Weekly Feature Archives

Fifty Years in Yosemite: The soft-spoken legacy of Werner Braun, "Mr. Astroman"

Posted July 11, 2022

Earl Bates traces stories from the 50-year career of Werner Braun, one of Yosemite's most reticent Stonemasters. Braun retired from his work in the Valley last year and moved to St. George, Utah, with his wife Merry. Braun was among the best free soloists of his generation and ultimately proved himself to be a significant asset to the Park Service and Yosemite Search and Rescue, but you won't hear him say so. In his typical fashion, Braun continues to shy away from recognition, and that is why some of Yosemite's best stories may never be told.

Tool Users: Sun Protection

Posted June 24, 2022

In this Tool Users story from Alpinist 78—which is now on newsstands and in our online store—Sarah Pickman traces the early development of sun protection. As Western scientists debated the cause of sunburn in the nineteenth century, she explains, some researchers "turned to a community with plenty of experience getting burned: alpinists."

Melt Outs

Posted June 8, 2022

In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 78—which is now on newsstands and in our online store—Katie Ives explores some of the many metaphors of late-season ice. She writes: "Any ice route is a land that appears and disappears, never taking an identical shape twice, leaving ghostly outlines in climbers' memories of past forms—and posing the question of which ascent might be the last."

Rematriating Our Lives: Indigeneity and What it Means to Climb

Posted May 5, 2022

In this Wired story from Alpinist 77—which is now available on newsstands and in our online store—Micheli Oliver contemplates some of many metaphors of ascent for herself and other Indigenous women.

Ukrainian alpinists share stories of life amid the Russian invasion

Posted April 20, 2022

From fighting in active combat on the front lines, to scrambling to find food and supplies, to struggling to find a refuge for their families abroad, Ukrainian climbers have had their lives turned upside down by the Russian invasion. Three of them share glimpses into what their day-to-day existence looks like amid war.

Pandemic Impacts of 2020 and 2021 Raise Questions for Adventure Tourism

Posted April 7, 2022

Nepal halted on-arrival tourist visas for the majority of foreign visitors and canceled all spring mountaineering expeditions. The country wouldn't reopen until August 2020, just in time for the post-monsoon trekking season. As climbing journalist Holly Yu Tung Chen looks back on the impacts of the pandemic on the economies and health of mountain communities in Nepal, she observes some of the ongoing questions of how to make adventure tourism more responsible and sustainable in a precarious era.

I Gaze at My Mountains

Posted March 28, 2022

In "I Gaze at My Mountains" (translated by Mark Andryczyk and Yaryna Yakubyak), a Ukrainian poet and children's book publisher, Ivan Malkovych, evokes the intense significance of the Carpathian mountains, where he grew up—and where tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have fled during the ongoing Russian invasion of their country. We are republishing the poem here, along with links with lists of some of the many ways to help Ukrainians.

Haunted by Venus

Posted March 24, 2022

For more than two decades, Choi Suk-mun has climbed around the world, including first ascents on giant Himalayan peaks; yet he remains haunted by a five-pitch rock route back home in South Korea.

Of Thin Ice

Posted March 15, 2022

In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 77—which is now on newsstands and in our online store—Alpinist Editor-in-Chief Katie Ives looks back on autumn climbs and ponders the allure and haunting symbolism of early season ice.

A Beginner's Guide to Suffering

Posted February 14, 2022

In this feature story from The Climbing Life section of Alpinist 76—which is now available on newsstands and in our online store—Brandon Blackburn considers some influences that inspired him to climb and seek self validation through risk and suffering. He writes: "The most significant catalyst for my own shift in perspective on suffering came, as it sometimes does, after an injury."