Weekly Feature Archives

Full Circle: how and why Sunny Stroeer became the first woman (and third person) to finish Aconcagua's 360 Route in a solo push

Posted June 27, 2018

Sunny Stroeer became the first woman (and third person) to complete Aconcagua's 360 Route in a solo push last February. For this story, Emma Murray asked Stroeer how she went from being a student who rarely ventured outside town—even when Stroeer lived in Switzerland's "outdoor capital of the world"—to an ambitious outdoor athlete, and what motivates her to keep pushing her limits.

A dusty box of golden memories: photos from the life of Kim Schmitz (1946-2016)

Posted June 26, 2018

Savannah Cummins befriended the legendary alpinist Kim Schmitz in recent years when they were living in Jackson, Wyoming. Schmitz gave Cummins a box of old photos shortly before he died in a one-car accident in September 2016 at age 70. Rick Ridgeway, John Roskelley and Jack Tackle assisted in identifying some of the images, and in honor of Kim's memory, we share some of his collection with you now.

Adventures on the Turtle's Back

Posted June 13, 2018

In this story from Alpinist 62, "Adventures on the Turtle's Back," Joe Whittle, an enrolled tribal member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and a descendent of the Delaware Nation, spends time in canyons and mountains that Indigenous people call home. Kanim Moses-Conner, Bobby Fossek, Len Necefer, Mia Ritter-Whittle and Brosnan Spencer join him on a shared journey to connect with the land and their Native American heritage in the Wal'wa-maXs, Oregon.

The Mountain of Data

Posted May 31, 2018

In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 62, Editor-in-Chief Katie Ives contextualizes some of the life and work of the great Himalayan chronicler Elizabeth Hawley, who died January 26, 2018, at age 94. During her lifetime, Hawley became an icon for her fact-checking and record-keeping, aspects of journalism that remain as important as ever today.

A collection of letters

Posted May 25, 2018

Selected letters to the editor from Alpinist 59, 61 and 62.

Under Pulse

Posted April 16, 2018

In this Off Belay story from Alpinist 61, Jerry Auld imagines a close encounter with the gears of a massive mechanical system lurching under the surface of a glacier. The tale was inspired by some of his glacier travel in which he once fell into a crevasse and from a 2013 ski circumnavigation of Mt. Logan in Canada's Kluane National Park. He writes, "When you are in the palm of such a setting, it is hard to not feel the importance of keeping these environments working. I wanted to tell that story—to visualize a wounded Earth that is starting to stall, and how tiny and bewildered we become in that situation."

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.