The Cleanest Line

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Current Events

Current Events

By Kelly Cordes   |   Feb 24, 2012 February 24, 2012

Crazy world we live in. Somebody ought to sell tickets. Hell, I’d buy one. Some thoughts on current events, large and small: • Wednesday was National Margarita Day. It’s about time, what with all this recent climbing world drama. Surely a little drinky can soothe some… Read More

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

Lines of Eleven

Lines of Eleven

By Kelly Cordes   |   Jan 13, 2012 January 13, 2012

Note: On this blog in 2011 I wrote over 30,000 words in 40 original blog posts (to TCL readers, I apologize for the resultant drop in your IQ). I also edited and introduced another seven posts from other authors, and wrote a little on my… 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

Artley Goodhart taking the first lead in a snowy Eldorado Canyon. Photo: Kelly Cordes

Old Young Friends

By Kelly Cordes   |   Dec 29, 2011 December 29, 2011

Mid-morning it hit me for the millionth time: this is ridiculous. Only, at this point in my life I rarely think of it as ridiculous-stupid. More like, ridiculous-ok-fine-so-what, with a chuckle-twist on the side. It was my inaugural day of taking the tools for a walk, 2011, and my friend… Read More

Pete Tapley on an early attempt at what would become Zack Attack, with Kelly Cordes belaying. Photo: Dan Gambino

Special Places: Hyalite Canyon

By Kelly Cordes   |   Dec 8, 2011 December 8, 2011

Some places seem special, and I can’t always articulate why. I think it’s the smell of the air, the look of the place, the memories it holds. In a sense, Hyalite Canyon, near Bozeman, Montana, one of countless canyons in the American West of similar scale, isn’t extraordinary. Until you… Read More

Late-day light on the Dawn Wall, on Tommy’s final effort. Photo: Kelly Cordes

Talent

By localcrew   |   Dec 2, 2011 December 2, 2011

I’ve long thought that the most wasted resource on earth is talent. Talent abounds, yet optimizing its potential requires devoted effort. Of course we also have to consider opportunity, and the whole talent-and-effort issue makes regular news. There’s the “10,000-Hour Rule” of practice, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell… Read More

Tommy recovering after a fall on one of the many crux pitches. Photo: Rebecca Caldwell

Recap on El Cap – Another Butt-Kicking

By Tommy Caldwell   |   Nov 23, 2011 November 23, 2011

Today, Tommy Caldwell writes about the conclusion of another season of trying to free-climb the Dawn Wall. And coming up empty – though that’s really not the right word. We’ve covered his efforts in multiple posts (click here, here, or here),… Read More

Above: Looking up from the base of the Dawn Wall, with Tommy’s camp visible. Photo: Kelly Cordes

Being Barney Rubble

By Kelly Cordes   |   Nov 7, 2011 November 7, 2011

Damn, I thought as I glanced around, I’m like Barney Rubble at a superhero convention. Sonnie Trotter to my left, Alex Honnold to my right. I know what you’re thinking: Did you owe those guys money? Or maybe: Oh, one of… Read More

Tommy on the Dawn Wall, practicing this one move I taught him. Photo: Kyle Berkompas

Family Affair on the Dawn Wall

By Kelly Cordes   |   Nov 1, 2011 November 1, 2011

When I see a photo of someone climbing a severely overhanging 5.14 limestone sport route, I marvel at the physical prowess. Amazing. And though I can’t imagine being that good myself, I can see how some people can do it; I can sort of imagine it. At least… Read More

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