The Cleanest Line
Kelly Cordes

Kelly Cordes

Adhering to a life-long avoidance of full-time work, Kelly Cordes specializes in margaritas, maximizing outdoor time and climbing alpine-style routes. This minimalism influences his climbing, which includes the first ascent of the Azeem Ridge in “disaster style.” Professionally, a stint at Pizza Hut (flexible hours, free leftovers) led to years of shack dwelling, which, somehow, led to a living climbing and writing. He is the author of The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre.

Articles

Above: Frame grab from Making Tommy. Hit the jump to watch the video.

Making Tommy

Mar 7, 2013 March 7, 2013

Do you ever wonder how the greats became great? Of course there’s no easy answer, no definitive answer, never a formula – they’re human, and human factors interact in infinite ways. Opportunity, natural talent, innate drive, developed drive, mental toughness, perspective, thought processes, influences, dedication, work ethic and who-knows-what-else,… Read More

Above: Scott DeCapio trying to lull us into complacency. Photo: Kelly Cordes

A Good Ride

Nov 2, 2012 November 2, 2012

Shadows crept across the pavement, clouds reflected stars and headlamps crawled slowly up the road, bicycles under a full moon at 12,000 feet. A month later – just last week, in fact – I parked my beater Honda and stood on the sidewalk outside of… Read More

Of Ideals and Actions

Of Ideals and Actions

Aug 24, 2012 August 24, 2012

Perhaps an overly dramatic title. After all, it’s just climbing, and it’s supposed to be fun. That’s the cliché, anyway. Though often a disingenuous one. Then again, part of what we love about climbing is the escape from the daily b.s. of today’s world, the immersion into a place where… Read More

Notes from Squamish

Notes from Squamish

Aug 2, 2012 August 2, 2012

I am loath to admit it, but Colin Haley was right. He’s been singing the praises of the Pacific Northwest in summertime, proclaiming it better than my beloved ‘Rado. At last, I humbly concede (although they pay for it the rest of the year, with continual… Read More

Going Monk?

Going Monk?

Jul 9, 2012 July 9, 2012

I gotta dig down, I gotta go monk. Ever seen Zoolander? Of course you have. Me, too – about a hundred times. It’s a hilarious spoof on the world of male modeling, and there’s that classic scene of the “walk-off” challenge when, between rounds, Hansel digs deep and pulls out… Read More

Above: Kelly Cordes descending London Tower after the first ascent of the Trailer Park. Photo: Scott DeCapio

A Sort of Homecoming

Jun 15, 2012 June 15, 2012

Dude at curbside didn’t budge from his chair. Gave me a bored look. “Can you take my bags?” I asked. He sighed. “How much they weigh?” “‘Bout 65 pounds each. I already checked ’em in online.” “Still gotta take ’em inside,” he said, barely moving. “They’re… Read More

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