The Cleanest Line
Kelly Cordes

Kelly Cordes

Kelly specializes in margaritas and maximizing outdoor time. This minimalism influences his climbing, which includes new alpine-style routes in Alaska, Peru, Patagonia and Pakistan. Professionally, a stint at Pizza Hut (flexible hours, free leftovers) led to years of shack dwelling, which, somehow, led to a living climbing, writing and working for Patagonia’s field testing department. He is the author of The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre.

Articles

Simon navigating toward the block of rock atop the Cairn Gorm plateau. Photo: Kelly Cordes

Into the Whiteout

Apr 16, 2018 April 16, 2018

It had been a while. I don’t climb in weather like this. I stay inside and drink coffee. But I dutifully marched through the whiteout, following Simon as he navigated by compass toward the highland plateau of Cairn Gorm. He was searching for a particular block of rock, from which… Read More

After hard crimping right off the glacier, Kate Rutherford sinks her fingers into the climbing above. Pointe Adolphe Rey, Chamonix, France. Photo: Bernd Zeugswetter

Sometimes More Than a Game

Mar 19, 2018 March 19, 2018

When I think about climbing, I don’t think about summits. I see serrated ridgelines rising and falling between earth and sky, and sunlight slipping between spires, casting the shadows of giants onto rubble-strewn rivers of ice below, curving, moving, bending with the passage of time. I remember my partners and… Read More

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

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