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September 27, 2011 / availableworld

Extreme Photo of the Week

Trad Climbing the Needles, Black Hills, South Dakota

Photograph by Dawn Kish

Imagine climbing one of these granite spires. Or ten. In a single day.

Climbing legend John “Verm” Sherman, 52, first considered climbing the Ten Pins in a day—known as “the Strike,” in the Needles of the Black Hills—two decades ago. One partially paralyzed arm, a separated right shoulder, and two artificial hips later, he gave it a shot last July with climbing partner Cheyenne Chaffee, a local guide. “Even though the Strike requires a degree of physical stamina, the main challenge was mental—holding it together on run-out terrain where a fall could be a career-ender,” says Sherman.

Here, Sherman is seen leading on Super Pin, an elite-level climb and the most iconic of the Ten Pins. It is known for its “X” factor, which, in climbing, is the potential for a deadly fall due to lack of protection. “I stood up very, very carefully on the summit,” recalls Sherman. “It’s about the size of a 12-pack on top.”

Getting the Shot
Shooting all Ten Pins in one day is as much a challenge for the photographer as it is for the climber. For this shot, photographer Dawn Kish, a longtime rock climber, set herself on a nearby pin, Tent Peg. She then rappelled up and down a line to get the best angle. “We were tired in the middle of the day, but we had some Coca-Cola and Cheetos,” notes Kish, who captured the image using a Nikon D7000. “This camera is fast and light. For climbing shots, you need that flexibility.”

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Photo: Cyclists bike down the Massiac pass during the 9th stage of the Tour de France 2011

2011 Tour de France

Photograph by Christophe Ena, AP

Cyclists race down Massiac pass during the 9th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. This stage of the race—there are 21 total—covered 129 miles from Issoire to Saint-Flour in central France and was the scene of several accidents due to pileups and wet roads. Over the three weeks of the race, which ends July 24 on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, cyclists cover 2,132 miles.

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Photograph by Mikey Schaefer, National Geographic

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Watch videos of amazing feats by Potter and other superclimbers of Yosemite featured in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic (read the article or see the photo gallery). Then unlock bonus video clips when you share them via Facebook or Twitter.
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Photograph by Lucas Gilman

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Photograph by Dave Collyer

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Photograph by Monica Dalmasso, Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge

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