Black Diamond athlete Alex Honnold has skills—serious, bone-crusher rock climbing skills. Case in point: check out this video of Honnold onsighting two of the hardest 5.13 crack climbs in the Utah desert: Trail of Tears and No Way Jose. Lacking a second ascent since the late-great Jose Pereyra's FA back in 1998, No Way Jose had gained a hefty rep with a grade rumored to be in the 5.13+ range. Honnold, as he often does, coolly dispatched the route onsight with little fanfare, calling it one of the best cracks he'd ever done. Fortunately photographer Andrew Burr was there to capture the action and put together this video.
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In Towers of the Ennedi, veteran climber Mark Synnott—known more for his far-flung adventures than his technical accomplishments—brings young climbing stars Alex Honnold and James Pearson to the Ennedi to explore its untouched landscapes. Together, Synnott, Honnold and Pearson endure a long, bumpy drive across the sand flats of a godforsaken country to reach an incredible destination: gardens of towers filled with graceful fingers of rock, bottle-shaped formations and lithe arches. With its stark and poetic footage of camels and rock, as well as jarring images of unpleasant travels, this film shows that sometimes you can have just as many adventures trying to reach your destination as you can have once you get there.
a CAMP 4 COLLECTIVE production
Directors: Renan Ozturk, Jimmy Chin, Tim Kemple
Executive Producer: Shannon Ethridge
Cinematographers : Renan Ozturk, Tim Kemple, Jimmy Chin
Editor: Renan Ozturk
Motion Graphics and Titles: Eric Bucy (Electric Beige), Renan Ozturk
Wild Country ‘Crack School’ is a series of six short videos designed to utilise the skills and knowledge of Wild Country climbers Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker to give an introduction to basics of crack climbing. Over six episodes the guys cover all widths of crack: Fingers, Hands, Fists and Offwidths as well as looking at the skills of gear placement and taping up.
Designed for those who know next to nothing about crack climbing and who want to make their first steps, the videos are made to illustrate what the guys think are the most pertinent points for starting out on each size of crack. They look at how to use hands and feet in the crack as well as gear and overall tips on technique and the way to approach each type of crack.
Importantly, and often overlooked, is the fact that these ‘crack’ techniques not only allow you to climb routes defined as cracks but this new knowledge makes you a more rounded climber. So if faced with a short section of crack, or a corner or groove you have an armoury and variety of ways of placing your hands to keep you going. These techniques therefore are incredibly important if you are making a transition from indoors to out, when holds move from ‘sticking out’ to ‘going in’ and thrusting, poking, camming and jamming become more important than simply grabbing and pulling. ¬
As Tom Randall says: ‘Crack climbing well is a fantastic feeling and learning how to climb cracks opens up a world of routes, and indeed some of the best routes in the world: from Brown and Whillans’ classics in the UK (try doing Cenotaph Corner or the Sloth without being able to jam) through to Yosemite and Indian Creek in the USA. And remember, the best climbers always have a variety of techniques at their disposal and having a variety of techniques always makes you a better climber!!’
BD Athlete Alex Honnold wants to be left alone. No, not really, but he did take the unusual approach of climbing alone on fixed lines as he worked to free a route on Yosemite's Leaning Tower, a 1500-foot prow of overhanging granite, that Todd Skinner had originally tried more than a decade ago. This past fall Alex managed to free the lower portion of the route (naming it A Gift From Wyoming and grading it mid-range 5.13), but the 5.14/5.15 business on the headwall waits unredpointed.
Here is Part #2 (filmed and edited by John David Dickey) which follows Alex as he makes the first ascent.
This video was previewed in the Climbing 2013 digital catalog—28 pages of exclusive photos, videos and stories of first ascent from the past and present. To view Cliimbing 2013 digital catalog, go here: catalog.blackdiamondequipment.com/