Cliffhanger: What a ‘Life in the Vertical’ Is All About

Climber and photographer Julie Ellison provides insight into the sport, its culture, and more.

Over the past few decades, climbinghas grown from a small subset of athletes into a universal phenomenon. “I’ve been climbing for over 17 years, and when I started, it was still a little bit of an underground sport,” saidJulie Ellison, who at 29 became Climbing Magazine’s first female editor-in-chief.

“Now, you can talk about climbing, and people understand, even if they’ve never climbed before.” When Ellison worked at Climbing Magazine as a writer and photographer, she studied everything about climbing media. Her interests, lifestyle, and career revolved around the wall.

Climbing takes a lot of focus and skill, but so does photography. And it also takes a certain mentality. In this video, Ellison describes what that’s like in vivid detail.

“Climbing is mostly failing,” she said. “There’s always the next challenge, something harder to try.”

Thanks to this trailer andGestalten Books, we can learn more about what that’s like, and how we can share in the culture of climbing together.

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is based in Denver, Colorado, but frequently travels abroad. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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