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    Family Man, 5.14 – A short story (and video) of a first ascent

    By Sonnie Trotter

    Family Man Pic #5

    It all began five years ago, as many things do these days, with a simple email to a few of us Squamish cracks hounds from a friend in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia.

    Hey Boys,
    Check out these roof cracks. I think they’ll go free. Peace out.
    - Doug

    Doug and his wife Janet are longtime local climbers, hikers and explorers in the Skaha region, and probably know the lay of the land as good, or better, than any other living beings. But even more than that, they are simply two of the greatest people ever. Of course, this letter from Doug wouldn’t be complete without an eye-catching photograph or two, which he gracefully attached to his email for our viewing pleasure. I’ll admit, I was attracted to the climb right from the get-go but time, money and other commitments delayed a proper visit to the crag for nearly two years.

    Above: Sonnie about to enter the upper crux of the route. Photo: Taran Ortlieb

    Continue reading "Family Man, 5.14 – A short story (and video) of a first ascent" »

    Van Life – Lessons From the Road

    Words and photos by Sonnie Trotter

    Van Life-5

    "Don't throw that away" she said, "we can reuse it".

    A small pot of dish water was clutched in my hand, as murky as the amazon,

    "Put it in here instead, we don't have much left."

    She was right, we didn't. It was cold outside, a late November evening in Bishop, California and we had more than everything we needed for another amazing day of bouldering, everything except water. If we were careful, we could scrape by and still be very comfortable. If we wasted it, we'd have to drive all the way back into town, thus wasting gas as well. Or, we could just be dehydrated and miserable.

    I poured the dirty dish water back into another pot, and we reused it to wash our dishes five more times before we ran out of food two days later.

    Continue reading "Van Life – Lessons From the Road" »

    2012 Recap from Hell – The 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell

    by Sonnie Trotter, with photos by Lucas Marshall

    Sonnie&Tommy_1

    I couldn’t help but laugh. Seeing Tommy Caldwell in a mohawk, a pair of bright green short shorts, and a hot pink sleeveless t-shirt was too much to take. In a way, he reminded me of Kelly Cordes, but I can’t put my finger on why. Anyhow, that’s another story, and this one is all about the shortest day of my life – the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell.

    Now, one might think by climbing for 24 hours straight that it would feel like the longest day, but that’s the paradox. It’s so much fun that it goes by really fast, and in the end, you wish you had more time.

    [Above: Sonnie Trotter and Tommy Caldwell, team Bonzo s Montreux, in full effect. Photo: Lydia Zamorano]

    Continue reading "2012 Recap from Hell – The 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell " »

    The Prophet

    by Sonnie Trotter

    On El Capitan in 2010, British rock climbers Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles completed their nine-year project, The Prophet (600m, E9 7a, 5.13d R). The difficult and dangerous new route climbs the far right side of El Cap, and Houlding, renowned worldwide for his boldness and skill, successfully freed every pitch, on lead, on their final push. This fall, Sonnie Trotter and Will Stanhope headed to Yosemite hoping to repeat the route. Trotter chronicled his efforts on his blog, including this post, below, which he wrote in late November, just after the culmination of a Yosemite journey – the second ascent of The Prophet. - Kelly Cordes

    The-Prophet-91
    [Will Stanhope climbing The Prophet, El Capitan. Photo: Sonnie Trotter]

    Wow. What a roller coaster. As life is I suppose. The highest of highs, and lowest of lows. It’s a beautiful thing really. I’m in Bishop, California, with my incredible wife, Lydia – I don’t mean to brag, but she gets more beautiful with each day. I am sooo lucky. I missed her dearly, I didn’t even realize how much until I saw her at the San Francisco airport two days ago. But there’s a sad truth that when you’re so focused on a project such as The Prophet, time literally flies by. Days turn into weeks and you don’t even think twice about it. Looking back now, most of it is a blur.

    Five weeks in the Valley, five failed ground-up attempts, four days in Lake Tahoe, two days in Santa Cruz, and over 25 days climbing, hiking, rappelling, hauling and slogging. El Cap is a glorious son of a bitch – that’s a fact. And The Prophet was one of the richest, most deeply rooted climbing experiences I have ever had, with a partner who’s got a boyish charm, a man’s ambition, and a spirit tougher than leather. It was more like an expedition than a climbing trip.

    Continue reading "The Prophet" »

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