Welcome back to Extreme Exposure, a weekly column bringing you the best photography and news from the world of action and outdoor sports. This week, Jeremy Flores rewrites his legacy and Sasha DiGiulian completes her Eiger Dream.
Eiger Dreams Come True
After waiting out unseasonably poor weather in the Swiss Alps, Sasha DiGiulian and Carlos Traversi completed the “Magic Mushroom” route up the north face of the Eiger. They became the first Americans to free climb the route while DiGiulian is the first female to do so.
The duo had originally planned to climb La Paciencia, a slightly more difficult route but one that was more affected by the extremely poor weather. Many climbers will use any means possible to complete a climb—if they fall, they’ll simply continue up the rock or use rope to aid them in trouble spots. To free climb, one must send a route cleanly from top to bottom. This added a dicey element to the climb.
“It was really the most physically and mentally exhausting thing I’ve ever done,” DiGiulian tells SI.com. “There’s so much anticipation and waiting, the whole process really wares on the body. I couldn’t open my hands with two pitches to go. If you fall you have to start back at the beginning of the pitch. (Near the end) you really need to do the pitches first try. Physically, you just don’t have the energy.”
DiGiulian, a student at Columbia and a 2011 World Champion said her Eiger Dreams project—a nod to the Jon Kraukaur book—doesn’t even compare to anything she’s accomplished indoors. “It’s my greatest accomplishment,” she says. “I’ve never had to suffer that much for something I wasn’t even sure I could finish.”
- MORE EDGE: Gallery: Riding with BMX's Scotty Cranmer
A Return to Form
Jeremy Flores’ win last week at the Billabong Pro Tahiti was much more than the Reunion Island native’s first CT victory since Pipeline in 2010. It may have just reignited his career. It’s been a rocky couple of years for the talented surfer who was named the WSL’s top rookie in 2007. Last season, Flores, 27, was forced to watch from the channel at Teahupoʻo after he was suspended by the WSL following an outburst at judges in South Africa during the J-Bay event. Flores was upset after losing a heat and stormed the judge’s booth in protest. In 2011, Flores was kicked out of the Burleigh Breaka Pro following his involvement in a fight during a free-surf session alongside Sunny Garcia.
There’s no denying Flores’ backside barrel-riding prowess as he’s now won two of the gnarliest events on the World Tour, Teahupoʻo and Pipeline. And his toughness is without equal: he wore a helmet throughout the contest in Tahiti after he suffered a head injury during a trip to Indonesia. His doctor recommended he sit out. Flores didn’t listen. He’s now No. 7 in the world heading into the Lower Trestles event Sept. 9-20.
When Art Meets Air
Last week, Canadian BMX rider and X Games Austin silver medalist Drew Bezanson released his “Uncontainable” video to the public. Aside from the massive air, the most eye-popping part of the film was the actual construction of the ramps, built out of shipping containers. Bezanson returned to his home in Truro, Nova Scotia to work on the project with friends, setting up on a large swath of land with access to a crane. Brezanson then brought in esteemed ramp builder Nate Wessel to construct the jumps, using the shipping containers as support. He even used the crane to suspend a wall ride that made for unreal video.
“It was the perfect location to be away from everything and do the project low-key,” Brezanson says. “I didn't want a bunch of people to know about it. The goal was for it to be a surprise for everyone when the video was released. I wanted to build something that scared me. I wanted the same feeling as when I was a little kid (just) starting to ride BMX.”
As the World Burns
In the West, the world seems to be burning as wildfires have ravaged the Pacific Northwest. On Idaho’s Main Salmon last week, groups of rafters had to be pulled off the river and evacuated out the Salmon River Road east of Riggins, a small central Idaho town that thrives on the whitewater industry. But over the weekend, according to the Idaho Statesman, the 80,000 acre Tepee Springs fire forced the closure of the road, and rafters hoping to get home had to spend extra time along the river as some 800 firefighters worked to contain the blaze and clear their escape. Below is a view of the Tepee Springs fire from upriver.