Rock climbing takes a variety of forms, but I am particularly enamored with “multipitch trad”. This means I prefer to climb relatively long routes without permanent bolts installed in the cliff for protection. “Long” for me is climbing a 300 meter (1,000 foot) cliff face. Since that’s a lot of vertical distance, these routes tend to be physically easier, but more time than a route on a shorter cliff.
One of my favorite places in AZ: the Cochise Stronghold. On the right is the 1,000 foot (300 meter) Sheepshead, a fantastic climbing area.
So how do I stay safe while doing this? Dynamically-stretching climbing ropes. Attached to my harness, a friend or “belayer” will pay out/pull in rope as I climb. That person will keep me off the ground if I fall. Every so often, we place “cams” or “nuts” (see below) in the rock, which allows us to attach our rope to the rock, minimizing the distance of any fall. Because I tend to climb only with one other person, whenever one person is climbing, the other is paying attention. This unfortunately means action shots of someone don’t often get taken.
Myself in the Bugaboo Range in south eastern British Columbia. The red streaks in the snow are green algae! Chlamydomonas nivalis!
The spectacular second pitch of the route “Cragaholic’s Dream” in the Cochise Stronghold. You climb the cracks (black) on the right side of the roof at 5.10c.
How we protect ourselves while climbing. All those metal “cams” and “nuts” are used to fix the rope to the cliff. This keeps me off the ground, which means a happy Erik.
Castleton Tower outside Moab, Utah. We climbed the mega-classic Kor-Ingalls route, 5.9+ (read: 5.9 ha!). The route is on the right hand skyline and is mostly composed of body-width chimneys. What fun!
Myself climbing the classic 5.7 Dolphin in Joshua Tree, California. The crack in the corner starts 1″ wide, then slowly widens to 8″ (2-20 cm). Incredible!
Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas, Nevada. What a sandstone paradise!