I've been getting a lot of questions lately about the new Citi Bank commercial featuring a pair of rock climbers (below). Everyone asks if it's real or not and the answer is, "Yes, it is real." Not only is it real, but the climbers in the commercial are some of the best rock climbers in the country, Katie Brown and Alex Honnold.
Katie Brown has an impressive resume consisting on many extremely difficult climbs and first ascents. Alex Honnold is considered one of the best free soloists ever. Free soloing is when you climb something without a rope- just you and the rock. If you fall, you will most likely die. Not only does Alex free solo, he free solos some of the hardest climbs in the world. If you watch 60 Minutes on CBS, you may have seem a great segment on him while he was free soloing a route in Yosemite National Park. If you haven't seen the segment I highly recommend you watch it (second video below). It's pretty amazing. The formation they are climbing in the commercial though is called Ancient Art and is located just over the Colorado-Utah border near Moab. This is one of the most popular desert tower climbs due to its relatively easy and breathtaking final pitch. To really get your heart going, check out the videos below.
The Citi Bank Commercial:
The 60 Minutes segment on Alex Honnold:
If you watched the Super Bowl this year (Giants won), you may have watched the halftime show. If so, you undoubtedly saw a curly haired man in a dress (er... toga) bouncing around on a rope. This man was Andy Lewis, also know as Sketchy Andy or Skandy, and what he was doing is called slacklining.
Slacklining is where you stretch a piece of nylon webbing between two points and then walk across it, or in Skandy's case, do back flips and spins. Slacklining is an extremely popular activity for rock climbers when they are taking a break from climbing. Aside from being an entertaining challenge, slacklining requires a great deal of balance and concentration- two skills which happen correlate directly with rock climbing. How the Super Bowl halftime planners ever thought to put slacklining in the Super Bowl is astonishing really, but hey, it sure was cool. Overnight Sketchy Andy has gone from a modest celebrity in the slacklining world to a nationally recognized extreme sports star. Below I've attached a couple videos about Andy Lewis including a piece by ABC and a video explaining how he landed himself the nickname Sketchy Andy.
The first is an ABC piece on Andy Lewis and the Super Bowl halftime show. The second is a Youtube reel that explains the nickname.
A collection of stories and adventures from the FAMS director and instructors.