Tag Archives: rock climbing

Video: Wild Country Crack School- Episode 5

In the final episode of Wild Country’s Crack School video series, Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker cover gear and gear placement for crack climbing.

Sasha DiGiulian on her Future in Climbing

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Sasha DiGiulian was recently profiled in The Washington Post; it’s an excellent article, and features DiGiulian discussing how she got started in climbing and her plans for the future.

Raw footage of Sasha DiGiulian on Era Vella (5.14d/9a), in Margalef, Spain.
The completed film will be featured in Reel Rock 7 this fall.

‘Starting next month, that focus will be more important than ever as she begins college. She hopes to study sports business, and she’d like to be more involved in student life than she was in high school — to be as “normal” a college student as possible. She’ll also be the only freshman who returns from a World Cup event in Munich for orientation, flies to Paris for a week of climbing, comes back to school for a week before flying to a Seattle event, returns for a week at Columbia and then flies to Atlanta for another World Cup competition.

“It’s this mental battle, because I keep convincing myself that everything will work out fine,” DiGiulian says, “that I’ll be training religiously and be at all the competitions, but at the same time, I know Columbia will be quite rigorous. Sometimes I’m completely fine, but then I’ll go through spurts — like the other night, it hit me, and I got really nervous. I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

“Most of my competitors, in the World Cup circuit especially, are just climbing,” DiGiulian adds. “But I decided to go back to school. Because I know that, in the long term, I can’t be a climber forever.”’

Choosing the Right Tool for the Job – Carabiners

The Black Diamond Journal recently posted an excellent article that discusses some of the characteristics of various types of carabiners.  It’s an excellent overview of carabiners in general, but also contains some details of interest to seasoned climbers.  I’ll post an excerpt here- for the rest, check out the original post on Black Diamond’s blog.

QC LAB: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job – Carabiners

By Kolin Powick

With dozens of companies making untold numbers of carabiners these days, it can be a real chore to navigate through countless different models to choose the one that’s right for your type of climbing. Wiregate vs. standard gate.  AutoLock vs. screwgate. Ultralight vs. heavy. What biners should I use on my slimmed-down alpine rack as opposed to my daily sport cragging kit? As with most pieces of climbing gear, there is a certain amount of inherent versatility, but often certain products are better suited, and more often than not designed specifically for certain applications. As with almost anything, it’s always prudent to select the right tool for the job. This month we’ll attempt to distill the basics of carabiner usage to help you figure out what’s the right choice for your type of climbing.

Differences between Industrial and Recreational Carabiners

We’ll start off with a quick word on basic carabiner use because we get this question all the time.

I get lots of random calls from arborists, fire departments, rescue workers, marinas, yachting folks, Jeep guys and warehouse personnel wanting to know if it’s okay to use our carabiners for their particular application. The official answer is always no, not recommended. Just as all of our instructions say, our gear is “For Climbing and Mountaineering Only.” But why?

The simple answer is that we are climbers and mountaineers, we know climbing and mountaineering, and we design, test and certify our gear for climbing and mountaineering. We’re not as intimate with the loads, the uses, misuses and abuses of these other applications.

What many people may not realize is the different ways that recreational gear is designed, tested and rated compared to industrial equipment. Industrial carabiners are usually made of steel, are much heavier, are much stronger, and rated differently than aluminum climbing carabiners.

An industrial carabiner is usually rated to a SWL (safe working load, or safe working limit)- of let’s say 30kN. This means that you can load the carabiner safely to 30kN. And in industrial applications there is almost always some kind of safety factor say of 2 or greater, which means that the carabiner won’t actually break until around 60kN. However, climbing gear is rated to the load at which it will actually break. So a 20kN carabiner actually breaks at that load. There’s a big difference.

Bottom line: Climbing gear shouldn’t be used in industrial applications—it just isn’t designed and rated for those types of loads and situations.

This is only a small excerpt of the complete article- to see the rest, visit Black Diamond’s Journal here.


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 ElCapReport.com.

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 ElCapReport.com

Hyper-detailed trip report by Hans Florine

PlanetMountain.com’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.

Video: Wild Country Crack School- Episode 4

This episode of Wild Country Crack Schools addresses the skills needed to succeed at climbing offwidths.

Video: Alex Honnold solo on Mt. Watkins

As posted a few days ago, Alex Honnold notched what may be his most impressive achievement to date with his “Solo Triple Crown” of Yosemite’s Mt. Watkins, El Cap, and Half Dome all completed in 18 hours.  Sender Films was there filming for Reel Rock 7, and they’ve released this teaser trailer of Alex on Mt. Watkins.  Notice what happens at 1:18 and his reaction at 1:30…

Video: Wild Country Crack School- Episode 3

This episode of the Wild Country Crack School series covers everyone’s favorite (not really), fist jams.


Video: Wild Country Crack School- Episode 2

This episode of Wild Country Crack School covers hand cracks.

Is this Alex Honnold’s biggest achievement yet?

In just a few years, Alex Honnold has gained notoriety from his numerous headline-making exploits.  Today, he may have surpassed his previous accomplishments with a historic “Solo Triple Crown” of Yosemite’s Mt. Watkins, El Cap, and Half Dome.  As reported on the Reel Rock Film Tour’s Facebook page, Honnold soloed the routes in 18 hours, free soloing 90% of the time and using aid as necessary.

A depleted Alex Honnold rests on the summit of Half Dome after completing the “Solo Triple Crown”.

Honnold’s first climb was on Watkins, which he finished in a record time of 2:20. The Nose came next, which he climbed in the dark in 6 hours. Amusingly (alarmingly?), he forgot his chalk bag when he set off on The Nose, and had to borrow one from aid climbers on the route.  He finished the “Solo Triple Crown” on Half Dome at 10:45 on the morning of June 6th.

This epic was filmed for the Reel Rock Film Tour, and will presumable be included in the upcoming Reel Rock 7, which will be available after its release from our stores.

Related Alex Honnold stories:

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

Video: Alex Honnold at Phalanx of Will, Arizona