Weekly Feature Archives

Dreaming of Afghan Mountains

Posted April 9, 2018

In this feature story from Alpinist 61, Eileen Guo recounts some of the history of mountaineering in Afghanistan over decades of political change and war. Today, amid the ongoing conflict and insecurity in the country, local and international alpinists still try to restore a mountain tourism economy, while groups of Afghan women search for a sense of independence on the rugged granite peaks.

Tom Higgins (1944-2018) remembers the 1976 first ascent of a Pinnacles classic

Posted April 4, 2018

Tom Higgins, an influential climber and writer, passed at age 73 on March 21. In his memory, we present a story in which he recounts the 1976 first ascent of Shake and Bake, a classic three-pitch 5.10a R in Pinnacles National Park, California.

The Mountain of Diamonds

Posted April 3, 2018

In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 61, Editor-in-Chief Katie Ives ponders the legend of the "mountain of diamonds" in nineteenth-century American history and the obsession with the idea of hidden riches: "How quickly visions of distant summits turn into longings for conquest, exploitation and gain. But if an imaginary peak is a creation of desire, its elusiveness might also hint at more insubstantial or transcendent things."

Pressure Lift

Posted March 31, 2018

In this story from Alpinist 61, Cole Taylor recounts his solo journey of sailing north along the Pacific coast from Washington, navigating miles of crevassed glaciers and pulling off the second ascent of the North Pillar of Devils Thumb (Taalkhunaxhk'u Shaa) with borrowed gear, 40 years after it was first done by Bob Plumb and Dave Stutzman.

Marc-Andre Leclerc Remembered

Posted March 24, 2018

Brette Harrington, Luka Lindic, Sonnie Trotter, Bernadette McDonald, Tom Livingstone and others recount the impressive climbing career and profound life of beloved Canadian alpinist Marc-Andre Leclerc.

A Short Stretch of Fred's Road

Posted March 23, 2018

In this story from Alpinist 61, Douglas McCarty recalls his adventures on the road with Fred Beckey, which started in 1972 when McCarty and a friend hopped a freight train from Montana to Seattle, where the 17-year-olds subsequently met Beckey. Since then, McCarty joined the legendary mountaineer on trips to Alaska, China, Kenya, Mexico and Tanzania, with urban bivies at public parks in between.

On Becoming a Mountain Steward

Posted March 20, 2018

In this unabridged version of a Climbing Life story from Alpinist 61, Laura Waterman retraces the path and climbs that inspired her to become involved in conservation work with her husband, Guy Waterman, in New England's Presidential Range during the 1970s. Laura Waterman outlines the environmental challenges the area has faced in the past and now faces again in the form of a new hotel that is being proposed by the Cog Railway near the summit of Mt. Washington (Agiocochook).

Remembering Ryan Johnson

Posted March 19, 2018

Clint Helander remembers the life and prolific climbing career of his friend Ryan Johnson, who went missing and is presumed dead along with Marc-Andre Leclerc after the pair climbed a new route on the north face of the Main Mendenhall Tower in Alaska in early March.

Local Hero: Lopsang Tshering Sherpa

Posted March 6, 2018

In this Local Hero story from the latest issue, Alpinist 61, Kapil Bisht interviews Lopsang Tshering Sherpa, who began his storied career as an expedition worker in 1959 as a kitchen helper on the 1959 international women's Cho Oyu expedition; three years later he was among those bridging the gap for Lionel Terray and the first ascent of Jannu.

The Prow

Posted February 26, 2018

Alex McKiernan suffered a spinal cord injury from a car crash in 2014 and he has slowly regained some use of his legs since then. In this story from Alpinist 60, he details the path of his recovery, and how he climbed a Yosemite big wall in 2016.

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