Weekly Feature Archives

A Mysterious Lonely Path: The Life of Francek Knez

Posted October 10, 2017

On October 6, Slovenian alpinist Francek Knez passed away. During the course of his lifetime, Knez completed over 5,000 international climbs, including the first ascent of Hell's Direttissima on the east face of Cerro Torre. Bernadette McDonald profiled the visionary and reclusive mountaineer in Alpinist 52: "He seemed to draw energy from the natural landscape, tending his soul and feeding his imagination. Or maybe he garnered strength, not from the landscape, but from his inner core."

The Changing Faces of the Outdoors

Posted October 3, 2017

As she recalls her own experiences as a woman of color who enjoys the outdoors, Teresa Baker interviews members of various organizations who strive to help a wider range of people experience the mountains, forests and cliffs—not just the typical faces most often seen in media and ad campaigns. "By coming together to create a more inclusive industry," she points out, "we can better guard against the threats to the environment that affect not only outdoor recreation, but our communities as a whole."


Posted September 22, 2017

In this story from Alpinist 59, Alison Criscitiello recalls her friendship with the late Anna Smith, a climber who sought a life of spontaneity and freedom in wild places.

Unclimbed Nepal: The Explorations of Paulo Grobel

Posted September 20, 2017

In this guest feature from the American Alpine Journal, French guide Paulo Grobel reports on his explorations of Nepal's Damodar Himal, north of the Annapurna group, and the first ascent of a subpeak of Himlung Himal, a popular 7,000er north of Manaslu. This story provides a sneak-peak from the 2018 AAJ.

Inaccessible (1853-1917)

Posted September 14, 2017

Henry Duhamel was an influential figure in the early exploration of la Meije, one of the last, great unclimbed Alps in the Massif des Ecrins in France. This essay by former Vertical editor Claude Gardien—part of Erin Smart's Mountain Profile in Alpinist 59—recounts Duhamel's rich life as an inventor and explorer who never quite attained international fame and who died after slipping on ice in a military barracks during World War I, but who nevertheless helped usher in a new age of French mountaineering and skiing.

New route attempt in Alaska's Revelations ends with a rescue and a near miss

Posted September 12, 2017

Chris Thomas and Rick Vance received a 2017 Mugs Stump Award to attempt the unclimbed north face of Jezebel in Alaska's Revelation Mountains this past spring. The trip went according to plan—until it didn't, and the two climbers found themselves suddenly involved in a rescue beneath dangerous seracs.

The Accidental Mountaineer

Posted September 8, 2017

As a single mom living in California, Ana Beatriz Cholo never imagined she would become a mountaineer. But she began climbing peaks in her state, and she eventually earned a spot on a Denali climbing team organized for female military veterans like her. Cholo shares how the experience helped her in this Climbing Life Story from Alpinist 59.

Through local stewardship and civic engagement, climbers protect places for all

Posted September 5, 2017

Land managers and climbers have been known to have conflicting interests at times, but local climbing coalitions across the country—such as the Bay Area Climbers Coalition and Salt Lake Climber Alliance, among others—have helped organize climbers into a group of allies who can make a great difference when it comes to advocating for public land, from the grass-roots, to the national level. Laura Booth and Andrea Laue take a closer look at how we can work together as local stewards or our natural resources.

Marguerite 'Meta' Claudia Brevoort: 1825-1876

Posted August 30, 2017

In 1870, Marguerite 'Meta' Claudia Brevoort attempted to become the first climber, male or female, to stand atop the highest point of la Meije, one of the last great unclimbed Alps in the Massif des Ecrins in France. In this Mountain Profile essay from Alpinist 59, Associate Editor Paula Wright relates the adventurous life of Brevoort, her nephew William Coolidge, and their dog, Tschingel, whose list of Alpine summits earned her an honorary membership in the exclusive Alpine Club.

The Moth

Posted August 24, 2017

In this Climbing Life story from Alpinist 59, Marc-Andre Leclerc considers a dead moth in the snow as he begins a risky ascent below looming cornices.