Weekly Feature Archives

An excerpt from Chris Kalman's award winning book, "Dammed If You Don't"

Posted November 30, 2021

Today we're sharing an excerpt from an award-winning book written by a longtime Alpinist contributor and former intern Chris Kalman and illustrated by Craig Muderlak. "Dammed If You Don't" is Kalman's third book and recently won the Mountain Fiction and Poetry category at the annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. Book competition jury member Pete Takeda wrote: "Kalman's third book asks a very topical question: Can we love a place to death? Kalman answers this question with a spare quality that evokes a bit of James Salter. His portrayal of a lush, pristine Chilean valley is immediate and profound. His writing is peppered with the intimate details that also bring the characters, their foibles, and struggles to life. Their dilemmas soon become our dilemmas. Perhaps the best thing about 'Dammed If You Don't' are the plot twists, building to a final scenario that is plausible, disturbing, and strangely uplifting."

In the Wake

Posted November 23, 2021

Alpinist 76 is now available on newsstands in our online store. In this Sharp End essay, our editor-in-chief follows in the footsteps of Harvey Manning up real mountains in the Cascades after years of research to write a book about his imaginary peaks. As she climbs the classic South Face of the Tooth, she recounts his descriptions of formative experiences in 1947 that helped inspire his efforts to preserve the land from threats of timber and mining development. Seventy-four years after Manning's ascent, Ives strains her eyes through a haze of smoke to catch a glimpse of the range as Manning may have seen it. She writes: "While I trace more of Harvey's hikes, I also think of what it means to write about beloved and imperiled things: to cross the arched back of a glacier and feel how much it is both living and dying, its meltwater murmuring in hundreds of voices between the blue walls of crevasses. To walk through the green shadows of giant moss-strung trees that, one hot summer day, might burst into flame."

The Many Futures of Alpinism Essays from Alpinist 75

Posted October 1, 2021

The following eight essays are part of 18 published in Alpinist 75 (Autumn 2021) for "The Many Futures of Alpinism" feature.

Living Maps of Patagonia: Toward a New Future of Exploration

Posted September 27, 2021

"The Future of Alpinism," is the theme of Alpinist 75—which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by Natalia Martinez and Camilo Rada, titled "Living Maps of Patagonia: Toward a New Future of Exploration." They write: "We decided...to create living maps. These are maps that do not adhere to official names. Instead, we follow a historical approach trying to help restore the heritage of Indigenous people and explorers. We constantly update the maps to record each new ascent, each new encounter and each new adventure. Our aim is to create maps that are not only a miniature of a place's geography, but that convey the feelings the geography evokes as well as the passions of those who have striven to unravel it.... Many of the unclimbed peaks that appear insignificant on sheets of contour lines could present some of the finest alpine challenges of these regions."

Climbers of Color Come Full Circle: The Future of Expanded Representation

Posted September 26, 2021

"The Future of Alpinism," is the theme of Alpinist 75—which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by James Edward Mills, titled "Climbers of Color Come Full Circle: The Future of Expanded Representation." He writes: "Through our personal initiative, skills and agency, people of color are affirming their roles as leaders in the climbing world. [Philip] Henderson is now organizing the first all-Black American team to attempt the world's highest mountain in 2022. He calls it the Full Circle Everest Expedition.... Each member of this team aims to share their experience to inspire others to follow in their example.... US alpinists of color are also continuing to pursue cutting-edge objectives...."

Taking Time To Tell: The Future of Trip Reports

Posted September 25, 2021

"The Future of Alpinism," is the theme of Alpinist 75—which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by Damien Gildea, titled "Taking Time To Tell: The Future of Trip Reports." He writes: "Alpinism is always about choices, and new technologies keep giving us more avenues to talk about our climbs. The choice of expedition media, how we use it, but also when we use it, can have lasting impacts.... If you choose to tell, by waiting for a while after the summit, you might create a more meaningful and accurate narrative.... The ego hits from 'Likes' are temporary, but an honest insight, gained after a period of reflection, might last indefinitely, or at least outlast you."

Sharing Misadventures, not just Adventures: The Future of Climbing Accidentology

Posted September 24, 2021

"The Future of Alpinism," is the theme of Alpinist 75—which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by Maud Vanpoulle, titled "Sharing Misadventures, not just Adventures: The Future of Climbing Accidentology." She writes: "Alpinists are often reluctant to talk about their own accidents. There can be a sense of guilt that haunts survivors or a reluctance to admit mistakes.... A change of attitude seems to be taking place at the heart of different mountain communities. Among other examples, social sciences researchers, in collaboration with the administrators of the French Web forum camptocamp.org, have established a debriefing system for 'incidents and accidents' that permits anonymous reporting and that encourages users to 'participate in the construction of a collective knowledge base.'"

Sounds of Ceremony: The Future of Sacred Landscapes

Posted September 23, 2021

"The Future of Alpinism," is the theme of Alpinist 75—which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by Len Necefer, titled "Sounds of Ceremony: The Future of Sacred Landscapes." He writes: "Alpinism has provided me with a means to grow deeper roots into my own personal identity and the long-standing bonds with mountains of my Navajo heritage.... Within cultures around the world, the existence of mountain landscapes serves as an intergenerational reminder of the sacred. In our shared future of climate change, we must all ensure that we steward mountain landscapes for the generations ahead—to keep intact the many ways they nourish ecosystems and societies, but also to preserve the varied connections that we each maintain with them."

Mountain As Metaphor: A Future of Multiple Worldviews

Posted September 22, 2021

"The Future of Alpinism," is the theme of Alpinist 75—which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by Dr. Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, titled "Mountain As Metaphor: A Future of Multiple Worldviews." She writes: "In the future, I hope alpinism is able to project multiple worldviews together at once—not as a competition to establish a hierarchy, but as a way to learn from each other and to treat everyone with dignity. I hope alpinism is not just about stepping on the mountain, but about strengthening our relationship with it and with each other...."

Free and High: A Future of Cutting-Edge Alpinism

Posted September 21, 2021

"The Future of Alpinism," is the theme of Alpinist 75—which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by Tom Livingstone, titled "Free and High: A Future of Cutting-Edge Alpinism."



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