Readers' Blog

Posted February 6, 2008

Red Wine and Climbing

"In amongst the purple Chianti haze, I spot a thin crack in hard rock. Replacing the heel-hook I grab the small wires from my harness and without hesitation bite the green wire. A sickly-battery-taste makes me gag..."

Posted February 5, 2008

Apparently buildering was invented in 1905. Who Would've Thought?

I stumbled across an article on buildering and what it's perceived to be in the non-climbing community. I was surprised to find out that it's been around since 1905 when Harry Gardiner started climbing various tall buildings around the world, eventually climbing about 700 around the world.

Posted January 30, 2008

Climbers Turn Out To Honor Sir Edmund Hillary

It was impressive to see five of the remaining 1953 Everest Expedition at Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral in Auckland, New Zealand.

Posted January 22, 2008

Tribute to Sir Ed Hillary From Nepal

Sir Ed Hillary will always live in the hearts and memories of the thousands of Sherpas who know him. As a tribute I wish to share with you some parts of Sir Ed Hillary's life that has touched me and my family personally.

Posted January 16, 2008

Gym Climbers Stay Inside

"They should have signs and stuff and trash cans outside," said Pham, who climbs regularly in the safety of a San Francisco gym. "I don't think they even clean your rocks off for you out there."—What?

Posted January 14, 2008

Wind, Rain and Avalanches

My friend Rob and I, along with our three guides and the other six members of our group had already put on our "crampon compatible" mountaineering boots, gaiters and rain gear. We were part of a program called Summit For Someone, a fund-raiser for Big City Mountaineers. Big City Mountaineers (BCM) takes at-risk students on mentoring trips in wilderness settings.

Posted January 10, 2008

Namaste and Warm New Year's Greetings From Nepal

Although Mt. Everest is the highest peak in the world, she is still a fragile "Mother Goddess" in terms of global warming. The first Eco-Everest Expedition 2008 will study the effects of global warming on the Himalayan Glaciers and to document the high risk to the people and the land in case of a glacial lake outburst flood...

Posted January 9, 2008

Film Montage by John Middendorf

I would like to introduce a selection of outdoor projects I filmed. Projects include TV commercials shot in Zion and Yosemite, TV adventure series and a full-length documentary for the Outdoor Life Network about a first ascent in Baffin Island, where I climbed with three climbers documenting their progress to the summit. My website:

Posted January 7, 2008

The Magic Purple Cam

November, 2006. Shawangunk Mountains, New York. Damn! The shiny Black Diamond cam slipped from my fingers. I watched as it sailed down, bounced off the cliff and disappeared into the leaves on the talus. I was nearly at the end of the second pitch of Beginner's Delight, one of those wonderful, easy climbs found only at the Gunks, and had been feeling pretty pleased with myself. I'd gotten up the first tricky (tricky 5.3, Bill?) jam crack, led the famed traverse, and had been trying to impress my long suffering belayer (daughter Karen) with my expertise in placing cams for protection (an art I had practiced exactly once before). Oops, I thought, now I'm looking stupid. She's going to be less than uber impressed with old Dad for dropping one of our brand new cams. "Oh, well," I told her, trying to recover a bit of lost dignity, "We'll just finish the climb and go back to the bottom and retrieve it."

Posted January 3, 2008

Aetheist, Rationalist, Believer

Climbing up Hyalite this beautiful December day with friends Geoff Heath and Carlos Buhler. Geoff an accomplished all-rounder; Carlos, world class. Me a "recreationalist" who has had the good fortune to know these guys and tag along. I haven't been out much these past few years and feeling the effects of age sixty. They cruise "Dribbles" while I hack my way up and manage to peel off the steep second pitch. Thanks for the catch Carlos.

Posted December 19, 2007

"In the Cracks there were Bats and Spiders of Giant Sizes"

Until today, I thought the Russians, exemplified by Odintsov's "Russian Big Walls Project", were completely unstoppable. Even though Rocky did eventually beat Ivan Drago in the fourth installment of that regrettable series of films, I think we all sort of knew that in reality, the giant Russian would have kicked Stallone's ass. So, why did my belief in the unstoppable Russians end today? Let's read a few sentences from a recent trip report posted on

Posted December 18, 2007

New Utah Ice Climbing Resource

I would like to announce the launch of, a new resource that will aggregate ice conditions across Utah...

Posted December 14, 2007

Jedi Repeat Zion MacNamara Route

Present day. Angelino Wall, Zion National Park. This is our second present day, which is my bad, because that's pretty confusing. This is actually a present-er day than the first one, but I called that present day and I can't call this "three days in the future" because then how confused is everybody gonna be?

Posted December 14, 2007

Snapshots of a Scottish Winter

The Scottish West coast has been getting its usual flurries of early season mixed climbing conditions. I thought I would pop a post on here as I have some good pics that might get folks sharpening their picks!

Posted December 13, 2007

New Climbing Management Plan for Great Falls, VA

The National Park Service has released its Final General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for Great Falls (VA) Park. The document is the culmination of a process that started in 2003, and contains specific rules for climbing at Great Falls. The document is available at

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