The Cleanest Line

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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

Makalu 2011

Makalu 2011

By Steve House   |   May 5, 2011 May 5, 2011

Editor’s note: Patagonia ambassadors Steve House and Marko Prezelj are back at Makalu. Longtime Cleanest Line readers will recall their previous attempt to climb Makalu’s West Face in 2008 with Vince Anderson, and Steve’s subsequent trip in 2009 when he made an… Read More

Bummed on the bus. After failing on their first attempt, Nellie and Brittany contemplate their next shot. Photo: Cedar Wright

Unusual Suspects

By Brittany Griffith   |   May 3, 2011 May 3, 2011

My springtime objective (okay, to be perfectly honest, it has been a dream of mine for a long time) of free climbing Zion’s Moonlight Buttress was quickly unraveling. My partner, Nellie, had spent the previous night projectile vomiting in a rental van. Puke everywhere—in her shoes, on her pack and… Read More

Desert bloom in Indian Creek. Photo: Andrew Burr

Desert Rembrance

By Brittany Griffith   |   Apr 26, 2011 April 26, 2011

Early spring means it’s desert season. Well, it does now. Fifteen years ago it meant belaying my boyfriend on his three-year sport-climbing project in the Virgin River Gorge. Now, I spend March and April weekends climbing sandstone splitters in the beautiful desert of southeast Utah. Back in the 1990s,… 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

Picture Story: Competency

Picture Story: Competency

By Kelly Cordes   |   Apr 15, 2011 April 15, 2011

A photographic exposition, in which the photographer herein pontificates on the significance of sufficient competency in the face of ample conditions . . . -Ed The joys of competency and individuality – The Chief and I seemed to have the latter down pat, anyway. I suppose… Read More

Picture Story: Conditions

Picture Story: Conditions

By Kelly Cordes   |   Apr 14, 2011 April 14, 2011

Another in our occasional series of posts for the more visually oriented. This one goes out to all those lucky enough to charge off the couch and into the unknown without looking back or thinking twice . . . or doing much thinking at all, for that matter. – Ed… Read More

Bean’s Battle

Bean’s Battle

By Kelly Cordes   |   Apr 5, 2011 April 5, 2011

Our friend and fellow Patagonia climbing ambassador Bean Bowers just finished his second round of chemotherapy. It all seems so weird, so different. One of the best things about climbing is the feeling of control in unknown, even chaotic environments. I love that. We all do. The… Read More

Choose Your Own Storytelling

Choose Your Own Storytelling

By Kelly Cordes   |   Apr 1, 2011 April 1, 2011

The comments got me thinking. I’m talking about the comments on my last post, about adventure and youth. So many shifts, twists, turns, contradictions and evolutions that keep life interesting, and keep adventure and individuality alive. How do these shifts interplay with our desire to… Read More

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