Weekly Feature Archives

Being with the Mountain

Posted November 30, 2015

WHEN I WAS A CHILD, reading adventure stories in a house by the sea, I often dreamed about worlds above the clouds. One day, my father took me on a hike up a nearby mountain. It was just a little one—a rocky summit poking through a thick carpet of trees—in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. But for the first time, I thought I could touch the clouds. It was as though I'd walked into one of the illustrations in my books.

Searching for Nightfall in Renland

Posted November 25, 2015

"Our arrival, aboard our yacht, before the walls of Renland left us speechless. Imagine if you could sail to Yosemite Valley, amidst an array of glaciers, the ocean flirting with the foot of the rocky slopes. Before our very eyes there were more [unclimbed] rock faces than we could ever climb, even if we stayed there for the rest of our lives."


Posted November 24, 2015

DARKNESS OVERTOOK US. In the midst of absolute night, in the heart of the Cordillera Sarmiento, Camilo and I returned from the summit of Cerro Alas de Angel. The fog closed in, and a white wind filled the gloom, deepening our blindness.

Lizzy Scully's Social Media Guest Postings November 16-22

Posted November 24, 2015

Between November 16 and 22, we posted Lizzy Scully's photos and video to our social media pages as part of the alpinist community project. She calls her collection "The Middle Path".

A Stairway to Heaven on the Matterhorn

Posted November 20, 2015

Sixty-five-year-old French alpinist Patrick Gabarrou is always watching the mountains. He spends a great deal of time in the Alps—he sees them in different seasons, different lights. He discovers features that are not often visible—features less-devoted climbers might miss.

Anna Pfaff's Social Media Guest Postings November 9-15

Posted November 18, 2015

Between November 9 and 15, we posted Anna Pfaff's photos and video to our social media pages as part of the alpinist community project.


Posted November 17, 2015

NO PLACE SUCKS UP SUN like the Johnny Cat enclave at the Cat Wall, Indian Creek. The maroon cliffs are striped with perfect, cleaved fissures like vertical gateways into a hidden world. The desert heat can be oppressive, but in late autumn, the low golden rays cast long shadows over the walls.

Ashes and Air

Posted November 13, 2015

JAGGED RIDGELINES DARKEN and blur in the dim light. A palette of blues merges into thick, bland grey. I lean my head forward to rest on the rock wall in front of me. I pay out slack listlessly as the rope twitches to Chantel. In the murk of early morning, we find ourselves 2,500 feet up the Denali Diamond, with another 5,500 feet of mountain above. We've taken turns belaying each other as we explore the "snow band" for possible bivy spots. So far, we've found only shallow ice over steep rock. After thirty hours of climbing, my fatigue dulls the brilliant Alaskan skyline. I forget the gift of moving in such extraordinary terrain. I might as well be checking out at the grocery store.

The Andy Tyson Memorial Fund

Posted November 11, 2015

As climbers, we expect the unexpected. We know events happen out in the world—a hold breaks beneath a foot, a cam pulls during a short fall, a rock plummets down a mountain couloir, or a cascading avalanche scours a benign slope. We do what we can to mitigate risk and danger, but we know that bad stuff happens during good times.

Jeff Shapiro's Social Media Guest Postings November 2-8

Posted November 10, 2015

Between November 2-8, Alpinist contributor Jeff Shapiro posted his photos and stories on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages as part of our Alpinist Community project. Shapiro was instrumental in our most recent issue's feature story, "Going Home." He's been featured in NewsWires including "Grosvenor Sees Third Ascent," and "Trip Report: New Mixed Route in Glacier NP and the story Searching for Light in the Dark Arts."