F E A T U R E S
Meet the toughest wall rats ever. Some of them are still redpointing routes (fused ankles and broken backs notwithstanding). Or running their own companies. Or passing the torch to young acolytes. A portrait gallery of American climbing's greatest generation.
Photographs by Jim Herrington, with an introduction by Greg Child
Up on the Big Stone
At the age of 19, the author ran into an obstacle he couldn't get past and couldn't forget. And so began an obsession with an obdurate, awe-inspiring 3,000-foot rock face called El Capitan. A story of embarrassment, fear, and wisdom on the most famous wall in the world.
By Dan Duane
Five For All Time
El Cap's classic routes and pioneering feats, diagrammed and decoded.
By Eric Hansen
I, Nature Boy
Armaggedon? Bring it on! After a week at world-renowned tracker Tom Brown's survival school in northern New Jersey, you'll be ready for anything—from tanning hides with puréed brains to communing with voles. And if you were living in the godforsaken wilderness, you'd be home now.
By David Rakoff
Snoop: The Secret Life and Prying Times of Barry Clausen
To the environmentalists and edgy activists he spies on, he's a wanna-be snitch—and a crank who hypes the threat of ecoterrorism to pay the rent. To the police and FBI agents he tips off, he's a wanna-be private dick—and just a plain old crank. But behind the smoke and hot air, Barry Clausen may actually have a point.
By Bruce Barcott
Catching Monsters After Dark
A fish noir.
By Ian Frazier
D E P A R T M E N T S
On a perilous mission to put new-style American climbing on the map, three big-wall masters attempt one of the gnarliest unclimbed routes in the world. Hang on. Armed with tractor-tread tires and chrome-moly steel, a breed of disabled expeditioners (aka "supercrips") reaches new extremes in the backcountry.Survival of the savviest: Eco-Challenge creator and marketing mastermind Mark Burnett votes an adventure-race rival off his island.Welcome to British Columbia's first surf camp, home to gargantuan swells, a 16-mile break, and—you guessed it—50-degree water.Battle of the bolt: After ten years of deadlock, climbers and conservationists may finally find compromise.Lance Armstrong planned his repeat Tour victory down to the last stage. We dissect his strategy.England's Electric Shoe Company puts a techno spin on power-walking.Adventure Atlas: an autumn guide to paddling, sailing, surfing, and progging on Chesapeake Bay.PLUS: Attack of the killer bees!; the craziest filmmakers at the Banff Mountain Film Festival; and endurance athletes get wired on Paraguayan tea.
The Wild File
Can your body adapt to using less water during workouts? Who's responsible for trash in space? Which animal has the warmest coat? When did humans begin camping for fun? By Stephanie Gregory
The Hard Way
In an attempt to steel himself for the hypoxic heights of a 20,000-foot peak, one masochist seals off his bedroom, installs a host of breath-depriving conduits, and endures two weeks of chastity—all to test a harebrained theory: that the classic mountaineering mantra of acclimatization—climb high, sleep low—is all wrong. Don't try this at home. By Mark Jenkins
Red Hot Chile: Wary of its former dictatorship, travelers have avoided this serpent-shaped nation for decades. But with democracy now firmly in place, it's time to discover the Chilean adventure you've been missing: high-rise volcanoes in the Atacama Desert, world-class climbing in Torres del Paine National Park, and best of all, more solitude than you ever thought possible.
Plus: A world traveler checks in from Uganda after 22 years on the fly; high on the hog with the second annual mountain-bike festival and pig roast in Fruita, Colorado; and bargain bungalows in sleepy Mauritius.
INDOOR CLIMBING SPECIAL
Gym Now, Crag Later: Cooler weather means it's time to take your climbing into the gym. Here's a definitive guide to the gear and techniques of indoor walls—to ready you for the outdoor crags come spring.
Get a grip: Climbing shoes for all abilities, compliments of Boreal, Climbingshoes.com, Five Ten, La Sportiva, Red Chile, and Scarpa.
Moves to master now and flaunt later: A hands-on primer on the jam, smear, rest, and stem.
Bring it home: Beta on building your personal wall, with a little help from T-nuts and jibs.
Books: A Whale Hunt, by Robert Sullivan; Noodling for Flatheads, by Burkhard Bilger; Full Creel, by Nick Lyons; and To the Elephant Graveyard, by Tarquin Hall
Cover photo by Chris Falkenstein