Weekly Feature Archives

1972: Rivers that Flow Back to Mountains

Posted September 24, 2019

In this Mountain Profile essay from Alpinist 67, which is now available on newsstands and in our online store, Anna Chiburis documents some of the Indigenous cultures and stories associated with the St. Elias Range, specifically within the area of Mt. Hubbard, Mt. Alverstone and Mt. Kennedy. "Areas such as Wrangell-St. Elias were not an empty wilderness devoid of civilization," she writes. "Indeed, the Tlingit had developed a culture that had layered their land with profound meaning."

The Shadow's Edge

Posted September 20, 2019

In this feature from Alpinist 67, which is now available on newsstands and in our online store, Claire Giordano shares stories and paintings that depict her search for hope in an era of melting ice, endangered glaciers and climate crises. After recovering from a severe childhood illness, she grew up to become a mountaineer and an artist, using her climbs and her paints to explore the fragility of both wild landscapes and human life. With this collection of mountain watercolors, she searches for hope in an era of melting ice, endangered glaciers and climate crises. "We walk the line between shadow and light," she writes, "and we slowly move forward."

Human Dimensions of Climate Change in the Himalaya: An interview with anthropologist Pasang Yangjee Sherpa

Posted September 19, 2019

Alpinist Managing Editor Paula Wright interviewed Pasang Yangjee Sherpa for the Alpinist Podcast in 2017 and followed up with her again this month. Born in Kathmandu, Yangjee Sherpa is an anthropologist who specializes in the human dimensions of climate change in the Himalaya. She says that "mountaineers are really well equipped to be advocates for talking about climate change...because of the kind of intimate relationship mountaineers have with the natural landscape, with mountains, snow and glaciers.... So I would like mountaineers to speak more about it and share what they know with the public."

Namesake: Izumi ("The Spring")

Posted July 20, 2019

In this Namesake story from Alpinist 48 (2014), Katsutaka "Jumbo" Yokoyama—an original member of Japan's famous Giri-Giri Boys, who have become known for their bold and visionary ascents—writes about the first ascent of a route he named Izumi ("The Spring") on Mt. Mizugaki.

Mountaineering in reverse: Tales from the Underland

Posted June 21, 2019

"A peak can exercise the same irresistible power as an abyss," Theophile Gautier wrote in 1868. Robert Macfarlane's new book Underland explores the landscapes below our feet where, as Sarah Boon writes in her review, "people appear to find something similar in caves to what they experience in the mountains—clarity of thought and vision."

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Outdoor Media Landscape: A Note from the Editors

Posted June 20, 2019

As they praise the publication of She Explores—a 2019 anthology of women's outdoor stories and photos—Alpinist editors Katie Ives, Paula Wright and Derek Franz write, "We felt struck by two thoughts: how rare outdoor publications like this book, with such a variety of women's images and voices, were in the past; and how much the field of outdoor literature still needs to broaden to include the vast constellations of under-represented and long-silenced voices today."

The Story of Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La

Posted June 7, 2019

The following story is an Ahwahneechee creation story of Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La (El Capitan) as told by Julia Parker, an Ahwahneechee descendant of Yosemite Valley, mother of climbing legend Ron Kauk and the grandmother of Ron's son, Lonnie Kauk. This story originally appeared as a sidebar to a feature about the Kauk family, Lonnie's childhood in Yosemite and how he made the first redpoint of his father's route "Magic Line," for which the story is named.

Thirteen Feet Under

Posted June 1, 2019

Last April, as she scouted ice climbs deep within Canada's Banff National Park, Michelle Kadatz was engulfed by an avalanche that swept her 650 feet down slope and buried her at a depth far beyond the reach of her partners' avalanche probes. While entombed thirteen feet under, she experienced something that seemed as improbable as her eventual rescue. One year later, Jayme Moye recounts Kadatz's accident.

Magic Line

Posted May 24, 2019

The son of legendary climber Ron Kauk and Ahwahneechee descendant Lucy Parker, Lonnie Kauk has long felt a deep connection to the rocks of his home in Yosemite Valley. In this oral history recorded by Alpinist Managing Editor Paula Wright and featured as the cover story for Alpinist 66, Lonnie, friends and family recount his journey from growing up beneath the granite cliffs of Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La (El Capitan) to making the first redpoint ascent of his father's Magic Line, once considered the most difficult single-pitch climb in the Valley.


Posted May 9, 2019

In this Off Belay story from Alpinist 65, Joe Whittle shares a creation story that was told to him by a Nez Perce elder, Allen Pinkham. The story led Whittle to consider his relationship with nature more closely. He writes: "As I listened, I understood that recognizing the sovereignty of other elements in the world—including rocks, plants and water—can weave sustainability into a culture."