The Cleanest Line

Climbing

Cerro Torre, with the southeast ridge roughly ascending the spine, facing the camera, in the center of the frame (the route approaches around from the right, out-of-view, to reach the huge snow blob at the base of the ridge). Photo: Kelly Cordes

Cerro Torre: Deviations from Reason

By Kelly Cordes   |   Feb 6, 2012 February 6, 2012

Late afternoon January 16, Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk sat on the summit of Cerro Torre, making a decision. Backup. For starters, let’s be clear: None of us has an inalienable right to summit anything. If you aren’t capable of climbing a peak after a manmade path has been removed,… Read More

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

By Kelly Cordes   |   Mar 23, 2011 March 23, 2011

While gazing into my navel and pulling out lint the other day, I wondered about adventure. It seems to me that, based on my admittedly unscientific observations of news reports and the ascents I encounter in my American Alpine Journal editorial job, refinement ascents are all… Read More

Good vs. Honesty in the Mortenson Debate

Good vs. Honesty in the Mortenson Debate

By Kelly Cordes   |   Apr 21, 2011 April 21, 2011

I’ve long had this idealistic notion that the ends don’t justify any means. It’s why I’m a stickler for truthful reporting of climbs. The half-truths, clever omissions and misrepresentations we sometimes see – and I learn about too often in my work – are just different forms… Read More

A Word …

A Word …

By Yvon Chouinard   |   Feb 15, 2012 February 15, 2012

The siege tactic used on Cerro Torre’s Compressor Route is perhaps the most egregious example of alpinism’s egoistic “manifest destiny” philosophy, one that calls for conquering the mountain by any means, then leaving in place the pitons, bolts, ropes and cables. This debases a route, leaving it… Read More

Quinn on January 14, 2018. Estes Park, Colorado. Photo: Tim Davis

Letting Go

By Quinn Brett   |   Oct 8, 2018 October 8, 2018

A climber describes her passion for the wildness of the world. My brother’s cheeks smooshed against the blue velour seat and his mouth hung slightly ajar. His gangly legs stretched from door to door, covering the back bench of our family Buick. On the floor, parallel, I fidgeted over the… Read More

Fighting Forty – Part One

Fighting Forty – Part One

Dec 1, 2010 December 1, 2010

It's tough to say who's been getting more exercise lately, Kelly Cordes or his insurance policy. TCL regulars might remember his recent injury, a dislocation he wrote about back in October. As the surgery date approaches, Kelly's found himself in a pensive mood. Today we offer the first in a… Read More

Kelly gearing up for his first climb since fall. Photo: Cordes Collection

Big Boy and the Pink Tape Route

By Kelly Cordes   |   May 12, 2011 May 12, 2011

Over the years and all of these injuries, I’ve learned some things about success and failure. I’ve learned that there is one way, indisputable and proven through the ages, to ensure success. You lower your expectations. And so on my first day back climbing two weeks ago, I scanned… Read More

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