Weekly Feature Archives

Nakamura unveils hidden mountains of southern Tibet

Posted December 14, 2016

Eighty-two-year-old Japanese mountaineer Tamotsu "Tom" Nakamura has been exploring and documenting the seldom-visited regions of Tibet for the last 25 years. In this feature he shares photographs of southern Tibet's "hidden" mountains.

Beyond the Dusk: El Hermano, Andes, Chile

Posted December 10, 2016

After the death of her brother Michael in June 2012, Suzanne Ybarra noticed a reference to a mysterious "El Hermano" amid his files, along with photos of a massive unclimbed wall. In 2014 one of Michael's friends, Libby Sauter, organized an expedition to make the first ascent and complete his dream.

Freedom in the Hills

Posted December 9, 2016

For decades, female alpinists have made extraordinary ascents from remote big walls to storm-swept peaks. In an article from Alpinist 52 (Winter 2015), Charlotte Austin explored some of the lingering barriers of the past and the growing potential for the future.

Book Review: Simon McCartney's 'The Bond'

Posted December 8, 2016

Rick Accomazzo reviews Simon McCartney's book, The Bond. Published earlier this year, The Bond received the 2016 Banff Mountain and Wilderness Literature Non-Fiction Award, as well as the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.

The Vision of Andrew Boyd

Posted December 7, 2016

Drew Copeland considers how Andrew Boyd has quietly influenced the Squamish climbing scene in the last twenty years with his bold first free ascents and visionary lines.

Buffalo Soldiers in the Cavalryman's Paradise

Posted December 2, 2016

Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson explores "the pitch of the wild" for the Buffalo Soldiers on patrol in Yosemite at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Shining Mountains

Posted December 2, 2016

Popular books recount the early days of Canadian mountaineering as a story of epic discoveries. In this story from Alpinist 50, historians Zac Robinson and Stephen Slemon examine what often gets left out: the extent to which the "explorers" relied on the prior geographic knowledge of Indigenous guides.

Lauret Savoy's Trace: Exploring Landscapes of Exclusion and Inclusion in American History

Posted November 21, 2016

Alpinist Editor-in-chief Katie Ives describes some of the reasons Lauret Savoy's 2015 book, Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape has become deeply relevant today: "Much of prior mountain literature, all too often, has been solipsistic and exclusionary. More than ever, we need writers like Lauret Savoy, who can help us see our shared land for it has been, what it is, and the many possible futures of what it can be. In a world in which so much seems starkly uncertain, there are much greater risks to all peoples than the individual and self-chosen ones that climbers face. There are also greater responsibilities that we all share."

A Backyard Big Wall Expedition

Posted November 18, 2016

A group of Idaho climbers venture into the Canadian wilderness to complete the first ascent of a route on Wall Tower (9,560') that was abandoned by Fred Beckey Carl Dietrich and Bill Ruch. They called their line The White Tiger (VI 5.11 A3, 1,600').

The Glaciers Are Retreating: Southern Alps, New Zealand

Posted November 18, 2016

In a story from Alpinist 38 (Spring 2012), Paul Hersey explores a landscape at the edge of loss on the fleeting ice fields of New Zealand's Westland Tai Poutini National Park.