PEACE BE THE JOURNEY

Picture the scene, the sunny Californian valley of Yosemite. Far from the snow-capped summits of Alaska and Colorado. Home to strikingly vertical walls spanning up to 3,000 feet. It was one of the first national parks to be created and was the perfect place for the beginning of a new breed of climbers: a mix of hardcore mountaineers and carefree hippies who achieved incredible feats while living in tents and smoking weed. Their lifestyle influenced climbers from California and all over the world, who abandoned all contingencies to become “dirtbags”.

The ‘Stonemasters’ started out as a band of high schoolers from Joshua Tree, in Southern California. In the early 70’s they migrated to Yosemite via Topanga Canyon and began living there, climbing on every occasion. They slept in their cars, in tents or even in caves and sometimes worked for a few odd weeks inside the Park. They were not traditional athletes. Rather, climbing was their lifestyle and all they cared for. They were competing against each other in a cocky way, climbing using as little protection as possible, always one-upping each other at the risk of injuries. On easy routes they just soloed without a rope, humiliating slower climbers. They established some of the hardest rock climbing routes in the world at the time, while maintaining “pure” ethics. Even now, a repeat of some of their boldest ascents is newsworthy.

At basecamp, they created their own counter-culture, complete with drugs, fashion and music. Like many climbers and hikers of the time, these folks were inspired by the mythos of JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth - from the mountainous homes of the Elves to the recreational use of Pipe Weed and most importantly the connection with nature itself. They were self-proclaimed dirtbags, long-haired vagabonds who scavenged for leftover food scraps from tourists, played music and drank beer around campfires. But they changed the face of climbing forever.

This collection is a homage to their style and vision.