Weekly Feature Archives

An interview with Alex Megos about the cross-disciplines of sport vs. trad climbing

Posted November 2, 2016

Climbing phenom Alex Megos considers himself a "sport climber," but that self-designation didn't stop him from racking up to flash The Path, a 5.14 R trad route in Canada. Chris Kalman asks Megos what he thinks about the emphasis climbers put on various definitions of ascent, such as bouldering, sport climbing and trad climbing.

Edges of Maps: The Mountain Stories of Kyle Dempster

Posted October 31, 2016

At the time of his disappearance on the Ogre II, Kyle Dempster was one of the most promising mountain storytellers of his generation. Alpinist editor-in-chief Katie Ives looks back at some of work, and wonders about the writer he might have become.

Metrophobia: A Thirst for Adventure

Posted October 10, 2016

Doing a first ascent on a remote big wall was not enough for a team of three Swiss and two French men, who opted to sea kayak 170 kilometers with all their provisions just to reach the climb.

Adamson, Dempster Remembered for Love, Tenacity

Posted September 9, 2016

Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson were at home in wild and remote mountains. But their sense of passion and commitment spread beyond the bold routes they climbed to the people with whom they shared their lives. On Alpinist.com, Derek Franz writes about the disappearance of the two men on the north face of the Ogre II. Friends of the two climbers remember their tenacity and love.

In Memory of Kyle Dempster

Posted September 8, 2016

On September 3, 2016, the search for Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson, missing on the Ogre II in Pakistan, was called off. Here, a friend and climbing partner Scott Robertson writes a tribute to Kyle. We will be working on more stories about Kyle and Scott in the weeks ahead.

Wind River Universe

Posted August 30, 2016

Dick Dorworth reflects on the changes that the last forty-five years have brought to the Wind River Range: "On a clear day, the surface of Lonesome Lake reflects the sweeping silver walls of the Cirque of Towers, a glacier-polished mirror to the climber who cares (dares?) to gaze into it and to take those visions back to the larger world."

Last Unclimbed Wind River

Posted August 29, 2016

Eminent chronicler of the Wind River Mountains Joe Kelsey searches for the "last Unclimbed Wind River" peak—a quest inspired by an episode with his climbing partner, Paul Horton, on an obscure and seemingly unvisited summit: "As Paul led toward a chimney on the final pitch, he let out an equivocal chuckle.... 'What?' 'A piton.'"

My Big Scary First Ascent

Posted August 28, 2016

Before she and Bev Johnson made the first female ascent of El Capitan, Sibylle Hechtel lead her first unclimbed big wall in the Wind Rivers: "Dick handed me our minimal gear, pointed, and said, "Just head up that corner until you get to a good ledge, and set up a belay.' I gulped."

Tower I Ice Couloir, Mt. Helen

Posted August 27, 2016

Bill Lindberg and I are several pitches up a narrow couloir on the north side of Mt. Helen. A thick, even ribbon of white divides the tawny-grey granite walls that rise steeply above us on either side. The granular, late-season ice accepts the picks of our piolets and rigid crampon points perfectly. Thus far, the climb has been so straightforward that we might have rehearsed it ahead of time; we are both exhilarated to be moving rapidly on an unclimbed alpine line." In 1971, two climbers put new alpine gear to the test on what was the first ascent of Mt. Helen's now-classic ice couloir.

Sticking Needles in the Haystack

Posted August 26, 2016

In 1969, at the age of 18, Jeff Lowe climbs "like a light-footed wolf" on Haystack Mountain.