Sampler: Climbing Egypt
By Radek Chalupa
Radek Chalupa and his wife take their climbing vacations in remote areas of the world. Despite COVID's grip on the world, they were able to sneak away to Egypt. Here they take us along for the climb, sharing some of the highlights in this photo essay.
We Were Just Boys
By Lyle Closs
"We were just boys. What, for god’s sake, were we doing attempting to climb a 300-metre vertical cliff straight out of the sea with no experience, paltry gear, and nothing by way of adult guidance. Such is spring, when saplings think the rainforest owes them greatness."
Two young boys face Tasmania's cliffs, weather, and rough seas in the days before cell phones, sophisticated climbing gear, and how-to YouTube videos.
New YouTube Videos
EDUCATION: How to Clean a Dirty Rope
This video shows one of the easiest and best ways to wash a dirty rope - using supplies most people have or can quickly get. The topics covered include:
Video Production by Common Climber: Stefani Dawn, Rick Momsen, & Dean Hines
ATMOSPHERIC: The Process
Climbing is about the process - embracing it and being your own silver lining through it.
(NOTE: There are no subtitles. The video is music, climbing, and words on the screen)
Climbing Timelapse, Images, & Words:
Idaliza Sosa Instagram: S.O.S.A._bubble_ YouTube: Pink Turtle Climbing
Video Production by Common Climber: Stefani Dawn & Dean Hines
STORYTELLING: We're Not Camping
First ascentionist Jake Wahinehookae tells the story and shows us the moves of the super long cave-roof boulder problem called "We're Not Camping" located in Mammoth Cave in southern Utah.
Videography and production by Common Climber contributor Charlie OlGrady Kessner.
Proud to be a Common Climber?
Proud to be a Common Climber T-Shirt
Made in America high quality 50/50 poly/cotton blend shirt in Gold with the Common Climber logo composed of climbing gear and the words "Proud to be a Common Climber." The logo is professionally silk screened on the shirt (not digitally printed) and will last for years!
- Large format, high gloss book (9" x 12")
- 147 pages
- 16 photographers and artists with multiple half-page, full-page, and two-page photos
- 20 different authors