Famous Rock Climbers Get Naked For Annual ESPN ‘Body Issue’

ESPN The Magazine’s annual “The Body Issue” walks a fine tether between athletic voyeurism and gratuitous flesh shots. In its glossy pages male and female athletes of all ages, from basketball stars to snowboarders, bear it all for the lens of a photographer, often outdoors and in their natural sporting element.

A 77-year-old golfer gets a cameo in this year’s edition, released this month. More relevant here, climbers Chris Sharma and Daila Ojeda are featured bouldering in the nude in a series of photos by stalwart climbing/outdoor shooter Boone Speed.

Chris Sharma climbing (top) and photographer Boone Speed checking a shot

The sunny shots, like most of the ESPN nudes, hide the climbers’ private bits (though rear ends seem to be fair play in a few of the photo spreads). Instead, you see Sharma and Ojeda’s arm and back muscles, sculpted cores, and taut tendons as they grip tiny holds.

Notes the magazine, “It’s okay to stare. That’s what The Body Issue is here for.”

Sharma and Ojeda bouldering in the buff

Readers, what do you think? A beautiful display of the human form, or an excuse for a magazine to run softporn masquerading under the label of athletic display? Either way, you gotta admire Ojeda’s grip on the steep face and her bare big toe seeking a hold on that overhanging stone.

—Stephen Regenold

Images from “The Body Issue” over the years

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.