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

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

We want YOU to have a happy new year! Photo: Sonnie Trotter

The No Resolution Resolution

By Kelly Cordes   |   Jan 3, 2012 January 3, 2012

“What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” folks ask. They don’t really ask me, though, because I’m wary of holiday parties (depends on how much booze is there) and go, Huh? Is that like a “five-year plan” or whatever? I heard a person recently talking about how ten is the new five,… Read More

Dislocated

Dislocated

By Kelly Cordes   |   Oct 27, 2010 October 27, 2010

After the fifth lower I called “off,” grimaced, untied with one hand and walked cautiously to a flat rock. Dammit, I’m getting sick of this. Across the valley El Capitan rose straight skyward and I sat down, surrounded by dirt, pine and granite. Clouds moved, darkening, signing an incoming… Read More

Notes from Squamish

Notes from Squamish

By Kelly Cordes   |   Aug 2, 2012 August 2, 2012

I am loath to admit it, but Colin Haley was right. He’s been singing the praises of the Pacific Northwest in summertime, proclaiming it better than my beloved ‘Rado. At last, I humbly concede (although they pay for it the rest of the year, with continual… Read More

Fighting Forty (pt. 3) – Waking up puking

Fighting Forty (pt. 3) – Waking up puking

Dec 22, 2010 December 22, 2010

Today we've got Part 3 in Kelly Cordes' series about the bout of injuries he's experienced this past year (here's the links to check out part 1 and 2). His most recent setback, a severely torn shoulder, happened shortly before his scheduled departure for a climbing… Read More

Walker Ferguson coming up the final pitch of the Frison-Roche route on the south face of the Brévent. Photo: Kelly Cordes

Postcard from Chamonix: Access

By Kelly Cordes   |   Jun 29, 2011 June 29, 2011

I’m in Chamonix, France, for a couple of weeks. Weather started bad on the Mont Blanc massif, so we drove through the tunnel and climbed sunny rock in Italy. An 800-foot roadside dome with 40 routes, all bolted. The bolts weren’t too close, nor were they beside cracks. The routes… Read More

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