Hanging in Malta
The Shot: Tommy Caldwell tops out on a sea cliff in Malta, a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily and the North African coast, 2012.
The Photographer: Corey Rich
The Full Story: Those who follow the sport of professional rock climbing know these hands could only belong to Tommy Caldwell, who didn’t let the fact that he accidentally cut off some of his left index finger with a table saw in 2001 stop him from becoming one of the greatest climbers the world has ever known. As gritty as this photo looks, the obscure archipelago of Malta is one of the safest places he’s adventured (Caldwell’s storied climbing resume includes getting kidnapped and held hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan in 2000). But the rock itself, limestone, was brutal on the hands and left the entire team bloody and taped.