Photo Credit: Bryn Sillorequez
ADAPTIVE CLIMBING EDITION
- Advocating for Deaf Climbers: Sonya Wilson - A very informative interview with rock climber and Deaf climber advocate, Sonya Wilson. Learn more about her story, but also the many things that we can do to better support the Deaf.
- Adaptive Climbing Photo Feature: Paradox Sports - Paradox Sports is a non-profit organization that supports adaptive climbing across the U.S. Check out these amazing photos and learn more about this incredible organization.
- Amputations: Leg Prosthesis for Climbing (By Szu-Pin Lee, PhD) - If you've ever wondered how a leg prosthesis works, especially for rock climbing, read on! Learn the basics and feel comfortable asking questions of fellow climbers who might happen to have an amputated limb.
- Blind Ambition Builds a World Class Climber: The Story of Jesse Dufton (By Dave Barnes) - United Kingdom climber Jesse Dufton has Rod-Cone Dystrophy, a genetic disorder where his eyes do not have the structural support for the light sensitive cells at the back of the eye. This has slowly eroded his vision, taking him into the world of climbing blind. Jesse, who has been climbing since a young age, has adapted - and he still leads trad.
- Climbing with Type 1 Diabetes (By Lori Miles) - Type 1 Diabetes may not be something that would typically come to mind when you think of adaptive climbing, but adaptive climbing means having to make significant adjustments for a condition that affects you on a daily basis. Lori Miles explains how Type 1 Diabetes impacts her life, climbing, and the adaptations she has to make to ensure she can climb safely.
- First Paralyzed Ascents: Rand Abbott (Interview by Enock Glidden) - Rand Abbott is a climber in Joshua Tree, California who has numerous First Paralyzed Ascents in the park. Rand shares his thoughts and experiences in an interview with Enock Glidden. Local JTree legend and long-time climbing partner with Rand, Todd Gordon, chimes in too...
- Mixed Climbing: My Answer to KT Syndrome (By Matt Westlake) - 21 years ago, at the age of 7, I was diagnosed with Klippel Trenaunay (KT) Syndrome - a rare disease that causes my veins to grow uncontrollably like cracks through a shattered window. Blood begins to pool, which causes poor circulation, blood clots, and lymphedema, along with a string of many other health issues... Six years ago I found climbing...
- Paraclimbing Competitions: Athlete Interviews (by Enock Glidden) - Enock Glidden shares some history and basics of paraclimbing competitions, as well as, fun interviews of paraclimbing athletes Ben Mayforth and Molly Ferris.
- Rock! (By Paul Prichard) - Multi-award winning book author Paul Prichard shares a very special story about sharing climbing with his son Eli...The day had finally arrived when I could safely take my boy climbing. I had waited a long time for this moment. As a D.A.D. (dad with a disability) it takes a whole lot of planning to do anything adventurous with your kids. I have a brain injury, you see, after a climbing accident twenty-two years ago...
- The Unreasonable Man (By Wayne Willoughby) - The Unreasonable Man is a touching story of sheer will, persistence, ambition, and, most of all, a love of climbing. The author, who was struck by Polio at a young age, battles major surgeries, significant injuries, and a deteriorating body from Post Polio syndrome. Yet, he sets big wall speed records and climbs numerous big walls per year.
- BOOK REVIEW: Paul Preuss: Lord of the Abyss (Book By David Smart) Review By: Jeff Smoot - If you aren’t a student of climbing history, you might be forgiven for believing that big wall free soloing was invented by Alex Honnold, unaware that more than one hundred years ago, soloing difficult rock walls thousands of feet high was not an uncommon practice, and that one climber, a young Austrian named Paul Preuss, had so perfected the art that one of his contemporaries, the great Tita Piaz, the Italian climber himself known as the “Devil of the Dolomites” for his own audacious climbs, called him “Lord of the Abyss.” Reviewer Jeff Smoot takes us on a tour of the book about this legend of big wall free soloing.
- FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Matt Spohn - Big wall climber, photographer, poet, and manager of his family-owned climbing gym, Matt Spohn, shares his big wall climbing photos with us. Enjoy!
- Grading Commitment (By Rick Momsen) - Ahhh…route rating systems. Simple systems of irrefutable measurements of difficulty that all climbers agree upon. Or maybe not. Thankfully I’m not here to write about pro’s and con’s of the various difficulty rating systems. I’m here to write about commitment ratings!
- Hanging with the Monkeys, and Getting the Monkey Off My Back (By Peter Zabrok) - Armed with commitment, beer/wine/margaritas, good climbing buddies, and a sense of humor, Peter Zabrok takes us on a “star-studded” tour of his I FINALLY GOT IT! Aid-climbing ascent of New Dawn on El Capitan. This is an engaging tale of a Yosemite fixture who gets photo-bombed by the likes of Alex Honnold and Kevin Jorgeson.
- It Was His Time: Brad Gobright (By David Barnes) - (Interview May 2019, and a special message from Brad's Mom, Pam Gobright) - Common Climber Assistant Editor Dave Barnes shares a tribute to and his May 2019 interview with the late Brad Gobright. Pam Gobright, Brad's mom, shares a special introduction and message for Common Climber readers.
- John Middendorf : A Big Man for a Big Stone
(By David Barnes) - Suffering from hypothermia on the side of Half Dome in Yosemite during one of the worst storms of the decade, John Middendorf became life-threateningly aware that there were no storm-proof portaledges available at the time. Middendorf, an engineer and big wall climber, resolved to change that.
- Sébastien Berthe Free Climbs the Nose From the Ground Up (An interview for Common Climber by Dave Barnes) - Sébastien Berthe taps into his internet account in Belgium. Seb, is no ordinary young key board tapper, this 23 year old climber who freed the Nose of El Capitan in the United States in the second week of November, 2019 after an eight day effort from the ground up. Seb climbed the route accompanied by his switched on partner, Loic Debry. Seb led every pitch. I caught up with Seb for Common Climber and he shares the stoke of his ascent in the following.
- Shit Happens - Or, Why You Need a Walkie Talkie (On Multipitch Climbs) (By Stefani Dawn) - If you’ve ever read forums about multipitch climbing you’ve probably seen threads (aka. arguments about 30-seconds away from a fist-fight) about best communication practices... Frankly, the simplest way to deal with communication on a multi-pitch climb is to get a freaking walkie talkie... Stef takes you on a mini-epic, illustrating the why of walkie talkies.
- Joshua Tree: Heinous Approaches - When boulderfield meets desert the approach can be unpredictable - sometimes it's no big deal, sometimes "hell boulderado."
- Bouldering: JTree Made Me Do It - The author has been rock climbing since 2007 and has intended to boulder, but other than an occasional gym session, never seemed to get around to it - until now -- "JTree made me do it."
- Joshua Tree Tips: What You Should Know Before Climbing Here!
ROUTE DEVELOPERS AND GUIDEBOOK AUTHORS
- Joshua Tree: The Bolting Pressure Cooker (by Stefani Dawn) - Meet Farai and Kelly, "new school" route developers in Joshua Tree. For some, using the words “new-school,” “route development”, and “Joshua Tree” all in the same sentence can be hair-raising/red-flag inducing/trouble-making. For others it elicits great relief and gratitude. Just what does “new school” mean in JTree anyway?
- Rock Star Groupie (by Stefani Dawn) - A climber finds herself following a route-setting rock star. Who is it and why? [Previously published on Common Climber and fits this theme nicely!]
- Todd Gordon (by Stefani Dawn) - “We had teenie weenies and big egos!” he said with animation and a Cheshire grin. This is Todd Gordon, the rock climbing "mayor" of Joshua Tree with a personality as big as the park itself.
- Tony Calderone (by Stefani Dawn) - Perseverance. Tenacity. Grit. Commitment. Transformation. These are the words that describe what I know of Tony Calderone. Controversial. opinionated, and, perhaps a few other choice words, also float around the rock-climbing ethers of his stomping grounds in Utah and Idaho. Who is Tony Calderone?
OVERCOMING BOUNDARIES EDITION
- FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Brook Anderson Portland, OR (Formerly Las Vegas, NV) - Explore some of Brook's images and learn about some boundaries Brook has overcome in her climbing. Here's a quote to get you started: "...in reality, everyone fucking sucks at climbing (except maybe Adam Ondra), and we are all struggling to send our projects and we’re all failing more than half the time, and it’s totally normal, and I needed to feel normal."
- The Tape Job (By Jeff Smoot) - Double amputee Hugh Herr experiences equipment malfunction while working on the First Free Ascent of the Leavenworth, WA roof crack "Early Morning Overhang/Flight of the Valkyries."
- Rock Type 1 (By Susan Ramsey and Stephen Scott) - A rock-climbing family discovered their 7-year old son has type 1 diabetes. They learned to manage the disease while still engaging in rock and alpine climbing and they now share their knowledge and outdoors with others with type 1 diabetes through their non-profit Rock Type 1.
- BOOK REVIEW: Hangdog Days: Conflict, Change, and the Race for 5.14 (Book by Jeff Smoot) (Review By: Stefani Dawn)
- BOOK REVIEW: Advanced Rock Climbing: Expert Skills and Techniques (Book by Topher Donahue) (Review By: Keith Bell)
- PROFILE: Louise Shepherd, Mt. Arapiles, Australia - Louise was one of the strongest female traditional climbers in the world in the 1980s, establishing numerous FAs and FFAs. Today, at 61, she still rock climbs and guides.
- PROFILE: Megan Banker, Portland, OR - Megan is a plus-sized climber who runs a "Plus-Size Rock Climbing Meetup" group to connect plus-sized climbers with each other and to experience the wonderful world of climbing.
- PROFILE: Shawn Axelrod, Boulder, CO - Shawn has a congenital heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome which has progressed into congestive heart failure. Shawn has been climbing for over 30 years, but has had to make adjustments to his climbing over time because of his health. Shawn remains connected with his love of climbing through his eco-centered business called Climbing Addicts.
- Climbing is My Art (by Christine Kuebler) - "I never intended on becoming an alpine climber. If you went back in time and told me this is what I’d be doing in my life I would have laughed at you." An artist and mother redefines herself after some heart-breaking life-events.
- FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Michelle Ranee Johnson (Fresno, CA) - See that beautiful image at the top of the page? That's by Michelle Ranee Johnson. Explore some of Michelle's other images and learn their stories, as well as, how Michelle arrived to climbing and climbing photography.
- Mt. Logan Solo: When Passion Overcomes Fear (by Monique Richard) - Monique is driven by the freedom of climbing and climbing solo is the ultimate freedom, which also bears the most risk. Monique shares her emotional and epic tale of tackling Mt. Logan, the tallest peak in Canada (19,551 ft/5959 m). In her words: "It was the culmination of all my ascents and expeditions to the four corners of the globe...in the most hostile conditions that I have encountered in my mountaineering life."
- PROFILE: I am a Common Climber: Caitlin Schokker (New Castle, Australia) - Common Climber editor Dave Barnes, met Caitlin at Mount Piddington in the Blue Mountains of Australia. She was making light work of a classic middle grade crack climb. Caitlin had buzzing energy and her red hair glowed in the sun like a flame. She has a passion for the game. CC asked Caitlin if she could share and explain her love of climbing.