In the spring of 2009, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson died below the 8,530-foot east face of Mt. Edgar (21,713') in the Minya Konka Range of Sichuan, China. A year and a half later, Kyle Dempster and Bruce Normand followed their path through mist and avalanches to finish a dangerous route they believe no one should climb again.
Today, Sonnie Trotter is known for hard trad ascents of routes like Cobra Crack (5.14). Twelve years ago, he was a twenty-year-old sport climber overawed by the shadowed granite and eerie wildness of the North Walls of Squamish, British Columbia—the portal to his first real adventures.
Two alpine hard-heroes confront a last great problem, battle the requisite inner demons and test the brotherhood of the rope against the mountain of numbers. Graphic art by Michael Hjelm.
Free soloing is often called the purest form of climbing: an intense, solitary encounter between the climber and the rock. What happens when one of its most talented practitioners finds himself surrounded by mass-media attention?
Along Utah's Green River, four friends discover that transcendence isn't always about first ascents. On Yosemite's Southern Belle, two young climbers epic up an old route. In Colorado's Eldorado Canyon, a writer unveils the meaning of the Ghoul's Turn. And back at Alpinist world headquarters, our associate editor dreams of pitons.
Pointillism on Castle Mountain. Stream-of-consciousness on Denali. Enlightenment and burger grease in Montana. Several ascents of Slawston Bridge. And the story of Tami Knight's first mountain.
Against an ethos of summit-at-all-cost, Blake Herrington extols the oft-forgotten, valuable art of failure.
The Silent History and the Loud.
In 1971 Peter Haan led the first free ascent of The Left Side of the Hourglass. Two years later, Jim Bridwell called it a "work of genius" in his Yosemite free climbing manifesto, "Brave New World." For Haan, it was more than just a climb, it was a chance to live up to the ideals of his generation—or to die in the attempt.