About collection #2
As humans, we are naturally influenced by what we are exposed to. Sometimes it only takes a single moment—one new experience—to change the course of your life. For me, that single moment, was the first time stepping into a climbing gym—I was completely overtaken, utterly consumed. It was a new world to me, but one I was compelled to understand even though I found it intimidating. I wanted to integrate, but it felt overwhelming without personal connections—people I could learn and fail and succeed with. I needed community.
The gym became my second home and weekend plans revolved around climbing. I replaced days being hungover inside with days climbing outside. My clothes got stretchier. My energy levels increased. My friends changed, too—initially they were from my childhood but climbing exposed me to people from vastly different worlds, giving me new perspectives.
I found that one of the coolest things about rock climbing is that you get to do it side-by-side with the people you look up to. Throughout my 20s, while bouldering in Bishop and Yosemite, I’d often run into some of the very heroes that inspired me on the daily. Whether they knew it or not, these were the people who pushed me further toward what would become an unceasing and all encompassing lifestyle as a rock climber. They are the reasons I am the climber I am today.
Ethan. Thomo. Beth. Joe. From pictures in magazines or characters in videos, these climbers would go on to become so much more. From friends and teachers to mentors—even true love. The common bond is our passion for climbing, no matter how hard you climb or how accomplished you are, we share a common love. These four people showed me how to set goals and achieve them, to be humble and proud, to be fierce and vulnerable, and how to try really hard and not give up. I am proud to celebrate each of them in LOV’s second collection: HERSTORY
In an effort to pay homage to those that were here before us and the land we play on we will be donating 50% of HERSTORY’s profits to NARF.org.
The Native American Rights Fund, is the oldest and largest nonprofit legal organization defending the rights of Indian tribes, fighting to preserve tribal existence, natural resources and land, such as saving Bears Ears National Monument and fighting against the proposed Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline which would jeopardize the Great Lakes area.
LOV puts emphasis on where we came from, how we got here, and where we’re going. That means each step as a new business is meticulously thought out so that we can do it in the most responsible and environmentally conscious way. That’s why every collection tells a story and gives something back. We are happy to give back to the first story tellers of this land and it’s the least we can do.
To learn more about the amazing things NARF does for the Native people and the land we live on here in the U.S. please visit NARF.org.
— RELATABLE, DRIVEN, VULNERABLE —
JUMBO LOVE, MT. CLARK, CA
PHOTOGRAPHER - DAMON CORSO 2007
When I first met Ethan, it felt like we had already known each other for years. I think, by default, this is pretty common for us Bay Area natives. Ethan is something of a hometown-hero—since age eight he has been steadily pushing limits in all disciplines of climbing, from competitions to sport, bouldering to trad. Yes, he’s a total badass on the rock, but what has always stood out to me is our face-to-face time—his ginormous hugs, deep talks, and absolute empathy towards others.
One of the things I instantly gravitated towards and admire about Ethan is his willingness to share with his friends and audience. He talks openly about his challenges with mental health, self-doubt, and the heartbreak he experienced after his dad’s stroke. Ethan’s honesty in discussing his issues is extremely rare and requires a level of inner fortitude and personal belief that few can be expected to achieve. Ethan shows us that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable can be used as a strength. He has shown us that we don’t need to be afraid to show and share our demons. Somehow, even when stuck in the depths of despair, he can resurrect positive energy and use it towards his goals.
I chose this image of Ethan on Jumbo Love (5.15b) because of its shear prominence in USA climbing and, honestly, the name in itself: Jumbo Love. This climb signifies a battle, a massive effort to complete a long-term goal. This climb was Ethan’s biggest campaign of emotions, perseverance, and devotion to what mattered to him. It exemplifies the vibe of us at LOV: the things we do in life aren’t always pretty, but the outcome is.
- NOMAD, FRINGE, MOTHER -
THE METHOD, SQUAMISH, BC 2012
PHOTOGRAPHER - MAX HASSON
Thomasina was one of those enchanting, darkhorse climbers that could just throw down. She was one of the few ladies consistently ticking off double-digit boulders in the early 2000s. I’ll never forget when I met Thomo in person. I was at the famous Thriller boulder in Yosemite when Thomasina, Siemay (a mutual friend of ours), and pint-sized seedling Cedar (Thomo’s daughter) strolled up. They were armed with blankets, games, books, and snacks to keep Cedar occupied while the adults played. I was already impressed.
After Thomo sorted out young Cedar with a pine-needle bed for nap time, she and Siemay quickly got to work on The Force (V9) and Thriller (V10). When Thomasina climbed, she danced perfect choreographed movement, never shaky or out of control. She was solid and graceful and mesmerizing. Her beta always seemed unique to her. I quietly took mental notes on how to climb that way and to this day still try to emulate it.
These ladies were intimidating but fully captivating. It didn’t take long to break the barrier with introductions and bouldering babble. Before I knew it, the three of us were crouched at the base of the boulder comparing bare feet and looking for signs of the mythical “Han toe” (a feature in Chinese) and immediately Thomasina was a “girl crush.” She lived simply with her daughter out of a mini van, she always dressed in secondhand and ate wholesome/clean foods. It wasn’t a life I wanted to mirror, but it was motivating and helped reveal and define a fringe lifestyle to me.
Thomo taught me that typical societal rules don’t have to apply and there is more than one path to follow. She embodies a woman on her own path of happiness while overcoming challenges.
- HYPER , NONCONFORMIST, CONFIDENT -
THE ACTIVATOR, HURRICANE, UT 2010
PHOTOGRAPHER - KEITH LADZINSKI
Media perpetuates the personalities we read about, watch in movies, or see in social media. The first time I laid eyes on “Joey” was around 2004 while flipping through a magazine on my lunch break at REI. My first thought was, “Dang that dudes got some bushy-ass eyebrows!” As I proceeded to flip through more photos of Joe he struck me right away as a character. He looked fun. I was in my 20s, so naturally I was into fun. He was part of a crew referred to as the “Three Amigos” that included Dave Graham and Luke Parady and they were the hot-shot young Americans sending all the hard climbs in the early 2000s. With his popular tagline, “Always Psyched!” Joe was hard to miss. He was one of the best sport climbers in North America, this loud New Englander challenging the quietness of other top climbers. He exuded a tenacious confidence and boisterous style all his own—this swagger made him magnetic.
In 2010, I came across this photo that I’ve chosen to live on these cotton threads. It’s compositionally flawless, and, like most everyone, I’m undeniably attracted to a sunset. What’s crazy is this photo is also studio lit… in a cave! This was unique at the time as no one was making that sort of artistic effort in climbing photography. It turned my focus to the photographer, Keith Ladzinski, who became an instant creative hero as I was a photo major at the time.
It’s funny to look at this image from over 10 years ago, a memory from my past. Joe is still trying to redpoint this route, The Activator. It takes a truly passionate person to spend over a decade trying to finish a route they’ve started. I’ve learned from Joe as he is a person with conviction, with a never-ending love for climbing. He was a constant inspiration from afar and now he is up close. Meeting Joe for the first time was a serendipitous breath of fresh air. When the exterior layers of Joe were peeled back and his true character was revealed, I was enamored with a character who is one of the realest people I know. This is one of the reasons I fell in love with him. He’s a creator, he’s an innovator, he’s not afraid to go all in and make mistakes. Above all, Joe is a human that allows for growth and never settles for the bare minimum. He is my everything.
- QUIET, MODEST, EMPOWERING -
BOOK OF HATE, YOSEMITE VALLEY, CA 2010
PHOTOGRAPHER - COREY RICH
Beth was a constant. I’d see Beth on her morning Stair Master routine at the gym. I’d see her occasionally in the Valley, at a friend’s gathering, or on the street as we’ve lived blocks away from one another for years now.
I recall earlier images of her in the mags. A young babyface with hair pulled back in a ponytail; so innocent looking. She was always in a white sports bra or light blue top, scaling a sea of granite and always squinting upward. She climbed some of the hardest big walls sure, but also endured an extreme emotional terror from her kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan, managed her entire youth in the limelight, and felt unbelievable social pressure through a much more public breakup than I’m sure was comfortable.
Her story, however, was so much bigger than what the magazines wrote about. She became even more of a hero to me when she moved away from a life as a professional climber and started to open up about the life she had lived and her insecurities. At that time she was one of the first women to expose the emotional battles she fought when no one else talked about that sort of thing. I think these issues take time and one of the most heroic things that Beth has done in climbing is to bring them to the table. From eating disorders to being held hostage and the PTSD that came along with it. She exposed her challenges with love and motherhood, and became a relatable voice for so many of us. Being raw and real gives us freedom. Authenticity is the goal. Beth gave me perspective—that real courage lies in those that have nothing to hide. Her ability to show the true grit—the good, bad, and ugly of life—is exactly what I strive for in my own.