Category Archives: Trip Report

Honnold and Florine Set New Speed Record on The Nose

Alex Honnold and Hans Florine exult after their record-breaking ascent of The Nose. Photo by

On Sunday, June 17, Alex Honnold and Hans Florine set a new speed record for climbing The Nose on El Capitan.  Their official time of 2:23:46 beats the previous mark set by Dean Potter and Sean Leary by almost 13 minutes.

In the interest of speed and simplicity, Florine and Honnold pared their gear load down to this minimal rack.

For more details on their achievement, check out these links:

Many photos from

Hyper-detailed trip report by Hans Florine’s Interview with Florine


Beautiful Photos of Climbing on the Island of Corsica

Jasmin Caton spends her winters working as a backcountry ski guide and her summers as a rock climbing guide. As a Black Diamond sponsored athlete, she crams in an absurd amount of climbing, both in her home country of Canada and throughout the world. Below is an except of a report Jasmin wrote about her recent trip to the island of Corsica.

Corsica is a mountainous French island in the Mediterranean, and according the Lonely Planet Guide, “it’s hard to find a better combination of nature, culture and pleasure”. With a description like that, it’s pretty hard not to want to make a trip there! But as I was planning my annual spring Euro climbing vacation, I found it hard to get a sense of the quality and quantity of the climbing in Corsica, and after visiting many of the ultra-classic French climbing zones like Ceuse, the Gorges du Verdon, Presles and the Gorges du Tarn, all of which I could easily revisit, I wondered if Corsica was going to stand up to my high standards of French stone.

I travel a lot and when I arrive in a new place that really inspires me I feel energized by the new smells and tastes and seeing new landscapes and combinations of colours. I run around taking a million photos of weeds and trees and bugs. Through my “fresh” eyes all of these commonplace things are National-Geographic-worthy spectacles, although a few weeks later when I am home and wading through all of my mediocre-at-best shots, I wonder what the hell I was thinking. A few years ago near the Verdon Gorge in France I went for a long solo hike on a rest day and witnessed a parade of nose-to-ass caterpillars that was so long I couldn’t even see the end of it. I took 50 photos and several movies, which is pretty funny considering that I took almost no photos while climbing up the steep and exposed walls of the beautiful Gorges du Verdon. “Ho hum, just another multi pitch rock climb, yawn. But these bugs are so cool!”

Showing up in Corsica brought on a flurry of that feeling of excitement, wonder and super-energy. The landscape was beautiful, rugged and very different from what we had just experienced the previous week on the neighbouring island of Sardinia. It sounds silly to say that a certain rock type has special meaning to me, but there’s something about granite that I completely love. Perhaps it is the fact many of my formative dirt-bag adventures were played out on the granite walls of Squamish and Yosemite.

After driving off the ferry in the town of Bonifacio on the southern tip of Corsica, we bought a map and made our way towards one of the main climbing areas: the Col de Bavedda.

This is just an excerpt of Jasmin’s complete post- to see the rest of the trip report, as well as more of her photos from Corsica, visit Black Diamond’s Climbing Journal.

Alex Honnold on his 5.13 multi-pitch first ascent in Gran Trono Blanco, Mexico

In early February, Alex Honnold established a first free ascent of a new multi-pitch 5.13 , along with Will Stanhope, Paul McSorely, and photographer Andy Burr.  You can see the entire report on Black Diamond’s blog.

Photographer Andrew Burr notes: "Real and raw emotion displayed by someone is powerful, but when felt by all, it invokes surrealistic euphoria. If this photo captures just a small piece of that, then I have done my job. Shown here is Alex, completely stoked after completing the mega thin and bold traverse of pitch 5. While only halfway up the wall, this section was the last of the uncertainties. Alex answered—the wall will go free!"

Jaw-dropping video from Lotus Flower Tower

The Lotus Flower Tower is a gorgeous 2500 foot located at the Cirque of the Unclimbables in the Northwest Territory of Canada.  Featuring 19 pitches of free climbing, this route is featured in Steve Roper and Allen Steck’s book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, and is considered by many to be one of the most aesthetically beautiful rock faces in the world.




The video below was from an ascent by Janelle and Mark Smiley, who are striving to become the first people to complete all 50 of the routes in Roper and Steck’s book.  You can check on their progress, see their blog, and view more video at their website:

Excellent climbing film from the Sierra

Outdoor Research has produced an excellent short film set in the Sierra in which a couple embark on a 300-mile climbing adventure through the Sierra in an effort to shake off the rhythm of middle-age, middle-class malaise, reconnect with the environment, and restore the human spirit.

Fear and Loving in the High Sierra

The following trip report was written by Greg Davis, outdoor adventurer and employee at Nomad Ventures’ Escondido store.

Light drizzle sprinkles my face, pulling a part of me back into reality. Small drops, ethereal and sparse, not foreboding or threatening. The clouds overhead had been posturing all day, it’s only fair they let their presence be known again.

I lift first my head, then my back, off of a smooth boulder. The landscape is much as it has been the whole day – beautiful, sharp, intimidating. I check my watch, squeezing sleeves past a Casio I picked up at a gas station in Olancha. It’s just past 5pm and there is still four thousand feet of elevation to drop, but our feet are back on land now. My friend Jeremy and I pick ourselves up from amongst the boulders at Iceberg lake and shoulder our packs, quite light now. The food is in our bellies, the water caked in salt on our skin and all manner of widgets hang lazily around our waists. Slings we didn’t bother to tidy caught themselves on every inundation in the mountaineers gulley.

I had spent the better part of 14 hours dealing – dealing with fear, problems, the unknown. I had no frame of reference for a peak this size, this far out, this high. Beginner routes at Tahquitz and bouldering in Joshua Tree had hardly prepared me for the realities I would face. Hiking in the dark had only been the start; the whole day had been wide eyed and on constant alert.

Starting the descent, we walk past the ‘obvious’ trail just below Iceberg, confirming that indeed we came up the wrong way. Continuing ahead I see no grass, no meadows, no sign that life is meant to exist here. Indeed I have been filled with the conviction that this is not a place where I am welcome – and I did not feel welcome. As we start to cross the shallow creeks below Upper Boyscout Lake I start to let my mind relax, I start to go over the events of the day. Looking back at Owens Valley as I scrambled up the Staircase filled me with horror. THERE was comfort, THERE was my element. I was meant to live my life amongst those things, the lines of streets and the squares of homes. HERE is not for me. HERE I am sick, I am scared, and I must get over all these maladies. I have not choices, not actions, only reactions to the horrible situation I had put myself in.

We arrived at Sam Mack Meadow with plenty of daylight to spare. It had taken a hair over three hours to get here with 35 pound packs and the scenery was hard to ignore. Opting for guaranteed water and soft sand we pitched camp and headed over to the turquoise stream to get some more water.

My partner is a fire fighter for the national forests. His job is to hike in the hills with heavy packs, and he fancies himself one of the strongest in his county. Only our second time climbing together, we push ourselves hard and love it. In the few years since my first Sierra climb things that were so foreign, so unreasonable became second nature. I knew I never wanted to let myself be unprepared or weakened by the scale of peaks, and I felt my training was on point. Our route was an easy climb, and though it was in an area I had not yet visited, I was sure it would give us little pause.

A lazy start of 7am gets the pair of us scrambling past the moraine. The map indicated no more than 2 miles, by my guess, from our camp at the head of Sam Mack Meadow to Glacier Notch. We press on, around sandy hills and up steep slabs, always gaining more altitude than we think necessary. I’ve got Iron Maiden playing in an iPod, quite loudly, but still my mind goes its own places. This can’t be right, we’ve been going for a while now. Maybe the snow field on the southeast side of the glacier has melted? We’ve got to be close.

Just last month I had been in the Whitney range three times. The last was a trip up the Whitney front trail with a friend of mine, whom I’d promised to take to the highest point in the continental United States. In the middle of a 2 month vacation in the hills, I had been above 13,000 feet seven times that summer before heading up the front trail. On the Whitney summit I felt none of the anxiety that had so crippled me when I was hauled up the East Face by Jeremy several years ago. Looking sheepishly at my dilapidated friend, who had neglected the acclimatization schedule I posed for him, I saw a bit of myself, but more importantly I saw my transformation. The high sierra, so long to me frightening and oppressive, was now no different than Joshua Tree or Tuolumne Meadows. I came here to play.

Gayley loomed tall overhead, diverting my focus, before BAM!

Passing over the short ridge we saw it. I had grossly misunderstood the scale of the Palisades.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was reminded of my first view from Glacier Point, the landscape felt more like a diorama lying just out of reach. I felt that if I could lean forward far enough I could pluck a stone off the top of North Palisade, yet at the same time I had to realize that the stone was a boulder perhaps twenty feet high.

Awaken with a new sense of adventure, Chris and I cross incredibly loose blocks just below Gayley. This was unreal! Nothing I had seen could prepare me for this. Just like Whitney, again I was out of my element, forced to come up with answers for so many questions, but with confidence that I could see myself through it.

Stealing a glance over to the U and V notches, I feel a tug, something calling me further out and further in.

Once I touched the rock, though, I was back into my element. Rock climbing was a sort of a safety blanket, at least in the easy to moderate level that I seem to find myself in, and all thoughts were consumed by moving swiftly, showcasing my skills to my new partner. Partnered with an incredible free climber in Chris, I got the rope up as fast as I could and would hardly hand him the rack when he would yell to me “On Belay, Greg!”

But there was more to it than this. The challenge of these peaks is always much more than I think.

Trip Report- Rescue on Rosalie Peak

“Prakash, I’ve some really bad news… I fell and heard bones cracking… I think my pelvis and leg are broken… I can’t move… it hurts”. My heart sank when I heard the word pelvis amidst the howling westerly wind bringing a bad storm our way… I stood in shock for a couple seconds wondering how I could get her down 400 vertical feet to the trees… ”

Read the entire post here