The Faroe Islands—rocky, windswept, bird-and-sheep-filled—sit just about halfway between Norway and Iceland. Climbers Cedar Wright, James Pearson, and Yuji Hirayama set out for the Faroes intent on climbing one of the dramatic, dizzying cliffs that rise straight from the black North Atlantic. The three did a little scouting by boat, scared themselves a little, then set about planning their route.

Until the farmer who owned the cliff got wind of what they were up to and shut the whole thing down.

The thing is, the farmers of the Faroes aren’t new to climbing. For decades, they’ve recovered straying sheep from perilous caves and vertiginous cliffsides. Once the climbers met with the locals and explained why they were there, the farmers came around and happily used their boats to motor the three out to the base of their chosen cliff.

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Once Wright, Pearson, and Hirayama began climbing, they discovered the cliff was a chossy nightmare. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it was often covered with slick vegetation. And there were hundreds of seabirds nesting in the cliffs, which defended their territory by puking on the interlopers.

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All part of the adventure.