Weekly Feature Archives

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.

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.