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“…[T]wenty-first century alpinists reach summits by harder routes, faster times or cleaner styles than those of the past. But Google Earth, satellite phones, topos and daily forecasts all work to preclude surprise from interfering with our ascents… Weekend climbers bring up-to-the-minute iPhone beta to crags. Internet forums provide images and explanations of each move on alpine classics. Athletes plan expeditions for same lines that have been attempted, photographed, written about and rehearsed for years. Rare seekers of obscurity can still find lesser-known peaks almost empty, yet forty years after Reinhold Messner decried the ‘Murder of the Impossible,’ much of modern climbing is approaching a Murder of the Unknown.”

In Alpinist 35’s WIRED, Blake Herrington challenges the increasingly common use of technology in “exploratory” climbing, and stresses the value of struggle in his op-ed-style eulogy for “alpinism as discovery.” An interview with Herrington revealed that the author is no stranger to success, failure and a personal struggle with today’s performance-enhancing technology. Click in for selections from the interview.

[Photo] Alpinist 35 WIRED contributor Blake Herrington on Spearhead Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park.

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