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A Long Way Down

BY JORDAN CANNON

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MY EPIC: EPISODE 2

A Long Way Down

BY JORDAN CANNON

"For a moment, I was suspended in silence. Darkness rushed in around me, dreamlike. The panic disappeared, and I felt totally calm, accepting my fate. Was I about to die? For the next five seconds, I bounced violently down the slab, gear banging."

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Q&A

Q: What first got you into climbing? And what is your favorite kind of climbing?

A: IMy fascination with rock climbing didn’t start until I saw the movie “Vertical Limit” at age 7 and started flipping through a Metolius catalogue that I picked up from the local gear shop in Maine. I would always climb whatever I could get my hands on as a kid, but I don’t think my parents took me to a climbing gym until I was 10 in South Carolina. By the time I moved to California and started making trips to Joshua Tree nine years later, I was totally obsessed. Trad climbing is definitely my favorite—the bigger and more adventurous the better!

Q: Did you make it back to Yosemite and climb the Nose?

A: Yes, I’ve climbed the Nose three times since my fall last spring, but it’s still a little spooky every time I get to that section.

 

Q: How has this fall changed your approach to new climbs?

A: Well, if it didn’t before, the risk and danger definitely feel real now! If anything, I think my fall has made me a little more cautious and a little less eager, because nothing in climbing is worth dying for. Now whenever I approach a new climb, I just try to go into it with a level head and not get too attached to an end goal.

Q: Do you have any tips for new climbers and how to stay safe?

A: Don’t go speed climbing and wear a helmet!

Q: How do you personally balance risk and reward while climbing these days?

A: I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. I guess the key is making sure that you’re aware of the consequences before getting yourself into a dangerous situation, that way you can objectively decide whether or not it’s worth the risk and avoid making an ignorant mistake.

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