The Cleanest Line
Kelly Cordes

Kelly Cordes

Kelly specializes in margaritas and maximizing outdoor time. This minimalism influences his climbing, which includes new alpine-style routes in Alaska, Peru, Patagonia and Pakistan. Professionally, a stint at Pizza Hut (flexible hours, free leftovers) led to years of shack dwelling, which, somehow, led to a living climbing, writing and working for Patagonia’s field testing department. He is the author of The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre.


Going Monk?

Going Monk?

Jul 9, 2012 July 9, 2012

I gotta dig down, I gotta go monk. Ever seen Zoolander? Of course you have. Me, too – about a hundred times. It’s a hilarious spoof on the world of male modeling, and there’s that classic scene of the “walk-off” challenge when, between rounds, Hansel digs deep and pulls out… Read More

Above: Kelly Cordes descending London Tower after the first ascent of the Trailer Park. Photo: Scott DeCapio

A Sort of Homecoming

Jun 15, 2012 June 15, 2012

Dude at curbside didn’t budge from his chair. Gave me a bored look. “Can you take my bags?” I asked. He sighed. “How much they weigh?” “‘Bout 65 pounds each. I already checked ’em in online.” “Still gotta take ’em inside,” he said, barely moving. “They’re… Read More

Captain Bumbly and the Hammershark

Captain Bumbly and the Hammershark

Jun 8, 2012 June 8, 2012

Dammit Hammershark, I mumbled as CFS and I began rapping from Mammoth Terrace – 10 pitches up El Cap – to the ground, in the dark. Someone had forgotten our food bag. Granted, Hammershark had nothing to do with it, but he was outvoted. (We had to blame someone.)… Read More

A fun Saturday on Lumpy Ridge. Photo: Kelly Cordes

Park Rumors

May 17, 2012 May 17, 2012

“I hear Tommy had to carry you out of the Park the other night,” the Danimal said over the phone. “Carried ya in his strong arms like Kevin Costner with Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard.” Dammit. So this is how rumors get started. Rewind. First, last weekend,… Read More

Discussions of Influence

Discussions of Influence

Apr 20, 2012 April 20, 2012

Dave Graham wasn’t holding back at the Outlook. For those who don’t know, Graham is one of the best rock climbers to come along in the last decade. We were guests on a live on-stage radio show, by ClimbTalk, at the Outlook… Read More

Above: The coveted view from the porch – literally shot from Donini’s porch – with the unclimbed north ridge of San Valentin in profile in the middle of the frame. Lago General Carrera in the foreground. Photo: Kelly Cordes

An Outing with Donini: Entry Fee (Part One)

Apr 6, 2012 April 6, 2012

In early 2009, Kelly took a trip to Northern Chilean Patagonia with climbing legend Jim Donini. Here, Kelly revisits his notes from an adventure with Jim. This is the first in a series of short posts from their trip. Entry Fee I’ll be damned, the old man… Read More

The boat times, with CF Scariot (left), Kelly Cordes (reading) and Andrew Gram (drinking). Photo: Dan Gambino

Kids of the Times

Mar 30, 2012 March 30, 2012

Silence. So rare, so nice. Four recent days of disconnected bliss – from the e-world, that is. But fully connected in more natural ways, like with climbing, food, friends, a river and beer. My only reading was on paper, not on a screen. It was nice, anyway, until a leisurely check of… Read More

The Gimpy Man in Black before the race at Eldora Resort. Photo: Cordes collection

Skimo in Black

Mar 19, 2012 March 19, 2012

Bang. The gun went off. I was wearing a suit. First time in a couple decades or more (for the suit, not the gun). All black, like Johnny Cash. But I wasn’t robbing a train or singing the Folsom Prison Blues; I was doing a randonee ski… Read More