Weekly Feature Archives

Strange Days: A look back on the previous 11 months surrounding Bears Ears National Monument and a glance at the future

Posted December 21, 2017

Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz documents the 11-month saga over Bears Ears National Monument, which was recently reduced by 85 percent of its original size by President Donald Trump, along with Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, which was reduced by half of its 1.9 million acres. A series of lawsuits that are expected to reach the US Supreme Court and voracious action by groups including the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, Utah Dine Bikeyah, Access Fund, Friends of Cedar Mesa and many others provides a glimmer of hope for those who would prefer to see the monuments remain intact.

Innovative Approach: Using paragliders to attempt high peaks in Nepal's Langtang Himal

Posted December 13, 2017

In this guest feature from the American Alpine Journal, Antoine Girard documents an experiment that utilized paragliders to approach peaks in Nepal's Langtang Himal that tend to be inaccessible because of difficult approaches or objective hazards. Girard and his partner, Julien Dusserre, landed at 6200 meters on Shalbachum (6707m), where they planned to climb alpine-style to the summit, but storms forced them to retreat. Weather patterns also prevented them from landing on their main objective—Langtang Lirung (7227m)—but they gained enough experience to prove to themselves that approaching peaks with paragliders could work.

La Meije Mountain Profile: An interview with author Erin Smart

Posted December 5, 2017

Alpinist 60 completes our two-part Mountain Profile of la Meije—a mountain often referred to as the Matterhorn of the Dauphine Alps. In this article, we interview Erin Smart, the author of the Mountain Profile, about the process and the quirky stories she encountered from the mountain's slopes.

Vanishing Uplands

Posted December 1, 2017

Alpinist Editor-in-Chief Katie Ives recounts the lives of Austin Post and Edward LaChapelle and their contributions to the study of glaciers and snow, including their influential 1971 book Glacier Ice, which contained words that now read like early warnings of the impacts of climate change: "Much of modern civilization exists by virtue of a delicate balance between this climate and present snow and ice masses." In the decades since its first publication, this collection of glacier photography has become a powerful testament to both the beauty and losses of its frozen worlds. Ives now ponders what might happen if more climbers were to look beyond some of our focus on individual fulfillment to face the bigger challenge that confronts us all.

Niels Tietze Remembered

Posted November 30, 2017

Libby Sauter reflects on the life of her friend and fellow Yosemite Search and Rescue teammate Niels Tietze after he was found dead at the base of Fifi Buttress in mid-November. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Tietze made friends and climbed all over the world, picking up a wide array of jobs that included work as a ranch hand and as an ophthalmic assistant for the Himalayan Cataract Project. His parents wrote after his passing that he was "a man who in so many ways embodied the complexities of the Universe."

Through the Telescope

Posted November 28, 2017

In this Mountain Profile essay from Alpinist 60, Associate Editor Paula Wright tells the story of a lasting partnership between two leading female alpinists and their adventures on la Meije in the late 1800s.

A feminist review of climbing how-to guides

Posted November 27, 2017

At a time when the American climbing population is becoming increasingly diverse, Georgie Abel examines the extent to which current instructional climbing books represent people of different genders and races.

Cartography of Prayers: Pemako

Posted November 15, 2017

In this story that first appeared in Alpinist 54 as part of a series titled "A History of Imaginary Mountains," Harish Kapadia recalls a journey inward while visiting a mystical Himalayan land known as Pemako. Kapadia, 72, received the 2017 Piolets d'Or-Asia Lifetime Achievement Award on November 3 in Seoul, Korea. He is the first Indian to receive the recognition.

Slovenians establish two new routes in the Kishtwar Himalaya

Posted November 9, 2017

In this guest feature from the American Alpine Journal, Urban Novak reports on two new routes that he established with Marko Prezelj and Ales Cesen this past June. They acclimatized with a Grade 'D' route on Peak 6013, and then got lucky with a weather window that allowed them to complete their main objective, the west face of Arjuna (ca. 6250m). They named their route All or Nothing (ED+ M7+ WI5+ A0).

Threshold Shift

Posted October 18, 2017

Nick Bullock recounts his first ascent of the North Buttress of Nyainqentanglha Southeast in Tibet with Paul Ramsden in 2016, and his subsequent return from Tibet to England to help his aging father. Back home, Bullock confronts the death of his mother, the loss of climbing friends and the uncertainties of Brexit. This story first appeared in Alpinist 57 and was recently named the best Mountaineering Article of the year at the Banff Mountain Book Festival.

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