“When you’re a kid, the world is full of endless possibility, curiosity and imagination. And those are things that I can tap into all over again with climbing.”

During the summer of 2008, now living in Estes Park, Colorado, Kelly devoted his efforts to cragging and improving his rock technique. In part, the routine was training for future objectives on his endless dream tick-list. But even when he road-tripped to Montana, Kelly’s long-wrought fear of Siyeh kept thoughts of the north wall from his mind.

Once he and Justin Woods were on route, however, some of his trepidation vanished. In a twist of irony, fifteen years of fear—and the exuberance that had guided him in the mountains since—had prepared him for the challenge. In his mind, he had built a monster that, in reality, was a place to recapture resolution.


Kelly Cordes leads a fairly solid pitch midway up Mt. Siyeh’s north face. [Photo] Justin Woods