Readers Blog

Posted July 1, 2008 11:36 PM

In Smallness

In verdure and bloom, spring brings a shrugging off of long worn ermine coats and an unfettering from the frozen shackles of ice and snow.

Posted July 1, 2008 8:45 PM

Climbing Wall

Mike falls to the ground...

Posted July 1, 2008 6:35 PM


In a gray brown autumn the clouds hung low in the damp air...

Posted July 1, 2008 6:06 PM

Footwork Fireworks

During the morning we lounged between climbs like lizards in the hazy sun...

Posted July 1, 2008 4:25 PM

The Beckoning Boots

When I am in the mountains, I need not dream about them, but they somehow still manage to invade my dreams. The line between dream and reality may fade into oblivion, but the line to the summit is clear as day.

Posted July 1, 2008 12:32 PM

Climbing Karma

That’s how I found myself in a sport climbing paradise leading 5.6 on jugs and bizarre chickenhead formations when I really wanted to be ruining my fingertips on 5.11 crimps.

Posted July 1, 2008 11:06 AM

On Something and Nothing

The line between this world and, and what? Without knowing the line becomes both exhilarating and terrifying. Like the red button you mustn’t press - yet you can’t resist. We know no good can come of it, but still we persist.

Posted July 1, 2008 2:22 AM

Fresh Paint

He has earned it all, a guide’s badge and a company... He has everything every guide hopes for.

Posted July 1, 2008 1:09 AM

Consolation Prize

At four pitches up I’m miserable, the Fruit-Cup wall is a water fall and I’m a sitting duck.

Posted June 30, 2008 10:07 PM

Alone Time

Don’t ever trust a rope. I know you have, hell, I have too. But never trust it again. It will lie with its coils. It is bold and audacious, but so are the best liars...

Posted June 30, 2008 5:31 PM

The Lesson

Around three thousand meters it wears a thick white cloud skirt, but above that layer a thousand meters of seemingly virgin brilliant white slope ends in a partly stony suave summit.

Posted June 30, 2008 1:40 PM

Lost to This

I wonder how many more will be lost to this. All that have failed have been given the final kiss. Lives are scattered beneath the face, broken hopes of those who lost the race.

Posted June 30, 2008 1:39 PM

Apartheid Mountain

My Sportivas were a bit leaky and I felt a bit under-dressed...

Posted June 30, 2008 1:14 PM

User Unknown

I hope you don’t mind me mailing, but I found your address on the net and was wondering if you could help.

Posted June 30, 2008 2:08 AM

Mr. Braceface

Me, my standards are even lower. I’m looking for someone to hold the other end of a rope.

Posted June 29, 2008 11:37 AM

Old Partners

When we were students, the mountains were an obsession, no, a religion for us...

Posted June 26, 2008 10:55 AM

An Imaginary First Ascent of a Real Route

The 'Electro-Goths' head into the tempest, tempted by unclimbed ice...

Posted June 24, 2008 7:43 PM

Forgive Me Climber for I Have Sinned

I didn’t set out to break the First Commandment of Ice Climbing: Thou shall not fall.

Posted June 24, 2008 5:14 PM

White, Snow, White

Right ski, left ski, right ski, left ski, again and again, I move, exhausted.

Posted June 20, 2008 9:26 AM

Out of the Dark Room

Every time I miss the thin ledge, every time. And now dense blue sky pushed around, hiding the ledge, and everything else, but it was wired, it was going.

Posted June 18, 2008 3:03 PM

Collateral Damage

We should have just turned around, Freddie. But we'd invested a lot of energy to get that far. Neither one of us wanted to admit that the best decision was to go home...

Posted June 17, 2008 4:25 PM

The Old Saxifrage

Here at our wind scorned, wintered mother's perch...

Posted June 17, 2008 9:44 AM


While I lowered to the ground, a local man took an extraordinarily keen interest in our equipment...

Posted June 15, 2008 2:05 PM

Calling You from a Cloud

Fragments of a diary written in darkness, wearing gloves.

Posted June 15, 2008 2:02 PM

Whether It is Worth It or Not

This may be the most breath-taking moment...

Posted June 13, 2008 3:09 PM

Report from Very High Latitudes; A Personal Account of Northeast Brazil Climbing

We were segregated resistors of a practice fed by the virtuality of Internet videos and foreign magazines...

Posted June 12, 2008 3:57 AM

The Alpine Blitz

We have perfected the art of the "Alpine Blitz."

Posted June 9, 2008 2:22 AM

Alpinist Comforts

The only thing you are looking for is some kind of perspective away from people who are concerned.

Posted June 7, 2008 1:12 PM

Tale of a Cliffside Whale

We both shouted expletives that began with "holy" and I quickly glanced back toward the rock to better position myself.

Posted June 5, 2008 3:49 AM

The Snaz

After mantling onto the ledge and clipping in, my partner hands me two nuts. “These both fell out,” he says.

Posted June 4, 2008 6:25 PM

Flailing: A Play in Two Acts

The Scene: Approximately 2 PM at about 18,500 ft. above Denali's Orient Express.

Posted May 30, 2008 5:19 PM

The Great Adventures of the Climbing Elvises

Turning around? No sir!

Posted May 23, 2008 11:59 AM

For RR

Hands and face gnarled by a sun that has shone down and then back up for most of his life, pre-cancers pop up like bi-monthly crops to be frozen off at the mercy of his dermatologist.

Posted May 22, 2008 12:00 AM


Ames is having no luck waving down cars at midnight on Mexico-85 on a Friday in late August, and it’s because he’s using the one handed wave. I teach him the two handed wave with a headlamp in each hand, and in a few minutes a white minivan pulls over.

Posted May 20, 2008 3:39 AM

Optimus Prime

Ten feet above my last peice, I wedged my weary carcass in a left leaning airy chimney and looked for a place to die.

Posted May 19, 2008 4:41 PM

Cragging on the Eiger

Admit it or not, the majority of us live vicariously through the stories of great climbs and epics and as armchair mountaineers we climb higher, faster, and two grades harder than in reality.

Posted May 17, 2008 1:41 PM

Other Seasons

A tiny white void — a kind of cosmic tumbleweed bouncing north on the Ruth glacier, an isolated sphere of humanity in close orbit to the earth. I see only white, I hear my own deep breaths interrupted by great, rumbling crashes from either side of the invisible gorge like massive, curling waves against a rocky shore somewhere out there.

Posted May 15, 2008 8:14 PM

July 25

Chapped hands shook, sunscreen burned my eyes, the curve of the earth rolled out before us.

Posted May 9, 2008 1:15 PM


You reach the crux, scrub away the myth of "what if" and find fragile footprints, a small voice pulling you up.

Posted May 6, 2008 1:48 PM

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way the Wind Blows

But I cannot forget how you made it down too by your own navigation of the night sky, or how we embraced in the dark there at the base.

Posted May 5, 2008 1:03 PM

The Plastic Age

Tomorrow, early, he would push with all his strength for the summit, but tonight he would sway under the stars by a thread and ignore the world below.

Posted May 5, 2008 1:02 PM

Beware the People Person

If I end up with another climbing partner who turns out to be a “people person” I’m going to rip their head off.

Posted April 30, 2008 12:00 PM

Cruisin' with Susan

We'd both wanted to do it. We lay there on the ground, shivering in the night air as much from fear as the cold.

Posted April 28, 2008 5:01 PM

Something for the Ski Mountaineers

Instinct darkens my mind, must keep going...

Posted April 28, 2008 4:53 PM


Another morning. Another hangover. Another solo journey to second peak.

Posted April 26, 2008 1:46 PM

Free Pitch

From the top you can watch the whole universe below...

Posted April 25, 2008 8:26 PM

First Light

After last night I didn’t think we would see the sun for days...

Posted April 24, 2008 2:25 PM


Maybe it was a passage in Siddhartha that made me start listening to rivers speak...

Posted April 23, 2008 4:21 PM

Foolish But Lucky

The jeep descended and ground to a halt on a dusty flat near the riverbed. It was not going well...

Posted April 22, 2008 6:16 PM

The Visceral Game. The Pinnacles of Mt Ruapehu.

Approach The air - grey and misty. The mountain - glued together by dirt. This drives us closer to the edge. We are breathless, speechless and serious. This is Paradise?

Posted April 21, 2008 3:04 PM


The sun's glow is beginning to rise on the Eastern Cascades, and it's time to go climbing.

Posted April 21, 2008 3:02 PM

The Book

Is this something everyone does? Or is it reserved for the truly pathetic?

Posted April 21, 2008 2:57 PM

The Jukebox

If I had known how intimidating I’d one day find my wife I’d never have asked her out that day at Carderock Cliff...