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Monday By Mateo: Lost

If we’ve learned one thing in our travels, it’s that dogs are terrible at reading guidebooks—the worst. They’ll get you lost every time. Total chaos. Total confusion. Fully unreliable. Especially Great Danes, like this guy, who kept barking at the Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, guidebook every time the page opened to Dog Wall. Really, Rex, the Dog Wall? Don’t we basically go there each time we take you climbing?

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Monday by Mateo: Tuolumne

High in Yosemite National Park is a magic land of domes, lakes, glacial tarns, plateaus, and forests—the climber’s wonderland of Tuolumne Meadows. A huge draw here is the East Face of Cathedral Peak, a 5.6 on incut flakes and jam cracks on impeccable white granite. Another lure is the Matthes Crest, a 5.7 ridge traverse that defines “sidewalk in the sky.” Here, we’re chilling on top of OZ, a classic, five-pitch laser-cut corner up the north face of Drug Dome. If you Google around, you’ll find the classic Phil Bard image from the 1980s featuring the late Yosemite fixture John Bachar, going ropeless on this route in a red tank top and white Gramicci pants. Bachar died soloing in 2009,...

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Monday by Mateo: Mom Van Life

OK, sure, it’s not the ubiquitous tricked-out $60,000 Sprinter van, but this repurposed soccer-mom van still gets the job done. I mean, really, how much do you need? Somewhere to stash your gear, some plywood to sleep on, and a tailgate to cook on. Simplicity. Climbing. America. The open road

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Monday by Mateo: The Crimp

“It’s hard out here for a crimp,” someone once rapped, or perhaps the word was “pimp”? We forget…. In any case, the crimp position is so key and specific to rock climbing. You take a small edge, bring all four fingers onto it, flex them down onto the hold, then lock your thumb against your index finger to close the grip. It’s a powerful cling, but also one that’s hard on the fingers—joints, tendons, and skin. At the Owens River Gorge, known for its sheer, clean welded-tuff faces, the holds alternate between pockets and crimps, so you need to get your crimp on. Every now and then you also get a “slimp”—a sloping crimp. And even some sloping pockets. I...

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Monday by Mateo: The Ouray Ice Festival

If you’ve never watched a mixed/ice climbing competition, you should. “But it sounds about as exciting as filing my taxes!” you protest. “They’re just flailing those tools around trying to stick them into stuff over and over” OK, sure, it’s a circus act, but there is a high-stakes athleticism at play as these climbers swing their very sharp-picked tools and scrabble for purchase with their very sharp-pointed crampons. Sometimes, they even swing at artificial holds and bizarre Cirque du Soleil contraptions like hanging, swinging logs, then pretzel themselves into improbable figure 4, figure 9, Steinpull (upside-down ice axe), and other futuristic maneuvers. It’s crazy and pointless, and crazy-pointless, but fun in a terrifying-monkey-bars sort of way. There’s been a mixed competition...

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