The first-ever issue of Gripped magazine was published in October/November 1999 and featured a lot of Canadian climbing.
As we prepare to get issue 114 to the shelves, we can look back at the thousands of climbs we’ve reported on, but it all started with Bionic Spaceboy in Ontario.
On the first page of editorial content after a lengthy editorial by David Smart and Sam Cohen, the co-owners of Gripped Publishing, was a page of news reports.
Our first news report ever was about Sonnie Trotter making the first scent of Bionic Spaceboy at Old Baldy.
Trotter graded the hard one-move wonder route 5.14a, as he said it took him more attempts than other 5.14s he had sent.
Trotter was also featured in the first Northern Faces column, as he was only 19 at the time but on his way to becoming the crusher he is today.
In the article, Trotter talks about comp climbing, hitting the road for western Canada and about the difficulties of being a pro Canadian climber.
At the time, his hardest sends were Zulu 5.14a/b in Rifle, Soup Nazi 5.14a, Yellow Card 5.14a and Don’t Trust Whitey 5.14a.
“My favourite routes are the ones I put a lot of time and energy into,” he said. “I’m more into the process of wiring a climb then doing it flawlessly, than onsighting.”
Trotter, now in his late 30s, has a family and is based in western Canada. He’s currently on a one-year road trip climbing around North America.