Zion Climbing Center

Zion is a place where rock climbing meets community and where community meets Christ. The Principal concentration of the organization is to foster mentoring relationships, develop leadership in the community, and prepare persons to be successful in life. the organization also endeavors to be advocates for responsibility, equality, and justice in the community. It is the intention of the organization to use rock climbing as a medium to provide a value-based service to our community.

Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell Set Sub-2-Hour Nose Speed Record

This morning—June 6, 2018—Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell broke the sub-2-hour mark on the Nose (VI 5.8 A2) of El Capitan, a stated goal they’d been pursuing this season as they claimed the previous two speed records on the route—one on May 30, the other on June 4. The duo began the route at approximately 6 a.m. and topped out shortly before 8 a.m. “1:58:07,” said Honnold from the top of the 3,000-foot route.

This is the second time the massive formation has been climbed in sub 2 hours. In October 2003, Alex and Thomas Huber, former Nose record holders, climbed the approximately 1,900-foot, 19-pitch Zodiac (VI 5.7 A3) in 1:51.

Honnold and Caldwell have been working hard on going sub two hours, and this is approximately their tenth time climbing the route in the past few weeks. On May 30, the pair beat the previous record set by Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds when they topped out the Nose in 2:10:51. On Monday June 4th, the pair shaved off another 9 minutes, topping out in 2:01:50. 

Their ascent comes on the heels of the death of two climbers, Jason Wells and Tim Klein, who fell from the Freeblast section of the Salathé Wall (VI 5.9 A2) while speed climbing on Saturday June 2.

Honnold and Caldwell futzed about on the top of the formation before hiking down at 10 a.m. They were pleased with their effort. “Yay!” wrote Honnold in a text.


By James Lucas - Climbing Magazine



Alex Megos Sends 5.15c With First Ascent of ‘Perfecto Mundo’

The grade 5.15c has proved exceedingly elusive for climbers, with only two climbers sending the grade. Adam Ondra sent La Dura Dura, a 5.15c, in 2013 with Chris Sharma sending the same climb shortly thereafter. For five years, nobody else managed to climb at that level – until now.

On May 9, German climber Alex Megos, 24, attained the first ascent of the Perfecto Mundo, which both Sharma and Megos claim rates 5.15c. Sharma bolted the climb, located in Cataluna, Spain. But nobody – including Sharma himself – had climbed it cleanly without falls until Megos.

For context, 5.15c is the pinnacle of high-end sport climbing, the moves nearly impossible, the grips tiny. Only one climb, Adam Ondra’s Silence, first climbed in September 2017, is graded harder.

Perfecto Mundo involves a steep, overhanging roof that levels out to more vertical climbing with powerful moves. The most difficult section is near the top, after a series of fatiguing overhung moves. The climber must dynamically move from a mono pocket to a pinch and try desperately to hold on.

The German phenom has long been hailed for his climbing prowess, having made first ascents of 5.15b and multiple 5.15a climbs. He’s known for his ability to onsight climbs, sending routes graded 5.14d on his first try.

The large gap in people climbing at this grade reveals just how difficult it is to climb 5.15c. Fewer than five climbs exist graded that hard, and Ondra is the only climber to send multiple at that grade.

Stefano Ghisolfi, another climber projecting Perfecto Mundo, claims the first part is 5.14b to a rest.

“Then the main section starts,” he said, “about 10 intense moves with the crux that is a jump from a mono to a pinch, which is the hardest move.”

Congratulations go out to Megos on this career-defining accomplishment. It’s hard to say when the next climb at 5.15c will occur. These days, it could be weeks or years. 

Article Source: https://gearjunkie.com/alex-megos-5-15c-perfecto-mundo-first-ascent

King of the Crag

Our own Madeline Strother made the school newspaper, The Bison, telling about her recent wins this season. Check out this article written about her by Dailey Thomas:

On Oct. 14, junior Madeline Strother became king — King of the Crag that is. Strother competed in the King of the Crag rock climbing competition in Batesville, Arkansas, and won first place in the women’s advanced division. The weekend before, Strother placed first in the women’s division at the Ozark Climbing Gym in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Strother has been competing in rock climbing since her senior year of high school and has continued since. Strother works at a climbing gym back home, and trains and volunteers at the Zion Climbing Center in Searcy. Strother said she loves seeing herself progress in the sport and the community that she is surrounded by when climbing. “When you start out you just progress really easily,” Strother said. “It’s really hard at the beginning but as you continue you can see yourself getting better each time you come back to the gym.”

Strother said that she trains three times per week and tries to climb outdoors on the weekends. Mack Peters also trains and volunteers at Zion Climbing Center, and expressed that Strother has a great attitude and technique when they climb together.

“Madeline has a good base of flexibility and overall strength, but I really think it’s her attitude toward climbing,” Peters said. “She is always excited to climb and always wants to go out and try hard on something. She’s very thoughtful about her climbing as well, seeking out methods to get stronger but also evaluating her previous performance.”

Abby Tran, Harding alumna and Strother’s rock climbing partner, said their relationship has grown through rock climbing. “I love that in rock climbing there is this huge community within it. at’s how I met Madeline,”Tran said. “She and I have completely di erent friend groups, interests and backgrounds, but because of our love for climbing and the outdoors, we have really bonded.”

Strother is continually working on improving her skills in rock climbing and hopes to win more competitions with the encouragement of the rock climbing community, friends and family.

“What makes Madeline such a great climber is her love for the sport and her unwavering attitude when she climbs,” Tran said. “I’ve watched her set goals for herself and then push herself to achieve them.”



Each year in the Ozarks of Arkansas, at a place called Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, an incredible thing happens: hundreds of rock climbers from around the world show up for a grueling competition. It's called Horseshoe Hell, and climbers spend 24 straight hours seeing who can climb the most routes without stopping. Grueling, yes. But it's also a massive party and a ton of fun. This year, the dates are September 20-24. 


Sacrifices, Hard Work and my man crush on Tommy Caldwell

Have you ever had a goal that you have put your all into? Every ounce of your being going into training and preparing for something that seems incredibly out of reach? Well this guy did, and frankly it's incredible.
7+ years of waking up at 5 a.m, radically altering his lifestyle in order to conquer the Dawn Wall, that's some SERIOUS commitment. Now Tommy Caldwell is obviously no lightweight when it comes to climbing. He's been climbing for upwards of 20 years and is among one of the greats, focusing, as he said, early on on sport climbing and gradually changing over to big wall climbing. The Dawn Wall is something that has been waiting to be conquered, laughing in the face of anyone who had even dared to think about climbing it. But Tommy put in the work, he gave up precious time in his life in order to conquer this seemingly unsurmountable terror of a wall. But you know, him climbing it isn't even the coolest part.
His understanding of his responsibility to his family is the incredible thing.
You see, a lot of climbers get an incredibly bad rep. People like Alex Honnold, known for free soloing, who are looked at as reckless and ridiculous and having no care for their well-being or that of others. But one thing people don't seem to understand is that these guys are inherently and utterly human. They DO have fears, and they DO understand their impact if they were to die. Alex Honnold doesn't walk up to a climb and decide he's going to just free solo it. He takes time, typically climbs the routes multiple times ahead of time, and then after being fully confident that he can do it he goes for it. 
I am in no way condoning free soloing, and I know that if anyone caught me trying to do a free solo I'd most likely get a serious talking to if I came down alive. But what I'm trying to emphasize is climbers' understanding of what they are doing. There is a point in the interview above where Tommy talks about alpine climbing. As interesting a pursuit, and natural progression, it would be for him, he's a dad now. His responsibility, first and foremost, is raising his young son. That's not to say that he won't take the kid on climbs way earlier than some parents (especially in this day and age where kids can't even play tag or chew their pop-tarts to look like guns) think he should, but that's his choice to make. What's important is that he recognizes that the field IS dangerous, and he's willing to give up what he would naturally progress onto for his son.
Honestly, I just want to praise Tommy Caldwell with this article because that whole video shows that he is probably the most humble of dudes. Definitely a man crush.

Terrific Tuesdays

If you haven't heard already, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is slated for release on December 18th. Like any good fan, I have been preparing by watching everything Star Wars. It's been a while since I've immersed myself in this stuff and have come back up with some gems for your philosophical pleasure. Just sit back and enjoy the wisdom of the Jedi Masters. 

"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." - Yoda, Star Wars Episode V

"You can't win Darth. If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."- Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV

"You can kill me but you will never destroy me. It takes strength to resist the dark side. Only the weak embrace it."- Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (s5e16)

You should first notice some obvious Christian undertones here, which is very refreshing to me in a media dominated by darkness. Let's focus on Yoda's quote for now. There are so many verses in the Bible that speak Truth about who we really are and I think Yoda hits it on the head. In 2 Corinthians 3 it says, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 1 John 1 says, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." We are now children of God and the Spirit is transforming us into the image of God. This is part of our Salvation, that we should be called children of God, sharing the inheritance with Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we will become more than we are now. Therefore we truly are luminous beings, as Yoda says.

Obi-Wan is one my favorite characters of all time. What makes him so great is that he's a white knight, but still human and relatable. His faith is awesome. Both the quotes above are from an Obi-Wan who is faced with death, but he is not afraid because he knows that death will only unify him with something greater. In the same way, we shouldn't fear our deaths for they will only unite us with the luminous glory of God. While we live we are still children of God, hardened by resistance to temptation. You never know the strength of a wind by lying down, but by standing up. Standing up to temptation with the aid of Christ has slowly made us stronger by transforming us into Christ. The righteous have nothing to fear from the unrighteous, just like the Jedi should not fear the Sith.

Let us be like Obi-Wan and Yoda, knowing who we are and having faith in who we are becoming. Let's strive for righteousness because we don't lean on our own strength. Let's be something cooler than even a Jedi: a Christian.

Whatup Wednesday?

As the winter finally fades into the past and the spring begins to take hold, I begin to look to the summer and all it may hold. My anxiousness about summer has two main sources; family and exhaustion. Don't get me wrong, Searcy has been my second home, and Zion my second family, but there is no replacing home. This semester has been a hard one for a lot of us students, but as I tie up loose ends, I find my second wind. Just 16 more days and I'm done. With all the projects, papers, tests, and homework due in between now and then it might as well be next year. But somehow I feel strengthened. I feel exhausted, ready to be done, but I know I can't be. And I know I can keep going. If there's one thing I can do, it's just keep chugging. From hiking a mountain and finishing a 9 pitch multi-pitch, to bearing down and studying for that test, if I need to keep going, I will. The temptation to slack off is strong and the desire to throw in the towel is almost overwhelming. One thing that has checked my weakness this semester is one simple phrase that has a huge implication. "Work as if you are working for the Lord." Sure, we've all heard that before. As Christians, that's how we're supposed to view our jobs, right? It's easy to forget who we are working for when things are going smoothly. It's easy to do good work and not credit it to our creator. But now, when I feel like rolling over and giving up, I think about what kind of worker I am being. Who would hire someone who gives up in the final stretch of a project? Who WOULDN'T fire someone who just decides to stop putting in effort? Think about the person you admire the most. It could be a boss, a teacher, a family member, or shoot, it could be someone you've never met, but always looked up to. If you worked for them for one day would you not want to put in your 100% all time best effort? If we do that for some admired human, surely we can do better for the one who created us. Working for the Lord not only picks up my spirits and rallies my will, it gives me a sense of purpose. I can't imagine a better goal than glorifying the Lord through my honest,hard work. 

Going forward into the last 16 days of school, keep this in mind. Even if you bomb that test, or don't make an A on that paper or project, if you work your hardest and keep God as your center, you can take pride in what you have accomplished. 

Good luck out there fellas. 

Hailey Weare, signing off. 

Under Pressure and Super Cool Gear Talk

With the weather quickly getting palm-sweatingly delightful, goodness knows everybody is going to be getting outside. While we might not all play the same way, usually there will be some kind of gear involved. Whether that be a ball, a parachute, or a full rack full of cams ready for your next hard trad climb (getting ahead of myself? Yes. But that's ok I don't mind), gear can play a huge role in the enjoyment of your chosen activity. Good gear only comes about after rigorous testing processes; I mean imagine, would you want to play soccer with a ball made out of lead? The inventors of the soccer ball probably thought along the same lines as you initially, but after some testing found out that lead and the human skeleton don't usually go together well. Gear testing is very important, and this sweet vid from EpicTV shows all of the work that goes into making a simple quickdraw! From carabiner pressure tests to making sure that the needle you are using to sew is actually making it all the way through the material, it actually gives me personally an overwhelming feeling of security knowing the process that goes behind making these little devices that have allowed us to get up to 5.15c climbing! Seriously, La Dura Dura is hard and if you don't know what it is, you should look it up. Anyways, I feel like I made a hugely long winded post about something so simple, but I'm just excited ok?
NOTE: Anyone who can come in and break a brand-new carabiner (receipt necessary) purely by pulling on the top and bottom ON THEIR OWN will receive a lesson on how to be a human being presented by yours truly free of charge.

Welcome to Zion's Blog (a.k.a Zlog)!

Terrific Tuesdays!

A video posted by Zion Climbing Center (@zionclimbing) on

This is it. This is what everyone has been waiting for. I know you've thought, "Man, those folks at Zion are super cool and I would love to know what's going on in those crazy heads of theirs." Wish granted. The Zlog is a place for us to share what we're doing/reading/thinking/etc. and we really hope that you join the conversation in the comments section or come by and talk to us in person.

I'll kick this off by sharing something that I find powerful and provoking.  

     "Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain..." Exodus 19:3

     "I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain." Psalm 3:4 NIV

     "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence...When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by." Exodus 33:19 & 22

These are just three of a plethora of scriptures describing the relationship between God and mountains. Mountains are pretty great, but why would God choose a mountain as his resting place (for lack of a better term)? God doesn't do anything without a purpose in mind and I think He meant for us to learn from His choice of a mountaintop abode. Besides the countless metaphors between Christianity and mountains, I think God was telling us that we could always find Him in the mountains. I love getting outdoors because God's in the mountains, and if you go looking for him He might just pass by.

Patience is a Virtue

My name is Jared Knappe. As previously mentioned by Nicholas Hulett I am the route setter through which all route complaints should flow. I apologize for the brief period of poor route setting but just know that it was all out of love for my brother. I provided him with encouragement, albeit fake, to motivate him to continue being a route setter. I thank you all for your cooperation. Thats what we are all about here at Zion Climbing Center.  Fake encouragement. 

Ok thats enough sarcasm for one post. I was brought up in Colorado, from the time I was 3 until I turned 15, and then proceeded to Oklahoma for the remainder of my high school years. To answer your question, yes I do miss it. On the other hand, I can look back and be incredibly thankful for the relationships I was blessed with. I have an amazing family that has always encouraged me in my walk with Christ. Zion Climbing Center, as a community, has provided and still does provide real and genuine encouragement to anyone who steps through the doors. The community here is what separates Zion from pretty much every other popular climbing gym and I absolutely love it. We are all striving to put God first and let Him use us in the world of rock climbing so that His blessings will continue to spread. Every member of this staff desires to have real and meaningful relationships built on Christ and rock climbing has proven to be an amazing medium through which that is accomplished. Sadly, I didn't get into rock climbing while living in Colorado but it was the free climb here at Zion that opened my eyes to the greatest sport of all time. I am a senior exercise science major with plans for Physical Therapy school. I love being in nature. I want to encourage everyone to come in and climb your arms off in a place where you will not be judged on your performance. We have all been new to climbing and would love to just help in any way that we can. I really do apologize for any routes I may have set that weren't up to par, for I'm still new to this art, but I would also encourage you to work hard towards completing a route. You will see improvement in your strength very quickly and the harder you work, the better the reward. I look forward to meeting you, getting to know you, and climbing with you! 

I entitled this post "Patience is a virtue" due to the fact that this post is very late. Luckily, it is a virtue that everyone has had with me.