Corner Pocket

By Mark Anderson The small town of Ouray, in southwest Colorado, is one of my family’s favorite places to visit. The town has everything we look for in a vacation spot—good climbing, endless rest-day activities, and a place for the kids to swim. With extra sweeteners like a great bakery, plentiful ice cream, the best…

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Aggro Diablo: New Hard Lines at Devil’s Head

By Mark Anderson In 2015 I crossed paths with prolific route-developer Tod Anderson (no relation). Tod has been a major player in Front Range route development for decades, but he is probably best known as the Devil’s Head crag patron—discovering countless crags, opening hundreds of routes, establishing positive relationships with land managers, replacing old hardware,…

Training for 9a – Preface

by Mark Anderson This is the first in a multi-part series about how I prepared and trained for my ascent of Shadowboxing in Rifle Colorado. For background on the route and details of my ascent, please read here. The decision to embark on a multi-season redpoint campaign should not be taken lightly. It’s a huge…

Putting the Project on a Pedestal

by Mark Anderson A recent discussion got me thinking about some of the mental impediments to advancing to the “next level.” Whether the next level for you happens to be 5.11a or 5.15a, many of us encounter a feeling of inadequacy when pondering the next jump in difficulty—a sense that “I’m not worthy of [insert…

New CCC Crag & Another FFA

by Mark Anderson Whenever I spot an unknown outcrop of rock I find myself craning my neck for a better view. The more I become interested in first ascents, the more I become curious about the countless blobs of stone that litter the Front Range. Perhaps the backside of that distant cliff is hiding some…

More New Routes and the Paradox of the First Ascent

by Mark Anderson After I finished Born on the 4th of July there were two more unclimbed lines remaining at The Bunker. The first, dubbed “Charlie Don’t Surf” by Rock Climbing Clear Creek Canyon author Kevin Capps, was one of the five lines bolted by the crag’s original clandestine developer. It was presumed to be…

Delivered From Purgatory

by Mark Anderson I’m a big fan of puzzles. Crossword puzzles, brainteasers, jigsaw puzzles. Without a doubt, my favorite part of project climbing is solving the sequence puzzle. The more baffling the sequence, the more rewarding it is to solve. This challenge is magnified on first ascents, which typically lack obvious clues like chalk and…

Double Stout

by Mark Anderson Roof climbing is my nemesis.  As someone who “grew up” climbing at Smith Rock, I always gravitated towards clean, monolithic faces that sweep skyward in one continuous plane of consistent steepness. My best angle is probably plumb vertical, and the steeper it gets after that, the more I struggle. The climbing on…

Germany Part I: Hitting the Wall

After months of planning, weeks of training and many days of anxious packing, it was finally time for our journey to begin. The flight to Germany turned out to be pretty uneventful. We were really worried about flying so far with two young kids, and perhaps all that worry, and the resultant preparations, paid off.…