Table of Contents


The Central Tower of Paine

Home of the world's first Grade VII, this centerpiece of Chilean Patagonia has a bold future still ahead of it. Steve "Shipoopi" Schneider recounts the history thus far, while Sir Chris Bonington, Paul Fatti, Alan Kearney, Mario Manica and Ramiro Calvo regale us with their adventures on one of the planet's proudest blades of stone.

climbing notes

Mt. Foraker and Denali

Shingu Charpa, North Ridge

Taulliraju, East Face

Uli Biaho Tower

Thunderbird Wall

editors note

Editor's Note



From hot young rads to grizzled old trads.



Chongo lives! But then again, so does Wilt Chamberlain.


Patrick "Gab" Gabarrou

Patrick "Gab" Gabarrou's ascents epitomize alpine climbing at its best. Gab's aspirations, however, go beyond his routes to a deeper connection with the natural world in which he moves.

climbing life

The Climbing Life

Observations from the field.

first ascent

Ames Ice Hose (II WI5, M5)

The Ames Ice Hose, an ethereal classic, shouldn’t have been in at all during the unusually mild winter of its first ascent. To three young climbers from Aspen, its good condition was only the first surprise.

sharp end

The Sharp End

From the turf climbs of the High Tatras to alpine-style ascents in the Himalaya, this Slovakian climber finds his edge where everyone else turns around.

off belay

Off Belay

And you thought you had problems with heights.

features content

The End of the Beginning

While the media glorified the hunt for numbers in the 1980s and 1990s, a quiet cadre of climbers searched for something more profound. The rewards of their quest are now beginning to show.

Bird's Eye View

No climber has had a greater influence on American climbing than the Bird. The view from the top, forty years on.

A Short March to the Hindu Kush

Afghanistan's Hindu Kush captured the fascination of a budding alpinist when he was only eight years old. Thirty years later, he would find himself embedded with the US Marine Corps in the land of his dreams.

The Weight of Thin Air

The hardest part of climbing in the Himalaya is not the technical challenge; it's the burden of the decisions up high. For young climbers, that weight can sometimes be too much to bear.