In 2007 photographer David Maurice Smith's exploratory travels of Mexico City led him south to a secret landscape of rural canals and jungled canopy where a dark world awaited: La Isla de las Munecas, the Island of the Dolls.
Legend states that many years ago a peasant farmer named Don Julian sought to appease the spirit of a young girl that tragically drowned in the dark waters of a nearby canal by presenting the spirit with an offering... a child's doll.
The appeasement worked, however the spirits appetite for dolls grew and Julian became forced to scour the countryside for more and more offerings. He became obsessed with the collection of the figures, dedicating all of his limited resources to growing the bizarre collection until his death.
As a disturbing testament to both the spirit of a young girl and the commitment of a god fearing man, a morbid yet beautiful monument of literally thousands of dolls in various states of decay and infestation remain.
Alizée Dufraisse, who climbed her first 8c+, Pati noso, not long ago, has now pushed it half a notch further by doing La Reina Mora, 8c+/9a, at Siurana. The route is in the same sector, El Pati, as Pati noso, so it would seem this wall suits her quite well! This was of course the first female ascent. There has, after all, not been that many female ascents at this level. So few in fact that you can count the number of women who have climbed anything harder than 8c+ on one hand, even if you were to have lost a digit (or maybe even two). La Reina Mora was originally given 8c/+ by Ramon Julian Puigblanque but has later been upgraded first by Nico Favresse who suggested 8c+ and then by Dani Andrada who thought it was at least 8c+/9a, maybe even 9a.
Dean Potter is characterized by creativity, commitment and challenge. He started climbing as a child, with a free solo fall from a stone wall as one of his earliest memories. Since that time, he has speed soloed Half Dome and El Capitan, Cerro Torre, and Fitzroy. He was the first to make a one-day free ascent of El Cap and Half Dome, and a one-day speed linkup of both of those big walls and Mount Watkins, Yosemites third Grade VI wall. He has also established testpiece crack routes in the Utah desert and highball boulder problems in Yosemite. For more on Dean visit prAna.com
Dean has walked the longest highlines, often without a safety leash, though he has dedicated over a decade of engineering and testing to create the safest highline systems currently used. Most recently, he has combined BASE jumping skill with highlining and free soloing, using a specially engineered ultralight BASE rig as his backup system.
Dean currently bases out of Yosemite, where he can usually be found on a large piece of granite.
For videos, photos and more information on Dean, visit http://bit.ly/DeanPotterTags.