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The American Climbing Project

Plug Tone Audio | Devin Dabney

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The American Climbing Project is a podcast mixtape focused on all your social climbing needs, and then some. It addresses various topics in climbing, with an intentional deviation from performance and training. The focuses will change, but will always center on vulnerability, candid conversation, and a desire to reflect the voice of everyday climbers.
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“The past is never dead. It's not even past.” Silicon Valley is an espionage innovator—it has been since its inception. During the dawn of the high-tech age, an engineer named James Harper begins his industrious climb. But as Silicon Valley blossoms into what it is today, so too does the dark side of all this newfound wealth and ambition—right as the cold war reaches its final crescendo. As Harper works to build his fortune, his ambition endangers his nation’s safety. He sells nuclear secret ...
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Today on Ice Ice Beta, we’re chatting with Melissa Orzechowski of The Adirondack Queer Ice Fest 🌈 a no-cost ice climbing festival solely dedicated to the LGBTQ+ outdoor community. When the idea first came about, the organizers, Melissa, Robbi, and Nol, thought they might be the only attendees — something for just the three of them. They didn’t know…
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Charlie Schreiber returns to the podcast! Charlie joins me from Fontainebleau to talk about the epiphany he had in Rocklands, leaving his job to focus on Paradigm Climbing, teaming up with Alex Johnson, getting obsessed with ‘The Big Island’ 8C/V15, building a perfect replica of the boulder, how to train on your limit projects, the concept of the “…
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Kai Lightner is back on to talk about his recent send of 'Life of Villains' 5.14d/9a at the Hurricave! We talked about the emotional rollercoaster of sending 'LOV', how it felt to send 9a in his current body, not rushing the process, his trip to Jamaica, bolting his first route, what's going on with Climbing 4 Change, and more! Donate to C4C: climb…
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This is the first of a new series — the Community Spotlight — which is a way to celebrate everyday folks who are helping to grow the sports of ice climbing and drytooling. You may have seen Jon Blackwood’s shipping container project on Instagram (which he is working on with Johnny Korthuis), if you’re curious like I was this chat is about what he’s…
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Adrian Vanoni is an up-and-coming finger crack wizard who has been on fire for the last few years. We talked about him breaking into 5.14, freeing El Cap ground up and then in a day, training for the famous ‘Cobra Crack’ using a campus board, doing the first free ascent of a 5.14 finger crack in the alpine, lucid dreaming about beta, going after ha…
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We’re headed across the pond on this episode of Ice Ice Beta. Today, we’re chatting with Willis Morris and Oz Miller of the Scottish Dry-Tooling Club. The club has been called the developmental model of the future, a rolling circus, and bonkers by various authorities. But what is the organization, how does it work, and why has it been so successful…
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Anak Verhoeven is a professional climber from Belgium and one of the most accomplished female sport climbers ever. We talked about growing up with her mom as coach and dad as trainer, why she quit competitions, dealing with a strange injury that plagued her for 3+ years, winning her first World Cup, building 9a+ endurance with mediocre training fac…
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What goes into projecting first free ascent winter lines in New Hampshire? That’s the subject of today’s chat with Jon Nicolodi, a humble MBA student and hard mixed climbing hard man. (Those are my words, he certainly would not describe himself that way.) Surprisingly, Jon’s only been mixed climbing a few years but has established some big winter F…
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Jakob Schubert is one of the greatest competition climbers ever. In 2023 he won the World Championships in both lead and combined, secured his ticket to the Paris Olympics, sent his first 9c with his FA of ‘B.I.G.’, and sent his hardest boulder with ‘Alphane’ 9A. We talked about his incredible year, learning from Adam Ondra’s risky and efficient cl…
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Jon Cardwell is back on to talk about his new route ‘Wind Up Bird’ 5.15b at The Fortress of Solitude in CO, how moving away helped him send, what he learned from failing on ‘Super Crackinette’ in France, how he applied Uphill Athlete principles to his training for sport climbing, plans to go back for the extension, bolting 5.15 projects in New Mexi…
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I’ve been dry-tooling more than ice climbing this winter, largely because it’s been frustratingly warm in New England. Call this my adaptation strategy — but really, I feel like I’m just getting ahead of the curve since trigger alert: dry-tooling is the future of ice climbing. #provemewrong(please) Not to be all dire, dour and doom and gloom, but g…
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Dr. Tyler Nelson is back on the podcast! We talked about the biggest takeaways from all of his years of finger strength experimenting, how he warms up for a limit bouldering session, how to gain finger strength while minimizing risk, the value of wrist and hand training, common causes of climbing injuries, his advice for my trip to Hueco, what he l…
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Kendra Stritch made history by becoming the first American to win a UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup medal in December of 2014 — when she took gold on the speed wall in Bozeman, Montana. Since then, Kendra has been a major force in developing dry-tooling and competitive ice climbing in the U.S.: She helped to formalize USA Ice Climbing under the auspice…
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James Pearson is one of the world’s best trad climbers. We discussed a 15-year-old controversy that nearly ended his career, how meeting his wife Caroline saved him, climbing his first 9a after learning how to train, eGrader and quantifying E grades, his decision to suggest E12 for his new route ‘Bon Voyage’, why he was afraid of becoming a dad, wh…
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Life doesn’t follow a clean and cut narrative arc — unlike the stories we tell. Sure, it might all start and end the same way for folks, but it’s the complex, messy middle that makes us, us. One of our tendencies with storytelling is to simplify, which means skimming over a lot of the details. But when we do that we might find the narrative doesn’t…
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Brooke Raboutou is an Olympian and a V15 boulderer from Colorado. We talked about growing up in a family of world-class climbers, balancing college with training for the Olympics, her mindset for competitions, why she meditates every day, her favorite hype music, working on her confidence, using pressure as fuel, focusing on the bigger picture, com…
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In today’s episode with Tom Beirne, we talk about the psychology of performance and the ethics of developing a new dry-tooling crag. Tom doesn’t love labels — and definitely don’t call him the dry-tooling guy — but to help paint a picture he’s a mixed climber from Seattle who especially enjoys questing, runs The Barn, a dry-tooling gym, helped to d…
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Will Anglin returns and is joined by coach and trainer Matt Jones. This is one of the most valuable episodes I’ve ever recorded. It’s a GOLD MINE for anyone who wants to progress their climbing. Will and Matt provide clear and in-depth guidance for beginner, intermediate, and advanced climbers in this three-hour masterclass. If you feel stuck at a …
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It takes a village to raise an ice festival, and for Liz Sahagún and her co-organizers, it’s all hands on deck for the All In Ice Fest — which will take place from January 5th to the 7th of 2024. Entering their third year, the mission of the fest is to create a space where folks from historically marginalized communities can simply have fun ice cli…
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Travis Tameirao is a 33-year-old from Rhode Island. On August 13, 2018, his life changed in a freak accident in the climbing gym. Three years and a dozen surgeries later, Travis miraculously returned to climbing and sent his first V10 and V11. We talked about his accident, getting a full knee replacement, how he made a full recovery, his incredible…
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What goes into making an ice axe? Of course there is technical know-how, design, and testing, but for Marty Theriault, it was more like an act of therapy. And a way to connect with friends. Marty started Forecast Equipment after he was medically released from the Canadian military for PTSD. He’d been percolating on the idea of a new tool and finall…
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Melina Costanza swept the US National Championships in October, making one hell of a comeback after her competition break. She returns to the podcast to talk about why Nationals was the hardest competition she has ever done, how to use nerves to focus and thrive, training for Nationals, praising effort, her fueling strategy, gaining weight to be mo…
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Introducing the Meet the Maker series. Each day this week we’ll be releasing a mini episode with an entrepreneur who is making specialty gear for ice climbers. 🎙Today we chat with Kyle Siegel, the Founder of Raide, which makes gear that supports efficient human-powered movement in the mountains. Their first major drop is the LF 40L which may be the…
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Introducing the Meet the Maker series. Each day this week we’ll be releasing a mini episode with an entrepreneur who is making specialty gear for ice climbers. 🎙Today we chat with Benjamin Leibham, the Founder of Alto Gear, which make ice climbing accessories out of upcycled and recycled material. You’ve probably seen Ben’s ice screw wrap at an ice…
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Introducing the Meet the Maker series. Each day this week we’ll be releasing a mini episode with an entrepreneur who is making specialty gear for ice climbers. 🎙Today we chat with Ben Carlson and Nick Hernandez, Co-Owners of Furnace Industries, which make gym-safe training equipment for ice climbing and dry-tooling. Quite simply, you’d be hard-pres…
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Introducing the Meet the Maker series. Each day this week we’ll be releasing a mini episode with an entrepreneur who is making specialty gear for ice climbers. 🎙Today we chat with Deed Ziegler, Founder of RecPak. I’m excited for these because I think ice climbers will really like them – RecPaks are 700 calorie, ultralight and ultra-packable meal re…
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This week on Spy Valley we’re sharing the first episode of a new four-part series from Brazen called ‘The Professor’. William Veres is in trouble. In 2018 he was arrested following the largest ever investigation by the Italian police’s art squad. They accuse him of running a pan-European art-smuggling ring with ties to the Sicilian mafia. He is all…
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Introducing the Meet the Maker series. Each day this week we’ll be releasing a mini episode with an entrepreneur who is making specialty gear for ice climbers. 🎙 Today we chat with Doug Heinrich, the Founder of Aniiu, which make technical ice climbing gloves. Doug is a longtime Salt Lake City climber, route developer, and alpinist, among many super…
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Pete Whittaker is widely regarded as one of the best crack climbers of all time. We talked about his current trip to Moab trying Stranger Than Fiction, how he trained for the FA of Crown Royale 9a, the skills needed to climb cutting-edge cracks, why he is still working on improving at ring locks, the futuristic Crucifix Project, his most fun/reward…
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Sometimes opportunities arise which push you outside your comfort zone. For Kelsey Rex, an out of the blue invitation turned a next year trip to Alaska into "we're leaving in two months". That accelerated timeline required a Matrix-like download of expedition planning and put Kelsey in her sweet spot as a lover of meticulous spreadsheets. It also m…
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Matt Segal is back on the podcast! Matt is one of the boldest trad climbers of his generation and just had his best climbing year ever at age 39. We talked about his new YouTube channel cooking show, his top cooking tips and the key to making delicious food, how he prepared to send Kryptonite 9a, and his ascent along with teammates Jesse Huey and J…
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Cogne is known as one of the ice epicenters in Europe. Located near the base of the Gran Paradiso, the only 4,000 meter peak in Italy, the Cogne Valley boasts over 400 ice climbs and many more mixed and dry-tooling lines. Consistency and accessibility are the name of the game: The microclimate and terrain means ice is reliable year-in-year-out and …
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Will Anglin is an expert boulderer and the founder of Tension Climbing. I love the way this guy thinks, and there are many nuggets in this episode. We talked about the key principles of climbing hard, the most common confusion points about training for climbing, why we should treat climbing like baseball, the number one thing all climbers should do…
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Stas Beskin is known for soloing big bold climbs, such as Rainbow Serpent and Fearful Symmetry, two of the most iconic WI6s in the Canadian Rockies. It's one thing to solo big flows, it's another to do it on freestanding pillars about as wide as your shoulders. But he does that too. And he does so without swinging his tools. Stas' conception of ice…
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Mat Wright has quickly established himself as one of the best trad climbers in Britain and is a world-class all-rounder having climbed E11, 5.14c, and V15. We talked about his humble beginnings in low-income government housing, teaching himself how to rope solo as a teenager, reaching V13 and 5.14c in his first three years of climbing, pivoting to …
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This week we chat with Ryan McCauley, a member of the USA Ice Climbing Team. Ryan has had a rapid rise, fitting for her speciality in speed. In fact, within two years of starting to dry-tool, Ryan went from falling off the second hold of rec team tryouts to finishing 6th overall in Women's Speed Climbing during last year's World Cups. According to …
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Alex Biale is an elite boulderer based in CO. We talked about his family legacy of bootlegging wine in Napa Valley, how he got into climbing, his legendary training with Jon Glassberg, pushing himself to the breaking point to send V14, seriously injuring his knee, working with Ollie Torr to overhaul his style and become stronger than ever, the keys…
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Today we're talking about the Beartooth Mountains in Montana, which have a history of minimal spray when it comes to ice climbing. So of course that's what we are going to do... Let's start with why should you go: One, if you're looking for first ascents or a first ascent-like day out, the Beartooths provide. Two, it's the largest uninterrupted lan…
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Jesse Firestone is back on the podcast! We talked about his injury this spring and finding silver linings, why he focused more on weight training than climbing this summer, shifting his priorities to spending more time on projects, biggest lessons from the past three years of coaching, Adam Ondra’s hip flexibility, how to become more flexible throu…
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In collaboration with SpyCast, this week on Spy Valley we're sharing a bonus episode recorded live at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. The panel was moderated by Sharon Weinberger, the national security and foreign policy editor at The Wall Street Journal, featuring Spy Valley host Zach Dorfman with Dr. Raymond J. Batvinis, a histori…
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Today is about all things training for dry-tooling with Eli Ellis. Eli is a dry-tooler, coach, and professional slackliner who specializes in highlinemo, a discipline that combines slacklining at high altitudes and mountaineering. For those familiar with the conjunction "skimo", you'll see where "highlinemo" comes from. To establish ever higher lin…
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Thanks for listening to Spy Valley. If you’re looking for a new podcast to follow, we think you’ll enjoy Agent of Betrayal: The Double Life of Robert Hanssen. Listen here for a special preview of the series. Amid the nuclear threat of the Cold War, America's prized secrets were falling into the hands of its sworn enemy—the Kremlin. The FBI's hunt f…
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Josh Champion is an MD and elite boulderer based in Portland, Oregon. Josh and I hung out in 2017 during my infamous Bishop trip. Since then he moved to Colorado for residency, got even stronger, and then quit climbing shortly after sending his first three V13s. We talked about why he quit for three years, how he improved his relationship with clim…
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This full episode is available for Patrons right now! Martin Keller is back on the podcast! We met up in Magic Wood over the summer and recorded another great conversation. We talked about his send of Gateway V16/8C+, using video review to make breakthroughs, why you shouldn’t spend 50+ days on a project as he does, gaining 13 kgs to send his harde…
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Marianne van der Steen is one of the top female ice and mixed climbers, and competition dry-toolers in the world today. She’s climbed WI7, M10 trad, and recently joined the D15 club, the third woman to climb the grade, alongside Angelika Rainer and Haruko Takeuchi. While she’s won many European Cups in ice climbing and reached the World Cup finals …
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Lily Kral is the owner of Boardworks in Bend, Oregon. We talked about her childhood and her mother’s struggle with addiction, being hospitalized for an eating disorder, exotic dancing her way through college, finding an identity as a strong climber, why she decided to build a board climbing gym, biggest challenges, burning the candle at both ends, …
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In this episode with Patrick Cooke, we talk about progressing in ice climbing with longevity in mind, mental tricks and training, and balancing mentorship with figuring things out for yourself. Patrick is based in the Northeast and has been climbing for nearly 20 years. During that time he has ticked hard classics all over New England, the Canadian…
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Joey Jannsen and Rich Breuner are the founders of Ocelot Grips. We talked about their “why” for starting a climbing hold company, why the small details matter, how to make dual tex, why you can’t buy their holds online, building relationships with your customers, being fans of sports, the future of indoor climbing, the entrepreneurial spirit, produ…
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Stefanie Myr is the head route setter, manager, and team coach at Climb Tacoma in WA. We met up in Leavenworth and talked about our similar upbringings in Christianity, why we both moved away from religion, finding “church” in the climbing community, confidence and self-belief, unique challenges as a short climber, being less certain and more curio…
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